30 NOV 2012

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You'd think Andrew WK would have run out of ways to surprise people by now, having in the past denied conspiracy theories about his identity, unveiled a dark organ-led ode to a teenage crush, and addressed a My Little Pony convention, not to mention his regular motivational speeches on his philosophy of partying hard. But when he was appointed as a Cultural Ambassador to the Middle East by the US Department Of State... that was pretty surprising more>>
Just six months in and Circus LDN has already grown into one of the capital's grander Friday night parties. This month, helmsman Yousef welcomes legendary French house and techno visionary Laurent Garnier. Support will, of course, come from Yousef himself - his recent second album, 'A Product Of Your Environment', having pleased many critics - backed up on the ones and twos with Circus recordings starlets Acid Mondays, showcasing their effervescent take on house and techno more>>
- BPI asks Pirate Party to take down Pirate Bay proxy
- Newzbin2 goes offline
- US three-strike-style warning letters delayed
- Moscow court rules that access to sites hosting Pussy Riot videos should be restricted
- TVShack operators to avoid US extradition
- Beastie Boys respond in sampling lawsuit
- Australia's ARIA Awards given... majority go to Gotye
- Gotye has most streamed track on Spotify in 2012
- Dre tops musicians earnings list
- Nick Oliveri working with QOTSA and Kyuss
- Savages recording LP
- Matador announces 2013 singles club releases
- Julian Casablancas signs The Virgins
- Springsteen sets E Street stadium dates
- Tall Ships to tour
- Lowell, Cold Specks add solo Sebright shows
- Festival line-up additions
- Westfield and 4Music partner to promote Rihanna tour
- AEG appoints SBO chief
- iTunes 11 goes live, at last
- Robbie forced postman to listen to new album
London’s finest clubnight dedicated to unearthing new Nordic talent is looking for a new Project Co-ordinator. You’ll be responsible for making sure the event takes place, overseeing the booking process and managing a five-person booking group, liaising with the Music Export Offices, the Ja Ja Ja team and the artists’ management and booking agents. Generally making sure the event is booked, promoted, and run efficiently on the day, acting as an artist liaison/gig-rep.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
An experienced promoter/booker is required to work in our events team. Based in Manchester the position will include overseeing the booking of events for all four Manchester Academy venues, as well as into the company’s other venues around the UK. The ideal candidate will already have a well established network of industry contacts and must be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of negotiating and delivering shows at all levels.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Eventim UK, part of CTS Eventim AG, the leading ticketing company in Europe, is looking for a Client Account Manager to join its London team. You would be the first point of contact for clients, using in-depth knowledge of Eventim’s ticketing technology to provide business analysis and support for promoters, accurately building events using the Eventim ticketing system and providing ongoing management of events throughout their lifecycle.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Fast growing Music PR agency is looking for a sharp Online PR account executive who loves the web and takes pride in doing a superstar job. You will require solid music online experience, with a proven track record of working high profile releases. You must also have exceptional writing ability. Superb training and support provided.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Must be experienced in: Wordpress site maintenance and blogging, basic HTML/CSS, Photoshop, YouTube, Social media management, understanding of mySQL, understanding of SEO, building e-flyers and newsletters.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
A new and challenging role to manage the development, delivery and marketing of licensed label catalogue projects, as well as develop projects utilising Warp's 20 years of back catalogue. Ideally you will have experience of record company product management, traditional and on-line marketing and promotion (including the use of social media), and knowledge of music retail.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
The Orchard, a pioneering independent music and video distribution company, has an immediate opening for a Client Relations Manager based out of our European headquarters in London. The position will act as a relationship, content & campaign manager for key frontline & catalogue clients across Europe, covering a variety of musical genres.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
The AMP group is excited to announce the launch of AMP Printshop, a new in-house facility for t-shirt printing and other artist merchandise alongside its Radio Plugging and Online PR departments.

The addition of a full screen printing press to our studio means we can now produce high quality t-shirts, hoodies, bags and more. Not only a great way to strengthen the image and identity of your band/project, merch is an increasingly important income stream for artists and labels to support recording, video production and touring.
To celebrate AMP is offering 50 super soft 100% cotton t-shirts with one colour design print for just £200 if ordered before 10 Dec. Perfect for autumn/winter tours or promo, for more info visit or email

The five biggest stories in the music business this week...

