An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 12 December 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: As expected, Spotify announced two big developments at a press conference in New York yesterday. The first was that it is now offering mobile streaming to all users, free and paid, and the second that it has secured exclusive access to Led Zeppelin's full back catalogue for streaming. While Spotify has, for some time, offered free access to its personalised radio service in the US, the new... [READ MORE]
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR: Each weekday in the run up to the Christmas break, we will reveal another of our ten favourite artists of the year. To see who else we've picked so far, check this page. Today's artists are The Heritage Orchestra and Scanner for their show, 'Joy Division Reworked'... Commissioned for last year's Brighton Festival, The Heritage Orchestra and producer Scanner's collaborative performance, 'Joy Division... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Spotify announces free mobile streaming, Led Zeppelin exclusive
Sam Smith named BRITs Critics' Choice
LEGAL Beastie Boys go legal over GoldieBlox ad
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Dobinson promoted to worldwide role at BMG
Sony to distribute Warner catalogue in South Asia
LIVE BUSINESS Live Nation takes slice of V Festival via its Gaiety joint venture
New GM at AIF
MEDIA CMU launches new premium service, CMU Digest
The Girls Are launches print magazine
ARTIST NEWS Expelled Pixies bassist Kim Shattuck "shocked" by split
RELEASES Stashed Johnny Cash album found in Sony vaults
GIGS & FESTIVALS Beyonce doing Mrs Carter Show all over again in 2014
Gigs & Tours round-up: Johnny Flynn, Banks and Grouper
Festival line-up update: UK Live, Latitude, Rock-A-Field and more
AND FINALLY... Mel B celebrating Christmas with supposed African war criminal
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Spotify announces free mobile streaming, Led Zeppelin exclusive
As expected, Spotify announced two big developments at a press conference in New York yesterday. The first was that it is now offering mobile streaming to all users, free and paid, and the second that it has secured exclusive access to Led Zeppelin's full back catalogue for streaming.

While Spotify has, for some time, offered free access to its personalised radio service in the US, the new mobile offer for all free users will be somewhat more sophisticated. Freemium streamers are able to play any artist's full catalogue on shuffle and playback all of their playlists created in the desktop app (again only on shuffle). They will also have access to Spotify's curated playlists, which it's possible some people actually use.

At the press conference, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said: "Today we're giving people the best free music experience in the history of the smartphone and the tablet. Whether you're going to the gym, or having a party with friends, just sit back and let Spotify serve you great music for every moment of your life".

He is certainly right that this is currently the best mobile offering for freemium users, and Spotify is the first company to secure this level of ad-funded free streaming on mobile. Though in 2014, with competition in the streaming market set to hot up to a make-or-break point for many - what with the launch of YouTube's music service and the long-awaited Beats Music platform in the US - Spotify presumably sees this as a pre-emptive move to better compete in the coming year.

Interestingly, free users who access Spotify via tablet devices will have full access to the same level of functionality enjoyed by premium tablet users, ie without the limitations, the company apparently having decided that tablets are not mobile devices. This distinction, says Spotify, was down to customers using its tablet app differently to how they use the mobile phone-based app, in particularly spending more time building playlists on it, which they then listen to on their phones or elsewhere.

Pre-empting criticism that these new extra-benefits for free users would reduce the incentive for freemium consumers to upgrade to premium, which is more lucrative for both the digital firm and rights owners, Ek said that he believed, and that research backed up, that the more users Spotify enticed with a better free service, the more could be converted to its pay-to-use option. And while the free mobile functionality now on offer is impressive, paying users still get more on mobile - namely full album playback and offline streaming.

In addition to all this, Ek also announced that Spotify has secured exclusive access (for one year, it's thought) to the full Led Zeppelin catalogue for streaming. Led Zep have long been a significant hold-out on digital services, only arriving on download stores in 2007 and never before licensing their music for streaming. Although it's probable that a generous deal was put on the table - the band were also in discussions with Rdio and Rhapsody - Ek yesterday thanked Led Zep "for believing in us".

As the first two Led Zep albums appeared on the service - the catalogue being drip-fed two at a time until Sunday (with six releases appearing on the final day) - Spotify also launched its new merch sell-through facility. Visitors to Led Zeppelin's profile in the Spotify desktop app are offered the chance to click through to the bands official website to buy t-shirts, as well as listening to their music.

