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PROMOTING MUSIC - MEDIA, SOCIAL MEDIA & MORE
How to build a profile for your artists - the state of the music media, traditional and new publicity techniques, social media and the future of music PR. Wed 13 Jul
MUSIC RIGHTS – INSIDE & OUT
US INDUSTRY STRIKES DEAL WITH ISPS OVER PIRACY ACTION, EUROPEAN INDUSTRY RESPONDS
Each participating ISP - and the agreement includes all the big guys like Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon - will be able to implement the "graduated response" system set out in the deal in their own way, using their own terminology, but if a user fails to respond to warnings that illegal content is being accessed via their net connection five times then the ISP will be obliged to instigate a "technical measure".
Those measures will most likely include so called 'bandwidth throttling', or maybe temporary suspension of access to the net until the user phones in and commits to stop accessing or sharing unlicensed music and movies. Full-on suspensions or disconnections, or anything more draconian, are not part of the agreement. Though some have pointed out that the paper trail the warning process will create will make it easier for content owners to sue a prolific file-sharer should they wish to.
Any user who feels they have been unfairly targeted will be able to make an appeal to an independent body run by the net and content industries. Meanwhile a Center For Copyright Information will enable ISPs to share information about their three-strikes activities.
The deal, assuming it works, gives the US content industries a head start over their counterparts in much of the rest of the world with regards the whole three-strikes thing, despite them being a little late to this party. It was the European record industry, and especially the UK sector, which quickly rejected suing individual music fans as a strategy for combating file-sharing, instead arguing ISPs should take a more proactive role in policing piracy.
Attempts to strike a voluntary agreement between the content and net firms on tackling file-sharing mainly failed over here, leading the former to instead lobby for a change in the law to force the ISPs to act. Although in France and the UK those lobbying efforts were successful, and the French statutory three-strikes system is already underway, arguably any graduated response programme endorsed by the ISPs is going to be more effective.
The American industry, which continued with the sue-the-fans strategy long after it had been proven futile, now looks likely to get its variation of three-strikes working much quicker - and very possibly sooner than here in the UK - as a result of not having to go the 'new copyright law' route.
Welcoming the agreement regards a 'copyright alert' system, the boss of the Recording Industry Association Of America, Cary Sherman, told reporters yesterday: "This is an important step forward in the evolution of the internet. Until now, there hasn't been an common framework of best practices for alerting internet subscribers about possible content theft".
Speaking for the net sector, Time Warner - which is obviously also a rights owner through its movie and TV businesses - said: "Among other things, the framework provides early alerts to broadband subscribers, who often are not aware that their internet accounts are being used for online content theft. Ensuring that our subscribers have a safe and legal broadband experience is a top priority. We feel that the copyright alert framework, which focuses on consumer education, is a useful next step in that effort".
Needless to say, the European record industry responded positively to the news of the American agreement, and used it to pile pressure on ISPs over here, who in the main have resisted any efforts to get them more involved in policing piracy.
The boss of UK record label trade body BPI, Geoff Taylor, told CMU: "The UK cannot afford to fall behind as economies go digital. The US has already taken bold steps to protect jobs in its creative sector, and this new agreement confirms that ISPs must play a key role in reducing illegal network traffic. France has acted on this already. It's time for the foot-dragging to stop. ISPs like BT and Talk Talk [who have tried to overturn the British three-strikes system through judicial review] should be helping to build an internet that benefits law-abiding consumers, rather than pulling every trick they can to hold on to revenue from illegal traffic".
Speaking for the European independent sector, IMPALA's Helen Smith added: "If ISPs can deliver in the USA, this should also be possible in Europe. The European Commission has a vital role in brokering a similar agreement with European ISPs, whilst also ensuring an adequate legislative approach to tackle copyright infringement online".
Earlier this week, the government's culture man Ed Vaizey referenced the then expected agreement between music and movie companies and ISPs in the US, saying it may provide a globally relevant framework for how content and net firms could work together on piracy. He also urged BT and Talk Talk to invest their time into finding a way to make the graduated response system put in place by the UK Digital Economy Act workable, rather than trying to have the whole thing overturned.
Meanwhile at the BPI's AGM on Wednesday, he pledged to get those anti-piracy measures enabled by the DEA up and running as soon as possible, conceding that progress so far had been slower than he would have liked. While urging the record companies present to be as equally proactive in ensuring new licensed music services could launch, Vaizey said he had no time for those who oppose a crack down on file-sharing as a point of principle.
