An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Monday 13 January 2014

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: "Beats Music is here", announced Beats Music in a blog post at the weekend. Except it isn't. But it will be on 21 Jan, when the streaming service finally goes live in the US. We were already expecting Beats Music to launch next week, and as also expected, it is aiming right away for a mainstream audience. As such, many of the things it's currently talking up as unique selling points - particularly human... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Since this year's craze is apparently to tip a featured singer off Disclosure's 'Settle' album, my thinking is, it's only fair to shine a light on the least widely heard of those, Brixton teen and ex-BRIT School girl Sasha Keable. Whilst Jessie-Ware-in-waiting Keable is possibly still a bit too fresh to say this will be her year, her big break is likely not too far off, given she already has a five LP deal with Polydor... [READ MORE]
 
TOP STORIES New evening course from CMU Insights to launch next week
Beats Music sets US launch date
JUMP | ONLINE
LEGAL Arbitrator confirms police unit can't force domain blocking
JUMP | ONLINE
LABELS & PUBLISHERS New marketing appointments at Cooking Vinyl
JUMP | ONLINE
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL One less store closure for HMV, as last minute deal done with Kettering landlord
JUMP | ONLINE
BRANDS & MERCH Duran Duran hit out at yoghurt sync, though ad removed for other reasons
JUMP | ONLINE
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES UK Music announces music manager videogame
JUMP | ONLINE
MEDIA New Editor for Rock Sound
Gemma Cairney gets new presenter role on Radio 1
JUMP | ONLINE
EDUCATION & EVENTS Cale and Moore confirmed for Sound City convention
JUMP | ONLINE
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Dave Haynes departs SoundCloud
JUMP | ONLINE
ARTIST NEWS Bassist departs Alt-J
Man confirms ironic Milli Vanilli opera, isn't joking
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RELEASES Lily Allen unveils new single
Kylie details new single, LP featuring Pharrell, MNEK
Katy B delays LP (by a week)
New Sufjan Stevens project Sisyphus to release album
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Brian Wilson to headline 'new' Hop Farm festival
The Feeling to tour in March
Marissa Nadler confirms springtime shows
Son Lux adds London date
JUMP | ONLINE
AND FINALLY... James Arthur "not a homophobe anymore"
JUMP | ONLINE
 
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
 
 
PRS FOR MUSIC - INTERNATIONAL ANALYST (BUSINESS AFFAIRS)
PRS for Music is looking for an Analyst to support the International Business Affairs team’s objectives of revenue growth, increased market penetration and the maintenance of good relations with overseas affiliates.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
OFFICIAL CHARTS COMPANY - CONTENT & MARKETING ASSISTANT
The Official Charts Company is expanding: Do you know your Miley from your Kylie and have a passion for writing, content marketing, social media? Then read on!

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
WILDLIFE ENTERTAINMENT - OFFICE MANAGER/PA (MATERNITY COVER)
Office Manager/PA required for maternity cover contract for London-based established artist management company. Suitable candidates must have a minimum of two years PA experience in the entertainment industry.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DISCIPLE MEDIA - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE
Disciple Media is looking for a business development executive. Your job will be to identify musicians who will thrive on our mobile platform and manage the sales pipeline.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DIGITAL PROJECT COORDINATOR
Are you familiar with the digital music world? Can you build and maintain websites and social media destinations? Would you like to put your knowledge and skills into practice at one of the UK’s leading independent record labels, working on an incredible array of catalogue, and some exciting new release campaigns?

