TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ah, YouTube. Do you remember YouTube? It's where you used to go to access the very latest episodes of your favourite American TV series which had yet to debut in the UK. All neatly split into ten minute segments, just like God intended. But then YouTube got slightly better at policing copyright infringing content and suddenly segment three of your favourite show would disappear... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Formed in 2011, OOFJ released their debut album, 'Disco To Die For', last year, a collection of dark, cinematic journeys. The pair met while one half of the now duo, Jens Bjørnkjær, was working on the soundtrack to 'Melancholia' (see, I was justified in using the journalistic get-out words 'cinematic' and 'journeys'... probably.) He had previously been working solo (with the help of the... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES YouTube unveils Music Key
LEGAL Tulisa may sue Fake Sheikh over Sun drugs sting
Universal order Motown tribute acts to stop using the label's name
LABELS & PUBLISHERS PRS confirms two promotions
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Kindness, Wild Beasts and Femme latest to benefit from BPI's Music Export Growth Scheme
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Taylor Swift's label boss suggests lower Spotify payouts than Ek claims
Soundrop announces closure as Spotify discontinues app support
MEDIA Vice and Live Nation to do live video thing, or something
ARTIST NEWS Nicki Minaj Only director 'sorry not sorry' for 'Nazi-representative' imagery in lyric clip
ONE LINERS Blue Daisy, Marina And The Diamonds, [PIAS] Nites and more
AND FINALLY... Richard Branson denies offering Led Zeppelin £500 million to reform
Lorde questions Diplo's penis size
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
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Merlin is seeking a qualified, enthusiastic Technical/Operations specialist to assist in maximising the effectiveness and success of Merlin’s agreements. Candidates must carry an excellent working knowledge of the technical and operational aspects of the digital music industry. This should include working knowledge and substantial experience in managing content delivery and operational maintenance of agreements with digital services. A proven set of established relationships in the sector would be advantageous.

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Mood Media are looking for a full-time Music Consultant to join the UK team. The role will involve working with some of the world's biggest brands, curating playlists across a very broad range of genres and styles. Previous experience would be preferable, but not essential.

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CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email

YouTube unveils Music Key
Ah, YouTube. Do you remember YouTube? It's where you used to go to access the very latest episodes of your favourite American TV series which had yet to debut in the UK. All neatly split into ten minute segments, just like God intended. But then YouTube got slightly better at policing copyright infringing content and suddenly segment three of your favourite show would disappear without warning, taking a crucial plot development with it.

So we all shifted over to Veoh, MegaVideo, PutLocker and all the other video-sharing sites with slacker DMCA policies. Well I say we did, I don't know what those websites are. And anyway, at that point you all probably switched to the file-sharing networks which, once BitTorrent and broadband made video downloading less of a ball ache, became the primary source of all and any US TV shows.

Until Netflix started pumping legit telly vids onto our iPads, and we were no longer reliant on Hank Marmaduke Jr, the rampant uploader of downtown Detroit, to access our favourite American shows. And then it came to pass that every new and archive television series of note was made available to us via legit channels in a logical timely manner, as if the TV industry had suddenly been struck by a dangerous bout of common sense. Hang on, I think this paragraph may have strayed into the future.

Anyway, what about YouTube? Well, while it may have lost the battle to be the primary provider of lost episodes of 'Lost', the Google-owned video site remains the indisputable market leader for anyone seeking the very latest supermarket commercials, cat-based theatre or sex-pest pranksters. But what about the music? Well, it's often been said that - while pretty much every formal attempt by Google to launch a music service has ended up not only lacking lustre but becoming something of a lustre vacuum - in YouTube, Google ended up with the world's biggest music streaming service by accident.

But, because of those accidental origins, the YouTube music experience has always been a bit like going in a record store in the midst of a closing down sale.

Everything's a little chaotic and all over the place. There's plenty of great content on offer, but it's all been thrown into random crates, and quite a lot of it is a bit dusty with slightly torn artwork and seven layers of discount price stickers. And some of the content seems decidedly knocked off, as if the owner of this metaphorical record store didn't always get their stock from legit sellers. But if someone would just take over this mounting mountain of musical madness and clean it all up, something very special could emerge.

