An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Monday 7 Jul 2014

TODAY'S TOP STORY: A cyber-locker service called DDLStorage has been blocked in Italy amidst allegations the file-storage business exists primarily to assist in the distribution of unlicensed content via a link up with a file-sharing community. According to anti-piracy group FPM, an investigation by the Italian Fiscal Police found that the operators of the piracy operation, which linked to unlicensed music, movies, TV shows and... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: With close ties to alt-rap pack Ratking and the NYC-based DIY-type zine/live night crew Letter Racer, sworn in city 'sludge' trio Show Me The Body are fronted by one Jay Cashwan, who acts menacing and plays a 4-string banjo. A tough look to pull off, you'd think, till you hear the band's grimy-behind-the-ears new track 'Gross Loans', which sets Cashwan's trembling strings against his bald, visual lyrics... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Italian investigation finds link between piracy operation and supposedly legit cyber-locker
LEGAL Allman biopic director and producers charged with involuntary manslaughter
Dotcom's extradition hearing pushed back into 2015
Machine Head settle with former bassist
DEALS Rap Genius signs licensing deal with Warner/Chappell
AEI Media ties up with TheSoundYouNeed
LABELS & PUBLISHERS First singles chart to include streaming data results in a Problem
Albums are out, playlists are in say Tempah and Ergatoudis as streaming hits the singles chart
Nielsen figures confirm increased importance of streaming market in US
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL HMV doing just fine, says Hilco boss
LIVE BUSINESS Campaign launched to save The Coronet
ARTIST NEWS Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury writing score to Garland-directed sci-fi film
RELEASES Jenny Hval and Susanna Wallumrød announce collaborative album
GIGS & FESTIVALS Libertines announce three Ally Pally shows
AND FINALLY... Parton commits to give abandoned Glasto dog a home
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Italian investigation finds link between piracy operation and supposedly legit cyber-locker
A cyber-locker service called DDLStorage has been blocked in Italy amidst allegations the file-storage business exists primarily to assist in the distribution of unlicensed content via a link up with a file-sharing community.

According to anti-piracy group FPM, an investigation by the Italian Fiscal Police found that the operators of the piracy operation, which linked to unlicensed music, movies, TV shows and games stored on DDLStorage, generated revenues of 1.3 million euros in just fifteen months.

Investigators also claimed that only 3% of users on the cyber-locker platform uploaded files, because while the company did offer legit file-storage facilities, its primary business was the hosting and delivery of unlicensed content. Obviously similar allegations have been made against the former file-transfer service that was MegaUpload.

Confirming a web-block injunction had now been secured, meaning Italian internet service providers must block DDLStorage, Luca Vespignani of FPM told CMU: "This is a really important case for the anti-piracy battle: for the first time in Italy we can unequivocally reveal the presence of a direct and illegal connection between a pirate website and its cyberlocker. It is essential to investigate the organisation of these structures to seriously disrupt digital piracy".

Speaking to Torrentfreak, a spokesman for DDLStorage played down the impact of the Italian investigation and resulting web-block, saying: "We are not in Italy, we are not an Italian company. We are online without any problems. We are working to resolve this problem with the Italian users".

Allman biopic director and producers charged with involuntary manslaughter
The director and two producers of a biopic about singer songwriter Gregg Allman have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, following the death of a crew member that brought production to a halt earlier this year.

As previously reported, camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed while she and colleagues were setting up for the filming of a dream sequence on railway tracks in Doctortown, Georgia in February. The plan was for William Hurt, playing Allman, to lie on a bed on the middle of three tracks for the sequence, where in the film he would be passed either side by trains.

The crew had been told that no more trains would be using the tracks that day, but one then approached at speed while the scene was being set up, striking the bed, killing Jones and injuring several others. A police investigation found that the producers did not have proper permission to film on the tracks.

Following the incident, Hurt left the production and Allman launched legal action attempting to withdraw the film rights to his autobiography, 'My Cross To Bear', having previously appealed unsuccessfully to director Randall Miller to abandon the project entirely. Allman later dropped his lawsuit after reaching a settlement with production company, Unclaimed Freight Productions.

While all that was going on, prosecutors were still considering whether or not to bring charges following the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jones' death. And now that decision has been made, with Miller, along with producer Jody Savin and executive producer Jay Sedrish, being charged last week with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.

