TODAY'S TOP STORY: Hot on the heels of the record industry pushing for a final summary judgement in its favour in its first lawsuit against Grooveshark, boom, yesterday a federal judge ruled in the labels' favour in the industry's second legal assault on the often controversial streaming service. Recap. Grooveshark allows users to upload tracks to its servers, meaning the streaming service boasts a very... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: I have a soft spot for pop with an unnecessarily confusing back story. Especially if even once you've got to grips with that story it still doesn't really make sense. So all hail Japanese pop duo FEMM, whose mythology is totally baffling. They are, apparently, a pair of sentient mannequins on a mission to discover why humans oppress their kind so. See? Makes no sense. The duo themselves... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Grooveshark dealt a blow in label lawsuit number two
LEGAL Dave Lee Travis sentence reviewed for undue leniency following complaints
Beats sues 'co-founder' for calling himself co-founder
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL HMV scored profits of £16.7 million in year after administration
LIVE BUSINESS eMusic announces return to indie label roots
EDUCATION & EVENTS Noel Gallagher to debate himself at XFM charity event
ARTIST NEWS Black Sabbath to make one last LP, possibly with Rick Rubin
RELEASES Röyksopp nearing The Inevitable End
GIGS & FESTIVALS Transgressive tenth anniversary celebrations hit The Barbican tonight
ONE LINERS Believe x AFEM, Queen x Adam Lambert, Nicole Sherzinger x Cats and more
AND FINALLY... Michael Jackson's Thriller video coming back from the dead... in 3D!
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Grooveshark dealt a blow in label lawsuit number two
Hot on the heels of the record industry pushing for a final summary judgement in its favour in its first lawsuit against Grooveshark, boom, yesterday a federal judge ruled in the labels' favour in the industry's second legal assault on the often controversial streaming service.

Recap. Grooveshark allows users to upload tracks to its servers, meaning the streaming service boasts a very comprehensive library of tracks, even though it lacks licensing deals with most labels. But it avoids liability for copyright infringement, in the US at least, because it operates a takedown system, whereby labels can order content be removed. And even though users constantly replace removed content as soon as it's taken down, that is enough for Grooveshark to avoid infringement liabilities according to most judicial interpretations of America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The labels see that as a loophole in the DMCA and want the Act revised. But in the meantime the major labels' lawyers have been nervous about pursuing straight copyright infringement litigation against the digital firm, because they'd probably lose.

But lawyers for Universal came up with two ruses. First, sue Grooveshark specifically over the pre-1972 catalogue on its platform, because arguably the so called safe-harbour protections of the DMCA don't apply to older recordings (see here for more on that). Second, sue Grooveshark over allegations that staff at the streaming firm, including its founders, also uploaded unlicensed tracks to the site, such uploads not being protected by DMCA safe-harbours. Much of the evidence that that had happened was actually gathered from data Grooveshark was forced to supply as part of the lawsuit number one.

And it was with lawsuit number two that the labels scored a win in New York yesterday. Despite constant denials by the Groovesharkers that anyone on the payroll had ever been involved in uploading content (the denials got only louder after one anonymous poster on the Digital Music News site claimed he had worked there and that staff were routinely ordered to upload unlicensed tracks), Judge Thomas P Griesa ruled that employees of the digital firm, including CEO Sam Tarantino and CTO Josh Greenberg, had indeed uploaded 5977 unlicensed tracks onto the firm's servers.

"Each time [Grooveshark] streamed one of the plaintiffs' sound recordings, it directly infringed upon plaintiffs' exclusive performance rights", said the judge, who also concluded that the Grooveshark company had destroyed important evidence in the case, including a list of the files Greenberg and others had personally uploaded.

Grooveshark said last night that it "respectfully disagrees with the court's decision and is currently assessing its next steps, including the possibility of an appeal". So it may not yet be game, set and match. Though if the majors secure a final summary judgement against Grooveshark in the pre-1972 litigation too (they have already scored a win in that case at the original appeal stage), the double whammy might be enough to finish the digital firm off.

If either of the lawsuits stick, Grooveshark would likely face a mega-damages bill the company would be unable to afford (the majors then, presumably, would go after the founders personally). Even while final appeals go through the motions, the digital firm - a relatively early entrant into the fully on-demand streaming market in the US - faces an uphill struggle. Unlike its rivals it has struggled to raise investment while saddled with so many legal woes, and brand partnerships - its biggest revenue stream to date - will be harder and harder to come by as ad agencies read about legal rulings against the firm.

