17 SEP 2012

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Well, after all the excitement of the Mercury shortlist announcement last week, anticipation now turns back to the Universal/EMI deal, which may well be allowed to go through by EU regulators later this week. Then of course there's that Killer's webcast, which will be directed by Werner Herzog - a slightly bizarre but potentially amazing decision. Over here at CMU we'll have plenty laid on as usual, including an interview with producer Wrongtom about his latest Wrongtom Meets... album with Deemas J.
A collaboration between Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski (who also plays drums in Austra), shady Torontonians Trust will release their vowel-shunning debut LP, 'TRST', via Arts & Crafts/PIAS on 15 Oct. The record has been available in the US and Canada since February, which benefits us Brits in that there's a wealth of pre-release 'TRST' previews and promos to take advantage of. So you can, if you like, cast an eye over videos for 'Bulbform' or 'Candy Walls', or alternatively listen to 'FTF' via SoundCloud more>>
- Manchester and Nottingham top UK file-sharing chart
- James Taylor sues Warner over digital royalties
- Pirate Bay co-founder also accused of tax server hack
- Domestic abuse campaigners add warning stickers to Chris Brown CDs
- Hillsborough report impacts on singles chart
- Live And Let Die the best Bond theme
- Ghostface Killah records solo LP, RZA produces
- Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren cover The Who
- Sufjan Stevens making Christmas music with Kitty Pryde
- Nico LP given deluxe reissue
- Jessie Ware to release new single
- Sharon Van Etten rearranges tour
- Weird Dreams book headline show
- Melody's Echo Chamber sets London date
- Festival line-up additions
- New York label Partisan launches London office
- Google and Twitter top Media Guardian 100
- Global chairman hits out at UK media rules
- Jessie J to shave head
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A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

Universal/EMI. Yet another crunch meeting is due to take place in Europe this week regarding the investigation into Universal Music's purchase of the EMI record company. European Union competition regulators will present their findings to European Commissioners ahead of a final ruling on the takeover. It is thought the EC regulator will back the deal subject to wide-ranging concessions. Meanwhile, a ruling from the US Federal Trade Commission is expected next week.

Xfm's The Remix DJ Shadow Special. DJ Shadow will appear on a special edition of Xfm's The Remix, presented by CMU's own Eddy Temple-Morris, this Friday. The show marks the release of 'Reconstructed', the producer's new 'best of' compilation, and will feature specially commissioned mixes of Shadow's work by DJ Food, Stereo:Type, Bare Noize, Culprit One and Irn Mnky, plus two hours of the man himself chatting and playing some of his favourite music.

Werner Herzog directs The Killers. The same scheme responsible for one-off collaborations between Jack White and Gary Oldman, Duran Duran and David Lynch, and Hamish Hamilton and Usher, American Express's Unstaged series, has now persuaded German film auteur Werner Herzog to direct a concert webcast featuring The Killers. And potentially a surprise animal. The set will be screened live from New York's Paradise Theatre tomorrow, which is also the day The Killers release their new LP 'Battle Born' in the US.

New releases. After many delays, Kanye West's GOOD Music collaborative album is finally released this week, as are newies from Muse, Pink, Carly Rae Jepsen, Grizzly Bear, Dinosaur Jr, Kid Koala, How To Dress Well and Menomena. Oneohtrix Point Never and Rene Hell are also releasing a split LP and Bella Union is releasing a three disc compilation to mark the label's fifteenth anniversary. And if you're looking for something shorter, well why not check out the new EP from MS MR.

Gigs and tours. Following on from a similar performance by Richard Hawley earlier this month, The xx will perform with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra this Wednesday in Yorkshire, with the show broadcast on Radio 1. Also, Jens Lekman with be in the UK for two shows, Thurston Moore will play two nights at Café Oto in Dalston, and promoter Just A Crush will have live music and indie labels selling their wares at an event at the Shacklewell Arms on Sunday. Amongst the artists on tour this week are Dappy, Zane Lowe, Aiden Grimshaw, BOB, Hey Sholay and Dntel.

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More than twice as many albums are downloaded illegally in the UK as are bought via legitimate digital services like iTunes, according to a new report from online music analytics firm Musicmetric. Which is quite a bit less than I would have expected, but there you go.

