MONDAY
8 APR 2013

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COMING UP THIS WEEK
Well, HMV is now saved, and I think that's something we can all enjoy. New owner Hilco is going to get shot of all the gadgets the stores have been accumulating over the last eighteen months though, so you'd probably better rush down there now and buy up anything you want from that section. Anybody? Oh yeah, I remember now. Anyway, coming up this week, we'll have a report from Talinn Music Week, plus a playlist from The Black Angels.
 
APPROVED: BONOBO
Bonobo, aka producer Simon Green, has certainly evolved over the course of his four albums, and on his fifth, ‘The North Borders’, which was released last week, he continues to maintain his track record as a strong force in modern electronic music. Created in New York with collaborations from Erykah Badu and Grey Reverend, this excellently crafted LP covers many styles, though could be defined overall as a collection of rather luscious electronica more>>


TOP STORIES
- Deloitte and Hilco comment on HMV sale
IN THE POP COURTS
- Girl Aloud charged for driving while on her mobile
- Shakira hits back at ex-boyfriend lawsuit
IN THE POP HOSPITAL
- George Michael rehab rumours circulate
POP POLITICS
- Snoop on openly gay rappers (not likely, he reckons)
- Questions asked about Jay-Z and Beyonce's Cuban adventure
AWARDS & CONTESTS
- Uni Music League approaches semi-finals
- Glastonbury emerging talent winner picked
CHARTS, STATS & POLLS
- Official Charts Company confirms renewed BBC deal
IN THE STUDIO
- Solo Nadine Coyle in studio
RELEASE NEWS
- Fuzz share new single, with LP to follow
- Song, By Toad to pit vinyl against beer in Record Store Day showdown
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- The National add live dates in Belfast, Dublin, Manchester and London
- Alison Moyet to play intimately in London
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update: Primavera Sound, Green Man, Eden Sessions and more
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Alt-Fest raises over £60k via Kickstarter
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Torrentfreak critical of IP grants for anti-piracy ventures
AND FINALLY...
- Norwegian schools reschedule exams to accommodate The Bieber
- Charlie Watts dislikes festivals, hippies, the wind, butterflies and stale sandwiches
ADVERT: MUSIC JOURNALISM COURSE
National music journalist Lulu Le Vay (Guardian, Independent, Observer, i-D, Sleaze Nation, The Face, DJ magazine) opens up the workings of the music industry during this practical, fast-paced eight week evening course.

As well as finding out how to unearth exclusive music stories, and write under pressure, you will develop interview and feature ideas which you will pitch to editors at our partner publications: Clash, Dummy, Resident Advisor and DJ Mag. Fun and interactive exercises will help you learn interview techniques, review and feature writing, and how to pitch your work.

This course is suitable for those with little or no experience of journalism, but is also relevant to those already working in the media who want to develop new skills. A certificate from London Journalism Centre is awarded to students who successfully complete this course. Courses start 9 Apr and 18 Apr.

For a full course description and how to book click here.
RADAR - PR & DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER, PART TIME
We are an established, substantial network connecting record labels and independent artists to thousands of professional music video directors worldwide. We are looking for a stand-out individual to help build our business by promotion across multiple channels, including trade press, improving user engagement and developing new partner relationships. A successful track record is essential.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
CRYPTIC - HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS
Cryptic is recruiting a Head of Communications to play a vital role in ensuring the on going success and growth of the company. The Head of Communications is responsible for developing and delivering marketing, communications, digital and audience development strategies. As part of a small but dedicated team the Head of Communication will have the opportunity to make a difference in how Cryptic and its brands are perceived globally.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
!K7 - PRODUCT MANAGER
!K7 Label Group is looking for an experienced Product Manager to join its London team. Founded in Berlin in 1985, !K7 is a multi-faceted music services and label group with offices in London, New York and Berlin, with partners across the globe. We are looking for a highly motivated individual with at least three years of product management experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
9PR - SENIOR PUBLICIST
Are you looking for a change, a new challenge, or to take your career up a level? We aim to expand our current team of five full-time staff by recruiting a Senior Publicist. Applicants need to have at least three years experience working in either national print PR, online PR, or both. The ability and desire to seek out new business is essential and our salary rate is competitive, for the right person.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUR ARMY - NATIONAL RADIO PLUGGER
Your Army Promotions are looking for a dynamic and knowledgeable plugger. This is an ideal position for someone with experience in plugging but wants an exciting new challenge. Minimum of one to two years experience in a relevant role required. Salary will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BLEEP - PHYSICAL MUSIC BUYER
Bleep is an online retailer specialising in independent music, film and art. We strive to provide exceptional retail experience and focus on the curation of high quality products. We are looking for a highly skilled individual to join our team as a physical music buyer. A proven track record within a similar role and existing relationships within the industry are essential. Experience measuring sales and stock performance is required.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
TRAINING ADVERT: MUSIC JOURNALISM COURSE
Eight week evening course with music journalist Lulu Le Vay (Guardian, Independent, Observer, i-D, Sleaze Nation, The Face, DJ magazine). Learn how to source hot music stories, network with industry insiders, interview artists, write reviews and features, and deliver copy under pressure. You will also get to pitch your interview and feature ideas to editors at our partner publications: Clash Magazine, Dummy, Resident Advisor and DJ Mag. Guest tutor: Matt Bennett, Deputy Editor, Clash Magazine. Courses start 9 Apr and 18 Apr. 

