An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Friday 20 Jun 2014

 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The CEO of independent distributor Believe Digital has written to his clients about the new deal his company has negotiated with YouTube, which includes signing up to the Google subsidiary's new subscription-based audio streaming service. As previously reported, while much of the indie label community has so far refused to sign up to YouTube's new licensing terms, and have hit out at the... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: The Club Tip's going classy this week. As part of James Lavelle's curation of the Meltdown festival, Saturday night sees Goldie team up with The Heritage Orchestra to perform his seminal drum n bass album 'Timeless' in a classical fashion. Named one of CMU's Artists Of The Year for 2013 for their reworking of Joy Division's music, the involvement of the Heritage Orchestra in this project... [READ MORE]
   
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Lana Del Rey is a divisive character. A lot of people have strong opinions about her, and often those opinions don’t stem from the actual music she makes. Which makes it easy to see why she can be a little bit sensitive to criticism, or what she might see as misrepresentation. Last week I clicked on a link on Facebook to an interview with the singer. I’ll admit, the headline, “Lana Del Rey: 'I wish I was dead... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Believe chief enters the indie sector's YouTube debate
YouTube dispute under the spotlight at CMU Podcast: Live
JUMP | ONLINE
LEGAL Court finds Dappy guilty of nightclub assault
Gary Glitter appears in court
JUMP | ONLINE
DEALS One Direction's Louis Tomlinson buys Doncaster Rovers, launches crowdfunding campaign to cover running costs
BMG to rep Tafari Music reggae catalogue
The Voice 2014 winner Jermain Jackman signs to London Recs
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Merlin research says indies' market share higher in streaming than downloads
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LIVE BUSINESS Guildford venue facing licensing attack after complaint from newish neighbours
SFX announces Viagogo alliance
Live events to return at Blenheim Palace following Neapolitan deal
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ARTIST NEWS Alt-J's film score now in cinemas; band share Miley-featuring single
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RELEASES Bernhoft releases studio-quality album audio through iPad app
School Of Seven Bells to release final recording
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AWARDS Young Fathers' Tape Two declared Scottish Album Of The Year
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #211: Lana Del Rey v The Guardian
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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.
 
 
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Believe chief enters the indie sector's YouTube debate
The CEO of independent distributor Believe Digital has written to his clients about the new deal his company has negotiated with YouTube, which includes signing up to the Google subsidiary's new subscription-based audio streaming service.

As previously reported, while much of the indie label community has so far refused to sign up to YouTube's new licensing terms, and have hit out at the firm's threat to block the indies from its existing video platform as a result, some of the distributors which represent independent labels and artists are on board. Those include Sony Music-owned The Orchard, Universal Music-linked INgrooves and Believe.

Commenting on those deals, another independent distribution firm which hasn't signed up to YouTube's new arrangement, Kudos, wrote in a blog post earlier this week: "You have to wonder, did they strike a deal that was in their artist or distributed label's best interest, or were there incentives (advances, breakage) which benefited only their bottom line? For our part, we would like to assure our labels that any tangible benefit we receive from any deal concluded with YouTube will be fully distributed".

But in its memo, published by Music Week, Believe denies it received any kickbacks for signing up to the new YouTube deal, adding that it was never threatened by YouTube during its negotiations over the new terms, and arguing that the deal offered by the Google firm was fair.

Labels distributed by Believe will receive increased royalties for content on the video platform (including user-generated content that syncs music and official videos in Europe). And more importantly, Believe says that it reckons the deal offered on the audio streaming service is in line with market expectations.

Says the distributor: "From a detailed analysis of our current agreements with Deezer, Spotify and Rdio, as well as statements received from those services in the past year, our conclusion is that the rate offered by YouTube on the YouTube subscription service is aligned on current market rates. Minimum guarantees per subscriber per country are also in line with market rates".

Of course all digital music dealings are shrouded in secrecy, so it's hard for third parties (including artists and managers) to assess how one deal compares to another. Though for Merlin, the body that represents many of the bigger indies and some distributors in digital negotiations, often the sticking point isn't just per-play royalties/revenue splits, but whether or not the majors were offered large advances and/or equity arrangements as part of their deal.

