17 JUN 2013

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Well, the big news this week, possibly, is that the first two sessions in the latest series of CMU Insights training courses take place. On Wednesday it's 'Making Money From Music', an overview of the music industry, and on Thursday it's 'Social Media & Fan Engagement'. We have a few places left, so click for details. Over here on the editorial side of CMU, we'll of course have all the week's news, plus an interview with Electric Soft Parade and a playlist from Is Tropical.
Sonny Smith is an artist and playwright who spills his skills into a poly-artistic basin of plays, comics and LPs. He released 'Antenna To The Afterworld', a moonage ode-to-space, love and cannibalism, just days ago. Top single, 'Green Blood', follows an arc that began in 2010's Amazonian anti-fantasy 'Planet Of Women', and has a cool animation to match its strangely heartbreaking earthling-falls-in-love-with-beautiful-alien-lady narrative more>>

- Jay-Z announces new album as much anticipated Samsung partnership kicks off
- More legal woes for Flavor Flav's chicken venture
- Mumford & Sons cancel more US tour dates as bassist recovers from brain surgery
- Purity Ring, Tegan And Sarah, Mac Demarco make Polaris Music Prize longlist
- Kerrang! Awards presented
- Adele and PJ Harvey lead music names in latest honours list
- Kim Deal parts with Pixies
- MIA to Bring The Noize tonight
- Chvrches annovnce albvm
- Has Harry Styles gone solo?
- QOTSA to make royal UK (and Ireland) tour
- Him add October shows
- Festival line-up update: Pitchfork Festival, Bilbao Bbk, B'estfest and more
- HMV could return to its original Oxford Street site
- Warner Music promotes Stu Bergen
- PRS, Stim and GEMA announce new alliance
- Global to appeal Competition Commission's Real Smooth ruling
- WikiLeaks founder collaborating on rap track

News stories, events, new releases and gigs coming up in the next seven days...

Scottish Album Of The Year Award. Come Thursday it will be decided once and for all what the best Scottish album of 2012 was, with the return of the Scottish Album Of The Year Award. The Mercury-style event will award the winner with £20,000, plus all nine runners up with a grand each. So that's nice. Definitely £1000 better off are: Admiral Fallow, Django Django, Human Don't Be Angry, Karine Polwart, Lau, Meursault, Paul Buchanan, RM Hubbert, Stanley Odd and The Twilight Sad.

TeamRock Radio launch(ed last night). TeamRock, the new owner of the Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazines, last night launched its digital radio station. The station went on air at two minutes to midnight, playing Iron Maiden's 'Two Minutes To Midnight'. You see what they did there?

ATP curated by Deerhunter. There aren't many holiday camp-based ATP festivals left now, and after this weekend there'll be even fewer. Well, one fewer. Basically what I'm trying to say is that there's a holiday camp-based ATP festival taking place this weekend. It has been curated by Deerhunter, which means you'll get to see artists including Steve Reich & The London Sinfonietta, The Breeders, Black Lips and Deerhunter's Bradford Cox twice - both fronting that band and in his solo guise as Atlas Sound. Nice.

The xx's Night + Day festival. The xx will be putting on a one day festival type thing this Saturday at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Amongst those performing are Solange, Jon Hopkins, London Grammar, Mount Kimbie, Poliça and, but of course, The xx.

New releases. Kanye West has an album out this week. It's called 'Yeezus' and features guests including Chief Keef, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Daft Punk and Rick Rubin. Everyone else was too busy contributing to the new Lonely Island album. Also out this week are new LPs from Sigur Rós, Zomby, Austra, Anna Von Hausswolff, Melt Yourself Down and the one I know you're all most excited about, Hanson. Plus, Röyksopp have a LateNightTales compilation out.

Gigs and tours. Live music, eh? Well, you can have some of that from Robbie Williams, if you want. Or Leonard Cohen, if that seems a bit too upbeat. Or if it's value for money you'd prefer, then how about Tim Burgess and Lambchop on stage AT THE SAME TIME? Also playing live this week are Die Antwoord, AlunaGeorge, Beady Eye, Charli XCX, These New Puritans, Glasvegas, Jagwar Ma, Nancy Elizabeth and The Strypes.

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There has been much chatter about an alliance between Jay-Z and Samsung in recent weeks, with speculation that the hip hop star might be set to front a new digital music platform, the consumer electronics giant's latest attempt to gain a share of the digital music market, and to have a service that boosts the music credentials of its Galaxy-branded devices.

