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MONDAY 30 JANUARY 2012
FIVE DAY FORECAST
Hey, it's the end of January. That means we're well on the way to putting this whole winter business behind us. Now, if I could only find my scarf, the rest of it would probably be a little more bearable. You could take your mind off the cold with the latest CMU podcast or (or indeed and) this selection of events, gigs and new releases that are available for you to enjoy this week. They'll keep you indoors, at least more>>
APPROVED: BATTLES - DROSS GLOP 1
Particularly attentive CMU readers may recall my review of Battles' 'Gloss Drop', an album which I was not exactly complimentary about. However, in the interests of balance, here is a more favourable piece on their new release, which consists of remixes from said album by various electronic types. 'Dross Glop 1' is the first in a four part twelve inch series, and it's quite good too more>>
TOP STORIES
- What will happen to the legit files on the Mega platform?
- Google is the problem, U2 manager tells MIDEM
- Lords approve final amendments to Live Music Bill
IN THE POP COURTS
- Murray asks to be released from jail pending appeal
- Russian media firm and US agency in legal fight over Gaga booking
AWARDS & CONTESTS
- NRJ Awards presented
- Billboard celebrates Seymour Stein with new award
REUNIONS & SPLITS
- Happy Mondays confirm reunion
RELEASE NEWS
- Lana Del Rey "proud" to reissue Lizzy Grant LP
- X-Factor's Marcus previews White Stripes cover
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Slow Club announce tour
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- MIDEM announcements: Essential, DigSin, Henley Biz School, Getty
- UK Music confirms Dipple as permanent CEO
- Kobalt appoints new president
- Peermusic launches new 360 degree music firm in China
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- MIDEM digital announcements: OpenEMI, Webdoc, Coke
AND FINALLY...
- Ting Tings would soil shoes before writing hits

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE LEGIT FILES ON THE MEGA PLATFORM?
The focus in the ongoing MegaUpload saga may this week turn to the possibly millions of legitimate files stored on the rogue web company's servers, or, rather, the servers of the American companies it outsourced much of its storage to.

As much previously reported, the various Mega websites were taken offline earlier this month by the US authorities, who also arrested the firm's top executives who are accused of mass copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. The shutdown followed an in depth investigation by the Feds prompted by anger in the music and especially movie industries that the Mega directors, and especially its founder Kim Schmitz, were making millions out of an operation that relied heavily on the distribution and streaming of unlicensed songs, films and TV shows.

However, as the Mega enterprise's bosses are sure to stress if and when the criminal cases against them reach the American courts, the company's file-transfer service did have legitimate uses too, allowing paying customers to move their own digital files across the net, and to have back-ups of their own content safely stored "in the cloud", as it's almost still fashionable to say.

When the Mega servers were shut down with immediate affect when the US authorities swooped the week before last, that meant the firm's customers lost access to their own files as well as all the unlicensed music, movies and TV shows they may or may not have enjoyed accessing via the Mega platform. What will now happen to those files is unclear, though many fear they may all be deleted, as soon as this week.

The problem is that Mega didn't store its customers' files on its own hardware, but on servers it hired from two American companies called Carpathia Hosting Inc and Cogent Communications Group Inc. The US authorities didn't actually seize the servers hosting Mega's files, rather disconnected them from the net, and took copies of some content to use as evidence of the web outfit's copyright infringement when the case comes to trial. Carpathia and Cogent are now left holding all that data.

In theory they could try returning legit data back to the customers who uploaded it, but that would be a time consuming endeavour, and just hosting all the data in the meantime is an expensive business when the Mega companies - with their bank accounts well and truly frozen - are now unable to pay the two server companies their hosting fees.

Although Carpathia and Cogent are yet to formally comment on their plans, according to US media a letter submitted to court by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia on Friday indicated the two firms might now just delete all the data sitting on the servers Mega rented, starting the big disk wipe as soon as Thursday. The US authorities who shut down the Mega enterprise have seemingly washed their hands of what to do with the legit data stored on those offline servers, saying it's a matter for Carpathia and Cogent.

