12 SEP 2012

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This afternoon at about 5.30pm, Lauren Laverne will begin reading out this year's Mercury Prize shortlist, at which point you will officially be allowed to start complaining about it. Though as it will end up clashing with the iPhone 5 launch, you might have to decide which you complain about first. Well anyway, forget that, here are the 20 artists most likely to succeed more>>
Coloured by the time she spent in Hawaii, ex-Concretes singer (and the voice of Peter Bjorn & John's 'Young Folks') Victoria Bergsman's new LP as Taken By Trees - 'Other Worlds' - sounds just that, beautifully insular and untethered from all and any offshore absolutes. Take its first single 'Dreams', a hyper-real hallucination in luau-style guitars with a tropic dub remix to match, or its strings-gilded sequel 'Large' more>>
- US courts reinstate original ruling in Jammie Thomas case
- The Weeknd does deal with Universal Republic
- Suede in studio, "powerful" new LP en route
- Chavril Lavigne LP "in mixing process", says LA Reid
- Missy Elliott, Timbaland collaborate
- Massive Attack to re-release debut
- Rachel Zaffira starts label with Faris Badwan, gives away track
- R Stevie Moore doc now screening
- Plan B plans arena tour
- Daughter set 2013 dates
- Cody Simpson to tour
- Festival line-up additions
- Simon Cowell launches headphones
- Christopher Owens made Saint Laurent muse, models in new campaign
- Hydra Head Records to close
- Alan McGee "seriously thinking about restarting Creation"
- Omnifone goes into profit in last financial year
- Facebook's future is mobile, says Zuckerberg
- Nicki Minaj responds to Romney rap uncertainty
Sound Channel is one of the leading companies working in the electronic music industry, working on a number of large-scale music club events, concerts, and festivals in the UK and Europe, such as Hideout Festival in Croatia, Metropolis, Wax:On brands in the UK and the newly launched Canal Mills venue.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Name PR is looking for a bright press assistant who is a self-starter with great writing ability and interpersonal skills, has a good grasp of the music industry, and has at least a basic working knowledge of PR and journalism, for a part-time role that has the potential to become full-time.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Senior level Club Promotions Manager to join London’s largest nightclub. Must have both promoter and agent contacts across a range of music genres... and a finger firmly on the pulse. Building and retaining strong relationships is key in order to preserve the reputation of the venue and elements of programming and booking for various club nights.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Boutique music TV promotions company needs a friendly, outgoing, self-motivated staff member to step into online PR role, also assisting the TV department. The right candidate will need experience of online promotion and ideally be able to bring some contacts, as well assisting in some admin for the TV department, and covering of TV / online sessions with our artists.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Domino is seeking a confident high calibre individual to oversee digital sales initiatives for its London office. The position will manage key partnerships with UK and European digital music services (e.g. iTunes, Spotify).

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Manners McDade is a boutique agency specialising in publishing, artist management and promoting music for use in visual media. We are looking for confident individual with a working knowledge of music publishing and/or synchronisation.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Listen Up is seeking an energetic and enthusiastic press intern to assist our press department across their print and online campaigns. If you are a budding publicist looking to get your first foot in the door then this could be the opportunity for you.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

I'm almost starting to get nostalgic about the early days of P2P file-sharing. I mean, downloading a five megabyte MP3 on dial-up took sixteen minutes; these were the days of the patient teen file-sharer. And don't forget the increasingly frustrated phone-bill paying parent; these were the days of the persistent teen file-sharer.

And remember how the major record companies were convinced that expensive DRM software bought from companies with names like Digital Protection Utilities Corporation Inc were the solution? If backed up by even more expensive litigation against the file-sharing kids, led by eager legal beagles excited that they would be first to profit from the digital music revolution. They were simpler days. They were happier days. They were shit days.

I'm feeling nostalgic for the Kazaa era because one of those early-doors P2P stories that just won't go away is back in the headlines. And the judge overseeing this particular file-sharing lawsuit is clearly harbouring back to simpler times too, reinstating the original damages sum handed down by a US court way back in 2007.

Yes, Jammie Thomas - one of the few file-sharers sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America to let her case get to court - has been ordered to pay the record companies $222,000 in damages, the figure originally set in 2007. Which is good news in that it's somewhat less than the $1.9 million another court ordered her to pay. But bad news in that it's somewhat more than the $54,000 damages another court said was more reasonable. And Team Thomas weren't even happy with that.

