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MANDELSON MAKES THREE-STRIKE ANNOUNCEMENT AT C&BINET
But first, yesterday one of the main events was EMI Music boss Elio Leoni-Sceti being interviewed by Wall Street Journal hack Patience Wheatcroft. According to Billboard, he admitted that the music industry was suffering "because of the lack of innovation at one end and because of the lack of regulation on the other".
Dwelling on the latter half of that observation - which made sense, given expectations regarding Mandelson's speech - he spoke up in support of a three-strike style system for combating online piracy, adding that "[the UK government] needs to legislate, so that there is a very clear reference [to copyright in the digital domain]. This can and should happen as soon as possible to clear the parameters of what is allowed".
Asked about the carrot that can accompany the big stick of three-strikes, Sceti observed that "as long as legal models are more enjoyable than illegal ones then we're moving in the right direction". Which is, of course, a definite truism, though the people behind those enjoyable legal music services might wonder if Sceti therefore plans to completely overhaul his company's attitude to digital licensing, something some argue is necessary across the record industry if Spotify-style platforms are to survive once the venture capital runs out.
The government's IP man, David Lammy, was also on hand to give the politician's take on the need for copyright reform. He waffled a bit about the need to simplify copyright law, to make it accommodate the nature of content consumption in the digital age, and to provide some sort of private copying right to consumers, none of which is especially controversial among either content owners, technology firms or consumer rights groups, and therefore begs the question "yeah Lammy, why you telling us this, why don't you just do it, you muppet?" Though I'm sure everyone at C&binet was far too polite to say so. You see, this is why I should make the effort to attend these things.
He also talked about the European element of copyright reform, which is fair enough, though you can't help thinking the line "ah, but, think about the international dimension" is primarily a delaying tactic when used by a politician. Whatever, given Lammy's initial criticism of the three-strikes system, and the impression it is Mandleson that has led the change of heart on this issue within government, rather than Dave, I'm not sure anyone cares what Lammy's department is doing just now. Content owners simply hope Mandelson can get three-strikes on the statute book before he, the Lammy man and the rest of their posse are kicked out at next May's General Election.
And so to Mandleson's big three-strikes announcement, which came this morning. We've all known since August that, despite previous government resistance to the three-strikes proposal, Mandelson would try and get some sort of 'graduate response' deterrent through parliament before next year's Election. ie A new law that would force internet service providers to send out warning letters to those who persistently access and share unlicensed content, and to then suspend the net access of those who still continue to infringe.
A consultation has been ongoing ever since, with most of the content owners, and relevant trade unions, piling in with their support for the proposals, while the trade bodies for featured artists, songwriters, producers and their managers, alongside net firms and consumer rights bodies, expressed their concerns.
This morning Mandelson confirmed a variation of three-strikes would be in the Digital Economy Bill due to be put before parliament next month. It would become law in April 2010, and warning letters would be sent out with immediate effect (presumably to the same people who received letters through the record industry and ISP sector's voluntary anti-piracy programme last year). If file-sharing doesn't drop by 70% in a year - which it probably won't - net suspensions will begin in April 2011. It would take at least three months for net suspensions to actually happen, presumably because some sort of judicial procedure and opportunity to appeal will need to take place.
According to the Guardian, Mandelson told the C&binet: "The British government's view is that taking people's work without due payment is wrong and that, as an economy based on creativity, we cannot sit back and do nothing as this happens. [This is] a proportionate measure that will give people ample awareness and opportunity to stop breaking the rules. The threat for persistent individuals is, and has to be, real, or no effective deterrent to breaking the law will be in place".
As for who will pay for all this, Mandelson said he expects both content owners and net firms to contribute.
Given all the uncertainty there is in political circles at the moment, and the potential for these proposals to be tweaked, changed and loudly objected to as they hit parliament, Mandelson's timeline - which will probably be too soon for those against three-strikes, and not soon enough for the content owners - may or may not become a reality. What is certain is there is likely to be much more debate on this issue before the year is out.
As we've said 4317 times before - copyright law really should be more specific on what rights copyright owners have online, and needs to provide a way to protect those rights other than the totally ineffective option of suing individual consumers. That said, even the more draconian kind of three-strikes is unlikely to actually stop file-sharing - which is increasingly hidden and offline - and the content industries should really think hard about what they have to gain, commercially, before investing too much time and money, and lost public goodwill, into the three-strike system.
