9 SEP 2013

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There are a lot of potentially big news stories stirring up on the fringes of the music industry this week. I say potentially big, depending on your view and level of cynicism, some of them may seem completely inconsequential. Whatever, it's a mix of stuff from politics to awards. We'll be reporting on all of it here at CMU, alongside a bunch of features including a report from last week's Berlin Music Week and an interview with Volcano Choir.
Accessories-to-Odd-Future since the start, The Internet's Syd 'Tha Kyd' Bennett and Matt Martians first showed stripes as OFWGKTA's main jazz aficionados via 2011's 'Purple Naked Ladies', an LP that ran as rich and sweet as its titles so... didn't. On standby since, save several 'feat' credits and Syd singing a blissed postscript to 'OF Tape Vol 2' track 'Analog 2', the now-band are back on for real, and will release new longplayer 'Feel Good' in late September more>>

- Dotcom confirms new name for Megabox D2F project
- One Direction point to new LP, Midnight Memories
- Icona Pop reveal new track
- Chrome Hoof to drop LP
- Spice Girls Geri Halliwell, Mel B singles due; might duet
- MKS add November shows
- Society set live debut
- Moya announces first headline tour
- Mute confirms new [PIAS] partnership
- BMI announces new CEO
- Spotify seeking new finance to fuel further expansion
- Xbox Music comes to Apple and Android devices
- TeamRock launches Country Music Magazine
- Bauer creates Content Controller position at local radio stations, makes lots of appointments
- Did VMA routine cost Cyrus a Vogue cover?
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A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

Music biz bosses to breakfast with David Cameron. It's thought the PM will discuss cracking this piracy thing once and for all with record industry execs this week (actually the Sunday Times originally reported this would happen last week, but apparently it's this week coming). The music bods will presumably push for a date to be set to finally launch the three-strikes programme outlined in the 2010 Digital Economy Act. But Dave's probably got an app that'll fix it all without the bother. Possibly by auto-blocking so many random websites, everyone gives up on the internet entirely.

Apple to launch iTunes Radio in the US. We expect this to happen tomorrow, along with the announcement about the new iPhone(s). Specifics of Apple's new Pandora-style music service will thus finally become clear. And Pandora's share price will almost certainly wobble.

Inquest into the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha following the Australian radio hoax begins. Saldanha took her own life last December after putting through a call from two Australian radio presenters to the ward where the Duchess Of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness. An inquiry by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service cleared Michael Christian and co-host Mel Greig, who had pretended to be The Queen and Prince Charles, of criminal charges. An inquiry into Saldanha's death begins on Thursday.

Mercury shortlist announcement. It's time once again for the Mercury Prize shortlist to be announced. This Wednesday at 5.30pm, Lauren Lavern will read out the always unnecessarily controversial list at The Hospital Club in London. Check out a selection of contenders for the prize, as rounded up by CMU Editor Andy Malt, here.

Arcade Fire announcement. Arcade Fire are announcing something today at 9pm (New York time). That's 2am here in the UK. So, you can either stay up. Or you can just assume all the cryptic stuff they've been doing with that 'Reflektor' logo is something to do with new song 'Reflektor', which leaked over the weekend.

New releases. Hey, there's a new Arctic Monkeys album out this week, which starts well but then drags a little. It does start really, really well though. The same could probably be said for the new Janelle Monáe album. But it just occurred to me that I should probably play both a bit more before I pass judgement like that. Ignore me. Actually, don't, because I still need to tell you about new albums from The Weeknd, London Grammar, Willis Earl Beal, Factory Floor, Summer Camp and Earth, Wind & Fire. Oh, and a seventeen disc John Martyn boxset. Plus some (much) shorter releases from FKA Twigs, Rainer and Society.

Gigs and tours. Giant Drag and I Was A Cub Scout will be playing farewell shows this week - both a good few years after bowing out. Also departed, in the considerably more final sense, is Gil Scott-Heron, whose oeuvre will be revisited by Dead Prez's M1 at The Jazz Café. Plus you can catch Leonard Cohen, Postiljonen and Altrego, plus Jessie Ware and Duke Dumont, all playing one-offs in the capital this week. Getting out on tour are Caitlin Rose, Soundgarden and Fuck Buttons.