Meanwhile, MegaUpload attorney Ira Rothken has confirmed to reporters that his clients are not able to pay its server providers to keep hold of any data because all the company's funds have been frozen, though he added that he was negotiating with prosecutors to try to find a way to stop any widespread deletion of files, partly for the benefit of Mega's former customers, and partly because he hopes to use the legit content stored on those servers in his clients' defence.

Despite heightened fears that the big delete would start on Thursday, Rothken concluded by saying he was optimistic the content could be saved, telling the Associated Press: "We're cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as MegaUpload, should have a common desire to protect consumers, that this type of agreement will get done".

As previously reported, the Spanish branch of The Pirate Party had already raised the issue of the legit files stored on the Mega servers early last week, threatening to sue the US authorities for depriving the web firm's customers from accessing their own content, on the basis doing so breached Spanish laws on "misappropriating personal data". Whatever the legalities, if deletion goes ahead, you can expect other branches of The Pirate Party and related organisations to shout loudly about this.

It's not known quite how much legitimate content was actually stored on the Mega platform, but if even only a relatively small number of legitimate files are now lost as collateral damage stemming from the Mega shutdown, it's certainly going to provide new ammunition to those who oppose new anti-piracy laws - such as America's SOPA and PIPA proposals - on the grounds that protecting the copyrights of the few will have a negative impact on the legitimate web use of the many.

And if it turns out that a large number of people do lose legit files if and when the Mega servers are wiped, that might also mean that the Mega shutdown poses other problems for other players in the cloud-storage market. As previously reported, since the Mega swoop other file-transfer and storage companies have either removed those elements of their respective services that most tangibly enable copyright infringement, or blocked access to American users, or crafted statements to stress how their business is very different to that of MegaUpload.

But if word gets around that the cloud-based storage space you're renting, partly to ensure all your files are safely backed up for eternity, might just be switched off overnight, then the whole concept of cloud-storage - a big growth market at the moment - might become less attractive to mainstream customers.

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GOOGLE IS THE PROBLEM, U2 MANAGER TELLS MIDEM
U2 manager Paul McGuinness's vehement demands at MIDEM 2008 that it was high time the internet service providers stood up and took some action against online piracy was one of the undisputed stand out moments of the annual music business conference in recent years, so most delegate eyes were on McGuinness again this weekend as he returned to the MIDEM stage in Cannes.

True, moves in the subsequent four years to persuade and force the ISPs to act - by suspending the net access of file-sharing customers and/or blocking access to copyright infringing websites - have had limited success worldwide, but McGuinness's 2008 speech certainly buoyed those in the industry who had been quietly fuming about ISP inaction on piracy for years, so everyone in Cannes this weekend was keen to see if he'd have any more bold words this time round and, if so, who would the enemy be in 2012?

As it turns out, it's Google which is most pissing off McGuinness at the moment, partly for so vocally supporting the campaign against web-blocking legislation in the US earlier this month, and partly for not doing enough - in his opinion - to stop illegal sources of content from appearing high up in artist searches on the web giant's core search engine platform.

On Google's support for the recent Wikipedia-led campaign against the web-blocking SOPA and PIPA proposals working their way through US Congress, McGuinness said that we should "never underestimate the ability of a monopoly to defend itself". Google had done a good job at employing the sort of viral marketing and social media campaigning that has become a core part of American politics in the Obama age, he admitted. But that didn't mean all the people who ticked the search engine's box to oppose SOPA and PIPA had understood all the arguments. Rather, he argued, the web giant's one-sided spin on the issue sounded attractive at the time to the company's customers.

Turning to his more general problems with Google, he said: "It amazes me that Google has not done the right thing. The experience of people when they go on Google and look for U2's music or PJ Harvey's music is a shopping list of illegal opportunities to get their songs. They have done nothing meaningful to discourage this fact".

McGuinness's comments this weekend follow the publication last week of a submission made by various UK-based entertainment industry trade bodes to media minister Ed Vaizey last November, in which they too expressed frustration that illegal content sources too frequently outrank legit sources on Google and other search engines.

