An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Monday 9 Jun 2014

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: While Google is busy trying to steamroll its YouTube music service into business, word has it bosses at the web giant are also in talks to buy US-based streaming set up Songza. Perhaps someone told Larry Page that Songza is licensed through the SoundExchange collective licensing system, so he wouldn't have to face the indie label lobby, with their irritatingly reasonable demands... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: It's been a long time since we've heard any new music from Twiggy Frostbite, the release of their debut album, 'Through Fire', now seeming like a long way away. The delay has been thanks in part to the group's founders being occupied with The Deer Tracks. But now they're back with the first track from album number two, 'Seashore', the video for which we're unveiling today... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Google reportedly bidding for Songza
Panel announced for first live CMU Podcast recording
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LEGAL Police put out call for witnesses to knife attack at Parklife
Dotcom seeks whistleblower, promises $5 million for killer evidence
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Loose Music forms US distribution ties with Thirty Tigers
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LIVE BUSINESS Cohl says 'Superstar USA' ticket sales were "horrific"
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MEDIA BBC outlines Glastonbury coverage as EE puts app live
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EDUCATION & EVENTS Second Cassette Store Day announced
Sound Women to host classes on music production and voiceover work
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ARTIST NEWS Pixies leave door ajar for Kim Deal
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RELEASES Psy and Snoop Dogg have a hangover
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AND FINALLY... Harris and Ora split
Rihanna not impressed with TLC criticism
Usher confirms: Bieber not a racist
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Google reportedly bidding for Songza
While Google is busy trying to steamroll its YouTube music service into business, word has it bosses at the web giant are also in talks to buy US-based Pandora-style streaming set up Songza.

Perhaps someone told CEO Larry Page that Songza is licensed through the SoundExchange collective licensing system, so he wouldn't have to face the angry indie label lobby, with their irritatingly reasonable demands, once running that particular streaming music enterprise.

Although only officially live in the US (a SoundExchange-style blanket licence isn't assured outside the States), curation-heavy Songza reportedly boasts 5.5 million active users. Which is someway behind Spotify and it's more direct competitor Pandora, and probably even behind its most direct rival 8tracks, though it is nevertheless a sizable player in the American digital music market, and especially popular with younger music fans.

One source has told the New York Post that Google has so far offered $15 million for Songza, though another insider reckons that the offer was considerably higher than that, and the web giant isn't alone in showing an interest in the streaming music start-up so could find itself in a bidding war. Not least with Amazon, an early backer of Songza which is now close to launching a limited streaming music service itself via its Prime venture.

Of course, with Google seemingly willing to go into full battle with the indie labels to get a YouTube streaming music service off the ground, and now these rumours of it bidding for Songza, one has to wonder what this says about Google Play Music That Can Be Accessed On A Stream All The Way Don't You Know, or whatever nonsense name the firm used for its own proprietary streaming platform. It's hardly a ringing endorsement.

Or perhaps, as with Apple and its purchase of Beats, the big prestige brands of the web ten years ago are conceding that they no longer appeal to the cool kids, and need to buy in cooler brands to engage young consumers. Though it's interesting that Beats will enable Apple to complement its 'interactive radio' service iTunes Radio with a full-on streaming platform, while Songza coming into the Google fold would do the opposite.

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Panel announced for first live CMU Podcast recording
CMU has this morning announced the guest panellists for the first edition of 'The CMU Podcast: Live', which will take place at The Roundhouse in London on 24 Jun.

Host of the show, CMU Editor Andy Malt, will be joined by Music Managers Forum CEO Jon Webster, Cooking Vinyl's Head Of Digital Marketing Sammy Andrews, and co-founder of playlist creation service Songdrop, Brittney Bean. The panel will be completed by regular guest, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke.

Malt commented: "I'm really exciting about our live podcast series, and the guests we've got for the first edition will ensure we get off to a flying start. This month, one of the topics we'll certainly be discussing will be the ongoing dispute between the indie labels and YouTube. Between Jon, Sammy and Brittney we have represented a diverse range of areas of the music industry affected by this".

He continued: "As well as that, we'll be talking about some of the other big developments in the music industry over the last few weeks, with a mixture of insight, opinion and humour, as you'd expect from CMU".