And YouTube hopes that that something special is YouTube Music Key, so called because Google's product naming team are really shit at their jobs. Because yes, yesterday - with the music and tech communities still a little shaken from all the "Taylor Swift! Spotify! Two billion dollars! Freemium! Argh, Bono said something sensible!" flim flam of the last ten days - Google cleared its throat, donned its "we're not evil, honest" t-shirt, and announced YouTube's all-new, long awaited, much anticipated music offer.

And here it is. Are you ready? Deep breath now. YouTube is ramping up freemium music to upsell a new premium product and Google's existing subscription streaming service. Hmm, that didn't take as long as I expected. Though having taken 450 words to even start getting to the point, I feel I owe it to you all to go into this in a little more detail. So here goes. Like all good things (and some bad things), there are three stages to go through.

One. YouTube has launched a new 'music tab' within its existing video platform, accessible via the company's website and mobile apps. This page better organises music content across the YouTube platform with a heavy focus on existing and new playlists. The aim here is to make the music listening experience as easy as possible, Pandora-style.

Two. Within the new YouTube music tab curated discographies will start to appear - 'watch cards' if you prefer (I don't) - making it much easier to listen to albums or an artist's entire oeuvre on the platform. And not only because the 'watch cards' help you to navigate the catalogue. Album tracks not previously officially available on YouTube will start to appear in audio form with some visuals. Though everything so far will remain freemium and ad-funded.

Three. Premium. For a £9.99 a month subscription all of this will be available without the ads. And, probably just as important, listening to music will become a whole load more mobile friendly, the one place where music consumption on YouTube has previously lagged behind the audio services. Background play and offline consumption will be available. The service will remain video-based (which possibly provides capacity issues once content is downloaded to the device), though users will be able to switch over to the existing audio-based Google Play streaming service if they so wish.

And boom, there you go. The first bits are going live as we speak, premium - which, technically, is the Music Key bit - will go live in invite-only beta-form in seven markets including the UK, before being properly rolled out in 2015.

As we already knew, the majors are all on board as content providers, with Sony and Universal's video content seemingly still flooding through from Vevo. "Hundreds of indies" are supplying content too, YouTube said. The firm's dispute with those indies repped by Merlin, of course, caused PR challenges for the web giant earlier this year, and likely delayed the launch of Music Key. Merlin itself is yet to formally comment on the FT report that it has finalised a licensing deal covering all of YouTube's musical innovations.

Now we finally know the specifics of how the new service will operate, all focus from this point onwards will be on whether it works and whether home-of-the-free YouTube can actually turn freetards into paying subscribers. And, if not, whether a ramped up and refined YouTube freemium makes it harder for Spotify et al to sign up free users which - as Spotify boss Daniel Ek himself said in a blog post earlier this week - is vital for the audio streaming platforms to subsequently sign up premium users.

Of course, unlike Spotify, for which freemium is really a sales platform rather than a business in itself, YouTube's free level, simply because of its size in terms of users and traffic, coupled with the power of Google's ad-selling machine, is and will be a lucrative venture in itself, especially if the refinements further boost viewing and listening.

And we all know that the future of digital music is some combination of free services, cheap services, ten pound a month services and super premium options for musos. But while freemium-to-premium remains the main method for selling any subscriptions, having too good standalone freemium channels remains an issue.

But with YouTube - as Ek would be the first to point out - it's not an issue artists, labels, songwriters and publishers necessarily have any control over, certainly as long as US copyright law allows the video site to operate an opt-out rather than opt-in system for content provision at the base level.

As much previously reported, YouTube has been at the receiving end of plenty of rage from the music community this year. The Swift/Spotify thing has been a big distraction this month. And the Google company will be hoping that with its tabs and watch cards and keys it can get artists and labels (and especially the indies) so excited, that they stop moaning so publicly about the issues. But that will likely prove to be wishful thinking.

Still, there are always future YouTube ventures Ad Tab, Cat Card and Comedy Sex Pest Key for everyone at Google HQ to look forward to.

