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NOW WARNER PULLS OUT OF EMI BIDDING
According to the FT, Warner Music owner Access Industries withdrew its offer because it couldn't agree on a price with EMI's current owner Citigroup, despite the Warner Music parent company reportedly offering up to $1.6 billion, somewhat more than analysts ever expected the EMI labels to raise. Crucially, it's thought that neither the other two serious bidders for the EMI labels, Ron Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes and the Universal Music Group, were willing to go that high.
As previously reported, insiders said that the main stumbling block in talks between Access Industries and Citigroup last week was EMI's pension liabilities, though it's not clear whether that was directly responsible for the Warner party's decision to exit takeover talks on Friday.
Citigroup's separate negotiations regarding the sale of the EMI music publishing company are seemingly going better, with both BMG and Sony/ATV still in the running. It will be interesting to see what happens if a deal is done regards the sale of the EMI publishing business now, but no deal over the labels can be concluded. Does Citigroup hang on to the labels for the time being and try again in early 2012, possibly when the credit markets have improved allowing more players to bid? Though, arguably, on their own the sound recording catalogues will only really be of interest to another big record company, and the two obvious buyers in that domain both bailed last week.
Of course Universal, which reportedly withdrew from the bidding when it became clear it couldn't compete with Warner on price, may now return to the table. And it's always possible that Access Industries' dramatic withdrawal is actually a negotiating tactic to force Citigroup's hand.
Either way, Citigroup's bid to sell on EMI is proving just as eventful as the rest of the major's recent history, since Terra Firma's audacious and ultimately doomed takeover in 2007.
CHARITY WELCOMES RHYTHMIX NAME CHANGE, PLUS SOME OTHER X NONSENSE
As previously reported, the Rhythmix charity, which involves disadvantaged young people in music projects, contacted 'X' producers as soon as it heard that the girl group had adopted its name, expressing concerns that decision could hinder the charity's operations. Initially the TV show's bosses were unhelpful, basically telling the charitable organisation that they'd see them in court for an expensive trademark battle. But after an online campaign and an open letter to 'X' boss Simon Cowell from the charity's CEO Mark Davyd, TV chiefs relented and last week announced Rhythmix the group would be renamed Little Mix.
Responding, Davyd told Kent News: "We're delighted to see that public pressure has finally forced 'X-Factor' to see sense over this issue and to change the name of the band. We'd like to thank the huge number of people that took an interest in this and for all their support for the important work we do, and will continue to do. We hope to hear from the programme makers soon about how they intend to ensure that the charity does not suffer any financial loss as a result of their actions. We're going back to doing what we do every day - helping vulnerable young people create their own music".
Elsewhere in 'X-Factor' news, while the Rhythmix group changed their name, one of their rivals in the contest changed their line-up. Boyband The Risk, also put together by judges from soloist entrants, lost one of its members late last week as Ashley Baptiste decided, somewhat late in the day, that he didn't want to be in a boyband. 'X-Factor' producers quickly invited a member of another boy group who had unsuccessfully competed earlier in this series of the talent show to join The Risk.
He's called Ashford Campbell, and was presumably picked so his new bandmates can call him Ash, and not need to learn a new name this far into the competition. Though they too might have to choose and learn a new band name, as it turns out there's a Scottish group that has been performing as The Risk for three years already. Does nobody working on 'X-Factor' know how to use Google?
Perhaps they are too busy watching 'Strictly Come Dancing', which continues to gain on 'X-Factor' in the TV ratings, being the most watched show on British telly this weekend, ahead of 'X', for the first time in four years. According to the tabs, ITV bosses - for whom 'X-Factor' is the biggest advertising earner - are in a panic. The Sun says they are begging Simon Cowell to return for the final stages of the series, while the Daily Mirror says that Louis Walsh - who the tabs last week reckoned was facing the axe in a bid to boost ratings - has now been asked to advise on changes to the judging panel in a bid to pull back the viewers. The Mirror speculates Walsh will advise getting back Cheryl Cole.
Given ITV's other main success at the moment is 'Downton Abbey', perhaps it should relocate 'X-Factor' to a big house in the past.
