TUESDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2014
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Taylor Swift's new album, '1989', is expected to sell over 1.3 million copies in the US in its first week, an impressive figure some might wish to put down to the fact she refused to make the new long player available on the streaming services at point of release. Whether that's true or not, she's celebrating already by pulling her entire catalogue down from Spotify and others streaming... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Oh, what the hell, let's have a look at another act who played last month's Tokyo International Music Market, shall we? Yes, we will. Let's not even pretend you have any say in it. So far we've covered artists who played the Wednesday and Thursday showcases at the annual event, but nothing from the Tuesday. That first night was the J-pop Day and, to be honest, it was all a pretty hard... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Taylor Swift refuses to let you listen to her music on Spotify and now expects you to buy concert tickets too
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DEALS BMG buys Union Square Music
Twin Shadow now 'in a relationship' with Warner Bros, prepping new LP
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sony Corp losses pass a billion dollars in summer quarter
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LIVE BUSINESS Live Nation profits up in summer quarter
Ticketscript hires new commercial team director for UK
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Trent Reznor talks up streaming, as Beats goes live on Southwest Airlines flights
New marketing exec at Pledge
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MEDIA Radio 1 video channel to go live on iPlayer next week
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OBITUARIES Acker Bilk 1929-2014
Wayne Static 1965-2014
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AWARDS Warner launches new classical music prize
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ONE LINERS Blue, Ariana Grande and, if you're lucky, more!
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AND FINALLY... James Blunt told to stop tweeting detractors
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London based independent music company seeking a Digital Marketing Manager to work alongside Product and Digital teams, to originate and manage pioneering online campaigns across a varied mix of musical styles and genres. The ideal candidate will have at least two years in music or complementary industry.

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Taylor Swift refuses to let you listen to her music on Spotify and now expects you to buy concert tickets too
Taylor Swift's new album, '1989', is expected to sell over 1.3 million copies in the US in its first week, an impressive figure some might wish to put down to the fact she refused to make the new long player available on the streaming services at point of release. Whether that's true or not, she's celebrating already by pulling her entire catalogue down from Spotify and others streaming platforms.

Although 'windowing' - releasing new material via download before streaming - isn't uncommon for certain high profile acts, Taylor Swift and her label Big Machine have always been particularly vocal about their fear that a presence on the big streaming platforms will damage first week download sales.

Her last album, 'Red', was kept away from the ears of fans who don't like the outdated concepts of downloading music or buying CDs for seven whole months. As a result, Spotify had already noted the absence of the new record from its catalogue, with its official Twitter account retweeting a message to the musician pleading with her not to hold out too long.

And Spotify's PR offensive stepped up yesterday when it became the first streaming service to comply with a request to take down Swift's entire catalogue (Deezer having now followed suit, though I've had a pleasant morning listening to her on Rdio and Tidal), addressing the matter directly on the company blog.

"We love Taylor Swift", it fawned. "And our more than 40 million users love her even more - nearly sixteen million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she's on over nineteen million playlists. We hope she'll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That's why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community".

It also wrote out a further message to the singer in song titles via a playlist, and another suggesting other music for its users to listen to while Swift's music isn't available on its platform.

It's not clear whether the decision to take all of Swift's music off some streaming services is label or management led. In the main, most labels are Spotify fans and where key artists don't appear it's down to artist management exercising veto clauses on how their client's music is distributed.

Though as noted, Big Machine is an exception here. At the time of the release of 'Red' the US indie's boss Scott Borchetta said: "We're not putting the brand new releases on Spotify. Why shouldn't we learn from the movie business? They have theatrical releases, cable releases. There are certain tiers. If we just throw out everything we have, we're done".

Most labels would not agree, reckoning that the wider record industry needs Spotify et al to succeed, and that that ambition is hindered if big new releases are held off the streaming platforms for months at a time. Though big name artists, who aren't in the 'record business' in the same way as the labels and streamers (Taylor Swift is primarily in the Taylor Swift business), might wonder why it's up to them to help Spotify's business model work.

As Mark Mulligan pointed out in a blog post yesterday, there could be a middle ground here if Spotify et al would allow big name artists to make their new content available to the streaming firms' paying subscribers, but not freemium users. After all, the freemium option on Spotify etc is mainly an upsell platform to try and secure new paying customers, rather than a standalone business, and the Swifts of this world might argue it's not their job to help sell Spotify subscriptions.

