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OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLE IN SHOREDITCH
DOTCOM GETS MONTHLY ALLOWANCE AS FUTURE OF MEGA DATA IN DOUBT
The cash will come from Schmitz's multi-million dollar fortune, which was seized by New Zealand prosecutors at the request of the US when they also arrested four Mega executives back in January.
As previously reported, Schmitz's lawyers are expected to demand that all their client's money and other property be returned, because it's turned out that prosecutors got the wrong kind of warrant from the New Zealand courts before raiding his home. It remains to be seen whether that technicality can be exploited to the Mega chief's advantage as America's efforts to extradite him go through the motions.
Meanwhile, back in the US, the debate continues about what will happen to the data currently stored on Mega's old servers, which it leased from two companies, Cogent Communication and Carpathia Hosting. The latter has previously said it would hold onto that data for as long as possible, but it is looking like that might be just about this long.
According to Wired, Carpathia Hosting has filed new legal papers saying it is costing the company $9000 a day to hold onto Mega's data, and that it is facing a $65,000 bill very soon because the servers need to be relocated because the lease on the building where they are currently stored is about to expire.
Understandably, with those costs being run up, and with Mega no longer able to pay, Carpathia is increasingly keen to wipe the one time file-transfer site's files and release the servers to other people.
Prosecutors in the US say they no longer need the Mega files, because they have sufficient evidence for their criminal case from the sample of data they took off the Carpathia hardware, and from other Mega servers they actually seized from a site in Canada.
But Mega's lawyers say they do want access to their client's former data banks (to show that not all content stored there was unlicensed music and movie files), while the Motion Picture Association Of America has also requested access, to gather evidence for civil proceedings it may launch against the Mega empire, or some of its former customers.
And, of course, there's the matter of the legitimate data. When the Mega sites were taken offline without warning, the firm's customers lost access to files they had uploaded to the cloud storage platform. And while it's claimed that the vast majority of said data was unlicensed music, movie or TV files, some would have been content created and owned by the uploader.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been working to try to get former Mega customers access to their data, while some former users in Spain were threatening to go legal on the issue, though if Carpathia was to delete the Mega files, all such legal efforts to reclaim data would be redundant.
Carpathia says that it sympathises with former Mega customers, but that it is not directly involved in any of the criminal or civil action linked to the file-transfer operation, and believes that if data needs to be held onto for one reason or another, then someone else should be paying for the storage. How this turns out remains to be seen.
And finally in Mega news, Torrentfreak has reported that scammers are sending out emails claiming to be lawyers representing the major record companies and film studio Dreamworks, and threatening to sue over copyright infringement conducted over the Mega platform. Recipients are told legal action can be avoided for a one off settlement of 147 euros.
But the letters - although not dissimilar to those sent out by some smaller rights owners against suspected file-sharers, including the controversial ACS:Law letters in the UK - are 100% fake. So if you're a former Mega infringer who gets one - don't pay.
TULISA ADMITS SEX TAPE VIDEO IS REAL DEAL
One time N-dubber and now 'X-Factor' lady Tulisa Contostavlos took to YouTube last night to confirm that it is her in the sex tape video that has been doing the rounds on the internet in the last week, and which was seemingly recorded on a mobile phone a few years back.
The tape surfaced online on Monday, with a website selling the six minute recording for £3.90 a download, though that site quickly withdrew the video after lawyers for the 'X-Factor' judge hand delivered a cease and desist letter to its London offices.
Saying she wanted to put the record straight on "a certain tape that consists of footage of me and an ex-boyfriend in an intimate moment", Contostavlos reveals in her YouTube message that it is an ex-boyfriend called Justin Edwards, who performs as MC Ultra, who also appears in the recording, and who presumably sold it on to the company which made it available online.
Holding up a picture of her with Edwards during their relationship, and claiming that while together the couple had discussed getting married and having children, she says his decision to share the sex recording with the world now has understandably left her "devastated" and "heartbroken", while adding: "When you share an intimate moment with someone that you love and trust you never imagine for one minute that footage may at any point be shared with the rest of the UK".