Tulisa may sue Fake Sheikh over Sun drugs sting
One time N-Dubber and 'X-Factor' darling Tulisa Contostavlos has told the BBC's 'Panorama' that she is considering suing the Sun On Sunday over the tabloid's controversial sting that led to her being prosecuted for involvement in a drug deal.

The BBC last night aired a twice-postponed edition of its current affairs show focusing on the tactics of investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood, who was behind countless high profile scoops during a long career at the News Of The World and its successor the Sun On Sunday.

As previously reported, Mahmood ran a story accusing Contostavlos of arranging the supply of half an ounce of cocaine via a friend. The singer argued she was set up by Mahmood who, in his infamous 'Fake Sheikh' guise, told her he could get her a multi-million dollar role in a Hollywood movie alongside Leonardo DiCaprio playing a "bad girl".

After the movie deal had been put on the table, Mahmood put pressure on Contostavlos to get him cocaine and she - keen to score the career-changing acting gig - introduced him to her friend Michael Coombs, aka rapper Mike GLC, who supplied the drug.

It was an almost identical sting to others pursued by Mahmood and targeting models and actors in years gone by, perhaps most notably one time 'Grange Hill' and 'London's Burning' actor John Alford, who went to prison and saw his career destroyed after similarly supplying a small amount of drugs to Mahmood. Hidden camera footage from three such stings, including that involving Contostavlos, was shown on the 'Panorama' expose. In the Alford videos the journalist is seemingly seen gleefully predicting that his piece would destroy the actor's life.

Mahmood tried to block the airing of the BBC programme on the basis that the inclusion of recent footage that showed his face would put him and his family at risk of attack from criminals he had helped to jail. The BBC argued that there was no safety risk and that the journalist was just worried that having his cover blown would make it harder to play the Fake Sheik routine in the future. And, given the allegations, the Beeb argued there was a case for showing people what the journalist looked like.

Mahmood has also disputed most of the allegations in the programme, arguing that they come from people whose wrong-doings he exposed, or ex-colleagues with axes to grind.

Though - while there may be countless Mahmood investigations where genuine crimes were revealed and sent to court - it remains true that the 'scandals' he exposed involving Alford and Contostavlos took the form of, "if you promise ambitious young celebrities world fame and millions of dollars, they might help you to get a small quantity of an illegal drug that is pretty run of the mill in the entertainment industry". Which is hardly a news story it seems worth destroying careers for.

Contostavlos, of course, fought back in both legal and PR terms. The criminal case against her collapsed when Mahmood was accused of lying and meddling with evidence in relation to a conversation his driver overheard in which the singer discussed having seen first hand the negative impact of drugs, adding that she was therefore anti-drugs-culture, a sentiment that ran contrary to the journalist's narrative.

Mahmood has since been suspended by The Sun - a newspaper franchise already under fire for its tactics, not least by its association with the phone-hack-happy News Of The World - while he awaits to see if he will be charged in relation to his conduct in the Contostavlos trial. Civil litigation from the singer herself could also follow.

The 'Panorama' programme is currently available on the iPlayer. Whatever you think about Tulisa, Alford and his other accusers, it's fair to say Mahmood doesn't come out of it very well.


Universal orders Motown tribute acts to stop using the label's name
At least two Motown tribute acts who perform songs that originated with the legendary label and which use the record company's name in their monikers have been threatened with legal action by Universal Music, of which Motown is now an imprint.

According to The Stage, The Magic Of Motown and Motown Magic have both been told that they must change their names, hand over web domains and cover the mega-major's legal costs, otherwise they will face legal action. Universal's lawyers say that the bands are infringing trademarks by using the 'Motown' word while operating "in the same field as our client and hence there is a commercial conflict".

Given that a number of British tribute acts have used the 'Motown' word for years, it's thought that legal letters have gone out now because 'Motown The Musical' - created by Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr and featuring songs made famous by his now Universal-owned label (and with official show merch sold by Universal's Bravado) - will arrive in London next year.

