13 MAY 2013

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It's The Great Escape this week. Three days of excellent music, plus a convention programmed by us here at CMU. The whole CMU team will be in Brighton for the event, three of us popping up to moderate panels, so if you're there, do come and say hello. And do check out as many panels and networking sessions as you can, we think we've got a great line-up this year that should be enlightening and entertaining. And for those of you in London, don't forget the Essential pre-TGE party we're partnered with tomorrow night - last chance to get yourself on the guest list here.
One of a pool of artists (Temples, Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs, Foxygen) having a go at rephrasing 1960s pop in time for its half-centenary, Holland's Jacco Gardner plays every single instrumental part on his first LP 'Cabinet Of Curiosities', a hoard of frail, pallid psych ephemera that had its British release back in Feb. Like Jacco's occasional top hat, velvet cravat, and Brian Jones-style silky bob, 'Cabinet' is a pretty if barefaced ingratiation to the legacies of, say, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd or the early Stones. But, it just saves itself from, say, Foxygen's OTT foppery more>>

- "I was supposed to exhibit tough love": Jacksons v AEG Update
- Human rights lawyer says German government should intervene in Dotcom case
- Walsh looking to manufacture another West-Zone
- The National may release six hour performance of one song
- History of 4AD to be published this year
- Chic feat Nile Rodgers playing London show
- Odd Future playing London show
- JJ Doom playing London show
- Sic Alps playing London show, and a Newcastle one, and a Liverpool one
- Projekta announces London showcase night
- Festival line-up update: Glastonbury, Heinken Open'er, 2000trees and more
- YMCA shortlists announced
- GRD announces London and Berlin bases
- Phar Partnerships launches music unit
- Amazon has wide-ranging gadget plans, says WSJ
- 30 Seconds To Mars' Jared Leto wants a bed-warmer
Kilimanjaro are concert promoters working on over 400 shows per year from small halls to green field festivals. This role is providing full support to the CEO and requires someone who is highly efficient, motivated, unflappable and very hard working.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Since 1999, Brighton-based Elite Music Management has represented breakthrough and established DJs, producers and label parties. We are looking for a hard working, exceptionally organised individual to work as part of a small, hard-working team. You will be required to assist the Director with bookings, and the efficient day to day running of the office. You will liaise with artists, managers and promoters on a daily basis.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Cherry Red Records requires a full-time administrative assistant for immediate start in our West London office. Playing a key support role across several areas of the business the ideal candidate will be someone with a good working knowledge of, and interest in, catalogue music across several genres, self-motivated, with a keen attention to detail.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Working closely with label managers and reporting to the Managing Director this is an ideal position for someone with experience of dealing with key online and physical accounts as well as taking the initiative in building relationships with new customers.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
London-based music promotions company Listen Up is recruiting for an experienced online and print press officer to join the expanding company. The ideal candidate should have at least three years experience in a similar role with a thorough knowledge of online and print portals across music, culture and lifestyle.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Mascot Label Group, is looking for a dynamic and experienced UK label/marketing manager. Do you have solid experience in label management, marketing, retail, digital, and promotion and are you looking for a new challenge? Ambitious, hands on, creative, efficient, organised, hungry for success and an affinity with hard rock, metal and blues rock genres in particular is what we are looking for.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
We are looking for an experienced Content Operations Director to join our ever expanding team here at 7digital. The successful candidate will have experience working in and managing a digital supply chain function, preferably in music, for a digital retailer, label or content aggregator. You will be passionate about content and you must be able to work in a fast-paced and fast-growing environment.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
We are looking for a dynamic individual who will be responsible for delivering music festivals for DHP. The Head Of Festivals will: develop the proposition for new outdoor events in different genres; source suitable locations; develop a model for ticket pricing and suitable artist budgets; work with the promoter team on programming; develop non-music areas of the festivals; take over the management of the existing 20,000 capacity event, Splendour; oversee the city based events, Dot To Dot, Hit The Deck and Gathering.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
Partisan Records, part of Knitting Factory Group, is looking for a dynamic and forward thinking Marketing Manager to join the recently established UK office. The successful candidate will have at least two years product management experience and will be experienced in implementing multiple artist campaigns across traditional and digital marketing platforms.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
We organise indoor and outdoor music & arts events and have two desks available for rent in our friendly and comfortable office. It's a great creative space located in Hoxton for anyone working in the creative industries (ie graphic designers, journalists, digital, marketing). Just five mins from Hoxton Station. The building is very secure and has 24 hour access. Rent is £250 a month plus VAT per desk which is inclusive of all bills and wi-fi.

