THURSDAY 15 JANUARY 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: So, is this Irish labels v UPC thing still ongoing? Yes, yes it is. Let's recap. In Ireland the major record companies reached a legal settlement with the country's biggest internet service provider Eircom that saw the net firm voluntarily enact a three-strikes system, sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers amongst their user-base that threaten sanctions if the customer... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Emilie Nicolas was first featured in the Approved column a year and a half ago, but the wait for her debut album has felt a lot longer. She remains one of the artists I'm most excited about and her apparent slow progress in launching herself in the UK is endlessly frustrating. Still, we're now closer to the end of that wait than the beginning. Her debut album was... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Three-strikes back in the Irish commercial courts
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Bloc launches record label
Aphex Twin's Rephlex Records has closed
MCPS agrees new production music rates with indie telly show makers
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LIVE BUSINESS Live Nation announces Uber alliance
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE Ultra Music Festival co-founder Alex Omes dies
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RELEASES Björk announces new album
Chilly Gonzales modernises chamber music on new album
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AWARDS European Border Breakers and Festival awards handed out at Eurosonic
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ONE LINERS Blinkbox Books buyer talks, Tupac biopic filming, Macklemore looking deplorable, and much more from the coalface of music
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AND FINALLY... Katy Perry insists she did not pay to play the Super Bowl
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Three-strikes back in the Irish commercial courts
So, is this Irish labels v UPC thing still ongoing? Yes, yes it is.

Let's recap. In Ireland the major record companies reached a legal settlement with the country's biggest internet service provider Eircom that saw the net firm voluntarily enact a three-strikes system, sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers amongst their user-base that threaten sanctions if the customer doesn't stop with their naught copyright infringing.

As part of that deal the majors agreed to endeavour to persuade or force the country's other net providers to do likewise, resulting in years of legal wrangling in which the legality of even the Eircom scheme was questioned. In the end it was deemed that Eircom could legally send out its warning letters, but its biggest rival UPC couldn't be forced to do the same.

But then, following some political manoeuvres in Dublin, the labels launched new legal action against UPC last year, again seeking an injunction to force the ISP to launch an anti-piracy scheme similar to that run by Eircom. And that litigation was back in court earlier this week.

The labels say that its monitoring of file-sharing on UPC's network shows that piracy is still rife, and that the ISP should be obliged to do something about it. Interestingly, according to the Irish Times, the record industry's lawyers argue that even though web-blocking has also begun in Ireland - The Pirate Bay is blocked, for example - a three-strikes style warning letter system is still needed because the blocks can be easily circumvented. Which they can, though the labels are less keen to talk about that when advocating more web blockades.

UPC - which has long objected to taking on any anti-piracy role - continues to argue that it would be inappropriate for it to instigate a three-strikes system, because the balancing of copyright owner and user rights that would be required should be handled by government not individual ISPs. Presumably it's not that keen on paying to run a three-strikes scheme either. The net firm's bosses say that the labels should get injunctions to force them to reveal the identity of suspected file-sharers, and then they can send their own letters.

Legal reps from both sides have been providing these arguments to judge Brian Cregan this week, and will likely continue to do so into next week too. It remains to be seen if the labels get their way this time.

Bloc launches record label
With the Bloc Weekend festival set to return in March, its organisers are laying on more work for themselves by launching a record label too.

The first release will be a single from producer Jake Chudnow, called 'Shona', which has been soundtracking videos trailing the festival. Brand synergy, I think they call that in marketing circles. But let's never mention that again.

Limited to 300 vinyl copies, and out on 9 Feb, the single will also feature a track called 'Prelude To Shona' to ease you into the main event. We'll have none of that around here though, we'll just get straight into 'Shona' right away.

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Aphex Twin's Rephlex Records has closed
Richard D James, aka Aphex Twin, has shut down Rephlex, the record label he launched with DJ Grant Wilson-Claridge in 1991.

In an interview with Groove, James explained: "It has finished, it's closed now, a few months ago ... that's something that needed to be done a long time ago. Me and my friend would have drifted apart, but actually the label did keep us together. It got to a point where I'd actually rather be his friend than be in business with him. So I'd rather play those Chicago records and get stoned and not talk about business".

