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MONDAY 3 OCTOBER 2011
TODAY'S FEATURE: FIVE DAY FORECAST
Hey, so how did you all enjoy boiling in October? That was weird. I spent much of the last two days amusing myself by kicking through the fallen autumn leaves and worrying about sunburn. Apart from that, I went to Noise Of Art at 93 Feet East and enjoyed very much watching the eclectic range of artists on the bill terrifying the casual Friday night crowd. Happening this week are these things more>>
TODAY'S APPROVED: PSYCHIC DANCEHALL
Tucked away beneath Psychic Dancehall's debut album's lax, lo-fi outer layers are some truly well-formed and appealing little fuzz-pop fragments. Hollie's solo sung cover of The Crystals' 'He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss' is very like something from Faris Badwan's Cat's Eyes. It's alive with the same dishevelled sense of romantic, old-world rapture also favoured by the likes of Dirty Beaches more>>
TOP STORIES
- Five players expected to make final bid for EMI
IN THE POP COURTS
- He never mentioned the propofol: Murray trial update
- Popovich estate claims ownership of Bat Out Of Hell
CHARTS, STATS & POLLS
- We Are The Champions the catchiest song ever
IN THE STUDIO
- Flaming Lips boggle minds with 24 hour song format
- William Shatner channels Sabbath on new LP
RELEASE NEWS
- Susan Boyle debuts Depeche Mode cover
- New Esben And The Witch EP
FILMS & SHOWS NEWS
- New Kathleen Hanna documentary needs fan funding
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Jackson tribute show to be Facebook streamed
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
BRANDS & STUFF
- Mark Ronson and Katy B announce Olympic song
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Digital sales continue to grow, though album sales down overall
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Kaiser Chiefs album release overshadowed by digital promo
AND FINALLY...
- Kele: We're not splitting, and it's all the NME's fault
9PR, PUBLICIST
Rapidly expanding leading music publicists 9PR are recruiting. We have an excellent and growing roster of artists and events that includes All Tomorrow's Parties, Submotion Orchestra, Chapter 24, Kraftwerk, Camille, Ali Renault, NOVAK 3D Disco, American Express Symphony At The Park, Brian Olive, White Noise Sound, Union Square Music, Thomas Dolby, Lanie Lane, plus Sony catalogue (including Miles Davis, Iggy And The Stooges, Johnny Cash and Santana). We need someone with a minimum of two years experience in national print PR. Radio and/or online experience is an advantage and depending on the right candidate, the role is adaptable. Salary subject to experience. Email info@9pr.co.uk.
   
DOMINO RECORDING COMPANY, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS MANAGER
Domino is seeking an experienced International Promotions Manager who would be responsible for all aspects of international promotion - including press, radio and TV - for the whole of the label roster (including Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi, The Kills and John Cale) and working closely with our international partners around the world. Minimum two years experience with artists, managers, record labels and international media is required. The position is based in our London office.

Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to: internationalpromotions@dominorecordco.com Closing date is 10 Oct.

FIVE PLAYERS EXPECTED TO MAKE FINAL BID FOR EMI
EMI's four main music business rivals and the conglom headed up by billionaire Ronald Perelman are expected to be the five organisations which present final bids for EMI on Wednesday, or at least that's what sources are telling the Financial Times and other financial media.

As previously reported, Citigroup, which put EMI up for sale in early summer having repossessed the music firm from previous owner Terra Firma in February, has set a 5 Oct deadline for final offers. Although various billionaires and private equity consortiums have considered making a bid, insiders reckon that, at the final hurdle, there will be less interest from outside the existing music industry than there was when Warner Music was on the block earlier this year. Sony, Universal, Warner, BMG and Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes are expected to make final offers for some or all of EMI.

It is thought that Sony, whose music publishing company Sony/ATV will make the bid, is only interested in EMI Music Publishing, while Universal Music will only bid for the EMI record labels. According to the FT, both BMG and Warner Music were still considering a bid for EMI in its entirety as of the end of last week, though both might ultimately put in offers for just half of the company, BMG most likely going for publishing (despite their CEO once indicating an interest in the recordings catalogue) and Warner for the EMI Music record labels.

It is thought that Perelman too is only interested in taking one half of the company, though he is of two minds as to which half. When Warner was up for sale he collaborated with Sony/ATV on a bid, the plan being that Perelman's business would take the labels and the Sony subsidiary the publishing catalogue. It's thought the billionaire is still considering a similar partnership on this bid. Another option would be to buy EMI outright, but licence the entire publishing or recordings catalogue to another music company.

