TODAY'S TOP STORY: Robert FX Sillerman is one step closer to taking his EDM powerhouse SFX back into private ownership, after the special committee of independent directors appointed to consider his proposals backed the plan, albeit at a higher than originally proposed price point. Sillerman only floated his latest music business venture in 2013, but announced earlier this year... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Domino's latest signing Georgia supported CMU favourite Kelela last night, a show that coincided with the release of her debut single 'Move Systems'. Having previously worked as a drummer for the likes of Kwes and Kate Tempest, her move out from behind the drum kit is a bold one. On 'Move Systems' she showcases a confident, MIA-esque sound, channelling... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES SFX board backs move back into private ownership
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner Music buys state-owned Polish record label
MARKETING & PR Heather Swaine joins Weller Media Agency
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Downsizing in Samsung's Milk Music division
MEDIA BBC cancels Never Mind The Buzzcocks
David Pickard announced as BBC Proms director
Gigaom to return, Re/code sold
GIGS & FESTIVALS The Prodigy announce UK arena tour
Gary Numan to perform classic albums in London
AWARDS Canadian Independent Music Association announces 40th anniversary celebrations
ONE LINERS Demi Lovato launches label with Nick Jonas, Dave Stewart signs distribution deal with The Orchard, BMG partners with Kartel on Skint re-issues, and more tales of people getting along
AND FINALLY... Snoop doesn't regret sexist lyrics, but now recognises that women are people
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SFX board backs move back into private ownership
Robert FX Sillerman is one step closer to taking his EDM powerhouse SFX back into private ownership, after the special committee of independent directors appointed to consider his proposals backed the plan, albeit at a higher than originally proposed price point.

Sillerman only floated his latest music business venture in 2013, but announced earlier this year that he now wanted to buy back all the shares he doesn't currently control - nearly 63% of the company - presumably to take the firm out of the public glare that comes with being a publicly listed concern. There was a mixed reception to the proposal on Wall Street, hence the appointment of the special committee.

Sillerman originally offered $4.75 a share, which was above the going rate at the time; shares in SFX were selling for $4.12 on Friday. But the offer has now been increased to $5.25 a share, and it is that bid that the special committee unanimously agreed to back on Monday, leading to the company's board also recommending the deal to shareholders yesterday.

In a statement, the company said: "The SFX board of directors, acting on the recommendation of the special committee, unanimously approved the merger agreement under which an affiliate of Mr Sillerman will take the company private, subject to a number of conditions, including receiving the affirmative vote of a majority of the unaffiliated stockholders. Mr Sillerman recused himself from the board vote regarding the transaction".

Existing shareholders will be given the option to take equity in the newly private SFX instead of cash in exchange for their current shareholdings, subject to certain terms and conditions.

Yesterday's statement also added that the special committee will now consider other offers for the company before Sillerman's buy-back is fully green-lighted, noting that: "The merger agreement provides for a 'go-shop' period, during which the special committee - with the assistance of Moelis & Company LLC - will actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals. The go-shop period is 45 days".

But, assuming another serious proposal or offer for the bleep-making conglomerate isn't put forward, Sillerman hopes to have SFX back in his control as a private business by the end of the year.

Warner Music buys state-owned Polish record label
Warner Music Poland has announced that it has acquired the country's oldest record company, Polskie Nagrania. The label was previously owned by the Polish government, but was put up for auction in January.

President of Warner Music Poland, Piotr Kabaj, said in a statement: "This acquisition represents a significant milestone for our business, and it will be an honour to represent such influential artists and revered music. We are committed to using our expertise and resources to ensure that the iconic Polskie Nagrania name continues to thrive, and that these legendary songs win new fans in Poland and beyond".

Meanwhile Warner Recorded Music's International President, Stu Bergen, added: "Our investment in the incredible music of Polskie Nagrania will bolster our already strong presence in this growing, culturally vibrant market. This is the latest in a series of moves to develop local repertoire in countries where new technology is connecting artists with massive audiences and unlocking new creative and commercial opportunities".

Polskie Nagrania's catalogue spans from the 1950s to the present day, covering many of Poland's most celebrated contemporary and classical musicians.

Heather Swaine joins Weller Media Agency
Digital creative company the Weller Media Agency has announced Heather Swaine as its new Director Of Digital Publicity. She joins from PR firm Charmfactory, and takes over the role from Jenna Knight.

