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MONDAY 26 MARCH 2012
FIVE DAY FORECAST
Hello everyone. Did you have lovely weekends? I hope you did. I mean, statistically you can't all have, but I still hope you all did anyway. That's optimism at work there. Drink it in. Anyway, in the unlikely event that your weekend wasn't superb, there's a whole new week here now. Think of all the things that could happen over the coming days. Actually, don't think, just read about them here. more>>
APPROVED: UKKONEN
The somewhat mysterious Ukkonen is set to deliver his excellent debut LP on 23 Apr via London's Uncharted Audio label. Describing this faceless Finnish producer is tricky - though across the five tracks that appear on the hour plus album his background in classical composition definitely figures in what are genre bending productions, joining the dots between techno, house and ambient. more>>
TOP STORIES
- As its merger investigation heads into phase two, EC outlines some of its specific concerns with Universal's EMI bid
- HMV relocates mail-order operations from Guernsey to Birmingham
IN THE POP COURTS
EMI settle with Cash Money Records
ARTIST DEALS
4AD sign Spaceghostpurrp for new LP
RELEASE NEWS
- Kiwanuka, Gotye on Communion Records compilation
- Danny Brown LP given vinyl release for Record Store Day
- Marilyn Manson details Johnny Depp-featuring LP
- Scarlet Soho announce new EP
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Hatcham Social to play Fierce Panda's eighteenth birthday party
- Slam Dunk festivals to go on tour
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Sony partner with Raw Power on new rock label
- Coachella promoter buys more of the festival's site
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Spotify begins new funding round, could result in $3.5 billion valuation
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
- BGT ahead of The Voice in launch night ratings
AND FINALLY...
- Will Rihanna and Chris Brown now reunite on stage?


OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLE IN SHOREDITCH
The Shoreditch Arch is a beautifully renovated railway arch situated behind Cargo night club on Rivington Street EC2A. It was unused until 2003 when it was transformed into stunning open plan office space and became home to the friendliest creatives in the whole of Shoreditch.

www.theshoreditcharch.co.uk

joshua@outpostmedia.co.uk for more information.
COOPERATIVE MUSIC, INTERNATIONAL LABEL MANAGER
Independent label group Cooperative Music is looking for an experienced International Label Manager. Based in Old Street, the role will involve working closely with Co-op's Independent partner labels and UK label managers to initiate, implement and coordinate worldwide marketing campaigns.

It is essential for candidates to have a passion for independent music, be familiar with the labels and artists we work with and be able to build and maintain relationships with our independent label partners. Experience of music marketing, promotion and digital marketing is essential and the ideal candidate will have knowledge of international music markets, including media, retail and digital outlets.

The successful candidate will be highly organised, able to multi-task and stay focused under pressure.

Interested? For more information, please visit www.cooperativemusic.com/jobs.
   
DIVISION PR, ONLINE/PRINT PR
Division PR are looking to welcome a new press officer who has experience in working online press and/or national print campaigns. Applicants must have great organisational skills, an established network of contacts in journalism, a history of successful press campaigns and a passion for indie/rock and beyond.

We absolutely love music here and are looking to find another hard working, pro active person who will join our team with the same enthusiasm. Our current roster includes Pulled Apart By Horses, Enter Shikari, We Are Augustines, Blood Red Shoes, letlive, Gallows, Sex Pistols, Ane Brun, Tom Williams and the Boat and many more. Other artists we have worked with in the last 9 years include J.Mascis, Pendulum, MGMT, Black Lips, Les Savy Fav, Nirvana, The Stone Roses, The Who, Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Placebo, Nero, Sub Focus, Andy C, Mark Ronson and many more.

2-3 years minimum experience of working UK press campaigns is essential. Please send a CV and covering letter to zac@divisionpromotions.com or call 0208 962 8282.

AS ITS MERGER INVESTIGATION HEADS INTO PHASE TWO, EC OUTLINES SOME OF ITS SPECIFIC CONCERNS WITH UNIVERSAL'S EMI BID
So, as expected, the European Commission announced on Friday that it was beginning a second more in-depth stage to its investigation into Universal's proposals to buy the EMI record companies. In theory the EC could have green lighted the deal at the end of its initial one month investigation, but that never seemed likely, and even Universal had always expected a more in depth three month study into their proposals to be required.

