TUESDAY 10 MARCH 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: As the reworked version of the secondary ticketing rules set to be added to the Consumer Rights Bill were debated in the House Of Commons yesterday, the two MPs who have led on the bid to regulate the reselling of tickets online welcomed the latest developments. As previously reported, a ticket touting section was added to new consumer rights legislation by the House Of... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Rap trio Ratking, certified CMU Artists Of The Year 2014, sneak-released their new LP '700 Fill', the follow-on to the widely lionised 'So It Goes', last week via a Thom Yorkeian alliance with BitTorrent. The whole nine-track pack, plus visual and instrumental add-ons, is available at no cost (bar an email address) at this link, if you want it. So a quick bit of info... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Hodgson and Weatherley welcome Commons support for ticket touting rules, but point to importance of future review
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LEGAL Gregg Allman biopic director and exec producer plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter
Kraftwerk founder fights the power (supply manufacturer)
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Vivendi knocks back Liberty approach re Universal acquisition
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LIVE BUSINESS Music Venue Trust publishes small venues report, launches investment programme
The O2 sells its fifteen millionth ticket
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Global announces team for expanding management and music business
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ARTIST NEWS UK Eurovision entrants defend awful, awful song
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RELEASES Emika announces third album
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ONE LINERS Grimes slips out new track, Lykke Li and Woodkid collaborate, Dempagmui.inc announce UK show, and oh so much more
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AND FINALLY... Mike Portnoy apologises after NHS hospital rant
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Hodgson and Weatherley welcome Commons support for ticket touting rules, but point to importance of future review
As the reworked version of the secondary ticketing rules set to be added to the Consumer Rights Bill were debated in the House Of Commons yesterday, the two MPs who have led on the bid to regulate the reselling of tickets online welcomed the latest developments.

As previously reported, a ticket touting section was added to new consumer rights legislation by the House Of Lords last year, but with the government opposing the measures it was rejected in the Commons. A streamlined version of the proposed rules was then re-proposed in the Lords last month, this time with government backing, meaning Commons support is now assured.

The new rules will force people reselling tickets online in the UK to provide more information about the tickets they are selling, including any restrictions and the original ticket price. Secondary ticketing services will also be compelled to be more proactive in spotting and reporting fraud.

However, the requirement that the seller's identity be revealed was dropped in the final proposals. Secondary ticketing platforms feared that measure most, because it would mean tout-hating promoters could go through the resale sites cancelling all the tickets they saw being resold. The ticket resale firms argued that that would just send all the touts to secondary services outside the UK, where there could be no regulation at all.

Speaking after yesterday's Commons debate on touting rules, Sharon Hodgson MP, a long-time campaigner on this issue, said: "This is an issue I have campaigned on for a very long time now, and today we finally saw the amendment accepted in the House Of Commons. It may have taken longer than I had hoped, but the Government finally backed down from its total opposition and accepted these new measures that will do so much to clean up the secondary ticket market, and today certainly marks a real success in this fight".

The proposals also obligate the Government to review the secondary ticketing issue again in a year's time. On that Hodgson added: "Now that this has been accepted the crucial next step is to conduct the review, which will hopefully highlight even more ways to protect fans and make the culture of exploitation a thing of the past. The review needs to have strong leadership in order to tackle the scope of the problems, but as long as whoever leads it has the best interests of fans as their key consideration then I am confident it will bring about even more ways to improve the secondary ticketing market in order that it works in the interests of fans, not touts".

Meanwhile Mike Weatherley, who worked with Hodgson on setting up the APPG On Ticket Abuse, whose research informed the new regulations, said ahead of yesterday's Commons debate: "This has been a long standing campaign by both myself and the APPG to get some overdue changes in place. Once enacted, the amendment will provide greater transparency for fans, including seat number or standing information, the face value of the ticket, and if any restrictions apply. Like all compromises, neither side is fully happy with the solution, but on balance, this is a good step in the right direction. To misquote EM Forster, two cheers for this amendment. I am pleased we will have enacted this law before the end of this parliament, but the review over the next twelve months is the important part".

Gregg Allman biopic director and exec producer plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter
Gregg Allman biopic director Randall Miller and Executive Producer Jay Sedrin have pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and trespassing as part of a plea deal.

As previously reported, Randall, Sedrin and producer Jody Savin, who is also Miller's wife, were on trial over the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during the film of 'Midnight Rider', based on Allman's autobiography, last year. The crew had been setting up to film on a railway bridge when a train unexpectedly appeared, hitting a bed that had been placed on the tracks, injuring six and killing Jones.

In the unusual case of filmmakers being brought to trial over on-set deaths, all three were facing up to eleven years in prison and had denied all charges against them.

