13 FEB 2013

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In January this year, influential New Zealand indie label Flying Nun announced a new partnership with New York label Captured Tracks to reissue some key releases from the company's vast back catalogue. First up in that series will be a compilation of music by Toy Love, who were early and instrumental in the development of what became known as 'the Dunedin sound'. As they prepare for that and the other forthcoming re-releases, CMU's Andy Malt spoke to Flying Nun label manager Ben Howe and Captured Tracks founder Mike Sniper more>>
Black Books have been a popular draw in their hometown of Austin, Texas over the last couple of years, and with the release of their debut EP, 'Aquarena', that interest is starting to spread. The band's sound is familiar but often surprising. Frequently compared to bands such as Grandaddy and My Morning Jacket, their music is also subtly experimental, and vocalist Ross Gilfillan's melodies often take unexpected but welcome turns. This is best displayed on the EP's opening track, 'Favourite Place', which stomps its way through the verse, before gliding into its bright chorus and bridge more>>

- Fisherman's Friends singer dies
- Welsh language music returns to BBC Radio Cymru, for now
- HMV confirms Irish stores to stay closed
- Fatboy Slim to DJ in parliament at new talent competition final
- Clapton to work with Universal to distribute his Old Sock
- Big Deal title new LP
- Wall shares new EP track
- Nick Cave adds Bad Seeds shows
- Action Bronson to play Koko show
- Mikal Cronin sets live date
- Festival line-up update
- Sony bidding for EMI's half of Now!
- Ticketmaster launches ticket transfer service
- EMI Christian label rebrands
- Iovine discusses Beats streaming service
- Facebook adding buy tickets button to events pages
- Black Keys drummer gets Belieber hate after Justin jibe
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Fisherman's Friends singer Trevor Grills died on Monday evening from head injuries sustained in the previously reported accident that occurred at a Guildford venue at the weekend, it was announced yesterday. As previously reported, Grills was critically injured and the vocal group's tour manager Paul McMullen killed when a metal door fell on them at the G Live venue on Saturday.

Following the announcement of Grills' death yesterday morning, the band said in a statement: "Trevor was a much loved and valued friend to all of us and was an integral part of the Port Isaac community. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with Trevor's family at this very difficult time".

Meanwhile Darcus Beese of Island Records, the Universal label which signed Fisherman's Friends in 2010, said: "We are all deeply saddened at losing Trevor. The Fisherman's Friends are exactly that, life-long partners in all they do and our thoughts and prayers go out to them and Trevor's family and friends".

The ten-strong group formed in 1995, performing sea shanties around their hometown of Port Isaac in Cornwall. They came to national attention in 2010 following their deal with Universal/Island.

McMullen and Grills were injured on Saturday morning, as they were setting up for a performance at G Live that evening, when a metal door in a loading bay fell on them. Guildford Borough Council, which owns the venue, has launched an investigation into exactly what happened.

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Welsh language songs are back on BBC Radio Cymru after the Beeb reached a temporary agreement with the new collecting society set up to represent Welsh songwriters and music publishers. Though negotiations continue regards a long-term licensing deal, and the dispute could still end up in front of the Copyright Tribunal.

As previously reported, about 300 Welsh language creators and copyright owners last year took their collected works away from publishing rights collecting society PRS For Music, and set up their own rights organisation called Eos.

The move followed a long-running dispute about the way royalties paid by the BBC for music played on its Welsh radio stations (English language BBC Radio Wales and Welsh language BBC Radio Cymru) were distributed to rights owners by PRS. The Welsh language community were unhappy with a change in the royalties distribution system in 2007 which meant they received less of the loot.

The change properly came into effect at the start of the year, and because the BBC failed to reach an agreement with new body Eos on licensing terms, the Corporation was forced to stop playing songs owned by Eos members on BBC Radio Cymru, forcing a revamp and downsizing of the Welsh language station's output.

With no deal on the horizon, earlier this month the BBC confirmed it planned to take the matter to Copyright Tribunal, the special court that considers copyright and royalty issues where parties cannot agree on collective licensing terms.