It also gives him more time to focus on releasing his own music, which apparently he plans to do a lot more of. As previously reported, last year's 'Syro' album is due to be followed up with a new EP later this month. And there may be more to come in the near future.

"I've been making music all the time, as much as possible", he said, referencing the previous long gap between releases. "But releasing it gets harder and harder. Because I'm making so much music, every time I go to compile it, I give up after a few hours, because it's just so much stuff and then I get lost. But I'm now in this mode where I'm listening and compiling a lot. I think I will be putting out a lot of stuff, hopefully".

If you're not confident in waiting for James to compile the music himself, you could go out looking for a lost MP3 player containing unreleased tracks. Asked if any of that music ever emerged, he said: "No, thankfully not! But the story is totally true, I left it on the plane. I think there were 80 unreleased Squarepusher tracks on it as well. I felt really bad about this".

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MCPS agrees new production music rates with indie telly show makers
The UK music publishing sector's mechanical rights collecting society, so good old MCPS, has announced a new set of production music rates for indie television producers, following negotiations between the rights body and the Producers Alliance For Cinema And Television.

The PRS For Music company, which continues to manage MCPS's royalty collections even though the mechanical rights body is no longer a shareholder in it, was also part of the conversation with the telly programme makers.

Confirming that new rates had been agreed with PACT, MCPS CEO Jane Dyball told reporters: "As part of our overhaul of music licensing, we have recognised that our licences need to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of the television production marketplace. We have been working closely with our partners, such as PACT, to develop new rates which meet the industry's requirement for simple licences offering multiple rights. Our mantra going forward is 'more rights, in more repertoire, more easily'. This is our first step towards ensuring our goal becomes a reality".

Meanwhile PACT boss John McVay said: "MCPS and PRS For Music, much like PACT, are seeking to create a sustainable model that rewards creative work and the value of copyright so we are fully supportive of this new cost effective approach. We are keen to see the unique relationship between our two industries develop and build in the coming years".

Live Nation announces Uber alliance
Live Nation has only gone and struck up an alliance with the Ubers over there in the USA. It means that the live giant's concerts app will have a button in it which will allow ticket buyers to see the estimated cost and timings of an Uber ride to any show's venue, and to book a car there and then. Uber drop off and pick up points at some of Live Nation's venues are also planned.

Live Nation's Mark Campana says: "Offering the ability to request a safe and hassle-free Uber ride through our Live Nation app lets fans focus less on arrivals and departures, and more on their great live music experience".

Meanwhile Uber's partnerships dude Matt Wyndowe said: "We are thrilled to work with Live Nation to launch this first-of-its-kind partnership. With this integration, music lovers from across North America will be able to connect with Uber and request a reliable ride at the touch of a button".

So that's all nice, isn't it? As previously reported, Uber recently announced a deal with Spotify too, meaning that while on their ride to the venue gig goers could also choose to listen to only music from the act they are driving to see. Indeed, if Spotify had a live album in its system, the fan could just stay in the car parked outside the venue, and not have to deal with all the hassle of watching music live. It's the digital future, don't you know.

Ultra Music Festival co-founder Alex Omes dies
Co-founder of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Alex Omes, has died. He was 43.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Ultra told The Miami New Times: "The organisers of Ultra Music Festival extend their deepest condolences to the family of Alex Omes and are saddened by the news of his passing. We will continue to remember and celebrate Alex for his love, passion, and contributions to the electronic dance music community".

Pete Tong, who worked with Omes on a number of occasions, added: "Alex Omes was a true pioneer for electronic music in Miami. As one of the founders of Ultra Music Festival, he also had a profound effect on the way the rest of North America would come to feel about the music and DJ culture we love. Ultra was the first major dance festival in the USA, and Alex was there at the beginning with his passion, positive energy, and cavalier spirit".

It has been confirmed that Omes died on Monday evening, though no cause of death has yet been announced.

  Approved: Emilie Nicolas
Emilie Nicolas was first featured in the Approved column a year and a half ago, but the wait for her debut album has felt a lot longer. She remains one of the artists I'm most excited about and her apparent slow progress in launching herself in the UK is endlessly frustrating.