For more information please contact

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

The Great Escape. Is it that time already? Blimey. Well, I guess we'd all better head down to Brighton and steel ourselves for three days of panels, debates, parties and, of course, lots of great music. The CMU Insights team have been hard at work putting together this year's Great Escape convention programme since last year and have booked a brilliant line-up of speakers. Read more about all of that over on the CMU TGE blog.

Essential pre-TGE party, in association with CMU. Actually, hold up, don't run off too quickly. After all, The Great Escape doesn't kick off until Thursday. Before that, CMU has teamed up with Essential for a special pre-TGE party in Shoreditch, which will also celebrate the London-based distribution and marketing company's upcoming tenth birthday. The festivities will take place on Tuesday, 14 May, from 7pm, and CMU has a small number of guest list spaces available for Daily readers - details here.

Eurovision. This year's Eurovision Song Contest clashes with the final night of The Great Escape, so we'll all have to watch it on iPlayer on Sunday morning. Maybe Sunday afternoon. The one to watch this year is Norway's Margaret Berger, whose excellent song 'I Feed You My Love' was co-written by CMU approvee Karin Park. Also look out for the Armenian entry, written by Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and the controversial (due to accusations of plagiarism) German entry by Cascada. You can probably ignore Bonnie Tyler's tedious UK entry.

Ivor Novello Awards. Another ceremony that recognises excellence in songwriting (What? That's totally a valid link out of a section on Eurovision) is The Ivor Novello Awards, which takes place this Thursday lunchtime. Alt-J are up for a couple of awards there. As is Emeli Sandé. So, there you go.

Daft Punk farm show. This Friday, Daft Punk will be officially launching their new album, 'Random Access Memories', with a very special event. Tickets are sold out now, sadly. But you might want to pop along on the off chance there are some available on the door. It's at The Crossing Theatre in Wee Waa. That's in rural New South Wales down there in Australia.

Noise Of Art celebrates 100 years of electronic music. Noise Of Art kicks off a series of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of electronic music, and the publication of Italian futurist Luigi Russolo's 'Manifesto For An Art Of Noises' in 1913. A launch will take place at Village Underground in Shoreditch this Friday. Headlining will be Eccentronic Research Council, with vocals from actress Maxine Peake. Also confirmed so far are Fil OK, Justin Robertson, Jim Stanton, Scottee, Severino, Ben Osborne, Your Mum and Mark Scott Wood.

Amazing Radio back on DAB. Independent music radio station Amazing Radio returns to the DAB network today, exactly a year to the day after a contract dispute with Digital One network owner Arquiva took it off the (DAB) air. Initially it will broadcast on the D2 network, which covers London and the South East, but the station hopes to go fully national again in due course.

Warner Music Group earnings call. How much money does Warner Music Group have? Why not tune in and find out tomorrow at 1.30pm when the company holds its latest earnings call? You can call in and listen or watch a webcast via Exciting stuff.

New releases. Out this week are new albums from Vampire Weekend, former Abba star Agnetha Fältskog, Primal Scream, Gabrielle Aplin, MS MR, Sam Amidon, Mikal Cronin and Wild Nothing. Plus Fire Records will be putting out the first three records in a 'comprehensive reissue campaign' of Spacemen 3's oeuvre.