In the confidential document - published following a Freedom Of Information request by the Open Rights Group - the BPI, Motion Picture Association, Premier League and others called on the government to introduce some sort of body to instruct search engines to remove copyright infringing websites from their results, something that would have also been introduced in the US under SOPA. The content industry trade bodies argued that, despite Google voluntarily introducing some measures to prioritise legitimate content in the last year, the situation had actually got worse.

Which is the same view that was also expressed by global record industry trade body the IFPI when it reviewed Google's anti-piracy measures just before Christmas, in that previously reported document that concluded much more still needed to be done.

Back to MIDEM, and despite his very vocal criticisms of Google et al, McGuinness conceded that the solution was to convince the big tech companies that there are advantages - for their own businesses - in working with the content companies on the piracy issue, rather than relying on politicians who will too often shy away from measures which, on the face of it, will be unpopular with voters. And, he insisted, there is a compelling argument to present to the big web firms, because "ultimately it is in their interests that the flow of content will continue - and that won't happen unless it's paid for".

While Google is the enemy in McGuinness's eyes, he was more positive about Apple, the tech giant responsible for much of the record industry's booming digital revenues. While admitting that Apple also drives a hard bargain, he said that working with the company was "challenging but worthwhile", agreeing with fellow panellist, author Robert Levine, that the team at the iTunes operator were "tough bastards who respect copyright". The U2 manager was also more positive about the other big emerging player in digital music, Spotify, blaming artist reservations about the streaming platform on the secrecy behind the major labels' deals with the Swedish company, and adding that he felt such services had a long term future in the wider music business.

MusicAlly has a more detailed summary of the McGuinness session at MIDEM here:
musically.com/2012/01/29/liveblog-commerce-of-chaos-copyright-panel-at-MIDEM-with-paul-mcguinness/

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LORDS APPROVE FINAL AMENDMENTS TO LIVE MUSIC BILL
The House Of Lords gave speedy approval to the Live Music Bill on Friday, meaning the much previously reported legislation - which will remove much of the bureaucracy inflicted on the promoters of small music events by the 2003 Licensing Act - should now be law by March, with the Queen due to apply her rubber stamp sometime next month.

Although a private members' bill, introduced twice by Liberal Lord Tim Clement Jones, the legislation - being approved by both the Coalition government and its original opponents, the Local Government Association, in its final form - was able to get through both the Lords and the Commons in the short time dedicated to non-government initiated proposals. Having passed the Commons the Friday before last, the Lords just needed to approve some final amendments last week.

Commenting on the impact his bill should now have by simplifying the process for staging small-scale gigs, Clement-Jones told reporters: "This is a modest Bill but one which I believe will have a major impact on the performance and enjoyment of live music, the livelihood especially of young musicians and the viability of our pubs and clubs'.

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MURRAY ASKS TO BE RELEASED FROM JAIL PENDING APPEAL
Conrad Murray asked to be released from jail on Friday, so that he can prepare to appeal his manslaughter conviction outside of prison. He'd willingly agree to electronic tagging or other forms of house arrest, he added.

Murray, of course, was last year found guilty of causing the death of the late king of pop by negligently administering the drug propofol as a cure for insomnia. He was given the full four year jail sentence allowed for the crime by Judge Michael Pastor, who seemed angered by Murray's refusal to speak in court, instead giving his side of the story to a TV documentary.

Murray plans to appeal both his conviction and jail sentence, and filed papers with the court on Friday asking to be freed while he goes through the appeals process. Attorney J Michael Flanagan, who seems to still be working for Murray despite the doctor saying he was broke and needed state-funded legal assistance for his appeal, wrote in the court submission that his client's sentence was "very severe" given the circumstances of the case. He added that the doctor is being kept in solitary confinement which his hands chained to either his waist or a table at all times.

Flanagan added that Murray's conviction stemmed from "an unusual situation, a close friendship with Michael Jackson and a desire to assist him through a difficult situation. Dr Murray may have made wrong choices and not have exercised good medical judgment at times, but he never intended to injure anyone".

The court filing asked that Murray's request for release from jail be heard on 24 Feb.

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RUSSIAN MEDIA FIRM AND US AGENCY IN LEGAL FIGHT OVER GAGA BOOKING
Lady Gaga is at the heart of litigation between a Russian TV company and a US-based management agency, even though she is not personally involved in the dispute.

Russian media firm ZAO, which operates a music channel called MUZ-TV, says it paid Miami-based NWE $1.5 million with a view to the US agency securing the Gaga to play its TV network's awards show in June. But ZAO is now trying to end its deal with the Miami firm because it believes NWE is not in a position to secure a Gaga booking, and is suing because the US agency is allegedly refusing to repay all the money the Russians handed over.

According to ZAO, NWE wants to charge $300,000 to compensate for the termination of the two companies' deal, presumably disputing the Russian media outfit's claims regards its ability to book Gaga for the MUZ-TV awards.

According to TMZ, ZAO want the courts to force NWE to hand over a full refund plus damages.

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NRJ AWARDS PRESENTED
The annual French pop awards bash that is the NRJ Awards took place in Cannes alongside MIDEM as usual this weekend, with the Bieber and LMFAO among the international winners, and Adele and even little old Mika representing the Brits. Here's the winners list...

Francophone Revelation Of The Year: Keen V
International Revelation Of The Year: Adele

Francophone Male Artist Of The Year: M Pokora
International Male Artist Of The Year: Mika

Francophone Female Artist Of The Year: Shy'm
International Female Artist Of The Year: Rihanna

Francophone Song Of The Year: M Pokora - A Nos Actes Manques
International Song Of The Year: Adele - Someone Like You

Francophone Group/Duo Of The Year: Simple Plan feat. Marie-Mai
International Group/Duo Of The Year: LMFAO

Music Video Of The Year: LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem

NRJ Award Of Honor: Justin Bieber and Shakira
NRJ Award Of Diamond: Mylene Farmer

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BILLBOARD CELEBRATES SEYMOUR STEIN WITH NEW AWARD
Elsewhere in award giving in Cannes this weekend, veteran record business exec, industry conference regular, and champion rock n roll storyteller Seymour Stein was presented the Billboard Icon Award, a new prize to recognise lifetime achievements in the music industry. That the Sire Records co-founder deserves the prize is sort of a given, surely, but if you need convincing Billboard has posted a review of his career and a video of top names bigging Stein up at this URL: www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/record-labels/seymour-stein-billboard-icon-2012-1005911152.story

Commenting on the award at the breakfast bash where it was presented, Billboard's Editorial Director Bill Werde noted the impact one of Sire's most famous signings, The Ramones, had on him personally when growing up. Said Werde: "The Ramones are really the band that changed my life. That was my gateway drug... That was the band that took me on my path and got me into cool music and got me into all these things. To some extent, you can blame Seymour for my being here at all. And Seymour, I personally thank you very much for that".

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HAPPY MONDAYS CONFIRM REUNION
The Happy Mondays reunion is official, and a string of May dates have been announced.

Backing singer Rowetta Satchell was first to officially confirm that the original line up of the Happy Mondays - including both the Ryder brothers - will reunite this summer, telling the BBC this weekend: "We want to put on a really good show. We decided it would only be special, and work, if it was the total original line-up. We're all really excited. They are my family these boys, I've really missed them and I'm sure they've missed each other".

The most recent reunion of the Mondays, in 2004, was missing some of the original line up, with Paul Ryder having declared a few years earlier that he'd never perform with his brother Shaun again. But it seems Shaun Ryder and his manager have now successfully persuaded the rest of the original line up - plus Bez and Satchell (who weren't actually there right from the start) - to join in with the latest reformation.

In an official statement this morning Shaun Ryder said: "We all met up last week and some of the lads haven't seen each other in over ten, fifteen years. It's as if we've never been apart - so good to all be in the same room again. We can't wait now to get on tour and play the songs that made us famous".