01: The BPI asked The Pirate Party to stop circumventing Pirate Bay blocks. The UK record industry trade body sent a letter to the boss of the Pirate Party requesting that his organisation stop operating a proxy that means that customers of those ISPs which are, under court order, blocking access to the Pirate Bay, can still access the controversial file-sharing site. The quick route to circumventing the Bay block is accessible via the Pirate Party's website and appears high up in Google searches for the file-sharing site too. Pirate Party boss Loz Kaye said he was considering his response. The letter may be a precursor to legal action by the BPI in a bid to stop those people trying to help others circumvent the Pirate Bay blockades. CMU report | BBC report

02: Newzbin2 closed down. The file-sharing community is important in the context of UK copyright law, because it was the movie industry's successful efforts to force British ISPs to block access to it that set the precedent that let the BPI get injunctions to block The Pirate Bay. The original Newzbin was forced offline by the British courts on copyright grounds, but Newzbin2 was set up outside the UK. Despite being blocked by many British net firms, most users would have been able to get passed the blocks. However, the movie industry also put pressure on various payment service providers to not take monies from Newzbin2 users, meaning the operators of the site cannot afford a much needed upgrade, motivating the shut down. CMU report | report

03: Four bidders remained in the EMI song catalogues race. BMG, Because and Kobalt/G2 have all put in second round bids for the EMI song catalogues being sold by Sony/ATV, which agreed to offload some European assets in order to get regulator approval for its takeover (with others) of EMI Music Publishing. Warner Music is also expected to put in a full bid to buy the Virgin and Famous UK catalogues. Nine parties are thought to have made initial bids, but only these four are still in the running. CMU report | Billboard report

04: Universal appointed a Sony man to run Capitol. Most of the frontline label operations in the US previously owned by EMI will now be headed up by Steve Barnett, who was headhunted by new EMI owners Universal Music this week. Barnett has been a long-time staffer with Universal's rival Sony Music, most recently running Columbia Records in the US. His new division within Universal will include the Capitol, Virgin, Blue Note and Astralwerks labels Stateside, plus The Beatles catalogue. Capitol will be an autonomous division within Universal, which also has ambitions to launch a Capitol label in the UK once its sold off EMI's Parlophone business (a sale forced by European regulators, of course). CMU report | LA Times report

05: Adele album passed the ten million units landmark in US. Somewhat aptly, '21' is the 21st album to sell that many copies in the US since Neilsen SoundScan began recording such data in 1991. Meanwhile Louis Walsh told Q magazine that he thinks Adele is crazy for having a relaxing year, she having performed and recorded very little in 2012, firstly because she was recovering from a bad throat, then there was the having a baby business. "Fine, have a baby, but then get back out there", said Walsh. Perhaps she'll take his advice once she realises she's only the 22nd best paid musician in the world this year. CMU report | Guardian report

This week on CMU, we interviewed Japanese instrumental post-rock/classical hybrid band Mono, Liverpudlian folkists Stealing Sheep put together a playlist for us, and Eddy Temple-Morris selected some of the artists he's most looking forward to hearing more in 2013. Meanwhile, in the Approved column we had new music from Francis Neve, Hype Williams, Autre Ne Veut, and US Girls.

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Record labels trade body the BPI has written to the UK branch of the Pirate Party requesting that it shut down its Pirate Bay proxy, which provides a very simple way for British web users to access the controversial file-sharing website, even if their internet service providers are blocking the core TPB domain.

As much previously reported, earlier this year the BPI successfully secured injunctions against all the major UK ISPs forcing them to block access to the Bay, after a judge ruled that the file-sharing service was liable for the copyright infringement it enabled. However, for anyone with a bit of know-how, it is possible to circumvent those web-blocks. Using the Pirate Party's 'proxy', which is accessible on the political organisation's home page and now comes up very high in UK Google searches for "The Pirate Bay", is one of the simplest ways.