The report reckons that over 33 million albums were downloaded from unlicensed sources via BitTorrent file-sharing in the first six months of the year, during which time 14.8 million digital albums were sold.

Amongst Musicmetric's stats, are that Ed Sheeran is the most illegally downloaded artist of the year so far, though in the Isle Of Wight Louis Armstrong was downloaded more, while Justin Bieber led in the Oxfordshire village of Kidlington and The Smiths were top in the Scottish Border town of Galashiels.

The geographical stats - assuming they accurately show where file-sharers are specifically based - are probably the most interesting amongst those amassed by Musicmetric. The London area accounted for the highest amount of illegal downloads overall, unsurprisingly given the size of its population, though when the figures are averaged out per head Manchester and Nottingham have the most prolific file-sharers amongst their number.

The BBC notes that in Wales, excluding Cardiff, file-sharing is less prolific, and wonders if this is linked to lower internet speeds in much of the country. In Llanelli, Musicmetric records an average of 1581 illegal downloads per month, whereas Yeovil in Somerset, with a similar population but faster internet connections, the monthly average is 4239.

Quite what all this tells us about the state of file-sharing in the UK - as the Napster generation reach their mid-to-late-20s - is debatable, given that digital content is routinely shared without licence in ways other than BitTorrent file-sharing, though on the other hand the music industry at large has many revenue streams other than iTunes.

Though labels chiefs will no doubt say all this shows file-sharing is still a major problem hindering investment in new talent, and that the government should get its arse into gear and kick start three-strikes.

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James Taylor is the latest in a long line of artists to sue for a bigger cut of digital royalties. The Grammy winning singer-songwriter's $2 million royalties lawsuit is against his original label Warner Bros Records, and makes various claims of under-payment against the major, though most significant are the claims based around the digital royalties debate.

As much previously reported, traditional record contracts paid artists a much higher royalty on licensing income than record sale revenue. Where digital downloads are not specifically referenced in heritage contracts, the majors have treated downloads as the digital equivalent of record sales and paid the smaller artist royalty. But many artists claim that download revenues stem from licensing deals with iTunes et al, and should therefore be treated as licensing income, so that the higher artist royalty is paid.

All the majors now face litigation on this issue in the US, with all the lawsuits citing a legal battle between Universal and Eminem collaborators FBT Productions, where the producers won a higher 'licensing revenue' split on their cut of Slim Shady download sales. Whether the precedent in that case can be extended to all heritage record contracts is still to be tested in court.

Warner, which has renegotiated its deals with Taylor at various points since their first agreement in 1969, has yet to comment on the litigation.


Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm has been accused of involvement in the hacking of servers owned by Logica, a Swedish IT firm that works for the country's tax authorities, according to Torrentfreak.

It's not clear if that was the actual reason for Svartholm being arrested in Cambodia at the start of the month. He was, of course, also found guilty in the Swedish courts of copyright infringement for his involvement in The Pirate Bay, and is facing a full year in jail for that conviction, having been deprived the right to appeal after failing to show up for his first appeal court hearing.

Svartholm was seemingly deported back to Sweden last week, and on his arrival was formally charged over the Logica hacking allegations. He denies the new charges.

It's not clear on what grounds Svartholm was deported, given there is no extradition agreement between Cambodia and Sweden, though his visa to stay in the former had reportedly expired, which might have helped the latter get him back into its jurisdiction. Some have also noted that Sweden provided Cambodia with $60 million in aid around the same time Svartholm was being arrested.

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Chris Brown CDs in at least one branch of HMV were decorated last week with labels that read "Warning. Do not buy this album! This man beats women". Which seems fair enough.

It's assumed that the stickers were added to copies of Brown's latest album by anti-domestic abuse campaigners, presumably annoyed by the speed with which the US record industry, and the pop-buying public, have seemingly re-accepted the thuggish R&B star after he beat then girlfriend Rihanna unconscious during Grammy Weekend 2009.

According to the NME, a photo of the sticker stuck to a Brown CD in an HMV rack was first posted to Twitter by the Cambridge University Student Union Women's Campaign, though they have remained vague about whether or not they had any personal involvement in the guerrilla stickering campaign.