But the streaming firms have been reluctant to adopt that approach, and would likely point out that said music is already available to stream for free on YouTube and other user-upload platforms like Grooveshark and SoundCloud, let alone the file-sharing networks. And indeed, fans can still access Swift's music from many of those platforms.

Though none of that explains the pulling of the entire Swift catalogue from certain streaming services. There's been speculation some kind of catalogue-wide deal with one digital music platform may be incoming, or that somehow all this is linked to Borchetta's rumoured bid to sell his record company.

Whatever, if you want to be certain that you will definitely be able to listen to Taylor Swift's at any time you so wish, at least without playing around in grey or otherwise muddy areas of copyright law, you're going to have to fork out for it. Which probably makes this an annoying point in proceedings to tell you that tickets for the UK leg of Taylor Swift's world tour are going on sale soon.

Yes, she'll be over here next June to play some of the songs she doesn't want you to hear in their recorded form (especially if you're one of those people who spends the unusually high amount of £120 to listen to music every year). You'll be able to catch her playing her first ever show in Scotland at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 23 Jun, followed by Manchester Arena the following night, and the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park on 27 Jun.

That leaves, I am obliged to add at this point, a suitable gap in her schedule to play Glastonbury. Though as people who go to Glastonbury pay to access everything the festival has to offer, rather than a specific artist, she might not be so up for performing there.

Anyway, tickets for the Glasgow and Manchester shows will go on sale at 9.30am this Friday, with a pre-sale for American Express customers happening right now. Meanwhile BST tickets will become available at 9am on 10 Nov. Give Taylor your money now, you bastards.

BMG buys Union Square Music
You might have thought BMG was finished buying up other music companies, but you were wrong. BMG has just announced it has purchased UK record label Union Square Music, a deal that also includes its two publishing companies, Union Square Music Publishing and USM Songs, and catalogue marketing division, Union Square.

Commenting on the deal, Union Square founder Peter Stack said: "The combination of our expertise in marketing and exploitation and BMG's significant catalogues is a win-win deal for BMG, Union Square and all of our artists and licensors. BMG have clearly demonstrated their ambition to grow their recordings business and the addition of their infrastructure and international network will allow us to offer an even better service to artists and labels".

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch added: "This acquisition marks another significant milestone in BMG's development as we seek to achieve similar scale in the recordings business as we already have in music publishing. Peter Stack and the Union Square team have established an unrivalled reputation in the music industry for their respectful, artist-friendly approach to catalogue marketing and as such are a perfect fit with BMG. We look forward to working with Peter to create an even more significant catalogue business based on delivering value for artists and rights-owners".

Based on Official Charts Company stats, BMG reckons its latest purchase will double the company's share of recordings sales in the UK, and make it the country's fifth largest label, behind the three majors and Beggars Group.

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Twin Shadow now 'in a relationship' with Warner Bros, prepping new LP
LA-based synth-pop artist Twin Shadow, real name George Lewis Jr, has signed to Warner Bros Records, having quietly broken things off with his old label 4AD (or vice versa) at some point following the release of his last LP, 2012's 'Confess'.

After a time of "creative change" at Twin Shadow HQ, Lewis has also confirmed he will give his third TS record a slightly delayed release in the new year.

Writing to fans, he says: "Towards the end of the recording of the third Twin Shadow album I came into a strong feeling, a place of creative change from which I'd like to give you an uncompromised experience at every turn. In order to push in the right direction I had to put the brakes on the tour, the planned album release, and reconsider where Twin Shadow was headed. With a bit of perspective I came to realise that I was going to need help to pull off the vision for this next album".

And of the Warner signing, he adds: "I'm excited to announce that I've found a group of like minded people at Warner Bros Records to help me accomplish this goal. In the interest of progress and adventure I look forward to the new relationship (and hopefully a coffee with Prince)".

Don't we all? Pending potential Princely cafe dates, why not stick with Twin Shadow in all his doings via twinshadow.net

Sony Corp losses pass a billion dollars in summer quarter
As expected, Sony Corp last week confirmed another disappointing quarter, with the entertainment and consumer electronics group running up a net loss of $1.2 billion, or around 135 billion yen.

Which ain't great, though Sony having previously warned that recent months had been particularly doomy and gloomy at the conglom, the figures were actually slightly better than some analysts expected.

