An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Tuesday 1 Jul 2014

TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Welsh Music Foundation, the development body that has supported the music industry in Wales for nearly fifteen years, announced this morning that it is suspending its operations after failing to negotiate new funding from the Welsh government. Ministers in Cardiff had offered to fund the group for another six months while it looked for alternative sources of funding, but the Foundation's... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: I've been waiting for Fable's debut for some time now, having heard snippets and snatches of her impressive voice on demos and covers a while ago. Now working with the band Archive on her debut album, she put out her first track from those sessions, 'I Speak Words', a week ago. Dark, atmospheric and swelling energy, the track is a bold statement of intent, her vocals leading rather than being... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Welsh Music Foundation suspends operations after government funding expires
LEGAL Web-blocking on the agenda in both Switzerland and Australia, but not without critics
DEALS BMG signs George Ezra
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal relaunches EMI China, names three signings
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Is Apple cracking down on music download apps?
Rdio buys TastemakerX
Soundrop launches new digital music marketing platform
MEDIA Aaliyah biopic put on hold after star quits
ARTIST NEWS Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip on celebratory split
Angel Haze sidelining rap on next LP
RELEASES Half Japanese announce first album in over a decade
Tricky details LP feat Tirzah, Blue Daisy and Mykki Blanco
GIGS & FESTIVALS Kasabian confirm winter shows, 'five night stand' in London
The Who list 50th anniversary dates, hint at new material
AND FINALLY... It's alright, Miley Cyrus has a new dog
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Welsh Music Foundation suspends operations after government funding expires
The Welsh Music Foundation, the development body that has supported the music industry in Wales for nearly fifteen years, announced this morning that it is suspending its operations after failing to negotiate new funding from the Welsh government.

Ministers in Cardiff had offered to fund the group for another six months while it looked for alternative sources of funding, but the Foundation's board decided it wasn't viable to do so while continuing to offer its core services. To that end the Foundation's operations will be suspended, with all three members of staff to be made redundant.

The development agency's board said this morning: "It is with great sadness that, as of today, Welsh Music Foundation is suspending the company's operations. WMF's existing three-year core-funding agreement with Welsh Government expired yesterday".

"Despite our efforts over the past nine months to negotiate continued core-funding, the Welsh Government's offer of a six month extension to enable the company to secure an alternative income stream whilst continuing to provide the core service was deemed by the board an unviable proposal".

"As an executive and board, we are extremely proud of the value and leadership we have shown within the industry and how, on an extremely modest revenue grant of £160,000 a year, we have leveraged much more money in project value, served many Welsh music businesses and developed the music economy of Wales".

The WMF's activities in just the last year include 36 training events, the launch of a music directory for Wales, representing the Welsh industry at SXSW and co-delivering the WOMEX event, which took place in Cardiff last year. The Foundation's board say that they will continue to seek new investment and partnerships to support the music industry in Wales despite this substantial set back.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Welsh government has said that it is considering a new advice service for the wider creative industries that would cover music.

Said spokesperson told Wales Today: "The Welsh government offered WMF an extension of funding until December 2014 to allow its services to the music industry to continue whilst the organisation seeks replacement funding streams. This offer has been declined. We are exploring options to develop an advice service that works for all creative industries, including music".

Web-blocking on the agenda in both Switzerland and Australia, but not without critics
While web-blocking has become a routine tool in the content industries' battle against online piracy in a handful of jurisdictions, including the UK, the practice is being considered anew in some other countries, including Switzerland and Australia.

Swiss copyright law hasn't proven very helpful in helping the content industries battle online piracy, with individuals downloading unlicensed content from file-sharing networks not actually liable for infringement, and strict privacy rules making it hard for rights owners to legally monitor the unauthorised distribution of their content.

But in response to pressure from both the copyright industries and other governments, who reckon that piracy is not only rife within Switzerland, but also that global file-sharing operations are able to base themselves in the country too, new proposals are now in development, though it could be late 2015 before they are with legislators for actual consideration.

