24 SEP 2012

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Well, with Universal's purchase of the EMI record labels now approved the world over, we could say something dramatic about this week being the "beginning of the end" for the British music company. But then you could say the beginning of the end happened in January 2011 when Citigroup repossessed EMI from Terra Firma. Or even in 2007 when Terra Firma bought EMI. Or in 1931, when the company was founded, because ultimately everything dies. Whatever, official change of ownership is expected to happen this Friday - and expect more reporting on this as the transfer looms. Also this week in CMU, we'll be chatting to Kid Koala.
Forward-thinking Brooklyn beatsmith and Hyperdub signing Laurel Halo presents a radical trance reframing of 'Forget', a track from Mercury Prize nominee Lianne La Havas. While La Havas' original - as features on her debut LP 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' - is safe, conservative even, Halo's version is more radical. She severs and loops the phrase "Remember way back when you played me/And I lost that hand", setting it against a star-shot galaxy of sound and lending a new rhythmic onus to every syllable. Forgettable, this isn't more>>
- Universal's EMI deal approved in Europe and US
- EMI deal divestments: What does it mean for Universal?
- EMI deal divestments: The bidding begins
- EMI deal: Independent responses
- Vince Power's company suspends shares
- Green Day apologise for Armstrong rant at Clear Channel event
- New Zealand officials snooped on MegaUpload execs without authority
- Linkin Park, Gangnam Style set new YouTube records
- LMFAO part ways
- Bleeding Heart Narrative split
- BBC to release Amy Winehouse boxset
- Willy Mason sets LP release date
- Peter Hook borrowing New Order LPs for two-stop tour
- Exitmusic to tour
- Rammstein to headline every European festival ever
- Festival line-up additions
- Sales slip further at HMV
- Carter appointed head of pop events for BBC A&M
- Mumford critics can fuck off
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We are looking for a dynamic, dedicated and very organised individual to join our growing team working across both events and artist management. The candidate will be responsible for managing both London events as well as further developing and organising international tours for Future Disco.

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Fancy seeing what’s involved in the day to day of working for a record label? Well, here’s your chance. We’re looking for an intern here at Sunday Best, and it could be you! We are after an energetic, music-loving person who is prepared to muck in and get involved, with social media skills, a bit of graphic design knowhow, and web design knowledge being a bonus, but don’t worry if not!

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Distiller Music are looking for an enthusiastic and talented individual to become a full time synchronisation and licensing manager. The role requires at least three years experience in sync and you would need a wide range of contacts in TV, film, advertising and gaming.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Domino is looking for a talented individual to join its growing Neighbouring Rights department. The role requires strong organisational skills, an analytical mind and keen attention to detail. Key duties include data processing, ensuring discographies/performer details are registered at collection societies around the world, dealing with disputes, processing statements as well as general administration.

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

A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

EMI sale completes. After Universal's bid to buy EMI's recorded music division received final approval in both Europe and the US on Friday, it is now expected that the change of ownership from Citigroup to Universal will happen this Friday. In an email to staff last week, EMI CEO Roger Faxon said that once that happened, he and CFO Ruth Prior would both step down. Universal will then, of course, have to begin selling the labels and catalogues it agreed to offload in order to gain approval for the deal in Europe - something Sony Music began doing with the EMI Music Publishing catalogues last week.

Nick Grimshaw takes over Radio 1 breakfast. Actually, this has already happened, as by the time you read this Nick Grimshaw will already have presented his first edition of the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. He, of course, replaces Chris Moyles, who left the job after eight years earlier this month.

Music 4.5 - Smart Radio. This interesting event, taking place from 2-6pm on Wednesday in London, will consider which online radio and streaming services have sustainable business models, and what music radio will look like in the future.

Polaris Music Prize winner named. The winner of Canada's version of the Mercury Prize will be named later today. Up for the award this year are Cadence Weapon, Cold Specks, Drake, Kathleen Edwards, Feist, Fucked Up, Grimes, Handsome Furs, Japandroids and Yamantaka/Sonic Titan.

AIM Social launches. The Association Of Independent Music will hold its first AIM Social networking night at East Village in Shoreditch this Thursday. As well as the socialising, reps from two "contrasting" indie labels will be invited to DJ at the events, with Simon Raymonde and indie duo I Break Horses representing Bella Union and Peter Quicke and Coldcut's Jon More Ninja Tune at the first edition. The night also falls inside AIM's Indies Month, which includes various other events leading up to the second Independent Label Awards next month.

