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I'm normally of the opinion that any song is fair game for covering by any artist. I mean, what difference does it make to me? But on Friday I heard Leona Lewis' cover of 'Hurt' by Nine Inch Nails. I actually started out liking it, but then it goes down hill in rapid stages. Oh god, I'm remembering the bit where the drums came in. Maybe these things will take my mind off it more>>
Throughout December, we will be revisiting some of our favourite artists to have appeared in the CMU Approved column this year. Dark hip hop outfit Death Grips released their 'Ex Military' mixtape in the summer, Flatlander's heavy production complemented by Zach Hill's frantic drumming almost drowned out by MC Ride's aggressive vocals. Intense, to say the least more>>
- Warner accuses 'X-Factor' producers of Sony act bias
- Car collides with Numan tour bus
- MegaUpload accuses Universal of takedown abuse over all-star video
- US music exec in serious condition after LA shooting
- Thom Yorke and Jay-Z discuss Occupy movement
- Cave's Grinderman project at an end, possibly
- Stone Roses sign new deal
- No more Adele albums for two years, says Adele
- The National debut new songs, duet with Bon Iver
- The Cribs announce 2012 shows
- Major Lazer announce tour
- Festival line-up update
- Universal goes All Around The World for UMTV management
- Warner signs Kings Of Leon and Nutini producer as A&R
- Google buys US rights agency
- RIAA defends sue-the-fans nonsense
- Spotify revamps radio service
- Christmas TOTP to be filmed today
- Sinead O'Connor weds at drive thru chapel
Enthusiastic individual required to manage a small private recording studio and generally assist a team of established dance music producers.

Must be organised and willing to deal with the day to day running of a recording studio, web/social media savvy, be familiar with Pro-Tools, Logic, Ableton etc. and have a genuine interest in cutting edge dance music of all genres.

Location: London (Kings Cross area)

Looking to interview pre-Christmas for possible mid-January start. Please e-mail CV to [email protected]
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]

Warner Music has submitted a complaint to media regulator OfCom claiming that this weekend 'X-Factor' producers unfairly prioritised artists signed to Sony Music for its highly viewed final shows.

Sony, of course, owns half of Simon Cowell's Syco company, one of the producers of the tedious telly talent contest. Even with ratings slipping somewhat this series, 'X-Factor' is still by far the most watched music programme on British TV, hence the desire of pretty much every mainstream pop star, however big, to guest on the show when they have something to flog.

Although Sony Music has a stake in the talent show, OfCom rules mean that the major can't overtly use it as a promotional platform for its own acts, so producers usually go out of their way to ensure artists from the other three majors are represented. However, four of the six artists to guest on the final two editions of 'X-Factor' for 2011 this weekend came from Sony labels.

That said, three were former 'X-Factor' contestants who have gone on to have successful pop careers, so their presence was possibly editorially justified, though two of them - JLS and One Direction - were former losers, arguably rendering the final votes the shows were staged to host pointless.

According to The Guardian, who reported that Warner had filed a complaint with OfCom ahead of this weekend's 'X' shows on Friday, insiders at the major were particularly pissed off that former 'X' winner Leona Lewis appeared, as she has no current album to promote, and some reckon her terrible cover versions EP, released on Friday, was put out just to capitalise on her 'X-Factor' guest spot.

Noting that the fourth Sony act to guest was Westlife, The Guardian quoted an 'industry insider' as saying: "'The 'X-Factor' final should feature the biggest acts in the world. Leona Lewis is already frankly on the way down. JLS and One Direction have already been on this series, and you have to question the choice of Westlife".

Warner's complaint was specifically against ITV, the actual OfCom licence holder here, and accused the commercial channel of failing to exercise proper editorial control over its pop talent show. The Guardian suggested that Universal Music may also submit a complaint, though given three of the current 'X-Factor' judges are signed to its labels, plus Universal enjoys a good relationship with ITV as the producer of most of the channel's other prime time pop specials, that actually seems unlikely.

Syco and ITV have already disputed Warner's claims, pointing out that over the whole series Universal artists had the most exposure on the show this year, that most of the Sony acts to appear are editorially relevant former 'X' contestants, and that both Warner and EMI had three acts each on the programme, including one each on the final weekend.

In amongst all that promotion and product placement, the final two stages of the talent contest were able to occur, with Little Mix being declared the overall winners of this year's competition. Their cover of the Damien Rice song 'Cannonball' is out today, meaning it will have to stay top of the singles chart for two weeks to be Christmas number one, the festive chart coming out on Christmas Day this year.