Many indies argue that if the majors get such advances and they do not, that gives Sony, Universal and Warner - who already enjoy better access to finance - an unfair advantage, because they have money in their bank account from day one which they can use to outbid indie labels when signing buzzy new artists, to invest in new ventures and to otherwise grow their businesses, while the indies have to wait to receive their digital income over a number of years.

One of the reasons why the bigger indies established Merlin was to ensure that they could enjoy similar benefits in big digital deals, to reduce the majors' competitive advantage. Advances and equity are usually linked to market share, and when the indies come together through Merlin their share of the market is significant (whatever YouTube claims), making it easier to demand such deals. Which, indeed, Merlin has from other streaming start-ups. And, it seems likely, these points are key in the indies' talks with YouTube, in addition to any disputes over what royalties the Google firm should pay, for both video and audio content.

Believe concedes that it does not enter into these kind of talks, because - it says - they inevitably cause transparency issues for a distributor and its clients. Though, in his personal note, also published by Music Week, Believe chief Denis Ladegaillerie says that he does sympathise with pan-European indie labels group IMPALA and the World Independents Network on most of the issues they are currently speaking out about, although not specifically on YouTube's dealings, obviously.

The current dispute, reckons Ladegaillerie, is just one incident in the much bigger and ongoing issue of the indie sectors' access to finance, and the disparities in the cash-flow opportunities for the majors versus the smaller players. Debate should also be had, he reckons, on how music is valued in the streaming market, and how indie artists can be assured equal access to promotional opportunities.

But, he concludes, "Are [these issues] limited to YouTube? No, my personal view is that these are structuring market issues that must be addressed, in initiatives driven by IMPALA, WIN and other organisations in an institutional framework".

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YouTube dispute under the spotlight at CMU Podcast: Live
The topics up for debate at the first ever edition of the CMU Podcast: Live have been confirmed, with the indie sector's ongoing dispute with YouTube set to top the agenda.

How important is YouTube to the record industry, as both a revenue generator and promotional platform? Is YouTube simply 'upgrading' by adding in a subscription audio service, or is this a brand new product that should be licensed separately? And if YouTube goes through with its threat of blocking the indie labels from its video platform, who stands to lose out the most?

There'll be plenty to discuss, though YouTube won't be the only topic under consideration as we review the last month in music. Other recent digital developments - including Apple's Beats acquisition and the launch of Amazon Prime Music - will be dealt with, as will the recently announced cutbacks at BBC Radio, and the subsequent announcement of a new music strategy at the Beeb, including the launch of yet another music awards show.

Joining CMU Editor Andy Malt and Business Editor Chris Cooke to discuss, dissect and debate the month in music will be 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. Come join the debate, which takes place on Tuesday, 24 June, at 7.30pm at London's Roundhouse.

Tickets are £10 - book yours here. And, on the off chance that it still matters by Tuesday, the England World Cup match will be screened in the Made Bar & Kitchen from 5pm. Recording will then start at 7.30pm, and edited highlights of the debate will then appear in the CMU Podcast later this month.

Court finds Dappy guilty of nightclub assault
One-time N-Dubz star Dappy has been found guilty of assaulting a man outside Chelmsford nightclub, Chicago's.

The rapper, real name Costadinos Contostavlos, was handed an £800 fine over the incident, which took place in February of this year whilst Dapz was making a 'PA' at the nightspot. As previously reported, Dappy had denied slapping George Chittock, claiming that he had "moved him away" in self defence after his victim acted threateningly towards him.

But nevertheless, Contostavlos was convicted at Chelmsford Magistrates Court yesterday, the bench having watched a CCTV tape of the confrontation, and deemed that Dappy wasn't in any physical danger when he hit Chittock.

This isn't the first time Dappy has been involved in a spat of course. He and a pair of co-defendants were convicted of assault and affray last May following an altercation at a petrol station in Guildford. And he got kicked him in the face by a horse that time. No arrests were made after that incident though.

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Gary Glitter appears in court
Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday for a hearing in relation to charges of sexual offences against two girls.