Confirming he had received the letter requesting his organisation stop operating the proxy, Pirate Party chief Loz Kaye yesterday posted on his party's website: "Late this afternoon I received an email from Geoff Taylor at the BPI indicating that a letter had been sent to The Pirate Party, as well as an electronic copy of that letter which refers to our provision of a Pirate Bay Proxy. We have not yet received the letter by post. As this letter seems to have been made available to the press, I would like to make it clear that we will respond to the BPI by 6 Dec as requested by Mr Taylor, as well as informing our members of the letter, its contents and our response".

He continued: "The Pirate Party UK has hosted a proxy, allowing people to connect to The Pirate Bay via Pirate Party servers, since April 2012, a little before The Pirate Bay was blocked by some UK ISPs after being issued with court orders. These court orders remain in place and some ISPs continue to prevent access to The Pirate Bay. As we stated in May 2012, we provided the proxy as a tool for users on networks where The Pirate Bay is blocked through filtering, we will continue to do so as long as this situation continues".

He concluded: "The proxy continues to be a legitimate route for those affected by court orders issued to some (but not all) UK ISPs requiring the site to be blocked. Whilst some providers continue to allow access to the web in an unfiltered manner, others are limiting access to specific parts of the internet".

The 'legitimacy' of proxies designed to circumvent web blocks put in place by a court injunction isn't really clear at the moment, certainly such proxies are not in the spirit of the court orders. Whether separate injunctions could be secured against proxy operators through the courts is yet to be tested, web-block injunctions on copyright grounds in the UK still being a relatively new phenomenon, though the BPI's letter could be seen as a precursor of legal action. In the Netherlands, anti-piracy body BREIN has pursued separate legal action against the Pirate Party there to shut down its TPB proxy.

According to the BBC, The Pirate Party, which is not formally affiliated with The Pirate Bay, says it operates the proxy as an act of "freedom of expression" to support "the right to share information and ideas without interference". The BPI's letter seemingly deals with that claim specifically.

The Beeb says the BPI's Taylor writes: "Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. It comes with a duty to respect the rights of others, including those whose talent, hard work and investment help to create music and other entertainment. We are passionate believers in freedom of speech. But it doesn't justify The Pirate Bay helping themselves to other people's work. The human rights implications of blocking this illegal site have been fully considered by the High Court. Whatever their views, Pirate Party UK are no more above the law than anyone else".

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Newzbin2, the file-sharing community that set the web-block precedent in English law, allowing the record industry to subsequently force major ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay, has gone offline. Though it's not the circumventable web-blocks that have led to Newzbin2's demise, rather it was the movie and music industries' campaign to put pressure on payment service providers to cease working with any service offering access to unlicensed content.

Newzbin2 was launched after legal action by the movie industry through the British courts forced the original Newzbin site offline. The new site was located beyond the jurisdiction of the UK courts, hence the web-blocks. The site, based on the long-established Usenet indexing network, provided links to all sorts of content, and relied on premium users who paid subscription fees to cover technical costs.

But, operators of the site say, pressure has been put on those services that accept payments on behalf of Newzbin, making it difficult to accept monies, meaning some vital upgrading work cannot be undertaken. Other factors have played their part in persuading Team Newzbin to call it a day, including a decline in the number of users contributing editorial skills, making the service less efficient, though the financial issues seem to have been key.

In a statement confirming the closure of the service, published by, the Newzbin2 operators insist that their service was actually compliant with copyright law as set out in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, ie they adhered to takedown requests when submitted by rights owners. They conclude: "The tragedy is this: unlike Newzbin1, we are 100% DMCA compliant. We have acted on every DMCA notice we received without stalling or playing games: if there was a DMCA complaint the report was gone. Period. That was a condition of our advertising and payment partners so we complied but we never got a single complaint from the MPA. Not one".

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Plans by major internet service providers in the US to start sending out warning letters to suspected file-sharers have been delayed, according to Torrentfreak.

As previously reported, a number of major ISPs in the States, many of which also have interests in the content industries, have voluntarily agreed to start sending out warning letters to customers suspected of accessing illegal sources of content, similar to those the 2010 Digital Economy Act in the UK obligates net firms to send (not that any have yet).