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Gary Numan was back on the road last week, for a few gigs ahead of his appearance at this weekend's ATP event in Minehead, and not without a bit of drama after a car collided with his tour bus in East Sussex.

According to reports, the driver of the car involved in the collision was trying to overtake Numan's double decker tour bus when it collided with the coach, causing it to go spinning up the embankment at the side of the road. Numan, on the upper deck of the bus at the time, says he saw the car pass his window before crashing into the embankment. Yet, fortunately, the driver was OK.

The Sun quotes Numan thus: "We felt a thud and the bus stopped really quickly. People were thrown to the floor. I was on the top deck and saw this little gold car the same height as me going past the window. When the car stopped we could see the woman putting it into neutral before getting out as if it was something that happened every day. We waited for the police to arrive so she wasn't on her own".

Given no one was hurt, there's probably room for some lame gag based on Numan's famous 1979 hit 'Cars' here. I just can't think of one. Something about Numan having a history of hits with cars. Flesh it out for yourself.

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An all-star song dedicated to the wonders of MegaUpload, the Hong Kong-based file-sharing platform, has been taken down off YouTube because of a copyright complaint by Universal Music, despite the tech company claiming it owns all the copyrights in the video.

The ode to MegaUpload features contributions for numerous a-list US artists, including Kanye West, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Lil Jon, Chris Brown and Jamie Foxx, all of whom advocate using the MegaUpload service. Similar to Rapidshare, MegaUpload enables users to share digital files that are too large to email with other people via the web.

Such services have been criticised by many music and movie companies for allowing users to make copyrighted work available over the web without licence, especially as files available for public download via the file-sharing platforms often appear in search engine results, meaning other users do not need to be directly invited to make illegal copies of content.

Rights owners have called on the operators of such services to put filters in place that block anyone trying to share copyright material via their platforms, though the legal obligations on said service providers to instigate such filters are currently unclear - in the few court cases there have been, things haven't always gone in the content industries' favour.

Although litigation by the music industry against RapidShare has been more high profile, MegaUpload is also a target for the labels and studios, especially in the US. Making the appearance of so many major label artists in the recently produced MegaUpload song all the more amusing. They were presumably persuaded to take part by Printz Board, the producer and Black Eyed Peas collaborator recruited by MegaUpload founder Kim Schmitz - aka Kim Dotcom - to make the promotional video.

When told by Torrentfreak that his new video had been taken down off YouTube because of a copyright complaint by Universal Music, Schmitz said: "Mega owns everything in this video. And we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign. Those UMG criminals. They are sending illegitimate takedown notices for content they don't own. Dirty tricks in an effort to stop our massively successful viral campaign".

The video seemed to reappear on the official Kim Dotcom YouTube channel for a while yesterday, but then disappeared again, though it can still be found elsewhere on other YouTube pages. It remains to be seen what action Schmitz will now take, given his claims he owns all the rights in what does seem to be an original piece of work.

It may well be that Universal has exclusivity contracts with various artists who feature in the video barring them from making recordings for third parties without the major's permission, though whether that is technically enough to force a video offline under either YouTube's terms or US copyright law isn't entirely clear, especially if featured artists did sign personal wavers.

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An LA-based producer and former music executive is in a critical condition in hospital after being the victim in a freak shooting on Sunset Boulevard on Friday.

John Atterberry, who worked with the likes of Jessica Simpson, Brandy and the Spice Girls during his time in the US music industry, was shot three times in the face and neck after gunman Tyler Brehm fired at his car on Friday morning. Brehm fired his gun randomly into traffic on the LA street, also wounding, albeit much less seriously, a Hollywood Reporter photo editor called Chris Godley.

It's thought some onlookers initially assumed the shooter was an actor being filmed for a movie before realising something much more sinister was going on. Brehm was subsequently killed by the LAPD after seemingly taunting police officers to shoot him to stop the carnage. It's thought the man may have been suffering from depression since splitting up with his girlfriend recently, and had possibly turned to drugs as a result.

That former girlfriend told reporters the shooting and alleged drug taking was totally out of character for Brehm, who had responded badly to the end of their four and half year relationship. She also confirmed he had sent her a number of text messages immediately before the shooting.

Atterberry had interests in a number of music companies while working in the industry, though has more recently been focusing on movie projects.

