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INFORMATION
Jobs & Training Courses
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Lord to ask about Channel Island VAT dodge in parliament
Radiohead album launch event cancelled over safety concerns
Jackson owed $400 million when he died
In The Pop Courts
US court denies first amendment defence in No Doubt Band Hero case
Pop Politics
Bono comments on 'shoot the Boer' kerfuffle
Charts, Stats & Polls
Glee has more Billboard chart entries than Elvis
Artist Deals
Simon Cowell signs ten year old
Release News
The Get Up Kids announce new album
Simon May teams up with Blake to record bizarre wedding ode
Eric Clapton to re-release classic album
Films & Shows News
Tupac biopic makers overcome legal blockage
Creation doc gets DVD release
Books News
Nikki Sixx to release new book and album
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Album review: Sebadoh - Bakesale (Domino)
Talks, Debates & Conventions
Yoko to speak at SxSW
The Music Business
Whittingdale calls on government to speed up live exemption
The Digital Business
Qriocity music launches in US and down under
The Media Business
Some rises, but more declines, in music mag ABCs
And finally...
Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster welcome new baby
Jamie xx remixes Newsnight theme


 
FRIDAY 18TH FEBRUARY
THE MUSIC BUSINESS WEEK IN FIVE
So, it was BRITs week this week which, as usual, meant increased exposure for the UK music industry in the mainstream media, which is part of the reason for the big awards bash existing in the first place of course, so job done.

Though interestingly this year, alongside all the articles on the big winners and celebrity turns, there were more articles than usual - I think - pondering the state of the music business. With the doom and gloom surrounding both EMI and HMV so much in the news at the moment, and the hangover of last year's Digital Economy Act still rumbling on, that's probably no surprise. Most of those articles seemed to focus on the ongoing piracy debate and the potential of Spotify-style streaming services to put everything right again.

 
Both are valid issues, and we'll be dedicating some time to both of them during The Great Escape convention in May. Though for me there are two bigger issues - how can the music industry maximise all of its many potential revenue streams, and how to can ensure that more of those revenue streams pump cash into new talent, rather than relying on just the profits of dwindling record sales.

The good news is that, whereas with piracy and the potential of streaming music, where in many ways it's too soon to tell how things will turn out, with regards new revenue streams and investment models people are already reinventing the wheel, meaning come May we'll be able to get some real practical insights and tips into new approaches of developing and monetising new music.

I'm particularly excited in this regard about three of our panellists. Artist manager David Bianchi will be talking about working with investment vehicle Power Amp on Carl Barat's latest solo work. Cooking Vinyl boss Martin Goldschmidt will run us through how he is reinventing the label/artist relationship. And we'll have Alan Pell from BMG UK, giving us an insight into possibly the most interesting of the major players in music right now. To hear from these guys, and a load more who we'll be introducing here in the coming weeks, you need to get yourself a Great Escape delegates pass. It's just £125 if you buy now from www.escapegreat.com.

Meanwhile, let's talk a bit more about those awards...

01: The Grammys and BRITS took place, making it a busy week for music industry awards. The main Grammys show got its biggest TV audience in eleven years, though that was probably all the Beliebers tuning in to see their idol win the Best New Artist prize, which he didn't, so there'll probably be a mass boycott next year. The all new BRITS show saw its TV audience slide, it transpiring that while Tinie Tempah, Take That and Adele are all pretty cool, it's much more fun to watch a misguided reality show about Gypsies. At both the Grammys and the BRITS, Arcade Fire got the long-awaited recognition they so rightly deserve, albeit for what is possibly their weakest album to date. Not that the pop fans approved, as this great website shows: whoisarcadefire.tumblr.com BRITS report | Grammys report

02: There was lots of news in the streaming music domain, as BRITS chief and Universal Music UK boss David Joseph told The Guardian that it was the potential of cloud-based digital services that gave him renewed hope that the record industry can recover. Last night various media reported that EMI have now definitely joined Sony in signing up for a US version of Spotify. Meanwhile Sony's own streaming service, Music Unlimited power by Qriocity, went live in the US, Australia and New Zealand this week. Elsewhere, long-standing American streaming platform Pandora prepared to float on Nasdaq in a share sale likely to raise $100 million. Pandora report | Qriocity report

