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Amplify Dot has been popping up for a while now, but in 2012 she seems to be preparing to push full steam ahead, beginning with the release of her new EP, 'Short Back And Sides', which features 'King Kong', originally a single in December and is elevated to my favourite track in part for the way she delivers the already amazing line: "I'm piecing 'em together, call me Legoland Windsor" more>>
- VEVO accused of short changing indie publishers
- UK Music launches diversity charter
- Juno Awards nominations announced
- Foxes signs to Sony
- Storm Corrosion sign to Roadrunner
- Efterklang working on new album, Thomas Husmer quits
- Toro Y Moi announces rarities LP
- Line-up announced for Queen's jubilee sing song
- Girls to play HMV Forum
- White Denim to tour
- The Dandy Warhols announce UK shows
- Letters announce new single, Scottish tour
- Metallica launch their own festival
- Festival line-up update
- AC/DC launch wine line
- Beyonce and Jay-Z trademark their daughter's name
- Amazon biggest entertainment retailer in UK, considering physical store in the US
- Sun and Times to sponsor Global Radio shows
- UTV expand Signal network
- Chanel man thinks Adele is fat, Dave Grohl thinks she's brilliant
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"Oh, VEVO, where will you go", as they say down my way. The Sony/Universal owned video site has been accused of unfair play in the US by Matt Pincus, the boss of indie publisher Songs Music Publishing. In a piece for US website The Wrap, Pincus claims VEVO is failing to pay royalties to independent music publishers, despite recently boasting $150 million in revenues last year, and of having paid $100 million over to rights owners in its first two years in business.

The fault actually lies with the major record companies, though as the two biggest majors own VEVO that's not necessarily much of an excuse for the music video website. Pincus says that, in the US, when Sony, Universal and EMI licence VEVO their video catalogues, they pledge to cover any publishing royalties, saving the video site from having to get licences direct from the publishers or their collecting societies.

But, Pincus claims, the majors then exercise clauses in their artist contracts that allow them to sidestep any royalties due on songs written by the artists themselves when used in videos for promotional purposes. This is called the Controlled Composition Clause, and was designed to ensure labels didn't have to pay an additional royalty to their artists' publishers every time they used music videos to promote record releases, presumably on the basis that the publisher also benefited if the promo led to record sales.

However, those clauses should not apply now that music videos are a direct revenue stream for rights owners rather than merely a marketing tool to aid record sales, says Pincus, especially as video sites like YouTube and VEVO arguably compete head on with audio-only streaming services like Spotify, which are licensed directly by the publishers or their collecting agencies.

The Songs Music chief notes that indie publishers in the US, via their trade body, recently agreed licensing terms with YouTube over the use of their songs in user generated content, but he points out that agreement doesn't cover VEVO which, although utilising YouTube technology, and getting much of its traffic via its YouTube partnership, licences content directly from its parent companies and EMI.

Presumably the major publishers are also losing out if VEVO and its major label partners are indeed using the Controlled Composition Clause in this way, though, as Pincus remarks, as the major publishers are also major labels, it's less of a problem for them. The exception, of cause, being Warner Chappell, as Warner Music is neither a shareholder in VEVO nor do its labels provide videos, so the soon to be mini-major has no direct income from the video service, even if songs in its publishing catalogue are used.

Pincus concludes: "Are record companies to blame for relying on shoddy language to withhold royalties, or is it VEVO's responsibility to ensure that the songwriters that helped it pull in $150 million this year share in their success? Whatever the case, this issue of fairness must be addressed".

VEVO is yet to respond. Meanwhile, Pincus's polemic can be found here: www.thewrap.com/music/blog-post/time-vevo-pay-35129

It's worth noting none of this applies to the UK, where VEVO licences the publishing side via collecting society PRS For Music, so doesn't rely on the record companies to pay the songwriters and publishers, and therefore can't utilise any contractual terms to not do so.

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UK Music has this morning launched an Equality & Diversity Charter with the aim of encouraging more diversity across the music industry. Music companies will be encouraged to sign up to the charter and to commit to undertaking two or more actions in 2012 to address diversity issues, including seeking to recruit from a wider talent pool, improving equality at senior levels, running initiatives to promote better diversity, and sharing methods for addressing such issues with competitors.