Of course, amongst young music fans Grooveshark remains popular, and the company's original strategy seemed to be that, eventually, the labels would settle in order to monetise that audience. Though LimeWire also had a massive audience and, in its final days, a decent legit service in development, but the majors had reached the point where they just wanted to see the previously bullish tech firm obliterated. And you sense the same is now true of Grooveshark.

Dave Lee Travis sentence reviewed for undue leniency following complaints
The Attorney General's Office is considering complaints that Dave Lee Travis's three month suspended sentence for indecent assault was too lenient.

As previously reported, Travis, real name David Griffin, was last week convicted of indecently assaulting a researcher on 'The Mrs Merton Show' in 1995. He was also found not guilty of another count of indecent assault, while the jury was unable to reach a conclusion on a sexual assault charge. He was previously acquitted of twelve other sexual offence charges.

In sentencing the presenter last week, the judge took into account the length of time the case had taken to work its way through the courts, despite Griffin's co-operation throughout, and other financial and health factors as mitigating circumstances. But this ruling, and the resulting sentence, has seemingly met with some disapproval.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General told CMU: "I can confirm that the sentence handed to David Griffin (also known as Dave Lee Travis) has been referred to the Attorney General's Office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme. It only takes one person to trigger the process, and there is a strict 28 day time period, which means the Law Officers have until Friday 24 Oct to consider whether they wish to refer the sentence to the Court Of Appeal".


Beats sues 'co-founder' for calling himself co-founder
When I write my opera about the history of the Beats company - which includes a great scene just after the interval with Dr Dre swimming in a sea of hundred dollar bills - the Steve Lamar side-story may just be the most interesting bit.

Lamar, you may remember, claims that the concept of using celebrity endorsement to sell shitty headphones at a massive mark-up was his grand idea, and that he was originally in business with Universal exec Jimmy Iovine and his mate Doc Dre to make that dream a reality. Though before we ever saw kids the world over donning stupid clunky cans because of Dre's endorsement, the business partnership had crumbled.

Through various lawsuits Lamar was cut into some of the profits from Beats headphones, though exactly which profits is now the subject of new litigation. Meanwhile, the self-declared founder of Beats is busy setting up a new headphones business called Roam. And the businessman is trading very heavily on his early association with the Beats business.

In doing this, he has pissed off Beats Electronics and its new parent company Apple, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, have now filed their own legal proceedings accusing Lamar of making false and misleading claims in order to boost his new business venture.

Says the legal filing, "defendants' claims are false and misleading because Lamar is not a 'co-founder' of Beats Electronics, LLC. He does not have - nor has he ever had - any ownership interest in the company. Moreover, Jibe Audio [once run by Lamar] was not responsible for the 'concept, design, manufacturing and distribution' of Beats headphones".

Big bad media types have been tricked into calling Lamar a Beats founder, says the lawsuit, and he has then been tweeting these reports. Meanwhile Roam's website and social media makes a big deal about its owner co-founding Beats. And, despite the Beats company's subsequent protestations, the Roam company has "taken no steps to inform the public that these statements were incorrect".

So there you go. Lamar, not a co-founder of Beats. Roam, no association with Beats or any of its technologies. Roam in no way linked to Dre. Sounds good, where can I buy a pair of these headphones about which you speak?

By the way, at this point my opera will throw to a stage full of beautiful people doing Ellen's rubbish Beats Music dance.

HMV scored profits of £16.7 million in year after administration
HMV's owner Hilco has shared a handful of boasts in recent months about how the high street music seller is recovering very nicely thank you very much since its collapse in January 2013. And now the Telegraph has been shown the company's accounts, which are about to be filed with Companies House, and which report £16.7 million of operating profit on £311.2 million of sales. "An impressive turnaround", says the broadsheet.

Of course, I think most of us knew that at the heart of HMV - the last man standing in mainstream high street entertainment retail - there was a profitable business. The problem was that the then publicly listed firm was saddled with about hundred loss making stores, an over-staffed HQ and distribution centre, and millions in debts, mainly stemming from an admirable but unsuccessful attempt to diversify the brand.

When HMV plc fell into administration, most of those weights were cut loose; loss-making stores were closed down, the over-manned HQ was downsized and the debts were written off. Hilco's real genius was in buying out of administration the bit of HMV that was a going concern, while letting all the bad bits die.

Though that's not to say Hilco hasn't managed its new toy well in the first year since acquisition, maintaining a strict line on stores in danger of making a loss and taking a tough stance when negotiating rents on premises, but at the same time remaining outwardly upbeat.

A renewed focus on core music and movie products has pleased the labels and DVD publishers, and stepping up the in-store event programme has helped get more casual consumers back in store, while ensuring in a Google News search of HMV coverage of popstars dropping by outweighs local paper reports on closing stores here and there.

