17 DEC 2012

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This year, Sundfør released her third album proper, 'The Silicone Veil', another Norwegian number one and her first to receive an official release in the UK. Its first single, 'White Foxes', picks up where her previous album 'The Brothel' left off, and then pushes the possibilities within her new found sound yet further more>>
Freed at last from all distractions, Wavves' Nathan Williams and band are playing as one once again. To affirm that, they've released new single 'Sail To The Sun', an unmistakably Wavves-ian paean to living fast and high (and dying soon after). It's gratifying to hear Williams et al haven't changed more>>
- New York fund looking to force control over HMV
- Marilyn Manson nearly loses ear in fight
- Adele tops six of Billboard's end of year charts
- Union J and Ella Henderson sign to Sony
- Britney Spears in studio, "stomping on genres"
- Bieber unplugging again
- The Knife LP given title, release date
- Jessie J postpones arena dates to make LP
- No Direction Home festival cancelled
- Festival line-up update
- Number of A&Rs at labels rises this year, says Music Registry
- Speculation about future of trois-strikes
- Danny Wallace exits Xfm breakfast
- Sirius XM's label royalties rise, but not as high as record industry hoped
- Real and Smooth to broadcast Hit Factory Live
- Work underway on Bieber sitcom
- Spice Girls searching for Posh replacement
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A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

CMU Review Of The Year. The final CMU Daily of 2012 will be with you on Thursday morning, but that won't be the last you hear of us this year. The following day we'll be sending out our Review Of The Year, looking back at the goings on in the world of musicians, the music business and the media over the last twelve months. There'll also be a special year in review edition of the CMU Podcast for you to listen to.

CMU Artists Of The Year. We've already unveiled five of our 2012 Arists Of The Year, and there are five more to come this week. Four will be revealed in the CMU Daily, with the final one bundled in with that Review Of The Year thing I just mentioned.

New releases. Amongst all the Christmas number one contenders and live DVDs out this week, there is one release really worth your attention, 'Spiky Dread: Issue 1'. The first release from DJ and producer Wrongtom's new label Rongorongo, it's a compilation of punky reggae from the late 70s and early 80s. It's not particularly festive, but I don't think it should stop you from soundtracking your Christmas with it.

Gigs and tours. If you're not too busy drinking yourself into a coma at Christmas parties this week, there are plenty of live music events you could be attending. The Hit Factory Live is one such example, where you'll be able to see Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan singing together. Also, Soulwax's annual Soulwaxmas show comes to London, Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler will be heading out on a festive tour, The Happy Mondays will play London's Roundhouse twice, Macy Gray will cover Stevie Wonder's 'Talking Book' album, Paul Weller and Bombay Bicycle Club will both headline charity shows, and Cold Specks will play a one-off show at the Sebright Arms in London.

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Is New York-based investment outfit Apollo Global Management - which owns the CKX company and therefore the 'Idol' franchise and most of Elvis Presley Enterprises - planning to seize control of flagging music retail firm HMV?

Well, the Sunday Times was busy speculating about Apollo's interest in the HMV company yesterday following news that the Wall Street company had bought £20 million of the retail firm's debts from the Allied Irish Bank.

It's the first time one of HMV's moneylenders has sold on some of its debts, and came as the entertainment company last week admitted that it was set to break banking covenants in January, and was now busy negotiating with bankers to try and avoid the worse case scenario of failing to meet performance targets in its loan agreements, which would force the business into administration.

After a spike early last week, HMV's share price tumbled to 2.37p following the company's latest financial statement, that also confirmed the retailer was currently posting a loss of £37.3 million for the first half of the current financial year. That gives the company a market capitalisation of just over £10 million, compared to £1 billion when it first floated on the London Stock Exchange a decade ago.

Apollo, which was linked to a bid for EMI in early 2011, now controls about 10% of HMV's debts, and the Times says it is looking to acquire more, possibly putting it in a position to force control of the retailer if and when covenant tests are failed in January and April. Quite what Apollo would want with HMV isn't clear, though the brand clearly has some value if it could be separated from its high street liabilities.

