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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Provisional Commission ruling opposes LiveMaster merger
A whole load of Friday-style Jacko
Reunions & Splits
Knight's farewell tour may really be farewell
No Take That reunion, so please shut up
Oasis definitely split
Jawbox reunite for Fallon
Artist Deals
Oh No Ono sign to Leaf
In The Studio
Radiohead to record album after all
Gigs N Tours News
Mudhoney hit the UK this weekend
Jamie T cancels tour
Little Boots cancels gigs
Festival News
Reading Festival fined over health and safety claim
Reviews
Album Review: Natural Self - My Heart Beats Like A Drum (Tru Thoughts)
The Music Business
US labels and publishers reach agreement on unpaid mechanicals
World domination without a label? Possibly
Warner appoints ad sales agency
Copyright Tribunal reach secret conclusion on PPL/pubs dispute
The Digital Business
Ek speaks as Spotify hits first birthday
The Media Business
UKRD chief says UTV split throws doubt on RadioCentre future
And finally...
J.Lo not adopting new stage name
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
FRIDAY 9TH OCTOBER


TEENAGERSINTOKYO
Hailing from Sydney, teenagersintokyo are the latest signing to Back Yard Recordings, a label famed, of course, for bringing artists like Gossip and Chromeo to worldwide attention. Currently holed up in a studio in the Welsh mountains with Bat For Lashes producer David Kosten, they released their second single, a double a-side, 'Isabella/Long Walk Home', this week. The mix of early eighties influences (think The Cure, Joy Division and Tears For Fears) which makes up their sound, coupled with Samantha Lim's sweet vocals, make for some pleasing results. We cornered them for a quick Same Six Questions session.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We formed the band in 2005 out of what, I guess at the time, was a random idea. We jammed around for bit and played a handful of shows until Rudy joined us in 2006. That's when it all really clicked for us and it became a serious decision to pursue it as a career.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
'Isabella' was one of the earlier songs that we wrote for the album over a year ago. It evolved out of us pushing ourselves to try writing something different from what we had done before and developed fairly quickly out of a jamming session. 'Long Walk Home' was a track that we wrote when we hid ourselves in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, for a week. It was just us holed away in a shed with all our instruments, on the top of a mountain with no distractions. I think the serenity of our surroundings influenced the vibe of this song.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Usually it happens with all five of us in a room throwing around ideas. We're a fairly democratic band whereby all members have equal say in all the parts. Someone usually comes up with a part or idea, and then we jam it out from there. With vocal melody/lyrics sometimes it just happens in the room and sometimes I'll take a basic structure of the song away with me to work on at home.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We're all inspired by different artists individually and it's varied across all of us, but some of our band favourites would be Fleetwood Mac, Prince, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, Tears For Fears, Womack & Womack, Grace Jones, Liars, the list goes on...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would try not to say too much, actually, and let them make up their own mind.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
We're really excited to be releasing these two songs as they are the first that anyone will hear from our album, which is coming out early next year. We hope that those who are already familiar with our music will be pleased with what direction we're going in and look forward to picking up listeners along the way.

MORE>> teenagersintokyo.com and www.myspace.com/teenagersintokyo

 
VIGSY'S LIVE TIP: DJ Vadim Live at Jazz Café
Mr Vadim takes control of the Café as part of a full on US and pan-European tour which sees the DJ fighting back in fine form after being treated for ocular cancer last year. Vadim, who was once dubbed the 'John Coltrane of hip hop', released a live album 'U Cant Lurn Imaginashun' on BBE records back in May, and the aforementioned tour is plugging it. With his full band - which includes the vocals of Sabira Jade, Chicago MC 'Pugs Atomz' and the spinning fingers of Lil Ste Keys - expect some hip hop breakbeat chaos. Support comes from Lizzie Parks from Tru Thoughts, Cheeba from Soundcrash and Solid Steel and Kid Kanevil. Tickets are going quickly so move fast.

