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GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS SUPPORT FOR LIVE MUSIC BILL
As previously reported, Clement-Jones' private members bill addresses many of the concerns raised about the 2003 Licensing Act, in particular the extra bureaucracy it created for pubs who want to stage small music events. Many in the grass roots live sector say those new rules have caused many smaller pubs to stop staging gigs, removing a valuable live platform for new talent.
Clement-Jones published his private members bill under the last Labour government, but it didn't make its way through parliament fast enough before last year's General Election. Even if it had, Gordon Brown's government, which was working on its own less extensive reform of licensing rules, would have tried to block it in the Commons.
But after the election, Clement-Jones reintroduced the bill to parliament, and on Friday, in the House Of Lords, Patricia Rawlings, speaking for the government, said the ConDem Coalition would support the proposed legislation and help push it through, subject to a review of the technical aspects of the proposals.
She added that the government would also likely insist that all unlicensed gigs should be finished by 11pm, rather than midnight as set out in Clement-Jones's proposals.
According to pub industry magazine The Publican, Rawlings told the Lords: "We see [this bill] as an important and complementary part of any reform and we will do all we can to help the bill reach the statute book, if appropriately amended".
Clement-Jones welcomed Rawling's remarks, telling CMU: "There is clear support across all parties to reform the current system as the Licensing Act has had a deadening effect on the performance of live music in small venues. The Live Music Bill will benefit hundreds of small pubs, restaurants and church and community halls who want live music at their venue by generally removing the need to apply for a complicated licence".
He added: "I'm glad the government has responded so positively to this bill and I look forward to working with them to fulfil the Coalition Agreement's pledge to put an end to red tape and bureaucracy".
APPLE RENEGOTIATING ITUNES LICENCES TO CREATE SORT OF LOCKER
As previously reported, it's long been assumed Apple is considering an alternative music service to run alongside its successful iTunes download store. Some have speculated Apple is planning a Spotify-style streaming platform, though such a venture would almost certainly require the IT firm to invest heavily into what would likely be a loss-making service at launch, and Apple doesn't like losing money on content.
Therefore it seems more likely Apple, like its now arch rivals Google, is considering playing in the 'digital locker' space, providing a cloud-based file storage service specifically designed for music, from which MP3s already owned by users could be re-downloaded or streamed from any net connected device.
And Bloomberg's report confirms this suspicion. The website claims that Apple is trying to get the majors to agree to new licensing terms in which customers, once they have paid 79p for a track, can re-download or stream it from Apple's servers as many times as they like.
This would provide customers with a handy back-up service, so when, say, a publisher's Mac gets knocked on the floor shortly after arriving at his temporary office at the Edinburgh Festival (I'm over that now, really) killing the hard disk and the MP3 collection on it, any tracks previously bought from iTunes could be redownloaded at no extra cost and at the click of a button.
But the new licenses, if Apple could get them, would also rather cleverly turn iTunes into a kind of digital locker service; 'cleverly' because the labels are currently resistant to licensing full-blown digital locker set ups, but might be persuaded to agree to the redownload system.
The downside of the new service, if it was as Bloomberg describes, is that the locker would only store tracks bought from iTunes, whereas other digital lockers will let you upload your entire MP3 collections oblivious of origin.
Though while in theory a weakness, that limitation will make the whole thing more palatable to digital-locker-phobic major labels, while also locking iTunes customers even more to the Apple store, which fits in nicely with the IT firm's ambitions of total market control.
AKON SUES FORMER AGENTS
The R&B bloke parted company with ATA last summer, and is now represented in the live domain by CAA. His lawsuit, filed last week in New York, sues for breach of contract, trademark infringement and unjust enrichment.
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JAMIE T CLEARED OF GBH OVER PUB FRACAS
The victim, Giles Curties, needed surgery to treat a double jaw fracture after his run-in with Treays last summer. But the jury believed the singer-songwriter's claims that he acted in self-defence after Curties first stole his drink, and then reacted angrily when he tried to get it back. Treays said he only threw a punch because he feared he was about to be headbutted by the drink thief.
According to the Daily Mirror, Treay's was cleared of the charges relating to the incident at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
SONY SUED OVER SAMPLE IN AGUILERA SONG
The sample came from a 1968 song called 'Hippy Skippy Moon Strut' by Dave Cortez & The Moon People. TMZ says that Sony did get permission to use the sample, but from the wrong people. With some confusion existing over who owns the 60s track, it seems Sony got a licence from Codigo Music and the Clyde Otis Music Group but, TufAmerica say, it is they who own the rights in the song, and they have done since 2004.
