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If you'd wanted to, you could have spent most of the last seven days sitting in a music-related awards ceremonies, what with the MTV EMAs, the MIT celebrating Jools Holland, then the Music Video Awards, the Student Radio Awards, the Classic Rock Awards and last night's inaugural AIM Independent Music Awards. Frankly, with that little lot, if you didn't get an award this week you weren't trying more>>
It has been a dozen years since the WANG crew first unleashed their parties around the clubs of London, and in order to mark their silk anniversary they will return yet again tomorrow night to give you some bass in your face. For the birthday bash, they've pulled in a great line-up of long time supporters of their cause. Expect the usual WANG party vibe. Highly recommended more>>
- ERA responds to LVCR announcement, predicts future problems
- AIM awards presented
- Classic Rock winners
- Student Radio Awards presented
- Scotsman presents second prize for new talent
- Faith No More not working on new material
- Kwes signs to Warp
- Madonna "very upset" by demo leak
- Speech Debelle talks new album
- Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo to release solo LP
- A Place To Bury Strangers herald EP with new track
- Ghostpoet, Mike Skinner and Rob Harvey collaborate
- Rolling Stones 50th anniversary tour still a possibility
- Festival line-up update
- Morrissey allows Smiths song to appear in John Lewis advert
- Sony boss wants Cash Money too
- Rihanna manager: Long gaps between albums no longer viable
- Frank Black sets up label
- Esben & The Witch man sets up label
- MUZU announces partnership with Sony Network
- Mixcloud announces Juno partnership
- Streaming services growing fast, and will continue to do so
- Soundtracking raises new round of investment
- Michael Jackson's death bed up for sale
- Beef Of The Week: Die Antwoord v Universal
In House Press is a music press and promotion company based in Manchester, UK. We represent a varied range of artists to national press, online, radio and TV including Avi Buffalo, Beth Jeans Houghton, Deerhoof, Donovan, Errors, Field Music, Fuck Buttons, The Go! Team, Gold Panda, Los Campesinos!, Low, Nathan Fake, Panda Bear, The Phantom Band, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Toro Y Moi, Tracey Thorn and Tunng.

We are looking for a music press officer to join our team and look after all aspects of music press. The position offered is based in Manchester and full-time with a competitive salary based on experience.

To apply please send a cover letter and CV to: [email protected]
Eventim UK is part of CTS Eventim AG, the leading ticketing company in Europe with operations in 20 countries selling more than 100 million tickets to over 140,000 rock & pop, sports, classical music and other events every year.

We are looking for an experienced Marketing Manager to join our team in London and look after all aspects of marketing. You should have experience of digital marketing, social media, affiliate and partner management, and content generation. You should also be able to implement a strategy, develop marketing campaigns and build brand awareness.

A passion for live entertainment is essential.

To apply please send a cover letter and CV to: [email protected]
Clash Music Ltd publishes Clash Magazine, operates ClashMusic.com and numerous live music events and club nights, and is looking for an experienced, enthusiastic individual to join the Clash commercial team at our Old Street office.

Candidates should have a strong contacts list within the drinks industry, and a proven track record of successful activity with previous employers or as a freelance broker. Great presentation skills & sales experience is essential and time spent working across PR, media and or experiential marketing will be considered advantageous. The role will involve a mixture of sales, project planning and managing delivery of integrated marketing solutions across Clash print, digital and live event platforms.

The Clash commercial team has an enviable reputation for its entrepreneurial spirit and ability to offer client’s creative excellence and value for money. The successful candidate will be required to match the existing teams energy and enthusiasm by living and breathing the Clash brand.

The position offered is full time with a competitive salary. If you believe that you are the ideal candidate for this role email [email protected] with a CV.

The Entertainment Retailers Association yesterday said that the government's announcement earlier this week, that it would phase out the Channel Islands VAT-relief that has been utilised by the bigger players in mail-order CD selling for many years now, would only partially address the challenges facing those music retailers who did not benefit from the tax break, either because they are high street based or because they couldn't afford offshore operations.

