THURSDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: So, time for the customary BRITs write up, but worry not people, this report has been through the ITV profanity filter three times and has been censored to fully comply with mainstream telly standards. So *******, it was the ************* BRITs last night, and what a ******* ******-** ****fest it was, as the ******* great and the ******* good of the *************... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: As Warpaint's inarguably-titled last LP 'Warpaint' - a closed-off labyrinth of snaky love (and death) songs prone to fits of trip-hop - still looms large and mauvish dark after its release in Jan 2014, the band are now ready to 'move on' via a string of non-LP tracks winging our way this year. The first is 'No Way Out' (or, if you're in the mood to add pointless parentheses, which I sure am today... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES The customary ******* BRITs write up
Friday confirmed as global release day
JUMP | ONLINE
LEGAL Robin Thicke takes to the stage as 'Blurred Lines' trial continues
Police investigation into allegations against Cliff Richard has "increased significantly"
JUMP | ONLINE
LIVE BUSINESS Government now backs light regulation of secondary ticketing, rules to be added to Consumer Rights Bill
JUMP | ONLINE
MEDIA BRITs ratings up a million on last year
JUMP | ONLINE
EDUCATION & EVENTS New Music Cities convention to launch
JUMP | ONLINE
ARTIST NEWS Thom Yorke and Robert Del Naja unveil soundtrack to tax avoidance doc
U2's actual joshua tree vandalised
JUMP | ONLINE
AND FINALLY... Noel Gallagher's got Ed Sheeran's back
JUMP | ONLINE
 
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The customary ******* BRITs write up
So, time for the customary BRITs write up, but worry not people, this report has been through the ITV profanity filter three times and has been censored to fully comply with mainstream telly standards.

So *******, it was the ************* BRITs last night, and what a ******* ******-** ****fest it was, as the ******* great and the ******* good of the ************* world of ******* music ****** up to that ******* tent in ******* Greenwich to say "**** yeah, music is the ****".

But which ******* ******* ****** off with the big ******* prizes, that's what you ************* want to know. Well, **** me if wasn't all about Ed ******* Sheeran and Sam ******* Smith.

The former ****** ****** off with not only Best ******* Male, but also the ******* prize that every ****** at the ******* BRITs keeps ******* insisting is the big **** of the ******* night, just because it's sponsored by the ******* at ******* Mastercard, Best ******* Album.

Sam ******* Smith, meanwhile, ****** off with the ******* Breakthrough award and the ******* made-up Global ******* Success prize, which is slightly ****** up, given the ******* IFPI definitely said four other British ******* had more ******* global success in the last ******* year, but what the **** do they ******* know? ******* IFPI.

But hey, enough ******* awards, what about the ******* performances? Well, there was Taylor ******* Swift. And Take ******* That. And Royal ******* Blood. And George ******* Ezra. Though who stole the ******* show? Only that ******* **** Madonna. She knows her ****. If you want to ******* dominate the ******* headlines in ******* 2015, fall down some ******* stairs. Take note all you young *******. It sounds ****** up, but to ******* **** the other *******, you need to **** up.

Though Kanye ******* West's ******* stint stood the **** out too, but only if you were ******* watching the ******* show at home on ******* ITV, who ****** it all up by ******* muting the whole ******* thing, even though it ******* aired after the ******* watershed. *******. Though it was mainly the ******* n-word that resulted in the ******* ****-**, which is ******* understandable I suppose, I mean, we're not using the ******* n-word here are we, because that would be ******* ****** up. And you can **** off if you think we're going to ******* **** up.

Though given every ****** surely ******* knew that ******* ITV would be ******* scared of the ******* n-word, to the extent they'd ******* **** up the whole ******* thing, which ******** thought it would be a ******* good idea to have that Kanye ****** ******* performing his new n-word filled ****-*** of a track. He probably just wanted to ******* grab the ******* headlines. Well, **** off Kanye. If you want the ******* headlines, fall down some ******* stairs.

Of course, while ******* Madonna and ******* Kanye ******* West dominated the ******* tweets, the ******* online were also busy ******* voting for the ****** up Best ******* Video prize. ******* voting on ******* Twitter for ***** sake. It just ******* means the ******* prize goes to One ******* Direction. Who couldn't even be ******* bothered to **** up to the ******* show to pick the ****** up. I mean **** off, they didn't even ******* send in a ******* video message. What a bunch of lazy ******-** ******* *******.

But anyway, enough ************* reportage, let's get to the ******* business of the ******* list. You know, the ******* list that ******* lists the ******* ***** who won...

