An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 7 November 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: "Stop dissing Spotify and sue your record company". I'm paraphrasing ever so slightly, but that's sort of the message that Billy Bragg sent out to his fellow artists via Facebook yesterday as he was gigging on the uber streaming service's home turf in Sweden. Which presumably means it's the major labels that are evil, not Spotify. Which is good news, I was kind of missing that default assumption... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Back in 1968, Austin Wiggin realised that his daughters were going to become the biggest pop group in America, thanks to a prediction made by his palmreading mother. His daughters hadn't ever heard much music, due to his own strict upbringing of them, but realising you can't fight fate, he took them out of school and bought them all instruments. Calling them The Shaggs, Wiggin oversaw the... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Billy Bragg enters Spotify debate: The labels are to blame
LEGAL Jailed Pussy Riot member moved to Siberian prison colony
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Deezer launches new discovery service, announces five million paying subscribers
The Beatles top most-pirated list
Beats appoints Matthew Costello as COO
iTunes Radio will end 'loudness war', claims engineer
MEDIA Whitey hits out at media firms playing the "we have no budget for music" card
RELEASES Actress trails triple-LP, might kill off his alias
Simon Raymonde's Snowbird to drop new LP
Crosses announce debut album
GIGS & FESTIVALS Oh Land announces UK dates
Gigs & Tours round-up: Parquet Courts, London Modular launch and Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball
Festival line-up update: Optimus Alive, Download, Nova Rock and more
AND FINALLY... Diddy postpones his own birthday
Dizzee Rascal hits out at Radio 1
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Billy Bragg enters Spotify debate: The labels are to blame
"Stop dissing Spotify and sue your record company". I'm paraphrasing ever so slightly, but that's sort of the message that Billy Bragg sent out to his fellow artists via Facebook yesterday as he was gigging on the uber streaming service's home turf in Sweden.

Which presumably means it's the major labels that are evil, not Spotify. Which is good news, I was kind of missing that default assumption in the artist community that it's the major record companies who are scum (well, "all major labels are evil, except mine" is the customary line for featured artists still working with one of the big players).

Bragg was basically responding to the various artists who have recently hit out at Spotify, or really the streaming service business model in general. Some - Nigel Godrich, Thom Yorke and David Byrne most vocally - reckon that the royalties paid out by these services are just too small, and if streaming is to ultimately replace both CD sales and iTunes-style downloading, then that's a problem.

But, Bragg notes, all but a handful of indie labels (most notably Ministry Of Sound) remain supportive of Spotify et al, which suggests that, in the main, they are doing very well thank you very much from the growth in streaming music.

The issue for artists receiving tiny royalties then, Bragg argues, is that labels are not sharing enough of the loot with their acts, by applying royalty splits from the CD age, even though record companies do not have the costs or risks that were involved in manufacturing and distributing physical product in the digital domain.

Of course the digital royalties debate is not limited to streaming; many artists reckon the labels are hanging on to far too much of the money generated by download sales too. And as much previously reported, this has been a hot topic of debate in the US record industry where numerous veteran artists are suing for a bigger slice of the digital pie. And a recent report in The Guardian, cited by Bragg in his post on the issue this week, reckons that some Swedish artists may likewise soon go legal on this matter.

Though those artists going legal over digital royalties all have contracts that predate iTunes, where there is no specific mention of digital sales and how the money generated should be split (except that most record contracts do accept the principle that splits may vary for the different ways a sound recording can be monetised). That ambiguity provides opportunity for the artists, because their contracts are open to interpretation, and a judge may interpret in their favour.

But for newer artists, who most of the European pop veterans kicking Spotify of late have claimed to be standing up for, there will be no such ambiguity to play with, because more recent contracts will spell out in black and white how much of download and streaming money the artists gets and, at least for new artists signed to majors, the majority will likely go to the label. Artists with those contracts won't be able to sue their way to more cash; all they can hope for is an industry consensus that talent should get more and an opportunity to renegotiate their original contract down the line.