03: Apple launched its new app subscription system. It means that anyone providing a subscription-based service via an app on the iPhone or iPad can now charge regular subscription fees via Apple's app store, rather than requiring their own transactions system. Which is lovely. Except use of Apple's payment platform will be compulsory for all subscription-based apps (albeit in addition to any existing independent payment systems) and the IT giant will take a 30% commission. Streaming music services with such apps were not impressed. Google, meanwhile, announced the launch of a similar platform which will only charge a 10% commission. CMU report | Mark Mulligan blog

04: There were more reports about a Warner Music sale. Rumour had it that Goldman Sachs, which is currently reviewing all options regarding the US music major, had spoken to over twenty parties interested in buying some or all of the Warner Music empire. The Daily Mail even speculated that one of those interested parties may be Terra Firma's Guy Hands, who, the paper thought, might be interested in engineering the long awaited EMI/Warner merger. CMU report | Daily Mail report

05: Nick Gatfield joined Sony Music, as President of the major's UK music division. But why does Sony UK need the former EMI A&R chief to sit between CEO Ged Doherty and the top execs of each of the Sony UK labels? Well, Beehive City reckoned that Doherty would be investing an increasing amount of his time in Simon Cowell's Syco division - Sony UK's biggest single earner - which has been without a CEO since December, hence the need for Gatfield to take over some of his duties with the rest of the business. CMU report | Beehive City report

And that's your week in five. Look out for more retrospective musings in the CMU Weekly bulletin and podcast later today. Hoopla.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU
 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Knights Of The Playboy Mansion at Ministry
Bob Sinclar and Dimitri From Paris are two of France's best known disco aficionados, and they bring their Gallic finesse to Blighty this weekend to launch their new album 'Knights Of The Playboy Mansion'. The bunny brand will be utilised here - with the duo playing up to their personas as house music's original playboys.

 
It's a Defected organised party and also on the bill are Aaron Ross, Miss Divine and Andy Daniell, the label's rising star, who will warm up the floor in time for the main event. Expect a night of quality retro disco and disco-orientated house.

Saturday 19 Feb, Ministry Of Sound, Gaunt St, London SE1, 11pm-7 am, £20 (£15 members and NUS), £6 after 4am, more at www.ministryofsound.com/lifestyle/blog/113/defected-presents-knights-of-the-playboy-mansion/


"The best music business training event I have attended; relevant and up to date, your knowledge of and enthusiasm for the industry is simply exceptional" from delegate feedback

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MUSIC RIGHTS - INSIDE & OUT
A beginner's guide to music copyright - everything you need to know about copyright law, licensing, monetising copyright, the fight against piracy and the future of the music rights industry. Wed 23 Feb 2011

For more information or to book visit www.theCMUwebsite.com/training




LORD TO ASK ABOUT CHANNEL ISLAND VAT DODGE IN PARLIAMENT
Tory Lord Ralph Lucas plans to raise the issue of the much previously reported Channel Islands VAT-dodge in parliament on 1 Mar. He will ask the government to clarify just how big the mail-order industry that employs the slightly bizarre tax arrangement has become, and how much tax is lost to the government as a result of its existence.

As much previously reported, because of the unusual status of the Channel Islands, as 'British crown dependencies' but not members of the European Union, mail-order operations that base themselves there can benefit from a tax loophole that means they don't have to charge VAT on products that sell for under £18. This means that online mail-order operations can undercut mainland-based music retailers - whether on the high street or the net - by a whole 20% without affecting their profit margins.

As a result, most of the big online CD and DVD mail-order websites either have a base on the Islands, or utilise a third party agency which is based there. Each year hundreds of thousands of CDs and DVDs are shipped out there in bulk by wholesalers in the UK, so they can be mailed back to Britain one by one in jiffy bags without any VAT being paid.

The tax dodge has proven controversial, partly because of the lost tax revenue, but mainly because of claims it has contributed to the demise of numerous UK-based independent music sellers. Even HMV is arguably suffering as a result of the VAT loophole, even though its own online operation utilises the dodge as well. But with rivals Amazon and Play.com dominating online, HMV's core business - on the high street - struggles to compete being at a 20% disadvantage to the big net-based retailers.