Thursday 15 Oct, Jazz Cafe, Camden, NW5, doors 7pm, £8 limited advance / £10 on the door, more at www.jazzcafe.co.uk, press info from Lee at BBE or Corin at Grindstone.



 

 
Visible Noise and DC Recordings are looking to recruit some new people:

LABEL MANAGER: Music Industry all rounder to look after the day to day running of two small but expanding independent labels - one rock and metal based and the other electronica. Duties would include liasing with Uk and European distributors, production, handling the 2 label online stores and other various duties involved with the running of small labels.

NEW TECHNOLOGY, WEB AND ONLINE SPECIALIST: An experienced individual looking to expand their responsibilities in the mobile, digital and new technology sphere with an aim to setting up their own department, working across film, music and fashion. Experience of licensing and synchronisation an advantage.

WORK EXPERIENCE: We are looking for young and enthusiastic people to help out at Visible Noise across press, promo, online. Please note these positions are unpaid and would require availability of at least 3 days a week.

PLEASE SEND CVS AND COVERING EMAIL TO: Julie@visiblenoise.com by 13 Oct.

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Advertise your jobs here: £100 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 
DESK SPACE TO RENT IN SHOREDITCH
A bright Shoreditch third floor 4 desk unit, ideal for a start-up. You'll be sharing with 4 other small media enterprises (film, publishing, PR and design). The space comes with four desks, chairs and shelving units and is ready for you to move in today. Office has internet, wifi and is fully air-conditioned. In a very desirable location 5 minutes from Liverpool Street station and 10 minutes from Old Street station. Rent is £250 per desk, per month, including rates and service charge. Please contact rachel@devenportpr.com

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FILM PRODUCTION STUDIO TO RENT IN SHOREDITCH
A fully equipped film production studio in the heart of Shoreditch. An ideal temporary studio to meet all your freelance and overspill needs, with access to 2 cameras (Z1E and HC1E) with 2 sound kits, an HD edit suite with FCP Studio 2, HD deck, HD monitor and sound station. Full specs available on request. Includes a working space for up to four people. The space with production and post-production equipment is £200 per day, minimum hire of three days; 7 days is charged at 5 days. Discounts available for hire of 4 weeks plus. Please contact jobeda@fairknowledge.co.uk or 07809601366.

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Advertise your stuff here: £120 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 

 

PROVISIONAL COMMISSION RULING OPPOSES LIVEMASTER MERGER
The Competition Commission has made a provisional ruling that the proposed merger of live music conglom Live Nation and ticketing giant Ticketmaster will hinder competition, which is a bit of blow for management at the two merging firms.

As previously reported, the two company's merger proposals were referred to the UK's competition authority by the Office Of Fair Trading back in June, mainly based on a complaint by another major player in the ticketing industry, CTS Eventim.

CTS have been very involved in the establishment of Live Nation Ticketing, the live music firm's own in-house ticketing division, launched at the start of the year after the company's old deal with Ticketmaster ran out. Live Nation Ticketing had not long launched in the US when the LiveMaster merger proposals were first announced.

Live Nation use CTS technology for their own ticketing enterprise, and in Europe were all but outsourcing their new ticketing service to the German company. Through that partnership CTS, who havn't previously had much of a presence in the UK, were planning on entering the British ticketing market.

While CTS initially issued a statement saying they'd had assurances the LiveMaster merger proposals would not affect their ten year deal with Live Nation, the German firm subsequently told the OFT the merger would force them to abandon their plans to enter the UK ticketing market. As CTS's arrival over here would have increased competition in the ticketing sector by adding another major player into the mix - arguably to the consumer's advantage - that concerned the OFT, and seems to have concerned the Competition Commission also.

In their provisional ruling, the Commission says: "[We believe] that, if the merger were to proceed, Live Nation would have the incentive to impede CTS's entry into the UK ticketing market, in particular by minimising the supply of its tickets to CTS, and thereby frustrate CTS from becoming an additional effective competitor to Ticketmaster. This could lead to higher net prices (eg due to lower rebates to promoters and venues) and/or lower service quality and/or less innovation in the market than would otherwise be the case".

