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CMU Info
Top Stories
HMV secures new loan agreements, but at a cost
In The Pop Courts
Simfy files complaint over Apple
Pop Politics
Norwegian government provides black metal training for diplomats
Gordon Lorenz dies
Awards & Contests
Roundhouse puts out call for 30/30 unsigned band programme
Release News
M83 announces new album
Cymbals Eat Guitars announce second album
Suicidal Tendencies bassist announces solo album
Gigs & Tours News
Albarn discusses new opera
Beirut announce new album and live dates
Iron & Wine announces UK shows
Festival News
Edinburgh's Jazz Fest launches programme
Festival line-up update
Album review: Travelling Band - Screaming Is Something (Cooking Vinyl)
The Digital Business
Pledge Music launches in the US
Rootmusic and Topspin announce alliance
The Media Business
Bauer Radio shuts jobs business
The Solent's Coast becomes Jack
And finally...
Katy Perry denies being a diva

New York quintet O'Death have had an unlikely couple years. After their drummer was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, the group took a break for him to have ten months of chemotherapy and a shoulder replacement.

However, after a critically-acclaimed set at the Newport Folk Festival and their third LP release, 'Outside', things seem on the up once again for this New-York five-piece. Out this week through City Slang, the album is credited with being the band's most accomplished work yet.

The group consists of Singer and guitarist Greg Jamie, Gabe Darling on banjo and ukulele, bassist Jesse Newman, violinist Robert Pycior and aforementioned drummer David Rogers-Berry, whom we caught up with to ask our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
We were all in bands growing up. Some of us studied music and played in school bands, or sang in choirs and choruses but others are almost completely self-taught, so we run the gamut when it comes to musical background. We were students together in a lively musical community when we started working together initially around 2003, but it was a few years later when we were living all over NYC that we started to work the project a bit more seriously.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?

We took about two years off from the band. I was in treatment for osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer, and we all needed a break anyway. We toured pretty hard between 2006 and 2009, so taking a step back gave the project a chance to breathe and regroup. When we came back to it, we let it build slowly. Just meeting occasionally and sharing demos of what we were working on. Greg and Gabe developed songs for a few months before we all began writing the arrangements. It's much less frantic then our previous album, but I don't think the elements sacrifice any urgency.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Our songs generally start with one of our singers bringing an idea to the table that may be as little as a riff or as complete as a fully structured song, and everyone works together to bring it to fruition. On our newest record, 'Outside', our two singers developed material together and recorded demos that we passed around and added to. I really enjoyed taking more time in the composition process, and recording alone at home gave me more opportunities for trial and error that took us in some different directions than we would have gone in an 100% group effort.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I think it's more fair to speak in terms of inspiration, because "influence" makes it seem like we are trying to make our work resemble someone else's, which is not accurate. I know some of the guys in the band are pretty into David Lynch. Cormac McCarthy novels litter the van occasionally. I'm partial to John Cage's school of thought and music, but I like to listen to the radio and see what other people are into. Jeez, is this answer pretentious or what?

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Stand back and no one will get hurt. There were a lot of mosh pits on our recent US tour, but we don't usually see that much in Europe and especially not the UK. It's great to see people move around and get into it, but it's best when we see ladies dancing at our shows, because we're not at all about being tough guys or anything like that. In fact, the new album is much more stocked with gentler moments, and it's fun to integrate those to our high energy live shows.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Make everyone think we are genius. Get paid accordingly. No, we just want to connect with people.

MORE>> www.odeath.net
Apparently this is our first mention of Pat Grossi, aka Active Child, this year, which must mean he's been pretty quiet for the last six months. I wonder what he's been up to. Actually, I do know what he's been up to, he's just finished US tour with James Blake, and he's been working on his much anticipated debut album, which is due for release through Vagrant in August. And the first track to emerge from that album, a collaboration with Tom Krell, better known as How To Dress Well, was premiered on Pitchfork yesterday.

All the elements of an Active Child track are there; the 80s-influenced electronica, Grossi's trademark falsetto vocals and harp playing (although the later is not particularly prominent in this case). Krell then ads some R&B-esque warbling to take things off in a different direction. I'm not going to say something silly like "he's the American James Blake", but Grossi and Blake on tour together is a good match. Can we have that over here as well, please?

We are a busy management company with a stable of established artists. We need an assistant who has some previous experience of working in an office environment. This person will be bright, friendly, quick to learn, have an eye for detail and a conscientious attitude to the work given them. They will be responsible for fielding calls and mail and ensuring the smooth running of the office, as well as assisting the artist managers in their day to day work. A good working knowledge of Entourage / Word / Excel would be useful and general computer literacy is essential.