Eos was not overly impressed with the BBC's Tribunal plans, even though the Beeb offered to contribute to the collecting society's legal costs. Nevertheless, the organisation's members continued discussing the option of allowing the BBC to play their music in the short term while negotiations continued, and agreed to do just that at a meeting last Friday evening.

Eos's CEO Dafydd Roberts said neither he nor his members wanted BBC Radio Cymru to lose listeners as a result of the dispute, plus, realistically speaking, the BBC station is the highest profile media platform for many Eos members' music, so the songs blackout hurts them as much as the Corporation.

A short-term arrangement has now been reached, which will allow the BBC to play Eos members' music while licensing talks continue. The Beeb said it would reintroduce that music to BBC Radio Cymru's programmes with immediate effect, and hoped to restore any cut back services as soon as possible.

Commenting on the latest development, BBC Radio Cymru Director Rhodri Talfan Davies told reporters: "I am delighted that Eos has agreed to allow Radio Cymru to play its members' music once again. This is an important development and one which ensures that Radio Cymru's service to listeners can once again be the best it can be".

"Welsh language music is a fundamental part of Radio Cymru and it has been a challenging six weeks without access to the repertoire. I'd like to thank Radio Cymru listeners for their patience during this dispute as well as the staff of Radio Cymru who have worked tirelessly to maintain the service in difficult circumstances".

"Our focus is now on reaching a permanent agreement which is fair to Welsh language musicians and the licence fee payer. It is reassuring that we can now continue these discussions knowing that the dispute is no longer affecting Radio Cymru's output".

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HMV has confirmed that it will not re-open its stores in the Republic Of Ireland, resulting in the loss of about 300 jobs.

As previously reported, when the HMV Group went into administration in the UK last month, the receivers were called in to the company's Irish subsidiary, a more extreme option which usually means the firm will either be sold or shut down, rather than having the bean counters figure out if a downsizing and restructuring can rescue the business. It also meant the company's sixteen Irish stores all shut with immediate effect.

No buyer has been found for the loss-making Irish retail business, and a rep for the HMV Group's administrators told reporters yesterday: "Since his appointment, the receiver has conducted an assessment of the viability of the company and has actively sought a sale. The marketplace is very difficult given competition from web-based retailers and digital downloads, compounded by a number of other factors including high levels of rent. All stores were loss-making and it was not possible to attract a purchaser".

With nine of the ten HMV stores in Northern Ireland on the list published last week of those shops to be closed within the entertainment retailer's UK business, that means there will now only be one HMV store on the whole island of Ireland, in Belfast city centre.

As also previously reported, when HMV first shut its Irish stores, staff at its two shops in Limerick staged a sit-in until they got reassurances that wages then owed would be paid. The protest ended when administrators finally made such a commitment.

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Fatboy Slim is set to DJ at the House Of Commons at the final of the previously reported House The House competition, the DJ equivalent to the band-focused Rock The House new talent initiative.

Rock The House was set up by MP Mike Weatherly and sees other MPs nominating new bands from their local constituencies for a battle of the bands type competition. The Weatherly-backed DJ equivalent, organised by dance music charity Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, kicked off last summer and reaches its finale in the Palace Of Westminster next month.

The winner of the House The House competition will DJ alongside Norman Cook at the House Of Commons Terrace Bar on 6 Mar.

Says Cook: "I've played some exciting and unique places around the world from Bondi Beach to The Great Wall of China to an igloo, but playing in the House Of Commons might be the most unique to date. I'm a proud supporter of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and the work that it's doing with House The House. Music is a huge part of my life and to give something back in this way is amazing".

While Weatherley adds: "House The House is giving young people the chance to have a voice, to be recognised for their endeavours and to engage with their communities to create change from the grassroots up. Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and House The House are great examples of what the whole music industry can achieve in an innovative way".