SPOTIFY LAUNCH TV AD, DISCOUNT PROMOTION RUNS OUT MONDAY
Spotify have been offering both new and existing premium subscribers the option to reduce their monthly subscription rate from the standard ten pounds a month for a six month period. Special codes have been emailed out which can be redeemed for a discounted subscription. Said subscribers can continue to access the streaming music service without ads, and use the Spotify mobile app, but have to do so knowing that they are beneficiaries of the insurance firm that brought us *that* Iggy Pop ad.
Initial reports suggested a one pound discount, meaning the service would cost £8.99 a month. Billboard has reported a special price of £6.49, while many bloggers say they have received emails offering them a five pound a month subscription. Pocket-Lint.com says it is aware of £9, £8 and £5 offers, though it isn't clear who is being offered what and why.
The discounts, which have been available since last week, come as both Napster and Sky launch rival services to Spotify, both undercutting Spotify's ten pounds a month rate, and both bundling some free MP3s into the subscription package.
In related news, Spotify have launched their first TV ad in home country Sweden. The service has, to date, recruited subscribers mainly through word of mouth and the subsequent press coverage, though some reckon more above the line marketing will be needed if it wants to break into the mainstream music market.
CLAPTON MISSES HALL OF FAME FOR SURGERY
A statement issued by the guitarist's publicist said that he be "recuperating at home in the UK and is very sorry to disappoint the fans and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame".
The two nights of concerts will feature performances by U2, Aretha Franklin, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Annie Lennox, so Clapton's not exactly going to be missed.
BET AWARDS HONOUR ICE CUBE
The high point of the evening, however, was an impassioned speech from hip hop veteran Ice Cube, who was given the 'I Am Hip Hop' Lifetime Achievement Award, and who urged everyone in the genre to push themselves creatively, before pointing out that he is better than all of them.
He said: "We gotta do what we feel. We can't be slave to video programmer, radio programmers, or A&Rs. We gotta be slave to our own creative minds. To all the older rappers, keep doing what you doing. Don't let the industry push you out. As long as you got a tongue, you aint too old to rap. BET, I hope you give out two of these, because I have a whole 'nother life of work ahead of me".
Here's the full list of winners:
Verizon People's Champ: Fabolous - Throw It In The Bag (feat. The Dream)
PULP NOT REFORMING
Cocker was quoted by The People on Sunday as saying: "Glastonbury means an awful lot to me, I would love to play there again. We've talked about it, there we go; there'll be a band reunion".
However, he told Teletext's Planet Sound yesterday: "I can categorically tell Teletext that Pulp have no plans to get back together. Someone asked me if I fancied playing at the 40th anniversary of Glastonbury, I said yes, they twisted that into a 'Pulp reform' story. It's not true".
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS GET NEW BASSIST
LIMP BIZKIT IN THE STUDIO
Well, whatever, Fred Durst has been talking about it. Here's what he said: "We have recorded what we feel is our most addictive album yet - instrumentally. I am in process of doing vocals now in my home studio. So far I am four songs deep and moving along with confidence and grace. We haven't committed to an album title yet, but we know of one we like. [The] release date will be a soon as I am finished. A single and video will be out way before that".
COLD WAR KIDS ANNOUNCE NEW EP
Here's what they had to say on the matter: "We will be releasing a four song EP called 'Behave Yourself' on 19 Jan. We made a one minute video with our friend Vern to give you a preview of the songs and the video for 'Audience' that will come soon. We had a great time filming it in San Pedro; in our rehearsal space, skating on the docks, driving on the bluffs, shaving in the tide pools and being nude in a friend of a friend's bathroom".
They added that they are currently working on their third album, which will also be released at some point next year.
AN EXPERIMENT ANNOUNCE NEW EP
The band will play an in-store performance at Rough Trade East on 16 Nov, where you will be able to buy advance vinyl copies of the Steve Albini-produced EP.
You can listen to one track from the EP, 'Only In Death', right now on the band's MySpace page: www.myspace.com/anexperimentonabirdintheairpump
JACKSON PREMIERE TAKES PLACE WORLDWIDE
The LA screening was attended by Jackson's brothers and Jackson Five bandmates Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Randy, as well as the film's director, Kenny Ortega, who while introducing it called it "the last sacred document of our leader and friend".
