8 OCT 2012

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Now that the excitement of the EMI sale is starting to die down a little, this week attention turns back again to the Pussy Riot three who (further delays notwithstanding) will get their appeal case under way in Moscow this week. As well as that, City Showcase will take over stores and venues in Central London, and over at CMU we have our Social Media training course running, a couple of places for which are still available, so be quick if you want to come on Wednesday. Amongst our features this week we'll have a playlist from Mr Hudson's new project BIGkids.
Justin Gage's California-based blog Aquarium Drunkard is now three transmissions into its new Sidecar podcast, a golden horde of wax-via-digital obscurities, curiosities, rarities and should-be classics. Amongst the Sidecar spoils so far, some far-out miscellany from Screaming Lord Sutch, The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and Buffy Sainte Marie, 'new' (aka made this decade) tracks by Thee Oh Sees, Allah-Las and Strange Boys, and antique audio in umpteen shades of blues, gospel, psych and soul more>>
- ReDigi case reaches court
- Simon Fuller considering bid for EMI assets
- Lily Allen still "tinkering away" at new LP
- Foxygen detail LP two
- Laurel Halo adds AV live dates
- Glastonbury sells out in record time
- Festival line-up additions
- Billy Bragg to deliver John Peel Lecture at Radio Festival
- The Prodigy sponsor under-thirteens football team
- Fueled By Ramen to be headed up by Roadrunner promotions man
- Declan Morrell joins Universal publisher
- Deezer gets new financing, as business analysis site questions current streaming music model
- Blue Note launches first commercial app to come out of OpenEMI
- BBC pulls Savile fronted TOTP repeats
- Media Sound Holdings buys Isle Of Wight Radio
- Chris Brown exposes 'The Real Chris Brown'
- Deadmau5 calls Forbes Highest Paid DJs list "bullshit"
Digital Music Production & Delivery trainee roles available, ideally suited to candidates experienced in digital audio restoration and archiving, as well as metadata administration. Training will be provided in modern music industry internet delivery, product A&R/product creation, marketing management. Graphic design experience an advantage. Can suit full or part time training after trial period.

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...

Pussy Riot appeal. The appeal hearing for the three members of Pussy Riot convicted of hooliganism and religious hatred after staging a protest in Moscow's cathedral earlier this year will get under way on Wednesday. The appeal had been due to begin last week, but before it could get going one of the three, Yekaterina Samutsevich, reportedly argued with the judge, complaining that her request for a different defence lawyer had been ignored, leading to the week long adjournment.

City Showcase. This year's City Showcase festival, which commandeers shops up and down London's Regent Street as well as various venues around the city for new band showcases, begins tomorrow. There will also be a series of music industry panels and seminars in the Apple Store and Gibson Guitar Studio. Full details of the event, plus interviews and more can be found in the handy guide published by CMU's sister website, which you'll find here.

New releases. Norwegian musician Susanne Sundfør's latest album, 'The Silicone Veil', finally gets its UK release this week, and you should absolutely rush out to buy it. Other albums you should most definitely be putting in your shopping basket this week are the new records from Converge, Why?, Tall Ships and Josephine. Then, if you wish, you may also check out the following: Ellie Goulding, Xzibit, Coheed & Cambria, Daphni (aka Caribou's Dan Snaith), MellowHype, Ty Segall and Fink, the latter of whom is releasing a live album. Annie Mac also has a new compilation out, which has an exclusive track by AlunaGeorge on it. By complete coincidence, AlunaGeorge's new single 'Your Drums, Your Love' is also out this week, and there's a new EP from Rhye.

Gigs and tours. Azealia Banks will bring her Mermaid's Ball to the London Aquarium this Saturday, while on Wednesday Aphex Twin will be conducting his 'Remote Orchestra' at the Barbican, and Radiohead, Marina And The Diamonds and Bloc Party will all kick off UK tours. Also doing the live thing this week are Hot Chip, Ren Harieu, Bo Ningen, Nine Black Alps, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Why?, Slash, Spector, Boys Noize, Kid Koala, Jack Beats, Egyptian Hip Hop, PINS, Angel Haze, Tall Ships and Wave Machines.

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EMI's main US label Capitol Records may now be a division of Universal Music, but its lawsuit against MP3 resale website ReDigi continues, and on Friday the whole palaver reached court.

As much previously reported, ReDigi is a US-based service which allows users to sell on their MP3 collections, in much the same way they might sell on used CDs via eBay or the Amazon Marketplace. The start-up says that the principle in US copyright law that allows the resale of CDs - the so called first sale doctrine - also applies to digital music.