So let's recap. File-sharing went on chez Thomas circa 2005. The RIAA sued. Thomas refused to settle. A court found her guilty of copyright infringement for illegally sharing 24 songs, and ordered her to pay damages of $220,000. But then the judge decided an error had been made in the trial. So a second hearing took place, where the same verdict was reached, but damages were set by a jury at $1.92 million. But then a judge ruled that was a loony tunes amount, and revised damages down to $54,000.

The RIAA offered to do a deal with Team Thomas around that figure, but the file-sharer's legal reps, sensing they were on a roll, refused. So the record industry appealed, a jury was again consulted, and they set damages at $1.5 million. Again a judge deemed that figure pie in the sky, and reset the damages figure back to $54,000. But the RIAA appealed again, and yesterday won, in that a panel of three judges ruled the original $220,000 was the most appropriate damages figure that this single mother of limited means should pay the labels for a bit of sneaky file sharing seven years ago. Good times.

As previously reported, the size of the damages to be paid can vary so radically because of US copyright law, which allows the courts to order damages of anywhere between $750 and $150,000 per infringement. And because many file-sharers shared hundreds of tracks illegally, if a per-infringement figure towards the end of that bracket is selected, you can quickly be talking silly money damages (and pretty silly money damages even if, as they usually do, rights owners only list a small number of infringements in their actual litigation).

The judge who overruled the $1.5 million figure last year called that level of damages "outrageously high" and "appalling" given what Thomas was guilty of, and the tangible loss the labels suffered as a direct result of her (or her family's) file-sharing. Thomas's legal team hoped to capitalise on that sentiment when the RIAA appealed.

In part, they pointed out that damages of $222,000 worked out at over $9000 per infringement, and had the RIAA listed 1000 tracks in its lawsuit (the trade body has informally accused Thomas of file-sharing significantly more than that), then the total damages figure would be over $9 million, which would clearly be insane.

But Judge Steven Colloton, speaking for the appeals panel that considered the case this week, said that if a lawsuit listing that many tracks came to court, then that would be something to consider at that point. But in the meantime, $222,000 in damages was not "so severe and oppressive" as to cause constitutional concerns.

Needless to say, the RIAA welcomed the ruling, telling reporters: "We look forward to putting this case behind us". Though it shouldn't get too excited just yet, as Team Thomas, who told Reuters that the damages award was "punitive" and out-of-line with the US Supreme Court's rulings, plan to appeal again. Meaning that, as with the other big outstanding file-sharer case still rumbling its way through the US courts, that involving Joel Tenenbaum, while the RIAA has had some victories of late, this story ain't finished yet.

Which is good news for those of us that like to get nostalgic about that heady, crazy days of spending three hours downloading an Nsync album, wondering whether the RIAA lawsuit would arrive before the malware Kazaa had just installed on your machine killed your computer.

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The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, has entered into an alliance with Universal Music's Republic Records. The deal seemingly partner's the producer's own label, XO, with the major, and together they will give Tesfaye's past unofficial mixtapes proper releases.

2011 mixtape releases 'House Of Balloons', 'Thursday' and 'Echoes of Silence' will all be mixed and mastered for a release in November as 'Trilogy', with some extra bits and pieces thrown in too.

The project will be preceded by the release of a track from 'House Of Balloons' - 'Wicked Games' - which should be available via digital retailers pretty soon. And you can have a listen to it right now here.

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Having sort-of reformed Suede in 2010, the band's Brett Anderson has shared the revelation that the band have, after various will-they-won't-they comments on the matter, finally begun making a brand new album. Apparently, Anderson et al have been doing "on and off" studio sessions with producer Ed Buller, who also supervised Suede's first three (and, many would argue, best) LPs.

Anderson says to The Quietus: "Any album is brutally hard, and this one has been pretty hard. The first couple of months were us trying to get on the same wavelength, is this working, trying to develop the sound we wanted. A lot of the writing process for me is throwing stuff away, because you're finding out what you want to do. There was a lot of that, and we discarded quite a few songs. Early this year we started hitting on the sort of songs that we were aiming to write, and it's sounding really good now".

Asked to characterise said sound, he answers: "Without wishing to be facetious, it sounds like Suede. We're not trying to reinvent the sound of the band, that'd be a disastrous thing to do. I think that's possibly where we went wrong on the last two albums, we didn't know where to go with the sound so we were looking for another direction, with mixed results. With this it's about great songs, it's about great guitar hooks, it's about a very powerful band sound. So it sounds like Suede. I think you'll like it. Don't worry, it doesn't sound anything like the last album".

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Chavril/Kroevigne jibes and deeply sinister photo-montages aside, pop-rock fiancées Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger have a new LP out "very soon" (in Lavigne's name, Chad is a mere 'special guest'), and Epic Records don LA Reid - an authority since his label will release the record - has been talking about it.

