29 AUG 2013

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For the last two weeks we've been putting the spotlight on the CMU timelines, which track developing stories in the music business. Today a timeline very much still in progress (with a new story today!), that tracking the shutdown of MegaUpload, the legal battle against Kim Dotcom, and the launch of Mega v2. Follow the story from the arrival of the Mega Song to today's research report here.
Willis Earl Beal will on 9 Sep release a follow-on to his first try 'Acousmatic Sorcery' in new LP 'Nobody Knows'. Uncloaking Beal's real promise as a writer in a way that his 'Acousmatic'-era never quite did, the tracks shared from 'Nobody' so far, bony hymnal 'Everything Unwinds' and ghosting blues descant 'Too Dry To Cry', plus satisfying, molasses-warm Cat Power liaison 'Coming Through', are all playable now more>>

- Report claims MegaUpload helped smaller movies
- 2 Chainz arrested after refusing to leave tour bus
- Timbaland working on new Michael Jackson tracks
- Daft Punk make playlist
- Sleigh Bells sharing new track next week, maybe
- Cate Le Bon details new LP feat Perfume Genius
- Mick Jagger-produced James Brown biopic gets star
- Ellie Goulding adds three arena dates
- Limp Bizkit to headline 2014 Kerrang! shows
- Ja Ja Ja to showcase Eye Emma Jedi, Sattelite and Samaris
- Festival line-up update: Bestival, Bluesfest, Illuminations and more
- Unsigned Guide partners on loans initiative for young creative entrepreneurs
- Batt plans various Womble ventures having secured rights beyond the music
- Myspace working on new video collaborations venture
- Sunrise Radio facing wind-up order
- Eminem's Slane crowd tough because they were tired, says Plan B
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The shutdown of MegaUpload at the start of 2012 probably benefited big movies, but possibly hindered smaller film releases, or so reckon researchers at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Copenhagen Business School.

As much previously reported, US authorities swooped on the American-based servers of the controversial file-transfer company in January 2012, taking the service offline and seizing the firm's assets and domain. In New Zealand, meanwhile, four of the company's executives, including founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz, were arrested.

Although there was little love lost between the Mega company and the music business, with Dotcom squabbling with Universal Music over his 'Mega Song' in the weeks before the shutdown, it was really the American movie industry that lobbied hard to encourage authorities in the country to take action against MegaUpload on copyright infringement grounds. Hollywood had identified the Mega service as a rampant source of pirated films, including new releases.

In a filing with the Office Of The US Trade Representative last year, the Motion Picture Association Of America said the Mega shutdown, and the impact the move had had on other file-transfer services, resulted in a "massive" benefit for copyright owners around the world. Meanwhile a study by two American universities reckoned an increase in revenues for key movie releases in 2012 could be attributed to the Mega closure.

In the new research, the Munich and Copenhagen academics agree that there was a minor positive impact on the revenues of blockbuster movies in 2012 that could be attributed to the shutdown of MegaUpload. However, they say, there is also evidence that the shutdown led to slightly decreased revenues for mid-sized and smaller budget films.

Although the researchers say its not entirely clear why that might be, they think that having films illegally circulating online via MegaUpload and similar services can aid word of mouth marketing for movies on social networks and suchlike, which in turn can lead to increased ticket sales at the cinema, countering any loss of sales because people have seen the film for free online.

For big movies, where massive advertising campaigns are key to generating interest, the benefit of word of mouth marketing is less substantial, and therefore doesn't compensate for lost ticket sales. However, the academics reckon, for smaller movies with much smaller marketing budgets, the trade off between online chatter and lost sales results overall in the likes of MegaUpload having a positive effect on box office revenue.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the researchers write: "If some of this word-of-mouth effect [which MegaUpload et al supports] is then taken away with the shutdown of illegal content, performance of smaller movies is likely to be hit harder".

The big movie and music companies are unlikely to be persuaded, though the report could well be used by Dotcom as proof Hollywood exaggerated the impact his company was having on their wider business.

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Rapper 2 Chainz was arrested last week, it has emerged, along with ten members of his entourage, after refusing to leave his tour bus after being pulled over by police.

According to reports, the bus was stopped because none of its rear lights were working on the passenger side. Police said that when the driver opened the door for them officers "smelled an overwhelming odour of marijuana [and] could actually see smoke inside the bus around the door".

The officers said that they wanted to search the bus, but 2 Chainz and his team refused to let them, resulting in a nine hour stand off before the arrests were made. All were later released after paying $2000 bail.