There were rumours last week that HMV could go into administration this side of Christmas, or at least announce the closure of some of its stores, though management insist neither are currently on the agenda. But, assuming the company makes it into 2013, January is going to be make or break once again, and with the likes of Apollo now in the frame, it may not be current management who ultimately decide the entertainment retailer's immediate future.

New speculation about the collapse of HMV comes as electronics retailer Comet shuts the doors on its retail chain for the final time, having gone into administration last month. Hopes that a deal could be struck with an unnamed buyer to keep 140 Comet stores open now seem dashed, with administrators instead hoping that a sale of the brand and its online business will bring in some money for creditors.

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Marilyn Manson almost had his ear severed after he was hit with a glass table during a fight last week in Basel, Switzerland, where he was due to play a show on his co-headlining tour with Rob Zombie. Manson received hospital treatment and the show went ahead as planned.

The singer tweeted: "I was hit by a glass table in a dangerous fight. I was, however, the victor, but had to have 24 stitches to keep my ear from becoming Van Goth".

Here's the ear, all mended.

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Much has been made about Adele achieving her phenomenal success through good old fashioned songs and singing, rather than having to conceive and perform the sort of burlesque floor show around which most modern pop ladies sell their wares.

But it's also worth noting that Ms Adkins has also debunked the theory that pop success in the 21st century requires constant exposure and 24/7 engagement with fans, given that Adele has hardly performed live at all this year, has given very few interviews, released just one new song, and averages about three tweets a month, and yet dominates in Billboard's end-of-year charts for US success in 2012.

In fact Adele tops six of Billboards sixteen non-genre-specific end-of-year charts, including the US trade mag's 2012 lists of top artists, top albums and top digital albums, and of most successful artists in the album, digital album and digital song charts. We already knew that Adele had had an incredible year Stateside, but lists like this really hammer it home.

The other Brits to make an appearance at the top of a Billboard 2012 chart are, unsurprisingly, One Direction, who lead on the Top New Artists list.

Check out the end of year charts for yourself here.

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As this year's 'X-Factor' winner James Arthur went straight in at number one with his debut single, 'Impossible', having sold 490,000 copies in a week making it the fastest selling track of the year, two other finalists from this year's series of the telly talent franchise confirmed they had signed record deals with 'X' owners Sony Music.

So now both Union J and Ella Henderson will be relying on the fact that, as One Direction, JLS and Jedward will tell you, winning the ITV talent show has little relevance when it comes to whether or not you have a sustainable pop career ahead of you.

Confirming she was heading into the studio to record a debut album, Henderson told reporters: "I'm so excited to go into the studio and do what I've always wanted to do. I've written stuff already but I can't wait to write new stuff. I've not written all the way through the period I was on 'The X-Factor' and it unlocked so many emotions I've never experienced before, it's going to be very exciting".

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R&B songwriter Elijah Blake has revealed he's spent time in an LA-based studio with one Britney Spears, who is seemingly making a sequel to last year's 'Femme Fatale' LP. He says Britney - titan of pop innovation that she is - has been "stomping" all over new genres, so that's nice.

Rihanna/Usher collaborator Blake spills thus to That Grape Juice: "I think her fans will be surprised by it. I would say it's definitely the 'unexpected' Britney in so many ways, in that she's playing with new textures and stomping on new grounds and genres".

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No, the above headline isn't a reference to Justin Bieber resigning from music. It just means he'll be releasing a new acoustic LP. Like his last such compilation, 2010's 'My Worlds Acoustic', the new record will - if this tweet is to be 'Believe'-d - feature alternative arrangements of past JB singles. Like 'Boyfriend', or 'As Long As You Love Me', maybe.

Anyway. Its release will fall in January, and this is a video of Bieber extolling its "intimate" qualities.

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Done bamboozling the world with abstract trailers, The Knife have now opted to share actual facts about what's to be their first LP in seven years. Titled 'Shaking The Habitual', it's going to be released via Brille Records on 8 Apr 2013. Erm, and that's it really. Oh, bar that the band will be playing several live shows - they haven't said when - to promote the new long player.

