An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 14 November 2013

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Poor Lily Allen. There she was thinking that she was lampooning derogative stereotyping in pop music through the video to her new single 'Hard Out Here', and then it turns out that she herself is a closet racist who subconsciously stereotypes black females at every possible opportunity. Which is to say that an American blogger has hit out at Allen for what he sees as racial stereotyping in her new video... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Now that Lorde is the biggest new pop sensation of 2013, the world has started wondering if she's a one-off or if there are more future stars hiding out in New Zealand. Well, possibly. New Zealand's always had a pretty good selection of acts knocking around at any one time actually, even if the big exports come les often, but a quick follow-up to Lorde's success may be arriving in the form of Broods... [READ MORE]
 
TOP STORIES Lily hits back at claims her pop-parody video is racist
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LEGAL Jackson family file appeal in AEG case
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DEALS Universal Publishing signs Miley Cyrus
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Record industry collecting societies offer pan-European licence for online background music
Candidates revealed for PPL performer director posts
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Takedown requests to Google leap to over 200 million in 2013
SoundCloud celebrates five years
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MEDIA Iggy Pop, The Clash and Lars Ulrich join 6music's Christmas line-up
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ARTIST NEWS Paloma Faith to exhibit photography
Daniel Johnston looking to Kickstart short film
Johnny Borrell looks back on Borrell 1
The Virgins to part
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RELEASES Release round-up: Britney Spears, Eagulls, Sasha Keable and Phoenix
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GIGS & FESTIVALS James Lavelle to curate Meltdown 2014
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AWARDS A Greener Festival award winners announced
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AND FINALLY... Cliff worried for Miley
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Lily hits back at claims her pop-parody video is racist
Poor Lily Allen. There she was thinking that she was lampooning derogative stereotyping in pop music through the video to her new single 'Hard Out Here', and then it turns out that she herself is a closet racist who subconsciously stereotypes black females at every possible opportunity.

Which is to say that an American blogger has hit out at Allen for what he sees as racial stereotyping in her new video. Even though, as previously reported, the whole point of the singer's new pop promo is to mock and criticise stereotyping and prejudice in pop music, in particular honing in on the recent debate about the pop industry's tendency to present men and women in very different ways.

The video starts out with Allen being surgically altered at the insistence of a suited music chief in order to fit the misogynistic view of what a pop female should look like. The video then sees Allen cavorting with an all-female dance troupe sending up the stylings of many modern pop, R&B and hip hop vids.

But, says blogger BlackinAsia, the majority of those dancers are black and it's the black women who are dressed in the most revealing outfits and perform the most sexually suggestive moves. And that is "sickening". He adds: "[This video] is meant to be a critique of popular culture and consumerism but employs and denigrates black female bodies to do so and [to] elevate [Allen's] status as a white woman".

Given the whole point of this video is to mock derogatory norms in pop performances, presumably if the black women are being degraded more than the white dancers, then that is another crime the pop industry is being accused of and therefore another crime being parodied.

Then again, the problem for Allen is that if she defends her video by simply saying it's "being ironic", well that's how Robin Thicke defends the 'Blurred Lines' pop promo. And even though Thicke probably wouldn't know irony if it shoved its arse in his face and asked to be slapped, it does pose a problem for any pop star genuinely making a political point in an ironic way.

Allen, for her part, says that the BlackinAsia blogger is simply overanalysing her video. In a message posted yesterday the singer wrote: "If anyone thinks for a second that I requested specific ethnicities for the video, they're wrong. If anyone thinks that after asking the girls to audition, I was going to send any of them away because of the colour of their skin, they're wrong".

Conceding that she herself isn't showing much flesh in the video, compared to her predominantly black dancers, she goes on: "If I was a little braver, I would have been wearing a bikini too, but ... I have chronic cellulite, which nobody wants to see. What I'm trying to say is that me being covered up has nothing to do with me wanting to disassociate myself from the girls, it has more to do with my own insecurities and I just wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on the shoot day".

She went on: "The message is clear. Whilst I don't want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a light-hearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture. It has nothing to do with race, at all".

Of course, while Allen may have responded angrily to the viewpoints expressed on the BlackinAsia blog, his commentary has ensured that the video is provoking plenty of thought and conversation. Though if Lily is tiring of controversy, perhaps for her next video she should sing along to another shit cartoon about a bear.

Jackson family file appeal in AEG case
Presumably aware that the Jacksons v AEG Live timeline on the CMU website has ground to a halt, Katherine Jackson yesterday filed an appeal over the ruling in the long running legal battle between the pop family and the live entertainment giant, over its liability - or not, in the eyes of the courts so far - for the 2009 death of Michael Jackson.

