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CMU Info
Top Stories
For sale, Electric And Musical Industries
In The Pop Courts
Warner settles with complaining shareholders
R Kelly sued by ex-manager
Tone Loc arrested over domestic violence charge
In The Studio
Avril Lavigne already writing next album
Release News
Grizzly Chris to release solo album
SBTRKT album streaming online
Buddy Holly tribute album streaming online
Festival News
Isle Of Man festival promoter selling assets to fund ticket refunds
Single Review: Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss (Modular)
The Music Business
Merlin announce new US board members
New gig venue to open in Brixton
Warner and LimeWire distributor shared director
The Digital Business
Facebook planning music dashboard
We7 secure new investment, announce expansion plans
Is a dot music domain on the horizon?
And finally...
Queen's music man wants fines for mid-concert phone calls
Cee Lo not homophobic, OK?
Brown on standing up Bieber

Formed in 2009, LA-based trio Foster The People caused an online stir shortly after their inception with hook-heavy flagship track 'Pumped Up Kicks', which led to press coverage, major label attention, and a string of much-hyped live shows at such local hubs as The Viper Room. Comprised of namesake Mark Foster, bassist Cubbie Fink and percussionist Mark Pontius, FTP then became one of the most talked-about acts at this year's SxSW, having signed to Columbia imprint StarTime International for first album 'Torches'. The band made their UK debut with lead single 'Houdini' earlier this year, following up soon after with an official release of 'Pumped Up Kicks'.

With 'Torches' due out on 27 Jun, and a distant-seeming handful of live dates scheduled for November, the band are also slated to run through their summery setlist at the Glastonbury, Lovebox, Latitude and Reading & Leeds festivals. With all this yet to come, vocalist Mark couldn't help but find time to address our now infamous Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

I was two or three years old when I started playing piano. My parents saw me playing the Davy Crockett theme song by ear and got me into lessons. Growing up though, I never thought of pursuing it as a career. It's always just been a really good friend.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
This album was really cathartic for me. A lot of the songs are about isolation and being the underdog. It was nice to get them out and take ownership over the things that I wanted to run away from.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?

Usually I'll just sit down in my studio and pull up a bunch of sounds and start hitting the keyboard. Sometimes it takes a while to get something down that I really like, but once I do, the song just kind of finishes itself.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

The Beach Boys are probably the most influential artist. That was the first time I heard something as a kid that I fell in love with, without the influence of anybody else. I've always loved quirky pop - ie Blur, The Clash, Bowie, New Order.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

I don't know. I hate being in the room with someone when they're listening to my music for the first time. It's always awkward.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?

If I had any ambitions for this album they are set in stone now because it's done. I've got huge ambitions for the second record though and hope to start writing for it in the next couple weeks. I won't say much about it but my goal is to involve Kenny G in some way, shape or form.

MORE>> www.fosterthepeople.com
Mixtape-dropping, critic-confounding R&B project The Weeknd (otherwise known as Toronto singer and producer Abel Tesfaye) has been the centre-point of much blog-based fuss since putting up nine-track LP 'House Of Balloons' online earlier this year. Having found an adoring fan in rapper Drake, momentum around Abel's act has picked up over the past few months, earning his work unanimous rave reviews for its leftfield songcraft and well-placed use of atmospheric samples.

With two more mixtapes expected out this year alone, the latest track to emerge from the prolific Weeknd camp is 'The Birds (Part 1)', an uncompromising clash of harsh, military-style drumrolls and dark synths with Tesfaye's rich falsetto. Sounding like an apt manifesto for The Weeknd's all-round musical ethos, stream the track here, or download free via this artist-endorsed Soco Vibe link.

'House Of Balloons' is still up for free download too, so pick it up here.

"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

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

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

How to build a profile for your artists - the state of the music media, traditional and new publicity techniques, social media and the future of music PR. Wed 13 Jul

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

EMI yesterday announced its holding company, EMI Group Global Limited, was kicking off one of those very fashionable strategic reviews, which is basically their owners Citigroup formalising their efforts to sell on the company.

In a short statement, the music major said it would be looking into the possibility of selling, recapitalising or floating EMI, albeit without a commitment to ultimately opt for any of those three, though everyone assumes a simple sale will then follow. In a more lengthy memo to staff, EMI top man Roger Faxon said he expected the review to result in a decision regarding ownership by the Autumn.

We've known Citigroup will sell EMI ever since the US bank took ownership of it after the collapse of equity group Terra Firma's disastrous stint in charge of the British music major earlier this year. The bankers, who wrote off a couple of billion from their financing of Terra Firma's 2007 EMI takeover, will be hoping that the recent flurry of interest in buying Warner Music will be replicated once they start inviting formal offers for their music company, possibly pushing up any possible asking price.

