12 JUN 2013

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In recent years, prolific producer Jon Hopkins has worked released his fourth solo album proper, 'Immunity', a techno album created using various live sounds - from notes tapped on real acoustic instruments to a recording of water running through pipes in a New York hotel. Tonight he plays a sold out headline show at Village Underground in London, ahead of which we asked him to put together a playlist for us more>>
Despite this being an-all-expenses-spared kind of era for 'the biz', we seem to be drowning in more (legit) free music than ever before. Which makes the freebie no longer seem all that special. Though when one of those free gifts really does stand out - as Johnny Jewel and his Canada-based clique Italians Do It Better's 'After Dark 2' mixtape does - it possibly feels all the more special as a result more>>

- Pandora buys FM radio station in surprise move in ongoing royalty battle
- Mumford & Sons postpone shows as bassist undergoes brain surgery
- Def Leppard guitarist receiving cancer treatment, will continue to tour
- Kanye's Yeezus to feature Justin Vernon, Chief Keef, Daft Punk, Rick Rubin
- El-P and Killer Mike start Adult Swim's free singles series
- Poliça to release new LP
- Björk makes Biophilia date at Alexandra Palace
- The National add Roundhouse show
- Perfume London show to be beamed back to Japanese cinemas
- Disclosure detail late night shows
- Festival line-up update: ATP's End Of An Era, Lovebox, Sŵn and more
- Metropolis Studios restructures company
- Pure and Universal announce partnership
- Bauer stations to air Robbie Williams tour special
- Per Blankens announced as Nigel Lythgoe's American Idol replacement
- Rihanna likes The Wanted's Rihanna name-checking song
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So, Pandora - that digital innovator which has, in the US at least, spearheaded the development of online radio-style services and led the 'interactive radio' side of the expanding streaming music market - has, erm, bought a good old fashioned FM radio station in South Dakota.

Why? Well, because by owning KXMZ-FM in Rapid City, the Pandora company can take a seat at the table of the Radio Music Licensing Committee which, in theory at least, would enable it to reduce the royalties it pays to the American music publishers via the collecting societies, in particular ASCAP.

The FM station acquisition is the latest development in ongoing squabbles between Pandora and ASCAP, which went legal last November. The digital firm says it is unfair that the royalty terms it has been offered by the collecting society are not as favourable as those enjoyed by conventional broadcasters who also operate basic online music services, and who negotiate all their song licences with ASCAP via the RMLC.

The digital company is most interested in the royalty deals Clear Channel, the biggest FM/AM radio operator in the US, has for its iHeartRadio service, a head-on competitor to Pandora. In its legal action late last year, and a new motion filed this week, Pandora calls for the terms offered to iHeartRadio to be extended to online-only services. But ASCAP, presumably under pressure from the music publishers it represents, has so far not played ball.

The whole affair is further complicated because the big music publishers in the US are in the process of withdrawing from the collective licensing system in the digital domain, despite the music publishers to date generally licensing far more digital services collectively than the record companies. And according to Billboard, the bigger indies like BMG and Kobalt are now planning to follow the majors' lead on this front.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what Pandora can achieve in its ongoing battle to reduce royalty commitments as a new, albeit minor, player in the RMLC. Every time the digital firm pushes for lower royalty rates, on either the sound recording or music publishing sides, it usually results in criticism from the music rights industry, and the artist and songwriter communities.

An interesting side effect of all this, though, will be what happens to the music policy of KXMZ. Pandora says that it has no plans to radically alter the format of the Rapid City station, though it will use data pulled from Pandora users in the region to inform music programming decisions, something Clear Channel could be doing with iHeartRadio, though doesn't seem to have done so yet. It will be interesting to see what that would do to the station's musical output, and subsequent listening figures.

Read an article by Pandora's Assistant General Counsel Christopher Harrison on all this here.

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Mumford & Sons have announced that they are postponing three shows on their current US tour, while bassist Ted Dwane recovers from surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain.

In a statement published on their official website, the band told fans: "Our friend and bandmate Ted has been feeling unwell for a few days, and yesterday he was taken to a hospital to receive emergency treatment. The scans revealed a blood clot on the surface of his brain that requires an operation. Ted is receiving excellent care and we are being assured that he will recover quickly from surgery".

The first postponed show was in Dallas last night, while performances in Woodlands tonight and New Orleans tomorrow will also be rescheduled. Apparently the band expect to be back up and running again in time to play Manchester, Tennessee on Saturday, saying that they "have no plans to cancel or postpone any other appearances along this current tour".