Radio 2 Britpop drama. If you fancy a bit of light entertainment, you can tune into BBC Radio 2's new Britpop-themed drama tomorrow. 'Eastenders' actor Shane Richie voices this new radio musical drama titled 'Shout To The Top', to be aired on BBC Radio 2 at 10pm. The series, which is billed by the Beeb as "'Glee' for an older audience", has been scripted by one-time The Farm drummer Roy Boulter and Louise Wener of 1990s alt-pop quintet Sleeper. Its storyline centres on an aspiring girl band in the pre-Britpop era, and will feature original tracks plus Eurythmics and Prefab Sprout covers to "illustrate the dialogue".

Andrew WK speaks at My Little Pony convention. If you can make it to Ohio later this week, you can catch Andrew WK giving the keynote speech at this year's Canterlot Gardens My Little Pony convention. That's right, you try to take in those two pieces of information at once - that event exists and Andrew WK is giving the keynote. His talk will take the title, 'In The Flesh: What Would Pinkie Pie Do?' Pinkie Pie is a My Little Pony, by the way.

New releases. So, Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5 and Green Day all have albums out this week, which are your big releases, I'd say. And Dappy. Let's not forget Dappy, eh? As well as that, you can grab new efforts from Tim Burgess, Efterklang, Karen O, Patrick Wolf, Wrongtom and Deemas J, Herbert Gronemeyer, plus Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore all recording together and Gilles Peterson's new compilation. Also, there are singles and EPs worth checking out from Dum Dum Girls, Olafur Arnalds, NZCA/Lines and King Krule.

Gigs and tours. Graham Coxon and Hot Chip are amongst the artists who will play this year's Oxjam opening shows at Dalston's Oxfam store this week. You can also catch Jarvis Cocker improvising a silent film score at Kings Place, the return of the Ja Ja Ja Nordic music night at The Lexington, and promoter Tief's first birthday party at Corsica Studios. On tour this week are Skream, Azealia Banks, Dan Deacon, The Enemy, Om, and King Tuff.

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So, it's been a long time coming, but the music rights industry finally went through its latest big shift on Friday - from having four major players to just three (or two and a half really) - as Universal was given the all-clear to buy the EMI record company by regulators in both Europe and the US, the former albeit subject to a raft of remedies.

As previously reported, the European Commission gave the EMI deal its approval on Friday morning, saying that it believed that the "the very significant commitments proposed by Universal will ensure that competition in the music industry is preserved and that European consumers continue to enjoy all its benefits".

Later in the day, the Federal Trade Commission in the US also green lighted the acquisition, without asking for any concessions beyond those already committed to in Europe. The FTC's Bureau Of Competition said that different market conditions Stateside meant that the divestments ordered by the regulator in Europe were not required in the US.

Though the government body added: "Although [we] did not conclude that a remedy was needed to protect competition in the United States, we note that the remedy obtained by the European Commission to address the different market conditions in Europe will reduce concentration in the market in the United States as well".

Needless to say, Universal welcomed the rulings on both sides of the Atlantic, concluding that "our investment in EMI will create more opportunities for new and established artists, expand music output and consumer choice, and support new digital services".

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As expected, deal approval in Europe was only possible after Universal conceded to wide-ranging concessions, in the main offloading nearly two-thirds of EMI's assets in Europe, and some of its own. EMI units in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland and the Czech Republic will all be sold, as with Universal's Greek outpost.

In addition, UK-based EMI Records Limited, which includes the Parlophone label and catalogue, plus the Chrysalis, Mute, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics catalogues will all be sold (minus Parlophone's The Beatles and Chrysalis's Robbie Williams recordings), as will EMI's share in the 'NOW!' brand. From the Universal side, Sanctuary, Co-op Music, King Island Roxystar and MPS Records will all be sold, as will the mega-major's stake in Jazzland.

Meanwhile, demonstrating that one of the key concerns for European regulators was the increased power an expanded Universal Music will have when negotiating with digital music providers, the major also committed to not include so called 'most favoured nation' clauses in all future digital agreements (included new agreements with existing licensees) within the European Economic Area for the next ten years.

Such clauses, which say that if a digital firm subsequently offers a better deal to another music rights owner, then Universal must also benefit from the better rate, have been controversial throughout the emergence of the digital music market.

Although by Friday few of the concessions were a surprise, the promised divestments go way beyond what even pessimists at Universal expected the company would have to commit to when it agreed to buy the EMI record company from US bank Citigroup last year. The sale of Parlophone in particular is significant, even though Universal was allowed to keep the all important Fab Four.

