FRIDAY 12 JUN 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Blinkbox Music is up for sale again, just in case you were kicking yourself for not picking up the streaming service when Tesco was flogging it off late last year. Though this time you won't get any Clubcard points. As previously reported, flagging Tesco decided to sell off its digital content business Blinkbox last year, ultimately selling the video-on-demand bit to TalkTalk and the music... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Congo Natty is playing Koko on Saturday night. I love Congo Natty. Formerly known as Rebel MC, he's an influential figure on the UK underground, these days performing music that leans heavily on early jungle. Also on the bill are dubster extraordinaire Adrian Sherwood and Tectonic founder Pinch presenting a new collaboration, plus DJ Krust and OM Unit. It's gonna be a bass... [READ MORE]
   
LATEST CMU PODCAST: The CMU Podcast is back everybody! So listen, download and subscribe. This week CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including Apple's big music announcement, The Arches in Glasgow closing down, Kobalt's new collecting society, and why Walmart hates Justin Bieber. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [READ MORE]
   
BEEF OF THE WEEK: There's a thing called Godwin's Law, which states that the longer any discussion on the internet continues, the higher the probability that someone will compare someone or something to the Nazis. But that rule also applies outside the internet, and can apparently be proven in a matter of moments by giving Elton John a microphone. The musician was performing at Kingsholm... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Blinkbox Music back up for sale as company goes into administration
CMU Podcast returns
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LEGAL BB King estate hearing pushed back
Warner Music submits settlement over internships litigation
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LIVE BUSINESS AEG further expands its ticketing interest
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Muse track premium only on Spotify, but no shift in "content approach"
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE Beggars boss pays tribute to former Bauhaus tour manager and Beggars staffer
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AWARDS Kerrang! Awards presented
London Music Awards presented
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ONE LINERS HMV selling CDs, CAA selling Beyonce, Warner getting in on the War On Drugs, and more
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #259: Elton John v The Woman In The Ponytail
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Blinkbox Music back up for sale as company goes into administration
Blinkbox Music is up for sale again, just in case you were kicking yourself for not picking up the streaming service when Tesco was flogging it off late last year. Though this time you won't get any Clubcard points.

As previously reported, flagging Tesco decided to sell off its digital content business Blinkbox last year, ultimately selling the video-on-demand bit to TalkTalk and the music element to Guvera, the Australian firm that is rapidly expanding its streaming service around the world. The January deal was seen as providing Guvera with a platform via which to launch in the UK market, with the company talking up the "technical expertise" and "established loyal audience" it had accessed via the acquisition.

But then in recent months we started to hear of a number of redundancies at the company, before yesterday it was confirmed that the Blinkbox Music company had been put into administration, with City AM reporting that a total of 100 staff have now been laid off.

A statement from Blinkbox Music's administrators Smith & Williamson read: "The company has faced significant financial pressure in recent months, since its acquisition by the Guvera Group. This is a highly competitive industry and despite an active user base the business has continued to struggle financially".

It went on: "[The company] has sought to undertake a financial restructuring, and has reduced staff numbers. However, these financial pressures have continued to grow, and the company's director, after trying to achieve a quick sale of the company/business, was faced with little choice but to place the company into administration".

It's thought a management buy out was attempted before the business was put into administration. The administrators are now trying to seek a buyer, with eight of the firm's Oxford-based staff kept on in the meantime, though it's not clear quite who would want the business, despite its stated 2.8 million sign-ups and 200,000 active users.

Given Guvera already has an established brand, and generally utilises the platforms of company's like 7digital and Omnifone in other territories, the assumption was always that, ultimately, the Aussie firm was mainly interested in acquiring the user-base of Tesco's streaming service.

Despite getting a relatively good deal for those 2.8 million email addresses, it's possible the liabilities Guvera took on as part of the deal were too great, given the vast majority of those users are not seemingly active. Though whether the Australian firm could try and buy just the database through the administration remains to be seen.

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CMU Podcast returns
Like a child character in your favourite soap opera, two years ago the CMU Podcast nipped out for a pint of milk and was never heard of again. But now it's returning, all grown up and inappropriately dressed, and we're all duty bound to never mention either the two year absence or the fact that Todd is now clearly being played by another actor.

Which is a round about way of saying: the CMU Podcast is back! Once again we'll be providing you with a weekly round up of the biggest stories, the best tracks and the silliest moments in music and the music business, all in a handy audio format.

And in today's first edition CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke discuss what the launch of Apple Music means for the streaming sector, what caused Glasgow venue The Arches to close, why Kobalt has just bought itself a collecting society, and why Walmart employees hate Justin Bieber so much.