WMA CEO Seb Weller told CMU: "We'd like to thank Jenna for her continued hard work and support in WMA's first eighteen months and we'll be very sad to see her leave the team. We are however moving into a very exciting time for the agency, and as part of this we are pleased to announce the arrival of Heather Swaine, taking over from Jenna as Director of Digital Publicity".

He added: "Heather brings with her a wealth of major and indie label plus agency experience, and we look forward to her being part of WMAs exciting future".

WMA clients include Syco, Universal, Sony, Warner, MTV and Ministry Of Sound.

Downsizing in Samsung's Milk Music division
Is Samsung about to cut off Milk supplies? Would doing so make it the Margaret Thatcher of digital content? Given this month's election result, would that make it the digital music platform of choice for Middle England? Though how would that work if there was no milk left? Perhaps they could just provide powdered milk and let the user provide the water? What's the musical equivalent of powdered milk? Hmm. Pitbull.

Anyway, this is all idle speculation. Idle speculation and nonsense. Could we make that our slogan? Maybe. But the point is, Samsung's US-based Media Solutions Center has reportedly been busy downsizing its workforce, with maybe as many as 15% of its 250 staffers laid off, according to Variety. And the Media Solutions Center is behind the tech firm's most recent efforts in digital music, the bizarrely named Milk Music.

All of which has led to some speculation as to the future of Milk Music, though it may be that the newer Milk Video platform is more at risk, given reports that Kevin Swint - who came to Samsung after running video at iTunes, and who led the launch of Milk Video last year - has also departed the company.

Though we should stress that Samsung, which refused to comment on all this "rumour and speculation" told Variety: "What we can tell you is that Samsung remains committed to delivering engaging, connected entertainment experiences through its Milk platform, and we continue to expand our library of music, video and virtual reality".

Virtual reality milk? Wow. Not even Thatcher could have snatcher-ed that. Well done Samsung, you've just achieved the socialist dream in the form of digital content. Unfortunately that means you will spectacularly if disappointingly fail. Still, there's always money to be made out of idle speculation and nonsense.

BBC cancels Never Mind The Buzzcocks
The BBC has decided to cancel 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' after eighteen years and 28 series. I'll give you a moment to shout 'ABOUT TIME' or 'OH GREAT, EVEN FEWER MUSIC-RELATED SHOWS ON BRITISH TV'. Choose wisely.

The long past its sell by date comedy pop quiz has been coasting somewhat in recent years, and a recent attempt to revive it by bringing back a regular host - in the form of Rhod Gilbert - failed to boost ratings. Prior to that, the show had been hosted by a different guest each week, following the departure of second full-time frontman Simon Amstell in 2008.

The show launched in 1996, with Mark Lamarr as host and Phill Jupitus and Sean Hughes as team captains. Jupitus is the only member of the original line-up to appear in all 28 series, Hughes having left in 2002 to be replaced by Bill Bailey and later Noel Fielding.

In a statement, the BBC said: "After 28 series we've decided not to bring 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' back to the BBC. We'd like to thank the team at Talkback, Rhod Gilbert, all the brilliant hosts over the years, and of course Noel and Phill for the years of enjoyment they've given BBC Two viewers".

Cool. Now cancel 'Later With Jools Holland'.


David Pickard announced as BBC Proms director
General Director at Glyndebourne David Pickard has been announced as the new Director of the BBC Proms. Taking up the role later this year, he will report to the new Controller of BBC Radio 3 Alan Davey. Both roles were previously held by Roger Wright, who left the BBC last year.

Says Davey: "David comes from a background of musical excellence and exploration, and will bring a whole host of fresh ideas to help us ensure the greatest classical music festival in the world continues to provide the place for people to discover and rediscover the best classical music. His achievements at Glyndebourne have included the discovery of exciting new artistic talent and the establishment of a range of new initiatives to bring opera to wider audiences through Glyndebourne's touring, education and digital activities".

Pickard added: "I am honoured to be asked to take up the role of Director, BBC Proms, and to follow in the line of such distinguished predecessors. After fourteen wonderful years at Glyndebourne, I count myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to lead another of this country's most exciting arts organisations".

He went on: "Like so many people, my interest in classical music was inspired by visits to the Proms as a teenager and it has been my privilege to play a role as a contributor for the past 20 years, firstly with the Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment and more recently with the annual Glyndebourne Prom. I look forward now to building on the founding principles of the Proms - to bring world-class classical music to the widest possible audience".

This year's Proms season will be overseen by Edward Blakeman, ahead of Pickard's arrival.


