|TUESDAY 6 AUGUST 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Vivendi has announced that it is in "preliminary negotiations" with Chinese web giant Tencent about them acquiring a 10% stake in the Universal Music Group... [READ MORE]|
Vivendi confirms talks under way for Tencent to take 10% of Universal Music
The French conglom announced last year, of course, that it was seeking strategic partners interested in buying into its music division, with plans to sell up to 50% of the Universal music business. Vivendi Chair Yannick Bollore confirmed those plans were progressing in an interview in June and then, last month, it was announced that bankers had been appointed to oversee the sale process.
There has been much speculation as to who might bid for a slice of Universal, with Tencent an often mooted bidder. The Chinese firm is the major player in streaming in its home country via an assortment of services, including QQ Music. It also represents many global music right owners in the Chinese digital market and has various other music interests, in China and beyond, including an alliance with Spotify.
In a statement this morning, Vivendi said that it "has entered into preliminary negotiations with Tencent Holdings Limited for a strategic investment totalling 10% of the share capital of Universal Music Group at a preliminary equity valuation of 30 billion euros for 100% of UMG on a fully-diluted basis. In addition, Tencent would have a one-year call option to acquire an additional 10% at the same price and terms".
It added that the two companies are also "considering areas of strategic commercial cooperation". That would include partnerships that could "improve the promotion of UMG's artists, with whom UMG has created the greatest catalogue of recordings and songs ever" and also "identify and promote new talents in new markets".
Concluding, Vivendi said that "this transaction is subject to due diligence on UMG and finalisation of legal documentation", while adding that talks with other possible entities also interested in a minority stake in Universal continue.
R Kelly facing new sex crimes charges in Minnesota
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement yesterday that Kelly met his latest alleged victim in Minneapolis in 2001, while in the city for promotional work. She asked him for an autograph and received his signature along with a phone number, it is alleged.
When she rang the number, she was invited to Kelly's hotel. There she was allegedly offered and accepted $200 to take her clothes off and dance. Kelly then took off his own clothes and danced with her. The girl was seventeen at the time and reportedly made Kelly aware of this fact.
Freeman said that the investigation into the allegations came after a tip was received through a phone line set up by prosecutors in Chicago earlier this year. "We felt we had more than enough to charge based on her testimony and corroboration from her brother", he said.
According to legal papers, the alleged victim told her brother that she had danced for Kelly in return for money shortly afterwards and, although she did not go into further details, "looked very uncomfortable discussing the matter".
"It is despicable that Mr Kelly used his fame in order to prey on underaged girls", Freeman said, according to Variety. "While there are more numerous charges in the Illinois and federal cases, we wanted to make sure that our victim here in Minneapolis also receives a measure of justice. We fully expect that at some future date, Mr Kelly will have to account for his actions in Hennepin County".
Responding to the new claims on Twitter, Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg tweeted: "Give me a break. This is beyond absurd". Meanwhile, in a statement to Fox News he added: "That case is a pure publicity grab by the prosecutor".
Movie industry sets out piracy priorities in submission to US report on pirated goods
"Although there are differences between counterfeiting and piracy, as well as between hard-goods piracy and online piracy", they write, "a number of measures could help mitigate all such intellectual property infringement. [Therefore] we ask that the final report, and any administration action, address online piracy in addition to counterfeiting and piracy of hard goods".
The organisations putting their name to the submission are the Motion Picture Association Of America, The Independent Film & Television Alliance, CreativeFuture and the union for American performers and media types, SAG-AFTRA.
They list four main priorities, kicking off with safe harbour. However, the submission makes a relatively modest request regarding those internet companies that facilitate IP infringement but which, because of the safe harbour, cannot be held liable for the infringing activity.
"We request", they write, that "the administration continue urging user-generated content platforms and internet intermediaries to collaborate with the creative community on voluntary best practices to curb copyright infringement".
Other than YouTube and its ilk, the other "internet intermediaries" the film industry groups have in mind include payment processors, online advertising networks, online marketplaces, domain name providers, web hosting services, reverse proxy providers and social media.
Additional requests in the document include that the US government "encourage the Department Of Justice to bring criminal actions against entities engaged in online copyright infringement", and that "the level of copyright protection and enforcement abroad" be raised in all ongoing trade negotiations.