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Anyone looking forward to making Jessie J's acquaintance via her 'Nice To Meet You' tour, as was meant to rove arenas in February 2013, will now have to wait an extra seven months to do so. The 'Who's Laughing Now' star has pushed back the start date of said tour to 15 Oct, apparently because she's in the studio perfecting a new LP, and that takes precedence.

Says J: "I would like to be the first to tell that you that my tour has been rescheduled to later next year. I am honestly truly sorry but I hope you all can understand that it's just because I would like to take more time to finish my new album. I promise to make this tour my biggest and best ever and cannot wait for you all to hear my new songs".

Tickets to all original shows are valid at the new dates, as are listed at this link.

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So, the first casualty of the 2013 festival calendar has come before the year has even started, as organisers of No Direction Home have announced their decision to cancel next year's event. Launched this year by the team behind End Of The Road, the newer festival will now return in 2014.

In a statement on the festival's website, organisers said: "No Direction Home Festival 2012 was a great success and lots of fun. It also lost a good deal of money. Not more than we could cope with, but more than expected. We had planned for NDH to get somewhere near to breaking even in the second year, and that is now perhaps a tougher target than it was".

They continued: "We have decided to take a year out from No Direction Home in 2013 to give us time to get our planning right, to create a fantastic line-up and to build on the feel that everyone liked this year. The change will be a disappointment to everyone who has already bought tickets or who was planning to come along and we regret this, but overall we are happy with the decision. Welbeck Estate was pleased to host No Direction Home's first year, and is supportive of its return in 2014".

Automatic refunds for people who had already purchased tickets for the 2013 event have already begun to be issued. Anyone who has not had their money back by 21 Dec is asked to contact the festival direct.

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So, lots of movement in the European festival scene at the moment, as Norway's Hove, Portugal's Optimus Alive and the Berlin Festival add a-list headliners. In Hove's case, said headliners are Kings Of Leon, who'll be appearing to live-advertise that tbc LP they're meant to be releasing in the new year.

Optimus Alive acquires its third and final headliners in the shape of Green Day, while in the same breath organisers added Alt-J and Of Monsters And Men to the bill. And Blur promise their only German date of 2013 at the Berlin Festival, as will also feature a top-billed set by Pet Shop Boys.

In British fest goings-on, Dorset's always-reliable End Of The Road reserves space on its programme for Sigur Rós, Belle and Sebastian and others; Gottwood ensigns an initial ton of promoters, labels, brands and artists; and the Tewsbury-set Lakefest reveals its 2013 edition will star Levellers, who cancelled their slot at last year's event because of in-band injury.

BERLIN FESTIVAL, Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, Germany, 6-7 Sep 2013: Blur, Pet Shop Boys, Turbostaat.

END OF THE ROAD, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, 30 Aug - 1 Sep 2013: Sigur Rós, Belle and Sebastian, Angel Olsen, The Barr Brothers, Damien Jurado, Daughter, Horse Thief, John Murry, King Kahn & The Shrines, Palma Violets, Pokey Lafarge, Serafina Steer, Strand of Oaks, Woodpecker Wooliams.

GOTTWOOD, Anglesey, Wales, 20-23 Jun 2013: Hypercolour, Louche, Tief, Wolf Music, Jaunt, Wigflex, Hit & Run, Apogee, Eton Messy, Idiosync.

HOVE FESTIVAL, Tromøya, Arendal, Norway, 2-5 Jul: Kings Of Leon.

LAKEFEST, Croft Farm Waterpark, Tewkesbury, 9-11 Aug: Levellers, Chas & Dave, Cosmo Jarvis, Baka Beyond, 3 Daft Monkeys, Missing Andy, The Roving Crows, The Chip Shop Boys, Erica, Avert Francis.

OPTIMUS ALIVE, Lisbon, Portugal, 12-14 Jul 2013: Green Day, Alt-J, Of Monsters And Men.

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Following that report last month from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, which said that record labels were investing more, in percentage terms, in A&R now than they were in 2008, despite the continued slump in record sales, Digital Music News last week published stats that suggested that the Anglo-American record industry increased the number of A&R execs it employed by 28 this year.

