An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Monday 2 December 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to this special festive edition of "let's diss a list of bands". And whereas when we last met, to moan about the Mercury Prize shortlist, we all joined in with a rendition of "those clearly weren't the best albums of the last year", today we'll all be singing "they'll never make it, they'll never succeed". All together now... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Real Lies' only real secret - which isn't really a secret anyway - is that they have friends in high places, or rather, Vice places, the three-piece's Kev Kharas being online editor at Vice. I say 'secret' - they're really quite transparent in that respect, neither denying nor making a big deal of the slim, slim chance that nepotism may have played a bit-part in the way their very first video, 'Deeper'... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Sound Of 2014 longlist revealed
LEGAL Jackson estate sends cease and desist letter to Conrad Murray following latest media interviews
Lostprophets comment on Watkins' crimes
Bob Dylan sued for "racial slur"
DEALS One Direction songwriter signs to Big Deal/BMG
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL HMV confirms move away from gadgets
BRANDS & MERCH Volkswagon hires Underworld to compose music for responsive in-car audio app
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Tunetribe appoints new Business Development Manager
MEDIA Former journalists hit out as Venue magazine goes offline
ARTIST NEWS Pixies drop Kim Shattuck
Phil Collins thinks on coming back
The Walkmen in state of "extreme hiatus"
GIGS & FESTIVALS Festival line-up update: Bugged Out Weekender, Bearded Theory and Noisily
AND FINALLY... Miley Cyrus leading Time Person Of The Year race
Horse kicks man in face
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Sound Of 2014 longlist revealed
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to this special festive edition of "let's diss a list of bands". And whereas when we last met, to moan about the Mercury Prize shortlist, we all joined in with a rendition of "those clearly weren't the best albums of the last year", today we'll all be singing "they'll never make it, they'll never succeed". All together now...

Of course the BBC's once-just-a-news-article Sound Of list has a pretty good record for predicting what new artists will break in the year to come, in that while half of the longlisted acts will never be heard of again, a few of them - and usually the few that come out top once the Beeb puts these into some sort of order in the new year - probably will be the biggest new names in music in 2014.

But, of course, your favourite new artist of now is almost certainly missing. In case you wondered, yes, that was done specifically to piss you off. Meanwhile, let's all imagine a year where at least some of the following dominate the music agenda...

Chance The Rapper
Chlöe Howl
Ella Eyre
FKA twigs
George Ezra
Luke Sital-Singh
Nick Mulvey
Royal Blood
Sam Smith
Say Lou Lou

Saying things about the Sound Of 2014 list, here's Radio 1 music chief George Ergatoudis using words: "Unless you happen to have a handy Tardis there's no better way to get a glimpse into the future of music than the BBC's Sound Of 2014. The annual longlist compiled by BBC News remains the definitive survey of the UK's key musical tastemakers and in the highly competitive world of popular music a place on the list is highly prized. This year's list features a fascinating and diverse range of talented artists, the majority from the UK, and all are definitely worth a listen".

The overall top five will be revealed via the Sound Of 2014 website and Nicky Grimboy's Radio 1 breakfast show week commencing 6 Jan.

Jackson estate sends cease and desist letter to Conrad Murray following latest media interviews
The Michael Jackson estate's attorney Howard Weitzman has written a cease and desist letter to Conrad Murray, warning him to stop speaking to the press about his relationship with the late singer, citing doctor-patient confidentiality rules.

As previously reported, Jackson's former personal doctor Murray was found guilty in 2011 of causing the singer's death through negligence. Released in late October, having served half of his four year sentence, Murray has since been giving out interviews to the media professing his innocence, re-presenting his own theories as to how Jackson died (which were rejected by the jury in his trial), and relating anecdotes about how close a relationship he had with the singer.

Murray presumably thinks he's helping in some way with these interviews - either helping himself or the memory of Michael Jackson, or both - but he has a tendency to say things that work against him. Like in his recent interview with The Mail, where he said: "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".

That quote having done the rounds online last week, the Jackson estate has clearly decided enough is enough and set the lawyers on him. In his letter, obtained by RadarOnline, Weitzman writes: "Your recent comments to the media about Mr Jackson's medical treatment and ultimate death shamefully violate the physician-patient privilege under California law".

He continues: "Despite your self-serving statements to the contrary, you were clearly not Michael Jackson's 'friend'. You were Mr Jackson's medical doctor charged with his care. In this regard, all communications that you had with Mr Jackson were in the course of that physician-patient relationship, and are therefore presumed confidential and absolutely privileged".