Channel Island politicians, the last Labour government in the UK and the Tories before taking power have all pledged to close the loophole, though nothing has been done so far. Some of those who oppose the dodge say the British government actually has an obligation under European tax laws to close what is a "misuse" of the tax system, and have taken the UK to the European courts on the issue.

Treasury officials have been rather vague in the past regarding the extent of the VAT dodge party, so it's hoped that Lucas's parliamentary questions will force some clarity on that front. He has already filed two specific questions on the issue which are due to be answered in writing later this month. They are:

1. How many small packets and parcels were received by the Royal Mail from the Channel Islands in each of the last ten years for which records are available.

2. What was the value of (a) exports from the United Kingdom to the Channel Islands, and (b) imports from the Channel Islands to the United Kingdom, in each of the last ten years for which figures are available; and how much was imported and exported in each main category.

Despite this being a very long running story, there seems to be increased interest in it of late, perhaps because of a combination of the government's public service cuts and HMV's widely documented problems. Various recent media reports are listed at www.vatloophole.co.uk

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RADIOHEAD ALBUM LAUNCH EVENT CANCELLED OVER SAFETY CONCERNS
Good old Radiohead and their cryptic messages. Well, actually, as coded missives from the band go, the one they posted to Twitter yesterday was fairly simple. It said: "渋谷 ハチ公広場 金曜日 18時59分". For those of you who don't understand Japanese, that means Hachikō Square, Shibuya, Friday, 18:59.

Hachikō Square is one of Tokyo's most recognisable landmarks, a huge pedestrian crossing in one of the city's main shopping districts. But what could Radiohead be doing there on Friday evening? You should never arrange to meet people there, trust me, it's a lost cause. And a gig in an already insanely crowded place seems like a foolish plan. We assumed, therefore, that some sort of video broadcast on one of the advertising screens that overlooks the square was most likely.

And that seemed even more likely when a spokesperson for the band got onto the NME yesterday to explain: "The band will not be in Japan tomorrow so people should not go to Shibuya expecting to see the band in person".

But what can it be? Well, luckily for us, Japan is nine hours ahead of the UK, so we can already tell you what happened: Nothing. Nothing at all. Seemingly, until a few hours before the event, no one had thought it might be a bad idea to send a load of crazed Radiohead fans down to the busiest part of Tokyo at its busiest time of day. In a statement issued overnight (our time), Radiohead's Japanese label Hostess Entertainment said that they event had been cancelled over safety concerns following consultation with police.

The band had indeed planned to broadcast the video for new song, 'Lotus Flower', on one of the screens overlooking Hachikō Square, but instead it was shown on the Japanese 'The King Of Limbs' website at www.thekingoflimbs.jp (which went down almost instantly) and on YouTube at youtu.be/cfOa1a8hYP8 (which didn't). WARNING: Contains jiggling.

According to reports, despite attempts to warn fans that the event had been cancelled, many fans failed to get the message and still arrived in Shibuya as 7pm drew closer. To make up for the disappointment, the band have brought forward the release of 'The King Of Limbs' by a day, meaning digital copies are being distributed now.

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JACKSON OWED $400 MILLION WHEN HE DIED
Michael Jackson owed over $400 million to various creditors when he died in 2009 according to official documents seen by TMZ. The gossip site has seen the first set of accounts filed by the Michael Jackson estate, and they confirm the size of the late king of pop's financial problems at the time of his untimely demise.

There was speculation at the time of Jackson's death that his most valuable asset, his half of the Sony/ATV publishing company, would have to be sold to pay off debts. Though, of course, the Michael Jackson brand has gone through something of a revival since then, meaning the estate have been able to pay off $159 million of the pop stars debts already without affected the Sony/ATV shares.

The estate has actually brought in $310 million since Jackson's death, with the other half of that income paying for the running of the estate, the star's funeral and memorial service, and providing money to his mother and three children, as requested in his will. Various partnerships struck up by the estate in the eighteen months are expected to continue to bring in sizable sums each year allowing other debts, some of which are subject to very large interest rates, to be paid off. That said, the estate admits in its accounts filing that some lawsuits filed by creditors are still outstanding.

