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DOCTOR CALLED PA BEFORE PARAMEDICS: MURRAY TRIAL UPDATE
A former Jackson PA and security guard, and an AEG Live lawyer who worked on Conrad Murray's contract, all testified on day two of the trial. The PA, Michael Williams, confirmed that Murray called him at 12.12pm on 25 Jun 2009, sixteen minutes after the doctor had found Jackson unresponsive. Williams didn't pick up, and Murray left an anxious sounding voicemail saying, simply, "call me right away".
When Williams called back three minutes later Murray told him that Jackson has suffered "a bad reaction", and that he should come to the mansion where the singer was living straight away, and send a security guard up to the singer's quarters immediately. The PA added that while something was clearly wrong, Murray's use of the words "a bad reaction" did not indicate that the emergency services should be called. So he contacted a security guard at the property, and then made his way to Jackson's home.
That security guard was Faheem Muhammed, who also testified yesterday. He told the court that when he got to Jackson's room he saw Murray seemingly trying to resuscitate the singer. Jackson's two older children were there - "Paris was on the ground, balled up, crying ... Prince had a shocked look" - so his first move was to take them out of the room. He then returned to the bedroom where, he says, Murray asked him if he knew CPR. It was at this point the emergency services were called.
By the time Williams got to Jackson's home the ambulance had already arrived. "It was real frantic", he told the court in his testimony. "I got there when the gurney [carrying Jackson] was coming down". Williams accompanied Murray to the hospital where, he said, the doctor became anxious to return to the singer's house once Jackson had been confirmed dead. Williams: "He said, 'There's some cream in Michael's room that he wouldn't want the world to know about', and asked that I or someone else give him a ride back to the house, so that he could get the cream". The implication on the prosecution's part is that Murray was keen to hide the drugs he had administered to Jackson prior to his death.
Aside from painting a picture of what happened in the minutes immediately after Jackson's cardiac arrest, the prosecution also focused on the singer's health prior to that day. The defence are expected to claim the singer was ill, and fearful he would not be able to complete the 50 night O2 residency he had signed up to in a bid to pay off some of his mounting debts. But Williams confirmed Jackson seemed on good form in the days before his demise, performing well at the 'This Is It' rehearsals, and talking to fans outside the rehearsal venue in LA.
Meanwhile Kathy Jorrie, a lawyer working for 'This Is It' promoters AEG Live, told the court that Murray had told her himself, a number of times, in the days before Jackson's death how healthy the singer was. Jorrie had been drawing up Murray's contract for his continued work as Jackson's personal medic once the singer relocated to the UK for the London residency. She told the court: "Dr Murray told me repeatedly that Michael Jackson was perfectly healthy, in excellent condition".
The case continues.
WE7 RELAUNCHES, FOCUSES ON INTERACTIVE RADIO
So yes, We7, the UK-based digital music company which has dabbled with various different services over the years, many of them ad-funded, is throwing all its energy behind its 'interactive radio' platform. This is not really a surprise, as the company brought that element of the We7 offer right to the front last November, positioning the Spotify-style on-demand music-player element of the site as a secondary service. From today, the on-demand function will only be available to premium subscribers, with the main We7 site only displaying the cleaner, stripped down radio option.
Like Pandora, We7's interactive radio platform puts together bespoke playlists for people based on a nugget of information the user provides at the start, such as genre, artist or song. There is additional interactivity, in that users can skip songs, log whether they like or dislike a track, and select the next song to be played themselves up to 50 times a month (or an unlimited amount of times for paying subscribers). There are also two mobile apps, a free to use mobile version of the radio offering, and an on-demand app only available for use by top tier premium subscribers.
As previously reported, when they first pushed interactive radio forward as a primary service last year, the We7 team claimed that stats showed it was actually the most popular element of their offer already. Cynics will no doubt note that the licensing costs for this kind of service are considerably less than for a truly on-demand platform, and that is presumably also a motivation for focusing on this element.
Though it is also true that many music fans - and possibly most casual music consumers - find the scale of a service like Spotify off-putting, and would prefer some automated curation on their behalf. Plus, of course, the interactive radio service better distinguishes We7 from Spotify, which has never really cracked the curation and recommendation element of streaming music.
Anyway, here's what We7 chief Steve Purdham says: "We7 is about creating a smart, personal and intimate listening experience. We believe people want radio stations that are personally tailored to them with the opportunity to occasionally request songs. It's like having your own personal DJ who knows what you want to hear. As music streaming moves from early adopters to the mainstream we want to be at the forefront of delivering a simple and easy to use service that everybody can engage with".
GAGA SUES OVER TRADEMARK REGISTRATION
Gaga is suing Excite Worldwide, claiming that the company is trying to cash in on her reputation by registering the trademarks, which it did, she says, without her permission.
The trademark applications are actually still going through the motions, and presumably Gaga plans to raise an objection with the US Trademark Office as well as possibly suing for damages. The lawsuit apparently also claims that Excite is interfering with her own efforts to register a range of Gaga trademarks.