It all seems like a lot of effort for nothing on both sides, but on Twitter the rapper said he'd simply reached the end of his tether, writing: "Don't ask me, ask [the Oklahoma] Police Department what they found on the bus. You won't get an answer because [nothing] was found. This shit will make you go crazy - our bus gets pulled [once] a week and they always say I smell weed I need to search our bus. Shit gets tiring".

Police have in fact now said that they did find evidence of drugs and may press charges at a later date.

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Timbaland has revealed that he is working on new Michael Jackson tracks, saying the project will be "my music with his voice on it".

Which you probably could have guessed, but it's nice to know for sure, isn't it? Also, he doesn't really say that much in the short video that's appeared on YouTube, so you've got to take your quotes where you can get them.

One thing Timbaland does reveal is that the first single from the new project will be called 'Chicago', and that he is "gonna set it up right". Yep, set it up right.

Look, if you think you could have done any better turning this into a news story, why don't you just watch this fucking video and then have a go yourself, alright?

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Similar (kind of) to the one that LCD James Murphy did lately, Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter has compiled a playlist of his fave tracks.

Featuring new-ish hits by Jai Paul, James Blake and Phoenix; Carly Simon, Chic and Diana Ross classics that inspired DPs's new LP 'Random Access Memories'; and finally, that Michael Jackson singing 'I Want You Back' a capella, it's available to play on an eternal loop now via Spotify.

Oh, and in case anyone missed its first sighting at the VMAs, this is a quick 'taster' clip of Daft Punk's Pharrell-starring new single 'Lose Yourself To Dance'.

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Apparently, doom-poppers Sleigh Bells will ring in a new single next week, this via a specially-created site that won't go live until the day.

Revolt claims to have learned via an informant close to the band that they'll share a new track at on 3 Sep. Their guess is that 'Bitter Rivals' is either the title of the single, and/or perhaps applies to Sleigh Bell's third LP.

Certainly, the idea of new material fits with hints SB's Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller made late last year, mainly that they were on track to release a third LP, the sequel to 'Reign Of Terror', in 2013.

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Wales-based lady Cate Le Bon has trailed her new LP, 'Mug Museum', with a new track featuring an inspired PA by Perfume Genius. It's titled 'I Think I Knew', and I think we'd all better listen to it.

Mixing West Coast and... well, Welsh Coast aesthetics, the LP's themes are based on Le Bon's "maternal familial relationships", and the shifts that happened in the "female line" of the family after the death of her maternal grandmother. It's released via Turnstile on 11 Nov.

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A film about the life of James Brown, produced by Mick Jagger and directed by 'The Help' director Tate Taylor, now has a star to play the iconic singer. Chadwick Boseman, who has mostly worked on TV, but has more recently moved into film, will take on the role, reports The Wrap.

The film has actually been in production for several years, with various actors and directors lined up to work on it. However, it now seems that a team is set and filming will begin next year. For an idea of whether or not Boseman will be any good or not, he has another biopic, this seeing him play baseball star Jackie Robinson, out in the UK on 13 Sep.

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Finding time in between being 'friends' with Ed Sheeran, popstar and hotpant fan Ellie Goulding has agreed to play live at three arenas in March 2014, so that's a thing. The dates, off the back of Goulding's number one single 'Burn' and repackaged LP 'Halcyon Days', are:

5 Mar: Nottingham, Capital FM Arena
8 Mar: Liverpool, Echo Arena
9 Mar: London, The O2

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Hate it or love it, it's still happening. Limp Bizkit's visit to the British Isles, that is. It all started when Fred et al released their new single 'Ready To Go (feat Lil Wayne), making them eligible to headline 2014's Kerrang! Tour.

Thanking Kerrang!, Fred says: "It's an honour to headline the Kerrang! Tour. It's a really inspirational and motivational thing for Limp Bizkit. We're going through a pretty amazing phase in our journey and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Kerrang! Tour will be the official launch of [new album] 'Stampede Of The Disco Elephants'. I can't tell you how magical that feels. It's gonna get chaotic and wild!"

