An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Friday 11 Jul 2014

TODAY'S TOP STORY: The big boss of the biggest of all the music publishers, Marty Bandier of Sony/ATV/EMI, has formally re-affirmed the threat to withdraw from the collective licensing system in the US if the Department Of Justice doesn't agree to revise the rules that regulate the two main American collecting societies for song performance rights, ASCAP and BMI. As much previously reported, the bigger... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: It's summer! Perhaps you're not feeling it so much here in London and the South East but it's just a short flight to Ibiza, where summer is definitely in full swing. And this weekend is definitely the time to make that impromptu trip, as Space, one of the island's finest superclubs, is marking its first quarter of a century in action. I'll give you until Sunday to get there, when it's the critically acclaimed 'We Love'... [READ MORE]
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Strap in, beef fans, this one gets real complicated real quickly. It involves Garth Brooks, the American country music star best known for swinging on a rope in the 90s. Brooks has scheduled some shows in Dublin for later this month. Not small shows mind, he has the 80,000 capacity Croke Park stadium booked. "80,000 people", you might splutter. "That's a lot more people than I thought Garth Brooks... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Sony/ATV boss says complete withdrawal is an option in US collective licensing dispute
Melua responds to Liberty tax avoidance scheme involvement
LEGAL Police call for witnesses to Sonisphere attack
Singapore parliament passes web-blocks
DEALS Russell Simmons' digital label partners with Samsung
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES SoundCloud reportedly offering equity to major labels as it seeks licensing deals secures $2 million in funding
EDUCATION & EVENTS MusicTank puts the focus on new music technologies
GIGS & FESTIVALS Nick Cave to attend Nick Cave film screening
AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #214: Ireland v Garth Brooks
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Sony/ATV boss says complete withdrawal is an option in US collective licensing dispute
The big boss of the biggest of all the music publishers, Marty Bandier of Sony/ATV/EMI, has formally re-affirmed the threat to withdraw from the collective licensing system in the US if the Department Of Justice doesn't agree to revise the rules that regulate the two main American collecting societies for song performance rights, ASCAP and BMI.

As much previously reported, the bigger publishers in the US are keen to stop licensing digital services like Pandora via the collective licensing system, because collective licensing is always subject to extra regulation designed to counter the competition law fears that occur when the music industry licenses as one.

Said regulations weaken the negotiating hand of the bigger publishers, meaning they can't secure the rates or kickbacks that the record companies have enjoyed when they licence directly (though in the US the labels too are obliged to licence Pandora-type services through the collective licensing system, though not Spotify-style platforms).

Elsewhere in the world the big publishers have already started dabbling with some direct licensing in the digital domain (and the labels do most digital deals directly), but in the US Sony/ATV and others were told that the so called 'consent decrees' that govern ASCAP and BMI meant that they couldn't withdraw digital rights from the collective licensing system, not without withdrawing from the collecting societies completely.

The publishers want the consent decrees rewritten to allow the withdrawal of just the digital rights, and have hinted in the past that if that doesn't happen in the near future they would consider complete withdrawal. And in a new letter to songwriters, seen by the New York Times, Bandier has confirmed Sony/ATV would indeed seriously consider "the potential complete withdrawal of all rights from ASCAP and BMI" if the company doesn't get its way on the decree review.

It's possible Bandier is still bluffing though. Because while, with so many radio stations in the US now owned by one of a small number of broadcasters, it wouldn't be too tricky for Sony/ATV to do radio licensing itself, no publisher really wants to have to have relationships with every gig promoter and music-playing bar in the country.

Of course, if the publishing sector could ever get a working Global Repertoire Database off the ground, open to all, then there's almost certainly a third party tech solution that could handle all that, possibly more efficiently than the current collecting society framework. But, as reported yesterday, the ambitious GRD project has just fallen off a cliff, and ain't happening anytime soon.

Though in his letter Bandier does indicate that Sony/ATV is already making some provisions for an era beyond collective licensing Stateside, just in case. That likely means the firm is planning on following the lead of the Universal music publishing business and making a user-friendly version of its entire catalogue available online for licensees to browse, download and ingest.

The letter to songwriters itself - while possibly a gesture to look tough and therefore strong arm the Department Of Justice into rewriting the BMI and ASCAP rules - might also be part of Sony/ATV's preparation for collective licensing withdrawal.