Gigs and tours. Starting with this week's one-off shows, Spector will be playing Manchester tomorrow night, will be in London the same night, Modeselektor hit The Roundhouse on Friday, Parquet Courts will be at the 100 Club on Sunday, and Mikal Cronin is celebrating the release of his new album in the capital tonight with a little help from White Fence. Melvins, meanwhile, will play twice in London this week, performing four of their albums in full. Conducting themselves in a more tour-like manner are Lana Del Rey, Bonobo, The Postal Service, Woods, Little Boots, The Orwells and Bass Drum Of Death.

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Michael Jackson was "not himself" in the days before his premature death in June 2009, make-up artist Karen Faye testified last week in the ongoing Jacksons v AEG Live court case.

As much previously reported, the Jackson family reckon tour promoter AEG Live should be held liable for the death of the late king of pop as the paymaster of Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter for negligently treating the singer. The Jacksons are keen to show that AEG bosses put profits before their star's wellbeing, and put pressure on both the singer and Murray to make sure the former could perform.

Faye looked after Jackson's make-up and hair at his live shows for nearly three decades, and was working on the ill-fated AEG-promoted 'This Is It' shows in the months before the pop star's death. "He was acting like a person I didn't recognise", she told the court last week, recalling Jackson's behaviour at the 'This Is It' rehearsals, "this was not the man I knew".

Faye said that she raised concerns early on about the gruelling schedule Jackson had committed to with the 50 date 'This Is It' residency at London's The O2, which included shows more or less every other day, but that when she discussed her concerns with the show's director Kenny Ortega "he kind of fluffed it off".

According to CNN, Faye told the court: "Michael's adrenaline, and what it takes for him to perform with that much effort, and what he himself puts into a show, he needed a lot more time to at least get some rest and sleep, and to be healthy and maintain that kind of longevity".

But, she admitted, Jackson seemed very excited about the new live venture at the outset, and while he looked on the thin side, "I thought he had plenty of time to put on some body mass and muscle mass". However, she said, the singer's enthusiasm for 'This Is It' waned after he started rehearsing onstage. "The turning point" she told the court, "was when he had to get up on stage and actually start performing; it was just too hard on him".

After that Jackson became more difficult, and more reluctant to participate in preparations for the O2 shows. So, Faye claimed, AEG bosses told 'This Is It' staff they had to force Jackson to rehearse, going to his rented home to get him if necessary. On one occasion, after Jackson locked himself in his bathroom to avoid rehearsals, she heard AEG exec Paul Gongaware tell a security guard at the singer's house "get him out of the bathroom; do you have a key? Do whatever it takes".

"I was supposed to exhibit tough love too", Faye added, claming that she was also put under pressure to get Jackson on stage for rehearsals, whatever it took.

In the days before Jackson's death, 'This Is It' staff were told to take their orders from AEG Live President Randy Phillips instead of Jackson himself. Faye explained: "When I was around, [Michael] was repeating himself an awful lot, saying the same thing over and over again. He kept repeating, 'why can't I choose', it was one of the things he repeated over and over again". Noticing how cold Jackson was when applying his make-up, it was Faye who wrapped the singer in a blanket at his final rehearsal.

With Faye having worked with Jackson for so long, her testimony also recalled the key injuries the singer incurred, one while filming a Pepsi advert in 1984 and the other at a concert in Germany. The two accidents are important in that it is believed that the enduring pain they caused led to the singer's dependency on prescription painkillers, and subsequently other drugs to counter side effects of the pain medication. Those dependencies, of course, led to Jackon's fatal overdose on propofol in 2009.

On his increased use of medications as the years went by, Faye said: "Michael always believed that a doctor had his best interest at heart. He believed if he got something through a doctor that it was safe and OK for him to use it".

The case continues.

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A London-based lawyer seemingly working for the legal team of MegaUpload founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz has called on the German government to intervene in America's ongoing efforts to extradite the controversial digital man from the country where he currently resides, New Zealand, to face charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement in relation to his running of the file-transfer service.