The Commission suggests a number of remedies that would overcome its concerns, from the severe (the combined LiveMaster sells off the UK operations of either Live Nation or Ticketmaster) to the less so (LiveMaster agrees to ensure one or more third party ticket agencies have rights to sell tickets to a majority of Live Nation's tours and venues).

Responding to the provisional ruling, CTS said it couldn't comment, while, in a joint statement, Live Nation and Ticketmaster insisted that their merger was needed to safeguard the future of a flagging music industry.

Their statement said: "Live Nation and Ticketmaster respect the Competition Commission for its analysis of the merger and have cooperated, and will continue to cooperate, fully during this ongoing process. Both our companies are committed to this merger and look forward to addressing any and all issues that the commission deems necessary, but we must be clear about the challenges of the music industry, which is at a decisive crossroad. The recording industry is a shell of its former self. Where the recording industry was once the economic engine for the music business, it is live entertainment that is now the future of the music industry".

It added: "We believe this merger will build a more efficient and effective company moving forward, and that working together we will be able to help achieve needed change that will strengthen a flagging music industry. During the course of this merger process, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have listened to our fans, artists and other stakeholders. We've heard a range of views regarding the issues and challenges facing the live music industry. We firmly believe that our merger achieves an important and much needed public interest, and remain optimistic that it will ultimately be approved".

The Competition Commission will continue to consult on the merger until the end of the month, I think to expand on the proposed remedies that would alleviate the authority's concerns. It will issue its final report on the matter on 24 Nov. The merger is also being investigated by the US Department Of Justice, of course. US and UK authorities are thought to be consulting each other on the merger.

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A WHOLE LOAD OF FRIDAY-STYLE JACKO
There's been some interesting gossiping on the HitsDailyDouble website regarding the Jackson family's efforts to have John Branca removed as an executor of Michael Jackson's estate.

As previously reported, former Jacko legal advisor Branca was appointed co-executor based on the most recent will made by the late king of pop. While cooperating with Branca in the short term, the Jackson clan have been trying to persuade the courts to give Jacko's mother Katherine Jackson more say over the estate, and are expected to call for the attorney to be removed of his responsibilities completely. They will cite various fallings out between Jacko and Branca over the years, though it's thought the legal man has a letter signed by the late pop singer not long before his sudden demise rehiring his services.

Anyway, HDD questions why Katherine Jackson is so keen to have Branca removed. They report that some reckon her husband Joe or son Randy may be piling on the pressure, both said to be keen to access more of the Jacko fortune than they are likely to get on Branca's watch. HDD point out that Randy, in particular, had his own legal squabbles with Michael over the years, and was known for looking to his brother for handouts on occasion.

The US industry website also wonder if the Jackson family attorney Londell McMillan might not also be pushing Katherine to demand Branca's removal. McMillan's motive, some sources seemingly say, is that the administration of the late Jackson's affairs is going to generate millions in legal fees. McMillan, perhaps, would rather those fees went his way rather than to Branca and any legal reps he hires on the estate's behalf. HDD say: "McMillan's agenda is easily discernible, according to insiders: the attorney is desperate to wet his beak".

Finally in idle Jacko-related speculation - this time away from the will - HDD are also commenting on the fact that it is overall AEG boss Tim Leiweke who has been commenting on Jacko-related issues of late, rather than AEG Live chief Randy Phillips.

AEG came under the spotlight after Jackson's demise, of course, as the promoters of the planned This Is It residency at London's O2. It was Phillips who did the media run as questions were asked about the demands the promoter had made of Jacko, on their appointment of his personal medic Conrad Murray, and on just how much money the live music firm stood to lose from the cancelled O2 production.