Before the Warner sale it was thought no one company would be interested in buying EMI outright, resulting in the music firm being split into at least two, with BMG favourite to buy the publishing catalogues, and one of the other music majors to takeover the record labels. But then at least four parties came forward to buy Warner outright, including the successful bidder, Len Blavatnik's Access Industries. And it is thought - and presumably in Citigroup's case hoped - that both Blavatnik and most of his competitors in the Warner sale will now come forward to bid for EMI.

Which is possibly good news for the aforementioned Faxon, whose grand plan for EMI is to fully integrate the firm's publishing and sound recording businesses, a strategy he's been banging on about for nearly a year now, and which he presumably hopes to actually implement once new ownership is in place. For him, a sale that resulted in a split of the company would be a disaster. Though, equally, if Blavatnik and Warner Music boss Edgar Bronfman Jr were able to engineer the long mooted EMI Warner merger, it's not clear what that would mean for Faxon's plans either.

But what does seem certain is that, after years of uncertainty, EMI might have new more secure ownership in place by the end of 2011. Assuming it still exists as a company at all.

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Warner Music has reached an out of court settlement with two of its shareholders who claimed that the music firm's board failed in their fiduciary responsibilities by backing the sale of the company to Len Blavatnik's Access Industries.

As previously reported, in separate lawsuits, Barbara A Varipapa and Derek Cournoyer clamed the board, which included many of the company's bigger shareholders, did not go through an appropriate process in picking Blavatnik as their preferred bidder, affecting the price minority shareholders got as a result. Both claimants hoped to make their lawsuits class actions.

But the music major has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives for both shareholders which should ensure that their litigation is dismissed once Blavatnik's takeover is completed. Both shareholders should benefit financially from the agreements, though the actual terms of settlement are seemingly still to be agreed.

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R Kelly has been sued for a neat million dollars by his former manager, who claims the singer owes him commission payments from revenues he generated back in 2008.

Jeff Kwatinetz says that he helped Kelly rebuild his career while he was fighting those under-age sex allegations, securing the artist record deals, tours, a book deal and other cash generating projects. The former manager claims he was due a 15% commission on all that income, but it was never paid, the cash being used instead - Kwatinetz says - to pay off people who had accused Kelly of other sexual misconducts.

But Kelly says he plans to fight this lawsuit, telling TMZ: "Jeff Kwatinetz's complaint is a collection of half-truths, distortions, and outright fabrications".

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Rap man and actor Tone Loc, perhaps best known for his 1989 hit 'Wild Thing', has been arrested in relation to domestic violence allegations, according to E! Online. A Burbank police officer seemingly confirmed that the rapper was taken into custody at the weekend after claims he "roughed up" the mother of his child. He was subsequently released on a fifty grand bail.

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Don't worry everybody, Avril Lavigne has already written eight songs for her next album, the follow up to this year's 'Goodbye Lullaby'. Phew. She told a fan site: "I already have eight songs! I would like to release the fifth album really quick".

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Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor will release a solo album on 13 Sep via his own Terrible Records label. It's not clear if it will be a terrible record. We are assuming not. We do know, however, that it will be released under the moniker CANT. A tracklisting has been published, and we have lovingly featured it for your reading pleasure below. Grizzly Bear are also expecting to start work on their next album in the next few weeks.

Too Late, Too Far
The Edge
She's Found A Way Out
Dreams Come True
Rises Silent

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A release date has been set for the debut eponymous album from SBTRKT, plus, for impatient types, there's a full preview streaming on Hype Machine right about now. The long player will come out on 27 Jun via Young Turks, with songs and everything. Well, tracks.

Go preview at hypem.com/#!/artist/SBTRKT after you've relished in the joy that can be had by all by perusing this tracklisting.

Hold On
Trials Of The Past
Something Goes Rights
Right Thing To Do
Ready Set Loop
Never Never

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At the end of the month an album called 'Rave On' will be released featuring new takes on classic Buddy Holly songs, and the whole album is currently available to preview via NPR.

Paul McCartney, The Black Keys, Modest Mouse and Julian Casablancas return to their musical roots in reverence to the bespectacled rock 'n' roll legend with an assortment of pleasantly surprising covers, while Florence & The Machine and She & Him's Zooey Deschanel put a modern, feminine twist on enduring Holly hits, instilling new dimensions of warmth and oddball charm in stalwarts like 'Not Fade Away' and 'Oh Boy!'. In short, the album represents that rarest of things, a collection of songs that parents and their kids can both listen to and enjoy, together.

Reconnect with estranged members of your immediate family by giving 'Rave On Buddy Holly' a pre-release spin here, via streaming site NPR.

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The organiser of a cancelled festival on the Isle Of Man has admitted that punters getting ticket refunds is dependent on him selling off assets.

