An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Wednesday 30 October 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: Record industry trade body the BPI has secured a new court order forcing UK ISPs to block a further 21 file-sharing websites, in addition to those already deemed liable for copyright infringement by the English courts. The blocks must be enacted today. As previously reported, numerous file-sharing sites have already been added to the UK internet blacklist, starting with The Pirate Bay last year [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Approved once, twice, and now thrice, all-time CMU favourites Warpaint have at last come back with an answer to 2010's 'The Fool', tolling new noise via new single 'Love Is To Die'. With its light, coltish guitar lines and the part-grave, part-giddy air to its stickpin lyric ("Love is to die/Love is to not die/Love is to dance") it's hardly a radical change for the band, whose might has always been in finding that kind of [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES BPI secures more file-sharing site blocks
LEGAL Supreme Court refuses Pirate Bay founder's hacking conviction appeal
DEALS Beck signs to Capitol, confirms LP
New Universal deal brings much of Sinatra catalogue under one roof
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Rudimental score biggest post-Mercury nom sales uplift
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL Blockbuster back in administration
LIVE BUSINESS SXSW invites Reddit users to ask anything, answers very little
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Foals' Yannis Philippakis wades into Spotify debate
MEDIA Gaga's X-Factor attire attracts complaints to OfCom
ARTIST NEWS Susan Boyle biopic still a thing
Jonas Brothers splitting 'for now'
RELEASES Kanye may release five Yeezus spares
Release round-up: Avril Lavigne, Planningtorock, Justin Timberlake and Savages
GIGS & FESTIVALS Gigs & Tours round-up: Wild Beasts, Drake, Max Richter and Speedy Ortiz
AND FINALLY... Lou Bega is not dead
R Kelly impersonator was in fact R Kelly, apparently
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BPI secures more file-sharing site blocks
Record industry trade body the BPI has secured a new court order forcing UK ISPs to block a further 21 file-sharing websites, in addition to those already deemed liable for copyright infringement by the English courts. The blocks must be enacted today.

As previously reported, numerous file-sharing sites have already been added to the UK internet blacklist, starting with The Pirate Bay last year - the torrent site later claiming that this had caused little noticeable impact on its traffic, thanks to the ease with which the blocks can be circumvented. The BPI, on the other hand, says that the blocks have "significantly reduced the use of those sites in the UK". Who to trust?

BPI head Geoff Taylor said that the organisation had attempted to work with the sites newly added to the UK internet blacklist, but all had refused. He said in a statement: "We asked the sites to stop infringing copyright but unfortunately they did not and we were left with little choice but to apply to the court".

As previously reported, web-blocking was a provision ultimately left out of the still to be enacted anti-file-sharing provisions of the 2010 Digital Economy Act. But as the music industry waits for the cold day in hell when the 'graduated response' anti-piracy system outlined in the DEA comes into force, its trade body (well, technically the movie industry's trade body, the BPI then followed) discovered that existing copyright law was there to help when it came to the blockade party.

The full list of newly blocked sites is as follows:


Supreme Court refuses Pirate Bay founder's hacking conviction appeal
Sweden's Supreme Court has refused to hear the final appeal by Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm over his previously reported hacking conviction.

Svartholm, also jailed for a year for his part in establishing the copyright infringing Bay, was found guilty of various unrelated hacking charges in June. Although an appeals court reduced his sentence for the hacking crimes last month (by deeming that some of the charges against him couldn't actually be proven), he was still left with another year of jail time.

The Bay man had hoped to appeal the charges that still stood, but Sweden's Supreme Court don't believe there is justification for a further hearing. Meanwhile Svartholm is also trying to fight off attempts to extradite him to Denmark to face other hacking charges that could result in a much longer jail sentence.

Last year Sweden's Supreme Court also refused to hear the final appeal from Svartholm's fellow Pirate Bay founders over their copyright convictions, though Svartholm himself had lost the right to even approach the highest branch of the country's judiciary regards that case, having failed to show up for his first appeal hearing after going AWOL.

Beck signs to Capitol, confirms LP
Beck has gone over to Universal Music subsidiary Capitol Records to release a new solo LP, his first in six years, titled 'Morning Phase'.

Following 2008's 'Modern Guilt', which came out Stateside via another Universal label, Interscope's DGC, the new record is billed as a "companion piece" to Beck's largely acoustic LP circa 2002, 'Sea Change', in the sense that it "harkens back to the stunning harmonies, song craft and staggering emotional impact of that record, while surging forward with infectious optimism".

