|WHAT IS THIS? The CMU Daily - to which you are subscribed. Unsubscribe information is at the end.
NOTE: Make sure you 'enable images' to see this e-bulletin properly. CLICK HERE to read this online.
END OF THE ROAD FOUNDERS REFUTE SCIENTOLOGY RUMOURS
The rumours originate with a message posted on the forum at eFestivals.co.uk by a member of that site's staff, who writes that s/he received an anonymous letter, complete with "prints and photocopies of stuff", linking End Of The Road to the CoS. Specific claims include that financial losses incurred by the festival during its early years were cover by individuals affiliated to the church, and that the festival always includes a secret roster of Scientologist performers on its bill, who are either announced at the very last minute, or not at all.
Responding to all this, a statement from End Of The Road HQ acknowledges that two of its board directors are Scientologists, which is presumably how these rumours began, but adds: "End Of The Road has no connection with the Church Of Scientology, financial or otherwise. None. In any case, philosophical inclinations are personal and have nothing to do with a music festival. Anyone who has been to an End Of The Road Festival will already know that".
It continues: "For the record, EOTR did make big losses in the first two years. They were all financed by the owners and those friends who could be persuaded to lend us money. The festival is now in good financial shape, the loans are repaid and the profit made in 2011 is being invested in a new festival. The anonymous correspondent ought to get out more".
If getting out more doesn't sound like fun, you might want to instead spend a rather strange and spooky half hour sifting through the Scientology message thread on the EOTR message board from start to finish. Those doing so can anticipate wild speculation, the compulsory jokes about Tom Cruise, and anxiety over subliminal transmitter antennae which, apparently, can be "disguised to look like something as ordinary as rotary washing lines".
Amongst a further host of alien overlords, this year's End Of The Road line-up so far includes the musically tip-top likes of First Aid Kit, Beach House, Mountain Man, Grizzly Bear, Robyn Hitchcock and The Strange Boys. I can't imagine a less suspicious bunch.
MEGA CHIEF REFUSED BAIL FOR A SECOND TIME
Schmitz was one of four Mega execs arrested in New Zealand at the request of the US authorities last month, charged with mass copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering via the various Mega businesses. Some of the accused were bailed, but the prosecution said they feared Schmitz, possibly utilising criminal connections, might attempt to return to his home country of Germany, where it would be much harder for America to extradite him.
According to Reuters, in the appeal hearing Schmitz said that, with his assets seized and company shut down, he simply didn't have the means to flee, while adding: "I will not run away. I want to fight these allegations on a level playing field. I have three little children. My wife is pregnant with twins. I just want to be with them".
But the prosecution successfully persuaded the judge that the Mega chief was indeed a flight risk, speculating that he may have secret funds he could tap into, and noting his past record, and allegations he fled to Thailand to dodge insider trading charges in Germany. Schmitz will now stay in jail until at least 22 Feb while the US goes through the motions of extraditing him and the other accused former Mega executives.
Elsewhere in Mega news, Torrentfreak has reported that the authorities in Hong Kong are making much of the support they gave American investigators as they gathered evidence against the Mega enterprise. Seemingly Hong Kong is keen to show it is ready to be tough in tackling intellectual property infringement, and in stopping online operations of suspect legality which attempt to put themselves out of the reach of Western courts.
The Mega empire was officially based in Hong Kong, and Schmitz sang the praises of the Chinese special administrative region late last year, telling Torrentfreak: "Hong Kong, what an awesome place to do business - people there leave you alone and they are happy for your success". As it happened, by that point the Hong Kong authorities had been involved in investigations into Schmitz's business affairs for the best part of a year.
According to the FT, as well as boasting of their collaborative work with the US to "smash a transnational cyberlocker syndicate", the Hong Kong authorities are planning on launching a new "electronic crime investigation" centre to aid any future similar investigations. Other digital locker services based in Hong Kong that have also been accused of enabling copyright infringement by Western content firms, and there are quite a few, might soon be looking for new bases.
GOOGLE TRIES TO INPUT ON REDIGI CASE
The web giant made an amicus curiae filing with the court hearing the case, saying that while it had no vested interest on either side, it felt that any ruling could impact on wider 'cloud computing' services, such as its own digital locker business presumably, and that it was concerned that if the judge gave a summary judgement in favour of EMI, which wants all of its content removed from the ReDigi site and damages, then important issues will not be properly considered and dangerous precedents may be set.
