An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Tuesday 26 November 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: Live giant AEG has announced a rejig of its concert division which sees the departure of Randy Phillips, one of the company's highest profile executives, and the man most closely linked to the firm's ill-fated alliance with Michael Jackson for the 'This Is It' venture, and a stand-out (if not overly sympathetic) witness in the recent court battle between the Jackson family and the promoter. The rejig will mainly... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: The follow up to their debut single, the also approved 'Girls', this EP from Rainer (vocalist Rebekah Raa and producer Casually Here, aka Nic Nell) continues in a similarly impressive vein. Like the best song Junior Boys never wrote for the Sugababes, the title track deploys hypnotic dubstep-inflected pop infused with an air of melancholy resignation to devastating effect. 'Hope' starts innocuously... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Randy Phillips out as AEG Live management rejigged
LEGAL Beastie Boys respond to Goldieblox lawsuit
LIVE BUSINESS SFX buys into Rock In Rio
BRANDS & MERCH Austin to sponsor NME Awards in 2014
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Soundrop launches on Deezer allows users to send push notifications to subscribers
ARTIST NEWS Robbie talks Take That comeback, equals Elvis
RELEASES Bruce Springsteen releasing new LP featuring Tom Morello
The xx releasing LPs on limited edition vinyl
Lambchop's Nixon to kick off Merge Records reissue series
GIGS & FESTIVALS Blur pull out of Big Day Out, blame bosses
Original UB40 vocalists announce reunion
Festival line-up update: Field Day, Download, NorthSide, Alt-Fest and more
AWARDS Serbia pulls out of 2014 Eurovision Song Contest
AND FINALLY... Conrad Murray "held Michael Jackson's penis every night", again denies causing singer's death
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Randy Phillips out as AEG Live management rejigged
Live giant AEG has announced a rejig of its concert division which sees the departure of Randy Phillips, one of the company's highest profile executives, and the man most closely linked to the firm's ill-fated alliance with Michael Jackson for the 'This Is It' venture, and a stand-out (if not overly sympathetic) witness in the recent court battle between the Jackson family and the promoter.

The rejig will mainly impact the US side of AEG Live, the touring and festivals division of the wider Anschutz Entertainment Group. Jay Marciano, COO of the AEG parent company, will become Chairman of AEG Live and will have a more hands-on role in running the division.

Reporting in to him will be Paul Tollett, who remains President of the Coachella-producing Goldenvoice unit; John Meglen as President Of Global Touring; and Shawn Trell who becomes COO of AEG Live. Trell basically replaces Thomas Miserendino, who recently moved within the business to become CEO of AEG Europe.

Although he did divide opinion within the wider industry, Phillips has often been credited with successfully building up AEG's touring operation, making it the second biggest concert business worldwide after Live Nation. And while Michael Jackson's sudden death in 2009 left AEG Live with multi-million dollar bills for a show that now couldn't proceed, it's generally assumed the firm recovered most of its losses through its involvement in the 'This Is It' movie Phillips managed to cobble together from rehearsal footage.

Early last year the exec signed another five year contract to stay on as President of AEG Live, so it's not clear why he's now stepping down. AEG's announcement yesterday provided no insight - no mention of the exec "retiring" or "moving on to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions" - and Phillips himself is yet to comment. Though it could be a logical conclusion of the surprise departure of Tim Leiweke, overall CEO of AEG, back in March after Anschutz Inc decided to call off the sale of its entertainment company.

Beastie Boys respond to Goldieblox lawsuit
Beastie Boys have hit out at an American toy company called GoldieBlox over the use of a parody of their song 'Girls' in a new advert, and a pre-emptive lawsuit the company has launched against them. The new version of the song twists the sexist lyrics of the original to one more fitting with GoldieBlox's aim to make toys that encourage girls to take an interest in science and technology.

Last week, the company filed a lawsuit asserting its right to use the song under US 'fair use' rules that provide a parody exemption, stating that GoldieBlox "created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company's goal to break down gender stereotypes". The company claimed it had gone legal on the matter because the group had "threatened GoldieBlox with copyright infringement" action.