As much previously reported, the government this week confirmed it was axing so called Low Value Consignment Relief for imports from the Channel Islands from next April. LVCR has been used by many of the bigger mail-order companies in the last decade - since the internet-enabled explosion in mail-order shopping - meaning they don't have to charge VAT on any goods that sell for under £18 (now £15), basically giving them a 20% advantage over mainland retailers.

Many independent retailers argue that the excessive use of LVCR by the likes of play.com, HMV and the supermarkets is an abuse of the tax relief system, and has helped to force hundreds of indie retailers out of business, it forcing the price of CDs down across the board, and preventing independent retailers from being able to capitalise on the growth of mail-order.

ERA has been very hands off in the campaign to get LVCR stopped (or "totally useless" to quote some of those involved in said campaign), it being hindered by the fact half its members were utilising the VAT dodge. But it did comment yesterday, saying that while it welcomed any moves that ensured a more level playing field in the entertainment retail sector, it feared this week's announcement would not actually result in fairer marketplace, because Channel Islands-based etailers would now relocate to other countries where LVCR will still be available on imports into the UK.

As previously reported, LVCR has only been axed for Channel Island imports, a point that has been much noted by the business community in Jersey and Guernsey. Those who oppose LVCR argue that if the tax relief is used to excess, so to distort the market, then it breaches European tax laws - but that is only the case where use is excessive, which is how the government justifies only targeting the Channel Islands this time round. Though, in theory, if all the offshore retailers did relocate on mass to, say, Switzerland, then the government would be forced to act on LVCR there too.

Explaining all these concerns, ERA Director General Kim Bayley told CMU yesterday: "We have always supported a level playing field for all retailers and recognise the concerns of smaller operators who have felt unable to compete with Channel Islands shipments. But the government's latest proposals only partially address the issue".

RAVAS, the body set up by independent retailers to campaign against LVCR, says it will keep the pressure up on government if and when abuse of the relief begins in other countries, but ERA says government should pre-empt future abuse, either by consulting colleagues in Brussels or, more radically, abolishing VAT on all cultural products.

Bayley continued: "It may be difficult in the current economic climate, but we believe the real solution would be for all cultural goods to be zero-rated for VAT like books. Failing that, the answer is for the government to address the issue in Brussels. In a globalised world it does not make sense to address an anomaly in the Channel Islands alone. Much of this business will simply be displaced elsewhere".

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The first ever AIM Independent Music Awards took place in London last night, providing yet another "good night" for Ms Adele, though Frank Turner also took home two gongs, so well done to him. Celebrating both the artists who are signed to independent music companies, and the people who run or champion them, here, ladies and gentlemen, is the full list of winners, fine women and men them all.

PPL Award For Most Played Independent Artist: Adele (Beggars/XL)
Best Live Act: Frank Turner
Independent Breakthrough Of The Year: SBTRKT (Beggars/XL)
Hardest Working Artist: Frank Turner (Xtra Mile)

Best Small Label: Stolen Recordings
Golden Welly Award For Best Independent Festival: Bearded Theory

Best Difficult Second Album: Adele - 21 (Beggars/XL)
Catalogue Release Of The Year: Various - Matador At 21 (Beggars/Matador Records)
Innovative Marketing Campaign Of The Year: Ninja Tune's 'Ninja Tune XX' Campaign

Independent Entrepreneur Of The Year: Rob Da Bank (Sunday Best/Bestival)
Indie Champion: John Robb, Louder Than War
Pioneer Award: Laurence Bell (Domino Records)

Outstanding Contribution To Music: Bjork (One Little Indian)

Have a little listen back to our Independent Music Awards playlist here: https://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/aim-independent-music-awards-powers-of-ten-playlist/


In a busy old week for music awards, Classic Rock magazine presented its annual gongs on Wednesday evening at the good old Roundhouse in Camden, and look, here are the winners of those...

Album Of The Year: Michael Monroe - Sensory Overdrive
Reissue Of The Year: Queen (for five repackaged albums)
Film/DVD Award: Lemmy, Lemmy
Event Of The Year: Roger Waters - The Wall Live Tour
Band Of The Year: Foo Fighters

Classic Album Award: The Who - Quadrophenia
Classic Songwriter: Manic Street Preachers
Innovator Award: Deep Purple
Metal Guru Award: The Scorpions
Outstanding Contribution: Bob Ezrin
Living Legend Award: Jeff Beck


Also in London on Wednesday night, over there under that crazy riverside dome in Greenwich, this year's Student Radio Awards were dished out to the best college radio talent on this fair isle. And the winners were...