Prosecutors claim that the three men took the film crew onto the train tracks despite having been denied permission to do so. Jones' parents, who are also bringing a civil case against the filmmakers, said in a statement: "[We] are comfortable that the authorities were both careful and meticulous in investigating and bringing charges related to the incident that took our daughter's life. We must allow the criminal justice process to proceed unhindered. Our mission remains the same: to ensure safety on all film sets. Safety for Sarah".

Although deaths on film and TV sets are not entirely uncommon, criminal proceedings as a result of them are very rare, and very few such cases have resulted in convictions.


Dotcom's extradition hearing pushed back into 2015
If you had 2015 in the sweepstake for "years in which Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing will actually get to court", then well done, you're still in with a chance.

Yes, according to the MegaUpload founder's Twitter feed, attempts by the American authorities to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand to the US, to face charges of mass copyright infringement and money laundering relating to his role in running the now defunct file-transfer business, will now be considered in court on 16 Feb next year. The original hearing was due to take place in summer 2012.

The extradition case has been pushed back numerous times due to all sorts of complications. This morning, after a scheduled hearing in New Zealand earlier today, Dotcom tweeted: "New extradition hearing date - 16 Feb 2015. Still didn't receive a copy of my seized data. That's the data the FBI shipped to the US illegally".

As previously reported, attempts by Dotcom to gain access to data seized during the shutdown of MegaUpload - data the US authorities were allowed to take back to America despite New Zealand laws forbidding them to do so - has been one of the delaying factors.


Machine Head settle with former bassist
Machine Head have reached an out of court settlement with former bassist Adam Duce, who sued the band earlier this year claiming that he was owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In total, Duce was seeking $1.8 million - $800,000 in relation to the management of the bands finances, and a further $1 million in damages for alleged defamation in a blog post written by frontman Robb Flynn. Duce claimed that in his post, written after his split from the band, Flynn was "directly attacking my work ethic".

Duce has now dropped his lawsuit entirely, having reached a settlement with his former bandmates and their management. Details of the deal are confidential.

Rap Genius signs licensing deal with Warner Chappell
Lyric website Rap Genius has signed another deal with a music publishing firm, this time Warner/Chappell, meaning it now has deals in place with all the major publishers.

As previously reported, following a run-in with the US National Music Publishers Association, Rap Genius signed an agreement with Sony/ATV in November last year, and then with Universal in January.

In a statement last week, Rap Genius co-founder Ilan Zechory said: "WCM's songwriters are unbelievably popular and Rap Genius will help them connect with their most obsessed fans. WCM dates back more than 200 years - we think this partnership will last at least another 200".

At least.


AEI Media ties up with TheSoundYouNeed
AEI Media, the company behind YouTube channels UKF, Drum&BassArena, GetDarker, SubSoul and All Trap Music, has announced a new alliance with another electronic music channel on the Google-owned video site, France-based TheSoundYouNeed.

AEI Media will help its new ally expand its audience and business both within the YouTube platform and beyond, seeking brand partnerships and spin-off ventures. The new alliance means that the channels repped by AEI now together boast thirteen million subscribers on YouTube - 1.85 million thanks to the new channel.

Confirming the new partnership, AEI Media MD Del Dias told CMU: "TheSoundYouNeed is a perfect fit for the spectrum of electronic music that we currently work with. We have been following the brand closely for a while and have seen the significant growth and influence it has achieved over its audience due to its highly successful integrated process of content creation and amplification on social media".

Paying tribute to TheSoundYouNeed founder Olivier Dutertre, Dias continued: "We are incredibly excited to get such a true innovator on board who has proven to be a disruptive force in our market, similar to how Luke Hood with UKF arrived on YouTube in 2009. The interesting aspect for us was also the 50/50 audience gender spilt which compared to other channels is practically unheard of. There are so many new advertising and content opportunities for TheSoundYouNeed and we are looking forward to supporting the brand in this next phase of its growth".