Responding to that claim, Beastie Boys say that they simply contacted the company to discuss the matter, because while they agree with the sentiment of the commercial, they do not allow their music to be used in any adverts at all ever - something the group's Adam Yauch felt so strong about, he had it written into his will. Though if GoldieBlox successfully justifies its use of the Beastie Boys track under fair use, the trio's opinion on the matter might not be relevant, in the US at least.

In an open letter to the company, published in the New York Times, surviving members Mike D and Adam Horowitz said: "Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial 'GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys', we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad. We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering".

However, they continued: "As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song 'Girls' had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US".

Last year Beastie Boys sued Monster Energy Drink over an unauthorised 23 minute mix of their music made available through its website, just days after the advertising stipulation in Yauch's will was made public.

SFX buys into Rock In Rio
Yes, it's yet another SFX deal. I'm starting to think we should just have a standalone section for reporting on the EDM-focused live firm's rampant acquisition spree.

Hot on the heals of its purchase of German dance music promoter i-Motion, the SFX company also confirmed last week that it had taken a 50% interest in the Rock In Rio franchise. A new company has seemingly been established that will own and operate the Rock In Rio events, and it is that new business of which SFX will own half.

Rock In Rio founder Roberto Medina will continue to lead the festival, which has more of a pop rock base than most of the other events SFX has bought into, with plans to further expand the brand beyond the programmes that have taken place in the past in Rio, Lisbon and Madrid. Medina is already talking about a Vegas-based version of the festival.

Confirming the deal, SFX chief Robert Sillerman told reporters: "Partnering with Roberto is very exciting for all of us at SFX. While it's a great opportunity to help build and grow the Rock In Rio brand internationally, utilising our global promoter network, it's also an opportunity to learn from the operational and commercial expertise that has made Rock In Rio and Robert Medina global phenomena".

Medina added: "We have built the Rock In Rio brands with passion since 1985 and are excited about a future with SFX, which will allow us to expedite the growth of our brands into new territories. With SFX's commitment to the development of the integrated next generation solutions, we also believe that our sponsors will have a greater platform for their brands in the US, as they already have in the countries in which we are established, having the festival as their main communication tool".

Austin to sponsor NME Awards in 2014
So this is a shockwave, or more to the point not a Shockwave. To be honest I can't remember when Shockwaves stopped sponsoring the NME's annual awards bash, but if we could all pretend that's a recent development, the various hair gel references in this story will make more sense. Thank you kindly. And I do like what you've done with your hair.

So yes, IPC Media has announced a new sponsor for the NME's big awards show in 2014 and it is, erm, the city of Austin in Texas. Which is different. Coming soon, the NME Radar Tour sponsored by Bratislava and the NME Freshers Tour in association with Croydon.

Though Austin, of course, is the Live Music Capital Of The World. We know this because the city's council has trademarked that slogan, so it must be true. Though as the home of South By South West, at least most of the bands presented with awards by Team NME next February will be able to honestly say they've been to Austin, which is better than having to lie about, yes, of course I style my hair with that goo from Wella.

And now NME editor Mike Williams, who always secretly sculpted his hair with Lynx Messed-Up Look Re-Workable Paste, is going to tell you how much he is in awe of the city of Austin: "No city in the world does more to support live music than Austin, Texas. They pack in a mindboggling amount of amazing festivals into a year, each of which seems to get better every time. Like everything else that the city does, they do it all their own way, embracing vibrancy, diversity and passion. There couldn't be a more perfect partner for the NME Awards 2014".

Meanwhile Bob Lander from the Austin tourist board got on the blower (phone, not hair drier, the hair product references ended in that last paragraph) and told CMU: "We are thrilled to be the title sponsor for the 2014 NME Awards. This partnership represents an incredible opportunity to expose our Live Music Capital Of The World(r) brand and outstanding Austin talent to their fan base".