TMZ's coverage of the Jackson estate's financial report follows comments made by a woman who worked as the king of pop's hairdresser which were revealed in the press this week. Karen Faye reportedly told police that Jackson was well aware of the dire situation his finances were in shortly before his death, and that he had told her his partnership with AEG Live - which was meant to result in the 'This Is It' show at The O2 in London - was the only thing keeping things afloat.

Faye reportedly said: "He was scared to death because AEG was funding everything. He said he'd have to work at McDonald's if he didn't do these shows". Faye's comments could suggest that Jackson was willing to take risks with the medications he was consuming in order to ensure he could hold up his side of the bargain with AEG, risks which, of course, cost him his life. Although it seems Faye herself has suggested the pop star was, consciously or otherwise, "self-sabotaging" himself with drugs to avoid having to do all of the 50 'This Is It' shows he had signed up to.

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US COURT DENIES FIRST AMENDMENT DEFENCE IN NO DOUBT BAND HERO CASE
Activision may be winding down the 'Hero' franchises, but some lawsuits relating to the pretend to play games remain. Including that being perused by No Doubt, a component of which was heard in US appeals court this week.

As previously reported, although they did a deal with Activision to appear in the 'Band Hero' game, No Doubt objected to the way their avatars could be 'unlocked' to play songs other than their own. The band say the gaming firm didn't have the rights to use their likenesses in that way.

Activision denied any wrongdoing, claiming the artists knew what they were signing up to. That said, it's thought the agreement between Activision and its artist partners doesn't actually specifically cover the use of an artist's avatar in songs other than their own, so this whole area is a bit greyer than the gaming firm originally implied.

Presumably with that in mind, when Activision counter-sued No Doubt they claimed that, whatever their contract with the band said, their use of the band-member's images in the 'Band Hero' game were anyway protected by the US constitution's freedom-of-speech provisions.

But a US judge last year disagreed with that element of the gaming giant's litigation and struck if from their legal claim. Activision appealed, but this week, according to the LA Times, a US appeals court confirmed the earlier ruling.

This means No Doubt can now continue with their lawsuit.

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BONO COMMENTS ON 'SHOOT THE BOER' KERFUFFLE
Bono has responded to the previously reported fuss in South Africa that surrounded comments he made ahead of a gig in Johannesburg about the South African protest song 'Ayasab' Amagwala' which includes the line "shoot the Boer". The anti-white song has been controversial in South Africa of late after the head of the youth wing of South Africa's African National Congress party, Julius Malema, sang a bit of it in public last year.

The song came up in a discussion about protest songs during an interview with South Africa's Sunday Times, in which Bono talked about how what were once protest songs in Ireland, glorifying the early incarnations of the IRA, had now become folk songs, important to a once suppressed community, but no longer sung with the anger with which they were written.

Bono, or at least the journalist who interviewed him, applied that observation to 'Ayasab' Amagwala', implying that Malema wasn't necessarily wrong to sing it in public. It was those comments that caused some outrage in South Africa's white community. One Afrikaans musician, Steve Hofmeyr, announcing on Twitter that he'd thrown over £400 worth of tickets to the U2 gig into a river in protest.

But Bono has now said that the whole thing was "stirred up", and pointed out that he would never be supportive of any song that actually incited others to violence. He told Talk Radio 702: "It's kind of a bit mad to be honest with you. We're famous for songs of non-violence. That anyone should think we were pro-this, it's barking, barking mad and I think it's been stirred up".

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GLEE HAS MORE BILLBOARD CHART ENTRIES THAN ELVIS
The cast of Glee have now had more entries in the Billboard 100 singles chart in the US than Elvis Presley managed in his whole career. Digital Music News has noted that, with 113 charting singles, Team Glee have had more success in that particular chart that Elvis, James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and The Beatles. You can make of that what you wish.

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SIMON COWELL SIGNS TEN YEAR OLD
Simon Cowell's on a roll right now. Having signed his first non-talent-show artist in six years last year (that being Labrinth, of course), he has now gone and bagged another, this time a ten year old girl from Canada, Heather Russell.

People are already calling her "the new Justin Bieber", though that's possibly just because she's a Canadian child. We've not seen her hair cut as yet. Though, like Bieber, Russell was discovered after posting a video to YouTube (or so the story goes, anyway). A spokesperson for Cowell's company, Syco, told The Independent: "Simon just loved her. He said she was amazingly talented from the first time he saw her".

