An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Friday 4 October 2013

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: UK radio major Global is about to further trim its brand portfolio by phasing out it's smallest current channel, Choice FM, and rebranding the service as Capital XTRA, making it an urban spin-off to its flagship operation Capital FM. Originally launched as an independent in 1990 and aimed at South London's black community, what was then the Capital Radio Group took full ownership of Choice back in... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: It's only been a month since I last tipped something at this venue, but Innervisions - the teutonic Sonar Kollectiv offshoot - this weekend find their way to the Oval Space. The core members of the Innervisions family, label co-founders Âme and Dixon will DJ, will all be there for the event, as will affiliate Marcus Worgull, while Henrik Schwarz has been billed for a live set too. So a great line-up all... [READ MORE]
 
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Right, I don't want to come across all patronising, but I'm going to assume that you don't know who Arashi are. So, here's a quick lesson to get you up to speed... Japanese boyband Arashi formed in 1999 and released their debut album, 'Arashi No 1 Ichigou: Arashi Wa Arashi O Yobu!', in 2001. That album title, by the way, translates as 'Arashi Number One: The Storm Calls The Storm'. Let's just take... [READ MORE]
 
TOP STORIES Global rebrands Choice as Capital XTRA
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LEGAL LSE group counters select committee report on piracy measures
Dave Lee Travis appears in court over new sexual offence charges
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DEALS Sony/ATV signs James Arthur
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Distiller appoints Pell to Group MD role
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING AR Management backs new mentoring business for music people
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BRANDS & MERCH One Direction perfume a best seller
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Merlin pulls content from Simfy in dispute with new owners
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MEDIA New publishers and publishing director for NME and Uncut
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ARTIST NEWS Sinead O'Connor offers Miley Cyrus advice, Miley raises another problem
Publication date set for Morrissey autobiography
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RELEASES Ane Brun announces and releases rarities compilation today
Release round-up: New Warpaint, The Dead Weather and Atari Teenage Riot previews, plus Four Tet and Rihanna
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Gigs & Tours round-up: Nick Cave, Iceage and Honeyblood
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AND FINALLY... Dolphins dig Radiohead, says trainer
CMU Beef Of The Week #176: Arashi fans v Arashi trees
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CMU INSIGHTS: MAKING MONEY FROM MUSIC RIGHTS
This in-depth half-day course on Wednesday 9 October (2-6pm) delves in more detail into the music rights industry, looking at how music rights can be exploited in the digital domain, the increasing importance of public performance and broadcast licensing and sync, the future role of physical product, and other opportunities for rights owners.

