FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Universal Music is set to follow Sony Music and Warner Music in proposing a settlement to the widespread and long-running dispute - especially in the US - about what royalties artists should be paid on download income. As much previously reported, numerous heritage artists have cried foul over the years about the way many record companies - including all the majors - have shared... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: It's not often that the tip leaves London, let-alone the UK, but I'm heading to Italy this weekend, so hell, I'm going to tip a night in Turin. What of it? Londoner Ashley Burchett , better known as Ø [Phase] takes to the Italian city's Fluido bar this Saturday. Keeping it mainly minimal techno, but with some Detroit leanings, Ø [Phase] has established himself as a bit of a techno standard bearer... [READ MORE]
   
BEEF OF THE WEEK: To be honest, until this week I didn't even know New Zealand had its own edition of the 'X-Factor'. But while it may only be in the early stages of its second series right now, this week ensured that the whole world was aware that it's right there, finding the future pop stars of Zealand 2.0. This week wasn't just a great week for promoting the existence of 'XFNZ', it also put centre... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Universal preparing to settle digital royalty class actions
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LEGAL Pharrell warns that Blurred Lines ruling could "kill creativity"
In-flight entertainment firm countersues Universal
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ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL Record Store Day responds to indie label backlash: "Give us a break"
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Kylie to part company with Roc Nation
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BRANDS & MERCH Will.i.am launches "smartband" with Gucci
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MARKETING & PR Former PPL comms chief to advise PRS For Music
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MEDIA Radio 1 to cut live music output to meet budget demands
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ARTIST NEWS Zayn Malik steps down from One Direction tour, "it's all over!" speculation rises
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ONE LINERS Pharrell, Johnny Borrell, Laura Moody, Bjork, more
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #247: Natalia Kills and Willy Moon v X-Factor v Natalia Kills and Willy Moon v X-Factor
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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.
 
 
MINISTRY OF SOUND - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Ministry Of Sound Recordings is seeking an experienced Marketing Assistant. The Marketing Assistant will be a key support role to the Marketing team with day-to-day departmental administration and co-ordination of promotional and marketing activities. The position is with a view to developing the Marketing Assistant into a Junior Product Manager over time.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE COLUMBO GROUP - PROMOTIONS MANAGER (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is seeking an enthusiastic individual to join the Marketing & Promotions team to assist with the opening of their new venue. The role will involve an extensive working week which will require exceptional time management.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUR ARMY - SENIOR PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
Your Army is seeking a dynamic Senior Press Officer to join its busy Press Department and Promotions Team. The successful candidate will have a minimum of 2-3 years experience working across both print and online media alongside an adept understanding of both new and established artist campaigns. Knowledge of dance music is preferable and a good understanding of social media a bonus.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BELIEVE DIGITAL - UK SALES MANAGER (LONDON)
Believe Digital is looking for a sales manager to join its label management team in the UK. A deep knowledge of the independent music industry and key labels, as well as the experience and knowledge to sign content is essential as Believe continues to drive its label acquisition strategy in the UK and internationally.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DOMINO - DIGITAL CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Domino Recording Co. is looking for an enthusiastic, tech-conscious individual to join the digital department of the label. This full-time position will be based in the London office and will assist the day-to-day work of the department, supporting the content, marketing, sales and operations functions.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE ROUNDHOUSE - HEAD OF MUSIC (LONDON)
The main purpose of this role is to create and lead the Roundhouse's internationally renowned music programme. The Head of Music leads on nurturing and maintaining our relationships with promoters and leading players in the music industry and developing the Roundhouse's own music programme, including opportunities for 11-25 year olds. As a member of the Senior Management Team, the successful candidate joins a strong and proactive team that ensures the organisation and all its activities flourish.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MGR TOURING - ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Bright, well organised, numerate assistant required to support our small team of experts in steering international touring artistes through the maze of withholding taxes in UK, Europe and beyond. Based in NW London within offices of MGR Weston Kay chartered accountants the role initially involves admin, planning and research with some basic bookkeeping, but with training and guidance from the rest of the team we would expect this to expand to include more technical and client facing work.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
IBIZA ROCKS - COMMERCIAL MANAGER/PROMOTER (IBIZA)
We are looking for an ambitious, creative and self-motivated person with a fresh perspective to drive and develop our on island marketing, promotion and sales strategies across our range of events in Ibiza this summer. They should have a passion for events and proven experience in promoting and selling them.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
JUNO RECORDS - MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Juno, the world's largest online dance music and DJ and studio equipment store, is looking for an enthusiastic marketing and social media assistant to help expand its fast-growing marketing and social media activity, on and offline.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNLIMITED I&C - FREELANCE EVENTS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
UnLimited I&C is looking for a freelance events coordinator. This person will help plan and deliver conference-style events, handling pre-event administration, including speaker and venue liaison. They will also need to be on site during the event to help with delivery.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
CREATIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT NEW MUSIC COMPANY (LONDON)
A fantastic role within an innovative new music house has become available to the suitable candidate. The company is the new start up of two respected independent record labels.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
   