The Commission told reporters: "[The] initial market investigation indicated that the proposed transaction may raise competition concerns in the wholesale of physical and digital recorded music in numerous Member States as well as in the European Economic Area as a whole, particularly in light of the merged entity's high market shares and increased market power".

Meanwhile the Commission's VP in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, added: "The proposed acquisition could reduce competition in the recorded music market to the detriment of European consumers. The Commission needs to make sure that consumers continue to have access to a wide variety of music in different physical and digital formats at competitive conditions".

Noting that the opening of the second phase of an investigation does not in itself "prejudge" the final result the EC will reach, the Commission confirmed the new phase will run for 90 days, meaning a decision should be made by 8 Aug.

Though, while not wanting to prejudge the phase two investigation, the EC did then outline some of its specific concerns about Universal's EMI bid, in particular the mega-major's "increased market power vis-à-vis its direct customers", adding in a statement: "At this stage of the investigation, the new entity, which would be almost twice the size of the next largest player in the EEA, would not appear to be sufficiently constrained by the remaining competitors on the market, by its customers' buyer power, and/or by the threat of illegal music consumption (so-called 'piracy')".

Needless to say, those who oppose the bid welcomed both the second phase investigation and the specific concerns raised by the EC in its statement.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair of pan-European independent labels trade body IMPALA told CMU: "We agree with the Commission's findings so far that Universal's increased power cannot be constrained by competitors, customers or piracy. This matches the experience of our members on the ground. Competition problems exist in the physical as well as the digital market, as the Commission recognised. We welcome the robust confirmation that the EC will 'make sure consumers continue to have access to a wide variety of music in different physical and digital formats at competitive conditions'".

Universal issued a simple statement on Friday confirming it had expected a two phase investigation in Europe, telling reporters: "Phase 2 was always expected; we recognise that the Commission needs time to fully review this transaction. We will continue to co-operate fully with them and look forward to a successful resolution of the process".

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HMV RELOCATES MAIL-ORDER OPERATIONS FROM GUERNSEY TO BIRMINGHAM
HMV has confirmed it will close its mail-order fulfilment warehouse in Guernsey putting 46 jobs on the line. The decision comes just days before the UK government closes the tax loophole that means mail-order operations based on the Channel Islands do not have to charge VAT on products under £15, giving online CD and DVD sellers who send stock to British customers via Jersey or Guernsey a 20% advantage over mainland competitors.

As much previously reported, independent retailers who could never afford to set up mail-order ventures based offshore have long complained about the unfair advantage the so called Low Value Consignment Relief system gives the online-only start ups and bigger retail firms who can afford to exploit the tax dodge. Many feel the prolific use of the offshore tax break by some contributed to the collapse of many independent retail firms in the UK, and it hasn't helped the flagging HMV much either.

Because while HMV decided to join the LVCR party in 2005 - insisting it did so reluctantly just to compete - arguably by that point it had already lost out in terms of the online CD sales market to the likes of Play.com. And despite also being able to capitalise on the tax break in recent years, HMV has struggled to compete with its newer upstart competitors in mail-order, while its high street stores suffered big time from the plethora of cheaper stock available via the web.

As previously reported, earlier this month the governments of Jersey and Guernsey unsuccessfully tried to block the UK from removing LVCR from the Channel Islands on the grounds doing so was discriminatory.

They argued that because other non-EU countries would still benefit from LVCR, mail-order firms currently based in the English Channel would move to other tax efficient locations such as Switzerland, so the UK would not be better off, while Jersey and Guernsey would see unemployment rates shoot up. This was a concern also recently expressed by HMV boss Simon Fox, though his company will now relocate all its mail-order operations to a facility in Birmingham, with a statement noting the efficiencies that can be achieved by having all the firm's distribution operations in one place.

Those who have campaigned against the Channel Islands tax dodge argue that no other non-EU country is so logistically convenient for mail-order sales into the UK as Jersey and Guernsey, and that anyway, if all the mail-order firms move en masse to, say, Switzerland, there'll be an obligation on the UK government to end the relief system there too.

Of course all the mail-order companies and big retailers now expected to depart the Channel Islands do so after years of insisting they based themselves in the English Channel for reasons other than the tax breaks. HMV themselves insisted in 2005 that the VAT benefits were "just one aspect" of their decision to relocate their mail-order operations into the Channel, resulting in many redundancies back on the mainland, and that "the support businesses get in Guernsey is equally important".

