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Last night the artist and management community honoured Beggars Group founder and chairman Martin Mills by awarding him the first ever Industry Champion Award at the inaugural Artist & Manager Awards. To mark that occasion, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke spoke to Mills about the Beggars story, successes and the challenges of operating an independent record company in 2011 more>>
Earlier this year Visions Of Trees (a Shoreditch duo who comprise vocalist Sara Atalar and electronics whizz Joni Juden) released their debut single 'Sometimes It Kills' to much praise, both in CMU and elsewhere. 'Sirens', the soon to be released follow up, sees them continue to explore and develop their shimmering pop-tronica, though it ventures subtly into more urban territory, with a more>>
- Minister to pressure Google to do more to block infringing websites
- Jackson estate will pay $30 million to his mother and children
- DJ Medhi dies
- Artist And Manager Awards presented
- Imagem signs Aponte
- Mariah Carey seeks unknown producers
- The Big Pink unveil new track
- The Fall to release "mardy" new LP
- Julian Lennon discusses new album
- Nas to publish autobiography
- Adele feels better, resumes tour
- Ryan Adams to tour, a bit
- Andy C announces tour
- J Lo forms alliance with Fiat convertible
- Ministry and Roland launch schools programme in south London
- Record Store Day co-founder shuts up shop
- Is Turntable.fm looking to court the majors?
- Beck forces band to change name
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Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt will today call on Google to do more to discourage people from accessing websites that exist primarily to enable copyright infringement. That is to say, the minister will ask the web firm to go further with its measures to downgrade or remove links to sites that infringe.

According to The Guardian, Hunt will tell the Royal Television Society convention in Cambridge: "We intend to take measures to make it more and more difficult to access sites that deliberately facilitate infringement, misleading consumers and depriving creators of a fair reward for their creativity".

Quite what those measures are remain to be seen, ie whether the Department Of Culture, Media And Sport hopes that by putting pressure on search engines it can achieve results, or whether there are actually plans to legislate in anyway. Though we do know that Hunt advocates the idea of forming an independent body which would decide which websites exist primarily to infringe, and which should, therefore, be de-listed by search engines.

According to the paper, Hunt will conclude: "We do not allow certain products to be sold in the shops on the high street, nor do we allow shops to be set up purely to sell counterfeited products. Neither should we tolerate it online".

Google, of course, has already instigated some measures for cutting infringing websites from its search results and ad sales network. Responding to Hunt's planned speech, the web giant told The Guardian: "Google has industry-leading measures to fight online piracy. We work hand in hand with copyright owners to remove infringing material from search results. Without a court order, any copyright owner can already use our removals process to inform us of copyright infringing content and have it removed from Google search. We recently announced a series of measures that make this process even easier, bringing our removal time down to an average of four hours".

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Executors for Michael Jackson's estate plan to hand over $30 million to the Jackson Family Trust, which will benefit his mother, three children and some other charities the late singer supported. This, they say, is in line with Jackson's will.

The estate has filed papers with the courts asking for approval of the pay out. The papers also reveal that the estate has generated $310 million since Jackson's death in 2009, enabling it to pay off dozens of the singer's creditors and to refinance other loans on more favourable terms.

The papers also note that Katherine Jackson is planning on selling the Jackson clan's famous residence in Encino, California and will look for a new home for her and her late son's three children.

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Paris-based hip hop and electro producer DJ Mehdi, real name Mehdi Favéris-Essadi, has died aged 34. The musician's French publicist, Fabrice Desprez of PR company Phunk, confirmed yesterday afternoon that he had been killed in an accident at his home.

Desprez told 20Minutes.fr: "We don't have many details. We know that he was at home on a balcony with others. The balcony collapsed. Three others have been hospitalised".

According to DJMag.com, Medhi had been celebrating the birthday of fellow producer, and Carte Blanche bandmate, Riton. The website reports that the group had actually been on the roof of Medhi's house, which had then collapsed. Riton, real name Henry Smithson, is thought to have been the only person not to have fallen, and he therefore escaped uninjured.

Born in 1977, Favéris-Essadi began his career in music as a DJ in various acts in the late 90s, before moving into production with hip hop outfit 113. However, his big break came when he signed to Ed Banger Records to release his third solo album, 'Lucky Boy', in 2006. Last year he formed the duo Carte Blanche with Riton, and the pair had just returned to France after playing Bestival at the weekend.

He is survived by his wife, artist and music video director Fabienne Fafi.

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It was the first ever Artist & Managers Awards last night, the previously reported awards bash staged by the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition, and which incorporated MMF's old awards event the Roll Of Honour.

Hosted by Sandie Shaw and with guest appearances from various MMF and FAC members, eight awards were presented in total. Some winners had already been revealed, while others were announced on the night.

The winners list in full:
Breakthrough Artist Of The Year: Ed Sheeran
Artist Of The Year: Adele
Artists' Artist Award: Massive Attack
Industry Champion Award: Martin Mills, Beggars Group
First Rung Manager Of The Year: Giant Men Management
Manager Of The Year: JHO Oakley
Peter Grant Award: John Glover
Achievement Award: Everybody's

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Independent publisher Imagem has signed a worldwide deal with American writer/producer Angel 'Onhel' Aponte, whose most recent work appears on Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter IV' album.

