An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Tuesday 29 April 2014

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ahead of next week's Great Escape, where Dan Le Sac will be leading a review of what the artist community thinks about streaming music following this year's high profile Thom Yorke initiated debate, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke has been talking to the producer about what he thinks. "Yorke and Godrich have certainly helped to bring the debate back into people's minds", he says of the... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Australian baroque pop group The Moles have announced that they will play their first UK show since the early 90s this June. This follows the release this week of a new career-spanning compilation, 'Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles', through Fire Records. Formed in the late 80s by Richard Davies, the band released two albums, 'Untune The Sky' and 'Instinct', and... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Dan Le Sac on the streaming debate, ahead of Global Digital Markets at The Great Escape
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LEGAL Paul Simon and Edie Brickell appear in court following domestic violence arrest
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DEALS Warner to acquire Chinese independent
Demi Lovato to book tour based on Shazam tags
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Seth Troxler confirms "high grade" label, Play It Say It
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LIVE BUSINESS West End X-travaganza I Can't Sing to wrap early
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Selena Gomez hires Cobb as manager following mom-firing
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Beats off to a flying start, Rogers claims
Rdio upgrades stream quality, partners with Bob Weir on audio initiative
Live Nation and Yahoo! announce gig streaming venture
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EDUCATION & EVENTS AIF launched new indie festival focussed conference
Videogame music conference Game Music Connect to return
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ARTIST NEWS Julian Lloyd Webber forced into retirement following slipped disc
DJ Rashad autopsy proves inconclusive
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RELEASES Release Round-Up: Ariana Grande, Kasabian, The 2 Bears, Manic Street Preachers and White Fence
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AND FINALLY... Mayfair residents "can't be supportive" of Pete Doherty wandering around, making the place look messy
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Dan Le Sac on the streaming debate, ahead of Global Digital Markets at The Great Escape
Ahead of next week's Great Escape, where Dan Le Sac will be leading a review of what the artist community thinks about streaming music following this year's high profile Thom Yorke initiated debate, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke has been talking to the producer about what he thinks.

"Yorke and Godrich have certainly helped to bring the debate back into people's minds", he says of the discussions that have taken place this year. "But it was definitely something that was already being debated by bands. It's just a shame that it takes established and financially stable artists to focus people's attention when the issue more heavily effects newer and less successful acts".

Asked if he thinks the problem is as much confusion about the way streaming services pay royalties, Le Sac continues: "Yes, but it's not just the artist domain! Ask the average indie label what they earn from a monetised YouTube video and they couldn't tell you. The issue with ad funding is that the fees advertisers pay are often variable, so from the top down there's no clarity of rates. Introducing various flat rates across the board would help matters, but there would be too many hoops to jump through to make that work".

The streaming music debate will feature as part of a half-day insights strand called Global Digital Markets at next week's Great Escape Convention, taking place on Friday 9 May from 2pm in The Old Courtroom.

The strand will also feature Adrian Pope from [PIAS] and David Gould from Sony Music discussing regional differences in digital trends, the founders of Bloom.fm and O2 Tracks on alternative approaches to the streaming proposition, and Skint Records co-founder Damian Harris, Secretly Label Group's Hannah Overton, Believe Digital's Lee Morrison and Songdrop's Brittney Bean all considering the next five years in digital music. More info here.

Although on stage this year, Le Sac regularly participates in The Great Escape as a delegate. Encouraging more artists to do likewise, he said: "The music industry is becoming a place where artists are empowered to self-release and self-manage, the convention gives me the opportunity to meet the people and gather the information I need to do these things well".

Read the interview with Dan Le Sac here.

Paul Simon and Edie Brickell appear in court following domestic violence arrest
Musicians and married couple Paul Simon and Edie Brickell appeared in court yesterday after being arrested at the weekend following what was described by police as a "family dispute".