AEI MEDIA - ACCOUNTS ADMINISTRATOR (LONDON)
The main responsibilities of the role are to manage the day-to-day running of the finance department and assist with month-end tasks, working closely alongside the Finance Manager to ensure accurate and efficient processing and procedure compliance.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BELIEVE RECORDINGS - UK LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Believe Recordings UK is recruiting a Label Manager who will be responsible for managing artist campaigns within the roster. They will be the primary liaison between all departments and teams involved in Believe Recordings artist campaigns.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SOUNDREEF - CONTENT MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
A passionate and creative Content Marketing Assistant is required to join an innovative, fast-growing music business. The Content Marketing Assistant will be joining a VC funded company that has experienced substantial growth and success since its 2011 launch. The company administers royalties for a very large catalogue of musical works and licenses music in over 20 countries in the world.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNLIMITED I&C - WEBSITE EDITOR (LONDON)
UnLimited I&C is looking for a part-time Website Editor to edit and manage the website of Creative Skills For Life, a social venture and campaigning organisation which aims to enable people living with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions to come together and explore their creative potential as a catalyst for healing and personal development.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BIBLIOTHEQUE MUSIC - MUSIC SUPERVISOR (LONDON)
We are looking for an enthusiastic motivated Music Supervisor to help increase our capacity and develop new opportunities. The role will focus on marketing the catalogues to all relevant sectors of media and corporate industries, establishing and developing solid relationships, conducting searches, and taking the lead with all client-facing activity. The position has excellent career prospects going forward with scope for autonomy, innovation and growth.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
 
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 ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 

Universal preparing to settle digital royalty class actions
Universal Music is set to follow Sony Music and Warner Music in proposing a settlement to the widespread and long-running dispute - especially in the US - about what royalties artists should be paid on download income.

As much previously reported, numerous heritage artists have cried foul over the years about the way many record companies - including all the majors - have shared download money with their artists.

Record contracts conventionally distinguish between 'sales' and 'licensing' income, giving artists a much bigger share of the latter than the former (customarily around 15% of sales and 50% of licensing revenue).

As record sales moved from CDs to downloads, labels treated digital income as 'sales'. But artists argued that in the download space the labels 'licensed' Apple to allow users to download copies of their recordings, and therefore download revenue should be classified as licensing income with the higher royalty split paid to talent.

Sony Music was the first major to be hit with litigation on this issue, though that case initially ran aground amidst technicalities. Universal were then sued by early Eminem collaborators FBT Productions, who ultimately won the case, sparking a plethora of lawsuits, some class actions, against all three majors. Though Universal maintained that the FBT case was specific to the producers' contract and didn't set a general precedent.