But back to Bragg, who wrote on Spotify this week: "I've long felt that artists railing against Spotify is about as helpful to their cause as campaigning against the Sony Walkman would have been in the early 80s. Music fans are increasingly streaming their music and, as artists, we have to adapt ourselves to their behaviour, rather than try to hold the line on a particular mode of listening to music".

"The problem with the business model for streaming is that most artists still have contracts from the analogue age, when record companies did all the heavy lifting of physical production and distribution, so only paid artists 8-15% royalties on average".

"Those rates, carried over to the digital age, explain why artists are getting such paltry sums from Spotify. If the rates were really so bad, the rights holders - the major record companies - would be complaining. The fact that they're continuing to sign up means they must be making good money".

"Here in Sweden - where I'm doing a show tonight in Malmö - artists have identified that the problem lies with the major record labels rather than the streaming service and they are taking action to get royalty rates that better reflect the costs involved in digital production and distribution. UK artists would be smart to follow suit".

So take note Thom and Nige. Though the records Yorke and Godrich pulled from Spotify in protest - the former's solo album and the duo's collaborative output as Atoms For Peace - are actually distributed by the Beggars Group which generally gives artists a much fairer 50/50 split on digital money. Which means even if Yorke is being screwed over by a major on the early Radiohead catalogue (now controlled by Warner), he possibly still reckons the Spotify payout is too low, even when the label forwards half the money onto the artist.

This debate, I'm sure, will continue.

Jailed Pussy Riot member moved to Siberian prison colony
Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been moved to a prison colony in deepest Siberia, according to her husband.

As previously reported, it was revealed that Tolokonnikova was being moved to a new jail last week when husband Pyotr Verzilov told reporters he had not been aware of his wife's whereabouts since 21 Oct. Under Russian law when the authorities move a prisoner they are only obliged to let his or her family members know about the new location within ten days of them arriving there, and because of the size of Russia it can take many days for the move from one facility to another to be completed.

Verzilov and Tolokonnikova's father have both claimed that the prison move is a result of the Pussy Riot member's open letter criticising conditions in the jail where she was originally residing, her two hunger strikes to protest said conditions, and other protests held outside her original prison by supporters. Prison authorities decided to punish Tolokonnikova and limit the bad press her incarnation was causing by cutting her off from her supporters and the wider world, her family reckon.

According to The Guardian, having not known of his wife's location for nearly two weeks, Verzilov says he has now received "100% reliable" information that she has been moved to a prison in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, four time zones and 2000 miles from Moscow. The exact prison is not yet known, but could be Prison No 50 in Nizhny Ingash, 200 miles from the city of Krasnoyarsk itself.

Verzilov told reporters: "They do not have the ability to put on the usual psychological or physical pressure they can use with inmates because of the high profile of the case. So they have chosen this as the punishment instead".

Family members had expressed concerns that Tolokonnikova, still weak from her most recent hunger strike, would not be fit enough for the move, though a spokesman for Russia's human rights ombudsman told reporters that prison officials had insisted she was in a "satisfactory" state of health, whatever that means.

As much previously reported, Tolokonnikova and another member of the Pussy Riot collective, Maria Alyokhina, were both jailed last year for their role in a protest performance in a Moscow church against the Putin regime in Russia.

In related news, earlier this week fans at a Manchester City football match had their "Free Pussy Riot" banner removed by officials. Man City were playing CSKA Moscow in a Champions League game.

A spokesman for European footballing body UEFA, which runs the Champions League, confirmed to the BBC that stewards had removed the Pussy Riot supporting sign because "banners of political message or meaning" are not allowed at its games. And too right, I mean, imagine if football fans started having political opinions or objecting to sinister institutions showing a fundamental disregard for free speech. They'd have to boycott all UEFA events for starters.

Deezer launches new discovery service, announces five million paying subscribers
So the dudes from Deezer gathered digital and data junkies in Ronnie Scott's in London yesterday to share some stat brags and talk up their new Hear This flim flam, which takes 'discovery' to "the next level" where, one would hope, there's a better view to be had.

Most players in the fully on-demand streaming music domain have been competing by bigging up their discovery tools of late, of course, given that they all offer pretty much the same catalogue on pretty much the same devices for pretty much the same price.