The couple appeared at the Norwalk Superior Court in Connecticut to argue that they were not a threat to each other and did not require a court-issued protection order. "The both of us are fine together," Simon told the judge. "We're going to go back home today. We're going to go watch our son play baseball. We had an argument, and it's atypical of us".

At a press conference, police said that they had been called to intervene in an argument between Simon and Bickell on Saturday evening. Both acted aggressively, said New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski, and at least one of the two sustained minor injuries. One party also agreed to stay away from their home until the next day.

The judge yesterday agreed that there was no further threat of physical violence, and decided not to issue the protection order.

In a statement following the court hearing, Bickell said: "I got my feelings hurt, and I picked a fight with my husband. The police called it disorderly. Thank God it's orderly now".

They will appear in court again on 16 May.

Warner to acquire Chinese independent
Warner Music yesterday announced it had signed an agreement to acquire the Gold Typhoon Group, which might sound like a tea company to you, but it's actually one of the most successful independent music firms in the Greater China area.

The deal will see Warner acquire the firm's recorded music catalogue and its current roster of artists, which include established acts in the region like Kay Tse and Khalil Fong (the latter only just out of a deal with Warner), plus newer talent including Tia Yuan and Sean Zhang.

Confirming the deal, Warner Music Asia Pacific President Lachie Rutherford told CMU: "Gold Typhoon's unique and wide-ranging repertoire makes it a jewel in East Asia's musical culture. We look forward to welcoming this prestigious catalogue and these dynamic artists, and relish the opportunity to create new regional and global possibilities for this iconic collection of music. This landmark deal will complement our existing strengths and expand WMG's potent presence in these rapidly evolving and flourishing music markets".

While Louis Pong, Chairman of the Gold Typhoon Group added: "In the process of evaluating this transaction, we were keen to find the most suitable partner and the best home for the valuable Gold Typhoon repertoires. We are delighted to have Warner Music as our partner in this transaction and we strongly believe that, with its powerful A&R strength, Warner Music will unquestionably bring the success and legends of the Gold Typhoon Group and its repertoires into the next level".

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Demi Lovato to book tour based on Shazam tags
Demi Lovato has signed a new deal with Shazam to guide her upcoming European tour. The singer will book shows based on where her tracks are most tagged on the music identification service up to the end of May.

Says Shazam's Head Of Music Peter Szabo: "This is a fantastic way for Shazam to help Demi Lovato fans across Europe easily cast their vote to have her play in a city near them".

Here's Lovato herself explaining further in a video.

Seth Troxler confirms "high grade" label, Play It Say It
American techno DJ Seth Troxler has started his own label, Play It Say It. The venture's first achievement is the new solo single by Sharam Tayebi, aka 50% (approx) of house twosome Deep Dish, who reconciled following an eight year gap earlier this year. The track, titled 'Tripi', is available now on vinyl, and will be released digitally in May.

The name Play It Say It, Troxler says, is taken from promo stickers mailed to radio stations in the 1980s and 1990s. His philosophy in starting the label, he adds, is "just me putting out records that I've been field testing but have never come out. They aren't moody, the critics might hate them, but I know they work a floor and are awesome in that context. This isn't some crazy art thing, just high grade white labels to play in clubs. It's that basic".

Hear a radio rip of 'Tripi' here.

West End X-travaganza I Can't Sing to wrap early
'I Can't Sing', Harry Hill et al's all-singing, all-dancing stage satire of 'The X-Factor', is to close early - very early - in the West End.

The costly £6 million show, which had its (delayed by set technicalities) premiere in early March, will wrap on 10 May following a pretty miserable six week stay at the London Palladium. Despite the show having received mainly fair and 'so-so' (ie not 'Viva Forever!'-style horrific) reviews, the Palladium Theatre was selling tickets for prime seats at prices as low as £20.

Which led to much speculation in recent weeks that the show would be axed pretty quickly. Meanwhile one source close to the production told CMU that advance ticket sales fell far below what would be expected of a West End production with this budget, putting everyone on edge, and then failed to pick up once the show had opened.