As much previously reported, the Jackson family claimed that AEG, as promoter of their most famous son's ill-fated 'This Is It' show, should be held liable for the late king of pop's demise, because it employed Conrad Murray, the medic jailed for causing the singer's death through negligent treatment. But after a long trial the jury hearing the case decided that, while AEG did hire Murray, because he was a licensed doctor it was reasonable for the live firm to assume that he would provide safe and proper healthcare.

But the Jacksons think the jury got it wrong - obviously - and are now embarking on an appeal. Confirming that fact, Mrs Jackson's attorney Brian Panish is quoted by RadarOnline as saying: "She isn't throwing in the towel. We can't give up until we gather all the information. Today is another chapter".

So the case, I guess, continues.

Universal Publishing signs Miley Cyrus
Skinless pop chipolata Miley Cyrus has brought her 'Bangerz' to the Universal Music Publishing Group, which will thus take exclusive international care of the publishing side of the singer's mostly self-written new LP, also called 'Bangerz'.

Digesting the deal, UMPG's North American President Evan Lamberg says: "It's a real honour for Universal Music Publishing to be involved globally with Miley who is, as a songwriter and artist, reinventing the art of pop music in a powerful way right before our eyes. Kudos as well to her business and managerial team of Bill Sobel and Larry Rudolph who have done an incredible job supporting Miley's vision".

Miley was too busy reinventing pop in a powerful way/being nude right before our eyes to comment. Here she is doing one or the other, I'm not sure which, in Future's new 'Real & True' video.

Record industry collecting societies offer pan-European licence for online background music
The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has announced that 20 European record industry collecting societies are collaborating on a new pan-European licence for individuals and small businesses which want to have "background music" playing on their websites.

It means that eligible licensees can gain one licence to cover the sound recording copyrights in the recorded music they use on their sites in 20 countries. Each of the participating societies will offer the pan-European licence, which will operate similar to the multi-territory licences the record industry already offers broadcasters who simulcast their FM or DAB services online. Obviously separate licences would still be required to cover the separate copyrights in the lyrics and musical compositions.

The European Commission has been putting pressure on the music rights industry to offer more multi-territory licences in Europe for some time, especially in those scenarios where rights owners licence collectively (through collecting societies) rather than directly with licensees. That said, most of that pressure has been put on the music publishing industries' societies, who generally wield more power, simply because collective licensing is bigger in the publishing sector than the record industry.

The new recorded music licence is relatively limited in reach, given that it is only available to individuals and SMEs, and only covers "background music" on websites. Though the labels presumably hope that it will encourage people currently using background music without licence to go legit, motivate others not currently using background music to consider adding it to their sites, and convince European politicians that the industry is moving in the right direction.

Commenting on the new pan-European licence on the recorded music side, IFPI boss Frances Moore told CMU: "This is an important initiative that will make licensing simpler for small users by offering a one-stop shop pan-European licence. The discussions held recently with the European Commission as part of their Licences For Europe initiative show how far our industry has come, and how much we have achieved. And the market will continue to develop".

The participating countries/societies are as follows: Austria (LSG), Belgium (SIMIM), Bulgaria (PROPHON), Czech Republic (INTERGRAM), Denmark (GRAMEX), Finland (GRAMEX), Germany (GVL), Greece (GRAMMO), Hungary (MAHASZ), Ireland (PPI), Italy (SCF), Latvia (LaIPA), Lithuania (AGATA), Netherlands (SENA), Poland (ZPAV), Portugal (AUDIOGEST), Romania (UPFR), Spain (AGEDI), Sweden (IFPI Sweden), UK (PPL).

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Candidates revealed for PPL performer director posts
British record industry collecting society PPL has announced the candidates for the two performer director positions that are up for election. As previously reported, where as one performer director is usually elected to the organisation's board at its Annual Performer Meeting, this year two posts are available, because the total number of performer directors is being increased.

Four musicians are standing for the posts, including Mark Kelly, who has just completed a stint in the job and is restanding, his fellow Featured Artist Coalition board member Crispin Hunt, plus Robin Millar and Iain Sutherland. All four have written statements which you can read on the CMU website here. All performer members of PPL get to vote.

The society's APM takes place on 27 Nov at the Royal Institute Of British Architects in London.

Takedown requests to Google leap to over 200 million in 2013
Google has received over 200 million requests to remove links from its search engine so far this year. This is up from 50 million last year.