However, a pessimist might wonder whether any of this means the long-term future of HMV is assured. Mainstream CD and DVD sales are still ultimately in terminal decline, even if things have steadied a bit this year in the UK and HMV has upped its market share. And the new HMV is yet to do anything magnificent online - commercially speaking - it having withdrawn from mail-order and launched a decidedly lacklustre MP3 service.

Although, for a company that some had pegged for oblivion in late 2012, it seems that HMV will continue to sit on our high street and in our shopping centres for at least a few more years to come.

eMusic announces return to indie label roots
So, a definite rewind here, though very possibly too little too late. Time to talk about eMusic everybody. Yeah, you remember eMusic, possibly the first ever music download service?

You know, the one that went live in 1998, and which led the way in an era that I think we can all agree was the happiest time for digital music: Peoplesound, Vitaminic, iCrunch, Wippet, ah those the were the days. Long before anyone had even thought of setting up a streaming service. Oh, hang on, Chrysalis's Puremix and Yahoo's Launch. Yeah, basically digital music was all sorted by 2000, it's just the majors were in denial and BT was dithering about broadband.

For years eMusic positioned itself as the download store for real music fans, specialising in indie label content. Though that was more circumstance than anything else. eMusic was an MP3 download service, and these were the days when the major labels were still refusing to sell music in any file format that didn't come with digital rights management technology, because that would be convenient, and the last thing music consumers needed was convenience (major label execs in 2004 were sort of the Thom Yorkes of their day).

Even after the majors finally dropped the DRM and properly kickstarted the download market, the big record companies weren't keen on eMusic's novel business model. It was a subscription download service, where users paid a set fee each month and were then able to download a set number of tracks. It meant users were committed to a set monthly spend, but the per-track cost of each download was less as a result.

The majors didn't oppose to the subscription approach in principle, but didn't like the fact each track was priced at 'one credit', just as they were trying to instigate variable pricing on iTunes (mainly so they could subtly push the average price of a download upwards).

In order to get the majors on board, eMusic had to alter its business model, which was unpopular with both the indie labels that had supported the service from the off, and many of its customers. Yet by this point iTunes and Amazon had so cornered the mainstream download market, eMusic really struggled to capitalise on the major label content it now had access to.

Facing a slide into obscurity, the company downsized and later merged with an ebook firm called K-NFB Reading Inc. Most people in the industry, even digital music execs, more or less forgot eMusic still existed, except when it popped up as a sponsor at one industry event or another.

But it does still exist, and does still have a userbase of sorts. And, according to the New York Times, that membership received an email yesterday announcing the service was "exiting the mainstream music business", ending its partnerships with the majors, and returning to its roots as a hub of indie label content.

Says the note: "Beginning 1 Oct 2014, the leading download-to-own music retailer will be exiting the mainstream music business and exclusively offering independent music. The company's goal is to build the most extensive catalogue of independent music in the world".

Which is an admirable goal, though you can't help thinking that the consumer base for such a thing were the first to dump downloads and sign up to Spotify et al. And on the other side of the equation, the indie labels which ten years ago would have got wholly behind such a proposition, are now very much focused on the booming streaming revenue that is becoming core to their businesses.

Still, Peoplesound, Vitaminic, iCrunch, Wippet, Puremix, Yahoo Launch - eMusic is the last survivor of the very early days of digital music. So it's sort of nice to see it's still fighting the fight to stay online. Next week: myCokeMusic, time for a comeback?

Noel Gallagher to debate himself at XFM charity event
Noel Gallagher will on 3 Nov lead a live, Xfm-presented Q&A event on... well, himself, a topic on which he, if anyone, is the world's #1 authority.

Taking place at the Hammersmith Club in London, this "WORLD FIRST" has been arranged in order to raise "a few bob for the kids" of Make Some Noise, Global Radio's national children's and young people's charity.

Gallagher and a team of biz insiders - like Alan McGee, Nicky Wire and Shortlist magazine's dep ed Hamish McBain, for instance - will all sit in on the 'in conversation with'-style affair to look back on Noel's life and times 'in rock', from his Oasis days, to the rise-and-drop of 1990s Britpop, and his doings with his new band, the High Flying Birds.

Tooting his horn ahead of the big night, NG says: "Having rarely stopped blowing my own trumpet since April 1994, it'll come as no surprise I jumped at the chance to let the people catch me at it again, so to speak, while at the same time raising a few bob for the kids. It'll be a pleasure".

Xfm's Managing Editor Chris Baughen, meanwhile, adds: "We all know how great Noel's music is but I think we sometimes forget just how much he's packed into the past 20 years, and the impact he's had on a generation. This unique night will allow us to hear some of the stories behind one of the biggest bands, and one of the greatest songwriters in the world".