SELF-ADMINISTRATION THE CREDIBLE THEORY: MURRAY TRIAL UPDATE
As much previously reported, Murray is accused of causing Michael Jackson's death by negligently administering the drug propofol in a domestic environment as a cure for insomnia. Murray admits to giving Jackson a very small dose of the surgical anaesthetic to aid sleep, but not enough to cause his death. The patient, the doctor's team has argued from the outset, must have administered an extra shot of the drug while Murray was out of the room which, added to lorazepam taken by Jackson earlier that day, again unbeknownst to the medic, was enough to cause cardiac arrest.
The prosecution presented various expert witnesses who said the self-administration theory was very unlikely, despite the defence's insistence Jackson was experienced at injecting medication into his own body. Not in the groggy state he would have been in after the first shot of propofol, the prosecution's experts countered, and anyway - said Shafer - there was simply too much of the drug in Jackson's system to believe the problem was an extra shot taken by the patient at the last minute.
But White said on Friday that - however unlikely - the self-administration theory was the only one that stacked up. He also argued that, when combined with the lorazepam already in the singer's system and the previous shot of propofol given by Murray, it would actually only take a relatively small extra shot of the drug to prove fatal, especially if administered quickly.
There have been various theories as to how Jackson might have self-administered the drug presented during the trial so far. The theory he drank the drug was rejected (it was shown that oral consumption would not have been sufficiently harmful), but other explanations include that he simply injected himself, that he injected extra propofol into an empty IV system already attached to his body, or that he turned on a IV system already containing the drug which had been left turned off but still attached to the patient. For his part, White proposed that Jackson injected the drug into a catheter which was connected to the singer's leg.
Shafer, after arguing there was simply too much propofol in Jackson's system for the self-administration theory to stack up, argued that the only credible explanation was that Murray left an IV system, slowing pumping more of the drug into Jackson, running while he took phone calls. The prosecution witness conceded that the kit required for that theory was not found in Jackson's bedroom but, noting that security guards had testified how Murray was anxious to tidy bits of kit away as paramedics arrived after Jackson's death, he concluded that the doctor must have hidden the tubing that would be required for his IV theory to work.
But on Friday, White picked more holes in Shafer's theory. For Murray to have been able to quickly deconstruct and hide the alleged IV set up, it would have required the large propfol supply Shafer claims Murray left in the IV system to run out just at the moment he discovered Jackson wasn't breathing which, White argued, would have been an extraordinary coincidence.
White, with credentials pretty much on par with Shafer, was by the far the most important defence witness. So sure did he seem of the self-administration theory, it could be enough to persuade the jury there is sufficient doubt with regards whether or not Murray actually delivered the shot of propofol that killed Jackson.
Though, White's certainty is still to be tested by the prosecution's cross-examination and, even if White remains convincing, many of the prosecution's experts have already argued that even if the late king of pop did self-administer the fatal shot, Murray is still negligent for using the drug in a domestic setting in the first place, for leaving supplies of the drug in reach of the patient, and for not having the appropriate monitoring equipment in place.
The case continues, with final arguments expected to begin today or tomorrow.
TEAM BIEBER ISSUE CEASE AND DESIST AGAINST FREE BIEBER CAMPAIGN
As previously reported, the Fight The Future group in the US is opposing a proposed change to American copyright law which would make it a criminal offence to operate a streaming service providing unlicensed content. Under the new law anyone found running such a streaming operation could be jailed for up to five years.
As part of its opposition to the new laws, Fight The Future has launched the Free Bieber campaign, based on the theory that the pop teen - who first came to wider attention by posting videos of himself singing other people's songs on YouTube - could be guilty of a felony under the new laws because he didn't have the permission of the songs' writers.
Though, as previously reported, whatever you think of the proposed new copyright laws, the Free Bieber campaign is flawed on two levels. Firstly, his videos were posted on YouTube, which is licensed by most of the music industry, so he likely did have the indirect permission of the songwriters in question. And secondly, even if he didn't, as the uploader of the unlicensed content he would not be guilty of the new copyright crime, only the company operating the video sharing website would be.
It's possibly for those reasons that Bieber's people aren't happy that their boy has become the face of the campaign against the new laws. Or perhaps his record company, Universal, which is supporting the proposed new legilsation, has had a word. Either way, Team Bieber have demanded Fight The Future stop using his name and image to front their campaign.