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Kim Dotcom's long-mooted direct-to-fan platform, until recently known as Megabox, will launch as Baboom, the Mega chief has confirmed. And, he says, the new service, which is still a few months off launch as yet, will give artists more "freedom, transparency and control" than ever before. Well, certainly since the last time they used Bandcamp, or whatever their D2F platform of choice is, anyway.

As previously reported, Dotcom announced last week that he had stood down as a Director of Mega, the direct successor to MegaUpload, launched back in January, a year to the day that the US authorities shut down his original file-transfer firm amidst allegations of rampant copyright infringement. Mega said Dotcom needed to free up time to deal with his various legal battles and other projects, which most assumed meant Baboom in particular.

The Mega man confirmed the new name for the direct-to-fan service, which was in development even before the MegaUpload shutdown, to Torrentfreak as well as sharing some visuals of the new platform. Though he added that the new set-up, currently being worked on by 22 developers, won't go live until it's absolutely ready.

He added: "I am really excited about Baboom. I can't wait for artists to see what I have created for them. Their entire career can be managed on Baboom. Artists never had more freedom, transparency and control".

It's thought Baboom will allow artists to set up profiles where they can post music and other content. Dotcom's company will then sell both advertising to brands and subscriptions to users, passing on a cut of the money to artists, presumably based on how much their content is consumed. It's not clear whether Baboom will then collate all that content so that it can be consumed via a separate streaming music player, along the lines of what the all-new MySpace is hoping to do.

The concept for Baboom is nowhere near as revolutionary as Dotcom has, at various times, suggested. After all, there are some brilliant direct-to-fan platforms out there already, none of which have led to the demise of the record label (as some, like Dotcom, have previously predicted), with many artists actually collaborating with their record companies on D2F projects.

Still, it will be interesting to see just how Baboom works, especially given ad sales seem to be at its core. And, if nothing else, it's definitely a contender for 'worst named digital music platform of all time'. Though the jury's out on whether Baboom really tops Boinc in that domain.

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One Direction have gone a bit 'Mills And Boon' with the title to their third LP, 'Midnight Memories'. Released 25 Nov, it'll feature the quintet's hit single 'Best Song Ever' and, I'd imagine, a bit of late-night reminiscing.

Directioners; feel free to pre-order it via

Here's a really limp press image featuring the title's letters scribbled on pieces of A3.

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Oh, so strike what I said last time; Icona Pop's first and only LP 'This Is... Icona Pop' will, in fact, be available on 28 Oct.

As an extra gift, the band have revealed a new track named 'In The Stars (Galaxy Mix)', the 'Galaxy' bit an incidental tie-in with that Samsung Galaxy Gear 'smart watch' they were advertising last week. Neat.

This is 'In The Stars (Galaxy Mix)'

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Morph-prone rock co-op Chrome Hoof have confirmed an LP titled 'Chrome Black Gold'. Hitting shops on 8 Oct, it finds the collective looping in Air/Squarepusher's Alex Thomas, and - 'on the mic' - Noisettes' Shingai Shoniwa, Carcass' Jeff Walker and Chantal Brown, into its hybrid line-up.

NB: "This is a band that always does things the way they should be done and doesn't quit until the Nitro vision is realised. CH is now ready for the futuristic party to begin".

With that said, get ready and set to see the new record's trailer and tracklisting:

Enter The Drobe
When the Lightning Strikes
Kestrel Dawn
Tortured Craft
Ultimate Sealed Unit
Varkada Blues
Drobe Out

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Geri Halliwell is to sing a new single titled 'Half Of Me' - quite plausibly a fruit of her infamous 'shed sessions' - at the grand final of Australia's NRL Footy Show on 3 Oct. It'll be the first fans have heard of Halliwell's new era as a single lady (ie sans The Spice Girls), she having spent creative time in Wales with Ed Sheeran's writing team (and in a shed by herself) earlier this year.

Another Spice Girl starting on a new solo gambit is Scary aka Mel B. She claims she has "three hot, hot new singles" she can't wait to show off, telling Metro: "I've been recording on and off all year - the same as Geri".

Oh yeah, and they (she and Geri), might even be interested in a duet, with Mel hinting: "I don't know if we will collaborate but we're having dinner on Saturday night so we are going to be talking about that".