Tickets to 'An Evening With Noel Gallagher' cost from £40 to £100, and will go on sale this Wednesday, with all profits going to Make Some Noise.

  Approved: FEMM
I have a soft spot for pop with an unnecessarily confusing back story. Especially if even once you've got to grips with that story it still doesn't really make sense. So all hail Japanese pop duo FEMM, whose mythology is totally baffling. They are, apparently, a pair of sentient mannequins on a mission to discover why humans oppress their kind so.

See? Makes no sense. The duo themselves don't speak - all communication comes through the Far East Mention Mannequins Agency Syndicate - thus adding further to the mystery/confusion. And what the hell does Far East Mention Mannequins even mean?

Thankfully, the musical side makes more sense. Over the last seven months they've released fourteen globally-minded pop tracks onto YouTube, all of which make up their debut album, 'FEMM-isation', which will be released internationally on iTunes tomorrow. Tracks like 'Fuck Boyz Get Money' (a satire of Notorious BIG line, "fuck bitches, get money") and my personal favourite, 'Wannabe' (not a Spice Girls cover).

Completing the album, and released last week, is the video for 'Whiplash'.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

Black Sabbath to make one last LP, possibly with Rick Rubin
Ozzy Osbourne has broken the news that Black Sabbath will only make one other, final, 20th LP as a band, then that's it. No more. That's your lot. Go away.

Apparently the idea with the new record, which they're set to begin recording early next year, is to work with Rick Rubin again, a la 2013's '13', or so Ozzy 'believes'.

Revealing all for Metal Hammer's ears only, Ozzy said: "The whole Sabbath experience this time around was great. We all made friends, we didn't fuck around, we all knew that we had a job to do, and we did it. It was a lot of fun. So we're going to do one more album, and a final tour".

Spring-boarding off that, he goes on: "Once the dust settled after the last tour we started discussing the idea, because we were getting asked about it all the time. I said to Sharon 'What's going on? Because if there's no more Sabbath I want to get on with my own thing again', and she came back and said 'Let me look into it'".

"Three weeks later I asked her about it again, and she said, 'Oh, I still have to talk to so and so...' and I said, 'Sharon, I ain't fucking 21 any more, if we're going to do it I want to do it before I'm 70! Time isn't on our side!' So she made the call and came back and said, 'Yeah, the record company wants another album'. I believe Rick Rubin is going to do it with us again".

As for placing a basic timeline on the LP, he adds: "It'll be sooner rather than later. Obviously a lot of it is coming down to [Sabbath guitarist] Tony [Iommi]'s health, he's obviously got his cancer treatment, but we'll get onto it next year. I don't know if we'll be writing in England or LA, but I'll fly to the fucking moon for it if I have to!".

Whether they'll make time to patch things up with drummer Bill Ward for one last hurrah remains to be seen. But talking of Tony Iommi, as we were, that very man started teaching songwriting and composition-type skills at Coventry University last week, having been hired as its Visiting Professor Of Music earlier this year. Here's a piccy of him taking his first class, an experience he described as "interesting".

Röyksopp nearing The Inevitable End
Pride-of-Norway Röyksopp, aka long-time synth-pop kin Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland, have confirmed an 'Inevitable End' to the LP-releasing era of their Röyksopp lives.

So in other words, Röyksopp's forthcoming fifth LP, 'The Inevitable End' - which is arriving, with a heavy sense of finality, on 10 Nov - will be their final collaboration of a "traditional album format"-type ilk. It features Berge and Brundtland's 'Do It Again' featuree Robyn, as well as additional singing by CMU Artist Of 2012 Susanne Sundfør, Jamie Irrepressible and Ryan James, alias Man Without Country.

Doing a bit to define the new record's general 'tone' sort-of-thing, Berge says: "With 'The Inevitable End' we've moved into a darker subject matter, with emphasis on the lyrical content. This candid approach feels very both personal, sincere and conclusive".

Saying his piece, Brundtland adds: "With this album it became clear we wanted to make an album in a classical sense even if it's the last one we make".

And explaining where they pair's heads 'are at' at the moment with respect to LPs and all that (in case it wasn't clear, which is sort of wasn't and still isn't), Berge says: "We feel like this is a goodbye to the traditional album format. In our consecutive run of albums, we have been able to say what we want to say and do what we want to do with the LP. We're not going to stop making music, but the album format as such, this is the last thing from us".

Finally, try on first-listed 'Inevitable End' track 'Skull' right now.