The mega-losses in the summer quarter explain why Sony was forced to admit back in September that its year-end losses were set to be four times bigger than originally expected, topping $2 billion.

Most of the company's current woes stem from its mobile phone business, which is nice, because in recent years it's been mainly the Sony television set division that caused all the doom and gloom, and it's good to have a bit of variety.

Compared to some of its electronics divisions, the US-headquartered Sony entertainment firms - including Sony Music and Sony/ATV - are doing pretty well, though PlayStation is perhaps the real Sony cash cow subsidising everything else.

Live Nation profits up in summer quarter
Also reporting third quarter figures last week was Live Nation, which was able to brag about rising profits and claim that the live giant was on track for "another record year".

The figures backed up claims made in July, when reporting that profits were down for the second quarter, that the live firm was set for a strong summer concert season. Live Nation, of course, has significant interests in tour and festival promotion, venues, artist management and ticketing.

According to Billboard, revenues for the quarter were up 11% to $2.5 billion with "adjusted operating income" - so operating income without the effects of "one-time and extraordinary items" - was up 17% to $258.1 million.

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Ticketscript hires new commercial team director for UK
Self-service ticketing platform Ticketscript has appointed Nick Wells to the role of Country Director UK. He will lead the firm's commercial team in this fine country of ours. Wells has previously worked in broadcasting as well as running his own arena-based live events company.

Confirming the hire, Ticketscript's CCO Jason Thomas told reporters: "We are delighted to have Nick join the team. He brings a wealth of experience to the company which will greatly support our expansion plans. As European leaders in self-service digital ticketing, we strive to build a team which will allow us to reinforce our status and further demonstrate our ethos of helping event organisers grow their community, and ultimately sell more tickets".

Meanwhile Wells himself added: "It's exciting to join Ticketscript at such a pinnacle stage. Ticketscript provides event organisers a dynamic and unique proposition to gain real in-depth insights and enable them to grow their business. Given the diverse blend of industry and commercial experience within the team, I'm confident this will help us foster and drive the company even more".

Trent Reznor talks up streaming, as Beats goes live on Southwest Airlines flights
Taylor Swift might be blinkered when it comes to the certain future of recorded music, but Trent Reznor is right up the whole streaming thing. True, he is in the employ of a streaming company, but SHUT UP, YOU.

Speaking to Billboard, Reznor said: "I am on the side of streaming music, and I think the right streaming service could solve everybody's problems. Ownership is waning. Everybody is comfortable with the cloud - your documents, who knows where they are? They are there when you need them. That idea that I've got my records on the shelf doesn't feel as important even to me as it used to. I just think we haven't quite hit the right formula yet".

Speaking about his continued role with Beats Music since the company was purchased by Apple earlier this year, he added: "Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them. I can't go into details, but I feel like I'm in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. Though this is very creative work [even if it's] not directly making music [and] it's around music".

It's not clear if one of those things is Beats' latest announcement, which is that it is available without paywall to passengers on Southwest Airlines via the Southwest Entertainment Portal on its wi-fi enabled planes. I hope it wasn't his idea, it doesn't seem like the most amazing thing ever. Still, interesting, I guess.

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New marketing exec at Pledge
Direct-to-fan platform and pre-order campaign specialists PledgeMusic yesterday announced the creation of a new New York-based role, Head of Marketing & Digital Strategy, and the appointment of one Dan Ghosh-Roy to that job.

In his new role, Ghosh-Roy - who has a record industry background at both Ultra Music and EMI - will oversee global marketing initiatives for Pledge, while also leading the firm's 'artist roundtable' programme and growing the Pledge Fan Community.

Confirming the appointment, Pledge founder Benji Rogers said in a statement: "We are lucky to have Dan join our dedicated team as he brings an unparalleled expertise and real passion for furthering the brand. His commitment to PledgeMusic will elevate our future artist campaigns to the next level, making an even more dynamic experience for our community of users".

Radio 1 video channel to go live on iPlayer next week
Radio 1 has long had ambitions to become a quasi telly station, correctly pointing out that its young target demographic are the multi-media generation who routinely consume audio, video and social media channels concurrently, though slightly forgetting that the Beeb already has a video service aimed at this audience (the under threat BBC3), and perhaps better things could be achieved if the two BBC outlets decided to - shock horror - work together.