As previously reported, the alleged incidents took place between 1977 and 1980, when the women involved were aged between twelve and fourteen. The charges in relation to the younger of the two women include one count of administering a drug or similar in order to facilitate sexual intercourse, and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of thirteen.

Gadd yesterday only spoke in court to confirm his name, age and address. He was bailed until 3 Jul, when he will appear at Southwark Crown Court.

One Direction's Louis Tomlinson buys Doncaster Rovers, launches crowdfunding campaign to cover running costs
One Direction's Louis Tomlinson is now the proud owner of Doncaster Rovers Football Club. Well, co-owner. It still counts though.

It's a deal that was originally due to be announced to coincide with One Direction's recent appearance at Wembley Stadium, presumably because of its football heritage, but a press conference at the venue was cancelled at the last minute, seemingly due to a few details not being ironed out. But yesterday, it was confirmed that former DRFC Chairman John Ryan and Tomlinson, also a reserve team member for the club, had exchanged contracts with previous owners Terry Bramall, Dick Watson and David Blunt. A completion date on the deal is set for 18 Jul.

The pair are now launching a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise £2 million to pay for the actual running of the club. They've also launched a trust, called The Tomlinson Ryan Trust, to manage the money raised. The two men have put in £500,000 themselves to get the ball rolling.

Says Tomlinson: "For me, this is all about the football, the community and restoring the excitement and desire to making Doncaster Rovers the most exciting club to play for in Yorkshire. I want to see the Doncaster Rovers supporters get the club the success it deserves. I grew up in Doncaster and have felt the love for football run through the town, it's for that reason that I have a real personal passion to make Doncaster Rovers a success story. This is a big step which I believe will open up opportunities to provide a very, very exciting future for the club and its supporters".

Ryan added: "By setting up the Trust, launching the crowdfunding campaign with crowdfunder.co.uk, and putting our own money in, we are making it clear to Doncaster Rovers supporters, and the general public, that we are planning to give the club the support and resources it needs. As its previous Chairman I am still totally committed to developing an exciting future for the club. The objectives of the trust provide a roadmap to make the club an even greater success. I am very pleased to join forces with Louis to make this happen. It's an exciting moment for Doncaster Rovers".

On his ability to run a football club, Tomlinson went on: "Although I'm young, I am very ambitious and I really want this club to succeed. All that's in it for me is to be a part of something great and I think we can really do that here at Doncaster Rovers. Doncaster is a footballing town and it would be great to continue that feeling throughout the town. This is a massive step for me. I want to keep my feet on the ground but I'm really excited and just want the club to succeed".

And on his new business partner Ryan, the singer added: "Me and John have talked a lot about the football club, he's a very successful businessman. We have a good relationship and I think it will be a great partnership".

With various rewards on offer for backers, the campaign must raise at least £2 million by 17 Jul in order to be funded. You can throw in a few quid here, if you want.

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BMG to rep Tafari Music reggae catalogue
BMG has announced a worldwide deal with music publisher Tafari Music which boasts, says the German music rights firm, "one of the most seminal catalogues of reggae and world beats music". Which means songs by the likes of Bunny Wailer, Barrington Levy, Gregory Isaacs, Dean Fraser and many more.

Confirming his firm's new alliance with BMG, Tafari Music chief Gary Himelfarb, aka Doctor Dread, said: "I look forward to working with BMG to continue to build upon what Tafari Music has established in our thirty plus dedicated years of representing songwriters".

Meanwhile BMG's David Miller added: "Tafari Music is a beacon to the reggae community and Doctor Dread shares BMG's value of high-level service for clients". Which I'm sure is true, though valuing high-level client services doesn't sound quite right for a Dr Dread, does it?

Miller also noted that some of the songs in the Tafari catalogue match up with recordings from the RAS Records label which BMG acquired when it bought the old Sanctuary archive off Universal last year. Which means, says Miller, BMG "effectively becomes a one-stop-shop for these rights".