Both Sony Music and Warner Music proposed settlements to kill the class action cases, which, if they went to court and the artists won, would enable all heritage acts with pre-iTunes contracts to claim higher royalties. In the main the settlements propose paying heritage artists a few percent more on downloads than CDs (quite a way off a 50/50 split though), usually with some provision for back-pay on downloads sold to date, which given the download market has now peaked is possibly more important than future income.

Class action settlements need court approval and that process is usually long drawn out. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, we know some bigger heritage artists are agreeing their own terms on download income with the labels, usually cloaked in those always fun non-disclosure agreements, so that deals with the big guys can't influence what everyone else asks for.

Anyway, Universal, which has so far resisted a public settlement, instead trying to have the cases against them dismissed, is now set to attempt a settlement, with the judge overseeing the case instructing both sides in the dispute to submit a motion for approval by 10 Apr, according to Billboard. Universal's motions to dismiss the original lawsuits are also being terminated now that settlement talks are underway.

Specifics of the new settlement are not known, though will likely follow the lead set by Sony and Warner. It is thought the deal will cover all and any recordings acquired by Universal's acquisition of EMI in the midst of all this back in 2012.

Of course, most of the settlements to date have focused specifically on downloads, which could result in a whole new round of disputes over streaming income, where the argument for the 'license' classification is even stronger, and where artists may push for a higher cut of income than they were able to win on downloads. So that's fun.

Pharrell warns that Blurred Lines ruling could "kill creativity"
Pharrell Williams has warned of an imminent goldrush of copyright litigation in the wake of the verdict against him and Robin Thicke over 'Blurred Lines'. As you might expect he would.

Williams and Thicke, of course, were sued by the family of Marvin Gaye, who successfully claimed that 'Lines' ripped off Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up'. Awarded $7.3 million in damages, the family are now trying to get Universal Music and TI to pay up for their association with the infringing track.

Speaking about the controversial ruling for the first time to the Financial Times, Williams said: "The verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else. This applies to fashion, music, design... anything".

He continued: "If we lose our freedom to be inspired, we're going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas. Everything that's around you in a room was inspired by something or someone. If you kill that, there's no creativity".

As previously reported, Gaye's family published an open letter this week stating their view on the situation at much greater length.

--------------------------------------------------

In-flight entertainment firm countersues Universal
The in-flight entertainment company which has been caught up in litigation with the majors over whether it had the right licences for pumping music into aeroplanes is fighting back.

As previously reported, Sony Music was first to go legal over in-flight music content, targeting United Airlines and its partner in music, Dublin-based In-Flight, in late 2013. Then last year Universal joined the party, also suing both the airline and the in-flight entertainment service provider.

But InFlight has now submitted a countersuit in the Universal case, saying that it had regular contact with the major prior to litigation, that its attempts to fill any 'licensing gaps' were hindered by delays on the music firm's side, and that it had always been assured that its continued use of recordings released by Universal labels was acceptable until a final licence was provided.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, InFlight says that it began talking to Universal in 2009 and basically agreed terms, but was then kept waiting for a promised licensing agreement. But "during this time frame, Universal Music assured InFlight that its continued reproduction and distribution of Universal Music's works in the United States for use on airlines was acceptable".

Indeed, the in-flight firm says: "Universal music knew, expected and, indeed, hoped that these sound recordings (or at least some of them) would be used by [InFlight] and their airline customers in connection with in-flight audio entertainment services provided by airlines to their passengers, who were essentially a captive audience for hours at a time".

But around the time Sony began legal action over in-flight music, Universal sent a cease and desist to InFlight which, it claims, interfered with its contractual relationships with the airlines. InFlight also alleges that this move was in part because the major had ambitions to strike up direct relations with the airlines in a bid to build a new revenue stream.

All in all, InFlight is alleging misrepresentation, concealment, interference with contractual relations and interference with prospective business advantage. So, that's plenty to be getting on with, isn't it? Universal is yet to respond.