Gigaom to return, Re/code sold
Tech news site Gigaom is returning, having somewhat abruptly shut up shop back in March. And although a brand new post has already appeared on the site, that was just to announce the online publication's own impending resurrection. Operations should resume proper in August.

As previously reported, the venture-capital backed website ceased operations after the company running it announced that, while the news service was as popular as ever, the firm was now "unable to pay its creditors in full".

An Austin-based start-up called Knowingly Corp has now bought some of Gigaom's assets - seemingly including the domain, existing site and archive - with the plan to reboot it all on 15 Aug. Knowingly boss Byron Reese said, knowlingly, I assume, "we are excited to be a chapter of the Gigaom story and look forward to continuing its mission of 'humanising the impact of technology'".

Elsewhere in tech site news, Vox Media, owner of American news site Vox and the naughty contract leaking tech news platform The Verge, has bought another tech news service, Re/code because, well, why not?

"With Re/code, we will extend our leadership of comprehensive tech coverage online, with Re/code's unparalleled expertise in tech business news, to complement the broad consumer appeal of The Verge", said Vox Media yesterday.

Are any of these free-to-access tech sites making any money, I wonder. Oh well, they could always sell t-shirts.

  Approved: Georgia
Domino's latest signing Georgia supported CMU favourite Kelela last night, a show that coincided with the release of her debut single 'Move Systems'.

Having previously worked as a drummer for the likes of Kwes and Kate Tempest, her move out from behind the drum kit is a bold one. On 'Move Systems' she showcases a confident, MIA-esque sound, channelling a mish-mash of grime, post-punk and pop into something both aggressive and melodic.

Details of Georgia's debut album are expected shortly. In the meantime, here's the video for 'Move Systems'.
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The Prodigy announce UK arena tour
The Prodigy have announced a UK arena tour to take place at the end of this year, as they continue to promote new album 'The Day Is My Enemy'. Support on the tour will come from Public Enemy.

Says producer Liam Howlett: "We are hyped to announce we have our old skool heroes Public Enemy joining us on our UK and European tour".

Here are the dates:

24 Nov: Nottingham Capital Arena
26 Nov: Newcastle Arena
27 Nov: Manchester Central Arena
28 Nov: Sheffield Arena
30 Nov: Dublin, 3 Arena
1 Dec: Belfast, Odyssey Arena
3 Dec: Birmingham, Barclaycard Arena
4 Dec: London, Wembley Arena


Gary Numan to perform classic albums in London
Gary Numan will take up residency at The Forum in London in October to perform three of his classic albums in full over three nights. 'Replicas', 'The Pleasure Principle', and 'Telekon' will all be staged live. A retrospective show will then also follow in Manchester.

Announcing the dates, Numan said: "Having spent most of the last two years touring [latest album] 'Splinter', and with another hectic touring schedule being planned for the release of the new album next year, 2015 seems an ideal time to revisit the three albums that changed my life".

He continued: "These three albums are now considered classics and being able to play each one in its entirety, over three nights in London, will be very special for me, and as for the Manchester show, I have some songs planned for that I don't think I've ever played live before. I very rarely look back at past glories but, with these shows, I intend to not only look back, but to celebrate those early days".

Finally, he said: "Without those songs and experiences I wouldn't be here today. 'Splinter' was widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best album I've ever made. With that achievement I've finally learned to be proud of my history, and that's what these shows are all about".

Here are the dates:

21 Oct: London, The Forum - Replicas
22 Oct: London, The Forum - The Pleasure Principle
23 Oct: London, The Forum - Telekon
24 Oct: Manchester, Academy

Canadian Independent Music Association announces 40th anniversary celebrations
The Canadian Independent Music Association has announced details of celebrations to mark its 40th anniversary with a gala and the organisation's first awards ceremony at Toronto's Great Hall.

CIMA President Stuart Johnson said: "This is an exciting milestone for our organisation, as it gives us the opportunity to look back and truly recognise the efforts of our industry's forefathers - the trailblazers who, through talent, skill, entrepreneurship and sheer force of will, shaped the industry and CIMA into what it is today.

He added: "Of course, the Gala and our inaugural awards will also give us the opportunity to recognise the success of today's influential players in the industry. Plus it's a great excuse to have a fun party filled with great Canadian music too",

There will be four awards handed out on the night, the Founders Award, the Brian Chater Leadership Award, the Entrepreneur Award and the Unsung Hero Award.