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The Voice 2014 winner Jermain Jackman signs to London Recs
Universal's London Records has given Jermain Jackman, human man and Will.i.am-backed winner of 'The Voice UK 2014', a record deal. The label will release Jackman's first LP, which will consist of all original songs, later this year. I know what you're thinking, and you're right. Traditionally, winners of 'The Voice' don't do very well once the show is finished. Or at least they haven't, until now. Until Jermain Jackman. I can feel it.

Clearly drained of his creativity, having recently spent all his time writing and singing and making art, Jackman simply says: "I'm really excited to be a part of Universal Music and London Records and I'm ready to make some great music".

Winding back time, this is a clip of the moment when, in the live final of this year's 'The Voice', Jermain sang 'And I Am Telling You' and inspired Will.i.am to stand on a chair.

Merlin research says indies' market share higher in streaming than downloads
Somewhat conveniently timed, given the ongoing YouTube dispute, the boss of indie label digital deal making group Merlin, Charles Caldas, has revealed his organisation's latest stats, just over one year on from the last time such figures were revealed at The Great Escape. This time Caldas discussed the numbers at the AGM of the American Association Of Independent Music in New York.

The key finding, given the current YouTube situation, is the claim that indie label music performs stronger in relation to major label tracks in the streaming domain. Caldas says that the indies' share of the streaming market is 10-20% higher than in the digital market at large (ie when downloads are included), and 30% higher is you only take subscription services into account. The conclusion: indie labels are more important if you are running a paid-for streaming platform, compared to a download store or CD selling operation.

The Merlin stats also confirm anecdotal evidence from the indies that streaming income has sky-rocketed in just the last year, with Merlin members seeing their tracks streamed 1.4 billion times in April 2014, double the figure a year earlier. Likewise streaming revenues doubled to $89 million. As a result, half the Merlin members surveyed say that digital income now represents over 50% of their overall income, with 20% saying half their digital money now comes from streaming services as opposed to download stores.

Commenting on all this, Caldas told reporters last night: "The Merlin member survey and analysis provide a unique and illuminating snapshot of how independent labels are leading the way in the transformation of the global music market. It is now abundantly clear that the new dynamics offered by streaming platforms are well suited to the independent sector. Consumers have been liberated from the tightly controlled storefronts of the past. As a result, the ability to discover, explore and share new music has been greatly enhanced".

"Independent labels have long enjoyed an increased market share for sales of digital albums, but we are seeing that usage of indie repertoire on streaming services is even more pronounced. And particularly so on paid-for premium tiers that attract the most committed and discerning fans. The most successful services are those that have understood these dynamics and treat our sector with parity and respect".

"This transition is not without its challenges. For many labels, managing the transition from unit sales to access will be a strenuous process, and there are significant concerns about consolidation and predatory behaviour in the wider music and technology sectors. However, we are confident that despite the challenges to the value of their music, independents will continue to thrive in the digital space".

He concluded: "As evidenced by the unprecedented success of independent labels in the charts around the world, consumers are finding a broader, more compelling choice of music than ever before. And pleasingly, much of that is coming from our labels".

Guildford venue facing licensing attack after complaint from newish neighbours
So, this is getting silly now. The Boileroom venue in Guildford is the latest grassroots gig venue facing the prospect of losing its licence because a newish neighbour - who chose to move into a property next to a performance space - has filed a complaint with the local council.

As previously reported, Night & Day in Manchester and The Blind Tiger in Brighton have experienced similar problems, leading to other small venues (and not so small, Ministry Of Sound is perhaps the highest profile) to fear any residential developments near their buildings, because they could result in new neighbours capable of shutting them down by making noise complaints to the local authority. Even though the venue came first.

Alongside a petition they have set up online, the operators of The Boilerroom write: "Our family run venue was opened in 2006, and is managed by a collective of people who believe the venue provides a much needed creative space for the local community; encouraging and supporting local bands and nurturing upcoming talent".

"Our fairly new neighbours, who rent the house adjacent to the venue, have put in an application to review our license, with the direct intention and request that the council revoke our license with immediate effect. Their message is very clear: they want to shut us down. They believe we are in breach of our license conditions. We believe we manage the venue to a high standard with significant consideration for the local community".