Some commentators still reckon that the consortium led by Ron Burkle that bid for Warner Music - which included Napster and Facebook co-founder Sean Parker - might also make a last minute bid. Certainly the New York Post seemed certain that was on the cards last week. However, with the Burkle bid an outside possibility, and Perelman seemingly not interested in operating the EMI Group in it's entirety should his bid be successful, the chances of the sale resulting in considerable change at EMI now seem high.

It's known current EMI boss Roger Faxon is keen for the publishing and recordings businesses to stay in common ownership, but this is now most likely to happen if Warner or BMG win the bidding, but either of those deals would result in EMI's various divisions being integrated in with the bidder's existing operations. Though either transaction might enable Faxon himself to keep his job, Warner's executive structure is still in a state of flux following its sale earlier this year, while BMG - focused, as it is, primarily on publishing rights - might recognise the value of having Faxon, and his vast experience in music publishing, on board.

That said, there is another option. Although Citigroup is keen to sell EMI soon, insiders there say that doesn't mean the US bank is treating this as a fire sale, if the right price isn't on the table it'll seriously consider postponing the sale until when the wider economic climate is looking more rosey. That might enable the independent or private equity bidders who have fallen out of the race this time to return to the table with a deal more likely to keep EMI in tact as a going concern.

Though if the right deal or deals are on the table come Wednesday, it's thought an announcement could be made on a sale within two weeks.

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HE NEVER MENTIONED THE PROPOFOL: MURRAY TRIAL UPDATE
It was the turn of the paramedics who responded to the emergency call put out by Michael Jackson's bodyguard, as the king of pop lay dying in his bedroom in June 2009, who took to the stand on Friday as the prosecution in the Conrad Murray trial continued to present their arguments, as to how it was that the doctor's negligence caused the death of the pop star.

Two members of Jackson's entourage had already described the scene in the singer's bedroom where a panicked Murray tried to resuscitate his patient while seemingly also trying to conceal some of the medication he'd been giving the star. Paramedic Richard Senneff confirmed there was an element of chaos when he entered the room. Jackson was on the floor, eyes open, surgical cap on his head, his skin turning blue. Murray, Senneff said, was sweating and looked frantic.

"I asked the doctor if the patient had an underlying medical condition", Senneff testified. "He said, 'Nothing, he has nothing'. But that didn't add up to me". The paramedic then questioned Murray as to what medication Jackson had taken, but, he claimed, the doctor was initially evasive. He admitted to giving Jackson the sedative lorazepam to help him sleep and, when Senneff spotted other medicines on Jackson's nightstand, Murray added that he was treating the singer for dehydration and exhaustion.

But, and crucially for the prosecution's case, Senneff says Murray never mentioned the drug propofol, which he had also administered to Jackson as a sleeping aid and which, as it turned out, killed the singer. As previously reported, the prosecution argue Murray refused to mention the propofol because he knew he had been negligent to administer the drug in a home environment without proper monitoring equipment.

Senneff said three other paramedics joined him at Jackson's home "within moments", and tried in vein to resuscitate the singer. All attempts failed and, when asked if he saw any sign of life during those efforts, Senneff told the court: "No I did not".

A second paramedic called to the scene, Martin Blout, also noted seeing various medications in Jackson's room, including three open bottles of lidocaine on the floor. He also testified to seeing Murray scoop up vials which, he claimed, the doctor dropped into a black bag, something claimed by one of Jackson's security guards earlier in the week. Blout also confirmed Murray did not mention propofol in all the time they were in that room trying to revive Jackson.

With such intense media coverage of the trial, and much speculation from "experts" on air and in print, not to mention La Toya Jackson tweeting conspiracy theories from the court room, Judge Michael Pastor has continually ordered the jury hearing this case to steer clear of any reporting of the trial. He also criticised defence attorney Ed Chernoff after one of his colleagues gave an interview to US TV publicly criticising one of last week's witnesses. Chernoff argued that his partner was not actively working on the case, but Pastor said that no one from any legal firm linked to the case is allowed to speak to the media while the trial is ongoing.

The case continues.

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POPOVICH ESTATE CLAIMS OWNERSHIP OF BAT OUT OF HELL
In an interesting if possibly optimistic US legal dispute, the estate of the late record label exec Stephen Popovich is trying to seize ownership of the sound recording rights in the iconic Meat Loaf album 'Bat Out Of Hell', currently owned by Sony Music.