For more information and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - BARS MANAGERS & ASSISTANT BARS MANAGERS
MAMA & Company are looking for dynamic, experienced Bar Managers & Assistant Bars Managers with experience within a live music operation. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company at some of London’s most established venues.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DHP FAMILY - OSLO HACKNEY PROMOTIONS MANAGER
A new venue from DHP Family in the dynamic and burgeoning area of Hackney Central, Oslo draws on a dark Nordic aesthetic. A significant new arrival Oslo offers top quality food and drink with music in a unique space of a redeveloped railway station. We are looking for a well-connected promotions manager to represent the Oslo personality and atmosphere that we want to create. With the drive to develop all aspects of Oslo through promotion and reputation you will contribute to the overall success of this exciting new venture.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNIVERSAL MUSIC UK - JUNIOR DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER, CATALOGUE
There's never been a more exciting time to join the world of digital music. Putting your marketing skills to the test with Universal Music, you'll be right at the heart of it - working with media agencies and the marketing team to plan and roll out digital marketing campaigns for a rich catalogue of artists and some of the UK's biggest compilations. You'll manage social media channels, secure promotional activity with key partners, and arrange exclusive online placements. And as we'll look to you to spot fresh and innovative marketing opportunities, you'll need to be every bit as passionate about music as you are the evolving digital landscape.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE ORCHARD - SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL SALES AND MARKETING
We’re looking for a smart, organised, motivated and forward-thinking music and video marketing, sales and distribution professional to drive and manage our retail marketing and sales function across all formats in the UK and Europe. The ideal candidate will oversee the Orchard’s international physical and digital distribution, acting as the conduit between digital retailers, international physical distributors, our European client, marketing and physical distribution staff, and New York HQ.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DOMINO RECORDS - NATIONAL RADIO PLUGGER
Domino is looking for a national radio plugger to join its in house promo team. The successful applicant must have an extensive knowledge of UK radio, a proven track record of working successful releases and established relationships at all appropriate stations. The ideal candidate will be articulate, persuasive, knowledgeable, sociable, a frequent gig goer and music lover.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MUSIC CONCIERGE - AUDIO ASSISTANT
Music Concierge a ground-breaking and award-winning music consultancy service for luxury brands, hotels, and high-end retail outlets. We are looking for an Audio Assistant to work in our music department for four days a week at £7.50 per hour. This is an opportunity to work in the music industry with an exciting growing company.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DHP FAMILY - PRODUCTION REP
DHP Family is currently recruiting for a full time Production Rep based in London. The qualities needed to make this role a success are communication, organisation and experience. Ideally the successful candidate will have a minimum of two years practical experience working in the live music industry. You will be responsible for advancing events allocated to you and acting as a promoter representative on site where required.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DHP FAMILY - BODEGA GENERAL MANAGER
The Bodega is a 330 capacity venue, club and bar in Nottingham city centre serving a music and fashion aware profile of customer. The venue has a cool and underground profile with both students and locals. It has a reputation for catching live acts at the beginning of their career and is stylish watering hole and atmospheric club venue with a diverse programme of events. It has a mixture of in house and third party club nights, with the live gigs booked through the Concerts team at DHP Family.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ENTRY LEVEL RADIO PROMOTIONS ROLE
Entry level radio promotions role in small boutique company - must have passion for alternative music. You love discovering new bands and going to gigs, and are actively intrigued and up to date with technology and social media. The ideal candidate is articulate, organised, self motivated and able to work under pressure to deadlines as well as keeping up to date with current A&R developments.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNLIMITED CREATIVE, PART-TIME WEBSITE EDITOR
UnLimited Creative is looking for a part-time Website Editor to edit and manage the website of Creative Skills For Life, a social venture that aims to leverage digital technologies and social media to enable young people living with cancer and other long-term life-threatening conditions to explore their creative potential as a catalyst for healing and personal development. Working 8-10 hours each month, this freelancer will write news stories, edit blog posts, create images and generally keep the website up to date plus manage the CSL Twitter account.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ANJUNABEATS - FRONT END WEB DEVELOPER
A superb opportunity to join Anjunabeats, a London-based independent record label with a worldwide reputation for releasing the best in dance music and home to Above & Beyond, Andrew Bayer, Dusky, Mat Zo, Norin & Rad and more. We’re looking to recruit a front-end web developer as part of a small yet powerful tech team. If you want to develop some of the finest websites and social apps in the industry and reach millions of fans worldwide, this is the position for you.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply
click here.
 
CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 

Global rebrands Choice as Capital XTRA
UK radio major Global is about to further trim its brand portfolio by phasing out it's smallest current channel, Choice FM, and rebranding the service as Capital XTRA, making it an urban spin-off to its flagship operation Capital FM.

Originally launched as an independent in 1990 and aimed at South London's black community, what was then the Capital Radio Group took full ownership of Choice back in 2004.

When Global Radio acquired the Capital stations in 2008 there was speculation it might merge Choice with its existing network of urban music-focused Galaxy stations elsewhere in the UK though, while Choice and Galaxy were presented as sister services to advertisers, the two brands remained separate to consumers.

The Galaxy stations were later rebranded as regional outposts for the Capital network, while other local Global-owned stations with their own call signs were rebranded either Capital or Heart. But with both Capital and Heart already broadcasting in London, Choice wasn't affected by those changes.