It was thought the letter sending could kick off anytime now, but the Center For Copyright Information, which will coordinate the letter sending, says not all stakeholders are ready to go, some having suffered setbacks because of the impact Hurricane Sandy had on East Coast facilities. It now seems likely letters will start going out in early 2013.

Customers who ignore the letters could ultimately suffer sanctions, to be determined by each individual ISP, though it is likely up to five warning letters would be mailed first, meaning the scheme has been dubbed 'six strikes'. Similar warning letter schemes have been set up in a number of other countries, of course, most as a result of statutory measures, though some ISPs elsewhere have voluntarily agreed to mail out letters alerting their users to the fact they may be infringing copyrights.

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The Moscow Zamoskvoretsky District Court has ruled that videos made by provocative Russian punk group Pussy Riot are "extremist" and that access to sites hosting them, which would include their website at and their blog on, should therefore be restricted. It's the latest attack against the all-women group, who are very critical of the current Russian regime, by the country's authorities and courts. The ruling may still be contested at a higher court, though it is not clear who will launch the appeal.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, the judge ruling on the case said: "The video materials in question contain evidence of extremism, specifically statements and actions belittling various social groups based on religious affiliation. There are hidden calls for a riot and resistance of the authorities, and also the organisation of mass unrest".

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich attempted to launch an appeal against the decision, but the court refused to recognise her as an interested party. Despite this, she vowed to continue to fight the decision, either through the courts or by moving the Pussy Riot website to servers outside Russia, saying yesterday: "Today's decision was expected. I will try to contest it".

The Russian Orthodox Church, meanwhile, welcomed the decision - perhaps unsurprisingly since it too has been criticised by the group, and it was the band's performance of a 'punk prayer' in the church's Moscow cathedral that landed three Pussy Riot members in prison earlier this year (two are still in jail). And it's the video of that performance which is the band's most popular, with almost 2.5 million views on YouTube.

Father Vsevolod of the Church told Interfax: "There are no grounds not to respect this court decision. Many such tests and videos have been put on the federal list of extremist materials, and the decision to put this video on this list is quite appropriate. Texts that were even less insulting and hostile towards other religious groups have been recognised as extremist materials before, [therefore this new ruling] is well in line with the current law enforcement practice".

He added: "If this law is adopted, it should protect the interests of the minority and the majority, it should exercise justice and be effective in all cases when insulting and hostile words are said about a specific group of people, and concepts, symbols and persons that are important to them".

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The British student facing extradition to the US for running a website that provided links to unlicensed streams of TV shows has seemingly successfully overcome that threat by reaching an out of court agreement with the American authorities, that will see the defendant agree to pay damages to affected copyright owners.

As previously reported, Richard O'Dwyer ran TVShack, a website that provided regularly updated links to where users could find TV shows that had been uploaded, mainly without licence, to YouTube-style services. Sites like TVShack - and another UK-based one called TV-Links - became useful once user-upload sites started properly responding to takedown requests from the TV industry.

On most video-sharing sites unlicensed content is constantly being taken down and then re-uploaded by other users, though if you just want to watch the latest episode of 'Family Guy', navigating all that is a major arse. Sites like TVShack mean users can visit one website which will link them to the latest uploads which are still live.

The existence of such sites made the whole takedown system less effective, so rights owners started targeting the link sites too, claiming their operators were liable for contributory or authorising infringement. Although UK-based with a website hosted in Sweden, O'Dwyer was targeted by the US authorities. In probably his biggest mistake, he ignored a cease and desist from the American government, moved his site to a new domain and carried on regardless. Until UK police and US representatives showed up at his door. Extradition proceedings, to force O'Dwyer to face copyright charges back in the US, followed.

Operators of sites like TVShack always say that they don't actually host any infringing content, and therefore cannot be held liable for any infringement that occurs when a user clicks on one of their links. In most jurisdictions that's not an especially effective defence - such linking services are considered to constitute contributory infringement - although there are exceptions.

But even if there was a civil case for O'Dwyer to answer, it's debatable whether there is a criminal case against the student; criminal liability would depend very much on his motivation and how commercial his operation was. In the UK attempts to prosecute the operators of infringement-assisting websites have had mixed results. And anyway, O'Dwyer's supporters, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, have stressed, even if there was a criminal case to answer, why in the US?