According to research carried out by TorrentFreak, record label trade bodies the BPI and RIAA are the most active issuers of takedown notices, issuing 31 million and 43 million respectively. The site most targeted by copyright holders with takedowns is FilesTube, with over 7.5 million notices issued against links to it in Google's system.

Last year, Google issued its own stats for the organisations issuing the most takedowns, with the BPI then coming second after Microsoft, with just 182,805 notices. Google also made a point of discussing notices issued against legitimate links, either maliciously or in error (notably, the BPI took down links to a negative review of a Drake album). But TorrentFreak claims that around 99% of the notices issued this year have been adhered to, which either means organisations are getting more diligent or Google just can't keep up with the phoney claims.

Of course, this rapid rise in takedowns doesn't necessarily mean that piracy is booming, more likely that the takedown notice business is gaining momentum, and rights owners and the technology they use to monitor unlicensed use of their content is getting better.

Said rights owners are also playing catch up, ie they are issuing takedowns against pirated content that has been online for some time. And this trend seems likely to continue, because there's still much work to be done - as previously reported, The Beatles recently topped a list of artists whose catalogue continues to be available via unlicensed (but takedown compliant) sites at high levels, seemingly with no one yet proactively issuing the takedown requests.

And as for piracy levels, Digital Music News reported this week that file-sharing now accounts for less that 10% of total web traffic in the US, while use of legal content services (in particular Netflix, which sits at number one) is rising.

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SoundCloud celebrates five years
As of yesterday, SoundCloud has been online for five years. And to mark the occasion, the company asked a few of its users about their experiences on the website - uploading the recordings of their responses, of course.

Amongst those representing music users in the interviews is Iza Lach, a Polish singer-songwriter who collaborated with Snoop Dogg, after he discovered her on SoundCloud (her proudest moment, of course, being an awkward appearance with the rapper in an infomercial for a takeaway app).

SoundCloud co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss told CMU: "Five years ago we started SoundCloud to serve our own niche as audio professionals, but from the overwhelming response we got from our community we quickly came to appreciate just how fundamental sound is to the human experience. At launch back in 2007 we would have found it hard to imagine that an artist such as Snoop Lion would use our platform to discover a brand new talent in Iza Lach. We can't wait to hear what stories the next five years will bring to light".

Listen to all the birthday chat here.

Iggy Pop, The Clash and Lars Ulrich join 6music's Christmas line-up
Iggy Pop, The Clash's Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, and Metallica drum hitter Lars Ulrich will all present shows on BBC 6music this Christmas, it has been announced. Pop will present two shows (one of Christmas Day, the other on New Year's Day) about his own legacy, Ulrich will be interviewed by Matt Everitt on Christmas Day, and Simonon and Jones will play some records for a couple of hours on Boxing Day on a show going by the inventive name 'This Is Radio Clash'.

Iggy Pop screamed in the voice normally saved for the weird puppet version of himself in those adverts he does: "To come up with the tunes that fit the concept of each show, I've had to dig back to things that I haven't heard in a long, long time, but that still carry memories of joy and compulsion. I thought I better check these old numbers to see if they still made the grade for me. They still do".

He added (switching to a surprising and accurate impersonation of Alan Wicker): "I was a little worried that the listening might feel ragged for the kind of people who can't embrace Duane Eddy and, say, The Last Poets in the same hour with Doc Watson. Well, that's too damn bad. I've listened to all this music for the shows and it all flows for me. I hope to reach out and touch you".

Then 6music's Head Of Programmes Paul Rodgers suddenly butted in, saying: "Iggy Pop, Paul Simonon, Mick Jones and Lars Ulrich are fascinating characters and have recorded some great shows, with a wide range of eclectic and exciting music choices which could only be heard on a station like BBC Radio 6music, and we hope they will delight our listeners over the festive period".

We hoped to get back to Iggy's amazing array of voices, but when we turned back he was skipping down the corridor slapping people on the forehead and telling them they were "cured". I guess we'll just have to tune in to his shows to find out if he does any more impressions.

  Approved: Broods - Bridges
Now that Lorde is the biggest new pop sensation of 2013, the world has started wondering if she's a one-off or if there are more future stars hiding out in New Zealand. Well, possibly. New Zealand's always had a pretty good selection of acts knocking around at any one time actually, though if asked most would probably still come up with Neil Finn, Flight Of The Conchords and, maybe, one or two Flying Nun-signed acts from the 80s.