TufAmerica's lawsuit wants the court to declare that they are the rightful owner of the original track. The company is also pursuing damages from Sony and, presumably, the music firms who allegedly provided a licence for a song they didn't own.
GEORGE MICHAEL: I DESERVED JAIL
Speaking to Chris Evans in an interview for Radio 2, Michael says: "This was a hugely shameful thing to have done repeatedly. So, karmically I felt like I had a bill to pay. I went to prison, I paid my bill".
Responding to those rumours at the time that he was highly distressed in jail, especially when he was initially locked up in London's Pentonville Prison, the singer denied he'd been all that stressed, saying: "Remarkably enough, I know people must think it was a really horrific experience - it's so much easier to take any form of punishment if you believe you actually deserve it, and I did".
Although Michael's lawyers initially vowed to appeal their clients sentence after he was jailed for driving while under the influence of drugs, the appeal plans were abruptly halted and the singer served his time.
USHER TO PAY HIS GADDAFI FEE TO HUMAN RIGHTS CHARITIES
He was one of a number of pop stars revealed by Rolling Stone to have played at a Gaddafi clan party in recent years, 2009 in Usher's case. Having taken the Libyan dictator's cash has become a bit controversial of late now that the troubled African leader is setting his army on his own people.
In a statement, Usher said this weekend: "I am sincerely troubled to learn about the circumstances surrounding the Nikki Beach St Bart's event that took place on New Year's Eve 2009. I will be donating all of my personal proceeds from that event to various human rights organisations".
Nelly Furtado was the first pop star to have performed at a Gaddafi party to announce she would give the proceeds to charity, though Beyonce subsequently said she'd already given her fee to a charitable cause, adding that she had done so as soon as she discovered who she had played for, sometime before the current conflict in Libya.
Mariah Carey also expressed embarrassment about unknowingly playing for the Gaddafi clan and pledged to be more careful about accepting private party bookings in the future, though her people were rather cagey about what would happen to the fee Carey was paid.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB WIN CHOICE MUSIC PRIZE
The band, who hark from Northern Ireland, won the prize for their album 'Tourist History', and vowed to donate the ten thousand euro prize to charity.
Frontman Alex Trimble said: "This is amazing, we have never won anything ever".
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING JUDGE SONGWRITING AWARD
Having themselves won critical praise for debut album 'Man Alive', the band say they're "thrilled" to be chosen as panelists for the award, adding that "competitions such as this are vital for discovering and encouraging new musical talent, and we can't wait to hear the entries".
The first prize in the contest is a year-long songwriting course at the Institute. If you're a budding songwriter and would like to enter, visit the award website for further details - www.shuresongwritingaward.com - the closing date for entries is 8 Apr.
NEW ARCTIC MONKEYS
I'd tell you what it sounds like, but that seems pointless when you can listen to it yourself, and besides doing so would require me to listen to it which would in turn require me to pause the Matt Monro pop classic I'm currently listening to.
So go listen for yourself: youtu.be/riV77WoFCBw
ART BRUT CELEBRATE NEW ALBUM WITH LEXINGTON RESIDENCY
Frontman Eddie Argos has explained the differences between this new LP and the band's previous work, explaining in typically erudite fashion: "With the writing for the last album I really enjoyed writing about mundane things trying to make them exciting. There were songs about riding buses, summer jobs and having songs trapped in your head. This time the album is more about how I think I'm psychic, songs for my funeral, the principality of 'Sealand' and 'Axl Rose'. Weightier topics, I think".
He pointedly adds: "I'm also sexier now".
The new improved, sexier Art Brut will promote the new album with a week-long residency at London's Lexington a week after the new record's release, playing nightly shows from 30 May to 3 Jun.