For more information including a full course description and how to book click here.
WARP RECORDS - FINANCE ASSISTANT
We’re looking for a bright, enthusiastic part qualified accountant with a love of music to join our finance team. Working across all the companies in the group the main duties will include: Cash book and bank reconciliation, purchase and sales ledger processing, HMRC returns – VAT, Intrastat, writing cheques/setting up online payments, intercompany postings and reconciliations, dealing with customer and supplier queries.

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

A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

The first week of the rest of HMV's life. So, HMV was saved from total annihilation last week by the mighty Hilco. Possibly my language there is a little over the top. Well, anyway, restructuring specialist HIlco (which already owns the HMV Canada business) bought up 132 HMV shops and nine bearing the Fopp name for £50 million on Friday morning. It now intends to reverse the downward trend of the brand in recent years by focussing on music and DVDs again.

Coachella part one. Coachella, Coachella, the festival so big it now takes place over two identical weekends, kicks off for the first time in 2013 this Friday over there in Indio, California. Topping the bill this year are The Stone Roses, Blur, Phoenix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which might sound like a pretty uninspiring line-up to you but... oh wait, it is a pretty uninspiring line-up. There are lots of other acts playing though, and as usual it'll all be streaming live on YouTube.

Laura Marling's Shakespearean extravaganza. The Royal Shakespeare Company's new staging of 'As You Like It' will feature an original score by Laura Marling. The play opens at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford on 12 Apr and will run through to 28 Sep, before moving to Newcastle's Theatre Royal (29 Oct - 2 Nov). Director Maria Aberg has devised a 'contemporary' take on Shakespeare's classic script.

Music Week Awards. This Thursday, the Music Week Awards will take place once again at The Brewery in London. Companies from across the music industry, including recording, live, retail and media, will be given trophies, while the winner of the slightly embarrassingly named lifetime achievement award, The Strat, will also be announced on the night.

New releases. So, Beyonce's only gone and released a new single today, knowledge which, for some reason, is making me thirsty. Anyway, let's look at this week's album releases. The Knife are back, back, BACK, as are Paramore, OMD, Kurt Vile and Demdike Stare's Miles Whittaker. And, most importantly, Susanne Sundfør releases her back catalogue in the UK for the first time this week. Back to singles and, in addition to Beyonce, Iggy Azalea, Frida Sundemo, NONONO and Mt Wolf all have shorform releases out this week. Plus there's Morrissey's rickrolling re-release of 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys'.

Gigs and tours. Co-writer of Norway's superb Eurovision entry, Karin Park, plays The Lexington in London this Wednesday. Also playing a one-off in the capital is Dean Blunt. And amongst those touring the UK this week are popular piano tinkler Ludovico Einaudi, popular piano warper James Blake, popular guitar strummer Edwyn Collins, popular noise makers Pere Ubu, and popular prog condensers Fang Island.

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DELOITTE AND HILCO COMMENT ON HMV SALE
HMV administrator Deloitte and restructuring specialist Hilco both issued statements on Friday regarding the latter's acquisition of 141 HMV and Fopp stores in the UK. Confirmation of the deal came earlier in the day, and will see Hilco, which already owns HMV Canada, take the UK business out of administration.

Hilco CEO Paul McGowan will be HMV's new chairman, while Ian Topping, formerly head of retail firm the Steinhoff Group, will become CEO, leading a strategy that will see the company refocus on music and DVDs, rather than further pursuing the gadget route the entertainment retailer had taken prior to falling into administration in January.