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MKS, aka Mutya Keisha Siobhan, aka 'the anti-Sugababes', have confirmed six new live dates, climaxing in a show at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on 15 Nov.

Tickets will go on sale 13 Sep at 9am, and no earlier. In the meantime, this is the official clip for the trio's available-right-now single 'Flatline'.

8 Nov: Norwich, UEA
10 Nov: Glasgow, ABC
11 Nov: Manchester, The Ritz
13 Nov: Bristol, Academy
14 Nov: Birmingham, Institute
15 Nov: London, Shepherd's Bush Empire


Swinging Angular-signings Society, that's James Girdler and band, will on 1 Oct rise from "the shadows" via their first ever live show.

Girdler says: "This project has been a total labour of love for almost two years now. After countless painstaking candle-burning studio experiments, I'm very excited to be letting this project step out from the shadows".

Pay for tickets to the show, which is at the Sebright Arms, here; and 'check' the video to Society's new single '14 Hours' here.

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Having supported the likes of Andy Burrows, Rod Stewart, Blondie and Mick Hucknall, singer Moya is to head out on her first headline tour of the UK in November and December.

The dates follow the release of Moya's new single, 'Come And Get It', on 23 Sep. You can go and get it (ie watch the video for it) here.

Tour dates:

30 Nov: Nottingham, The Bodega
1 Dec: Glasgow, Cottiers Theatre
2 Dec: Edinburgh, Pleasance Theatre
3 Dec: Newcastle, The Cluny 2
5 Dec: London, Roundhouse Theatre
6 Dec: Leeds, The Wardrobe
8 Dec: Birmingham, Temple
9 Dec: Manchster, The Deaf Institute
10 Dec: York, Fibbers
11 Dec: Bristol, The Louisiana

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The v2 Mute company has confirmed a new distribution partnership with [PIAS], which will see the two firms work together once again, there having been various alliances between [PIAS] and the original Mute business. Under the new arrangement [PIAS] will provide digital and physical distribution to Mute in the UK.

Confirming the deal, Mute founder and chief Daniel Miller told CMU: "I'm delighted to be back with our old friends and colleagues at [PIAS] UK. [PIAS] is the natural home for us here and I look forward to a long and successful relationship with Adrian Pope and his excellent team".

The there mentioned Pope - MD of [PIAS] Artist And Label Services - added: "It's great to be working with Mute again in the UK. The opportunity to take a joined up approach to physical and digital releases as well as developing other initiatives together across the [PIAS] business is a huge opportunity".

Meanwhile [PIAS] co-founder and CEO Kenny Gates told CMU: "Mute and Daniel were an inspiration for me when founding [PIAS] back in 1982. Mute and [PIAS] go back a long time, having been Daniel's licensee in several European countries before initiating Vital distribution together in the UK. I'm very happy on every level to see both our companies working together again in the UK".

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One of the main collecting societies for the US music publishing sector, BMI, has announced that its SVP Of Repertoire And Licensing, Michael O'Neill, will become CEO next week.

He takes over from Del Bryant, the society's long-serving top man, who has worked for the organisation for over four decades, and as its head for the last ten years. Bryant will retain the position of President until next June, when O'Neill will take on that title too.

Confirming his appointment, O'Neill told reporters: "I am honoured that the BMI board of directors chose me to follow in the footsteps of two truly iconic CEOs who have led BMI for the past 28 years - Frances Preston and Del Bryant. I am also thrilled that I will have the ability to rely on Del's counsel over the coming year as he is an exceptional executive, leader, role model and friend".

Bryant confirmed his departure from BMI back in May, saying at the time: "I began my career with BMI in 1972 and after four decades with the company and ten years as CEO, I'm excited to be moving back to my hometown of Nashville where my family and I will build a farm on beautiful land purchased by my folks with money earned from their BMI catalogue. I look forward to working with the board during the transition period, and to supporting the company as a consultant after retiring as CEO".

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Spotify is seeking new funding, according to Swedish news outlet Dagens Industri, to fuel further global expansion. According to the report, the streaming music firm is looking for debt financing rather than new investment because the company's founders, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorenzon, and possibly existing investors, don't want to further dilute their shareholdings.