According to Torrentfreak, individual file-sharers who download content will still be free from copyright liabilities, but uploaders will not, and the law will be changed to make it easier to identify and go after those uploading unlicensed content into file-sharing networks or cyber-lockers, though only after an ISP has sent them a cease and desist style warning letter first.

In addition to that, and some refinements to the takedown obligations of ISPs, search engines and user-upload sites, similar to those in US copyright law, web-blocking will also be considered by those drafting the new proposals, though only for "serious cases" where sites are hosting "obviously illegal content or sources".

As in the UK and elsewhere, the web-blocking system would enable rights owners (and possibly, as in Italy, the authorities themselves) to seek web-blocking notices against sites that prolifically infringe, forcing ISPs to stop their customers from accessing those sites, where possible.

Of course web-blocking will always have only a limited impact on people actually accessing illegal content, and critics of the approach would argue that it's a very limited impact. Partly because new file-sharing services launch all the time, and mainly because proxy sites that are easily discoverable on search engines help even the only mildly web-savvy user find the sites that have been blocked.

Though supporters of web-blocking, while accepting that there will always be limits, reckon that the effectiveness of the blockades could be greatly increased if the Googles of this world could be persuaded (or forced) to play a more proactive role in ensuring that shortcuts to websites blocked by the courts do not appear in their search results.

In Australia, the country's Attorney-General recently said that both web-blocks and three-strikes were now being considered by the government there. And in response, Steven Dalby, the Chief Regulatory Officer of the country's second largest ISP, iiNet, has now posted a blog very critical of the notion of web-blocking.

The company has had battles with the content industries before over the role net firms should or should not play in the battle against piracy, and in his post Dalby argues that measures like web-blocking are just things politicians sign-up to in a desperate bid to look like they are doing something to help the content industries, when in fact web-blocks achieve nothing.

"We know the pointlessness of simply blocking sites like The Pirate Bay, when they can change their address in minutes", he writes. "The internet has no gate that we can put a padlock on".

Continuing: "Instead of addressing the reasons why Australians illegally download movies and TV shows, the government instead seems determined to be seen to be 'doing something' to ISPs while defending, at all costs, the business model of the Hollywood movie houses. The clear hint from the Attorney General is that his plan includes government-mandated roadblocks for popular BitTorrent search engines like The Pirate Bay, even though these blocks are easy to overcome".

You can read Dalby's full blog post here.

BMG signs George Ezra
Pride-of-Bristol George Ezra has signed an international publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis. And in the very same week his first LP, 'Wanted On Voyage', is released as well. Immaculate timing.

And that's the size of it, really. Here is George singing his top single 'Budapest'.

Universal relaunches EMI China, names three signings
Universal is relaunching EMI in China, the one-time British major record company having pretty much wound up its operations in the region five years ago prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group. The all new EMI China launched yesterday with the announcement that it already had three Mandopop artists on its roster: Show Lo, Rainie Yang and A-Mei.

Confirming the relaunch of EMI China, Max Hole, boss of Universal Music Group International, told reporters: "EMI's heritage in the region makes this is a very exciting re-launch. At Universal Music we're huge believers in the potential for the music business in China and the importance of investing in local artists. A-Mei, Show Lo and Rainie Yang are such talented artists that I'm delighted they have agreed to join us in the new EMI China".

The new label will be overseen by the boss of Universal Music Greater China, Sunny Chang, with first signing A-Mei doubling up as the new venture's Brand Director. Chang said of the new label: "We are proud to continue EMI China's enduring legacy through A-Mei, Show and Rainie. This is the start of a new era for the label and we are excited to bring the music of these well-loved artists to a new generation of fans".

Is Apple cracking down on music download apps?
One of the less talked about but nevertheless real piracy gripes of the music industry has seemingly been addressed by Apple, in the US at least, with the tech giant apparently removing many of the popular music download apps from its store.