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
   
SNAPPER MUSIC - PRESS & PROMOTIONS COORDINATOR
Reporting to the Sales & Marketing Director you will be responsible for planning and coordinating all press and PR, working across all forms of media. Being the main contact, you will take full ownership for this area and use your initiative to maximise PR across all Snapper labels helping build upon its excellent reputation and catalogue.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
INGROOVES - PHYSICAL OPERATIONS MANAGER
Physical Operations Manager will be responsible for all aspects of production for albums released outside of North America as well as being the in-house physical distribution expert and assisting the label management team with any inquiries from clients.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ESSENTIAL MUSIC - HEAD OF DIGITAL STRATEGY & MARKETING
The Head of Digital Strategy & Marketing will be the lead digital strategist representing distributed labels and artists. They will craft and execute digital campaigns for select projects, spanning promotion, social strategy, community engagement, D2C, and partnership opportunities.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - ASSISTANT GENERAL BUSINESS MANAGER, THE BORDERLINE
MAMA & Company is looking for a dynamic, experienced Assistant General Manager with a proven track record within a live music operation. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company that owns some of London’s most established venues. As AGBM, you will have experience of duty management, diary management, liaising with clients, forecasting and budgeting, venue administration and a passion for live music.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
WILDLIFE ENTERTAINMENT - MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT
Management Assistant required for London based established artist management company. Role will include providing support to artist managers for release campaigns, promotion and touring, co-ordinating day-to-day activities for artists including general administrative duties and personal assistant duties. Candidates must have a minimum of three years proven management, promotion or label experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
FAMOUS FLAMES RECORDINGS - DIGITAL ASSISTANT INTERN
Internship available for Digital Assistant at label specialising in rock n roll, blues, soul and jazz music. You will be tasked with sourcing and digitising content and ideally, you will be passionate and knowledgeable about this era of music and able to contribute creatively, as well as being technically proficient with all things digital.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DAINTY GROUP - TOUR ACCOUNTANT
Dainty Group is an Australian-based and internationally renowned live entertainment business which presents world class concerts, musicals, exhibitions, sports and special events. An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the finance team as a Tour Accountant, based in Southbank, Melbourne. The successful candidate will have extensive tour accounting experience ideally gained in an international environment. The package is negotiable based on experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 

New evening course from CMU Insights to launch next week
Hot on the heels from the launch of the new premium CMU Digest service, next week the CMU Insights team will launch a new eight-part evening training course called 'The Music Business In 2014'.

Over eight two hour sessions, taught each Monday evening in Shoreditch, this course provides a complete overview of the music industry in 2014, with a focus on revenue streams and music rights; how artists can build, analyse and monetise a fanbase; and the deals they need to do to capitalise on all the opportunities.

CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke, who leads the course, says: "Challenges remain, but there is plenty to be optimistic about as the music business moves into 2014, as we learn to put the artist at the centre of what we do, and better capitalise on all elements of each act's fan relationship. This course provides an overview of the various revenue streams that exist in music, and then considers how artists should build and analyse their fanbase, and build a business to make it all happen".

'The Music Business In 2014' is a great course for anyone working in music, whether looking for a beginner's guide, or an overview of latest trends and new approaches. It kicks off next Monday, 20 Jan, and places can be booked now here.

And given you brought up the new CMU Digest service, full information about that is online here. Sign up today to get a concise weekly digest email and monthly analysis report, and to help enable us to continue offering our daily news and information services to the wider music community free of charge.

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Beats Music sets US launch date
"Beats Music is here", announced Beats Music in a blog post at the weekend. Except it isn't. But it will be on 21 Jan, when the streaming service finally goes live in the US.

We were already expecting Beats Music to launch next week, and as also expected, it is aiming right away for a mainstream audience. As such, many of the things it's currently talking up as unique selling points - particularly human-curation - are features now offered by pretty much all rival streaming services. But anyone who's never used a streaming service before might not know that.

The trick, of course, will be convincing those people to sign up and pay for the service, which will have no freemium option - individuals will pay the industry standard $9.99 per month, with a one month free trial.

The key, possibly, comes with one of two key launch partners, mobile provider AT&T, which is offering its customers family bundles (giving five users access across ten devices) for $14.99 a month, and the first 90 days free. That offer goes live on 24 Jan and, interestingly, is being promoted as offering "unlimited music downloads", with no mention of streaming.

Target, meanwhile, will be the exclusive retail partner for Beats Music gift cards, and the retailer will also curate its own playlists, which presumably no one will ever listen to, but they'll help execs at the company feel like they are both 'cool' and 'down with the kids'. So that's nice.