Whether such an involved partnership is in the pipeline remains to be seen, but the tech giant is definitely allied to the rapper for his new album 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'. The Roc Nation chief announced the new record during a three minute Samsung ad that aired during the NBA Finals in the US last night. The ad also featured footage of Rick Rubin, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz in the studio with Jay.

But Samsung isn't only providing primetime advertising for the new Jay-Z record. The company has also bought a million copies of the album, and will give them away to the first million Samsung Galaxy phone users to download a special app on 4 Jul, three days before the new long player is released.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources as saying Samsung has paid five dollars a piece for the million albums it has bulk bought, which would account for about a quarter of the rumoured $20 million deal the company is meant to have struck up with the rap man. Which presumably means, even if there is no Jay-Tunes service to come from this, plenty more will be squeezed out of this brand partnership as yet.

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I think the last time we looked in on Flavor Flav's chicken operations, he was in the process of quitting a joint venture in Iowa and demanding his name be removed from Flav's Fried Chicken just four months after it opened amidst allegations of mismanagement by his business partner.

Since then another chicken business, Flavor Flav's House Of Flavor, opened and, six months later, closed in Las Vegas. But, presumably keen to live by the mantra "third time lucky", the Public Enemy man late last year put his name to a third outlet, Flavor Flav's Chicken & Ribs in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

But then last week it looked like that chicken eatery might also go out of business six months after opening with reports that the restaurant was facing eviction over allegedly unpaid rent bills.

But fans of hip hop chicken shouldn't panic just yet, over the weekend TMZ reported that Flav's business partners have got the money to pay the company's outstanding rent, but they have been withholding payments over a faulty heater that they say the landlord is obliged to fix, mainly because it's leaking dangerous carbon monoxide gas. Which isn't going to help anyone enjoy Flav's special chicken recipe.

The landlords will get all the outstanding monies as soon as the heater is fixed, TMZ says, and then Flavor Flav chicken emporium v3 can continue to operate unhindered.

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So, despite Mumford & Sons' optimism in saying that they had "no plans to cancel or postpone any other appearances" on their current US tour - giving bassist Ted Dwane just four days to recover from brain surgery - the band were forced to cancel the remainder of the dates last week, including a headline appearance at the Bonnaroo festival on Saturday.

In a statement published on Facebook, the band said: "It is with great joy that we can announce that Ted has been discharged from hospital and is on the road to a full recovery. The surgery went well, and the excellent medical team helping him are very pleased with his progress. He has been nothing short of heroic in how he has handled the whole ordeal, and now it has been medically proved that he does indeed have a brain".

Having softened the blow of the next paragraph with that cheeky comment, they continued: "Today, however, also marks the end of our Summer Stampede Tour. We were hoping to have made it out by Bonnaroo this weekend. But it is with sadness that we have to announce the cancellation of our scheduled performances at both Bonnaroo and Telluride Festivals, and our show at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, KS. If we could've we would've, you know that about us. We trust that you can respect our collective desire to encourage Ted to make a full recovery, and that this is based purely on the medical advice we have received".

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The all-hearing oracles at Canada's Polaris Prize HQ have listed the acts nominated to win their 'Best Canadian Album Of The Year' award this time round.

Mac Demarco, Purity Ring, METZ, Metric, Rhye, Suuns and Tegan & Sarah are all in the mix, appearing on a longlist of 40 artists that'll be slashed to 10 on 16 Jul. The main prize will be given at a gala night in Toronto on 23 Sep.

Steve Jordan, Polaris Founder and Executive Director, says: "This year's longlist is all over the map, but in the best possible way. A lot of our jury expressed that this was the most difficult Polaris ballot they've ever submitted. The results of this careful and passionate deliberation will make for some truly engaging listening for music lovers".

2012's Polaris Prize, by the way, was won by one Leslie Feist for 'Metals'.

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So those Kerrang! Awards were presented last Thursday night, just as the Kerrang! radio station was going off the FM airwaves in the Midlands to make way for Planet Rock. And the winners were...