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Universal Music's Polydor division will handle the release of Eric Clapton's upcoming 21st studio album 'Old Sock' outside of North America via a partnership with the guitar man's own label Bushbranch. The long player is due for released in the UK on 25 Mar, though for some reason will come out in most other markets a couple of weeks earlier.

Confirming the deal with Clapton, Universal Music Group International's CEO Max Hole told CMU: "Eric Clapton truly is one of our living legends and everyone at Universal is absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to work with him on his new album. With 'Old Sock' Eric has created an album that will delight fans everywhere and we can't wait to bring it to them".

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CMU Approved pop aesthetes Big Deal have titled their new LP 'June Gloom', and they'll be damned if anyone says 'no' to their releasing it via Mute in the "summer". They haven't named a date as such, but June seems a safe estimate.

But until that time, whenever it is, take this tracklisting as a keepsake:

Golden Light
Swapping Spit
In Your Car
Dream Machines
Call And I'll Come
Catch Up
Little Dipper
Close Your Eyes

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CMU Approved back in August, London artist Wall has since signed off on a new EP comprising five tracks. She'll release it via Big Picnic on 1 Apr, and in the meantime has shared its title track, 'Shoestring', for all to hear via SoundCloud. She'll play a post-release show at London's Bush Hall on 11 Apr, and another at Brighton's Komedia as part of this year's just-detailed Great Escape festivities.


Place Too Low
Left To Wonder
All Alone

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Nick Cave and his bad Bad Seeds are taking their new LP, 'Push The Sky Away', across the wilds of Europe in October. And yes, I realise that's very far away, but still. It's Nick Cave. Pre-sale tickets will be made available via on Valentines Day. What about a pair as a lover's gift? That and/or a bouquet of 'Wild Roses'.

Anyway, the British dates:

26 Oct: London, Hammersmith Apollo
27 Oct: London, Hammersmith Apollo
30 Oct: Manchester, Apollo
31 Oct: Glasgow, Barrowlands
1 Nov: Edinburgh, Usher Hall

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Culinary rap ace Action Bronson is playing his greatest capacity British show to date at London's Koko on 7 Jun. Amid other hits, he'll be playing a select set featuring tracks off the 'Rare Chandeliers' mixtape he release last year. Tickets to that go on sale Friday.

Oh and look, that selfsame tape is still downloadable via this link.

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Crony-of-Ty-Segall Mikal Cronin will back his CMU Approved solo single 'Shout It Out', part of a new long playing disc he's releasing on 13 May, via a show at London's Tufnell Park Dome.

White Fence, Purling Hiss and The Pheromoans are also playing, so that really is nice. It's on 16 May, and this is a link to buy tickets.

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So, Sonar's original bash in Barcelona - a festival of two alternatively-lit halves, Sonar By Day and Sonar By Night - has moved its daytime programme to a new space, Fira Montjuïc at the city's Plaça d'Espanya. That's rather than its traditional holding at Barcelona's Museu d'Art Contemporani, by the way. The By Night fiesta will still take place, as in past years, at Fira Gran Via, which is in fact nearer to the new By Day site, so that's nice.

By the way of actual artist additions, which is what we're really interested in, Sonar Barcelona has just named TNGHT, Justice, AlunaGeorge, Soulwave and Diplo (who's re-listed again as Major Lazer); meanwhile Leicestershire's Strawberry Fields has picked The Enemy, Jaguar Skills and X-Press 2 to play amid its patch of 2013 acts; and Evesham-based festival-of-all-things-asparagus-like Asparafest has made Gus The Asparagus Man its very apt first booking. If you love asparagus, read on:

ASPARAFEST, Ashdown Farm, Evesham, 1-2 Jun: Gus The Asparagus Man.

SONAR BARCELONA, Fira Monjuic/Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain, 13-15 Jun: Diplo, Justice, Busy P, Soulwax, AlunaGeorge, Major Lazer, TNGHT, Breakbot, Seth Troxler, Jamie Lidell, Karl Hyde, Raime, Objekt, Oneman, Gluteus Maximus, East Everything, C2C, Francesco Tristano, Dinos Chapman, Ólafur Arnalds, Matthew Herbert, Modeselektor, Nacho Marco, Mary Anne Hobbs, Fatima Al Qadiri, BeGun, bRUNA, Krystal Klear, Anenon, Jools Hunter & UMA, Panoram, Mr Beatnick, Ulf Eriksson, Baris K, Le K.