The petition goes on to note that The Boileroom routinely hosts events for local schools and charities, alongside free community events and matinees for under eighteens, and has always gone out of its way to abide by noise and event management rules, and to engage with the locals. So much so venue owner Dominique Frazer was presented with the Trude Adler award from the Noise Abatement Society in 2010.

It adds: "Situated in a residential area, from the outset we have always been very proactive and conscious that what we do does not adversely affect the lives of our local residents, to that end we have a great relationship with the majority of our neighbours. This review is being sought by two people".

You can sign the petition in support of The Boileroom here. You can also still sign the separate petition calling on Secretary Of State For The Environment Owen Paterson to "carry out an urgent review of noise abatement legislation" which is threatening grass roots venues who enjoy good relations with the vast majority of their neighbours. That one is here.

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SFX announces Viagogo alliance
EeeeeeDeeeeeeEm specialist SFX has announced a five-year alliance with Viagogo which will make the secondary ticketing firm the official ticket resale partner for SFX-promoted events. I never really know what that means, presumably touts who tout tickets for SFX show via Viagogo can do so knowing 'the man' approves. Which sounds like no fun whatsoever. But either way, the deal is worth $75 million. Which would buy a lot of tickets on the secondary market. Well, a couple at least.

SFX chief Robert Sillerman told CMU: "A record number of people are travelling long distances to our premium electronic music events, so the ticketing experience has to be seamless. This sponsorship will provide fans with a range of ticket options, no matter where they are in the world, what language they speak, or what currency they want to use. Every transaction is guaranteed by Viagogo, and that is the assurance we require to provide our fans with flawless service, regardless of where they acquire their tickets".

Viagogo CEO Eric Baker added: "Viagogo is all about enabling consumers to buy any ticket, for any event, anywhere in the world. They can make the purchase in any language, in any currency and on any device. Thanks to Viagogo, all global events are now local".

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Live events to return at Blenheim Palace following Neapolitan deal
Live music events will return to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, for the first time in a decade, following a deal between the site's owner, John Spencer-Churchill, aka the Duke Of Marlborough, and music company Neapolitan Live Events, led by one-time Universal Music exec Ciro Romano. The deal will kick in with an events programme, with a capacity daily audience of 10,000, from next summer.

Confirming the deal, Romano told CMU: "It is a huge honour to be entrusted by the Duke Of Marlborough to bring music back to this great palace. We are determined to bring the aristocrats of modern music to grace Blenheim Palace and produce concerts that will live long in the memory".

Spencer-Chruchill added: "We are delighted to be working with Neapolitan Live Events in order to bring concerts back into the Great Court here at Blenheim Palace in June 2015. Such a stunning world heritage setting deserves the very finest musical offering and we look forward to staging some memorable events here next summer".

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Goldie & Heritage Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall
Yeah, the Club Tip's going classy this week. As part of James Lavelle's curation of the Meltdown festival, Saturday night sees Goldie team up with The Heritage Orchestra to perform his seminal drum n bass album 'Timeless' in a classical fashion.

Named one of CMU's Artists Of The Year for 2013 for their reworking of Joy Division's music, the involvement of the Heritage Orchestra in this project bodes well. And, like that previous project, it involves members of Three Trapped Tigers, whose drummer Adam Betts is one of the safest hands imaginable for recreating those massive electronic beats live.

This is definitely worth a look - an experience outside the usual realms of dance music.

Saturday 21 Jun, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX, £25-40, 9pm, more info here.
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Alt-J's film score now in cinemas; band share Miley-featuring single
In case anyone was stuck for things to do tonight, a film featuring a score by Alt-J, titled 'Leave To Remain', is released into cinemas today. So maybe go and watch it with someone you love.

Alt-J first confirmed their involvement in the Bruce Goodison-directed film, which follows a group of children seeking asylum in the UK, at the start of last year. And now it's all ready to go they say this: "We enjoyed working on the soundtrack immensely. Bruce gave us a very free rein when it came to the music we composed, and this lack of creative restriction was a big reason we were attracted to the project".