Record Store Day responds to indie label backlash: "Give us a break"
Record Store Day has issued a response to two indie labels which are boycotting the festivities this year and instead releasing their own protest record.

As previously reported, Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl announced plans last week to release a split single by Spectres and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, putting out one copy per day for a year from Record Store Day onwards.

Noting that they still thought that RSD was "essentially a good idea", the two labels said in a statement: "If it's a protest against anything, it's what Record Store Day has become: just another event in the annual music industry circus that begins with the BBC Sound Of... list and ends with the Mercury Prize, co-opted by major labels and used as another marketing stepping stone".

They went on: "Because of the rules and regulations - minimum pressing amounts, no direct to customer sales, blah blah blah - Record Store Day really isn't fun, and it's certainly not beneficial to small, backs-to-the-wall labels like Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl. But we are still affected by it. Badly ...The final irony was getting a call to say that this very seven-ich was going to be delayed and might not be shipped until after Record Store Day".

In a counter statement issued to The Vinyl Factory, Record Store Day's organisers said that the two indie's had "misrepresented one of the most beneficial new music promotions of the past two decades" and that this was "really objectionable".

"Record Store Day has beyond doubt been the most important catalyst in the recent revival and growth in number of independent record shops", the statement continued. "Along the way it has also driven the vinyl revival. And engaged a whole new generation of fans in music buying. To make it clear, the purpose of Record Store Day is not to promote independent labels. It is to promote independent record shops (the clue is in the name)".

It added that "because indie record shops disproportionately support independent labels", it was actually these companies that benefit most from the event, and that "the number of releases from the majors has remained relatively static in recent years, so the increase in the number of titles - another criticism is that there are too many - has mainly been driven by indie labels".

"We don't blame indie labels - the whole point is to sell records - but we have asked all labels to think harder about quality and this year the number of releases is in fact down by around 10% compared to 2014".

Admitting that "we know it's not perfect and we know we need more pressing plants", the statement concluded: "Give us a break".

Read the full statement from Record Store Day here.

Kylie to part company with Roc Nation
Kylie Minogue has parted ways with Roc Nation, who she engaged for management services just two years ago having parted company with her long time manager Terry Blamey.

Gossipers say that Minogue was disappointed with the performance of her most recent album, though was more frustrated that the many sponsorship and endorsement deals discussed when she signed up to the Jay-Z headed music group didn't really come to fruition.

One of those sources told The Sun: "The deal just didn't work out for either side and she thinks they didn't ever understand her as an artist. Her last album was nowhere near as successful as she hoped. She now wants go in a different direction".

It's thought she will formally cease working with Roc Nation at the end of the current leg of her 'Kiss Me Once' tour.

Will.i.am launches "smartband" with Gucci
Will.i.am has announced that he is launching a new smartwatch, with the unique selling point that it doesn't need to be tethered to a mobile phone, like other similar devices. Which all sounds rather familiar.

Of course, last year the producer and tech mogul was seen shopping a "smart cuff" called Puls, which also allowed the user to make calls (and receive them from other celebrities) without the need for any other device. This product is different though, because it's a "smartband". Cuffs are so yesterday, granddad.

Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri said in a statement, published by Vogue: "Wearable technology and smart devices represent a new frontier for the fashion industry. It is very appropriate that Gucci is leading the way through this collaboration with Will.i.am, as innovation has always been such an important part of our DNA".

Not wishing to be left out of the nonsense statement making party, Will.i.am added: "i.am+ and Gucci Timepieces are setting the pace with our vision for a wearable technology. In developing together a device that is both fashionable and technologically advanced, we will create something that is unique in the marketplace. From the very start, I coined the term 'fashionology', a merging of the worlds of fashion and technology, which is exactly what this collaboration with Gucci represents".

No story about a Will.i.am tech 'innovation' would be complete without a mention of that time he tried to get us all to attach an unwieldy camera to our iPhones. And now I've done that, I guess we can move on.