In an interview with Billboard this weekend, Universal Music chief Lucian Grainge said: "When I speak, I speak with validity and truth - I would have much preferred to have kept Parlophone as part of EMI, but it wasn't to be".

Some have wondered if EMI without Parlophone is worth having for Universal, though worldwide the mega-major will get to keep more than two-thirds of its new acquisition, and the UK's Virgin Records and America's Capitol Records in particular are both valuable catalogues and frontline labels.

Universal insiders are also optimistic that they will be able to sell the EMI units now on the block for the same price they paid Citigroup to acquire them, while Grainge has said he is confident he can still find £100 million in savings by combining the two music majors into one. That, of course, will mean job losses, though Grainge couldn't say how many.

Asked how he could say that reducing the number of major players in the music rights industry would create more choice and opportunities, Grainge told Billboard: "By growing the Virgin and Capitol labels. I don't see this as reducing the number of majors but rather strengthening two of industry's best-known labels with investment. The world in which I live is one where there's more competition, more robust challenges and lower barriers to entry".

He added: "We've been on the receiving end of a propaganda war: It's spin and conjecture to say there will be less choice. We are going to create more choice for artists, and more entrepreneurial opportunities, with the investment we're going to be making. I believe in working with a wide variety of entrepreneurs, as we've done with Cash Money and Scooter Braun's Schoolboy Records, for example".

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Universal has already been sounding out possible bidders for the labels and catalogues it has agreed to sell as part of its deal with European regulators, and those talks are expected to be stepped up in the coming weeks.

Warner Music, of course, was for many years considered the obvious buyer for the EMI record company, and it bid against Universal to buy it from Citigroup last year. Rumour has it Warner is interested in bidding for the EMI assets now on the block, though as one of the most vocal opponents to Universal's deal throughout the regulatory process, it won't find an especially warm welcome at Universal Towers.

Of course, Universal couldn't afford to turn down its grumpy rival if it bid highest, though given that Warner Music bosses have already gone on record as saying they believe Universal overpaid Citigroup for EMI, it seems unlikely they'll be making a high bid now.

BMG still seems the most likely bidder for the majority of the EMI assets - it's already expressed an interest in expanding the master recordings side of its business by acquiring EMI rights, it has the funds available to bid high, and hasn't gone out of its way to piss off the powers that be at Universal.

Smaller bids for certain EMI units are also likely - Mute's Daniel Miller will no doubt try to acquire back those Mute copyrights still owned by EMI from the days of his joint venture with the major. And City AM is already reporting interest amongst some private equity types, though it is thought the European Commission will expect Universal to only sell to those with music business credentials, though that wouldn't stop equity groups partnering with existing music industry players.

Those EMI labels now on the block will, in the short-term, be separated from those divisions that will become part of Universal.

In a memo to staff on Friday, current EMI chief Roger Faxon, as well as confirming that he and CFO Ruth Prior will leave when the takeover deal is fully completed on Friday, said that those people in EMI units for sale will in the interim report into a 'Hold Separate Manager', tbc, who in turn will report into a Trustee whose job is to ensure the terms of Universal's commitment to the European Commission are met.

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While the independent label community was divided regarding Universal's bid to buy EMI, especially once the mega-major started committing to sell off over half of EMI's European assets, it was those who opposed the deal throughout who were most vocal on Friday.

The deal's opponents welcomed the significant concessions that had been struck in Europe, claiming that the extent of the forced divestments proved that Universal's initial ambivalence to the competition implications of its merger had been shown to be unwise.

The UK's Association Of Independent Music urged the EC to ensure Universal stuck to every promise it had made to secure deal approval, while pan-European indie labels body IMPALA said it would be reviewing its options once it had the EC's full report on the merger (IMPALA did previously successfully challenge the initial regulator approval given to the Sony/BMG record company merger through the European courts).

But most of the deal's critics also said that the ultimate outcome of the competition investigations into Universal's EMI deal was, overall, bad news for the wider music community, even with the concessions in Europe, and especially because of the lack of concessions in the US market. Merlin, the digital rights body representing many of the bigger independents, said the divestments of EMI catalogues in Europe must be done with ensuring more diversity in the European digital market in mind.

While on the US approval, the organisation's CEO Charles Caldas told CMU: "This Federal Trade Commission decision is extremely disappointing, and deeply misguided. The European Commission raised a series of very significant competition issues resulting from the UMG/EMI transaction which required an extensive set of divestments and behavioural remedies, in particular with regards to limiting Universal's actions in the digital market".