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FESTIVAL, Cattow Farm, Heather, Leicestershire, 9-11 Aug: The Enemy, Jaguar Skills, The Cuban Brothers, X-Press 2, The Other Tribe, Discopolis, The Lines, Troumaca, Andy H, 2 Bad Mice, Pete Gooding, Robot 84, Phil Dockerty, Danny Whitehead, Highlife, Murray McKee, Tyler Mae, Fitz, Mia & The Moon, The Legitimate Gentlemen, Mike Beck, Drive & Hedgehog, Mikey Dunne, Arnivore, New Walk, Plastic Soul, DJ Fee, Chris Hovey, Mark Gardner & Steve Morley, James Connor, Ed Lee, Gecko Mafia, The SFF Sunday Disco.

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While Universal's decision to sell the Parlophone Label Group to Warner Music, confirmed last week, was the last big deal to come out of the demise of EMI, there are still some smaller sell-offs to occur for the Universal Music Group to fulfil its commitments to European regulators regards its grand EMI takeover last year.

And that includes EMI's stake in the Now That's What I Call Music! brand. Universal already has a share of the Now! franchise, and as part of its deal with European Commission regulators agreed to not take full ownership of the compilation series. It was rumoured that Simon Fuller, involved in an unsuccessful bid for the Parlophone Label Group, was also interested in the Now! business, which he thought could be spun off into various other media products.

While Universal says there are now "several interested parties" involved in discussions regards EMI's slice of the Now! pie, Sky News reckons Sony is favourite to win the bidding in a deal that could be worth tens of millions. Though any EMI asset deal involving Sony will be controversial in the independent community, who hit out when reports suggested the other mega-major was bidding for some of the Parlophone Label Group last month.

While the Now! deal is a much smaller than anything relating to the PLG, with the compilation series reportedly generating sales in excess of £20 million last year, there may still be opposition to the second biggest player in music rights getting hold of half the franchise.

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Ticketmaster has added a 'transfer' option to it's US-based platform, which means that American customers can transfer tickets to friends at no cost, with the barcode from the original ticket cancelled and a new bar-code issued to the friend.

The process will enable consumers who buy tickets for a group to more easily distribute the actual tickets to each group member, and people who can no longer attend a show to transfer their ticket to another person within the Ticketmaster system.

The new functionality is part of the ticket giant's aim to make the primary ticketing experience more user-friendly. Whether offering the easier transfer system will in any way combat the resale of tickets via the secondary market (in which Ticketmaster operates) is debatable - indeed, although it would enable Ticketmaster to identify and potentially block users transferring large numbers of tickets, it could aid small-time ticket reselling - though some argue that unhelpful primary ticketing services make the secondary markets seem more attractive to consumers, despite the sometimes extortionate prices.

Either way, the main way Ticketmaster benefits is presumably the extra data it can gather, as friends receiving transferred tickets will need Ticketmaster accounts. And for Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation, data is an increasingly important part of the mix.

The transfer system will not be available for paperless tickets, something Ticketmaster has been developing mainly with a view to combating rampant touting. Ticketmaster says allowing the transfer of paperless tickets would "defeat the purpose" of the anti-tout system, though the inability for credit card holding customers who want to legitimately transfer paperless tickets (to friends in their gig-going group, children or because they can no longer attend) is a fundamental issue with the entire paperless system as currently operates.

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What was the EMI Christian Music Group has rebranded as the Capitol Christian Music Group, ready to operate as part of the all-new Capitol Music Group company within the Universal Music empire.

Much - though not all - of EMI's former US-based operations have been gathered together under the Capitol brand by new owner Universal, with the new Capitol division due to operate alongside the mega-major's other American units like Interscope and Island Def Jam under the previously reported leadership of Steve Barnett.