When the video first went online legal reps for Contostavlos were widely quoted as saying the recording was "100% fake", adding that their client was "horrified that someone would go to the extreme lengths of fabricating a video ... it is absolutely not her". Given Tulisa's subsequent admission that the video is the real deal, one assumes that's not what the lawyers told the judge when applying for an injunction to stop website operators from distributing the clip.
That said, to be fair, that quote does seemingly originate from last summer when rumours that someone was shopping the Tulisa sex tape first circulated, so it's highly likely that at that point neither the singer nor her legal reps had actually seen the footage. Still, that was probably an unwisely confident denial under the circumstances. Certainly the singer's PR reps were less committal on the matter once the video went online on Monday.
Of course, and as previously reported, while the Tulisa camp were staying quiet on the sex tape issue earlier this week, her former bandmate and cousin Dappy was more forthcoming, telling his Twitter followers it definitely was his fellow ex-N-Dubber in the recording.
Though he also insisted that the penis that stars in the tape belonged to his other former bandmate Fazer, another ex-boyfriend of his cousin. He knew this for certain - Dappy said in the subsequently deleted tweet - because he'd had plenty of threesomes with Fazer, real name Richard Rawson, so could definitely identify the rapper's cock.
Or, in Dappy's words: "I am clearly stating that the dick in T's alleged sex tape is Fazer's". Rawson had posted the video, Dappy reckoned, in revenge for the messy break up of both N-Dubz and his romantic relationship with Contostavlos. Of course Dappy did also guest on an Ultra track, so perhaps they had a few threesomes too, and the Dapster was just getting his dicks confused.
Either way, it's a bit shitty of Edwards - or whoever - to cash in on the private video now Contostavlos has risen to the heights of 'Britain's New Cheryl Cole', and one hopes the singer's brave and right decision to set the record straight in person puts an end to it all.
Even if everyone Googling "Tulisa sex tape" this week has been generating very good traffic to our website the last few days. For disappointed smutty Googlers, here's a picture of another penis Dappy was confirming the ownership of last year: www.heatworld.com/Celeb-News/2011/09/Dappys-girlfriend-on-why-she-leaked-that-naked-picture/
NME LAUNCHES BEST SMALL VENUE SEARCH
NME editor Krissi Murison told CMU: "Obviously selling out huge venues is a sign of a massively successful band - and rightly so! But most successful artists wouldn't have got where they are today without playing smaller venues at the start of their careers. They play an extremely important role in nurturing talent, which NME is very proud to support. It's in all of the UK music industry's interest for small venues to prosper".
And for all the flippancy of that there first paragraph, we do actually agree. The shortlist of regional venues from which the overall winner will be chosen will be put together by a panel of experts, including artists, promoters and agents.
S CLUB 7 CONFIRM REUNION
Actually, we first reported that this seemed to be happening back in November last year. I'd deliberately forgotten about it though. All it took was 20 minutes of repeatedly banging my head against the filing cabinet next to my desk. Now I'm going to have to do that all over again. Oh well.
Last time this came up, it was rumoured that the group had been inspired to come back after seeing the success enjoyed by the reunited Steps. But no, according to the Mirror it's because of the Olympics and the Queen's jubilee. Because that makes perfect sense.
A source told the tabloid: "What with the Olympics coming up and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert, there's a real British feelgood factor at the moment. The band figured it was a case of now or never".
THE VIEW SIGN TO COOKING VINYL
The band's manager Mike Bawden told CMU: "It's great the band have signed with Cooking Vinyl - great people with a great label, and now with the addition of Britain's most exciting pop-punk band, we cant wait to get going".
Frontman Kyle Falconer added: "New label, new record being made in Liverpool with Mike Crossey. Gigs going in the diary - we're looking forward to a great future with Cooking Vinyl".