Confirming its demise, Rebecca Quigley of the musical's co-maker, Stage Entertainment, said: "The West End can be an unpredictable place as the closure of a number of high-profile productions recently has shown. 'I Can't Sing!' has had audiences on their feet night after night, four and five star reviews from the critics and an amazing company and creative team, but it seems that isn't always enough".

Selena Gomez hires Cobb as manager following mom-firing
Selena Gomez has hired Katy Perry and Adam Lambert's manager Bradford Cobb, of the Direct Management Group, to deal with her showbiz affairs. As Us Magazine reports, Lil Selena dismissed her 'mom' and stepdad, Mandy and Brian Teefey, who had managed her career since its early Disney days, several weeks back.

Gomez postponed a tour of Australia, promoting 2013's 'Stars Dance' LP, late last year, checking into a rehab facility in Arizona for a fortnight in January. Her stay was apparently to deal with stress and anxiety, and not, her reps stated at the time, for any substance abuse issues.

Beats off to a flying start, Rogers claims
Beats is doing just fine, thank you very much. 100 days in and everything is just swell. Got that?

Billboard's analysis of the new streaming service on the block's first 100 days earlier this month, through quotes from label sources, found its performance somewhat lacking. However, a review by CEO Ian Rogers on the official Beats Music blog is positively glowing. It's almost as if you can't really get a clear picture of a company's success after just 100 days in business.

Rogers wrote: "100 days in and the rate of conversion from trial to paid has far surpassed our projections by more than 40%, and 33% of our overall subscriptions have come through AT&T. But we didn't stop there either. We saw that more than half our listeners are using the service through an iPhone or iPad and so we added the ability to pay with your Apple ID just over a week ago. As a result, we've had a five times increase in our daily paid conversion".

Exact subscriber numbers, as you'd expect, weren't forthcoming, but Rogers did reveal some stats, including that users have so far created over two million playlists on the service, and have played 690 years worth of music from Beats' own curated playlists. Also, he says, "engagement is off the charts', with 60% of all those users using the service more than once a day.

Read Rogers' full blog post here.

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Rdio upgrades stream quality, partners with Bob Weir on audio initiative
Rdio has announced it has teamed up with Bob Weir off of The Grateful Dead to step up the audio quality of its streaming service. As part of the alliance, Rdio will start making its streams available in 320kbps AAC format, which is "roomier" apparently.

Now, that move isn't an especially big gesture, as some of Rdio's rivals already stream at that quality, but it's just step one of a many stepped step-a-thon that aims to fill the ears of its customers with the best possible rate of bits. Or something like that.

Write Team Rdio in a bloggy post: "As part of our ongoing commitment to the artist community, Rdio will work closely with artists and labels from around the world to continue to raise the bar higher on streaming quality where sufficient network bandwidth exists, and to improve stream delivery in markets around the world where network quality and bandwidth are often inconsistent".

"Through Bob Weir and his network of friends, from music legends to top emerging artists, we are looking forward to working together to ensure that Rdio delivers the best possible audio quality option to both artists and music fans. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about this important and exciting venture".

Good times. Though, as previously reported, Nordic streaming service WiMP is already someway ahead in this game having launched a FLAC-based super-duper high quality streaming option last year.

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Live Nation and Yahoo! announce gig streaming venture
Live Nation has announced an alliance with Yahoo! that will see the latter stream the former's concerts live, with a gig a day for a year supported by some of those sponsorship dollars. It's all part of Yahoo's latest attempt to provide more original content, especially of the video variety.

There have been numerous attempts over the years to launch streaming gig services, both ad-funded and subscription-based, most with very mixed results.

Though those web-cam-in-club things are meant to be doing pretty well for some not-entirely-clear-to-me reason. So perhaps now is the time for a gig streaming set-up to prosper and thrive. And obviously Yahoo! is the just the company to lead such a thing.