But some felt that Phillips - a showman himself in some ways - hammed up those media appearances too much, with some saying he exaggerated the extent of his personal friendship with Jackson. Whatever, as tickets for the 'This Is It' documentary film went on sale recently, it was Leiweke who was doing the media interviews. HDD say: "Phillips has virtually disappeared from public view since embarrassing AEG boss Tim Leiweke and top dog Phil Anschutz by exposing what critics are describing as his "self-serving" character - Leiweke has resumed his role as the voice and face of the company, as he should have been all along".

Finally two other quick bits of Jackson-related news.

First the aforementioned Dr Conrad Murray, whose administration of dangerous prescription drugs seemingly killed Jackson, is facing legal troubles unrelated to his high profile former patient. An arrest warrant may be issued for Murray after he defaulted on child support payments. Authorities in Nevada are chasing the medic for the money on behalf of a California woman with whom he has a child. It's thought officials may even call for Murray's medical licence to be revoked in relation to the defaulted payments, which apparently they can do under Nevada law. With reports the LAPD is about to present its case against Murray in relation to Jacko's death to the District Attorney as soon as next week, the medic's lawyers could have a very busy month ahead of them.

And finally finally, the Jackson brothers have responded to a routine that appeared on an Australian talent show in which a bunch of white Aussies blacked up and donned afro wigs to spoof the Jackson Five. An additional member of the Jackson Jive group pasted white make up to his face and posed as Michael Jackson. The comedy routine captured the headlines after one of the guests on the Aussie TV show - Harry Connick Jr - said he thought the spoof was offensive, giving it a zero score and declaring he wouldn't have guested on the programme at all had he known that routine would appear.

Asked about the incident by Access Hollywood, Marlon Jackson thanked Connick Jr for expressing concern about the routine, but said he didn't believe the spoofers were trying to disrespect his family. Marlon: "Man, if they turned up looking like that in the United States! They probably weren't trying to be offensive about it or anything of that nature with the family. We thank Harry for [speaking out], but we also understand that they weren't trying to be disrespectful for the family".

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KNIGHT'S FAREWELL TOUR MAY REALLY BE FAREWELL
Another Jackson now. Tito Jackson has said he thinks Gladys Knight may really be retiring from performing, though he didn't actually seem 100% sure. The Jackson brothers are in the UK taking part in what Knight is calling her Farewell Tour.

Speaking about his involvement, Tito told reporters: "I am very excited about [the tour] because her bringing the Jackson Five to the business and then me being part of her farewell tour - it's come full circle. It seems that she might be retiring. I will definitely talk to her about it because we will definitely miss her".

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NO TAKE THAT REUNION, SO PLEASE SHUT UP
Right everyone, stop spreading rumours that Robbie Williams is about to rejoin Take That, it's really getting on Gary Barlow's nerves. And you know how he gets when he's angry.

Speaking to Angry Ape, Barlow said: "I'm fed up and bored of all the different rumours. I can't answer them any differently. We're not going to be reuniting at Christmas. I'm still preparing a charity gig for that time and it's going really well".

But there's good news, too. There is definitely going to be a full Take That reunion in 2011. This isn't a rumour though, Gary. It's a bone fide fact. Robbie said so himself. Look, here's what he told GQ: "It will happen, but not in the next two years. There's contracts to fulfil, then I can do what I want".

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OASIS DEFINITELY SPLIT
I'm not sure anyone was speculating on whether Oasis had completely split or not, but The Times have got Liam Gallagher to confirm it anyway.

He told the paper: "Well, Oasis is no longer. I think we all know that. So that's done. It's a shame, but that's life. We had a good run at it. We ended Oasis. No one ended it for us. Which was pretty, kind of... cool. I'm thinking of what the next step is musically, which is all my mind's on".

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JAWBOX REUNITE FOR FALLON
Flippin brilliant post-hardcore band Jawbox have announced that they will play together for the first time in twelve years on 8 Dec, when they will appear on US TV chat show 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon'. It will follow the re-release of their 1994 album, 'For Your Own Special Sweetheart', on DeSoto Records, the label owned by guitarist Bill Barbot and bassist Kim Coletta, on 23 Nov.

