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RECORD INDUSTRY SUES IRELAND
As previously reported, the Irish record industry has been lobbying hard for new measures to help them crack down on illegal file-sharing similar to those being introduced in the UK, France and Spain, particularly as efforts through the Irish courts to force the internet service providers to police file-sharing in some way have all failed.
The labels did reach an out of court settlement with Ireland's biggest ISP Eircom which resulted in the company voluntarily launching a three-strikes programme, but other net firms have so far refused to likewise voluntarily start sending out warning letters to customers suspected of file-sharing, meanwhile the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has been very critical of the Eircom system.
Following various false reports over the last year or so that the Irish government was about to announce new anti-piracy measures, everyone now seems certain proposals for a statutory instrument addressing the issue are likely to be published this month. It's widely believed the government's proposals will be for a fast-track injunctions system, making it easier for rights owners to get injunctions to force ISPs to block access to copyright infringing sites, similar to new anti-piracy measures being introduced in Spain, and distinct from the three-strikes style systems being adopted in the UK and France.
The fact that we are still awaiting those proposals makes it a little odd that EMI Ireland boss Willie Kavanagh chose to hit out at ministers on this issue this week, and even more so that he and the other majors would launch presumably expensive litigation. Presumably they suspect political types plan to procrastinate on this issue, and/or publish lacklustre proposals that won't achieve the record industry's aims for a crack down on piracy. Though we don't really know that.
The lawsuit against the Irish government seemingly focuses on the country's obligations under European law, and claims ministers have failed to fulfil EU obligations to help content owners protect their rights online, though the exact nature of their legal arguments is not yet clear, and the Irish Recorded Music Association is yet to comment on the action. Quite what the litigation will mean for the Irish government's plan to publish their proposals for new anti-piracy rules later this month remains to be seen.
VELVET UNDERGROUND SUE OVER WARHOL'S BANANA
The Andy Warhol Foundation was established after the pop artist's death in 1987 and basically administers his estate. The Velvet Underground says that the Foundation has been licensing use of the iconic banana image - which was created by Warhol, the band's then manager - without their permission. Because the image is so associated with the band, they argue, whenever the Foundation allows a commercial entity to use it - for example on a line of iPad covers - it implies they are endorsing the products bearing the picture.
If it gets to court, this legal dispute will presumably in part centre on just who owns the copyright in the image. Copyrights are registered in the US, but it seems that neither Warhol nor the band ever registered their interests in the banana picture. Therefore who should have control over the image, and the rights to earn off it, will likely depend on conversations or informal agreements dating back to the 60s.
That said, the Velvet Underground's litigation in the main focuses on the public's perception of the image, suggesting that the Foundation is inappropriately and possibly deliberately capitalising on the fact people associate the banana more with the band than with Warhol, and that by licensing it to third parties they are therefore "deceiving the public".
The Foundation is yet to respond to the action.
WIZ KHALIFA ACCUSED OF SONG THEFT
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Warren says his song was featured in a mixtape created by hip hop outfit Ase & Zee in 2007, and that that recording was widely circulated, so that Thomaz or one of his associates could have heard it before creating 'Black And Yellow'.
Warren's lawsuit names Thomaz, his label and publisher as defendants, and seeks a mega $2.3 million in damages for the alleged copyright infringement.
BRAXTON HOSPITALISED BY IMMUNE SYSTEM CONDITION
But Braxton has told fans that, while it's true the condition has flared up, causing her to require hospital treatment, she will be fine, and just needs to rest. TMZ quotes her as follows: "I wanted to say thanks to all my fans for their support, as I have been experiencing some flare ups with my lupus which has me in the hospital for a few days. I wanted to clear the record before rumours started, and I will totally be fine as I'm blessed to having an amazing family for support".
BRIT AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
Emelie Sandé has already been announced as the winner of the Critic's Choice prize (ie the British artist music critics think is most likely to break through into the mainstream this year) but also picks up a nomination to win the award for British Breakthrough Artist (ie the best British artist who broke through into the mainstream last year). Meanwhile, over in the International Breakthrough Artist category, Lana Del Rey gets a nomination based on her one single, which is pretty good going.
Performances at the ceremony, which will take place at The O2 Arena on 21 Feb, will come from Adele, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Florence And The Machine, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and Blur, the latter of whom will close the show after collecting their Outstanding Contribution prize.