In addition to these new developments, the ten-hour monthly time limit on listening was also dropped from free accounts in territories where it still existed, and Spotify upped the number of countries where it is available from 35 to 55.

It remains to be seen how Spotify's competitors - both new and old - respond to these changes, but the new mobile offering definitely keeps it ahead for the moment.


Sam Smith named BRITs Critics' Choice
Sam Smith has been announced as the winner of this year's BRITs Critics' Choice Award, following Adele, Florence & The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Emelie Sandé and Tom Odell in receiving the honour.

Smith told CMU: "I'm completely overwhelmed! To see my name alongside the list of former winners, artists I admire so much it, is incredible. What an amazing Christmas present. Thank you!"

Oh Sam, it was nothing. Smith will be formally handed his award at the BRITs nominations party on 9 Jan, which will be broadcast on ITV the same evening.

With seven years of Critics' Choice awards now in the bag, it was also announced this morning that a compilation featuring all previous nominees will be released on 6 Jan. And here's the tracklist:

Sam Smith - Nirvana
Ella Eyre - Deeper
Chlöe Howl - No Strings
Adele - Chasing Pavements
Florence And The Machine - You've Got The Love
Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed
Jessie J - Price Tag
Emeli Sandé - Read All About It, Pt. III
Tom Odell - Another Love
Foals - Cassius
Duffy - Mercy
Little Boots - Remedy
White Lies - To Lose My Life
Delphic - Doubt
Marina and the Diamonds - Are You Satisfied?
James Blake - Limit To Your Love
The Vaccines - If You Wanna
Maverick Sabre - I Need
Michael Kiwanuku - Home Again
AlunaGeorge - Attracting Flies
Laura Mvula - Green Garden

iTunes bonus tracks
Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over (BRIT Nomination Live Version 2009)
Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed (BRIT Nomination Live Version 2010)
Emeli Sandé - Next To Me (BRIT Nomination Live Version 2012)
Sam Smith - Nirvana (Until The Ribbon Breaks Re-Imagination)
Chlöe Howl - No Strings (Moto Blanco Remix)

Beastie Boys go legal over GoldieBlox ad
The dispute between the Beastie Boys and American toy company GoldieBlox over the latter's use of a rework the former's track 'Girls' in an advert isn't going away, even though the toy maker swapped in an alternative piece of music on the ad and issued a statement saying it didn't want to offend the Beasties in anyway, because everyone there thought that the hip hop group were fab.

But it seems the surviving members of the Beastie Boys aren't impressed, even though in an open letter Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz said they respected GoldieBlox's mission to make toys for young girls that break down gender stereotypes. But, they added, they had previously made a conscious decision to not license their tracks for use in advertising, so much so that the third Beastie Boy, the late Adam Yauch, stated that desire in his will.

Before the Beastie Boys' open letter, GoldieBlox had already gone pre-emptively legal, having heard that a copyright action was being considered, and seeking court confirmation that, because their version of 'Girls' mocked the sexist lyrics of the original, that constituted parody, and therefore the toy firm was allowed to use the track without permission under the fair use system in American copyright law.

Despite the toy maker subsequently back-tracking a little, reports say that GoldieBlox management said they would only withdraw their legal action if the Beastie Boys committed to never launch their own copyright litigation against the company. The hip hoppers seemingly declined to make such a commitment, and in return asked GoldieBlox to issue a more apologetic statement over its use of 'Girls' without permission, and to make a suitable donation to charity.

With little progress having since been made, the Beastie Boys have now filed a countersuit that formally accuses GoldieBlox of copyright infringement as well as unfair competition and misappropriation of publicity rights.

The toy firm will presumably continue with its parody defence, which may well prevail in court given the nature of the ad. Though it transpires that the company has posted similar pop-song-borrowing ads online before, including music by Daft Punk and Avicii, where the case for parody would be less clear cut. So GoldieBlox may want to resist legal action that could, in some way, bring the Beastie's label Universal into the mix.

One to watch, then.

Dobinson promoted to worldwide role at BMG
BMG yesterday announced the promotion of John Dobinson, previously COO for the firm's UK division, to a new globally-focused role.

As Group COO, Dobinson - who spent five years at the original BMG company after its acquisition of Zomba in 2002, before joining BMG v2 pretty much on its launch in 2009 - will now oversee rights and contract administration plus "integration management, asset management, supply chain management and IT" on a worldwide basis.