Still, we're now closer to the end of that wait than the beginning. Her debut album was released in Norway in September, and will finally reach the UK in May. Before that, she will play a headline show at St Pancras Old Church in London on 28 Jan.

And this week, to whet your appetite for all of that, comes a new SoundCloud posting of 'Fail', her boldest song and one of the ones that initially grabbed me back when her demos were still available online. The finished album version packs an even stronger punch, and suddenly makes May seem like a very long way away.

Listen to 'Fail' here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Björk announces new album
Björk has finally confirmed her new album. Announced via a handwritten note posted to Facebook, the nine track LP will be called 'Vulnicura' and released in March.

The bulk of the album was produced by Björk and Arca, with two handled by Björk alone and one featuring The Haxan Cloak, who also mixed the entire record.

Here's the tracklist, as if it matters:

Stonemilker
Lion Song
History Of Touches
Black Lake
Family
Not Get
Atom Dance
Mouth Mantra
Quicksand

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Chilly Gonzales modernises chamber music on new album
Chilly Gonzales has announced a new solo album, 'Chambers', which promises to give "a modern take on chamber music'. Composed for piano and string quartet, the album sees Gonzales re-imagine the music of the early nineteenth century Romantic era as contemporary pop.

For example, he says of 'Sample This', a piece dedicated to Rick Ross: "A ubiquitous rhythm in Southern hip hop gets translated to four fiddles. You should BANG this song and imagine a very fat rapper performing it. The use of the imperative on the song title is meant to convey urgency. Hip hop is a culture, but rap is a musical style like any other, and deserves acoustic treatment once in a while".

'Chambers' will be released through Gonzales's Gentle Threat label on 23 Mar. Read his full breakdown of the album here.

European Border Breakers and Festival awards handed out at Eurosonic
This year's Eurosonic Noorderslag conference got underway last night with not one but two awards ceremonies, the European Border Breakers Awards and the European Festival Awards. As is now the established tradition.

The EBBAs give recognition to new European acts who have achieved cross-border chart success. The ten winners were announced in October, with three - Melanie De Biasio, MØ and Indila - performing live last night (as did previous winners, The Ting Tings).

Not in attendance, but there in spirit/via video message, were Klangkarussell, Milky Chance, Hozier, The Common Linnets, Todd Terje, Tove Lo and, representing the UK, John Newman.

Last year's Dutch Eurovision entrants The Common Linnets were also handed the Public Choice Award, having been voted the favourite of the ten winners in an online vote. They said: "We crossed musical borders making the music, and now to be recognised for crossing international borders is very satisfying. The EBBA means that the record has its own legs now, and the group has its own legs now, instead of thriving on that second place at Eurovision. It has its own life".

The ceremony also saw Jungle awarded the EBBA Best Festival Act prize. Announced in December last year, this was the first time this new award has been given. It is particularly notable for ruining my segue into the European Festival Awards by not quite tallying with any of the artist awards in that ceremony. It's like they don't want me to invent tension between the two events. Bastards.

Anyway, The European Festival Awards were handed out. A sister event to the UK Festival Awards, it recognises the best festivals and artists who play them across Europe. There were also performances from some artists, though none of them actually won anything. Still, MØ made the most of the evening by performing at this ceremony, as well as the EBBAs.

Melvin Benn was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Arctic Monkeys took the two artist awards for Best Headliner and Anthem Of The Year. Glastonbury completed the UK winners by taking the Best Line-Up prize.

Organiser Steve Jenner said of the event: "It's inspiring to have a winners' list that is so reflective of the cultural diversity and strength of passion, dedication, creativity and quality of delivery that underpins Europe's incredible festival scene today. Despite the competition in an increasingly crowded market, and under some tough conditions in recent years, tonight saw Europe's festival organisers gathering to celebrate as one industry. I think that's a very special thing that can only strengthen the market and we are honoured to be the hosts of this event. Our thanks go out to all who took part in this year's awards".