Here are those nominations in full:
British Male Solo Artist: Ed Sheeran, James Blake, James Morrison, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Professor Green
British Female Solo Artist: Adele, Florence And The Machine, Jessie J, Kate Bush, Laura Marling
British Breakthrough Act: Anna Calvi, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé, Jessie J, The Vaccines
British Group: Arctic Monkeys, Chase & Status, Coldplay, Elbow, Kasabian
British Producer: Paul Epworth, Flood, Ethan Jones
Critics Choice: Emeli Sandé
British Single: Adele - Someone Like You, Ed Sheeran - The A Team, Example - Changed The Way You Kissed Me, Jessie J feat Bob - Price Tag, JLS feat Dev - She Makes Me Wanna, Military Wives/Gareth Malone - Wherever You Are, Olly Murs feat Rizzle Kicks - Heart Skips A Beat, One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful, Pixie Lott - All About Tonight, The Wanted - Glad You Came
British Album Of The Year: Adele - 21, Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto, Ed Sheeran - +, Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials, PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
International Male Solo Artist: Aloe Blacc, Bon Iver, Bruno Mars, David Guetta, Ryan Adams
International Female Solo Artist: Beyoncé, Björk, Feist, Lady Gaga, Rihanna
International Group: Fleet Foxes, Foo Fighters, Jay-Z/Kanye West, Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5
International Breakthrough Act: Aloe Blacc, Bon Iver, Foster The People, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj
Outstanding Contribution To Music: Blur
SANTIGOLD WORKING WITH ZINNER ON NEW LP
She's titled it 'Master Of My Make Believe' (not 'Go', as we surmised from comments made by her last year), and has worked on several tracks with collaborators including Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek, Major Lazer's Switch and prolific pop producer Greg Kurstin.
Describing recording with Zinner as a pivotal moment in the LP's creation she tells V Magazine: "I started writing with Nick, and it started being cool and fun. That was when I was like: 'I just want to work with who I want'. We recorded in Jamaica for a little while and finally some lyrics started to come to me. I think that time really coloured the record".
As for the album's title, she said: "No one wants to be real anymore. Wikipedia is always wrong. No one fact checks and it's not even a priority. Reality TV is more popular than ever, and it's the fakest thing ever. Where is there place for truth in all of that? My record is called 'Master Of My Make Believe' because I want it to be about creating your own reality".
Read the rest of Santigold's V interview here: www.vmagazine.com/2011/12/black-and-gold-santigold/
PELICAN TO RELEASE EP
Apparently, said extended player - due out via Southern Lord on 9 Apr - will "highlight the manifold sonic strengths of the band by delving into moments of triumphant melodic rock, smokey doom, ambient soundscape, acoustic desert-folk, and minimalist electronics".
And while you digest that, here's a list of ancient Greek words (by coincidence, also the EP's tracklist) to puzzle over:
AMATEUR BEST ANNOUNCES DOUBLE DENIM SINGLE
'Be Happy'/'The Wave' will be released in parallel to a 28 page comic book featuring Flory's illustrated creation James Best, the archetypal "London DJ, latent alcoholic and lifelong amateur".
With both tracks and book due out on 13 Feb, you can have a listen to the rather downcast 'Be Happy' here: soundcloud.com/doubledenim/be-happy
TRAILER FOR LCD SOUNDSYSTEM'S 'LAST DAYS' DOCUMENTARY RELEASED
Credited to Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, who also directed Blur's 2010 feature 'No Distance Left To Run', the film also includes footage by Spike Jonze. It will premiere on 22 Jan as part of the Sundance Film Festival, and is expected to be released on DVD at some point this year.
So, with scenes of LCD leader James Murphy appearing as a sort of forlorn, Bill Murray-esque character (waking up alone in a crumpled dress shirt, walking the dog in his pyjamas), you can watch the trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FAUyrFWDvw
ALEX WINSTON PLANS TOUR
20 Mar: Manchester, Deaf Institute
RELENTLESS RECORDS JOINS SONY MUSIC
Relentless was founded in 1999 by Jobanputra and Paul Franklyn, catching the rise of UK garage with signings such as Craig David, Artful Dodger and So Solid Crew. The label began working with EMI in 2003 for the release of Joss Stone's debut album, 'The Soul Sessions', and in 2009 was sold to the major's Virgin Records UK division, of which Jobanputra became president.