Email CVs to [email protected]

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We are currently taking bookings for the following CMU TRAINING courses:

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 15 Jun 2011

How to make money out of music - both now and in the future, with a look at alternative investment and revenue streams, and a new approach to monetising artists and their music. Wed 29 Jun

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

So, HMV yesterday confirmed to its investors that it had secured two years a new financing from its bankers, giving the flagging entertainment retailer a £210 million loan facility.

It means fears that HMV might breach terms of its existing loan agreements, causing all sorts of trouble, have been allayed. Though, City types were keen to point out yesterday, at a cost; that is to say the firm's new banking agreements are expensive. So much so, while the group's share price moved up on the announcement new loan terms had been agreed, it slipped down again later in the day once the detail of the new banking agreements had been digested by those who understand these things.

Said City types noted the high interest rates, the possible exit fees and the warrant that could give the banks a 5% stake in the company. Some were also concerned that this agreement would only run for two years, with some wondering whether - even with more secure funding in place - HMV CEO Simon Fox can turn round his company's fortunes in such a short period of time.

That said, Fox would probably stress that his reinvention of the HMV business began a few years back, when he started diversifying the company into live music, artist management and digital fulfilment. That diversification resulted in most of the loans that have been causing him problems for the last year, problems that sort of put his grand plan for reinvention on hold. Now, with the new loan terms agreed, however harsh they may be, his transformation of the business, already two years in, can continue.

The potential of HMV's operations in the live and management space remains good, especially if the company can figure out how to integrate its content and event assets. The big challenge, though, remains their high street stores, the biggest part of the company, and the weakest. Attempts to diversify the product range in those stores has had mixed results, though Fox insists the expansion of the tech and gadget product lines has proven successful, and will be a key priority moving forward.

Whether the expansion of tech departments will be enough to rescue the HMV high street operation - especially in bigger cities where competition in that domain is high - remains to be seen. The bankers were reportedly impressed with this strategy.

Either way, and despite the lukewarm reception in the City yesterday, Fox will be hoping that with the Waterstones sale and the new banking agreements, he and his top team can stop fire-fighting for a while and set about finishing the big revamp he initiated two years ago, slightly less in the spotlight. That said, with a music brand as seminal as HMV, the music industry and the mainstream media are likely to continue to keep a close eye on what's going on at the last entertainment retailer on the high street.

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Digital music service Simfy, often referred to as Germany's answer to Spotify (its Swedish competitor not being active in Germany, it having yet to impress the country's collecting society GEMA), has filed a complaint with the German competition regulator about Apple, which Simfy says is abusing its market dominance to delay the expansion of the Simfy service to the iPad.

In the filing with the Bundeskartellamt, Simfy reportedly claims that it applied for its iPad app to be added to Apple's App Store three months ago. Given it already have an Apple approved app for the iPhone, the company feels this new application should have gone through quickly.

The implication in Simfy's filing is that Apple is deliberately delaying the German company's attempt to offer its service across all devices, because doing so puts it in competition - in a way - with Apple's new iCloud offering. The streaming service doesn't actually say that explicitly - instead telling the regulator that the delay in its app application is the result of Apple pursuing "its own strategy".

But Simfy clearly reckons there is no coincidence that the IT giant is delaying the launch of its 'access your music on any device' service at the exact same time it is launching its own 'access your music on any device' offer (albeit a locker service rather than a streaming platform).

Apple is yet to respond.

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Following a reported global rise in interest in black metal, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry has begun providing diplomats on foreign service missions with an introduction to the genre - specifically 'True Norwegian Black Metal', to give it its official term.

Louder Than War reports that Kjersti Sommerset, head of the Foreign Ministry's Centre Of Excellence, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv: "We now have 106 foreign service missions and they get many enquiries from people who want information about Norwegian black metal as a phenomenon. In the training program, we have a large cultural programme in order to give the trainees a good understanding of Norwegian culture and the cultural industry. Black metal is clearly a part of this 'global awakening'".

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Record producer Gordon Lorenz, who worked with numerous artists over the years, but scored his biggest success with the St Winifred's School Choir hit 'There's No One Quite Like Grandma', has died at his Llandudno home. Lorenz had fallen ill while recently working with the Llandudno Town Band at London's Abbey Road Studios.

Originally from Liverpool, Lorenz worked with artists as diverse as Shirley Bassey, Cliff Richard, Atomic Kitten and Max Boyce during his forty years in the business. He was also the first producer to work with Charlotte Church, after he spotted her on a talent show aged twelve.