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A video interview featuring Thom Yorke and Massive Attack's 3D talking about the international Occupy movement and has been released online.

Thom, 3D and one time UNKLE producer and DFA Records co-founder Tim Goldsworthy last week surprised Occupy London activists with secret DJ sets, appearing in the basement of a disused UBS building that has been occupied by protestors and rechristened the 'Bank of Ideas'. According to a statement on the Occupy London site, HD clips and audio recordings of the performance are also to be released on a 'pay what you want' basis, "to help raise money for Occupy London and the wider Occupy movement".

Arguing that many people feel "powerless" to comprehend the extent of the global financial crisis, Yorke said: "Because it's in the banking system, because it's in this great cathedral of glass and steel, we're not allowed to say anything about it".

He also spoke out in staunch support of the Occupy protestors, adding: "If the British government is not prepared to really make amends to the British people by penalising the banks the way they should, then I think we should do it ourselves".


Another music star to weigh in on the debate is rapper Jay-Z, who said recently that the original Occupy movement on Wall Street is "a good thing" in that it gives voice to young peoples' views. Though, given that his clothing brand Rocawear is still profiting from the sale of those previously reported 'Occupy All Streets' t-shirts on its website, his being in favour of the protest is unsurprising, not to mention lucrative. Oh well, hip hop moguls will be hip hop moguls.

Watch his interview with CNN Money here: money.cnn.com/video/news/2011/12/08/n_jay-z_taxes_occupy.cnnmoney/

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Nick Cave's side project Grinderman is on hiatus, or at least that's what everyone is assuming following the band's gig at Australia's Meredith Music Festival this weekend.

Cave told the audience at the festival: "That's it for Grinderman. It's over. See you all in another ten years when we'll be even older and uglier".

Cave formed Grinderman with Warren Ellis, Martyn P Casey and Jim Sclavunos, all members of the Bad Seeds, in 2006 as a side project to their Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds work.

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The recently reformed Stone Roses have signed a new record deal for the new material they have been working on since reforming earlier this year. The band have signed a UK deal with Universal Music and a US deal with Sony's Columbia Records.

A statement reads: "The Stone Roses are pleased to announce that they have signed a record contract with Universal Music in London and with Columbia Records in New York".

As previously reported, Ian Brown et al will reform for three reunion shows in Manchester next June, followed by a string of festival appearances around the world.

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Adele has revealed that she won't be releasing a successor to her latest album, '21', for several years, saying she needs time to "just 'be'" before she can begin work on a new LP.

Communicating via email, the 23 year old singer told Billboard: "I'm really looking forward to some time to do nothing. I imagine I'll be 25 or 26 by the time my next record comes out, as I haven't even thought about my third record yet. I'm just gonna lay some concrete, set up home and just 'be' for a bit. I'll disappear and come back with a record when it's good enough. There will be no new music until it's good enough and until I'm ready".

As to when she'll next be able to sing following an operation to fix a hemorrhaged vocal cord, she said: "The surgery couldn't have gone better. But because I was singing with damaged vocal cords for three or four months, and because of the surgery, and because of the silence after the surgery, I now have to build myself back up vocally. It's gonna be a lot easier for me to sing now. And mentally I won't be worried about my voice on stage anymore. So I have to get used to that. That'll take most of January, so February I'll be singing properly!"

You can view the rest of Adele's Billboard interview, which was held in honour of her being named the trade magazine's Artist Of 2011, here: www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/record-labels/adele-named-billboard-2011-artist-of-the-1005647952.story

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The National have aired two brand new tracks, entitled 'Rylan' and 'I Need My Girl', during an appearance at a CBC Radio event called Q LIVE in Toronto.

This follows an interview with The National's frontman Matt Berninger in which he said the Brooklyn five-piece felt "ready" to begin working on a new album, also billing new pieces penned by bandmate Aaron Dessner as "some of the best things he's ever written".

On that auspicious note, you can stream live versions of 'Rylan' and 'I Need My Girl' here. Whether or not they're really "much less cerebral and academic and much more immediate and visceral than usual" - as Berninger described Dessner's new songs - I'm not sure, but they are certainly very good.