In a statement, Deloitte's Nick Edwards told CMU: "We are delighted to have completed the sale of HMV's UK retail business to Hilco UK. The sale of the restructured portfolio secures the employment of 2643 staff, saves one of the world's most iconic retail brands and provides a solid financial footing on which the business can be taken forward. We wish the Hilco UK and HMV teams every success with the business. I would like to thank all those stakeholders that have worked with us during the administration, but in particular the staff, suppliers and landlords for their support in making this deal possible".

Hilco's Paul McGowan added: "We have spent a number of weeks negotiating revised terms with landlords and the key suppliers to the business, all of whom have been supportive of our plans to maintain an entertainment retailer on the high street. We hope to replicate some of the success we have had in the Canadian market with the HMV Canada business which we acquired almost two years ago and which is now trading strongly".

He added: "The structural differences in the markets and the higher level of competition in the UK will prove additional challenges for the UK business but we believe it has a successful future ahead of it".

Meanwhile, Ian Topping said: "This is an exciting investment for the Hilco team and we will be able to use some of the developments already progressed in Canada to restore HMV to health. We intend to reverse the earlier decisions to sell tablets and other devices in the stores and to reclaim the space for an enhanced music and visual range. The reaction of the British public to the administration of HMV shows a strong desire for the business to continue to trade and we hope to play a constructive part in delivering that".

As previously reported, as well as buying the HMV Canada business in 2011, Hilco has bought or taken control of a number of other failing UK high street retailers in recent years, including Borders, Habitat, Somerfield and Woolworths.

Its involvement in such companies is often controversial, mainly because it has a reputation for asset stripping and winding down firms where, sometimes, incumbent management, rightly or wrongly, believe there is a business to be saved. However, where Hilco believes more is to be gained by restructuring and rescuing its acquired companies that's a strategy it sometimes pursues - sometimes successfully - and Topping's statement confirms that is its plan for HMV UK.

The 141 stores included in the sale are: Aberdeen, Ayr, Banbury, Bangor (Wales), Basildon, Basingstoke, Bath, Belfast Donegall Arcade, Birmingham Bullring, Blackpool, Bluewater, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton Churchill, Bristol Broadmead, Bristol Cribbs, Bromley, Bury, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chester, Chichester, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Cwmbran, Darlington, Derby, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, Eastbourne, Edinburgh Fort Retail, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh Princes Street, Exeter, FOPP Bristol, FOPP Cambridge, FOPP Covent Garden, FOPP Edinburgh, FOPP Glasgow Byres Road, FOPP Glasgow Union Street, FOPP Gower Street London, FOPP Manchester, FOPP Nottingham, Gateshead, Glasgow Argyle, Glasgow Buchanan, Glasgow Fort, Gloucester, Grimsby, Guernsey, Guildford, Hanley, Harlow, Harrogate, Hastings, Hatfield, Hereford, High Wycombe, Horsham, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Islington, Jersey, Kettering, Kings Lynn, Kingston, Leamington Spa, Leeds Headrow, Leeds White Rose, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool One, Livingston, Llandudno, Maidstone, Manchester 90 Market Street, Manchester Trafford, Mansfield, Merry Hill, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newport (Wales), Northampton, Norwich Gentlemans Walk, Norwich Chapelfield, Nottingham Victoria, Nuneaton, Oxford, Oxford Circus, Peterborough Queensgate, Plymouth Drake Circus, Poole, Portsmouth Commercial Road, Portsmouth Gun Wharf Quay, Preston, Reading Oracle, Romford, Selfridges Oxford Street, Sheffield High Street, Sheffield Meadowhall, Shrewsbury, Solihull, Southampton, Southend Victoria, Southport, Speke Park, Staines, Stevenage, Stirling, Stockport, Stratford upon Avon, Stratford City Westfield, Sunderland, Sutton, Swansea, Taunton, Thanet, Thurrock, Truro, Tunbridge Wells, Uxbridge, Westfield London, Wimbledon, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Worthing, Yeovil, York.

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GIRL ALOUD CHARGED FOR DRIVING WHILE ON HER MOBILE
Former Girl Aloud Sarah Harding was arrested last week for using her mobile while driving and then failing to pull over for police.