THE MARS VOLTA STREAMING NEW ALBUM
But why on earth wait four days when you can listen to it immediately via the Rolling Stone site: www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-stream-the-mars-volta-noctourniquet-20120320
NICOLAS JAAR RELEASING COMPILATION VIA PRISM
It's to be a Prism, a miniature music-playing cube with twin headphone jacks. If one of the jacks isn't in use, it gives out a ray of light until a headphone is plugged in again, thus (or so states the PR spiel) possessing the "potential to foster intimacy between listeners".
This first Prism compilation, entitled 'Don't Break My Love', features music by Jaar and a cast of such Clown & Sunset collaborators as Pavla & Noura, Just Friends and Acid Pauli.
Preview the album's title track, plus The Prism itself, via the below video. Full tracklising and pre-order details at www.csa.fm/theprism/
LAUREL HALO GIVES NOTICE OF 'QUARANTINE' DEBUT
Halowill also issue her 'Spring EP', this time under her King Felix alias, via Mute sub-label Liberation Technologies at some point this month.
DAVID BYRNE TAKES LONDON'S TEMPO, MAKES SOUND MONTAGE
He says: "I went out during the day and recorded sounds that I thought might be useful and evocative. It turned out that most of the sounds - even the church organ in Southwark Cathedral - seemed to converge around a common rhythm. It's a bit too good to be true - that every large city should have it's own rhythm, but here it is. I let the sounds dictate the groove, the tempo, and then I simply played along".
And you needn't wait to sample said sounds, because here's 'Get It Away', now: vimeo.com/38858918
R KELLY PREVIEWS NEW TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET EPISODES
Says Kelly: "When I first began experiencing the unknown journey of writing 'Trapped In The Closet', I knew after the first chapter that I had tapped into something that was not of this earth. Being the nosey person that I am, I more than anyone wanted to know what the second chapter would be. And now here we are at chapter 23, trapped in the million dollar question - what the hell is the package? Well, ladies and gentlemen, not only am I ready to reveal what the package is, but I have many more chapters to share".
Here's a little trailer to whet your appetite: bcove.me/jklxvh6a
REGINA SPEKTOR TO TOUR
Spektor, who is Russian born, will also release a special something for Record Store Day on 21 Apr, namely a seven-inch featuring covers of two Russian standards, Molitva's 'The Prayer Of Francois Villon' and Stariy Pedjak's 'Old Jacket'.
LAURYN HILL BOOKS ONE-OFF LONDON SHOW
Meanwhile, here's a 'Miseducation Of'-era Ms Hill being brill:
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
2000TREES, Upcote Farm, Withington, Gloucestershire, 12-14 Jul: Notable new 2000trees recruits Dry The River, Lower Than Atlantis, 2:54, Future Of The Left and Lanterns On The Lake draw level with those acts already confirmed for this eco-conscious music fest, not least 65daysofstatic, Pulled Apart By Horses, Rolo Tomassi, Gallows, Dog Is Dead and Gallops. www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk
CROISSANT NEUF SUMMER PARTY, Usk, Monmouthshire, 10-12 Aug: Willy Mason and Seth Lakeman lead out the initial list of acts destined to visit Crossant Neuf's solar-powered summer fest, as will also be graced by This Is The Kit, Laid Blak, Gabby Young & Other Animals and Yes Sir Boss. www.croissantneuf.co.uk
EXIT FESTIVAL, Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia, 12-15 Jul: All-new Exit add-ons Felix Da Housecat, Plan B, TEED and Avicii align with the subjects of past line-up proclamations, not least Guns N Roses, New Order, Plan B, Richie Hawtin, Gossip, Wolfmother and Azari & III. www.exitfest.org
LOUNGE ON THE FARM, Merton Farm, Canterbury, Kent, 6-8 Jul: Taking place in the ripe and rural scenery of a working Kentish farm, this year's Lounge edition is new to nurture just announced headliners The Charlatans plus further artists including AlunaGeorge, Charli XCX, Dub Pistols, The Good Natured, Jess Mills, Man Like Me, Bastille, Hervé and Disclosure. This marvellous lot accompany an aforementioned LOTF line-up that includes The Wombats, Emeli Sande, Chic feat Nile Rodgers, Mystery Jets, Roots Manuva, David Rodigan and Goldie. www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk
SHAMBALA, secret location, The Midlands, 23-27 Aug: First on the roster for this most secretive of Midlands-based fancy dress fests are the likes of Roots Manuva, Billy Bragg, The Selecter, Lau and Toddla T & MC DRS, all of whose stage performances are to be primarily powered by renewable energy sources. Quite right, too. www.shambalafestival.org
SLAM DUNK, Leeds University/University Of Hertfordshire, 27 May: Pop punk vets Cartel appear beside No Trigger, Heartsounds, Save Your Breath and emo rap type MC Lars on Slam Dunk's latest enlisted acts, proving fine company for existing bookings Taking Back Sunday, Architects, Every Time I Die, Set Your Goals, The King Blues, and Make Do And Mend. www.slamdunkmusic.com/slam-dunk-festival
TENNENT'S VITAL, Ward Park, Bangor, Northern Ireland, 21-22 Aug: Headliners Foo Fighters and The Stone Roses, and not to mention The Black Keys and Florence And The Machine, make for a fortified first foursome fated for Tennent's most essential outdoor bill, with further acts to be unveiled shortly. www.tennentsvital.com
TRUCK FESTIVAL, Hill Farm, Steventon, 20-21 Jul: British Sea Power, The Low Anthem, The Temper Trap, Guillemots and Three Trapped Tigers now figure high amidst the Truck roster, joining Mystery Jets, 65daysofstatic, Villagers and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. www.thisistruck.com
SONY PLANNING REJIG OF US DIVISION'S MANAGEMENT
According to the Financial Times, the main winner in the move - expected to be confirmed when Hirai takes over in Japan - will be Michael Lynton, current CEO and Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. It's thought he will also take on the title of CEO of Sony Corporation Of America, which will mean that the firm's music businesses - the Sony Music record companies and Sony/ATV music publishing operation - will come under his control.
That said, it's thought Lynton will continue to focus day to day on Sony's American film and TV studios, still working in partnership with his co-Chair at SPE Amy Pascal, leaving Sony Music boss Doug Morris and Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier to get on with running the music companies as they see fit. However, they will report to Lynton, who will be their main link into Sony Corp HQ and Hirai.
Also likely to expand her remit as part of the SCA rejig is Nicole Seligman, Sony's General Counsel, who is expected to take the title of president of the US division, and will oversee all of its corporate functions, including finance and communications as well as legal.
Meanwhile it's thought SCA's current CFO, Rob Wiesenthal, will take on a new senior operational role at Sony/ATV should its acquisition of EMI Music Publishing get regulator approval, creating the biggest music publishing enterprise in the world, but one with a very complicated ownership structure.
All this rejigging has led to speculation that Sony's key entertainment businesses will be left pretty much to their own devices under Hirai who, despite spending much of his Sony career on the entertainment side, and much time within its US business, is expected to focus his attentions on the conglom's Japan-led electronics companies, which have been under-performing of late while the entertainment units - although facing tough challenges - have been performing OK.
Some also wonder whether this expected rejig is a sign that Sony might at some point spin off its US-orientated entertainment businesses into a separate entity, though that's a plan Sony bosses deny exists.
REGISTER DOUBTS CAMERON'S GOOGLE CLAIM
As previously reported, the latest copyright consultation stems from last year's Hargreaves Review of IP laws, which in turn was seemingly motivated by something the bosses of Google told David Cameron - that their web company could never have launched in the UK because of the country's copyright regime, and in particular the fact the English 'fair dealing' system provides fewer exemptions for using copyright material than American's 'fair use' provisions.
