An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 20 March 2014

TODAY'S TOP STORY: So yes, EMI may no longer exist as a standalone entity, and early-to-market music-based digital locker service MP3tunes may have gone bankrupt, but none of that stopped the legal battle between the two from rumbling on. Partly because MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson failed to have the legal case against him personally thrown out of court. As much previously reported, MP3tunes, created by... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Sleep Party People's second album 'We Are Drifting On A Sad Song' was a firm favourite of mine amongst the releases of 2012. However, having nailed that distinct, effects heavy sound first heard on 2010's eponymous debut, I did always wonder if the project's leader Brian Batz could maintain the momentum for a third longform release. Luckily, this seems to be something that played on his mind too... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Michael Robertson found liable for MP3tunes infringement
LEGAL Professor Green fined and banned from driving
Bieber offered plea deal on vandalism charge
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Tony Wadsworth to depart BPI
Sylvia Rhone becomes President of Epic US
LIVE BUSINESS RockNess not going ahead this summer
Field Day brand expands into Europe with club-based shows
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES founder muses on company closure
Afrojack launches music production thing
MEDIA Chris Martin joins The Voice USA
Billboard hires fashion editor
ARTIST NEWS Iggy Pop pays tribute to Scott Asheton
GIGS & FESTIVALS Rolling Stones cancel Australia and New Zealand dates
Rihanna and Eminem partner on US tour
Tune-Yards announce new UK shows
AND FINALLY... Kian Egan reckons Westlife would have cried at 1D sales figures
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Michael Robertson found liable for MP3tunes infringement
So yes, EMI may no longer exist as a standalone entity, and early-to-market music-based digital locker service MP3tunes may have gone bankrupt, but none of that stopped the legal battle between the two from rumbling on. Partly because MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson failed to have the legal case against him personally thrown out of court.

As much previously reported, MP3tunes, created by original creator Robertson, was one of the original music-specific digital locker services to reach the market. EMI sued the new company and Robertson himself in 2007, claiming that the operation infringed its copyrights. And so a long drawn out legal squabble began.

It initially looked like the case might result in some clarity on to what extent a basic music-focused digital locker service could operate without a licence from the music companies, though in the end much of the legal argument focused on a specific side-service offered by MP3tunes that enabled users to compile and share lists of music files they had found online (much of which was available via a sister site called

The initial judgement on the case did make some criticisms of MP3tunes, though in the main the digital start-up won the key arguments. But EMI appealed, and so the dispute continued, even as MP3tunes ceased to exist as a company and EMI was split up and sold to Universal Music and a Sony-led consortium.

And this time, with a jury considering the case, the ruling is sort of the other way around, with some of the infringement claims against Robertson discounted, but the key elements of the dispute going in EMI's favour. Crucially, the jury reckoned that there was a case for holding Robertson liable for some of the infringement claims, both for direct involvement in distributing unlicensed files and for being "wilfully blind" to other copyright infringement on his site.

As we say, although the MP3tunes squabble had the potential to test the legalities of unlicensed music locker services in the US, in the end those specific facts of the case mean wide-ranging precedents are unlikely to be set. And anyway, most of the big music-specific cloud storage services these days - like those run by Apple, Google and Amazon - are licensed anyway in order to offer more sophisticated scan-and-match services.

It's also unclear whether the ruling offers any more clarity on the protection the Digital Millennium Copyright Act offers US-based web operators who allow users to upload or link to unlicensed content files, also the topic of the now settled Viacom v YouTube litigation. Though lawyers for EMI seem to reckon that the inclusion of the "wilfully blind" point in the ruling against Robertson could have impact on future disputes.

Meanwhile the court now needs to decide what damages Robertson should pay EMI for all that infringement.

Professor Green fined and banned from driving
Professor Green has been banned from driving for a year and fined £525 plus costs after pleading guilty to drink-driving at Bromley Magistrates Court this morning.

As previously reported, the rapper, real name Stephen Manderson, was originally arrested back in November. He initially contacted police, claiming to have been mugged. However, when police arrived on the scene, they found his car crashed into a van and a drunk Professor Green claiming that this was due to him going out to search for the alleged mugger.

Another charge of perverting the course of justice was dropped earlier this month.


Bieber offered plea deal on vandalism charge
Justin Bieber may avoid going to trial over his arrest in January for throwing eggs at a neighbour's house, thanks to a plea deal, according to TMZ.

The website says that Bieber has been offered the opportunity to get away with being placed on informal probation, if he agrees to plead no contest to the vandalism charge and pay for damage caused to his neighbour's property - put at around $20,000. The charge will also remain at a misdemeanour level, so Bieber doesn't have to worry about the possibility of going to jail.