Popovich, whose Cleveland International Records released 'Bat Out Of Hell' in 1977 in partnership with the exec's former employer Epic Records, had various run ins with Sony over the years, it having owned Epic from the late 1980s onwards. He claimed that the major frequently misreported royalties accrued by the record so to underpay him his share, and he also sued when Sony failed to fulfil a contractual commitment to include the Cleveland International logo on all releases of the album. A 1998 lawsuit ended in an out of court settlement, while in 2002 litigation - in part based on allegations Sony had breached the 1998 agreement - Popovich won $5 million.

Popovich died back in June, but his estate has taken up the ongoing battle with Sony. In a new lawsuit the estate claims that Sony continues to violate the terms of its agreements with Cleveland International Records, accusing the major of a number of fraudulent acts used, the estate says, to underpay the indie label its due on 'Bat Out Of Hell' revenue. The lawsuit adds that the estate doesn't know how much is owed because Sony, it claims, has refused permission to undertake an audit.

The lawsuit, as you'd expect, wants full accounts from Sony, any unpaid royalties and damages, but the legal claim goes further than that. The estate argues that Sony has now breached past agreements so often that the rights to the master recordings of the Meat Loaf album should revert to Cleveland International, and the estate is seeking a court injunction to confirm that fact, and to prevent Sony from distributing the record. That's possibly the optimistic bit, though if this ever reaches court it could be an interesting case.

Sony is yet to respond.

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WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS THE CATCHIEST SONG EVER
Queen's 'We Are The Champions' is the catchiest song ever written, and that's according to science, which took a day off from finding a cure for cancer to assess pop song catchiness.

Actually, although the Press Association says that "scientists" at Goldsmiths College made this discovery, Goldsmiths doesn't actually have a science department - being the University Of London's arts institution - so I'm assuming this came out of the college's department of psychology, who took a day off from finding better methods for dealing with depression, anxiety or psychosis for a good old sing song. Still, sing songs cheer people up right? Apart from me. I hate sing songs.

Anyway, researchers observed how volunteers reacted when asked to sing along to different songs, and found out that long and detailed musical phrases, multiple pitch changes in the main hook, a male vocalist, and preferably a high pitched male vocalist, all helped make songs catchy.

Goldsmiths music psychologist Dr Daniel Mullensiefen told reporters: "Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesizers which can add effects to make a song more catchy".

Village People's 'YMCA', Sum 41's 'Fat Lip', Europe's 'The Final Countdown' and The Automatic's 'Monster' were all found to be very catchy by the researchers. Though they didn't make any comment on how depressing it can be when you get any of those songs stuck in your head.

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FLAMING LIPS BOGGLE MINDS WITH 24 HOUR SONG FORMAT
As if those edible gummy foetuses weren't eerie enough, those Flaming Lips have out-grossed themselves with a macabre new twist on releasing music. In short, it involves a 24 hour long song saved on a hard-drive, which is then embedded within an actual human skull. Only five of the audio-cranial 'packages' (each priced at a mere $5000) were made, and all have sold out. Sorry, skull fans.

Nobody defends the idea better than Lips chief Wayne Coyne: "Nothing that we're doing is bizarre or illegal, in parts of the world and even on eBay you can actually buy real human skulls. There's a place in town [Oklahoma] that's called Skulls Unlimited that's been here for almost as long as The Flaming Lips have been here, and it sells human skulls".

He adds: "Heads come into this place and they have these flesh-eating beetles - I would have tweeted a picture of it, but they don't allow it - [they] literally eat every molecule of flesh off of these things and you'll end up with a human skull".

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WILLIAM SHATNER CHANNELS SABBATH ON NEW LP
William Shatner has recorded a cover of Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man', as this studio-based video will prove beyond any doubt. It's due to appear on his new LP, 'Seeking Major Tom', which is out via Cleopatra Records on 11 Oct.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICbc8DpcX3w

Ozzy Osbourne's one-time guitarist Zakk Wylde, who plays on 'Iron Man', seems to approve of Shat's handling of the track. "He's super cool. We had an awesome time working together", he claims.

Peter Frampton, Alan Parsons and Bootsy Collins are amongst those also billed to feature on other songs across the album.

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SUSAN BOYLE DEBUTS DEPECHE MODE COVER
Oh, Susan Boyle. Why must your management continue to make you cover songs from the rock realm? We'll allow 'Wild Horses', that was quite nice. But 'Perfect Day', given its opium-wreathed beginnings, was perhaps a bridge too far. Ironically enough given its title, Depeche Mode's somber synth classic 'Enjoy The Silence' is the latest track to receive the SuBo treatment.

