An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 5 December 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: They said it wouldn't be done. They said it couldn't be done. Though I've no idea who 'they' are. Either way, Beats Music is going to launch in January. Let's all buy some overpriced shit headphones to celebrate. As previously reported, Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics company, best known as a seller of music tech products of course, first moved into streaming music via an acquisition... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Hotly tipped by a vast range of media over the last eighteen months or so, and having scored a guest spot on Rudimental's album, all signs now point to Syron's label plotting a big push on her music over the next few months. And by "all signs", I mean that her SoundCloud page has been scrubbed clean of all tracks bar new single 'Colour Me In'. That's usually how it works, isn't it? Oh, and that track... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Beats Music to launch in the new year
BRITs Critics' Choice nominees announced
DEALS Eleven Seven announces BMG alliance
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Kevin McCabe to join Universal's new Caroline division
New Warner appointments: Robert Kraft, Kris Ahrend
LIVE BUSINESS SFX buys European ticketing company
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES MMF and FAC officially welcome Spotify Artists
PingTune gains £1 million in funding
MEDIA BBC announces line-ups for TOTP Christmas and NYE specials
ARTIST NEWS Mt Wolf split
RELEASES The War On Drugs detail dreamy new LP
MØ confirms LP
GIGS & FESTIVALS Fierce Panda books fourteen bands for Pandamonium show
Lethal Bizzle to take Dench Party Tour
AND FINALLY... Rebecca Black has delayed bad reaction to Friday
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Beats Music to launch in the new year
They said it wouldn't be done. They said it couldn't be done. Though I've no idea who 'they' are. Either way, Beats Music is going to launch in January. Let's all buy some overpriced shit headphones to celebrate.

As previously reported, Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics company, best known as a seller of music tech products of course, first moved into streaming music via an acquisition of MOG back in July 2012. But Dre and Jim soon let it be known that they were, in fact, developing a completely new streaming platform with the working name of Daisy. Six months later Trent Reznor confirmed rumours that he was involved with that new venture, after which it was announced that Topspin's Ian Rogers was now in charge of the whole shebang.

So far, what we've been told about the new service is that it will do 'discovery' better than any other streaming platform out there, and that it will be called Beats Music, not Daisy. And, as of yesterday, we know that it will launch in the US in January. To that end, the Beats Music website has been updated to urge people to register their usernames for the new service before all the usernames ran out.

Meanwhile, Rogers also published a post on his own blog explaining a little more, writing: "When I joined Beats Music in January I'd expected we'd get this out the door before the end of the year. Thankfully I work with people who have patience and are more concerned about getting Beats Music right than pushing it out the door. In retrospect we've accomplished far more this year than I'd imagined possible".

The service is currently being tried and tested by "a few artists and other influencers" so that the thing goes live with some of the curated content that will seemingly form a big part of the offering. With this and, as rumour has it, YouTube's music service going live in January, it's looking like a busy year for streaming music in 2014. Thom Yorke will be pleased.


BRITs Critics' Choice nominees announced
The list of nominees for the BRITs Critics' Choice award has been announced. And the three artists UK music critics think are most likely to succeed in 2014 are: Chlöe Howl, Ella Eyre and Sam Smith.

All three artists also appear on the BBC's Sound Of 2014 longlist, which may give an indication of how the final rankings on that survey will go when they're announced next month. Though it didn't last year, eventual BRIT new act winner Tom Odell crashing out of the Beeb's poll at the first hurdle. Not sure these betting tips I'm providing are much help. Whatever, our money's on Chlöe Howl for both the BRIT and Sound honour, cos we like her.

Anyway, it doesn't matter who takes the prize in the end, because all three artists get the most coveted prize: having a pre-prepared quote published by CMU. And that's what is going to happen right now...

Chlöe Howl: "I've followed the paths of the BRITs Critics' Choice artists since Adele won the first one when I was twelve. To be on the shortlist is incredible, and to be alongside two amazing artists is an honour. It's so exciting!"

Ella Eyre: "It's overwhelming to be nominated for a BRIT Award, to think that two years ago I was at The BRIT Awards on a school trip, and to be considered now is crazy!"

Sam Smith: "I have watched the BRITs religiously for many years growing up. The people who have won [the Critics Choice award] before are to this day some of my favourite artists and biggest inspirations. So to even be up for this award is completely overwhelming for me. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am!"

Well done all three of you.

Eleven Seven announces BMG alliance
US-based rock independent Eleven Seven Music has just signed an exclusive worldwide administration deal with BMG Chrysalis, which will see the latter provide administration services for the former's recordings and music publishing catalogues, as well as supporting Eleven Seven's team on securing sync deals.