Russell's mother, Monica Cidade, said of the deal: "We're more than excited, but Heather deserves it. She is the hardest working ten year old I know. She is committed and real".

Yeah, diligence and career commitment are great qualities in a ten year old.

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THE GET UP KIDS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Kansas quartet The Get Up Kids stray from their emo-punk roots on fifth full-length album 'There Are Rules', which is scheduled for release on 28 Feb via the band's own imprint, Quality Hill Records.

Commenting on the band's newfound ethos and recording process, frontman Matt Pryor says: "The album came together really organically. We'd throw out an idea and if it didn't work after 30 minutes we'd scrap it and move on to another one. We all wrote together really spontaneously and then fleshed it out in the studio".

Watch the video for new track 'Automatic' here: youtu.be/Lna0kve2jV0

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SIMON MAY TEAMS UP WITH BLAKE TO RECORD BIZARRE WEDDING ODE
Award-winning composer Simon May, the creator of such televisual gems as the 'Eastenders' theme tune, not to mention that of 80s yachting drama 'Howards' Way', has collaborated with classical man-band Blake on new lovey-dovey anthem 'All Of Me' which will be released to celebrate the upcoming Royal Wedding.

Having penned the song two years ago, May realised, on hearing news of Kate n Will's impending nuptials, that the song would be perfect to commemorate the occasion. And when you read the lyrics to the chorus, you'll know he was right. Or you might be sick. But either way, they go like this:

That's what I give to you
And everything I have
I'm gonna share with you
With this ring
I give for all eternity
My love
I make this vow
All of me

'All Of Me' will be released on 11 Apr, which gives everyone almost three weeks to learn the words before the wedding.

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ERIC CLAPTON TO RE-RELEASE CLASSIC ALBUM
Eric Clapton is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of 'Layla And Other Assorted Lovesongs' with a commemorative re-issue of the career-defining album that he recorded as part of Derek And The Dominos.

The two-disc special edition features remastered album tracks and previously unreleased material. Also available is a SUPER deluxe multi-format edition, which includes 3D artwork and an exclusive book of photography, essays and interviews.

The album will be released in its various forms on 29 Mar via Universal.

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TUPAC BIOPIC MAKERS OVERCOME LEGAL BLOCKAGE
The long-in-development Tupac Shakur biopic is back on track after film studio Morgan Creek settled legal issues with the rapper's mother, Afeni Shakur-Davis.

In February 2009, Morgan Creek sued Shakur-Davis' company Amaru Entertainment, claiming it had an agreement in place for the rights to make the film of Shakur's life, but that Shakur-Davis was using that contract "as a floor to pursue further negotiations". She countersued, saying that there was no binding agreement and that the lawsuit was having a negative impact on her negotiations with other studios.

A trial had been due to begin on Tuesday. However, both sides reportedly agreed a deal last week. Shakur-Davis reportedly met with director Antoine Fuqua and decided she approved with his vision for the film. She will also take an undisclosed fee, a portion of profits and be given an executive producer credit on the movie. It's also said that she was swayed because Morgan Creek is one of very few companies willing to agree to her demands for a high level of control over how her son is portrayed.

Amaru and Shakir-Davis' lawyer Skip Miller told the Hollywood Reporter: "This is certainly a better result for everyone involved".

Filming is now due to begin this spring.

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CREATION DOC GETS DVD RELEASE
The rather fine Creation Records documentary 'Upside Down', which we saw at In The City last year, is set for a DVD release via Revolver Entertainment on 9 May. Directed by Danny O'Connor, it includes interviews with most of the key artists and behind-the-scenes players - main man Alan McGee among them - who were involved in the rise, peak and fall of the iconic former British indie label.

And while Noel Gallagher and Bobby Gillespie might still have overly exaggerated opinions of their own importance with regards the history of British music, they're both entertaining in their respective voxpops. And whatever you think of Magee, Creation Records itself was incredibly influential, and if nothing else, its founder's strong personality ensures its story is definitely worth telling.

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NIKKI SIXX TO RELEASE NEW BOOK AND ALBUM
Mötley Crüe founder and bassist Nikki Sixx has announced details of a new book 'This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography And Life Through The Distorted Lens Of Nikki Sixx', the sequel to his bestselling memoir 'The Heroin Diaries, which will be available from 22 Mar.