Nevertheless, the extradition proceedings continued, with Home Secretary Theresa May rubber stamping the American's application back in March. However, as O'Dwyer's lawyers pursued every appeals process available, they also continued to negotiate with the American prosecutors, leading to this week's deal.

According to the BBC, O'Dwyer has signed a provisional agreement, which his mother Julia O'Dwyer will complete in the US. It's not clear why the US authorities, which initially seemed adamant that O'Dwyer should face the charges against him in an American court room, have had a change of heart, though Wales's high profile support and petition, signed by quarter of a million people, may well have helped.

Loz Kaye, the boss of the UK Pirate Party welcomed the deal, telling Torrentfreak: "This decision vindicates the Pirate Party's view that the extradition request was disproportionate and unnecessary all along. It does not remove the underlying problem though. The US can not be allowed to be the copyright cops of the world. I hope that Richard and Julia O'Dwyer will be able to begin to rebuild their lives now".

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Legal reps for the Beastie Boys have responded to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against them in May, the day before the death of group member Adam Yauch.

As previously reported, US label Tuf America alleged that four of the hip hop outfit's tracks from 1986 and 1989 used samples from two songs it owned without permission. Tuf America had only acquired the rights in the allegedly sampled songs in 1999, and had only noticed the alleged samples in the Beastie Boys tracks very recently.

Yauch's death delayed the group's response to the action, but this week legal papers were filed. Lawyers have argued that Tuf America has not provided convincing evidence that the samples in question originate with the recordings it owns, while adding that, even if it could provide that evidence, the case should be dismissed under the statute of limitations - ie the claimant waited far too long to sue.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the legal reps say: "What precipitated plaintiff to bring this action two decades after the release of the songs in question, and the day before the passing of defendant Adam Yauch, is not explained. Plaintiff is attempting to sidestep the Copyright Act's three-year statute of limitations and the defenses of laches and estoppel in light of its decades-long delay in taking any action".

Tuf America is yet to respond.

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So Australia's equivalent of the BRIT Awards, the 2012 ARIAs, were awarded this week. Amid myriad magic pop moments - not least Taylor Swift and Russell Brand doing things, and Nicki Minaj wearing this - some winners were announced, mainly Gotye, who won in four categories.


Best Male Artist: Gotye - Making Mirrors
Best Female Artist: Kimbra - Vows
Best Group: The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap
Breakthrough Artist: 360 - Falling & Flying
Best International Artist: One Direction
Best Australian Live Act: Gotye

Album Of The Year: Gotye - Making Mirrors
Best Independent Release: The Jezabels - Prisoner
Best Adult Contemporary Album: Missy Higgins - The Ol Razzle Dazzle
Best Blues & Roots Album: Jeff Lang - Carried In Mind
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album: DZ Deathrays - Bloodstreams
Best Pop Release: Gotye - Making Mirrors
Best Rock Album: The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap
Best Urban Album: Hilltop Hoods - Drinking From The Sun
Best Children's Album: The Wiggles - Surfer Jeff
Best Comedy Release: Buddy Goode - Unappropriate
Best Country Album: The McClymonts - Two Worlds Collide
Best Dance Release: Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl feat Georgi Kay - In My Mind
Best Classical Album: William Barton - Kalkadungu
Best Jazz Album: Sarah McKenzie - Close Your Eyes
Best Original Soundtrack: Triple J - Straight To You: A Tribute To Nick Cave
Best World Music Album: Joseph Tawadros - Concerts Of The Greater Sea

ARIA Song Of The Year: Matt Corby - Brother
Best Video: Missy Higgins - Everyone's Waiting

Best Cover Art: Frank De Backer & Wally De Backer- Making Mirrors
Producer of the Year: Styalz Fuego - 360, Falling & Flying

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More Gotye now, because his song 'Somebody That I Used To Know' has been confirmed as the most streamed track on Spotify this year, perhaps unsurprisingly. The album it was taken from, however, was relegated to the 'second most streamed' position by David Guetta's 'Nothing But The Beat'.

Flo Rida managed to get two entries in the tracks top ten, as well as just sneaking into the ten most popular albums. Only one other artist, Sia, managed two top ten tracks, though on both occasions it was as a guest vocalist (one of them on Flo Rida's track 'Wild Ones').