'The CMU Podcast: Live' is being presented in association with Roundhouse Rising over three months this summer. Each hour long recording will take place in the Roundhouse's Studio Theatre, while edited highlights will be made available as a free podcast later the same week.

Tickets for the June edition are available now for £10 (plus booking fee) from the Roundhouse website, here.

And you can find out more about the event here.

Police put out call for witnesses to knife attack at Parklife
A festival-goer who attended Manchester's Parklife Weekender on Saturday is fighting for his life after a knife attack near the event's main stage.

According to local media reports, two fellow festival-goers, thought to be off-duty medics, rushed to the aid of two men injured during a fight on Saturday evening, before the wounded were moved to a medical tent. One man was treated on site, but another was quickly taken to a local hospital, and subsequently moved to another medical facility after his condition deteriorated.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to the attack, which occurred at an event that normally passes without incident. Detective Inspector Mark Tootill told the Manchester Evening News: "The attack happened in a large crowd at one of the peak times of the festival, so we know there will be some people out there who have witnessed this assault".

He went on: "We believe that the victim may have been treated soon after the attack by two off-duty medical staff, who administered CPR before he was taken to the medical tent by security. We are extremely keen to speak to those two people, or anyone else who believe they may have seen the attack take place. If you believe you have any information that may assist us with our investigation, please contact us as soon as possible".

Meanwhile a spokesman for the festival itself said: "We pride ourselves on a history of Parklife Weekender without any incidents. We regret that an isolated incident has taken place at this year's event, however medics were on the scene within minutes of it taking place. We will update as soon as we can and we are in constant contact with the medical services and police to help as much as possible. We urge festival goers to help the police identify the individual involved in the incident and contact them if they have any information at all".

Anyone with any information about the incident should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Dotcom seeks whistleblower, promises $5 million for killer evidence
Kim Dotcom has put out a call for whistleblowers in the US and New Zealand government, or within the Hollywood machine, who could back up one of the conspiracy theories that surrounds the shutdown by the American authorities of his MegaUpload business in 2012.

As previously reported, Dotcom and the other directors of MegaUpload, deny the various allegations made against them by the Americans, and the US music and movie industries, who all accused Team Mega of deliberately encouraging and profiting from rampant copyright infringement across the MegaUpload file-transfer and video-sharing platform.

Even if there is a copyright infringement case to answer, Dotcom's team have always questioned the case for criminal action, which enabled the immediate shutdown of the MegaUpload operation and the seizure of the company's assets. One conspiracy theory goes that the American government agreed to take action to secure Hollywood backing for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

For their part the film studios and music companies would argue that it was the scale of MegaUpload's copyright infringing ways that justified the criminal action, but Dotcom is keen to find some evidence to back up the conspiracy theories, preferably that could be used in court. And he's told Torrentfreak that a multi-million fee and free legal counsel could be available to any whistleblower who comes forward.

Says the MegaUpload founder: "Let me be clear, we are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood. It is the opinion of my legal team that disclosure of such information would be lawful. I would also guarantee that any whistleblower coming forward would have the best legal representation at zero cost".

Hitting out again at the Obama government's role in the Mega attack, he goes on: "Former Senator and now Motion Picture Association Of America Chairman Chris Dodd and Vice President Joe Biden in particular have abused their political power to make the pre-trial destruction of MegaUpload possible. Joe Biden's personal counsel - while Biden was still a Senator - Neil MacBride was promoted to a top position at the DOJ and oversaw the MegaUpload destruction. We have already exposed a whole range of unlawful government conduct in the MegaUpload case, backed by court rulings".

For any potential dirt dishers afraid of being found out by the powers that be, Dotcom has recommended sources initially approach The Guardian newspaper via its new secure whistleblower platform, using an internet café to access the site. And for anyone who goes through the motions and provides the killer evidence, there could be a $5 million cheque to pick up.

So that's all fun. As previously reported, Dotcom is currently fighting extradition from New Zealand to face the criminal charges in the US, while attempting to be reconnected with his seized assets in New Zealand and Hong Kong, and to postpone civil lawsuits until after any criminal action has been resolved. At the same time as supporting his new Mega and Baboom business interests and pursuing a political career. Busy guy.