Vaizey: "What more than irks are the apologists for infringement, those who assert that copyright itself is an outmoded conspiracy, designed to put money into the pockets of corporations at the expense of ordinary people and so called 'real artists'. Supposedly you can't be a real artist and make real money. Such people tend to make a lot of noise, but little of it is constructive".
MURRAY HEARING DELAYED TO ALLOW FOR MORE VIDEO VIEWING
As previously reported, lawyers for Murray, the doctor accused of negligently administering the drugs that killed Michael Jackson two years ago, requested to see all the footage recorded at the rehearsals for the 'This Is It' stage show that Jacko was preparing for shortly before his death. Said footage was used by Sony to make the 'This Is It' documentary movie.
With legal reps for both the prosecution and defence having now been given access to the footage, the judge hearing the criminal case agreed to postpone a planned 12 Jul hearing because the lawyers are too busy going through all the video.
That hearing will now take place on 20 Jul. Judge Michael Pastor also asked lawyers to give him an indication as to whether the work involved in viewing all the 'This Is It' footage is in danger of delaying the start of Murray's actual trial, on 8 Sep.
Both the prosecution and the defence hope footage from the 'This Is It' rehearsals will back up their claims regarding the late king of pop's health prior to his death. As previously reported, Murray's defence is likely to claim Jackson self-administered the shot of propofol that led to his death.
GRACE JONES TO RE-ISSUE HURRICANE WITH DUB VERSION
That's all the news there, really. Let's all watch the video for the original version of 'Corporate Cannibal' now: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgMn2OJmx3w
KID KOALA ANNOUNCES NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL SOUNDTRACK
Summarising the book's story, Kid Koala said: "He's the guardian robot programmed to protect the sweetest astronaut on this (or any) planet. But when she blasts off on a solo mission of outer-space adventure, he is left to wonder... What now? A tomorrow-days lullaby about finding your place in the universe".
There will also be a 'Space Cadet' live show, the trailer for which you can watch here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR-nbuDDNE0
GIRLS ANNOUNCE SECOND ALBUM
Frontman Christopher Owens told SPIN: "We didn't have [five members] on the first album. I played everything except for the bass and a few random drum parts. But this new album was recorded as a band, and it has that full band feel. They're all pretty simple, obvious songs. People will hear them and they'll understand them right away".
INDIE STAR COOK BOOK TO BE PUBLISHED
The intro to 'The Mona Pizza', which is published on 1 Aug, says: "In both [music and food] there are thousands of variations in method and style and it's fascinating to think that there might be a relationship between the records we buy and the food that we prepare".
I don't know about that, but I am interested to see Emmy The Great's take on bread and butter pudding. More at bellykids.co.uk
BATTLES ANNOUNCE NUMAN SINGLE AND TOUR DATES
Fans of Battles news will also enjoy these recently announced tour dates:
16 Nov: Sheffield Plug
PEGGY SUE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM AND TOUR DATES
The band have also announced a handful of tour dates, which are as follows:
12 Sep: London, Lexington
BONJAY ANNOUNCE NEW UK DATES
21 Jul: Glasgow, Le Cheetah Club
APPARAT ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM AND TOUR DATES
You can stream and download a track form the album, 'Black Water', here:
Apparat, who will play the Scala in London on 25 Jul, will go back on the road to promote the new album in October, dates as follows:
25 Jul: London, Scala
SLIPKNOT TO STREAM SONISPHERE SET LIVE
Commenting on the show, Slipknot said in a statement: "England has always been a special place for this band from the very beginning. We can't think of a better way to culminate our celebration of Paul's life than to share it with the maggots at Knebworth and the millions more watching around the world. This is not to be missed".