Launching the Charter, UK Music's recently appointed CEO Jo Dipple told CMU: "Diversity is a massive asset for the UK music industry. Our creative talent and the audience who enjoy our music is, without doubt, diversity personified. Promoting that key strength to the companies and organisations in between can only be good for our business".

She continued: "I also hope this charter will shine a light on some of the excellent initiatives already underway in the industry and inspire debate and discussion - whether that's PRS For Music and the PRS For Music Foundation proactively funding works by female composers, Koko improving disabled access to their venue and increasing their customer base in the process, Live Nation's apprenticeship programme, AIM's Women In Music events, or the MU's backing of Arthritis Care and Love Music, Hate Racism".

UK Music has worked with the Alliance For Diversity in Music & Media in developing its charter, whose spokesperson is PPL Performer Affairs Director and MusicTank Chairman Keith Harris, who told CMU: "Due to a lack of reliable data, it is actually difficult to calculate how well the music industry currently scores in terms of equality and diversity. From personal experience, things have improved somewhat, but there is more we can do to enable access to our business to those from different social and cultural backgrounds. The Equality & Diversity charter marks a good start in helping this industry realise its potential".

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The nominations for Canada's big music awards, the Junos, have been announced. Though not quite as ridiculous as the Grammys, there's still loads of categories here, so if you're interested we suggest you check out the full list of noms on the award event's own website, here: junoawards.ca/nominees-winners/

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CMU approved pop type Foxes, aka Louisa Rose Allen, yesterday signed a record deal with Simon Fuller's Sony imprint Sign Of The Times.

As previously reported, Fuller's XIX Entertainment and Sony Music UK formed the company, which is led by former Universal Music Publishing A&R Dougie Bruce, in November last year. Foxes joins the company's first signing The Milk.

Allen tweeted yesterday: "Literally all I've wanted since I was a little girl to have this as my official job... it now is! Just signed my record deal with Sony!"

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Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth have signed a deal with Roadrunner Records for their collaborative project Storm Corrosion.

Says Wilson; "If you'd asked me three months ago about the music, I would have said, 'Expect the last thing you would expect'. But actually, now that [Opeth's] 'Heritage' and [Porcupine Tree's] 'Grace Of Drowning' have come out, I don't think it's going to be that much of a shock to people, because it's almost like a third part of the trilogy, in a way. If anything, it's even more orchestral, even more stripped down, even more dark, twisted and melancholic... but it certainly feels like it comes from the same place as 'Heritage' and 'Grace For Drowning', which indeed it does because it was written during the same period".

Åkerfeldt adds: "Some of the music on this record I think is the most beautiful music I have participated on ever. There's some magical sections on there. Musically I think we've created something earthy, a bit frightening, exhausting, profound and rather intense. All at the same time. I can safely say I don't know any other band or artist that sounds anything like Storm Corrosion. I guess that was also one of our goals, so to speak".

Roadrunner's Senior VP of A&R, Monte Conner also had this to say: "I am honoured to have the Roadrunner logo on the Storm Corrosion album. Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt have demonstrated time and time again that they are two of the truest and most important artists working today, and it is not often that I get to work with musicians of this calibre. This album is a beautiful piece of work that will appeal to fans of Steven and Mikael's past records, while at the same time exploring new avenues for both artists".

The eponymous album will be released on 23 Apr.

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Efterklang have announced that the band's core membership now stands at three, after drummer Thomas Husmer quit in order to pursue other projects. However, as they announced this news, the remaining trio - Casper Clausen, Mads Christian Brauer and Rasmus Stolberg - also revealed that they have been working on their fourth album for the last six months.

In a statement, the band said: "Our dear friend, great musician and Efterklang drummer/trumpet player for over ten years, Thomas Husmer, has decided to seek new adventures and is no longer a member of the band. He will be dearly missed in Efterklang, but we fully support and understand his decision ... Please also note that this is not the end of Efterklang. We (Casper, Mads and Rasmus) have been working on a new Efterklang album as a trio for six months now and we are very excited to report that it is going well with many new songs in progress".

Husmer added: "I feel so genuinely privileged to have been part of the Efterklang family and the whole Efterklang project ... It's difficult for me to explain in a few words why I've chosen to step back from something so dear to me. And I don't expect anyone to fully understand. Lately my priorities in life have changed. I've felt the urge to dedicate myself to a more simple and domestic life closer to my family. And I've found it impossible to combine this with my life in Efterklang. This has been a very tough decision for me, but I feel good where I am right now. I'm a happy man with a rich past and an unrevealed future".