'Morning Phase' is due to dawn in February 2014.


New Universal deal brings much of Sinatra catalogue under one roof
Universal Music yesterday announced a new alliance with Frank Sinatra Enterprises which will see the mega-major take over distribution of the late singer's Reprise catalogue worldwide, in doing so bringing together much of Sinatra's catalogue under one roof.

Universal already represents Sinatra's albums made for Capitol in the 1950s, which came to the company via its acquisition of EMI. Although the major has distributed the later Reprise records outside North America since 2009, in the US the catalogue was worked by Rhino, the catalogue label of Warner Music, which is a partner in the FSE business.

The new deal, bringing together all but the earliest Sinatra albums (made for Columbia and still controlled by Sony), will enable the creation of a new Signature Sinatra imprint and the instigation of a re-release and marketing programme in the run up to what would have been the singer's 100th birthday in December 2015.

Confirming the new deal, Universal boss Lucian Grainge told CMU: "Frank Sinatra's music is iconic and enduring, and we are honoured to be selected to build on our success working with FSE and the Sinatra family with exciting and innovative products marking the centennial celebration under a new 'Signature Sinatra' imprint worthy of his rich legacy".

Meanwhile Robert Finkelstein, Co-Chairman of Frank Sinatra Enterprises, said: "This new arrangement will allow FSE to present Sinatra's music in a coordinated and consistent manner, and enable more cohesive catalogue initiatives, at a time when access to music is ubiquitous and more instantaneous than ever before".

Rudimental score biggest post-Mercury nom sales uplift
So it's the Mercury Prize tonight, the annual music industry bash that I'm still boycotting from that time they made me eat fish.

Though given that the blogosphere is certain that the Mercury is now definitely one big corporate fuck fest designed solely to tick the boxes of the Barclaycard marketing team's brand consumer passion-centre-orientated targeted market engagement strategic development plan, they'll probably be eating caviar and gold-plated foie gras as they await that all important opening of an envelope tonight. And I bet all the Mercury judges are Spotify users too. Cunts.

Though of course, while for Mercury purists the annual album of the year prize should exist to expose truly ground-breaking records from innovative artists to a wider audience (I think we all remember with particular joy the year they gave the prize to M People), for the music industry the Mercury Prize, like all award shows, is about selling more records. And with that in mind it's time for our annual "which Mercury nominated albums got the biggest sales uplift" report, courtesy of stats we deviously stole from the offices of the Official Chart Company last night.

Of course the sales impact of the Mercury shortlist seems less impressive when more of the nominees have already enjoyed quite a bit of commercial success with their records, plus this year Arctic Monkey's new album 'AM' came out the same week as the noms were announced, so the 321,000 units sold since then don't really have anything to do with the Mercury nod. Ignoring the Monkeys, Rudimental's album 'Home' has seen the most additional units sold since the Mercury shortlist was published, with 29,000 copies shifted taking its overall sales since the record was release in April to 314,000.

Elsewhere, the Mercury shortlist has resulted in Jake Bugg's eponymous debut album arriving in 25,600 more homes (which, in itself, is possibly a reason to only use American Express from now on), while Disclosure's record 'Settle' has sold 23,000 more copies since being shortlisted for the Mercury Communications (RIP) award. As for the rest, additional sales since shortlisting are as follows: Foals (7300), Laura Mvula (6500), David Bowie (6200), James Blake (4300), Laura Marling (4100), Jon Hopkins (2800), Savages (2000) and Villagers (1400).

And now some words from OCC boss Martin Talbot, spluttered as he escorted us off the premises (we broke in, remember): "Based on total sales to date, Jake Bugg [having sold 522,800 units in total] is the clear Mercury winner - however, looking at sales since the nominations were announced, Arctic Monkeys should romp home. Who the judges ultimately choose, only time will tell. But what seems clear is that, if the public were choosing, there are four outstanding candidates - Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Rudimental and Disclosure".

The Mercury Prize will be presented tonight. And I think we all know who the real winner is going to be. Capitalism, hey? Right on.

Blockbuster back in administration
Apparently Blockbuster enjoyed its journey into administration earlier this year so much, it's going back. Similarly, I found that once I'd visited Whitby, I was always planning another trip.