Best Male Presenter: Pete Allison, Fly FM, Nottingham
Best Female Presenter: Tamsin Grainger, Xpress Radio, Cardiff
Best Newcomer: Ian Thursfield, RamAir, Bradford

Best Entertainment Programming: The Chalk & Charles Show, URY, York
Best Journalistic Programming: Nineteen - Now or Never? LSRfm.com, Leeds
Best Speech Programming: Zombie & You, 107 Spark FM, Sunderland
Best Specialist Music Programming: French Toast, Smoke Radio, London
Best Interview: Luke Cooper, Millbank protest interview, URF, Brighton
Student Radio Chart Show Award: Xpression FM, Exeter

Best Live Event or OB: Varsity Rugby 2011, KCL Radio, London
Best Marketing & Station Sound: URN, Nottingham
Best Student Radio Station: URN, Nottingham
Best Technical Achievement: IRIS - Interchangeable Radio Playout System, Insanity Radio 1287AM, Egham

The Kevin Greening Award: The Prince of Humberside, URY, York


Room for one more? Yes, another music prize, this time the Scotsman Radar Prize, an annual award for unsigned talent based in Scotland, run by The Scotsman's music blog Radar. And, out of the 134 entries received this year, the winners selected by a panel of ten music writers are Edinburgh-based band Sebastian Dangerfield.

Says The Scotsman's pop critic Fiona Shepherd, who's also one of the judges: "For the second year running, the consistent high standard of entries to the competition made judging the Radar Prize a tricky job. A diverse selection of tracks from folk-flavoured to atmospheric electronica to kick-ass noisemongering made the shortlist, reflecting the breadth of the new music scene in Scotland at the moment".

Sebastian Dangerfield's frontman Stuart McGachin said winning the prize was a "a really nice surprise", while drummer Jason Irvine said it could be "the kick up the backside to get things going again - there are always ups and downs but it's going to push us forward more". As winners the band will get free studio time in Glasgow, a professional video and photo shoot, and subscriptions to various digital services.

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I always think, if you're going to reunite your old band, you should at least have the decency to just milk your back catalogue and not write any new songs. So well done to Faith No More. They may have been back together for a couple of years now, but thankfully they're in no rush to get back to the studio.

Speaking to MovieWeb, frontman Mike Patton said: "There are no plans. That is all I can say. We have basically talked very little about it. I think that is because we are really just getting to know each other again. And we are getting to enjoy each other's company again. We are taking it, and appreciating it for what it is. We are not trying to look too far ahead. That is the honest truth".

He continued: "I think it's important not to make plans. And to not put extraneous demands on something like this. It's a delicate thing. We hadn't played together in more than ten years. It was nerve wracking enough to get in the same room again, and revisit this, and play some of this stuff. But I think we were all really, very pleasantly surprised".

I hope that doesn't mean that they will write new songs at some point in the future and ruin everything I said about them earlier. But it does seem that there are no old songs left to issue, if they do fancy unveiling something new. Asked if there are any unreleased songs still in the archives, he said: "There may be a song or two... but there are reasons for leaving something off a record. Maybe we didn't think they were good enough. Over the years, there have been so many compilations, and greatest hits, I think they have gone through the graveyard of B-sides, and they have exhausted them all".

Elsewhere in the interview, Patton also revealed that on the band's next run of live shows they will perform their 'King For A Day' album in full. Patton has also just released 'Music From The Film And Inspired By The Book The Solitude of Prime Number (La Solitudine Dei Numeri Primi)', comprising his original score to last year's cinematic rendering of Paolo Giordano's bestselling Italian novel. It is very good.

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24 year-old Kwes, who you may know from his production work with The xx, Micachu, and Hot Chip's Joe Goddard, has inked a deal with Warp Records for his debut EP.

He's also one of a host of producers who has been asked to contribute to 'Kinshasa One Two', the first album from Damon Albarn's DRC Music collective. You can keep track of that scheme, which aims to fund Oxfam's aid work in Congo, here: drc-music.tumblr.com

Meanwhile you can share in Kwes's good fortune by visiting his Facebook page for a free download of his track 'Get Up': www.facebook.com/kwesmusic

His first solo show is due to take place on 28 Nov at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston, London.

