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The Big Pink's Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell first struck up a collaboration in 2007, releasing their debut single, 'Too Young To Love', later that year. With second album, 'Future This', due out via 4AD on 16 Jan, Cordell spoke to CMU Editor Andy Malt about the making of 'Future This', sharing studio time with Paul Epworth, and how he balances his role as CEO of Merok Records with being in a band more>>
Comprising singer Channy Casselle and producer Ryan Olson (with live shows bolstered by drummers Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson, who man dual kits, and Vampire Hands' Chris Bierden on bass), Minneapolis outfit Poliça have skimmed the indie radar for a little over two years now, completing work on debut LP 'Give You The Ghost' before their first live appearance last summer more>>
- Court blocks Terra Firma's attempts to obtain documents relating to Citigroup's EMI grab
- New Ronan Keating LP may embrace "folk feel"
- Andrew Bird confirms new LP
- Ólafur Arnalds scores Hollywood film
- Madonna inspired to make directorial debut after move to England
- Elton John to publish book about global AIDS fight
- Of Montreal announce tour
- Thomas Truax announces new album and tour
- Jay-Z to replace Duracell bunny
- US rights in six Beatles songs change ownership
- Sony and Universal make senior digital appointments
- Justin Vernon founds rarities label
- Twitter announces Echo Nest and Gracenote partnerships
- MySpace announces relaunch as 'second screen' service
- Last.fm losses increase
- This Just-in: Bieber plans to stay clean cut forever
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Private equity set up and one time EMI owner Terra Firma has failed in its bid to force PricewaterhouseCoopers to hand over documents relating to the winding up of the music major's holding company last January, the move than enabled US bank Citigroup to take control of the London-based music company off the equity firm, and put it up for sale.

As previously reported, Terra Firma has questioned the decisions made by PWC that enabled Citigroup to repossess EMI, and also thrown doubt on the accountants' valuation of the music business at the time the equity company lost control. Last September Team Terra Firma went to court in a bid to get access to confidential documentation that would throw some light on exactly what happened late last January, and how PWC valued EMI at that point.

According to the Financial Times, legal reps for Terra Firma chief Guy Hands also allege that PWC was not validly appointed as administrator for the EMI holding company, that the way that holding company was wound up was specifically designed to "crystallise a loss by Terra Firma of the entirety of its investment of about £1.85bn", and that there were "serious concerns about the circumstances surrounding the sale [of EMI to Citigroup] by the joint administrators".

It's thought that Hands and his team were as surprised as the rest of us about the speed with which Citigroup swooped to seize control of EMI at start of February last year. Of course, with the hugely indebted (to Citi) EMI needing ever more subsidy, and with Terra Firma's financial backers seemingly losing patience with the music company during 2010, and with Hands having totally fallen out with Citi chiefs making renegotiating EMI's loans impossible, the repossession was probably inevitable. But insiders say that Terra Firma bosses reckon the way Citi took over was underhand, and designed to screw them over.

Legal efforts to see those crucial PWC documents presumably suggest Hands is considering also legal action over the way Citi behaved at the end of his EMI adventure (he having already unsuccessfully sued the bank over the way it behaved when he first acquired the music company in 2007).

But if that is planned, such litigation will have to go ahead without Terra Firma having the PWC paperwork in hand, because judge Nicholas Warren has ruled that there is no case to force the accountancy firm to hand over any documents at this time, partly because there isn't "the slightest suggestion [Citi] effected sales at undervalue" because it wouldn't make commercial sense for them to do so, and partly because he didn't see why PWC handing over documentation would "assist in achieving a fair disposal of the anticipated proceedings".

It remains to be seen what action Terra Firma now takes regarding Citigroup's actions over EMI this time last year. Meanwhile, EMI itself, of course, is due to be split up into its recordings and publishing parts and sold to Universal Music and Sony/ATV respectively, assuming Citigroup's plans to sell the music major in that way gets regulator approval.

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Ever the bold genre adventurer, Keating has hinted that his forthcoming album (his first for five years, unless you count the various covers albums he's put out in recent years, which he clearly doesn't), slated for release later this year, has taken on a "folk feel". The singer, who is a judge on the Australian version of 'X-Factor', broke the news to Aussie paper the Sunday Mail.

He said: "Now I have a new lease of life and I'm ready to write and record ... It's my first studio album in five years and will feature brand new songs. It has a folk feel at the moment but the sound is changing all the time".

Hmm, how very non-committal. I could at this point say something disparaging about Ronan Keating's lack of commitment in general, but it's probably best I say nothing at all.

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Indie figurehead Andrew Bird has shared details of his new album, 'Break It Yourself'. His first studio collection since 2010's 'Useless Creatures', it's set for release via Bella Union on 5 Mar. Bird will then follow up an extensive North American tour with a couple of UK appearances at the Field Day and No Direction Home festivals.