Paying tribute yesterday, Clive Wolfendale, Music Director of the aforementioned Llandudno Town Band, told the BBC: "He was the real deal - technically a very able producer with a real flair for knowing what would appeal to the listener. As a character he was very engaging, very funny and very distinctive with his long hair and his Smashie-and-Nicey type DJ voice. He exuded charm - he'll be really missed".

Wolfendale added that his band would likely stage a tribute concert for Lorenz in due course.

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The Roundhouse is again teaming up with EMI to stage 30/30, an initiative which will give 30 unsigned bands the opportunity to get a day in the studio at the Camden arts centre working with professional producers. Selected tracks from the recording sessions will then be released on a special complication album.

The Roundhouse's Music Programme Coordinator Oli Kluczewski told reporters: "30/30 is all about developing and nurturing a thriving musical community of emerging artists and putting them together with top flight music industry professionals. Year on year this event seeks to develop this community through recording and performance opportunities with expert industry advice".

He continued: "Through 30/30 and Roundhouse Records, we're presenting a brand new model for supporting and championing emerging music in the UK, pushing our artists into the digital world with cutting edge technology such as live web streaming, Roundhouse Radio and our in-house production team".

Unsigned musicians between sixteen and 25 years old who want to apply should head to this URL: www.roundhouse.org.uk/3030. The deadline for entries is 18 Jul.

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M83's Anthony Gonzalez has announced the project's fifth album, the follow-up to 2008's 'Saturdays = Youth', will be a double album of 'epic pop'.

He told SPIN: "It's mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently when you're a kid, a teenager, or an adult. I'm really proud of it. If you're doing a very long album, all the songs need to be different and I think I've done that with this one. Overall, it's pop - and very epic. Anyone who loved M83 before, they'll love this album even more. People that hated me, they're going to hate this, too".

So, that's that sorted then. Song and album titles aren't confirmed as yet, but the album will feature Zola Jesus, Brad Laner from Medicine, plus Beck and Nine Inch Nails' bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen.

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Cymbals Eat Guitars have announced their new album Lenses Alien will be released on 13 Sep via Memphis Industries. The album is the follow-up to their 2009 debut album, 'Why There Are Mountains'.

The track listing is as follows:

Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)
Shore Points
Keep Me Waiting
Definite Darkness
Another Tunguska
The Current
Secret Family
Gary Condit

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Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, is set to release an album, entitled 'The Golden Age Of Apocalypse', through Brainfeeder on 29 Aug.

Bruner's relationship with the music industry has been a long and varied one. At the age of fifteen he was in boy band No Curfew (which scored a hit in Germany, don't you know) and then by sixteen he had joined thrash group Suicidal Tendencies, of which he is still bassist. Time went on and he has worked with everyone from Stanley Clarke to Snoop Dogg and Eric Benét.

Bruner is accompanied on the album, produced by Flying Lotus, by an eclectic cast also including Erykah Badu, members of Sa-Ra and J*DaVeY, pianist Austin Peralta and his Grammy-winning brother, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr.

The tracklist is as follows:

Fleer Ultra
Is It Love?
For Love I Come
It Really Doesn't Matter To You
Boat Cruise
Mystery Machine (The Golden Age Of Apocalypse)
Return To The Journey

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Damon Albarn popped into 'The Today Programme' on Radio 4 yesterday morning to discuss his new opera, 'Dr Dee: An English Opera', which he will be premiering next month as part of the Manchester International Festival. The show tells the story of the life of sixteenth century scientist John Dee and has been created with theatre director Rufus Norris.

Dee was a political adviser, a mathematician and scientist, as well as a magician and mystic. Norris explained: "He was one of the last great free thinkers, because science and magic had yet to part company. [But] the man who at the time knew more than anyone else, certainly in Britain, managed to mess up the things closest at home".

Albarn explained his attraction to the story, saying: "I've got a really strange emotional connection - it really gets to me, that haunted, magical England. It's something that really stirs me in an irrational way. It's just amazing how much colour there is in his ideas. Just imagine the English now if we had kept that spirit in our hearts".

For more information on the show, head over to www.mif.co.uk.

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Beirut have announced that they will release their first album since 2007's 'The Flying Club Cup', entitled 'The Rip Tide', on 29 Aug through their own Pompeii Records label.

The band will also perform various UK live dates later this year:

30 Jun: London, Hyde Park (supporting Arcade Fire
2 Sep: End Of The Road Festival
4 Sep: Electric Picnic Festival
6 Sep: Manchester, Academy
16 Sep: London, Brixton Academy

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Iron & Wine, aka Sam Beam, has announced two London tour dates, kicking off with an intimate acoustic performance at The Hackney Empire. Already playing at Latitude on the 17 Jul and then the Green Man Festival on the 21 Aug, the dates follow a number of sold out dates in April.