Offering a glimpse into his own unique perspective on life and death and stuff, Sixx says: "I've always had an eye for the oddities in life. Even as a kid I saw the world in my own way and thought most things that were different were beautiful and magical. Even things that other people thought were horrifying and disgusting and weird ... People say I have a distorted lens. I think I see things as they really are. This project is raw, it's what I see and feel through writing, through photos, through video and through music".

And on the subject of music, Sixx's side-project SIXX:AM have written an eleven track album to accompany the book, which is due for release through Eleven Seven Music on 2 May.

Meanwhile, those not of a nervous disposition might wish to sample first single, 'Lies Of The Beautiful People', here.

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

ATP CURATED BY JEFF MAGNUM, Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, 13-15 May: Neutral Milk Hotel's frontman has selected a wonderfully wacky programme for the latest edition of ATP festival. Those acts announced so far including Sahara soul-rebels Tinariwen, US indie rockers Superchunk, and Welsh post-punk types Young Marble Giant and The Olivia Tremor Control. Completing the recent announcements are The Magic Band, The Raincoats, A Hawk And A Hacksaw and The Apples In Stereo, as well as a performance from Magnum himself. www.atpfestival.com/events/jeffmangum.php

EVOLUTION WEEKENDER, Newcastle Gateshead Quayside, 28-29 May: Completing a line-up that includes headliners Iggy & The Stooges, Plan B and Tinie Tempah are Katy B, Sub Focus, Example, The Kills, Caribou, Mount Kimbie and Jamie Woon. Also to play are CMU featured artists Cocknbullkid, Spark and Breakage, as well as Spank Rock, Fenech-Soler and Annie Mac, who will no doubt put together a blistering set. www.evolutionfestival.co.uk

ITUNES FESTIVAL, The Roundhouse, Camden, London, throughout Jul: Rockin four-piece Beady Eye, aka Oasis minus Noel, are to play at London's Roundhouse on 5 Jul as part of the free iTunes-sponsored event. Adele, Duran Duran, Linkin Park, White Lies and Rumer will also make appearances at the Camden venue throughout the month. www.itunesfestival.com

NASS, Bath & West Showground, Somerset, 8-10 Jul: Fresh from a double win at this year's BRITs, all-conquering CMU fave Tinie Tempah is confirmed to top the bill of "the UK's only professional action sport and music festival". Sponsored by energy drink Relentless, the event will also host Sub Focus, Ms Dynamite, Redlight, Modestep and Maverick Sabre. Already announced for the dnb arena are Dirtyphonics and DJ Fresh & MC Fearless. www.relentlessnass.com

ROSKILDE, Denmark, 30 Jun - 3 Jul: Newly-announced acts Janelle Monae and Big Boi join Kings of Leon and Iron Maiden on this year's Roskilde line up. www.roskilde-festival.dk/uk/

WIRELESS, Hyde Park, London, 1-3 Jul: Playing on the Sunday of the Barclaycard-sponsored event alongside headliners Pulp will be post-punk Brooklynites TV On The Radio, Mercury-nominated Foals and The Horrors, and electro-pop quartet Metronomy, with all four acts to air new material from their forthcoming albums. The Black Eyed Peas are already announced to bring some American glitz to proceedings, while The Chemical Brothers head up the Saturday bill. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/2011/

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sebadoh - Bakesale (Domino)
What's this, Vigsy gone grunge? Has the world gone mad? Okay, you may know me as CMU's resident dance music man, but back in my troubled youth Sebadoh's 'Bakesale' also snuck its way onto my CD player. And with a re-release of said long player now in the pipeline, it's time for me to return to rock.

If you never came across this album when it was first released in 1994, it was perhaps somewhere between Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Seventeen years on, my favourite tracks from back then remain the same: the angry 'Not Too Amused', the slightly madcap uptempo 'License To Confuse', the rocking 'Careful' and the distorted chords of the ballad 'Got It'. While the anger and aggression in 'Drama Mine' is still awesome.

It is a varied album 'Dreams' and 'Mystery Man' are slow paced, and 'Magnet's Coil' and 'Skull' are a tad poppy. 'Give Up' has a quirky folk feel, albeit juxtaposed by hard metal chords, which somehow works. Anne Slinn's vocals in 'Temptation Tide' add diversity, and the melancholy end track 'Together Or Alone' has an air of beauty.