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EMI SETTLE WITH CASH MONEY RECORDS
Well, that happened quicker than we expected. EMI has settled its legal dispute with Universal Music affiliate Cash Money Records.

As previously reported, earlier this month EMI filed court papers saying Cash Money owed it $491,000 in royalties relating to samples of music owned by the London-based major used on releases from the hip hop imprint. It now seems that claim related to an earlier legal squabble over samples that appeared on Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter III' album.

Anyway, the filing of court papers seems to have done the trick in what is definitely a long running dispute over sample royalty fees, with both parties issuing a joint statement to Billboard late last week that reads: "Cash Money Records and EMI Music Publishing have amicably settled EMI's recent lawsuit and their financial disputes on various record releases. The companies look forward to working together on future projects".

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4AD SIGN SPACEGHOSTPURRP FOR NEW LP
Hyped hip-hop artiste Spaceghostpurrp proves a novel new addition to Bon Iver and Grimes' label of choice, Beggar's 4AD, who will oversee the release of the Florida rapper/producer's new long player 'The Chronicles Of Spaceghostpurrp' on 12 Jun.

4AD are tendering album track 'No Evidence' as proof of the deal, so download it for free here: widgets.beggarspromo.com/noevidence

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KIWANUKA, GOTYE ON COMMUNION RECORDS COMPILATION
London independent Communion Records is releasing a compilation featuring the best of its roster's 'new faces'. With Gotye, James Vincent McMorrow and soul revivalist Michael Kiwanuka amongst its contributors, the LP is out 23 Apr. Communion will mark the release with a live showcase at Shepherds Bar in London on 26 Apr, though a line-up for that hasn't yet been announced.

Tracklisting:

Michael Kiwanuka - Tell Me A Tale
Julia Stone - Let's Forget All The Things That We Say
Joe Banfi - Olive Green
Gabriel and the Hounds - What Good Would That Do?
Daughter - Love
3 Blind Wolves - Emily Rose
Ben Howard - Three Tree Town
Keaton Henson - To Your Health
Lucy Rose - Middle of the Bed
Matt Corby - Kings and Queens, Beggars and Thieves
Boy and Bear - Milk and Sticks
Jocie Adams - Bed of Notions
Dan Croll - Marion
The Apache Relay - American Nomad
James Vincent McMorrow - Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft And Low
David McCaffery - Stars
Nathaniel Rateliff - Just For Me But I Thought Of You
Will Nott - Won't Go Back
Bear's Den - Pompeii
Gotye - Bronte

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DANNY BROWN LP GIVEN VINYL RELEASE FOR RECORD STORE DAY
Adored by critics since its digital issue back in 2011, Detroit alt-hop type Danny Brown's sophomore album 'XXX' is to make its on-vinyl debut on Record Store Day, which this year falls on 21 Apr.

Fools Gold, who oversaw the LP's original release, will distribute 1000 double 12-inch copies, with an extra 7-inch single version of the rapper's new track 'Grown Up' also available at selected outlets.

Though vinyl haters can already download the MP3 of that track for free here.

Meanwhile, go check this video of Brown talking with crazed Canadian muso Nardwuar at this month's SxSW festival.

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MARILYN MANSON DETAILS JOHNNY DEPP-FEATURING LP
Marilyn Manson has shared notes on his forthcoming Cooking Vinyl debut, 'Born Villain'. As if the concept of a brand new Manson release (his first since 2009's 'The High End Of Low') wasn't sufficiently jarring by itself, the long player will also feature celebrity guest Johnny Depp on a bonus cover of Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain'.

Mind duly boggled. But I'm still beholden to mention that 'Born Villain' is out on 30 Apr, and will carry this tracklisting:

Hey, Cruel World
No Reflection
Pistol Whipped
Overneath The Path Of Misery
Slo-Mo-Tion
The Gardner
The Flowers Of Evil
Children Of Cain
Disengaged
Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms
Murderers Are Getting Pretter Every Day
Born Villan
Breaking The Same Old Ground

And NB: Manson was last week seen mingling with a certain 'Video Games' singer-songwriter at Germany's Echo Music Awards, thus prompting this unprecedented assemblage of 'music personalities'.

