An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 21 Aug 2014

TODAY'S TOP STORY: SoundCloud has this morning announced long anticipated changes to its accounts for content owners, which will introduce advertising into the mix and allow content creators to share in the revenue said advertising brings in. These are changes that many have been saying the streaming service should make for some time, of course. As it has grown, SoundCloud has shifted from its original... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Melbournian band Twerps first emerged in 2008, subsequently releasing their first LP, the inevitably-titled 'Twerps', which bent the 'bright n shiny indie' template (a la Real Estate et al) into all kinds of inventive shapes, in 2011. They've since newly signed to like-minded label Merge and, whilst they prep a new lengthy release, have made eight-track EP 'Underlay' to fill the interval. A likeably scrappy... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES SoundCloud introduces ad-funded monetised accounts
LEGAL Appeals court overturns ruling on unfreezing MegaUpload founder's assets
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Kobalt Label Services rejigs job titles
Morrissey details "botched" album campaign
LIVE BUSINESS Promoter campaigns to make Berghain-style 'party fort' on the Thames
ARTIST NEWS Amy Winehouse statue to be unveiled in Camden next month
King Krule exhibiting his arts in London
RELEASES Thurston Moore's going to release another solo album
Deerhoof float info on new LP, La Isla Bonita
GIGS & FESTIVALS Björk's Biophilia film premiere at London Film Festival
Liars add headline shows
AND FINALLY... Beyonce feeds the geese
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SoundCloud introduces ad-funded monetised accounts
SoundCloud has this morning announced long anticipated changes to its accounts for content owners, which will introduce advertising into the mix and allow content creators to share in the revenue said advertising brings in.

These are changes that many have been saying the streaming service should make for some time, of course. As it has grown, SoundCloud has shifted from its original proposition as primarily a provider of streaming services to content creators, with founder Alexander Ljung saying back in 2012 that he wanted his company to become "the YouTube of Audio" (a title it will now need to wrestle from YouTube itself).

SoundCloud has been known to be testing a new ad-funded system in recent months, and rumours that it would launch this week have been circulating over the last few days.

Ad revenue sharing will only be available to content owners on SoundCloud's new Premier account tier, which is currently offered on an invite-only basis. Users on this tier will get certain extra features above others, in addition to being able to monetise their content, such as improved stats, a snazzier profile, and the automatic ability to upload an unlimited amount of audio.

Below that is the Pro account, which costs £4 per month or £35 per year, allowing a maximum of six hours of content. Users on this tier can upgrade to Pro Unlimited, which has the same features, but allows unlimited uploads. That will cost £9 per month or £79 per year. Then there's the basic free level, which allows three hours of content to be uploaded.

Of course, this is not the only thing some have been calling for from SoundCloud. The service remains unlicensed, meaning that recording artists and songwriters do not automatically earn royalties when their music is played on the platform, where they would from places such as Mixcloud or Spotify.

Talks between SoundCloud and the labels regarding getting licenced have been rumoured on mutliple occasions, including very recently. The New York Times says that the new ad-funded model is part of these talks, and is laying the ground for premium accounts for listeners. These would remove advertising from the service for a fee, and fund royalty payments.

A spokesperson for SoundCloud did not comment on this when approached by CMU, but stressed that the new ads system was in itself designed to benefit content providers, saying: "Every time users see or hear an ad, artists get paid. We're offering a sustainable business model that benefits SoundCloud and creators, with the majority share of revenue being paid out to Premier Partners. Advertising also keeps our platform open and free for millions of people around the world".

Announcing the new programme, dubbed On SoundCloud, Ljung said on the SoundCloud blog: "As artists ourselves, Eric [Wahlforss] and I started SoundCloud with a simple vision. We wanted to develop tools for creation, help the creators reach fans all over the world, and shape a way we could pay the creators who fuel the growth of SoundCloud".

Talking up the ad-funded element of the new SoundCloud, he said: "When someone sees or hears an ad [on SoundCloud], they're supporting an artist ... We often hear people say, 'I'm On SoundCloud'. Now we're happy to be able to offer even more for the millions of creators who have made it the best place in the world to share and discover music and audio".

Adverts from "select brand partners" will now appear on audio uploaded by "a small group of creators" invited to join the advertising programme, before it is rolled out further in the coming months.

Explaining further, a spokesperson for SoundCloud told CMU: "The launch Premier partners were selected based on their good standing within the SoundCloud community, their proven ability to build an engaged audience, and their growth over time".

The announcement follows recent reports on warnings issued by indie label trade bodies AIM and A2IM. The organisations told their members earlier this month to consider not allowing their music to be used by third parties accessing the SoundCloud API. The terms and conditions of this grant royalty-free use of any music accessed in this way.

According to Motive Unknown's Daily Digest, the warnings were prompted after evidence showed that some radio stations in the US had begun sourcing music through the API because it was cleared for free use.

Appeals Court overturns ruling on unfreezing MegaUpload founder's assets
Kim Dotcom's assets will remain frozen until at least April next year, after an appeals court ruling overturned an earlier decision by New Zealand's High Court.

As previously reported, Dotcom's assets were seized after MegaUpload was taken down in January 2012. The orders granting the seizures, issued by a US court and approved in New Zealand, expired in April. An application to extend them was turned down by the High Court in the latter. Although Dotcom was initially optimistic that he would now be reunited with his property and finances, the prosecutors appealed the decision shortly afterwards.

And that early optimism was gone ahead of the ruling this morning, with Dotcom tweeting before the decision: "I wonder how much respect Auckland High Court judges have for the appeal judges in Wellington. Almost all rulings in my case were overturned".

The appeals court extended the asset freezing orders by one year from their expiration date to 18 Apr 2015. This date may or may not fall after Dotcom's long-delayed extradition hearing, in which the US will try to force the former MegaUpload chief to face charges in the American courts, and which is currently scheduled to take place in February.

Kobalt Label Services rejigs job titles
Kobalt Label Services has announced a rejig of its team, following a rush of signings in recent months.

Vincent Clery-Melin is now UK Managing Director, replacing Paul Hitchman who has been promoted to President of KLS International, while Pete Dodge becomes VP Operations And Distribution. Clery-Melin will also remain MD of AWAL.

Hitchman said this: "Vincent and Pete have both made huge contributions to the success of KLS and I'm delighted to see them in these new roles as we continue to expand both our team and our services".

And Clery-Merlin said this: "It's a real honour to be heading up such a fantastic team, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with Paul to offer a first-class service to KLS and AWAL clients".

And then Dodge said this: "It is very satisfying to be creating a global infrastructure that supports both digital and physical releases at the highest level, and to offer a truly viable and progressive alternative to the traditional labels".


Morrissey details "botched" album campaign
In the ongoing saga of Morrissey's record deal with Universal/Capitol's Harvest imprint, or lack thereof, the singer has now issued a chronicle of his view of the "botched" campaign for his latest album, 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business'. As ever, his missive appeared on fansite True To You.

There has been some question over the validity of the claims made on True To You that Morrissey's partnership with Harvest was over. Universal refused to comment on the matter, and previous claims on the site that deals with Penguin Books and Warner/Chappell had ended proved erroneous. Though on this occasion the site, and Morrissey himself, have been far more insistent.

Although the deal with the label initially appeared like "a saintly beacon of light", he said in his latest statement, the campaign the company came up with to promote the album, involving a series of (now deleted) spoken word videos featuring lyrics from the album, was the beginning of the end.

"I believed that the rich soil of the album had several strong hit singles", says Moz. "Frayed tempers began when Harvest arranged the 'spoken word' films, none of which gave any clue as to what 'World Peace Is None Of Your business' intended to be, or is. The films were OK, but they went nowhere and stayed there".

The conclusion of his time with Harvest, he says, went down thus: "During the weeks of the album release, the label were minus one single structural idea, and it appeared evident that each member of the team was acting in separate rooms without doors or windows. Mutual mistrust exploded between Harvest and I, and with fashionable pessimism, the label boss yawned and ordered the surface smartness of dropping 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business' three weeks after its release. There, now! This would not have happened to the Teletubbies".

That, I think, is a new claim. Not that Harvest has decided not to option a second album under its licensing deal with Morrissey, but that it has entirely ditched the latest album from its catalogue too.

On the details of this, he is unclear himself, saying: "I might be wrong, but I think 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business' will instantly disappear from iTunes and record stores and every download-upload-offload outlet on the planet, because Harvest technically have no right to sell it".