Now, many in the copyright industries weren't especially happy that a moan from Google had instigated a whole review of copyright law, just five years after the last review conducted by Andrew Gowers for the previous Labour government, not to mention the 2009 'Digital Britain' report that also considered copyright matters. But now, according to The Register, it looks like Cameron was responding to a non-moan.
The website reckons that, while Google has repeated the "we couldn't have launched here" line since Cameron told the story, no one from the web firm had made that claim before the PM. Making some wonder exactly what really did instigate the latest copyright review.
Read The Register piece here: www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/21/cameron_google_source/
PRS ANNOUNCES LICENSING DEAL WITH RDIO
Rdio is already live in North America, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, and recently added Germany, Spain and Portugal too. It now plans to roll out across the rest of Europe to take on local streaming platforms like Spotify, Rara.com and Deezer, and the PRS licence - covering the rights in songs - will help with that process because it covers multiple European territories for the repertoire that PRS represents beyond the UK.
Confirming the licence, PRS boss Robert Ashcroft told CMU: "Rdio's service is more good news for the UK's digital music users and creators alike. Rdio's entry into the market provides more choice for consumers and is a vote of confidence in the growing licensed digital sector".
Meanwhile, Rdio's VP of Strategic & International Partnerships, Scott Bagby, added: "Working with PRS For Music further emphasises Rdio's commitment to the global music community. We are very excited to bring our service to even more countries, and because Rdio is socially powered, music fans will discover local and international artists across the world".
No word yet on a UK launch date for the recently revamped Rdio platform. There had been rumours it could arrive this week, though a spokesman told GigOM last week: "Unfortunately, the rumours aren't true. Rdio is not launching in the UK on Monday. However, they will be at some point in the future".
SPOTIFY LAUNCHES NEW APPS, AS UNIVERSAL AGAIN DEFENDS THE SERVICE
Many agree that Spotify's apps platform has great potential to expand the reach, appeal and sell-through functionality of the streaming service, while others have noted that third party apps properly bring music recommendation into the mix, something Spotify has never been great at. That said, uptake on the initial raft of apps that went live last year has been mixed, and some fear the app frenzy over complicates what has been to date a very simple content player.
Elsewhere in Spotify news, Universal Music has again disputed claims by some artists and smaller labels that a presence on the streaming service can have a negative impact on iTunes sales. Some smaller rights owners have or are considering removing their content from Spotify because the royalties are tiny and they fear being on the streaming platform hits iTunes returns.
But Universal Music has been a defender of Spotify throughout that debate, and yesterday the major's Paul Smernicki did some more defending at a Guardian conference. According to Music Ally, Smernick told the conference: "We've looked really really hard for evidence of cannibalisation, almost unobjectively. Across the business, we've been unable to find that evidence. And in [European] markets where Spotify has launched, the growth in the digital business has been about 40%, in territories where it doesn't it's around 10%. There's a healthy ecosystem and it can be served by many of those services".
Of course the majors have a stake in Spotify so aren't totally unbiased on this issue, though many independent labels and distributors with no equity stake have likewise stuck up for the streaming platform, arguing that royalties do build over time, and the industry at large can only benefit from subscription services being successful long term.
Music Ally has a full report on the music session at The Guardian's Changing Media Summit here:
PETE WATERMAN: I INVENTED DUBSTEP
Actually, Waterman says he and the Hit Factory team also invented drum n bass and are responsible for Rihanna's career. Basically, if it's successful now, they probably did it first.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Waterman said: "I can listen to records by Rihanna and I can hear all our songs in there. I hear the influence, our quirkiness. [And] you know the Hit Factory really started drum and bass, and dubstep - we were doing those sounds years ago. Now Sub Focus and Chase & Status all come here [Pete Waterman Entertainment's London studio complex] to make their record".
That said, that doesn't mean Pete likes modern pop. It's not cheerful enough see. He continued: "The records in the charts this week won't bring a smile to your face. That's why all the clubs are closing down. Now everybody wants to get pissed and violent when they go out. What we did with bands like Steps is have a laugh. I think we've lost that".