As much previously reported, the US launched its extradition proceedings in early 2012 after shutting down the American-based servers of the MegaUpload business. The process is taking much longer than the Americans initially seemed to hope, and Dotcom's lawyers in both New Zealand and the US are raising every possible technicality to prevent their client from having to face his charges in an American courtroom. That includes regularly bringing up the admission that some New Zealand agencies involved in investigating Dotcom did so without the right warrants.

But if the American government ultimately succeeds in its extradition application, which US Attorney General Eric Holder last week said he thought it would, then human rights lawyer Robert Amsterdam reckons the German government should take action. Dotcom, of course, is a German national and, says Amsterdam, his human rights have been violated by the US authorities and his native government should therefore act.

According to German news agency DPA, Amsterdam said: "He is a German citizen, aside from being a New Zealand resident. It is a German citizen whose rights have been so abrogated, and there are obligations under the German constitution. We can take this to the office of the [German] Chancellor, which we will, as well as to the German Foreign Ministry, to raise the issue with Washington".

Having recently written a white paper explaining why he believes Dotcom's human rights have been violated by the US government shutting down his MegaUpload company and attempting to charge him for various corporate crimes, Amsterdam added: "We have established a strong case that this is a political prosecution and when you match that with the admitted illegality of what went on in the raid ... I think it makes a very powerful argument".

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Louis Walsh is holding auditions in Ireland for a brand new boyband, after both Westlife and Boyzone died in that tragic but dramatic plane crash just off Donegal. Or did I dream that? Ah, happy dreams.

Says the Boyzone and Westlife manufacturer: "It has been twelve years since I last did auditions for a boyband. It's for boys over sixteen from anywhere, any nationality, but they must be prepared to work hard. [And] vocals are key. I'm looking for five pop stars and I have a major record company and a high profile UK partner".

The auditions will take place in Dublin from next Sunday. I hope plenty of suitably pretty boys show up. If only there was some way of doing this kind of thing on prime time television, with a massive TV network funding auditions all over the country. But you have to make do with what's possible, I suppose.

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Hey, are you excited about the prospect of a new album full of brand new songs from The National coming out next week? You should be, it's very good. But how about an album featuring one song from their last album played over a hundred times?

As previously reported, the band recently performed their song 'Sorrow' from 'High Violet' continuously for six hours as part of an art piece conceived by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. And in a Reddit AMA last week, frontman Matt Berninger said that they are now in talks to release the full performance on vinyl to raise money for charity.

You might think that the band would rather forget about the whole 'Sorrow-ful' thing, but you would be wrong. Guitarist Aaron Dessner explained: "As the hours went on I think we all realised that this experience was something special for us - there was a weird hypnotic resonance and spirituality to repeating the song over and over. We almost didn't want to stop and we learned something about our capacity for endurance, and the song opened up in surprising ways. By the end it didn't feel like we were playing it any more. We know the idea seemed pretentious in some ways, but Ragnar's has this mix of humor and sadness that feels quite similar to what are songs about.... we're very glad to have done it".

His brother and bandmate Bryce added: "I managed to get through it without taking a pee break! After a couple hours it was like being in some kind of suspended trance state. I came up with a lot of new ideas for the song - too bad its only a three minute 25 second song... We felt great that night, but the next day we were all completely wasted".

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HarperCollins is to publish an officially sanctioned history of the 4AD record label later this year. Entitled 'Facing The Other Way' and written by music journalist Martin Aston, it will be in shops on 19 Sep.

Covering the company from its foundation by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent in 1979, through working with artists such as Pixies, Throwing Muses and Dead Can Dance up to the present day, the book will feature cover art by 4AD designer Vaughn Oliver.

More details on the book here.

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Remember when everything wasn't 'Chic feat Nile Rodgers this' and 'Chic feat Nile Rodgers that'? No, nor do I, but I'm certain it was a simpler, if not as groovy, time.