A quick check of 'download-upload-offload outlets' confirms that that album's instant removal has not happened.

Conceding that "most of the Harvest team are very nice", Morrissey finished by saying: "I still believe that there's a label out there with my name on it".

So, there you go. Any takers?

Promoter campaigns to make Berghain-style 'party fort' on the Thames
A live promotions co has launched a cash drive to take over a fairly bleak-looking one-time 'grain fort' in the middle of the River Thames, and make it into a night-and-day party platz in the style of Berlin-based hotspot Berghain.

Scottish promoter Minival is looking to buy the nineteenth century fort, which sits off the Isle Of Grain in the middle of the Thames Estuary, and transform it into a "Berghain or [soon-to-close Dutch superclub] Trouw in the middle of the sea".

The aim of the campaign, active now on GoFundMe, is to raise the fort's £500,000 for-sale price, and an additional £250,000 to make the building 'safe'. BTW, the fort sits on stilts in the middle of the sea, and is only reachable at low tide via a "slimy brick causeway", or at high tide via boat. Healthy and safety be damned, I say!

Taking, like me, the idealistic tack, Minival's appeal reads: "Imagine a place you could go to, to get away from it all. With the worlds best DJs and music running continuously. A place where you are allowed the true freedom to express yourself among friends. It sounds ridiculous but imagine if what we set out to do was accomplished, we call on everyone, for the love of music, for the love of the party, get involved. Dream to dream".

Meanwhile representing 'the man', the estate agent trying to sell the thing, one Nigel Day, says: "I'm not going to lie to you, it's an absolute monster. I thought I was OK on heights, but there are bits of it where I was clinging on to the walls: you realise if you fall you aren't coming back in a hurry".

So go on, kids, give a fiver and let's make the 'party fort' dream a reality. There's already over £50,000 in the bank at this early stage, so who knows, maybe this wild idea isn't as wild as it seems. Dream to dream.

  Approved: Twerps
Melbournian band Twerps first emerged in 2008, subsequently releasing their first LP, the inevitably-titled 'Twerps', which bent the 'bright n shiny indie' template (a la Real Estate et al) into all kinds of inventive shapes, in 2011.

They've since newly signed to like-minded label Merge and, whilst they prep a new lengthy release, have made eight-track EP 'Underlay' to fill the interval. A likeably scrappy, sad-sack swatch of Twerps' gently-paced ways and melodic means, it's available digitally right this minute, here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

Amy Winehouse statue to be unveiled in Camden next month
A statue of Amy Winehouse will be unveiled in Camden on 14 Sep, what would have been her 31st birthday.

Designed by Scott Eaton, the statue was original planned to stand at the Roundhouse venue, though its location has now been moved to the nearby Stables Market to make it more accessible.

Winehouse's father Mitch told reporters: "I had a meeting with Camden Council and they told me they don't usually allow statues until 20 years after someone has died, but in Amy's case they made an exception. It's a great honour to have the statue in the Stables. Amy was an integral part of Camden and still is, so you couldn't really think of putting a statue for her anywhere else, could you really?"

The singer (and Camden resient) died in 2011 from alcohol poisoning.


King Krule exhibiting his arts in London
Oft-roaring pop boy Archy Marshall is to show some of his and his brother's art works, banner-titled 'Inner City Ooz', at a gallery in London next month. And entry is free!

Marshall - who if you're all like, "Who? What? Who's that?" is, in fact, the real name of King Krule, releaser of last year's brilliant 'Six Feet Beneath The Moon' LP - has collaborated with his brother Jack on an installation based on their reactions to 'motifs' like memory, time and the role of the artist in a changing cityscape. So now we all know.

On the physical side, the display will have a mix of large-scale abstract pieces featuring Archy's poetry and 'layers of paint' by Jack, who by the way did the cover art for 'Six Feet Beneath The Moon'. There shall also be illustrations, drawings and photographs.

In the downstairs space of the gallery the pair will create a "secluded, fictional environment" of soundscapes, compositions and live interactive performance made to "vibrate the viewer", so that sounds (or will sound if you go listen to it) quite cool.

The show opens to the public on 5 Sep, and lasts till 27 Sep. Here are the details.