Rumours of a Mondays reunion circulated late last year, with them being heavily tipped as possible support for this year's Stone Roses reunion shows, though as yet only the stand alone gigs have been confirmed, as follows:

3 May: Newcastle Academy
4 May: Glasgow Academy
5 May: Manchester Arena
6 May: Sheffield Academy
9 May: Bournemouth Academy
10 May: Brixton Academy
11 May: Brixton Academy
12 May: Birmingham Academy
15 May: Dublin Olympia
17 May: Leeds Academy
18 May: Nottingham Rock City

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LANA DEL REY "PROUD" TO REISSUE LIZZY GRANT LP
Contentious US starlet Lana Del Rey has said she intends to reissue an album initially released in 2010 under her real name, Lizzy Grant, in "late summer".

Recorded on a modest $10,000 budget (modest, when compared to the probable funds allocated to 'Born To Die', her debut as Del Rey) with producer David Kahne, the LP was only available on iTunes for two months upon its original release in 2010.

Speaking on the subject with the BBC, Del Rey says: "I had signed to an independent label but they couldn't fund the release of it. People act like it's so shrouded in mystery, the 'forgotten terrible album'. But if you look on YouTube, all thirteen tracks are available with millions of views, so it's not like no one's heard them. We were all proud of it. It's pretty good".

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X-FACTOR'S MARCUS PREVIEWS WHITE STRIPES COVER
Currently confounding purist White Stripes fans is a ska-inspired cover of the duo's 2003 track 'Seven Nation Army', as performed by whoop-prone 'X-Factor' graduate Marcus Collins.

The 23 year old former hairdresser, who signed to Sony's RCA Records after finishing second to Little Mix in last year's 'X' contest, is to release the redo as his debut solo single on 4 Mar.

The track will precede Collins' eponymous album, due out the following week (12 Mar), which has been executive-produced by his one-time 'X-Factor' mentor Gary Barlow. The LP will also feature renditions of Janelle Monae's 'Tightrope' and Jackie Wilson's 'Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher'.

Says Marcus: "I've always been a fan of the original version of 'Seven Nation Army' and hope people like my take on it. I'm so happy to be releasing my debut album. I've worked on my music every minute possible since I came out of the show and can't wait for everyone to be able to hear it".

You can preview the track - which, as 'X-Factor' exports go, sounds fairly inoffensive (unless you're offended by inordinate whooping, or music deliberately tailored to suit an Olly Murs/Bruno Mars-type audience, that is) - here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLG1fnDioMY

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SLOW CLUB ANNOUNCE TOUR
Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor of indie-folk outfit Slow Club are no slouches, you know, despite what their moniker might connote. The London-based pair have just announced a fairly comprehensive live run to support their second album 'Paradise', which came out last year.

Due to headline an NME Awards Show date at London's Heaven on 9 Feb, the duo's live activity will begin in earnest in April, with said springtime tour running as later listed.

I should also mention that Slow Club will release a brand new version of their LP track 'The Dog' as a single on 26 Mar, and also that Charles once compiled a select CMU Playlist for us that you can listen to here: www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/slow-clubs-powers-of-ten-playlist/

Admin over, we at last reach those tour dates:

4 Apr: Glasgow, King Tut's
5 Apr: Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
6 Apr: Stockton, Georgian Theatre
7 Apr: Wakefield, Hop
9 Apr: Manchester, Ruby Lounge
11 Apr: Hull, Fruit
13 Apr: Sheffield, Queens Social Club
14 Apr: Darlington, Inside Out
29 Apr: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
30 Apr: Southampton, Joiners
1 May: Exeter, Cavern
2 May: Brighton, Haunt
5 May: Cambridge, St Paul's Church
6 May: Winchester, Railway Tavern
7 May: Reading, Sub89
8 May: Bristol, Fleece
9 May: Bath, Moles
10 May: Birmingham, Hare And Hounds

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

CAMP BESTIVAL, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, 26-29 Jul: First on the bill are Friday night headliners Hot Chip, who are freshly booked to play this familial fest alongside Rizzle Kicks, Little Dragon, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Spector and Stooshe. Frankie Rose, Dub Pistols, Scroobius Pip and Bellowhead are also amongst those taking up space on the sprawling line-up as it stands so far. www.campbestival.net