The stats, from Music Registry, reckon that major and independent labels in the US and UK together recruited 55 new A&R people this year, while 27 were laid off, meaning 28 new roles overall. This compares to an overall reduction in the number of A&Rs industry-wide of 24 in the previous two years, and comes despite the merger of the Universal and EMI record companies and the downsizing such mergers always cause (though the real impact of that on A&R may follow in 2013).

It's not entirely clear where the Music Registry gets its data from, nor how A&R roles are defined (based on job title or responsibilities?), but still, it's an interesting bar chart to look at. If true, perhaps the death of A&R has been exaggerated somewhat, in much the same way predictions about the demise of the record label have not really come true.

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The French government may reinvent its anti-piracy programme Hadopi, according to reports. The Hadopi office oversees the three-strikes system for combating illegal file-sharing introduced in France in 2009.

Although the body has been prolific in sending out warning letters to suspected file-sharers, the future of trios-strikes and Hadopi itself has been called into question this year, before strike three has really got underway, with the new French government less enthusiastic about cutting off the internet connections of prolific copyright infringers.

Ministers commissioned a review of the three-strikes system, and the people doing that review submitted a preliminary report last week. In it they noted that levels of P2P file-sharing in France had gone down since the introduction of trios-strikes, but they added that that may be because web users are instead accessing unlicensed content illegally from sources other than P2P networks, which aren't being monitored by Hadopi. Concerns from consumer rights groups about three-strikes are also revisited in the report.

No immediate change of policy is likely, given the review isn't expected to submit its full report until next spring. However those reviewing Hadopi's work are already proposing alternative ways to combat illegal file-sharing and other forms of online piracy, in the main targeting those companies and websites that make it easier for individuals to infringe, rather than the individual infringers themselves.

That would potentially move France more into the realm of web-blocking instead of three-strikes. As previously reported, in the UK the Digital Economy Act introduced its own version of three-strikes in 2010, but that is yet to go live, while the movie and record industries have won web-blocking injunctions against file-sharing services under existing copyright laws.

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Danny Wallace is departing the Xfm breakfast show, the presenter announced on air on Friday. Confirming he will depart the alternative station's prime-time slot before Christmas, he then tweeted: "I just announced I'll be leaving the Xfm Breakfast Show at the end of next week. I've loved it (LOVED it) but it's time to do new things". Wallace said that he was leaving the radio show to concentrate on writing a novel and a new sitcom for ABC.

Confirming the news, a spokesman for Xfm owners Global Radio was quoted by Radio Today thus: "We can confirm that Danny Wallace is stepping down as host of the Xfm Breakfast Show. We'd like to thank him for all of his hard work, enthusiasm and passion whilst on Xfm and to wish him continued success in all of his future endeavours. A new host for London's Breakfast Show will be announced in due course".

Wallace said: "I have had a ball doing the Xfm Breakfast Show and am very proud of what we've achieved together... from being the most-awarded show at the Sony Awards last year to the Arqiva I was thrilled to win, I think we have created the very best show we were able to, every single day. But now it is time to concentrate on my dancing. So from 2013, I will get back to my aggressive street-dancing. In addition, there's a new novel I need to write, a sitcom script I owe ABC, and time-consuming commitments both here and in the US. I'd like to thank Xfm and Global Radio for giving me the show. Particularly as at the time, even I thought 'that's a weird booking'. But it's worked out wonderfully".

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Sirius XM will be paying more of its revenues to the record companies in the coming years following a ruling by the US Copyright Royalty Board last week.

As much previously reported, while FM and AM radio stations in the States do not currently pay any royalties to record companies and recording artists (they only pay music publishers and songwriters), satellite and internet radio services do need to pay a royalty, and these are set by the Copyright Royalty Board and paid via collecting organisation SoundExchange.

Satellite broadcaster Sirius XM currently pays 8% of its revenues to the record companies, though next year that will rise to 9%, with further rises in the coming years, so by 2017 it is paying 11%.

