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A LOT OF BRITS NONSENSE
Mr Tempah appears on no less than four shortlists, best Male, Best Breakthrough, Best Album and Best Single. His dominance also means the urban genre, arguably the most fertile in the last eighteen months in the UK, but often not fairly represented on non-genre-specific award lists like this, leads the way. So hurrah for all of that too.
Other artists with multiple nominations include Mumford & Sons, Plan B and The xx, with three noms each, and Take That who appear on the lists twice. Again, it's hard to deny that all of that little lot deserve some credit for their achievements in the last twelve months, and with those four acts and Tempah on the table, we have a nicely eclectic mix of artists enjoying multiple nods.
In fact if you want a criticism of this year's BRIT noms, you'll probably have to go with the fact they are wholly predictable. But they probably should be. Some have noted that the X-Factor machine, an important cash generator for the UK music industry, and especially Sony, only gets a look in with the one category based on record sales rather than votes by industry and media types, ie Best British Single.
But then again, while the X-Factor machine is, in some ways, awe-inspiring in itself, there's little special about the music it pumps out. Perhaps Syco can get a proper nod next year with their most interesting signing to date, Tinie Tempah collaborator Labrinth.
The major label imprints dominate in the shortlists, as they often do, though three Beggars acts are nominated, the aforementioned The xx plus The National and Vampire Weekend, while the first signing to the relaunched Infectious label, The Temper Trap, are up for International Breakthrough.
And, of course, let's not forget that some of newer acts, while now signed to majors, initially broke through thanks to an indie. Plus some of the international nominations are released by major imprints in the UK but indies back home, most notably Arcade Fire, signed to the excellent Merge in North America.
So well done to the independent sector, even if when I pasted the shortlists off the PDF I was tediously sent (PR people - never send press releases as PDFs, thank you) into a Word file your credits were all mysteriously deleted while the major label listings remained (it was bizarre - Adobe must really hate independent music).
In other BRITS news, the all new look BRIT gong designed by that Vivienne Westwood was revealed yesterday, and James Cordon was confirmed as host of the awards show itself (I can't remember whether we already knew that or not).
The BRITS will be presented under the O2 tent in Greenwich on 15 Feb. With no lifetime achievement award this year, the winner of which traditionally plays out the awards show with a greatest hits set, and given that urbany dancey sounds have been so in fashion of late, I'm proposing they finale this year with another BRITS dance medley and some funky dancers strutting their collective stuff on stage (remember the 1990 medley? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr0psFd62hE).
Anyway, here's your full nom lists, you lucky lucky people...
British Male Solo Artist: Mark Ronson (Sony/Columbia), Paul Weller (Universal/Island), Plan B (Warner/Atlantic), Robert Plant (Universal/Decca), Tinie Tempah (EMI/Parlophone).
British Female Solo Artist: Cheryl Cole (Universal/Polydor), Ellie Goulding (Universal/Polydor), Laura Marling (EMI/Virgin), Paloma Faith (Sony/Epic), Rumer (Warner/Atlantic).
British Breakthrough Act: Ellie Goulding (Universal/Polydor), Mumford & Sons (Universal/Island), Rumer (Warner/Atlantic), Tinie Tempah (EMI/Parlophone), The XX (Beggars/Young Turks).
British Group: Biffy Clyro (Warner/14th Floor), Gorillaz (EMI/Parlophone), Mumford & Sons (Universal/Island), Take That (Universal/Polydor), The XX (Beggars/Young Turks).
British Producer: Ethan Johns, John Leckie, Markus Dravs, Mike Pela, Stuart Price.
British Single: Alexandra Burke ft Pitbull - All Night Long (Sony/Syco), Cheryl Cole - Parachute (Universal/Polydor), Florence & The Machine - You've Got The Love (Universal/Island), Matt Cardle - When We Collide (Sony/Syco), Olly Murs - Please Don't Let Me Go (Sony/Syco), Plan B - She Said (Warner/Atlantic), Scouting For Girls - This Ain't A Love Song (Sony/Epic), Taio Cruz - Dynamite (Universal/Island), Tinie Tempah - Pass Out (EMI/Parlophone), The Wanted - All Time Low (Universal/Geffen).
British Album of the Year: Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (Universal/Island), Plan B - The Defamation Of Strickland Banks (Warner/Atlantic), Take That - Progress (Universal/Polydor), Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy (EMI/Parlophone), The XX - XX (Beggars/Young Turks).
International Male Solo Artist: Bruce Springsteen (Sony/Columbia), Cee Lo Green (Warner/Elektra), David Guetta (EMI), Eminem (Universal/Aftermath), Kanye West (Universal/Def Jam).
International Female Solo Artist: Alicia Keys (Sony/J Records), Katy Perry (EMI/Capitol), Kylie Minogue (EMI/Parlophone), Rihanna (Universal/Def Jam), Robyn (Universal/Cherrytree).