You'll find a preview trailer for the album below this tracklisting:

Desperation Breeds
Danse Caribe
Give It Away
Lazy Projector
Near Death Experience Experience
Behind The Barn
Orpheo Looks Back
Fatal Shore
Hole In The Ocean Floor


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Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds has written the score for a new film by director Sam Levinson, 'Another Happy Day', which stars Ellen Barkin and Demi Moore. The soundtrack album will be released by Erased Tapes on 27 Feb.

Speaking about how the project came about, Arnalds told CMU: "In mid-December 2010 I was on a holiday in China when I received an email from Sam Levinson about the film. We got on the phone at like four in the morning Beijing time and ended up talking all through the night, instantly connecting. He told me that they had been listening to my music while making the film, so the film was already very influenced by my music. However, it was not until Ellen Barkin - the beautiful force that she is - had pestered the producers for a week, calling them every day about how I am the right one for this film, that they finally gave in. The only catch was that it had to be done two weeks later, in the first week of January. So I ended up scoring non-stop all throughout Christmas, making my mother mad in the process".

You can listen to a track form the score, 'Lynn's Theme', here: soundcloud.com/olafur-arnalds/lynns-theme

The full tracklist for the album is as follows:

The Land Of Nod
Through The Screen
Before The Calm
Lynn's Theme
Alice Enters
The Wait
A Family Stroll
Out To Sea
Autumn Day
Everything Must Change

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Madonna has revealed that the seeds of her debut film as a director, 'WE', were sewn when she moved to the UK in 2000. Apparently friendless in her new home, she spent her spare time researching our country's history and that's when she was first inspired by the story of King Edward VIII's 1936 abdication from the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Madonna said: "I really didn't have any friends, I didn't know anybody, and I found myself in a strange world, so I decided that I was going to educate myself and find out about the history and culture of this new world that I lived in. So I started studying English history - I started reading about the monarchy, starting with Henry VIII, and then I worked all the way up to the Windsor family".

She continued: "I'd heard about Edward VIII abdicating when I was in school. I knew that he had given up the throne for this American woman from Baltimore and that was it. I researched it more and I was kind of transfixed by the idea that a man would give up such a powerful position for love. I felt that there was something kind of Shakespearean about it".

'WE' hits UK cinemas later this week.

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Elton John has announced that he will publish a new book later this year entitled 'Love Is The Cure: Ending The Global AIDS Epidemic'.

It will chronicle his work with AIDS charities, as well as other anecdotes and case studies, such as his memories of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 AIDS-related pneumonia of course, and the story of Ryan White, a US teenager who took his school to court after it attempted to expel him for being HIV positive.

John said in a statement: "[AIDS] is a disease that must be cured not by a miraculous vaccine, but by changing hearts and minds, and through a collective effort to break down social barriers and to build bridges of compassion. Why are we not doing more? This is a question I have thought deeply about, and wish to answer - and to help change - by writing this book".

The book is due to be published by Hodder & Stoughton in July.

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With the release of their brand new album 'Paralytic Stalks' set for 6 Feb, psych collective Of Montreal seem in a celebratory mood. They've not only announced a run of tour dates, the England-based portion of which is listed below, but are also offering album track 'Dour Percentage' for your free streaming and downloading delectation, which is good of them. And here it is:


22 Apr: Manchester, Ritz
23 Apr: Leeds, The Irish Centre
25 Apr: London, Koko
26 Apr: Brighton, Concorde 2

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Thomas Truax has announced that he will tour the UK in support of his new album, 'Monthly Journal', when it is released in February.

As previously reported, the 'Monthly Journal' project saw Truax write a new song for every month of 2011 influenced by each period in some way. As it turned out, there was lots to influence him. Aside from the wider political and social upheaval last year, Truax's personal life proved turbulent, with the death of his father, the break up of a five year relationship and, as the year drew to a close, tightened UK visa rules meaning he had to leave the country and move back to the US.

"Having committed to the monthly songs probably kept me sane", Truax told Mark Radcliffe on 6music recently. "It was like the proverbial firmly-rooted tree I could hang on to, to keep from being completely swept up by the tornado".

Listen to 'Free As Fireflies In May' from the album here: soundcloud.com/thomas-truax/free-as-fireflies-in-may

Tour dates:

3 Feb: Southend, Railway Hotel
7 Feb: Exeter, Cavern Club
8 Feb: Cardiff, 10 Feet Tall
23 Feb: Cambridge, Portland Arms
3 Mar: Glasgow, Kelvingrove Museum
4 Mar: Glasgow, Kelvingrove Museum
6 Mar: Aberdeen, Tunnels
8 Mar: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

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Duracell announced a new joint venture with Jay-Z at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday. The rapper will become an investment partner in and act as the new face of its Powermat wireless charging technology.