Not least because some lawyers have already questioned whether Bandier and his counterparts at Universal and Warner/Chappell actually have the power to withdraw their entire catalogues from BMI and ASCAP, in that some songwriter contracts might prevent such a wide-ranging move. So if withdrawal is really an option, the publishers need the songwriting community onside.

While "we need to license direct to get you more money" is a compelling argument to present to songwriters, given how much resentment there is in the songwriting community over the royalties they are receiving from streaming services, some might point out that the digital firms are already pumping the majority of their revenues into the music rights sector.

Songwriters might then argue that the real problem is that most of that money goes to the labels, royalty splits in digital having been pretty much based on what happened in the CD era. Which means that, while Bandier might be able to convince songwriters that the nuclear option in the US digital licensing dispute is in their interest, they might want some commitment that the next battle will be closer to home, with Sony/ATV taking on sister company Sony Music Entertainment.

Good times.


Melua responds to Liberty tax avoidance scheme involvement
Katie Melua has posted a statement following this week's latest tax avoidance exposé in The Times, as reported on Wednesday, in which she was one of 1600 notable figures linked to a scheme called Liberty, which enabled investors to write off some of their tax payments, but which is now being disputed by HMRC.

Although the celebs haven't done anything illegal, they will likely now have to repay avoided tax, even though HMRC's case against the investment programme is yet to reach court, as a result of new rules that enable the Revenue to chase tax payments avoided as a result of avoidance schemes under investigation, even though a tribunal may as yet rule that the scheme was legit.

Melua's involvement in Liberty was honed in on by various media outlets, because she has previously claimed to proudly pay her way when it comes to taxation, noting that, having been born in Georgia, she has "seen what it is like living in a country where people don't pay tax and have poor services in terms of health and education". Christian Aid nominated the singer for its Tax Superhero Award in 2010 on the back of her remarks.

Though, to be fair, while most of the celebrities linked to Liberty, including Gary Barlow, George Michael and The Arctic Monkeys, have so far made no comment, Melua's legal reps were quick to respond to reporters, claiming that as soon as their client had been told the Inland Revenue was investigating the investment scheme she withdrew from it and repaid taxes that have been avoided by that point. And to that end she wasn't expecting any demand for new tax payments now the Liberty scheme is heading to tribunal.

In her post on the matter this morning she writes: "I've been mentioned recently in the papers, along with many others, within articles concerning a tax avoidance/reduction scheme. At nineteen, I was lucky enough to start making money from my music career, and when I was in my early 20s I trusted financial experts and advisors to guide me with how I invested money. That I was fairly clueless and inexperienced when it came to finance goes without saying and, I'm embarrassed to admit, not as interested in it as I should have been. My focus was, and still is, totally on making music, getting on the road and performing live".

She goes on: "From what I can remember, in 2008 when the Liberty scheme was presented to me it was not presented as 'an aggressive tax avoidance scheme'. It was presented as an 'investment scheme' that had the potential to legally reduce yearly income tax. Totally legal and legit and my accountants and advisors would take care to complete the formalities which included dealing with HMRC. Seemed pretty straight-forward and simple, so I signed up".

"HMRC did later query it, and I paid the full amount of tax years ago. My tax records are completely up to date and I don't owe HMRC any money. Yeah, it sucks getting this type of attention, but I commend the investigative journalism that is allowed in Britain. If there is ambiguity in the law then laws should be changed to disallow schemes like this, so that they would never be presented by legitimate tax experts to less experienced people like myself in the first place. Hopefully the debate will lead to positive change for all".

Of course, it's easy to knock celebs for not paying their fair share in taxes - "fuck you Barlow with your patronising Children In Need benefit gig, perhaps if you paid your fucking taxes there wouldn't be any children in need, hey?" - see, I just did it, and it was well easy.

However, that there is an entire industry of accountants and financial advisors who exist to and profit from advising the rich on cutting their tax bills is also a big part of the problem. Plenty of music stars probably don't really know what they're doing when they sign a bit of paper their accountant hands them. Which may not be a good excuse, but it is a valid reason for opting into Liberty type schemes.

Police call for witnesses to Sonisphere attack
A man is recovering after being attacked at Sonisphere last week. George Cook was beaten by three men, apparently unprovoked, on the Friday night of the festival, leaving him with serious facial injuries which required five hours of surgery. Police are seeking witnesses.