British Male Artist: Ed Sheeran
British Female Artist: Paloma Faith
British Group: Royal Blood
International Male Artist: Pharrell Williams
International Female Artist: Taylor Swift
International Group: Foo Fighters

British Breakthrough Act: Sam Smith
BRITs Global Success Award: Sam Smith
Critics Choice: James Bay
British Producer Of The Year: Paul Epworth

British Single: Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
British Album of The Year: Ed Sheeran - X
British Artist Video Award: One Direction

PS: If you want to see what this report would have looked like performed live click here. Though don't get offended. Just remember, these are the lengths we'll go to at CMU to ensure the safe delivery of even the weakest gags.

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Friday confirmed as global release day
So, as expected, the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has announced that Friday will become the global release day for new music as of later this year.

As previously reported, there is consensus across the music industry that, in the digital age, it is impractical to have new releases going live on different days in different countries. However, there has been quite a bit of disagreement over what day should be adopted worldwide for new recorded output.

The IFPI quickly came out in favour of Friday, currently used in only a small number of markets, most notably Australia. But there has been plenty of dissent from indies and some in the retail sector, who say that bringing out new records on Friday means the record industry loses its double spike, ie a spike in sales when new releases come out early in the week, and then the customary spike that comes at the weekend.

But, when confirming that Friday would be adopted as a worldwide release day this morning, the IFPI said that the decision had been made "following consultation with artists, musicians unions, record companies and retailers", though Beggars Group boss Martin Mills said earlier this week that he feared that process had been a "charade", with the majors having decided on Friday from the outset.

The switch to Fridays will begin this summer, with singles and albums going live at one minute past midnight local time in each market. It remains to be seen how the dissenters react to this morning's confirmation, and also what the shift will mean for the charts in those countries which currently have early-in-the-week release days.

Robin Thicke takes to the stage as 'Blurred Lines' trial continues
So the 'Blurred Lines' copyright trial continued yesterday, with the star turn being Robin Thicke on the piano. And for his headline set - or testimony if you prefer - he entertained his amassed fans - well, the jury - with the hits of U2, The Beatles, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson. He's nothing if not an all-round entertainer.

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, of course, are accused of ripping off Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' for their hit 'Blurred Lines'. Despite Thicke previously admitting in media interviews that the duo had the Gaye hit in mind when penning their song, and the obvious similarities between the two tracks, his lawyers have been fighting the good fight by arguing that: Thicke lied about his role in writing 'Blurred Lines' in interviews; only the core composition of 'Got To Give It Up' has copyright protection; and any elements of that track Thicke and Williams nicked are [a] not part of the core composition and/or [b] just general features of funky pop music.

It was that last argument that motivated the pop medley during Thicke's testimony yesterday. His lawyers wanted to show that while there might be similarities in chord sequences between the two songs, those are just chord sequences that appear in lots of pop records. Which I think means Thicke was basically ripping off the Axis Of Awesome's most famous comedy routine. Can't this guy do anything original?

Meanwhile the Gaye family's legal rep, Richard Busch, went through a list of structural similarities between 'Blurred Lines' and 'Got To Give It Up', all of which Thicke said were just "standard formats", though when put on the spot he did struggle to name many other songs that employed said standards.

Busch also questioned Thicke about how much more successful 'Blurred Lines' had been compared to most of his other work which - even if the jury doesn't buy that that's down to the track relying on some of Gaye's genius - must have been a bit depressing, given Thicke's own lawyer later forced the singer to again stress that claims in interviews to have co-written the hit were untrue, and basically the whole song came from Williams.

The case continues.

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Police investigation into allegations against Cliff Richard has "increased significantly"
The police inquiry into the historical sex offence allegations made against Cliff Richard has "increased significantly in size" and now involves "more than one allegation", according to a letter from South Yorkshire Police's chief constable.

The letter from Chief Constable David Crompton was sent to Labour MP Keith Vaz earlier this week, Vaz leading parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee. That committee has been critical of the police's investigation into the claims against Richard, both over the deal done with the BBC that meant the broadcaster had its cameras ready when police searched the singer's home last August, and the time it is now taking to assess whether there is a case to pursue.

Explaining why that hadn't yet been possible, Crompton wrote in his letter: "This is an investigation which has increased significantly in size since its inception. Sir Cliff Richard's lawyers are aware that there is more than one allegation. It would be premature and potentially misleading to predict a likely date when it will be concluded, however, we are progressing as swiftly as possible".