No other plans for the band to perform together have yet been announced.

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OH NO ONO SIGN TO LEAF
Danish psych-poppers Oh No Ono have signed to The Leaf Label, who will release the band's latest album, 'Eggs', everywhere except Denmark (where it's available through Morningside Records) and North America (where it will be released by Friendly Fire Recordings) early next year.

The band, who formed in Aalborg in 2003, said in a statement: "We've been working on and dreaming about releasing our music worldwide for a long time and it is truly amazing finally being able to. We couldn't be happier about working with The Leaf Label and Friendly Fire. They are both truly dedicated music lovers and it's a blessing to work with people who are in it exclusively for the music".

Watch the Adam Hashemi-directed video for 'Swim, one of the tracks on the new album, here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh8IBCKyG6Y

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RADIOHEAD TO RECORD ALBUM AFTER ALL
So, we all reported back earlier this year that Radiohead weren't going to record another album, because Thom Yorke said something that at least sounded like that was the case. Now it turns out they're going to start work on their next long-player in the next few months.

In August, Yorke told The Believer: "None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off. I mean, it's just become a real drag. It worked with 'In Rainbows' because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we've all said that we can't possibly dive into that again. It'll kill us".

This week, guitarist Ed O'Brien told the NME: "We were misquoted. We will be making an album! We're going into the studio in winter. It's always miserable! Are we at the whim of the seasons? We are! When you're in a studio in the countryside, the music you make is definitely affected by what season it is".

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MUDHONEY HIT THE UK THIS WEEKEND
Mudhoney will be in the UK over the next three days, playing shows to promote the new reissues of their seminal 'Superfuzz Bigmuff', 'Mudhoney' and 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge' albums on Sub Pop, which came out this week.

As well as shows in London, Leeds and Edinburgh, fans in the latter two cities will be able to get stuff signed by the band. They'll be appearing at Avalanche in Edinburgh from midday today, and Jumbo Records in Leeds tomorrow at 3pm.

Here are the details of the shows:

9 Oct: Edinburgh, HMV Picture House (support from The Vaselines)
10 Oct: Leeds, TJ Woodhouse (support from The Heads)
11 Oct: London, Koko (support from The Heads)

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JAMIE T CANCELS TOUR
After the first six dates of Jamie T's UK tour were scrapped last week, it has now been announced that the entire run of twelve dates has been postponed until later in the year. Tickets for all shows will remain valid for the rescheduled dates.

The official statement on the matter says this: "After suffering from a bout of laryngitis on his recent Australian tour, which forced him to cancel the first six shows of his Kings And Queens UK tour, doctors are advising that Jamie needs more rest in order for his voice to fully recover. So it is with reluctance he is to postpone the remainder of the UK tour as well as shows in Europe. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope to see everyone at the re-scheduled shows. The cancelled shows will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity and original tickets will be valid. Refunds will be available from the point of purchase".

Further information can be found at www.jamie-t.com

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LITTLE BOOTS CANCELS GIGS
Also cancelling gigs is Little Boots, who has cancelled a number of upcoming tour dates because of "scheduling problems". Most of the dates seem to be in Germany, though they also include an appearance at the Manchester Warehouse Project. Writing in her fan ebulletin, Boots said this: "I am really sorry. We will try to reschedule soon. In the good news we have some very special extra dates to add later in the year".

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READING FESTIVAL FINED OVER HEALTH AND SAFTEY CLAIM
The company responsible for organising the Reading Festival has been fined £4000 in relation to two breaches of health and safety prior to the event in 2006.

Festival Republic subsidiary Reading Festival Ltd admitted to failing to carry out a proper risk assessment and failing to ensure the safety of workers. The claim was brought after a crane ran into power line on the site in August 2006.