Anyway, guess what Chic and their 'feat' star are doing on 14 Jun? No, not that, they're playing live at London's Forum, headlining a Lovebox/Red Bull Music Academy co-promoted show also featuring DJ Pierre, Derrick Carter, Nicky Siano and Seth Troxler.

So that's that. Info via this link.

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'Gnarly' rap pack Odd Future have added a new show at The Forum in London as part (well, all) of their one-night GB stop-over.

It's on 1 Jul, aka seven days pre Frank Ocean's solo dates at the capital's Brixton Academy, so that's 'rad'.

Tickets to it will go on sale Friday. Fin.

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Newsflash: JJ Doom, the bi-headed rap beast that is DOOM and Jneiro Jarel, are playing a special, rare, intimate show at London's Fabric on 13 Jun.

The pair's collaborative LP 'Key To The Kuffs', which is really at the heart of this 'playing live in London' flimflam, is still available in shops following its release all the way back in 2012.

Info at this link, and taken c/o 'Key To The Kuffs', this is 'Guv'nor'.

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CMU approved last July, Sic Alps are back and advertising their new EP, 'She's On Top', via a 'top-of-the-pop-tart jam' titled 'Biz Bag', and a series of live dates.

'She's On Top', which also carries a title track and B-side 'Carrie Jean', will be released as a 12-inch vinyl via Drag City on 21 May.

Listen to 'Biz Bag' via this link, looking at those live dates as you do so:

2 Jul: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, The Cluny
3 Jul: Liverpool, Harvest Sun
4 Jul: London, The Lexington

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Reykjavik and London-based management, PR and booking agency Projekta will be showcasing some of its artists in the British capital this Wednesday.

Performing on the night will be Oyama, Rough Days For Diamond Trade, Bastardgeist, Big Wave Riders and Mat Riviere. More details here.

Listen to a playlist of the performing acts here.

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So, Glastonbury's taken on another load of artists - not least Simian Mobile Disco, Yousef, Stanton Warriors, Boys Noize and Robyn Hitchcock - which is nice of it. I mean, it's practically at capacity already, what with Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones, Mumford & Sons, and that.

Still this is what festivals are meant to do, isn't it? Add acts. Take Poland's Heinken Open'er, for instance, and its new signings Jonny Greenwood, Nas, Junip and Kaliber 44, who all go to join Kings Of Leon, QOTSA, Blur, and those Arctic Monkeys (again). Or, as a third illustration of the 'festivals adding artists' archetype, Jersey's right royal dance rave, Jersey Live. Its line-up newbs, Example, John Cooper Clarke, Howard Marks and Shlomo, are company to older faves Fatboy Slim, Netsky, The Cribs, Pete Tong and Tom Odell. Grand.

And now, the FLUUs in brief:

2000TREES, Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 11-13 Jul: Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, The Xcerts, Beans On Toast, Ben Marwood, Fighting Fiction, Emily Barker And The Red Clay Halo, Crazy Arm, Oxygen Thief, Ady Suleiman, Charlotte Carpenter, Dan Heaver.

EAST END LIVE, various venues, London, 13 Jul: Bong, Neil's Children, Blurt, Filthy Boy, Ashkelon & Niqab, Edgar Smith, Limb, Good Throb, Weird Menace.

GLASTONBURY, Worthy Farm, Somerset, 26 Jun - 1 Jul: Simian Mobile Disco, Elite Force, Yousef, Stanton Warriors, Robyn Hitchcock, Boys Noize, Howard Marks, Mixhell, Kahn, The Correspondents, Slim Chance, Don Letts, Acollective, Saritah, Gringo Ska, Don Johnston, Electric Swing Circus, Gypsy Hill, DJ Chris Tofu, Kitten And The Hip, Slamboree, The Beatbox Collective, Eat Static, System 7, Tristan, James Monro, Kaya Project, Monkey Pilot, Terakaft, Saz, Don Letts, Cassetteboy & DJ Rubbish, Dubkasm, Gorgon Sound, Ishan Sound, Brothers Dubwise, Formidable Vegetable Soundsystem, Dutty Moonshine, DJ TYall Will, Heymoonshaker, DJ Monektrik, The Lounge Sessions, Bang Face Crew, John Bingly Bongly, Don Johnston, Cat In The Hat, Eclectik Mick, Killerwatts, Master Blasters, Shane Gobi, Ans, James Monro, Aliji, Josko, Mirror System, Pathaan, Dave Seaman & Friends, Aidan Lavelle, Tom Real, Presence, Golly, Liquid Ross.