Hear This will crunch a user's own listening data, spy on their friends' playlists and throw in the views of the firm's own 50 strong editorial team to help consumers navigate the 30 million tracks in Deezer's catalogue. It will be the ultimate discovery service don't you know. Just like all the others.

Deezer founder Daniel Marhely told CMU: "Innovation is in our DNA. We want to help people build and discover their own unique music identity, which is why this year we are getting personal. The Hear This music feed is a game changer for us, pure innovation. We're combining the best of Deezer - man and machine - to give users a unique experience that's tailored exclusively to them".

While Team Deezer got excited about Hear This, many of the journalists in attendance at the Ronnie Scott's bash were more interested in the stats which, in the context of the streaming music market, seemed pretty impressive. Deezer now has five million paying subscribers, double the figure it had this time last year.

"Does that mean Deezer is catching up Spotify in the proper paying customer stakes?" the analysts wondered. Though it's hard to know, because it's over six months since Spotify declared six million premium users, and who knows how many have been added since? Though if Deezer is now nearly as big as Spotify, perhaps the PR people at the latter can persuade Thom Yorke et al to start declaring their rivals to be the "evil destroyers of music".

There are other variables at play too that make it hard to assess how Deezer is doing compared to its higher profile rival, and what the stats tell us about the growth of the streaming music business in general. Deezer has pursued rapid global expansion and has been first to market in numerous territories. It remains to be seen if they can hold onto early adopters as Spotify et al catch up in terms of reach.

And, of course, that five million figure includes users who have, knowingly or otherwise, opted into Deezer's premium option as a free add-on with a mobile phone package. It's not clear how many Deezer users have been signed up this way, though 75% of all listening is on mobile, and the firm does now boast 25 tel co partnerships worldwide.

There is a suspicion that mobile bundle subscribers will be less prolific than loyal users, with many likely to be entire inactive. The former is actually a plus, streaming firms likely need less prolific (and therefore less expensive to service) users for their business to work.

However, loyalty might be an issue. Anecdotal evidence suggests there is already quite a bit of churn in the streaming music space, and if the agnostic playlisting services take off (making it easier for users to take playlists with them from one streaming set up to another) keeping customers may prove to be even more of a challenge. Though logic would suggest that more mainstream users would actually be more loyal than the early adopters who are already jumping ship.

Either way, Deezer boss Axel Dauchez was in typically bullish mood yesterday, declaring that: "Doubling the number of paid subscribers in twelve months sends a hugely encouraging signal that music streaming's time is now. One year ago we pledged to launch Deezer worldwide because we felt music deserved to be truly global. One year on, we are proud to say that we have over-delivered on our promises, with more than five million subscribers across more than 180 countries and a team of expert editors around the world sharing their love and passion for music. But we're not content to simply keep up with the world; we want to lead the charge".


The Beatles top most-pirated list
The Beatles have topped a list of artists whose music is not being taken down from file-sharing websites (or at least not effectively) which has been complied by anti-piracy service MUSO.

As previously reported, MUSO provides services to help independent labels, including Beggars Group, Demon Music Group and Essential Music & Marketing, to monitor illegally shared files online and issue takedown notices for them. The company compiled its top ten by monitoring websites which are compliant with its takedown requests (so missed out the more bullish likes of The Pirate Bay, et al), thus meaning that the illegal files counted could easily be removed.

Coming in first, The Beatles had 187,687 files available illegally on the sites surveyed, over 115,000 more than the number two act, Fleetwood Mac. MUSO estimated that these illegally available Beatles tracks would be accessed around 190 million times per year, with some of the files online for over five years.

MUSO reckons that these ten long serving, big name artists have not got anyone effectively managing how much of their content is available through file-sharing websites, which is likely damaging their respective content revenues.

Of course, you could make the argument that if these artists are not having their files taken down but are still earning plenty from their recordings (The Beatles sold 450,000 digital albums and two million single tracks in their first week on iTunes in 2010) then perhaps it doesn't matter. Though I don't think that's MUSO's viewpoint.

