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TOTO PULL SONY MUSIC INTO DIGITAL ROYALTIES DEBATE
So yes, Toto have sued Sony over the royalties they are being paid on download sales. As much previously reported, many heritage artists are paid a larger royalty on licensing revenue than record sales. Record companies are treating downloads as the latter, but some artists reckon they should be treated as licensing income.
The Allman Brothers and Cheap Trick both sued Sony on this very issue a few years back and lost. But then early Eminem collaborators FBT Productions successfully sued Universal for the higher pay out on digital revenue, and in the wake of that ruling a plethora of old timers have filed their own litigation, hoping for a bigger cut of the loot.
Universal insists the ruling in the FBT case was unique to the production outfit's contract, and all four majors will be hoping that's correct, because if the US courts now decide there is a more general precedent on digital royalties, it will cost the big record companies millions.
Rob Zombie, Chuck D and the estate of Rick James are among those suing Universal on this issue, while Sister Sledge have targeted Warner, and Kenny Rogers has included the digital dispute in a more wide-reaching royalties lawsuit against EMI. Toto's legal action, filed with the New York court yesterday, brings Sony back into the action.
Sony Music is yet to comment.
SONY/ATV FILES EMI PUBLISHING BID WITH EC
As much previously reported, Sony/ATV - a joint venture between Sony Music and the Michael Jackson estate - is leading a consortium of bidders to buy the EMI music publishing catalogue, one of the most prized catalogues in the music publishing domain. The deal needs regulator approval in both the US and Europe. Confirming the company had filed its proposals with the European Commission, a spokesman for Sony/ATV said yesterday: "[We] will continue to engage constructively with the Commission and are confident that the transaction will be approved".
Some have speculated that the Sony deal might get through the regulatory process more quickly than Universal's bid for the EMI labels, mainly because Sony does not own its publishing business outright, and Sony/ATV will not own EMI Publishing outright either. And early indications suggest EMI Publishing would continue to operate as a standalone company after the takeover, albeit reporting into Sony/ATV management.
That said, in Europe in particular, the publishing rights collecting society system is already under intense scrutiny, and some might worry that a duopoly in music publishing, where Universal and Sony/ATV/EMI totally dwarf their rivals, will give those two players far too much influence over the societies, and those concerns could complicate Sony/ATV's bid. So a speedy resolution is not assured.
The independent sector and mini-major Warner Music are opposing both EMI deals. Officially they want both bids blocked outright, though Warner in particular possibly expects the deals to be approved, but wants the regulators to force Universal and Sony to sell off some parts of their new acquisitions, allowing Warner to step in and get some bargain catalogues to help it boost its own market share.
As previously reported, the initial phase of the EC's investigation will take about a month, though it is likely a phase two will be required, which could delay a ruling by up to six months.
CHURCH EXPLAINS DECISION TO SETTLE OVER PHONE HACKING
As previously reported, until last week Church was the one remaining person from the first batch of celebrities told that they had had their voicemail accounts hacked by the News Of The World to have not settled out of court with the paper's publisher News International. With procrastination tactics from NI's lawyers having failed, it looked like Church's case might get a court hearing, but then last week it was confirmed she too had settled.
Those frustrated with the slow speed of the Metropolitan Police's late-in-the-day investigations into illegal practices at News International had hoped that if a civil case actually came to court then some remaining questions could be answered about exactly what went on at the News Of The World, who within News International knew about the illegal activity, to what extent they went to cover it up, and why it took so long for the authorities to properly act.
With the criminal investigation ongoing, it actually wasn't clear how much could be addressed in the civil courts, but if nothing else, a high profile celebrity court hearing on the issue would have been nice and embarrassing for the cover up merchants running Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper business. But it wasn't to be. Church's lawyers settled last week, for £600,000, half of which will cover legal fees to date.
Speaking about the settlement, Church says she felt her hand had been forced once it became clear that News International's legal team would make any court case as emotionally damaging for her and her family as possible, by dragging up in detail those elements of her parents' private lives that allegedly became public knowledge in the first place because of the NOTW's phone hacking tactics.
Given much of Church's anger over the whole phone hacking scandal is related to the mental distress the tabloid's revelations caused her mother, she says she decided she couldn't risk putting her family through another ordeal of that scale. However, while accepting an apology and compensation package in court, Church says she doesn't believe News International's management are genuinely sorry for its papers' past illegal actions, and rather they are just sorry they got caught.