Former PPL comms chief to advise PRS For Music
Former PPL communications chief Jonathan Morrish is to provide PR consultancy to the UK's other big collecting society PRS For Music, following the somewhat sudden departure of the organisation's marketing and communication heads, Ben Anderson and Gill Corish, last month. It is thought an overhaul of the society's marketing and communication activities is now planned.

Morrish, who joined PPL in 2006 after a time working in corporate PR consultancy and, before that, having various comms roles at Sony Music, stepped down from his fulltime role at the record industry's collecting society last year, but continues to consult to the organisation's top team.

Confirming that Morrish would now be advising his society on PR matters too, PRS boss Robert Ashcroft said: "I am very pleased that Jonathan has agreed to join PRS where I know his experience and contacts will be very valuable".

While Morrish added: "I am delighted to be working for PRS For Music in an advisory PR role. I very much look forward to working with Robert as well as supporting Andy Hind and his team in his new position as Acting Head Of Corporate Communications. I shall continue in my consultancy capacity at PPL as the two companies work more and more closely together".

Radio 1 to cut live music output to meet budget demands
Radio 1 is set to make some big cuts in its live music output as the BBC pop station seeks to meet budget demands caused by the freezing of the licence fee in 2010.

But don't worry, it's unlikely to stop the BBC station pretending to be a festival promoter with its Big Weekend and a telly station with it's iPlayer channel, it'll only affect Radio 1's unique commitment to providing live session opportunities within specialist shows and coverage of an eclectic range of third-party concerts and festivals. So, phew.

BBC overseers the BBC Trust have approved the cuts, which will see the number of sessions recorded by the station reduced from 250 to 160 a year, and the number of live events covered cut from 25 to ten. Good times.

The cutbacks were revealed in a BBC Trust review of all of the Corporation's music radio stations, which was generally positive about the services, though Radio 2 was told to do more to attract black, Asian and ethnic minority listeners (who are much less likely to currently tune in). Elsewhere, Radio 1 was told to do more to promote its social action content during daytime, while the Asian Network will get a quota to protect news output.

  Vigsy's Club Tip : Dies IRÆ with Ø [Phase], Gambo & Tama at Fluido Club, Turin
It's not often that the tip leaves London, let-alone the UK, but I'm heading to Italy this weekend, so hell, I'm going to tip a night in Turin. What of it?

Londoner Ashley Burchett , better known as Ø [Phase] takes to the Italian city's Fluido bar this Saturday. Keeping it mainly minimal techno, but with some Detroit leanings, Ø [Phase] has established himself as a bit of a techno standard bearer.

Recording for Token, his sound could be described as somewhere between Luke Slater and Dave Clarke, and you can check out the diverse journey he takes on the decks with this Boiler Room set. This Saturday he'll be playing alongside Gambo and Tama.

Saturday 21 Mar, 11pm - 5am, Fluido Club, Viale Cagni 7, 10126 Turin (TO), Italy, 8 euros before 9-10 euro thereafter. Info here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 
 

Zayn Malik steps down from One Direction tour, "it's all over!" speculation rises
Ah, the (often long-running) "surely they're about to split" stage of any boyband's career, my very favourite of all the stages. Well, second favourite. The post-split bitching stage is actually my favourite. You know, when they get it all out of their systems before the "actually we love each other, so yes, I will sign up to the mega-millions reunion tour thank you very much" phase.

Anyway, what to make of the news that Zayn Malik has been signed off the current One Direction tour of Asia because of stress? Well, mainly that Zayn Malik has been signed off the current One Direction tour of Asia because of stress.

His stress levels having possibly shot up after a flurry of chatter to the effect that he was cheating (again, possibly) on fiancée and Little Mixer Perrie Edwards after a photo of him with his arm around a fan appeared online. The gossipers were simple "jealous fucks" he declared on Twitter, adding "I'm 22 years old ... I love a girl named Perrie Edwards".