You can watch the performance live on Sunday at Slipknot1.com
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
FIREFLY FESTIVAL, Elton Hall, Ludlow, Shropshire, 12-14 Aug: Sam Duckworth (the artist formerly known as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) leads the recent additions to the bill at Firefly's intimate three-day bash, joining a batch of acts including Morning Parade, The Milk, Scott Matthews, Flasguns, Jake Morley and Goodnight Lenin on the overall line-up. www.facebook.com/fireflyfestival
IN THE WOODS, secret location, Kent, 3 Sept: US folk singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell completes the final line-up for the secretly-situated, Laurel Collective-curated soiree, which is also to host the likes of Micachu & The Shapes, Dels, Pete & The Pirates, Man Like Me, Three Trapped Tigers and Post War Years, alongside a silent disco and apparent 'fireside larks' in a mystical woodland setting. www.inthewoodsfestival.co.uk
WOMAD, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, 29-31 Jul: Enriching WOMAD's multicultural line-up is a score of such final announcees as Spanish guitarist Amparo Sanchez and Pakistani qawwali singer Faiz Ali Faiz. Oi Va Voi, Vieux Farka Toure, Blitz The Ambassador, The Creole Choir of Cuba, The Savoy Family Cajun Band and NYC jazz-fusionists Tori Ensemble are also due to head to the festival, as are previously-confirmed acts Gogol Bordello, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Alabama 3, Afrocubism, Baaba Maal, I Am Kloot, Dub Pistols and Booker T Jones. womad.org/festivals/charlton-park
LIVE NATION SHAREHOLDER SAYS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP WOULD MAKE SENSE
Since the mega-merger of Live Nation with the Ticketmaster businesses, the live music firm has been under increased scrutiny in both political and City circles, with some on Wall Street critical of how management there reacted to last year's slump in the US live sector.
Word has it Azoff would like the opportunity to iron out issues stemming from the merger, and respond to challenges in the live market, away from constant analysis, comment and criticism from City types, and Malone says that makes sense.
Reuters quotes the media mogul and influential Live Nation shareholder as saying: "There are arguments that it would be better as a private company. It would probably be nice for that company to be private for a period of time to settle down and consolidate operations".
However, he reportedly conceded that raising the money to take Live Nation into private hands would be a challenge. Asked about how feasible Azoff's proposal was, he added: "Whether that's feasible is a function of how the large shareholders and management feel about it, and the financing of a deal".
US LIVE SECTOR RECOVERING THROUGH TICKET PRICE HIKES
Interestingly the rise in revenue comes despite a 2.1% drop in ticket sales, meaning the cash boost is coming from increased ticket prices. Which is interesting because some wondered whether the revenue decline in 2010 was partly due to overpriced tickets, and whether it would therefore result in a drop in ticket prices across the board.
Admitting that the fact ticket prices were up, and that people seemed to be paying the higher prices, was a bit of a surprise, Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni says: "It's possible that much of this is driven by artists playing smaller venues at higher prices or better artist packaging, which increases show costs but offers fans a better value for their ticket dollar".
Of course, comparing live revenues year on year is always slightly skewed by the fact a small group of artist can get away with charging particularly high ticket prices, and those artists don't tour every year.
IFPI SWITZERLAND CAUGHT UP IN TAX FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
According to TorrentFreak, and German journalist Christian Bütikofer, former IFPI Switzerland boss Beat Högger employed two administrators at the Swiss trade body through his own German company, so to qualify IPGate for concessions under Germany's tax system on the basis he had a Swiss operation. Bütikofer claims this benefited Högger's company to the tune of 316,500 euros.
IFPI Switzerland seemingly outsourced a lot of its operations to Högger's company, something which is possibly questionable in itself, though the tax dimension has moved this story onto a higher level, leading to Högger's resignation from the trade body, and the group's board distancing itself from his past actions, even though, Bütikofer argues, some board members sanctioned them.
All agreements between IFPI and IPGate have now been cancelled following Högger's departure, though the tax investigations into past arrangements are reportedly ongoing.
NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL A VIDEO GAME
Tubby Games' Strategic Director Neil Meredith told reporters: "'Now!' is an evergreen title that can hold in the charts over time. We have had a great reaction from retailers already and have high expectations for it in the UK and across Europe. And this isn't about a quick volume sell-in, but extending the brand in the right way. We hope 'Now!' can repeat the success it has had in music in games".
The first edition of the 'Now!' game is due out later this year, presumably just in time for Christmas.
NEWS OF THE WORLD TO CLOSE, GEORGE MICHAEL THROWS IN AN ALLEGATION
As you all surely know already, yesterday News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, announced it was shutting the News Of The World after a splurge of allegations regarding the bribing of police officers and the hacking of voicemail accounts by journalists and investigators employed or contracted by the paper.
The dodgy dealings took place over a number of years, up until the prosecution and subsequent jailing of a NOTW reporter and contractor in 2006/7, under the editorships of now News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and former chief spin doctor for the Tories, Andy Coulson.
The story, which has been ongoing ever since those 2006 allegations (though mainly in the pages of Private Eye and The Guardian), escalated in recent months as News International's freakin obvious lie that phone hacking was only ever undertaken by the one reporter and private investigator jailed in 2007, started to unwind.
