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A dark, downbeat confection of songcraft and samples, swirled through with a lush falsetto, and made shadowy flesh by producer-singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye. I'm talking, of course, about The Weeknd, who this year confounded critics with his 'House Of Balloons' and 'Thursday' mixtapes. Both conjured a fireball of fuss from the little anyone could glean of Tesfaye's past or present more>>
Throughout December, we will be revisiting some of our favourite artists to have appeared in the CMU Approved column this year. Today we take another look at alt-pop duo AlunaGeorge, who in August were about to release their brilliant single 'You Know You Like It'. This week, you can catch them live at The Nest in East London on Thursday night for a special end of year party more>>
- Edgar Bronfman Jr to exit Warner chairman role
- My Life Story reunite for album anniversary show
- Animal Collective working on new album
- Ghostface Killah blames DOOM for collaboration delay
- Lewis to cover Nine Inch Nails' Hurt
- Of Montreal announce new album
- Blondes announce debut album
- Dry The River announce debut album
- Madonna Super Bowl performance confirmed
- Laura Marling to tour, and possibly go punk
- Musical vegetarians to appear on US postage stamps
- Ticketmaster distributes class action credits
- Digital updates: VEVO, Sony Entertainment Network, Spotify
- Sociology should always start with Jay-Z
- McFly boy celebrates bandmate's jungle win with naked tweet
Kilimanjaro Live are promoters of live music and other events including Sonisphere and Wakestock festivals and are looking for a Ticketing Manager to join our team. We work on hundreds of events a year with a wide variety of artists and at capacities from small rooms to arenas to stadiums and green field sites so ideally you would have a good level of experience in the ticketing requirements of some if not all of these event types.

An interest in music and willingness to work within a pressured environment as part of a team is essential. The role is based in London but involves some travel, particularly in festival season.

Please send your CV and a covering note to [email protected]
Fast growing Music PR Agency is looking for a sharp Online PR account manager who loves the web and takes pride in doing a Superstar job. You will require significant music online experience, with a proven track record of working high profile releases and social media campaigns. You must also have exceptional writing ability. Superb training and support provided. You will take ownership of your job and be generously rewarded for the quality and reliability of your work. HTML, graphic design skills and technical knowledge a distinct advantage.

Minimum one to two years PR experience in online PR. Salary dependent on experience.

To apply, send a cover letter and CV to [email protected]
7digital seek an Account Manager to oversee our US based B2B clients. Reporting to the lead of the London HQ account management team with direction and priorities on North American business from the NA market lead and business development team, the focus of the role is to support all B2B API business implementation and provide general account coordination between the London and North American operations. The position is part of a small American team (consisting of: market lead, business development, technical evangelist, and marketing - all based in US; with the Account Manager role based in London).

More information here: www.thecmuwebsite.com/jobs

Please send CV and covering letter to [email protected] ensuring you put Account Manager in the subject field.
Cooking Vinyl is looking for an office manager to run and maintain our busy West London office.

Successful applicants will exhibit good written skills, ability to problem solve, multi-task, and be proficient on office software packages (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc).

All applicants must be well organised, have a genuine love of music, enjoy going to gigs, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Cooking Vinyl is a successful independent record label and has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s prime artist-focused independent labels, inspiring an enviable loyalty among its artists which include The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, The Enemy, Roll Deep, Groove Armada and Billy Bragg.

Applicants should send CV and covering letter to [email protected]

Closing date 10 Dec
The Zeitgeist Agency is the leading creative communications agency in the festival, brand and music space. We have the contacts, ideas and passion to consistently over-deliver and generate the right buzz at the right time for our premium brands and events.

Want to join our expanding team?

Senior Account Manager – All-rounder with music, brand account management, festival and arts experience. Must have unrivalled contacts and proven record for new business. Experienced, determined and tenacious candidates need only apply.

Press Officer / Junior Account Manager – at least one year’s cross platform experience required and ready to go to the next level.

Send your CV and a tweet-sized covering note to: [email protected]

Warner Music Chairman, and the major's former CEO and co-owner, Edgar Bronfman Jr, is stepping down from the Chair role at the end of January, he has revealed to staff at the music firm.