The first single from the new long player, 'Lost Weekend', is not due out until 16 May, but fans can appease their Art Brut appetites in the meantime of with a free download of another new track called 'Unprofessional Wrestling' which you can get from this URL: www.pledgemusic.com/artists/artbrut/widgets/972
Meanwhile, here's the album's tracklisting for your perusal:
Clever Clever Jazz
ARMIN VAN BUUREN ANNOUNCES TWO UK DATES
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BLOC WEEKEND, Butlin's Holiday Centre, Minehead, 11-13 Mar: Innovative noise maker Aphex Twin and dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man will be joined by a slew of acts including Four Tet, Jamie XX, A Guy Called Gerald, Vitalic and Matthew Dear at this celebration of all things dance and electro. www.blocweekend.com
BUSHSTOCK, various venues, Shepherd's Bush, London, 7 May: Hosted by acclaimed indie label Communion, this event will this year play host to critics' favourites Tom Williams & The Boat and psych-pop Aussies Cloud Control. Treetop Flyers, The Staves, Sarah Blasko and Ninja Tune's Fink have also just been added to the line-up of this festival, which is held across four venues around the Shepherd's Bush locale. www.bushstock.co.uk
DOUR, Belgium, 14-17 July: Amongst the latest rock-themed batch of acts to be announced for Dour are Gallows, Pennywise, Channel Zero and The Ghost Inside, who join an eclectic line-up of which House Of Pain and Erol Alkan are highlights. www.dourfestival.be/en
HAMPTON COURT PALACE FESTIVAL, London, 7-18 Jun: Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band and Scottish rockers Simple Minds are newly booked to play in the open-air courtyard of this historic palace, with family favourites James Blunt, Bryan Adams, Jools Holland and legendary songwriter Don McLean also confirmed to perform concerts as part of this June festival programme. www.hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com
HOP FARM MUSIC FESTIVAL, Hop Farm Country Park, Kent, 1-2 Jul: Morrissey is newly confirmed to headline on the Saturday evening of the Kentish bash, flanked by a classic rock line-up that includes Lou Reed, Iggy & The Stooges, Gang Of Four and Patti Smith. Noisettes and the brilliant Walkmen are also set to appear, as are Newton Faulkner, Brother, Stornoway and Erland & The Carnival. Previously announced acts include bill-toppers The Eagles, Brandon Flowers and Bryan Ferry. www.hopfarmfestival.com
JERSEY LIVE, Royal Jersey Showgrounds, Jersey, 3-4 Sept: Recently-announced Dance Arena headliners Mr Oizo and Zane Lowe will no doubt be churning out some flat beats to crowds of appreciative dance fans come September. Existing acts on the bill include headliners Madness, Plan B, The Streets and Wretch 32. www.jerseylive.org.uk
LAND OF KINGS, various venues, Dalston, London, 28-29 Apr: Taking place in assorted bars and nooks across the trendy E8 district of London, this arts and music festival will this year host Ghostpoet, Visions Of Trees, Django Django and Bleeding Heart Narrative. Attendees can expect DJ sets from James Yuill, Romy of The xx and Rory Phillips, while Moshi Moshi and Clash Magazine are amongst a host of organisations set to put on showcase nights. www.landofkings.co.uk
ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 30 Jun - 3 Jul: Throwing themselves into the big-name melee that is this year's Rock Werchter will be The Vaccines, Everything Everything, TV On The Radio and Tame Impala. Rival Sons, Digitalism and I Blame Coco are also fresh on the bill, while R&B crooner Bruno Mars looks lonely on an otherwise rock-dominated line-up topped off by Linkin Park, Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon and Coldplay. www.rockwerchter.be/en/home/
SLOTTSFJELL, Tønsberg, Norway, 14-16 Jul: Held amidst fjordside castle ruins, this year's Slottsfjell is set to welcome line-up additions Röyksopp, Two Door Cinema Club, Anthrax, Yuck and Crystal Castles. Nick Cave's Grinderman are already confirmed as headliners, while Deerhunter and Datarock will also appear. www.slottsfjell.no
SPLENDOUR, Wollaton Park, Nottingham, 24 Jul: Festival organisers have booked evergreen 80s tastemakers Blondie, glam-popsters Scissor Sisters and not-so-glam rockers Feeder to top the bill at this year's splendid one-day event, with more names to follow in due course. www.splendourfestival.com
ALBUM REVIEW: Queens Of The Stone Age - Queens Of The Stone Age (Re-issue) (Domino/Rekords Rekords)
Back in 1997, in a far away land known to you and me as California, Queens Of The Stone Age were born, an accumulation of efforts by Josh Homme and Alfredo Hernandez, a couple of guys with big dreams, to form a band who everyone would recognise to be That Band, the band that was definitive amongst the sea of samey crap that was floating around in the alternative rock scene at the time. Little did they know that, almost fifteen years later, the same band would go on to make a slew of top-selling records, recruit everyone from Dave Grohl to Mark Lanegan to Aaron bloody North to appear on said records, all whilst maintaining the same amount of credibility and integrity they'd promised themselves to begin with.