Confirming the promotion, BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch told CMU: "John is one of the few managers in the music business who combines high-level experience in both finance and operations with industry knowledge of both music publishing and recorded music, and we congratulate him on his new position".

Meanwhile Dobinson himself added: "The past four years have been an incredibly exciting time helping build the new BMG into the major international player it now is. I am greatly looking forward to this expanded role and being a part of our continued growth in the years to come".


Sony to distribute Warner catalogue in South Asia
Following the news that Warner Music will provide physical distribution for Sony Music in Russia, the opposite deal has been announced in South Asia, where Sony will provide distribution services (physical and digital) for the Warner catalogue. The new deal covers India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where Warner's records were previously distributed by EMI, now a Universal subsidiary of course.

Confirming the arrangement, Sony Music's Denis Handlin told reporters: "We are delighted to represent Warner's music catalogue in this market. This is one of the fastest growing and most exciting music markets in the world, and India in particular has huge digital market opportunities. We have great plans to ensure that Warner Music's remarkable catalogue reaches out to the vast array of existing and emerging music fans in that region".

Warner Music's Stu Bergen added: "The rapid growth of the market in India creates great potential for our international roster and catalogue, so it was important for us to find a partner with the market knowledge and relationships with local retailers and media partners to help unlock that".

Live Nation takes slice of V Festival via its Gaiety joint venture
Live Nation has further expanded its interest in the UK festival sector by taking a stake in the V Festival franchise, according to Music Week.

At the core of the deal is a move by Irish entertainment mogul Denis Desmond, who has transferred his stake in V over to his joint venture with the global live music firm, Live Nation Gaiety. The V Festival's other shareholders, SJM's Simon Moran and Metropolis's Bob Angus, have also sold part of their stakes in the event to LNG.

Back in October, according to the Irish Independent, Live Nation registered a 'charge' over Desmond's stake in the two parties' joint venture as part of a loan agreement which enabled the Irish business man to restructure his finances and pay off a reported 60 million euro debt with the Bank Of Scotland. It's not know if the V Festival transaction is linked to that arrangement.

Businesses in which the Live Nation Gaiety joint venture has a substantial stake include the Academy Music Group, T In The Park owner DF Concerts, Reading/Leeds/Latitude operator Festival Republic, and Ireland's Electric Picnic Festival. Live Nation's other festivals in the UK include Download, Wireless and Creamfields, and a recently announced new event in Leicester which will take the form of a Kasabian home-coming gig in 2014.


New GM at AIF
The Association Of Independent Festivals has appointed a new full-time General Manager in the form of Paul Reed, who previously worked at music development agency Generator, as well as for various festival-related companies, and most recently for event management firm The Event Umbrella.

Reed will oversee the day-to-day running of the growing trade body, while the group's previous GM Claire O'Neill will stay on as Senior Manager, leading on AIF events and development projects.

Confirming all this, AIF co-founder Ben Turner told CMU: "After five formative years working to make AIF an integral part of the live festival business in the UK, it's time to step up a gear. We've grown from a founding number of fifteen festivals to close to 50, and now is a good time to ramp up the executive team who can help drive our vision forwards".

He went on: "Paul came highly recommended from one of our initial board members, and we're thrilled to integrate him into our committed team as we help to ensure the independent sector continues to thrive and evolve".

CMU launches new premium service, CMU Digest
With 2014 fast approaching, how about some news on us here at CMU? Because we have a brand new premium service launching for the music business in January, for which this link here is the one you need.

Yep, from next month we will be providing the music industry with a brand new CMU Digest, which will monitor all the news stories published in the Daily and then provide a weekly and monthly round-up of the key trends and developments, with analysis on what that means for artists, managers, labels, publishers, promoters and everyone working in music. The weekly round up will take the form of an extra email bulletin, while the monthly report will be provided in PDF format.

CMU Digest will be a premium service, though a subscription costs just £4.99 a month, and for a limited time readers can sign up for a twelve month subscription at the special early-bird rate of less than £2.50 a month.

CMU Publisher and Business Editor Chris Cooke explains: "Over 25,000 people now tap into CMU on a daily basis for all the latest news about music, music people and the music business, while through CMU Insights we have provided training and consultancy for hundreds to music companies this year. The new CMU Digest service combines these two elements of what we do, tracking the news stories our editorial team publish, applying the expertise of the CMU Insights team, and then providing a concise but comprehensive summary".