All of which adds another layer of intellectual property law shenanigans to this story. According to Digital Music News, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has said it is supporting Fight The Future on this one, and that it believes no trademark violation has occurred, and that the use of Bieber's name and image on the Free Bieber website is protected by fair use provisions in American copyright law and the mighty First Amendment. Which basically means Bieber can't stop himself from being the poster boy of a campaign against new laws all his commercial partners support. Good times.
JIMMY SAVILE DIES
Although probably best known for presenting TV shows 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Jim'll Fix It', Savile also played an important role in the development of the modern clubbing scene as one of the first promoters to recognise that the youth of the late 1940s and early 1950s were more excited about dancing to recorded music than live bands.
He often recalled how technicians expressed surprise when he first asked for record decks to be put on stage rather than at the back of a venue, and again when he requested two turntables, so songs could be played truly back to back. Bosses for the Mecca Leisure Group for whom Savile had started working quickly spotted the eccentric DJ from Leeds was onto something, and at one point had him overseeing club nights all over the country.
It was while DJing in Manchester that Savile was first spotted by the TV cameras, and soon after his career in broadcasting began. He became a radio DJ, firstly for Radio Luxembourg and later BBC Radio 1, before TV work followed. He was the first presenter of the iconic BBC music show 'Top Of The Pops' in 1964, which he continued to front for another 20 years, subsequently returning on occasion to mark the show's various landmarks, including its final edition in 2006.
Despite all his connections with the music world, it was probably another TV venture that made Savile one of the most famous faces in Britain: Saturday night kids show 'Jim'll Fix It', which launched in 1974 and he also fronted for 20 years.
It was during this period that Savile - now associated with making dreams come true on TV - also became known for his charity work off screen, especially the numerous sponsored marathons he ran. It's estimated that Savile raised over £40 million for various charities over the years, nearly half of that for the spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Savile having suffered back injuries himself earlier in his life when working down the mines during the Second World War. As well as using his celebrity to raise millions for charity, Savile also donated his time by helping out at some of the organisations he supported.
His consistently cheerful demeanour, eccentric appearance, feel-good output and regular charity work assured Savile the status of national treasure among the British population, though many were also curious about the man behind the persona. A famously private man who never married, who never hired an agent or PA, who had few, if any, close friends, and who seemed to be as eccentric in real life as he was on screen, many wondered what made this "loner" tick. Savile insisted that while he was "unusual", he was a very happy man, happy to be known by so many, and happy to have the time to support charitable organisations.
Documentary maker Louis Theroux attempted to discover the real Savile in one of his most famous programmes, 2000's 'When Louis Met Jimmy'. The programme mainly confirmed that Savile was a little odd but seemingly very happy with life. Paying tribute to Savile in The People yesterday, Theroux wrote: "My director, Will Yapp, and I stayed in touch with Jimmy long after we'd finished the filming. For several years we'd travel up for an overnight visit to see him once a year or so. We'd go out to the Flying Pizza restaurant with a camera and videotape Jimmy as he presided over birthdays with a kind of papal celebrity. But the camera didn't have tape in it, as Jimmy himself knew. He just enjoyed the idea that everyone there thought they were being filmed and the sense of occasion it created. There won't be another like him".
Other former colleagues paid tribute yesterday. Fellow Radio 1 alumnus David Hamilton told 5Live: "We were together at Radio 1 in the 70s and the station was full of eccentric personalities, but he was certainly the most flamboyant of all. One of the essential things about Jimmy was that he was a man of the people. He knew his audience, he was very much in touch with his audience. I think the public were his family. Probably of all the DJs I worked with, I knew him less than any of the others. He kept himself very much to himself. He didn't drink so he wasn't the sort of man who would go down to the pub and have a bevvy with you".
Speaking for the radio industry, to which Savile was probably most closely associated, the Radio Academy's John Myers told reporters: "The sad death of Sir Jimmy Savile represents a great loss to the UK radio industry. He was one of the pioneers of modern pop-music radio. He made the smooth transfer from Radio Luxembourg to the BBC in the late 1960s and from 1997 moved his broadcasts to commercial radio where he continued to be successful and well respected by radio audiences around the UK. The UK radio industry meets for its annual festival in Salford next week. He will be fondly remembered and his death will be marked at a special session on Tuesday morning".
Although it's not 100% certain how Savile died on Saturday, he had been in hospital recently with a suspected bout of pneumonia. One of his nephews told reporters on Saturday: "It is with deep sadness that I can tell you that our uncle, Sir Jimmy Savile passed away quietly in his sleep during the night. Jimmy will be sadly missed by very many people. We would like to thank the people who have already offered us their condolences".
FORMER KOOKS BASSIST DENIES DRUGS SPLIT CLAIMS
When he was removed from the band's line-up in 2008, they said that he had been "taking drugs probably a lot more than he should have been doing or wanted to be doing". But, with a solo project to promote, Rafferty has now given his own version of events to the Daily Star, telling the tab the band's official line was a "load of arse".
He says that: "I didn't think [the band's second album] 'Konk' was very good, and I said that. I was unhappy with the whole situation, but it was made to sound like I had a massive drug problem".
Rafferty is now working on solo material, and is due to release his first single, 'Lonely Town', next month.
TV ON THE RADIO PLOT SIXTH ALBUM
Adebimpe told Faster Louder: "I don't know what the future holds, but it'd be nice to start working on something after the tour, early next year... So I think we're focusing, at the moment, on finishing this tour and then getting things together for another record".
FLAMING LIPS STREAM 24 HOUR SONG
As previously reported, the band released a six hour song in September, in which fans could have their names featured for $100 (and which you can listen to here). But this turned out to be a warm up for the main event, a 24 hour long song saved on a hard drive embedded inside a human skull. Or skulls, as several have been produced and priced at just $5000 each. Bargain.
Although the originally announced batch of five albums-in-a-skull sold out immediately, the band have now made more available, so if you fancy owning one (or you just want to listen to the song for free online), head over to flaminglipstwentyfourhoursong.com
ESBEN AND THE WITCH TO SCREEN SIX SONGS, SIX TIMES A DAY, OVER SIX DAYS
It's all a bit confusing, but we think the band have recorded performances of all six tracks from the EP at Brighton's Duke Of York, and will be webcasting the footage at various intervals during the day from 4-9 Nov. Only a small number of fans will be able to view each webcast, and they have to book tickets in advance, cinema style. Presumably that's to make the experience seem more "exclusive". Fans can sign up at www.esbenandthewitch.co.uk/hexagons/
EMMY THE GREAT AND TIM WHEELER PLOT YULETIDE SHOW
Says Tim: "I'm a sucker for all kinds of Christmas songs from carols to Nat King Cole to 70s glam rock classics to 80s guilty pleasures. And it felt like a good time to contribute something new to the genre".
While we're on the subject of Christmas songs, have you heard Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes' take on 'Little Drummer Boy'? It's quite something.
ZULU WINTER TO TOUR
The band's double A-side debut single, 'Never Leave/ Let's Move Back To Front', is now available on iTunes. Here's the video to match 'Never Leave': www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq1Oaz3kuZI
WARNER MUSIC APPOINTMENTS
Confirming the appointment, Warner Music UK CEO Christian Tattersfield told CMU: "ADA is well established as the best distributor of independent music and Dan is perfectly placed to oversee the next stage of its UK and global evolution. His broad expertise in fostering artist careers across many genres, audience sizes and territories will prove valuable, as will his leadership skills and contacts in the indie community. Dan and ADA's senior team will together serve independent culture by offering labels tailored opportunities for commercial growth".
On the departing Rush's input at ADA he added: "Having launched ADA in the UK in 2006, Susan Rush has brokered and built ADA's relationships with many great labels, and at the same time created a first-class team. She leaves strong foundations in place for ADA's future success. We are very grateful to her for everything she has accomplished and we wish her the best for the future".
Elsewhere in Warner Music appointments news, the major also announced last week that Kei Ishizaka had been appointed as Chairman and CEO of its Japanese division. Ishizaka joins Warner from Universal's Japanese business, where he has had various senior roles over the years. Confirming the appointment, Warner's CEO Lyor Cohen told reporters: "Kei Ishizaka is a great music man from one of the world's most vibrant and important music cultures. He has a deep understanding of Japanese music, an industry-leading track record and a career-long commitment to artist development. These attributes will see Kei contribute much to the continued success of our core mission: signing and nurturing extraordinary artists".back to top
JOHN LEWIS TO STOCK ARTY VINYL
Says John Lewis's Paul Deckland: "The Play & Display flip frame is real innovation. I love the idea of our customers being able to easily display their best loved album covers and turning them into art. The cleverness of the flip frames is that the albums are easily accessible so you still get to enjoy playing your favourite music. The 20 albums we have selected to sell alongside the frames represent some of the most iconic music in the world. We have tried to stretch the boundaries a little with our titles mixing the newer mega artists with real must-have classics".
Although makers of the record fames will in part hope to capitalise on the recently reported rise in interest in buying vinyl releases, given that rise is somewhat modest, records sold in John Lewis will also come with a CD version of the album, so those who like the arty bit but who don't own a record player can still access the music.
The albums John Lewis will stock are: Adele - 19, Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood, Duran Duran - Rio, Florence & Machine - Lungs, Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better, Lady Gaga - The Fame, Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite, Massive Attack - Blue Lines, Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More, Nirvana - Nevermind, Pet Shop Boys - Introspective, Pixies - Surfer Rosa, The Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, Radiohead - The Bends, Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed, Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks, The Strokes - Is This It, The Specials - The Specials, U2 - Under A Blood Red Sky, The Velvet Underground & Nico - Andy Warhol.
YOUTUBE INVESTS IN ORIGINAL CONTENT
YouTube bosses indicated they would invest over $100 million in commissioning new content earlier this year. Partners set to spend that money range from celebrities like Madonna, Jay-Z and Ashton Kutcher, to sports organisations like WWE, to more traditional media, including Thomson Reuters, The Onion and the Wall Street Journal. Google's deals with its new content partners will work a little like traditional record deals, in that the web firm will keep all ad revenue generated by any one channel until its original investment is recouped, and will then share profits with the channel's operator. It's not clear who holds the copyright.
The new channels will start to appear this month, though most won't go live until 2012. The web firm says it expects the channels to collectively generate about 25 hours of new content daily.
COOPER CONFIRMED NEW RADIO 1 CHIEF
Cooper has been Acting Controller since Parfitt's departure, and was already in charge of Radio 1's day-to-day operations before that as Deputy Controller. Although it's thought Cooper has some ideas for making subtle changes to Radio 1's output, the appointment of an insider to the top job means a radical overhaul is now unlikely.
Confirming the appointment, the BBC's top radio man Tim Davie told Radio 1 staff: "It is excellent to have someone of Ben's calibre and experience to lead Radio 1 and keep the station as relevant, popular and distinctive as ever. Ben has an outstanding track record at Radio 1 and 1Xtra, where he has played an integral role in developing the quality and reach of both networks, and I look forward to working with him in building Radio 1's digital future".
SEESAW CLOSES DOWN
The future of the service - which began life as Project Kangaroo, a joint venture between ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC, but which was spun off as a private company after the Competition Commission raised concerns - first came into question earlier this year when owner Arqiva said it no longer wished to operate the platform and had failed to find a buyer.
But then a buyer arrived on the scene, a consortium led by Criterion Capital Partners, which planned to buy 75% of the loss-making enterprise, put former BBC and Channel 4 boss Michael Jackson in charge, and then pump in more cash to secure more content, including Hollywood movies. But the buyout started to untangle when one of Criterion's backers, Weston Capital Management, got cold feet. Two existing SeeSaw content providers, Channels 4 and Five, pulled their content and various execs left.
It's thought that those few people left working for SeeSaw will now lose their jobs as the company is wound up. Which is sad. Though on a selfish level, at least Channel 4 has launched a much better version of its own online on-demand service, given I mainly used the SeeSaw site for C4 shows.
MANI GOES BANANAS FOR STONE ROSES TOUR
He told The Sun: "The moment I heard we'd sold 225,000 tickets in an hour I thought, 'Bloody hell, I'd better get myself sorted for this one'. I can't believe all this is going on but we've got to prepare big time, so it's bunches of bananas for me for a while now. I'd forgotten how good they taste. They're brilliant. I hope they'll do the trick and get the old fitness levels sorted for me".