An on-bike officer allegedly saw the singer using a mobile handset while driving down Charing Cross Road in Central London. She initially failed to pull over when the policeman signalled that she should, but was stopped a few minutes later. After speaking to officers by her vehicle for a few minutes she was arrested and taken to Holborn Police Station to be charged for the two offences. She will now appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court to face the charges.

A source told the Mirror: "Sarah was driving in a 4x4 when a policeman on a bicycle saw her [using her mobile] and tried to make her stop. He was trying to flag her down but she carried on a bit down the road where she was pulled over a couple of minutes later. She was talking to the police by the side of the road for a while before she was arrested. Apparently Sarah was very upset when she was arrested and charged. The offences are pretty serious".

The singer could face fines of up to £6000 - £1000 for driving while using a mobile handset, and £5000 for failing to stop for the police - and, perhaps more distressingly, could also lose her driving licence. The singer is yet to comment on the charges.

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SHAKIRA HITS BACK AT EX-BOYFRIEND LAWSUIT
Shakira has filed legal papers calling for litigation launched by her former boyfriend Antonio De La Rua, who is seeking a slice of her earnings, to be dismissed.

As previously reported, De La Rua, who split with Shakira after a decade together in 2010, sued last November, claiming that he was due a share of the revenues stemming from the singer's $300 million deal with Live Nation, an arrangement he claimed he helped secure.

His lawsuit also alleged that when the couple first split they agreed he would continue to be involved in Shakira's professional affairs, and receive a cut of her company's profits, but that he was subsequently pushed out of the business.

But in her court filing, the singer says that while her ex-boyfriend may have advised on some of her business dealings in an informal capacity, he was never her manager, and had no formal ties to her business affairs.

In fact, the singer's lawyers say, the only formal agreement between the singer and De La Rua dates from 2006 and specifically says that neither would have a claim on the other's assets in the case of a split.

De La Rua is yet to respond.

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GEORGE MICHAEL REHAB RUMOURS CIRCULATE
George Michael has just completed a two month stint at a rehab facility in Australia, or so claims Sydney newspaper The Telegraph.

The paper says that the singer has been staying at the very exclusive Sanctuary rehab centre in Byron Bay since February, where he has been dealing with emotional anxiety and drug addiction, both seemingly linked to his serious bout of pneumonia in 2011. It's claimed that the illness left Michael battling a dependency to Valium.

The rehab stint would explain why Michael has been silent on Twitter since 25 Jan (so silent, in fact, a rep for the singer was forced to deny rumours he'd actually died). Though Michael's partner Fadi Fawaz has seemingly denied the rumours, claiming that he has been in Australia recently to visit his ill mother rather than to spend time with his other half at a rehab clinic.

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SNOOP ON OPENLY GAY RAPPERS (NOT LIKELY HE RECKONS)
Snoop Lion, if that's what we're still calling him, has told The Guardian he's not convinced that Frank Ocean coming out last year, and the reassuring lack of controversy around it, means that the rap world at large has overcome its past homophobic tendencies. Ocean, you see, although part of the Odd Future hip hop collective, is a singer not a rapper.

Asked about Ocean admitting that his first love had been another man in a Tumblr post last July, Snoop told The Guardian: "Frank Ocean ain't no rapper. He's a singer. It's acceptable in the singing world, but in the rap world I don't know if it will ever be acceptable because rap is so masculine. It's like a football team. You can't be in a locker room full of motherfucking tough-ass dudes, then all of a sudden say, 'Hey, man, I like you'. You know, that's going to be tough".

Questioned about his own views on the matter, the rapper assured the paper he wasn't homophobic, before providing a very brief history of gay rights according to Snoop. He continued: "I don't have a problem with gay people. I got some gay homies. Yeah, for real. People who were gay used to get beat up. It was cool to beat up on gay people back then. But in the 90s and 2000s, gay is a way of life. Just regular people with jobs. They went through the same things we went through as black. Now they are accepted, not classified".

Except, it would seem, in the rap community.

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QUESTIONS ASKED ABOUT JAY-Z AND BEYONCE'S CUBAN ADVENTURE
Jay-Z and Beyonce's decision to mark their fifth wedding anniversary with a short trip to Cuba last week has grabbed headlines both in the Caribbean country and back at home in the US. The former because the pop power couple were mobbed by fans wherever they want on the island, the latter because of claims the Carters may have broken the US embargo against Cuba by being there.