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Madonna is "very upset" that a demo version of a song called 'Give Me All Your Love', recorded for her still-in-production new album, was leaked onto the internet earlier this week. The singer's manager tweeted yesterday: "Madonna told me this morning 'my true fans wouldn't do this'... whoever is responsible for this leak, we ask that you please stop! I'm very happy with the positive reaction to the demo, but we are very upset with whoever leaked the song!"

I saw someone say it sounded like Daphne & Celeste, does that count as a positive reaction? I don't know. Anyway, that's not the only bit of Madonna news this week. Oh no. It also emerged that 'WE', the film that will see the singer make her directorial debut, will now not come out until next year. It had been due to hit cinemas in early December. A new release date of 3 Feb has been set, which would fall two days before the Super Bowl half time show at which she may or may not be performing.

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Speech Debelle, who was, of course, the Mercury Music Prize's wildcard winner in 2009, is poised to release a successor to her debut album, 'Speech Therapy'. Staying with the 'speech' quips, the twelve track 'Freedom Of Speech' will emerge via Ninja Tune's Big Dada imprint at some point during February of next year. Yes, you're right, that is a little surprising considering the comments she made about the label following her Mercury win. Clearly they managed to patch up their differences. Which is nice.

Debelle characterises her sophomore suite, which was made in close collaboration with the aforementioned fresh Warp Records signing Kwes, as being "all about virtual instrumentation and an ode to Kwes the producer".

She describes the recording process: "For the writing stage of the album he would take out his laptop and midi-USB keyboard and that would be it. We'd start working and I couldn't believe what we could do with so little equipment".

The video for lead single, 'Studio Backpack Rap', can be watched here: youtu.be/9GHO3zdWbL8. And you can snag a free download of the track here: snd.sc/sOwpEU


Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo has voiced plans to release a new solo album next year. 'Between The Times And The Tides', as it's called, will feature guest drop-ins from Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and past collaborators Bob Bert and Jim O'Rourke. Also set to appear are Nels Cline of Wilco, jazz musicians Alan Licht and John Medeski, and bassist Irwin Menkin.

The album is due out on 19 Mar.


Noise-rock practitioners A Place To Bury Strangers have disclosed details of a new EP entitled 'Onwards To The Wall', which will be their debut release on Dead Oceans. It's set for release on 6 Feb next year, so you've a while to get to know component track, 'So Far Away', which you can download here: www.scjag.com/mp3/do/sofaraway.mp3


I Lost You
So Far Away
Onwards to the Wall
Nothing Will Surprise Me
Drill It Up

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Mercury-nominated rapper Ghostpoet has worked with The DOT - that's Mike Skinner and The Music's Rob Harvey - on a new track titled 'Trouble'. As in a prior partnership between Jamie xx and Quayola, the track comes as part of Rizla's experimental projects series, RizLab.

Says Ghostpoet: "It's a great opportunity to work on something really innovative and exciting. Mike, Rob and I have been playing around with some great ideas for a track and a video - but this is the chance to make it a reality".

With a video set to emerge soon, you can view a documentary trailer on the making of 'Trouble' here: www.rizlab.co.uk/projects/3


Keith Richards has told The Observer that The Rolling Stones will meet up in London later this month to rehearse for the first time since 2008. Though Mick Jagger hasn't said whether or not he's going to turn up yet.

Richards tells this Sunday's Observer: "We're just going to play a little together. You don't necessarily want to rehearse or write anything - you just want to touch bases. That's a good start: me, Charlie and Ronnie. Mick's welcome, and I'm sure he'll turn up, but right now we just want to get our chops down".