Transgressive tenth anniversary celebrations hit The Barbican tonight
As part of the company's ongoing tenth anniversary celebrations, tonight Transgressive Records host a sold out show at The Barbican in London. Compered by Huw Stephens, there will be performances from Dry The River, Mystery Jets, Johnny Flyyn, Marika Hackman and Cosmo Sheldrake.

Discussing the show, Transgressive co-founder Tim Dellow told CMU: "We always wanted to have a bit of a 'swankier' gig as part of the celebrations, and The Barbican, with its incredible architecture and commitment to all things cutting edge seemed like a great statement show. We've got five acts playing in total - many which could headline this venue under their own steam, each of them doing really special sets".

Asked if he and co-founder Toby L ever foresaw that they'd still be running the label ten years down the line, he said: "We were always really ambitious, and I think a bit more self-righteous back then, so probably! Once you start falling in love with bands, not just the records, it's a compulsion to grow, and keep adding value to their careers".

Read more from our discussion with Dellow about Transgressive's first decade here.

Believe x AFEM, Queen x Adam Lambert, Nicole Sherzinger x Cats and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Believe Digital is the first major distributor to join that there Association For Electronic Music, the previously reported trade body for everyone making tunes that some might deemed to be 'EDM'. The alliance also means Believe customers will benefit from a discount from anti-piracy platform AudioLock which is offered to AFEM members.

• Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Sherzinger is set to play an actual (not actually actual) cat in the upcoming London return of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats'. Sherzy will play the bedraggled Grizabella, who sings one of the show's best known songs 'Memory', a character originally played by Elaine Paige in the only slightly tedious West End show.

• Having split up for good in 2011, REM have been cleaning out some cupboards and found a load of old videos - concert footage, award acceptance speeches, TV appearances, that sort of thing. Wanna see it? Well it'll all be shoved onto a six disc DVD boxset called 'REMTV', out on 24 Nov.=

• Flag-wavers for Welsh post-hardcore Funeral For A Friend are releasing their new LP, 'Chapter And Verse', via Distiller Records on 19 Jan, the year 2015. Find all the info available on it here, and look at the band's forthcoming live listings on this page.

• Star-spangled pop Liberace Adam Lambert, and his backing band Queen, are playing a right royal regale of shows, as one, in January 2015. The first UK date is 13 Jan at Newcastle Arena and the last is at Nottingham Arena on 24 Jan. Listings and 'ticks' here.

• 'Road-trip rock' champs The War On Drugs are doing an ol tour in 2015, to support 'Lost In The Dream', the LP that made them all mainstream earlier this year. The hit the Brit circuit on 19 Feb at the Manchester Albert Hall, and stay till 28 Feb, playing all the while. Details here.

• Ageing R&B dinosaur (yeah, that's an in-joke, sorry) Usher Raymond will take his 'UR Experience', to UK fans' neighbourhoods on 14 Mar 2015, for a show at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena. Various other shows follow that, and you can look at which, where and when here.

• Last and most old of all, sub-bass dance kingpins Underworld have added lots of shows to twentieth anniversary live trip in the name of their milepost LP 'dubnobasswithmyheadman'. The first is at Bristol's Colston Hall on 5 Mar, and the last on the UK stint is, in fact, at The Sage in Gateshead on 14 Mar. Get ya details here.

Michael Jackson's Thriller video coming back from the dead... in 3D!
Director John Landis is working on a 3D version of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video. No, don't worry, he's not planning to dig the late singer up and make it anew (though that would kind of work, I guess). It'll probably just be one of those things where a 2D film is retroactively converted into 3D and it doesn't really work and then everyone is disappointed. Hurrah!

Work on squeezing a bit more money out of Jacko and his fourteen minute mini zombie movie has apparently been in the works for some time, but can now forge ahead officially after Landis settled a long-running lawsuit with the Jackson estate (and initially the singer himself, which tells you how long it went on for) over unpaid royalties.

Landis told New York Daily News: "That lawsuit went on for so many years, [but] we settled and they paid me finally. And so, actually there is something happening with 'Thriller'. It is going to reappear in a highly polished and three-dimensional way that is very exciting on the big screen".

As previously reported, Landis claimed in 2009 that he was due 50% of royalties generated by the 'Thriller' video, but had not received anything in a number of years, leaving him owed as much as $1 million. In 2012, one of the actors in the video, Ola Ray, also settled a similar lawsuit over royalties she said she was due.

Since Jackson's death, there have been a number of ideas floated for updating 'Thriller' - one being a feature-length film directed by Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega. A source also claimed to NYDN that the Estate is considering a video game and a 'dance experience', amongst other possibilities.

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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email aly@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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 sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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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Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

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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