After pictures of the two stars being followed by excited fans as they walked around the Cuban capital of Havana circulated last week, in Washington both congressmen and lobbying groups opposed to the Castro family's five decades of political rule in the country hit out, some questioning whether the couple had the required 'cultural exchange licence' that allows Americans to travel to the country without violating the widespread trade embargo that still exists between the two nations.

And two Republican politicians, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, but that question into a letter to the US Treasury Department, which oversees America's Cuban embargo, noting: "The restrictions on tourism travel are common-sense measures meant to prevent US dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes US security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly and belief".

The Carters haven't yet commented on the status of their trip to Cuba. While Republicans in Washington may genuinely believe in the need to uphold their country's embargo against the Cuban regime, there would also, of course, be political mileage to be gained if it turned out the music stars were in the country illegally, given the couple's close links with Democrat President Obama.

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UNI MUSIC LEAGUE APPROACHES SEMI-FINALS
The previously reported Uni Music League is about to enter its semi-finals stage, after a series of heats earlier in the year saw student bands from 25 universities around Southern England compete. The semi-finals will now take place at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on 9 and 16 Apr, before a final at the Islington Academy in 9 May.

Commenting on this year's competition so far, co-founder Karol Severin told CMU: "The quality of the acts this year has been truly outstanding. The musical variety has seen sitar players go up against rappers, electro-indies vs solo acoustics, psychedelic blues vs folk. This variety has become a feature of UML this year, with acts from all over the South, from over 25 universities, and all at different stages in their development".

This year's competition has also included a photography strand, and co-founders Severin and Daniel Zawadzki say they hope to further expand the remit of the programme in future years, as well as involving universities from across the UK.

More info here.

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GLASTONBURY EMERGING TALENT WINNER PICKED
Newcastle-based newcomers Bridie Jackson & The Arbour won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition this weekend, and with it get a spot on the Pyramid Stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival. The group competing against seven others at the Pilton-based final of the new bands contest, the other finalists being A Band Called Wanda, Black Balloons, The Dancers, Isaiah Dreads, Lillian Todd Jones, Port Isla and Rhys Lloyd Morga.

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OFFICIAL CHARTS COMPANY CONFIRMS RENEWED BBC DEAL
The Official Charts Company last week confirmed it had signed a new four year deal with the BBC which will see Radio 1 continue to air the official first countdown of the weekly singles chart each weekend. The BBC pop station has aired a weekly chart ever since its launch in 1967.

Confirming the renewed deal, which runs to 2016, OCC MD Martin Talbot told reporters: "We're delighted to agree this deal with the BBC, who are our most valued partners. The fact that we will be on the cusp of marking our golden anniversary with the BBC by the end of this deal highlights just how successful this marriage has been".

Noting the recent revamp on Radio 1's Sunday evening chart show, he continued: "The fabulous Jameela Jamil has been doing a great job since taking over from Reggie Yates in January this year, and we look forward to working with her - and the rest of the 'Radio 1 Official Chart Show' team - increasingly closely over the coming years".

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SOLO NADINE COYLE IN STUDIO
Having failed to stop Girls Aloud parting ways (despite her best efforts, it seems), a devastated Nadine Coyle has gone straight back to the studio, all by herself.

"If you could hear what I hear! Xciting!", tweeted the x-citable popstar last Thursday.

Oh, if only. Especially if it's anything like 2010's 'Insatiable'.

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FUZZ SHARE NEW SINGLE, WITH LP TO FOLLOW
Ty Segall's hairy new band Fuzz are proposing to unleash a vinyl-only single titled 'Sleigh Ride', so that's nice. It and B-side 'You Won't See Me' will be released via In The Red on 15 Apr, after which Ty et al will finish taping their first LP in time for it to follow "later this year".

Hear a pair of past Fuzz faves via CMU Approved, and listen in to new track 'Sleigh Ride' via Spin.

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SONG, BY TOAD TO PIT VINYL AGAINST BEER IN RECORD STORE DAY SHOWDOWN
Hard as it is singling out individual Record Store Day releases for special mention, this RSD venture involves beer so... that makes things easier.

Scottish label Song, By Toad is releasing its special RSD tracks via bottles of Edinburgh micro-brewery Barney's beer. MP3 codes will be attached, a pair at a time, to four-packs of Barney's ale. The same tracks, by Le Thug, Magic Eye, Plastic Animals and Zed Penguin, will also be available via a more traditional format, also in pairs, on clear red twelve-inch vinyl.