EXIT FESTIVAL, Petrovaradin Fortress, Serbia: Featuring highly amongst the first names summoned to perform at this Serbian stronghold are Luciano, Reboot and Detroit DJ Kenny Larkin. New Order are booked to top the bill, while Kuduro troupe Buraka Som Sistema are set to make a long overdue return, having first played Exit in 2007. www.exitfest.org

HEINKEN OPEN'ER, Gydnia, Poland, 4-7 Jul: Franz Ferdinand lead the latest acts confirmed to appear at this three-day Polish bash, with SBTRKT and native songstress Julia Marcell also added to an existing bill that features Björk, Justice and The xx. www.opener.pl/en

HEVY, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Kent, 3-6 Aug: Even with main stage headliners still pending announcement, a first confirmed raft of acts including Converge, Will Haven, Dead Havana, Set Your Goals, Protest The Hero and a reunited Verse provide more than enough to look forward to at this year's Hevy. www.hevy.co.uk

OSFEST, Oswestry Showground, Shropshire, 1-4 Jun: Organisers have the honour of naming Razorlight as the first and only act so far announced to appear at Shropshire's premier live happening, which for the first time this year will span a four-day programme. www.osfest.co.uk

RHYTHM FESTIVALS, Mansion House, Old Warden Park, Bedforshire, 24-26 Aug: Encompassing the triple musical threat of the Rhythm Festival, Rhythm Folk and Rhythm & Blues, latest line-up supplements include Scott Matthews, The Strawbs, World Of Arthur Brown and Eddie & The Hot Rods. www.rhythmfestival.com

SONISPHERE, Kalasatama, Helsinki, Finland, 4 Jun: Just confirmed as headliners, rock titans Metallica's set will see the band play the 'Black Album' in full, while Machine Head, Amorphis, Gojira and Ghost make up the remainder of the existing bill. www.sonispherefestivals.com

SPLENDOUR, Wollaton Park, Nottingham, 21 Jul: Splendour begins celebrations for its fifth anniversary with news that Dizzee Rascal is due to headline the child-friendly music fete, with this year's live programme also comprising the very well-behaved likes of Razorlight, Levellers and Katy B. www.splendourfestival.com

TOMORROWLAND, De Schorre National Park, Belgium, 27-29 Jul: Leona Lewis's inspirational pal, Swedish superstar DJ Avicii, joins such previously announced dance maestros as David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Fatboy Slim, John Digweed, Alesso, Solomun and Carl Cox on the billing for this 180,000 capacity mega-fest. www.tomorrowland.be

WIRELESS FESTIVAL, Hyde Park, London, 6-8 Jul: Recent additions to a high-powered Wireless roster consist of Rizzle Kicks, US rapper J Cole, house producer Kaskade and Brit dubstep type Flux Pavillion. This varied lot join Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Jessie J and Labrinth, who are all set to partake in the first-day festivities on Friday 6 Jul. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk

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MIDEM ANNOUNCEMENTS: ESSENTIAL, DIGSIN, HENLEY BIZ SCHOOL, GETTY
As is customary, many a music company announced new ventures and partnerships this weekend at the industry's annual shindig in Cannes, MIDEM. Here's a very quick summary of some them...

First up, London-based Essential Music & Marketing, the distribution and label services sister company of indie label Cooking Vinyl, announced a string of new deals. Artists-wise, Essential confirmed it would be providing label services in Europe to The Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan, Grammy-nominated Betty Wright and power metal types DragonForce.

On the labels side, Essential announced new deals to distribute No Sleep Records and Lojinx releases in Europe, and Fierce Panda releases in the UK and Ireland. Essential will also handle physical distribution in Europe for some of the artist distributed in the US by The Orchard, who, although better known as digital music aggregators, do also provide more conventional distribution services in America.

Second, US digital music and media executive Jay Frank was in Cannes to put his previously reported new music venture DigSin live. This new company is basically a free digital singles club, which hopes to build up a membership of new music fans who will receive regular free tracks from new artists. Said artists will sign one track deals with DigSin, which will also make the track available via traditional download and streaming platforms, and look for brand partnership deals, which is presumably how it will make money. The main benefit to participating artists is the promotional benefits DigSin can offer.