Meanwhile, Dutertre revealed that the tie up with AEI came about after he reached out to Hood for advice. He told CMU: "[Luke] told me about his role at AEI Media, and a few weeks later I had the chance to meet the full team, I immediately knew these were the people I wanted to work with - people that shared my values. I am particularly excited about how the partnership with AEI Media will help me to accomplish the projects I am currently working on, and allow me to have an impact on the music industry and the wider culture by supporting more brilliant artists to find their fanbase".

Check out TheSoundYouNeed here.

First singles chart to include streaming data results in a Problem
So I'm sure you all tuned in diligently to the BBC's Radio One-a-thon last night to hear chart history occur live on air, right? What do you mean you spent your weekend glued to tennis, cycling, football and F1? This was a big weekend for the music business and all things digital. I mean I may have spent half of yesterday watching 'Drop The Dead Donkey' repeats on Netflix, but at least I was embracing the digital age, you crazy sports fans you.

Anyway, so, yes, Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea secured their unmovable place in British chart history yesterday by securing number one in the first ever singles chart to include streaming as well as download and CD sales data. Yep, that's right, all those streams you guys did on Napster and Rara last week impacted on yesterday's big Top 40, with the 712,000 streams scored last week by Grande and Azalea's track 'Problem' (hence the misleading headline) counting as an extra 7120 sales, in addition to the 106,000 it had already achieved.

Grande was so overcome with joy at being the first ever number one artist in the whole new era of British record chartdom she couldn't speak, so had to send her manager Scooter Braun, who told her UK fans "this is your number one too". Which it isn't. Fortunately Azalea was slightly more eloquent in assessing this brave new world of music chart calculation, telling reporters "I'm so happy", before adding "Yay!" And do you know what, if you think about that extra carefully, you'll see that she's right.


Albums are out, playlists are in say Tempah and Ergatoudis as streaming hits the singles chart
With this week's all-new singles chart embracing the streaming music future, Tinie Tempah has said that his next album could be his last. And, yeah, I know all artists say that, in a 'who knows what could happen tomorrow' kind of way, but Tinie was making a point about where the music industry is heading.

''This is a Spotify/iTunes/shuffle generation", the rapper told The Sun. ''I don't think people really listen to albums completely from track one to twelve. People now curate their own playlists, so I think it's clever to beat them to it and say, 'Here it is, done for you'. A third album will emerge some time, but I think another after that is uncertain".

I'm not exactly sure how delivering a playlist of your own material is different to delivering an album, but Tempah isn't the only one wondering what the future holds for the good old fashioned long player as more and more music fans primarily consume tunes via the streaming services. And Radio 1's Head Of Music George Ergatoudis led the debate last week.

Of course, everyone predicted the demise of the album format when single-tracks-centred iTunes first launched, but some reckon that, while that prediction never came to be, this time albums are losing their relevance because streamers navigate catalogues of songs not via album tracklists, but via playlists created by friends and those pesky opinion formers.

Ergatoudis got everyone chatting last week after tweeting: "Make no mistake. With very few exceptions, albums are edging closer to extinction. Playlists are the future".

Elaborating further to BBC Newsbeat, he said: "A couple of things led me to write that tweet. Of course, I did use strong language. I used the words 'towards extinction', which is rather emotive. I'm not saying that artists are going to stop making albums, I'm not saying that albums aren't artistically relevant and there will still be some amazing artists recording amazing albums".

He added: "We are still going to get exceptions where the artist is brilliant, the audience loves that artist and they release a body of work that is strong enough, consistent enough that the public go out and buy it. Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Adele potentially - these are going to be the artists who still succeed in selling slots of albums. But I think the number of artists that are selling albums, honestly, at a mass market level is already small and it's going to stay very small".

There are plenty of logistical and marketing reasons why it makes sense for artists and labels to make and release recordings in sets of ten (or thereabouts), though the point here, really, is about how music fans consume rather than how artists create. In that, ever since CDs enabled easy skip, and digital allowed users to delete filler tracks, fans haven't necessarily been consuming music as the artist or label intended. And as artist/label is increasingly paid per track listen, rather than per CD or digital album purchase, that fact becomes more apparent, and more relevant to revenue.


Nielsen figures confirm increased importance of streaming market in US
So, top-level stats for the American record industry revealed by stat-maker Nielsen last week played to the download-to-streaming narrative, with a little bit of vinyl revival thrown in for good measure.