Calling Murray's courting of the media "beyond ironic and cowardly" - the doctor having refused to give testimony in his trial for involuntary manslaughter - Weitzman threatens to sue if Murray does not comply with the request to stop giving interviews.

He also hinted that - while the estate reckons much of the apparently private information Murray has given out "appears fabricated" - he would still make contact with any medical board in any state where Murray attempts to have his medical licence re-instated, to point out his tendency to breach doctor-patient confidentiality.

Responding to the legal letter, Murray's lawyer Valerie Wass told the New York Daily News: "It's fairly obvious that this letter was written with the intent to release it to the public and intimidate Dr Murray. I find it absurd that the estate is making such strenuous objections, adamantly protesting comments by Dr Murray when in fact the door to Michael Jackson's medical history was opened widely by the Jackson family during their wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live".

Whether Murray will heed Weitzman's warning or not remains to be seen. However, if he does intend to attempt to regain his medical licences in California or Texas where he was struck off after being found guilty of causing Jackson's death (and it's been indicated he might), he could be convinced by the threats.


Lostprophets comment on Watkins' crimes
The other former members of Lostprophets have issued a statement following the very short trial of their one-time bandmate Ian Watkins last week.

As previously reported, after denying the list of charges against him for nearly a year, the Lostprophets frontman finally pleaded guilty last Tuesday to various sexual abuse crimes, including two counts of attempting to rape an eleven month old baby and conspiring to rape another similarly aged child.

Since Watkins was arrested a year ago, the rest of Lostprophets have only commented three times. Once to express their shock at the allegations and to tell fans that they were learning about their bandmate's then alleged crimes at the same time as the public. Then to confirm they would no longer be performing under the Lostprophets name. And then last week the band's guitarist Lee Gaze posted a short tweet after Watkins had pleaded guilty, expressing relief that the trial had at least been resolved quickly as a result of his ex-bandmate finally admitting to his crimes.

On Saturday the band took to Facebook to comment on Watkins' guilty plea, and the crimes he has now admitted to. They wrote...

"Earlier this week, we learned that the allegations of child sexual abuse against Ian were true, and that he would not be contesting them in court. Until then, we found them extremely difficult to believe and had hoped it was all a mistake. Sadly, the true extent of his appalling behaviour is now impossible to deny.

Many of you understandably want to know if we knew what Ian was doing. To be clear: We did not. We knew that Ian was a difficult character. Our personal relationships with him had deteriorated in recent years to a point that working together was a constant, miserable challenge. But despite his battles with drugs, his egotistic behaviour, and the resulting fractures and frustrations within our band, we never imagined him capable of behaviour of the type he has now admitted.

We are heartbroken, angry, and disgusted at what has been revealed. This is something that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Being in a band has always been a labour of love and a platform to inspire people, not to take advantage of them. It's still hard to believe this is happening and that someone we were once so close to has destroyed so many lives, lying every step of the way.

Our hearts go out to Ian's family, the fans and friends he betrayed, and most importantly, the victims of his crimes and others like them. We hope for justice, but also that Ian will truly take responsibility for what he's done. We would urge any other victims to contact the authorities".

The comments from Watkins' former bandmates mirror those of others in the industry who worked with him, who likewise knew the frontman had become ever more erratic and hard to work with in recent years, mainly as a result of his drug addition, and who were also aware of sordid rumours about the singer being posted online, but who never imagined the true nature of his private life.

One former friend of Watkins, Cardiff-born and New York-based journalist Rae Alexandra has written about the shock of discovering the extent of his crimes for SF Weekly.


Bob Dylan sued for "racial slur"
Bob Dylan and Rolling Stone magazine are facing legal action in France, according to, for an interview the latter published with the former back in September.

In the article Dylan was asked about Civil War-era America and whether it, and the slave trade it was concerned with, still had an impact on his country today. Responding, the singer songwriter opined that ethnic groups who suffered oppression in the past will still, deep down, feel some resentment towards or suspicion of the descendants of their oppressors.

Comparing continued racial tensions in America with more recently oppressed ethnic groups, Dylan mused: "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery - that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood".

It's the last part of that statement - alluding to the Yugoslav conflicts of the 1990s, and the tensions between Serbs and Croats - that has caused offence, albeit in France, where a Croat community group has taken action accusing Dylan and Rolling Stone of making a racial slur. According to the International Business Times, Vlatko Mari, secretary general of the French Council Of Croats, said of the remark: "It is an incitement to hatred. You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats".