He added: "The failure of the FTC to require similar if not more stringent remedies in the US market, where most digital services originate, gives UMG an open and unbridled path to controlling the shape and nature of the digital market, ignoring the interests of US consumers in favour of the market's most dominant player".

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Vince Power's Music Festivals plc told the City on Friday that it had been unable to secure new funding, and that it was therefore asking the Alternative Investment Market to suspend trading in its shares. As previously reported, Music Festivals plc, created by Power last year, has issued various gloomy statements to investors this year.

The company, which owns the UK's Hop Farm festival and Spain's Benicassim, as well as a couple of smaller events, has been hit hard by a slow year in the festivals market, especially in the UK where poor weather, a tight economy, a relative lack of headliners and competition from Olympic events and coverage have all contributed to poorer ticket sales across the board.

The Hop Farm festival in particular had a bad 2012, while Music Festivals plc also previously admitted that Benicassim had not performed as well this year.

In its statement on Friday the company said: "The board has, in recent weeks, pursued a number of different funding proposals, but the company has not been able to procure the necessary funding it requires. Whilst the board considers the next steps it has requested that trading in its ordinary shares is suspended and a further announcement will be made in due course".

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So, I think it's fair to say that Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wasn't very impressed when he was told he had just one minute left of his slot at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Friday, and he used up his one minute to let it be known in no uncertain terms.

"You're kidding me, you're fucking kidding me", he began. "What the fuck? I'm not fucking Justin Bieber you motherfuckers. You gotta be fucking joking. This is a fucking joke. I've got one minute, one minute left. Oh, now I've got nothing left. Let me show you what one fucking minute fucking means".

The frontman then proceeded to smash up his guitar and throw the remains into his audience who, if the YouTube clip is anything to go by, were kinda digging the rocker's strop.

Though that didn't stop the band's reps subsequently issuing a full apology, and an assurance that Armstrong was now receiving treatment for substance abuse. iHeartRadio, of course, is the digital music service owned by Clear Channel, America's biggest radio company, and therefore a firm not even Green Day can afford to piss off.

A statement from the band issued over the weekend read: "Billie Joe is seeking treatment for substance abuse. We would like everyone to know that our set was not cut short by Clear Channel and to apologise to those we offended at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas. We regretfully must [now] postpone some of our upcoming promotional appearances".

It's not clear if the postponements will also affect the band's next tour, due to kick off in November. Green Day previously cancelled a set at an Italian festival earlier this month because Armstrong was hospitalised with an at the time undisclosed ailment. The band subsequently said the singer had been dehydrated.

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New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau "acted unlawfully" in gathering communications between associates of the MegaUpload company, the country's Prime Minister has admitted.

PM John Key has now launched an inquiry into the actions of the GCSB, who seemingly helped New Zealand police locate certain individuals connected to MegaUpload after US authorities requested they be arrested at the start of the year.

As much previously reported, America is trying to extradite MegaUpload founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz and three other former Mega execs from New Zealand to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering in connection with their file-transfer and video-sharing services.

But, Key has admitted, it seems that some of the spying on Mega execs undertaken by GCSB was done so without the necessary "statutory authority". The PM added: "I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust. I look forward to the Inspector-General's inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it".

While it's not clear what impact the inquiry into the unauthorised snooping will have on America's attempts to extradite Dotcom et al, it's the latest in a number of embarrassments linked to the MegaUpload case in New Zealand. Previously it emerged that police had the wrong kind of warrant when they raided Dotcom's home, and that the US broke rules by taking digital evidence collated in New Zealand back to the States.

Dotcom himself welcomed Key's inquiry, tweeting: "The NZ equivalent of the CIA has spied on me UNLAWFULLY. I welcome the inquiry by @JohnKeyPM into unlawful acts by the GCSB. Please extend the inquiry to cover the entire Crown Law Mega case".

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Hey stats geeks, listen to this. Last Friday, Linkin Park became the first band ever to accumulate over one billion unique YouTube 'views' via their official YouTube channel, LinkinParkTV, according to adjudicators at the Guinness World Records.

This digital feat has so far only been accomplished by solo artists: Lady Gaga's 2010 record was surpassed by Rihanna in 2011, while young Justin Bieber - YouTube's most viewed pop personage of all time - at last count had upwards of 2.8 billion plays. But hey, first band - Linkin Park must be ecstatic.