Thurston Moore's going to release another solo album
Thurston Moore - you remember him, right? He was in that band. But he's not now. And he's always doing stuff. He seems like a pretty busy guy. Anyway, he's going to release a new solo album. It's going to be called 'The Best Day. And like that last one, it'll be released through Matador. Oh, and the release date is 20 Oct.

OK, that's all the key information covered. Um, if you want to see him live in the UK any time soon, you'll need to go to the Moseley Folk Festival on 29 Aug. It's up in Birmingham. Yeah, I realise that might be a bit of a trek for a lot of you, but he's going to be playing twelve-string guitar. Those things are a pain in the arse to tune, so if he's going to put a bit of effort in, maybe you should too.


Deerhoof float info on new LP, La Isla Bonita
America's Deerhoof, a band from the odd side of pop city, will on 4 Nov release a new LP, the sequel to 2012's superlative 'Breakup Song'.

With a title loaned off of Madonna, 'La Isla Bonita' - says its press release - pays lip service to the likes of David Bowie, Radiohead, Ric Ocasek, Beck, The Roots, Lou Reed, David Byrne, Sonic Youth and The Flaming Lips. A broad palette, I'd say.

Noting the fact that Deerhoof have been active since 1994, drummer Greg Saunier, who's been in the band from day one, makes this general comment on the record: "No band is an island. Felt like one sometimes, in those budgetless and obscure early days, Satomi and me locked in the basement trying to figure out how our clashing personalities and ideas could turn into a band. If we hadn't had that crazed mid-90s Bay Area punk scene to call home, I doubt we'd still be here to chat about a 20th anniversary.

And yet here they are.

Greg adds finally: "We don't set out to create masterpieces. The Deerhoof fan is a thrill-seeker. This is the latest volley in an ongoing conversation we've been honored to hold for 20 years".

Now hold tight for a 'La Isla Bonita' tracklist, and also for 'La Isla Bonita' single 001, 'Exit Only':

Paradise Girls
Mirror Monster
Last Fad
Tiny Bubbles
Exit Only
Big House Waltz
God 2
Black Pitch
Oh Bummer

Björk's Biophilia film premiere at London Film Festival
A film of Björk's 'Biophilia' live performance at Alexandra Palace in London last year is to premiere in the Sonic Gala slot at this year's London Film Festival.

Directed by Peter Strickland, who made 'Berberian Sound Studio', the film captures Björk performing her 'Biophilia' album in full, complete with a variety of instruments both familiar and entirely new.

London Film Festival Director Clare Stewart says: "Under the curatorship of BFI Head of Events And Production, Stuart Brown, our Sonic cinema programme in both LFF and year-round at BFI Southbank presents an exceptional selection of screenings and events that revel in the connection between music and film. Björk is a true innovator, collaborating with exceptional filmmakers and artists to produce intoxicating work at the intersection of music and film. We are delighted to be welcoming her, along with Peter Strickland and [editor] Nick Fenton, to the BFI London Film Festival's UK premiere".

Strickland added: "Being offered the Sonic Gala is gleeful revenge for all those many occasions when people complained about the music I was playing!"

The film will be shown at the Odeon West End in London on 9 Oct.


Liars add headline shows
Proto-pop jokers Liars have confirmed they'll give their hairy latest LP 'Mess' a live de-tangling via a newly-revealed trek of Europe.

Getting going in early October, it'll pull into the UK on 25 Oct for Bristol's Simple Things Festival, then to a headline date in earnest at Dublin's Button Factory (26 Oct), then to Liverpool Music Week for a spooky show on 31 Oct, and finally hitting London's Village Underground for a grand finale on 1 Nov.

Find full Euro listings (and ticket links) on this page, please.

And also, as a warning of live Liars things still to follow, this is a clip of the band's set at last week's Le Route Du Rock festival, which is in France.

Beyonce feeds the geese
So tourist trap and house of waxen horrors Madame Tussauds dumped a life-sized figurine of Beyonce amidst a load of geese in Regent's Park yesterday, basically so fans could have a 'gander'.

Here are some photos of the 'stunt' taking place, which show that it could sort of have you fooled until you get up close and take an unconvincing selfie. writer Anna Lewis, likewise, spent a bit of her day thinking of a list of bird-based alternatives to Beyonce track titles so I didn't have to. Which was kind. Here is a link to see Anna's ideas.

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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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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