Earlier this week, Cook's father tweeted a photograph of his son's injuries, appealing for help in tracking down his attackers.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesperson said: "One serious incident occurred which saw a 21 year old man from Surrey suffering serious injuries following an assault in the Red 2 campsite on Friday night, 4 Jul. He received injuries to his face and jaw which require surgery. It is believed three offenders were involved in this assault".

Speaking to NME, Sonisphere director Zac Fox said: "We were really shocked by what happened to George as the rock and metal audience are by far the best behaved and friendliest that we work with, as demonstrated by all the messages of support that our audience have sent to him".

He goes on: "We are doing what we can to help the police with their investigation. We were delighted to hear from his father that he is already making such a good recovery and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for him if he wants to come along to the next Sonisphere".

Anyone with information on the incident should contact Hertfordshire Police, quoting the reference G1/14/1678, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Singapore parliament passes web-blocks
Web-blocking is close to becoming a reality in Singapore after the island nation's parliament approved new copyright legislation earlier this week.

As previously reported, while web-blocking has occurred in some countries without new laws being passed, like in the UK, in other jurisdictions new copyright rules have been required so that rights owners can force internet service providers to block access to sites that primarily exist to enable copyright infringement.

Lawmakers in Singapore started considering web-blocking proposals earlier this year and recently completed a public consultation. And this week the country's parliament approved a new bill that will provide a framework via which rights owners will be able to secure web-blocks through the courts there. The country's President just now needs to sign the new legislation, meaning the first injunctions could be applied for later this year.

The boss of the record industry's global trade group IFPI Frances Moore welcomed the move, telling CMU: "The recording industry welcomes the fact that Singapore has joined the list of nations that consider website blocking to be a proportionate and effective tool to tackle digital piracy. Website blocking is an important way of reducing infringement and stimulating the development of a licensed digital music market. We urge policymakers in other countries to look at introducing measures similar to those set to be implemented in Singapore".

Of course, web-blocking is not without its critics, who point out it's easy to circumvent the blocks, though rights owners reckon that if they can force the search engines to also participate in the initiative (removing links to proxies that circumvent the blockades) then the process is sufficiently effective to be worth the bother.

Russell Simmons' digital label partners with Samsung
Russell Simmons and Steve Rifkind have announced a partnership between Samsung's Milk Music streaming service and their ADD52 A&R platform.

ADD52 is part of music industry veterans Simmons and Rifkind's All Def Music company, owned with film director Brian Robbins. The new partnership will see them release a new single every week for a year through Milk Music, chosen from submissions to the website.

"It leaves the door open where we can find the next Pharrell", Simmons claimed to Billboard.

Launched in March, Milk is currently powered by Slacker Radio, a US-only digital service. As well as geographical limitations, the app is also only available to users of Samsung Galaxy phones, with two million app downloads reported to date.

Nevertheless, Simmons has spoken about the ability for this partnership to "break artists worldwide", and ADD52 does accept submissions globally, even if the Milk alliance being limited to the US at this stage limits his claim. Also, Samsung eventually plans to charge for access to Milk, and it's not at all certain that it's offering something that people will want to pay for when it ceases to be free, so a long-term audience is far from assured.

But confident that they do have something people will want, Rifkind told Billboard: "The research we're getting back is people who are coming to [Milk] aren't necessarily wanting to hear Drake and all the hot records. They're there to hear the new records that nobody has ever heard before".

Here's a video to explain further.

SoundCloud reportedly offering equity to major labels as it seeks licensing deals
SoundCloud is offering the three major labels equity in the company, in exchange for both licensing deals and guarantees not to sue over any past copyright violations when the service shifts to a monetised model. According to Bloomberg, Universal, Sony and Warner are being offered between 3% and 5% of SoundCloud, along with a cut of future revenues.

This report comes as SoundCloud tests new monetised-content functionality, which will bring it closer to being the "YouTube of audio", in that it will enable content owners to opt for ads to be displayed next to (and possibly played within) their tracks on the service, earning a cut of any ad revenue in the process. It's thought that the $60 million in funding raised by SoundClloud last year was in part destined to fund licensing deals too.

For many, this change to SoundCloud's business model - ie offering content owners monetisation tools as well as a free/cheap streaming - has been a long time coming, which make the guarantees not to sue all the more important. Although labels all freely use SoundCloud as a promotional platform, there has been controversy over unlicensed tracks uploaded by other users. This has led to what some see as an overly harsh takedown system to placate the labels, with claims recently that Universal has been given direct access to SoundCloud's database to remove infringing content directly.