AIF launched new indie festival focussed conference
The Association Of Independent Festivals has announced a new conference, called The Festival Congress. It will take place alongside the Sŵn Festival in Cardiff on October.

Speakers so far announced for the event include, Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly, Martin Elbourne from Glastonbury and The Great Escape, Bestival founder Rob Da Bank and the Welsh Music Foundation's John Rostron.

Announcing the event, AIF Chair Alison Wenham said: "It has been a huge pleasure to see AIF grow from a small group of aspirational, determined people to a fully fledged association in just six years. We are marking that milestone with the Festival Congress, bringing together independent festival promoters to celebrate their art and business".

The event will take place on 17-18 Oct. For further details and to book tickets, click here.

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Videogame music conference Game Music Connect to return
Videogame music conference Game Music Connect will return for a second year in September, it has been announced.

Founded by BAFTA winning composer James Hannigan, who has written soundtracks for games including 'Transformers Universe' and the 'Command & Conquer' series, the event will feature sessions for aspiring and professional composers interested in the art of writing music for videogames. Speakers announced so far include Electronic Arts' Worldwide Executive of Music Steve Schnur, plus composers Garry Schyman, Jessica Curry and Olivier Derivière.

Hannigan told CMU: "It's a huge thrill to be back for 2014 and a great honour to have such wonderfully talented, diverse and influential guests join us for the day. As promised last year, we will be covering the innovative indie game music scene this time around, as well as continuing our focus on blockbusters and the challenges of interactive music".

The one day event will take place at The Southbank Centre in London on 24 Sep. More details and tickets available here.

  Approved: The Moles
Australian baroque pop group The Moles have announced that they will play their first UK show since the early 90s this June. This follows the release this week of a new career-spanning compilation, 'Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles', through Fire Records.

Formed in the late 80s by Richard Davies, the band released two albums, 'Untune The Sky' and 'Instinct', and a series of EPs, all of which are included in 'Flashbacks And Dream Sequences'. They split in 1996, and Davies went on to form Cardinal and record a number of solo albums.

To mark the release of the new Fire Records compilation, the band will play The Lexington in London on 26 Jun.

Listen to 'Bury Me Happy' from 'Untune The Sky' here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Julian Lloyd Webber forced into retirement following slipped disc
Cellist and brother-of-Andrew, Julian Lloyd Webber, has said that his instrument will "fall silent", for good, following one last recital on 2 May. The musician has sustained a herniated disc in his neck which is affecting the strength in his right arm.

Lloyd Webber, who will retire from performing following a concert at the Forum Theatre in Malvern, this accompanying the English Chamber Orchestra, plans to "give back" to music by moving over to the education side of the industry.

He states in a press release: "I am devastated. There were so many exciting plans that cannot now come to fruition. I have had an immensely fulfilling career and feel privileged to have worked with so many great musicians and orchestras but now I have to move on".

He adds: "I have just completed two new recordings which will be released later this year but after 2 May my cello will fall silent. I now need time to reflect and to consider this sudden and distressing life-changing situation and there will be no further comment at this time".

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DJ Rashad autopsy proves inconclusive
An autopsy conducted on the body of DJ Rashad Harden was inconclusive, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Medical examiners are now awaiting toxicology results to confirm the cause of his death on Saturday.

As previously reported, Harden was found dead in a Chicago apartment over the weekend. Police stated that they suspect a drug overdose was the cause, having found drugs and drug paraphernalia near the body.

In a statement yesterday, Kode9, whose label Hyperdub released DJ Rashad's last album, said: "I was honoured to release music from Rashad on Hyperdub. I've only known him for around three years, but he had become a good friend and one of my biggest musical influences. He was one of the funniest, most positive people I've ever met and a true innovator".

He went on: "Everyone at the label is devastated by his passing and wish to send our sincere condolences to all his friends and family in Chicago, the Teklife crew and anyone anywhere who was graced by his presence and uplifted by his music. I'll never forget singing duet with him in a karaoke bar in Tokyo".