GREENWICH SUMMER SESSIONS, The Borough Hall, Greenwich, London, 19-20 Jul: Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.

HEINEKEN OPEN'ER, Kosakowo Airfield, Gdynia, Poland, 3-6 Jul: Jonny Greenwood, Nas, Junip, Kaliber 44, Vavamuffin, Ras Luta, Novika, Oszibarack, Rebeka, Magnificent Muttley, The &, Peter J Birch, Drekoty.

JERSEY LIVE, Royal Jersey Showgrounds, Jersey, Channel Islands, 31 Aug - 1 Sep: Example, John Cooper Clarke, Howard Marks, Shlomo, The Neville Staple Band, Lewis Watson.

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The shortlists are out for this year's Yearly Music Convention Awards, the celebration of the showcase festival and music convention season just gone that takes place on the final day of The Great Escape in Brighton. Any industry person who attends such events is now welcome to vote in all or any of the eight categories so far announced, with the TGE judging committee then meeting during TGE to identify all the final winners.

The YMCAs will be dished out at an exclusive reception on the final day of TGE at Al Duomo at 3.30pm. A separate ticket is required for the event, which includes a late lunch of 'fish and chips with a twist' plus beer and wine. John Robb and Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne will present the awards, before a set by Inuk songstress Elisapie presented by M for Montreal. Tickets are now on sale.

And here are the shortlists...

Best Delegate Bag: BigSound (Australia), By:Larm (Norway), DOADOA (Uganda), ILMC (UK), South By Southwest (USA).

Best Hotel or Convention Centre: ARCOTEL Onyx Hamburg (Reeperbahn Campus - Germany), Cunard Centre, Halifax (East Coast Music Awards - Canada), ITC Grand Central, Mumbai (Nokia Music Connects - India), Radisson Blu, Aarhus (Spot Festival - Denmark), SokosHotel, Tampere (Music & Media - Finland).

Best Delegate Bar: Breakout West (Canada), Iceland Airwaves (Iceland), ILMC (UK), Music & Media (Finland), SonarPor (Spain).

Best App: CMW (Canada), The Great Escape (UK), MaMA (France), PrimaveraSound (Spain), Reeperbahn Campus (Germany).

Best Export Office: Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Poland), music:LX (Luxembourg), Bureau Export (France), MUSEX Finland, Swiss Music Export.

Best Networking, Event, Trip or Service: City Tour (Tallinn Music Week - Estonia), Dinner at Marina Bay Sands Hotel (MusicMatters - Singapore), Paris Venues Tour (MaMA - France), Mikey's Tour (M For Montreal - Canada), Wembley Football Match (ILMC - UK).

Best Awards Show: The Arthurs (ILMC - UK), Border Breakers (Eurosonic - The Netherlands), The Indies (Canadian Music Week - Canada), Industry Awards Gala (Music & Media - Finland), UK Festival Awards (UK).

Best Regional/Smaller Festival: Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (Australia), CEETEP@Exit (Serbia), Go North (UK), M For Montreal (Canada), Norwich Sound & Vision (UK).

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The organisations behind the music industry's in-development Global Repertoire Database have announced that the copyright logging venture will set up its global headquarters in London, while an operations centre will be based in Berlin.

The London HQ, housing business development and other corporate functions, will open later this year, working alongside the existing development team at Deloitte. The Berlin facility will look after registrations and data processing, and may form the template for other such facilities elsewhere in the world.