Although Richard has been questioned about the allegations, he has not been arrested or charged. Commenting on the latest developments, the singer called all and any allegations against him "absurd and untrue", adding: "The police have not disclosed details to me. I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail. I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so".

Government now backs light regulation of secondary ticketing, rules to be added to Consumer Rights Bill
Secondary ticketing in the UK is set to be regulated after the Government made its own amendments to the in-development Consumer Rights Bill.

As previously reported, the House Of Lords previously added a section to the proposed consumer rights legislation that would provide some regulation of the resale of tickets online. The proposals were very much based on recommendations made by the All Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse earlier last year, which is led by Conservative MP Mike Weatherley and Labour MP Sharon Hodgson.

However, the proposed rules were not supported by the Government, which meant that, while the amendment was approved by the Lords, it couldn't get the all-important OK in the House Of Commons. But when the bill bounced back to the Lords, this time the Government put forward its own secondary ticketing amends, which means they will almost certainly now get the nod from both houses of Parliament and become law.

The government's proposals are not as wide-reaching as those originally proposed last year, with a bunch of get-outs added in, but it will mean that resellers of tickets to UK events will have to provide seat number information where relevant, details of any restrictions on the ticket, and state what the original face value was. The Government will also be compelled to review the state of play in a year's time and report back to Parliament, while those involved in ticket reselling will be obliged to report any criminal activity they are aware of.

Although lighter regulation than they had originally hoped for, both Weatherley and Hodgson welcomed the latest developments yesterday. The former told reporters: "I am pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of regulation with regard to secondary ticketing, which will be to the benefit of us all. While the new amendment does not cover every change that we had hoped for, it is an important step in the right direction".

Meanwhile Hodgson added: "My APPG colleagues and I have campaigned for years to make some real changes to this broken marketplace. The use of new technology has enabled touts to hoover up tickets and drive up prices at the expense of genuine fans, and the law needs to finally address this issue. It is becoming harder and harder for ordinary people to go to see the teams, events or bands that they love, meaning that attending these events will become the preserve of the well-off. I am pleased that the Government has finally recognised the importance of regulation with regard to secondary ticketing, which will be to the benefit of us all".

"While the new amendment does not cover every change that we had hoped for it is an important step in the right direction. I look forward to the independent review on this issue and I hope that in it we will be able to address even more ways of improving this market in the interests of the fans, like increasing transparency still further to include the sellers identity, which is ultimately the key to cleaning up this industry. The only people that may be unhappy with these regulations are the touts, but I for one was very happy to see a real step forward yesterday in this campaign to at last put fans first".

BRITs ratings up a million on last year.
So, all of you suckers who thought Ant & Dec were an odd hire for the BRIT Awards in 2015. And all you people who found their 'jokes' excruciating. And all you people who kicked your telly in after that bit where they pretended one of them had got the wrong end of the stage.

Well, word has it the tedious twosome (and possibly Taylor, Kanye and Madge) helped the record industry's annual awards bash score a telly ratings average of 5.76 million last night, up a million on last year, and ahead of the recent BAFTA Awards. So, that'll please telly bosses and the dudes at Mastercard.

And remember, those figures are before the extra 'watch again' views the show is sure to score online from all those 'You've Been Framed' fans tuning in for the Madonna stumble. Next year ITV should have Harry Hill on hand to narrate such incidents if and when they occur.

New Music Cities convention to launch
A new conference event will launch in Brighton this May, just before The Great Escape festivities kick off, focused on how vibrant local music industries can provide a strong and sustainable boost to city economies.

Launched by Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne and music market development agency Sound Diplomacy, the Music Cities Convention will "explore the relationship between city planning, strategy, development and the music industry".

The organisers say: "A strong and sustainable music industry is the most cost effective path to build, sustain and enhance vibrant, smart and economically prosperous cities. From venue and community space development to education, employment, event provision, licensing, regulation and demographics, music industries impact a number of issues prevalent in city planning, strategy, regulatory and legislative aspects".

They go on: "Music Cities Convention will bring together the top minds from municipalities, regions, academics, consultancies and the music industry to discuss, debate and introduce new thinking, action and structure to develop more vibrant, global cities".

Amongst the speakers already confirmed for the one-day event are Music Venues Trust CEO Mark Dafyd, Amy Terrill from Music Canada, David Grice from Musitec Creative Cluster Development in Australia, and co-founder Martin Elbourne.

The event takes place on 13 May, and precedes this year's Great Escape festival and music convention, which once again includes the CMU Insights conference strands. Tickets for Music Cities can be bought here.