Until now. It's not entirely clear how big a change to the station's output will come with the rebrand from Choice to Capital XTRA; certainly Choice's programming had become more mainstream over the years anyway. Though with the strapline "DANCE.URBAN.UK", it does sound like Capital XTRA will be even closer to Bauer-owned rival Kiss, pitched at a younger audience who could then grow into listeners of the main Capital station.

The "UK" bit of the strapline is possible because Global will plonk the new service onto the national DAB digital radio platform, using the slot currently occupied by Smooth 70s, one of Global's recent acquisitions that will now go off the air. But still, Capital XTRA will boast recent Choice recruit Tim Westwood on its roster of DJs, and he's pretty smooth, as well almost being in his 70s.

Confirming the launch of the new service, Global chief Ashley Tabor told CMU: "The launch of Capital XTRA is a great moment for listeners, for commercial radio, for the DAB platform and for our team here at Global".

He went on: "People right across the UK will now get to enjoy a truly national station in Capital XTRA - the only commercial station to play urban dance music nationwide. We're taking the best presenters and shows and building on that by adding even more new talent to the line up and we believe Capital XTRA has a very bright future".

LSE group counters select committee report on piracy measures
The London School Of Economics' Media Policy Project has published a new paper disagreeing with that previously reported report from parliament's Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee that concluded that the "dilution of intellectual property rights" was jeopardising the UK's successful creative industries.

The select committee called on government to do more to help IP owners to enforce their rights, including speeding up the implementation of the 2010 Digital Economy Act, which included a 'three-strikes' system for tackling online piracy. But the LSE report says that, far from speeding up the implementation of the copyright section of the DEA, which would force internet service providers to send warning letters to suspected file-sharers, government should totally review and possibly reform that legislation.

The new report relies heavily on previously published research from the LSE unit regards the state of the music business, which disputes the industry's claim that it has been economically hit by the rise in online file-sharing and piracy.

This argument is based primarily on the growth in live music revenues during the decade in which recorded music sales have slumped. Of course doing so ignores the divide between the music rights and live industries, and the fact that it's the former that traditionally invests in new talent, securing its investment on IP and not live income.

And even if labels, as the primary investors, started to dabble in the live space, massive revenues in that domain do not necessarily equate to massive profits, especially in a world where a sizable portion of that revenue goes to a relatively small number of A-list artists.

But even if you don't accept the LSE group's arguments with regard to the economic need, or not, to help the music industry protect it's copyrights - and most labels and publishers would not - the university's paper then considers the success, or not, of three-strikes systems elsewhere in the world, and especially in France. It says that the way said systems have gone in other countries throws up further doubt regards the potential effectiveness of the anti-piracy measures contained in the DEA.

The paper concludes: "We recommend a review of the DEA copyright enforcement measures in the light of the experience of France and countries that implemented a graduated response approach based on independent analysis of the social, cultural and political impacts of punitive copyright infringement enforcement targeting individuals".

You can read the LSE report here.

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Dave Lee Travis appears in court over new sexual offence charges
Dave Lee Travis appeared in court yesterday in relation to the two new indecent assault charges he received this week.

As previously reported, Travis was charged with two more offences earlier this week, in addition to the eleven other indecent assault charges and one sexual assault charge he already faces.

At yesterday's routine hearing, Travis spoke only to confirm his real name, David Patrick Griffin, address, and date of birth. The case was adjourned until a plea and case management hearing on 21 Oct, and the judge set a trial date for 14 Mar 2014.

Travis has previously indicated that he will plead not guilty to all charges against him.

Sony/ATV signs James Arthur
Something of a rarity amongst 'X-Factor' graduates, the show's 2012 winner James Arthur writes his own songs, and so has signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. Covering Arthur's 'oeuvre' so far, plus anything he cares to draft in the near future, it also includes parts of his first LP, 'James Arthur', a collaboration with Sony/ATV co-signs Emeli Sandé, Salaam Remi, Naughty Boy and Labrinth.