However, yesterday afternoon AP broke the news that Miller and Sedrin had now accepted plea deals. Miller's deal meant that all charges against Savin were dropped, but he will serve two years in prison and pay a $20,000 fine, followed by eight years of probation. Sedrin avoided jail time, but will be placed on probation for ten years.

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Kraftwerk founder fights the power (supply manufacturer)
Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hutter has launched a trademark infringement lawsuit against a German company called eZelleron over a fuel cell it plans to manufacture, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, called... Kraftwerk.

Hutter, who owns the trademark to the Kraftwerk name in multiple territories in various fields, believes that eZelleron's chosen name for its product suggests some sort of endorsement on his part.

eZelleron might reasonably argue that it chose the name because it means 'power station' in German. For example, if we were in Germany right now, one of us might reasonably say, "Schauen Sie sich das Kraftwerk", or "Das Kraftwerk steht in Flammen", or "Jeder laufen, gab es einen schrecklichen Unfall im Kraftwerk". Not in America, though. And not because they have higher safety standards. No, because most people don't speak German there.

But what does that matter? Ralf Hutter is German, eZelleron is German, let's all just keep this German, shall we? No, because - perhaps because of the whole 'word in common German usage' thing - Hutter has chosen to sue in the US.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, rather than try to force a German company to stop using a German word as the name for a German product in a German speaking country, where trademark rules might not apply in this case, instead Hutter is going after America internet companies.

He is demanding that US internet service providers and crowdfunding platforms be barred from displaying references to eZelleron's Kraftwerk in order to avoid confusion amongst consumers who don't know that 'kraftwerk' has another meaning aside from the band's name.

It seems a fairly optimistic claim, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Possibly Hutter is hoping to force a settlement from the $1.5 million eZelleron has just raised, by scaring the company into believing it might not be able to promote the product internationally once it has been produced.

Vivendi knocks back Liberty approach for Universal acquisition
US-based Liberty Media, which already owns half of satellite radio group Sirius XM and a quarter of live music giant Live Nation, has expressed an interest in buying the Universal Music Group, according to the New York Post. The mega-major's current owner Vivendi then expressed a strong interest in not selling the company. Especially to Liberty Media.

According to the Post, Liberty chief John Malone recently approached Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bolloré about the possibility of buying Universal. It's thought that Malone, whose conglom already has interests in radio and live music, is keen on buying into the copyright side of the music business.

But Vivendi - despite having sold off various assets in recent years - seems in no mood to sell Universal, having already knocked back an offer for the music company from a Japanese firm in 2013. Indeed, the new streamlined Vivendi, with Bolloré as Chair, sees entertainment as its core business (it also owns telly and movie company Canal+ and has some interests in ticketing), and the French firm itself is thought to be seeking acquisitions in this domain.

Therefore Malone's approach was always optimistic, not least because Liberty and Vivendi have something of a frosty relationship stemming from a ten-year legal battle. Though it's nice for Universal to know that, even as the record industry continues to grapple with the challenges of digital, there are still people out there who'd like to own it.

Music Venue Trust publishes small venues report, launches investment programme
The Music Venue Trust's full 'Understanding Small Music Venues' report has been published, following the release of an interim report in January to coincide with Independent Venue Week.

The report outlines the challenges currently facing dedicated small music venues in the UK, with a view to convincing the music industry, policy makers and brands to do more to protect them from financial uncertainty and potential closure. As such, the publication of the report comes alongside the launch of the MVT's new Grassroots Investor Programme.

Music Venue Trust Strategic Director Beverley Whitrick explained: "We see the publication of this report as the key moment when the music industry, cultural sector, government and brands can seize the opportunity to listen to and learn from venues, artists and audiences enabling them to respond constructively and strategically to give them the calibre of venues the UK needs. Today, we're announcing a mechanism by which they can do that: The Grassroots Investor programme".

She continued: "Grassroots Investor is a two phased strategic intervention into our grassroots music circuit designed in response to what we've learned from the report. Firstly, we want to urgently create one central agency that is able to represent grassroots venues and defend them at a national level. Our crisis management programme will employ a central legal team, acoustics team, a lobbying arm and create a central crisis fund so that collectively we do all we can so that music venue closures are halted, national policy is changed, and this sector's needs, so clearly expressed in the report, are addressed properly by cultural strategy and by licensing, insurance and legislation".

Finally, she said: "In phase two of Grassroots Investor, our ambition is to put direct investment into grassroots venues so that UK artists and audiences can enjoy the venues they deserve. A combination of low aspiration and severe under investment means we've ended up content to describe this sector as the 'toilet circuit' and accept conditions in them that reflects all that description implies. There are examples from over the globe of world class venues at this level, and through Grassroots Investor we aim to work with our partners to match those standards here in the UK".