They go on: "We also felt that 'Leave To Remain', though it was only a screenplay when we first got involved, was going to be a film that deserved as wide an audience as possible, and was something that we really wanted to be involved in. Collaboration, in many forms, is a big part of what we do in Alt-J, and we knew this film would be an amazing opportunity for to us to work with some talented people and also to try our hand at a new kind of composition".

Here's the official trailer for the film, which has bits of the score playing over the top of it.

Alt-J also did another thing this week, and that thing was to share the first track off their forthcoming LP, 'This Is All Yours', which is out 22 Sep. Titled 'Hunger Of The Pine', the single is enhanced via the Miley Cyrus sample line "I'm a female rebel", which is off Cyrus' 'Bangerz' track '4x4'.

Hear that here

Bernhoft releases studio-quality album audio through iPad app
Norwegian soul singer Bernhoft has announced that he will release his latest album through a new iPad app, which amongst other things will give fans access to studio-quality audio of the recordings.

Explains Berhoft: "I've come from the world of CDs, to file-sharing, to streaming and then back to a vinyl focus. What we wanted to do with the app was to bring all this together and get the feeling of a gatefold sleeve into the digital world. It's full of amazing content but the music is the heart of the app and it is in HD - exactly the way I heard it when we were creating the music in the studio for the first time".

The additional bits of content include a virtual mixing console, where fans can remix songs from the album, 360 degree videos (which sound fun), music videos for each track, plus lyrics, liner notes and more. The app will be available from 23 Jun. Watch Bernhoft demonstrating how it works here.

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School Of Seven Bells to release final recording
School Of Seven Bells have released their final recording, a cover of Joey Ramone's 'I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up)'. The track was recorded by the band's Benjamin Curtis in hospital shortly before his death from cancer in December, aged 35.

"It was a very spontaneous decision to record this track", says vocalist Alejandra Deheza. "Benjamin had been talking about the song a lot, and then he just decided he was going to do it. We couldn't record vocals in the hospital, so he actually Facetimed with me and his brother while we recorded vocals in the studio".

She continued: "He spearheaded the whole thing on Facetime, would even tell us which knobs to turn and listen to levels etc. We'd even see nurses in the background from time to time! It was really amazing. But that was Benjamin, and producing was what he did. It was therapeutic and took his mind off being really sick. This song was really important to him and I'm happy we were able to record it".

The track will be available to buy on Monday. Listen to a clip here.

Young Fathers' Tape Two declared Scottish Album Of The Year
Edinburgh-based hip hoppers Young Fathers won the Scottish Album Of The Year prize last night for their album 'Tape Two', picked from a shortlist that also included Biffy Clyro, RM Hubbert, Mogwai, Chvrches and Edwyn Collins.

Stewart Henderson, chair of award organiser the Scottish Music Industry Association told reporters: "On behalf of the SMIA I'd just like to say how delighted we are for Young Fathers. 'Tape Two' is an extraordinary album and a deserving winner out of a phenomenally strong shortlist. The SMIA is extremely proud to be so closely linked with The SAY Award - a prestigious and increasingly important celebration of Scotland's quite exceptional musical output".

Meanwhile Caroline Parkinson from Creative Scotland, which provides the £20,000 prize money, said: "The SAY Award is a fantastic way of supporting and raising the profile of Scotland's talented musicians, of which there are many. As a founding partner, we are delighted to support the Awards and congratulate the winner and all the nominees!"

CMU Beef Of The Week #211: Lana Del Rey v The Guardian
Lana Del Rey is a divisive character. A lot of people have strong opinions about her, and often those opinions don't stem from the actual music she makes. Which makes it easy to see why she can be a little bit sensitive to criticism, or what she might see as misrepresentation.

Last week I clicked on a link on Facebook to an interview with the singer. I'll admit, the headline, "Lana Del Rey: 'I wish I was dead already'" was what sealed the deal, but it was the comment from a friend above it calling her a "fucking idiot" that first drew me in. Though I didn't come out of reading the actual piece thinking she was a "fucking idiot" at all, even if I can see why her comments about death might have caused some offence.

I'm generally something of a fence-sitter when it comes to Del Rey and her music, and so hadn't been hugely interested in the swirl of hype and debate around her new album, 'Ultraviolence'. But reading this Guardian interview genuinely made me interested in what she is doing with her music right now, and also left me impressed at her dedication to the character she has created for herself.

Despite the feeling that she was, to an extent, playing a role, her comments in the interview seemed to be a pretty honest discussion of the pressures of fame, and how the criticism that fame generates does not stem from what you do but who it's imagined you are. She also talked, as she has done elsewhere, about wondering, at various points prior to recording 'Ultraviolence', whether it was worth continuing in music at all, but ultimately the attraction of what she could do creatively with music overrode any fears.

With the interview now over a week old, last night Del Rey decided to take exception to it, tweeting: "I regret trusting The Guardian - I didn't want to do an interview but the journalist was persistent. Alexis was masked as a fan but was hiding sinister ambitions and angles. Maybe he's actually the boring one looking for something interesting to write about. His leading questions about death and persona were calculated".

I guess the first thing we have to get past is the shot fired at Alexis Petridis - who did not actually conduct the interview at all. But with the way his (four star) review is linked to at the start of the article, you can kind of see how she got him mixed up with Tim Jonze. Maybe.

Now, it's entirely possible that Jonze was persistent about flying to New Orleans to do this interview. Though, given that it's noted at the bottom of the article that "Tim Jonze's trip to New Orleans was paid for by Polydor", it would seem Del Rey's label was pretty keen for it to happen too. And while some of her remarks were very similar to other interviews she has given, so there may have been a little 'going through the motions', nothing about the singer's quotes in the interview suggests that she was unwilling to talk.

And while she claims that Jonze's questions were "calculated", she doesn't suggest that she was misquoted. Plus the "maybe he's actually the boring one looking for something interesting to write about" thing. Well, that's basically the job description of a journalist.

In response to the now deleted tweets from her, and following the barrage of Twitter abuse from Del Rey's fans that followed, Jonze responded: "I did an interview with Lana Del Rey. She was great: honest and open. Now she's making out I twisted her words when actually I clarified with her everything she said. So either she lied to me or she's lying to her fans now".

The appearance and subsequent disappearance of Del Rey's tweets could be attributed to a number of things. The confusion over the journalist names, perhaps. Or maybe the realisation of what she had unleashed by posting them. Though you'd think that someone so sensitive to criticism, who is pretty much constantly on the receiving end of rabid praise and derision on Twitter, would realise that her let's just say 'highly engaged' online fanbase would move like attack dogs.

It's not a new thing, by any means, but it's still pretty chilling to look through someone's mentions on Twitter to see hundreds of people telling them to kill themselves, or to tweet their location so that they can receive the beating that it's been decided they deserve. All for writing down what someone said (or not even that, in the case of Alexis Petridis).

Fans behaving badly online is something that's been covered in this column several times before, but as far as I can remember the moves of any one fanbase to protect or defend their favourite musician - as if they needed protecting or defending - has usually been done off their own back.

But if anything seems calculated here, it's Lana Del Rey's decision to tweet her gripe. It seems like a call to action. Maybe it wasn't, maybe it was a kneejerk outburst (to an interview that had been available and much discussed for a full week already), but deleting the tweets and then making no further comment in the full knowledge that someone was now being barraged with abuse doesn't seem like the nicest way to play.

And for all this, it's still hard to see what was wrong with the interview. Lana Del Rey presented herself in a way that she has done pretty consistently in both other interviews and her music. It revealed snatches of other layers to her as a person, rather than her persona, that continue to establish her as an interesting and intriguing figure in pop, and it delved into the themes and thought processes behind the music she makes.

At no point reading it did I think that she was on the verge of suicide, and that's not how her "I wish I was dead" comment is presented. It comes across in the context of it being hard to be Lana Del Rey sometimes, which I'm sure it must be and, again, that's something she's said elsewhere. Using the possibility of death to make her point might seem a little over the top, and even offensive to some people, but it makes the point nonetheless. And it seems entirely in keeping with the character that she's created for herself.

So, ironically, Del Rey has forced another person to tolerate a flood of unjustified online abuse, the very thing she says almost put her off making music. Maybe she just wants to share the pain.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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