That said, Bieber has plenty of other cases going through the courts at the moment too. His charge for alleged DUI in Miami earlier this year is also making its way through the system. And TMZ has an update on that case too, telling us that Bieber's defence for failing to walk in a straight line at the scene of his arrest was that he'd fractured his foot while skateboarding.

Tony Wadsworth to depart BPI
UK record industry trade body the BPI has announced that its long-serving Chairman, the former EMI UK boss from back before "the Terra Firma incident", Mr Tony Wadsworth, will step down later this year.

Though before you all start saying "a-ha, so he is joining Sony Music UK in a senior role as was rumoured by American music industry website Hits Daily Double just last week", you could not be more wrong. Even if you made a t-shirt bearing the slogan "I AM more wrong", you couldn't actually be more wrong. Plus you'd now be dealing with trademark lawsuits from both Pharrell Williams and, by which point Wadsworth's future work plans probably wouldn't be a top concern. Unless he's planning on setting up a Fighting Ridiculous Trademark Claims consultancy. Which he isn't.

Anyway, we're really all here today to read a lot of quotes remarking on how fab Tony is, each noting what a marvellous job he's done as BPI Chair since taking on the role in 2007. But first let's hear from the man himself, who confirmed this morning that he will exit the trade group later this year, once a succession plan has been worked out with the body's Council and CEO Geoff Taylor. Though Wadsworth does plan to retain two roles with BPI affiliated organisations, as a BRIT Trustee and BRIT School governor.

Wadsworth: "After almost seven years in the role, I have decided to make 2014 my final year as Chairman of BPI and BRIT Awards Ltd. It has been a real privilege to be so involved in industry issues over this period of radical change and transformation and to sit around the Council table with colleagues who have such an amazing wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for our business. [But] in recent years, since leaving EMI, in addition to my BPI activities I have enjoyed getting involved in several new ventures, commercial and non-commercial, but all music related. By relinquishing my duties at the BPI, I hope to make more time available to focus on these and selectively add to the portfolio".

The aforementioned Taylor paid tribute to Wadsworth for his time at the head of the BPI, telling CMU: "It has been a great privilege and pleasure to work with Tony over the last seven years. His encouragement, support and advice have been fantastic as we have developed a forward-looking agenda for the BPI and sought to help our independent and major members in practical ways. Tony's wise counsel and experience have helped us to navigate radical changes in the industry and to steer the business towards a future which feels genuinely brighter and full of possibilities".

Meanwhile the BPI's Deputy Chairman, Dramatico chief Mike Batt, said: "Tony has been a fantastic Chairman for the BPI. The fact that we were able to retain him as Chairman after [he departed] EMI is testament to the high regard in which he is held amongst his colleagues here. I shall personally miss him not only as a strong Chairman but also for his wisdom and cheery personality. I wish him the best for all of his ventures and hope that we can call upon his talents and authority in the industry from time to time in the future".

The BPI provided other quotes from British record industry bigwigs too, but we all know you've left this report already to go order your "I AM more wrong" t-shirt, so we'll call it a day. See you next week in the Legal section when that lawsuit arrives.


Sylvia Rhone becomes President of Epic US
Sony Music US has announced that one-time Universal exec Sylvia Rhone is to become President of its Epic Records label, reporting into the unit's CEO LA Reid. Rhone has been developing her own label with Sony since 2012, called Vested In Culture, which will continue as an imprint of Epic.

Confirming the appointment, Reid told reporters: "Having worked closely with Sylvia Rhone, I've witnessed firsthand how she shares a passion for an artists-first culture. I look forward with genuine enthusiasm to the next chapter of Epic Records".

Rhone herself added: "I'm honoured to have the opportunity to expand my relationship with the talented team and amazing artists at Epic. What makes this opportunity different from any other is my partnership with renowned music executive LA Reid. I'm looking forward to what I think will be the finest chapter in my career".

RockNess not going ahead this summer
As Michael Eavis will tell you, it's good to rest your festival from time to time, and I think poor old Nessie deserves one summer off from all that noisy new fangled pop music (indeed, if the Daily Mail is to be believed, eight years of the loch side music bash has possibly led to the lake's famous monster fleeing).

So yes, organisers of Scotland's RockNess festival have announced that the event will not go ahead this year, because apparently there's far too much sport going on this summer for people to be heading north for some musical good times.

In a statement the events promoters said: "Due to the addition of a number of events alongside the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games we've decided to take a year off. We're using this break to make the event bigger and better than ever in 2015 so have an amazing summer and see you back at the Loch next year".

So there you go. And now the 'Family Ness' theme tune.


Field Day brand expands into Europe with club-based shows
Now, so far we've gallantly overlooked the fact that London's Field Day festival is now actually two days, because if you squint Victoria Park looks a bit like a field. But what's this, three new versions of the event elsewhere in Europe taking place IN DOORS?