First initiated in 2008, the GRD is an attempt by the music publishing sector to have one uber-database that lists who created, who owns and who controls every single musical work, including any regional variations. The aim is to make it simpler for licensees to work out who they need to be dealing with and paying in order to use musical works (though not sound recordings, initially at least), and to reduce any duplication of data aggregation by different publishing rights organisations around the world.

Confirming that GRD would have bases in the UK and Germany at launch, Andrew Jenkins, Chair of the International Confederation of Music Publishers, told CMU: "The decision to locate the Global Repertoire Database in two world capital cities, London and Berlin, was taken after a detailed selection process by the GRD working group, facilitated by our business partner, Deloitte".

He added: "Potential locations were assessed and analysed over a long number of months and the decision was not at all easy as some excellent candidate cities were under consideration. Availability of suitably skilled staff, accessibility for global industry participants, and strength of legal protection for intellectual property were important criteria and of course the global nature and requirements of the GRD is a key consideration".

As previously reported, in a statement earlier this year the organisations behind the database said that a scoping study was now compete, and that a 'requirements and design phase' was underway with plans to set up the GRD as a standalone legal entity this year, and to begin IT development. The current aim is to launch the database in 2015.

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Sponsorship and marketing agency Phar Partnerships last week announced the appointment of Denzil Thomas to the role of MD of Phar Music. Thomas, previously with marketing agency Billington Cartmell and, before that, the NME and MAMA forerunner Channelfly, will head up a new music brand partnerships unit at Phar.

Confirming his new role, Thomas told CMU: "Branded music associations are undergoing unprecedented global growth, but getting it right is notoriously hard - which is probably why sport still attracts five times the income. In the past ten years I've been lucky enough to work with some of the best brands in the world on successful campaigns which have proved that - with some thinking and experience - every single branded music association can work effectively. The opportunity at Phar is to use this experience to help more brands work with music globally".

Phar Partnerships CEO Marcus Wight added: "Our clients in both the UK and internationally are increasingly asking us how we can help them to create successful and innovative partnerships that work in music. In persuading Denzil to join the senior management team at Phar we have secured a major coup and are now in an excellent position to provide solutions to their questions. Denzil's appointment is another substantial leap forward towards Phar becoming a true all round sponsorship consultancy".

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Amazon has a wide-ranging plan for its hardware business, according to the Wall Street Journal. Having moved from e-readers into the tablet device domain with the Kindle Fire, the Journal reckons that Amazon smartphones, a set-top box for video-on-demand and an audio-only streaming gadget are all in development.

Some of this had already been rumoured, though the Journal's sources say that Amazon's gadget plans are more expansive than previously realised. Being developed at the web firm's Lab126 facility in Cupertino, California, the insiders say that some of the devices are currently in early stages of development at the moment, and may never reach market, though others could be launched this year.

Of all the gadgets in development, the most ambitious is a premium smartphone with a special 3D display, where it would appear that items on the screen were floating above the device in a hologram style. Presumably they'll get Tupac to launch it. The hardware geeks at Lab126 are also trying to work out if they could make it so that users navigated through content using just their eyes. Which is all very hi-tech, yet still no hover boots.

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As Thrash Hits noticed last Friday, 30 Seconds To Mars are promoting their new LP 'Love Lust Faith + Dreams' via a slightly... well, weird new giveaway, the star prize of which is to spend a "magical night" in the band's Jared Leto's bed, at his 'crib'. Is it me, or is that weird? It's weird right? Yes, I think it is a bit. Like, weirder than that Kid Rock thing, or even the Psy thing. Weird.

Eligible to "ANYONE" (Anyone? Really?) paying in advance for the LP, 'The Sleepover' will have five winners in all, one of whom will be invited to sleep in Leto's coffi... I mean, bed. He, I hope, will be in the spare room. Travel is included, whilst post-snooze "vegan pancakes" are optional. Yuck.

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