But, as expected, the standalone Radio 1 video service is set to ramp up a notch with the launch of its own channel on the BBC iPlayer. To date the BBC pop station's video output has been confined to its own website and YouTube channel. The new iPlayer channel, going live next week, will include live music performances, documentaries and some silly features as you'd surely expect from a pop radio station.

About two new bits of content a day will appear on the new iPlayer channel from next week, regulatory body the BBC Trust having ruled that Radio 1 getting into the video space wouldn't have a big enough impact on any commercial rivals to warrant a full public interest investigation into the new service. Confirming the launch of the iPlayer channel next week, Radio 1 big cheese boss man Ben Cooper said: "This is an exciting moment for Radio 1 and our young audience and we can't wait to get started on 10 Nov".

Acker Bilk 1929-2014
As previously reported, 'Stranger On The Shore' clarinettist Acker Bilk died this past Sunday, aged 85, following an illness.

Born Bernard Stanley Bilk in Somerset in 1929 (later acquiring the nickname 'Acker' from the West Country slang word for 'friend' or 'mate'), the musician lost two teeth and half a finger as a child, which, he claimed, went on to shape his distinctive playing style. He learnt the clarinet whilst doing National Service with the Royal Engineers in Egypt, and, upon coming back from the army and qualifing as a blacksmith, formed his first band in 1950.

Bilk also ran his own jazz club, The Paramount, in Bristol; later founding and touring Europe and the UK with its in-house group, the Paramount Jazz Band, on the back of the 'trad jazz' craze of the day. He released his first top ten single as band-leader in 1960 theme 'Summer Set', a co-write with pianist Dave Collett.

His best-known song, 'Stranger On The Shore', started life as a composition for, and named after, his baby daughter Jenny. Having changed its title to that of the BBC TV drama it was chosen as the main theme for, Bilk set his clarinet arrangement to backing by the Leon Young String Chorale, and released the track via Columbia Records in 1961, scoring a number one single. It stayed in the UK charts for 55 weeks, and also made Bilk only the second ever British artist (after Vera Lynn in 1952) to top the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in America.

Bilk played on the cabaret circuit over latter years, collaborating prolifically the whole time with other jazz greats, string orchestras, and his long-time Paramount band; releasing another hit in 1976 with the top-five-charting 'Aria'. Having later slim-lined his recording and gigging schedule to spend time painting, Bilk was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2000, though recovered in time to receive his MBE in 2001.

He released an LP with clarinet-playing peer Wally Fawkes the following year, worked with Van Morrison on his albums 'Down the Road', 'What's Wrong With This Picture?' and 'Born to Sing: No Plan B', and continued to play live, if not quite so regularly. Speaking on the 50th anniversary of the initial release of 'Stranger On The Shore' back in 2012, a then 87 year old Bilk said: "I'm fed up with playing it. It's alright but you do get fed up with it after 50 years".

Bilk is survived by his wife Jean, and their children, Peter and Jenny.

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Wayne Static 1965-2014
Former Static X frontman Wayne Static, real name Wayne Wells, died on Saturday. The exact cause of death is not yet known, though his family said in a statement that he had passed away in his sleep. He was 48.

Born in 1965, Wells grew up in Michigan, before moving to Chicago in 1987 and forming a band, Deep Blue Dream, with future Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. After that band came to an end, he formed Static-X in 1994. The band released their debut album, 'Wisconsin Death Trip', during nu-metal's peak in 1998, eventually reaching platinum status in the US three years later.

The band's subsequent five albums all had more chart success than the first, though none sold as well overall. In 2009, Wells announced that he would concentrate on solo project Pighammer, with Static-X officially splitting the following year. He eventually released his only solo album, 'Pighammer', in 2011.

In 2012, Wells began performing under the Static-X name again, with a different line-up, though this was short-lived, an apparent deal with bassist Tony Campos over the rights to use the name falling through. The day before his death Wells had announced a UK tour as Wayne Static in January, with a plan to play 'Wisconsin Death Trip' in full.

Wells is survived by his wife, Tera Wray.

 
  Approved: Dempagumi.inc
Oh, what the hell, let's have a look at another act who played last month's Tokyo International Music Market, shall we? Yes, we will. Let's not even pretend you have any say in it. So far we've covered artists who played the Wednesday and Thursday showcases at the annual event, but nothing from the Tuesday.