As previously reported, while the growth figures for the streaming market have been particularly impressive in recent years, in most markets download income - which still accounts for the majority of digital revenue overall - has continued to grow. However, there remains concern that as streaming goes mainstream it will force iTunes-style income into decline, and those concerns are highest in the biggest recorded music market of them all, the US, where the download market seems to have already peaked.

And the Nielsen stats show that album sales in the US were down for the first half of this year compared to 2013, both overall, and just in the digital space. And while the rise in streaming is more than compensating for the decline in download sales, it's not big enough to also completely compensate for the continued decline in CD sales too. Which will likely mean a revenue slide overall, in the US at least.

Either way, the stats again prove the ever increasing importance of both the subscription and ad-funded streaming markets, both of which saw rises of over a third in the first half of this year in the American market.

Nielsen's David Bakula told reporters: "With on-demand streams surpassing 70 billion songs in the first six months of 2014, streaming continues to be an increasingly significant portion of the music industry. Streaming's 42% year-over-year growth and vinyl LPs' 40% increase over last year's record-setting pace shows interest in buying and consuming music continues to be robust, with two very distinct segments of the industry expanding substantially".

HMV doing just fine, says Hilco boss
Despite fluctuations in its national network of stores, with some branches quietly shuttered over the last twelve months, and others moved to cheaper sites, the boss of the company that bought HMV out of administration last year remains bullish. And having shrunk from 144 stores to 125, the all-new HMV is now considering opening four new shops on top of its previously reported re-entry into the Irish market.

Hilco chief Paul McGowan last week told the Telegraph that, having slashed the firm's overheads by moving out of more costly shop units and reducing annual central costs from £42 million to £15 million, HMV now has healthy financials.

Of course, as a privately-owned company the new HMV's performance can't be as closely analysed as when it was a publicly listed firm, though McGowan says that like-for-like sales (allowing for store closures and such like) were up 9.2% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2014. Meanwhile CD sales in store were up 12%, he added, during the same period that digital album sales were down.

While McGowan's HMV did re-enter the digital space with a lacklustre mobile-centric download store last year, the Hilco boss says he sees his firm's main competitors as the supermarkets and Amazon, rather than iTunes or Spotify. And with that in mind he reckons that an increase in in-store events has helped with HMV's revival, the opportunity to see artists play live being something the supermarkets have no desire to replicate, and the big bad Amazon simply cannot. And, he adds, in-stores usually result in a sales uplift.

Although it's still early-doors, and the Hilco boss says he doesn't anticipate selling HMV on for a couple of years yet (despite, he adds, already receiving offers), McGowan said of the entertainment retailer "this business is flying". More in-stores and stepped-up activity in the gaming space are the top priority for the rest of 2014, it seems.

Campaign launched to save The Coronet
The team at London live spot The Coronet - in the capital's Elephant & Castle district - have launched a campaign to 'save' it from... erm, uncertain death. Or rather, to 'assure' it a more certain future.

Management say that the building's landlord Delancey hasn't yet confirmed if it will extend the venue's lease when it expires in November 2015, and they are seeking assurances from both the real estate company and local authority Southwark Council that The Coronet will be able to continue to operate as a gig and club venue in the locale for the foreseeable future.

The venue adds that uncertainty is hindering investment plans. Directors of the 140 year old Coronet Theatre claim they have set aside £2 million to make improvements and to invest in "exciting new events" but, they say, pending a commitment from Delancey and the Council they can't go ahead with their plans.

The campaign details read: "We recognise the Elephant & Castle is undergoing significant and exciting regeneration, and we warmly welcome this investment in the area's future. We also fully appreciate that the Coronet may need to evolve to reflect the wider regeneration of the area and it may be necessary for us to relocate to another site in the immediate area".

It goes on: "However, regeneration shouldn't come at the expense of Elephant & Castle's diverse cultural mix, and we need a clear and firm commitment from Southwark Council and Delancey that the Coronet has a future in the Elephant, either at our current location or at a suitable alternative site".

You can back the 'Save The Coronet' initiative by signing its official petition via this link.


  Approved: Show Me The Body
With close ties to alt-rap pack Ratking and the NYC-based DIY-type zine/live night crew Letter Racer, sworn in city 'sludge' trio Show Me The Body are fronted by one Jay Cashwan, who acts menacing and plays a 4-string banjo.

