TODAY'S TOP STORY: Well, whatever else, Taylor Swift has ensured she's high up on the news agenda this week hasn't she? It was Spotify which went public about the singer pulling her whole catalogue off the streaming platform. But - while some of the resulting reportage was along the lines of "what an idiot for pulling out of the streaming future" - there can be few that don't know there's a new Taylor... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: It's been a while since LoneLady's debut album, 'Nerve Up'. Four years, in fact. It was a good album, but one I never quite warmed to enough to make it something that stuck with me all that time. So it was nice of her to return with a track that slaps you in the face and makes sure you remember her name. There is so much going on in her single, 'Groove It Out', that it's hard to... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES More bloody Taylor Swift
LEGAL AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd accused of murder plot
Aloe Blacc enters digital royalty debate, advocates consent decree overhaul
DEALS 300 + 1 = 300 and +1
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Australian singles chart to include streaming data
Ed Sheeran sires singery-songwritery Warner imprint
BRANDS & MERCH Blue's Simon Webbe launches nutritional supplement
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Tomahawk revamped in latest update
Radar Music Videos hires David Riley
MEDIA SBTV might transfer to real TV
ONE LINERS Tom Odell, StubHub, MIDEM and even more than that
AND FINALLY... 3rdeyegirl apologise to fans who queued for non-show
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More bloody Taylor Swift
Well, whatever else, Taylor Swift has ensured she's high up on the news agenda this week hasn't she? It was Spotify which went public about the singer pulling her whole catalogue off the streaming platform. But - while some of the resulting reportage was along the lines of "what an idiot for pulling out of the streaming future" - there can be few that don't know there's a new Taylor Swift album out right now.

Though, while it was the Spotify pull that ensured a headline spot in the business news pages, Swift and her new record '1989' were already high up the general news agenda. This morning's story is that the new long player sold 1.287 million copies in the US alone in its first week on sale, making it the only million selling LP Stateside this year. It accounted for 22% of album sales in the US last week and outsold the next 106 best-selling LPs combined.

Of course, it's not uncommon for there to be a massive difference in the units shifted between the biggest albums of the moment and all the other records in the charts, especially if you have a megastar artist releasing a new LP in an otherwise quiet release week. But still, Swift's stats are impressive.

Whether her decision to not make the new record immediately available to the streaming platforms (even before the wider Spotify pull) played a part in that success is hard to know for certain. Swift is simply the biggest American pop act of the moment, and that artist frequently dramatically out-performs everyone else. Though being a streaming platform holdout clearly hasn't hurt sales, and probably has resulted in some uplift, even if only slightly.

Meanwhile, neither the lady herself nor her usually vocal record label boss Scott Borchetta have commented, as yet, on the pull of the singer's entire catalogue from certain streaming services. Though MusicAlly has noted that Swift's music only seems to have disappeared from those platforms that offer fully on-demand freemium options, so primarily Spotify and Deezer. Meanwhile those with no freemuim level like Beats, or freemium that revolves around Pandora-style interactive radio rather than fully on-demand, like Rdio, seem to still have some Swifty goodness going on.

Earlier this week analyst Mark Mulligan noted that allowing top level artists the option to only make their records available to paying subscribers on services like Spotify was a potential compromise position between the streaming firms and those bigger acts hesitant of certain new business models.

Spotify, for one, has mainly resisted that option, even though you could argue it could help the DSP upsell its paid-for service. Presumably there are concerns about where you draw the line, because if too many big artists went premium-only it would make Spotify freemium a greatly inferior service, hindering the whole strategy of 'hook em with freemium, then upsell premium'.

And especially while the freemium user-upload sites like YouTube and SoundCloud all have the big name artists in their system, either because labels treat them as promotional rather than revenue services (especially YouTube), or because users are uploading the content and the labels' content takedown systems can't keep up. This concern will only heighten once YouTube enters the subscription streaming space and becomes a head-on competitor of Spotify et al. Which is imminent, of course.

Spotify might also point out that while its freemium level isn't especially good for anyone in terms of revenue, we're all in this together, and if we can get tens of millions of users paying - hundreds of million across the market worldwide - we'll all be quids in. And the most effective way of doing that is continuing with the freemium-to-premium strategy for the time being, even if it means millions of freetards can exploit the model in the short-term.