It's the first premium content service CMU has offered since going fully online in 2002. Cooke continues: "Ever since the start of CMU our mission has been to connect everyone working in music, the 'Complete Music Update for the complete music community', as the slogan goes. This remains core to everything do, and is why we provide the CMU Daily and website free of charge, and will always do so. Indeed, in the DIY age, supporting the grass roots music community in this way is more important than ever".

He goes on: "But it does require quite an investment on our part, and through the new premium offer, anyone in the industry who wants to support the provision and expansion of our free services, and who can afford to do so, can now help. And in return, we'll provide added value content: a concise weekly and monthly summary that gives the always busy music business professional all the key information they need in one place. And, as with our CMU Insights courses, we kept the price as low as possible in a bid to exclude no one".

The new CMU Digest kicks off in January, but you can sign up now for the whole of 2014 at the very special rate of £29, and if you do you will receive a special review of the last year in the music business at the end of the month. Click here to subscribe.


The Girls Are launches print magazine
Similar to Pitchfork's risky move into print last month, female-centric music site The Girls Are has launched its own quarterly magazine.

Its first edition, which is available online now, has in it features on Kim Gordon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Micachu, Sky Larkin, THEESatisfaction and cover stars Warpaint, and aims to "profile the most exciting women in music, covering emerging talent, established icons and industry innovators".

TGA mag's Editor Annette Barlow says: "Historically, music magazines have been skewed from and for a male perspective. But that's not reflective of their potential audience".

  CMU Artists Of The Year 2013: The Heritage Orchestra & Scanner
Each weekday in the run up to the Christmas break, we will reveal another of our ten favourite artists of the year. To see who else we've picked so far, check this page. Today's artists are The Heritage Orchestra and Scanner for their show, 'Joy Division Reworked'...

Commissioned for last year's Brighton Festival, The Heritage Orchestra and producer Scanner's collaborative performance, 'Joy Division Reworked', was one of my live music highlights of the year, when I caught it on its UK tour at the Royal Festival Hall in London in September.

Initially I was pretty sceptical of a show that professed to rework Joy Division songs - but two things about it intrigued me. Firstly, I was made aware of the project by someone I knew to be a huge Joy Division fan, and second, joining the orchestra for the performance were drummer Adam Betts and guitarist Matthew Calvert, two members of one of my favourite new bands of recent years, and previous CMU Artists Of The Year, Three Trapped Tigers.

My interest piqued enough to press play on a condensed ten minute performance on SoundCloud, and I was immediately impressed with what Scanner and The Heritage Orchestra had done with those familiar songs. However, this recording didn't come close to the incredible work that went into the full performance.

Probably the key thing to the show's success was how loosely they had played with their source material. There was certainly a level of reverence given to those classic songs, but this was far from a simple run through of a legendary band's back catalogue.

Morphed into a continuous 45 minute piece - with the original songs often unrecognisable until the emergence of a hook, or a handwritten line of a song's lyrics projected on a screen in front of the stage spelling itself out in Ian Curtis handwriting - it was a completely enveloping experience.

That screen too became an integral part of the show, when not displaying lyrics it was often playing out incredible visuals in front and behind the stage from visual artist Matt Watkins that elevated the experience to another level.

With the possibility of more performances and a live recording in 2014, I hope it's something I'm able to return to again. As well as pushing the boundaries of what can be done with a single artists' back catalogue, 'Joy Division Reworked' also set an impressive precedent for live performance.

Watch an excerpt from the show here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

Expelled Pixies bassist Kim Shattuck "shocked" by split
Short-stay Pixies bassist Kim Shattuck has given her side of her somewhat unceremonious 'parting of ways' with the band, which occurred after only a matter of months. Shattuck, of course, was chosen to stand in for the band's long-time original bassist, Kim Deal, when the latter left earlier this year.

Speaking in the same week her replacement Paz Lenchantin has been named, Shattuck tells NME she was "surprised" to find she wasn't staying with Pixies into 2014.

She says: "Everything had gone well, the reviews were all good and the fans were super-nice about everything. They were like, 'We love you, New Kim!' [Then] we said goodbye at the airport and the following morning the manager called me and said: 'The band has made the decision to go with another bass player'. I was shocked".

Reflecting on why she, apparently, wasn't the right fit, she adds: "I get the feeling they're more introverted people than I am. Nobody really talked about deep issues, at least out loud. There was a show at the Mayan in Los Angeles where I got overly enthusiastic and jumped into the crowd, and I know they weren't thrilled about that. When I got offstage the manager told me not to do that again. I said, 'Really, for my own safety?' And he said, 'No, because the Pixies don't do that'".

Ah, so that's it, the Pixies are too boring. Sounds about right. But, insists Kim #2, she bears no ill will towards Black Francis and his boring snoring bandmates. "I would have preferred it if they told me face to face as a group, but they're nice people. I'm still a fan of the Pixies", she states.

And just to twist the knife, here are Shattuck's ex Pixies peers in their new video 'Another Toe In The Ocean', a track off their 'EP-1' EP.

Stashed Johnny Cash album found in Sony vaults
An LP's worth of unheard Johnny Cash songs from the early-1980s, stashed in the late Man In Black's vaults (or, more likely, in a box in the attic) till now, is to have a belated release in 2014.

Cash made 'Out Among The Stars' with producer Billy Sherrill over two sessions in 1981 and 1984. Carrying twelve tracks in all, the album includes duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings, plus a pair of Cash originals, 'Call Your Mother' and 'I Came To Believe'.

Cash's son John, who found the tapes in 2012 whilst logging his parents' archives, says: "When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material. We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s. They were beautiful".

'Out Among The Stars' is due out on Sony's Columbia, who dropped Cash in 1986, thus contributing to the LP's never being released first time around, on 24 Mar.

Beyonce doing Mrs Carter Show all over again in 2014
Celebrity-vegan-of-the-year (not) Beyonce is kicking her Mrs Carter Show back into touch, and bringing the same live shebang she first staged earlier this year to fans again in 2014.

Of the tour's European shows, the following are taking place in the United Kingdom and Ireland:

20 Feb: Glasgow, SSE Hydro Arena
23 Feb: Birmingham, LG Arena
25 Feb: Manchester Arena
28 Feb: London, O2 Arena
1 Mar: London, O2 Arena
2 Mar: London, O2 Arena
4 Mar: London, O2 Arena
8 Mar: Dublin, The O2
9 Mar: Dublin, The O2

Ticket lines matching all dates will go live this Saturday, so go to Mrs C's official site to enter the melee to get them. And stare in amazement at a trailer featuring scenes from 2013's international Mrs Carter Show highlights here.


Gigs & Tours round-up: Johnny Flynn, Banks and Grouper
Soon to star in 'musically-tinged drama' 'Song One' with A-list film actress Anne Hathaway (oh and another big movie with Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche), Johnny Flynn is also still doing his solo folk thing, as proven in the list of Euro shows he's just announced for spring 2014.

Johnny and his backing band The Sussex Wit will, in honour of their newest LP, 'A Country Mile', start the UK portion of the tour at Portsmouth's Wedgewood Rooms on 8 Apr, winding up/down at Glee in Cardiff on 13 Apr. Full info is here.

Next, one of the BBC and MTV's top tips for 2014, Banks (who actually is good, in addition to being a 'hot tip'), is taking a trip all over the nation in March. Following the release of Banks' 'London' EP back in September, the eight-date trek will begin at Bristol's Trinity Centre on 20 Mar, wrapping at London's Koko on 31 Mar. The unabbreviated listings, plus a play of Dream Koala's new remix of 'London' track 'Change', are supplied here.

Third and finally, it's been confirmed that experimental artist Grouper, aka the Portland-based Liz Harris, will on 5 Jun 2014 give an AV performance of 'Hypnosis Display', her collaboration with filmmaker Paul Clipson. The composition, which is commissioned by Opera North, is billed as a "mind's eye trip through landscapes of American myth making", and "juxtaposes layers of processed field recording, choral vocal harmony and keyboard in a resonant framework". And you can't say fairer than that.

Harris and Clipson are so far only making the one appearance, at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds. Get details and tickets via this page.


Festival line-up update: UK Live, Latitude, Rock-A-Field and more
"THE UK'S BIGGEST POP FESTIVAL IS COMING", blares a press release detailing AEG Live's thrice-as-big UK Live event, which began earlier this year as North East Live. In 2014, AEG will stage North East Live again alongside a pair of new one-day pop parties, East Coast Live (in Ipswich),and South West Live (on Weston-super-Mare beach), each starring Jessie J, The Saturdays, Rizzle Kicks and Jason Derulo. So, that's a whole lot of live.

Speaking of which, another all-live festival (as festivals tend to be) is Latitude, which has gained its first headliners in Two Door Cinema Club, and phase one of its non-headlining additions, which names Haim, Billy Bragg, Anna Calvi, Goat and Scandi-pop dream team Royksopp and Robyn, who'll play the festival as part of their Europe-wide 'Do It Again' hike.

Kevin Baird off of Two Door expresses his views on the matter of Latitude like so: "It's really exciting for us to be headlining Latitude in 2014. Over the past five years we've made the progression from playing in the small tents to being close to the top of the bill on the main stage. Headlining a great festival like Latitude is obviously quite a big deal for us but we also feel like it is the next natural step. We're ready to headline. We're ready to smash it".

Talking of which, we've ready-smashed this list of additions to Belgium's Dour, Norway's Øya, monster Luxembourg weekender Rock-A-Field, Wickham Festival and Sonisphere (which now has a third top-billed act to join Iron Maiden and Metallica, The Prodigy) to save you wasting time smashing your own...

DOUR, Plaine De La Machine A Feu, Dour, Belgium, 17-20 Jul 2014: Phoenix, Boys Noize, Girls In Hawaii, LFO, King Khan & The Shrines.

LATITUDE, Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, 17-20 Jul 2014: Two Door Cinema Club, Royksopp & Robyn, Billy Bragg, Haim, Booker T Jones, Phosphorescent, Anna Calvi, Goat, Cass McCombs, Marika Hackman, Nils Frahm, Willis Earl Beal, San Fermin, Son Lux, Josephine Foster.

ØYA, Toyenparken, Oslo, Norway, 5-9 Aug 2014: Royksopp & Robyn, Queens of The Stone Age, Thulsa Doom, Bombino, Neutral Milk Hotel, Jonathan Wilson, Joey Bada$$, Deafheaven, Omar Souleyman, Spidergawd, Hanne Kolstø, Daniel Kvammen, Nadine Shah, Emilie Nicolas.

ROCK-A-FIELD, Roeser, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, 27-29 Jun 2014: Skrillex, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Foals, Triggerfinger, Sportfreunde Stiller, Wiz Khalifa, The Hives, Gentleman, Thees Uhlmann & Band, Angel At My Table.

ROSKILDE, Festivalpladsen, Darupvej 19, Roskilde, Denmark, 3-6 Jul 2014: Arctic Monkeys.

SONISPHERE, Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, 4-6 Jul 2014: The Prodigy.

UK LIVE, Stadium Of Light/Chantry Park/Weston-Super-Mare Beach, 22-29 Jun 2014: Jessie J, Jason Derulo, Rizzle Kicks, The Saturdays, The Vamps, Union J.

WICKHAM FESTIVAL, Blind Lane, Wickham, Hampshire, 14-17 Aug 2014: Bellowhead, Oysterband, Afro Celt Sound System, Dreadzone, Michael McGoldrick with John McCusker, Altan, Steve Knightley feat Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston, Thea Gilmore, Luka Bloom, John Jones & the Reluctant Ramblers, 3 Daft Monkeys, Tony McManus, Ian Bruce & Ian Walker, Holly Kirby, Dick Gaughan, The Men They Couldn't Hang.

Mel B celebrating Christmas with supposed African war criminal
Some-time Spice Girl Mel B has reportedly formed a scary (and ethically questionable) new friendship with, oh, it's only Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who may or may not have played a part in war crimes and genocide in Africa.

Kagame faces allegations, and may yet face a trial, for backing and providing arms to Congo rebel group M23, resulting in 140,000 people being forced to leave their homes. Whilst he denies all such accusations, a UN report links him with two insurgencies and subsequent killings, rapes and other atrocities.

Not that Mel B seems to mind, as long as her kids get to go on safari. Speaking to the Mirror, Mel, who's been invited to spend Christmas with Kagame and his family, having formed close friendships with his older children, says: "We will probably have our own Christmas in LA with stockings, presents and a big roast dinner, then we shall go off to spend time with the president".

And: "I said to the kids do you want to go to Africa and see lions, tigers and bears, or stay at home and watch TV all day? It was a no brainer".

Yes, it was. Though, while I'm not saying there aren't any round Kagame's gaff, tigers and bears aren't actually indigenous to Africa. She could have just gone to the zoo in LA (which also boasts botanical gardens) and saved a lot of hassle.

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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
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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