But anyway, it's nice to see Cliff Richard back in a top ten, isn't it? Here's the full list:

1. The Beatles (187,687 uploaded files)
2. Fleetwood Mac (72,984 uploaded files)
3. Bob Marley (60,024 uploaded files)
4. Led Zeppelin (59,011 uploaded files)
5. Cliff Richard (56,576 uploaded files)
6. Stevie Wonder (45,496 uploaded files)
7. Jimi Hendrix (44,093 uploaded files)
8. Elvis (40,794 uploaded files)
9. ABBA (35,193 uploaded files)
10. The Rolling Stones (34,444 uploaded files)

Read our interview with MUSO co-founder Andy Chatterley here.


Beats appoints Matthew Costello as COO
Beats Electronics has a new COO, everyone. And he is Matthew Costello, who was previously Head Of Group Strategic Development for IKEA. Though it's not his way with Swedish furniture that got him the job. Prior to that he was COO at HTC and facilitated the mobile manufacturer's investment in Beats back in 2011. Presumably bosses at the Beats company are hoping Costello can bring in some more big cash investment from companies who then start selling their shares back shortly afterwards.

Announcing the appointment, Beats President Luke Wood said: "I've known Matt a long time and have had the pleasure of working with him in multiple capacities over the years. His credentials and experience as an operations leader who can help drive innovation and support growth in a global organisation speak for themselves. I'm thrilled that we were able to recruit him to join us as we take Beats to the next level".

Costello added: "Beats is one of those rare opportunities where I can bring both my professional expertise and personal passions to work every day. I am impressed by what this executive team has accomplished with this company to date, and even more fascinated by their vision for the future of premium audio and consumer electronics".


iTunes Radio will end 'loudness war', claims engineer
Much debate around iTunes Radio, which went live in the US earlier this year and is due to his the UK in early 2014, is centred on its ability to kill off other streaming services. However, mastering engineer Bob Katz says that he believes it will actually kill off something else entirely.

Speaking at The Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York last month, Katz told attendees that the process by which the service 'normalises' tracks (ie it sets them all to the same volume level) would end the so called 'loudness war' as early as next summer.

The 'loudness wars' - a trend for mastering recordings to sound louder than others in order to make them stand out - has been a hot topic, particularly amongst the studio community, in recent years. Notably, this debate came to the fore in 2008 when Metallica fans realised that songs from the band's 'Death Magnetic' album sounded a lot better in the 'Guitar Hero' videogame than they did on the CD release of the record, which had been mastered too loud.

"[This] approach to sound has become the norm in record production and mastering", Katz told CMU. "The whole situation has become an obstacle to artistic integrity, freedom and a disservice to all consumers".

Speaking about how Apple's Sound Check normalising algorithm may inadvertently reverse this trend, Katz continued: "Of course Apple was not the first to loudness normalise. Pandora has this as an option. [But Apple has] made Sound Check a default in iTunes Radio. It cannot be turned off. This is a big development. It levels the playing field for all musicians. And we engineers hope that they will soon turn it on in regular iTunes as a default too, which will hasten the end of the loudness race".

Read our full interview with Bob Katz about how iTunes Radio could change how we hear music here.

Whitey hits out at media firms playing the "we have no budget for music" card
Electro maker Whitey yesterday kick-started a debate online about the use of music by TV and media companies, which, he reckons, are too prone to claim that they don't have a budget for music, even while they are making serious money from their output, and even though modern TV shows rely ever more on their soundtracks.

Chatter began after the producer posted a screengrab of an email he had sent to TV production firm Betty, which had seemingly requested to use one of his tracks, 'Stay On The Outside', in a new reality show that is in development. Whitey says that in an approach to him about using his track, a rep for the TV firm had claimed that "unfortunately there's no budget for music". The implication being that the company wanted to use the track for free.

Given that Betty is actually a very successful and profitable independent TV producer, apparently working for the BBC on this latest project, this angered Whitey, who pointed out "your company set out the budget, so you have chosen to allocate no money for music. I get begging letters like this every week - from a booming, affluent global media industry".