You can listen right now right here on the CMU website, but you should subscribe to make sure you never miss an edition. You can do this on an assortment of platforms, including iTunes, SoundCloud, audioBoom, Mixcloud and RSS. So no excuses.

The all-new CMU Podcast has been made possible by 7digital, which is sponsoring the weekly music business digest, which will be recorded each week at the company's Unique Facilities studios in London.

Confirming his company's support for the weekly podcast, 7digital CEO Simon Cole said: "Anyone working in the music industry knows how rapidly things change these days, and it's great that there are services like CMU to help keep us all up to date with the latest developments. We're really pleased to support the relaunch of the popular CMU Podcast, a weekly round up in audio form, now recorded in our own Unique Facilities studio at 7digital's London headquarters. As a provider of both music and radio services, it's great to be supporting a radio-style programme about the music business".

BB King estate hearing pushed back
The expected court hearing later today to consider the previously reported dispute over BB King's estate has been postponed to 22 Jun. The rescheduling means that the judge who heads the probate courts in Las Vegas will now hear the dispute.

As previously reported, some of the late blues legend's children have made allegations against their father's long-time business manager and personal assistant, LaVerne Toney and Myron Johnson respectively. The former is named as executor in King's will, and some of the children are attempting to block that appointment.

Legal reps for Toney and Johnson have rejected all the claims made against their clients, calling them "spurious and unjustified allegations".

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Warner Music submits settlement over internships litigation
Warner Music this week submitted papers to a federal court in Manhattan proposing a settlement to the previously reported class action lawsuit that claimed the US side of the music major broke employment laws by taking on unpaid or very low paid interns.

Part of a crackdown on unpaid internships that has occurred in the media and entertainment industries in both the US and the UK, two former Warner Music interns sued, with over 3000 former interns being subsequently contacted once the case became a class action.

Warner indicated that it planned to settle the 2014 litigation earlier this year, though terms of that settlement only became clear earlier this week. $4.2 million is set to be paid over, with people who interned at the company without pay as far back as 2007 set to receive some cash, likely to be equivalent to what their work would have earned at minimum wage.

According to Reuters, the deal is limited to 1135 claimants, which possibly relates to those who came forward when contacted last year. The deal also needs court approval to go ahead. Meanwhile the mini-major says: "We continue to stand by our internship programme as an invaluable educational experience for students looking to obtain hands-on, real-world training".

AEG further expands its ticketing interest
While Live Nation may have nabbed Front Gate Tickets, in which AEG previously had a stake, the latter live music major is still expanding its ticketing interests. Its tickets company, Outbox AXS, is merging with paperless ticketing firm Veritix. The deal puts the latter's ticket management technology in common ownership with AEG's consumer-facing AXS branded ticketing platform, which is most prominent in the US.

AEG, of course, moved into ticketing in response to rival Live Nation merging with Ticketmaster in 2010. Veritix grew out of the sporting industry, and therefore gives the AXS business a big boost in this domain, the wider AEG being prolific in (especially American) sports as well as music, of course.

Confirming the deal, Outbox AXS CEO Bryan Perez said: "This partnership is about more than ticketing. It's about combining the best technology and services to create the only platform in the industry that engages with consumers beyond ticketing through every phase of the event lifecycle".

Muse track premium only on Spotify, but no shift in "content approach"
OK, so Spotify may have made one track on the new Muse album available to premium users only. But hey you, don't be thinking that this is some clever new form of mild-windowing designed to make premium more attractive than freemium. Possibly in a bid to placate those in the music industry getting all nervous about the market-leading streaming service's free option.

Now, I know that by me just saying that, you all think it might be, don't you? But stop it. Because that's not the reason at all. It's so not the reason, I think I need to write IT'S NOT THE REASON in capital letters. Believe me now? Good. The premium-only Muse track on Spotify is all just the result of some Sony PlayStation brand partnership record flogging marketing campaign dib dab nonsense that we really don't need to know about.

Look, Spotify told Music Ally: "This is just a unique offer within a bespoke joint marketing campaign with Sony PlayStation, rather than a shift in our content approach". So there you go. And now we know that "content" and "approach" are two words that can be put together if you so wish.

Of course, with many people in the music industry reckoning that - while Spotify freemium is doing a good job of selling Spotify premium - ultimately there needs to be more to distinguish the free service from the paid-for option, things like this could be part of that. But down the line, OK? Once Spotify is ready to shift its content approach. And not a moment sooner.

Meanwhile, here's Eddy TM in the CMU archives calling Muse's Matt Bellamy a cunt. Good times.

Beggars boss pays tribute to former Bauhaus tour manager and Beggars staffer
Beggars Group boss Martin Mills has paid tribute to Pete Edwards, former tour manager and sound man for Bauhaus and others, who died last weekend.