Release Round-Up: Ariana Grande, Kasabian, The 2 Bears, Manic Street Preachers and White Fence
Slip-of-a-Disney-popstar Ariana Grande has collaborated with collabs-happy rapper Iggy Azalea on a track titled 'Problem'. The single, which is taken off Grande's TBC sophomore LP, is available now on iTunes in the USA only, though Ariana says it's coming to the UK soon. I'm still waiting on a post from Lorde or similar backing it against the 'haters'. Still, it's early days. This is Ariana Grande's 'Problem'.

Now it's over to horsemeat rock fatalists Kasabian. The band have confirmed info on their fifth LP, starting with its title, '48:13' (also its total duration), cover-art-which-isn't-actually-cover-art, and a nice, meaty tracklisting packed with wince-making titles. Like first single 'Eez-eh', which will be released a week ahead of the 'main event' on 2 Jun.

Serge Pizzorno, who wrote and produced the whole thing, says of it: "I felt that we had the confidence to be more direct, more honest with this album. I started to strip away layers rather than to just keep adding".

Sticking with the same "stripped back" party line, Tom Meighan adds: "Less is more, you know? It's direct. It is what it is. Just listen to it. We've had the confidence to lay ourselves bare. Serge has stripped it right back. It's unbelievable".

Alt-house production pairing The 2 Bears, aka Raphael 'Raf Daddy' Rundell and Hot Chip's Joe Goddard, will on a TBA date in September release their new twelve-track set 'The Night Is Young'. It'll be lead by a single, 'Angel (Touch Me)', which goes like this.

Also, only nine months on from the release of their last one, 'Rewind The Film', the LP-crazed Manic Street Preachers have made another longform baby in the forthcoming krautrock-based 'Futurology'. Arriving on 7 Jul, it'll feature Scritti Politti's Green Gartside, German film actress Nina Hoss, Welsh singer Georgia Ruth, Super Furry Animals' Cian Ciarán, Cate Le Bon and H Hawkline.

The band's Nicky Wire told The Quietus a little story about it the other day, saying: "During our last European tour we really reconnected with this idea of travelling on the Autobahns listening to records by Kraftwerk, Neu!, Andy Weatherall, Popul Vuh and Cabaret Voltaire. The idea of being on these endless futuristic roads but being surrounded by these ancient forests at the same time. It's a magical feeling and it makes you think of soundtracks in your head as you're travelling through this landscape".

Watch the clip for its topmost single, which is directed by BAFTA-winner Kieran Evans, as it is here.

Mayfair residents "can't be supportive" of Pete Doherty wandering around, making the place look messy
The people of Mayfair are unhappy. Yeah, I know, the people of Mayfair are always unhappy about something. But this time it's important. This time someone who has taken drugs is coming to Mayfair. Imagine, someone with a drug habit in Mayfair. It doesn't bear thinking about.

That person is Pete Doherty, who will be performing with his old band The Libertines in Hyde Park on 5 Jul. Anthony Lorenz, chairman of the Residents' Society of Mayfair and St James's, told The Independent: "We can't be supportive of this show for obvious reasons. We've had meetings over the noise levels and volume controls from the Hyde Park concerts and they have been under control recently. But we can't be supportive of this sort of individual".

He added: "Together with the Ozzy Osbourne concert the day before, it's the last thing we need in the middle of Mayfair".

Yeah, there'll be severed bat heads and discarded crack pipes everywhere. And who's going to clean up all that mess?

Doherty himself was not on call to respond, but his bandmate Carl Barat was available, though he addressed the concerns about noise, which don't actually seem to be an issue anymore, saying: "If people are concerned about noise they shouldn't have moved to Hyde Park".

He added: "It's a tough time for bands to make a living. It's messed up for musicians. City bankers and footballers earn hundreds of thousands a week but a show like this is a one-off. And we pay tax on it".

Not everyone who lives in Mayfair is a city banker or footballer.

 
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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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 chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
Email aly@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
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 sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

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