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Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell has announced that he has been receiving treatment for cancer for the last two months. However, he added that he will still perform with the band on their European and US tour dates in June and July.

In a statement posted on the band's website, Campbell said: "My diagnosis was Hodgkin's Lymphoma and six months of chemotherapy is the prescribed treatment. I'm about two months in and feeling rather spiffy, all things considered. Hodgkin's has an over 80% cure rate, so by my reckoning, if you're going to have a cancer, Hodgie's is the one to have!"

He continued: "The reason I'm sharing this with you is because, despite cancer and chemo, me and my new aerodynamic hairstyle (read: no hair) are going on tour this summer with the band and I don't want anyone to be so shocked by my new look that they ask for a refund. Simple economics, really".

The band have also just completed a Las Vegas residency, at which Campbell also performed in between treatments.

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That Kanye West has named those artists that'll appear in a collaborative capacity on his absurdly-named new LP, 'Yeezus'. 'Yeezus'. I mean... really.

Speaking at a listening party in New York earlier this week, the apparently godlike MC named teen rapper/dad/criminal Chief Keef, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Daft Punk and Rick Rubin as having all played a part in making 'Yeezus' what it is.

The disc is released on 18 Jun (or potentially, if Ye isn't doing one of those Rihanna-esque international release things, 17 Jun in the UK). This, in the meantime, is a clip of Kanye doing his new track, 'Black Skinhead'.

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US TV network Adult Swim has detailed the latest edition of its yearly Singles Program of free music, and it's as diverse (and free) as ever.

Starting off earlier this week with '36" Chain', a collaborative MP3 by Run The Jewels, aka rap types El-P and Killer Mike, it'll carry on (giving off fifteen tracks, in all) with featured artists like METZ, Autre Ne Veut, Mac Demarco, Lil B, Marnie Stern and, as a finale on 16 Sep, acrobatic R&B lothario Miguel. Cool.

Find details here, and play '36" Chain' there.

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Palatable synth-pop band Poliça are releasing a new LP already. 'Shulasmith', the follow-on to 2012's 'Give You The Ghost', will carry this provocative artwork when it reaches online and real shops 'later this year', and this tracklisting:

Chain My Name
Warrior Lord
Very Cruel
Spilling Lines
I Need $
So Leave

This is the video for its lead single, 'Tiff', as features none other than Justin 'Bon Iver' Vernon, and Poliça's Channy Leaneagh having a severe tiff with, well... herself.

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Björk is taking centre stage (and I mean that mathematically, since it's an 'in the round' show) at London's Alexandra Palace on 3 Sep in what'll be her final 'Biophilia'-based live date of its kind in Europe.

It'll be the first time the Palace has been adapted to have an artist encircled by the audience, with Björk's site stating that it'll also be an "emotionally significant show for Björk herself, who called the city home in her youth". All of which is quite nice.

Tickets are on sale as of today, so nab a pair now.

This is what 'Biophilia' track 'Thunderbolt' looked like when Björk did it live back in 2011.

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Guess what? The National are playing a free show at the Roundhouse in London on 26 Jun, if only for the sheer heck of it. Oh yeah, and probably because they have that new LP, what's its name... 'Trouble Will Find Me', to share (and sell). But who cares why, they're doing it anyway, and you can purchase tickets to watch them do it via this link.

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Japanese pop trio Perfume will arrive in London next month for their debut London show - and one of their first ever shows outside Asia. Demand for tickets has already seen the show sell out twice, after it was moved from the Islington Academy to Shepherds Bush Empire due to demand, and seemingly fans back at home are keen to have a look in too. Hence the band have announced that their performance will be shown in cinemas across Japan.

In fact, the show will be screened twice. Those particularly keen will be able to watch it live at 4am Japanese time, while stragglers can turn up for a 6pm showing. Any fans attending a screening are advised, on the group's website (with a little help from Google Translate), that there might be clapping and cheering and that "the use of bright metal" is prohibited. Probably best bear that in mind if you're going to the gig too, before you pack all your finest bright metal. Thanks for the heads up, Google.

The show is due to take place on 5 Jul. Watch the video for 'Laser Beam' from Perfume's 2011 album 'JPN' here.

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Contrite mime/dance act Disclosure have added to their live obligations via a pair of late night shows. The first is at London's Brixton Academy on 29 Nov, and the other is at Manchester's Warehouse Project on 22 Nov.