But before you think that might be because he's still rather pissed off that he was eased out of day to day decision making at the music major after its acquisition by Access Industries (a takeover deal that possibly wasn't as Bronfman backed as we initially thought), or because his decade long ambition to combine Warner with EMI to create a third mega-major music company was shattered when Universal gazumped Access Industries' bid for the EMI record companies, you'd be so wrong. He's just far too busy with other projects to be doing all that Warner chairing shit.

In an internal memo, Bronfman Jr told staff: "I wanted to let you know that, as my other obligations are beginning to take an inordinate amount of time, I have asked to step down as WMG's Board Chairman, effective 31 Jan 2012. However, I will remain a director of the company and in that way, continue my association with Warner Music and its extraordinary people. It has been a unique and special privilege and honour for me to have worked alongside you. Thank you again for all the support, commitment and determination you have given to WMG and to me, as we worked together to transform our business".

Bronfman Jr, having orchestrated the merger of the Universal and Polygram music majors in 1998 via his inherited family business Seagram, then led a consortium of investors to buy Warner Music off the Time Warner conglom in 2004. He subsequently became Warner Music Group's CEO, attempting on a few occasions to merge his new music asset with EMI, to create a combined company more on par with the Universal Music Group he had left behind in 2001. But when Terra Firma snapped up EMI in a multi-billion deal in 2007 it seemed that the EMI Warner merger dream was off the agenda, though not for long, as the private equity group's debt-laded ownership of the London-based music company soon began to untangle.

By 2011 EMI, having been repossessed by Terra Firma's money lenders Citigroup, was basically back up for sale and everyone assumed that Bronfman Jr, still in charge at Warner and a significant shareholder, would now pounce and get the EMI/Warner merger he'd long wished for. Though most realised that cash pile limitations might limit Bronfman's acquisition to just the EMI record labels, rather than the more expensive publishing catalogues.

Though, interestingly, concurrent to all the repossession shenanigans at EMI was the announcement that Warner was reviewing its business and considering selling some or all of its assets. Was this an attempt by Bronfman to bring in new money to fund an EMI merger? Or were some of his fellow shareholders looking for a way out of the music business, possibly noticing the re-emergence of silly money takeover deals and IPOs in the digital space, and hoping an entertainment company in possession of lots of digital content might be able to force a similarly silly money asking price?

In the end Len Blavatnik's Access Industries bought Warner Music outright. What this meant for Bronfman Jr wasn't immediately obvious, though in August he stood down from the hands-on CEO role, to be replaced by Access exec Stephen Cooper. Bronfman Jr's long time number two exec, record industry veteran Lyor Cohen, then subsequently had his responsibilities increased. The former CEO, we were told, would stay on as Chairman and, insiders said, he was concentrating on one big project - using Access Industries' money to make a bid for the EMI record companies.

At various points Warner was favourite to get the EMI labels, but Citigroup's demands over price and liabilities seemingly pissed off Blavatnik, and Warner withdrew from the takeover talks at the last minute, allowing Bronfman's original music venture, Universal, to come in and strike up a deal.

Since then Bronfman Jr's position at Warner has been in question, not least because he's never seemed like the sort of man who'd relish a back-seat overseer role, and it's not like there's even any shareholders for the Chair to placate. And Bronfman does have other projects, including involvement in private equity, entrepreneur mentoring, and an executive role at a technology company developing kit that can capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Those are possibly the "other obligations" Bronfman Jr referred to in his memo, though with the Seagram heir, it wouldn't be any surprise if he's also sitting on another set of grand plans in the entertainment space.

Time will tell. We also don't currently know who will replace Bronfman Jr in the Chairman's role at WMG, though it's possible Stephen Cooper or another Access Industries board member could take that position too. There may be an announcement on that on Thursday when the music company makes a financial statement.

Meanwhile, Blavatnik was on hand with a memo yesterday to say thank you very much like to his outgoing Chairman. The Access Industries owner wrote: "Today, I also write to thank Edgar for all that he's done for the company, and all that he will do in the years to come. His leadership, counsel and guidance have been - and will remain - invaluable. It was his vision in transforming WMG into a progressive, modern music company that made it so attractive to Access. Given that vision and his years of expertise in the industry, as a director at WMG, he will continue to be an important part of our leadership and I look forward to his many future contributions".

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I fucking loved 'The Golden Mile' by My Life Story. In fact, I'm pretty sure I own not only the album itself, but two of the singles that came from it. On CD and everything.