Confirming the launch of the newly named Capitol Christian Music Group, the label's CEO Bill Hearn told reporters: "We are very encouraged to be working alongside Steve Barnett and the amazing team he is building at the new Capitol Music Group. Being part of this team and with the strength of the Universal Music Group distribution system we are now in the best possible position to invest in and serve our artists and writers and grow our business".

As previously reported, the former EMI Christian Music Group's publishing interests, which unusually sat within the accompanying record company (rather than in EMI Music Publishing, which was sold separately to Sony/ATV), have now been split off and will sit inside Universal Music Publishing as part of its Capitol CMG Publishing unit.

God declined to comment on all these shenanigans in the Christian music world. Well, he put us on to his PR man in Rome, but apparently he's just resigned.

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The all-new streaming music service from Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics company will launch this summer, or so Iovine said at the AllThingsD Dive Into Media conference this week.

As previously reported, the Beats company has recruited former Topspin boss Ian Rogers and digital innovator Trent Reznor to lead on its new streaming platform, which had a working name of Daisy but which will, seemingly, actually operate simply as Beats.

It's assumed the new service will build in some way on the existing MOG streaming platform, which Beats acquired last year, though Rogers, Reznor and now Iovine insist that the new service will present discovery and curation in a better way to all the existing players in the streamed-content marketplace.

According to All Things D, Iovine rambled on quite a lot about the lack of curation on existing streaming platforms during his session at their event, observing: "There's an ocean of music out there and there's absolutely no curation for it. Apple knows a lot about your music taste. Google knows a lot. Facebook. But no one is using it to curate".

We already knew from Reznor that Beats' plan was to involve more human beings in the process of recommending tracks to users, which isn't an especially original plan, though it's true no service has really cracked it when it comes to combining friend, expert and statistical data to provide an effective discovery service, especially one that works without any real effort on the part of the user.

Expanding on that theme, Iovine said his company's service would "marry math with emotion", partly by employing a hundred people to curate lists of music. Emotional people we assume.

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Facebook is testing a 'buy tickets' button that could be added to event pages on the social network, and which would link to producer-approved sites selling tickets to the featured event. The button only seems to be available to event page owners in certain territories at the moment, though will presumably expand out in due course.

In reality the button is currently just a slightly more pleasant looking way of including a ticket sales link on an event page, though if there is more consistency regards where Facebook users can click to buy tickets, it might increase uptake. Though, perhaps more importantly, the development of the new button has led some to speculate that the social network is planning a future integration of ticket sales into the Facebook platform.

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Black Keys man Patrick Carney is the latest musician to feel the Twitter heat of the Beliebers, after telling a reporter that the Biebster shouldn't worry about not getting any Grammy nominations, because he's got all that money instead, and the Bieber brand is surely about money not music. Which might be a fair point, but also constitutes a blatant poke into the always glowing fire of Belieber rage.

After The Black Keys picked up three gongs at The Grammys this weekend, some journalist or other asked Carney whether he felt bad for Bieber, left out of the noms at the music awards bash this year. "I dunno", Carney responded, "he's rich, right? Grammys are for music, not for money. He's making a lot of money - he should be happy".

Somewhat recklessly (even with the concluding "ha ha") given how needlessly protective his fans can be, Bieber responded on Twitter by saying "The Black Keys drummer should be slapped around haha". So far Carney has avoided an actual slapping, though is facing a barrage of angry tweets from Bieber's fans.

Before Bieber's tweet, Carney himself had told his Twitter followers: "It's cool when you get cornered outside your hotel by a guy with a camera and they ask you a dumb question and then put it on TV".

Spotting the Bieber's subsequent "slap" remark, the Black Keys man added "Here we go again" before retweeting some of the more amusing angry Belieber tweets, motivating Patrick's brother Michael Carney to observe: "Fourteen years later and @patrickcarney is still getting bullied by kids in high school".

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email or

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