But the big music companies do not agree. They argue that the first-sale doctrine only applies to physical music products, mainly because when a CD changes hands no actual mechanical copy is made of the songs or recordings contained on the disk, whereas when an MP3 is transferred from one PC to another a copy does take place.

And while only one person can possess the original CD at any one time, in the digital domain the seller could keep a perfect copy of a recording while also providing another perfect copy to the buyer. That, the majors argue, is copyright infringement, and by providing the platform ReDigi is liable for contributory infringement.

But ReDigi has argued that its technology tackles that issue, by ensuring the buyer's copy of a track is deleted, and therefore, in essence, the track is transferred from PC to PC rather than copied. Therefore, the digital company reckons, its service is valid, under American copyright law at least.

Pursuing this one on behalf of the American record industry, EMI's Capitol Records initially pushed for a summary judgement in its favour, a ruling that would have basically killed ReDigi's business before it had even got off the ground. But in February Judge Richard Sullivan refused, saying that this case posed some big questions about the intricacies of American copyright law in the digital domain, and that a full hearing should be had so those intricacies could be fully discussed.

With opening remarks given to the court on Friday, lawyers for the two sides summarised their arguments to date. Addressing ReDigi, Capitol's rep Richard Mandel said: "You are selling and distributing recordings. In order to do that, you have to make a copy and that is a violation of the reproduction right of the Copyright Act". But Gary Adelman, representing ReDigi, countered: "There is no copy involved. The actual file is being transported. That's how the technology works".

This time both sides are calling for summary judgements in their favour, something Sullivan said he would consider in due course, though given his statements back in February you'd assume the judge is still in a mood to hear the full arguments from both sides in the courtroom before making a ruling that could set a precedent that blocks or launches a new strand of the digital music market, one that excludes the rights owners. According to Bloomberg, Sullivan said on Friday: "We're not making policy. Ultimately, what this is about is interpreting and applying an existing statute".

As previously reported, some have wondered whether a start-up the size of ReDigi has the funds to fight a complicated legal case of this kind if a full hearing is required, though the digital firm insists that it does. In July the company, which also has ambitions to work directly with artists, secured an extra $760,000 in loans.

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Simon Fuller is reportedly involved in a consortium to buy the European assets of EMI that are on the block as a result of the divestments pledged by Universal to the European Commission to secure approval for its purchase of the former British major label.

It's thought Fuller will bid for the EMI units, which include the Parlophone and Chrysalis record labels, via his joint venture with original Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, which was announced in June 2011. According to The Independent, private financiers and a leading mobile telecommunications company will also be involved in the £350 million bid.

Since parting company with his original business 19 Entertainment in 2010, having sold that company to CKX in 2005, Fuller has pursued various music, television, digital and talent management ventures through his new entity XIX Entertainment. Most recently, in the music domain, he formed a JV label with Sony Music called Sign Of The Times.

Quite what the Fuller-led consortium would do with Parlophone et al if it won the bid isn't clear, though rumour has it the XIX chief himself is particularly interested in the 50% stake in the 'Now That's What I Call Music' franchise, which he reckons has a profitable future as a media brand. It may be that Blackwell would be left to run the rest of the Parlophone business.

A spokesman for Fuller's firm simply told The Independent: "XIX is a growing company and we'd always be interested in new opportunities in music as they arise. With Simon's track record over 25 years as Britain's most successful music manager, we hope his interest in EMI would carry the support of the industry".

BMG remains the favourite bidders for much of the EMI European assets on the block, though Warner Music may also put in an offer, and others are known to be interested in smaller parts of the business.

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Lily Allen, who said back in June that she was "throwing shit at the wall and seeing if anything sticks" with regards to a potential new solo record, has now advanced to "tinkering away" at said LP. So, that's progress, I think. It appears the now-pregnant singer is still in the studio with pop songwriter Greg Kurstin, and is aiming to release something that's preferably "good", but ideally "amazing", in 2013.

She tells NME: "I'm not going to put anything out until I've got an end product which I think's amazing - or, you know, good. I don't think there's going to be anything out in the next few months. But hopefully in the next year".

Allen adds that her new material "definitely will" feature themes about her experiences as a parent. Not surprising really; after all, it'd be weird if it didn't, and she was still singing strictly about crack whores.

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MGMT-esque psych votaries Foxygen have just begun campaigning on behalf of their sophomore LP, and its name - really and truly - is 'We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic'. They've announced the new record well in advance, so you have months and months to consider buying it prior to its release via Jagjaguwar on 22 Jan 2013.