In a statement, Jay-Z said: "I believe in the future of wireless energy and I believe that Duracell Powermat is the company to bring on the revolution. I'm partnering with Duracell Powermat because they're providing the solutions for the future".

Ran Poliakine, CEO of Powermat Technologies, added dubiously: "Jay-Z is power personified. He inspires millions of people all over the world on a daily basis with his music and his story. There is no better face or voice that can move people to adopt a new paradigm in power delivery".

In other news, Jay-Z has released a new track to celebrate the birth of his daughter Blue Ivy Carter, which as well as announcing his pride and being a father reveals that his wife Beyonce previously suffered a miscarriage and features guest vocals (ie some crying) by the baby herself: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGFAFvV4dpI

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The North American publishing rights in six early Beatles songs have changed hands, following a sale by the sons of the US publisher who originally did a deal with John Lennon and Paul McCartney back in 1963.

George Pincus bought the American rights in the six songs, which include 'She Loves You', 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'From Me To You', after the bigger American music publishing firms knocked back approaches from The Beatles' then UK publisher. It's not known what he paid for them, though according to the Financial Times the story goes that he considered selling them on for $200 a year later.

It's also not known what Pincus's sons Leonard and Irwin will have made by selling the six songs now to Round Hill Music and Adage Classics, who bid jointly, though experts told the FT the songs could be worth anything between $10 million and $20 million. It's thought that Sony/ATV, which owns the majority of the Lennon/McCartney catalogue, and already has a minority interest in these six songs, made a bid, though it's not known if Round Hill and Adage beat the major on price or intent.

But Adage Classics CEO Herb Jordan did tell the FT: "It wasn't simply a commercial transaction, we had to convince them we'd bring a level of respect, expertise and creativity".

One of the partners in Round Hill Music, which is basically a music business start-up, called the deal "a dream come true". Richard Rowe is the son of Dick Rowe, the 1960s Decca Records executive who, rock legend has it, turned down an offer to sign the then fledgling The Beatles by declaring "guitar groups are on their way out". Rowe Junior has had first hand experience of managing the Lennon/McCartney oeuvre from his time as President of Sony/ATV, but seems particularly excited to now have a personal stake in six of the early Beatles songs.

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How about some major label globally-focused digital executive rejig action? Well, I've got two bits for you today.

First up, Sony Music has appointed Dennis Kooker to the role of President, Global Digital Business & US Sales. Kooker basically replaces the major's former digital boss Thomas Hesse who, as previously reported, returned to his former employer and one time Sony Music co-owner Bertelsmann late last year.

Kooker will report direct to Sony Music top dog Doug Morris who told reporters: "Dennis has long been a key contributor to our successful global digital business and US sales operations, and we are excited to have him leading our efforts to further grow and diversify our physical and digital businesses".

Meanwhile over at Universal, they yesterday announced the appointed of Deborah Hyacinth to the London-based role of VP International Digital Marketing.

Hyacinth joins Universal from a digital role at EMI, and will report to the major's President Of Global Marketing Andrew Kronfeld who told CMU: "Digital music marketing in today's highly competitive marketplace demands agility, skill and experience - all qualities which Deborah has in abundance. She takes a key role in our dynamic worldwide marketing team, to make sure we continue to deliver what's best for our artists and repertoire".

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Justin Vernon has launched a rarities venture, Chigliak Records, as an imprint to Bon Iver's home label Jagjaguwar. It will specialise in releasing 'lost records' that - according to a statement on its site that has since disappeared - "were never commercially released" or "locally released and never put out on vinyl". So, that's nice.

Chigliak's first project will be a reissue of 'It's All Aquatic' by Amateur Love, as Vernon mentioned to Pitchfork last year.

He said: "There's this band called Amateur Love from Eau Claire. They put out a record and it probably sold like 500 copies - it was like this electro-pop thing with a Neil Young or Paul Westerberg-quality songwriter, I shit you not".

Touching on the label, he added: "It's like a 'lost records' thing and I'm encouraging other people to send in records of their local heroes - totally unsigned shit that never went anywhere but is incredible".

Chigliak will also release music from Bon Iver touring partner Sarah Siskind and Minnesota-based band 12 Rods.

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Twitter has announced partnerships with Echo Nest and Gracenote which will enable the two companies to take messages from verified pop star Twitter accounts and integrate them with other services.

Echo Nest will make such tweets available to app developers, while Gracenote will provide it as extra periphery content for digital music services. The first Gracenote customer to make official tweets available as music plays will likely be Omnifone's new streaming platform Rara.com.

Says Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese: "Twitter is arguably the most important and immediate artist-to-fan communication medium in the world. Until now, there was no simple way for developers to integrate musicians' tweets directly into their applications".