With the first signing, NNXT, about to put its DigSin single out this week, the company said at MIDEM: "DigSin represents a departure from the usual record label model and will focus on single song releases from new artists all with an eye towards maximising the listening audience. DigSin is aggressively partnering with advertisers and other outlets to expose the music to as wide an audience as possible. A recently signed, multi-year deal with digital distributor INgrooves signals the label's intent in this regard".

Next, the Henley Business School threw a party this weekend to promote the new MBA for the Music Industry which it is launching with the backing of all sorts of music business luminaries, including Robin Gibb, David Arnold, Live Nation's new European Concerts chief (and Warner's former Europe boss) John Reid, Mission Control's Richard Smith and BMI's Fred Cannon.

Describing their new music business focused MBA course, the Henley Business School, a department of the University Of Reading, told reporters: "The business climate in the music industry has changed significantly in the global market place. New technologies and innovation have lead to strategic alliances with partners from other industries. The way in which the industry manages and monetises IP is important to the whole value-chain and will continue to be impacted by policy and regulation. As a result, industry professionals will benefit from an MBA by gaining the capabilities to develop more creative strategies to deal with these new challenges".

And finally, Getty Images stepped up its music offering to media and ad industry clients by announcing Guestlist, which will offer music from higher profile artists for use in sync projects. Getty's music library service already provides stock music, but the new service will mean recordings from featured artists will now also be available, albeit initially from a relatively small roster of acts in control of their own catalogues. Joss Stone, now a DIY artist since parting company with EMI, was the celebrity in tow for Getty's MIDEM appearance.

And that's enough MIDEM announcements for now, but some digitally focused news from Cannes is still to come. You lucky people you.

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UK MUSIC CONFIRMS DIPPLE AS PERMANENT CEO
Cross-industry trade body UK Music confirmed on Friday that Jo Dipple has been made the organisation's Chief Executive on a permanent basis. Dipple has been acting CEO since the association's founding chief Feargal Sharkey somewhat suddenly stood down back in November.

Dipple told CMU: "I am delighted to take on this role. The British music industry is an extraordinary cultural and economic force and I look forward to working with government and our members to ensure its continued dominance".

UK Music Chairman Andy Heath added: "UK Music is now established as the representative voice of the UK's commercial music industry. That voice is now at its most important as government looks to change the copyright framework that underpins our sector. The board is confident that Jo will excel in the months and years ahead".

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KOBALT APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT
Following the announcement last week that it was launching two new divisions - one offering label services and distribution, the other the administration of so called neighbouring rights - music publishing firm Kobalt announced the appointment of a new President on Friday, Richard Sanders, who will oversee the firm's global operations. Coming to Kobalt from Sony Music, and prior to that BMG, Sanders will also bring record industry expertise to a company that is busy expanding from its music publishing roots into the world of sound recording rights.

In the new role, Sanders will report to Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz, who told reporters: "As Kobalt enters this new phase of global expansion and rolls out next generation client services for our artists, labels and content owners, Richard will provide a recording rights DNA to Kobalt's publishing service model. Richard has vast international experience and a uniquely successful track record of delivering both operational and creative results as well as managing both creative and executive talent".

Sanders added: "I'm thrilled to be joining the entire Kobalt team and supporting Willard's vision for the continued expansion of the company and the development of artist and label services. Throughout my career supporting the needs of the artist has always been my passion and focus, thus I am particularly excited to join Kobalt which continues to set new standards in transparency and carries a solid reputation as a client-friendly company designed to serve that same objective".

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PEERMUSIC LAUNCHES NEW 360 DEGREE MUSIC FIRM IN CHINA
Another music publisher expanding into new domains now, this time both geographically and in terms of different strands of the music industry. Peermusic last week announced the launch of Shake Music, a new Beijing-based joint venture between Steven Frock - who has formerly worked for both Warner and Universal's publishing companies in the Asian market - and Peermusic's Hong Kong office.