  Approved: Warpaint - No Way Out
As Warpaint's inarguably-titled last LP 'Warpaint' - a closed-off labyrinth of snaky love (and death) songs prone to fits of trip-hop - still looms large and mauvish dark after its release in Jan 2014, the band are now ready to 'move on' via a string of non-LP tracks winging our way this year.

The first is 'No Way Out' (or, if you're in the mood to add pointless parentheses, which I sure am today, 'No Way Out [Redux]'), a repeated feature of their live shows lately.

While lyrically it's choked, caught and thwarted, fighting to "find my way" out of the same mazes circling 2014's 'Warpaint', in its sharp-inclined vocals and wiry instrumental it's one of the band's most mighty sign-offs ever, signposting a bloodier new note to their songwriting.

Listen here.
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Thom Yorke and Robert Del Naja unveil soundtrack to tax avoidance doc
Thom Yorke off of the Radioheads and Robert Del Naja from that Massive Attack yesterday unveiled the soundtrack they've made for 'UK Gold', by which we mean the documentary on tax avoidance that aired on London Live last night, rather than the defunct repeats telly channel. The recording of the two men's twelve track score also features contributions from fellow Radioheader Jonny Greenwood, Elbow's Guy Garvey and Euan Dickinson.

It accompanies a Mark Donne-directed documentary exploring the history of tax avoidance, a topic on which Yorke told the NME: "For all the current Government's talk of standards in the financial industry it comes as no surprise perhaps that the reality beneath reveals their staggering hypocrisy".

He went on: "Now is the time to reveal the revolving doors between government and the City that has bred lies and corruption for so long, siphoning money through our tax havens for the global super rich, while now preaching that we the people must pay our taxes and suffer austerity. Just who does our government work for?"

You can watch the documentary on the London Live website here, and check out the soundtrack on its own on the UK Uncut site here.

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U2's actual Joshua tree vandalised
So this just in from the tree news desk, the tree that famously appears in the artwork that accompanied U2's 1987 album 'The Joshua Tree' has been vandalised.

We know this thanks to a post on a U2 message board spotted by Consequence Of Sound, in which a fan who lives in the region of California where the photos were taken reports on a recent trek to visit the actual Joshua tree.

He writes: "I've been visiting U2's Joshua tree in the California desert for nearly 20 years now; the Mojave is my home. This past Sunday, I made my yearly hike out to the tree with my dog to reminisce only to find that some hack, and I do mean hack, decided it was a bright idea to take a hacksaw to one of the tree's limbs - evidently to remove an inch thick cross section as a souvenir".

He goes on: "I won't even elaborate as to how pathetic this is. Let's just say it was a good thing I didn't happen upon this ignorant low-life degenerate in his course of action. Yes, I wrote 'his' ...there's no way a woman would have done this".

Noting his belief that a fan was also behind the tree falling over back in the 1990s (probably by climbing on it for a photo), he concluded: "In short, leave the damn tree alone, so that future fans can enjoy it. Left alone, the tree will be there for many, many decades to come".

Though if you quite like the idea of watching a U2 fan vandalise a tree, apparently the NME are selling tickets for the next branch chop.

Noel Gallagher's got Ed Sheeran's back
You know how that Noel Gallagher once said a few words against Ed Sheeran. Well, he'd like you all to know that he'll not have a word said against Ed Sheeran.

When the NME recently asked rent-a-diss Gallagher whether he was planning on attending one of Sheeran's Wembley shows, he replied: "No no, they're for my daughter. She'll be going and drinking his champagne and possibly playing Top Trumps with James Blunt in the dressing room afterwards. I've given her a list of people to insult while she's there".

But Sheeran himself has been scratched off that list, having come good on a pledge to play one of the Teenage Cancer Trust shows at the Royal Albert Hall which Gallagher helps organise.

Speaking to Shortlist, he said: "What I will say about Ed is that, when I was doing those concerts, you kind of call up artists and say 'we're doing this thing, can you come and help us?' and a lot of heartless cruel bands do that thing where they go 'aw I can't do it this year mate, I'm busy, we've got a gig in fucking Kenya. But next year we'll definitely do it'".

"But" he went on, "the only person that has ever said that and called me back the next year is Ed Sheeran. And I thought, you know what, you'll do for me man. He's a good lad and I won't have a word said against him".

Though fans for words being said against pop stars, don't worry, if Noel's gone soft we can always rely on Liam G. His four word wrap up of last night's BRITs? "Kanye West. Utter Shit". And you can't say fairer than that.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Publisher, Business Editor & Insights Director
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business, and is MD of CMU publisher UnLimited Media.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of UnLimited Media she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

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