Confirming the alliance, Eleven Seven CEO Allen Kovac told CMU: "We are already on a roll with BMG, having secured a Dodge sync for Motley Crue, A&E's 'Bonnie & Clyde' for Nico Vega, and NFL's 'Monday Night Football' for Escape The Fate - all before we even made this announcement. [BMG has] invested in a global infrastructure that is a perfect synergy for our future growth of Eleven Seven and [imprint] Five Seven".

Meanwhile BMG's Laurent Hubert added: "Allen and his team are long-time specialists in successfully managing and marketing established and emerging artists. We are looking forward to working with them internationally to create a one-stop-shop service for artists on the roster".

Kevin McCabe to join Universal's new Caroline division
Kevin McCabe, formerly a long-term EMI exec, is joining Universal Music where he will head up promotions within the mega-major's new label services business Caroline International.

He will also operate an 'in-house music promotions agency' within the division, offering radio and TV plugging expertise to both indie record companies utilising Caroline's other marketing and distribution services and to other Universal Music labels. And, for that matter, to other labels and artists too, an arrangement that will allow McCabe to continue working with acts he previously supported at EMI but which didn't come to Universal through its acquisition of the British major, likely to include Radiohead.

McCabe himself initially moved to Warner Music after the sale of EMI to Universal last year, as a result of Warner acquiring EMI's Parlophone division as part of Universal's regulator-forced divestments. Although it was initially announced he would head up media activity for the newly merged Parlophone and Warner Bros labels in the UK, it was then announced he was departing WMG in August.

Confirming his new appointment, Universal UK boss David Joseph told CMU: "There are few people in the industry as respected and well-liked as Kevin. The quality of artists he's been at the heart of breaking reflects his calibre as an executive - we are delighted he is joining us and have no doubt he will continue to repeat his considerable success".


New Warner appointments: Robert Kraft, Kris Ahrend
Some Warner Music appointments for you, and yesterday the mini-major confirmed that Robert Kraft, who previously oversaw music for movie and TV projects at Fox Music, will join its Warner Bros Records division in the US as Soundtracks Consultant.

In his new role Kraft will seek sync and soundtrack projects for artists across the label's roster, with the aim to "bring together WBR artists, score composers and film directors to foster new types of creative collaboration".

Confirming the appointment, Warner Bros Records overseer Cameron Strang told CMU: "Great soundtracks are culturally impactful moments that help both the music and the movie win new fans. There are few executives who have thrived as successfully at the interaction of music and film as Robert has, and his appointment underscores our commitment to providing our artists with a range of world-class services that help forge long-term careers and build loyal followings".

Kraft himself added: "Soundtracks are an area that I know and love, and this great opportunity comes at a time of renewed excitement about music for visual media. WBR's legacy includes many landmark soundtracks, from 'Purple Rain' to 'The Matrix' and 'The Dark Knight', so I'm delighted to help grow the label's reputation as the pre-eminent player in the soundtrack arena. I am thrilled to work with Cameron Strang, the label's talented team and the incredible range of new and legendary artists at Warner Bros Records".

Kraft's appointment follows the news earlier this week that Kris Ahrend had been promoted to the role of SVP Recorded Music Rights Administration at Warner Music's US business. He will oversee a newly established division at the company that will encompass royalty and licensing management for the firm's US catalogues, plus catalogue-related legal affairs. Ahrend previously had a senior business and legal affairs role within Warner's Rhino US division.

Confirming that appointment, Warner's CFO for Recorded Music, Matt Flott, said "By uniting Kris's expertise with these complementary departments, we are creating a single interdisciplinary team that will be able to address the administrative and rights-related needs of our US business units efficiently and effectively. Since joining the WMG family nearly eight years ago, Kris has demonstrated the legal savvy, leadership skills, and commercial vision that make him ideally suited to lead this effort. I congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion".

SFX buys European ticketing company
So it's official, SFX is now calling itself an "EMC company", because 'electronic music culture' is where it's at, and any of you saddos still talking about 'EDM' should just piss off with your Swedish House Mafia records and Deadmau5 t-shirts and check out what retro dance parties Saga is offering this month.

And when you find one you fancy, there's always a chance that SFX will be able to sell you a ticket, because the acquisitive firm has just taken a 75% stake in Paylogic, the European "new generation ticketing company" which counts a number of big dance music festivals amongst its client base, but which also works with the wider music and entertainment industries.

Confirming his latest acquisition, SFX chief man Robert FX Sillerman told CMU: "Paylogic has consistently proven its ability to handle unprecedented ticket requests. This kind of technical skill will be invaluable to us as we connect the millions and millions of EMC fans to the content and events they love, and to each other through integrated social media".

Meanwhile Paylogic's Jan Willem Van Der Meer added: "It is very exciting to become part of this growing, worldwide EMC company, SFX. We will have the opportunity to further advance and develop the most optimal ticketing and data solutions for this market and beyond: web, mobile and social".