It's a good job we like this event, otherwise we'd be getting all distracted from reporting on the news Field Day is expanding its brand into three new European markets by dwelling on the lack of fields and precise time-spans of advertised events.

Anyway, here's Field Day founder Tom Baker confirming earlier this week details of his three new club venue-based events in Turin, Amsterdam and Paris: "I'm thrilled that Field Day is hosting some brilliant line-ups in some exciting and unique club spaces across Europe. It's great to have partnered with like-minded and creative promoters that I've worked with for many years. I very much look forward to the first of many [events] in the magnificent city of Turin, Italy, and it's just a Eurostar ride away to Amsterdam and Paris. So perhaps make a weekend of it in May and then again in London's Victoria Park in June". founder muses on company closure
Having finally accepted defeat and closed down, co-founder Billy Chasen has written a blog post reflecting on his four years trying to establish the service.

As previously reported, the briefly very buzzy online DJing website struggled after trying to gain licences from labels and publishers, those pesky music companies feeling they should get some money from a service entirely based on the content they paid for the creation of.

In a bid to placate the rights owners, access to was locked to the US only, after which the company gradually shut down various features as it struggled to make any of them pay. Then last year it was announced that the core website was closing down altogether, and instead the company would focus on a pay-per-view service featuring exclusive sessions by bands. But that last project was shut down in January as well, and now the company is gone altogether, writes Chase.

"Ultimately, I didn't heed the lessons of so many failed music startups", he said. "It's an incredibly expensive venture to pursue and a hard industry to work with. We spent more than a quarter of our cash on lawyers, royalties and services related to supporting music. It's restrictive. We had to shut down our growth because we couldn't launch internationally. It's a long road. It took years to get label deals in place and it also took months of engineering time to properly support them (time which could have been spent on product)".

Read Chasen's full blog post here.


Afrojack launches music production thing
Producer Afrojack is launching a new bit of music production software, specifically designed for gaming-focussed computer manufacturer Razer and for use with existing music software FL Studio.

Called Afrojack Production Studio, the product is the first to come out of a partnership which Razer and Afrojack embarked on last year. Apparently the producer has also been consulting on the Razer Blade Pro gaming laptop and Razer DeathStalker Ultimate gaming keyboard, which possibly means he's been seen using them in public. Though I assume he must have also nodded a bit when asked some questions about the devices, because that's how consultancy works, isn't it?

Afrojack's app will work in conjunction with FL Studio, by adding some shortcuts and tutorials from the producer. I'm still not entirely clear how this is a benefit, but the company insists it makes FL Studio a lot easier to use. So, good news for anyone who enjoys listening to shitty dance tracks made by people who don't really know what they're doing.

"I've been getting so much out of my Razer Blade Pro over the past several months - at gigs, at home and everywhere in-between", says Afrojack. "The new Afrojack Studio Production app is going to be super useful, and I'm excited to offer it to aspiring DJs and producers who love FL Studio as much as I do".

Also failing to explain what this thing actually does, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan adds: "The journey to becoming a global icon and Grammy Award winner has no doubt been fuelled by Afrojack's talent and unwavering passion, but also by his clear obsession with the most advanced gear in the world. It's our mutual preoccupation with the pursuit of perfection that brought us together to champion new music technology, and it's our common love of gaming that has made the relationship particularly rewarding".

Here's a video depicting a man failing to make enjoyable music, even after one-on-one tuition from Afrojack himself.

Chris Martin joins The Voice USA
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is joining the US version of 'The Voice' as an advisor to the show's four judges. The show announced the news via Snapchat yesterday. How very modern.

The show's Executive Producer Mark Burnett then told USA Today: "He's such an authentic voice in the industry. We could not be happier. There's a massive level of respect from the singers and the surprise from them [when they met him, was]: 'Whoa! Chris Martin. Wow!'"

Martin will make his first appearance on the show on 31 Mar, then again on 1 Apr and 7 Apr.


Billboard hires fashion editor
Billboard now has a fashion editor. Yes, a fashion editor. Well, that's a relief. Tasha Green joins from The Wall Street Journal and will lead on the US music business trade mag's fashion coverage, working alongside another recent appointee, Carson Griffith, a new contributing editor whose focus will be on lifestyle coverage.

Janice Min, Chief Creative Officer and co-President of Billboard owner Guggenheim Media said of the appointment: "I am looking to bring people in who are great journalists first and foremost and people who can help bring Billboard to a larger audience".

In similar news, we're pleased to confirm that long-serving CMU Editor Andy Malt has expanded his role here at the UK's leading music business news service, and will now also work as the title's Cookery Correspondent. The additional area of remit will build on the popularity of Malt's existing weekly beef-related column.