Those were not sentiments echoed by some fans in London though, who have started a campaign they are calling This Is Not It, and staged a protest in Leicester Square last night. They believe those previously reported rumours that AEG Live are using 'This Is It' to try to show Jackson was in good health in the week's before his death, in a bid to counter suggestions they worked him too hard, in part causing his death. Footage, these fans say, has been selectively picked to hide what they claim was Jackson's actual ill-health. AEG have, of course, already denied those rumours, claiming film studio Sony had complete control over what footage was used.
Far from showing Jacko in too good a light, Jermaine Jackson said he feared fans might be disappointed with his late brother's rehearsal performances, which make up a chunk of the film, because, he says, the singer would never put as much effort into a practice performance than the real thing. He told reporters: "We're going to see him going through the motions, not giving 1000% because he's making sure everyone else is going to do their part but, at the same time, once he got on that stage, he was going to give them 100,000%".
Whatever, having seen the film Jackson's friend Elizabeth Taylor said it was: "The single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen".
WALL OF SOUND CELEBRATE FIFTEEN YEARS
Elsewhere in the anniversary celebrations, there will be a special 'Where There's A Wall... There's A Way' iTunes compilation, a re-issue of the seminal Propellerheads album 'Decksandrumsandrockandroll', and the aforementioned Jones will takeover a whole chunk of EddyTM's Remix show on Xfm on 6 Nov.
SINGLE REVIEW: The Wave Pictures - Strawberry Cables (Moshi Moshi)
That humming will come naturally too, with the soft melody constant and soothing, playing gently with the acoustic rhythms and very subtle horns that all combine for an overall feeling that can only be described as pleasant. For it is. And anyone who'd think differently must have egg in their ears. Or is just thinking of the word 'nice' instead.
Your legs may not be running like that sandwich, but a stroll to the shops to pick up whatever Wave Pictures records you can find wouldn't be a surprise.
Physical release: 26 Oct
FAC MIGHT CONSIDER UK MUSIC AFFILIATION
Asked about possible affiliation with the Feargal Sharkey-headed UK Music, Mason told reporters: "I think it is something we should review constantly. The more you can speak with one voice that is obviously better. We just need to make sure we do have the voice rather than finding ourselves signing up to UK Music and finding we are reduced in volume".
In terms of volume, the creation of both UK Music and the FAC has arguably reduced the prominence of the record companies - and therefore the BPI - in industry wide debates. Whereas news media and political types may have previously headed to the BPI whenever a music issue came up - even if it wasn't really an issue directly relating to the sale of sound recordings - increasingly it's UK Music chief Sharkey, or the FAC's more eloquent speakers like Billy Bragg, who are called upon for comment.
While UK Music, in theory, speaks for all of its affiliates, including the BPI and their members' collecting society PPL, some in the labels have in the past suggested Sharkey has his own agenda. Though, it has to be said, on three-strikes the UK Music position was very much in line with the BPI's position, even though one of its very original affiliates, the British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers & Authors, expressed similar concerns to that viewpoint as the FAC.
The Featured Artists' Coalition came into being just a few weeks after Sharkey formally reinvented the music publishing focused British Music Rights into UK Music last September. While the Music Managers' Forum, which was involved in the creation of the FAC, is a UK Music member (though it in itself is increasingly vocal also), the artist body has so far chosen not to affiliate. Some wondered whether FAC's disagreement with the UK Music stand on the government's proposals for a 'graduated response' to tackle piracy might have convinced the artists organisation that staying independent from the trade body of trade bodies was the right option long term. Even though the FAC's position on three-strikes post the Lily Allen debate wasn't so far from that of UK Music.
But both Mason and the body's acting CEO, Jeremy Silver, stress they remain on good terms with UK Music, and will continue to consider if and when affiliating with the organisation would be a good move. Silver: "We are having conversations with them [all the time], it is not like there is a big rift with UK Music at all. On the contrary Feargal and [chairman] Andy [Heath] are supportive of FAC".
ALCHEMY SOHO MOVE TO SMITHFIELDS
The company decided to leave its old premises in the Centrepoint tower next to Tottenham Court Road mainly because of a substantial rent increase, but also because noise from renovation work in the building, not to mention disruption from the new Crossrail station set to be built across the road, caused too much noise and hassle.