Though some do still reckon that split catalogues will become the norm as the streaming music market matures, with some key artists not available via freemium, and maybe even extra premiums to pay to access the most desirable music, making the subscription packages of Spotify et al more like the cable networks, "I'll take general pop and rock with some added Radiohead and Taylor Swift thank you kindly".

So lots of food for thought as always. Who knew Taylor Swift would ever provide us all with such intellectual stimulation?

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd accused of murder plot
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has appeared in court in New Zealand today charged with attempting to hire someone to kill two people, following a raid on his house hours earlier.

Rudd was arrested on Thursday morning, New Zealand time, and charged with attempting to procure murder, threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. He is accused of attempting to hire one person to kill two others, none of whom can be named, between 25-26 Sep.

Appearing at Tauranga District Court, Rudd did not enter a plea. He was bailed until later this month, and ordered not to contact the person it is alleged he tried to hire to commit murder.

Rudd joined AC/DC in 1975, appearing on the band's second album, 'TNT'. He was fired in 1983, but rejoined in 1994 and is still officially listed as a member of the band, performing on their new album, 'Rock Or Bust'. However, he is notably absent from a new promotional photograph of the group released last month.

'Rock Or Bust' is due for release on 27 Nov - the same day as Rudd's next court hearing. The drummer also released his debut solo album, 'Head Job', in September.


Aloe Blacc enters digital royalty debate, advocates consent decree overhaul
'The Man' man Aloe Blacc has weighed into the debate on streaming royalties in an op-ed piece for Wired which kicks off by noting Taylor Swift's Spotify exit earlier this week, but which is really concerned with the previously reported consent decree review in the US.

Confirming that he was writing this piece as a songwriter first and foremost, and countering any suggestion that the music industry has been more fiercely protecting its intellectual property than anyone else, he writes: "Unlike most people in creative industries, songwriters seem to have less control over our work than ever before".

"Knock off a handbag design from a high-end fashion house or use a sports team's logo in your new t-shirt line", he says, "and expect a lawsuit in short order. And good luck copying a big tech company's patented innovation. You need express permission from the original creators to use or copy their work before you resell it. That's how they protect the value of their work".

"But the world doesn't work that way for songwriters. By law, we have to let any business use our songs that asks, so long as they agree to pay a rate that, more often than not, was not set in a free market. We don't have a choice. As such, we have no power to protect the value of the music we create".

Blacc, of course, is describing the collective licensing system that is common in the music industry and especially when it comes to licensing the copyrights created by songwriters (as opposed to recording artists).

Of course, more often than not songwriters aren't actually forced by law to licence through the collective licensing system - and Irving Azoff's new collecting society rivalling company Global Music Rights shows that there are other options, especially for big name acts - though in practical terms most songwriters feel locked to collective licensing, and therefore resent the extra regulations that govern the big collecting societies and the royalty rates they can charge.

The main societies in the US, of course, are trying to have those regulations - set out in the 'consent decrees' and controlled by America's Department Of Justice - overhauled, not least so that songwriters and publishers can insist on licensing all digital services directly, while still covering radio, live and public performance through BMI and ASCAP licences.

And that's really what Blocc is writing about. He goes on: "Through performing rights societies, this summer songwriters successfully convinced the US Department Of Justice to open a formal review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees that govern how the vast majority of American songwriters are compensated for our work. The world has changed dramatically since this regulatory framework was first established in 1941, but the consent decrees haven't been updated since 2001 - before the iPod even hit stores".

He goes on: "Updating the nation's antiquated music licensing system will better serve the needs of not only music creators, like me, but businesses that use our music, consumers and the global marketplace for music. But the digital music services that see a financial advantage in maintaining the status quo are fighting hard to obstruct any meaningful reform".

For ASCAP and BMI, busy lobbying the DoJ for radical change to collective licensing rules in the US, the vocal support of high profile figures like Blacc, especially in the tech press, is a good thing.

Though whether an overhauled collective licensing system - and therefore direct licensing by music publishers of services like Pandora in the US - would fix the woefully small digital royalties songwriters receive for their hit songs, something Blacc bemoans earlier in his article, is debatable.