The dates, which will also feature sets by Crossfaith and Nekrogoblikon, with a Limp Biz finale, are as listed:

8 Feb: Cardiff University
9 Feb: Liverpool, Academy
11 Feb: Dublin, Olympia Theatre
12 Feb: Bristol, Academy
13 Feb: Birmingham, Academy
15 Feb: Newcastle, Academy
16 Feb: Glasgow, Academy
17 Feb: Manchester Academy
19 Feb: Norwich, Nick Rayns
20 Feb: Southampton, Guildhall
21 Feb: London, Brixton Academy

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Active again after a seasonal mini-break, live Nordic night Ja Ja Ja will ease back into its monthly lock-in at London's The Lexington via a showcase on 26 Sep.

It'll feature sets by Approved Norwegian punks Eye Emma Jedi, Finnish indie band Satellite Stories and Icelandic noir-tronica act Samaris, and tickets to it are available at this link.

And so, having given that a click, why not give Samaris' 2012 track 'Goda Tungl' a trial spin.

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In great news for sensible and forward-thinking festival fans; early bird tickets are now on sale for Reading & Leeds, Kendal Calling, Creamfields and Wychwood's 2014 iterations. Which is only nice if you have the cash in advance, which mayn't apply to attendees at this weekend's Bestival.

Still, it's all fine, because as an added gift to said attendees, Bestival has jammed the likes of Swamp (feat Loefah), Boddika, and Digital Soundboy System (feat Shy FX) onto its now-finalised line-up, making its ticket price an even better value spend.

Moving to London and this year's BluesFest, high-profile additions are go in the shape of The Ronnie Wood Band, Natalie Cole and an all-star collaboration by existing BluesFest big-timers Van Morrison and Mick Hucknall, who'll join onstage to pay homage to late blues great Bobby Bland, who sadly died earlier this year.

Lastly, I'll hand over to info on newly-listed additions to the above, End Of The Road and London-based gig constellation Illuminations:

BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 5-8 Sep: Digital Soundboy Soundsystem feat Shy FX, B Traits, Breakage, Swamp feat Loefah, Boddika, Pinch, Mickey Pearce, Klose1, Chunky Dismantle, Stamina, LX One, Juma MC, Trojan Sound System feat Earl Gateshead, Daddy Ad, SuperFour, Chucky Bantan, Jah Buck, Scrufizzer, Tayo 3000, Soul of Man, Ed Solo, Phil Mison, Wayward, Pylo, Sombrero Sound System, Cholombian, Black Kat Boppers, Duct & Owen Howells, Gemma Cairney, Matthew Hawtin, Steve O'Connor, Run Tingz Cru, Dr Meaker, Zac Smith, Garrett Kato, Oquadro, Max Pashm, Tia Brazda, Run Tingz Cru, Wonka-Vision, Shore Leave, Gypsy Fever, Maniere des Bohemiens, Dr Meaker, Mouse Outfit feat Dr Syntax, Pony Montana, Loose Moose, Keltrix, The Devout Sceptics, Under the Driftwood Tree, The Henry Brothers, Ms Chameleon's Incredible Flea Circus, Lucky Dog Theatre, Ethan Ash, CC Smugglers, The Vagaband, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, Auntie Maureen, DJ78, DJ GG, Monks, Duke Special, The Kipper The Cat Show, Gregs Greats, Dr Sid, It's A Wind Up With Matt & Annabel, Karla Chameleon's Mechanical Melodies, The Edison Brothers Cylinder Set, Tony Tunes & Matt, Del Gazeebo, Harvey K-Tel, Miss Splinters.

BLUESFEST, Royal Albert Hall, London, 29 Oct - 1 Nov: The Ronnie Wood Band, Natalie Cole, Steve Craddock, Big Boy Bloater, Huddles Masses.

END OF THE ROAD, Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Salisbury, Wiltshire, 30 Aug - 1 Sep: Deap Vally.

ILLUMINATIONS, various venues, London, 3-10 Nov: James Holden, Kimya Dawson, Aidan Moffat, Owiny Sigoma Band, John Wizards, Jacco Gardner, Dent May.

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The Unsigned Guide has partnered with Transmit Start-Ups, an agency that supports mainly creative start-up businesses, to find thirty creative entrepreneurs aged between eighteen and 30 who are looking for funding to help them realise their business ideas.

Transmit Start-Ups is a 'official delivery partner' for the Start-Up Loans Company, a government-backed initiative that offers unsecured loans to budding entrepreneurs.

With the Unsigned Guide partnership, thirty young people will be able to apply for loans of between £1000 and £10,000. Successful applicants will also get access to other tools and advice, plus The Unsigned Guide will cover their projects.