Bloomberg notes that SoundCloud has been seeking a buyer for some time now, with Twitter last mooted as a possible new owner, but that fears over possible future legal action have been a sticking point to date. Which means that, while the original intention may have been to find a buyer and then move into monetised content, the digital company is now having to get the new ad-funded element off the ground first.

It's probably also worth mentioning, because it will be mentioned, that these equity deals are only seemingly being discussed in terms of the major labels. Independent record companies, arguably the most active users of the platform in the label community, will not be best pleased if they are left out of such discussions. Accusations that they are being left with just the scraps that remain from deals dictated by the three largest record labels may well emerge in the coming days. Though, while that won't be good for SoundCloud's brand, it will certainly further strengthen that "YouTube of audio" claim.

In other SoundCloud news, it has been added to the list of services available to users of the Sonos wireless speaker system. Which means you now have no excuse to not have the CMU Podcast booming around your home this weekend.

-------------------------------------------------- secures $2 million in funding
It's all about the playlists in 2014, we all know that.

People are navigating the 20 million plus track catalogues offered by most of the streaming services by utilising playlists. Sometimes they create playlists themselves on lazy Saturday afternoons, sort of the digital equivalent of music fans alphabetising their record collection. Often they nab playlists created by their more music literate friends via social media or within their streaming platform of choice.

And, of course, they're increasingly relying on lists complied by experts, celebrities, media or other notables, compilers who are now competing with radio and MTV as the opinion formers in music, with new plugging teams being recruited at the labels to make sure these people are aware of every single shitty new track being released. What joy.

Most of the streaming platforms, having, as they do, the same catalogues, same price points and pretty much the same service, are increasingly using the playlist phenomenon to compete - either by saying "our proprietary playlists are better than theirs" - or by assuming that users who have set up a stack of personal playlists on their system will be wary of switching to a competitor where they'd have to make their lists all over again.

But what if the future of playlisting is outside the platforms of the streaming services themselves? Plenty of people have suggested that service-agnostic playlisting is the future, with start-ups like Songdrop, Tomahawk and already operating in this space. And it's the latter that has got everyone talking this week, on the back of news it has just secured $2 million in funding from Charles River Ventures, SV Angel, Y Combinator, FundersClub and others.

The firm is in the process of expanding its own platform with verified celebrity pages, where artists and others will be encouraged to share playlists with their fans. The advantage of doing so on, rather than setting up playlists within Spotify or Beats and then sharing those via embeds on an artist's own site, is that the system will pull the music from Spotify, Beats, Rdio or Deezer, depending on which service a fan is using. It can also pull in music from YouTube and SoundCloud where available.

The new funding will be used to further grow the platform and to push on with a range of mobile apps. The firm's backers seem confident that there is much mileage in being a standalone playlisting business, even if revenue models are still to be worked out. If they're right, and playlisting moves outside the streaming platforms, said services will probably have to find something new to compete with. Which is probably when exclusive content deals will kick in.

MusicTank puts the focus on new music technologies
The next MusicTank panel event will take place on 16 Sep in London, with the aim of shedding light on "what new technology fused with music is bringing to the industry". A number of start-ups will present their businesses at the event, including ROLI, Immersive Album, Sofar Sounds, Nu Desine and Musion, followed by a debate on what future alliances between music and tech companies will look like.

Announcing the event, MusicTank Chair Keith Harris told CMU: "A chance conversation with Kevin Godley, in which he came up with the phrase "technology is the new Beatles", has led to the idea of exploring whether technology has the ability to inject the same kind of new vitality into a flagging record industry as The Beatles did to the business in the early sixties. We intend to explore the idea of whether the much maligned march of technology can in fact be the major industry driver over the next couple of years".

Tickets for the event, called 'Is Technology The New Beatles?', are on sale here.

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Space 25th Anniversary Party
It's summer! Perhaps you're not feeling it so much here in London and the South East but it's just a short flight to Ibiza, where summer is definitely in full swing. And this weekend is definitely the time to make that impromptu trip, as Space, one of the island's finest superclubs, is marking its first quarter of a century in action.

I'll give you until Sunday to get there, when it's the critically acclaimed 'We Love' party. For this special birthday edition there's a stellar all star cast of 50 DJs gracing the six stages.

My picks, like a kid in a sweet shop, are Agoria, Andy Carroll, Annie Mac, Carl Craig, David Moreno, DJ Suspect, Erick Morillo, Fatboy Slim, Jason Bye, Jimmy Edgar, Jose Padilla, Layo & Bushwacka, Nina Kraviz, Skream b2b Route 94, Tensnake and Tiefschwarz. Those are just a few of the great names on offer though. What a line-up.

Sunday 13 Jul, Space, Playa d'en Bossa, Ibiza, 4.30pm - 6am, 50 euros, more info here.
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N-Dubz R-bak


The hip hop rappin N-Dubz are back on the boil ("like the Black Eyed Peas", apparently), and intend to begin writing a new LP next year.

The trio's solo spin-offs since their split in 2011 have gone... erm, well, there's no nice way to say this, mostly pretty terribly. In short, Fazer ran into bankruptcy, Tulisa is N-quite-serious-Trubz and facing both drugs and assault charges, and Dappy got kicked in the face by a horse. And was found guilty of that nightclub punch-up. And the petrol station 'incident'. Oh dear, oh dear, and thrice oh dear.

Anyway, soz for the negative re-cap, let's move on.

Revealing news of the big reconciliation via the Daily Mail this week, Fazer explained: "We've been so busy with our own commitments that we haven't had time to come back yet".

"We'll definitely be writing new material", he added. "We won't just be using old stuff. We want to come back like Black Eyed Peas".

The Libertines considering 'fresh' new LP
The Libertines have said that they're likely to release a "fresh" new LP in the new year. Which, given the band's new lease of life, and the fact that they can still fill three nights at Alexandra Palace, isn't as crazy as I might've said it was this time last year.

Maintaining via NME that he and Pete Doherty et al had "always" meant their recent renaissance to lead to a new record, Carl Barat said: "I don't wanna just go on the road because then you'll get cabin fever and have an epic fallout. So yeah, I want to keep something fresh coming in. We just need to find the time".

Asked to pinpoint when that might happen, Barat added: "Next year, it has to be".

Petey D has also hinted at when writing might begin, telling NME: "For some reason in my head, I'm thinking October, November time, that's what will have to happen. Basically, it'll have to be like [the 2004 sessions for second album 'The Libertines' in] Paris, but in Hamburg, and for a bit longer. I'm well up for it".


Jerry Paper previews big new pop LP
Dog-eared-pop maker Jerry Paper (of CMU approved infamy) has trailed his new LP, 'Big Pop For Chameleon World', with a single titled 'Real. Now. Love.'

Featuring Paper's patented droopy voice draped over a choo-choo train-style synth track, it'll be released on board the album via Brooklyn label Orange Milk on 20 Aug.

Jerry bills the LP's themes as "an inter-dimensional infinite man existing in a finite world, the discomfort of existence in Body World, and love as the pinnacle of our time here", so that's a nice abyss to gaze into whilst you stream 'Real. Now. Love.' Now.

Nick Cave to attend Nick Cave film screening
Nick Cave is to chat and play live at a special gala screening of his part-real, part-surreal 'day in the life' film, the widely-acclaimed '20,000 Days On Earth'.

Showing live at the Barbican in London on 17 Sep, the film, live set and Q&A (which will feature Nick speaking beside Bad Seeds men Warren Ellis and Barry Adamson, as well as '20,000 Days' directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard) will also be beamed in real-time into 150 British/Irish cinemas. Details here.

And if any fans miss that, or wish to watch the film again, it'll have a wider release on 19 Sep. '20,000 Days On Earth', by the way, mixes semi-rehearsed scenes of a day in Cave's life with dream sequences and never-yet-seen "verité observation" of his "creative cycle", and has an original score composed by Cave and Warren Ellis. And Kylie's in it!

Still not convinced? Here's a clip.

CMU Beef Of The Week #214: Ireland v Garth Brooks
Strap in, beef fans, this one gets real complicated real quickly. It involves Garth Brooks, the American country music star best known for swinging on a rope in the 90s.

Brooks has scheduled some shows in Dublin for later this month. Not small shows mind, he has the 80,000 capacity Croke Park stadium booked. "80,000 people", you might splutter. "That's a lot more people than I thought Garth Brooks would be able to attract in Ireland".