In a post on his company's website from earlier this week, Mills wrote: "We've just received the very sad news that our dear Pete Edwards passed away over the weekend, after a long illness. Pete Edwards, aka Plug The Roadie, originally came to us through, and worked with, The Lurkers, our very first band, and went on to tour the world as tour manager and sound man for Bauhaus and Love And Rockets, becoming legendary in the process".

Mills went on: "After leaving the road he became buildings manager at Beggars, and was our rock until he fell ill. Pete was a fundamental part of the history and fabric of Beggars, and we and I will miss him greatly".

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Congo Natty at Koko
Congo Natty is playing Koko on Saturday night. I love Congo Natty. Formerly known as Rebel MC, he's an influential figure on the UK underground, these days performing music that leans heavily on early jungle.

Also on the bill are dubster extraordinaire Adrian Sherwood and Tectonic founder Pinch presenting a new collaboration, plus DJ Krust and OM Unit. It's gonna be a bass heavy night.

Saturday 13 Jun, Koko, 1A Camden High Street, London, NW1 7JE, 9pm-1am, £14-18. More info here.
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Kerrang! Awards presented
It being the Download Festival this weekend, there's the customary accompanying rawk events in London this week and next, with the rather fine first edition of the RockComm conference at Rich Mix earlier this week, while, as always, both Kerrang! and Metal Hammer are in gong-dishing-out mode.

The latter's Golden Gods are next week, while the Relentless Kerrang! Awards were last night and, while this long list of winners does look pretty relentless, don't worry, they don't actually hand out every prize on the night.

And at least everyone was nice and dry for these proceedings. As in they weren't damp. Not that they weren't boozing (this was the Kerrang! Awards after all). Whereas - given this weekend's forecast - when the rock fraternity regroup post-Download for the Golden Gods, I'd expect a bit more overall dampness.

Anyway, here are a bunch of winners...

Best British Band: Bring Me The Horizon
Best Live Band: Black Veil Brides
Best International Band: All Time Low
Best British Newcomer: Royal Blood
Best International Newcomer: Pvris
Best Fanbase: Pierce The Veil
Tweeter Of The Year: Hayley Williams

Best Single: Enter Shikari - Anaesthetist
Best Album: Marmozets - The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets
Best Video: New Years Day
Best Event: All Time Low
Best Festival: Slam Dunk

Best Film: Guardians Of The Galaxy
Best TV Show: Adventure Time
Best Radio Show: Nights With Alice Cooper On Planet Rock
Best Video Game: The Walking Dead
Best Comic Book: The Walking Dead
Best Comedian: Russell Howard

Spirit Of Independence: Baby Metal
Spirit Of Punk: Slaves
Inspiration: Judas Priest
Kerrang! Legend: Alice Cooper
The Relentless Award: Rolo Tomassi
Lifetime Achievement: Marilyn Manson

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London Music Awards presented
While Kerrang! fans had to make do with Andrew WK and Skindred's Benji Webb as hosts for their big night out, across town rock god Boris Johnson was hosting another music awards event: the second ever London Music Awards. Well, he gave the opening speech. Because this event is organised by the Mayor's Music Fund, which can usually be found providing grants and support to young people who are learning to make and play music.

Ahead of the proceedings, that there Johnson bloke told reporters: "An unbeatable mix of ingredients has helped make London the music capital of the world. Our city has produced amazingly talented musicians, who have gone on to conquer the globe. We have fantastic live music venues both large and small, where they hone their craft"

Focusing on the music education programmes and young musical talent the London Music Awards were set up to celebrate, the London mayor went on: "As the London Music Awards show, schools across London are providing a fine musical education. And there are the enthusiasts and supporters, both inside and outside the music industry, who back creative talent and help promote a sector that attracts audiences in their millions and is a massive earner for our country's economy. These awards are a celebration of London as a city of music and the talented individuals that bring so much joy to our lives".

Winners were as follows...

Outstanding Mayor's Music Scholars
Krum Didov, Hounslow
Louis Lodder, Hackney
Ibrahim Vatansever, Southwark
Aissha Jalloh, Tower Hamlets

Music Excellence In Schools:
Akiva School, Barnet
Camden School for Girls, Camden
Kingsmead Primary School, Hackney
Nelson Primary School, Newham
Preston Manor School, Brent
Townley Grammar School, Bexley
Trinity Special School, Barking & Dagenham
Twyford C of E High School, Ealing

Rising Stars
Classical: Belle Chen
Jazz: Phil Meadows
Rock & Pop: Espa
Dance & Electronica: Ibibio Sound Machine
Composer/Songwriter: Laura Doggett

Outstanding Musical Partnership: Firebird
Londoners' Favourite Music Venue: The Green Note
Music Philanthropist: Jonathan Moulds
Global Export: Sir Cameron Mackintosh
London Legend: Ray Davies CBE

HMV selling CDs, CAA selling Beyonce, Warner getting in on the War On Drugs, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Following the news last month that HMV was returning to mail-order CD selling, the all-new HMV store is now seemingly up and running. I nearly bought a Maroon 5 CD to check it was fully working. But I backed down at the final hurdle. Not even I am willing to make that sacrifice for you guys.