A tough look to pull off, you'd think, till you hear the band's grimy-behind-the-ears new track 'Gross Loans', which sets Cashwan's trembling strings against his bald, visual lyrics ("Cinderblock take out the window and the sheet rock / Artificial bones they walk and never stop") and off-time guitar groans. It's as intrinsically NYC as the Beastie Boys, but has its gnarly base roots in hardcore, like Ad-Rock leading Bad Brains by the nose into a tangled snarl of punk, hip hop and slam.

'Gross Loans' and freight-hopping song 'One Train' will be on Show Me The Body's 'Yellow Kidney' EP, which is released this coming winter.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury writing score to Garland-directed sci-fi film
Portishead/Invada man Geoff Barrow and composer Ben Salisbury are creating an original score to fit 'Ex-Machina', a not-yet-released 'sci-fi thriller' written and directed by Alex Garland.

Salisbury did the soundtrack to Beyonce doc 'Life Is But A Dream' and has worked on various BBC wildlife shows. He also collaborated with Barrow back in 2012 on what was meant to be the score to 'Dredd', a movie adapted by Garland. Whilst the score was eventually not used on the film, the pair released it as a box set titled 'Drokk: Music Inspired By Mega-City One'.

Set to premiere at film festivals later this year, 'Ex-Machina' stars Oscar 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson.

Jenny Hval and Susanna Wallumrød announce collaborative album
Norwegian musicians Jenny Hval and Susanna Wallumrød have announced the release of a new collaborative album, titled 'Meshes Of Voice'.

With roots apparently traceable back to an exchange of letters in 2009, the two critically acclaimed singer-songwriters worked their way up to a pair of live performances later the same year. The first was at the Oslo Jazz Festival, and the second, where the album was recorded, took place at the Henie Onstad Art Centre, also in the Norwegian capital.

A key influence on the duo's music was apparently Maya Deren's surrealist 1943 film, 'Meshes Of The Afternoon', while Hval also states that "mythical animals were a big inspiration".

Wallumrød adds: "We looked at Medusa, Athena and Harpy as examples of depictions of woman - the ugly, the goddess-like, the gruesome".

The record will be released through Wallumrød's SusannaSonata label on 18 Aug. Have a listen to one of the album's track, 'I Have Walked This Body', here.

Libertines announce three Ally Pally shows
With reports of fans throwing fireworks and flares at the stage, streakers occupying a scaff-tower, ten people being taken to hospital after a crowd surge, and Pete Doherty - that's Pete Doherty - becoming the voice of reason, having to tell his nutty fans to "calm down, dear", why wouldn't you want to spend two hours in a big room full of Libertines fans?

I mean, at least you know neither Doherty nor bandmate Carl Barat will subject you to a 25 minute Kanye-ramble, the single fact that made AEG's British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park seem slightly less tedious than Live Nation's Wireless fest over in Finsbury Park this weekend.

So get ye to a phone line (well, internet connection), because tickets are now on sale for three shows at London's Alexandra Palace as part of the ongoing Libertines reunion. The reunited band will play on 26, 27 and 28 Sep (the first date added after the other two sold out) alongside a bunch of festival bookings this summer. So you too can join in the party, and wonder, like the rest of us, just how it is that Doherty's still alive and rocking.

Buy your tickets here.

Parton commits to give abandoned Glasto dog a home
Dolly Parton has said she'll adopt a dog left behind at the Glastonbury Festival if no one comes forward to claim ownership. And given said dog was reportedly left in a hot tent with no water and an ear infection, the chances her former owner's done a runner seem quite high. Perhaps next year the uber-fest will have to run a "please don't leave your tent behind, and if you do, make sure you take any pets with you" campaign.

Having heard that clean-up workers had discovered the abandoned dog and named her Dolly after the country star's headline grabbing performance at the festival last month, Parton told reporters: "I had my manager call the Happy Landings animal shelter to make sure the dog is being treated and cared for properly. At this time, nobody has claimed the dog and the dog is in great hands at the shelter. I will take her home to America if nobody claims her within a reasonable amount of time".

Claims that Dolly the dog had been seen lip syncing her barks and howls since arriving at Happy Landings have been firmly denied.

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 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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