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NEW JACKSON ALBUM, LOTS OF GOSSIP AND BITCHING
Sony's statement itself was straight forward enough, on 13 Dec a new album called 'Michael' will be released featuring an undetermined number of new tracks featuring the late king of pop's vocals, most if not all produced and/or completed by a celebrity producer or musician. As a sneak preview, one new track, calling 'Breaking News', will be streamed for a week on the official Michael Jackson website, starting today.
Said Sony: "Unbeknownst to many fans around the world Michael Jackson was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere from a friend's home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a small group of handpicked collaborators. Now, through the unique stories that will be told about the songs that comprise 'Michael', fans will get a mind-blowing insight into how this artist worked and a chance to hear the songs he most recently created along with tracks that Michael had a desire to bring to fruition".
So far, so straight forward. But then the rumours started to circulate on Friday that some of Jackson's family had claimed that not all of the tracks on the new long player actually featured real Jacko vocals - some had, in fact, been faked. Then new gossip suggested 'Breaking News' was among the fakes. And then a totally different supposedly new Michael Jackson track called 'Opis None' appeared on the internet via a non-Sony affiliated company called JacksonSecretVault.com, in which the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson has a stake.
And Mrs Jackson's partner in that company, Howard Mann, issued a loaded statement to TMZ.com, saying: "In an effort to overcome the confusion as to the authenticity of the track the [Michael Jackson] estate [in partnership with Sony] has recently released we want to give an actual authentic Michael Jackson track to the world ... for free".
Katherine Jackson, it seemed, had deliberately undermined the Michael Jackson estate and their business partners Sony Music, despite her seemingly being on cordial terms with the estate's executors. Or had she? The Jackson clan took to Twitter to say no.
Jackie Jackson tweeted: "I just spoke with my Mother and she did NOT authorise the release of the demo track called 'Opis None'". And then Taj Jackson, son of Tito Jackson, posted to the micro-blogging platform: "Just talked to my grandma. She didn't even know about the 'song', nor did she authorise it. We are getting to the bottom of this".
I think we can help with that. Mann has since issued a statement confirming Katherine Jackson was not consulted before he leaked 'Opis None'. He's also admitted that his 'new' MJ track was actually a remix of on old one. He told TMZ last night: "Our goal at JacksonSecretVault.com is to pay tribute to the legendary artist and artistic visionary that was and is Michael Jackson. The fans are entitled to a higher level of integrity than I demonstrated this past weekend and for that I am sorry".
Elsewhere, the Daily Star turned to Mark Ronson for clarification on the original claim that Sony's new Jacko album was lacking in Jacko. He, you see, has produced a new Jackson tune, although he doesn't know whether that track, 'Lovely Way', will actually appear on 'Michael'. Nevertheless, although Ronson never met the singer, he is convinced the vocals he was provided by Sony to mix into a full song were the genuine article. He told the tab: "It was definitely him singing". So, that's that resolved then.
It's not the first time Katherine Jackson's dealings with Canadian businessman Mann has caused concern for the Michael Jackson estate, of course. Mann has collaborated with Mrs Jackson on a new book, and has also discussed plans to make a film about his business partner's late son and to release up to 273 previously unheard Michael Jackson recordings he claims to be sitting on. The MJ estate's lawyers have previously said they will be watching Mann's output carefully to assess whether he infringes any of their Jacko-related copyrights.
Meanwhile Mann also seems to be causing some tensions within the Jackson family, and not just over the 'Opis None' leak. Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson's three children all appear in a special Oprah Winfrey programme due to air in the US today, seemingly arranged by Mann to promote the aforementioned book release.
That has pissed off Jackson brother Randy, who says that while Michael did go to Oprah when he wanted to talk to the world in 1993, he subsequently fell out with the US TV star when she chose to broadcast a show on paedophilia to coincide with his 2005 child abuse trial.
Commenting on the 'Oprah meets Jacko's kids' show, Randy tweeted this weekend: "I know that he would not have wanted this. In fact, she is the last person on earth he would want around his children. I know there are a lot of you out there upset and angry over this. I don't blame you. Can you imagine how I feel? I'm angry too".
So, Michael Jackson, nearly eighteen months gone, still good value.
BELIEVE WRITERS WIN BACK COPYRIGHTS
Frequent collaborators Berry and Taylor, the latter often also the producer of hits penned by the duo, were originally in dispute with Rive Droite Music who, they claimed, had under-accounted on songs created under a publishing deal with the company. Their dispute moved to US publisher Crosstown Music when they acquired the Rive Droite catalogue, including Berry and Taylor's songs, in 2006.