Another selling point that Beats is talking up is it being an "artist-friendly" service, paying the same royalty rate to everyone - ie so bigger labels aren't getting a better per-play payout. Though whether or not that's actually friendly to artists depends on what the labels then do with the money, to an extent anyway (and Pandora pays out equally to all, because it is licensed via the collective licensing system, and most music-types feel that service isn't "artist-friendly" because the equally distributed payments are too low). But whatever.

Certainly artist Trent Reznor, in his role as Chief Creative Officer, thinks the new service's royalty arrangements are fairer, saying in a press release: "Beats Music is based on the belief that all music has value and this concept was instilled in every step of its development. We want it to be just as meaningful for artists as it is for fans. We're committed to providing revenue to artists, while helping to strengthen the connection with their fans".

But it's the curation that's really front and centre. "We're digital music consumers, too, and have used every service on the scene", wrote Ian Rogers in his blog post. "But a feeling kept nagging at us - these aren't actually 'services', they're 'servers'. Lots of ways to access music, but we noticed they provided little more than access to a catalogue - we still found music from trusted human sources, from friends to magazines to DJs".

While that claim that other services don't give you any help in finding something to listen to really isn't the case any more, and hasn't been for some time, Beats does have an OK line-up of curators to offer from across various genres, particularly hip hop and country.

Talking up the service himself, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said: "Popular music is created in bite size pieces, one song at a time - but most people need more than four minutes to be truly satisfied. It takes a highly curated, uninterrupted sequence of songs to achieve a fulfilling music experience, where the only song as important as the song you are listening to is the song that comes next".

Interestingly, Beats' other founder, Dr Dre, is seemingly not involved in this project at all, it being very much talked about in the press release as an Iovine thing. Dre's name was key to the branding of Beats' mediocre headphones range, and you would think he would be more useful in grabbing the attention of that mainstream audience than Trent Reznor.

We'll see how it goes when Beats Music launches next week. An advert during the Super Bowl is expected, which will certainly hit a big mainstream audience, and it's likely that there will be some activity around the Grammy Awards on 26 Jan.

Arbitrator confirms police unit can't force domain blocking
Canadian domain registrar easyDNS has published a National Arbitration Forum ruling in its favour in relation to the domains that were blocked by Public Domain Registry in response to a letter from the City Of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

As previously reported, the IP Crime Unit, launched last year, wrote to various domain registrars expressing concerns about specific websites whose domains the targeted registrars administered. Said websites, the policing unit said, were almost certainly involved in rampant copyright infringement, which likely violated the terms and conditions of the registrars, giving them the right to disable those domains. Thus cutting off access to piracy services.

Which was all fine, to a point. And some of the registrars contacted by the IP Crime Unit duly disabled the piracy sites that had been named. But after easyDNS publicly stated it was ignoring all and any letters it received from the City Of London Police, the operators of some of the affected sites tried to move their domains to that registrar. However, one company, the aforementioned PDR, refused to allow the blocked domains to be transferred.

And that wasn't fine, easyDNS argued, because the IP Crime Unit is not a court of law, and, according to the ICANN rules that govern internet addresses, only a judicial ruling can stop a domain being transferred from one registrar to another, even when a website owner violates the T&Cs of their original domain administrator.

Now the arbitrator charged with the task of considering this dispute has ruled in favour of easyDNS. The arbitrator notes: "No court order has been issued which would prohibit the transfer of the domain names at issue from the Registrar Of Record to the Gaining Registrar. Therefore, there is nothing in the Transfer Policy which authorises the Registrar Of Record to refuse to transfer the domain names".

Noting the dangerous precedent that would be set if non-judicial institutions were given powers to block domain transfers, the ruling continues: "To permit a Registrar Of Record to withhold the transfer of a domain based on the suspicion of a law enforcement agency, without the intervention of a judicial body, opens the possibility for abuse by agencies far less reputable than the City of London Police. Presumably, the provision in the Transfer Policy requiring a court order is based on the reasonable assumption that the intervention of a court and judicial decree ensures that the restriction on the transfer of a domain name has
some basis of 'due process' associated with it".

To be fair to the IP Crime Unit, it never suggested in its letters that it had the power to force registrars to disable domains, or to stop those domains being transferred elsewhere, and instead said it felt listed websites were simply violating the registrars' own terms. Though clarification on the limits of the Unit's powers might make future such letters less effective.

New marketing appointments at Cooking Vinyl
Indie label Cooking Vinyl confirmed two new appointments on Friday, with Sammy Andrews, previously of 19 Recordings and her own company Sabotage New Media, being recruited for the role of Head Of Digital, and Chris Farrow, previously of EMI, Columbia and most recently Sunday Best, joining in the role of Product & Marketing Manager.

Confirming the new recruits, the label's boss Martin Goldschmidt told CMU: "We're excited to welcome Chris and Sammy to the team. Their skills and expertise will enable us to provide an even stronger offering to our artists and kick ass in 2014".

Meanwhile Andrews said: "I am delighted to be joining such an established label. Digital marketing has never been more important, and I'm looking forward to helping Cooking Vinyl and its artists with campaigns that make the most of the opportunities digital presents".

And Farrow added: "I am hugely honoured to have joined the team at Cooking Vinyl who I have admired for many years. They have delivered many successful campaigns and I'm looking forward to adding to that list".

Elsewhere in the CV Group, the firm's distribution and marketing business Essential has announced the appointment of Erik Gilbert and Lance Meade to its board.

One less store closure for HMV, as last minute deal done with Kettering landlord
As HMV shut its old Oxford Street store for the final time yesterday (it now having a central London base at a newer smaller store, which is also it's older old store, just down the road), news came in that one of the entertainment retailer's regional shops also scheduled for closure this month has now been saved.

As previously reported, HMV announced last month that nine shops around the UK would be shut this month. Since Hilco bought the entertainment retailer out of acquisition last April, it has been trying to renegotiate rent payments, being clear from the start that the old HMV Group's rent commitments were simply untenable. This month's closures are at sites where rent renegotiation efforts were unsuccessful.

But one of the shops scheduled for closure, in Kettering, is now set to remain, after Hilco reached a deal with the owners of the town's Newlands Shopping Centre. This despite the owner of the shopping complex hitting out at reports that an inflexible landlord was the cause of the closure of the town's HMV store. A spokesman for Newlands operator Ellandi claimed last week that his company had been uber-flexible with HMV, but that Hilco had been pushing for zero rent.

Now, it seems, a deal could eventually be done, meaning the closing-down signs were being removed from the Kettering store's windows on Friday. Newlands Centre Manager Neil Griffin confirmed to the Northamptonshire Telegraph that HMV would remain at his mall for the foreseeable future.

Griffin told the paper: "Keeping HMV at the heart of the Newlands is great news for both the shopping centre and the town centre. In spite of the move to downloading music and movies there is no substitute for a visit to a great retail store and no retailer has the heritage, expertise and choice that HMV provide".

He went on: "We were keen to keep HMV in the town when their lease expired and with both parties being flexible in the terms we have agreed we have forged a deal which will see the brand continue to be represented in Kettering. It is important that the shopping offer in Kettering offers variety and quality and HMV certainly delivers both these requirements in style. With the £1,000,000 recent refurbish and the strength and variety of our stores we are looking forward to a better than ever centre for 2014".

Duran Duran hit out at yoghurt sync, though ad removed for other reasons
Duran Duran hit out this weekend at the use of their 1982 hit 'Hungry Like The Wolf' on a yoghurt advert, even though it seems like the company behind the Yoplait brand properly licensed the track for use in the commercial.

The band says that they were not aware of the sync before the ad started airing, insisting that, if they had been, they would not have approved the use of the track in a yoghurt promotion. They add that "moving forward we hope to avoid any further situations like this".

It's not clear whether those licensing the track for sync were obliged to consult the band before doing the deal (an artist's right to veto sync deals will depend on specific contracts). Though, I suppose, even if a band doesn't have a contractual right to be consulted about sync arrangements, generally brands would prefer it if the bands behind the music they use in their commercials don't go around issuing statements dissing their ad spots.

As it happens, Yoplait has withdrawn the ad, though not because of licensing issues. Rather, consumers pointed out that in the US some associate 'Hungry Like The Wolf' with the 1983 Diane Downs murder case, because the song was playing on the radio when Downs shot her three children in the back of her car, killing one of them. Which isn't something you want to remind people about when trying to sell them yoghurt.

After people raised that point on Facebook, a spokesman for the brand defended the ad by saying: "We chose the music because it's a popular song that felt right for this ad. The Yoplait team has discussed this quite a bit and found that the large majority of people have only positive connections to this song, given that the Diane Downs incident was more than 30 years ago".

But as criticism of the ad rose, the company withdrew the commercial, saying in a statement: "When we chose the song, we had no idea of its connection to this terrible event. We take your feedback seriously, and yes, we have decided to remove this ad from the air while we consider other versions. Please know that it may take a couple of days until the ad is fully removed. We're again sorry that it's upset you and promise there was no intention to cause such disappointment".

Duran Duran issued their statement after fans criticised the sync. They wrote: "Many of you have written to us, voicing your dismay about the recent license of our song 'Hungry Like The Wolf', to a yoghurt commercial. Please know, Duran Duran do not support this usage of their music and unfortunately, this particular license was granted without any prior notification to any of us. Had we known, under no circumstances would we have backed it. Thankfully, the ad has now been taken off the air and moving forward we hope to avoid any further situations like this".

UK Music announces music manager videogame
Hey, videogame fans, you know how you're always saying that the best games are those developed by trade bodies and government in partnership with each other? Yeah, you are. Well, UK Music and the Intellectual Property Office have announced a new game for iOS and Android which will allow you to play at being an artist manager, without any of that horrible financial risk stuff that usually comes with a job. Or anyone dying in a bath.

Developed by Aardman Animations, the game goes by the name 'Music Inc', and will, says UK Music, be as realistic as possible. It's hoped that it will give players a better idea of what it's like to navigate the behind the scenes world of music. It sounds like there'll be a lot of admin involved (thus keeping up the realism), with choices about whether or not to make music available for streaming and combating the effects of piracy amongst tasks to be undertaken.

Says UK Music CEO Jo Dipple: "'Music Inc' is an extremely exciting project for UK Music as we join forces with the IPO and Aardman Animations to convey the message around the value of creativity in a fun and interactive way. We can't wait to see feedback from the public when the app launches in February, all the while generating an interest in the framework that underpins our ability to make a living from music, copyright".

The app will officially launch on 5 Feb, so until then you'll have to make do with this trailer.

New Editor for Rock Sound
Rock mag Rock Sound has announced that current Editor Ben Patashnik will depart in March, and will be replaced by his Deputy Ryan Bird, who has been with the title since late 2011, having previously worked for Kerrang!

Confirming his impending editorship at Rock Sound, Bird told CMU: "I'm delighted to have been given the opportunity to take Rock Sound forwards following one of our most successful years ever. I can't wait to get to work and further establish ourselves as the most exciting and relevant title in our field!"

Meanwhile the mag's Publisher Patrick Napier added: "Ryan's contribution has been immense since he joined and Rock Sound will be in safe hands. I'd like to thank Ben Patashnik for leading the charge over the last two and a half years which has seen Rock Sound's global reach grow by 150% to over 830,000 across its print monthly, website and social network pages".

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Gemma Cairney gets new presenter role on Radio 1
Gemma Cairney is to take over the early breakfast slot on BBC Radio 1, filling the two and a half hours before Nick Grimshaw turns up for the Breakfast Show. Currently presenting the weekend breakfast show, she will shift into her new 4am-6.30am weekday slot on 31 Mar.

Commenting on the news, Cairney said: "I am ultimately utterly in love with radio and I had to say yes to doing five shows a week on Radio 1. I take on this new role with an array of studio-worthy pyjamas and pride in the responsibility of becoming a supportive friend of the nation's early morning risers. Bring it on".