As well as a £4000 fine for the two breaches, the company also agreed to pay £21,769 in prosecution costs. Various other charges against Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn related to the same incident were dropped.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Natural Self - My Heart Beats Like A Drum (Tru Thoughts)
Nathaniel Pearn, aka producer Keno-1, returns for his second album as Natural Self, on Brighton chill out label Tru Thoughts, which celebrates ten years in the game next month. There are some pretty good tracks on here, such as opener 'The Shock You Heard', which kicks things off downbeat, with a few sonic squiggles, and properly sets the scene. The Latin influenced 'Days Get Brighter', up next, is pacier, with its emotive sax, trumpet section and cow bell percussion, though it's next track 'Every Day' that really typifies the Natural Self sound for me. Half spoken half sung vocals are set on a backdrop with a pinch of beats and soul. On the subject of typifying sound, 'Midnight Sun', featuring Elodie Rama on vocals, has a real Tru Thoughts vibe about it. Less successful, 'Believer' is average, while the title track takes a while to get cracking and then becomes overly formulaic in nature. 'The Origin' takes us to the end in a slightly muddled fashion with a montage of samples simply laid on top of one another. On the whole, 'My Heart Beats Like A Drum' is quite a nice excursion into downtempo, but lacks a bit of spark at times. PV
Physical release: 19 Oct
Press contact: Dec Promotions [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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US LABELS AND PUBLISHERS REACH AGREEMENT ON UNPAID MECHANICALS
The Recording Industry Association Of America has reached an agreement with the US's National Music Publishers Association regarding the payment of mechanical publishing royalties by record companies to music publishers.

The aim is to speed up the process, and to find a system for distributing so called 'pending and unmatched funds', which is money record labels know they should be paying to a publisher for past releases but where, for one reason or another, they can't work out who the hell to pay it to.

You might wonder why a specific system is needed for the pending and unmatched cash, but apparently US labels together are currently sitting on $264 million of such funds, so it's probably worth thinking up some sort of system. The two trade bodies have agreed a three stage system for coping with said funds, which will be ultimately overseen by a prominent American lawyer called Kenneth R Feinberg.

Any funds that just can't be assigned to the right publisher and/or songwriter will be put into a big pot and will be distributed equally between all US publishers based on market share. Participation in the programme isn't compulsory for music publishers, but presumably those who don't take part will lose out on their cut of that pot.

Commenting on the agreement, RIAA main man Mitch Bainwol told Billboard: "The issue is how you deal with the pending and unmatched; it's an issue of some materiality. You want to get the money out the door".

NMPA boss David Israelite added: "Not only will this agreement provide pending and unmatched monies to songwriters and music publishers, but more importantly it will establish the framework to prevent such problems from occurring again".

So that's all swell. While the agreement will see all four major record companies writing large cheques to music publishers, given all for music majors also own large publishing companies presumably at a parent company level it won't make much different to the bottom line.

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WORLD DOMINATION WITHOUT A LABEL? POSSIBLY
I'm sure the always informed CMU readership will think of at least one example to disprove this statement, but if you replace the word 'major' with 'larger' he may have a point. Interscope's Head Of Digital Ted Mico was this week taking part in a debate at the Digital Music Forum in LA on the rise of DIY releases, and artists - established and new - releasing new material without the involvement of a record company. According to Digital Music News, he remarked: "You've always been able to do it without a label. But can you be a world superstar without a major label investment? Probably. But it hasn't happened yet".

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WARNER APPOINTS AD SALES AGENCY
Warner Music has announced a partnership with a media sales agency called Outrigger Media. The partnership follows Warner's interesting new deal with YouTube.

As previously reported, under the major's new deal with the video website it will sell the advertising that appears alongside its videos and give a cut to YouTube, rather than the Google-owned platform doing the sales and giving a cut to the record label. The deal is a response to some record label execs' claims that Google under-price advertising that appears alongside official music content.

It's thought Outrigger will initially focus on flogging ad and sponsorship packages around Warner's YouTube content, though long term will also get involved in other brand partnership deals around the major's content and roster.