All of which doesn't come a cross as a very high hit rate. But a quick follow-up to Lorde's success may be around the corner in the form of Broods. The brother and sister duo, Georgia and Caleb Nott, have been working with Lorde producer Joel Little (which helps) and have racked up over 200,000 plays for their debut track, 'Bridges', on SoundCloud.

The track certainly displays some of the subtle touch Little bestowed on Lore's debut album, but the finished recording has a fuller sound - both musically and in Georgia's quietly emotive voice. Negotiations with labels and publishers are now in full flow, ahead of a planned EP release in February.

Check out the video for 'Bridges' here.
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Paloma Faith to exhibit photography
Music artwork seller Album Artists is to exhibit a collection of Paloma Faith photography at the Redchurch gallery in Shoreditch later this month. That's photography of Paloma Faith, not by Paloma Faith. The collection features work from the singer's album artwork by David Standish and Finlay Mackay, as well as live shots by Saul.

Says Faith: "I am thrilled to be able to exhibit these artworks. The photographers involved are all amazing and I am so proud to have worked with them. I am extremely hands-on with my visuals, and collaborate very closely with photographers to achieve the final image. In an age where we are all downloading music, it's wonderful to be able to appreciate fully the work that goes into creating the beautiful imagery surrounding an album".

The exhibition will run from 28 Nov to 1 Dec, with a private view on 27 Nov, with proceeds from sales of the works being donated to the Kids Company charity. More information here.

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Daniel Johnston looking to Kickstart short film
Daniel Johnston is on Kickstarter now, looking for cash to finish and release a collaborative film he's made with LA-based maker-of-film Gabriel Sunday. Titled 'Hi, How Are You?', the part-narrative short will chart Johnson's life and artistic times, and feature his songs and illustrations.

In a bid to raise $35,000 to cover post-production costs, Johnston promises, amongst other prizes given to sponsors, to draw portraits (priced at $1000) of those donating, and also to add fans as cartoon characters into the film itself.

Find details of the drive, the end deadline for which is 8 Dec, here, and see its trailer here.

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Johnny Borrell looks back on Borrell 1
Johnny Borrell has been gobbing off to Drowned In Sound about his not-as-bad-as-it-sounds (in fact actually quite alright) solo LP 'Borrell 1', which had a rather rough landing sales-figures-wise on its release earlier this year. I say 'gobbing off', but Johnny's actually quite civil and articulate (and, dare I day, 'humbled' in places) so all just lay off him for a minute and buy 'Borrell 1', won't you? No? Oh, alright.

Anyway, he says a lot about what it was like being on a major label (not nice, apparently), and what it's like now to have more autonomy (much nicer, thanks), stating: "On a personal level, I feel like I connected with songwriting again. I feel free in terms of songwriting, I feel like this is definitely the strongest stuff I've done for a very, very long time in terms of songs - that is the very definition of satisfaction".

And: "We played to what, 80 people in Paris last night? I would rather play to 80 people who are switched on enough, and unprejudiced enough, to get what's going on with this band right now, than to play to 80,000 people who are there because that's the CD that's out this year or whatever. Of course I would, it's what it's about".

Look at the full Q&A, a good chunk of which is about Johnny's love for riding his motorbike indoors, here.

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The Virgins to part
Potato/potato, tomato/tomato, NYC scrap-pop types The Virgins are calling the whole thing off, and have duly cancelled their 2014 European tour.

Letting everyone down gently, the band's lead singer Donald Cummings tells Rolling Stone: "I was a young guy and wanted to be in a band and it was great, but I don't feel that way anymore. I'm an adult now and I think there's something really unsettling about a grown man walking around pretending to be a teenager".

Yes, there certainly is.

"I just want to keep doing new things", continues Cummings, who's plotting a solo course now. "I was really proud of the last record and it's a great feeling to end the band in a place where I'm really happy. I don't know what the next thing would be except to try something I have never done before".

Having formed in 2006, The Virgins released their eponymous debut in 2008, following it back in March with 'Strike Gently'.

Release round-up: Britney Spears, Eagulls, Sasha Keable and Phoenix
'Britney Jean' Spears' new LP has gained an official tracklisting, or rather, laid bare to fans the tracklisting it already had. Britney did it herself, by the way, to prevent "sneaky hackers" from getting there first. In terms of guest features, it credits Will.i.am, TI and even Spears' little sister Jamie Lynn (this on 'Chillin With You'). And as an added extra detail for the pop files, Diplo has revealed he did in fact co-write one of its tracks, 'Passenger', with Sia and Katy Perry. 'Britney Jean' is released 2 Dec.