Susan says of the song, which is taken from her forthcoming third album 'Someone To Watch Over Me': "The melody is just beautiful. But really that lyric sounds like it will touch so many people in the way it touched me".

Well, here it is. Make your own choice now: 'Enjoy The Silence' or enjoy some silence.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPGA_iaRk44

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NEW ESBEN AND THE WITCH EP
With the dust settled on their debut LP 'Violet Cries', which was released back in January, the time seems right for Esben And The Witch to stir things up again with a brand new EP, which they're duly doing.

'Hexagons', we are told, will pass through various phases (or shades of being, if you will) over its six-track progression. Basically, it'll almost certainly have six tracks on it. According to this just-released companion trailer (which you can see below), these will be 'The Fall', 'The Flight', 'The Surge', 'The Still', 'The Cast' and 'The Thaw'. So, there you are. I wonder if the whole thing still works if you play it on shuffle.

Expect 'Hexagons' to come out via Matador on 7 Nov.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJDOsU51SVg

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NEW KATHLEEN HANNA DOCUMENTARY NEEDS FAN FUNDING
Bikini Kill and Le Tigre lady Kathleen Hanna has appealed to fans to help fund 'The Punk Singer', a new documentary centring on her life and career as leading light of the mid-nineties fem-punk 'riot grrrl' movement. Currently stalled at the post-production stage, the film's total target for completion has been set at $44,000 (£28,056).

As organised by pledge site Kickstarter, those prepared to donate $10,000 (£6,376) will win the opportunity to have Hanna herself redecorate a room in their homes, while signed merchandise is on offer to other lesser benefactors.

Says director Sini Anderson of the project: "[Kathleen Hanna has] been a lightning rod for controversy, and a famously private person. Five years ago, she disappeared from the public eye, and is only now re-emerging. 'The Punk Singer' combines 20 years of archival footage and an intimate look at four consecutive seasons of Hanna's present life, to tell the story of what happened, and who she is now".

More details here: www.facebook.com/thepunksinger

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JACKSON TRIBUTE SHOW TO BE FACEBOOK STREAMED
The promoters of this weekend's Michael Forever tribute show in Cardiff have announced that those of you who weren't able to get tickets for it (which, as there are still plenty available via primary ticket agents is presumably no one, but there might be Jackson fans unable to get to the Welsh capital and/or unwilling to pay £130 to get in), can watch the whole shebang via Facebook for a mere $4-5 (price depending on when you pay).

It's the first ever pay-per-view event on the social network, or at least that's what this press release says, don't go quoting me on that. Online viewers will be able to comment and chat during the show, and for an extra dollar will get access to a best bits package of the Conrad Murray trial so far. And can enter a competition to win a bag of propofol. Do I need to tell you that some of this is made up?

The tribute show will include warblings from Black Eyed Peas, Leona Lewis, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Ne-Yo, Jennifer Hudson, Craig David, Alexandra Burke, Alien Ant Farm, JLS, Diversity and Pixie Lott, plus Beyonce will send in a video message.

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK, various venues, Liverpool, 28 Oct - 11 Nov: Twin Sister, Summer Camp, Big Deal, Three Trapped Tigers, Young Knives and Frankie & The Heartstrings are amongst the raft of rather good indie sorts that are fresh on this year's free and fortnight-long LMW bill. Meanwhile the assorted likes of Ghostpoet, Beth Jeans Houghton, Dutch Uncles, Hyde & Beast and Visions Of Trees will all play at the festival's closing day party. www.liverpoolmusicweek.com

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MARK RONSON AND KATY B ANNOUNCE OLYMPIC SONG
Mark Ronson, Katy B and some sporty types have worked together on a new track in honour of the London 2012 Olympics.

Part of Coca-Cola's Oympic marketing campaign, 'Move To The Beat' will encompass a feature-length making-of documentary, adverts, interactive apps and, of course, the song, the beats of which Ronson made by sampling sounds from a group of five aspiring Olympic contenders in their sporty action. For example, he had Russian sprinter Kseniya Vdovina run on a treadmill, thus elevating her heart rate to 120bpm, the tempo of the track.

Sounds like fun. Now for some stock enthusiastic comments from those involved.