Find out more about the programme here, and download the full report here.

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The O2 sells its fifteen millionth ticket
London's most magnificent fun tent The O2 has just sold its fifteen millionth ticket - and to an Olly Murs fan no less - which is quite an achievement given the arena complex only opened its doors eight years ago, and at least one high profile entertainer bailed on his 50 night residency claiming, somewhat lamely, that his surprising premature death made attendance tricky.

To help put this achievement into perspective, fifteen million tickets equates to...

• One ticket for every person living in Zambia.

• One ticket for every person living in LA - though not if you've just given them all to the population of Zambia, who might be annoyed if you stole them back.

• One ticket for every paying subscriber to Spotify - though I think they've had enough music for the time being, thank you very much.

• One ticket for every dollar Sony is spending to deal with the fallout of last year's big server hack - though I'm not sure how that would help.

• One ticket for every person expected to buy an Apple Watch this year - though would you really want all those people in one place at one time?

• One ticket for every passenger who travelled through Geneva airport last year - even though Olly Murs hasn't so much as busked there.

• One ticket for every pound being spent on a new park and ride facility in Aberdeen - which is also set to be popular with Olly Murs fans.

• One ticket for everyone who joined the Catholic Church in 2012 - who may or may not be Olly Murs fans. God didn't return our call when we sought clarification on this.

I trust that helped. And now here's Rebecca Kane Burton, General Manager of International Venue Of The Year The O2, providing some words: "Getting to fifteen million tickets sold is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates just how popular this venue has become. 2014 was quite a year with many record breaking performances and we're delighted and honoured that so many artists and their teams choose to play The O2".

Global announces team for expanding management and music business
Global Radio's recently launched US division, which is expanding the media group's artist management, music publishing and live business, has announced some appointments.

As previously reported, it was confirmed last month that former AEG exec Randy Phillips was now leading Global Entertainment. And joining him for the party are Monti Olson, formerly of Universal Music Publishing, who will head up Global's publishing operations; Bob Semanovich, who comes from Capitol Records to be Global's SVP Marketing; Nicola Carson, formerly of Modest!, who becomes VP Artist Management in LA; and back in London, where the Global music business is also expanding, Ben Karter, who joins from James Grant Management to be GM Recorded Music over here.

Meanwhile some existing Global Entertainment execs get new roles within the expanded business, with Paul Adam becoming SVP A&R and Rachel Wood VP Artist Management in London.

Confirming all this, Phillips told reporters: "These executives are all seasoned pros who can think outside-the-box and get the job done for our artists, which fits the Global profile. I have always maintained that a great company is only as great as the people in it, and Monti, Paul, Bob, Ben, Nicola and Rachel are an example of the commitment that Global is making to our industry. There are other significant executive announcements coming now that Global Entertainment is running on all cylinders".

  Approved: Ratking - 700 Fill
Rap trio Ratking, certified CMU Artists Of The Year 2014, sneak-released their new LP '700 Fill', the follow-on to the widely lionised 'So It Goes', last week via a Thom Yorkeian alliance with BitTorrent. The whole nine-track pack, plus visual and instrumental add-ons, is available at no cost (bar an email address) at this link, if you want it.

So a quick bit of info. '700 Fill' took only six days to finalise and was made back in December at the peak of a biting New York winter. It's pitted with (and takes its title from) lyrical citations to warm goose-down coats vs cold-world conditions, which swirl in with DJ Sporting Life's trippy, splintered beats and MCs Wiki and Hak's alternately rapid and lax raps, like so many one-of-a-kind flakes of the same New Yorkian snow storm.

Styled by the band in this Noisey interview as a "family event" with its gaze levelled leerily at "street level", its tracks feature friends-to-Ratking like Despot, Remy Banks and Slicky Boy (of Ratking's creative circle, Letter Racer), and also Wiki's first lady, Princess Nokia.

This is '700 Fill's closing statement 'Makeitwork'.
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UK Eurovision entrants defend awful, awful song
UK Eurovision entrants Electro Velvet have defended their song 'Still In Love With You', even though it is almost certainly one of the worst things to ever happen in all of human history.

Speaking about the song, a horrific sonic partner to 'Doop' by Doop, one half of the duo Alex Larke told the BBC: "I like the fact it divides opinion. It's better than everyone having apathy for it".

I suppose that's true. It must be heartening to know that people can't decide if it's "a stinker" or "a punchline". And it possibly isn't as bad as this. But, Christ, do we, the Greatest of all the Britains, stand any sort of chance of getting anywhere with Electro Velvet representing us at the big Euro song competition? Larke's counterpart Bianca Nicholas thinks so.