Speaking to The Guardian, Church said: "I really wanted to take it all the way as well. I am really sorry, I hope people don't feel let down, but the thing is it's not so black and white, it's definitely not a case of money; it became totally irrelevant. [But it felt like I was] trying to fight with two hands and a leg tied behind [my] back, and you can just kick with one leg. You just have to look at the court room, look at News International and their 25 lawyers and then look at the individuals with maybe their three lawyers and one barrister and a couple of juniors. You are fighting a massive corporation with endless resources, a phenomenal amount of power and it is just made really difficult".
Presumably unable to deny the actual phone hacking, and the sourcing of stories from that route, NI's legal team - according to Church - planned to focus on the extent to which those stories caused distress to the Church family, and especially Charlotte's mother. There are legal grounds for doing so - for the court to award damages, it needs to consider what damage the defendant has actually caused and is therefore obliged to put right through compensation - though that whole process would have the happy side effect, for the defence, of throwing Mrs Church's private life and mental health back into the spotlight all over again, causing new distress.
Referencing NI's chief legal rep and moral vacuum for hire Michael Silverleaf, Church continued: "In the pre-trial hearing, Silverleaf made it reasonably plain the way they were going to be playing it. They [wanted to subject] my mother to a psychological analysis, which is ridiculous. How are you going to get a psychologist for an hour to judge what happened seven years ago? It was just a totally pointless exercise. They were just going to drag my parents through the mud again and I couldn't let that happen".
She concludes: "I've seen what it's done to my family the first time round and they were going to do it all over again, which just says to me they haven't learned anything".
At the same time Church's settlement was confirmed, a whole new set of revelations about illegal activities at News International - this time involving The Sun - were revealed, as the government's Leveson Inquiry moved onto the relationship between certain newspaper publishers and the police, government and the civil service. Nevertheless, Murdoch and his NI business were in a buoyant mood after the launch of a Sunday edition of The Sun this weekend seemingly sent the company's new Sunday title to the top of the pack on its first outing. Shifting over three million copies, the Sun On Sunday immediately hit its red top rivals, which previously benefited in terms of sales from the NOTW's sudden demise at the peak of the phone hacking scandal last summer.
LABRINTH TO COLLABORATE WITH FAN
Entries will then be put to a public vote on Facebook and Twitter, with Labrinth's personal favourite finalist securing studio time with the 'Earthquake' hitmaker to develop their idea, plus the opportunity to see the finished version performed live at a playback show at London's HMV Oxford Street in May.
Says Labrinth, no doubt whilst modelling a shiny new pair of Sennheiser headphones: "A couple of years ago I was fighting to get my sound out there, so now I want to give people the chance to show the world what they can do. Opportunities like this can get you heard and change your life".
SEX PISTOLS SIGN TO UNIVERSAL FOR 35TH ANNIVERSARY BOLLOCKS
Says John Lydon, in typically modest fashion: "Music can be great, when done by the great. The Sex Pistols are the greatest. Universal now has a trophy room. Music is the imitation of nature. The Sex Pistols are nature".
Karen Simmonds, MD of UMC UK added: "To be given the opportunity to re-evaluate The Sex Pistols catalogue is every music lover's dream. We're looking forward to working with the band and celebrating their impact on worldwide culture".
Details of the anniversary release are due to be announced shortly, with other events and Sex Pistols releases apparently also in the pipeline.
EMI SIGNS RASCALS
Rascals' co-manager Elias Bally told CMU: "We are very proud to have signed to EMI/Virgin. With experienced A&R players such as Jade Richardson, Glyn Aikins, Nick Burgess, Miles Leonard and EMI's premiership marketing team, it made perfect sense. We believe and both hope we can justify their decision to sign us and look forward to forging a successful partnership".
Virgin's VP A&R Nick Burgess added: "The signing of Rascals is something everyone at Virgin is very excited about. We love that they are a unique band with four individual stars and great songs. Rascals are a breath of fresh air for the UK music scene and we have no doubt that fans of all kinds of music are going to connect with them".
DEATH GRIPS SIGN TO SONY
The trio, consisting of rapper MC Ride (real name Stefan Burnett), producer Flatlander (real name Andy Morin) and drummer Zach Hill, will release the first of those two albums, 'The Money Store', on 23 Apr. A vinyl version of the record will be made available exclusively for this year's Record Store Day on 21 Apr. The second album, 'No Love', is scheduled for release in the autumn.