Shay Drohan, the man with the one of the better job titles at Coca-Cola corp (Senior Vice President of Sparkling Beverages - surely one of the all time great job titles), says this: "The number one passion point for teens is music. Through 'Move To The Beat', Coca-Cola is inspiring teens around the world to move to the beat of London and come together in the biggest Olympic Games activation in our 84 year partnership".

Meanwhile Ronson, who (along with Katy B) is to be an official Olympic torchbearer despite earning the nickname "wrong-way Ronson" after running awry in a school relay race, says: "I've been able to do something really unique, meeting these remarkable athletes and recording their sounds to use in this song. It's exciting to be working with Coca-Cola on the 'Move To The Beat' campaign for London 2012".

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DIGITAL SALES CONTINUE TO GROW, THOUGH ALBUM SALES DOWN OVERALL
UK record label trade body the BPI yesterday released sales stats for the third quarter of 2011, which is depressing. Not because the figures are depressing, but because that's reminded us all we are now into the final quarter of the year. Mince pie anyone?

Anyway, the figures. Actually, they are a bit depressing too. Overall album sales were down 11.4% compared on the same quarter last year, from 24.6 million to 21.8 million. On the up side, digital album sales were up 24.2% year on year, and the digital singles market continued to grow.

Unsurprisingly, Adele dominates across the board, having the two best-selling albums so far this year and the best selling single. Bruno Mars has the third best selling album, while Jessie J has the second best selling single.

BPI boss man Geoff Taylor told CMU: "While trading conditions are tough on the High Street, the strong pace of growth in the digital music market is extremely encouraging for the future. 2011 is shaping up to be a third record year for singles, which are now almost entirely a digital business. But the real story is how consumers are connecting with the value and instant enjoyment offered by the digital album. A growth rate of almost 25% is an outstanding performance for any sector in these difficult economic times".

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KAISER CHIEFS ALBUM RELEASE OVERSHADOWED BY DIGITAL PROMO
It's funny how digital marketing plans that look good on paper can still backfire. The Kaiser Chiefs' make-your-own-album plan, where they made 20 songs available and allowed fans to put together their own ten tracker, scored a little bit of media coverage when it went online. But seemingly only hardline fans (of which the band has less these days) were really interested, and the promotion overshadowed the proper release of the album a few weeks later. So much so, the band wish their label had waited until now to release the record containing their preferred ten tracks, when they could possibly have enjoyed some more coverage.

The band admitted to the Daily Star that the digital promotion had overshadowed the subsequent release of the album proper, so that many people didn't know the actual record was available. Frontman Ricky Wilson continued: "Our record label wanted to release the CD in time for festival season so that everyone knew the new songs. I can see that logic, but I'd have waited to release the CD until now, once everyone got their heads around the digital release".

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KELE: WE'RE NOT SPLITTING, AND IT'S ALL THE NME'S FAULT
Kele Okereke has posted another blog about all those reports of late that he's been chucked out of Bloc Party. Apparently all the confusion is the fault of the NME.

As previously reported, and at considerable length in the Beef Of The Week column last week, news that Okereke's bandmates were working on a side project while they awaited their frontman to finish promoting his latest solo release was spun into "Okereke sacked" stories, even though we suspected the reports were due to either Kele bullshitting the press or some bad communication on the part of the Bloc Party bandmates.

The stories began with an interview Kele gave to the NME, in which he revealed he had spied his bandmates going into a New York rehearsal studio without him. Bandmate Russell Lissack, also in an NME interview, then confirmed the other Bloc-ers were working on some new material together, and might recruit another singer for that material, though he never said that music would be released as Bloc Party. Kele then blogged that he was confused about his status in the band.

Some accused the NME of twisting the words of the Bloc Party members to get a good story, so much so the music weekly posted recordings of the interviews to prove it was faithful in communicating what the musicians had said. But, Okereke, who returned to his blog late last week and finally admitted the whole thing was indeed bullshit, is still blaming the NME for all the confusion, arguing everyone knows he makes things up in interviews, that he's clearly taking the piss in the interview, and that the music weekly should know better than to quote anything he tells them as fact. And, presumably, to ignore blog posts he publishes seemingly confirming the story.

Of course, now we know everything Kele says in public is bullshit, we don't know whether to believe this latest blog post, putting us in some kind of horrible eternal loop of not knowing whether or not Bloc Party still exist. Given Kele's such a bullshitter, I wouldn't put it past him to release a new album with Bloc Party just to throw us all off the real story.

Those with good eyesight can read Kele's blog here:
iamkele.com/blog/2011/09/sleeping-the-nme/

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