Ecstatic, no. Cynical, yes. Citing a past squabble between their label Warner Music and YouTube, which saw the major's music removed from the video platform for a time, the band say they actually passed the billion plays landmark sometime ago, but some of their counts were lost.

Linkin HQ tweeted: "LP hit one billion [YouTube views] two years ago; when WBR [Warner Bros Records] and YT had disputes, YT erased WBR views, including hundreds of millions of Linkin Park views". So, that's nice.

YouKudos goes not only to Linkin Park, but also to marmite-like K-Pop star Psy. Basically, the new protégé of Bieber manager Scooter Braun's School Boy Records - real name Park Ja-Sang - has earned the accolade of YouTube's most 'liked' video, the promo for his single 'Gangnam Style' having amassed over 2.5 million 'likes' since its premiere in mid-July.

Sadly, 'likes' not always equating to sales, this wasn't sufficient to make it number one in this past weekend's British charts. Saying that, the track rose 34 places to reach number three, which isn't bad going. And now it's time to look at some cats with headphones on, being made to listen to (and allegedly review) 'Gangnam Style'.

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It looks like the party-rocking LOLs are over for pop act LMFAO for the time being, as the duo's Redfoo has said - with sincerest regret - that he and real-life nephew Sky Blu have parted ways to concentrate on solo schemes.

For Redfoo, aka 37 year-old Stefan Gordy (son of Motown founder Berry), those slightly surprising schemes are mostly sport-related. As this photo verifies, he's been performing with US Olympic gold-winning gymnastics quintet the Fierce Five, acting as tennis coach to Japan-born junior Ayaka Okuno, and is even composing a (party rock) anthem for pro football squad the New England Patriots. So, that's all happening.

Gordy, who doesn't rule out his and Sky Blu's potential to reform, is quoted by as saying: "I feel like we've been doing this for so long, five or six years. And we're kind of like saying, well, let's just do what's natural and just kind of explore that, instead of like forcing it all the time".

Touching on his own solo music-based projects, he adds: "All the music that I'm going to make is always going to be LMFAO-ish... I love all the topics that we talk about. I was really passionate about bringing party music to the world, so I will always be making some kind of party music".

As we await the advent of that party music, why not look at this Popdust slideshow of LMFAO's '32 Butt-Ugliest Outfits' to pass the time, or check out Popjustice's tear-jerking tribute to everyone's favourite party rockers?

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One of our favourite bands of recent years, Bleeding Heart Narrative have announced that they will go on an "extended hiatus" after one final show later this year.

The band's manager, Vez Hoper told CMU: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce that due to reasons separate from band business, Bleeding Heart Narrative have decided to take an extended hiatus with no further plans to resume. It's been an absolute honour to represent such an amazing band, I've loved every minute of fighting the good fight for them. I can't quite believe that I'll not hear their incredible live sets any more. Every time I saw them they made my blood rush with excitement, and walk away even more determined to get them out there so that other people have the chance to experience their amazing work too".

Those live sets really were that good. Stay tuned to CMU for details of that farewell show, and right now check out 'Not The Bees My Eyes' from last year's 'Bison' EP.

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'Amy Winehouse At The BBC', a new DVD/CD boxset comprising Amy Winehouse's BBC radio recordings and TV performances, is set for release on 12 Nov.

The four-disc set (three DVDs and a CD) features a compilation of Winehouse's appearances on 'Later with... Jools Holland', a live session she played at Porchester Hall for BBC1, a six-track acoustic set filmed at an Irish church back in 2006, and a CD collecting recordings from Radio 1's Live Lounge and various festivals.

Also part of the package (which sounds slightly mercenary, but still), 'candid' interviews and unseen footage. All royalties will be donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

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He sure has taken his sweet time over it, but Willy Mason is at last done making his third studio LP, the title of which is 'Carry On'. Featuring production by Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, MIA), it will mark Mason's first release via Fiction Records on 3 Dec.

Willy, who will play the first of six consecutive live dates on 1 Dec at Glasgow's King Tut's, has this to say about his new recording foray: "It's a narrative that's loosely based on me, on my character through performance, and I think that by completing this album, I'm sort of closing the door on that and opening up a whole new world of possibilities".

Make of that what you will, meanwhile here's Willy strumming to a live version of 'Carry On' track 'Restless Fugitive'.

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A determined Peter Hook is forging on with the live venture he first mentioned (threatened) last year, that is to say he's going to "play New Order", but not with estranged former New Order bandmates Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, rather with his new side project The Light.