Confirming the deal, Imagem USA's Amanda Schupf told CMU: "Angel is a talented and dedicated producer who is just starting to see the fruits of his hard work with his contribution to 'Tha Carter IV. I know he will grow to be a major force in the industry and we at Imagem are excited to partner with him on this journey!"

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Are you an unknown songwriter and/or producer? Do you fancy having Mariah Carey doing that sing-y thing all over one of your tracks? Well, today could be your lucky day. As she prepares to record her new studio album, she's looking for collaborators who will be dirt cheap. Er, I mean super fresh and exciting.

A rep for music company World Live Music has posted a call for producers to submit tracks via musicxray.com to be considered for inclusion on the follow-up to 2009's advert-heavy 'Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel'. Apparently "her label is looking for songwriters and producers that have impeccable talent to collaborate with". Not like those charlatans she usually uses. And, hey, it'll only cost you $10 to send in a track, so that's good.

If you can shake the feeling that this all seems a bit dodgy for long enough to actually go through with it, knock yourself out here: www.musicxray.com/interactions/2502/submissions/new

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Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze of The Big Pink are poised to present their second album, 'Stay Gold', in January of next year. This will form the follow-up to the duo's much-lauded 2009 long player 'A Brief History Of Love'. Last night, the duo premiered the LP's title track on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show.

Taking its name from, amongst other things, Robert Frost's Pulitzer Prize-winning poem 'Nothing Gold Can Stay', the song is paired with a video directed by Ollie Murray, who also handled visuals for The Horrors' 'Still Life'.

It's very, very good. Watch the video here: www.musicfromthebigpink.com

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Hurrah! The Fall are going to release a new album called 'Ersatz GB', which possibly suggests it's all about the current state of the UK. Or, it might not be. But either way, it's exciting. The whole shebang is due for release through Cherry Red on 14 Nov.

Discussing the LP with Mojo's Ian Harrison, Fall frontman Mark E Smith said: "I find it a bit sort of mardy, in a lot of ways. A bit more sort of folky. I've gone more for a rhythm section sound this time, and Elena's keyboard - very weird". Well, that's a fine way to talk about your wife.

Here's the tracklist:

Cosmos 7
Taking Off
Mask Search
Happy Song

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Back with his first solo album since 1998, singer-songwriter Julian Lennon plans to release his latest long player, 'Everything Changes', via Conehead on 3 Oct.

Of the LP's beginnings, which were largely inadvertent, Julian has this to say: "I get twitchy if I don't pick up a guitar or sit at the piano every now and then... I have to do it; I don't have a choice".

He adds: "[It's] a bit more free-flowing than my previous work, and it's my favourite [album] so far".


Everything Changes
Lookin 4 Luv
Hold On
Touch the Sky
Just for You
Never Let You Go
Guess It Was Me
Don't Wake Me Up

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Oh, now this will be worth a read. Nas has signed a deal with publisher Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books in the US to publish his autobiography in autumn next year. Currently going by the working title of 'It Ain't Hard To Tell', the book will be written with music journalist Touré.

Touré tweeted earlier this week: "I've been talking to Nas about writing his autobiography for fifteen years. This is hip hop history. We'll tell his life and deconstruct some songs ... Nas's book will be a book every hip hop fan will have to read".

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Adele resumed her UK tour at a show last night in Leicester, having recuperated from a chest infection that led her to cancel the opening run of dates. Gosh, her sick-day tally must be off the charts.

According to a statement posted on her official website: "The postponed shows will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity and all original tickets will remain valid. Refunds will be available from the point of purchase". So, there you are.

In case of confusion, this is Adele's current touring programme:

14 Sep: Newcastle, Academy
16 Sep: Manchester, Apollo
17 Sep: Manchester, Apollo
19 Sep: London, Hammersmith Apollo
22 Sep: London, Royal Albert Hall
24 Sep: Edinburgh, Usher Hall
25 Sep: Glasgow, Academy

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Ryan Adams has confirmed that he'll play a couple of UK shows in support of his previously reported new album 'Ashes & Fire', which is due out via Sony/Columbia on 10 Oct.

They are thus:

27 Oct: London, Union Chapel
28 Oct: York, Grand Opera House

And here's Ryan, sounding in fine alt-country fettle as he performs an acoustic rendition of the album's promising title track: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4VGlkcBtfw

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Drum n bass producer and Ram Records head Andy C has announced that he will be heading out on an interactive audio/visual tour of the UK later this year.

Exact details of what the shows will entail is being kept under wraps, but Andy C told Fabric's website: "I can't really spill the beans just yet but I will still be using three turntables amongst some new gadgetry, which will be housed, along with myself, in a purpose built stage set. I'll be interacting with the crowd via the visual element of the show. We're just trying to enhance my set and take the whole experience to the next level ... We're using brand new technology within the show which is quite difficult to explain but will hopefully look amazing when you see it... or at least I hope it does!"