Ashley Blake of Motown Magic told The Stage: "They have never complained before, but then a musical about Motown is announced and suddenly they are clamping down". He also claimed that, under the major's terms, once they'd changed their name the band would be allowed for include the line "formerly known as Motown Magic" on marketing materials, but only for eight weeks.

He went on: "We are six musicians, our website clearly states we play Motown and soul music, we do not in any way try to visually copy the Motown acts, we do not use the Motown logo, and the point of our band name is just to let the public know we play Motown music - we are not trying to deceive the public in any way".

"It is just a shame that a recording label with such humble beginnings seems hell-bent on making it an elitist entity whereby to hear its music live you will have to wait until next year for the musical, probably costing anything from £40 a seat upwards, or sit at home listening to the music on your stereo".

Universal's lawyers have not yet responded to The Stage's request for comment, so we only know the tribute acts' side of this story. Presumably if it went to court defence lawyers could argue that the word 'Motown' has meanings beyond the business - it originating as a nickname for the label's home town of Detroit and becoming associated with a genre of music as well as one record company's roster. But possibly the major's legal advisors don't expect the matter to ever get that far.

Whatever the legal arguments, if Blake's claims are correct, this whole matter will only further the major music companies' reputation as greedy abusers of their IP rights, which only makes it harder for the content industries at large to win the wider debate about why copyright etc is actually a rather good idea. Still, it helps keep the lawyers in work.

PRS confirms two promotions
The UK music publishing sector's collecting society PRS For Music announced two new promotions yesterday, with Paul Clements becoming Commercial Director and Karen Buse Executive Director Of Membership And International.

Clements has been with the rights organisation since 1996, most recently as Director Of Public Performance Sales, while Buse, who joined the society way back in 1991, has been overseeing membership in addition to her original role leading international matters on an interim basis, but will now do so permanently.

Confirming all of this, just in case you didn't believe me, PRS boss man Robert Ashcroft said: "I am particularly pleased that, after a comprehensive search, the strongest candidates for both these roles came from within the organisation. Paul has impressive knowledge of the industry, excellent strategic and leadership skills and I am very pleased to appoint him to this key role".

He went on: "Karen is also steeped in our industry and has made excellent network contacts around the world. She also understands the needs of the membership and has already made strides in improving our service to them. Her combination of commercial acumen and relationship skills equip her perfectly for this important role".

Kindness, Wild Beasts and Femme latest to benefit from BPI's Music Export Growth Scheme
So, in rolls another wave of supportive cash from the Music Export Growth Scheme, as its parents organisations the BPI and UK Trade & Investment reveal the names of the sixteen UK artists set to receive grants from the government-funded funding initiative's fourth round of funding. What fun(ding).

Kindness, Tom Vek, Wild Beasts, Wolf Alice and Pulled Apart By Horses are all on the list of 'winners', who will - via their label or management partners - each get between £5,000 and £50,000 to facilitate their overseas marketing and live/release activity.

This latest phase of grants brings the total cashflow given to various independent labels, artists and management companies (over 60 so far) to more than £1 million since the scheme first came into play a year ago. Record label trade body the BPI is keen to emphasise that one of those acts was reigning Mercury Music Prize winners Young Fathers, which I think says it all.

What do you mean it doesn't say it all? Honestly. Well it's a good thing BPI's Director of International Chris Tams has said more on 'it' all, specifically, this: "The Music Export Growth Scheme has delivered an exceptional Class Of 2014 with acts like Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers high profile tour support slots, and releasing high-charting albums. Such achievements demonstrate that we are on the path to success with this scheme and that the funding provides practical and vital support to artists at a tipping point in their careers".

One of those artists, pop star Femme, adds that: "Without the support of the MEGS fund I would not have been able to accept Charli XCX's personal invitation to go on tour with her in the USA this year. As an independent artist it's support from schemes like MEGS that enable me to survive in an ever-changing and challenging music industry".

Indeed. The scheme re-opens for applications on 17 Nov (so this coming Monday), and more info is listed on the BPI site.