LAURYN HILL SUED BY STYLIST
In a lawsuit filed at the LA County Superior Court and seen by TMZ, Via Davia Vintage claims that Hill was loaned "an entire wardrobe of high fashion items" for her 2007 European tour in exchange for a weekly fee for four weeks. However, the company says, Hill held onto all of the clothes for three months, kept 70% of the garments permanently and paid only a fraction of the fees due.
In July, Hill was also sued by guitarist Jay Gore, who said he was never paid for a gig he performed with her, also in 2007.
BLOC PARTY COMMENT ON SPLIT RUMOURS
As previously reported, guitarist Russell Lissack told NME this week: "Kele's been pretty busy doing solo stuff and it looks like he's going to be doing that a bit longer. The other three of us wanted to meet up and make music. We were talking about just doing an instrumental thing, but now we might get a singer as well, to properly put some music out and play some shows".
Commenting on that, Okereke wrote on his blog: "Hmm, I don't know what to make of this. A big part of me is laughing HARD at all of this but another part of me is all like WTF? I'm quite curious as to what a Bloc Party audition would be like? I wonder if they would let me sit on the panel so I could be a judge Tyra Banks style?"
Meanwhile, Si White, who co-manages both Bloc Party and Kele's solo career, tweeted yesterday: "For those that keep asking, Bloc Party's membership consists of the same four people it has consisted of since 2003".
The band issued an even more succinct statement via their website, saying: "Bloc Party is still Bloc Party. See you soon".
As previously noted, it's not clear if any activity minus Okereke will be carried out as Bloc Party or under a separate name. Also, the inclusion of the line "it looks like he's going to be doing that a bit longer" suggests that Lissack is expecting him to come back at some point.
LONDON PHILHARMONIC RECORD EVERY NATIONAL ANTHEM (MORE OR LESS)
According to the BBC, Olympic rules dictate that each anthem is between 60 and 90 seconds. As the shortest, Uganda, is eighteen seconds long normally, and the longest, Uruguay, runs for nearly seven minutes, that involved some reworking. Though original arrangements were being used anyway, partly to give the performances a fresh spin, and partly to avoid any copyright issues around existing arrangements.
Conductor Philip Sheppard had 45 meetings with reps from all over the world to discuss his adaptations of each anthem. Meanwhile, the orchestra had a map on the floor of the studio so they could mark off each anthem as it was recorded. Sheppard told the Beeb: "My geography has definitely been sharpened!"
LEONA DELAYS ALBUM
She said via Twitter: "I'm feeling so inspired right now and have decided to continue recording. I have a collection of songs that I'm so in love with and I know there's more to be born so it means the album will come early next year".
Earlier this year, the first single from the album, 'Collide', ended up in a legal battle with producer Aviici, who claimed he had not given permission for one of his instrumental tracks to be used as the basis for it.
FEIST STREAMS NEW ALBUM
Feist's musical palette seems broader across her latest offering than in past works, and 'Metals' finds her laying out an array of warming folk-pop morsels, enriching her brand of mystic, organic balladry with country inflections and well-placed orchestral accents.
In return for an email address, you can stream 'Metals' here: www.listentofeist.com/metals/
KORN ANNOUNCE DUBSTEP ALBUM
A metal band whose previous innovations include working with pop producers The Matrix, Korn have announced that for their tenth album, entitled 'The Path Of Totality', they have collaborated with a number of dubstep producers. As well as Skrillex, they also worked with Excision, Datsik, Noisia, Kill The Noise, and Twelfth Planet.
Guitarist James 'Munky' Shaffer explained that they had not initially planned to create a full dubstep album, but had been convinced when they shifted 150,000 copies of that initial track with Skrillex. "'Get Up' started as a bit of an experiment", he said. "But we had such an amazing response from our fans and had such a great time collaborating that a full album of tracks came together in a couple of months. We couldn't wait to get to the studio every day to finish the next song".
Frontman Jonathon Davies added: "The title 'The Path Of Totality' refers to the fact that in order to see the sun in a full solar eclipse, you must be in the exact right place in the exact right time. That's how this album came together. I think all the producers feel the same way. I'm not sure it could ever happen again".
Let's hope not. And if that's sent you into a spiralling depression about the current state of dubstep, then you probably shouldn't watch this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YpOw8o34BM
THE CURE TO PLAY THREE ALBUMS BACK TO BACK
Going by the name 'Reflections', the performance was premiered at the Vivid Festival in Sydney earlier this year, and according to the band, this run of gigs will be the last chance fans will have to catch it.
Each album will see the band expand by one member during the gig, with Robert Smith, bassist Simon Gallup, and drummer Jason Cooper the only members to perform throughout the entire show. They will then be joined by Roger O'Donnell on keyboard for 'Seventeen Seconds', plus founder member Lol Tolhurst on keyboards and percussion for 'Faith'.
Before six dates in LA and New York, the band will play a one-off show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Tickets for that will go on sale at 9am on Friday.