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COPYRIGHT TRIBUNAL REACH SECRET CONCLUSION ON PPL/PUBS DISPUTE
The UK Copyright Tribunal has apparently reached an interim decision regarding the royalty dispute between recording royalties collecting society PPL and the British pub industry regarding the cost of licences for playing recorded music in bars and the like. That said, for reasons I'm not sure of, we're not allowed to know what the decision is. Both sides in the dispute - so PPL on one side and the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Hospitality Association on the other - will return to the Tribunal later this month to discuss the decision and try and reach a workable solution for moving forward. PPL and the pub industry have been in dispute over royalty rates ever since 2004.

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EK SPEAKS AS SPOTIFY HITS FIRST BIRTHDAY
A year ago this week, Spotify was first made available to the public, and ever since it's been a major part of any discussion about the future of the music industry. Well, it might have taken a couple of months to come to industry-wide attention, though obviously we reported on it straight away. Finger on the pulse and all that.

Writing on the company's blog to mark the first anniversary this week, CEO Daniel Ek said: "Spotify has a long way to go but continued support from the music industry in the face of a recession and rampant piracy has made the difference and I feel that we are set up to succeed with this kind of willingness to innovate and try new things from the music industry... together we can do even better things".

He added: "It's been an interesting year within the music industry, with many insiders questioning whether Spotify's model is a sustainable one. Meanwhile, it's been amazing to see just how our users have taken Spotify to their hearts".

Having bigged up the music industry, he then took a shot at those in the music business who have been busy speculating about Spotify's finances, its precise business model and its prospects for future success. Now you'd never find us doing that.

Insisting it's just far too soon to be going all doom and gloom on the Spotify model, he continued: "The notion of overnight success is very misleading and actually rather harmful to any hope for long term and sustainable growth in this industry. Yet this is unfortunately something the music industry as a whole is particularly good at, expecting business models to be proven within months of inception. The truth is that even the most successful digital business to date, iTunes, missed its revenue targets in its first year by 30%, and label executives were far from convinced that this was the future. We are in this for the longhaul. We aren't interested in just trying to hype the company and then 'flipping it'".

Ek remains quite tight lipped on Spotify deals and monies, as you'd expect him to. He did reveal, however, that ad revenues had now passed "millions of Euros per month", and said that Spotify was already 7Digital's biggest download affiliate, even though he admitted the sell-through dimension on his player, whereby users can click through to buy tracks they like as an MP3 from 7Digital, was a bit rubbish. In fact, he estimated that 80% of users weren't even aware of the ability to purchase tracks directly through the player.

Returning to the music industry, and despite his initial praise for their support of Spotify, he had one big criticism which, he said, was stopping the music business from properly capitalising on the potential of digital - that being their continued obsession with per-click royalties rather than profit share deals. If record labels and publishers would approach digital with a different mindset, he reckons, music could become a "$40-50 billion industry and [grow] stronger than it ever has [before]". But that won't happen, he mused, while labels continue to try to "squeeze as much as possible out of every single transaction".

Fascination in the specifics of Spotify's business model remains, more than ever really given that Ek's blog comments on the need for further change in the music sector suggests that he recognises the deals his company is currently tied to won't add up long term.

Trying to guess what's at play, The Guardian's Technology Editor Charles Arthur yesterday pawed over the available information on Spotify stats and costs, with help from the founder of Spotify rival We7, Steve Purdham.

It turned into quite a major exercise, not least because Arthur's original calculations missed off record label royalty payments (focusing on PRS payments). As the journalist's article changed as the afternoon developed it became clear it was almost impossible to work out what sums of money Spotify is currently spending and, possibly, losing. Not least because chances are the digital service has done special deals with the labels and PRS and isn't paying industry standard rates.

However, Purdham's input providing some interesting extra insights. He pointed out that while some - us on occasion - say that Spotify etc can only ultimately work on a subscription model, PRS costs go up when music is provided to paying subscribers rather than those using the ad-funded free service. So much so his conclusion is this: "The fact is that if you can't make it work with ads, then subscriptions won't cover the costs. Subscriptions aren't a silver bullet".