Whitey says that the letter from Betty is by no means the first to request to use his music while pleading poverty on the budget front, though it was the one that made him go public about the issue. He told CMU: "Once I'd Googled the production company and seen the scale of their success, I wrote my reply quickly [a resolute "no"], sent it and posted it up".

He added: "What we have here are perfectly solvent companies who have smelled the file-sharing buffet, and muscled up to the table to grab a plate. Well they were not invited, and I refuse to feed them any more. I suggest we all do the same. If it is of value to their company, or to their client, then it is clearly of financial value. And that's that".

For its part, Betty insists that there has been a miscommunication here, and that its representative was never suggesting that Whitey would go unpaid if it used his track. UK television programmes can actually licence songs and recordings for sync via the collective licensing system, and Betty says that Whitey would have received payment via PPL and PRS (for recording and publishing rights respectively) if it used his work.

A spokesman told CMU: "We use the collective licensing system through which we gain access to music in a way which ensures both the recording artist and composer are paid. We apologise for any confusion and we have contacted the artist to clarify this. We would never use music without permission and going through the proper procedures".

Whatever the specifics of this particular spat, the response to Whitey's post yesterday amongst the creative community - and beyond just the music space - again demonstrates that creators are increasingly angry about big companies trying to tap their skills and content for free. Of course "we're on a tight budget" and "think of the promotional benefit" are standard negotiating tactics when any deal is done with a creative, though richer brands and media operators may find an ever increasing backlash to those lines in the future.

You can read Whitey's letter and the resulting debate on his Facebook page here.

  Approved: Dot Wiggin Band
Back in 1968, Austin Wiggin realised that his daughters were going to become the biggest pop group in America, thanks to a prediction made by his palmreading mother. His daughters hadn't ever heard much music, due to his own strict upbringing of them, but realising you can't fight fate, he took them out of school and bought them all instruments.

Calling them The Shaggs, Wiggin oversaw the development of his daughters' performing and songwriting style, before in 1969 taking them into the studio to record their debut album, 'Philosophy Of The World'.

Having little desire to be musicians, or frame of reference for what pop music should sound like, The Shaggs did not become the most famous group in the US. However, in the intervening years the album did find a cult following, thanks to the strange and innocent tones of songs like 'Who Are Parents?' and 'My Pal Foot Foot'.

If you're new to The Shaggs (or even if you're not), this 2011 Radio 4 documentary by Jon Ronson, in which he catches up with the Wiggin sisters, is well worth a listen.

Anyway, the reason for this long introduction is that The Shaggs' lead singer, Dot Wiggin, is back with her debut solo album - just 44 years after the release of 'Philosophy Of The World'. Why? I'm not sure. Let's not ask questions now. The album is a mix of previously unrecorded Shaggs songs and new material, and while more polished than the original band (the members of the Dot Wiggin Band being actual musicians), the charm of Dot's very distinct style still shines through.

The album, 'Ready! Get! Go!' came out this week on Alternative Tentacles. Have a listen to opening track 'Banana Bike' here.
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Actress trails triple-LP, might kill off his alias
Bass producer Actress, aka Darren Cunningham, has chalked up a vague 'January 2014' buy-date for his new LP, at the same time suggesting in a roundabout way, as with last year's 'RIP', that it may be his last (under this moniker anyway).

Press released as the "bleached out and black tinted conclusion of the Actress image", the three-disc, sixteen-song 'Ghettoville' seems to be a kind of a sequel to Cunningham's first LP as Actress, 2008's 'Hazyville', a remastered version of which will be in deluxe box set editions of the new album.

Read the odd 'Ghettoville' billing here, and the tracklisting here:

Street Corp


Simon Raymonde's Snowbird to drop new LP
Bella Union boss and one-time Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde is to release a new LP via his present band Snowbird, a collaboration with singer Stephanie Dosen.

So named because Raymond wrote it mostly at night, 'moon' features guest turns by Radiohead's Philip Selway and Ed O'Brien, Eric Pulido and McKenzie Smith of Midlake, folk bard Jonathan Wilson and Laterns On The Lake's Paul Gregory. The first single to rise from 'moon', which comes out in January 2014, is 'Porcelain'.