Says Gracenote President Stephen White: "This partnership means verified Twitter accounts can be distributed into a wide range of products and brands - from smart TVs and automotive infotainment systems to cloud music services and smartphones".

Which is all super. Of course if commercial enterprises start utilising celebrity tweets, it might reignite the debate as to whether big name tweeters should start to earn royalties for their micro-blogged intellectual property.

While Twitter's own commercial operations are pretty low-key, most celebs are happy to view the micro-blogging service as a useful free communication and promotional tool, but if the digital firm or third party partners start to find ways to monetise that content, more savvy artists - or their managers - might start to see tweeting as a potential new revenue stream.

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MySpace has finally got around to unveiling its big plan to win back its flagging userbase with something of a radical (if not entirely original) new service. At the aforementioned Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the company's co-owner and creative guide Justin Timberlake (yep, he's still on board) took to the stage to explain MySpace TV, a 'second screen' service that allows users to discuss TV shows as they watch them.

The service will launch on the new range of Panasonic internet-connected TVs - although it will also be available through other devices too - and will allow people to see what their friends are watching and discuss shows in real time.

So called 'second screening' has grown in popularity in recent years, as people in their thousands take to Twitter to discuss how rubbish 'X-Factor' is as they watch it, and to do the online version of shouting at the telly during 'Question Time'. MySpace isn't the first company to launch a service dedicated just to discussing TV - BSkyB this week bought a 10% stake in the longer established Zeebox - and they, like other start-ups in this area, will face the challenge of trying to attract people away from the Facebook and Twitter when they want to talk about their favourite shows.

MySpace will attempt to get around this problem by not focusing on live TV shows, and will instead only offer the service for discussing content hosted within its own system. Initially it will be music focussed, using the website's current licensing deals, which give it access to 100,000 music videos and 42 million songs. There are plans to add other types of TV shows and films into the system in the future though. This does, of course, mean that the new MySpace service's competitors aren't really less established brands, such as Zeebox, but more the likes of YouTube and Hulu.

Justin Timberlake thinks it's very exciting though: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Tn6qivYyY

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The Register has noted that Last.fm's losses almost doubled to £5 million in 2010, despite efforts to cut back on the digital platform's more expensive-to-run elements, such as on-demand streaming.

Of course few digital music platforms which aren't based around conventional a la carte download sales are making any money, in Europe or the US, though The Register has honed in on the CBS-owned Shoreditch-based Last.fm because it was used by David Cameron last year as a demonstration of all the vibrant digital entrepreneurialism going down in East London.

Some are cynical about how much the Coalition government has been hyping up Shoreditch as the home of some kind of digital-based economic revolution, and critical of how much government money is being pumped in to maintain the hype, arguing that many of the digital start-ups operating in the area will probably fail once venture capital runs out.

The Register seemingly sees Last.fm, one of East London's longest established digital start-ups, as an example of a company living on hype alone, noting that its original founders made millions when they sold out to CBS in 2007, but that it's still not clear how the digital service will ever make money long term, however much music fans still love to scrobble.

Read The Register piece here: www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/09/lastfm_accounts/

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Justin Bieber has pledged that his new songs won't become all sweary when he turns eighteen in March, though he might write some lyrics about "making love". So no "fucks" but maybe some fucking.

The Biebster says he is set on maintaining his clean cut image even as he becomes an adult, and doesn't see himself becoming a boozy party animal living the rock n roll lifestyle. No, he's aiming for something much more wholesome, you know, like his idol Michael Jackson.

The teen popster told V magazine: "I'm not going to try to conform to what people want me to be or go out there and start partying, have people see me with alcohol... I'm never going to make myself so the kids and the parents don't respect me. I want to be able to do what Michael did. He always sang clean lyrics, [so] little kids loved Michael and grandparents loved Michael. I don't want to start singing about things like sex, drugs and swearing. I'm into love, and maybe I'll get more into making love when I'm older. But I want to be someone who is respected by everybody".

So that's nice. Perhaps he could also follow in the footsteps of his hero and pen a song all about a slightly loony fan accusing him of fathering her child, though where would he find the inspiration for that sort of thing?

Of course, some might question aspiring to be the new Michael Jackson. It would be nice for Justin to be able to sing like MJ did at his peak (yeah, like that's going to happen), but isn't the Biebster worried that following his hero's career path might result in the personal life hardships Jackson suffered? No, says Bieber, cos his early rise to stardom hasn't resulted in a messed up childhood.

Says Bieber: "Michael had a really bad childhood. I was blessed with a great childhood. My mom loved me. My dad loved me. I'm now a teenager and I don't feel like I've missed out on anything in my life. I've gotten to experience everything I possibly could. I don't look back and think: 'Ugh, I wish I would have been able to do that'. Maybe [Jackson] missed out on a lot, so he tried to [re-live] his childhood when he was older. But I've got such good people around me, I'm not worried".

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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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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