Which is a relevant fact for this morning, because My Life Story have just announced a reunion gig for next March. And although frontman Jake Shillingford has reunited with his former bandmates for various one-off gigs in the last decade, this one will specifically mark the fifteenth anniversary of what was probably the band's best known album, the aforementioned 'The Golden Mile'.

The gig will take place on 3 Mar at the Shepherds Bush Empire, with the album performed in full along with a helping of other tracks too, plus support from Martin Rossiter. Yes, he formerly of Gene. VIP tickets - or a 'golden ticket' - will also be available, that will give holders access to an extra performance plus other souvenirs.

Says Shillingford of the anniversary show: "With this trend for bands to play classic albums we want to take it one step further in that grandiose My Life Story style. Sometimes we'd impose a dress code at our gigs. For this anniversary we would love the crowd to dress up and make it a special atmosphere, so make sure you come suited and booted! Expect a big, bold and brash performance, all foxy horns and horny foxes".

Tickets from www.mylifestory.uk.com.

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Animal Collective's Avey Tare has revealed that the band have begun work on the follow-up to their 2009 album 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' in Tare's hometown of Baltimore, with plans to begin recording in January.

He told 77 Square: "We just finished another two weeks of writing sessions and put together five new songs. We're really excited about this record ... and it's been really fun jamming with those guys again".

The band are also due to play at the Merriweather Post Pavilion venue in Baltimore (I've heard that name somewhere before) this Saturday, where they will be debuting some of the new songs, according to The Baltimore Sun.

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Wu-Tang's Ghostface Killah has said that his much anticipated album with DOOM has stalled because his collaborator has stopped (or at least slowed down) working on it. As previously reported, the pair began working together under the name Doomstarks earlier this year. One track, entitled 'Victory Laps', was released in July, but since then all has gone quiet.

Ghostface Killah told MuchMusic: "As far as the album with DOOM, we did a lot of songs. I'm still waiting for him to send me more songs. I tell him, 'the people want the album, yo'. Everywhere I go, they want it... But the ball's in his corner. I'm just waiting on him, because I've been pressing the issue. [But] it's gonna happen".

Have a listen to 'Victory Laps' here: soundcloud.com/lexrecords/doomstarks-victory-laps

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Having discovered that releasing an 'original song' that turns out to be someone else's song is a bit of a hassle legally speaking, Leona Lewis has decided to put out an EP of straight up cover versions, so hopefully this release will go off without any major snags.

Though she's made some interesting choices when it comes to what songs to cover, most notably the Nine Inch Nails track 'Hurt', which - if she screws it up, or makes it sickly or twee - will likely piss off not only Trent Reznor fans, but also Johnny Cash fans, his 2002 cover of the 1994 song being arguably better known than the original.

Also on the covers EP, set to be released next week, are versions of Goo Goo Dolls track 'Iris' and Counting Crows song 'Colorblind'. The covers release is presumably to placate Lewis fans who were originally expecting a new long player this year, but who now have to wait until late March next year for the former 'X-Factor' winner's third album.

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Of Montreal have announced that they will release a new album, their eleventh and the follow-up to last year's 'False Priest', in February. Entitled 'Paralytic Stalks', it will be released by Polyvinyl on 6 Feb. You can here a track from it, 'Wintered Debts', below.

And here's the tracklist:

Gelid Ascent
Spiteful Intervention
Dour Percentage
We Will Commit Wolf Murder
Malefic Dowery
Ye, Renew The Plaintiff
Wintered Debts
Exorcismic Breeding Knife
Authentic Pyrrhic Remission


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Brooklyn psych house duo Blondes, aka Sam Haar and Zach Steinman, have announced that they will release their eponymous debut album through RVNG Intl on 6 Feb. As well as eight original tracks, bringing together three EP releases, a second disc will feature remixes from the likes of Teengirl Fantasy, JD Twitch, Laurel Halo and more. You can listen to the Teengirl Fantasy remix of 'Wine' here - soundcloud.com/igetrvng/blondes-wine-teengirl-fantasy - and check out the video for the original version below.