Dylan presumably wasn't actually trying to compare all Croats with the few guilty of war crimes though, while the specifics of the French law behind the legal action aren't clear, the Council's lawsuit has reportedly been accepted by the courts. That said, it is still to be "evaluated on its merits". Assuming it's not rejected early on, it could take over eighteen months to go through the motions, according to Business Insider.

One Direction songwriter signs to Big Deal/BMG
Songwriter-to-One-Direction John Ryan has signed an exclusive international publishing contract with Big Deal Music and BMG's joint venture which, as previously reported, is run by industry big-timers Kenny MacPherson, Dave Ayers, Jamie Cerreta, Michael McDonald and Pete Robinson.

Ryan, who co-wrote 1D's 'Best Song Ever' (which wasn't really as advertised, was it?) and has penned hits for JLS, Avicii and Olly Murs, says this: "I am thrilled to be working with Big Deal and BMG Chrysalis. Kenny MacPherson and Casey Robison were among the first people in the business to hear my songs and show interest in what I do".

Laurent Hubert, Creative & Marketing President at BMG Chrysalis US, chips in: "It is a privilege to be associated with an extraordinary talent such as John Ryan. He has the drive and gift for hit songmaking and we are honoured to be working with him at BMG/Big Deal as he continues the next phase of his long-term career".

HMV confirms move away from gadgets
The gadgets which former bosses at HMV put so much hope in as the company slid towards oblivion a year ago are being cleared away, the retailer's new management has confirmed, to make way for more music, films and games. Though the headphones aisle will remain, and the retailer will keep stocking books and t-shirts.

Under previous CEO Simon Fox, the old HMV Group pursued a diversification strategy to counter slumping CD and DVD sales on the high street, which included moving into the consumer electronics space, ie selling the devices consumers use to listen to music and to watch movies.

And indeed, after pressure from money-lenders forced most of Fox's other diversification projects to be put on hold, the iPad selling became rescue strategy number one. There was a logic to the approach, and it helped the firm's turnover on paper because of the high price point of tablets and suchlike, though the fact consumer electronics chains on the high street were also struggling suggested giving over shelf-space to gadgets wasn't going to be a panacea.

And the new guard at HMV, following the Hilco-instigated rescue of the company earlier this year, reckon that the move into gadgets just confused the brand. Steve West has told PCR magazine: "We have cut back on some of the high-end technology items such as tablets and given this space over to core HMV products. You will see a focus on music, film and games featuring great chart offers, extraordinary campaign titles and a deep back catalogue. This is what HMV does best".

Though, West added: "We will keep selling books, headphones and t-shirts. Indeed, we have expanded our t-shirt range significantly over the last six months and we continue to expand our very successful headphone range".

Volkswagon hires Underworld to compose music for responsive in-car audio app
Volkswagon last week unveiled a new iOS app which creates music live based on information from a car's engine management computer and location.

The website for the technology explains: "The innovative app reads how and where you drive, translating it into music live. The app gets speed and RPM data from the GTI's on-board computer. The steering acceleration and location data is calculated from a combination of the accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS receiver present in the iPhone. All of the data collected is filtered and smoothed before use".

Remarking on the musical credentials of the new app, Underworld's Rick Smith adds: "I think we all felt from the beginning that if it was just an experiment that produced an experimental result and that was it, then it was going to be a failure. It needed to arouse emotions, as music does".

It's not currently planned to make the system publicly available, but you can see it in action here.

Tunetribe appoints new Business Development Manager
Download store Tunetribe last week announced the appointment of Marcel Swagers to the new role of Business Development Manager. Swagers, who has previously worked for both TV and music companies, and who was most recently Regional Director with digital comms agency Way To Blue, will be "tasked with supporting the company's existing creative and brand partnerships and seeking further commercial opportunities".

He will report into Tunetribe CEO William Haighton and work closely with Terry Boland who, as previously reported, became the digital firm's General Manager at the start of the year. Haighton told CMU: "At this very exciting phase of Tunetribe's evolution we need real experience to help us achieve our goals. Marcel's track record speaks for itself; he has achieved success across a number of different sectors and has added real value to whatever role he has taken. We are delighted to have him join the team".

Former journalists hit out as Venue magazine goes offline
Journalists present and (mainly) past who worked for Bristol-based listings and entertainment magazine Venue last week published a critical final post as the 30 year old title's new owners basically turned off its last remaining outpost, its website.

Venue was basically the Time Out for the South West and enjoyed much success in the 1980s and 1990s, though like its counterparts elsewhere in England, including Manchester's City Life and the Leeds Guide, the title struggled in more recent years as it battled against new competition from online media.