"There's a lot of ballads this year", she said. "So our song will stand out".

That's putting a brave face on it. The track itself was not written by Larke and Nicholas, who were not even a duo prior to recording the song. It was instead penned by veteran jingle writer David Mindel, who is best known for hits such as 'Theme From The National Lottery Live' and 'Theme From Jim'll Fix It'.

Anyway, here is the bloody thing - keep your ears pealed for the possibly offensive Louis Armstrong impression.

Emika announces third album
Emika has announced the release of her third album, 'Drei' (which is how Germans pronounce 'three'), on 4 May.

Speaking about the album, she said: "'Drei' is ultimately about freedom. Coping with freedom. Limitations versus freedom. The shock of a miracle. The madness of being alone. Ambitions and insecurities. The perils of a limitless creative mind. And without a doubt, my desire to produce fat hard beats without needing anyone - complete with a fresh sound".

It will be the musician's second album on her own Emika Records label this year, following on from a collection of improvisations recorded on her childhood piano, 'Klavirni', released in January.

For what it's worth, here the tracklist:

Battles
My Heart Bleeds Melody
Miracles Prelude
Miracles
What's The Cure
Without Expression
Rache (Revenge)
Serious Trouble
Destiny Killer

Grimes slips out new track, Lykke Li and Woodkid collaborate, Dempagmui.inc announce UK show, and oh so much more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Girlpool have announced that they will release their debut album, 'Before The World Was Big', on 1 Jun through Wichita. First single, 'Ideal World', is here.

• Jason Derulo has announced his new single, 'Want To Want Me'. It is not, as the title would suggest, about his struggle to find himself attractive, plunging him into loveless narcissism. But don't let that put you off, here it is.

Once again, I really should have mentioned this last week, but that new Carly Rae Jepsen single has a video now.

• Grimes has placed a new video on YouTube for a track called 'Realiti' that "is no longer gonna be on the [new] album". But does that mean it gives us an idea of what that new album will sound like, or not? I don't know. Here it is anyway.

• Lady Leshurr has released a second in a monthly series of new tracks on YouTube. This is it, and this is the first one.

• Lykke Li and Woodkid have recorded a new track for the soundtrack of upcoming Hollywood blockbuster 'Insurgent'. So there's a sentence I wasn't expecting to type today.

• With his new album, 'The Fade In Time', out next week, folker Sam Lee will play a number of gigs around London next week. Details here.

Approved J-pop group Dempagumi.inc have been confirmed to perform at Japanese culture event Hyper Japan at London's The O2 on 12 Jul. No word yet on whether they will play any standalone shows while they're here. Hope so.

Mike Portnoy apologises after NHS hospital rant
Mike Portnoy has apologised for offence caused after he ranted about a British hospital not prioritising treatment for a mystery illness in order to allow him to get to a show on time.

The former Dream Theater drummer, who is currently performing with The Neal Morse Band, was taken to hospital by ambulance on Saturday evening, telling fans that he hoped to be back in time to take the stage.

Two hours later, he posted a new update: "A very special NO THANKS to the staff at the Whittington Hospital for NOT seeing me regardless of telling them that there is an audience waiting for our show to begin - I finally left withOUT seeing a doctor in order to make tonight's show. I have no idea how the hell I'm going to make it through this show. I can't even stand up or lift my arms".

As some on his Facebook page pointed out that hospitals prioritise seeing people by the seriousness of their illness rather than the size of their audience, he responded by telling said people that their "hate" was going to get them blocked.

But he later published a statement in which he apologised for any offence caused, saying that his anger came out frustration after the ambulance he was being taken to hospital in ran out of petrol en route and then, when he did make it to A&E, he was given no clear indication of when he might expect to be seen by a doctor.

"At 7.45, I had to make the decision to continue to wait and cancel the show or leave without being seen in order to make the 8pm show", he wrote. "I desperately did NOT want to disappoint the fans and made the decision to leave in order to make the show. I played the show in the worst physical condition of my life".

He added: "I'm sure you can imagine how frustrating this experience was and I stupidly posted about it on my social media. I am shocked and appalled at some of the rude and downright nasty comments that have been posted in the wake of this - really, ten times worse than my post. It's sad to see such hatred but whatever, I can suck it up and take it. I surely never meant for such attention and controversy".

So, there you go. We've all learned that when struck down by some sort of apparent paralysis, you shouldn't expect to be able to get to hospital, receive treatment and return to do you physically demanding job in under 90 minutes. Who could have guessed?

 
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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