Those wanting to go will have to pay to do so via this ticket link, which will go live on Friday.

To pass the time, what pleasanter than 'Help Me Lose My Mind (feat London Grammar)', one of the tracks on the D bros chart-topping first LP, 'Settle'.

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There's plenty of festival news to share today, as Wales' Cardiff-wide Sŵn reveals Deerhunter, Everything Everything, Temples, Waxahatchee, Chlöe Howl, and Dutch Uncles amid its very first wave of artists.

Doing a similar thing by making its initial additions is the brand new and 100% tented Ringmaster Festival, a vintage circus-style revel starring, to name several names, Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, Swim Deep, Theme Park and Young Kato. Aiming itself at a similar fan-bracket this year is Gloucester's Underground Festival, a payless alt-pop party to which Lewis Watson, Mallory Knox, Superfood, Marmozets, Natives, Gnarwolves and VV Brown have all RSVPd so far.

Want more? Well, read on - if you like - to look at a list of updates made to line-ups at ATP's LOOP-curated End Of An Era (weekend II); this year's Glastonbury - as has had to replace its ill Pyramid player Toumani Diabate, who has a non life-threatening case of malaria - with Congo's Jupiter Bokondji and band; looming London love-in Lovebox; Northern Ireland's most essential festival ticket, Tennent's Vital and, lastly, Cornbury's Cornbury Music Festival.

The latter's newest act, Wilko Johnson, has this to say: "It seems that I am still being spared the final onslaught of my terminal cancer. As the memory of the Farewell Tour recedes I am feeling again the desire to get up on stage and do my thing while health allows - so that's why I have decided to make some festival appearances during the summer. Our visit to Cornbury in 2011 was a happy one and I am delighted that we can return once more to this fine festival".

ATP'S END OF AN ERA, Pontins Holiday Centre, Camber Sands, 29 Nov - 1 Dec: Goat, Superchunk, Comets On Fire, Girls Against Boys, Michael Rother.

BELLADRUM TARTAN HEART, Belladrum Estate, Beauly, Inverness-shire, 2-3 Aug: Alabama 3, Malcolm Middleton, We Are The Ocean, Baby Strange, Frank Hamilton, Withered Hand, Ferocious Dog, Southern Tenant Folk Union, The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, Anderson McGinty Webster Ward And Fisher, Shutter, Vasquez, Davy Cowan, Woodenbox, My Darling Clementine, Coca Tenorio, Ashley & The Cosmonaughts, The Oxides, Be Like Pablo, FaR, Taghta, rhythmnreel, Mind Funk, Hoodja.

CORNBURY MUSIC FESTIVAL, The Great Tew Estate, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, 5-7 Jul: Wilko Johnson.

GLASTONBURY, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, 26-30 Jun: Jupiter Bokondji And Okwess International.

LOVEBOX, Victoria Park, London, 19-21 Jul: Kelis, Lianne La Havas.

OFF THE TRACKS, Donington Park Farmhouse, Isley Walton, 30 Aug - 1 Sep: John Otway, Here & Now, Swamptrashed, Strange World, 5 Days Of November, Two Man Ting, Tang, Tyde, Hot Feet, Blackwater, Ferocious Dog, Howlin Circus, The Hang Project, The Fallows, Muha, Stuart Forester, Sangat, festival regulars Inter Africa, The Melbourne Brass Band.

RAMSBOTTOM FESTIVAL, Ramsbottom Cricket Club, Ramsbottom, Bury, Lancashire, 13-15 Sep: Lazy Habits, Luke Jackson, Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, Winter Mountain, Chasing Owls, My Darling Clementine, Walk, Twisted Wheel.

RINGMASTER FESTIVAL, Whitbourne Estate, Whitbourne, Worcestershire, 28 Sep: Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, Deaf Havana, Swim Deep, Theme Park, Lewis Watson, Young Kato, The Family Rain, Thumpers, Canterbury, The Xcerts, Blitz Kids, Attention Thieves, Big Sixes, Tall Ships, Chloe Howl, Fossil Collective, Luke Sital-Singh, Sons And Lovers, Astronomyy, Meadowlark, Port Isla, Fin, Rum Honey, Tom Jarvis, Laurel Canyon, Lillian Todd Jones, Black Balloons, Charlotte Carpenter, Passport to Stockholm, Joyce The Librarian, Marie Naffah, Rhys Lloyd Morgan, Alexander Joseph, Lewis Mokler.