Dagens Industri says that the company will be valued at $5.27 billion for the purposes of the debt financing, which is a whole billion more than the entirety of EMI was sold for last year, and about two-thirds what most people were valuing the entirety of live giant AEG, with its substantial real-estate holdings, when it was up for sale earlier this year. Which is pretty good going for a loss-making company with an as yet unproven business model.

Spotify, needless to say, is yet to comment on the financing rumours.

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Xbox Music is coming to Apple and Android-powered mobile devices today via a new app. It's the latest expansion for Microsoft's most-recent attempt at a digital music platform, which operates a Spotify-style streaming service with ad-funded freemium and subscription-based premium options.

Available at launch last October in 22 territories via the Xbox 360 and Windows 8-powered PCs and phones, Microsoft subsequently added a browser-based version for use on other operating systems, though only for premium users initially. This week freemium will come to the browser while iOS and Android apps will be made available.

Although in part designed to sex-up the Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft has always expressed ambitions to make Xbox Music device and OS agnostic, and the latest development - coming just before the expected launch of Apple's streaming service Stateside - goes someway to achieving that.

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TeamRock, the rock media company set up earlier this year by the acquisition of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines (and the latter's various spin-off titles), and which also launched a radio service in June, has announced the launch of a new title, Country Music Magazine. It's a magazine that'll cover, well, country music, obviously. Launching this week, the first issue will include a special cover story on Johnny Cash, marking the tenth anniversary of his death.

Says the new mag's Editor Ed Mitchell: "The magazine will feature the best writers, photographers, and will document Americana and roots music at its coolest, as well as exploring the lives and work of icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Hank Williams; cult heroes like Guy Clark, The Derailers and Tony Joe White; and the cream of contemporary talent like Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves and Carrie Rodriguez. If it twangs, whines or breaks your heart, it'll be in the pages of Country Music Magazine".

The new quarterly magazine will be accompanied by a weekly two-hour show on the TeamRock radio station, every Sunday afternoon at 4pm hosted by Rob Hughes.

Commenting on it all, the firm's Head Of Radio, Moose, told CMU: "TeamRock Radio's goal is to represent all genres of rock, and country music is a massive beast that is generally ignored by UK commercial radio. Until now, that is. We hope the magazine and radio show will expose the genre to those who are really country fans but don't yet know it, as well as providing a platform to the already converted. It's an exciting time".

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Bauer Media last week announced several appointments across its Place Portfolio, the umbrella heading for its network of local radio stations. The main development is the renaming of Programme Controllers at local stations to Content Controller, presumably to represent the different content outlets each station now operates in addition to their core radio services.

Some Programme Controllers - Euan McMorrow (Radio Aire), John Harding (Viking FM), Chris Rick (Rock FM) and Keith Clarkson (Radio Borders) - will simply take on the new job title, while other people have been promoted into the role. That includes James Lett at Hallam FM in Sheffield, Nathan Thomson at Radio City in Liverpool, Mike Richardson at West FM in Ayrshire, Davey Walker at Clyde1 in Glasgow, and Mark Cliffe at Metro and TFM in the North East.

Confirming all this, Owen Ryan, Bauer's Group Content Director for North of England and Scotland, told CMU: "All of these promotions are terrific examples of Bauer developing our talent from within and I'm delighted to have all of them as part of our new content team. This talented team will help craft and create outstanding content to delight and excite audiences across the Bauer Place stations in the North of England and Scotland and further demonstrate Bauer Media's commitment to growing deep relationships with its listeners across the UK".

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Miley Cyrus's over-analysed romp around MTV's VMA stage last month, including her far-too-eager twerking with rape publicist Robin Thicke, aged 36, has cost the one-time Disney star a spot on the cover of Vogue, according to the Mail.

The tabloid says that Cyrus was due to be cover star on the December edition of Vogue in the US, with Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour apparently seeing the popstress as a new fashion icon in the making. But, it seems, Wintour went off the idea after seeing the VMA routine and axed the cover, even though the photo shoot had already taken place.

A source tells the tab: "Anna found the whole thing distasteful. She decided, based on Miley's performance, to take the cover in a different direction". To be fair to Wintour, you can't have a fashion icon sticking her tongue out like that.

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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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