In The Darkness
No Destruction
On Blue Mountain
San Fran
Bowling Trophies
Oh Yeah
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Oh No

And now, take a listen to 'Shuggie', why don't you.

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Laurel Halo and Planet Mu-signed electronic artist Tom Scholefield (aka Konx-on-pax) have designed a new audiovisual show to go with Halo's live set, and they'll be damned if they're not going to show it off across a European tour.

And if Scholefield's description of it is anything to go by, it'll really be something to see/hear. He says: "I wanted to create otherworldly environments filled with gravity defying plasma sculptures, and beams of light shining through misty organic mutant plant life. Alongside a floating metallic space station very much inspired by Moebius and Ron Cobb".

In addition to a billing at Squarepusher's headline date at London's Hackney Empire on 20 Oct, a solo Halo will also appear at the following:

25 Oct: Dublin, Bodytonic
26 Oct: Glasgow, Stereo
27 Oct: Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete's
21 Nov: London, Plastic People

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Tickets for next year's Glastonbury Festival sold out in record time this weekend. Passes for the event became available at 9am on Sunday morning, and were all gone within an hour and 40 minutes, despite the customary technical foibles.

After a wobble in 2008, when festival organisers didn't declare a sell out until pretty much the gates had opened, tickets have become more in demand again in recent years. The festival's last outing in 2011 sold out within hours of going on sale. Although those of you who were left sobbing into your cereal about missing out on the 2013 bash yesterday, may take comfort in the fact that Glastonbury's deposit scheme means that some tickets will be resold at a later date due to cancellations.

Last year Michael Eavis told The Times that he thought Glastonbury only had a few years left in it before everyone lost interest. This weekend's boost may have changed his mind on that. In a joint statement, he and his daughter Emily Eavis said that they were "genuinely humbled by the sheer number of people who would like to come to the festival".

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ONE LOVE, secret location, south England, 16-18 Aug: Aba Shanti Soundsystem, Bloco Fogo, Channel One, Earl Gateshead, Eccleton Jarrett, Instrument of Jah Sound System, Iration Steppas, Jah Tubbys, King Tubby's Hi Fi, Nick Manasseh, Robbo Ranx, Saxon Sound System, Sir Coxsone Outernational, Smith & Mighty, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System, Unity Hi-Fi, Youthman Promotion Sound.

ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 4-7 Jul: Blur.

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Billy Bragg will give the second annual John Peel Lecture during this year's Radio Festival conference, which will take place in Salford next month. The singer-songwriter and activist will discuss "how the pirates of radio become mainstream and in what ways broadcasters should reflect that".

Confirming his involvement in this year's Radio Festival, Bragg told CMU: "John Peel gave me my first big break in return for a biryani, and he was always hugely supportive of my work. He was a complete hero to the music industry and I'm delighted to be asked to speak at the event in his honour".

The keynote is hosted by BBC 6music, and this year sponsored by 7Digital. Commenting on the event, Radio2/6music Controller Bob Shennan said: "6music is a place that combines free-thinking and musical expertise, so it feels very much like a natural home for the John Peel Lecture. I'm proud that we can continue John's legacy to inspire conversation about music and that Billy - an icon of British music whose outspoken views are sure to spark debate - will take centre stage for this special occasion".

This year's Radio Festival takes place from 12-14 Nov. Info here.

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The Prodigy have sponsored an under-thirteens football team in Hampshire. Well, if the Green Man festival can sponsor a cricket team. The Eastleigh Reds will sport shirts with the band's name and logo on their 2012-13 season kits.

Team coach Chris Chapman told NME: "I'm blown away that Liam was up for it. The team were stoked and immediately started asking if The Prodigy could come to see them! It's a good match though because the lads are a bunch of football prodigies!"

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American label Fueled By Ramen will be headed up by an exec from another Warner Music subsidiary, it has been announced.

The record company's founder, John Janick, announced he was leaving his job running the label, and his second role as Co-President of Warner's Elektra Records, last week, to take up the COO post at Universal Music's Interscope. Then on Friday his right hand man, Joe Calitri, also left the Warner company.

Mike Easterlin, currently Head Of Promotions at Warner's Roadrunner Records, will now become GM of Fueled By Ramen. He will head up the label in addition to continuing his involvement with Roadrunner; arguably a sign that both subsidiaries have been down-graded in the eyes of Warner Music management in the last year.