I may have rose tinted glasses on here, but I have really enjoyed a revisiting what was an exemplary slab of alternative 90s rock. The re-release will have a bonus disc of 25 tracks from this period which will increase the value of tracking down this LP once more. PV

Physical release: 4 Apr

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YOKO TO SPEAK AT SXSW
Yoko Ono has been confirmed for the conference line up of South By Southwest next month. She will be interviewed by Austin-based DJ Jody Denberg. This year's South By runs from 16-20 Mar.

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WHITTINGDALE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO SPEED UP LIVE EXEMPTION
John Whittingdale, the Tory MP who chairs the Culture Select Committee, has filed an early day motion in parliament calling on the government to speed through an exemption for the smallest music venues from some of the rules put in place by the 2003 Licensing Act.

Many in the live community say that rules introduced on the back of the 2003 act have made it harder for small venues to stage live music, meaning many have stopped doing so, reducing the opportunities for grass roots musicians to play. Lib Dem Lord Tim Clement-Jones is already trying to address many of these issues through his Live Music Bill, that was first introduced under the last government, and which is currently going through the parliamentary motions for a second time.

Whittingdale's motion calls on the government to introduce the exemption for smaller venues "without delay", noting such an exemption has been much previously discussed, that it has much support across parliament, and that a consultation on the issue was started over a year ago. Other MPs already backing the motion include Mike Weatherley, Peter Bottomley and Jeremy Corbyn.

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QRIOCITY MUSIC LAUNCHES IN US AND DOWN UNDER
Sony yesterday launched its streaming music service, the always snappy to say Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity, in the US, Australia and New Zealand. As previously reported, the streaming music service, which works on most net-connected Sony devices, launched in the UK in December and elsewhere in Europe last month.

Meanwhile, a Sony spokesman has denied that Sony Music is considering pulling its content from iTunes. As previously reported, the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, Michael Ephraim, recently predicted the rise of streaming music services like Qriocity and observed that could overcome the dominance of Apple in the digital music space. But his comments were widely reported as Sony considering withdrawing from the iTunes store.

Sony Network Entertainment's COO in the US, Shawn Layden, clarified the situation this week, telling reporters: "Sony Music, as I understand it, has no intention of withdrawing from iTunes, they're one of our biggest partners in the digital domain. I think those words were either taken out of context or the person who spoke them was unclear on the circumstances".

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SOME RISES, BUT MORE DECLINES, IN MUSIC MAG ABCS
So, a gloomy set of ABC circulation figures for the traditional music press this week, unless you work at Bauer Media I suppose, where both Mojo and Kerrang! saw circulations rise in one way or another.

Mojo saw its circulation rise quarter to quarter in the second half of last year, though it was down 3.9% year on year, while Kerrang! saw its circulation grow 4.5% year on year, though it was selling more copies each week earlier in 2010 than at the year's end. The only other mainstream music title seeing an increase was Metal Hammer, which had a circulation figure 0.1% higher year on year in the latter quarter of last year.

Elsewhere, doom with a helping of gloom. Even Classic Rock, a recent success story, saw its readership fall by 5%. Meanwhile, as expected, the well received (in the industry) and awarding winning revamp of the NME resulted in the loss of 6320 weekly sales over 2010. The indie weekly's circulation is now 32,166.

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ROD STEWART AND PENNY LANCASTER WELCOME NEW BABY
Rod Stewart's wife, TV presenter Penny Lancaster, gave birth to their second child, named Aiden, on Wednesday. The couple already have a five year old son, Alastair, and this brings Stewart total child tally up to eight.

A spokesperson for Stewart's record label, Sony/RCA, told reporters: "Mother and baby are healthy and blissfully happy".

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JAMIE XX REMIXES NEWSNIGHT THEME
The xx's Jamie xx is in high demand as a remixer of late, most notably after he was hired to completely rework Gil Scott-Heron's 'I'm New Here' album. His latest remix project, however, is slightly unusual, in that it's the 'Newsnight' theme tune. It first aired on the show on Wednesday, and you can here it again here:

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9400523.stm

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