250 sets of beer and vinyl will go one sale, each priced at £12, to see, once and for all, what music fans love more: beer and binary code or good old fashioned vinyl.

Info on Song, By Toad's 'Beer v Records' scheme is here, whilst this is a link to a list of all the tracks, LPs, rarities and EPs being released on Record Store Day, which this year falls on 20 Apr.

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THE NATIONAL ADD LIVE DATES IN BELFAST, DUBLIN, MANCHESTER AND LONDON
Well callooh, callay, and other similar exclamations, because The National are going on a tour.

They'll be playing live in a city near... well, anyone happening to be in/near Belfast, Dublin, Manchester and/or London in mid-November (or elsewhere in Europe too I suppose, where the dates start in Finland on 31 Oct).

This is all in honour of the band's fifth LP 'Trouble Will Find Me', which is released on 20 May. UK dates as follows:

9 Nov: Belfast, Odyssey Arena
10 Nov: Dublin, O2 Arena
11 Nov: Manchester, Apollo
13 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace

Tickets hotlines here.

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ALISON MOYET TO PLAY INTIMATELY IN LONDON
Alison Moyet has followed the fashion for artists playing 'intimate' dates, and so will be playing just such a show at London's Bush Hall on 4 Apr. She'll take it as a chance to spotlight her new LP, 'The Minutes', which is released on 18 Apr.

Tickets are on sale now via www.alisonmoyet.com

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE: PRIMAVERA SOUND, GREEN MAN, EDEN SESSIONS AND MORE
So, I have several artist subtractions and additions at Spain's Primavera Sound to share first. Fiona Apple, for one, has cancelled her appearance at the festival - which, in fact, was the only live date she was set to play this year - citing what Primavera HQ says are reasons "beyond its control". Which is a real shame, particularly because Foxygen, FIDLAR and Crime & The City Solution, meanwhile, have also been taken off the programme.

But wait, it's all fine, because Django Django, DJ Koze and The Drones are the consolation prize-like artists joining in Fiona and co's place, and that's quite aside from the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, The Jesus & Mary Chain, James Blake and Animal Collective, who are all already on the bill.

All's well that ends well, as I always say. And with that, let's begin again with clean new FLUUs via Echo Festival, Green Man and Cornwall's Eden Sessions - as has named Daughter, Willy Mason and others as the acts playing pre Sigur Rós on the Icelandic band's headlining day (30 Jun).

ECHO FESTIVAL, Kanegra, Croatia, 6-9 Jun: Davide Squillace, Kassem Mosse, Andrés, Ion Ludwig, Madteo. www.echofestival.com

EDEN SESSIONS, Eden Project, Cornwall, dates tba: Daughter, Willy Mason, Dawn Chorus Ignites, Mwahaha, Luke Sital Singh, Thomas J Speight, Saturday Sun, West Barbary. www.edenproject.com/sessions

GREEN MAN, Glanusk, Wales, 15-18 Aug: Babyhead, Mankala, Riot Jazz, Willie And The Bandits, Benji Boko, Birth of Joy, Cocos Lovers, Mouse Outfit & Dr Syntax, Heymoonshaker, HoneyFeet, Pat Dam Smyth, Resonators, Solo Banton, Syd Arthur, The Intermission Project, We Were Evergreen, Will And The People, Will Varley, Yumi & The Weather, Zimbaremabwe Mbira Vibes. www.greenman.net

PLAYGROUND FESTIVAL, Brixton Academy, London, 7-8 Jun: Squarepusher, Vitalic, Ryan Hemsworth. www.theplaygroundfestival.com

PRIMAVERA SOUND, Parc Del Forum, Barcelona, Spain, 22-26 May: Django Django, Phosphorescent, DJ Koze, Scuba, The Drones, Headbirds. www.primaverasound.com

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ALT-FEST RAISES OVER £60K VIA KICKSTARTER
As LeeFest kicked off its Kickstarter campaign to help fund expansion last week, another festival-related crowd-sourcing initiative reached its climax, this one for a brand new event that will take place in August 2014.

And the Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for the inaugural Alt-Fest raised over £60,000, double what organisers originally asked for. Those who pledged money to the event, which will take place from 15-17 Aug next year at Boughton House in Kettering, will now be regularly consulted about the creative direction of the festival. A sizable line-up has already been secured, with the booking of headliners next on the agenda.