Stats are fun, huh? Presumably everyone will start listening exclusively to Christmas music tomorrow and therefore these lists won't change before the year is out. You can listen to a playlist of the 100 most popular tracks on Spotify in 2012 here, or check out the single track and album top tens below.

Most streamed tracks:

1. Gotye feat Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know
2. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
3. Fun. feat Janelle Monáe - We Are Young
4. Flo Rida - Whistle
5. Flo Rida feat Sia - Wild Ones
6. Train - Drive By
7. Nicki Minaj - Starships
8. Maroon 5 feat Wiz Khalifa - Payphone
9. David Guetta feat Sia - Titanium
10. Loreen - Euphoria

Most streamed albums:

1. David Guetta - Nothing But The Beat
2. Gotye - Making Mirrors
3. Drake - Take Care
4. Lana Del Ray - Born To Die
5. One Direction - Up All Night
6. Fun. - Some Nights
7. Rihanna - Talk That Talk
8. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
9. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
10. Flo Rida - Wild Ones

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Everyone loves a list of how much richer rich pop stars have become this year, right? Well, everyone is in luck, because Forbes has published a list of the highest paid musicians of the year, according to their number crunchers.

Dr Dre tops the poll, though - as we pointed out when he also topped the Forbes hip hop rich list back in September - HTC taking a rather large stake in his Beats company has helped there. Elsewhere, the usual suspects dominate, with quite a few Brits towards the top of the poll, and elsewhere, including Sade at number 25 with annual earnings of $33 million. These polls are always good for reminding us just how big Sade is in the US.

Anyway, here's the list...

1. Dr. Dre ($110 million)
2. Roger Waters ($88 million)
3. Elton John ($80 million)
4. U2 ($78 million)
5. Take That ($69 million)
6. Bon Jovi ($60 million)
7. Britney Spears ($58 million)
8. Paul McCartney ($57 million)
8. Taylor Swift ($57 million)
10. Justin Bieber ($55 million)
10. Toby Keith ($55 million)
12. Rihanna ($53 million)
13. Lady Gaga ($52 million)
14. Foo Fighters ($47 million)
15. Diddy ($45 million)
15. Katy Perry ($45 million)
17. Kenny Chesney ($44 million)
18. Beyonce ($40 million)
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($39 million)
20. Jay-Z ($38 million)
21. Coldplay ($37 million)
22. Adele ($35 million)
22. Kanye West ($35 million)
24. Michael Buble ($34 million)
25. Sade ($33 million)

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Bassist Nick Oliveri is working with both Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age again, which is a bit of a turn up for the books. A post on the Facebook page of Oliveri's other band, Mondo Generator, notes: "Nick has re-joined Kyuss, and has recently recorded his vocals on a new Queens Of The Stone Age song! Stay tuned".

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Punk quartet Savages are in the studio making their first LP, a revelation they shared with the populace yesterday via a Facebook photo. Look, they're doing a swear in it, the anarchists.

Something else Savages have done, aside from starting the LP, is to collaborate with Bo Ningen on an alternate version of the band's 'Line The Wall' LP track 'Nichijyou'. It'll be released as a single via Stolen Recordings on 7 Jan.

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Having kicked off its new seven-inch singles club in 2012 with releases from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, LA Guns, The Men and Kurt Vile, amongst others, Matador Records has announced the initial line-up for 2013.

The next series will see a new release pumped out every month of the year (unless you're outside the US and Canada, in which case they'll arrive in a pack of three every quarter). A subscription in the UK will set you back $105 all in, and can be purchased here.

Artists confirmed for the first six months of releases are as follows:

Jan: Jeffrey Novak
Feb: Superchunk
Mar: Cian Nugent
Apr: Lower Plenty/Dick Diver split single
May: Bits Of Shit
June: Royal Headache

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The Strokes' Julian Casablancas has said he is "psyched" to have signed "rad" NYC quartet The Virgins as the first artists to his vanity label, Cult Records. Last heard circa their eponymous 2008 debut, the band will release their new LP, 'Strike Gently', on 12 Mar.