The Bay Festival was due to take place on the island last weekend, with Tinie Tempah and Westlife set to headline in what would have been the event's second year. But organisers announced in May the event was being cancelled because of poor ticket sales. They also blamed the island's government for failing to support the event, and for pursuing a dispute with a sister company which, promoters said, distracted them when they should have been publicising their festival.

Initially ticket holders were told they'd get refunds for sure, but with ticket agent HMV having already handed over revenues to promoters, who had in turn paid it on to artists and service providers in upfront payments, organisers are struggling to make good on that promise. Local media have reported that at least one festival-goer has told them their refund cheque bounced.

However, promoter Jonathan Irving - who, despite initially saying he hoped The Bay Festival could return in 2012, now says he has no future plans to stage an event on the island - says he hopes to dispose of some of this company's assets so it can refund ticket buyers by the end of next week, though he added that at this stage he wasn't able to make guarantees.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss (Modular)
Glimmering, shimmering and unashamedly psychedelic, this may as well be sporting a kaftan and inviting you to float down stream with it. But for all its unabashed hippy bollocks, it's a really rather superb, summery, serotonin slab of pop.

Reverberating its way around your head, it slides and shimmies with lucid, intoxicating sonic sunlight. It's hazy to the point of blinding; and acid-soaked to the point of making me write 'acid' in a review (something I'd promised to never do).

Even the incantations of: "You will never come close to how I feel" are strangely enthralling. Revivalist? Yes. Derivative? Yes. Drug-championing? Probably. Also, however, really rather wonderful. EG

Physical release: 23 Jul

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Indie label digital rights body Merlin has announced the appointment of four new American members to its board following a recent election. The newly elected board members are Dave Hansen of Epitaph, William Crowley of E1 Entertainment, Kris Gillespie of Domino USA and Glenn Dicker of Yep Roc Records.

Welcoming the new board members, Beggars boss Martin Mills, in his guise as Chairman of Merlin, told CMU: "I am delighted that these elections have strengthened our representation in the front line of the campaign to have new digital services succeed through treating independent repertoire properly".

Merlin's biggest fight of the moment is to persuade Apple to offer the same deal to the indies as they did to the majors for their digital locker service iCloud. With that service launching in the US first, an American licensing deal will be higher up the agenda for the IT giant (or not, depending on whether they are in a "we're the cool, independent thinkers, we need the indies on board" or a "indie labels, who are they?" frame of mind - they've demonstrated both mentalities in the past).

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A company called Omni Assets has invested £600,000 to turn Brixton club The Fridge into an all new 1500+ capacity competitively priced live music venue to be called Electric Brixton, according to Music Week. The new space is due to open later this year.

Omni's Operations Director Steve Forster says he hopes the new South London venue will help compensate for the closure of some high profile central London gig spaces in recent years. He told the trade mag: "There simply isn't a rock venue the size of the Astoria in London anymore, so we're hoping to fill that gap in the market".

Confirming the new venue will be offering some favourable deals to woo existing live music and club promoters, Forster added: "We'll promote the odd event in-house, but I don't think that will be a significant part of our business as there are some fantastic promoters out there who can do a much better job than us - it's a volume game so we want to be open as much as possible, mixing live with club nights".

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An interesting aside to the previously reported litigation by FilmOn.com founder Alki David against website CNET over its distribution of the LimeWire software is the revelation that the LimeWire-distributing CNET shared a board director with the LimeWire-hating Warner Music for a time.

I say a revelation, it was no secret that CNET co-founder Shelby Bonnie was on the boards of both the net news website and Warner Music between 2005 and 2007, but it's only with the benefit of hindsight that people are noticing just how important CNET's Download.com website was in getting the controversial file-sharing software out to the masses.

It was The Music Void, while researching David's lawsuit, who noted the irony that while Warner Music, along with its record company rivals, stressed greatly about the rapid growth of LimeWire as P2P network of the moment in 2005, the man whose company was, as it turns out, one of its principle distributors was sitting at the board table. In fact for a time Bonnie was CEO of CNET, so had even more power to act.

None of which is relevant to David's ambitious attempts to make CNET also liable for the contributory copyright infringement the US courts have ruled LimeWire itself was guilty of, though it's an amusing observation all the same.

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Facebook are planning a music dashboard that will offer music. And dashes, possibly. Or at least that is what chatterboxes on t'internet are saying.

This stems from the previously reported rumour that Facebook was in talks with Spotify about the digital music platform bringing streaming music to the social network. As we commented at the time, Facebook has actually been in talks with multiple music providers about involvement in some sort of music section on the social network, that would basically offer little new content, but would let people access existing music services through the Facebook interface. It's all part of Facebook's plans to be both the start and end point for their users' internet journeys.