Loose Music forms US distribution ties with Thirty Tigers
London-based Americana/alt-Country label Loose Music is hitching a ride to America via a new deal with Nashville-based label and distribution firm Thirty Tigers. Hitherto confined to a Europe-only issue radius, Loose will now, with the Thirty Tigers team's assistance, be able to release internationally.

The label's first official American release, arriving later this year, will be Israel Nash's LP 'Rain Plans', which has been available over here since 2013. Hear the title track to that now, if only because it's the right thing to do at this point.

Cohl says 'Superstar USA' ticket sales were "horrific"
Veteran tour promoter Michael Cohl says he realised his joint venture with Andrew Lloyd Webber, that was attempting to replicate Stateside the West End musical arena circuit that has emerged in the UK, was facing sizable problems as soon as they put tickets on sale for their first production, an all-star version of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. Tickets sales for the shows, he added, were "horrific".

Speaking to Billboard just a few days after the mega-bucks venture was cancelled, Cohl said: "We all worked very hard reinventing things, rethinking things, fighting the good fight. And it just got to the point ... Look, it is a business, let's face it. We had to make the right business decision".

As previously reported, most of the stars set to appear in the show - including Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd, N Syncer JC Chasez, Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams and none other than John Lydon - seemed shocked by the sudden pulling of the show at the start of the month. Cohl was reported to have indicated he and his business partners had invested an eight figure sum into the venture at the point of cancellation, though he wouldn't discuss the financials with Billboard.

Cohl says he knew the musical venture was "risky" and he and his team have questioned all the decisions they made about the project. But, he says, his joint venture with Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group covers the musical man's other shows, and they could as yet have a second attempt with a 'Phantom' or an 'Evita' or some such. Because perhaps middle America just wasn't ready to see Lydon cast in the Jesus story, even as the villain.

BBC outlines Glastonbury coverage as EE puts app live
For those of you who prefer "doing" Glastonbury from your armchair, the more important of the festival's line-ups is out. Which BBC presenters will you have to tolerate waffling between the music? Well, Chris Evans, Jo Whiley, Fearne Cotton, Dermot O'Leary, Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Greg James, Stuart Maconie, Pete Tong, Cerys Matthews, Mark Radcliffe, Gemma Cairney, Annie Mac, Toddla T, MistaJam, DJ Target, Yasser and Alex Jones will all be doing some links from the most Worthy of farms. So maybe get your remote-control fingers warmed up for some speedy channel hopping?

The Beeb will once again provide blanket coverage of Britain's big music fest, with performances from over one hundred artists set to air on TV, radio, the red button whatnot and online. Indeed all four of the Corporation's main TV channels will air some Glasto this year, albeit via 'The One Show' on BBC1. Radio 1, 2, 1Xtra and 6music will all also broadcast from the fest.

Indeed, as The Guardian noted, so much coverage will there be, some 300 BBC staff members will be on site this year, which makes the team covering the music festival bigger than that covering the World Cup. Though to be fair, getting BBC staffers to Somerset isn't quite so expensive as flying them to Brazil.

Announcing the Beeb's Glastonbury extravaganza this year, the Corporation's music man Bob Shennan told CMU: "Glastonbury is one of the world's most famous music festivals and once again the BBC will be providing audiences with a magical weekend of coverage, in a way that only the BBC can".

Elsewhere, the festival's mobile sponsor EE has put this year's official app live, and wouldn't you know it, it's bigger and better than ever before. Or so says the press release, which wouldn't lie. Says EE Brand Director Spencer McHugh: "The 2014 app builds on the success of the first EE Glastonbury app last year. The improved social sharing capabilities, redesigned interface and improved map contribute to make this year's the most advanced,
user-friendly digital guide to Glastonbury Festival. Our bespoke 4G network at the festival will make it even easier for Glastonbury goers to access all the exciting digital content, including live-streaming from the BBC, available through the app this year".

Second Cassette Store Day announced
Following the, erm, universally positive reception for the event across all social media last year, the date for the second annual Cassette Store Day has been announced for 27 Sep. In the UK and Europe, Jen Long's Kissability and the Suplex Cassettes label will organise proceedings, while LA's Burger Records will oversee the US.