In the course of the same Q show, the band also invited Bon Iver fitness fiend Justin Vernon to join them for a rendition of 'High Violet' finale, 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks'. Watch that here. www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIY3duxQvIc

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The Cribs are to continue their post-Johnny Marr "re-birth" with a select set of 2012 tour dates, their label Wichita has announced. With the Family Jarman's fifth studio album slated for a summer release, the band will appear as follows:

28 Feb: London, ULU
1 Mar: Edinburgh, Liquid Rooms
3 Mar: Leeds, Metropolitan University

The ULU date is part of the NME Awards Shows run for 2012, a series of one-off dates featuring the likes of The Black Keys, Justice, The Big Pink, Tune-Yards, and an attractive array of other such music types. Full listings here: www.nme.com/news/the-cribs/60883

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Having released their 'Original Don' EP last month, dancehall superduo Major Lazer have just announced several UK shows in anticipation of an as-yet untitled studio album. View the dates below.

First though, it might be fun to watch the new 'Original Don' video, in which Major Lazer's Diplo is bizarrely superimposed into YouTube viral hit 'Jian Sword Dancing'. No sign of his production partner Switch, who must've been busy doing all the work and letting Diplo take all the credit.


18 Apr: Manchester, Ritz
19 Apr: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
20 Apr: Birmingham, HMV Institute
21 Apr: Bristol, Motion
22 Apr: Glasgow, ABC

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WIRELESS, Hyde Park, London, 6-8 Jul: Further filling the pop-based portion of next year's Wireless bill, as reigned over by previously announced closing headliner Rihanna, are new additions Jessie J, Calvin Harris and Labrinth. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk

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Blackburn-based dance label All Around The World, perhaps best known as N-Dubz's label, but also for its various dance compilation franchises, most notably Clubland, will take over the running of Universal's compilations division UMTV, it has been announced.

AATW has worked with Universal on the distribution and marketing of many of its projects for ten years now, and the new deal expands on that existing relationship. AATW's founders, Cris Nuttall and Matt Cadman, will become joint MDs of UMTV as part of the deal.

Confirming the new arrangement, Universal UK CEO David Joseph told CMU: "Cris and Matt are two of the most entrepreneurial executives in the business. As MDs of UMTV, they will be able to extend the innovative approach which has brought them such success in the dance market to compilations of all genres".

Nuttall added: "We are delighted to extend our relationship with Universal after working with them for ten years. We look forward immensely to continuing UMTV's success with current brands as well as seizing opportunities to bring new product into the marketplace".

The new management team at UMTV will be assisted by Hadyn Williams, who previously worked for Sony Music's compilations division, and will now be General Manager for UMTV. The new announcement also means a slightly new focus for Karen Simmonds, who has been overhauling UMTV as part of her role as Universal Music Strategic Marketing MD. She will now focus on catalogue at Universal.

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Warner Music's Atlantic Records has announced a deal with record producer Ethan Johns and his company Three Crows Music. Johns, perhaps best known for co-producing the first three Kings Of Leon records, will join Atlantic Records in the UK in an A&R role, with artists he signs to the major releasing their music jointly via Atlantic and Three Crows.

Look, here's Atlantic Records UK boss Max Lousada saying things in Billboard: "Aesthetically there are few people who can really create a respectful backdrop to incredible voices and Ethan is one of those people. The backbone of Atlantic is about trying to find incredible voices and it felt like the logical next step to bring someone into the fold who was amazing with voices like that".

Noting Atlantic's work on Paolo Nutini's album 'Sunny Side Up', which he also co-produced, Johns told reporters: "I was impressed by the way Atlantic Records gave Paolo the time, space and support to find his voice as an artist and make an uncompromised record. To then take that record and back it with such sustained commitment kind of blew me away. Max is an instinctive, passionate record guy with an amazing level of commitment. He'll go down as one of the greats and I'm honoured Three Crows has this opportunity to work with him and the other guys at Atlantic".

Elsewhere in Warner Music news, the major's French division has announced it will relaunch the East West label next February, concentrating on urban and alternative releases. Once a key Warner division in various territories around the world, the East West name was slowly phased out in the early years of the last decade, including in the UK, though was resurrected in the US market in 2005 as an imprint of the major's Independent Label Group.

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US-based royalties agency RightsFlow, which provides various licensing services for rights owners and digital service providers, in particular representing the so called mechanical rights owned by songwriters and publishers, has been bought by Google.

In a statement, RightsFlow CEO Patrick Sullivan says: "We're pleased to now be taking a momentous step with the team at YouTube, that shares in our vision of solving the really challenging problem of copyright management. Combined with the worldwide platform and reach of YouTube, we'll now be able to drive awareness, adoption, and licensing success to a much larger audience - ultimately benefiting users, artists, labels, songwriters, publishers, and the entire global music ecosystem".