The acoustic night will feature The Swell Season's Marketa Irglova, while the second night will see a full band performance. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

9 Oct: London, Hackney Empire (acoustic performance)
10 Oct: London, Shepherds Bush Empire (full band performance)

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Organisers of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival have announced details about this year's programme. The Scottish capital's jazz fest traditionally coincides with the previews of Edinburgh's mega-Fringe festival, though this year promoters have pulled the event forward into late July, making it more of a standalone event.

Among the artists due to appear during the ten day festival, which takes place from 22-31 Jul, are blues types Jack Bruce Robert Cray and James Litherland, and on the jazz side the likes of Trombone Shorty, Leroy Jones and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Elsewhere in the programme you'll find the Hidden Orchestra, Red Snapper, Vegas!, and Four Corners.

The full programme is now online at www.edinburghjazzfestival.com

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BEAT-HERDER, Gisburn, Lancashire, 1-3 Jul: Fresh Beat-Herder bookings are Pete & The Pirates and Sound Of Rum, who join a host of acts including Leftfield, Simian Mobile Disco, We Have Band, Mr Scruff and Mylo at the Lancashire-based weekend extravaganza. www.beatherder.co.uk

THE BIG CHILL, Castle Deer Park, Herefordshire, 4-7 Aug: Big Chill organisers have confirmed the inclusion of a special set from post-dub maestro James Blake, who will be creating some groundbreaking sonic moments on the festival's opening night. Prior announcees are co-headlining trio Kanye West, The Chemical Brothers and Rodrigo y Gabriela, plus a raft of such other luminaries as Warpaint, Wild Beasts, Janelle Monae, Calvin Harris, Aloe Blacc and that pesky Jessie J. www.bigchill.net/festival

SLOTTSFJELL, Tønsberg, Norway, 14-16 Jul: Held by the ruins of a thirteenth century castle, this Norwegian festival has just announced the remainder of its line-up. Amongst those on the bill, as well the previously announced Grinderman, Röyksopp and Anthrax, are Biffy Clyro, Katy B, Mogwai, Austra, and Yuck. www.slottsfjell.no

WILDERNESS, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, 12-14 Aug: Heading up the latest additions to Wilderness' eclectic bill are Mercury Rev, who will make their only UK festival appearance this year with a performance of acclaimed 1998 concept album, 'Deserter's Songs'. The Oxfordshire bash will also feature a Daniel Johnston-hosted collaboration between Guillemots frontman Fyfe Dangerfield, The Low Anthem and Robyn Hitchcock. There will also be themed parties presnted by the teams behind The Secret Garden Party and The Last Tuesday Society, plus appearances from a score of existing line-up residents including Anthony & the Johnsons, Laura Marling, Gogol Bordello, Toots & The Maytals and Dry The River. www.wildernessfestival.com

VINTAGE FESTIVAL, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, 29-31 Jul: Topping the first portion of acts booked for the weekend nostalgia-fest are Bee Gees legend Robin Gibb, Sandie Shaw, Percy Sledge, and Thomas Dolby. With all artists slotting into either the Electronic Phuture, Soul Revue or Hit Parade-themed programmes dominating each day, acts including Mirrors, The Jim Jones Revue, Booker T and David McAlmont will also put in appearances. The musical events will take place alongside creative workshops, catwalk shows, dance lessons, and various other family-friendly activities, plus a rammed programme of DJ sets from the likes of Horse Meat Disco, Disco Bloodbath and the crew from club night Feeling Gloomy. vintagebyhemingway.co.uk

Y-NOT, Matlock, Derbyshire, 5-8 Aug: Featuring highly in the closing announcements for this year's Y-Not fest are The Duke Spirit, New Young Pony Club, Art Brut, Polarsets and Sonic Boom Six. An existing roster boasts The Go! Team, Maximo Park, Tribes, Swimming and The Milk. www.ynotfestivals.co.uk

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ALBUM REVIEW: Travelling Band - Screaming Is Something (Cooking Vinyl)
There has come a time when the alt-folk scene has, for a lack of a better term, become overcrowded. When you don't really know your Foxes from your Antlers, your Birds from your Mumfords, your Bons from your whatever the trendy forest-dwelling animal is doing the band-name rounds. A big fan of the genre (well, in small, bearable doses - especially these days), I'm even starting to lose count - and hope. Because yes, this is the point where everything sadly begins to sound the same.