That first night was the J-pop Day and, to be honest, it was all a pretty hard sell for a Western audience. Headliners Dempagumi.inc perhaps most of all. Or perhaps least. It's hard to say. I really like them.

Despite what you might think, Babymetal are not the only Japanese pop act occupying the more extreme end of the genre. But what Dempagumi do is far less easy to describe in one compound word. It's pop, yes. But played at hardcore punk speeds, with synths and vocals so loud that the sensory overload they bring almost makes you nauseous. There are so many ideas bursting out of each of their songs, they're almost unfathomable at first listen.

But how to hook you after that off-putting description? Well, thankfully they've done the work for me, with their phenomenal cover of 'Sabotage' by Beastie Boys. At first you think it's going to be a fairly faithful, girlband-style cover of the song, which is fine, but then it veers off in all kinds of directions. The version you can hear below is not even the whole track and it'll leave you wondering what just happened, but first ease yourself in with original song 'Den Den Passion'.
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Warner launches new classical music prize
Warner Music has announced the launch of a new prize that will be presented to "a classical musician aged eighteen to 35 who demonstrates exceptional talent and promise". And the name of this new award? Well, the Warner Music Prize of course, though label affiliations won't have any impact on the judging process, so stop thinking it might will you?

Established with support from the family foundation of the boss of Warner parent company Access Industries, Len Blavatnik, the recipient of the prize will get $100,000, so it's not to be sniffed at. Even if you've got a really bad cold, like me. New York's Carnegie Hall is also a partner, with nominees drawn from those young musicians who perform at the venue during its 2014/15 concert season, which seems a bit odd, but who am I to quibble? No one, that's who.

Confirming the new award, Stu Bergen, President of International at Warner Recorded Music, said: "The Warner Music Prize has been created to recognise and reward promising musicians early in their careers, when they need it the most. We are thrilled to partner with Carnegie Hall for the inaugural prize and are looking forward to a series of exciting performances this season and the gala celebration of the first recipient next fall".

He means autumn. More info at www.warnermusicprize.com

Blue, Ariana Grande and, if you're lucky, more!

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• All rise, because Blue are mildly 'hot gossip' again - what with Simon Webbe still being on 'Strictly' and everything - and so they've been invited into the Sony Music family in a new record deal (not) worth millions. There will be a new LP in the New Year, and also a reasonably-sized UK tour which starts on 21 Mar at the Portsmouth Guildhall. One love to Blue, from all at CMU.

• Singing sugar-cube and closet 'weirdo' Ariana Grande has released a video what has The Weeknd in it, acting all dark and sensual. Its title is 'Love Me Harder', and it's straight off Grande's latest LP 'My Everything'.

• Charli XCX has released a new video for her hit single 'Boom Clap' that's shot in Tokyo, for no other apparent reason than because she can, and because her collection of (night)dresses looks cool against a Tokyo cityscape. She also released the final tracklisting for her coming-soon LP 'Sucker' via a series of Twitter posts yesterday. Fin.

• Beautifully dreary US band Warpaint have postponed their European tour, which included six UK dates starting at London's Hammersmith Apollo on 29 Nov, at the last minute, citing "family matters" and apologising. Replacement dates are as yet TBA.

• In case you have somehow not heard already, Rihanna aka @badgalriri is back on Instagram after some months away for reasons that really don't matter. Go and look now. Or don't.

James Blunt told to stop tweeting detractors
Hey, you remember when James Blunt started being funny on Twitter and we all decided we actually quite liked him? Well, it turns out that his label, Warner Music, didn't think that was a good look. Possibly the label feared that him being publicly liked would alienate his sizeable but quiet audience. And so he was asked to stop being funny on Twitter.

Speaking to Heat, Blunt said: "My record label set up the account and asked me to answer people, so I did. Then they phoned me up and asked me to stop. Twitter is just people's opinions, and opinions are like arseholes - everyone has one".

On the Twitter haters that he mainly responds to, he added: "I play to thousands of people each night, who all bought tickets, and train tickets and hotel rooms, and queued up for hours outside a venue, but instead of them, we focus on the five guys in their bedrooms with their trousers round their ankles writing a few nasty words about my music. Those guys couldn't be bothered to come to the venue to say how much they 'really hate' me, so why should I be bothered by them?"

James Blunt is currently on tour, with UK dates later this month. Make the effort, cowards.

 
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
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