He went on: "SFX clearly has a strong vision on how this market will develop and how important supporting the right data strategy for event organisers and delivering great product design and social integrations will become. SFX has the digital partners, brands and strategy that can really make a difference. We are excited that we can play a big role in this incredible journey".

MMF and FAC officially welcome Spotify Artists
So, has the Spotify Artists project, code named internally at the streaming music company Shut The Fuck Up Thom*, placated those in the artist and management community that have expressed concern in recent months about the digital firm's business model and the royalties it pays out to creators and rights owners?

Well, reps for the Music Managers' Forum and Featured Artists Coalition yesterday gave the thumbs up to Spotify's previously reported new artist-focused website - which offers the wider music community more clarity on how Spotify rates work, provides artists with access to listening data, and promises everyone that ticketing and merch sell-through is definitely high up the agenda.

Though MMF Chair Brian Message, despite managing Spotify-critic-in-chief Thom Yorke's band Radiohead, has always been a fan of the streaming service. And plenty of people in the artist community have spoken out in support of the company in the past, even if their remarks don't usually get the same level of coverage as the Spotify detractors. So official MMF and FAC backing doesn't necessarily mean Yorke et al are now on side.

But either way, Message told CMU yesterday: "[Spotify Artists] is a huge step down the road towards the transparency we have been calling for in the digital market. It has been enlightening to work with Spotify to deliver this. The streaming model is growing and generating significant income".

Meanwhile the Featured Artists Coalition's co-CEO and Marillion member Mark Kelly said: "Streaming services have been restricted in sharing this data with artists in the past which has meant that many artists have been critical without fully understanding how streaming works and pays out. This is a big step in the right direction which will hopefully lead to a more informed discussion about streaming and what it means for artists".

And his fellow FAC chief Crispin Hunt, the one time Longpig and prolific pop songwriter, added: "This is just the kind of information artists needed from Spotify. It will better enable the FAC to help creators negotiate a commensurate share of future income from all streaming services. We look forward to continuing our conversations with Spotify to create further clarity".

*This isn't actually true, but I bet that's what they were thinking.


PingTune gains £1 million in funding
London-based startup PingTune has received £1 million in seed funding to develop its iPhone-based music messaging app.

The app allows users to quickly find songs they like - sourced from platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud - and send them to friends who also use the service. It's not the only app of its type, but the team behind it hopes that this will be the one to really gain traction.

CEO Henry Firth told TechCrunch: "We saw that people were sharing music on social networks, but it can be clunky. Copying links between windows is hard work on a mobile phone. We wanted to make that process easier... so we built PingTune".

Of course, while there can be frustrations in the process of tipping music via more generic social networks or email, distributing your tips that way at least means you can reach most of your friends in one go.

The challenge for a new service like PingTune will always be gaining enough users, who want to recommend and receive recommends from others, to make using the thing worthwhile for anyone. Though perhaps with other more general messaging apps like Snapchat being in vogue, now is the time to quickly sign up enough people for this kind of service.

Whether or not it pays off remains to be seen, but here's a nice video.

BBC announces line-ups for TOTP Christmas and NYE specials
BBC One is to air a pair of celebratory 'Top Of The Pops' specials, on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, each lasting 60 glorious mins. Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates are hosting both. Sorry.

The Xmas show will star Boyzone, Ellie Goulding, Tom Odell, Jessie J, Rizzle Kicks, Rudimental, James Blunt and The Saturdays, and will culminate in this year's festive number one reveal, whilst the NYE 'TOTP' extravaganza, reinstated to the schedules last year after a couple of years off, will present Little Mix, The 1975, The Vamps, James Arthur and London Grammar, and the final chart-topping single of 2013.

Clearly not realising what he's saying (I mean, the telly thing), Reggie Yates says: "Rather like Christmas dinner, falling asleep in front of the telly and celebrating with family, hosting 'Top Of The Pops' is fast becoming a yearly tradition for me and one I look forward to every year. With a great line up of acts this year's shows promise to be as epic as ever".

James Blunt says: "I grew up with 'Top Of The Pops', and so I'm thrilled to be on it this Christmas - it's a British institution!"

Boyzone say: "It was a dream come true when we first performed on 'Top Of The Pops'. The show has a special place in our hearts so to get the chance to perform on 'Top Of The Pops Christmas' as we celebrate BZ20 makes it all the more special for Boyzone".

Mollie from The Saturdays says: "It's such a legendary show and we watch it every year with our loved ones while celebrating the holidays".

And Frankie Saturdays adds: "I personally couldn't be more excited to be back with the other girls for this special performance".

Fall asleep in front of 'Top Of The Pops' as soon as it comes on TV at 2pm on 25 Dec, and/or 5.30pm on 31 Dec.