And finally, it asks the US government to put pressure on internet domain name overseer ICANN regarding information contained in its WHOIS database. The movie companies complain that "an over-application of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation" by some domain name registrars has made it harder for IP owners to access information about the operators of some websites.
To that end, it would like the administration to "persist in pressing ICANN to restore access to WHOIS data - which is essential to curbing piracy and illicit online conduct generally - and support legislation [forcing it to act] if ICANN fails to do so soon".
It remains to be seen if the Department Of Commerce does indeed put the spotlight onto online piracy as part of its pirated goods report and - if so - whether it tackles the issues raised by the movie companies.
If it does, the music industry would likely push for more prolific action in some areas, particularly when it comes to the liabilities of safe harbour dwelling user-upload platforms.
Bauer announces further sharing of shows on its local radio network
It means that from 2 Sep the Wes Butters fronted drivetime show that already airs on Bauer's national and Manchester-based Hits Radio franchises will also go out on Metro Radio, TFM, Rock FM, Radio City, Hallam FM, Radio Aire, Viking FM and the four local outposts of Free Radio in the West Midlands. That said, more localised news and travel will continue to be aired during that time slot.
Both Bauer and its rival Global have been busy capitalising of late on the latest changes to the rules that govern AM and FM radio stations in the UK. Media regulator OfCom has allowed a further reduction of locally-made programming on the local AM/FM stations run by the bigger radio groups, which already shared the majority of their output.
In recent years those stations have generally run local shows in the two key peak time slots during the week - breakfast and drivetime - and at some point during the day at the weekend. But earlier this year Global announced that it was reducing the number of breakfast and drivetime shows on its Capital, Heart and Smooth stations. Then Bauer announced plans to cut back on local programming at the weekend and to network more shows on its Free Radio stations.
Confirming the latest cut backs during drivetime, Bauer Media's Gary Stein told RadioToday: "Our ambition is first and foremost to provide programming best suited to the needs of our listeners in a rapidly evolving media landscape. Our research has identified an opportunity to create a new drive show that combines all the elements our listeners want - high-quality relatable presenters that connect with our audience alongside all the local news, traffic and travel and other local information important to them".
Acknowledging that the move means a number of DJs will be exiting the company at the start of next month, Stein added: "I'd like to personally thank our drivetime broadcast teams for their professionalism and tremendous contribution. We wish them the very best for the future".
Gold Panda samples Hilary Woods on new single, Transactional Relationship
The track samples 'Sever' by Hilary Woods, from her 2018 album 'Colt'. "I had a track nearly done [when I] bought the Hilary Woods LP after seeing her support Low at the Barbican and decided to give it a play during a tea break", the producer explains.
"There were bits that went really well with what I'd made", he goes on, "so I decided to chop parts up in my MPC and layered them over my track, thus ruining Hilary's song for evermore. I did a sort of 'live take' and that was it".
As well as this standalone single, Gold Panda has been in the studio working on more new music. So new albums as both Gold Panda and Selling - his project with Simian Mobile Disco's Jas Shaw - are forthcoming.
Funeral For A Friend reunite for dying fan
The band split in 2016, playing a farewell show at The Forum in London in May that year. Upon learning of long-time fan Stuart Brothers' diagnosis, the band say they wanted to do something to support him and his family. Initially planning to auction off memorabilia, they then decided to go the whole hog and reunite.
The band say in a statement: "Recently, a man who can quite legitimately lay claim to being the world's biggest FFAF fan (both literally and figuratively!), our friend Stuart 'Big Stu' Brothers, has been stricken with a terrible illness which has ultimately led to a terminal prognosis. Last month, Stu was given a few short weeks to live by his doctors".
"As Stu's friends, we wanted to do something to help; particularly for his family and three young sons, who are going through unspeakable trauma right now", they go on. "We discussed the possibility of auctioning off some FFAF memorabilia (which we'll still do), but it became apparent that the way in which we could best help Stu was to perform some fundraising shows, with the proceeds going directly to his family".
And so, the band will play The Globe in Cardiff on 28 Oct and London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on 29 Oct. The line-up for the show will feature vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye, guitarists Kris Coombs-Roberts and Gavin Burrough, and bassist Richard Boucher - all of whom were part of the final line-up in 2016, plus guitarist Darran Smith, who left the band in 2010, and drummer Ryan Richards, who left in 2012.