The band stressed that Husmer has not left the music world altogether, and is looking for a new Copenhagen-based project. Read the full statement here: efterklang.net/home/2012/02/07/thomas-leaves-efterklang/

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Toro Y Moi has plundered his own music archives to compile forthcoming release 'June 2009', a selection of rarities and early demo versions of tracks featuring on his official EPs and albums to date.

Due out via Carpark Records on 3 Apr, it will be available as a seven-inch vinyl box set, dual-CD release or in digital form.

In the mean time, feel free to take a copy of the deceptively delightful 'Dead Pontoon' from this widget: bit.ly/ToroYMoiJune2009


Best Around
Take The L To Leave
Girl Problems
Dead Pontoon
Drive South
Sad Sams
Talamak (First Version)
Warm Frames
New Loved Ones

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Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Tom Jones will lead a special concert outside Buckingham Palace on 4 Jun to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so that's fun. JLS, Jessie J and Ed Sheeran will do their bit to represent artists not born when Her Maj became Queen in 1952 at the Gary Barlow organised, BBC broadcast royal musical shindig.

The main thing I remember about the concert staged to mark the Queen's golden jubilee in 2002 was that it was Paul Cattermole's final show with the first incarnation of the S Club 7 before he went off to join that super successful rock band, and if that's what's sticking in my mind, that jubilee show was clearly a remarkable melting pot of creative genius and delightful musical moments. God save the Queen.

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San Franciscan indie sorts Girls have announced a single London show on behalf of their second album 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost', which had its much-lauded release last year. Head Girl Christopher Owens et al will play to their largest British audience yet at The Forum in Kentish Town on 28 May, before setting forth on several European live and festival dates, which include Barcelona-based Primavera on 1 Jun. And here endeth the Girlish tour news.

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Texan psych champions White Denim have supplemented their live itinerary with a series of UK dates, all of which take place in continued support of the band's fourth album 'D'.

Tour dates:

18 May: Liverpool, Kazimier
21 May: Bristol, O2 Academy
22 May: London, HMV Forum
24 May: Leeds, Cockpit

Preview the sort of smithereen-smashing spectacle you can anticipate from the above in this here 'Back At The Farm' live clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKMIDHUwHmM

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Yet another booking for The Forum now, as US rockers The Dandy Warhols confirm the North London venue as the site of one of two forthcoming UK gigs slated to take place in April. It seems likely the band will use the mini-tour as an opportunity to road-test material from an as-yet untitled seventh LP, the follow-up to their 2008 record 'Earth To The Dandy Warhols'.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to mark the occasion with a quick reminder of Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor's anguish at the news one of his songs had been used to soundtrack Theresa May's post-speech walk-off at last year's Conservative Party conference. "I'll tear their fuggin heads off", it begins.


Tour dates as follows:

20 Apr: Manchester, Academy
21 Apr: London, Forum

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CMU Approved alumni Letters have announced that they will release their new single, 'The Halfway House' on 19 Mar, followed by their debut EP, 'Older Motion Pictures' on 19 May.

Listen to 'The Halfway House' here: soundcloud.com/soundandvisionpr/letters-the-halfway-house

A full UK tour is planned, but for now the band are only letting slip a tour of their native Scotland, dates for which are as follows:

8 Feb: Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete's
11 Feb: Glasgow, Flat 0/1
21 Mar: Captain's Rest, Glasgow
22 Mar: Hootananny, Inverness
23 Mar: Newmarket Bar, Thurso
24 Mar: Saucy Mary's, Skye
25 Mar: Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

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Metallica are launching their own festival, which will take place in Atlantic City from 23-24 Jun, and will be known as Orion Music + More.

The metallers will headline both dates, which is modest, playing 'The Black Album' in full on day one and all of 'Ride The Lightning' on day two. Also booked to play are Arctic Monkeys, Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse, Fucked Up and A Place To Bury Strangers, all favourites of the Metallica men it seems. Fun and games are also planned, apparently.

Look, here's Lars Ulrich talking: "We've had the idea of doing our own lifestyle festival with lots of diverse music and fun and games for years. Finally this year all the practical ducks lined up in a row, and we are beyond psyched to bring Orion to our fans, friends and the curious.