Reid, who praises the collection as being "really good", notifies Billboard as to its present state: "We're in the mixing process now and I expect to release it very soon. I'd like to get it out this year, but time seems to be flying. If we don't, it will be top of the new year".

So, that's that. The sonic manifestation of Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger's torrid love affair out soon.

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Missy Elliott is back, you all, and she's collaborating with liqueur entrepreneur Timbaland on what's officially her new solo single, '9th Inning'. That's a baseball metaphor, rather than anything to do with cricket, by the way.

You can hear a kind of pointless one minute 25 second 'snippet' of Missy and Timbo bragging over the track here.

Meanwhile, in the long playing music realm, a new Missy album - which may or may not be titled 'Block Party' - is set for (again, speculative) release by the year's end.

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Massive Attack will re-issue a remastered version of their 'Unfinished Sympathy'-featuring debut, 'Blue Lines'. Constructed from its original 1991 recordings at the band's Bristol studio, the LP will have its grand re-release on 19 Nov.

Talking of 'Unfinished Sympathy', this is what its video looked like.

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Rachel Zeffira has revealed that RAF Records, the label releasing her first solo LP 'The Deserters', is in fact one she has co-established herself with The Horrors' Faris Badwan.

The duo, who last year put out an eponymous record together as Cat's Eyes, will oversee the release of Zeffira's debut on 10 Dec. She'll also appear live at London's St Andrew Holborn church on 18 Oct and, who knows, Faris might play the harp or something. Tickets for that date are still available here.

While we're on Zeffira, you really should listen to this free 'The Deserters' MP3 'Break The Spell', which sounds (in the best possible sense) like Julia Holter doing ABBA's 'The Visitors'.

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An rare opportunity to step inside the teeming brain of the man who once threatened to 'Go Into Your Mind' now, as a new film "about some situations with R Stevie Moore" screens for free via YouTube.

Shot by French cineaste Arnaud Mauget and (also French) band Hifiklub in Nashville, Tenessee, 'I Am A Genius (And There's Nothing I Can Do About It)' is fascinating, if slightly mad. But then again, so is R Stevie's discography, the just-added mere fraction of which, a 'sort of best of' compilation entitled 'Lo Fi High Fives', you can read a little about here.

And now, if you have 52 minutes spare (and it is worth the time), take a look at the doc as its makers ask "who is R Stevie Moore?".

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Now sharing screen time with Ray Winstone in 'The Sweeney', actor/director Plan B has set aside half of February to indulge his original artistic passion, that of rap music.

He'll take the live version of his movie soundtrack 'Ill Manors' to the following arenas:

1 Feb: Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
2 Feb: Manchester, Arena
4 Feb: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arnea
5 Feb: Nottingham, Capital FM Arena
7 Feb: Bournemouth, International Centre
8 Feb: Birmingham, LG Arena
9 Feb: London, O2 Arena
11 Feb: Brighton, Centre
12 Feb: Plymouth, Pavilions
14 Feb: Glasgow, SECC
15 Feb: Aberdeen, Exhibition Centre

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4AD debutantes Daughter have shared their live itinerary for 2013, as features eight dates across the British isles. Well, England and Scotland. The trio are writing a new LP at the moment, which means you'll most likely hear it first on the tour.

If you're curious, here are said dates:

14 Jan: Norwich, Arts Centre
15 Jan: Leeds, Holy Trinity
17 Jan: Brighton, St Mary's Church
18 Jan: Manchester, St Phils
19 Jan: Stockton-on-Tees, Georgian Theatre
21 Jan: Glasgow, Oran Mor
22 Jan: Bristol, St George's
24 Jan: London, Hackney Empire

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Australian teen-pop titan Cody Simpson - who's basically a beta Bieber, if we're being honest (and unnecessarily mean) - will mark his metamorphosis from this this ...via his new 'Welcome To Paradise' tour. So named after his first studio LP, 'Paradise', it'll begin with a date at London's IndigO2, aka the beta O2.

Tour dates:

15 Nov: London, IndigO2
16 Nov: Birmingham, Alexandra
17 Nov: Manchester, Opera House
18 Nov: Glasgow, Concert Hall

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WARRIOR'S DANCE, Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade, Serbia, 15 Sep: Kill Me Laser, Hex, Lollobrigida, Hype, Dredd Up, Tea Break, Overdrive, Goblini, Ritam Nereda, Eyesburn, Sve Barabe, Feed Me, Wenti Wadada, Martinees Selecta, Wenti Wadada, Shpira (DJ set), Damjan Eltech & Sajsi MC, Hornsman Coyote, Dovlaman & Pips.