But, as previously reported, Jobanputra left EMI in April last year, and while the Relentless roster - including Roll Deep, KT Tunstall and Cage The Elephant - stayed with the major, he took the label's name with him. In July last year the company released Ms Dynamite's 'Neva Soft' single, and its first signings as part of Sony Music are grime producer Rude Kid and folk musician Misty Miller.
Announcing the news, Sony Music UK's CEO Nick Gatfield (and former colleague of Jobanputra at EMI), said: "Shabs has a tremendous track record of working with artists across multiple genres. He is a great addition to our A&R capability".
Jobanputra added: "I'm very excited to bring Relentless Records to Sony Music. There are lot of great people here and I hope to learn lots as we begin the next chapter".
EMI FRANCE TAKES SLICE OF FRENCH MULTI-STREAM FIRM
Confirming the new alliance with EMI, Duclos and Godin said in a statement: "With this partnership, PlayOn will be able to speed up its international development and more generally synergise its diverse activities with EMI Music, working in close cooperation with EMI Music Publishing".
EMI France chief Olivier Montfort added: "With many success stories behind it, PlayOn has become in a short space of time, a leading actor in France's independent production sector. PlayOn has also broken into the international market thanks to the worldwide development of the artist Zaz. The partnership with EMI will strengthen PlayOn's development in France as well as abroad".
It seems the new deal will see PlayOn working with both EMI's recorded music and publishing businesses, which is interesting given they will likely be owned by different people by the summer.
FACEBOOK LAUNCHES LISTEN WITH FRIENDS FEATURE
The feature finally went live yesterday (and will continue to roll out to all users over the next few weeks), with Facebook Product Designer Alexandre Roche explaining: "This feature lets you listen along with any of your friends who are currently listening to music. You can also listen together in a group while one of your friends plays DJ. You can listen to the same song, at the exact same time - so when your favourite vocal part comes in you can experience it together, just like when you're jamming out at a performance or dance club".
More details on how it works are available here: blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=10150457932027131
RADIO NEEDS TO BE MORE VISUAL, SAYS BBC MAN
According to The Guardian, in his address to a future of radio conference organised by Absolute Radio, the BBC man said yesterday: "With some regret we are moving to a screen world. Radio needs to accept that and get on with it and enjoy it. I'm a big fan of pure audio and I have always felt that audio will hold up for a long time, but in terms of the devices, it will have a screen on it. We have been at it for a while, but what information we give on that screen, that is now a real issue".
But Davie did caution radio types about getting too carried away with the visual element, adding: "Radio needs to be careful that you don't just visualise everything and chuck up video everywhere. Our power has always been about the curating and the editing, rather than just showing stuff on a webcam".
Clever ways to incorporate visual with audio services via smartphone devices are also needed, the BBC exec said, telling his audience: "We need to be on more smartphone devices. If I have one challenge for the industry, it is to get on devices. We need to be distributed on iPhones and all the various platforms. That is the real priority".
PREVIOUSLY UNHEARD BRAHMS PIECE TO AIR ON RADIO 3
The piece of music was found by conductor and musicologist Christopher Hogwood in the library of Princeton University, and came from a book that originally belonged to a director of music at Göttingen University in the nineteenth century.
Tom Service, presenter of 'Music Matter's, the Radio 3 programme which will premiere the piece, explained "[Hogwood looked through the book and] saw signatures of the famous musicians who had come to dinner with [the Gottingen University man], including Liszt and Schumann - and was astonished to find this complete little work by Brahms, written when he was 20. It was really thrilling to hear it in the studio - it felt like we were discovering something".
The new piece will air on the Radio 3 show on 21 Jan.
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #93: BOB LEFSETZ V VAN HALEN
It's a simple mistake, I guess. And it's certainly not the first time such a thing has happened. The situation was rectified fairly quickly and everyone's happy. Well, everyone except music business blogger Bob Lefsetz, who last night fired off a rant under the assumption that the band were joining the line of artists who want to pretend that streaming services are merely a distraction, rather than a significant part of their future. And while that may not really be the case for Van Halen, it's a fine rant that makes some very good points.
"I'm sick and tired of these acts putting money first", writes Lefsetz. "Refusing to be on the bleeding edge but insisting on pulling up the rear, screaming, kicking and crying all the way that they just can't make the kind of money they used to. Meanwhile, they kick us in the balls by charging in excess of $100 for a concert ticket ... If these acts were in a burning building they wouldn't turn around and save their co-workers, they'd rush out, putting chairs under doors so no one could impede their descent".