Where discovered, the stickers have been removed by shop staff, while a spokesman for HMV - caught between having to endorse either vandalism or domestic violence - told E News: "It was very much an isolated incident and nothing to do with HMV or representing our views. It would appear a member of the public popped into one of our stores yesterday and stickered a handful of CDs. These were spotted and quickly removed, but, before we could act, the individual concerned must have taken a photo and sent it to the media. To our knowledge there are no further stickers in our stores now".

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While lots of industry types might have expected last week's Mercury Prize shortlist to have an impact on this week's charts, I'm not sure many would have predicted that the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report would have a bigger impact.

In fact, other than Alt-J going up fourteen places in the albums chart, the Mercury shortlist has had no real impact on that top 40 at all, possibly because by publishing the shortlist in September, one of the busiest times of year for big new releases, any uplift in sales resulting in the Mercury hype will have a less noticeable impact on the higher echelons of the chart.

However, in the singles chart Gerry And The Pacemaker's version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' has charted at number twelve, following an online campaign initiated by Liverpool MP Steve Rotheram and backed by Liverpool FC fans and supporters of the families of victims of the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, who are hoping that the revelations in last week's report will help them achieve their long-held ambition for 'justice for the 96'.

The Gerry And The Pacemakers version of the Rogers & Hammerstein song, adopted by Liverpool FC more than any other football club as an unofficial anthem, is, of course, generally considered the classic version of the track, especially on Merseyside. And, according to Rotheram, Gerry Marsden has said that he will donate any royalties he receives from new sales of the song to Hillsborough-related charities.

Rotheram tweeted: "People have asked what they can do now. If you download 'You'll Never Walk Alone', it will send a message to the rest of the country. Just spoke to Gerry Marsden who is supporting YNWAno1 and will donate any proceeding to Hillsborough charities. Great gesture. Great man".

There was, of course, a charity record released in the wake of the Hillsborough incident, again in aid of charities supporting victims and their families. It was a cover of another Gerry And The Pacemakers hit, 'Ferry Across The Mersey', involving various music types of the day originating from Merseyside, including Marsden himself, and The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney and Pete Waterman.

Though that's not available via iTunes, nor as good as the Pacemakers version of 'Walk Alone', so Rotheram's campaign was probably the right one.


'Live And Let Die' is the best Bond theme ever, according to a poll of Radio 2 and 5 Live listeners conducted to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of 'Dr No'. The Paul McCartney penned and performed track was the soundtrack to the first Bond film featuring Roger Moore in 1973.

Carly Simon's 'Nobody Does It Better', unusual for having the name of the movie it soundtracked ('The Spy Who Loved Me') in its lyrics but not its name, came in second, while the archetypal Bond theme 'Goldfinger', sung by Shirley Bassey, came in third.

I think I'd vote for A-ha's 'The Living Daylights', but only because that's the Bond film I watched this weekend. Wasn't it better when Bond smoked? Silly 21st Century Hollywood and its 'only bad guys smoke' rule.

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Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface Killah has kept busy this year, recording a soon-to-be-released DOOMSTARKS LP with MF DOOM, and also collaborating with Kanye West's GOOD Music collective toward their 'Cruel Summer' record. Wow, so much rap capitalisation.

So he's been busy, but not so busy that he hasn't had time to prepare a solo long player in the form of the optimistic-sounding 'Twelve Reasons To Die'. Featuring the studio expertise of composer Andrian Younge and Wu Tang's own RZA, who acts as its executive producer, the collection is set for release on 19 Nov.

In place of a 'Twelve Reasons' preview (which we don't have), why not take a listen to 'New God Flow', Ghostface's 'Cruel Summer' cameo - as also co-stars Pusha-T and, naturally, Kanye West - via Pusha's website.


So, that Fleetwood Mac tribute LP may have proven a touch too 'modern' for diehard fans' tastes, but fear not, because a far less controversial artist roster has aligned to pay homage to that other most classic of rock bands, The Who, as part of a new covers compilation titled 'Who You Are'.