The UK version of the DVD rental chain and entertainment retailer first went into administration back in January, just after the HMV company fell over. But it was bought out administration by private equity firm Gordon Brothers in March, and although the rescued Blockbuster chain was 200 stores smaller, the new owners talked of taking the rental side of its business online LoveFilm style, and then expanding its product range in-store, including moving more into music retail. Former HMV exec Gary Warren was then appointed MD. I know, right?

Those plans officially faltered this week, with the private equity owner confirming it was putting the company back into administration and seeking a new buyer.

Gordon Brothers said in a statement that it had "striven to turn around the historically loss-making company by restructuring the business, investing significantly in strategic marketing activities and negotiating with the landlords of its retail outlets. The company also tried to develop a new digital platform but was unable to broker a licensing deal with Blockbuster UK's parent company in the US. Regrettably, the months since the acquisition have also coincided with a period of poor trading performance across both rental and retail sales".

32 employees in Blockbuster's UK HQ will lose their jobs as part of the new move into administration, though the firm's remaining 264 stores will stay open for the time being while a buyer is sought.

SXSW invites Reddit users to ask anything, answers very little
Reddit has a thing called AMA, whereby famous people, noted companies and the like invite the site's users to 'ask me anything' (that's what it stands for, you see?). You probably knew that already, but I just wanted to be sure we were all up to speed. It really is that simple to understand.

In the past there have been pretty insightful AMAs with the likes of Barrack Obama, Bill Gates and Madonna. A well managed AMA can generate great PR, and the best ones generally work because the 'interviewee' realises that, while they don't actually have to answer every question (if nothing else, because there are simply too many), they should at least tackle a few that might be considered difficult.

Earlier this week, as the latest AMA participants, three members of the South By Southwest Music team - General Manager James Minor, Music Conference Panels Chief Melissa Williams and Music Festival Programmer Stacey Wilhelm - managed to provide just seven answers to a barrage of questions that came forth, four of which were basically the same and one of which was a response to a compliment, rather than an actual question.

Anyone who wanted to know about volunteering at the festival, what SXSW looks for in artists who are chosen to play the festival, the event's target market, the qualifications of two of the three staffers, and whether or not they were sad about Lou Reed dying would have gone away happy. Though much of that could have been found in the FAQs on the SXSW website.

And it turned out that wasn't what the majority of people wanted to know. Questions about the expanding size of the event and the annoyance that caused some Austin residents, criticisms of the festival by artists such as DIIV, a perceived increase in commercialism, and where money raised through applications to play the event goes were left unanswered.

Perhaps that's fair enough, though arguably you shouldn't put yourself forward for something called 'Ask Me Anything' if you're not going to tackle at least some of the tricky stuff. And not answering these questions just opened the door for a bunch of angry people to suggest answers to the more contentious queries, turning the whole thing into a bit of a 'let's bash South By' party.

Fair enough to SXSW on ignoring all of the many, many, many requests for free tickets though.

Read through the whole AMA here

Foals' Yannis Philippakis wades into Spotify debate
Following on from the likes of Nigel Godrich, Thom Yorke and David Byrne, Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis has now come out against Spotify. So that's fun. We must remember to post him his "Spotify is evil" badge.

Speaking to Channel 4 News ahead of tonight's Mercury Prize ceremony (where his band are nominated), Philippakis said: "I'd rather somebody stole the record on vinyl than bought it or streamed it on Spotify. Because I think you should listen to music on vinyl, and I think basically anything's better than that".

Now, I know he appears to be saying there that he'd much rather people stole his record than bought it, but I think that's just because he doesn't realise how Spotify works. And not knowing how something works is always a brilliant position to start from when criticising it. Well done, Yannis.

He continued: "It's like going to a restaurant when the chef and all the waiting staff have worked their asses off, and you leave coppers as a tip, and you don't even pay the bill. That's basically what Spotify's like, I think".

Once you've got your head around that metaphor, Music Ally has gone ahead and done the maths on the "coppers" that Spotify has paid out on Foal's Mercury-nominated third album 'Holy Fire' so far. Of course, exactly what Spotify pays out via any one deal, beyond its assertion that 70% of its revenues go back to the music industry over all, is a closely guarded secret. But based on reported figures, MA reckons Philippakis and co's label, Warner Music, will have received somewhere between £69,355 and £207,572 from Spotify play.