• Beyonce has switched from ICM to CAA as her booking agent for touring. She will remain with ICM for all her many acting projects. Like that time she had to pretend to give a shit about Tidal.

• The War On Drugs have signed a new record deal with Warner's Atlantic Records. The band will release their fourth album through the label at some point, I'd imagine.

• BBC Worldwide France is releasing a documentary about Daft Punk, called 'Daft Punk Unchained' and directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre. It features contributions from Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Kanye West, Michel Gondry and more. It'll receive its world premiere on 24 Jun on Canal+ in France.

• Lorde is "making tunes and getting Oreo milkshakes" with Disclosure.

• Carly Rae Jepsen will really really really really really really release her new album 'E•MO•TION' on 21 Aug.

• Foals will release their new album, 'What Went Down', on 28 Aug. The first single will receive its radio premiere next week. For now, here's a teaser trailer.

• Joe Flory will release his second album as Amateur Best on 2 Oct. Here's first single 'Marzipan'.

• Keen beans Enter Shikari have announced UK tour dates for February 2016. Here's a video detailing the, er, details.

• Modest Mouse will be touring the UK next month. Go to modestmouse.com for full dates and to watch the video for new single 'Lampshades On Fire'.

• Japanese 'death jazz' quintet Soil & "Pimp" Sessions will be in the UK for a number of shows over the next month. They'll play the Jazz Café in London on 7 Jul for example. Full dates here.

CMU Beef Of The Week #259: Elton John v The Woman In The Ponytail
There's a thing called Godwin's Law, which states that the longer any discussion on the internet continues, the higher the probability that someone will compare someone or something to the Nazis. But that rule also applies outside the internet, and can apparently be proven in a matter of moments by giving Elton John a microphone.

The musician was performing at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester on Sunday, when he apparently noticed stewards asking members of the audience to stop waving their hands in the air. This raises various questions, but the quick-tempered John was not about to ask any of them.

"I came here to play music, now all you stewards down there, especially the woman in the pony tail, fucking lighten up will you?" He shouted, according to ITV News. "These people have come to hear music and if they want to put their hands in the air let them. This is not fucking China, so piss off".

Yeah, China, that's right. The country where everything is restricted, including arms. But we weren't looking for a China comparison, were we? Let's continue...

"You've got a fucking uniform on and you think you're Hitler and you're not", he went on (I can confirm that the steward was in fact not Hitler). "You can piss off! I mean really. Don't have any sympathy with her, this is a concert OK?"

Unfortunately, it quickly became difficult for the audience not to have sympathy towards the woman when she walked away visibly crying. As you might when a famous man calls you the Chinese Hitler in front of 12,000 people.

Noting that this was perhaps not going quite as he had hoped, John then told the audience that he was sorry for upsetting the steward. "I really apologise, it's not good enough to say [what I said]. But whoever told the stewards to be restricting [people waving their arms], that's their fucking fault and not hers. So I apologise to her and I would be willing to apologise to her face. So if she comes up now I'll give her a big hug. Come on, you're doing your job. But it's so frustrating, if people want to wave their hands don't tell them to stop. It's a musical event".

I think I would have told him to fuck off at this point, but I realise it's probably hard to say "no" when a famous man offers to apologise for calling you the Chinese Hitler in front of 12,000 people. So the woman, identified as being called Marie by tweeting audience members, got up on stage, got her hug, and then Elton sang 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' for her (and the audience too, who had, after all, paid for him to sing songs).

"It was highly inappropriate", he told her as she sat beside him, according to Mail Online. "I got frustrated. I know no one should ever talk to a lady like that and I'm very sorry".

I'm pretty sure you shouldn't talk that way to people in general, but I guess John's commitment to be more polite to the ladies is a start. And hopefully it's a lesson learned for the singer. Although I think the lesson he really needs to learn is that live music is far more enjoyable for everyone if all involved stand still in complete silence. I don't want to come across like a Nazi from China, but I don't think arm waving is an acceptable expression of joy in any situation.

Also, while I'm on my high horse, musicians: When you ask people to clap their hands to the music and get annoyed when they don't, the reason they're not is because everyone feels like a dickhead clapping their hands in time with music. Especially above their head. Please stop this madness.

Things are going to be much more fun when I'm in charge, I tell you.

 
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 | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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 3CM UnLimited 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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