Set for release on 2 Oct, it features Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren, The Kinks' Dave Davies, Rick Wakeman, Judas Priest's KK Downing and comparative youngbloods The Raveonettes


Eminence Front - John Wetton (Asia), KK Downing (Judas Priest) and Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion)
Baba O'Riley - Nektar, Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
I Can See For Miles - Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere And The Raiders) and Wayne Kramer (MC5)
Love Reign O'er Me - Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Rick Wakeman, Huw Lloyd-Langton (Hawkwind) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge)
My Generation - Knox (Vibrators), Dave Davies (The Kinks) and Rat Scabies (The Damned)
The Kids Are Alright - The Raveonettes
Won't Get Fooled Again - Sweet
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere - Todd Rundgren and Carmine Appice
I Can't Explain - Iggy Pop
Behind Blue Eyes - Pat Travers
Magic Bus - Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), Peter Banks (Yes) and Ginger Baker (Cream)
Who Are You - Gretchen Wilson and Randy Bachman (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
Pinball Wizard - Terry Reid, Mike Pinera (Blues Image) and Brad Gillis (Night Ranger)
Squeeze Box - John Wesley (Porcupine Tree) and David Cross (King Crimson)
Bargain - 38 Special, Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash) and Ian Paice (Deep Purple)
The Seeker - Joe Lynn Turner and Leslie West (Mountain)

I dare anyone to dispute such a distinguished guest list, this one criminal omission aside.


Sufjan Stevens has christened his new Tumblr with various weird Christmas gifs, which many people are taking to mean he's crafting a festive LP to coincide with... well, Christmas.

No stranger to Xmas-themed music, Stevens recorded a succession of no less than nine such records between 2001 and 2010. So it's plausible that he'll make a tenth.

And what more apt way to mark his initiation to Tumblr than with a collaboration with 'Tumblr-core' phenomenon Kitty Pryde for said mooted festive album? She has said via Facebook that she's "just finished my Christmas song for Sufjan Stevens".

Fancy that! Only at Christmas.


A remastered edition of Nico's strange and austere solo long player, 'The End...', first released in 1974, will be given a 'super deluxe' 2CD reissue on 1 Oct.

Her fifth studio collaboration with The Velvet Underground's John Cale, its original content will appear on CD1, while a bonus disc will feature extra recordings from various John Peel sessions, an alternative version of its title track (aka her nine and a half minute The Doors cover) and three previously unreleased demos.

This is 'The End...' track 'Secret Side', as was taped in 1971 as part of a John Peel Session.


The just Mercury Prize-nominated Jessie Ware is releasing 'Night Light', a track dedicated to her real-life boyfriend, as the fifth single from her debut LP 'Devotion'. She says he (her boyfriend) "really doesn't like the song", but no matter... it's not like he's on the Mercury panel or anything.

Jessie also describes 'Night Light' as a "sassy ballad", despite the fact that it features a cello. She did write it, so she knows what she's talking about. To a greater extent than her unappreciative boyfriend, at least.

'Night Light' is out via PMR Records on 22 Oct. No one's officially said this yet, but the original 'Devotion' version may be paired with a remix by Hot Chip's Joe Godard, who you may remember became Jessie's 'mentor' as part of a previously mentioned Bacardi Beginnings project.

This is Jessie talking about that 'collab'.

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Sharon Van Etten has postponed a couple of her forthcoming live dates. The shows in question - ones at London's Shepherds Bush Empire and Cardiff's Glee - were originally meant to be a part of an October tour Shaz is doing in promotion of her new LP, 'Tramp', but have now been postponed to December.

Tickets for the two cancelled shows still be valid for the new dates, but refunds are also available.

So, apart from an appearance at The National's ATP Festival (7-8 Dec), the amended tour looks like this:

7 Oct: Cambridge, Junction 2
10 Oct: Sheffield, Queens Social Club
3 Dec: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
9 Dec: Cardiff, Glee


Weird Dreams will play their first headline show since the April release of their rather fine debut LP, 'Choreography' next month.

With that show happening at Birthdays in London's modish Dalston quarter on 26 Oct, the band will also accompany Destroyer across three dates in November, the first of which is a sold-out booking at London's Village Underground on 13 Nov.

Still dazzlingly brand new after its premiere on Friday, this is the video for 'Choreography' track 'Vague Hotel'.


Having played in deference to Pond at London's Cargo earlier this year, Melody's Echo Chamber will reprise her set at that same exact establishment, headlining this time, on 6 Oct.