Responding to the £61,672 raised on Kickstarter, and the people who provided the backing, Alt-Fest founder Dom Void told CMU: "The most important thing to say is 'thank you'! We're thrilled with the response and honoured that so many people have supported Alt-Fest via Kickstarter. The enthusiasm for the event is hugely encouraging, we can't wait to involve all the people in the next steps of the process".

He continued: "There may be well over a year to go but there will be a regular communication with our backers and together we hope they can help us build an amazing festival, not just with the money they've now contributed but with their opinions too. After all, who knows music and festivals better than the fans themselves? This is just the start and there will be lots more ways for people to get involved in the coming weeks so keep watching the website".

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TORRENTFREAK CRITICAL OF IP GRANTS FOR ANTI-PIRACY VENTURES
Torrentfreak has, unsurprisingly perhaps, criticised a recent UK government announcement that the Intellectual Property Office had made two grants totalling £196,000 to help fund, said the IPO, "two innovative technology projects will help tackle online piracy and target those who flout intellectual property laws".

The money, granted as part of the Technology Strategy Board's Small Business Research Initiative, will go to the University Of Sussex to help support the design of "a novel scheme for protecting digital media content", and to a London company called whiteBULLET, which is developing a scheme like that previously proposed by collecting society PRS, to rate websites based on how well they respect IP rights.

Announcing the grants at the end of last month, the UK Minister For IP Lord Younger told reporters: "The infringement of IP rights is an increasing problem for all and stifles honest business. The borderless nature of the internet also sets new enforcement challenges as websites offer access to pirate copies of films, music and software, as well as a wide range of counterfeit goods. These projects provide creative solutions to technological problems and will assist growth in legitimate industries. I commend them on their work and look forward to seeing these projects in action".

But in its report on the grants, Torrentfreak criticises both the Sussex University and whiteBULLET initiatives, claiming that the former is just another futile attempt at creating a user-friendly digital rights management system, and the latter a time-consuming exercise to create a database that will have no real purpose unless it is integrated by Google, and which - the site reckons - will be biased towards the rights industries, because it's founders come from TV industry backgrounds.

Of course Torrentfreak, by design, is always suspicious of any efforts to help rights owners enforce their rights, and usually promotes the "piracy is here to stay so deal with it" philosophy. Though, while public information about both the IPO-funded projects is limited, neither seem particularly "innovative" at first glance, and that money could probably have been better spent on further education initiatives, copyrights always being much easier to protect if the majority are convinced they deserve protecting.

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NORWEGIAN SCHOOLS RESCHEDULE EXAMS TO ACCOMMODATE THE BIEBER
Part of me wonders if this is a Norwegian April Fools story that's taken a week to filter through to the British press, but the quotes seem genuine. Five schools in the Norwegian town of Ålesund have rescheduled their exam timetable so that no tests clash with Justin Bieber's scheduled appearance in the country's capital Oslo later this month, fearing that too many students would skip exams to go and stalk the pop teen while he is in the country.

The headteacher at one of the affected schools apparently told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that he reckoned about half the girls at his institution intended to go to Oslo when Bieber plays there, despite that requiring them to skip school. "We considered that this was a battle that we could not win", he told the broadcaster, adding that the school's exam schedule had been amended late last year "when we found out many students had already bought their tickets".

But school officials in Oslo and Norway's second city Bergen have said they won't be making any concessions in their schedules when the Bieber visits the country, though Norwegian Minister Of Education Kristin Halvorsen said that Ålesund schools were at liberty to alter their exam schedules if they felt that was the best course of action. Halvorsen told the Associated Press: "We've all been fourteen years old and know that interests can be intense. The local schools have the responsibility to schedule the local midterms, and if they think there is any reason to change the dates, they have authority to do so".

Of course, by the time Bieber is due to arrive in Oslo, he might have given up the increasingly controversial pop star malarkey for a more stable career as a tattoo artist. Though his first dabblings in that domain haven't been without controversy either.

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CHARLIE WATTS DISLIKES FESTIVALS, HIPPIES, THE WIND, BUTTERFLIES AND STALE SANDWICHES
As the headline says, Rolling Stone Charlie Watts isn't all that enamoured with a lot of things. Stale sandwiches hitting his wife on the back... the wind moving his cymbals... hippies.

Oh, and Glastonbury, which is apparently "old hat". Nice.

If you haven't already, read Watts' list of 'likes' and 'dislikes', in addition to less trivial remembrances of significant things that've gone on in his life, via this candid (in the real sense) Guardian Q&A.

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