Hooky has confirmed he'll stage two recitals of vintage New Order LPs, the first a rendition of the band's 1981 debut 'Movement' at London's Koko (17 Jan), and the second of 1983's 'Power, Corruption & Lies' at Manchester Cathedral (18 Jan), with some other classic tracks (aka 'Blue Monday', 'Temptation' and that) also promised.

Whilst the stunt isn't likely to please the 'new' New Order lot much, nor improve fraught relations within the 'old' New Order, perhaps Sumner et al will be too pre-occupied with touring and writing "electronic synth" music to realise what's going on. Perhaps. But they'd have to be pretty pre-occupied not to.

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Brooklyn twosome Exitmusic have issued details of a forthcoming live sortie, the function of which is to promote their good-as-new LP, 'Passage'.

The band have also premiered new video 'The Modern Age' as a visual complement to the dates, so take note of both now.

Tour dates:

6 Nov: London, The Lexington
7 Nov: Sheffield, The Plug
8 Nov: Leeds, Wharfe Chambers
9 Nov: Glasgow, King Tut's
10 Nov: Dublin, Whelans
12 Nov: Manchester, The Castle
13 Nov: Brighton, Green Door Store

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'Du Hast' metallers Rammstein are to play at approximately one million (well, twelve) European festivals in summer 2013, not least Belgium's Rock Werchter, Austria's Nova Rock and England's own Download.

Most people were aware of this fact prior to its being officially declared, the band having inadvertently confirmed the various bookings via a since-deleted Facebook post last week. Naughty Rammstein, what are they like?

View the band's 100% official festival itinerary at this link.

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ELEVATE FESTIVAL, Graz, Austria, 24-28 Oct: Moodymann, Sensational, Roly Porter, Dorian Concept, The Clonious, Cid Rim, Zanshin, Hot City, KOYXEи, Kawaka, DJ Die Soon, Dead Fader, DEVILMAN.

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HMV issued another gloomy statement on Friday, admitting that like-for-like sales for the 20 weeks up to 15 Sep were down 11.6% year-on-year. In the unscheduled statement, put out a week before the flagging retailer's AGM, new CEO Trevor Moore said: "These numbers reflect the challenging markets in which we operate".

Of course HMV can blame some of the slump on a relatively quiet summer for album and DVD releases, and Olympic telly viewing in August impacted on retail across the board, though the double figures slide will worry investors, who were told by outgoing CEO Simon Fox earlier this summer that the company was set to go back into profit in this financial year.

But adopting a more optimistic tone, Moore added: "The like-for-like decline was less marked towards the end of the period and we should be helped in the remainder of the year by a strong pipeline of new releases in the music, DVD and games markets ahead of Christmas".

Having sold off its Hammersmith Apollo venue in a £32 million deal, HMV is still expected to sell the rest of its live division, aka the MAMA Group, in due course.

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Jason Carter, the Radio 1 exec who spearheaded the BBC station's Hackney Weekend event earlier this summer, has been promoted to the new role of Head Of Popular Music (Live Events) for the whole of the Beeb's Audio & Music division. In his new post, Carter will oversee live music events and concert coverage for Radios 1, 1Xtra, 2 and 6music, reporting into Bob Shennan, Controller of R2, 6music and Popular Music at the Corporation.

Confirming his new role, Carter told CMU: "I'm delighted to be appointed as the lead for all popular music events across the Audio & Music division. It's a real privilege to head up the central team delivering the BBC's live annual music events calendar. One shared team supporting the radio networks will provide even more specialist events expertise as we look to the future and more ambitious concert coverage, as well as also providing more clarity with the wider music industry".

Shennan added: "Jason brings a wealth of knowledge and live music experience and, with the success of Radio 1's Hackney Weekend newly under his belt, I'm looking forward to working with him and his new team to make our popular music events even bigger and better than ever".

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Critics of Mumford & Sons' new album 'Babel', out today, can fuck off, OK? Or at least that's what the band's Ben Lovett apparently told The Sun.

Asked about critics of the band, Lovett said: "The cynics can just all fuck off. We think this new record will attract a different audience which is really exciting. And broaden people's view of us".

Meanwhile guitarist Ted Dwayne added: "We have made so many sacrifices and we've not taken the easiest route... and so I hope people do understand where we are coming from because it's a good place, not a capitalistic venture at all".

So that's all nice isn't it? Watch them attracting a new audience in the video for the album's first single, 'I Will Wait' here.

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