This marks the fact that her eponymous first LP is released via Weird World on 5 Nov. Taken from it, this is the video for 'I Follow You'.

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FEAR OF FICTION, various venues, Stokes Croft, Bristol, 10 Nov: Friendly Fires DJs, Toy, Suuns, Egyptian Hip Hop, Dan Le Sac, Blood Diamonds, Chad Valley, Halls, Tellison, Arcane Roots, El Perro Del Mar, The Chapman Family, Among Brothers, Glass Animals, Stagecoach, Idles, Towns, The Naturals, Crash Of Rhinos, Scarlet Rascal & The Trainwreck, Olo Worms, Gunning For Tamar, Big Naturals, Yes Rebels, Casimir, Spectres, Baskerville {Wilder}.

PITCHFORK FESTIVAL PARIS, Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, France, 1-3 Nov: Melody's Echo Chamber.

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New York-based independent label Partisan Records is launching a European office in London. The new Euro-HQ will be headed up by former RCA and Island Records exec Adam Shearer, and will oversee UK releases by Partisan artists Heartless Bastards, Callers and Diamond Rugs in the next year.

Confirming his new job, Shearer told CMU: "I'm delighted to have been given the opportunity to launch Partisan in the UK and across the rest of Europe. We have an eclectic, exciting roster of acts that I believe will find a good home here, and I look forward to boosting the profile of both the label and our artists over the coming months and years".

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Google and Twitter bosses top the latest Media Guardian list of the most powerful executives in (or with an impact on) the British media.

The former presumably because of its absolute dominance in search in the UK and its strong position in the online advertising space. The latter because of its influence over other media, and political and business leaders, despite it being much smaller than social networking rival Facebook in terms of reach and advertising revenue.

Facebook comes in at six, with VP EMEA Joanna Shields listed. Positions three and four are populated by the Beeb (BBC Trust chief Chris Patten and incoming Director General George Entwistle respectively), with Apple at five, now represented by its Senior VP Of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive.

Music-wise, Simon Cowell is at nine, though more for his television business. The only label exec in the 100 is Universal Music UK's David Joseph at 47, just ahead of Spotify boss Daniel Ek at 48. Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik is at 54 and Simon Fuller at 56. Former HMV boss Simon Fox is at 93, but for his new job as head of Trinity Mirror.

Radio wise, BBC radio chief Tim Davie is at 39, Global Radio boss Ashley Tabor is at 40 and Radio 1 chief Ben Cooper is at 77.

See the full list here.


Charlie Allen, still Chairman of Global Radio, has hit out at media rules in the UK which means that his radio company is having to face a competition investigation to get the OK for its bid to buy the radio stations owned by GMG Radio.

As previously reported, Global's competitors are calling on regulators to block the purchase of fourteen radio licences previously owned by the Guardian Media Group and currently used for the Real and Smooth Radio networks.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Allen said that UK media ownership rules were out of date, adding that: "Why do you need to go through all this compliance and plurality for 12 small radio stations? Rather than letting companies get on and grow, we have this level of regulatory involvement for such a small deal".

In terms of the UK radio industry, twelve licences, some of which are sizable 'regional licences', is actually quite a big deal, particularly in areas like London, Manchester and Central Scotland where Global already has a sizable presence. Though Allen and Global CEO Ashley Tabor will argue that in the context of the wider British media industry, the acquisition isn't significant.

Initial decisions on the deal from both media regulator OfCom and the Office Of Fair Trading are expected later this month, though a final ruling could take sometime longer.

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I've never been able to pinpoint just what it is I don't like about Jessie J... maybe it's that she isn't sufficiently bald. I'll soon know whether or not that's it, because the 'LaserLight' popstar has placed a 'Price Tag' on her hair, and will be shaving it all off for Comic Relief. Every single strand.

J, who apparently promised last year she'd do it when the time was right, shared details of the charity 'live-shave' via Twitter, saying: "I am SO excited and honoured to be able to finally officially announce I will be shaving my head LIVE for you ALL to watch in March 2013 for Red Nose Day"

She added: "Follow @rednoseday please and let's make next year's the BEST and most memorable but most of all it is 'all about the money' (this time)".

If you're curious as to what Jessie might look like sans hair, Gigwise has Photoshopped-up a potential answer.

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