I'm not saying he actually spoke the little 'r' in a circle, but it was there. Bob would also like you to know that British Airways will be flying direct from Heathrow to Austin from next March, though I can't work out whether that'll actually be in time for South By. You probably wouldn't be able to afford the direct flight option anyway.

Meanwhile, back in Britain, the NME Awards, taking place on 26 Feb, will return to the Brixton Academy, currently sponsored by shit phone firm O2 of course, though due to be rebranded as the Damascus Academy Brixton early next year.

Soundrop launches on Deezer
'Social listening' app Soundrop, which allows users to join online 'rooms' and listen to music together, has arrived on Deezer. Launched two years ago, the app has until now only been available to Spotify users.

Deezer founder Daniel Marhely told CMU: "Joining a thriving Soundrop room is one of the most unique ways to enjoy music, which is why we're excited to welcome Soundrop to our growing list of app partners. Our goal is to help cutting-edge music services instantly tap into a global audience of music fans - ultimately helping artists reach potential fans everywhere. By allowing artists to join these rooms, Soundrop creates the kind of music experiences you'll never forget - which is exactly the kind of thing we want for our users".

The news comes just as US-based announced that it was turning off its social listening platform, and focusing on a completely different service, offering paid for online access to live studio sessions. The company said it couldn't make its social listening service add up commercially, though Soundrop has, from the start, had an advantage on that front my plugging its set up into existing streaming platforms, so to avoid the issues around licensing tracks themselves.

Launching the Deezer version of the service, Trentemøller last night hosted a listening party, with similar events hosted by The Bloody Beetroots and Yuksek planned for tonight and tomorrow. Deezer users can listen in here.

Find out more about Soundrop in this CMU interview with co-founder Inge Andre Sandvik here.

-------------------------------------------------- allows users to send push notifications to subscribers
Social network has launched a new feature called Broadcast, which allows users to set up accounts that will deliver text-message-esque push notifications to their followers' mobile phones. The aim, says the company, is to ensure that information that people really want is not lost in the constant feed of social network updates, acting somewhere in between social media and an email mailing list.

Followers must explicitly subscribe to the push notifications, which are currently delivered through the mobile app. However, developers can also integrate the service into their own apps. founder Dalton Caldwell said in a blog post announcing the new feature: "At the heart of our company values is the principle that that our users are our customers, and everything we do must put them first. With Broadcast, users are completely in control: a person will receive exactly what they subscribed to, no more and no less. is functioning as the 'pipes' connecting publishers with subscribers".

Broadcast is free to all users currently, with the company planning to launch additional features for paid account holders.

Read more here, and subscriber to the CMU Broadcast channel here.

  Approved: Rainer - Hope EP
The follow up to their debut single, the also approved 'Girls', this EP from Rainer (vocalist Rebekah Raa and producer Casually Here, aka Nic Nell) continues in a similarly impressive vein.

Like the best song Junior Boys never wrote for the Sugababes, the title track deploys hypnotic dubstep-inflected pop infused with an air of melancholy resignation to devastating effect.

'Hope' starts innocuously but builds into an epic ballad amid military drum rolls and swelling orchestration, before unexpectedly upping the tempo, even incorporating choirs and tropical percussion to render achingly beautiful cinematic pop music.

The duo play London's Sebright Arms on Thursday, 28 Nov. The EP, released yesterday, is streaming now.
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Robbie talks Take That comeback, equals Elvis
Robbie Williams is fairly convinced that Take That will make another full-group five-man comeback at some point, if only on a one-off basis, this after Gary Barlow told Jonathan Ross on his chat show that a TT re-group with all five members would be his "dream".

Whether or not Williams will be involved in the planned new Take That LP, says Gaz, is something they'll decide when they begin making it in January 2014. Certainly, Mark Owen said back in June that "Gaz and Rob" had been working on songs together, so this could go either way.

Speaking to Q magazine, Robbie said on the possibility of another reunion: "I think it will happen, all five of us. It probably will happen once more".