Here's the full list of winners:

Best Small Festival Festival: Tauron Nowa Muzyka (Poland)
Best Medium-Sized Festival: Dance Festival (Montenegro)
Best Major Festival: Sziget Festival (Hungary)
Best Indoor Festival: I Love Techno (Belgium)
Best New Festival: Down The Rabbit Hole (The Netherlands)
Artists' Favourite Festival: Primavera Sound (Spain)
Best Line-Up: Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom)

The Health & Safety Innovation Award: MOJO/LOC Festivals (The Netherlands)
Green Operations Award: Roskilde Festival and Stop Wasting Food (Denmark)
Promoter Of The Year: Live Nation

Best Headliner: Arctic Monkeys (United Kingdom)
Best Newcomer Act: Stromae (Belgium)
Anthem Of The Year: Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine

The Lifetime Achievement Award: Melvin Benn (United Kingdom)
The Award for Excellence And Passion: Rikke Øxner (Denmark)

Blinkbox Books buyer talks, Tupac biopic filming, Macklemore looking deplorable, and much more from the coalface of music

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• So, we know that Tesco has sold Blinkbox Movies to TalkTalk. And that Blinkbox Music is likely to go to Guvera. But what of Blinkbox Books? Well, Waterstones is probably going to buy it. Seems reasonable.

• Enter Shikari will open their own shop on Camden High Street on 29 Jan, in order to sell copies of their new album, 'The Mindsweep'. It'll be available in other shops too, but this is one of those promotional things you hear about these days.

• Macklemore is the latest popstar to adapt a song for 'Sesame Street'. The new version of 'Thrift Shop' features 100% less swearing and 100% more use of the word 'deplorable'. Watch here.

• The much talked about, little filmed Tupac biopic looks like it is about to actually happen. "That project is being put together for a June start date", producer Randall Emmett told Collider. "The script is great and we're ready to make the movie. We're just prepping the logistics".

• James Blake used the final show of his Radio 1 residency to announce that his new album will be called 'Radio Silence'. Ironically, no one seems to have noticed this when the show was broadcast in December. Now it's up on SoundCloud though, and it's all anyone can talk about.

• Tedious mathematician Caribou has shared an overly long playlist for you to listen to. There are 1000 tracks on it. Who has the time? Maybe you, so here it is. There is some good stuff on it, though I suppose that is just statistically inevitable.

• Ciara has made her new single, 'I Bet', available via a partnership with 'L'Uomo Vogue' - ie the Italian men's fashion mag offshoot of Vogue - put a YouTube embed on its website. She did an interview too, but it's in Italian.

• Todd Terje will headline a Rinse-hosted night at Ministry Of Sound on 28 Feb. Live, not DJing, just so we're clear. Other names on the bill include XXXY, Waifs & Strays and Appleblim. Those other ones will be DJing, I think.

• My gran always used to say that if there was one thing you should do in your lifetime, it was to see LetLive play at the House Of Blues in Florida. Well, sorry grandma, that's no longer a possibility. The band have been banned from performing at the Disney-owned venue, though no reason has been given. They were due to appear as part of their tour supporting Taking Back Sunday on 3 Apr.

• Former Marillion frontman Fish has announced that he plans to retire from the music game in the autumn of 2017. Sure, that's ages away, but apparently it'll take that long to release all the records he wants to put out and tour dates he wants to play. And, for that matter, to read the blog post he's written about it.

Katy Perry insists she did not pay to play the Super Bowl
Katy Perry paid a lot of money to get her slot at the Super Bowl half time show. Is a thing that some people might say. But they shouldn't, because she didn't.

As previously mentioned, it was reported last year that Super Bowl maker the NFL had been proposing that performers might like to fork out to perform at their annual advertising festival. However, as she was announced as the artist to take this year's musical slot, Perry said that she is "not the kind of girl who would pay to play the Super Bowl".

Yeah, pay money to stand on stage dissing Taylor Swift while Lenny Kravitz wiggles around behind you? That doesn't sound like something that would be worth paying for at all.

"I put my foot down very early in the courtship", Perry has now told The Associated Press. "I said, 'Look guys, here's where I draw a line in the sand'. I want to be invited on my own merits and not with some fine print. I don't even care if my contract leaks. I have nothing to hide, basically".

Woah! Who mentioned contracts leaking? You can protest too much, you know. She also said that "maybe there is no better person" for the job, because of all the empowering and uplifting of people she does with her music.

Thankfully, we're only a few weeks away from not having to talk about this anymore now.

 
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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