The dates are as follows:

24 Sep: Sheffield, Octagon
30 Sep: Portsmouth, South Parade Pier
22 Oct: Brighton, Concorde 2
28 Oct: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
29 Oct: Westfest
5 Nov: Lowpass Weekender
12 Nov: Birmingham, Institute
18 Nov: London, Electric
19 Nov: Manchester, Warehouse Project (Fabriclive)

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Jennifer Lopez appears in a new Fiat advert in the States, with the singer driving a Fiat 500 Cabrio convertible in the thirty-second promotional spot. But this isn't a one-way deal; the Cabrio returns the favour by guesting in J Lo's new pop video, for the single 'Papi'. It's Fiat's second high profile pop partnership this year, having run an ad featuring Eminem in February.

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Ministry Of Sound has announced a new partnership with music kit makers Roland to develop two new music education programmes for young children based around a special music production suite installed in St James' Primary School in Bermondsey, south London.

Ministry says that the programme, due to launch on 31 Oct, will offer "a fresh approach to the traditional music curriculum combining the latest music technology with innovative performance-based learning, all structured around popular contemporary music". The club owner and music company will also organise artist-led workshops at the school.

Commenting on the initiative, Karen Willis, headmistress at St James' School, told CMU: "St James' School is delighted to be working on this exciting project with the Ministry Of Sound and Roland. The project will undoubtedly benefit all of our pupils and their families. We are very excited about this partnership and thank the Ministry Of Sound for all their support in planning and executing this project".

Ministry boss Lohan Presencer added: "It's great to be a part of something unique. The partnership with an outstanding company like Roland combined with the enthusiasm of everyone at the school is sure to make this project a huge success. Working closely with the community around us is a very important part of what we do and to be involved in a pioneering and innovative music project such as this is incredibly exciting. We look forward to the program developing and who knows, we might even be in the presence of some future stars!"

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One of the founders of Record Store Day has announced he is shutting his record shop in Atlanta because of continued poor trading.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution quotes Eric Leven, who runs Criminal Records in the city and was one of the American independent retailers who helped set up Record Store Day, as saying: "We've been underwater since the economy became distressed. We've been on a rescue mission for three years. I'm done paying for it by myself. I gave myself until the 20th anniversary and if I was still drowning by August 2011, I'd pull the plug".

Founded in 2007 and taking place each April, Record Store Day takes place in various countries around the world, and aims to promote and generate direct custom for independent record shops.

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AllThingsD has noted that US-based interactive-social-sharing-music-whatnot start-up Turntable.fm has published some information about the investors who have contributed to the $7 million in new funding the company has recently secured. In amongst Lady Gaga's manager Troy Carter, media investor Vivi Nevo and VCs like Union Square are a couple of unnamed leading music industry execs, who seemingly have made small investments and will offer advice.

The tech website says that its sources have suggested that those music industry execs work for the big labels, and they therefore wonder if this means Turntable.fm is now approaching the majors about them licensing its service. This is interesting because Turntable.fm has previously indicated that it believed its website would qualify for a more cost effective blanket statutory licence via digital rights agency SoundExchange (indicated to the extent, in fact, that we previously inferred and incorrectly reported that the website had such a licence in place).

Others doubted whether such a blanket licence - which is what Pandora operates under - would apply to Turntable.fm (ultimately it's the US Copyright Royalty Board which sets the criteria), and AllThingsD seems to think that bosses at the digital company may have now reached the same conclusion and is therefore now courting the majors about doing more conventional licensing deals.

The digital news site notes that there does seem to be quite a lot of support for Turntable.fm in the US music industry, and that since Spotify managed to license its freemium offer (albeit the newer streamlined version) it's assumed that labels may consider licensing more interactive free-to-use services, though everyone seems to agree scoring those licensing deals won't be cheap.

Read AllThingsD's original piece in full here: allthingsd.com/20110913/turntable-comes-clean-about-funding-next-up-label-deals-and-more-users/

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Texas-based indie duo Beck & Cauthen, aka Paul Cauthen and David Beck, have announced that they are changing their name at the request of Beck's people. Presumably they were worried that the public might think that Beck was now part of a country-tinged duo.

Anyway, the duo published a statement yesterday announcing that they will now go by the name, Sons Of Fathers. They explained: "To our surprise, we got a letter last week from representatives of Beck, who asked us to change [our name]. We don't want to create confusion with Beck, or for that matter Jeff Beck, Glenn Beck, Beck's beer, or any other Beck".

Given that Beck is Beck's first name, not his surname, you'd think that confusion with Jeff Beck would be more likely. But, hey, it's fine, because Beck & Cauthen aren't even a duo any more, so this means the rest of the band now feel less marginalised. The statement continued: "It was a sign for us to change the name to something that included the whole band, not just a duo. We are all in this together and we all play a role. We used the phrase 'sons of fathers' long before we wrote the [title track of our forthcoming debut album] and changed the band name. It is our expression about the past, our families, our roots and who we are, good or bad, right or wrong".

So, well done to them for rolling over without a fight, and for having a very basic grasp of human biology.

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email [email protected]dia.co.uk or [email protected].

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