He added: "But, you know, band dynamics and getting five people to agree on something. It's textbook stuff - one member does this, one member does that. 'Oh Jesus, now we've got to wait'. 'Ah well, fuck him', deh deh deh".

Yep, erm... deh deh deh. In more definite Robbo news, Williams' newest LP, 'Swings Both Ways', came in at number one in the pop charts this past Sunday, in so doing making it the 1000th long-player to hit the top spot in the UK Official Albums Chart, the first being Frank Sinatra's 'Songs For Swingin Lovers' in 1956. 'Swings' charting in pole position also brings Robbie's solo number one LPs tally to eleven, drawing him level with Elvis Presley.

Here he is being characteristically meek about it all

Bruce Springsteen releasing new LP featuring Tom Morello
Bruce Springsteen will on 13 Jan release his eighteenth studio album 'High Hopes', a mix of new titles, re-recordings of his own unreleased songs, and covers, that takes its title from a song written by Tim Scott McConnell of LA band The Havalinas, a live favourite of Bruce's.

As well as the E Street Band and multiple guests, it heavily features Tom Morello, who stood in for regular E Street guitarist Steve Van Zandt on the group's recent tour of Australia, and who, Springsteen says, was his "muse" whilst he was making the new LP.

Springsteen writes in its liner notes: "This is music I always felt needed to be released. I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing".

Check the full list of song titles on show below, and the video to the title track here.

High Hopes
Harry's Place
American Skin
Just Like Fire Would
Down In The Hole
Heaven's Wall
Frankie Fell In Love
This Is Your Sword
Hunter Of Invisible Game
The Ghost Of Tom Joad
The Wall
Dream Baby Dream


The xx releasing LPs on limited edition vinyl
The xx, who've proven to be big business in vinyl in the past, have announced they'll release new limited edition vinyl box sets of their LPs 'xx' and 'Coexist'.

Sold separately at £55, the two sets will comprise individual seven-inch discs for every song on both LPs, plus individual artwork for each track. They're available to order now, each restricted to 1000 copies.

They probably don't need any help in selling, but here's a link to details anyway.


Lambchop's Nixon to kick off Merge Records reissue series
Merge Records has made Lambchop's 'Nixon' the first LP it'll reissue as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, which will see the label re-release classics from its timeline at a rate of one-a-month, starting in 2014.

First out in 2000, the reissue will include a bonus disc featuring 'White Session: How I Met Cat Power', a solo session the band's lead singer Kurt Wagner taped back in 1998.

Wagner describes 'Nixon' as "the peak of the fourteen-person Lambchop", adding that it was the band's last to be made on analogue.

Blur pull out of Big Day Out, blame bosses
Blur have thrown a bit of a hissy fit over a planned appearance at Australia's Big Day Out bash in January, cancelling it because they disapproved of the way the event's organisers were "shifting goalposts" and making "challenging conditions".

The band were set to co-headline the festival, which takes place over six Australian cities between 17 Jan and 2 Feb 2014, with Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire, but say via Facebook: "We've done our very best to work with the organisers and considered every option to make it happen, but they've let us down and let everyone else down too".

Whether the band's comments regards the Aussie fest's promoters are justified isn't known, though they do follow other albeit unsubstantiated rumours that issues were occurring behind the scenes at the two decade old event. For their part, "disappointed" Big Day Out bosses claimed they only learnt of the cancellation via Blur's FB message, adding that they're now trying to find a replacement.


Original UB40 vocalists announce reunion
Having just quit UB40, vocalist Astro has announced that he will reunite with two other founder (and now ex) members of the group, original frontman Ali Campbell and keyboard player Mickey Virtue, for a live show next week. Campbell and Virtue both left UB40 in 2008 citing issues with the outfit's management.

Astro told CMU: "It's going to be great working with Ali again after all this time. We started on a mission to promote reggae music and that mission is still ongoing. Onwards and upwards!"

