1 NOV 2012

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Since last we slipped into the world of artists teaming up with brands, there was a period when we worried that the Brand Partnership Quote Watch column might be dead before it had even had a chance to get going. Suddenly artists seemed to giving brief, tempered and (worst of all) not particularly funny statements to go with announcements that a big company had dumped a load of cash on their doorstep more>>
The Line Of Best Fit's label offshoot Best Fit Recordings announced Swedish singer Faye as its third signing earlier this year, releasing her first single, 'Water Against The Rocks' in June. This week she released single number two, 'Breathe Out', which pushes her right to the top of the 'ones to watch' category. I could go further with that, but I don't want to jinx her by laying on too much hyperbole. 'Breathe Out' is a fantastic song though more>>
- Dotcom unveils Mega teaser site
- Taylor Swift album has mega-sales Stateside, though still a long way off beating Adele
- One Direction lead calendar charts
- Lindberg rejoins Pennywise
- Warp releasing Broadcast film soundtrack
- Cat Power shares bankruptcy and health concerns; may cancel tour
- Grimes voids European dates
- Lana Del Rey to tour in May
- Festival line-up additions
- Universal International appoints new comms chief
- Comet back on the brink
- CueSongs announces BMG deal
- TuneCore bosses sensitive about talking Price
- The Orchard announces Radar hook up
- Mary Anne Hobbs leaves Xfm
- Real Radio Wales MD steps down as more programmes networked
- One Direction to play at Her Majesty's pleasure
- Marr on no Smiths reunion - again
4AD is expanding its London staff and now seek a Junior Project Manager. This new position is being created to help improve the day-to-day running of the label, with the long-term view of working to a more senior level in time. Duties will include helping to co-ordinate the label's busy release schedule, liaising directly with artists, managers and agents, compiling various weekly reports, and taking on some junior PR work.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Domino, one of the world's leading independent record labels, seeks a Head of Digital to manage digital initiatives across the label group and publishing company. We're looking for someone who will thrive and understand our artist-driven independent label culture and already has experience of a similar role or is looking to make the step up.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Wilderness Festival is a new older audience family-friendly festival, founded to provide high calibre entertainment within the context of wellbeing and rural beauty. Secret Productions in conjunction with the MAMA Group (Lovebox, Great Escape, Global Gathering) curate and produce this unique show.

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

MegaUpload founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz has revealed (slightly) more about his plans to relaunch the controversial file-transfer platform next January, a year to the day that the US authorities shut down his original website amidst allegations of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement. The criminal case against Dotcom and his Mega allies is, of course, ongoing.

As previously reported, Dotcom had already revealed his plans for MegaUpload v2, to be called Mega, in an interview with Wired. The big difference to v1 is that files uploaded to the new Mega platform will be automatically encrypted, in theory making it harder for the Mega site to become a rampant source of unlicensed movie and music files, and either way, according to Mega's lawyers, the encryption would remove any liability for copyright infringement from the service's operators.

The Mega teaser web page put online yesterday at explains all that in a little bit more detail, while also calling for hosting and API partners, and possible investors, interested in helping Mega go live. As previously reported, US prosecutors have already claimed that by launching Mega Dotcom may be in breach of his bail terms in New Zealand, and could face extra criminal charges in the US if and when the Americans manage to extradite him.

Dotcom's lawyers do not concur with that viewpoint, though Team Mega will not repeat their past mistake of hosting their service in the US, knowing that using servers elsewhere in the world will make it harder for the American authorities to take the thing offline. In his call for hosting partners, Dotcom claims: "It is not safe for cloud storage sites or any business allowing user-generated content to be hosted on servers in the United States, or on domains like .com/.net. The US government is frequently seizing domains without offering service providers a hearing or due process".

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So, Taylor Swift's new album is selling rather well, and not just to pizza fans. Having topped the UK album charts last weekend, the new Swift long-player, 'Red', has also gone number one Stateside in both the Billboard 200 and the Country Albums Chart, the latter a double achievement, [a] because of the impressive first week sales, and [b] because that's definitely not a country album.

First week sales in the US in excess of 1.2 million are the eighth biggest single-week-sales scored by an album in the US since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking such things in 1991, and the biggest sales scored in one week since 2002's 'The Eminem Show'. It also means she already has the third biggest selling album of the year behind Adele's '21' and One Direction's 'Up All Night'.

'Up All Night' has sold just over 1.3 million copies, meaning Swift will likely outsell the boy band's debut longer player, released in the US back in March, by the end of the year, unless the release of the second 1D album later this month results in renewed interest in the 'X-Factor' alumni's debut.

Adele's '21', despite being released in America in February 2011, and despite the singer doing almost zero promotional work in the last twelve months (what with the poorly throat and pregnancy), has sold an off the wall 4.1 million units in the US this year alone, making it unlikely Swift will end 2012 with the best selling album overall, however much pizza she bundles in with the record.