Sony/ATV's VP of A&R Amber Davis says: "I've been chasing this deal since before James made the finals in 'X-Factor' last year. One of the things that first appealed to me about James was that he had already written some fantastic songs before he even went on the show. He's a genuine writer and lyrically really interesting. James is the real deal".

Arthur adds: "I am really excited by the opportunities that this opens up and all that Sony/ATV can bring into play to further strengthen and develop my career. The fact that I am now published under the same roof as the likes of Naughty Boy, Emeli Sandé and Salaam Remi, all of whom I have had the honour of working with on my first album, is totally mind blowing and very humbling".

'James Arthur' the album is out 4 Nov.

Distiller appoints Pell to Group MD role
Independent music company the Distiller Music Group has announced the appointment of industry veteran Alan Pell to the role of Group MD. He will oversee the various strands of the Distiller business in his new role, including the label, publishing company and studio, plus new ventures Distiller TV and Distiller Management, which he will develop alongside the indie's Label Manager Rob Anderson.

Confirming his new role, Pell told CMU: "I am thrilled to be working with The Distiller Music Group and with the excellent team here. This is a truly exciting time for our industry and we have a fantastic opportunity here to build a multi-faceted, truly independent company that can embrace and build upon all of the opportunities currently available to us".

Meanwhile Distiller CEO Sam Dyson added: "I am absolutely delighted to have Alan Pell on board as the new Group Managing Director of Distiller Music. We are looking forward to taking Distiller to the next level together. Alan's experience and expertise will help develop the fantastic work our existing team has done to date and will bring further clarity to our vision for the company".

AR Management backs new mentoring business for music people
London-based AR Artist Management, which manages Sid Batham and Holly Walker and also operates its previously reported vocal agency, has announced a new alliance with a start-up mentoring business for the music industry called MIFT, or Minds In Flight.

The new company, founded by Oliver O'Donohoe, is looking to offer mentoring, coaching and consultation to the wider music community, supporting both artists and professionals working in music. Explaining the new service, O'Donohoe told CMU: "With MIFT I want to address in the modern commercial music industry that which appears near absent but is yet more important than ever - the welfare of the individual. A partnership with AR will give MIFT a front seat where it truly belongs".

Meanwhile AR founder Anna Russell added: "It has always been of paramount importance to AR to offer a very professional but personal service. As soon as I met Oliver and heard his idea for MIFT I immediately saw how we could help one another in establishing an area of the music community which we both felt was under represented".

One Direction perfume a best seller
There have been lots of record sales stats doing the rounds this week, but we all know that what you're really interested in is who has the biggest selling perfume of the moment? And it probably comes as no surprise to hear that that accolade belongs to One Direction, because who wouldn't want to smell like a bunch of 20 year old guys?

The boy band's 'Our Moment' perfume line has apparently become the fastest selling fragrance this year, while retailer The Perfume Shop has awarded the group its first ever Golden Perfume Bottle Award for being the fastest selling new brand in the thirty years it's been trading. Further proof pop music and perfume is a perfect match; which is why 'X-Factor' is set to stage a "sniff-off" to eliminate the next round of hopefuls in this year's contest (possibly).

Commenting on all this, Faye Langworthy of 1D's management firm Modest! told reporters: "The success of Our Moment is something One Direction are very proud of. The incredible level of sales we've seen so far and the overwhelming feedback given by fans is a reflection of the band's involvement in every stage of its creation and their desire to make a personal and unique product for their fans".

Yes, that's right, the 1D boys were involved in every stage of its creation. Though Ed Sheeran wrote the words on the bottle.

Merlin pulls content from Simfy in dispute with new owners
German-based streaming service Simfy, which currently operates in three European markets and South Africa, has fallen out with a big fat chunk of the independent label community via a dispute with indie digital rights agency Merlin.

According to Hypebot, the digital firm has run into conflict with Merlin following a change in ownership. It seems that there have been issues regarding both royalty payments and Merlin's equity in the company, though some of the dispute seems to stem from the new owners' attitude towards its indie label catalogue. As a result, Merlin is pulling its members' content from the streaming service, even though there is six months to run on the firm's current licence.