For a quick crash course in the ongoing tensions between Mick and Keith, and the long-running rumours and disputes around the 50th anniversary tour, click here: www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/beef-of-the-week-mick-jagger-v-keith-richards/

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ATP CURATED BY JEFF MAGNUM, Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, 19-11 Mar: With this event postponed from its original 2011 dates to a new and improved springtime slot, there have been a few inevitable changes to its line-up. Panda Bear, Tinariwen, Superchunk, Group Inerane, The Mountain Goats, and Colin Stetson are all unable to attend the revised date, so won't be appearing. Talks are being held with Fleet Foxes, Sun Ra Arkestra, and Micachu & The Shapes, who may yet still be performing. So, that leaves Jeff Mangum, Joanna Newsom, Boredoms, Sebadoh, Low, Thurston Moore, Scratch Acid, The Raincoats and Robyn Hitchock amongst the existing line-up, with additions to the bill including headliners The Magnetic Fields plus Versus, The Music Tapes, Group Doueh, and Mike Watt & George Hurle. www.atpfestival.com/events/jeffmangum.php

DOWNLOAD, Donington Park, 8-10 Jun: Between Download, Sonisphere and Reading, Metallica have racked up six UK festival headline appearances since 2003. They'll be pulling that tally up to seven when they play Download for the third time next year. Although this time they'll be playing 'The Black Album' in full, so that's nice. www.downloadfestival.co.uk

HEINEKEN OPEN'ER, Gdynia, Poland, 4-7 Jul: App queen and nature enthusiast Björk is the first and only act to be booked for next year's beer-backed Open'er, with lots of lesser acts set to be announced soon. www.opener.pl/en

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Morrissey has given his approval for a Smiths song to be used in John Lewis' Christmas TV ad campaign. And worst of all, they've chosen 'Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want', which doesn't seem to be in the giving spirit of the season. That said, the tagline is apparently "John Lewis: for gifts you can't wait to give", so basically the whole thing makes no sense. Unless we're all meant to buy presents for Morrissey this year, I suppose.

John Lewis's Marketing Director Craig Inglis told The Telegraph that Morrissey was "delighted" that the retail chain wanted to use the song, saying: "It wasn't a long and difficult road actually. It was relatively straightforward getting the rights. We approached the record company [Rough Trade] and Morrissey back in July, and they gave their approval. It is an iconic track from an iconic British band. We know our audience holds The Smiths and bands from that era in high esteem".

Rough Trade's Head Of Marketing Ruth Paterson told The Times: "I do like the idea of a really good song by a really good band being played in Middle England's living rooms. I'm sure that wasn't the song's intended purpose, but I think that's a good thing".

If I want a really good song by a really good band to be played in a Middle England living room over Christmas I'll put one on myself, thanks.

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According to various sources in the hip hop press, Sony Music is in talks to try and acquire hip hop label Cash Money Records, as part of an acquisition spree being spearheaded by newish boss man Doug Morris to bring new A&R and producer talent into the Sony fold.

Cash Money Records currently operates as a division of Morris's former employer Universal Music, but the partnership deal between the major and the former indie's owners is reportedly soon to expire, and Morris is apparently using that as an opportunity to try and bring the hip hop imprint, which has Drake, Lil Wayne, Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj on its roster, into his new home.

Cash Money isn't the only label the new Sony chief is wooing. As previously reported, Sony is also in talks to buy Big Machine, whose best known signing is Taylor Swift. It too has an existing distribution relationship with Morris's former employers Universal.


Rihanna's manager Jay Brown has said that the idea of artists releasing a new album every three years is no longer viable, which would explain why Rihanna seems to put out a new one every three months.

Brown told the BBC: "Kids want new material all the time. I think you become disposable when you put out an album every three years".

That's all well and good, though the artists who do still only put out an album every three years or so are generally well-established and have an older fanbase. Though Brown made a better point when he said that pop albums have become bloated of late, with tracklists growing too long.

"Nobody, when they're buying an album, wants to skip over tracks", he said. "If there are too many songs, you dilute what you're trying to do. When we were deciding the tracks to put on [Rihana's new album 'Talk That Talk' which is 35 minutes long in total], I wasn't thinking about minutes and seconds. I just wanted to make sure it was all hits".


Frank Black has confirmed that he has launched his own record label called The Bureau, which will release his own projects that fall outside existing label relationships as well as music from other artists, including Jeremy Dubs and former Captain Beefheart sideman Eric Drew Feldman.

The venture grew out of a website used by Black to sell merchandise and promote ad hoc projects, but turned into a label when the Pixies man decided to release an album of Harry Nilsson covers by the aforementioned Dubs, which comes out later this month.