Best British Band: Bring Me The Horizon
Best Live Band: Black Veil Brides
Best British Newcomer: Lower Than Atlantis
Best International Band: All Time Low
Best International Newcomer: Of Mice & Men

Best Album: Biffy Clyro - Opposites
Best Single: Fall Out Boy - The Phoenix
Best Video: Pierce The Veil - King For A Day (feat Kellin Quinn)
Best Event: You Me At Six - The Final Night Of Sin
Best Festival: Download

The Relentless Award: Young Guns
Kerrang! Inspiration: Iron Maiden
Kerrang! Icon Award: Venom
Kerrang! Hall Of Fame: Pantera
Kerrang! Service To Rock: Queen
Kerrang! Legend: Slayer

Best TV Show: Doctor Who
Best Video Game: Bioshock Infinite
Best Film: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Best Comedian: Louis CK
Hottest Female: Lzzy Hale, Halestorm
Hottest Male: Ben Bruce, Asking Alexandria
Tweeter Of The Year: Gerard Way

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So, Ms Liz Windsor celebrated it not actually being her birthday this weekend by dishing out a load more of those only slightly meaningless honours, and Adele and PJ Harvey were amongst the music types to get a nod for their "services to music". The two pop ladies both became members of the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire. And why the devil not?

Also becoming MBEs in the Queen's birthday honours list this time round were the founders or leaders of various music-based charities, including Attitude Is Everything's Suzanne Bull, soundLINCS' Nicola Heyes, the Montgomery Holloway Music Trust's Laurie Holloway, and the EMI Music Sound Foundation's Margaret Orr.

Aled Jones also became an MBE, for all his singing and presenting, as did Carolyn Date of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Timothy Evans from Only Men Aloud,
Martin Brophy from Sing Out and Various Voices London, and Brent Holder from the CSI Steel Band Trust. Meanwhile OBEs went to Wigmore Hall Director John Gilhooly, Opera North General Director Richard Mantle, and opera singer Alan Opie.

Within the music business itself, songwriter and Dramatico chief Mike Batt was presented with the Royal Victorian Order, presented for services to the Royal Household, which is very possibly linked to him composing an original number for Katie Melua to perform at the Coronation Festival Gala at Buckingham Palace next month.

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Kim Deal has quit the Pixies. So that's sad, if amicable.

Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering, who are still in the band, have reacted to Deal's leaving via Facebook, saying: "We are sad to say that Kim Deal has decided to leave the Pixies. We are very proud to have worked with her on and off over the last 25 years. Despite her decision to move on, we will always consider her a member of the Pixies, and her place will always be here for her. We wish her all the best".

Still fairly active as a solo artist, having released her last single 'Hot Shot' back in May, Deal is also playing shows with The Breeders to celebrate the anniversary of their seminal 1993 LP 'Last Splash'. Oh, and she has that Long Count collaboration going with The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and her sister Kelley. That's quite a lot to have on one's plate, and perhaps explains the Pixies resignation.

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MIA is going to air a new track tonight via DJ Zane Lowe's 7-9pm Radio 1 show.

The track's name is 'Bring The Noize', and it's probable - as per this provisional tracklisting MIA shared last year - that it'll feature on her fabled new LP, 'Matangi'. If, indeed, 'Matangi' even exists.

Anyway. Until Zane's on, you'll have to make do with this animated graphic thing. Don't look at it too long, like I did, because it made my brain ache.

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CMU approved Glasgow alt-pop trio Chvrches have a new albvm, their first, waiting to be released on 23 Sep. Its snappy title is 'The Bones Of What You Believe', and it'll be pipped by a single, 'Gun', which will be available on 15 Jul.

View the 'Gun' visual via Vevo.

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Probably not, but a sappy new ballad by popstar-in-earnest Harry Styles - that's Harry and only Harry, as in a solo Harry Styles, as in Harry Styles the moonlighting One Direction star - has 'appeared' online for no apparent reason.

It bears the title 'Don't Let Me Go', and features a sad piano and the phrase "I'm tired of feeling alone". Ironic, that. Play it, unofficially, now.

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Queens Of The Stone Age have added six timely new lives dates off the back of their new LP, '... Like Clockwork'. Tickets go on general sale on 21 Jun, so look sharp. Failing that, there's always the band's big night at this year's iTunes Festival, which is still taking applications for its ticket ballot.