Hypebot quotes from a recent email from Merlin chief Charles Caldas to member labels, in which he wrote: "We have recently tried to engage the service's new management in a discussion about the equity interest Merlin was granted in the company. These discussions culminated last week in the new CEO contacting us to make clear that he considers the Merlin relationship insignificant to Simfy's business (although we have a market share on the service well in excess of 12%)".

The email goes on: "We have no confidence that the new ownership of the business understands the value of Merlin's repertoire or intends to honour the terms of the agreement on equity and last week's fruitless discussions made it clear that the best option for Merlin was termination of the agreement".

As well as pulling content, Merlin is consulting German lawyers to advise on the equity issue.

New publishers and publishing director for NME and Uncut
IPC Media yesterday announced the appointment of Jo Smalley to the role of Publishing Director for the company's two music brands NME and Uncut. Smalley is already Publishing Director for the media firm's lads mag Nuts, and will retain responsibility for that title too.

James Thrower, currently Publisher of Nuts, will continue to report into Smalley, but will also become Publisher of Uncut. Meanwhile NME's Head Of Marketing & Events Ellinor Miles has been promoted to Publisher of that title, also reporting into Smalley. So, quite the little rejig then.

Confirming all this, Paul Williams, MD of the IPC Inspire business, told CMU: "I'm delighted to appoint Jo to this expanded role across our Men & Music portfolio. Nuts, NME and Uncut are at the forefront of how consumers are embracing digital and accessing our content in new and exciting ways. This has been a key focus for Jo and the Nuts team so it makes perfect sense for him to take on this role and bring these three brands together under his direction".

Meanwhile Smalley said: "There are few, if any, multi-platform publishing gigs more prestigious than the NME and Uncut, which are peerless for their authority and passion. I'm thrilled to be given this opportunity to work with the most talented and powerful music editorial voices in our industry. Irrespective of market, our key focus will be on ensuring that our compelling content and innovative products and services continue to reach and be relevant to their audience. I am excited to be playing a role carving out a prosperous future for all three brands".

Thrower previously also oversaw gaming website Mousebreaker for IPC, but that site will now fall under the remit of one of the firm's other Publishing Directors, Alex Robb.

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Innervisions at The Oval
It's only been a month since I last tipped something at this venue, but Innervisions - the teutonic Sonar Kollectiv offshoot - this weekend find their way to the Oval Space.

The core members of the Innervisions family, label co-founders Âme and Dixon will DJ, will all be there for the event, as will affiliate Marcus Worgull, while Henrik Schwarz has been billed for a live set too. So a great line-up all inside this new stylish Bethnal Green venue.

Despite the hefty price it's sold out already, but maybe contact the club, you never know, there may be some returns.

Saturday 5 Oct, Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, London, E2 9DT, 9pm-6am, £27.50, more info here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Sinead O'Connor offers Miley Cyrus advice, Miley raises another problem
As was widely reported online yesterday, Sinead O'Connor published an open letter to Miley Cyrus on her website. In it, she offered advice on Cyrus's recently revamped image, expressing concern that, although she might think she was driving this change, the cycle of female popstars being sold on their sexuality over their talent was one that precedes her many times over.

She wrote: "Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent".

This was not apropos of nothing, O'Connor also noted. Cyrus said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that elements of her image, and particularly parts of her 'Wrecking Ball' video were inspired by the Irish singer songwriter. Since then, O'Connor said, she has been bombarded with requests for comment by the media, hence the open letter.

Miley response was to mock Sinead on Twitter for, at one time, being depressed to the point that she feared she would harm herself. Something O'Connor did not, as you might expect, take kindly to. She pointed out in a response to the response the danger of signalling "that those who have suffered or do suffer mental health problems are to be mocked and have their opinions invalidated". She also threatened to get her lawyers involved.

Rather that addressing this, or perhaps deleting her original tweet, Cyrus said she was too busy preparing for this weekend's 'Saturday Night Live', which she is hosting, to care. Well, she didn't actually say "care", but it's hard to see what else she could have meant.