Although he has a number of projects already on the go, Black is looking for other talent to work with via The Bureau. The Guardian quote him as saying: "We're really open to hearing demos from bands or performers, wherever they are and whoever they are ... I'm scouring the landscape, just like Columbia and Sony".


Also setting up a new label is Daniel Copeman from Esben & the Witch, who has teamed up with gig promoter Andy Rossiter to launch an EP-only venture called Love Thy Neighbour Records. Their first release is an EP by Abi Wade called 'And Blood And Air', which will be out on 28 Nov. You can check out one of the tracks off the record here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=90oJPa0Pm8c

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Dublin-based music video platform MUZU has announced a new partnership with Sony Home Entertainment in Europe which will bring the pop promo service into the living room via the previously reported Sony Entertainment Network, the consumer electronics firm's digital content network that once went by the rather ridiculous name of Qriocity.

Via the partnership, subscribers will be able to access free music videos via Sony Bravia TVs and Blu-Ray players, and the firm's web-TV Network Media Players. The new partnership further expands MUZU's reach beyond the net-connected-PC, them already having a partnership with Samsung and a deal with Microsoft's Xbox division in the pipeline.

Confirming the new deal, Sony Europe's Edd Uzzell told CMU: "As one of the largest digital entertainment services, Sony Entertainment Network aims to bring new ways for consumers to enjoy music, movies, games and more. By continuing to add new and exciting partners such as MUZU, we feel we are perfectly complimenting the existing music services we prove, giving our customers a wealth of choice for enjoying music content whenever they want it".

MUZU CEO Ciaran Bollard added: "Owning this space is strategically important to MUZU and being selected as the partner for Sony Entertainment Network across Europe adds a huge boost to this goal. MUZU consumers can now access and enjoy music through our services on TVs through three major partners including Sony".


Elsewhere in interesting digital partnerships this week, fully-licensed audio-sharing platform Mixcloud - which lets anyone upload mixes or music-based radio-style programmes to the web - announced an alliance with Juno Download which will enable the site to offer sell-through on music featured in mixes and programmes available via the Mixcloud platform.

Juno Download will use its music identification system to spot what music appears in Mixcloud content - including tracks that appear briefly in a mix - and the audio-sharing website will then provide users with a sell-through link while those tracks are playing where they can link through to Juno Download and buy the track, should they wish to.

Mixcloud co-founder Sam Cooke told CMU: "Listening to Mixcloud has expanded my musical tastes and helped me discover new artists. Now it's even easier to see the tracks and artists that I'm listening to. Being able to click directly to the tracks on Juno Download is great, not only for me as a consumer, but for the artists and labels that we support".

Juno co-founder John Atherton added: "Juno is really excited to be able to introduce this service which allows us to match up the largest dance and electronic music catalogue on the web to Mixcloud's incredible platform. We see this as the first important step in helping users find more of what they want and supporting artists with easy, convenient and legal sales channels".


On-demand streaming services of the Spotify kind will account for a third of consumers' global digital music spending by 2015, research from US analyst firm Gartner predicted earlier this week. Recent impressive growth seen by the likes of Spotify, MOG, Deezer and Rdio will continue. Meanwhile Pandora-style interactive radio services will likely see user-base decline, and a la carte services like iTunes will see only modest growth, most of it coming from the Middle East, Latin American and Africa. Or at least that's what the stat monkeys reckon.

Certainly it seems that the subscription-based 'access' model for digital music is finally gaining momentum after ten years of predictions that it would, though most subscription services are still niche products in the wider scheme of things, and there is other research to suggest those streaming services which require less interaction from the user, possibly linked in with a more traditional a la carte download sell-through, may actually be more suitable for the mainstream consumer, rather than total-control all-you-can eat services like Spotify.

Two things are helping the streaming services gain momentum.

First, the recent changes at Facebook, allowing music services to provide recommendations and, in some cases, free previews via the social network's platform, linking back to their subscription services. A blog post from Team Facebook this week claimed that since they provided new integration opportunities for digital content services back in September, Spotify has added well over four million new users, MOG has seen 246% growth, Deezer is adding more than 10,000 users per day and Rdio has seen a 30-fold increase in new sign-ups. So, probably worth it for Spotify to accept all that flack from existing users about its extreme closeness to the Facebook massive.

The other thing aiding the growth of streaming music services just now is alliances between said digital content providers and ISPs and tel cos, which bundle a music platform's subscription services in with their net-access and phone packages. For Spotify, arguably the most important alliance to date has been with Swedish tel co Telia, a partnership which was renewed for another two years this week. The phone firm will continue to offer Spotify's premium service with its phone, TV and net packages.


SoundTracking, a 'musical postcards' company apparently (take photo on phone, log location, sync with appropriate song, upload to social media), announced earlier this week that it had raised another $4.75 million in financing. Among the new investors are True Ventures, SoftBank and Accel Partners, the latter also an investor in Spotify.

Commenting on punter reaction to his company's service, SoundTracking founder Steve Jang told CMU: "The response from music fans and iOS device users has been incredible so far, and SoundTracking has enjoyed not only strong growth but authentic context and real emotional engagement as well. We will continue to enhance the user experience and make sharing your musical moments deeper and more meaningful".

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Gruesome auction, anyone? A number of items from Michael Jackson's former home are to be auctioned next month, including the bed he died in.

President of auction house Julien's Auctions, Darren Julien, told Entertainment Weekly: "We want to preserve the history of these items".

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing the singer's mother Katherine Jackson, Perry Sanders Jr, said that he and his team had "done everything we can to ascertain that items from this address are not being auctioned using Michael's name and likeness to enhance the items' value".

Um, yeah.


South African rap outfit Die Antwoord are claiming to have "pulled out of their record deal" with Universal Music (they being released through Interscope in the US and Polydor in the UK). You just read that and you scoffed, didn't you? Scoffed away like a big scoffer. "That just means they've been dropped", you think. Well you shouldn't, because if Die Antwoord say they pulled out of their deal with Universal, then they did. In fact, the folks over at Universal seem to think they might still be releasing the group's second album, which does add extra weight to Die Antwoord's claims that it's them who have made a break for it.

The duo claimed in a post on their website, which has since been removed (the latest entry now informs fans that singer/rapper Yo-landi Visser shot an AK-47 for the first time in February), that Universale had tried to make them write more mainstream music for their second album, 'TEN$ION', but they had refused and will now release that record independently on their own ZEF Recordz label.

Or in their words: "So anyway... Interscope offered us a bunch of money again to release our new album 'TEN$ION'. But this time, they also tried to get involved with our music, to try and make us sound like everyone else out there at the moment. So we said: 'You know what, hang on to your money, buy yourself something nice... we gonna do our own thing. Bye bye'".

Rapper Ninja also told Boing Boing that the album would only be released in download formats and on USB sticks "because CDs are like motherfucking VHS".

At this point, I imagine you're still going with the 'yeah, they were dropped' theory. But then a rep for Interscope told The Hollywood Reporter that the company is "currently in discussions" with Die Antwoord about releasing the album. The rap group responded by posting a video for a new track they plan to release, called 'Fok Julle Naaiers', onto YouTube, which was then apparently blocked by Universal.

Posting on their Facebook page, Die Antwoord frontman Ninja said he was "fixin this UMG block bullshit right now" adding: "'TEN$ION' is releasing on ZEF Recordz, NOT on Universal/Interscope. Think it's taking a while for this to sink into their brainz".

So, there you go. That's fun. It still remains to be seen if they've actually pulled out of their deal, and if contractually they are really able to. Though I believe Die Antwoord remained independent of the major in South Africa anyway, in which case it would be partially true that the new album will be released on the outfit's own label even if the Universal partnership remains. Of course it's quite possible that this is a scheme to get people talking about 'TEN$ION'. And if so, well done to them, it worked.

But if Universal is holding out for some more radio-friendly material, 'Fok Julle Naaiers' doesn't set a great benchmark. Translated from Afrikaans the title means "Fuck you fuckers", and the track features some choice language in English too (Ninja explains, with slightly dubious reasoning, why you shouldn't be offended here: vimeo.com/31741727). Still not officially available on YouTube, you can nonetheless watch it via Vimeo here:


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