Even if Swift does out perform 1D by the end of December, that will still be two British acts in the top three best selling albums of the year in the US, which is quite an achievement for UK music. Plus if the top two best sellers of the year are Adele and Swift, that will be two independently released albums at the top (even if Sony did handle distribution of the former in the US).

And, of course, if the three biggest albums in the US in 2012 are from Adele (Beggars released, Sony distributed), Swift (Big Machine released) and 1D (Sony released), well, perhaps we don't need to worry about the Universal/EMI merger after all. Given neither major is seemingly capable of releasing a best-selling album in America anymore. Or perhaps the mega-major just wasn't trying in a bid to fool those 'market dominance' obsessed regulators. Though now that pretence is no longer required, fingers crossed for Gaga in 2013, I guess.

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But who cares about Billboard charts and best-selling albums, what's going down in the HMV Calendar Chart this year, that's what you're all really here to find out isn't it?

Well, more good news for the 1D camp in that department, as the Syco boyband are leading UK calendar sales this year, despite diving chap Tom Daley hoping to cash in on all that Olympic fever (remember that?) by taking his top off and tolerating an awful lot of water being thrown at him.

But the 1D boys - Harry, Niall, Zayn, erm, Bob and Sebastian? - are leading by quite a margin. A very big margin in fact. According to the Daily Mail, the 1D calendar has outsold every other one in the top ten, and has caused a 10% rise in calendar sales overall.

Anyway, here's the top ten:

1. One Direction
2. Justin Bieber
3. Tom Daley
4. Keith Lemon
5. JLS
6. Cliff Richard
7. Cheryl
8. Kelly Brook
9. Olly Murs
10. The Wanted

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US punk band Pennywise have announced that former frontman Jim Lindberg has returned to the group. As previously reported, Lindberg, a founder member, left the band in 2009 to pursue other interests. He was quickly replaced by Ignite vocalist Zoli Teglas, with whom the band recorded their 2012 album 'All Or Nothing'.

Lindberg's return to Pennywise was apparently initiated by Teglas, who injured his back during a show earlier this year. While recovering, he decided to quit and contacted Lindberg to suggest he return for the band's 25th anniversary, which the outfit will mark with a show in LA in January next year. Having agreed with that suggestion, Lindberg will also play a number of shows with the band in South and North America this month.

In a statement, the rest of Pennywise said: "We're happy to announce that Jim is rejoining Pennywise and we're all looking forward to playing music together again".

Let's celebrate by watching the video for 'Alien'.

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Warp Records is releasing Broadcast's original soundtrack to 2012 film 'Berberian Sound Studio', a project the band started working on prior to the death of vocalist Trish Keenan in January 2011.

The Peter Strickland-directed movie, as was premiered back in August via Warp Films, stars actor Toby Jones as a foley engineer commissioned to score a low-budget film titled 'The Equestian Vortex'. Broadcast were originally asked to create the soundtrack for the film within the film, but subsequently created the soundtrack for the wider movie too.

The soundtrack will be available from 7 Jan, and you can play its title track here, or look at release details here.

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Cat Power has expressed concerns that she may have to call off her entire December-time tour of Europe, including a show at London's Roundhouse on 12 Dec. The 'Sun' soloist - real name Chan Marshall - cites bankruptcy and a "health struggle" with the skin condition angiodema as having the potential to prompt the tour cancellation.

Enclosing a capitalised note to fans via Instagram, Marshall says: "I may have to cancel my European tour due to bankruptcy and my health struggle with angioedema. I have not thrown in any towel, I am trying to figure out what best I can do. Heart broken. Worked so hard. Got sick day after 'Sun' came out and been struggling to keep all points of me in equilibrium: mind, spirit, body healthy centered and grounded. I am doing the best I can. I fucking love this planet. I refuse to give up. Though I may need to restratagize for my security and health".

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More bad news for European gig-goers now - Grimes' Claire Boucher has cancelled all fourteen of her forthcoming non-American/Canadian dates, the first and only British one of which was at Bristol's Motion on 13 Nov. She says via Facebook that it's because of "health reasons", though it's not yet clear whether these relate to the hearing problems she was having back in mid-October.

Boucher promises that refunds for all shows will be available at point of purchase.

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On the off-chance that you haven't so far had a chance to glimpse Lana Del Rey live, now may be that opportunity. Well, next May will be. The biker-fancying popstar will be playing a five date UK stint in May 2013, so have a look at the specifics of all that right now:

12 May: Birmingham, Academy
15 May: Glasgow, Academy
19 May: London, Hammersmith Apollo
23 May: Manchester, Apollo
26 May: Dublin, Vicar Street

And as if we weren't all already aware, the deluxe 'Paradise Edition' of Lana's debut LP 'Born To Die' is released on 12 Nov.