Read CMU Editor Andy Malt's take on this story here

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Publication date set for Morrissey autobiography
So the Morrissey autobiography is being published after all, despite rumours it was being pulled because of a dispute between publisher Penguin and the famously easy-to-work-with star.

The book will land on 17 Oct and is available for fans of words and Smiths and Penguins for a mere £8.99.

Release round-up: New Warpaint, The Dead Weather and Atari Teenage Riot previews, plus Four Tet and Rihanna
So, whilst Warpaint are taking way longer than I'd like to sign off on a follow-on to 2010's acclaimed 'The Fool', the band have at least staved off fans impatience by sharing a bit of a new track. It's titled 'Love Is To Die', and backs an ad for Calvin Klein's 'fall' jeans line. Fall for all half-a-minute of it now, and/or at any of the dates Warpaint are playing later this month.

Having apparently had a drastic stylistic sea-change, The Dead Weather's Jack White, Alison Mosshart et al have given an advance warning on a packet of twin-track singles they're soon to release as a serial. Starting with 'Open Up (That's Enough)' and 'Rough Detective', the plan is to release new tracks in pairs till 2015, at which stage all the singles, plus a number of LP-only tracks, will be gathered onto an album. Blurb on all that is on this page, and this is a sample of 'Open Up (That's Enough)'.

On-off dance-noise-o-nauts Atari Teenage Riot are on again, and with Rowdy Superstar as MC in place of founder member Carl Crack, who died in 2001. Whilst the trio are still to confirm anything LP or single-wise, they are playing a show at London's Heaven on 24 Oct, and have released a clip featuring a TBA new track in the meantime.

Four Tet yesterday let his seventh LP, 'Beautiful Rewind', be streamed "only for a while" ahead of its imminent release. So with that, be kind (and quick), and play 'Beautiful Rewind' in the right order ASAP.

Finally, it's vicar's friend Rihanna oversexing everything as per in the 'explicit' edit of new single/clip 'Pour It Up'.

Gigs & Tours round-up: Nick Cave, Iceage and Honeyblood
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have invited fans to bid for places at an intimate-ish show they're playing on 3 Nov. What's more, the band promise that footage from the gig, which is at Koko in London, will be incorporated into Cave's new 'day in the life' film '20,000 Days On Earth'. Live till 11 Oct, a ballot granting tickets to the show is at this link.

Moving on, Iceage have tacked on a date at London's Old Blue Last (9 Nov) to a global trot they were doing anyway, so that's nice. Quite relevantly given this week's 'Dear Miley' letter, the band are set to release their take on Sinead O'Connor's 'Jackie' as half of a seven-inch single. That and B-side, a cover of Bahumutsi Drama Group's 'To The Comrades', won't available till 18 Nov, but you can listen to the first track now on YouTube.

Also running hot in this gigs n tours round-up, it's Scots folk-pop duo Honeyblood, who've posted notice on an October tour. Including a first night at Sheffield's The Great Gatsby on 22 Oct, and concluding with one at Edinburgh's Electric Circus on 30 Oct, its full listings can be found here. Honeyblood's debut single 'Bud', just FYI, is out 4 Nov via FatCat. Sound it out here, if you like.

Dolphins dig Radiohead, says trainer
FACT: Dolphins like Radiohead. That is, they like Radiohead when they're in captivity and have no other choice than to listen to Radiohead. And Enya. Or so Willow Withy, an (apparently real) 'dolphin yoga' trainer at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden And Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas has said, via Radar Online.

Claiming that the dolphins "really resonate" with Radiohead's 'King Of Limbs' single 'Lotus Flower', Withy adds: "As soon as I put it on, they come up to the window and their play patterns become more fluid, friendly, and they are curious about what is going on in the yoga room. They rub against the windows, walls, and express more sensory connection. It feels like mutually shared experience as they appreciate the yoga and music together. I would say they are happy".