Things stepped up a gear this week once it emerged that voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and of family members of various dead soldiers and 7/7 victims, had also been hacked. As the story went global, News Corp's share price tumbled, advertisers pulled out of the offending tabloid, parliament debated the matter in depth, and the whole thing threatened to delay the media giant's previously reported bid to buy BSkyB outright.
It didn't help that News International then sent out the most incompetent spokesperson in the world to bumble his way through interviews with broadcast media where the main question of the day was: as Brooks was editor of the News Of The World when some of the worse acts of phone hacking allegedly occurred, and given she was clearly involved in the obvious post-2006 cover up, why hasn't she resigned yet? PR man Simon Greenberg insisted that the best person to investigate alleged failings by Brooks was clearly, erm Brooks. A statement from Rupert Murdoch himself said the same. But pretty much no one else - with perhaps the exception of Brooks' mates in government - concurred.
With things now burning out of control, the younger Murdoch, Jimmy - who himself was involved in the aforementioned cover up, and who signed cheques for hundreds of thousands of pounds to celebs who said they had evidence to expose it - was sent in to execute a bold move. And so, yesterday afternoon, the 168 year old News Of The World was shut down. This Sunday's advertising-free edition will be the last, with all profits going to charity, and much of the paper's current editorial team - nearly all of whom joined after 2006 - are facing redundancy.
Everyone now expects the News Of The World to be replaced by a Sunday edition of sister title The Sun, which has so far managed to stay more or less untarnished by the dodgy tactics scandal. Indeed moves were already underway to integrate the two titles anyway. Though whether the axing of the NOTW will reduce the pressure currently on News International and its parent company remains to be seen.
Many reckon not while Brooks - the woman who allegedly, and possibly unknowingly, led the Sunday tabloid into such shady waters in a desperate bid to score a few more scoops to combat readership and profit decline - remains in her job. Meanwhile, with the aforementioned Coulson due to be arrested in relation to his involvement later today, more revelations of dodgy dealings likely to be revealed, the ongoing police inquiry and two public inquiries still to report, and the probable collapse of the Press Complaints Commission (which completely bought into the 'one rogue reporter' lies), all still to come, this story clearly has more mileage.
But you knew all that. What about George? Well, he took to Twitter last night to welcome the collapse of the News Of The World, and then threw his own allegation into the mix. The deeper story here, really, is the relationship between the wider News International organisation and the Metropolitan Police, who totally screwed up the 2006 investigation into the News Of The World's illegal operations, possibly deliberately. Brooks has been somewhat inconsistent with regards her comments on the relationship between her papers and the police but, George Michael claims, she once told him corrupt police officers are one of the red tops' best sources of stories.
Michael tweeted thus: "Rebekah Brooks sat two feet from me in my own home and told me that it was never the public that came to them with information on celebrities, and that the police always got there first. Don't ask me how she got there. Believe me, I didn't invite her!"
For music and especially celebrity PRs, the closure of the News Of The World is a double edge sword. On one level, no more Saturday afternoon phone calls looking for a quote to go alongside tomorrow's exposé of one of your clients. But on another level, the biggest Sunday newspaper, with its significant readership - always more diverse than that of The Sun - is gone.
IDOL HOST'S RADIO SHOW TO GO REAL
Confirming the new deal, Seacrest told reporters: "It's a thrill for me to bring our show to the UK, a nation so rich in arts, culture and entertainment. It's also exciting to expand our reach internationally. I'm confident we'll learn and grow, as we have every step of the way since our early days as a small radio show on one Los Angeles station".
Meanwhile GMG Radio's John Simons added: "Ryan Seacrest has a huge following in the UK thanks to 'American Idol' but his radio show is one of the best in the world and I'm delighted we'll be able to bring it to listeners in the UK every day of the working week - something that's never been done before".
ROBBIE WILLIAMS LIKES SWEARING, SO FUCK OFF
With The Mirror running a not especially believable report that some Take That fans walked out of a London show earlier this week when he introduced himself as "Robbie Fucking Williams", the Robster took to his blog to write the following: "I like swear words... I know they are frowned upon and [are] the refuge of the uneducated but so be it... fuck, fucking... can't be beaten... 'Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Robert 'fucking' Williams...' You have no idea how good it feels to say that in front of 80 thousand people... it's liberating and a statement of intent".
But don't worry, people, when Robbie says fucking he doesn't mean fucking. "I'm not a fan of the literal meaning though", he added. "I wouldn't use them when actually referring to sex".