Despite the rises, SoundExchange had been pushing for significantly higher rates (12% next year, with a rise to 20% by 2017), so relatively speaking Sirius XM got off lightly, resulting in a 7% uplift in the broadcasting company's share price.

As previously reported, internet radio operators, led by Pandora and Clear Channel Radio's iHeartRadio, are pushing for net-based radio services to have CRB-set royalties calculated more in line with satellite services. The digital firms argue that the current online radio royalties system proves much more expensive, putting online operators at a massive disadvantage to satellite broadcasters, not to mention terrestrial radio firms who are paying nothing to the labels.

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Sister radio networks Real Radio and Smooth Radio have announced that they will both air a special show on New Year's Eve to be recorded at this week's Hit Factory Live event in London.

Smooth presenter - and one-time Stock Aiken & Waterman collaborator - Pat Sharp will host the special show, that will also feature recordings of live performances from the SAW-celebrating concert, that was originally due to take place in the summer, but which will now occur at The O2 this Friday.

Acts expected to sing at the Hit Factory extravaganza are Steps, Bananarama, Sinitta, Rick Astley, Dead Or Alive, Pepsi & Shirley, Hazell Dean, 2 Unlimited, Brother Beyond and Jason Donovan, with the latter duetting with Kylie Minogue on 'Especially For You'.

Confirming Real and Smooth would air footage of the show on New Years, the radio firm's Programme Director John Simons said: "This is the perfect soundtrack to get your New Year's Eve off to a cracking start. I defy any child of the 70s, 80s and 90s not to be transported back to one of the most memorable musical eras as soon as they tune in. We're delighted to be exclusively broadcasting this one-off Hit Factory Live concert".

As much previously reported, Real and Smooth, formerly owned by the Guardian Media Group, are in the process of being acquired by Global Radio.

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A new sitcom is being planned based on the life of Justin Bieber in which the pop teen will be seen participating in all sorts of hilarious japes, like fighting paparazzo assault claims, denying mad love child allegations, and avoiding insane murder plots instigated by sinister prisoners keen to own his testicles. Oh, and every episode will end with Justin walking into a glass door.

Actually, the planned show, in which US TV network ABC has expressed an interest, will be based on Bieber's life from before he was famous, centring on a "teenage music prodigy" whose adolescence will parallel that of the pop teen. It's not clear if Bieber would cameo in the show himself, though he and his manager Scooter Braun are executive producers on the project.

The show has reportedly been in development for over a year, and has now reached the pre-pilot 'script commitment' stage.

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A talent show to find a new fifth Spice Girl, well, that's something to look forward to in 2013 isn't it? Though don't worry too much, even if the world doesn't end of Friday, there's a chance 'Search For A New Spice' is idle speculation on the part of the Daily Mail and/or a back-of-an-envelope idea from Team Spice that may come to nothing.

According to the Mail, four of the Spice Girls fancy having another go at a reunion tour, but Victoria Beckham isn't up for it. Rather than touring as a foursome again, insiders say that Mel B, Mel C, Emma B and Geri H are planning on recruiting a new fifth member. Sugababe Heidi Range has been mooted as a possible replacement for Vicki B, while a robotic mannequin fully able to replicate Beckham's trademark pointing has presumably also been considered. But a find-a-fifth-member talent show is also reportedly on the cards.

A source told the tabloid: "The girls are going it alone without Victoria. They are keen to get back together and were trying to work out if they could do it as a four-piece. I think they know this is the last chance for them to get the band going again. But the Spice Girls as a foursome is not going to get them another record deal or sell out big venues. They need an extra cherry on the cake. And the cherry on the cake would be if they replaced Victoria. And that leads to the next question: who do they replace her with?"

A spokesman for Beckham implied his client wouldn't be taking part in any new Spice Girls reunion, but said "Victoria respects all of the girls and will always support them all personally and professionally". Some gossipers have noted how Beckham reportedly arrived late for the recent premiere of Spice Girls musical 'Viva Forever', didn't take part in a photoshoot alongside the new show, and left an after-show party early. Then again, given the reviews that musical's been getting, perhaps Beckham has just acquired some decent self-awareness of late.

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