  Approved: Sleep Party People - In Another World
Sleep Party People's second album 'We Are Drifting On A Sad Song' was a firm favourite of mine amongst the releases of 2012. However, having nailed that distinct, effects heavy sound first heard on 2010's eponymous debut, I did always wonder if the project's leader Brian Batz could maintain the momentum for a third longform release.

Luckily, this seems to be something that played on his mind too. Decanting to San Francisco to work with producers Jeff Saltzman and Mikael Johnston, he set about reinventing the project for album number three, 'Floating'.

"The whole feel of the album is very different from the two earlier releases. It's 100% hand-played and totally organic and analogue", Batz explains. "I wanted it to sound more like a band than a one-man project this time".

He continues: "It was a very different way of working for me, but an approach I learned to love during the whole process. The feel and the sound on the album is way different from any other SPP album you've heard, but I believe that you can still hear that I'm the songwriter and that I have a specific way of writing songs".

And that is exactly what he shows on the first track to be released from 'Floating', 'In Another World'. Retained is the otherworldliness of the earlier songs, but by ditching the heavy effects of those recordings Batz has lost the more claustrophobic element to his sound and really brought his songwriting to the fore.

'Floating' is out on 2 Jun through Blood & Biscuits. Listen to 'In Another World' here.
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Iggy Pop pays tribute to Scott Asheton
Iggy Pop has paid tribute in an article for Rolling Stone to his Stooges bandmate, Scott Asheton, who died at the weekend. He also revealed that the drummer died of a heart attack, which had not previously been made public.

"Scott played drums with a boxer's authority", said Pop. "When he wanted to, he had a heavy hand on the drums. He hit the drum very hard, but there were never a lot of elbows flying. He wasn't showy. He didn't have to make a physical demonstration to get the job done. When he played with you, it was always swinging. He brought a swinging truth to the music he played and extreme musical honesty".

The singer also said that he couldn't see The Stooges doing anything in the "near future", saying that "it would just be wrong".

Read the article in full here.

Rolling Stones cancel Australia and New Zealand dates
The Rolling Stones have announced that they are postponing their whole tour of Australia and New Zealand.

As previously reported, the band postponed last night's show in Perth as Mick Jagger flew back to New York following the death of his partner, fashion designer L'Wren Scott.

Ticketholders are currently being advised to keep hold of their tickets until new dates for the shows are announced. It's not clear when such an announcement will be made.


Rihanna and Eminem partner on US tour
Like Rihanna? Like Eminem? Like having pop superstars co-headlining tours? Like living in LA, New York or Detroit? Like watching live music in August? Like buying tickets to Live Nation-promoted shows? Like American Express users getting priority access to tickets? Like Live Nation app users also getting a head start on ticket bookings? Then you, sir, are in luck. Monster.


Tune-Yards announce new UK shows
Tune-Yards have announced some new UK shows for June, which is good news because their previously announced London show in May is sold out. All the shows will follow the release of new album 'Nikki Nack', which will arrive on 5 May via album dispensing places.

Speaking about said record and the creative process behind it, leading lady Merrill Garbus says: "I had to let go of Tune-Yards being rigidly my production. I have a very specific vision for the sound of the band and I don't think women producers get enough credit for doing their own stuff, so I was resistant - but we grew, Nate and I both, and the songs grew. And it turns out that's what's most important: the songs, not my ego".

You wanna hear something from the album? Sure you do. Here's 'Water Fountain'.

And here are those live dates I was talking about:

12 May: London, Village Underground (sold out)
26 Jun: Brighton, Concorde 2
30 Jun: Manchester, Gorilla
1 Jul: Leeds, Cockpit
2 Jul: Bristol, Trinity
3 Jul: London, Brixton Electric

Kian Egan reckons Westlife would have cried at 1D sales figures
Occasional song singer Kian Egan reckons that his former group Westlife would have been pretty disappointed back in their heyday with the kind of record sales being achieved by those One Direction scamps.

Even though 1D scored the best selling UK album of 2013, the units shifted overall wouldn't have impressed Team Westlife circa 2001, Egan says. Though of course that ignores the fact that for One Direction, putting out records is just a promotional gimmick for their actual business of perfumery.

Egan, busy talking up a solo record (but with no accompanying perfume to sell, fool), told the Daily Star: "I was told the other day that One Direction's album sold around 700,000 copies in the UK and it was the biggest-selling album of [last] year. Back in the day with Westlife, that would have been fairly poor, we were selling more like 1.7 or 1.8 million".

Though Egan does concede that "times have changed", noting that "there were loads of bands around then - Blue, Steps, A1, S Club - there was room for all of us. But now there's only really room for one One Direction". Ah, for the days when the music business was able to sustain multiple shit pop groups all at any one time.

For younger readers, Westlife were a popular covers group back in the olden days when people bought real music on real discs from real shops, like ASDA and Tesco Metro.

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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