An oddly animated Casablancas says: "When I first saw The Virgins I was psyched there was such a rad new band from NYC. [Singer] Donald [Cumming] is such an awesome guy and it's great to meet someone who's such a true artist. I think they've made a classic record and we're really excited they chose to work with us".


Prima Materia
Wheel Of Fortune
Flashbacks, Memories, and Dreams
Figure On The Ice
Impressions Of You
What Good Is Moonlight?
Travel Express (From Me)
The Beggar
Blue Rose Tattoo

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Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's 'Wrecking Ball' tour - aka a tour in honour of Bruce's seventeenth studio LP of the same title - will crash its way into various British and Irish stadiums in about six month's time. Keep track of its dates via this mini-itinerary:

15 Jun: London, Wembley Stadium
18 Jun: Glasgow, Hampden Park
20 Jun: Coventry, Ricoh Arena
16 Jul: Limerick, Thomond Park
18 Jul: Cork, Páirc Uí Chaoimh
20 Jul: Belfast, King's Hall

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Falmouth fleet Tall Ships have made a rather... erm, tall list of the places they'll stop at as part of a 2013 tour. They'll most likely be playing a set of tracks from their new LP, 'Everything Touching', and perhaps the odd brand new one. But moving back to the tour, its individual dates are thus:

28 Feb: Bristol The Fleece
1 Mar: Falmouth, Inc Falmouth
2 Mar: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
3 Mar: Leeds, Brudenell
5 Mar: Liverpool, Kazimer
6 Mar: Leicester, Firebug
7 Mar: London, Scala

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CMU approved Canadian artist Lowell has just arranged to promote her new mini-LP, 'If You Can, Solve This Jumble', via a one-off live date at London's Sebright Arms on 11 Dec.

In similar info, Mute's Cold Specks will play her own solo set - also at the Sebright - on 21 Dec. It's a special Winter solstice party, and tickets are free to those who RSVP via this Facebook page.

And now, in line with the show's Christmassy theme, it's time to listen to 'Christmas Evermore', a Mary Margaret O'Hara cover and Cold Specks' donation to Sartorial Records festive new compilation 'All Ready For The 25th'.

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So some initial artist announcements are in for 2013's Reading and Leeds festivals, and what announcements they are... Alt-J, Deftones, Sub Focus and Boy Better Know's Wiley et al, so diverse.

As previously reported, next year will see the twin festivals add new stages, including one hosted by BBC Radio 1Xtra, making room for more artists from non-rock genres. Of that, Reading/Leeds boss Melvin Benn told CMU: "This is a dynamic time for the festivals. Not only do we have a fresh look for next year, but we are also adding to the fans' experience of the festival with the introduction of more stages and genres of music, which also inevitably means an increase in the number of artists playing across the weekend.

Elsewhere, Austria's Snowbombing has piled the electro-centric Simian Mobile Disco and Tiga onto its existing live programme, as features Kasabian, Example, Katy B, Disclosure and Rudimental. 'Extreme' French do Hellfest has acquired its first acts - not least Twisted Sister, Bullet For My Valentine, Bad Religion (and Korn) - while Bloodstock enlists four further bands.

This what that same info looks like in list format:

BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR, Catton Hall, Walton-On-Trent, South Derbyshire, 8-11 Aug 2013: Avantasia, Whitechapel, Kataklysm, Ex Deo.

HELLFEST, Clisson, France, 21-23 un 2013: Kiss, Twisted Sister, Accept, Korn, Stone Sour Avantasia, Bullet For My Valentine, Volbeat, Sick of it All, Bad Religion, The Acacia Strain, Anti-flag, Arch Enemy, Atari Teenage Riot, Aura Noir, Between The Buried And Me, Black Spiders, Candlemass, Carpathian Forest, Coal Chamber, Converge, Cradle of Filth, Cryptopsy, Danko Jones, For Today, God Seed, Haemorrhage, Hardcore Superstar, Heavens Basement, Insahn, Karma To Burn, Krisiun, Leprous, Marduk, Mass Hysteria, My Sleeping Karma, Nachtmystium, Negative Approach, Parkway Drive, Punish Yourself, Red Fang, Rotting Christ, Senser, Skindred, Spiritual Beggars, The Sword, Terror, Testament, Truckfighters.