BMG CHRYSALIS SIGNS TAME IMPALA SONGWRITER
BMG Chrysalis A&R Manager Craig Michie said of the signing: "Tame Impala are ace. I'm so excited we are working with Kevin. I can't wait for them to be back on tour with a new record!"
AZEALIA BANKS SETS DATE, TITLE FOR DEBUT ALBUM
Speaking in an interview with Nylon magazine, Banks described the LP's overarching theme as being based on "a young girl trying to find it", 'it' being: "Success! Herself! Her path! The young girl trying to make it! She needs to get what she can get! She needs to go out there and show people she knows how to work for it".
Well, I might need a little time to react to all! That! Enthusiasm! Fortunately, Polydor-signed Banks isn't due to release the LP, plus a '212' EP, until 25 Mar.
KEANE DISCUSS NEW LP
Adds Oxley of the long player, which is due for release on 7 May: "I love the idea of the journey through 'Strangeland' being a journey of redemption".
With that sentiment in mind, lets all have a redemptive scroll through the 'Strangeland' tracklisting, shall we?
You Are Young
HODGY BEATS RELEASES FREE MIXTAPE
JULIA HOLTER STREAMS LP
It's all free, which is very good value indeed. Not least because CMU approved track 'Goddess Eyes' features in two alternative guises, thus proving one can never have too much of a good thing.
But all this free listening can't and shouldn't discourage you from buying the LP upon its proper release on 8 Mar, so do be aware this is all just temporary and will pass.
So. Here's 'Ekstasis'.
GUNS N ROSES TO TOUR
19 May: Nottingham Arena
OVER 90 MORE BANDS ADDED TO GREAT ESCAPE BILL
The Great Escape, of course, is Europe's leading festival for new music, taking place in Brighton each May, with hundreds of new bands playing across the city, plus the UK's premiere music business convention, which is programmed by CMU. On the convention side, a series of panels on the role of music radio in 2012, including an in conversation with Xfm's new music champion John Kennedy, have already been confirmed, and a second convention announcement is also due later this week.
On the festival side, Maximo Park join the Africa Express Sound System in the Dome show programme, taking place in the Brighton Dome (a £7 top up ticket guarantees access to these shows), while among the 90 bands added to the rest of the bill are Mystery Jets, Booka Shade, Alabama Shakes, Natty, Lianne La Havas, Ema, Forest Swords, Madeon, Errors, Willy Mason, Foy Vance, Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny, Micachu & The Shapes, Maxxi Soundsystem, We Have Band, Loney Dear, Tanlines, New Look, Koreless, Jordan Cook Aka Reignwolf, Jackson Firebird, Massmatiks and Martha Paton.
Early bird tickets are now on sale for both the festival and the convention. The £120 early bird delegates pass gets you access to whole convention and priority access to festival venues, subject to capacity. Buy them now! Click here: bit.ly/zgZHWq
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
AWAKENINGS FESTIVAL, Spaarnwoude, The Netherlands, 30 Jul: Running for eleven hours and across nine stages, this techno-centric Dutch rave-a-thon will feature such leading beatsmiths as Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, John Digweed, Adam Beyer, Chris Liebing, Speedy J, Marcel Fengler, Len Faki and Marcel Dettmann, and Ben Klock. www.awakeningsfestival.nl
BUSHSTOCK, various venues, Shepherds Bush, London, 2 Jun: A single wristband grants access to a multitude of W12-based happenings at London label Communion's newly expanded Bushstock, which, with further bookings still to be announced, is slated to host Dan Croll, Lanterns On The Lake, Marcus Forster, Pale Seas, Rae Morris, Raghu Dixit and Sarah Jarosz. www.bushstock.co.uk
ICELAND AIRWAVES, various venues, Reykjavik, 31 Oct - 4 Nov: Organisers have handpicked an initial batch of Airwaves acts to entice early interest, confirming Friends, Django Django, Exitmusic, Daughter, Prins Póló, Úlfur Úlfur and The Vintage Caravan, with many more international names to be unveiled in due course. www.icelandairwaves.is
LIVE AT LEEDS, various venues, Leeds, 4-7 May: The Enemy, Dog Is Dead, Ghostpoet and Lianne La Havas form the latest assortment of acts added to Live At Leeds' 2012 line-up, as also features Example, Wretch 32, Marina And The Diamonds, Los Campesinos!, Ladyhawke, Friends, AlunaGeorge, Charli XCX and SCUM. www.liveatleeds.com