The loss-making streaming services argue that they can't afford to hand over any more of their revenues, and that the solution is everyone working to building a bigger market, so while per-play royalties remain tiny, overall cheques go up. Though for songwriters the real issue is probably that the vast majority of streaming money is going to the labels rather than the publishers, an issue highlighted by songwriter group CIAM just last week.

And that quandary will require a battle between the music rights owners, rather than with the digital service providers.

300 + 1 = 300 and +1
Lyor Cohen's 'music content company' 300 Entertainment has announced +1 Records as its official label partner. The New York independent was launched in 2008 as a division of management and marketing firm +1 Music, which was set up a few years earlier by Jonny Kaps and Nat Hays and over the years has worked with the likes of The Morning Benders, The Boy Least Likely To and The Heavy.

Announcing the news Cohen told Billboard: "Working with Jonny and Nat simply reinforces how important it is to surround us at 300 with incredibly tasteful people who are committed to the painstaking task of artist development. It's a great pleasure and critical to our company's success that we surround ourselves with entrepreneurs like them".

Kaps added: "I felt like we were all hustle and no muscle [before this deal]. We would build a team for our artists and create the launching pad they needed. But when things would start to take off, we couldn't capitalise in the ways we really wanted due to not having enough staff or resources".

He went on: "This fact stared us in the face when The Heavy started to take off with 'How You Like Me Now?' We tried doing it completely ourselves and I am proud of all we accomplished, but when we were consistently selling 2500 albums and 7500 singles a week, we needed some muscle and resources in order to pour fuel on that fire. If we had our team at 300 back then, I truly believe that record would have gone through the roof".

The first release under the 300+1 partnership has already come out, a single by producer Slaptop called 'Sunrise, which you could say has 'gone through the roof'. If the roof is placed at number 50 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Singles Chart (it is at number 49 in that chart is what I'm saying).

Australian singles chart to include streaming data
The Australian Recording Industry Association has announced that it will include streaming data in its singles chart from 24 Nov.

The trade body's CEO Dan Rosen said in a statement: "The music industry has significantly changed in regard to how music is discovered, consumed and sold. Over the past two years, audio streaming has grown at such a rapid rate, that it was only logical that we integrate audio streaming into the Official ARIA Singles Chart. We aim to continuously evolve the ARIA Charts to ensure that they accurately represent the new ways that Australian music fans are consuming their favourite music".

The Australian charts follow the lead of music countdowns in various other countries in adding streaming data into the mix. The UK singles chart added streaming data earlier this year, while the Billboard Hot 100 has counted streams since 2012. Though, unlike in the UK, ARIA's gold, silver and platinum accreditation system will remain entirely sales based for the time being.


Ed Sheeran sires singery-songwritery Warner imprint
Warner/Atlantic-signed chancer Ed Sheeran is now a non-greasy, non-cash-grabbing, non-fatcat label boss, having taken on his own imprint within the Warner family.

This is a bit because Ed felt all disenchanted when label execs declined to sign one of his favourite acts, 'Let Me Go'-hitmaker Passenger, and so he has created the new label to give lower-profile artists a shot at the charts.

Revealing all via The Sun, Ed said: "The door has now been opened, I've set up the label and I'm going to start signing people. It'll be an imprint that goes through Warner, but I'll get the rights back in about ten years". I'm sure Warner will love Sheeran's apparent excitement there in getting to cut them loose at some point.

He then added that he felt in "a fortunate position" to assist acts "who came through the singer-songwriter scene", adding: "There are people on that scene who make me look terrible by just being so good". So, some kudos to Ed, I guess, for him trying to make that more obvious to the rest of us.

Blue's Simon Webbe launches nutritional supplement
Blue's Simon Webbe has launched his own nutritional supplement, coinciding with his continued appearance on this year's series of 'Strictly Come Dancing'. Maybe you can achieve such heights if you guzzle this stuff too. It's called SIzeMe Nutrition, which I assume is supposed to sound like 'Si is me'. Because he is.