"I never intended Cocteau Twins to be my last band, but frankly I wasn't just going to jump back on any old nag just for the sake of it", says Raymonde of Snowbird and his collaborations with Dosen.

"I think this is very much Stephanie's record" he went on. "She's a really special singer and I feel the simplicity of my music was the perfect backdrop for her stories and her incredible vocal arrangements. Stephanie was the first singer I had worked with since Elizabeth [Fraser of Cocteau Twins] that I had a real musical empathy with. She could do anything".


Crosses announce debut album
Deftones frontman Chino Moreno's CMU approved collaboration with Far guitarist Shaun Lopez and Chuck Doom - Crosses - will be releasing their debut album next year, it has been announced.

The new record will feature their ten previously released tracks, from their two EPs, plus five newly recorded offerings. Out through Sumerian Records on 10 Feb, it will be available for pre-order from 25 Nov.

Before that, next week in fact, comes the release of new single, '"the epilogue', which you can listen to right here.

Oh Land announces UK dates
Hey, Oh Land is doing one of those UK and Ireland tour things all the kids are talking about. So that's fun. She'll be playing songs off her recently released, Dave Sitek-produced, and very good new album 'Wish Bone'. And probably some off her previous two albums as well (which are also good).

Tickets are on sale now and these are the dates:

2 Dec: Manchester Deaf Institute
3 Dec: Glasgow King Tuts
4 Dec: Birmingham The Institute
5 Dec: London Scala
6 Dec: Brighton The Haunt
8 Dec: Dublin Button Factory


Gigs & Tours round-up: Parquet Courts, London Modular launch and Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball
Punk favourites the world over Parquet Courts have laced 2014's first quarter with a trio of bigtime shows. Said shows are at Brighton's Concorde 2 (14 Feb), Manchester's Academy 2 (15 Feb) and London's Electric Ballroom (16 Nov), and will mark a joint victory lap for the band's very good LP, 'Light Up Gold', and newer EP, 'Tally All The Things That You Broke'. Find all the relevant live details at this link.

And now, such info as is public on the live launch of London Modular, a Hackney-based shop and showroom for all-things, and all-synths, um, modular. Whilst the shop is already open, the venture will officially take off with a live 'revue' consisting of improvised and purely analogue sounds from TBA Hessle Audio, Clone and R&S Records-signed acts. The revue is set for 9 Nov at the Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick. Details here.

And finally, Capital FM has convinced Katy Perry, James Arthur, Naughty Boy, Ellie Goulding, Rizzle Kicks, Olly Murs, Union J, Disclosure and Tinie Tempah to appear at day one of its holly jolly Jingle Bell Ball, which is at London's O2 Arena on 7-8 Dec. Bag tickets to both the Saturday and the Sunday line-ups, the latter of which is still TBC, from Friday, via the Capital site.


Festival line-up update: Optimus Alive, Download, Nova Rock and more
Hurrah, the big line-up announcements continue thanks to the HQ at Portugal's Optimus Alive, who've just signed on Arctic Monkeys to top their bill in 2014. And what's more, following the online furore that broke out in response to Download's first phase of artist additions, Dying Foetus have indeed been added to the festival's bill. I hope you're all happy. In similar news, Craig Charles has self-confirmed for next year's Glastonbury. Again, enjoy.

Also, this: "Hi, you are ready, Nova Rock is now going into its tenth anniversary round and what would be more to fit than open this speak with THE legends of metal. Ozzy Osbourne with his reunited Black Sabbath will headline the Nova Rock 2014. Additional bands follow when there is news to announce".

That's the amazing first bill-based missive from Austria's Nova Rock, by the way, which leads me swiftly on to news of a winter edition of Ibiza Rocks - Ibiza Rocks The Snow - which is in... France. Split into three week-long mini fests ranging between 14 Dec this year and 4 Apr 2014, the snowy ball's first iteration will feature sets by MistaJam, Clean Bandit, Monki and Kissy Sellout.