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CTM, various venues, Berlin, Germany, 28 Jan - 3 Feb 2013: Iceage, Matmos, Diamond Version, Atsuhiro Ito, Emptyset, Myrninerest, Agnieszka Dziubak, Werner Dafeldecker, L'Art Pour L'Art, Oneirogen, Mark Fell, Florian Hecker, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Jar Moff, Lee Gamble, Heatsick.

SNOWBOMBING, various venues, Mayrhofen, Austria, 1-6 Apr 2013: Kasabian, Example, Katy B, Disclosure, Rudimental, Foreign Beggars, Ms Dynamite, P Money.

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Universal Music yesterday announced that EMI exec Caryn Tomlinson had been appointed Senior VP of Corporate Communications for UMG International, taking over from Adam White who is retiring after ten years in the role at the mega-major.

Tomlinson was most recently Senior VP of Artist Relations at EMI Music, though previously spent seven years in a PR role at EMI's publishing business. In her new role at UMG International, which oversees the major's operations outside the US, she will report into both UMGI COO Max Hole and Universal's overall Chief Communications Officer Peter LoFrumento.

Confirming the appointment, Hole told CMU: "We're fortunate to have someone as experienced and respected in our industry as Caryn for the tasks ahead. She has built up an incredible reputation all around the world, and her EMI knowledge and relationships will be invaluable for our integrated company. She will also bring a new, fresh approach to the way we do things".

Tomlinson herself added: "I am thrilled to be joining UMG at such a pivotal moment for the music business, and look forward to helping shape the communications strategies necessary for the changing future of that business. Artists need the support of global music companies more than ever, and Universal Music is uniquely placed to support them across all their creative ambitions. I'm also delighted that I can continue working with so many of EMI's artists around the globe while discovering the incredible roster of UMG artists".

On White's departure, Hole continued: "Adam has made significant contributions to our changing business, and we will all miss him. He is respected and trusted by all the journalists, artists, artist managers and UMG staff that he has encountered during his time here, and he leaves Universal Music with our appreciation".

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Electronics retailer Comet is on the brink of administration according to various sources this morning.

According to reports, the electronics seller, bought by Hailey Holdings, a subsidiary of private equity group OpCapita, for £2 this time last year, has been trading without credit insurance, which will make its suppliers wary of providing goods on standard terms, which could make it hard for the retail company to stock up ahead of the all important Christmas shopping rush. 6000 jobs could be lost if the company collapses.

The demise of Comet might make some investment types question HMV's current strategy to improve its fortunes by selling more consumer electronics, a strategy put in place by HMV's former CEO, and a former Comet MD, Simon Fox. Though others might say that the collapse of Comet could provide a new opportunity for the flagging entertainment retailer as it moves ever more into gadgets.

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The Peter Gabriel-backed "one-stop music licensing hub" CueSongs, which aims to make it easier for grass-roots film-makers and content creators to licence music, has announced a new deal with BMG, meaning it now has partnerships with most of the big players in music publishing, including the three majors - Universal, Sony/ATV/EMI and Warner/Chappell - plus BMG, Imagem, Music Sales and Peer Music. The new deal coincides with the announcement of a new 'music-matching' service called 'Search, Match, License'.

Confirming all this, CueSongs CEO Ed Averdieck told CMU: "With these agreements in place we are able to offer clients a comprehensive choice of music from both established and exciting new artists for their digital productions".

He continued: "Video production is going through the roof in this country as companies create promotional videos for their websites, for YouTube, and as part of viral campaigns. However, too often the music usage in videos is either unlicensed or of rather poor quality. Now, for the first time video producers no longer have to compromise on the music they use, and we are convinced this will give them a competitive edge by enabling them to make more impactful videos".

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Having published a lengthy interview with the former boss of TuneCore recently, Digital Music News reckoned it was only fair to chat to someone still with the independent digital distribution firm, to find out what was going on there. Particularly given founder and former CEO Jeff Price's statement that "I don't know who the CEO is [now]. I don't think there is one. From what I understand, it seems that a banker with zero experience in the music industry, with no understanding of the nuances of the sector, is running the company".

But while TuneCore's PR reps initially seemed interested in having one of the digital firm's current management give their side of the story, it quickly emerged that a condition of interviewing any current TuneCore exec would be that the big bad Price could not be mentioned. Which might be just one condition, but given recent events at the company, that rule would pretty much render the interview pointless, resulting in this kind of conversation.

DMN reports that "after beating around the bush a bit, this was flatly emailed to us by TuneCore's press relations group during setup: 'I'm just letting you know that he [Price] is no longer the CEO and my client, TuneCore, wants reassurance that this article will not make reference of him. That is it'".