Yeah, well prepare to have your mind blown. He actually announced two dates at the venue last year. What's more, those first two dates both sold out, so he added another, which also sold out. Then he added two more, which (yeah, you guessed it) also sold out. Pretty good going, huh? Except there was a catch. Croke Park is only licensed to hold three concerts per year.

Following a petition by locals and various concerns expressed by officials over the strain on local resources five shows would cause, Dublin City Council last week refused to licence two of planned concerts, telling Brooks he'd just have to stick with three. "It's five shows or none at all", said Brooks in response, adding a little melodramatically and certainly inaccurately: "To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do would be like asking to choose one child over another".

For a time hopes were high that it would all be worked out somehow, but then on Tuesday this week the company organising the shows issued a statement saying: "No concerts will take place. Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event".

Then all hell broke loose. Well, there was rather a lot of debate, anyway. Because you don't just cancel some shows you've sold over 400,000 tickets for and walk away. Estimates came in that Dublin stood to lose up to £12 million by the gigs being axed and the city's Lord Mayor Christy Burke called crisis talks, followed later in the week by a plea from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny for further discussions between all interested parties.

Debate raged in the media, with politicians called upon to comment unable to agree if this was an embarrassment to Ireland or a gross display of "petulance and arrogance" (as Junior Trade Minister Joe Costello put it) on the part of Brooks. That's Garth Brooks, the man who compared his live shows to his offspring.

But then came the next twist. On Wednesday this week Brooks wrote to Aiken Promotions founder Peter Aiken, and pleaded for a resolution to be found: "I was informed yesterday that the shows were cancelled and the refunds will begin on Monday", he began. "I cannot begin to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now. I hope you understand that to play for 400,000 people would be a dream, but to tell 160,000 of those people that they are not welcome would be a nightmare".

He continued: "To do what the city manager suggests (play three shows and not all five) means I agree that is how people should be treated and I just can't agree with that. Our guys are still en route and if there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged and nobody is being let down then we can proceed as planned until the refunds begin".

Finally, he wrote: "If you tell me, 'Garth, thanks but it is over', I will cease my efforts and bring our people and gear back to the States. If you think for any reason that the 'powers that be' in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second".

Of course, that Brooks still had his kit and people Ireland bound at this point suggests that at least some of the people behind the scenes reckoned that all five shows could still go ahead. Could Aiken's dramatic cancellation announcement (with a five day delay before ticket refunding begins) have been another negotiating tactic, just to confirm that Brooks' "petulant and arrogant" all or nothing ultimatum was for real?

Though questions have also been asked about the campaign being run by those who want Dublin officials to stand their ground on the 'three gigs only' rule. Plenty of locals have signed a petition or written in their objections about the five-show-plan, though that deluge of public outrage is now apparently the subject of a police investigation, after it was claimed that some of the petitions and letters of complaint were fraudulent.

"Two weeks ago I received a letter which had my address on it, but the name of a woman down the road", explained Yvonne Bryan to the Irish Independent. "I passed it down to her because I thought it was hers. And she said she never made any submission [about the Brooks gigs] either. She rang Dublin City Council to tell them that she never made a complaint. And detectives arrived last Monday to see if I wanted to sign a statement".

Then this morning it emerged that a local man who attempted to get a High Court injunction to stop the shows was given 15,000 euros to fund his case by mystery individuals who "wanted to take the [Gaelic Athletic Association] down" - it being the owner of Croke Park.

It's all a big fat mess, I think we can all agree. And one that's still no closer to resolution. Yesterday Aiken rejected Dublin City Council's latest proposal to put on two matinee shows to take the total gig count up to five, saying that the plan "is not feasible".

The latest development is that the Mexican ambassador in Ireland has offered to mediate talks. Just read that sentence back again. And again. And now as part of a direct quote.

"The Mexican ambassador contacted me yesterday and he offered his services at a diplomatic level if he could be any help", Christy Burke told Irish broadcaster RTE. "I [also] had a group of residents from Ballybough who said they intend to call Barack Obama to try to encourage Garth Brooks to play in Dublin".

Who would have thought some Garth Brooks shows could become an international political situation? They'd better be good if he does actually play them. I mean, he'll need the biggest rope swing Ireland's ever seen.

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 (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.
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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.
Email 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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For details of the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights click here - Andy and Chris are also available to provide music business comment, just email them direct.

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