According to Digital Music News, Google's submission said: "A premature decision on incomplete facts could create unintended uncertainties for the cloud computing industry. The continued vitality of the cloud computing industry - which constituted an estimated $41 billion dollar global market in 2010 - depends in large part on a few key legal principles that the preliminary injunction motion implicates".
EMI's legal reps objected to Google trying to influence the case, and the judge overseeing the dispute agreed, refusing to consider the web giant's submission. Though whether that means EMI will get a quick summary judgement in its favour remains to be seen.
NEW YORKER CLAIMS HE DEVISED EMINEM CHRYSLER AD
In a handwritten legal claim, Pieck claims that he was once in a Legal Seafood restaurant with Christina Aguilera and her then-husband Jordan Bratman. Aguilera, he says, called Eminem on her mobile phone, which resulted in a conversation between Pieck and the rapper. It was during that conversation the claimant says he gave Shady his grand idea.
The lawsuit states: "I want the court to reward me a judgment in the amount of $9 million. I designed every aspect of the commercial and the commercial was stolen from me. In addition, I did not receive compensation in monetary terms for the work I did".
Only in America, I suppose. Though Eminem should probably count his blessings, at least Pieck's not claiming he fathered his baby.
BEGGARS CHIEF WINS ANOTHER OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT PRIZE
IMPALA launched its annual Outstanding Contribution Award last year, to celebrate the achievements of indie music players, and this year two such awards will be presented. As well as Mills, a prize will be given to the Label Love project, which staged various activities to support the labels affected by the fire at the Sony DADC warehouse in North London, which burned to the ground during the August riots, taking with it the entire stock of indie label distributor [PIAS].
IMPALA Executive Chair told CMU: "With Martin's success this year there could only be one label winner, but the spontaneity and generosity of the Label Love initiative meant we had to break the rules and have two awards this year".
AMP SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED
Abbe May - Design Desire
The winner, who will receive 30 thousand Aussie dollars, will be announced on 8 Mar.
BLACK SABBATH REUNION MAY FALTER AS DRUMMER SAYS CONTRACT "UNSIGNABLE"
The US-based Ward will have to relocate to the UK for the reunion, after it was decided to work on a new album over here so that guitarist Tony Iommi could concurrently receive treatment for cancer. Ward says he is happy to make that move, but not while contractual issues remain unresolved.
In a letter to the band's fans posted on his website, Ward wrote: "At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a 'signable' contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with Tony, Ozzy and Geezer. And on 11/11/11, again in good faith, I participated in the LA press conference. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another 'unsignable' contract was handed to me".
He continued: "Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the US for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with Black Sabbath. Since the news of Tony's illness, and the understanding that the band would move production to the UK, I've spent every day getting to or living in a place of readiness to leave".
He went on: "That involves something of a task, and as I've tried to find out what's going on with the UK sessions, I've realised that I've been getting 'the cold shoulder' (and, I might add, not for the first time). Feeling somewhat ostracised, my guess is as of today, I will know nothing of what's happening unless I sign 'the unsignable contract'. The place I'm in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician".
Insisting he wasn't making unreasonable financial demands in his negotiations, he concluded: "I'm not holding out for a 'big piece' of the action (money) like some kind of blackmail deal. I'd like something that recognises and is reflective of my contributions to the band, including the reunions that started fourteen years ago. After the last tour I vowed to never again sign on to an unreasonable contract. I want a contract that shows some respect to me and my family, a contract that will honour all that I've brought to Black Sabbath since its beginning".
The rest of the band and their management are yet to respond to Ward's letter.
RAEKWON: SOLO CAREERS HARMED WU-TANG'S CREATIVITY
He rambled thus on Vlad-TV: "I feel like in a way, us doing solo things hurt us. I never told nobody that. When we had something so pure and so solid together [at the beginning], it could've been structured more togetherly [later on] ... if we knew it had to stay like that. But when we allow[ed] each other to [work on solo projects], some did better than others and when some did better than others, it caused a certain kind of reaction in the whole movement".