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All headphones are shit. It's true. You might think that pair you bought from Sennheiser are the bee's knees, but bees don't have knees, so you're wrong. And do you know how I know for certain? Because Simon Cowell, a man who once said that he never listens to music for pleasure, told me.

Yes, the 'X' chief has been travelling the world desperately trying to find the cans that can truly do 'What Makes You Beautiful' justice, and do you know what, they don't exist. But worry not people, because the Syco chief has given the science geeks at Sony Electronics a good talking to, and they've created some brand new headphones that will let you enjoy forthcoming One Direction album 'Take Me Home' as God intended (presumably that means they come with an in-built mute button).

The X Headphones range will be co-distributed via Cowell's own Sony subsidiary Syco with Sony Electronics, and says the man himself: "I chose to make a set of headphones with Sony because I simply wanted something better than what is in the market today. I've tried all of them, literally every single one. Sony and I set out to create the best headphone in the world. We are absolutely blown away by these. With the X Headphones, it's like being in the recording studio when the records are made. The sound is that clear".

Meanwhile Andrew Sivori, Sony Electronics' VP Personal Audio, added: "Our X Headphones are for the true listeners, the music fanatics who share Sony's uncompromising passion for music and precision in sound. Created by Sony and Simon Cowell, the new X Headphones deliver an amazing listening experience wrapped up in a cutting-edge design for the ultimate in self-expression".

Oh, this just in, bees do have knees. Hmm, not sure what that says about Cowell's claims. Oh well, have a look at this headphones anyway at

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Suddenly solo singer-songwriter Christopher Owens - who relinquished his place in Girls back in July - has re-appeared modelling in a campaign for re-branded fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, which is now known as Saint Laurent Paris.

He is photographed by SLP's new Creative Director Hedi Slimane, whose 2008 'Rock Diary' also featured images of Owens when he was still a part of Girls last year.

See that latter shoot here, and the new Saint Laurent one via Vogue.

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LA-based experimental metal label Hydra Head Records, founded in 1993 by Aaron Turner of post-metallers Isis, is to close its doors, Turner has confirmed in a blog post. Admitting that "Hydra Head Records has never been a smooth-running operation", with both highs and lows, Turner says that changes in his and his associates' lives, coupled with recent changes in the music industry, have resulted in "a slow and somewhat painful death for the label".

He continues: "The simple fact of the matter is we've been running on empty for a while now and cannot afford to keep our doors open for much longer. Years of imbalance between creative ideals and financial realities, personal problems amongst the label operators, an unwillingness to compromise our aesthetic standards, a tendency towards releasing challenging (ie unmarketable) artists, and the steady decline of the music industry in general, are amongst the chief reasons for our inability to continue. It is a harsh but undeniable reality, and one which we are attempting to confront with as much integrity and grace as is afforded by the circumstances".

The label will stop releasing new material from December, becoming instead a catalogue enterprise "with the ultimate aim of repaying our rather sizable debts".

Turner concludes: "There is no way to sum up nearly 20 years of incredibly important music, experiences, and evolution other than to say a big heart felt 'thank you', and that we hope this closing will provide an opening into other even more positive and rewarding experiences for all of us and all of you who have been a part of our shared experience. For now we bid you all a very fond farewell".

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Alan McGee is considering relaunching Creation Records, or another label under a different name maybe. I think Poptones has a nice ring to it.

In recent years McGee mostly moved away from music and launched a film company called Escalier 39, but after being asked to help curate next year's Tokyo Rocks festival in Japan he says he's been enthused to rejoin the music industry. Though he has to make a film first and write a book, so don't hold your breath.

Speaking to Louder Than War, McGee said: "Since spending the summer helping curate Tokyo Rocks for next year it's made me realise I do still love it! It was when I was flying back from Japan with the Primals that started me loving it again. I have to finish the edit to my film 'Kubricks', and deliver the book I have signed up for but to be honest I am now seriously thinking about restarting Creation, or maybe call it something else, if I can find the right people at a label to work with. Music needs a kick in the balls, and I have got the music buzz back again after working on Tokyo Rocks".

In an earlier interview with Dangerous Minds in July, McGee also hinted that he was warming to the world of music again, saying: "Recently I have been helping curate stadium festivals in Tokyo for 2013, and I am enjoying it. So maybe I am moving back towards music. I don't know, to be honest. I do like films and books more than working with music but I find music easy to do, I sort of understand the music process and always have done. I think music is awful at this point and it's deliberate. Music is such a strong thing, with the message and the vibration and they want it now to be shit so it loses its impact on people. There are great bands around but they just are basically marginalised till they give in".