Enter Manchester's The Travelling Band, a folksy, alt-country outfit of the more poppy persuasion: think Mumford meets Keane, if ever such a horror were to exist. Okay, perhaps that's a little harsh, but I did nab this album thinking: 'Yes! A band named after that BRILLIANT Creedence song, they MUST be good! Mustn't they?' I hasten to add that I was spectacularly off the mark, and I'll know never to trust blind optimism ever again.

'Screaming Is Something' isn't a bad album. It's not a particularly brilliant one either, but it's not bad. It's just so middle of the road that it coasts, making me wring my hands and despair that soul-influenced rock and US roots-influenced indie is just no longer alive any more: it lacks a definite pulse.

Title track 'Screaming is Something' is a song I can see fitting in happily on a Starbucks compilation, and I guess some people like that (people who like sugary milk rather than real coffee and reading bizarre things like Dan Brown novels). Hope flourishes during 'Under The Pavement', a lovely little song with through-the-woods echoes and whimsical instrumentals of a more British folk fare; 'One Dime Blues' stands out too as a nice acoustic track with a Jay Jay Pistolet kind of feel. But that's where the interest sadly ends.

'Screaming Is Something' is too safe, too hard to be inspired by, too inspired by too much, too much of nothing, really. TW

Physical release: 6 Jun

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Having appointed an A&R over there last autumn, fan-funding and engagement platform Pledge Music yesterday announced it was launching a fully fledged US division, to be headed up by a new MD for the territory.

Randy Sabiston will become the company's North American MD, having previously working as SVP Of Creative at music publisher S1 Songs America. Prior to that he had stints at the publishing firms operated by Warner, Universal and EMI.

Pledge Music founder and CEO Benji Rogers told CMU: "We are truly excited to bring Randy onboard to head up our Pledge Music team in the US. His enthusiasm for what we do was evident from our first meetings and I have no doubt with his track record and experience that he will augment and build on what we see as our first real steps into our already growing North American presence".

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US-based RootMusic, whose BandPage app helps thousands of artists manage their presence on Facebook, has announced an alliance with TopSpin which will see the direct-to-fan technology providers enable BandPage users to sell merch from their Facebook profiles.

RootMusic founder J Sider says this: "We've been asked many times about other things that make an artist's career really successful. We're excited to now provide them with solutions that are beyond the marketing".

While Topspin's Ian Rogers added: "This will help spread the concept of artist-as-retailer to the most popular place on the web".

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Bauer Media has announced it is shutting the jobs sites that run alongside the online operations of many of its regional radio stations, including Hallam FM in Sheffield and Radio City in Liverpool. The local jobs sites were operated by Bauer's Workmoose business, and were an attempt to generate new revenues from the online side of the firm's radio stations. But, the company has admitted, the job ads service just hasn't proven to be commercially viable.

According to Radio Today, Bauer Radio's Tracy Eastwood said in an email to users of the service: "Despite continued investment to improve and develop the business, it remains clear that Workmoose is not commercially viable and we have taken the reluctant decision to close the business. This was not a decision we came to easily, as we want every one of our brands to succeed".

She added: "Despite Workmoose becoming an established top tier recruitment portal, the external market still remains very challenging and the business cannot operate on its current cost base. I hope you will accept our apologies for any inconvenience this difficult decision may cause you".

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South Coast radio station The Coast, owned by Celador Radio, is the latest station to be rebranded under the Jack FM banner. Celador already operate one of the three Jack branded stations in the UK, in Bristol. The station will switch name and formats at the start of July, with former Kiss FM DJ Bam Bam set to host breakfast.

The format change accompanies some executive rejigs at Celador Radio. Richard Johnson becomes Group Creative Director overseeing programming across the company, while Andy Turner will oversee programming on the Celador station's using the Breeze name. Steve Simms, previously with Heart in North Wales, will become Station Producer for the new Jack station.

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Katy Perry has denied that she's a diva, following the leak of her tour rider by The Smoking Gun website.

As previously reported, among the various demands in the contract were stipulations that any seasonal flowers are acceptable providing they're white and include orchids but absolutely no carnations, and chauffeurs must be instructed that under no circumstances are they to talk to Ms Perry, ask for autographs, or stare at the popstress in the rear view mirror.

Speaking to USA Today, Perry said: "The whole driver thing, I have no idea where that came from. My response was: 'Just change it. Make it not so silly!' My sister handles flowers and VIP stuff. Maybe she has a beef with carnations, but I don't think so. Anyone who knows me knows I'm easy going. I'm just an entertainer. I'm not asking for the sun to shine at night".

Perry did not address the other clause on her rider that got a lot of attention, that which said that promoters must hold back a batch of tickets for her team to sell on the secondary ticketing market.

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Andy Malt
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Business Editor &
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