Tickets will go on sale to fan club members today, and to the public on Saturday. More at orionmusicandmore.com

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BILBAO BBK LIVE, Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain, 12-14 Jul: Fresh additions Warpaint, Glasvegas and The Kooks more than make up for a recent cancellation by Klaxons, confirmed as they are to join Radiohead, The Cure, Noah And The Whale, Snow Patrol, Band of Skulls and Tribes at this sun-drenched Spanish fiesta. www.bilbaobbklive.com

END OF THE ROAD, Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: Bella Union presents the best of its label roster, hosting a fifteenth anniversary showcase starring the likes of Midlake, The Low Anthem and Veronica Falls. Other recent arrivals Dirty Three, Lanterns Of The Lake and Alessi's Ark take up prime position alongside prior announcees Beach House, The Antlers, Delicate Steve, Doug Paisley, Driver Drive Faster and First Aid Kit. www.endoftheroadfestival.com

GARDEN FESTIVAL, Petrica Glava, Tisno, Croatia, 4-11 Jul: Billed with the tagline 'A New Beginning', this year's relocated Garden Festival aims at reinvention with the news that Nicolas Jaar, Tiger And Woods and Kenny Dope will all appear alongside Metro Area, Ben UFO, Tim Sweeney, Applebim and Crazy P. www.thegardenfestival.eu

LONG DIVISION FESTIVAL, various venues, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, 1-3 Jun: The guitar-toting likes of The Vaccines, Art Brut, Aiden Moffat & Bill Wells, Let's Wrestle, Crushed Beaks and Zoey Van Goey are amongst the first acts unveiled for this sprawling Northern fest, which takes place across nine of Wakefield's best-loved venues. www.longdivisionfestival.co.uk

SENSORIA, various venues, Sheffield, 21-29 Apr: Film, music and digital festival Sensoria returns for its fifth year in April, and as its first line-up announcement has revealed that Laurie Anderson will give the UK premiere of her new work 'Another Day In America', as well as a discussion and Q&A session. www.sensoria.org.uk

SNOWBOMBING, Mayrhofen, Austria, 9-14 Apr: German house pairing Booka Shade, Major Lazer producer Switch and alt-disco maestro Fake Blood form the latest spate of acts announced to attend this year's Snowbombing. With ice prince Dizzee Rascal booked as overall headliner, the existing roster also features Fatboy Slim, Example, The Vaccines, Labrinth, Jack Beats and the always cool DJ Shadow. www.snowbombing.com

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AC/DC are bringing their line of wines to the UK, having launched the brand in Australia last summer. Laithwaites Wine, which has bases in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong, will today launch Hells Bells Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and Back In Black Shiraz 2011.

The Laithwaites press release notes that Iron Maiden, Kiss, The Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard already have their own wine brands, which may or may not be a community you'd want to be part of. The two AC/DC wines will be available from www.laithwaites.co.uk from later today.

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So, is Bey-Z Junior planning her own line in nappies? Maybe, given news that Beyonce and Jay-Z have filed a trademark application in the US to protect their newly born daughter's name. The trademark application was made last month by Beyonce's company BGK Trademark Holdings, according to the Washington Post.

Though, before you think America's pop couple have pushed the merchandise craze too far, it's possible they were motivated to register the name after two other companies tried to trademark it shortly after Blue Ivy Carter was born. The US trademark registry knocked back those applications noting the name belongs to a "very famous infant".

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More gloom for HMV, though to be honest I think I assumed Amazon had overtaken His Masters Voice as the UK's biggest home entertainment retailer some time ago.

But apparently not. The online retailer overtook the high street chain in the run up to Christmas last year, making them the biggest seller of CDs, DVDs and video games in the UK, with a 22.4% market share. HMV is still in second place with 17.5%, putting it ahead of other mail-order sites, download stores and the supermarkets, though, of course, its costs - having to operate 200+ high street stores selling just entertainment product - are so much higher.

These figures come from research company Kantar Worldpanel, whose Consumer Insight Director Fiona Keenan, says: "Amazon's strong performance is down to a number of factors: it is typically really competitive on price, has a wide range of products with no restriction on display space, and is known for its very good customer service".