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Omnifone, the back-end digital music provider that pumps music into services run by the likes of Sony and Blackberry, as well the streaming platform launched by its own spin-off company, has posted its first annual profit in its nine year history.

The London-based digital firm yesterday announced that it made a £2.9 million profit in the last financial year, compared to a £21.7 million loss the previous ear. Of course, given the investment in technology, licensing and business development made in the last decade, the company is presumably someway off truly going into profit, though when operating in a market dominated by companies still wholly reliant on start-up capital, being a profitable business year to year is worth bragging about.

Which is what Omnifone did yesterday. CEO Jeff Hughes told CMU: "We have experienced fantastic momentum on all fronts over the past year and have achieved profitability as a result. The growth of smartphones, connected devices and the availability of high speed connectivity has led to an increased demand for cloud-based music services, opening up a land grab opportunity for the digital music industry".

He added: "Our success is proof to the industry that the business-to-business model has the potential to be profitable. Scale is important and having achieved profit at scale our aim is to focus on growth across all areas to take the business to the next level. Our sights are set on new market expansion, business development and market consolidation".

As Hughes says, Omnifone's primary business is as a B2B provider of content and technology to other consumer-facing digital services, usually operated by existing major brands. And while the company's own MusicStation brand has been used by some the company's clients, when the Omnifone team moved fully into the consumer-facing part of the market last year, they did so by setting up as a separate entity.

The B2B model isn't new of course, and in the early days of digital music it was the back-end providers that seemed to enjoy most success, partly because their clients took most of the risk associated with launching a loss-leading download or streaming service. That said, few of those providers lasted the distance.

Whether yesterday's news means Omnifone is the company that has a long-term future in this space is something industry experts will debate. Though the inevitable shift of digital music to mobile devices should given Omnifone further competitive advantage given that, while the company has worked with various web and PC-based music services over the last nine years, as its name suggests the firm's ambition has always been in the mobile music space.

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Talking of the shift to mobile, Facebook top geezer Mark Zuckerberg used much of his high profile session at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco yesterday to talk about his company's mobile future.

And, needless to say, the Zuck reckons his firm is now fully positioned to capitalise on the shift of social networking to smartphones, admitting that the company's initial reliance on HTML5 apps in the mobile space was a mistake, and that it was the launch of native iPhone and Android apps earlier this year that put Facebook on the right track. The challenge now, he said, was to find a better way of integrating advertising into the mobile experience.

But all this talk of mobile does not mean Facebook is planning its own mobile device, Zuckerberg said, pointing out that his business is based on big numbers audience wise, and that relying in anyway on proprietary hardware would hinder that. According to the BBC, he told the conference: "If we make a phone we could get maybe ten million users? Twelve million users? That doesn't move the needle for us. Building a phone is the wrong strategy for us".

Of course what everyone really wanted to know is, what about Facebook's share price, which has slumped since the social networking firm's much (and arguably way overly) hyped IPO back in May. The share price slump was "disappointing" Zuck admitted, and had had a negative impact on morale he seemed to concede.

But, he added, "there are tons of people that are super-pessimistic, [but] I would personally rather be underestimated - it gives us latitude to go out and make some big bets". Yeah, he probably should have told that to the people sent out on Facebook's behalf to totally oversell the firm ahead of its flotation.

As for Zuckerberg's thoughts on digital music. Well, "Spotify is killing it just now" he reckoned. And we think that means he thinks it's doing rather well. Either that, or the Spotify app had just killed his iPhone.

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Nicki Minaj does not support Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney and anyone who thought she did is an idiot. Not my words, people, but the (approximate) words of Miss Minaj herself.

As previously reported, there was much debate online last week about the meaning behind Minaj's contribution to Lil Wayne's 'Dedication 4' mixtape, which includes the lines: "I'm a Republican, voting for Mitt Romney/You lazy bitches is fuckin up the economy".

Asked by Florida radio station Power 95.3 if he thought Minaj had outed herself as a supporter of his presidential rival Romney, Barack Obama said: "I'm not sure that's actually what happened. I think she had a song on that [Lil Wayne mixtape], a little rap that said that. But she likes to play different characters. So I don't know what's going on there".

Responding to the president's comments, Minaj tweeted: "Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor and sarcasm Mr President, the smart ones always do", adding: "Awesome! Now I can tell my grandchildren that the first black President of the United States took the time to address a Nicki Minaj question".

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