He continued: "It wasn't like nobody was trying to out-do each other, because we all was nice, it was just that some probably worked a little harder and some did more things and some was just playing his part. To me, when we did that, it kinda like put us in a more competitive situation with each other instead of focusing more strongly on the brand. The brand is so big just as a team, it's like when we did that, it jumped into some ego shit - which normally happens, but what I'm just trying to say is if we would've stayed more tighter, we probably would've had about 30 albums right now".
In that case, maybe it was a good thing they split off after all. I'm not sure recording 30 albums in 20 years would have helped their creativity much either. Anyway, watch Raekwon's full interview here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAsBbxuavaU
SONY CATALOGUE DIVISION SIGNS WILLIE NELSON
Nelson previously worked with both RCA and Columbia, both now within the Sony Music empire, before his most recent label partnership with Universal's Lost Highway. The new deal will see Nelson release brand new albums as well as curating re-release packages.
Says Nelson of the new deal: "I'm really happy to be back home with Sony Music. We have been partners for many years; all the way back to 'Pamper' and 'Tree Music'. We share a great history, and I'm looking forward to many more years together".
Legacy Recordings GM Adam Block added: "We couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to work with Willie on this landmark partnership. There's a natural and organic relationship between new recording projects and catalogue activity that promises to ensure the lasting importance of Willie and his music".
BILL CALLAHAN COVERS MICKEY NEWBURY ON SPLIT SINGLE
Saint Cecilia Knows, the label behind the reissue, will put out the split-single in partnership with Drag City on 26 Mar.
Says Callahan of Newbury's enduring influence: "There's something psychedelic and transcendent about Mickey's best work, and when he gets into the realms of songs like 'Heaven Help The Child', where he spans generations and flies over time while still maintaining a singular mind, he's imparting a truly epic knowledge and vision".
CATE LE BON TO RELEASE LP
The singer-songwriter has this to say of one particular recording experience, which saw her play saxophone on album track 'Ploughing Out': "It will be the last time I ever do that. I very nearly ruptured my cheeks".
As we ponder that eventuality, here's the video for the LP's lead single 'Fold The Cloth': vimeo.com/33373552
KANYE WEST TO MAKE FILMIC FORAY IN MIDDLE EAST
It's thought the short will take a similar form to that of his 30 minute 'Runaway' video, made back in 2010 as part of the campaign for the rapper's last solo LP, 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. The new film is said to have been inspired by West's experience of performing in Abu Dhabi as part of that album's promotional tour.
The Observer quotes a source close to West as saying: "A bidding war is going on between various government entities and private investors to fund the film. There's pretty intense rivalry here between Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar. They all want to claim the film as their own and take credit for generating the publicity".
The source adds: "His reps seemed genuinely enthusiastic about creating a piece which highlights the culture accurately. They discussed how Kanye is looking to bridge the cultural divide and break misconceptions".
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS PLOT TOUR
With the EP due out through Dead Oceans on 6 Feb, you can view the new video for its lead single 'So Far Away' underneath these here dates:
8 May: London, Cargo
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
ATP CURATED BY JEFF MANGUM, Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, 9-11 Mar: Sun Ra Arkestra, Feathers and Oneohtrix Point Never mean three more names confirmed for for Jeff Mangum's ATP selection, which so far co-stars Joanna Newsom, The Magnetic Fields, Sebadoh, Low, Yann Tiersen, The Fall, Thurston Moore, and many more besides. www.atpfestival.com/events/jeffmangum.php
BEARDED THEORY, Kedleston Hall Park, Derbyshire, 18-20 May: 'Teenage Dirtbag' hitmakers Wheatus take this year's special guest slot, one occupied in previous years by The Cheeky Girls and Wagner off of 'X-Factor'. Wheatus take prime position on an eclectic bill that also boasts Levellers, Terrorvision, The Travelling Band, Dreadzone and Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs. www.beardedtheory.co.uk
BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 6-9 Sep: Chiming sweetly with Bestival's 'wildlife' theme this year are Swedish 'The Lion's Roar' folk pairing First Aid Kit, who accompany sole Sunday headliners Orbital on what, at this initial stage, is a fairly select bill. www.beardedtheory.co.uk