Also this week, it emerged that he and bandmate Louis Tomlinson had been asked to post bonds of £3000 when applying for work permits to appear in Philippine capital Manila, with the threat the money would be taken if they were seen using or promoting illegal drugs while in the city. The requirement followed that video of the two smoking a "joint" while in Peru last year (where possessing a small amount of cannabis is not illegal).

So, a stressful week all round, the poor chap. Though this story shot to the front pages of The Sun, The Star and Metro because Malik's exit from upcoming shows provides a perfect excuse to run the "is this the end of the pop phenomenon One Direction?" article. So is it? Well, as Winston Churchill once said, "this is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end; but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning... no fuck that, One Direction are clearly falling apart". But then, what does Churchill know?

Pharrell, Johnny Borrell, Laura Moody, Bjork, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Pharrell Williams will today turn the Empire State Building yellow at 2pm New York time to help celebrate the previously reported International Day Of Happiness. You know, just like Marvin Gaye did that time.

• Emergent duo Lion Babe have announced their new single, 'Wonder Woman'. It's produced by Pharrell Williams and doesn't even sound a little bit like a Marvin Gaye song. Just so we're all clear. Well, not much.

• That Johnny Borrell is going to release a new album with his band Zazou, called 'Johnny Borrell & Zazou LP'. They'll play a launch party at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington on 13 Apr. Entry will be a piece of paper with a Buddhist mandala symbol on it. "No mandala no entry", says the press release. So consider yourself told.

• Laura Moody's upcoming London date will now take place a day earlier than previously announced, on 6 May, at the same venue, The Old Church in Stoke Newington.

• If you happen to be heading over to Iceland Airwaves this year, you'll have the chance to see Björk performing on her home turf. She's headlining, is what I'm saying. John Grant is also performing with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, so basically anything else is a bonus now.

• Squarepusher has announced his biggest show to date, at The Troxy in London on 24 Oct. His new album, as you know, is out on 20 Apr.

• Song, By Toad signings Jonnie Common and Le Thug, the pair of them achievers of CMU approved status, will play a gig together at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston on 21 Mar, aka tomorrow. Yeah, pick a night I'm bloody away, why don't you?

CMU Beef Of The Week #247: Natalia Kills and Willy Moon v X-Factor v Natalia Kills and Willy Moon v X-Factor
To be honest, until this week I didn't even know New Zealand had its own edition of the 'X-Factor'. But while it may only be in the early stages of its second series right now, this week ensured that the whole world was aware that it's right there, finding the future pop stars of Zealand 2.0.

This week wasn't just a great week for promoting the existence of 'XFNZ', it also put centre stage the fact that Natalia Kills, Willy Moon and Melanie Blatt are all still around and doing things. In 'making people notice things' terms, this whole story has been a wild success. Even if it was a bit of a PR disaster for some of those involved.

Though let's be clear right now, Mel Blatt is fine. You leave her alone. She, it appears from where she sits on the judging panel, is not the Simon Cowell of New Zealand 'X-Factor'. Maybe of New Zealand in its entirety. God bless you, Mel. I never doubted you. Not for a moment.

Natalia Kills and Willy Moon though. Well, their new claim to fame is that they are the only judges in the history of all 'X-Factor' shows to have been sacked for doing some bullying - even though that's at least 70% the point of the show.

They had claims to fame before that, of course. You don't get to be a judge on the New Zealand edition of 'X-Factor' without having at least one.

Willy Moon's was that he had a song on an iPod ad once, and is Wiley's least favourite Willy. His wife, Natalia Kills, meanwhile, is partly known for repeatedly trying to establish a pop career for over a decade, and slightly better known for being a songwriter on Madonna's latest album. Though she "parted ways" with Cherrytree Records as a performer some "months ago", a rep for the label told Daily Mail Australia.