That will then be added to monies received from download sales, physical record sales (luckily for Yannis, record shops have to pay for stock even if it is subsequently stolen) and syncs, and then be split between the label and the band, based on their contract. Who can then add it to their share of any publishing income, paid by Spotify or anyone else, plus gig, merch and other monies. So, it's probably more like if you bought a seven course meal and paid for all of it, but noted that some courses weren't as big as others.

Is that confusing enough for you? Well anyway, at least we now know once and for all that stealing vinyl is the only way to hear music properly. I'm off down the shops.

Gaga's X-Factor attire attracts complaints to OfCom
The flesh-coloured pants and shell-bra combo Lady Gaga had on during her appearance on 'The X-Factor' last Sunday have drawn over 250 complaints from offended ITV viewers, who to be honest should consider themselves lucky she wasn't either naked or dressed like shredded wheat.

ITV producers have defended Gaga's pre-watershed performance, which saw her sing a medley of 'ARTPOP' tracks 'Do What U Want' and 'Venus', stating: "We do not believe Lady Gaga's performance was inappropriate for the family audience of the 'X-Factor' results show, which has an established tradition of featuring performances from the biggest music stars. Lady Gaga is well known for her highly individual performance style".

And speaking of 'established traditions', Gaga is only the latest star to attract criticism for an explicit 'X' routine; both Rihanna and Christina Aguilera having been deemed by media regulator OfCom to be "at the limit" of pre-9pm suitability back in 2011.

  Approved: Warpaint - Love Is To Die
Approved once, twice, and now thrice, all-time CMU favourites Warpaint have at last come back with an answer to 2010's 'The Fool', tolling new noise via new single 'Love Is To Die'.

With its light, coltish guitar lines and the part-grave, part-giddy air to its stickpin lyric ("Love is to die/Love is to not die/Love is to dance") it's hardly a radical change for the band, whose might has always been in finding that kind of nuance, that duality, in big, universal themes (which don't come a lot more infinite, or everyday, than love and death).

'Love Is To Die' is fastened to a new LP, also named 'Warpaint', which is set for release on 20 Jan 2014. Warpaint play live at London's Brixton Academy tonight, moving on to Pitchfork Festival Paris tomorrow.
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Susan Boyle biopic still a thing
Susan Boyle's long-rumoured biopic is go, the one-time 'Britain's Got Talent'-runner-up confirmed earlier this week at a press conference. Staying coy about the TBC film, which follows 'One Chance', that movie about former 'BGT' victor Paul Potts, SuBo told reporters "there are plans in operation for that", adding "watch this space".

The real reason for the press call was to introduce Boyle's new Christmas single, a posthumous 'Oh Come, All Ye Faithful' 'duet' with Elvis Presley. It's set to be released on 8 Dec, with all profits going to Save The Children, of which Boyle is an ambassador.

She said at the time: "Duetting with Elvis was beyond my wildest dreams. And now that this is able to raise money and help children is simply fantastic".


Jonas Brothers splitting 'for now'
Having failed to heal whatever fraternal rift lead them to cancel their entire US tour at the eleventh hour, The Jonas Brothers have made the "unanimous decision" to take a break "for now".

Leaving things open ended - meaning there's always a chance the band will be back (again) - junior Jo Bro Nick told People: "It's really hard to say 'forever'. We're closing a chapter, for sure. I was feeling kind of trapped. I needed to share my heart with my brothers".

As previously reported, the trio split from erstwhile home Hollywood Records in 2012, signing a deal with Universal Music earlier this year. Though their fifth LP 'V' is still lacking a release date.

Kanye may release five Yeezus spares
Kanye West has suggested he might release a number of off-cuts from recording sessions for his new LP 'Yeezus'. Speaking via LA radio station Power 106 FM, West said he had five extra 'Yeezus'-era tracks in reserve, one of which, 'I Am Not Here', has already been previewed live.

Back in June, the album's producer Rick Rubin told Newsweek he and Kanye had completed sixteen songs for 'Yeezus', though the final edit only carries ten. Apparently there's a chance fans might hear the new tracks, perhaps in the shape of an EP, by the year's end.


Release round-up: Avril Lavigne, Planningtorock, Justin Timberlake and Savages
Avril Lavigne and Marilyn Manson have made a collaborative fright-night track together titled 'Bad Girl'. Inappropriate in all kinds of ways, it's taken off Lavigne's forthcoming LP, which is streaming in its terrible entirety via the Mirror. 'Avril Lavigne' (the album), which also includes 'Let Me Go', her duet with husband Chad Kroeger, comes out on Monday.