After HMV and Amazon come: Tesco (11.4%), Asda (8.1%), Game (7.7%), Sainsbury's (5.2%), Play.com (4.9%), iTunes (3%) and Morrisons has (2.7%).

In related and sort of interesting news, Amazon is reportedly considering launching its first ever high street store, in Seattle. Which might seem like a crazy move given its competitive advantage over HMV et al is its lack of high street infrastructure, though according to reports plans for an Amazon shop should be seen more as an effort to take on Apple than the HMVs of this world, with the online retailer looking for new ways to promote its increasingly expansive range of digital content devices.

Elsewhere in HMV gloom news, the retailer's Irish business has just filed financials for the year up to 30 Apr 2010, revealing it made a loss of 2.5 million euros, compared to a 631,000 euro profit the previous year. The flagging entertainment retailer has fifteen stores in Ireland.

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News International has announced a new partnership with Global Radio which will see the Sun and Times publisher get exposure for its newspapers on various shows across Global's stations.

The Times and Sunday Times will be promoted on Classic FM's breakfast show and London talk station LBC, while The Sun will sponsor Heart's Club Classics show and the recently revamped Capital breakfast show, which will now include a Sun-enabled Phone Hack Quiz - guess the mystery celebrity from their hacked voicemail messages - it'll be classic radio listening.

Confirming the new partnerships with News International, Global's MD Of Commercial Mike Gordon said these words in his best DJ voice: "News International has some of the most recognised newspaper titles in the UK and beyond, so naturally we're thrilled to announce this partnership. This is the first time that Global Radio and News International have joined forces on such a scale to reinforce their respective positions as the largest commercial radio group and the leading newspaper publisher in the UK".

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UTV's radio division has announced it is expanding its Signal Radio brand across the Midlands by renaming other stations in its portfolio based in Wolverhampton, Kidderminster and Telford.

Signal Radio is one of the original commercial radio stations, based in Stoke On Trent and broadcasting to North Staffordshire and South Cheshire. It became part of UTV Radio in 2005. The brand previously expanded North into the Manchester area via a Stockport-based offshoot service, although that outlet was rebranded and then subsequently sold off to another company.

The latest announcement means that Signal will now branch out South, with the brand replacing existing local stations The Wolf, The Wyre and The Severn, the latter two taken over by UTV just last week. All three of the new Signal stations will carry the same programming, though it's not clear how many shows will be produced locally, and how much will be syndicated from the Stoke service.

Commenting on the Signal expansion, UTV's Director Of Local Radio, Calum Macaulay, told CMU: "I'm delighted to be growing UTV's local network with the launch of Signal 107 across Wolverhampton, Shropshire and North Worcestershire. We're already working on our plans for [the] March [relaunch] and look forward to launching the new station, with a potential [audience] of over 900,000, to offer a direct alternative to Beacon Radio".

Beacon is owned by rivals Orion Media and, as previously reported, is also about to be rebranded to become part of the Free Radio network, which will also broadcast across much of the Midlands.

Anyway, that's enough local radio news, let's all sit back and enjoy the best radio jingle ever, the Signal Radio anthem of 1987: www.radiojingles.webspace.virginmedia.com/audio/signal_1987/song_full.mp3

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German fashion designer and Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld is feeling the wrath of Adele's fans after saying the chart topping singer is "a little too fat".

The remark actually came during a discussion about Lana del Rey, with the 78 year old designer revealing he preferred Adele or Florence Welch's music, but that del Rey was beautiful in her photos, and "looks very much like a modern-time singer".

Back on Adele he said: "The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice", leading to much outrage on Twitter, obviously.

Adele herself is unlikely to be that bothered what a 78 year old man thinks, of course, and besides, she has super-fan Dave Grohl to stick up for her. Saying he was pleased to be included in the same category as Ms Adkins at the Grammys, the Foo Fighters frontman told the Associated Press that Adele's success pleased him greatly, possibly implying he was pleased the singer had sold so many records despite not being your stereotypical pop star.

Said Grohl: "I think she gives us all hope. She's made an incredible record, and she's an incredibly talented artist, so maybe it is true that the cream actually rises to the top. There's a reason why that record is so fucking huge. It's good. It's inspiring when something legitimate gets recognised for what it is. It's such a cliché, but it's a huge achievement to be nominated".

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