Interested and eligible entrepreneurs should apply via the Transmit Start-Up website using the code USG1.

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Well, you know what they say, in this here digital age it's not enough for a band to just write songs and sing them anymore - "the band's the brand" remember, and merch, product extensions, TV shows and film projects are all part of the equation if you want to have a truly viable business.

And now The Wombles, presumably having carefully watched the careers of Bieber, Gaga and One Direction, have finally learnt this, and have appointed their musical director Mike Batt to handle all their business affairs. And a new TV show is already in the pipeline as a result. Bloody hell, there'll be publishing books about these guys soon, mark my words.

So, yes, Batt's Dramatico Entertainment company has announced various plans to develop and exploit The Wombles brand after acquiring a major shareholding in Wombles Copyright Holdings earlier this month. Batt, of course, was behind the musical side of the popular children's characters, but his company will now also control all the other aspects of the franchise.

Genevieve Dexter of entertainment consultancy Serious Lunch will work with Batt to pursue new opportunities, and she told CMU: "Many people have attempted to bring back classic properties, and failed. What sets The Wombles apart is that they were ahead of their time, as the first recycling enthusiasts and with the extra dimension of the band which brought them to a family arena. The rights have now been regrouped and adapted for 21st century tastes and media consumption, although the relevance of the original themes holds strong and the messages therein are perhaps even more widely accepted today".

A new Wombles TV show will be aired by Channel 5 in 2015, though CGI will replace the stop-motion animation of the original 1970s television programme and they'll probably use some new fangled high-tech Cribinator to do the voices, rather than hiring the master narrator Bernard Cribbins (though the 1990s remake had a whole cast of voices).

New Wombles pop ventures are also in the pipeline, including another tour for the only slightly scary giant Wombles live band.

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The all new Myspace (remember that, anyone?) has announced plans to collaborate with artists to create new videos to accompany their tracks. The social network will seemingly cover the costs of the videos, but the artist will own them. The resulting content will be distributed via both Myspace and YouTube.

The new venture, apparently known as 'Music Video Collaborations With Artists We Like', will kick off with an alliance with Federal Prism, the label of TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek. Myspace will work on six videos with the label, starting off with one for the new single from Sitek's own band, 'Million Miles'.

Although the venture will give Myspace some exclusive content in the short term, it seems the digital firm hopes the initiative will also help win it a reputation as a champion for and supporter of new and interesting artistic talent. VP Content & Creative Joseph Patel told Billboard: "For me, from a content perspective, I could spend money and do an interview with the band, or I could spend that money and work with the band and shoot a creative music video that lasts forever and that we get content out of. Everybody wins".

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The Sunrise Radio company, which operates a number of local radio stations around the country, with programming mainly aimed at the Asian community, is facing a wind-up order from HM Revenue & Customs, according to Biz Asia, which reckons the business owes £400,000 to the tax body.

A petition to "wind-up" the Sunrise group, which runs Sunrise Radio, Kismat Radio, Punjabi Radio and Buzz Radio, was issued last month, and will go before the courts on Monday. The move follows what has seemingly been a challenging year for the media firm, which shut down its TV service earlier this year, and ceased broadcasting its main radio station on the Sky and Virgin TV networks.

Although if the petition is successful, HMRC could push for Sunrise Radio to be put into liquidation, the radio firm has told Biz Asia it isn't currently facing closure.

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Plan B has said that he cut short (slightly) his support set at a recent Eminem concert at Slane Castle in Ireland because his audience were clearly tired and just wanted to skip to the main event.

The British rapper, real name Ben Drew, was on immediately before Slim Shady at the Slane show, and towards the end of his set shouted "Slane, are you with me?" before adding, after a somewhat lacklustre response, "Come on you cunts!" He then reportedly asked how long he had left to play and, after being told there was ten minutes to go, said: "Ten minutes? Ten minutes... well, we're only gonna play one more song cause we don't really wanna be here".

Speaking to NME about the incident, Drew said: "[The crowd] were tired. They'd been there all day. They'd been there from when Chance The Rapper was on early. They'd been drinking, they were tired and they wanted to see the main event. When you're main support and you're just before the main event, I think it gets to that point in the day when people just want to see Eminem".

He went on: "My way of picking up the crowd sometimes is being a bit abusive. I'm like, 'Come on, you cunts', you know what I mean? That's pretty much what it was. A crowd can be a tough crowd because they're not interested, or it can be that they're tired. For me, it was more that they were tired".

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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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