  Approved: Syron
Hotly tipped by a vast range of media over the last eighteen months or so, and having scored a guest spot on Rudimental's album, all signs now point to Syron's label plotting a big push on her music over the next few months. And by "all signs", I mean that her SoundCloud page has been scrubbed clean of all tracks bar new single 'Colour Me In'. That's usually how it works, isn't it?

Oh, and that track has a quite racey video, in which Syron dances on a chair apparently stolen from a conference centre. Not even a very good conference centre. I'm assuming that the theme of the video is 'evening entertainment for fireplace salespeople end of quarter review meeting'. You can tell a lot from a chair.

Anyway, Syron is singer Daisy Syron-Russell. To date she's racked up a handful of singles through Black Butter, but has been fairly quiet since her last release, 'Here', in March. Since then she's apparently been holed up in the studio working on new music, and 'Colour Me In' would suggest that in that break she's also opted for a mild shift in sound, smoothing off some of the edges and drifting into the realms of house.

Watch the video for the track here, and try not to imagine an audience of fireplace salesman while you do it.
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Mt Wolf split
Dream-folk quartet Mt Wolf's dream is over, as the band elect to take early retirement. Or, in basic terms, to split.

Blaming the decision on "creative differences", they say: "It's been the best two years of our lives so it has not been an easy decision and is really upsetting for all of us that this journey has now come to an end. We'd like to thank anyone who has listened to our music, who has come to see us live and anyone who has helped us get this far - particularly to the amazing team we have around us".

They add: "We will all be working on new projects in music and are excited by what the future may bring, we hope to catch some of you along the way and wish you all the very best".

All of which is a very polite slap in the face not only for fans who paid for the band's 'Hypolight' and 'Life Size Ghosts' EPs, or their last single 'Midnight Shallows', but also for the BBC, which longlisted Mt Wolf for its Sound Of 2014 poll. Slaps in the face all round.

The War On Drugs detail dreamy new LP
Rough-tough rock group The War On Drugs have announced a new LP called 'Lost In The Dream'. Due on 17 Mar, the successor to 2011's 'Slave Ambient' is led out by a single titled 'Red Eyes' that you can hear while glancing at the LP's tracklisting here:

Under The Pressure
Red Eyes
An Ocean In Between The Waves
Eyes To the Wind
The Haunting Idle
Lost In The Dream
In Reverse


MØ confirms LP
Great alt-pop Dane MØ has rolled off the facts on what will, on 24 Feb when it's released, form her first LP 'No Mythologies To Follow'.

In addition to past single 'Pilgrim', it'll also carry MØ's approved Diplo collaboration 'XXX 88', and the following tracklisting:

Fire Rides
Never Wanna Know
Red In The Grey
Don't Wanna Dance
Waste Of Time
Dust Is Gone
XXX 88 (feat Diplo)
Walk This Way
Slow Love
No Mythologies To Follow
Dummy Head
The Sea
Gone And Found

Fierce Panda books fourteen bands for Pandamonium show
The Fierce Panda camp has listed those acts playing its annual Pandamonium party, which runs from 7-10 Jan 2014 at various London venues, and marks the label's 20th(!) anniversary.

Starting at the Buffalo Bar with hearty alt-pop band El Born in front, the shows will continue on successive nights at the Shacklewell Arms, Borderline and Old Blue Last, featuring fourteen acts in all, not least FP-recommended pop-rockers Felt Tip, sombre songwriter Tom Hickox and electronic live-wires Department M.

Get tickets to all the dates (except the last, which is free), via this link.


Lethal Bizzle to take Dench Party Tour
Still-killer grime MC Lethal Bizzle has appointed March 2014 as 'the' month most appropriate for him to hold a Dench Party Tour. Any excuse to dig this out, isn't it?

Anyway. The tour consists of stops at Manchester's Sound Control (24 Mar), the Birmingham Institute Temple Room (25 Mar), and XOYO in London (26 Mar).

And in the meantime, Leth-to-tha-B will keep fans interested by self-releasing his new single 'Steve Austin Hammrd' on 13 Jan 2014, and by saying this: "Gonna be my most exciting tour to date. Doing tracks from old to new and exclusive new music from the new album. You know it's gonna be dench!"

This is 'Steve Austin Hammrd'

Rebecca Black has delayed bad reaction to Friday
A marginally older and... well just older Rebecca Black has filmed one of those 'reaction' clips people do, as she looks back on her 2011 smash hit 'Friday'.

Because it was Black Friday the other day, and her name happens to be Rebecca Black and, as she says, "you can guess the other part".

"This [watching her infamous video back today] could either be the best decision of my life, or the worst", adds Black, who happens to have pink eye in the clip. *Cringe*, etc.

And... I'm spent. See Rebecca reacting to her past self in what I like to think of as a kind of post-ironic pop paradox - that or a girl squealing lots - below. Also, see if you can spot any of the subtle video edits.

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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