The Founders Award will go to the founding members of the organisation that became CIMA, Bernie Finkelstein, Stan Klees, Terry Brown, Frank Davies, Tommy Graham, Greg Hambleton, Jack Richardson, Allan Macmillan, Ben McPeek, Art Snider and Paul Clinch.

Meanwhile, the awards with a bit more scope for being handed out on an annual basis will be awarded as follows:

The Brian Chater Leadership Award: Pegi Cecconi, SRO-Anthem
The Entrepreneur Award: Jeffrey Remedios, Arts & Crafts Productions
The Unsung Hero Award: Jack Long, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments

Demi Lovato launches label with Nick Jonas, Dave Stewart signs distribution deal with The Orchard, BMG partners with Kartel on Skint re-issues, and more tales of people getting along

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Demi Lovato and her manager Phil McIntyre (not to be confused with the UK promoter of the same name) have teamed up with that there Nick Jonas to launch a new imprint label with Universal's Island Records US, which will co-release Lovato's next album with her current label Hollywood Records. The new joint venture with Island is called Safehouse Records

• Dave Stewart has signed a worldwide marketing and distribution deal with German music services firm Membran and its new allies at The Orchard, who will now support new artists working with the musician and producer via his Dave Stewart Entertainment company. Remember when Dave Stewart launched a musical bank? No, me neither.

• BMG has announced an alliance with the Kartel Music Group which will see the latter lead on a series of Skint Records re-releases, BMG having acquired the Skint catalogue last year. Kartel will also work with Pledge Music on a bunch of other Skint-related premium products, presumably not aimed at the skint.

• Thom Yorke has written an eighteen day long piece of music to soundtrack a new exhibition of work by Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood in Australia.

• Grimes has told fans on Twitter that her new album will be out in October and will be a surprise release so that the stupid media doesn't get to hear it first.

• Beach House will release their fifth album, 'Depression Cherry', on 28 Aug through Bella Union. They'll also be touring in October, finishing their UK and Ireland run at the Shempire on 30 Oct.

• CMU Approved punk trio Death Crush have released a compilation of their singles to date, which you should listen to.

• GFOTY and Spinee will host another of their Dog Food nights at the Red Gallery in Shoreditch on 13 Jun. Details here.

Snoop doesn't regret sexist lyrics, but now recognises that women are people
Snoop Dogg has decided, in his maturing years, that referring to women as "bitches" and "whores" in his lyrics is not something he should be doing. Though he doesn't regret doing so earlier in his career.

Speaking to Sky News, the rapper said that people shouldn't read too much into anything he says as Snoop Dogg, adding that he had a whole different identify for delivering a more responsible message: "Snoop Lion was more about a reggae experience, to be politically correct, to put a message out, to make music with substance, and that had awareness. Snoop Dogg was going back to being fun, making records that make people party, [that] takes you on a journey of... music. No message intended".

But things have changed in the world of Snoop Dogg too since his 1993 debut album, and that's influenced his lyrics: "What's changed for me is I have a family, I have different perspectives and views on life, I have more concern with life. 20 years ago I had no responsibilities, I was young, I was an ex-gang member that was still affiliated with gangs. I was hard headed, I didn't listen. I had nothing to live for but me".

"I have no regrets", he added, asked about the content of his early lyrics. "I love the makings of Snoop Dogg. I fucking love every minute of it, it's the best shit ever".

But he wouldn't write those lyrics now: "Definitely my attitude has changed towards women. I'm more sensitive and I'm more vulnerable, as far as writing-wise and accepting a woman for being a beautiful person as opposed to me saying she's a 'bitch' or a 'whore'".

"That's how I was trained as I first started", he continued. "And as I grew and fell in love with my wife and started to love my mother and my grandmother and my daughter, I understood what a woman was and I started to write that and express that. So, I have not regrets because I didn't have that in my life, but when I got that in my life, as to better myself, I began to write that and I began to live a better life".

"I'm not disappointed [in the younger Snoop] at all, because he who doesn't know, it's his job to learn to better himself", he concluded. "Once I figured out that there was room to grow and learn and to be a better person, then I incorporated that into everything that I'm doing, and I don't feel like you can be ashamed or mad about not knowing. Like, if you didn't know, you didn't know".

And now he does know, maybe he should write a children's book. Anyway, here's an example of the sort of thing Snoop used to say about women in his youth, on 'I Don't Need No Bitch' way back when in 2011.

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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