Those dates are as follows:

16 Nov: Glasgow, Hydro Arena
17 Nov: Dublin, O2 Arena
18 Nov: Belfast, Odyssey
20 Nov: Manchester Arena
21 Nov: Birmingham, NIA
22 Nov: London, Wembley Arena

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Having released an eighth LP in 'Tears On Tape' earlier this year and played Download last Friday, it's literally (literally!) non-stop for Finnish metal five-piece HIM, who have made space in late-October for an extra eight new dates.

These are they:

21 Oct: Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
22 Oct: Newcastle, Academy
24 Oct: Manchester, Academy
26 Oct: Nottingham, Rock City
27 Oct: Cardiff, Students Union Great Hall
28 Oct: Southampton, Guildhall
29 Oct: Norwich, UEA
31 Oct: London, Koko

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Starting off today's festival updates-based intro is info on a late-in-the-day switcharoo at Bilbao BBK - as the Dewaele bros opt to appear as 2manydjs as opposed to Soulwax, as was initially billed. So, that's drastic.

Line-up adds now, and at Gateshead's Chase Park-based Chase Park Festival, whose initial artist starter-pack features The Futureheads, Thumpers, Big Beat Bronson, and many others. Designed specifically to be accessible to all, this non-profit one-dayer is free to those with a disability, with low-cost tickets for everyone else available at this link.

Alistair McDonald, a director at healthcare and rehabilitation specialists Keiro, who are in charge at Chase Park, says: "We are honoured to have secured Arts Council funding for a second year in a row now. Without this funding and our sponsors, the line-up and the event wouldn't be as fantastic as it is. It has been well documented in the press that some festivals and the arts in general are having a tough time lately, especially in the North East, so to be able to stage the fourth Chase Park Festival is incredible".

And with that, here are today's remaining updates, via Romania's B'Estfest, Norway's ultra-alternative Numusic festival, and a thrilling first artist reveal by Pitchfork Festival Paris:

B'ESTFEST SUMMER CAMP, Tunari, Bucharest, Romania, 5-7 Jul: Texas, The Heavy, Enter Shikari, Biohazard, Heath:ward, CA:RO, Subscribe, Madddog, 1000mods, Piranha, Hentai Corporation, Phirah, Paul Sawyer, Diamondz, Vama, Vita de Vie, Coma, Subcarpati, Gojira & Planet H, ROA, Electric Fence, Bass Turbat.

BILBAO BBK, Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain, 11-13 Jul: 2manydjs, The Vaccines, Johnny Borrell, Zazou.

CHASE PARK FESTIVAL, Whickham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 10 Aug: The Futureheads, Thumpers, Big Beat Bronson, Symphonic Pictures, Terra T, Child, Tissue Culture, Laura Smith, Natasha Haws, Sam Fender.

NUMUSIC FESTIVAL, Stavanger, Norway, 5-7 Sep: John Grant, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Sandra Kolstad, Hypertext (No).

PITCHFORK FESTIVAL PARIS, Grande halle de la Villette, Paris, France, 31 Oct-2 Nov: The Knife, Hot Chip, Deerhunter, Warpaint, The Haxan Cloak, Junip.

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HMV could soon return to its original home in London following a deal to takeover the retail unit at 363 Oxford Street, currently occupied by Footlocker.

According to reports, new HMV owner Hilco has been in talks with Footlocker about taking over the lease on the site, and a deal is close to being done subject to landlord approval. That unit would replace HMV's current Oxford Street store, which is nearly three times bigger and which, word has it, a number of other companies expressed an interest in back when the entertainment retailer was in administration earlier this year.

It would be a clever move, because on the one hand it would be an admission by HMV's new owners that its massive store at 150 Oxford Street is just too big for an entertainment retail operation in 2013, but at the same time all the PR spin can focus on the fact that this is the company returning to the very site where Edward Elgar opened the first His Master's Voice shop way back in 1921.

Hilco is yet to comment. HMV continued to operate at the 363 Oxford Street site until 2000, with a nearby replacement store closing in early 2011.

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Warner Music Group announced on Friday that it had promoted Stu Bergen to the position of President, International of Warner Recorded Music. He moves up from the dual position of Executive Vice President International and Head of Global Marketing.

WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said of Bergen's new appointment: "This is an exciting moment for our business. The global music landscape continues to evolve at a dramatic pace and, at the same time, our own company is approaching a defining moment as we prepare to welcome Parlophone Label Group into the Warner Music family. Today's changes reflect our readiness to embrace this unprecedented opportunity for growth".