LIVE FROM JODRELL BANK, Cheshire, 23-24 Jun: Elbow headline night one, while Paul Weller will top the bill on day two, at this countryside fest on the site of the rather marvellous Jodrell Bank space gazing centre in Cheshire. Alongside all the music there'll be plenty of scientific goings on too. www.livefromjodrellbank.com
RADIO 1'S HACKNEY WEEKEND, Hackney Marshes, London, 23-24 Jun: Sean Paul, Tinchy Stryder, Flo Rida, Devlin and Azealia Banks head up a host of hip-hop types just added to Radio 1's free-for-all fest, lucky ticket winners to which can also take in live sets from Will.i.am, David Guetta, Jack White, The Maccabees, Lana Del Rey, Tinie Tempah, Plan B and Florence And The Machine. www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/hackneyweekend/2012/
ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 28 Jun - 1 Jul: Jack White, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Ed Sheeran, Kreayshawn, M83, Azealia Banks and Chase & Status are amongst the latest supplement to this year's Rock Werchter roster, which thus far also stars Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence And The Machine, Justice, The Cure, Elbow, Kasabian, Mumford & Sons and Anna Calvi. www.rockwerchter.be
V FESTIVAL, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex/Weston Park, Staffordshire, 18-19 Aug: Taking place, as is tradition, at dual sites with identical bills, the festival's seventeenth edition is to be headlined by The Killers and The Stone Roses, no less. Elsewhere on the bill, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Snow Patrol, Nicki Minaj, Tinie Tempah, Ed Sheeran, Pixie Lott, Example, Rizzle Kicks, James Morrison, Frank Ocean, Emeli Sande and Olly Murs make for a selection sure to delight any V devotee. www.vfestival.com
WAY OUT WEST, Gothenburg, Sweden, 9-11 Aug: Fresh roster meat Wilco, Factory Floor and Mazzy Star join an existing bill featuring the previously booked likes of Blur, Bon Iver, Azealia Banks, The Black Keys and Florence And The Machine. www.wayoutwest.se
DAVENPORT LYONS APPOINTS TWO NEW PEOPLE
Somarakis has a background in licensing for the bar and live entertainment sector (as well as being something of an expert on motoring offences, apparently), while Monjack specialises in media law and has worked with companies across the media and music industries, and directly for numerous artists, producers and industry execs.
Davenport Lyons Partner Michael Hatchwell told reporters: "We are delighted that we continue to attract high calibre lawyers to the firm. Philip and Jonathan are both well-regarded in their respective fields of practice. Philip's appointment extends our extensive [high net worth] client offering to cover motoring offences and we are also delighted to be further strengthening our licensing team, a traditional practice area of the firm which is important to our clients in the hotel, restaurant and club sector. Jonathan is extremely well connected in the media industry one of our traditional areas of strength and we look forward to sharing the synergies that result from our relationship".
Commenting on the use of the IPC archives, Uncut Editor Allan Jones told reporters: "For years this [content] has been fairly dormant. There have been one or two attempts to make use of it, like the Ultimate Music Guides, but it is coming up with the idea and context for the material. There is stuff in the archive which is just amazing".
On the revamped reviews section, he continued: "If there is one thing we know about our readers, it is [that] they love reviews and they love reading about music. It seemed an opportune moment [to redesign the reviews section] because there are so many lavish box sets coming out these days with so many extras, it can get a bit mind-boggling".
Uncut, like all newsstand music magazines, has seen its circulation decline in recent years. The revamp would suggest a stepped up focus on an older demographic who, presumably, are more prone to splash out on a print magazine once a month.
DAPPY DISSES MURS
Says the former N-dubber: "Bloomin hell. Olly Murs needs to learn how to sing, boy. He came off 'The X Factor' so he should be able to sing and yet that was a horrific performance. You can't do things like that".
If Murs wants to return the critique, he can find Dappy's version of 'We Will Rock You', performed on Radio 1 to promote his solo single collaboration with Brian May, right here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lzXYIJC01Y