Tickets for the shows will go on sale via the Funeral For A Friend website on Friday. The band have also set up a JustGiving page to raise further funds for Brothers.
Bon Iver have scheduled listening parties around the world for new album ''I, I' on 7 Aug. That's tomorrow. In the UK, you can hear it in Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester and, of course, Totnes. Full details here.
Conor Maynard has released the video for new single 'Not Over You'.
Noel Gallagher and those High Flying Birds have released new single 'This Is The Place' - the title track of the band's new EP, out on 27 Sep.
Killswitch Engage have released the video for recent single 'I Am Broken Too'.
Bat For Lashes has released the video for new single 'The Hunger'.
The Joy Formidable have announced a tenth anniversary edition of their debut EP, 'A Balloon Called Moaning'. The repackaged edition will include a newly recorded Welsh language version of the full EP. From that, here's 'Whirring' - retitled 'Chwyrlio'.
GIGS & TOURS
The David Bowie Alumni - a band made up of former members of a number of Bowie's touring bands - will play two UK shows in January. They'll hit Manchester's Ritz on 23 Jan and the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on 25 Jan. Information.
The Howl & The Hum have announced their biggest UK tour to date, including a show at London's Scala. The band recently released new single, 'Human Contact'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Capital breakfast show double swear broke rules, says Ofcom
The swearing happened in a feature called Don't Hang Up, in which listeners can nominate friends and family members to receive a prank call. Kemp calls the prankee, speaking to them for several minutes, attempting to wind them up about something that is in no way funny to anyone except the person who nominated them. So, classic breakfast show radio.
There's even a celebrity edition of the feature where Danny Dyer is called about a skip on his drive, which Kemp says is illegal. Dyer then says that he will contest the £5000 fine he is told he will have to pay. His wife, who nominated him to be pranked, laughed a lot. Imagine! A fine! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!
Anyway, there was one edition of this 'comedy' feature that was actually funny, because someone failed to edit the swearing out of it. And swearing is funny. Especially at 6.10am, when this particular swearing happened. "I'm not picking it up from fucking Leeds", said the person on the other end of the line in the pre-recorded segment. What was this in reference to? It doesn't matter, that was the only funny bit.
Of course, it's not so funny if your job is to not broadcast swearing on the radio first thing in the morning. So Kemp quickly apologised to his listeners after the segment had aired with this heartfelt statement: "Just a quick note just to apologise on our behalf if you heard any bad language during Don't Hang Up this morning. Just so that's an apology on our behalf for any bad language you may have heard this morning".
The feature was due to be broadcast a second time later in the same show. But by then, of course, the bad swearing would have been edited out. Having heard the 'fucking' on its first airing, there's no way they would let that go out a second time without a quick edit or a bleep being inserted, would they? Yes, they fucking would. Sure, it was 8.15am second time round, but apparently that still counts as a time when swearing isn't allowed.
In a slightly more flustered statement, Kemp apologised again, saying: "Well I just want to say just really quickly, I'm so sorry for any bad language that you heard inside that Don't Hang Up. It does get quite intense in there sometimes, it really does. But yes, apologies on our behalf for that one".
Despite the apologies, Ofcom got right on Capital's back and demanded answers about what the hell happened. Especially second time round. The station blamed a technical error for the second broadcast, and said that it had now introduced a new system to ensure no swearing will ever again feature in the Don't Hang Up calls once they make it to air.
That system? Two producers not involved in recording the call will now have to listen, with the Executive Producer and the Senior Executive Producer doing a final check before anything can be broadcast. The whole show now also broadcasts on a slight delay, rather than just when there is a live guest, allowing sneaky on-the-fly edits if necessary.
In its conclusion, Ofcom said that it was "concerned that this pre-recorded package was broadcast twice, despite the licensee clearly being aware that it included the most offensive language after its first broadcast". It added that "it would be a further concern to Ofcom if any other breaches of this type occurred".
So, there you go. Any other radio shows running prank call features, you have a great opportunity here to call Roman Kemp and tell him you're from Ofcom and he's breached the rules again. Tell him he'll have to pay a fine. Imagine! A fine! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!