Speaking of listed things, here's the latest lot of artists, labels and companies cashing in internationally c/o the latest MEGS:

Andy Burrows / Play It Again Sam
Esben And The Witch / Nostromo Records
Femme / TAPE Music
Happyness / Gift Music
Hollie Cook / Mr Bongo
Jo Hamilton / Poseidon Music
Jo Harman / BiGiAM
Kindness / Too Damn Funky
Kyla La Grange / Kyla La Grange
Lewis Watson / Lewis Watson Music Ltd
Mamas Gun / Candelion
Morning Parade / The League International
Pulled Apart By Horses / Brontone Management
Steve Wilson / Snapper Music
Tom Vek / Moshi Moshi Music
Wild Beasts / Domino Records
Wolf Alice / Wolf Alice

Taylor Swift's label boss suggests lower Spotify payouts than Ek claims
The boss of Taylor Swift's US label Big Machine, Scott Borchetta, has responded to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's recent blog post on the removal of her music from the streaming service. He seemingly disputes how much the musician stood to earn from Spotify, saying that to date Vevo has been more lucrative for her.

As previously reported, Ek wrote this week: "At our current size, payouts for a top artist like Taylor Swift (before she pulled her catalogue) are on track to exceed $6 million a year, and that's only growing - we expect that number to double again in a year".

However, Borchetta tells Time that in the last twelve months, Big Machine has actually received $496,044 from the service in relation to streams of Swift's music. A much smaller sum. Though possibly not quite the "mystery" that Time claims it is in its headline. For one thing, Borchetta is talking about the recording royalties on Swift's music in the US alone in the last year. Ek is talking about recording and publishing payments worldwide during a period (partly in the future) of rapid growth for his service, and in the months after she released a very successful album.

Or, in the words of Spotify comms chief Jonathan Prince, who confirmed to Time that total payouts for Swift worldwide in the last twelve months have been $2 million: "The more we grow, the more we pay artists, and we're growing like crazy. Our users, both free and paid, have grown by more than 50% in the last year, which means that the run rate for artists of every level of popularity keeps climbing. And Taylor just put out a great record, so her popularity has grown too. We paid Taylor's label and publisher roughly half a million dollars in the month before she took her catalogue down - without even having '1989' on our service - and that was only going to go up".

Swift and Borchetta's real problem with Spotify, of course, is that it refuses to allow them to make music available only for paying subscribers, cutting off the ad-supported tier that pays out lower royalties. Many had wondered if Spotify might cave to this pressure, but in his article this week Ek remained firm that the 'free' option was integral to driving users to upgrade to the premium level. "No free, no paid, no $2 billion", he said in relation to the amount of money the streaming service has paid out to the music industry to date.


Soundrop announces closure as Spotify discontinues app support
Social listening app Soundrop, which allows users to collectively listen to dynamic playlists on Spotify and Deezer, has announced that it will shut down at the end of the year, after Spotify finally confirmed the discontinuation of third party apps within its desktop software.

In a statement this morning, Soundrop said: "This news is of course disappointing for our fans and partners, but not unexpected by us. At the beginning of the year we transitioned our business to focus on a new marketing platform for labels and artists called Much like the Soundrop product did originally, has quickly gained momentum. Many of the world's most successful labels and artists use to achieve stellar results". is the new digital marketing platform launched by the company in July this year, which provides tools to help grow fanbase, promote online content and engage with fans. Speaking to CMU, the company's Thomas Ford said: " has been used by hundreds of artists and labels. Röyksopp ran a big campaign recently. Polydor France, Warner Norway, Republic Records in the US all use Polydor France has used for Enrique Iglesias, Tove Lo, Maroon 5 and about 30 other artist campaigns".

The original statement continues: "As for the Soundrop core technology we've already created, we see a tremendous future for several components as well as our playlists in Spotify, which are among the most popular in their genre. We will have more to share on that subject soon".

On the decision to shut down the Soundrop service entirely, including non-Spotify iterations, Ford told CMU: "We would have liked to have kept it in Deezer and on the web, but it was a matter of the resources necessary to keep it running, especially as we put most of our emphasis on Most of our users are on Spotify, and when we looked at the remaining users and the resources we needed to support them, it was a difficult decision but also the logical one".