International Breakthrough Act: Bruno Mars (Warner/Elektra), Glee Cast (Sony/Columbia), Justin Bieber (Universal/Island), The National (Beggars/4AD), The Temper Trap (Infectious).
International Group: Arcade Fire (Universal/Mercury), Black Eyed Peas (Universal/Interscope), Kings Of Leon (Sony/Columbia), The Script (Sony/RCA), Vampire Weekend (Beggars/XL).
International Album: Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (Universal/Mercury), Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer (Warner/Elektra), Eminem - Recovery (Universal/Aftermath), Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (EMI/Capitol), Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown (Sony/Columbia).
Critics' Choice: Jessie J (Universal/Island), James Blake (Universal/Polydor), The Vaccines (Sony/Columbia).
RECORD STORE DAY DATE SET FOR 2011
Of course things are still very hard for the independent music retail sector, which has seen hundreds of stores close in the last ten years as record sales have declined, supermarkets have entered the more mainstream end of the market, and more and more consumers move online, where the big mail-order websites undercut the independent retailer on the high street by basing themselves in the Channel Islands and enjoy the subsequent VAT dodge.
Though there has been some good news. London-based Rough Trade Records recently announced its pre-Christmas sales were up 5% in December 2010 compared to 2009, and despite all that snow that other retail organisation have been blaming for sale slumps. And the people of Oxford are getting a new indie store courtesy of independent retailer Rapture, who have announced plans to expand into the city with their third shop.
SEC MIGHT INVESTIGATE 50 CENT'S SHARE TIPPING TWEET
But while 50 Cent may be a rising business man and a powerful celebrity tweeter, he is possibly not an expert on Security Exchange Commission rules regarding manipulating stock value. With 3 million H&H shares to his name, Fiddy stood to benefit considerably by talking up the company on Twitter, and some commentators have suggested that means the tweet breached SEC rules and could now lead to the rapper being investigated by the regulator.
It should be noted the SEC itself has so far refused to comment on this story, though it does seem likely one of 50 Cent's advisors has cautioned him about share tipping on Twitter, given the original tweet bigging up H&H shares has now been removed, being replaced by this: "[My] own HNHI stock thoughts on it are my opinion. Talk to [a] financial advisor about it. HNHI is the right investment for me it may or may not be right for [you]! Do ur [sic] homework".
Of course, the new tweet could be good news for the financial advice sector, who could now win all sorts of new business from Fiddy's fanbase, most of whom, presumably, don't have such an advisor on their staff.
ETTA JAMES VERY ILL, HUSBAND SEEKS CONTROL OF FINANCES
As previously reported, James' son Donto confirmed just under a year ago that his mother was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and it seems her conditioned has worsened of late. Court papers also reveal she is undergoing treatment for leukaemia. A doctor's statement supplied with the court papers says James can no longer sign her own name, and that she needs help with feeding, dressing and hygiene.
According to reports, James' two sons already have power of attorney for the singer's affairs. It's not clear why Mills was excluded from that arrangement, nor why he needs it's now, nor whether the sons support Mills' application. Local media say a court will consider that application later today.
BROADCAST FRONTWOMAN VERY ILL
A statement from Warp Records said: "[Manager] Martin [Pike] says that he can confirm that Trish is in hospital and very ill with pneumonia. At this time, please respect the privacy of the band and the family and when there is any more news he will be sure to update fans".
According to Pitchfork, a Facebook user claiming to be Keenan's sister had earlier stated that the singer had been on life support since Christmas, having contracted swine flu shortly after completing an Australian tour in December.
O2 STILL WORLD'S BIGGEST MUSIC VENUE
The boss of AEG Europe, which operates The O2, David Campbell said this: "We are immensely proud of what The O2 has achieved. In what was a tough economic year, we are thrilled to reinforce our position. I thank all the artists, promoters, agents, managers, the more than 2,500 people who work at The O2 and all our partners. We always said London deserved a world class entertainment destination and we will keep working to make sure we remain a clear world leader".
INTERPOL MAN ON HIS DEPARTED BASSIST
Speaking to Undercover, Banks says: "I'm the kind of person where, if I think someone is a genius, I'll put up with tonnes of crap from them. If you're in the presence of someone who you think is a genius then you think, 'I'd rather deal with them being an a-hole than not'. It's a more rare treat, a more rare treasure, their ability. Carlos is that".
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND: ALBUM, SINGLE, GIGS, FINGER SNAPS
The new singles sees drummer Ryan Richards take lead vocals again, about which he told CMU: "It was a lot of fun for me to do a lead vocal again on a track, as it's probably something I've not done since way back on the first record - and even then it was a co-vocal with [frontman] Matt [Davies-Kreye] on tracks like 'Red Is The New Black' and 'This Year's Most Open Heartbreak'. It's also the first track I've ever done finger snaps on too! I remember reading the liner notes to Michael Jackson's 'Bad' and seeing him credited with 'Vocals and Finger Snaps' and it inspired me to one day be credited as such on one of our albums. I've now dreamed the dream - and it's a beautiful thing".