Moving swiftly on, pop iconoclast Planningtorock, aka Berlin-based artist Jam Rostron, is rolling out an album called 'All Love's Legal' in 2014, this via her label, Human Level. Made on the brink of a "creative crisis", it finds her shining a light on themes of gender and identity, as in lead track 'Welcome', Rostron's self-directed clip for which you can view here.

Next it's to a twice-as-nice helping of very different videos, the first being Justin Timberlake's boxing-free clip for his '20/20 Experience' single 'TKO (Total Knock Out)'. A fun fact about it is that its star is Elvis's granddaughter Riley Keough, so that's nice. Watch it here.

And finally, it's noir-rock girls Savages' new vision for 'Marshal Dear', an offshoot of their first and only LP 'Silence Yourself'. Whilst it features not a single Elvis Presley relative, it is based on scene in Kurt Vonnegut's dystopian WW2 novel 'Slaughterhouse Five', which is basically the same thing. Have a peek.

Gigs & tours round-up: Wild Beasts, Drake, Max Richter and Speedy Ortiz
So, indie warblers Wild Beasts have just listed five new November shows, presumably in the run-up to sharing new music. The first of the dates is at Liverpool Academy on 26 Nov, whilst the final one is at Norwich Arts Centre on 30 Nov. Details are here.

Casting a bit further out than that time-wise, Drake has pitched a series of arena appearances, all falling in March 2014. Celebrating his new LP, 'Nothing Was The Same', and featuring The Weeknd, they'll take place between 11 and 25 Mar. Specifics will be available via this here site.

Acclaimed contemporary composer Max Richter is to play a single show at the Barbican in London. Slotting in with the deluxe vinyl reissue of Richter's debut LP, 'Memoryhouse', out 27 Jan, the live date falls on 24 Jan. Find info here.

Also touring in 2014 are US indie firebrands Speedy Ortiz, who'll play six shows in mid February. Toting their well-liked first LP 'Major Arcana', the band start off at the Birmingham Hare And Hound on 13 Feb, with Joanna Gruesome for company.

Listings and 'Major Arcana' slides are live via Bandcamp.

Lou Bega is not dead
Phew. For a moment there I thought the world of music had lost two of its most treasured Lou men in the same week. But good news people, Lou Bega isn't dead.

But that apparently hasn't stopped a group of people who [a] remember that the man who sang 'Mambo No 5' was called Lou Bega, and [b] read a misprint in a newspaper report of Lou Reed's death last weekend, from paying tribute to the not at all late German musician.

Confirming that one as yet unidentified journalist had got their musical Lou's mixed up on Monday, Bega wrote on Facebook earlier this week: "RIP Lou Reed, the genius who took walks on the wild side. PS: I have been receiving tons of condolences because of a journalist confusing our identities".

So, glad that's settled. Though I'm still looking for the "collaboration with Lulu" the Metro noted had been a feature of the latter part of Reed's career in its report on his death at the start of the week.


R Kelly impersonator was in fact R Kelly, apparently
The identity of the R Kelly impersonator who appeared in the singer's place at a performance in Louisiana at the weekend has been revealed. The faker was, in fact, noted R&B lothario R Kelly. Or so a rep for the singer has told Pitchfork.

As previously reported, fans who attended the event said that three hours after the performance was scheduled to start, some guy got up and lip synced badly to a few of Kelly's songs. Promoter Cedric Johnson was then quoted as saying he had been "duped" into booking a fake, though he later denied ever making that claim and instead said the show's publicity had never actually promised an R Kelly performance.

Anyway, in an unexpected twist, a rep for singer has now insisted that the man on stage was the real R Kelly. In an update to its report on the story, Pitchfork writes: "A representative for R Kelly reached out to us, saying the person at the event was indeed R Kelly. They also note that the event was billed as featuring an 'appearance' from R Kelly, not as a full concert".

Which probably won't do much to placate the fans demanding a refund. Though at least those angry gig-goers can rest assured that, whether or not it was Kelly on stage, the event was still a relative success compared to some of the singer's appearances.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | Co-Publisher, Business Editor & Insights Director
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business, and is MD of CMU publisher UnLimited Media.
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ALY BARCHI | Staff Writer
Aly reports on artist news, coordinates the festival, gig and release round up columns, and contributes to the CMU Approved column. She also writes for CMU's sister title ThisWeek London.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of UnLimited Media she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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