Next it's Britney's all-time fave band, angry Leeds lads Eagulls. They've spat out a new track as a primer for their first LP ever, 'Eagulls', which is set to land via Partisan Records on 3 Mar 2014. Said primer, a track titled 'Tough Luck', will be released as a single on 16 Dec, and goes like this.

Jessie Ware-esque new face Sasha Keable - who features on Disclosure's 'Settle' highlight 'Voices' - has shared a new clip matching her neat new single 'Careless Over You'. The track is a facet of Keable's 'Black Book' EP, which can be picked up free via her site. And here's 'Careless For You'.

And to 'fin', it's electronic-pop Frenchos Phoenix, who this week premiered their new 'Chloroform' video, 'Chloroform' being a song on their new LP 'Bankrupt'. It's directed by Sofia Coppola, wife to Phoenix's Thomas Mars, so smother yourself in it here.

James Lavelle to curate Meltdown 2014
Following Yoko Ono's stint earlier this year, UNKLE producer and DJ James Lavelle is to take curatorship of 2014's edition of Meltdown festival, which will be held at London's Southbank Centre on 13-22 Jun.

Lavelle, whose label, Mo'Wax, also marks its 21st anniversary in 2014, will chose all the event's artists and on-site installations, a la other past curators like Morrissey, David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Antony Hegarty.

Lavelle says of taking the position: "I am deeply honoured to have been asked to curate Meltdown 2014. I intend to create a vibrant and exciting collage of counter-culture and collaboration from the worlds of music, film, art and everything in between. I want to bring together my influences from the past, the present and my work as an artist in contemporary society as well as transforming the space in a way that's never been done before, both artistically and musically".

He adds: "In curating Meltdown I have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of young artists in the same way that I was inspired as a teenager. Together we will push boundaries, shoot for the moon and create something that people will never forget".

The full line-up for the festival will be announced early next year, but for now you can read some quotes from former Lavelle collaborators about what a swell guy he is here. And a CMU column on him by Eddy Temple-Morris. Oh, and why not listen to the playlist he put together for us? That should be plenty to be getting on with while you wait.

A Greener Festival award winners announced
A total of 43 festivals round the world have been given awards for environmental friendliness by campaign group A Greener Festival this year, up from 41 in 2012. Eleven festivals received the highest level Outstanding Award, four of which - Croissant Neuf Summer Party, Hebridean Celtic Festival, Shambala Festival and Another World - are UK based.

A Green Festival Director Helen Innes told CMU: "This year has been an encouraging year for environmentally aware events. Rising fuel costs prove the good sense in reducing power use, and the ever increasing costs in disposing of waste prove the importance of managing waste and having sensible recycling policies. Many of our participating events have raised the bar yet again - and we are seeing some amazing initiatives round the world where festivals can reach out and spread the green message in a friendly and practical way".

However, she added, people leaving their tents behind after festivals - a matter also raised by AGF co-founder Ben Challis when we spoke to him last year - is still an issue that increases the environmental impact of festivals. Innes explained: "One of the biggest problems that remains across Northern Europe is the appalling sight of acres of left behind tents and camping gear at festivals, and we will be prioritising this again in 2014".

To see the full list of festivals given awards in the Highly Commended, Commended and Improving categories, click here. Here's the list of festivals named Outstanding in 2013:

Croissant Neuf Summer Party (UK)
The Falls Festival, Marion Bay (Australia)
Hebridean Celtic Festival (UK)
Island Vibe Festival (Australia)
Lightning In A Bottle (USA)
Øya Festival (Norway)
Shambala Festival (UK)
Splendour In The Grass (Australia)
Sunrise Festival - Another World, The Festival Micronation (UK)
Welcome To The Future Festival (Netherlands)
Way Out West (Sweden)

Cliff worried for Miley
Wow, you know things have got bad when Cliff Richard starts offering you career advice. He has said that he hopes Miley Cyrus will grow out of all that twerking and naked-swinging business.

Speaking to Sky News, Cliff said: "The industry has changed drastically and that damages young artists. They don't have the same support system that we had, they wanted us to be happy. I just hope she grows out of it. This industry can be very destructive, I'm not sure why that happens, or why I was lucky enough to not have that happen to me. I feel families keep your feet pinned to the ground. I still think of my dad now".

He added: "I don't know whether she's done the right thing. Will it see her through to becoming a mature star, or will it be thrown at her? Years ago a woman might be told 'I won't take your picture unless you take your top off'. I took my top off for a picture once. And after that I kept my vest on".

Anyone who's seen a Cliff Richard calendar in recent years will know that's patently not true. Though I suppose he did keep his clothes on for this year's centrefold.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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