Anyway, Webbe, whose busy schedule with this and 'Strictly' means that former S Clubber Bradley McIntosh is currently standing in for him in Blue, said this: "I love training and love working out and I am very passionate about making sure I stay in shape, especially when I am filming and on tour. SIzeME Nutrition is my own brand that I have created for all ages and in particular those looking to turn their lives around by using fitness as a focus. I am so excited to be able to share SIzeME with my fans and look forward to them telling me how it helps them as well. Young and old".

The supplement is apparently suitable for everyone over the age of eighteen. Anyone under the age of eighteen who consumes it will die instantly. No, not really. It's super safe, I'm sure. It comes in four varieties - 'ME:ENERGY' for weight loss, 'ME:DETOX' for improved digestion, 'ME:COLLAGEN' for sorting out your skin and that, and ME:WHEY' for those that want to become a beefcake.

Tomahawk revamped in latest update
Streaming-service-agnostic playlist maker and player Tomahawk has launched a new version of its desktop software, overhauled and redesigned, with a new beta version of its Android app also available.

The app allows users to play music from various local and online sources without having to move between different pieces of software. Amongst the services the latest version now supports are Beats Music and Google Play Music, which join Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube and others.

Read more here.


Radar Music Videos hires David Riley
Artist and video director hook-up service Radar Music Videos has announced the appointment of David Riley as Business Development Consultant. Riley previously ran marketing agency Good Lizard.

Riley said of the news: "I am very excited to join Radar and to get involved in continuing the great success of the team in providing an elegant solution to the often complex world of video commissioning".

Radar MD Caroline Bottomley added: "David has come on board at an exciting time. We're just launching our 'secondary content' service - video commissioning for interviews, behind the scenes, concert footage, album teasers, lyric videos, tour announcements - all that stuff that's essential for a music life online these days".

She continued: "David will be getting this new commissioning service into the marketplace, and will also be promoting our Headhunted Director service for official music videos. David is an excellent marketer and has a great contact network, we're really chuffed".

SBTV might transfer to real TV
Jamal Edwards, founder of UK-based 'online youth broadcaster' SBTV, has confirmed he's looking to translate the franchise to real-life, old-style television. Out to all the nans locked in.

Going over his plans with Broadcast this week, Edwards said he was already in talks with Channel 4 to repackage existing SBTV content for the broadcaster's 'Shorts' series on 4OD. But as well as video-on-demand services, he also hopes to make programmes to go out on conventional telly channels, and to help make that happen he's hired Tammy McKendrick, formerly of TV production firm Lemonade Money, to be SBTV's Head Of Production.

He says: "In the past people have twisted what I've said - I certainly don't think TV is dead. I'm trying to create multiplatform ideas that support TV. I want something really good that lives on TV but has a strong digital element as well".

Parallel to all that, Edwards also intends to triple the viewing figures of his online content from around 500,000 to 1.5 million per video, and has plans to expand the SBTV brand beyond music to "sports, gadgets and comedy", by signing on new sponsors, and, apparently, speaking to Lenny Henry. On the comedy front presumably.

So basically it's all in the very early stages at the moment. Still, neither Rome nor grime were built in a day.

  Approved: LoneLady - Groove It Out
It's been a while since LoneLady's debut album, 'Nerve Up'. Four years, in fact. It was a good album, but one I never quite warmed to enough to make it something that stuck with me all that time. So it was nice of her to return with a track that slaps you in the face and makes sure you remember her name.

There is so much going on in her single, 'Groove It Out', that it's hard to know where to start. It's six minutes of great ideas all stuffed together so tightly that it seems fairly certain that she must have more like it hidden away. And that makes it all the more exciting. There are traces of mid-70s 'go-go' funk, some Prince channelling, and acoustic guitars that remind me (rightly or wrongly) of The Books.

Released on 17 Nov (or playable on streaming services right now), the track is the first hint of the second LoneLady album, which is due out on Warp next year. Listen to 'Groove It Out' now.
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Tom Odell, StubHub, MIDEM and even more than that

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• StubHub president Chris Tsakalakis has stepped down from the position, leaving the secondary ticketing firm with immediate effect. The sudden announcement was, according to Billboard, not entirely unexpected within the company.

• Tom Odell has recorded a new version of The Beatles' 'Real Love' for this year's John Lewis Christmas advert, which is apparently still something people want to talk about. Written by John Lennon in 1979 and eventually recorded and released by the surviving Beatles in 1996, you can see Odell plonking away at it in Dean Street Studios here.

• And as if that wasn't exciting enough already, it has been announced that Peter Andre will soundtrack the Christmas advert for budget supermarket chain Iceland this year, with an original song called 'Christmas Time's For Family'. There will also be a whole Christmas album from Andre, released by Cooking Vinyl and sold exclusively in Iceland stores.

• Composer, songwriter and ASCAP chair Paul Williams is going to give a keynote interview at MIDEM 2015, which, by the way, is taking place in Cannes between 5-8 Jun. And don't even think about trying to stop him. "Since Midem brings together the whole music and digital ecosystem, it is the ideal event to discuss innovative directions for the future of licensing", he says.

• The new, improved and solo Nick Jonas has released a coy new track titled 'Teacher', this off his sophomore LP (following 2005's God-fearing 'Nicholas Jonas') 'Nick Jonas'. Haven't times changed? Check in with 'Teacher' here.

• Brighton folkist Jinnwoo is now previewing his new single, 'I Am, I Am, The World's Oldest Man', on the internet. Oh, and it features Malcolm Middleton on backing vocals. Listen now!

• Guitar-playing US band Torche have signalled the release of their latest LP, 'Restarter', on 23 Feb. "Moving forward, leaning backwards, twisting sideways and loving every new release", confirms lead singer Steve Brooks, adding: "'Restarter' is moody and still very much a Torche record". While he forgot to mention Torche's forthcoming 'spring 2015' tour of Europe, which hits the UK c/o London's Underworld on 22 May, it's fine, because the listings for that are visible here.

• Pop Goths The Cure are throwing two big Christmas specials at which they shall play live for, oh, only ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MINUTES, giving a thick covering of "deep cuts, pop songs, fan favourites and surprises galore". All the Xmas bases, then. Tickets to the shows, which are at London's Hammersmith Apollo on 21 and 22 Dec, go on sale tomorrow morning. Guardian journalists need not attend.

• Interpol will back their latest LP 'El Pinto' (and, to a lesser extent, new single 'My Desire') with a series of live dates in Feb of 2015. The first is on 6 Feb at London's Roundhouse, and the next is on 7 Feb at London's Roundhouse. Learn of the rest of the listings here.

• The first night of Capital FM's Jingle Bell Ball at London's O2 Arena (6 Dec) will feature the following: Take That, Olly Murs, OneRepublic, The Vamps, The Script, Ella Henderson, Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne and Union J. The other night's line-up is going to be clarified later today. Happy Christmas.

• Lippy popstar Jessie J is headlining some shows and all, in January. In fact, on 21 Jan (at Glasgow's Academy) to start off. The live shebang celebrates J's top five newest LP 'Sweet Talker'.

3rdeyegirl apologise to fans who queued for non-show
Donna Grantis, guitarist with Prince-fronted group 3rdeyegirl, and Live Nation have both apologised to fans in Toronto after accidentally leading them to believe that the outfit were planning to play a secret show in the city.

It began with a tweet from the band's official Twitter account, stating: "4th day of November, we need a purple high: OTNOROT CALLING..." Though deleted two hours later, the tweet coincided with the appearance of an online listing for a Prince show at Massey Hall in Toronto.

Not wanting to miss out, fans began queuing outside the venue, assuming it to be a similar last minute gig to those that took place in the UK earlier this year. But, according to a statement from Live Nation, the venue had only been hired for a rehearsal, and the live firm apologised for it being listed as a gig on its Ticketmaster site.

The statement reads: "Live Nation wants to apologise for any inconvenience experienced by Prince and his fans in Toronto when Ticketmaster posted incorrect concert information on their website earlier today. The only reservation was for a production rehearsal. There was no concert scheduled for today".

Writing on her own Facebook page, Grantis said: "Fellow Torontonians, thank you for your love and support today. I can't wait to perform in our great city for you and I hope to make you proud! For all those who waited in line, I apologise for any disappointment caused by the confusion. We promise to deliver an unforgettable experience when we rock Toronto".

None of which explains why fans were allowed to queue up outside the venue from 6.30am. According to reports, extra security was laid on to monitor the queue, before everyone was eventually told to go home at 8pm.

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