According to GigaOm, the Facebook Music Dashboard would also allow fans to alert their Facebook friends to music they are playing, playlisting or recommending, or some such similar social recommendation whatnot thingy-ma-jig. Which will be great. Until you accidentally press a bookmark button and your browser surfs off somewhere else.

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UK-based digital music service we7 has announced it has secured a new round of funding which will enable expansion into other European markets.

Confirming and commenting on this, the service's top geezer Steve Purdham told CMU: "There's no doubt in my mind that we're on the cusp of seeing a massive change in how people consume music. People love music but not everybody wants limitless choice or has the time to search millions of songs. They want a music service that is easy to use, plays them music they like, entertains them and discovers new music for them".

He continued: "we7's service and technology will be at the heart of such change on the web and mobiles. In the next 24 months digital music listening will move rapidly from the early adopters and music obsessives we have seen to date, into the mass market and general music listening communities. This change represents an outstanding global opportunity to create a highly valued business for consumers, the music industry and we7".

And then went on to say this: "I am pleased and excited at the continued support of Peter Gabriel and Eden Ventures and to also gain the confidence of new investors Pentech Ventures and Qualcomm. Over the coming months, we7 will be announcing key partnerships alongside expansion plans into Europe. These developments will allow us to showcase what we7 can do by expanding the familiar medium of radio as a digital backbone to additional services we'll be offering".

Good times.

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ICANN, the international body that governs domain name registries, like the .uk managing Nominet, has announced plans for another expansion of the non-country specific domain endings, which currently including things like .net and .biz.

And why is this relevant to you? Because Billboard reckons a .music domain might be among the innovations. Some in the US music business have advocated an industry managed .music domain ending that could be used for official artist and label sites and licensed digital music services only. Whether ICANN would actually endorse that sort of plan remains to be seen.

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Peter Maxwell Davies, who takes the title of Master of the Queen's Music, reckons there should be a system for fining audience members who let their phones ring during cultural performances. Monies taken could be given to the Musicians' Benevolent Fund, he reckons.

I should add that he probably said this a little in jest, though you sense his frustration with mid-concert mobile ringing is genuine. He told the BBC: "I would just love to see something where people would be fined... and that the money went to the Musicians' Benevolent Fund. It's becoming such a plague that one has to say something".

A spokesman for the Royal Household told the Beeb that these were Maxwell Davies' own opinions, and not those of the Queen. Though perhaps this does mean I could get royal approval for my 'audience vetting' scheme, where gig-goers would have to be tested and licensed to get into any venue where I go to see bands. I'm not so bothered about phones though, more inconsiderate gig chatterers.

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Cee Lo Green would like it to be known he's not homophobic, even though he called a critical reviewer "gay" on Twitter without knowing said critic's gender or sexuality.

Green's slightly bizarre Twitter response to a negative review of his recent performance alongside Rihanna in Minneapolis went like this: "I respect your criticism, but be fair! People enjoyed last night! I'm guessing you're gay? And my masculinity offended you? Well, fuck you!"

Make of that what you will. Well, unless what you wish to make of it is that Green is anti-gay, in which case, please read on.

Cee Lo says: "At the time I didn't even know what gender the person was. I was being a little outspoken that night, a little outrageous. I always expect people to assume that everything I do is part of my character and sense of humour. I assumed that whoever it was would assume it was all in good fun. It wasn't taken so well, apparently".

He adds: "[I shouldn't] have to apologize for speaking my mind or defending my performance. I most certainly am not harbouring any sort of negative feeling toward the gay community. I'm one of the most liberal artists that I think you will ever meet, and I pride myself on that. Two of the remaining members that I have on my team on [US talent show] The Voice are proud and outspokenly gay".

So, that's alright then. Or not maybe. Make of that what you will I guess. And with no provisos this time.

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Justin Bieber was a little bit pissed off with that Chris Brown dude when their people arranged for them to duet on that previously reported new track 'Next 2 You', the song with the Armageddon style video. Why? Well, because the Brownster failed to show up on time, and the Biebster is a very busy guy.

Talking about the collab (as he seems to want to call it), Brown admitted in an interview with MTV: "I actually stood him up by accident. He was kind of mad. I was all the way on the other side of town handling some business - girl business - and I was rushing back. By that time, he's like, 'Man, I'm leaving, bro. I did it - just check it out'. And I looked at it and listened to it and I was like, 'Man, this is crazy'. He's a great kid".

But Brown is still glad that he got to release a track with Bieber's vocals on it, even if they didn't get to chill together in the studio (while they did film the video side by side, the world was ending, so presumably that wasn't much fun either). Brown continued: "Being able to collab was great. He's a young, energetic cat, so being able to work with him, with the fanbase he has, was incredible. I know a lot of little girls are going to love this record".

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