He added: "I am delighted Stu is taking this leadership role. He combines deep understanding of our markets around the world with a clear vision for how that translates into a cohesive international strategy, all underpinned by his many years of experience collaborating with our local affiliates to drive stellar results for our acts".

Meanwhile, Bergen himself said: "I am looking forward to working more closely with our talented teams in Asia Pacific and Latin America as we continue to explore new opportunities for our artists and for our business in these dynamic and diverse regions".

Also playing employment musical chairs at the mini-major is Mike Jbara, who moves into the new role of President of the Alternative Distribution Alliance, while Matt Signore is promoted to President of Artist & Label Services.

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Three of Europe's biggest music publishing collecting societies - the UK's PRS, Sweden's STIM and GEMA in Germany - have announced an alliance which they say will "simplify both national and pan-European music rights licensing and processing".

As part of the agreement, GEMA will become a shareholder and customer of the International Copyright Enterprise, or ICE, an existing joint venture between PRS and STIM. The three societies will also establish a licensing hub that will combine the organisations' repertories in order to - or so the three rights bodies say - provide publishers and songwriters with faster and more accurate accounting, while making it easier for pan-European digital services to licence their operations via fewer deals. ICE will also extend its services to cover the processing of transactional licences to digital music services.

Confirming all this, PRS boss Robert Ashcroft told CMU: "This partnership will enable dramatic improvements in licensing and rights management across Europe by reducing complexity and increasing efficiency. It will accelerate the growth and development of the digital music market, while ensuring that songwriters, composers and music publishers are paid the right amount of money, faster, more accurately and at lower cost. This is good news for everyone involved, from our members to the digital music service providers".

STIM chief Kenth Muldin added: "I am confident that our partnership will create a modern and more cost-efficient management of music rights in Europe. This initiative is simply a response to market demand - music needs to be distributed anywhere, anytime and on any device, to the benefit of both consumers and creators. Our joint aim is to make music licensing and royalty payments more efficiently - in short to encourage market entry for legal services and allow music lovers to enjoy music".

And ICE CEO Carsten Drachmann remarked: "The is a great step forward for the 'one stop shop' of online licensing in Europe, and ICE is proud to deliver the back office services, technology and solutions that enables this joint venture and helps reduce complexity and cost, and secures a fast and accurate return to rights holders".

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, Global Radio is appealing the Competition Commission's ruling that it must sell off more of the Real Smooth radio company than it is allowed to keep in order to avoid creating competition issues in the local advertising market in seven regions.

The Commission's ruling on Global's acquisition of what was the Guardian Media Group's radio company was pretty much as bad as it could get for the radio giant, especially as it had taken on all the liabilities for the takeover and the resulting competition investigation (rather than sharing them with GMG), meaning it must take the hit alone.

As previously reported, the Commission's decision means that Global cannot forge ahead with the expansion it had hoped, plus it has to sell licences in seven regions.

It seems very unlikely Global will be able to recoup anything like what it paid GMG for the Real Smooth licences, because its biggest competitor Bauer is likely ruled out as a bidder (because it too would fall foul of the Commission's ruling regards further radio station consolidation), and other possible bidders don't have such deep pockets.

Which is why there was always a high chance that Global would try to fight the ruling through the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Though the company has also hired the services of corporate finance house Lepe to begin sounding out possible buyers should it fail at Tribunal (or, even if it succeeds, some forced sales would likely remain).

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Well, if Kim Dotcom can be a popstar (in the "posted a few mediocre tracks on YouTube" sense of the word 'popstar'), why not Julian Assange?

The WikiLeaks founder is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fearing extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges if he leaves the embassy building (and, he would argue, from there further extradition to the US to face charges relating to the WikiLeaking of all those confidential papers belonging to the American government).

Presumably keen to find new ways to pass the time, last week Assange welcomed Rene Perez Joglar, aka Residente, of politically charged Puerto Rican rap group Calle 13 to his embassy home. Once there, Residente encouraged fans to get in touch via the social networks to share ideas for a musical collaboration between him and Assange.

Of the venture, the WikiLeaks man told News Limited this weekend: "We are making an interesting song about the new politics as a result of internet and media distortion. [Joglar is in the] most popular Latin American political group and they come from Puerto Rico, which has had its problems with the US".

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 1, 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email or

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