Owned for over a decade by the publisher of the Bristol Evening Post, which in turn was part of the Daily Mail group's local newspaper division Northcliffe, the entertainment title's operations were downsized over a number of years, with the standalone print title being phased out in spring 2012. But a website continued, albeit manned by just two employees compared to the big team of journalists who contributed to the magazine back in the day.

The Northcliffe newspaper company became part of a new venture called Local World earlier this year, and as part of further rationalisation now taking place across that business, the Venue site was closed down last week, with plans to redirect people to online entertainment content published by the firm's other titles in the region.

Former Venue writers hit out at this development last week, and also at a Local World strategy document recently leaked that talked of "content managers" instead of journalists, who would "harvest" stories for "a live content stream".

In a long open letter to Local World management, the former contributors wrote: "So, here we are then. Friday 29 November 2013. Venue's last day on Earth. Hours from being swept away as part of what you so dreamily term 'the development of the what's on module'. Sometime in December, we learn, will re-emerge, like butterfly become grub, as Because, heck, nothing answers 'Hey, where to find what's happening in town tonight?' quite so snappily as Given a firm push, a downhill gradient and a stiff following wind, it just rolls off the tongue".

They went on: "You want to hand over [the Venue] legacy to a paper whose management - not journalists - are the precise equivalent of those radio stations which promise 'your better music mix' and then put the same few songs on repeat. Which claim 'the best new music' and fail to add 'once it has charted and proved its popularity'".

And they continue: "You want to hand over that legacy because, to quote from a staff email you neglected to send us, 'the existing Venue website has really good functionality with a real blend of music reviews, listings, restaurant reviews etc, etc - this is a fantastic opportunity to grow our digital audience and a great platform to sell advertising on'. [The email] even pays tribute to the management team. Do you have any idea how much that hurts, Local World? Of course you don't. You who boast all the cultural hinterland of a freshly discarded wet wipe".

You can read more from the parting Venue post on the Buzzfeed site here.

  Approved: Real Lies
Real Lies' only real secret - which isn't really a secret anyway - is that they have friends in high places, or rather, Vice places, the three-piece's Kev Kharas being online editor at Vice. I say 'secret' - they're really quite transparent in that respect, neither denying nor making a big deal of the slim, slim chance that nepotism may have played a bit-part in the way their very first video, 'Deeper', appeared straight away on sites like the Vice-tied i-D and other places where Kharas has contacts in his editor guise, like the good old Quietus.

So, with the Vice elephant clearly labeled and heaved aside, let's step on to 'Deeper' itself, which swims in the same slick, streamlined circles as the Pet Shop Boys' 'West End Girls', taking dips in chemical synth waves and pooling all its nostalgic might via a 'classic' rave-era keys line.

Talking about the track, and the ways Real Lies engage with their inherent 'manliness' with the Quietus, in a chat that sketches the band as a 'Deeper'-thinking breed of 'anti-#lad', the trio's Tom Watson says: "A lot of it is to do with masculinity. To go back to the smoking area, the drop in 'Deeper' was recorded in smoking area in a club, I think the cover art really brings that vulnerability of masculinity out too".

Kharas adds: "[Masculinity] never gets enough attention. It gets caricatured. People don't understand that there are nuances, not every man has to conform to type. There's nothing more offensive than those Ginsters adverts about Movember and how you need brown sauce to have a fucking sandwich. Come on mate. I find that very limiting. I think with the haircut thing [on the sleeve artwork] there's the vulnerability, you're trusting a man with something that's quite important".

Well. Whilst I've no way of knowing if that's really the case, or if the sensitivity thing is all an act, 'Deeper' is still a great pop song. As is Real Lies' newer single, 'World Peace', the caliber of both of which I realise I've probably tainted by starting with the Vice thing. Which really isn't important. Anyway review 'World Peace' and 'Deeper'.
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Pixies drop Kim Shattuck
To lose one Kim is bad luck, but to lose two might be considered, yeah, whatever. Pixies have seemingly dropped The Muffs frontwoman Kim Shattuck, who stepped in this summer to play bass for the band, after founder bass playing member Kim Deal stood down in June.

We are basing this on a tweet Shattuck posted this weekend, in which she wrote: "Disappointed to learn that my time w/Pixies ended today. Amazing experience. Focusing attn on Muffs & new album. All the best to everyone".

The rest of Pixies, who have US and Canada tour dates booked in for much of January and February, are yet to comment.


Phil Collins thinks on coming back
Rhythmic pop idol Phil Collins says he might come out of hibernation and start playing/making all-time classic hits again. Having made a fairly big song and dance about 'retiring' in 2011, he has now told the Guardian he's considering going back to playing live, potentially even with Genesis, the latter of which hasn't happened since 2007.