NOZSTOCK, The Farm, Rowden Paddocks, Bromyard, Herefordshire, 26-28 Jul: The Correspondents, The Wytches, Misty Miller, Electric Swing Circus, Wille and The Bandits, The Equators, Tako Lako, Bo Walton, Richard Clarke & The Rafters, Gorgeous George, George Ezra, Stiff Joints, Smerins Anti-Social Club, Fliptrix, Verb T, Jam Baxter, Leaf Dog, BVA, Edward Scissortongue, DJ Sammy B-Side, DJ Madnice, Dr Syntax, Devilman, Ed Cox, Stivs, Mattycore, Stagga, Skamma, Lee Scott + Bill Shakes, Split Prophets, Jman, Sonny Jim, Sleaze, Mylo Stone, Tenchoo, Traumatik, Rum Committee, Concept Of Thought, Defenders of Style, Lego, Matter, Granville Sessions, Jester Jacobs, Influx, TPS, GV Clik, Cracker Jon, Too Late, Bennadict, Kimberley Newell, Bahai, Flash Harry, Big Scary Monsters, Illegal Machines, K.i.M, Brainiac, Occular, Lurk, Lorraine, Awen, Neutron, Nocotopus, Psychosonic, F'da F'da, Hemp, Timmer, Dr Psy, Pieman, Wicki.

SŴN, various venues, Cardiff, Wales, 17-20 Oct: Aled Rheon, Alex Dingley Band, Beard of Wolves, Bloodflower, Brothers, Casi Wyn, Chlöe Howl, Climbing Trees, Clipping, Deerhunter, Dutch Uncles, Estrons, Everything Everything, Golden Fable, Greta Isaac, Hail! The Planes, Heal The Last Stand, Heavy Petting Zoo, Keys, Kizzy Crawford, Kutosis, Land Observations, Little Arrow, Lowri Evans, Masters In France, Nadine Shah, Nanook of the North, Nathaniel, Peasant's King, Pinkunoizu, Queer'd Science, R Seiliog, Scriber, Seazoo, Shhh... Apes!, Siôn Russell Jones, Soak, Stars & Flights, Story Books, Swearin, Temples, The Adelines, The Echo and The Always, The Lay Lows, The Yawns, This Is Wreckage, Trwbador, Up Down Go Machine, Waxahatchee, We//Are//Animal, Wicket, Without Feathers.

TENNENT'S VITAL, Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 14-16 Aug: Avicii, Tinie Tempah, Rudimental, Tommy Trash, The Vaccines, Jason Mraz.

UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL, Gloucester Guildhall, Gloucester, 28-29 Sep: Lewis Watson, Mallory Knox, Superfood, Marmozets, Natives, Gnarwolves, VV Brown, Scholars, I Divide, The First, Meadowlark, Anavae, Katie Sky, Novella Noise, Canary Swing, Crooks, Elissa Franceschi, Passport To Stockholm, Big Sixes, Layers, New Lake, The Family Rain, Night Engine, Seasfire, MT, Astronomy, The Tommy Drums, Embers, The Vestals, Racing Glaciers, House of Thieves, Ella Martini, Joe Richardson, George Ezra, Farewell JR, Kimberly Anne, Ady Suleiman, Saint Raymond.

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London recording studio Metropolis has restructured its financial affairs, putting one trading company into administration, while holding company Metropolis London Music Ltd has acquired the firm's assets and reemployed its workforce.

The restructuring comes as the company, which has mastering, event and music right concerns as well as its West London studios complex, secures three new investors who, Metropolis CEO Ian Brenchley told Music Week, are "incredibly strategic and experienced with a music and media business background".

The administration of Metropolis Group Limited is being handled by administrators MacIntyre Hudson LLP. It's not clear how many creditors are affected, though Brenchly continues: "As far as our liabilities are concerned, that's in the hands of the administrators. We're managing that with the freelancers and all the people who historically owed any money. We'll ensure that's all taken forward and that we remain on good, friendly terms".

Either way, the changes are being spun as a positive development by the company's management and new investors. One of the latter, Kainne Clement, told Music Week: "The restructuring of the business marks a brand new start for Metropolis. We can now focus on the future, stronger and more competitive. Our aggressive growth plan will be delivered by an incredibly strong team, which is already in place".

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Apparently research recently carried out by Pure and AudienceNet showed that "consumers are ready to buy wireless speakers". I'm not sure what they've previously been waiting for. Perhaps the NHS has started funding wire phobia therapy.

But it's with this in mind that Pure, as a maker of wireless speakers, has announced an alliance with Universal Music. The two companies will launch a new webstore to promote and flog Pure's wireless multi-room music speaker system, which goes by the only slightly ridiculous name of Jongo. Universal will presumably bring content to the store, though it's not currently entirely clear what, Pure already operates its own streaming service for use with the firm's hi-fi devices.

Confirming the partnership, Pure's Marketing Director Nick Hucker told CMU: "Universal Music is the perfect partner for Pure as they understand the unique proposition of combining innovative audio equipment with compelling content and services and how to package them in an attractive way to consumers in an e-commerce environment. In addition to the new webstore, we will be working together on a range of bespoke products and offers to bring Jongo and Pure Connect to a much broader audience. Watch this space to find out more!"

While Universal Music UK's Head Of E-Commerce Stephen Partridge said: "Consumers are starting to embrace new streaming technologies and services and are looking for new and easy ways to discover and enjoy new music. Pure has developed an incredibly accessible and flexible way to take multi-room audio into the mainstream and we are extremely excited to be working with such an innovative company to bring Jongo and the great range services available through Pure Connect to music fans around the world".

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Well, this should please Neil Fox. Bauer Media has announced a partnership with that Robbie Williams fella which will see the media firm air two special programmes across most of its local FM stations to coincide with the occasional Take That-er's upcoming solo shows at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Show one on 19 Jun will broadcast live from backstage at Williams' Manchester concert, while on 20 Jun a second programme will feature an interview with the singer and an hour of highlights from one of his Manchester gigs. Williams is already recording all the shows on his UK tour for sale via one of those instant live CD initiatives, so presumably the Bauer programme will dip into one of those recordings.

Bauer Media's Group Programming Director Owen Ryan told CMU: "Robbie is a legend in the UK music industry with over 70 million worldwide sales, and so we are pleased to be able to offer our listeners access to such exclusive, brilliant content. At Bauer Media, we are committed to providing quality music experiences, including live events, for loyal and local communities and this campaign is an example of our drive to bring listeners the best and most exciting content out there".

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Following the departure of Nigel Lythgoe earlier this week, Per Blankens has been announced as the new Executive Producer of 'American Idol'. Blankens previously held the same role on the Swedish version of the show.

In a statement, FremantleMedia North America's Trish Kinane said: "Per is a creative and experienced executive who has been the showrunner on the blockbuster 'Swedish Idol' for more than five seasons. He is extremely passionate about 'Idol' and I'm very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping 'Idol' creatively vibrant".

As previously reported, Lythgoe recently announced that he had been "fired" from the telly talent franchise after returning from a holiday in the Bahamas where he was subjected to "rain every day". Still, he seems in good spirits about everything now. In a new statement, he talked up the awards the show has won during his twelve year tenure, and the money it has raised for charity.

He added: "I am truly saddened to be leaving a great team of friends and colleagues. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to maintain this incredible platform for America's young talent. This will only happen with the success of the programme. If the executives that are now in charge of 'American Idol' believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints".

As well as continuing as Executive Producer on 'So You Think You Can Dance', Lythgoe will also work on a new show being developed by his production company, Nigel Lythgoe Productions, and Shine America, which was announced last year.

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Rihanna likes new The Wanted single 'Walks Like Rihanna', so phew, that's a relief. So many sleepless nights worrying about that one.

The band's Tom Parker told MTV: "We met Rihanna's manager in New York and he said that he really liked it and that she really liked it. Which is always a good sign cos if she hated it we'd be in a pretty bad place".

A bad place indeed. Worse, even, than being in The Wanted. The single, out later this month, is from the boyband's upcoming third album, that will also feature some celebrity guests, Parker also revealed in said MTV interview. Including that Justin Bieber dude who, of course, shares management with The Wanted.

Parker: "Dr Luke, Rita Ora, Nasri who does a lot of Bieber's stuff, and Justin himself [all appear on the new record]. And Nath's back, so yeah I think it's gonna be our best album yet, and hopefully there'll be a couple of surprise collabs there as well".

Nathan Sykes - the Nath referenced above - rejoined The Wanted at Capital FM's Summertime Ball last weekend after some time off to undergo surgery on his vocal cords.

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