CARDIFF TO HOST WOMEX IN 2013
Commenting on the news, Wales' First Minster Carwyn Jones told reporters: "Womex 13 Cardiff will place the music from Wales on the world stage alongside more established markets, so that Wales' authentic music traditions become more widely known internationally and are positioned beside music from our Celtic neighbours".
Meanwhile Lisa Matthews from the Welsh Music Foundation added: "[Womex 2013 will be the] most amazing opportunity to get to learn about other musical cultures. It will open people's eyes to a wonderful celebration of world cultures".
This year's Womex takes place in Copenhagen next month, while in 2012 the event will take place in Greece.
GLOBAL REPERTOIRE DATABASE GROUP ANNOUNCES CONSULTATION
As previously reported, the Working Group is a consortium of rights owners and digital companies looking into launching a global database of songs which will list each work's owners in each territory, a potentially very valuable resource which really should have been set up years ago. The 20 week industry-wide consolation will consider technical, business, organisation, funding and governance issues around such a database.
Says Neil Gaffney, Executive Vice President of EMI Music Publishing, one of the rights owners involved: "It is a real achievement for this group of representative stakeholders in the GRD to be able to work together in the development of a clear set of common requirements and to so readily agree a way forward. Our consensual approach will be taken forward into the Study, which envisages the involvement of a much broader stakeholder community".
WARNER'S DIGITAL MAN SAYS THE INDUSTRY HAS CRACKED FREE
It's a statement that might surprise some, given how flippin long it took for Warner to sign up to Spotify in the US, but his point is that the Swedish streaming service's refined model is the right one - ie while free music might be funded by advertising in the short term, the long term objective should be to upsell subscriptions. Of course Spotify would claim that's been their agenda from day one, though since their freemium option has been streamlined that has become more obvious.
Speaking to CNET's Greg Sandoval, Nash said: "The industry has finally figured out free. The recent announcements from all these free offers is, from a licensing standpoint, the right approach. Free didn't work before. It was once used, by sites like Imeem and Spiralfrog, to drive engagement with ads. What we're looking for now is for free to drive engagement with subscription services".
Read the full interview here: news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20112365-261/warner-music-exec-we-finally-figured-out-free/
IPAD USERS LESS LIKELY TO USE ITUNES STORE FOR MUSIC
But, says NPD, it needn't be that way. The research firm's Russ Crupnick reckons the music business just needs to work out different ways to engage users of iPads rather than those accessing iTunes via a conventional computer. Billboard quote Crupnick as saying: "There's no reason the music or video industry should accept a loss of buyers as device preferences change. They have significant opportunities to foster discovery, engagement, and purchases using the tablet platform".
Of course once you get into thinking about how to better engage with and sell music content to tablet computer users (or smartphone users, for that matter), you also have to consider the fact that those using non-Apple devices can't access iTunes anyway. The tablet market expanded yesterday, of course, with the launch of an Amazon tablet device, the Amazon Fire, which is notable mainly by its price point. It will arrive in US shops in November priced $199, compared to Apple's bargain basement iPad which retails at $499.
MATT CARDLE SAYS HE NEEDS TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM X-FACTOR, AGREES TO APPEAR ON X-FACTOR
"It was so important I was honest with Chris [Briggs, Sony A&R] about keeping my integrity intact, even though I battered the hell out of it on 'The X-Factor'", he said. "But I think a little bit of it remained somehow and I wanted to keep hold of that and build on that and write an album I would have written anyway. I'm really proud of it. I just pray to God it bridges the gap between 'X-Factor' contestant and true singer-songwriter".
Stage one of distancing himself from 'X-Factor' is the release of Cardle's debut single, 'Run For Your Life', which was written by 'X-Factor' judge Gary Barlow and will be launched with a live performance on 'X-Factor' on 9 Oct. Yep, that should do it.
LIAM GALLAGHER QUESTIONS COLOUR OF KETTLE
Back in March, Gallagher told The Quietus: "I heard that fucking Radiohead record ['The King Of Limbs'] and I just go, 'What?!' I like to think that what we [Beady Eye] do, we do fucking well. Them writing a song about a fucking tree? Give me a fucking break! A thousand year old tree? Go fuck yourself! You'd have thought he'd have written a song about a modern tree or one that was planted last week. You know what I mean?"
And now, in an interview in the new issue of Q, he expands on his theme, saying: "I've never even heard 'OK Computer', but anything by Radiohead doesn't make much sense to me. Everyone's going on about Radiohead pushing things forward, but the only thing they're famous for really is songs like 'Creep' innit? They then go off-roading for the rest of their career. I just don't get it. I mean, we've all written songs like 'Creep', y'know, them classic songs. So that's what makes them what they are. 'Karma Police' is alright, but it's The Beatles, innit?"
Yes, that's right, Liam Gallagher just dissed someone for writing songs that sound a bit like The Beatles. And while not wishing to pick further holes in Liam's arguments, I think some would argue that Radiohead are actually much better known for songs like 'Karma Police' and 'Paranoid' Android' off 'OK Computer' than they are for 'Creep' these days. Certainly, it was their third album, rather than their first, that was the catalyst for them being the incredibly successful band they are today.