CD 1:

CD 2:
Lover (A JD Twitch Optimo Mix)
Lover (Dungeon Acid Remix)
Hater (SFV Acid's Encino Oaks Remix)
Business (John Roberts Remix)
Pleasure (Andy Stott Remix)
Wine (Teengirl Fantasy Remix)
Water (Bicep Remix)
Gold (One Blonde Strange Idea by Traxx)
Gold (Laurel Halo Chains Remix)
Amber (Variation in Cm by Rene Hell)


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Having just been announced as one of the fifteen bands on the BBC Sound Of 2012 longlist, Dry The River have also announced details of their debut album, 'Shallow Bed', which will be released by Sony/RCA/Victor on 5 Mar. They'll also release a new single, 'The Chambers & Valves', on 27 Feb, and perform live at Electric Ballroom in London this Wednesday (9 Dec). Busy, Busy.

Says frontman Peter Liddle of the album: "We wanted to record the bulk of it to tape, to use analogue stuff in favour of computer wizardry where possible, but without it sounding like an old folk record. I think we tried to preserve the fragility and honesty of the more stripped down tracks, but still get the intensity of the live show across too - to marry those two aspects of our music without it sounding incongruous".

The tracklisting of the album is as follows:

Animal Skins
New Ceremony
Shield Your Eyes
History Book
The Chambers & The Valves
Bible Belt
No Rest
Shaker Hymns
Weights & Measure
Lion's Den

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The NFL has confirmed that Madonna will perform next year's halftime show at the Super Bowl on 5 Feb, which will coincide with the release of the first single from her new album, and possibly the release of her debut film as a director, 'WE'.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Madonna will team up with Cirque du Soleil, choreographer Jamie King and multimedia artists from Moment Factory for the performance. Fancy.

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Having completed a tour of English cathedrals to promote third album, 'A Creature I Don't Know, folk darling Laura Marling has revealed she'll embark on another live run next year. She has also discussed potential future recording plans, which may or may not involve her plugging in for a noisesome punk LP.

Speaking to The Guardian last week, she said: "I'd like to make music for as long as I can, but I would like to do things a bit differently. I think I might be coming into my electric phase. My first love was punk, and my current love is punk, so maybe there's a punk album coming, though I probably wouldn't do it under my name".

So, getting back to her 2012 tour, there's a chance you'll get to see Gnarling shred at the following dates:

1 Mar: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
2 Mar: Birmingham, Symphony Hall
3 Mar: Bristol, Colston Hall
5 Mar: Gateshead, Sage Theatre
6 Mar: Leeds, Academy
7 Mar: Hammersmith, HMV Apollo
9 Mar: Manchester, Apollo
10 Mar: Glasgow, Academy
11 Mar: Stoke, Victoria Hall
13 Mar: Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall

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Various stars of the music industry are to appear on a range of US postage stamps featuring "vegetarian icons" selected by animal rights group PETA and due to go on sale later this month.

In a statement, PETA said that the line of stamps "honours some of the world's most dynamic people from throughout history who went vegetarian out of concern for animals, their health, or the environment". Which is a kick in the teeth for all those people who went vegetarian just because they find animals creepy.

Music people included are Paul McCartney, Morrissey, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, Chrissie Hynde, Leona Lewis, Joan Jett and Bryan Adams. Oh, and Ellen DeGeneres, who is sort of a music person. Sometimes. A bit.

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Live Nation's Ticketmaster is sending out emails to its US customers alerting them to $1.50-$5.00 credits which they will be able to use against future ticket purchases as compensation for dubious and misleading processing and postage fees charged by the ticketing giant between 1999 and 2011.

As previously reported, way back in 2003 two Americans called Curt Schlesinger and Peter Lo Re sued Ticketmaster, claiming the ticketing giant had misled customers by implying in its marketing materials that "delivery fees" added to ticket purchases were simply a cost of sale, ie what it cost Ticketmaster to deliver tickets. In fact, a profit margin was included so the fee was a revenue. Given the size of the delivery fees (up to $25) that was probably a given, but the plaintiffs reckoned the ticketing firm was at fault for not explicitly stating so.

The case became a class action last year, meaning anyone who bought tickets on which the dubious delivery fees were charged was eligible for compensation. An out of court deal was then reached earlier this year. That settlement was originally knocked back by a judge, but got preliminary court approval back in October, though final approval won't come until next May.

Under that deal, Live Nation will set aside a multi-million dollar fund from which credits will be offered to gig goers. Any American Tickemaster customer will be able to get a $1.50-$5.00 credit (the larger if they received their tickets via UPS, and were charged the higher delivery fee as a result) on up to seventeen tickets they bought via the ticketing agency in the last decade. Those credits could be used on any future ticket purchases, except for events at AEG-owned venues.

Ticketmaster is emailing its customers about the credit scheme this month, though the credits will only go into affect once the settlement deal is fully approved by a judge next year.

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Yesterday we reported that VEVO was in talks with one of its key competitors in the online video market - MTV - about supplying the broadcaster with music videos for their websites. And now the online video service's UK division has done a deal with another sort of competitor in the streaming content space, the Sony Entertainment Network, though as the Sony Music company owns a chunk of VEVO, I don't suppose they're full on rivals.

Anyway, Sony's streaming content platform is the first brand to do a major content-tie-up promotion with VEVO in the UK. The video site has set up advent-calendar style page, sponsored by the Sony Entertainment Network, and featuring 25 artists. There's a video from each act, plus competitions to win prizes related to each featured artist, including signed guitars, tickets, signed merchandise, and even a meal at Nandos with Professor Green. Classy stuff.

The Christmas content feature is one of a number of bespoke content strands being developed by VEVO UK. Such branded strands, already very much part of the VEVO set up in the US, will become more prevalent on the video site over here too in 2012, including strands like The Lift, which showcases new bands, and Vevo Presents, which features brand-sponsored secret gigs by more established acts.

Elsewhere in Sony Entertainment Network news, the Sony-owned digital content service recently confirmed plans for more global expansion, as well as revealing the service will soon be available on non-Sony devices too, including Apple gadgets.

Meanwhile, according to the FT, Tim Schaaff, the Sony division's President, has said he is confident his service can last the distance against more buzzy rivals like Spotify and Pandora - despite past aborted efforts in the digital content space by Sony Corp - because it has both the resources and the business model to survive long term.

The FT quotes him thus: "Spotify is certainly a formidable competitor. But we can afford to invest in this area for a long time. None of those [other streaming] businesses are making money. Spotify is losing money hand over fist. Free is a great proposition but someone has got to pay for it. Right now it's being paid for by the venture capital community".

And now you've brought up Spotify (well, OK, Tim brought it up, but I'm sure he'd love us to big his rival up some more in this here Sony story), Hypebot has listed other functionality added to the Spotify player by last week's upgrade, other than the new third party apps that dominated the Swedish streaming service's unnecessary press call in New York. Those of you who have already upgraded to New Spotify will already have noticed some of these new functions, but possibly not all of them.

The list is here: www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/12/spotify-upgrade-is-about-much-more-than-just-apps.html

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Fancy a degree in Jay-Z? Well it rhymes, so why wouldn't you? In which case, get yourself to Georgetown University, Washington DC, where there isn't actually an entire degree based around the hip hop icon, but there is a specific course taught by the college's sociology department called 'The Sociology Of Hip Hop: Jay Z'.

But watch out, the university's Professor Michael Dyson admits that the course is really about racial and gender identity, sexuality, capitalism and economic inequality, it just uses the Roc Nation rapper as a way of tricking students into discussing such academic themes. You know, just like what Jesus did. Sort of.

Dyson told Fox News: "[This] class confronts topics present in any sociology course: racial and gender identity, sexuality, capitalism and economic inequality. It just happens to have an interesting object of engagement in Jay-Z - and what better way to meet people where they are? It's like Jesus talking to the woman at the well. You ask for a drink of water, then you get into some theological discussions".

Dyson says that Jay-Z is particularly interesting because of the diversity of his business ventures, not to mention the "cross-cultural" appeal of his music, and the "lyrical prowess" he demonstrates in articulating contemporary black culture and his place in it. The prof adds: "I think he's an icon of American excellence".

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McFly's Danny Jones celebrated his bandmate Dougie Poynter's recent win on 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' by posted a naked photo of himself on Twitter yesterday (though with a strategically held paper cup protecting some of his modesty).

Apparently he'd previously promised to post such a candid snap if the band's fans voted for his bass playing bandmate on the tedious c'leb show, presumably on the off chance there's a McFly fan somewhere in the world that hasn't previously seen him sans clothing (there isn't).

So, when - in what was apparently a surprise win - Poynter was crowned king of the jungle, Jones came good on his promise. I dread to think what he'll do if other bandmate Harry Judd now wins the current run of 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Meanwhile, here's the naked shot, should you want such a thing:

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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] or [email protected].

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