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Universal Music Publishing Group has announced the appointment of Declan Morrell to the role of VP Creative Affairs. Morrell has held various publishing roles in both the US and UK over the years, having worked at Windswept, Warner Chappell and most recently EMI Music Publishing. In his new role he will report to the Universal publisher's Head Of Pop & Rock Music Monti Olson at the major's New York offices.

Confirming the appointment, Olson told reporters: "Declan Morrell is one of the finest music publishers I have ever known. He is a difference maker and a true music man through and through. I could not be happier that he has joined our team".

Morrell himself added: "It is a true honour to join this great music company, and to be part of such an exciting young and dynamic creative team".

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Streaming music platform Deezer has just raised a further $130 million in investment, including funding from Access Industries, the parent company of Warner Music. According to French newspaper Le Figaro, previous investor Idinvest is also putting in new funds, about $32.6 million of which will be used to buy out previous investors. French-based Deezer, of course, is currently pursuing an aggressive growth strategy around the world, though has so far avoided the particularly competitive US market.

The Deezer investment comes as business analysis website PrivCo questioned the sustainability of the streaming music business model. Well, specifically Spotify, though the main issue the PrivCo piece raises - basically how much of the company's revenue goes straight to the music companies - applies to most subscription-based streaming services (even if Spotify is slightly more exposed because of the costs of running the promotional freemium option).

Although the PrivCo piece seemingly focuses on the latest filed accounts from UK-based Spotify Ltd, which, as previously reported, doesn't give the complete picture of the Spotify business any more, some of the concerns it raises have been mooted before in some parts of the digital music sector - ie once the venture capital that is propping up this seemingly booming market runs out, will there be a sustainable business without drastically increasing prices to the consumer, or renegotiating royalty terms with the rights owners (royalties that some in the music space already reckon are too low).

PrivCo's Sam Hamadeh says: "Spotify's 2011 results indicate that drastic changes must be made quickly to its business model in order to generate growth while actually improving operating margins so that break-even, let alone profitability, is somewhere, anywhere, on the horizon".

Hamadeh reckons that the flat pricing model that Spotify and most of its competitors currently operate (where pricing is based on devices that have access, rather than amount of music consumed), will have to change down the line. He writes: "Either the online music royalty payment model to artists and music companies needs to change, which is highly unlikely in the near term given that digital royalties are record companies' only growing revenue stream, or Spotify needs to asap introduce a tiered subscription system, as opposed to its current flat monthly fee model, which is clearly a broken business model. As currently designed, Spotify's business model is unsustainable. Spotify's heaviest users will have to pay, for example, for a 'Spotify Platinum' level for $25/month with more song plays allowed. No matter how we slice the math, it is patently clear that something must change soon on Spotify's business model if the company is to survive".

Of course a lot about the licensing arrangements between companies like Spotify and the labels and music publishers is shrouded in secrecy, making it hard to truly assess long term viability from the outside. Though in the US even long-established services like Pandora and Rhapsody, which have cheaper licensing overheads by offering less interactivity, are yet to prove they have definite long term sustainability. Which is a sobering thought for anyone in the music business still attaching phrases like "saviour of the industry" to Spotify-style set ups.

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The now Universal-owned jazz label Blue Note last week launched a brand new iPad app, described as "the ultimate digital box-set for both jazz aficionados and newcomers alike", which is the first commercial release to come out of the previously reported OpenEMI initiative, which gave app developers access to chunks of the EMI catalogue, plus licensing and marketing support, via The Echo Nest business. Made by a company called Groovebug, the new app offers free 30 second clips of a big selection of Blue Note tracks, and for a monthly subscription of $1.99 or £1.49 the tracks can be enjoyed in full.

Don Was, who became President of Blue Note Records at the start of the year, told reporters: "We are excited to be linked with the first app to be created through the OpenEMI initiative. As a label, Blue Note is not only dedicated to pushing boundaries musically, but also to developing new ways of connecting the label's music with fans around the globe. Groovebug and the OpenEMI team have developed an innovative way to discover and showcase Blue Note music in a way that is consistent with our tradition of uncompromising artistic excellence".

While Neil Tinegate, VP Digital Projects at EMI Music, added: "Groovebug have done an amazing job with the Blue Note App, creating a fantastic experience that really brings this outstanding content to life. The app looks and sounds incredible, and is a brilliant way to get completely immersed in the world of Blue Note and its seminal artists. The partnership approach of the OpenEMI process has meant that whilst EMI has taken care of tasks such as licensing and clearances, and now distribution and marketing, Groovebug have been able to concentrate on what they do best - designing and building a stunning app".