The band will also play a gig at the Borderline in London on 13 Feb, before embarking on a UK tour in March, as follows:
16 Mar: Aberystwyth, Arts Centre
HILFIGER AND UNIVERSAL TALK ARTIST FASHION LINES
Which artists may feature isn't as yet clear, though the likes of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Rihanna would be obvious contenders. Of course Universal presumably doesn't have automatic rights to enter into fashion deals on behalf of any of its talent, so any participating artists' managers would also have to be part of any negotiations. And some artists may already have separate fashion deals in place.
Hilfiger launched a new business called MESH last year, aiming to forge alliances with music, entertainment and sports figures, and the Universal negotiations are presumably being led by that company.
AFO WARNS OF A HARD YEAR UPCOMING FOR SMALLER FESTIVALS
Music Week quote AFO General Secretary Steve Heap as saying: "The debate over artist fees is heating up, but how the hell some agents can justify a 15% increase is beyond me - if events start to disappear, then it is the artists who will ultimately suffer. If people agree to clamp down on costs, then these events will have a sustainable future, but if we're slaughtered by increases then a lot of festivals could start to disappear".
BMG APPOINT NEW LEGAL EXEC FOR UK
Look, here's BMG top man Hartwig Masuch saying so in an internal memo distributed to staff this week: "Having already worked with BMG on a number of projects in her recent role at Lee & Thompson, Alexi is well prepared to meet our expectations and objectives as a global rights management business, as well as our innovative approach to the challenges of today's music market".
EMI PUBLISHING PROMOTE EUROPEAN EXECS
Confirming the promotions, Palmer told CMU: "With the extensive experience that David and Olivier have in music publishing, leading teams and working with writers and clients, I am confident that they will help foster even greater collaboration amongst the functions and help us excel as a tightly-knit, high-performing region".
NEWS CORP CONFIRMS MYSPACE SELL OFF PLANS
As previously reported, it is widely assumed that this week's axing of 500 MySpace staffers was in part designed to make the company more attractive to potential buyers. Despite trying to reposition itself as an entertainment sharing, consumption and delivery platform whatnot, MySpace is still struggling to compete with other digital operators such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
SHAZAM AND SPOTIFY ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP
Shazam boss man Andrew Fisher told CMU: "Integrating Spotify into Shazam's applications combines music discovery with one of the world's most popular music streaming services, providing a seamless experience for music fans at the point of inspiration in any location. Spotify is delivering an innovative, high quality experience to music lovers and we're excited to bring the Spotify service to Shazam".
Spotify chief Daniel Ek added: "Shazam is a very innovative company in the mobile space, having achieved a massive following around the world and we're excited about the potential of this partnership for new music discovery through Spotify. Now if you hear a great new track, you can identify it, listen to it instantly in its entirety, and easily add it to your music collection. That's pretty powerful stuff".
YOUTUBE THREE TIMES MORE POPULAR FOR MUSIC THAN DOWNLOAD SITES
Well, an obvious fact it may be, but it's also one of the key findings of a Digital Music Consumption & Access report prepared by research types Nielsen for this year's MIDEM conference.
Other random stats in the survey include that of the 26,644 people surveyed 27% use MP3 players of some description, 30% listen to music on their phones, 36% use streaming services on their PC, and 35% access music via social networking sites.
NEW APPOINTMENTS AT RADIO 1
GLOBAL APPOINT NEW DIGITAL CHIEF
He'll report to Global's recently promoted CEO Stephen Miron, who told reporters: "This is a significant appointment for us as the importance of digital grows for Global. With over 10 years experience at some of the most dynamic companies within the digital landscape, we are absolutely delighted that someone of Chris' calibre is joining us".
Thorogood himself added: "I'm really looking forward to joining the dynamic team at Global Radio. The opportunity to work on a portfolio of stations, which includes the likes of Capital and Heart, was compelling. I recognise and share Global's ambitions for digital growth across its business, and I am tremendously excited about the opportunity it presents".
MONEY FOR NOTHING BANNED IN CANADA FOR HOMOPHOBIC LYRICS
The Council ruled on the song after a listener complained when Newfoundland radio station OZ FM played the track. The Council concurred that the song did, indeed, breach their rules because it "refers to sexual orientation in a derogatory way".
Critising the ruling, and justifying their decision to continue playing the song, K-97 Operations Manager Patrick Cardinal told reporters: "If you look at the context of the term, it's an artistic portrayal of a bigoted person looking at the riches of the music industry. Our listeners absolutely support our right to play the song. If we get a CBSC complaint about it, we will vigilantly defend our right to play it".
Who knew a Dire Straits pop record would need a radio edit made? Whoever gets to remove the 'f' word from the song might also want to alter other lines which have previously caused offence - "chicks for free" has been deemed sexist and "banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee" racist - though neither of those claims have been ruled on by a radio regulator.