He added: "We saw a very bright future for apps when we started, but we also understand Spotify's position and their strategy. When the announcement came, it was not much of a surprise".

Soundrop will finally shut down on 31 Dec, so make the most of it before then.

Vice and Live Nation to do live video thing, or something
Live Nation and Vice have entered into a new joint venture to "launch a revolutionary new digital content platform delivering the voice of live music to millions of online and mobile audiences". Whatever that means.

Basically, I think it's going to be a video channel showing live music videos, amongst other content. I don't know why they couldn't just say that. Apparently it will "connect audiences with the same emotional experiences of a live show whenever they want", which seems unlikely. But you can find out when it becomes available next year.

Says Vice CEO Shane Smith: "This partnership rethinks the live music experience, offering unprecedented access to the world's biggest stars and emerging artists, and groundbreaking content that will be distributed across the holy trinity of mobile, online and TV. Today the content world is in upheaval, with new brands being created in real time, and mainstream media seeing its audience migrate in record numbers".

He continues: "It's this de-stratification of the status quo that we find so exciting because that, combined with the lack of any real quality music programming out there, equals one hell of an opportunity. We think that this partnership will give Vice and Live Nation the unique ability to totally re-imagine music content on a global scale, and if that doesn't get your rocks off I don't know what will!"

Not wanting to be outdone, Live Nation CEO Machael Rapino adds: "Shane and the Vice organisation have proven to be the voice of this generation. Together with Live Nation's platform, we are positioned to become the voice of live music by developing an artist-centric, 24/7 global music destination that enables artists to bring their creative vision to life in a new and rich online and mobile music ecosystem".

So that's all very exciting. Apparently.

  Approved: OOFJ
Formed in 2011, OOFJ released their debut album, 'Disco To Die For', last year, a collection of dark, cinematic journeys. The pair met while one half of the now duo, Jens Bjørnkjær, was working on the soundtrack to 'Melancholia' (see, I was justified in using the journalistic get-out words 'cinematic' and 'journeys'... probably.) He had previously been working solo (with the help of the Prague Symphony Orchestra) under the name Orchestra Of Jenno, but the addition of vocalist Katherine Mills-Rymer took things in a new direction. Hence the hefty truncation of the name.

They returned in June with new single 'Snakehips', a slow electronic appeal to dance that only seems half aware that there might be anyone in the room willing or able to do so. That was the first track from new album, 'Acute Feast', which is due out early next year. The second, 'You're Always Good', was made public this morning. The track finds Mills-Rymer cooing over tense strings and drums, sounding like a sinister remix of a Jane Birkin song.
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Nicki Minaj Only director 'sorry not sorry' for 'Nazi-representative' imagery in lyric clip
Nicki Minaj may have said she's 'sorry' for deploying what many claim is Nazi-like imagery in the lyric video for her new single 'Only'; but the clip's director Jeff Osbourne certainly hasn't. Said sorry, that is. Though, he's said he's sorry for not being sorry... which is nearly the same thing as really saying sorry, right? Erm.

Following a series of contrite tweets sent by Minaj, Osbourne yesterday released his own separate statement (via Myspace, strike one), which he's made clear in no way reflects Nicki Minaj's personal views. Or those of the track's 'featured' co-stars Drake, Lil Wayne and/or Chris Brown.

And it reads: "First, I'm not apologising for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism".

Oh, so that's pretty clear then. Even if Minaj didn't seem to be that aware of that fact. But, adds Osbourne, "a majority" of the paraphernalia and symbolism featured in the video is also American, not least the Lincoln Memorial, which is represented as a big throne-like seat on which Minaj sits. "What's also American", he goes on, "is the First Amendment, which I've unexpectedly succeeded in showing how we wilfully squeeze ourselves out of that right every day".

And at last, an explanation. Of sorts. Writes Osbourne: "I think it's actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it's not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I'm not sorry. What else is trending?"

As previously reported, the 'Only' lyric vid was criticised by viewers (and America's Anti-Defamation League) earlier this week, when people began pointing to certain visual aspects of it (its stark black, red and white colouring, for instance) that seemed to cite so-called Nazi iconography.

Once the complaints started rolling in, Minaj took to Twitter to apologise and explain that the clip was in fact inspired by various cartoons and comic books, whilst at the same time covering her back somewhat by stating that she hadn't "come up with the concept". Oh, and she also said that she does not "condone Nazism in [her] art".

FKA Twigs, Marina And The Diamonds, [PIAS] Nites and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Spooky R&B star FKA Twigs has signed, on an international basis, a publishing deal with music rights firm BMG Chrysalis. Fin.

Approved vocalist/producer Kwesi Darko, aka Blue Daisy, has signed to R&S Records, and will release a new LP via the label in the New Year. In the meantime he's playing a show at London's Oslo this Saturday (15 Nov), get tickets to that here.

• Pretend 'I Need Your Love' lovers Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding have collaborated on another track, at last, in Harris's new 'Motion' single 'Outside', releasing its video this week. In it, they pretend to be in love. View it here.

• Teen-appealing pop baes Cody Simpson and Justin Bieber have released the first icky-sweet taste of their TBA joint LP in new track 'Home To Mama'. Feel the song's 'vibe' by listening to it here.

• Marina And The Diamonds has cherry-picked all the vital details of her forthcoming LP 'Froot', as features the CMU approved title track... um, 'Froot'. Basically, 'Froot' the album is dropping on 6 Apr 2015, will carry this tracklisting, and will be preceded by a 'Froot Of The Month' thing granting six grat tracks to those who order it in advance. The first 'colour' in that is 'Grape'! (I have no idea what any of it means - still, here are the details).

• 'The' Foo Fighters are going on a UK tour of stadium-sized proportions in May 2015, this following the release of the band's latest LP 'Sonic Highways'. The first date is at Sunderland's Stadium Of Light on 25 May, and the other dates are listed at this link.

• [PIAS] is to curate a sequence of so-titled [PIAS] Nites featuring live acts signed to, and admired by, [PIAS]. The first show, a two-dayer featuring Fat White Family, Ghostpoet, Balthazar, Gengaht, The Wytches and Teleman, takes place at London's Village Underground on 26 and 27 Jan. Info and tickets here.

Richard Branson denies offering Led Zeppelin £500 million to reform
Richard Branson has commented on that fairly dubious story earlier this week that he'd offered Led Zeppelin £500 million to play 35 reunion shows.

As previously reported, The Mirror claimed earlier this week that Branson had made the outlandish offer with the plan of funding it by flying the band around the world in one of his jumbo jets, charging fans £100,000 a seat to travel along with them. This plan, so the story goes, had collapsed when Robert Plant refused to join in.

Writing on the Virgin website, Branson said: "I've been left dazed and confused by a story doing the rounds this week about us apparently offering Led Zeppelin £500 million to reform and carry out a tour. As much as I love the band, there is absolutely no truth to the story".

He added: "I spoke to Robert Plant about the story, which he also confirmed is complete rubbish from his side too. Robert told me he is very proud of his history and the band's past, and has always had great respect and love for his work throughout his career. However, he really believes he must move on with his life and career today".

As previously reported, in the last iteration of this Chinese whispers-style rumour, it was Gene Simmons who was handing out the hundreds of millions on behalf of a mystery promoter. Join us again in six months to hear about how Jay-Z has offered £1 billion and will replace Robert Plant on a tour of space.


Lorde questions Diplo's penis size
So, here's a thing. Someone thought that it would be funny to launch a crowdfunding campaign to "get Taylor Swift a booty". The person who set it up doesn't say how he will do such a thing, but apparently he needs $3500.

Who would find such a thing funny? Diplo, that's who. Yesterday he tweeted the campaign out to his 1.3 million followers. That's 1.3 million people who found the joke so funny that after that ringing endorsement, the campaign has raised $45 from two pledgers. One of whom is its founder.

Actually, quite a lot of Diplo's followers didn't think it was all that funny at all, including noted pop singer Lorde (aka Taylor Swift's best mate), who tweeted back: "Should we do something about your tiny penis while we're at it hm?"

Diplo has not responded. Maybe he's considering it.

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