LEEDS FESTIVAL, Bramham Park, Leeds, 23-25 Aug 2013: Deftones, Alt-J, Sub Focus, Boy Better Know (Wiley, Skepta, JME).

READING FESTIVAL, Richfield Avenue, Reading, 23-25 Aug 2013: Deftones, Alt-J, Sub Focus, Boy Better Know (Wiley, Skepta, JME).

SNOWBOMBING, Mayrhofen, Austria, 1-6 Apr 2013: Above & Beyond, Dub Pistols, Simian Mobile Disco, Tiga, Heidi, Plastician, Catz N Dogz, Maribou State, South London Ordnance, krankbrothers, Hot Since 82, Union, Rattus Rattus, Clouds, Gingy & Bordello, Tom Staar, Marc Roberts, Wax Wreckaz, North Base, Dave Beer, Adeline, Brinsley Kazak, Josh T, Ben Gomori, BBC, Smak Pony, DJ Shorterz, Neil Parkes, Ernest, Serene, Paddy Lopaski, Seedy Sonics, F.O.H., Dutch Settlers, Hugo Heathcoate, Will Weaver, Jolyon Klean.

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4Music has created bespoke content to be shown on screens at Westfield's two London shopping centres promoting Rihanna's 2013 tour, possibly initiating a series of pop content partnerships between the broadcaster and retail operator. Further Rihanna content will be made available to download via free wi-fi connections in both shopping malls. It is predicted that all this will reach an audience of 60 million shoppers.

The partnership, brokered by 4Music co-owner Bauer Media and Sold Out Advertising, will also see additional content broadcast on other music channels operated by Channel4/Bauer JV Box TV, plus E4 and Bauer radio stations.

Westfield's Brand Alliance Manager, Fiona Kyle told CMU: "The partnership with Sold Out and 4Music will result in an exciting content package, initially showcasing Rihanna, giving consumers and fans a unique shopping experience at Westfield. Our digital broadcast screens offer a fantastic platform for Rihanna's management to interact with consumers in a retail environment, to promote the must-see show of 2013. We'll also be able to drive consumers to download Rihanna's content on the spot via the free wi-fi we offer in our centres".

Meanwhile Julie Wright, Commercial Director at Box TV said: "We're bringing our TV expertise and premium production values to a retail environment for the very first time. Echoing 4Music's unique tone, we will produce a compelling Rihanna video tribute, fit for a global superstar as part of this groundbreaking multiplatform campaign. This partnership is the first of many, creating a unique synergy benefitting each of the brands involved".

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The UK division of AEG Live has announced the appointment of Sam Bush, of live and management company the Sam Bush Organisation, to the role of Director Of Promotions.

Confirming the new appointment, Bush told CMU: "I am excited to be joining an internationally renowned company such as AEG Live at a time when live entertainment is more popular than ever. There are many exciting opportunities and I look forward to bringing my experiences as Chairman of SBO to this new role".

Meanwhile AEG's President of International Touring Rob Hallett added: "We are very much looking forward to working with Sam and having him as part of the team. He brings a huge amount of experience to the job and will be a great addition to AEG Live".

The Sam Bush Organisation will continue to operate as an independent promoter and management firm under the leadership of Bush's former co-Chair Aaron Kirkhouse.

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With just one day to go to Apple's second self-declared deadline, iTunes 11 went live yesterday, meaning that you too can now be underwhelmed, and on your very own PC. Enjoy, people.

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Prior to its release, Robbie Williams was worried that his new album 'Take The Crown' was no good, and, being too close to it to form a proper critical opinion, he sought the opinion of as many third parties as possible. These apparently included anyone who came anywhere near his property.

Williams told The Sun: "I've been having all sorts of people come in and have a listen - the mail man, the dustman, people delivering things from Amazon... I said, 'Come and have a listen to this. What do you think should be the first single? Is it good?' You see, this is a really important album for me. Every album is important but this one definitely shows where I am in today's society and pop culture".

Presumably the conclusion the postman et all reached was that Robbie's now irrelevant to teenagers and slightly less important than Westlife.

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