Outgoing early show presenter Dev will, in a piece of perfect synergy, move over to the weekend breakfast slot. Says he: "I'm really excited about this move and the prospect of bringing my unique brand of professionally ropey radio to weekends. Oh, and I get my life back a bit. Which is nice".

Suggesting that Cairney is being lined up for bigger things in the future (and possibly taking an accidental dig at Dev's "professionally ropey radio"), Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper said: "Chris Moyles and Scott Mills both did early breakfast on Radio 1, using it to showcase their creativity. Now it's Gemma's turn".

As previously reported, Cairney also presents 'Mali Music', the documentary around which 6music's upcoming African music weekend is built. You can hear that on Sunday.

Cale and Moore confirmed for Sound City convention
Organisers of showcase festival and music convention Liverpool Sound City last week announced two of the veteran artists who will be in conversation as part of this year's event: John Cale and Thurston Moore.

Confirming those speaker bookings, Sound City boss David Pichilingi told CMU: "We promised a step change this year and we have delivered. John and Thurston are two of the biggest global names in music - not just for the records they've made but the artists they have inspired and the sub-cultures they've inspired. For decades right up to the present day being into Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth isn't just a decision to buy a record - it's a lifestyle choice. These guys literally changed the world, what people listen to, what they think, how they dress".

This year's Sound City, which will also have sessions focused on the football and fashion sectors within its convention, takes place from 1-3 May. More info here.

Dave Haynes departs SoundCloud
SoundCloud's VP Business Development Dave Haynes has announced that he is leaving the company after five years. Where he's headed next he is yet to announce, but he has said that he will stay outside the music industry for the time being.

Announcing the news via his blog, Haynes said: "Just over five years ago, I joined a little Berlin start up called SoundCloud. It was one of the best things I ever did. We've achieved incredible things and it's certainly not quite as little anymore. But now I need a change. I'm leaving a company that I still love and striking out to seek fresh inspiration and new challenges".

He continued: "For now, I'll be leaving the music industry but I'll still be a keen observer and hope to carve out some time to play an active role in advising other music start ups. Over the next few weeks I still have a few things to transition over, but have made sure to leave time to decompress before I start my next mission".

To read Dave's statement in full, along with further reflection on his time at SoundCloud and some discussion of his reasons for leaving, click here.

  Approved: Sasha Keable
Since this year's craze is apparently to tip a featured singer off Disclosure's 'Settle' album, my thinking is, it's only fair to shine a light on the least widely heard of those, Brixton teen and ex-BRIT School girl Sasha Keable.

Whilst Jessie-Ware-in-waiting Keable is possibly still a bit too fresh to say this will be her year, her big break is likely not too far off, given she already has a five LP deal with Polydor and as yet unreleased link-ins with Dev Hynes and Lana Del Rey creative Justin Parker. Though, I suppose majors sometimes hang on to their young signings for a while before allowing them out of the box.

Still, we can dream. And failing that, go to Sasha's first solo show arranged at London's Servant Jazz Quarters on 21 Jan, provided tickets are still available. And if not that, her first EP, the eight-track 'Black Book', is at least still free to download via her site. Stream it here, and catch its breezily addictive best single 'Careless Over You', here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Bassist departs Alt-J
Alt-J have lost a bassist, which I think makes them Alt-G, which is a copyright symbol, and sends out a good clear message about piracy in this digital age, I think. Well done, everyone.

So yes, the Mercury Prize winning band confirmed on Friday that Gwil Sainsbury is leaving, but they all seem to be on good terms still, and the rest of the outfit are still planning on getting all busy employing their musical skills on a second album.

Via Twitter the band announced: "With regret, Gwil is leaving Alt-J. This is purely a personal decision and as our best friend we support him completely".

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the group told CMU: "The three remaining members of Alt-J - Joe, Gus and Thom - and all at [their label] Infectious Music give their full support to Gwil and wish him only the very best for the future. Both Alt-J and Infectious would like to reassure fans that the band remain excited about the future and are set to return to the studio very soon to begin work on the follow up to 2012's Barclaycard Mercury Prize winning 'An Awesome Wave'".