CROOKED WAYS, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, 26 May: Main stage headliners Razorlight are primed to make this 14,000 capacity event's inaugural year one to remember, with many more names to be revealed throughout the coming months. www.crookedways.co.uk
HAMPTON COURT PALACE FESTIVAL, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, 13-24 Jun: Headed straight for this most family-suitable of music festival seasons are the esteemed likes of Liza Minelli, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and pop troubadour James Morrison, joining already announced acts Katie Melua, Franki Valli & The Four Seasons, Caro Emerald and Jools Holland & His Rhythm And Blues Orchestra, who will each play palatial soirees during June. www.hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com
HONEYFEST, secret location, Wiltshire, 14 Apr: Clasping tightly to its title as the year's very first outdoor festival, Honeyfest scored a further bookings coup as Damon Albarn is confirmed to play a set comprising songs from his self-penned musical Dr Dee. An existing line-up for the mysteriously-situated fest features Dry The River, Raghu Dixit, Cut A Shine and Nick Harper. www.honeyfestuk.com
NO DIRECTION HOME, Welbeck, Worksop, North Nottinghamshire, 8-10 Jun: Headliner-to-be Richard Hawley fronts fresh announcements at the first ever edition of music-come-comedy event No Direction Home, with Austra, Cold Specks, Other Lives and Wet Nuns joining existing co-headliners The Low Anthem, Dirty Three and Andrew Bird. Django Django, Slow Club, Spectrals, Liz Green, Diagrams and Beth Jeans Houghton are also booked to play throughout the festival's three-day span. www.nodirectionhomefestival.com
SONY CORP THIRD QUARTER LOSSES TOP TWO BILLION
The strong yen and flooding in Thailand hitting manufacturing bases were partly to blame, but so were disappointing sales. As previously reported, Sony's Bravia TV division has been underperforming the most. The company's new CEO Kazuo Hirai, due to take over from the incumbent Howard Stringer, will particularly focus on that side of the business as he attempts to turn round the company's fortunes.
Music-wise, the Sony record company saw revenues and profits decline, 11.7% and 21.7% respectively, despite it distributing Adele's phenomenally successful album '21' in the US. Ms Adkins' album and 'Live At The Royal Albert Hall' DVD were among Sony's most lucrative sellers, along with Susan Boyle's latest and all that 'Glee' nonsense. According to Billboard, Sony Corp Of America CFO Rob Wisenthal, when discussing Sony Music, was very optimistic that the company would be having a very good 2012 now that the leadership of new boss, record industry veteran Doug Morris, is starting to take hold.
HMV BOSS CONFIRMS LESS SHELF SPACE FOR GAMES, BUT STILL COMMITTED TO GAMING PRODUCTS
Fox has previously stressed his company's commitment to music and film in-store, despite throwing over more shop space to tech products, leading to wide speculation that games - which are not performing as well for HMV as they did - would be cut back. Fox confirmed less racking would be given over the games, and that behind the scenes the games and tech teams were being merged, though he insisted "we intend to do that in a way that doesn't undermine the offer - our intention is that neither our publishers nor our customers will notice it".
Admitting HMV's games sales had been disappointing last year, he said he was optimistic that this year they could "fight back" in this domain, adding: "We are committed to games. Bringing games and tech together gives the category a much higher profile and will prove a real advantage. We want to work closer with publishers and the format holders. And I am hopeful they want to do the same with us".
DAVE GROHL DEVELOPING ROCK SITCOM
NICKI MINAJ WAS "PROBABLY QUEEN OF LONDON" IN A PAST LIFE
"I was born in London in my past life, no one can tell me different", she told Wonderland Magazine. And there's more: "I probably was like a queen in London, I was probably the people's queen that fought for lives... and I probably started off as a maid and then was just, like, really revolutionary and moved all my [followers] into the big queen mansion".
OK, fair enough, I probably don't like London as much as Nicki Minaj does.
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #96: MADONNA V HER SKINFLINT FANS
Asked if she'd be making more affordable tickets available to fans this time round after high prices on her last tour helped her break at least two records for a solo artist's touring revenue, Madge told Newsweek that she had no plans to drop her prices, saying that those who want to see her perform should "start saving your pennies now". She added: "People spend $300 on crazy things all the time, things like handbags. So work all year, scrape the money together, and come to my show. I'm worth it".
And if it turns out she's not, well, good luck trying to get a refund. You can read the full interview via the link below, though be warned, she does bang on about Lady Gaga again. That's becoming quite tedious now.