Stepping in with the 'science bit', the Wild Dolphin Foundation's Tori Cullins interjects: "The percussive tunes seem to provoke the most interesting responses. It is common knowledge among our community that they like new-agey music like Enya. Rock music seems to stress them and jazz is the worst, while classical and country music has seen them relaxed".

Hear that, Thom Yorke? You are not 'rock', you are 'new agey', like Enya.

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CMU Beef Of The Week #176: Arashi fans v Arashi trees
Right, I don't want to come across all patronising, but I'm going to assume that you don't know who Arashi are. So, here's a quick lesson to get you up to speed...

Japanese boyband Arashi formed in 1999 and released their debut album, 'Arashi No 1 Ichigou: Arashi Wa Arashi O Yobu!', in 2001. That album title, by the way, translates as 'Arashi Number One: The Storm Calls The Storm'. Let's just take a moment to think about how shit that makes album titles by all British boybands ever look. One Direction's new album is called 'Midnight Memories', for fuck's sake. Rightly, the Arashi debut went to number one in their home country in recognition of its awesome title (and possibly its music, though that seems less likely).

Unlike boybands in the UK and US, they didn't burn out after two or three albums or find that their fans got bored and moved on. Actually, over a decade later they're more popular than ever. Earlier this year, they released the first single from their still-to-be-announced twelfth album, a double A-side release featuring the songs 'Calling' and 'Breathless', which sold 756,000 copies in its first week, the highest first week sales of their career by some distance. In terms of domestic popularity, they make One Direction look like a shitty pub band struggling to give their music away.

They also rival One Direction for levels of obsession amongst fans, though that's probably a closer battle. But it's their fans who make this week's beef what it is. Earlier this year, Arashi filmed an advert for Japan Airlines in the village of Kamifurano on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The advert sees them walk up to a small cluster of trees in a field and have a chat about them for some reason. Here it is.

As RocketNews24 helpfully translates, the band's Masaki Aiba suggests to his bandmates that they name the trees 'The Arashi Trees', as there are five of them, just as there are five members of Arashi. Seems like a logical enough suggestion, but then fellow singer Jun Matsumoto tells him no, these trees should remain nameless so that they may be free. All of which seems awfully profound for a) an advert, b) a conversation between the members of a boyband, and c) the fans of boy band pop music who will see the ad.

And for that latter group, the message of the ad was seemingly lost, because after the advert aired the trees quickly became known as 'The Arashi Trees' amongst the band's fanbase. But did the trees nonetheless remain free? No. Because just as the JAL advert suggested, the fans started buying plane tickets in order to check out what Hokkaido has to offer. And what Hokkaido has to offer Arashi fans is five trees. And nothing else.

So many have been travelling to the field in Kamifurano that local residents have started to become a bit annoyed. Apparently, the pop aficionados keep turning up, parking cars where they aren't supposed to, tramping up and down over the fields and leaving rubbish everywhere. And then, much to the dismay of the owner of the trees and the land they stand on (see, they weren't even free in the first place), people began cutting chunks of bark off to take home with them.

Locals complained to JAL, and the company promptly sent representatives over to the village to apologise in person for what they had wrought. But did that stop the fans arriving in their droves? Why don't you have a guess? If you guessed 'Yes', you're an idiot.

Clearly something more drastic needed to be done. The trees could be chopped down, of course, but that would seem a little counterproductive. Maybe they could be uprooted and separated. That also doesn't really seem like a great option either. What the landowner chose to do in the end was far more simple.

The attraction of these trees is that Arashi touched them. They touched them (in a fictionalised situation, but whatever) because there were five of them, just like there are five members of Arashi. So, the solution was staring the people of Kamifurano right in the face all along: Plant two more trees.

No, I'm not exactly sure if that's likely to work either. But at the same time it sounds like it might actually be genius. Maybe if there are seven trees there it'll make it harder to identify the exact spot where the advert was filmed. Or maybe there being too many trees will genuinely make it a less attractive spot to visit.

Whatever, it's worth a try, because, if we take One Direction as an example once again, my personal favourite solution of releasing poisonous snakes into the field is unlikely to be a deterrent either.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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