Confirming the move, the company's Barry Grint told Music Week: "[Noisy renovations] combined with a 75% rent increase and the start of major works on the Crossrail project, forced our hand. We could not realistically have continued to run a viable studio operation out of Centrepoint. We had been searching for suitable premises for several months and checked out many possibilities before settling on where you find us today. It's a good central location and we have all our facilities on one floor".
LAST.FM TO LAUNCH LAST.TV
While the new service may offer music videos, similar to YouTube, MUZU and Universal/Sony's planned Vevo flim flam, Last.tv will centre around original content, including music festival coverage and bespoke artist sessions. It's thought the original programming with be available to premium subscribers, and will also be sponsored.
Of course Last.fm's owners CBS are major TV players in the US, so television programming expertise sits within the wider group. It is unclear whether Last.tv will tap into this expertise, or operate independently from its owners' other TV operations.
CBS, of course, used to be part of the same group as MTV and VH1 until Viacom was spun off as a separate entity.
SEVEN MILLION TUNE INTO YOUTUBE U2 WEBCAST
LONDON LITE TO GO
The Lite began life as the Standard Lite, a free slimmed down lunchtime edition of the capital's evening paper. Associated bosses launched the free edition amid speculation Daily Express owner Richard Desmond would launch a free rival to the Standard.
While Desmond's grand plans never came to anything, Rupert Murdoch owned News International announced it would launch a free evening paper - the aforementioned thelondonpaper - in 2006. Associated responded by reinventing the Standard Lite as the bigger London Lite paper (bigger in terms of size and distribution).
Both the Lite and thelondonpaper haemorrhaged money, especially once the advertising recession started to kick in. Once News International announced it could no longer afford to pour money into its freesheet, most media commentators expected Associated to follow suit. After all, the Lite had been created to spoil efforts by Desmond or Murdoch to launch rivals to the Standard.
Both those efforts had failed. Not only that, but as of earlier this year Associated became but a minority shareholder in the Standard. Lite was therefore a costly venture to combat a threat that no longer existed to protect a title Associated no longer owned. Once the Standard's new owner, Alexander Lebedev, gave the all clear to make the flagship title a freebie, it was only a matter of time before the lights went off at the Lite.
There has been no word as yet as to when the Lite will finally bite the dust. The 36 staff based at its HQ will either be found work elsewhere within the Daily Mail empire, or be laid off.
Confirming the fate of the Lite, the MD of Associated's free titles division (which also publishes Metro), Steve Auckland, said this: "The latest development in the London afternoon free newspaper space dictates that we look again at the future of London Lite. Despite reaching a large audience with an excellent editorial format, we are concerned about the commercial viability in this highly competitive area".
SHOULD THE BBC START CHARGING FOR IPLAYER?
According to the Guardian, when asked whether the BBC should think about charging for the iPlayer, even for licence-fee payers, Highfield - now heading up video-on-demand projects at Microsoft - observed: "I think the iPlayer was a catalyst to get a lot more content [made available on demand] in the UK. All boats rise on that, commercial or not. A reasonable question to ask now is about 'windowing'. Is seven days free right or should it be shortened [with fees after that time]".
Another commercial player on the same panel, BT Vision's Marc Watson, said he agreed that perhaps the BBC shouldn't offer so much on-demand content for free, but added that "it is probably too late now" to start charging. But he added that "I believe the BBC should be allowed to charge for the iPlayer. It should be possible going forward".
THIS WEEK'S SUB.TV PLAYLIST
LIAM WANTS A NEW BAND
He told The Scotsman: "Getting away from the whole Oasis thing is going to be a good thing, I suppose. I don't want to do anything solo. I want to be in a band. But we can do things a lot differently these days. It'll definitely be rock 'n' roll. For now, I'll be relaxing at home, just getting out of music for a bit and then I'm going to start up something maybe after January, do something different. But I'll be having a breather from the music for a bit without a doubt".
AMY AND BLAKE MARRIED AGAIN. OR NOT. PROBABLY NOT
Oh, except Amy is denying it, which puts a bit of a spanner in the works. But, hey, she got stuck in a lift the other day, what does she know? I reckon we should definitely trust the Facebook profiles.
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