But, anyway, back to this bullying. How does one get sacked from 'X-Factor' for bullying? Let's examine it all, shall we?

Moon and Kills had managed to keep their judging seats without too many problems through the first part of the series, where a procession of deluded members of the public are bullied for daring to leave their houses. But then came the first live show, at which one finalist, Joe Irvine, sang a version of 'Cry Me A River'. Basically Michael Buble's version of 'Cry Me A River'.

You might have thought that was enough for the judges to lay into the 'X' contender, but it wasn't the cover version itself that offended. Rather, the couple took offence at Irvine's visual cover version of Willy Moon. Does that even make sense? Let's just go over to Natalia Kills to explain.

"We have a doppelganger in out midst", she spat, having stewed her way through the performance. "I - as an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property - I am disgusted at how much you have copied my husband".

Irvine's crime, it turned out, was to wear a suit and have a slightly square haircut. You might argue that he had actually been styled to look a bit (I man, barely, but maybe a bit) like Michael Buble. Or at least some sort of generic crooner. Or just, I don't know, like a man wearing a suit. But no, this was a deliberate attempt to steal the distinct style that Willy Moon is known for the world over. THE WORLD OVER, I TELL YOU.

"Do you not have any value or respect for originality? You're a laughing stock", Kills continued. "It's cheesy, disgusting [and] I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious. I am embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to even dignify you with an answer of my opinion".

Had she actually moved on to critiquing his performance there? It's hard to tell. What does her husband think? "To me it just feels a little bit cheap and absurd", he sneered. "It's like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothing. It's just a little bit creepy and I feel like you're gonna stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everybody in the audience".

Is Willy Moon Joe Irvine's mother now? I'm confused. And what sort of person who is clearly committed to developing a short-lived pop career would risk it all by murdering their potential record-buyers? It just doesn't make sense. That said, I suppose it makes about as much sense as claiming to own the copyright in wearing a suit and having a haircut.

So that was live show number one. The pair, though, did not make it to live show number two, broadcaster TV3 having decided that it would "not tolerate such destructive tirades from any of the judges". So, bear that in mind Blatt. And you too, 'Australian Idol' winner Stan Walker, who I've not mentioned before, but is probably worth talking up now that he's 50% of the judging panel (or at least was for that one show, but we'll come back to that).

Of course, what you see on screen and in the press is almost never the whole story. Something Kills was keen to stress when she issued an apology via Twitter later this week.

"A lot goes on behind the scenes of a reality TV show and [what] you see isn't always the whole story", she said, just like I told you she had. "The show brought me on to bring my passion, dramatic expression and perspective. I was encouraged to be outspoken and things got out of hand".

She also apologised directly to Irvine, encouraging him to "be natural, unconventional and be you!" Which, in light of all that's happened, just seems like another dig at the whole suit/hair thing.

Moon also put forward the idea that their outburst had come as a result of goading by the producers of the show, saying: "The show encourages judges to be forthright and highly opinionated. It went too far and I never intended to single out anyone".

Mate, you compared the guy to a serial killer. I don't doubt the judges were told to be provocative where they could be, but telling someone that you feel like they're "gonna stitch someone's skin to your face" is a long way from "not singling someone out". It's also a long way from telling someone how good or bad their singing is. And anyway, maybe that was the pop niche Irvine was going for. Did you even consider that? Everyone's got to have a gimmick these days.

It's all in the past now though. In fact I can barely remember it happening. It's like new judges - Australian singer and actress Natalie Bassingthwaighte and I Am Giant drummer Shelton Woolright - have always been there. Even though they've not actually appeared on the show yet.

Back in the UK, with our own 'X-Factor' slowly shedding viewers with each series, presumably the PR people whose job it is to leak stories about bickering judges to the tabloids are watching all this unfold with intrigue. If Louis Walsh doesn't jump on stage and gut a contestant for having a bit of an accent on the next series, I will be disappointed.

 
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