A High Court ruling in the UK last year went in favour of the songwriters, awarding them ownership of the disputed songs on the basis of Rive Droite's actions. But Crosstown appealed the ruling, arguing automatic reversion of copyrights was not possible under English copyright law, and that the London court did not have jurisdiction to order such reversion outside the UK.
But, according to Music Week, an appeal court last week rejected both those arguments, with Lord Justice Mummery saying: "I would dismiss the appeal on all grounds as Crosstown has not established that the [original] judge's order is wrong in any respect ... in my view, relatively straightforward questions of dealings in copyright were complicated by Crosstown's convoluted and, in my view, misconceived legal arguments".
The copyrights, therefore, revert to Berry and Taylor.
JUDGE THROWS OUT SUGE KNIGHT'S KANYE LAWSUIT
The rather optimistic Knight sued for a million, claiming West had a duty of care to him to ensure there was sufficient security at the club to stop a gun from being taken into the premises. But a judge threw the case out last Thursday, saying there was insufficient evidence that the shooting had been preventable.
LILY ALLEN BEING TREATED FOR BLOOD POISONING
A spokesman told reporters: "She is responding well to treatment and her condition continues to improve. Lily thanks everyone for their messages of support and again asks that she and partner Sam Cooper be left alone whilst she recovers".
On Friday Allen herself took to Twitter to report on her condition and thank fans for their support, noting: "I'm still very sick but the messages are helping me to be stronger. Thank you xx".
Best Song: Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Best Male: Justin Bieber
Best Pop: Lady Gaga
Global Icon: Bon Jovi
Here are the winners:
Album of the Year: Angus & Julia Stone - Down The Way
Best Male: Dan Sultan - Get Out While You Can
Best Independent Release: Sia - We Are Born
REVAMPS PLANNED FOR BRITS 2011
Unlike the shitty ARIAs, the UK's marvellous BRIT Awards will be bigger and better than ever before next year, following a string of exhilarating and frankly mind-blowing innovations planned to coincide with the award show's move up, up, up to the glorious entertainment centre that is The O2, in the blissful surroundings of North Greenwich.
Out goes the tired outstanding contribution to music prize, in comes a stepped-up best British album gong, sponsored by the not at all evil Mastercard.
And, as if that wasn't enough excitement for one year, it's just been confirmed that the ultimate Dame, you know, the Dame of Vivienne, the one in the Westwood, will be redesigning the very BRIT Award itself, so to ooze even more cool from what is already undoubtedly Britain's coolest mark of cool.
And if you don't agree that all this makes the BRIT Awards the single most important night out in 2011, I don't wish to now your name.
The BRITs 2011 will take place on 15 Feb. They'll probably be shit.
PULP REFORM FOR 2011 FESTIVAL SHOWS
All six members of the band's 'Different Class' and 'This Is Hardcore'-era line-up will take part - Jarvis Cocker, Russell Senior, Candida Doyle, Steve Mackey, Nick Banks and Mark Webber - with two shows, at the Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park and Primavera Sound in Barcelona, so far announced (though a statement from the band hints that there will be more).
This will be the first time all six members of the band's classic line-up (all of the above, bar Webber, first appeared together on 1992 album, 'Separations') have appeared on stage together since 24 Aug 1996.
If you fancy reading a load of cryptic questions and/or signing up to a mailing list to stay up to date with all Pulpish goings on, go to www.pulppeople.com.
COOKING VINYL SIGNS MARILYN MANSON
Of the new deal, Manson says this: "We will always be our worst audience, until we stop being an audience and start being an artist. Any art is flesh and blood, no matter how you perform, decorate or display it. But we all want the passionate horror of that blood. And blood is what I am here to bring".
I have no idea what he's banging on about, but I think he's pleased.
More coherently, Cooking Vinyl founder Martin Goldschmidt added: "We're delighted to welcome Marilyn Manson to Cooking Vinyl. Often our 'relaxed' approach to A&R brings out killer performances and albums from artists. I can't wait to hear what Manson comes up with".
He continued: "This is a landmark signing for us. We shook up folk music in the late 80s/90s with Michelle Shocked, Cowboy Junkies and Billy Bragg, we have shaken up dance in the last couple of years with The Prodigy, Groove Armada and Underworld, and we are ready for a new adventure with Mr Manson".
BAND SUBMISSIONS OPEN FOR CITY SHOWCASE 2011
Says City Showcase Director Nanette Rigg: "Time and time again we see great artists who just need the confidence to move on to the next phase of their career. City Showcase gives them that confidence by providing a stage and a nurturing performance environment".