It's not clear if Gwil will be replaced before work begins on the second album. But if there are any bassists out there with the surname Morrison, well, that'd be a nice little thing would it not?

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Man confirms ironic Milli Vanilli opera, isn't joking
'WOW', an experimental opera based on the 'rise and fall' of German R&B sensations Milli Vanilli, will hit BRIC House in Brooklyn, New York, later this month, its director has confirmed.

Talking to DNAinfo, David Levine said that, rather than consisting of MV songs, the show's score would rework sections of Richard Wagner's 'Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg', which centres on a guild of master singers, composers and musicians.

Levine, who was inspired to begin work on the show by an episode of VH1's 'Behind The Music', sheds light on the erm, 'work-in-progress' concept: "The musicians get fed their parts just in time and it's never the same piece twice. They play it as they receive it which leaves it prone to all kinds of glitchy repetition".

In technical speak, that idea will apparently translate to a "real-time opera production environment in which the score, libretto, and staging intersect differently during each performance, evoking news ways of thinking and feeling about a story that's not as simple as it first may seem".

So that all makes sense. More info on how the heck all this is going to turn out is found here.

Lily Allen unveils new single
Lily Allen will release the next single from her third album on 2 Mar, it was announced this morning. Entitled 'Air Balloon', it was produced and co-written with Shellback.

Last month, of course, Lily was everywhere, when she released her sickly sweet cover of Keane's 'Somewhere Only We Know' as an advertising jingle, and also a proper single in the form of the only slightly controversial 'Hard Out Here'.

Watch the video for 'Air Balloon' here.

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Kylie details new single, LP featuring Pharrell, MNEK
Kylie is back on the dancefloor, apparently (as if she ever left), and will on 16 Mar release her "euphoric" new pop single 'Into The Blue'. The track will lead into Ms Minogue's twelfth studio LP, which includes super-strong production fixings from Greg Kurstin, Metrophonic, Cutfather, MNEK, Ariel Rechtshaid and Pharrell, and which will follow later in the year. Probably with a title.

Kylie, who did her first stint as first (and only) lady of 'The Voice' over the weekend, tells us: "2013 was a year of big change, planning and preparation for me and I'm so excited that 2014 is finally here so I can share this new music. 'Into The Blue' is really special to me as it encapsulates a lot of what I've been feeling - I can't wait for it to be out there".

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Katy B delays LP (by a week)
In 'drastic release date changes' news, fans will have to wait an extra week to hear Katy B's long-awaited new LP, 'Little Red', which has been delayed by seven days.

Initially set to hit shelves on 3 Feb, its new sell date is 10 Feb. So there, sorry everyone.

Consolation comes in the form of this 'backstage' kind of clip from the making of B's new single, 'Crying For No Reason', whose title reads sort of mockingly now, doesn't it?

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New Sufjan Stevens project Sisyphus to release album
Previously known as s/s/s, Sisyphus are to release their eponymous debut album on 17 Mar, through Asthmatic Kitty. The hip hop group, comprised of Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux and Serengeti, released an EP entitled 'Beak & Claw' in 2012, featuring contributions from Shara Worden and Doseone.

Discussing the creation of the album, Stevens explained: "Our intention was to make another EP, but there was a wellspring so we ended up with a full length. Ryan [Lott, aka Son Lux] just finished his record and I'm working on a ballet, so we had mad ideas. The first EP was the bastard stepchild of Myspace and Pets.com. We did it all remotely. For this one, we decided to make everything together in the same room. And it was a very small room. Things got messy. There was a lot of Axe body spray and menthol cigarettes and red wine".

He continued: "The whole thing was done in three weeks total. Fast and furious. Geti kept saying what happens when the jams come on Spotify at the frat party? Are they singing at the hook, is the bass thumping, are the girls grinding? Lowest-case scenario. I mean, seriously, this is far from frat party music, it's still heady as shit, but that was our objective, to trust our impulse and make it fun, for whatever it's worth".