It remains to be seen how rivals of Google who use RightsFlow's services respond to the news.

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The comms chief of the Recording Industry Association Of America has defended the self-harming and frankly comedic sue-the-fans strategy the major labels trade body pursued for much of the last decade in response to the rise of online file-sharing. Yeah, the tone of that sentence sort of indicates poor old Liz Kennedy's not going to get much support in this article, doesn't it?

Kennedy recently responded to an article in Nashville newspaper The Tennessean that was critical of the trade body's large lobbying spend, and its record in combating online piracy, especially its now dropped policy of suing individual file-sharers. She says that the US record industry never expected to stop piracy outright by suing individuals who illegally used file-sharing platforms, but instead aimed to curtail the growth of P2P usage and to educate the kids about the rules of copyright.

Which is possibly true. I mean, only idiots would have expected the expensive litigation approach to stop file-sharing. Then again, there were quite a few idiots running major record companies ten years ago. The same idiots who hung onto digital rights management on legit downloads for five years longer than they should have done, thus holding back the emergence of the mainstream digital music market for half a decade, and ensuring Apple's total and utter and possibly unbreakable market dominance in the a la carte space.

Anyway, here is Kennedy's response: "We never expected to 'end' piracy. The goal is to bring the problem under sufficient control so that lawful businesses can compete and the industry can earn enough to protect jobs and invest in new bands".

She continues: "Our legal efforts served as an essential educational tool. Fans know far more now about copyright laws and the legal consequences of stealing music than ever before. Before initiating lawsuits in 2003, only 35% of people knew file-sharing on P2P was illegal; afterward, awareness grew to 70%".

She adds: "Where there was virtually no legal digital market before the lawsuits, today the market exceeds $3 billion annually, and revenue from online platforms will comprise more than 50 percent of total industry revenues this year. To boot, there are more than 400 licensed digital services worldwide, compared with fewer than 50 in 2003".

Of course the digital market similarly grew in other territories where sue-the-fans litigation was much less prolific, or in some cases none existent, and such growth was down to the rise of broadband, the growth of a more mainstream online audience (in part aided by the boom in social networking), the eventual licensing of more innovative music services by labels and publishers, and the end of the aforementioned DRM idiocy.

But I'm sure in America it was all down to the RIAA suing tens of thousands of music fans. And the fact those actions cost the major labels vastly more than they ever made back in damages, while damaging the reputation of the whole music industry worldwide, really doesn't matter.

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Spotify revamped its Pandora-style personalised radio service on Friday making it good, which is nice, it having always been one of the weaker elements of the streaming platform.

The company says there is some "seriously clever kit under the hood" of Spotify Radio, enabling it to play music suited to a user's tastes based on the initial track, artist or genre they request. Users can skip any number of tracks, though for those on a free subscription listening will still come out of their ten hours a month allowance.

As previously reported, Spotify rival We7 totally repositioned its offer earlier this year around the personalised radio format which it claims was always more popular with its users. The people behind mflow, which officially went offline last week, is also developing a new online radio service to be called Bloom.fm.

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The 'Top Of The Pops' Christmas Special will be recorded later today, with Example, Pixie Lott, Rizzle Kicks, Ed Sheeran, The Wanted, Will Young, Professor Green, Olly Murs, Noah & The Whale, The Vaccines and Little Mix all expected to appear. And with Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates hosting, what a special Christmas treat.

The Christmas chart, which comes out on Christmas Day this year, will be announced earlier in the day than normal so that the festive chart topper can be revealed at the end of 'TOTP' just before the Queen's speech. Presumably they'll pre-record a number of different endings to cover the various possible options for number one on Christmas Day. Perhaps we could all get together and force a total outsider to the top, forcing Fearne and Reggie back into the studio on Christmas Day itself.

'TOTP', of course, has reappeared for Christmas specials every year since its axing in 2006.

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Sinead O'Connor celebrated her 45th birthday last week with a wedding, her fourth to date. She married therapist Barry Herridge at a drive thru chapel in Las Vegas, getting wed wearing a pink dress and sitting in a pink Cadillac.

A source told People.com: "She wanted to do the whole thing in a Cadillac. That was her thing. It wasn't a traditional dress, but it wasn't a traditional wedding either. She cried during the vows and had to wipe her eyes".

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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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