Long said of the returning event: "When planning this year we really tried to keep cassette labels and fans at the heart of the event. Last year grew far bigger than we had expected so we are thrilled to have Burger involved to help us cover the US side".

Meanwhile, Team Burger penned the following statement: "Burger Records loves tapes! We've built our foundation on the forgotten format and have been preaching the merits of warm analogue cassette culture for years. We're honored to be ambassadors of Cassette Store Day 2014 in the good ol USA! We plan to bring some of our favorite labels to the table and invite everyone to the party and partake in the fun phenomena of releasing top shelf music on cassette tapes in pop culture today!"

Record shops and labels wishing to get involved can apply to do so via cassettestoreday.com between 30 Jun and 15 Aug. Although way off the sales that vinyl has seen in recent years, cassettes are growing in popularity again, particularly amongst younger music consumers, should you still be wondering how a thing such as Cassette Store Day can exist.

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Sound Women to host classes on music production and voiceover work
Sound Women, a network and development collective for women working (or wishing to work) in the radio and audio biz, is launching a series of nationwide skills-boosting events.

BBC broadcaster Liz Kershaw, international DJ Sam Hall (aka Goldierocks), and Three Street Media MD Reju Sharma will all speak at an evening seminar titled 'Mapping The Industry: Ways Into Music Production', with BBC 5 Live presenter Clare McDonnel acting as chair. That's taking place at the Roundhouse in London on 26 Jun at 7pm, and tickets are available via this link.

Additionally, on 10 Jul, Sound Women are running a 'how to' workshop on how to make it in the world of voiceover work. It's hosted by award-winning voiceover artist Laura Shavin (off of BBC Radio 4's 'The Now Show'), and will go down from 6.30pm at The Academy Zone, a space inside BBC New Broadcasting House in London. Details here.

Ahead of those events, and still to be outlined sessions in Cardiff (22 Jul), Glasgow (11 Sep) and Belfast (9 Oct), sound Sound Women spokeswoman Dina Jahina said this: "This is just the start of a great summer of Sound Women training and events, which we hope will inspire women to be creative, positive and pursue their talents in the audio industry. We are developing opportunities across the UK, so that people can come together, learn and network wherever they live and work".

  Approved: Twiggy Frostbite
It's been a long time since we've heard any new music from Twiggy Frostbite, the release of their debut album, 'Through Fire', now seeming like a long way away. The delay has been thanks in part to the group's founders Elin Lindfors and Anna-Karin Berglund being occupied with their other project, The Deer Tracks. But now they're back with the first track from album number two, 'Seashore', the video for which we're unveiling today.

With the addition of new member Sofia Stolpe to the group (which is completed by bassist Emma Sjöberg), who adds vocals and various instruments to the new recordings, 'Seashore' is a juxtaposition of fragility and forcefulness. It's dark and atmospheric in a way that completely fits their name.

The new album is currently scheduled for release by Despotz Records in early 2015, and if 'Seashore' is anything to go by, it should be well worth the wait. Watch the new video here.
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Pixies leave door ajar for Kim Deal
BIG DEAL PIXIES NEWS ALERT. Since we're monitoring every single tiny event in the Pixies' recently pretty lively timeline, here's a new one: the band have said that their ex-bassist Kim Deal is free to be their bassist again, any time, as a place "will always be there for her".

Deal made an exit from the Pixies crew last year, only to be replaced by The Muffs' Kim Shattuck, only for Shattuck to be replaced by Paz Lenchantin, who's managed to hold on to the job so far, and looks like carrying on doing so. As long as Deal doesn't come back and take it, that is, in which case things could get really really awkward. Or, two bass players!

Speaking to NME last week, Pixies pair David Lovering and Joey Santiago said they had great faith in Lenchantin, with Santiago explaining: "If we had to pick a new bass player - if we HAVE to, absolutely - it would be Paz. I would get her vote and there wouldn't be no other tryouts. It would just be her. She fits right in".

Lovering added: "She's wonderful. She's a great bass player, she sings well, the audience loves her. And she's making me play better because she's such a good bass player, I don't want to be embarrassed. When Kim left, we wished her well, and we also said she's welcome back any time. I have no idea if she will or not. I guess if she did right now, it would be a little tough situation to be in, because we're so happy with Paz. But it's open... we have a lot of goodwill".