SINGLE REVIEW: Prinzhorn Dance School - Seed, Crop, Harvest (DFA Records)
Digital release: 1 Nov
ICE-T PUTS HIS NAME TO BRANDY DRINK
Manager Mickey Bentson told AllHipHop.com: "Ice-T sat down with me and I told him, 'You have to see the presentation'. He loved the taste and the bottle. At the direction of Ice-T, I told them we didn't want money, we wanted a partnership. Ice decided it would be best to have partnership in the business so we can build other brands. The bottles are great and the liquor is fantastic".
TORIES ORDER IP LAW REVIEW
The Cam Man reckons all things IP need to be looked at because of this crazy thing called the internet. Oh well, it'll presumably give the record companies an opportunity to whine about the sound recording copyright not being long enough, and we all know how much they love doing that.
LIVE NATION REVENUES STILL IN DECLINE
And Live Nation chief Michael Rapino warned that things weren't improving this autumn either, with October's sales figures "hitting us a little harder than we expected". All in all, Rapino said, it is looking likely the live music conglom won't hit its full-year targets.
UNIVERSAL UK APPOINT NEW COMMS CHIEF
Once editor of something called Music Week (anyone?), Webb has spent over ten years in PR roles at Universal's Polydor division, but will now switch from talking up Take That and Girls Aloud to spinning the corporate word according to Universal UK.
Says the major's UK top man David Joseph: "Selina is respected throughout our company and the industry and there's no better person to ensure our points of view, creativity and issues are communicated and understood".
Susie Ember will take over from Webb in overseeing Polydor's press office.
YOUR ARMY EXPAND INTO PRESS
John Power, previously with Name Music, will lead the company's new press and online division, which will offer a globally focused service.
Says the press release: "With the concept of releasing a record on a territory-by-territory basis becoming increasingly redundant, Your Army can now offer labels a unique worldwide press, online and blog outreach service, perfect for those, who in the age of digital distribution, need to connect with a global audience".
In other Your Army news, Christian Nockall has been promoted to the role of Head Of Radio, while Dan Kinasz has joined the agency as a Club Promotions Manager.
WIGGIN LAUNCH ONLINE CONTRACT TOOL FOR MUSIC COMPANIES
Wiggin music partner Alexander Ross told CMU: "We regularly see music business contracts that are either out of date or in need of major work. In some cases these can be put right, but in others companies find out all too late that their contracts aren't legally robust, and they can lose rights and revenues as a result".
He continued: "We decided to develop the widget to take the time, cost and worry out of preparing, managing and updating day to day contracts in house. It also gives our clients the ongoing reassurance that their contracts will always be properly drafted, legally sound and regularly updated".
The service will be available on a subscription basis charged at £100 a month, with an additional nominal fee per contract also charged, starting at £10.
TEN THOUSAND FRENCH MUSIC CARDS SOLD SO FAR
As previously reported, the card is the carrot to go with the stick of three-strikes in the battle against online piracy. The card basically enables young consumers to get online music at half its real cost, so that a 25 euro card will get you fifty euros worth of music. The government covers the difference.
The card can be used on various a la carte and subscription-based music services, though any one card has to be used in its entirety with one partner organisation. They include iTunes, Amazon MP3, Deezer and Orange.
France's Minister Of Culture & Communciation revealed 10,000 of the cards have been sold to the country's Council Of Ministers on Friday.
VODAFONE TO SPONSOR COMMERCIAL RADIO CHART SHOW
Global Radio's Group Commercial Director Mike Gordon told reporters: "A sponsorship of this scale truly reflects the phenomenal reach and innovation of the 'Big Top 40'. We're thrilled at this partnership and are proud to introduce 'The Vodafone Freebees Big Top 40'".
Vodafone Brand Director Danielle Crook added: "'The Vodafone Freebees Big Top 40' gives us a massive opportunity to get our message out that we offer great value to millions of Pay as you go customers across the UK. We're excited to be able to reach such a huge audience with such a compelling message".
LOU REED DIRECTS BOYLE VIDEO
According to Scotland's Sunday Mail, it was Reed who called Boyle to ask if he could get involved in her version of his song. He told the paper: "I wanted to create a beautiful and intimate piece shot in Susan's native Scotland and she quickly agreed".
Boyle herself told the tab: "I loved that Lou understood how much it meant to me to film in Scotland. I didn't mind how much it rained or blew a gale - I enjoyed every minute".
The video is here should you wish to see it: