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COLDPLAY MANAGER ADMITS CONCERNS ABOUT STREAMING PLATFORMS
As previously reported, it emerged last October that Coldplay's latest album would not be made available for streaming for either freemium users or paying subscribers of services like Spotify, even though their label EMI has deals in place with such platforms. They weren't the first high profile artist to opt out of the streaming platforms with their new material, though the news that 'Mylo Xyloto' wouldn't be streaming came just as the backlash against the streaming companies, especially in the grass roots music community, was starting to gain momentum.
Some artists and smaller indie labels reckon that having content on Spotify is counter-productive, because the streaming services pay only nominal royalties, while having a presence on such platforms can have a negative impact on iTunes sales, or so said objectors believe.
Speaking to Bloomberg's Business Week, Holmes admitted he was concerned about making new material available via Spotify et al because he believes such services "compete with download stores" which generate more tangible revenues for artists. However, he added that the Spotify boycott would only be temporary, ie while iTunes-style sales were still active, confirming that the intent is to push the record to the streaming services in due course. Holmes: "Like all of Coldplay's other titles, the new album will be on [Spotify] eventually".
There's a sense that Spotify boycotts like those employed by Coldplay and Holmes are more artist and management driven, and that major labels and big indies by default would choose to make all new records available on all platforms, though record companies are generally non-committal when asked about such things. Commenting on 'Mylo Xyloto' not appearing on Spotify back in October, EMI told reporters: "We always work with our artists and management on a case by case basis to deliver the best outcome for each release".
Of course for big name artists a staggered approach - downloading now, streaming in six months time - probably makes sense, though some in the industry do fear that such tactical moves by certain major acts could damage the wider subscription-based streaming music market just as it's gaining momentum, in that such services will have to target increasingly mainstream audiences to grow, and those audiences might be put off if major new album releases are routinely missing from streaming service catalogues for six months to a year after release. And for those who believe that Spotify-style services are the industry's best hope for turning those who currently access unlicensed content networks into paying music consumers, that would probably be something to worry about.
Though some don't believe Spotify opt-outs will become the norm, even for big name artists. When Bloomberg asked Scooter Braun, the manager of one of the world's biggest acts, Justin Bieber, for comment, he remarked: "There were a bunch of artists who wouldn't sell music on iTunes when that first started, and now it's standard. The same thing will happen with Spotify".
TONY IOMMI DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER
The statement reads: "With the news that Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan - the 'iron man' of rock n roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery".
They added that work on the original Black Sabbath line-up's first album together for 33 years would continue, with the rest of the band relocating to the UK to allow Iommi to join in with writing and recording sessions while he receives medical treatment. They also confirmed that it's still the plan to release said new album this autumn.
AT THE DRIVE-IN AND REFUSED REFORM FOR COACHELLA
Although there was much excitement online about the apparent reformation, it wasn't initially clear exactly what was planned until this year's Coachella line-up was subsequently published, which revealed not only two performances from ATDI on its two Sunday line-ups (15 and 22 Apr), but also sets from Refused on the Fridays (13 and 20 Apr). The line-up announcement also confirmed speculation that Pulp will continue their reunion activity in 2012, appearing on the Coachella bill above Refused.
Texan quintet At The Drive-In split in November 2000, with its members forming new bands The Mars Volta and Sparta. Sparta recently began performing live again after a three year hiatus and Mars Volta frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala recently announced that a new album from that band is "just around the corner", with reports that the new record will be released in March.
Swedes Refused split two years prior to ATDI in 1998, an implosion that was captured in the documentary 'Refused Are Fucking Dead'. Rumours of a reunion have been circulating since 2010, but have always been denied by the band. Frontman Denis Lyxzén confirmed on Facebook yesterday that the band's classic 1994-1998 line-up - Lyxzén, David Sandström, Kristofer Steen, and Jon Brännström - would indeed be performing together again in 2012. An appearance at Sweden's Way Out West festival has also been announced.
At The Drive-In, meanwhile, confirmed that they too would be reuniting with their 'classic' line-up - Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Jim Ward, Omar Rodríguez-López, Paul Hinojos, and Tony Hajjar - via brief flashes of each of their faces in this video: vimeo.com/34802648
METALLICA WORKING ON "HEAVIER BLACK ALBUM"
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Hammett said: "If [last album 2008's] 'Death Magnetic' was a logical successor to [1988's] '...And Justice For All', the next album will be a heavier 'Black Album'. We're not going to the depths of complexity that we did for 'Death Magnetic'. The stuff we're coming up with is more groove-oriented, a heavier version of what we were doing in the early 90s".
In other Metallica news, the band have announced that they are putting together a 3D film, which will force fans to sit through an ill-advised narrative in order to watch considerably less concert footage than they would like. Or maybe it will be brilliant. Here's what drummer Lars Ulrich has to say about it: "Imagine if you took [Led Zeppelin film] 'The Song Remains The Same', which is 75% concert, 25% other stuff, and flipped it around. And all the non-concert footage, instead of being about the band members, is a story that unfolds, set against the backdrop of the concert". Yeah, imagine that.
I LIKE TRAINS WORKING ON NEW LP
Having released their last album, 'He Who Saw The Deep', back in 2010, the band are set to reveal more about the new record throughout the coming weeks and months.
LANA DEL REY UNVEILS ALBUM TRACKLIST
ED SHEERAN TO SING IN FOREST
Enthuses the tree-loving '+' troubadour: "I am delighted to confirm this gig as my only East Anglian show in 2012. It will be a forest first for me and I can't wait to get on stage amongst the trees and perform in such a unique place".
ARCHITECTS ANNOUNCE TOUR
NOISE OF ART TO HOST PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND ALBUM LAUNCH
The album itself will be released on 13 Feb via Tummy Touch. Of 'Form And Control' and its title, co-bandleader Daniel Collás told CMU: "The lyrics are about making a deal with the devil, like, how over history did some people become that famous? Julius Caesar, for example, who people still talk about thousands of years after his death. To a lesser extent, musicians or actors who have made an indelible impression, who have left their mark. It's a pre-destined path, but perhaps you have to give up something to make it possible... form and control".
Launched with a New Year's Eve party, The Psychedelic Curiosity Show club night has been devised to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the UK's psychedelic movement this year. As well as The Phenomenal Handclap Band, the February edition also promises to offer "60s folktronics, steam-powered cosmic house, psyched-out-disco and coal-fired techno".
More info at www.noiseofart.org
SHHH RETURNS WITH MORE QUIET MUSIC NEXT MONTH
The event will be held at The Gallery in Bethnal Green, East London on 4 Feb. More information from www.thelocal.tv.
CITIGROUP IN TALKS WITH EMI PENSION FUND
With none of the EMI buyers especially interested in inheriting the major's pension obligations, we now know that Citigroup had to hang on to those liabilities, and it was confirmed last week the bank was now in talks with the winding down major's pension trustees. It is thought Citigroup may have to pump up to £200 million into the pension fund, though the bank may try to negotiate that down to something near the pension outfit's current deficit of £125 million.
Of course Citi will get billions from its sale of the EMI businesses (assuming those sales get regulator approval), though given past losses incurred by its funding of Terra Firma's 2007 acquisition of the music company, the bankers are keen to keep as much of that money as it can.
Elsewhere in EMI news, it was revealed last week that the collapse of Terra Firma's ownership of EMI this time last year cost certain execs at the music major dearly, because the private equity owners had put them on City-style mega-bonus schemes, all of which became redundant once Citigroup had seized ownership of the music firm. Between them these directors, which included overall CEO Roger Faxon, lost £41 million in bonuses. Though given the immense stress of working for the then floundering private equity twonks, some of those execs possibly thought it was worth it.
100 CLUB DENIED LISTED STATUS
A spokesperson for Minister For Tourism And Heritage John Penrose, who turned down the application, told The Telegraph: "There's no denying the club's place in British pop music history but in the end it's only the stage and the signage that mark it out as being any different from any other basement club. [Also] I can't help but feel that giving the cradle of punk rock listed building status would not be quite in tune with that movement's driving spirit".