Psy and Snoop Dogg have a hangover
Psy and Snoop Dogg have finally got around to releasing that song they recorded together. It's called 'Hangover', and apparently heralds the "summer of Psy".

As previously reported, Psy and Snoop shot the video for 'Hangover' back in January, but have waited for peak hangover season to begin before releasing it. The video features the pair in various drinking/vomiting situations, as well as Psy surrounded by shot glasses full of what appears to be urine.

The release, of course, is the latest attempt to capitalise on Psy's 2012 mega-hit 'Gangnam Style', the official video for which has now had over two billion views on YouTube. Last year's follow-up, 'Gentleman', has only been watched a pitiful 700 million times.

Meanwhile, since going online yesterday, 'Hangover' has been viewed almost three million times. And you can add to that tally by watching it now.

As the video closes, we're informed that another single, called 'Daddy', is on the way. So that's something to look forward to.

Harris and Ora split
Just a quickie for those of you with 'pop shagger boards' in your offices, or 'musical romance charts' if you prefer, you can take down the line of wool linking Calvin Harris and Rita Ora. They're a couple no more.

Presumably taking to Twitter after the Mail Online published its 4017th "Calvin socialising with another woman shocker" post last week, the DJ and producer wrote: "To address speculation - myself and Rita ended our relationship some time ago. She is a beautiful, talented woman and I wish her all the best".

Which is nice. Ora alluded in a recent interview to her and Harris's professional commitments forcing them apart being a strain, saying: "I'm not a fan of long distance relationships. If you had a choice, you want that person with you - it makes me pretty sad - but you work with what you've got - bippy, bippy, bod, bod, bod, flooooom".

Sorry, that's me turning Ora's sad words into a Calvin Harris record.

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Rihanna not impressed with TLC criticism
After members of TLC made some comments about the use of sex to sell pop brands in 2014, Rihanna took offence and responded by temporarily replacing the main photo on her Twitter profile with a revealing shot of the girl group from their heyday.

TLC member T-Boz has since insisted that she didn't specifically name Rihanna in her interview with an Australian morning show last week, though the comments did seem to be in response to RiRi's latest "what a revealing dress" headlines, stemming from the outfit she wore at the recent CFDA Fashion Awards.

T-Boz told Aussie show 'Sunrise': "Every time I see you, you don't have to be naked. We sold and became the biggest girl-selling group of all-time with our clothes on, that says a lot. It's easy to sell sex... we can go around with boobie cakes out all day long".

The photo picked by Rihanna for her Twitter profile features a younger TLC with their breasts out, the message seemingly being along the lines of "pot/kettle". Though various people have since claimed that the TLC photo Rihanna selected was a shot taken for a breast cancer awareness campaign, which would kinda ruin her P/K message somewhat.

Still, flaunting your breasts to flog your shitty records, and exposing your breasts to stop shitty cancer, it's all the same shitty thing really isn't it?

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Usher confirms: Bieber not a racist
After the recent posting of two videos showing a younger Justin Bieber employing that 'n word' and sharing racist jokes, the pop tyke's mentor Usher has stepped in to confirm that, just in case there is any remaining doubt, his musical ally is "not a racist".

Following up the Biebster's own apologies for his former 'n word' utterances, and manager Scooter Braun's customary issuing of some pop nonsense philosophy about learning from one's mistakes, Usher posted a photo of himself with a youthful Bieber on Instagram over the weekend, noting: "As I have watched Justin Bieber navigate difficult waters as a young man, I can tell you that he hasn't always chosen the path of his greatest potential, but he is unequivocally not a racist".

Referring to the old videos that have surfaced in recent days, he went on: "What he was five years ago was a naïve child who did not understand the negative power and degradation that comes from playing with racial slurs. What he is now is a young man faced with an opportunity to become his best self, an example to the millions of kids that follow him to not make the same mistakes".

So, those racial slurs you're all obsessing about came from a poor naïve child. And let's face it, compared to the self-absorbed wanker Bieber has grown into in recent years, I think we'd all probably take that naïve child any day, racism and all.

 
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.
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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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