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SCARLET SOHO ANNOUNCE NEW EP
Electro trio Scarlet Soho have announced that they will release their first new material since their 2009 album 'Warpaint' later this month. The 'When The Lights Go Out' EP will be available from http://scarletsohoshop.bigcartel.com on 21 May.

The band will also play two UK dates ahead of the release, taking in The Railway in Winchester on 11 May and London's Underbelly on 15 May.

Now, here's the video for the EP's title track.

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HATCHAM SOCIAL TO PLAY FIERCE PANDA'S EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY PARTY
Indie label Fierce Panda turns eighteen next month, and has invited Younghusband and headliners Hatcham Social to soundtrack a night of birthday festivities taking place at East London venue Cargo on 17 Apr. A further line-up of mystery guests are also billed to appear at the show, tickets for which can be pre-ordered here.

The party will also serve as the official post-release launch of Hatcham Social's second album 'About Girls', which is out 2 Apr.

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SLAM DUNK FESTIVALS TO GO ON TOUR
The guys from Slam Dunk, who stage the four festivals of the same name in late May, have announced a regional tour featuring Hit The Lights, Transit, The Story So Far and Decade, who will also be playing the Slam Dunk fests in Leeds (26 May), Hatfield (27 May) and Glasgow (though not Cardiff's Slam Dunk Wales on 28 May, which will feature Taking Back Sunday, Cancer Bats, Motion City Soundtrack and more).

The other live dates for Hit The Lights et al are as follows (and look Cardiff, you will get this line up a few days after Slam Dunk Wales - bonus!):

23 May: Newcastle, Trillians
24 May: Manchester, Moho
25 May: Liverpool, Academy II
28 May: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
30 May: Birmingham, Asylum
31 May: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
1 Jun: Cardiff, CF10
1 Jun: Kingston, Peel

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

PLAY FEST, Eccles Hall, Quidenham, Norfolk, 1-3 Jun: Scroobius Pip, Roots Manuva, Natty, Toddla T and Shy FX are new to proceedings at this year's Play Fest, with Little Comets, Zinc and Jaymo & Andy George also just joining previously announced Ash, Reverend and The Makers, The Pigeon Detectives, The Big Pink, The Correspondents and Spector. www.playfest.co.uk

V-DUB ISLAND, County Showground, Northwood, Isle of Wight, 2-5 Aug: Rob Da Bank stands atop V-Dub's 'Caribbean Christmas'-themed festival roster, as also features Dub Pistols, Ben Goddard, The Ohmz, Born In A Barn and Cooly Haste. www.v-dubisland.com

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SONY PARTNER WITH RAW POWER ON NEW ROCK LABEL
London-based management company Raw Power has announced an alliance with Sony Music UK which will see the creation of a new rock label to be called Search & Destroy. It will be headed up by Raw Power's Tristan Lillingston, a former Sony A&R man. The first signings will be Don Broco and While She Sleeps.

Confirming the new label venture and Sony partnership, Raw Power CEO Craig Jennings told reporters last week: "Having grown up listening to so many great Sony artists, it's a great privilege to be starting a joint venture with [Sony UK chief] Nick Gatfield and his team that I look forward to lasting for many years to come. Some of my favourite artists and releases have been with Sony, including the Clash and Iggy And The Stooges, from whom we have borrowed the Search And Destroy moniker, it being the opening song on the classic 'Raw Power' album".

Gatfield added: "Craig Jennings is widely acknowledged as the industry's leading rock management and artist development expert - no one understands the artists, music and global marketing of the genre better. The creation of the Search & Destroy label is the natural extension and outlet for his knowledge and expertise and will undoubtedly be the leading rock label in the market. I'm delighted Craig has chosen Sony to partner with on the venture and I look forward to global success with him in the near future".

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COACHELLA PROMOTER BUYS MORE OF THE FESTIVAL'S SITE
AEG subsidiary Goldenvoice has bought another 280 acres of the land in California where its most famous annual festival, Coachella, takes place.

The promoter already has a long term lease on the neighbouring 280 acre Empire Polo Club, and the new acquisition means it now controls the whole site of the festival, which this year is taking place over two weekends.

Goldenvoice's Paul Tollett told Billboard that the land purchase will "help us put in some infrastructure so we don't have to keep coming back and doing the same things each year".