Campbell added: "We originally formed UB40 to promote reggae. It was never about promoting individual band members - it's about the music and the fans. Nothing else matters. Welcome home Astro!"

Discussing his split from UB40, Astro said: "I informed management and our agent several weeks ago that I would not perform until various outstanding issues were cleared up. I also advised them not to use my name or image in any tour publicity so as not to mislead fans. I now felt I needed to inform the fans myself, so they were fully aware and would not go to a concert in the hope of seeing me".

Of his own departure and the subsequent years, which included various band members going bankrupt in 2011, Campbell said: "It was a very acrimonious split and it remains so. I consider the whole band as my brothers - including my two real brothers who are in the current line-up - and for six years we haven't said a word to each other. It's very sad to see what they've done to the legacy of UB40. It's not the original line-up and they haven't been very transparent about that at all".

The trio will play IndiO2 in the O2 dome complex on 6 Dec.


Festival line-up update: Field Day, Download, NorthSide, Alt-Fest and more
Tuesday's big festival news is that Pixies are playing the all-new extra day of 2014's deceptively-titled Field Day event, which is really a weekend thing. Pixies will close FD proceedings on Sunday 8 Jun, and here's an audio clip of them talking about just that.

Surprisingly (or not, now I think about it), dad-rock duo Status Quo haven't played Download since 2008. That's all about to change, though, because they're hitting the festival again in 2014, according to the latest Download line-up announcement, which also names The Offspring, Trivium and Steel Panther amongst the latest acts confirmed to join the likes of Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, Aerosmith, Fall Out Boy and Rob Zombie.

The Quo's Francis Rossi says somewhat tediously: "When Status Quo once again take to the Donington stage, it will have been 32 years since we headlined the Monsters Of Rock Festival on 21 Aug 1982. That year saw the Falklands War, the launch of the Commodore 64, Aston Villa winning the European Cup and the raising of the Mary Rose. You might say a lot has changed since then but we are still rocking, and still playing the Quo hits. See you there".

Also, it's been confirmed Peter Hook and his band The Light will put their spin on Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures' at the 2014 edition of Alt-Fest, playing it in full, so that's nice. The rest of the set is to be decided by an online vote by the fans.

Touching on that, Pete says: "Having played some 200 gigs with The Light now, I've found that the fans all have their own particular favourite tracks which they want to hear live. It's a great idea to throw some of the set list over to the people at Alt-Fest to see what they most want to hear us play. It will be interesting to see what they come back with".

Yes, it will be, as will seeing these listed additions to Alt-Fest, Cropredy, Galtres, Giants Of Rock, Leicester Music Festival, Northside, Shrewsbury Folk Festival and Watchet Live:

ALT-FEST, Boughton House, Kettering, 15-17 Aug 2014: Peter Hook And The Light, Killing Joke, Arch Enemy, 13 Candles, Cold In Berlin, Christine Plays Violan, New Device.

CROPREDY, Oxfordshire, 7-9 Aug 2014: Chas & Dave, Marillion, Al Stewart.‎

DOWNLOAD, Donington Park, Derbyshire, 13-15 Jun 2014: The Offspring, Status Quo, Steel Panther, Trivium, In Flames, While She Sleeps, Letlive, The Black Dahlia Murder, Crossfaith, Miss May I, Blessthefall, Dying Fetus.

FIELD DAY, Victoria Park, London, 7-8 Jun 2014: Pixies.

GALTRES PARKLANDS FESTIVAL, Duncombe Park, York, 22-24 Aug 2014: John Otway, Chris Helme.

GIANTS OF ROCK, Butlins Minehead, Somerset, 7-10 Feb 2014: Blue Oyster Cult, Big Country, Sweet, Molly Hatchet, Martin Barre Band, John Coghlan, Elliott Randal, The Bev Bevan Band, The Jones Gang, Screaming Eagles.