He tells the broadsheet: "I have started thinking about doing new stuff. Maybe playing some shows again, even with Genesis. Everything is possible. We could tour in Australia and South America. We haven't been there yet".


The Walkmen in state of "extreme hiatus"
The Walkmen's bassist, one Peter Bauer, has revealed that the band are on a "pretty extreme hiatus", and have "no future plans whatsoever". Which in real terms only means they won't be releasing any new LPs for a while, maybe even years, but will return one day. That's what I hope is the case, anyway.

Talking with a admittedly palpable air of finality to the Washington Post - worse, in an article titled 'This could be the last time' - Bauer has said: "We really just have no idea. I don't think any of us wanted to write another Walkmen record. Maybe that will change down the line, maybe it won't, maybe we'll play shows. I think it's weird to make a hubbub about something if there's nothing to really make a hubbub about. At the same time, I don't think we've been a gang properly for a long time, so there's not much to break up, I guess".

"It's been almost fourteen years now", he adds. "I think that's enough, you know?"

Oh dear. Both Bauer and The Walkmen's lead singer, Hamilton Leithauser, have solo LPs in the offing, so that's some consolation for fans, at least.

Festival line-up update: Bugged Out Weekender, Bearded Theory and Noisily
So it's a rather short FLUU today, featuring, in contrast, very large additions to Bugged Out Weekender, Bearded Theory and Noisly, all of which are big deals in the festival field.

Have a look:

BEARDED THEORY, Catton Hall, Walton-Upon-Trent, 22-25 May 2014: The Stranglers, Dexters, Merry Hell, Hayseed Dixie, Ferocious Dog, Billy Nasty, Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs, Astralasia, Thinker, Chris Liberator, Glowbones, Tribazik, Mark One, Drum Machine Electric, Eat Static, Ege Bamyasi, Ted Triangle v Ed Tangent, Mr C, Finitribe Soundsystem, Ctrl Alt Del, Clumsy, Monster Ceilidh Band, Suns Of Arqa, The Orb Sound System, Celt Islam, DJ Templehead, Liquid Lounge, Denzileo.

BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER, Pontins Holiday Park, Southport, Merseyside, 7-9 Mar 2014: Todd Terje, DJ Ez, Waze & Odyssey, Justin Robertson, Monki, Route94, Seth Troxler, Ben Pearce, Carl Craig, Claude Von Stroke, Julio Bashmore.

NOISILY, Coney Woods, Noseley Hall, Leciestershire, 11-13 Jul: Max Cooper, Slam, Gaudi, Symphonix, Tristan, Hedflux, OTT, Far Too Loud, Avalon, Sonic Species, E.V.P, Scorb, Psymmetrix, Kursa.

Miley Cyrus leading Time Person Of The Year race
Really? Yes. In a terrifying testament to the human race's mindless silliness and/or a straight up fix, Miley Cyrus is the present leader in Time magazine's 'Person Of The Year' 2013 'people's choice' poll, which is meant to be a measure of who's carried the most weight in this year's headlines. If she wins, she'll align with past winners Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin, and a heap of American presidents so... do with that information as you will.

Whilst this is possibly all a massive hilarious joke that I just don't understand, Cyrus is, in fact, a long way out in front with - at last look - 21.5% of the vote, which means that - to most voters' minds - she has "influenced the news for better or worse" more than the likes of current runners-up Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (the Turkish PM), Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian army) and Narendra Damodardas Modi (the Gujurati Chief Minister). Which, if we're taking MTV and TMZ as the only news media worth monitoring for world affairs, she is.

Please all cast your votes before the poll closes on 4 Dec. Though note, Time's editors don't commit to go with the people's choice winner when choosing who actually gets the cover spot on their Person Of The Year edition.


Horse kicks man in face
Misunderstood N-Dubz MC Dappy was thrown off his horse whilst cantering in the grounds of his stately home the other day, as you do, and afterwards kicked in the face (by said horse). The rapper apparently, says The Mirror, received emergency medical treatment in hospital, and is now recovering.

Dapz hasn't had a great year, if we're being frank, having been given a six month suspended sentence for spitting at some women in a petrol station in 2012. Then his 'Meeting Of The Minds' trek with Wiley was cancelled. And now, adding injury to insult (and assault, in the petrol station case), this horse thing. Poor, poor Dappy.

Still, things are looking up fro the horse. A petition calling for it to be awarded the Outstanding Contribution prize at next year's BRIT Awards now has over 5000 signatures.

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 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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