Shake Music is described by its owners as "a 360 degree entertainment company with a broad business scope including artist development, music production and music publishing activities", adding that the name 'Shake' "speaks to the company's vision of exploring new ways to penetrate the 'Wide Wild East' through serving both the domestic and international music community".

Commenting on the new venture, Peermusic CEO Ralph Peer told CMU: "China is a dynamic music market with considerable growth potential but local knowledge as well as flexibility are essential requirements to tap that potential. Thus we are excited to be working with Steven who has had many years of on the spot experience working in this challenging environment. Shake Music allows us to have a local foundation to work with Chinese composers as well as to serve our worldwide composers in this extraordinary and demanding market".

Frock added: "This joint venture will allow us to leverage Peermusic's extensive repertoire and talents to provide high quality music content and services for the music customers in China. I am excited about structuring the integration in the most effective and efficient way not only to meet the challenges of the current environment, but also to take full advantage of future opportunities in this emerging market through our capacity to market and administer overseas and domestic music copyright in China, as well as artist development, music production and event organisation".

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MIDEM DIGITAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: OPENEMI, WEBDOC, COKE
More from Cannes, and now some of the announcements made this weekend at MIDEM on the more digital side of the equation...

First up, a delegation of EMI execs were in town for their final trip to the industry's winter junket before they all get fired by Lucian Grainge in September - sorry, I mean before they take on exciting new roles within the prestigious Universal Music Group. And Team EMI had an update on their rather enlightened OpenEMI initiative, something that we very much hope will survive Universal acquisition of the London-based major, should that takeover go ahead this summer.

As previously reported, OpenEMI - a partnership between the major and digital agency The Echo Nest - gives app developers access to big chunks of the music firm's catalogue for testing purposes, and also offers licensing and marketing support to said app makers. Among the OpenEMI news to be revealed at MIDEM was the addition of more content to the venture's library, including the entire Robbie Williams back catalogue. The major also revealed the winner of their previously reported five grand best app competition, which is a tappable remix thingimy featuring music that lovable hip hop duo Chiddy Bang.

Second up, Swiss web start-up Webdoc, which positions itself as being half way between social media and a blogging platform, and which has sharing and discussing video, audio and photo content at its heart (making it sort of like Tumblr, but a bit different), were in town to announce various new widgets, meaning users can add music content into their personal webdocs with the approval of said content's owner, who get free promotion. Songkick, SoundCloud and Topspin widgets were among those being officially launched this weekend.

Thirdly and finally, and this is less of an announcement and more something that was implied (or possibly just inferred by delegates in the room), but Coke's Head Of Global Entertainment And Sports Marketing, Emmanuel Seuge, did indicate that some sort of Spotify partnership might be on the horizon. In a panel in which Seuge bigged up the role of both his own company and consumer brands in general in the music business of the future, the Coke exec said: "We're very intrigued by the business model of Spotify - and very interested in a strategic partnership with them". That was as far as he went, though everyone now seems to think talks of some kind between the drinks firm and the streaming platform are already underway.

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TING TINGS WOULD SOIL SHOES BEFORE WRITING HITS
The Ting Tings are uncompromising. They won't dilute their art for anyone, and won't play the music industry game. This is typified by their decision to delete an album's worth of work because their label liked it, and to put a video up on YouTube before they were supposed to. And they won't write any songs that could possibly be played after another by David Guetta on the radio.

"[We'd] rather write songs that nobody's gonna hear than write dance tracks that would fit on the radio after David Guetta. [I] would rather puke on my feet", singer Katie White told the Guardian Guide this weekend. She continued: "It would have been so easy to quickly bash out any old shit off the back of the first album. Get it on the radio, have a cheap nasty hit. And we didn't want to do that".

Despite this, the new album is apparently a mix of chart pop and dance, which does sounds like the sort of thing Radio 1 might play alongside Guetta.

Read the full interview for more tales of how terribly uncompromising The Ting Tings are here: www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jan/29/ting-tings-nowheresville-interview

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