LEICESTER MUSIC FESTIVAL, Welford Road Stadium, Leicester, 25-26 Jul 2014: Professor Green, Soul II Soul, Billy Ocean, Aswad, Stereo Nation, The Real Thing.

NORTHSIDE, Soren Frichs Road, Jutland, Denmark, 13-15 Jun 2014: The National, Lucy Love, Turboweekend.

SHREWSBURY FOLK FESTIVAL, West Midlands Showground, Shrewsbury, 22-25 Aug 2014: Bellowhead, Seth Lakeman, Dhol Foundation, Lau, Steve Knightley, The Full English, Four Men & A Dog, Karine Polwart, Martin Simpson, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston, Andy Cutting, Huw Williams & Maartin Allcock, Moulettes, Steve Tilston, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, Bella Hardy, Megson, Duncan McFarlane, The Wilsons, The Young'Uns, Molotov Jukebox, Sunjay Brayne, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Steve Turner, The Harvesters, Carole Palmer & Maria Barham, Sue Brown & Lorraine Irwing, Cupola, Take Two, Cara Luft, J P Hoe, and Matt Gordon, Leonard Podolak.

WATCHET LIVE, Parsonage Farm, Watchet, Somerset, 22-24 Aug 2014: RSVP, Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs, The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican, Leatherat, Ned The Kids Dylan, Company B.

Serbia pulls out of 2014 Eurovision Song Contest
Serbia has pulled out of next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark, citing the "high costs necessary to participate", according to the BBC. Croatia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have also decided to stay out of the competition for financial reasons.

The four countries will sit out next year's Contest along with Slovakia, Czech Republic and Andorra, who dropped out last year because of the costs of participating. Turkey will also stay away for a second year, though due to a dispute over the rules. It will instead concentrate on its rival event, Turkvision. However, two other 2013 no-shows, Portugal and Bosnia-Herzegovina, will both return in 2014.

The deadline to enter the 2014 competition passed on 22 Nov, but countries may pull out at any point before 15 Dec without incurring any penalties.

Conrad Murray "held Michael Jackson's penis every night", again denies causing singer's death
Conrad Murray has again denied that he did anything that could have caused the death of Michael Jackson, this time in a new interview with The Mail.

As previously reported, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. The court ruled that his negligence in providing the surgical anaesthetic propofol as an insomnia cure brought about Jackson's death in 2009. Murray was released from prison last month, two years into his four year sentence.

"I never gave Michael anything that would kill him", Murray insists in the interview. "I loved him. I still do. I always will ... By the end, Michael Jackson was a broken man. I tried to protect him but instead I was brought down with him".

Murray maintains that he was attempting to wean Jackson off propofol in the weeks before his death, but that the singer had a private supply, and it was an overdose of that stash that killed him.

The doctor said that Jackson was already using the drug before he met him, adding: "He told me there were doctors in Germany that gave it to him. I didn't agree with this at all, but Michael wasn't the kind of man you can say no to. He would always find a way. So I acquired propofol and gave it to him over a two-and-a-half month period as I weaned him off it, which I finally achieved three days before he died".

Of course, if you're a doctor there probably shouldn't be anyone you can't say no to. And despite having weaned the singer off the drug, on the night he died Murray claims that Jackson begged him for a shot of the medication, so he administered a small dose that he knew would wear off quickly. Then, the doctor explains: "I believe he woke up, got hold of his own stash of propofol and injected himself. He did it too quickly and went into cardiac arrest". This was the theory put forward by Murray's team at his trial, though the jury didn't buy the explanation.

The lengthy interview also sees Murray explain how close he was to Jackson. One of the more unusual, some might say unnecessary, comments he makes in order to show this is this one: "[Jackson] wore dark trousers all the time because after he went to the toilet he would drip for hours. You want to know how close Michael and I were? I held his penis every night. I had to put a condom catheter on him because Michael dripped urine. He had a loss of sensation and was incontinent. Michael didn't know how to put a condom on, so I had to do it for him. His room smelled terrible".

Read the full interview if you like over on the Daily Mail website here.

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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