Sounds like fun. Check out the lead track, 'Calm It Down' here.

Brian Wilson to headline 'new' Hop Farm festival
Now to one of the more puzzling live conundrums of our time, and the concurrent news that man-sized Beach Boy Brian Wilson has been announced as the first artist set to play this year's 'all-new' Hop Farm Music Festival. Also known as the 'non-Vince-Power-linked' Hop Farm Music Festival, following the news that Power's recently-troubled event - also, confusingly, still titled the Hop Farm Music Festival - will return in 2014 but at a new site.

So whilst the Brian Wilson-featuring Hop Farm fest isn't exactly 'all' new, in that it'll take place at the same site (the Hop Farm Country Park in Paddock Wood, Kent) as its namesake did from 2008, it is new in the main, with a new promoter in UK Events, and, promises its website, "more things to do".

Power is yet to confirm the new venue for his version of the event, though he seemed sure the show would go on somewhere else in Kent, back in October.

He said at the time: "I have been building the Hop Farm for six years now. Unfortunately due to the economic climate we had to cancel this last year, but the festival is not over. We have a strong brand in the festival market, an instantly recognisable festival and you can't keep a good festival down".

Find more info on the 'new' Hop Farm, which will run from 4-6 Jul, via thehopfarmmusicfestival.com, and the 'not new' Vince Power edition via hopfarmfestival.com. Though since the second link doesn't have info on it yet, you might struggle to find any.

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The Feeling to tour in March
Sensitive pop sorts The Feeling will, on 11 Mar, begin a big old tour to remind non-Radio 2 listeners they still exist. Which is nice if, like me, you like being reminded of needlework-themed love songs from the mid-noughties.

Looking forward, the band's new single 'Fall Like Rain', the third from their fourth LP 'Boy Cried Wolf', will drop, like tuneful drizzle, on 24 Mar. Now do peruse the below list of shows, if you like:

11 Mar: Edinburgh, Liquid Room
12 Mar: Sheffield, The Leadmill
13 Mar: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
15 Mar: Norwich, Waterfront
16 Mar: Holmfirth, Picturedome
17 Mar: Milton Keynes, The Stables
19 Mar: Eexter, Phoenix
20 Mar: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
21 Mar: London, Koko
23 Mar: Liverpool, Academy 2
24 Mar: Brighton, Concorde 2

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Marissa Nadler confirms springtime shows
Folk-pop soloist Marissa Nadler of singing-songwriting fame will mark the coming of 'July', her sixth LP, with a set of live dates in April of this year.

The co-work of Sunn O)))/Wolves In The Throne Room producer Randall Dunn,
'July' is released via Bella Union, not in July, but on 10 Feb. The shows will go on as follows:

20 Apr: Bristol, The Cube
21 Apr: Halifax, Square Chapel
22 Apr: Brighton, Komedia
23 Apr: London, Café Oto

To finish, listen to one of the songs on 'July', 'Dead City Emily, here.

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Son Lux adds London date
Having sold out his show at London's The Lexington this month (on 23 Jan, to be precise), pop producer/composer Son Lux has confirmed an extra, later date in the capital so as not to disappoint his LDN fanbase.

The show is at XOYO on 21 May, and hangs on Lux's third LP, 'Lanterns', which was released last year. Tickets are here, and a new remix by French DJ Arandel of 'Lanterns' track 'Easy' is here.

James Arthur "not a homophobe anymore"
James Arthur is no longer a homophobe. The former 'X-Factor' winner confirmed the news at a show in Edinburgh last week.

According to The Guardian, the singer introduced new single 'Get Down' at the Scottish capital's Usher Hall on Thursday by saying: "This one will hopefully get played on the radio, cos I'm not a homophobe anymore".

As previously reported, Arthur came under fire last year when he released an online 'diss track' calling rapper Micky Worthless a "fucking queer". His onstage comments last week were no doubt intended to be tongue-in-cheek, he having previously explained that his diss track lyrics were not, in fact, homophobic at all. Though similar lyrics from Worthless were. Just so we're clear.

 
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