He added: "By going for scale, Spotify creates the problem that the cost base for the music is so high. The costs make the freemium model, pushing people to subscriptions, hard to handle. The model that Spotify's shown in the public domain will need significant investment. If they've just raised $50m then before they go to the US, that $50m has been spoken for across six or seven months".

Interesting stuff. All of which possibly proves us doom and gloom cynics right - and adds credence to Ek's blog comments. The record companies are starting to see their digital revenues grow significantly, thanks in part to the large upfront payments new digital services pay, and to the success of things like iTunes and, albeit to a lesser extent, YouTube and MySpace. But the fact is quite a bit of that money is coming from the venture capital funds of start-up services, rather than sustainable income like ad revenues and subscription fees.

Venture capital money is going to run out, so, unless they genuinely believe that they can make millions in ad sales by setting up their own ad-funded content platforms, those record companies, and where relevant collecting societies, should probably be both listening and responding to Ek et al. Digital music services - especially those which are streaming based - are never going to be able to pay per-stream royalties long term, in much the same way many commercial radio stations don't pay per-play royalties either.

I suspect deep down most labels and collecting societies know this, and are just adopting a 'get as much as we can in the short term' approach at the moment, in a bid to improve this year's bottom line. But that might be a dangerously short-termist approach. If per-play royalty systems are never going to work, and are just proving to be a restrictive barrier to innovation, perhaps the time has come to scrap em and get on with the future.

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UKRD CHIEF SAYS UTV SPLIT THROWS DOUBT ON RADIOCENTRE FUTURE
Commercial radio trade body RadioCentre should be taking the departure of TalkSport owner UTV Media as a member very seriously, or so says the boss of radio firms UKRD and TLRC. William Rogers says UTV's decision to quit RadioCentre could cause a "serious rift" in the commercial radio industry, adding there was a "real risk that this rupture could be far more significant than it may first appear".

As previously reported, UTV's radio division, which owns a number of local stations as well as TalkSport, said that it was quitting RadioCentre because it felt British radio's biggest player, Global Radio, had become too dominant within the trade body.

Rogers told the Guardian yesterday: "It is a very regrettable situation that this has happened and I think it will weaken the voice of commercial radio. I think it highlights a major concern that a lot of groups and operators may have and I think there will be a number of people considering what they feel they should do following UTV's decision".

He continued: "There is a genuine desire for everybody to be able to have a representative voice. The crisis we now have results from the frustration felt within UTV - rightly or wrongly - that they did not have the opportunity for the voice to be sufficiently well heard within the RadioCentre. That's a real issue and one that needs to be properly addressed".

RadioCentre responded to UTV's departure by denying the claims Global Radio had too much influence over its running, and insisting that they still spoke for the vast majority of the commercial radio industry. But Rogers indicates that other smaller commercial radio players may also consider quitting RadioCentre, forming instead a separate alliance. He told the Guardian: "The rest of us have to ask whether our voice is best served by remaining within RadioCentre or alternatively by seeking to come together with those who have a more common interest in a particular strategic direction".

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J.LO NOT ADOPTING NEW STAGE NAME
Jennifer Lopez reps have denied rumours she is planning on adopting a new stage name when she releases her next album. There had been speculation J.Lo would now be known as Lola, I think because that's the name of a character in an upcoming single called 'Fresh Out Of The Oven'.

Commenting on the rumours Amanda Ghost, in her role as President of J.Lola's record label Epic, told People magazine: "This is a hot club record that the label loved and Jennifer thought was fun. Jennifer and Pitbull got together and the record leaked. Lola is a fun character just for this song".

Meanwhile a Lo.J.La source told the mag: "Lola is just for this song, it's not her ongoing persona. It's something fun. She hasn't become Sasha Fierce [Beyonce's alter ego]. There won't be anything to do with Lola on her 'Love?' album".

So now we know and the weekend can begin.

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