MistaJam says: "Having had the honour of headlining at Rocks a number of times and also being a ski resort veteran (behind the decks rather than on the slopes), I'm really looking forward to playing at Ibiza Rocks The Snow as I know it's going to be a party like no other. Balearics in the Alps sounds like a match made in heaven".

More FLUUs to follow...

DOWNLOAD, Donington Park, Derbyshire, 13-15 Jun 2014: Dying Foetus.

GLASTONBURY, Worthy Farm, Somerset, 25-29 Jun 2014: Craig Charles.

IBIZA ROCKS THE SNOW, Meribel, France, 14-21 Dec: MistaJam, Clean Bandit, Mele feat Slick Don, Monki, Kissy Sellout, Mak & Pasteman, AZ&TOR, Doorly, Nicola Bear, Ste-V-Something, Patrick Nazemi, K1r3Y.

LONDON INTERNATIONAL SKA FESTIVAL, various venues, London, 17-20 Apr 2014: Dennis Bovell, Laurel Aitken's original Pressure Tenants, Rebelation, Dirty Revolution, Aggressors BC.

NOVA ROCK, Pannonia Fields II, Nickelsdorf, Austria, 13-15 Jun 2014: Black Sabbath.

REBELLION, Blackpool Winter Gardens, 7-10 Aug 2014: Biohazard, The Old Firm Casuals, DOA, SNFU, Zero Boys, Blood Or Whiskey, In Evil Hour, Indecent Assault.

OPTIMUS ALIVE, Passeio Maritimo de Algés, Lisbon, Portugal, 10-12 Jul 2014: Arctic Monkeys.

Diddy postpones his own birthday
Puff Daddy/Puffy/Diddy/P Diddy/Sean Coombes' love of 'keeping things fresh' has lead him to officially delay his own birthday, mainly because he didn't feel like having a party on his real DOB. Which was on a Monday (4 Nov), practically the worst-suited day for a party, so that's fair enough I suppose.

Talking on the matter via his own recently launched TV channel Revolt TV, the rap tycoon explained the postponement, saying: "I'm tired, I've been working on the network for two years, I need a hair cut - my barber's out the country - I need to work out, I need to go see the dentist to get my teeth cleaned".

Quite, I can't think of anything worse than showing up to my birthday party looking flabby, with wild hair and rampant plaque. Nothing. Asked if the whole thing is just some kind of publicity stunt - as if it would be - Diddy replied: "I just want to change my birthday because I'm Diddy and I'm like the black unicorn, lion, tiger, bear and I could do whatever I wanna do".

Diddy/whatever's new birthday is on 16 Nov. Best wishes.


Dizzee Rascal hits out at Radio 1
Dizzee Rascal is not happy with Radio 1. Particularly the BBC station's playlist decisions- it is yet to playlist his latest single 'Love This Town' - but various other things as well. This information was relayed by the rapper via Twitter on Tuesday night.

"Whoever does Radio 1 playlist, suck my dick!" he began. "I'm tired of you cocksuckers, you better stop playing me. Make up your fucking minds! I'm tired of putting up with these two-faced pricks at Radio 1! If anyone's got a problem, let me know. All this nice guy shit's dead!"

He continued: "Fuck Live Lounge! If I gotta keep fighting to get my shit played why bother doing someone else's song so you can sell it on your shitty comp!"

Noting that this possibly wasn't the best way to air his grievances, he nonetheless continued: "Going against Radio 1 ain't smart, but I'm tired holding it down and being a good little nigger. You're full of shit, bar the specialists".

Finally, for good measure, he wrote: "When Americans get played in on Radio 1 they make allowances for profanity but if it's coming from the nigger down the road it's a problem!"

In a statement to NME, a spokesperson for the BBC station said: "Radio 1 has given Dizzee huge support over the last decade, and while not every song can make the cut, we have playlisted three singles off his current album, so we were very disappointed and really surprised to read these comments".

Dizzee's Twitter account has lain dormant since the outburst. However, his Facebook page this morning is bigging up the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball, which I think speaks volumes. Maybe.

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