The 100 Club faced closure last year amid rising rents on Oxford Street, but was saved thanks to a low key sponsorship deal with Converse.
UNION SQUARE ANNOUNCES NEW CATALOGUE ACQUISITION
Confirming the acquisition, Union Square MD Peter Stack told CMU: "This represents a very exciting addition to our catalogue. We look forward to releasing the recordings across our various labels and to represent them actively in the sub-licensing and synchronisation markets. It is a personal thrill to be working with Michael Crawford recordings given Michael's unrivalled status in musical theatre, film and television".
BRITS APP TO LAUNCH AT NOMS PARTY
The event will also see the launch of a new BRITs app for the iPhone, which can be used by the public to submit votes for the punter-voted categories, which include Best Single, Best Group and Best Breakthrough. BRITs sponsor Mastercard will also be running competitions via the app, which will be available for free from Apple's App Store from Thursday.
The app has been developed by Noise Inc, whose James Coughlan told CMU: "This marks a first for a major music industry awards programme to embrace the new technology of apps in its voting system, and Noise Inc. is thrilled to be the partner who could make it possible".
Meanwhile Maggie Crow from BRIT producers the BPI (technically Margaret Crowe OBE since the new year honours were announced), added: "The BRIT Awards is delighted to be able to launch its first ever app. We want to keep in touch with our fans through their iPhones with apps, and Noise Inc. has helped us make it possible for them to connect directly with the BRITs to vote and keep up to date with all our latest news".
ORION STATIONS BECOME FREE
Orion is not the first radio company to reposition local stations that traditionally operated with different names under one brand, Global Radio being most prolific in this domain renaming most of its regional FM stations either Capital FM or Heart (indeed had Global not been forced to sell BRMB to then start-up Orion to get regulator approval for its 2007 purchase of GCap, the Birmingham station would almost certainly have now been operating as a Capital station).
The logic of such a rebranding - even if it means axing 35 year old radio brands - is that, as internet radio takes off, and as many of the barriers to market entry that have traditionally protected FM radio stations from new competition slip away, and as previously local radio stations start to have national and even international reach, it arguably becomes impractical to manage and maintain numerous different brand names, in Global's case over 40.
As many of the local FMs have long shared music and programming policies, and in many cases actual programmes, why not have one brand name across the network of stations? Or so Global, GMG Radio and now Orion have asked (Bauer Media, UTV Radio and UKRD are in the main still maintaining local station names at the moment).
Confirming the name changing at Orion, the firm's CEO Phil Riley told reporters: "The decision to change the name of our stations after each one has been broadcasting in their areas under their original names for so long has not been easy or one that we have taken lightly".
He continued: "We have given this a great deal of consideration and undertaken detailed research. The original on air names of each station means a lot to all of us at Orion, and we know and understand the deep affection many people have for those names. However, the radio market has changed dramatically recently and we have to adapt and respond".
Riley added that the name changes would not affect programming or music policies at the four stations, saying: "Although the names are changing, the commitment we have to provide the best mix of music and presenters along with local news, sport, weather and traffic remains our number one priority. Even when we are in network mode on Free Radio, we will be broadcasting from and ensuring the station serves only the needs of the region".
C4 SHOWCASES RED BULL SUPPORTED ARTISTS
Called 'Launched At Red Bull Studios', mini-programmes featuring performances from, an interview with, and other artists and pundits saying nice things about Delilah and King Charles have already aired. Future editions will feature Spector, Charli XCX, Theme Park, Jessie Ware, Beth Jeans Houghton, 2:54, Dot Rotten and Niki And The Dove.
You can watch the programmes as they air on 4OD here:
FIDDY MAKES UP WITH INTERSCOPE
But in the cold light of a January day, Fiddy has backtracked. It seems the rapper's most recent Twitter tizz began when one of his new songs leaked online, and he believed the leak had originated from Interscope HQ. But it turns out it hadn't, and so he's eaten some hip hop humble pie, which is something you find on the menu all that often.
Says Fiddy: "Discovered a computer glitch leaked my song. Sorry to team at Interscope for over reacting! Jimmy Iovine has been like a mentor for me. I just want to stay friends".