DMN's Paul Resnikoff adds: "The interview never happened". Own goal TuneCore.

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Digital distributor The Orchard as announced a partnership with Radar Music Videos, the online service that links artists and music companies with video directors, from new and grass roots talent to more established film-makers. Moving forward the distribution firm's clients will be able to access the Radar network and services via their Orchard account.

Confirming the alliance, The Orchard's VP of Marketing & Corporate Communications Jaclyn Ranere told CMU: "In a continual effort to build a suite of marketing tools that most benefit our clients, we welcome Radar to The Orchard Marketplace. We look forward to watching the memorable music videos that Radar will help our artists and labels create".

While Radar chief Caroline Bottomley added: "The Orchard has proven to offer their clients the best tools out there. With YouTube's presence now commonly acknowledged within the music industry as essential for artists, stand-out music videos are a must. As an intermediary to making that happen, we're excited to become a part of The Orchard Marketplace and look forward to helping their independent labels and artists commission outstanding music videos".

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Oh now this is not the sort of news you want first thing in the morning. Mary Anne Hobbs has announced she's leaving Xfm after just over a year with the station, presenting a Saturday night specialist show and subsequently the alternative channel's early evening 'Music: Response' slot.

Confirming that tonight's show will be her last for the station, Hobbs says: "I'm so proud of all we've achieved with 'Music: Response' in fourteen months at Xfm. The nominations for Best Specialist Show at the radio industry's most prestigious awards, the Sony's and Arqivas, were mind-blowing. But the most exciting element for me has been the opportunity to champion next generation artists as gifted as Jake Bugg, Lianne La Havas, Alabama Shakes and Ben Howard, who've had top ten success with their debut records and are truly changing people's lives. I'm [now] planning to do some writing, and to head back out on the road to DJ live again, meanwhile I wish Xfm every success as they move forward into their next chapter".

Commenting on Hobbs' decision to leave the station, Xfm Managing Editor Chris Baughen added: "It's been an absolute pleasure to have the broadcasting legend that is Mary Anne Hobbs as part of the Xfm team. She has been passionate in her pursuit of new music and relentless in her drive to not only discover but nurture and help develop new talent. Her unwavering commitment and dedication to her craft has quite rightly led her to continued success as a broadcaster spanning several decades and we wish her all the best for the future".

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The MD of Real Radio Wales, Tony Dowling, is leaving the company after five years in the role, and over ten years with the station. During his time as MD the Real Radio network expanded into mid and North Wales so to cover the whole country.

Previously owned by the Guardian Media Group, Global Radio is in the process of acquiring the Real network and, although that acquisition is pending regulator approval, the in-limbo company operating both the Real and Smooth networks recently announced it would network the former's off-peak daytime output, so that outside of breakfast and drive time, daytime shows on all Real stations around the UK will come from the North West. That reduces the specific output of Real Radio Wales significantly.

Dowling is leaving the radio firm to become MD of South West Wales Media, publishers of the South Wales Evening Post. Radio Today quotes him as saying: "I'm so excited to be coming home to work for one of the most respected voices in local media. I feel privileged to lead the team at this pivotal time and I'm looking forward to working with everyone at South West Wales Media".

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One Direction will be dedicating their lyrically-suspect new Ed Sheeran lend 'Little Things' to Queen Elizabeth II, it has been regally decreed. They're doing it as part of the Royal Variety Performance on 19 Nov, a scenario I'm sure Her Majesty is most pleased about.

The teen quintet top off a programme also starring pop luminaries like Girls Aloud, Neil Diamond, Alicia Keys and Rod Stewart. And Robbie Williams. So, that's a nice balance, isn't it?

ITV is keeping back the show from TV screens til "early December", so we all have the interim to imagine what an elderly lady looking aghast at five adolescent boys miming to THIS will look like.

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Just in case Morrissey left any doubt in your mind when he issued the statement last month that "The Smiths are never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever going to reunite - ever", or when he told Stephen Colbert recently that a Smiths reunion would never happen, however much money might be offered, because "not everybody is a fat old slag", Johnny Marr has again confirmed from his side that he'll never return to the stage with his old band.

It was the NME which forced the poor old Marr-ster back into a 'when will The Smiths reform?' corner, and he told the music mag: "Everybody seems to know more about a Smiths reunion than I do. Those rumours are like a sport for everyone involved, bar the people who were in the group 30 years ago. But it's not happening".

So there you have it. Though my mum's friend's aunt's neighbour's hairdresser's chiropodist says The Smiths are definitely playing Glastonbury next year, and as Marr himself has just admitted that "everybody" knows more about the Smiths reunion than he does (and "everybody" included my mum's friend's aunt's neighbour's hairdresser's chiropodist), I'm reckoning that's happening.

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