And, Jeremiah Seraphine, CEO and co-founder of Groovebug, said: "We are delighted that EMI took the lead in pioneering a forward thinking partnership approach for working with technology companies. The new approach incentivises developers to build consumer-centric products with business models, rather than churning out more cookie-cutter marketing products that don't offer value to the consumer. Ultimately the music fan benefits when forward thinking technologies like the Groovebug Platform are applied to amazing catalogues of music like the Blue Note jazz collection".

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The BBC has scrapped plans to air two archive editions of 'Top Of The Pops' fronted by Jimmy Savile, as the number of sexual assault allegations against the former TV and radio star grow following an ITV documentary last week that claimed the DJ frequently abused teenage girls during the height of his fame in the 1970s, sometimes at the Corporation's studios.

The BBC said it thought it was "appropriate" to postpone the airing of the pop shows, in one of a number of statements issued last week in response to the growing scandal around Savile. The Corporation's stance grew ever stronger during the week as the scale of the allegations increased, and amidst questions as to why a 'Newsnight' investigation into similar claims was canned last year.

By Friday, new BBC Director General George Entwistle encouraged any BBC staffers past or present who knew anything about Savile's alleged criminal behaviour to tell the London Metropolitan police, who are investigating the allegations.

While said investigation may ultimately permanently tarnish (if it hasn't already) the reputation of Savile - widely hailed as a much loved entertainer and clubbing innovator after his death last year - many now wonder if it may also name and shame other radio or music stars of the era, some of whose behaviour in this regard is already on the record, though much more, as with Savile's conduct, has generally been the subject of rumour and innuendo rather than rigorously assessed investigation in the past.

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Independent radio firm Media Sound Holdings, which operates various commercial stations on the South Coast, has bought the company behind Isle Of Wight Radio, which also publishes IOW regional magazine Beacon. Directors from the acquired firm, Claire Willis and Hedley Finn, will join the board of MSH, with Willis taking on a business development role at the company in addition to continuing as MD of IOW Radio. The deal shouldn't have any on-air impact, in the short term at least.

Confirming the deal, MSH CEO Allan Moulds is quoted by Radio Today thus: "Media Sound Holdings is a profitable and ambitious radio group and we are very much looking forward to working with Claire and her talented team at the Arqiva Radio Station Of The Year Isle Of Wight Radio. This deal will allow our five radio stations to continue to deliver great local radio whilst benefiting from economies of scale. In addition, we have some very exciting plans to expand both our events and magazine activities".

Willis added: "Isle of Wight Radio has 22 years of heritage and has been awarded a number of industry accolades. Since taking over The Beacon Magazine in July 2011 we have been looking further at ways we can develop the business and we are delighted to be merging with Media Sound Holdings as this provides scope on so many levels to grow and also introduce new platforms".

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Popular R&B personality Chris Brown - a man of many personas, to say the least - has shared a Vimeo confessional about the fact that he's attracted to two ladies at the same time, namely ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran and former flame Rihanna. Apparently, he "just cares too much sometimes", and who are any of us to say otherwise?

"When you share history with somebody, then you tend to fall in love with somebody else... it's kinda difficult. Is there such a thing as loving two people?" muses an inebriated Brown, who's also filmed looking deep in self-reflection, either while crouched in a darkened corridor or dancing shirtless at "the club".

The video features scenes from a night Brown spent in Rihanna's general vicinity at NYC's Griffin club last week. Despite Brown's party line that he is now officially single and concentrating on his career, the video and a timely tweet by Rihanna would seem to dispute that.

Anyway, I give you 'The Real Chris Brown'. You can keep him, if you like.

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Deadmau5 has accused Forbes of making him and his fellow superstar DJ gang look like "overpaid dicks" with its Highest Paid DJs list. As previously reported, Deadmau5 appeared at number six on the list with an estimated fortune of $11.5 million. However, he's told Spin that this is a far from accurate figure.

The producer said: "It's bullshit. I had to call my manager and say, 'Yo! Where's the other 10?' Sure, we've seen $20 million in the past two years, but that's gone back into the studio, into tours - they cost up to $10 million alone. It's money in, money out for all of us, but the list makes us look like a bunch of overpaid dicks. The cool thing about it, though, is that it says, 'invest in this shit because it's hot', to the idiots with more money than all of us put together. It's a self-propelling stupidity that's now influxing big industry money into the previously small EDM market".

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