By 2006, 'Queens Of The Stone Age' had gone silver in the UK, quite a feat for a record so apparently hard to find. Hailed by critics as one of the greatest modern rock records of all time, it's even been included in the book '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die'. It's a punchy LP that sounds fresh even now, with a cover that hints at both its contents and the traditions that QOTSA are still associated with today: good old fashioned sex, drugs and hard rock n roll. The album opens with a signature one-note riff and is instantly THERE, so hard you can practically feel your hair whipping in the wind. And as things move on to
I read an interview with another band who compared Josh Homme to a modern day Elvis. It's not something I'd thought about before to be honest, but not only can I now see it, but I can hear it too. He's good and he knows it, a bit of a peacock really, but most importantly - incredibly distinctive, and really bloody good. TW
Physical release: 7 Mar
MCKAGAN LAUNCHES WEALTH MANAGEMENT AGENCY
But that's what former Guns N Roses and current Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan has done. And why not? Don't forget, McKagan returned to college just over a decade ago to study Finance and writes a regular column on such matters for Playboy.
According to reports, the guitarist's new company is a JV with a British investor and will offer financial advice for musicians.
It's a service McKagan reckons many musicians need, and I think he might be right. Says the rocker: "You think the money is going to keep coming. When you get that big contract, or your record goes platinum and you're selling out concerts, you don't see that it's going to end".
SYCO MAKES APPOINTMENTS
Two will take the title of COO. Charles Gardland, a former COO at Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment, will be COO of the whole of Syco and oversee the day to day running of the wider company, while Simon Jones will be COO of Syco Television USA and will oversee the business's growing interests in the US TV market, which centre, of course, on 'X-Factor USA'.
Confirming the appointments, Simon Cowell told CMU: "I'm delighted to welcome Charles to Syco and know he will bring his talent and enthusiasm to the future of the company. Simon and George's international roles will help to strengthen Syco TV's shows around the world".
Meanwhile the boss of Sony Music UK, into which Syco links, Ged Doherty, added: "We are delighted that Charles is joining Syco at this incredibly exciting time. Additionally, the appointments of Simon and George will strengthen the Syco global team as the business continues to grow rapidly".
PLEDGE LAUNCHES PUBLISHING DIVISION
Pledge MD Malcolm Dunbar told CMU: "The launch of PledgeMusic Publishing is hugely exciting and Sophie Madeleine is an excellent first signing for us. As we are now working with so many great artists we are in a unique position to discover new talent. It therefore makes complete sense for PledgeMusic to offer a music publishing option to those artists that we feel might benefit from the service".
Dunbar also confirmed that Pledge will work in partnership with Kobalt Music, who will administrate the royalties of songwriters who sign to the new publishing venture. The MD continued: "We are also delighted to have Kobalt Music on board as a global administration partner and are looking forward to working with the team there to build a world class music publishing roster".
WE7 LAUNCHES MOBILE APP FOR PERSONALISED RADIO
As previously reported, while We7 continues to offer Spotify-style on-demand streaming, the company is now much more proactively pushing its personalised radio service, which plays a continuous stream of music based on an initial artist choice.
The original We7 mobile app is based around the full on-demand streaming option and only available to paying subscribers.
The new app will make the personalised radio service work on mobiles too, with We7 caching tracks it has selected for any one user onto their phone for multiple plays, reducing both the service provider and user's bandwidth costs, and meaning the service can continue to play when there is no mobile signal.
The new app will be available for free for those willing to tolerate ads, while premium users can get the service ad-free.
Launching the new service, We7 chief Steve Purdham told CMU: "Mobile signals are unreliable for radio streaming but with the new We7 app you can still 'use it if you lose it' - continuing to listen to your favourite music radio stations, regardless of connection. We7 radio lets you 'charge' up your mobile with great music and will transform radio listening across Europe as smartphones become the primary connected mobile device in the next few years".
RADIOPLAYER TO LAUNCH AT THE END OF THE YEAR
It's not clear what stations will be available via the platform at launch, though most radio groups are on board, and any OfCom licensed broadcaster will be eligible to put simulcast, on-demand and/or podcast services on the platform.
The Radioplayer will use Flash, so won't work on Apple portable devices.
PHIL COLLINS QUITS MUSIC, APOLOGISES FOR HIS SUCCESS
Confirming to FHM that he's quitting music for good, he said: "I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that. It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me".
While various health issues may have partly motivated his decision to step back from his music career, he added there are other reasons: "I look at the MTV Music Awards and I think: 'I can't be in the same business as this'. I don't really belong to that world and I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier to write myself out of the script entirely".