Many of the music download apps available for iOS devices tap into unlicensed or semi-unauthorised content sources (in that they pull content intended for streaming on YouTube and SoundCloud and download it to devices).

While label grievances towards said apps have never been as vocal compared to the record industry's opposition to MegaUpload, The Pirate Bay et al, it's thought that the majors have been putting pressure on Apple - and on Google too for its app store - about the presence of the apps that, they reckon, primarily existing to enable copyright infringement.

Both Hypebot and MacRumors have noted that in recent weeks many of the music download apps seem to have disappeared from the Apple store, while search results for the key words 'music download' lead with legit streaming service apps, with the tech firm's own iTunes Radio leading the way.

Interestingly in the UK, where iTunes Radio is yet to launch, while Spotify does come fourth in that search list, there are still plenty of the sort of download apps that the majors don't like still available, so it's possible the app clean up is linked to Apple's move into streaming music, a move that has stepped up even more in the US since its acquisition of Beats.


Rdio buys TastemakerX
With the subscription streaming services still mainly competing with the "my discovery tool is better than your discovery tool" marketing line (exclusive content isn't due to become the main differentiator in music streaming until August 2015), Rdio has acquired TastemakerX, according to VentureBeat.

TastemakerX was originally a streaming service in its own right which set out to turn music discovery into a game. It has since integrated with other streaming platforms, including Spotify and YouTube, and has been gathering all sorts of user data along the way that can be used to fuel discovery services.

Though its not clear whether Rdio sees TastemakerX as a new source of music taste data, perhaps to fill the gap left by it ending its relationship with The Echo Nest after that company's acquisition by Spotify, or perhaps Rdio bosses reckon the TastemakerX team can help it develop discovery tools that outperform those of its rivals. Possibly both.

Certainly the albeit small TastemakerX team will join Rdio as part of the acquisition, with its founder, Marc Ruxim, becoming the company's COO. He told VentureBeat: "We're interested in finding a balance between algorithmic and person-to-person sharing. Navigating a [music] discovery mechanism through people is super helpful, and it's something we've always admired about Rdio".


Soundrop launches new digital music marketing platform
The team behind social music listening app Soundrop have announced a new digital music marketing platform, Aimed at both independent artists and labels, the platform is designed to help grow fanbase, promote online content and engage with fans.

Soundrop CEO Jørn Haanæs told CMU: "Soundrop has always been about helping artists and fans connect. Today we're taking that to a new level with We looked at the pain points artists and labels face when trying to promote a new track, expand existing fanbases or strengthen the fan relationships that ultimately lead to revenue. Then we built a tool to solve those problems. We want to help artists and labels achieve results that deliver real value and create a positive impact".

Find out more at

Aaliyah biopic put on hold after star quits
US TV network Lifetime has put production of its biopic about R&B singer Aaliyah on hold, following the departure of its star, Zendaya Coleman.

As previously reported, the film has proven controversial after the late singer's family went legal earlier this month in an attempt to block the biopic from being made. Lifetime has also reportedly had trouble clearing the singer's music for the film. It's not clear if or when the network plans to resume production.

Disney star Coleman, who was set to play Aaliyah, told MTV News that she had quit over concerns over quality, saying: "I just felt the project wasn't 100% there. I feel [that] production-wise everything just felt a little rushed. And I think because [Aaliyah is] someone I admire and I love so much, it can't be done halfway, or not to the standards I think it should be done at, so I just decided not to do it".

Following Zendaya's departure last week, Lifetime tweeted: "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold".

  Approved: Fable
I've been waiting for Fable's debut for some time now, having heard snippets and snatches of her impressive voice on demos and covers a while ago. Now working with the band Archive on her debut album, she put out her first track from those sessions, 'I Speak Words', a week ago.

Dark, atmospheric and swelling energy, the track is a bold statement of intent, her vocals leading rather than being pushed by Steve 'Smiley' Barnard's frantic drums and Pollard Berrier's bursts of guitar, which bring to mind Muse and Curve.

Fable has also co-written a track for the new Orbital album, and another with Bloc Party's Russell Lissack, which will be interesting to hear, and you can catch her debut live show at The Hope in Brighton on 31 Jul.

Listen to 'I Speak Words' here.
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Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip on celebratory split
Scroobius Pip has given an explanation for his pending split from Dan Le Sac, via the pair's Facebook page, urging fans not to be sad about it.

Following a dismayed response to a post asking fans to 'like' their solo Facebook pages as they prepare for their final shows together, Pip wrote: "It genuinely isn't sad at all! We have been lucky enough to do THREE albums together (which will continue to exist) and get to go out on a high of our biggest record and tour to date. Our intention was always to make three albums and a whole lot of acts that came up at the same time as us never got that chance".

He continued: "Our proudness of all we have achieved in this ramshackle meeting of minds is met only by our excitement over the solo projects we have ahead. There is no 'biting the hand that feeds', as one person suggested. If I ever get to the point where I find myself making music or anything out of duty rather than passion and excitement then that will be the day I happily retire!"

Finally, he concluded: "Our music isn't suddenly vanishing. All the music that you have enjoyed over the years will still be there. But, added to that, will be new and exciting things that you haven't heard before. When we started no one (including us) knew that we were making something people would connect to in such a way. There wasn't a long line of people saying, 'When oh when will we finally get a fusion of electronic music and spoken word?!' It all just happened naturally and with out plan or path, just like all of our choices thus far. Doing what FEELS right, rather than what may be financially most logical or whatever".

Following a performance at Glastonbury last weekend, the duo now have various UK festivals scheduled in over the rest of the summer, plus a show at the Brooklyn Bowl in London on 19 Jul.


Angel Haze sidelining rap on next LP
Angel Haze has said, in so many words, that she intends to do an '808s And Heartbreak'-era Kanye West on her next LP, which is to say she's going to sing all of it, instead of rap. Indeed, there will be zero rapping on Angel Haze's next record.

Speaking to NME backstage at this year's Glastonbury fest, the one-time rapper/singer, now-only-singer, said: "Singing is my first love, so the decision to make an album that was just singing comes from the root of me".

She added: "I started as a singer and was a really, really bad rapper, I wanted to get better and in the midst of me getting better I got signed".

Listing Tracy Chapman, Amy Winehouse and Adele as the main vocalists she admires, Haze later revealed that her brand new material has a "swing era" feel to it, adding that one particular song samples doo wop band Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers' 1960 hit '1960 hit 'Little Bitty Pretty One', itself a spin on an earlier single by Bobby Day.

Half Japanese announce first album in over a decade
Influential DIY outfit Half Japanese have announced their first album for thirteen years. Produced by Deerhoof's John Dieterich, 'Overjoyed' will be released through Joyful Noise on 3 Sep.

At this point, it's traditional to link to a track from the album for your listening pleasure, but being a contrary bunch, Half Japanese's promo tracks for 'Overjoyed' are only available on vinyl. And the two tracks are different from the versions you'll hear on the final album anyway.

Instead, here are the band's founders, David and Jad Fair, explaining how to play guitar.


Tricky details LP feat Tirzah, Blue Daisy and Mykki Blanco
Adrian Thaws, aka star of 'The Fifth Element' Tricky, is releasing a new LP titled 'Adrian Thaws'. It features a bank of CMU faves, not least the approved Tirzah, Blue Daisy and Oh Land, plus fab NY rapper Mykke Blanco, and Francesca Belmonte, Nneka and Bella Gotti besides.

Explaining the significance of using his real name for the title, Tricky says: "Calling it that is saying you don't really know me. So many times people have tried to put a finger on me and every album I go to a different place".

And he's off. Good thing he left behind an 'Adrian Thaws' tracklisting (pay close attention to all the 'feat' names on that one), and a playback of lead track 'Nicotine Love', which 'feats' Francesca Belmonte:

Sun Down feat Tirzah
Lonnie Listen feat Mykki Blanco & Francesca Belmonte
Something In The Way feat Francesca Belmonte
Keep Me In Your Shake feat Nneka
The Unloved (skit)
Nicotine Love feat Francesca Belmonte
Gangster Chronicles feat Bella Gotti
I Had A Dream feat Francesca Belmonte
My Palestine Girl feat.Blue Daisy
Why Don't You feat Bella Gotti
Silly Games feat Tirzah
Right Here feat Oh Land
Silver Tongue - When You Go

Kasabian confirm winter shows, 'five night stand' in London
'Eez-eh', breez-eh, beautiful Glasto headliners Kasabian have confirmed sixteen sweet live dates, all featuring The Maccabees.

The tour starts on 19 Nov at Glasgow's SSE Hydro, from whence it winds on all over the shop until a notable 'five night stand' at London's Brixton Academy from 1-6 Dec. Happy days. For listings for all the shows, tickets to which go on sale this Friday, go to if you dare.

And another thing. Kasabian are releasing 'Bumblebee', the latest single to be taken from their latest LP '48:13', on 4 Aug. In lieu of an official clip for it, here instead is footage of the band playing it on 'Jools Holland'.


The Who list 50th anniversary dates, hint at new material
The Who have been flying their '50th anniversary' flag extra high this week, listing a stream of eleven British shows, taking place between 26 Nov and 17 Dec, representing "the beginning of the long goodbye".

Certainly, the band have hinted at a strong potential they'll release new material, with Pete Townsend telling the BBC recently that they are "now considering trying to get into the studio this summer", with a "more basic way" of writing tracks in mind.

Back to the shows, which will comprise a variety of 'Hits, Picks, Mixes and Misses' - aka both classic and rare Who songs - Townshend adds this chunk of musings: "Trying to stay young. Not wearing socks. Growing a great big woodcutter's beard. Might even wear a check shirt on stage and get a tattoo of a Union Jack. Always a fashion victim. But under no illusions. We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we're lucky to be alive and still touring. If I had enough hairs to split I would say that for thirteen years since 1964 The Who didn't really exist, so we are really only 37".

It's alright, Miley Cyrus has a new dog
Miley Cyrus has a new dog. Shut up, yes it is news. The news (yes it IS) comes just over two months after the death of the singer's previous pet, Floyd, which prompted a distraught Cyrus to post on Facebook that she wished "he would've taken me with him".

The new puppy, a rough collie, became Miley's last week, and has taken the name Emu Coyne Cyrus - I think because he's the puppy of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's dog, but maybe don't quote me on that. Either way, please don't think that this means Miley has forgotten Floyd. You don't get over a relationship like that in two months.

Writing on Instagram, she said: "I welcomed Emu Coyne Cyrus into the family a couple days ago. Been keepin him a secret cause sometimes I'm weird like that. It's taken some time to be ready for this next step and loving again. There will never be anyone like Floyd. There was a bond that was so deep it's irreplaceable but that's not what I am trying to do. Never will I replace Floyd and that's something I had to take time to understand".

She added: "We had a very special memorial service for Floyd and I felt my angel Floydy give Emu his blessing. I prayed to Floyd to just give him a touch of his awesomeness and he has. He is so special and different than my baby Floyd and I think Floyd did that on purpose. But sometimes he does little things that remind me of him and it makes me smile. I'm blissed the out right now. I feel like this is a new beginning in so many ways. I feel a change coming on".

Well, it's good to know that the ghost of her dead dog gave his blessing. If you were wondering what Emu looks like (I know you were), Miley has put a few photos up on Instagram too. Here she is with the dog. And here she is taking a shower with the dog. And here they are with superimposed jewels. And here's what the dog would look like if it wore sunglasses. And here's Miley kissing the dog. Here's the dog on its own after a good dig. Here's Miley trying to eat the dog. Here they are having another shower. And here's the dog having a well-earned rest.

Now I just hope Fiona Apple's OK.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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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