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SPOTIFY BEGINS NEW FUNDING ROUND, COULD RESULT IN $3.5 BILLION VALUATION
Spotify has kicked off another big round of fundraising, according to various reports, looking for new investment that would give the streaming music platform an overall value in the region of $3.5 billion, which it's clearly not worth, but then, few tech start-ups are worth the figures bandied about during funding rounds and IPOs, so why should the buzziest of the digital music start-ups be any different?

Though, that said, according to Business Insider, some possible investors have balked at that valuation, especially given Spotify is so dependent on content it doesn't own and over which it has no exclusivity, and therefore declined on the offer to invest. But that's not to say there isn't some interest, even at that valuation, so the venture capital subsidy, received via Spotify, that is proving so useful to the major record companies just now could well continue for sometime yet.

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BGT AHEAD OF THE VOICE IN LAUNCH NIGHT RATINGS
Simon Cowell's 'Britain's Got Talent' won in the ratings war against the BBC's new expensively bought in talent show flim flam 'The Voice' on Saturday night, assuming you trust the TV ratings, which are only slightly more reliable than the radio industry's RAJAR figures.

But according to the official stats, the first edition of 'BGT' for 2012, which sees Cowell himself return as a judge, was seen by 9.3 million viewers during its eighty minute time slot, while 'The Voice' pulled in 8.4 million viewers.

Though when the two shows went directly head to head for twenty minutes, 'The Voice' had more viewers than 'BGT', presumably because the BBC show aired first and was reaching its peak while the ITV programme was going through the customary introductory palaver.

As previously reported, when the schedules for this weekend's TV output were being put together it looked like 'The Voice' and 'BGT' could overlap by up to 45 minutes, but in the end the Beeb went a bit earlier than planned and ITV a bit later, thus reducing the actual crossover.

Both sides will probably be pleased with the first night performance of their Springtime talent contests, though whether that will stop the sniping between reps of the two rival programmes remains to be seen.

Cowell has thrown a few shots over at 'The Voice' camp in recent weeks, in the main questioning whether it's right for the BBC to spend over £20 million buying in an existing international TV format to take on his shows over on ITV.

Meanwhile, 'The Voice' judge Will.i.am, who previously appeared on the 'X-Factor' and now manages one time 'X' queen Cheryl Cole, this weekend dissed Cowell's record for supporting the acts that come through his telly talent show ventures, in particular criticising Team Syco for their work on the career of 2010 'X' finalist Cher Lloyd, who the Black Eyed Pea reckons should have had much more success since exiting the ITV show and signing to Cowell's label.

Perhaps she'd have got more out of the experience if she'd entered the competition with management in place, who could have coordinated things before, during and after her appearance on the ITV show.

Of course that's not previously been allowed under 'X-Factor' rules, partly to ensure an amateurs-only ethos, partly because acts with professional representation might be at an advantage when it comes hype building ahead of big viewer votes, and partly because the 'X' show's business partners want first dibs on any management contracts worth having amongst the contest's finalists.

But producers have revealed that from this year acts with managers already in place will be able to compete, which in theory could mean more established artists whose careers have waned, or which never really took off in the way they hoped, could appear. Which would certainly add to the freak show style curiosity shop element of the programme, especially during the earlier heats.

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WILL RIHANNA AND CHRIS BROWN NOW REUNITE ON STAGE?
Speculation is rising that, having been recently reunited on record, Rihanna and Chris Brown might now perform together on stage, at the Brisbane date of Aussie urban music festival Supafest next month.

According to Australian news site NewsAU, management for the two artists have been considering another professional collaboration for the one time power couple of American pop, and feel that a duet at a festival outside the US might be the best option.

Both artists are seemingly set to appear at the Brisbane date of Supafest in their own right, Brown as a headliner, which has possibly caused the onstage reunion rumours. However, NewsAU cites sources as saying some kind of on stage reunion is a "definite possibility", though that any such collaboration "won't be decided until the last minute".

Of course there are many who are annoyed at the speed with which Brown has been rehabilitated by the American pop machine, which has been handing over awards and headline slots like they are going out of fashion, even though the star is still on probation for beating Rihanna unconscious in the street during the Grammy Weekend of 2009.

And while it's obviously great that Rihanna has been able to get her life back together after the assault, those critics fear that her helping her violent ex with that speedy rehabilitation sends out a bad message to other victims of domestic abuse around the world. Any on stage reunion is likely to push that debate to fever pitch.

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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