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SONY/ATV OFFER EMI CONCESSIONS IN EUROPE, AS CALIFORNIAN ATTORNEY GENERAL TAKES AN INTEREST
As previously reported, Sony's publishing company, a joint venture with the Michael Jackson estate, is leading a consortium of investors to buy EMI Music Publishing, which is likely to remain a separate entity if the takeover goes ahead.
With Sony only owning half of Sony/ATV, and Sony/ATV only owning a slice of EMI Publishing under the proposed deal, some speculated that this takeover might have a smoother ride through the regulatory process than Universal's bid to buy the EMI labels, the Universal music company being much more closely integrated under one parent conglom.
However, even if EMI Publishing was to remain a stand-alone entity, it would still report into Sony/ATV's leadership, led by former EMI publishing chief Marty Bandier, and the two companies would almost certainly speak as one in the all important collecting society domain, which is much more significant in the publishing sector than the record industry.
Either way, presumably by making concessions at this point, Sony/ATV are hopeful European regulators might be persuaded to green light their EMI deal without a full three month second phase investigation, like that launched with regards Universal's EMI acquisition at the end of last week.
The EC confirmed Sony/ATV had offered concessions yesterday, but gave no details as to what exactly they were. The regulator added that the proposals would push back its phase one investigation into the Sony deal until 19 Apr, when it will announce whether the Sony-led consortium has won approval, or whether a full three month inquiry will be required for this deal too.
Sony itself revealed little about its negotiations with the EC, except to tell reporters yesterday that it and its investment partners remain "confident that the transaction will be approved". Though those who opposed both EMI deals, which together would make the two biggest music companies in the world even bigger, remain hopeful both takeover proposals may as yet be blocked.
Meanwhile, in the US, California's Attorney General Kamala Harris has reportedly started making her own inquiries into the two EMI deals, separate from the ongoing competition investigation being conducted in the US by the Federal Trade Commission. According to Bloomberg, Harris's office has made contact with various people and organisations likely to be affected by the deal, though it's not clear to what end, or what power the Attorney General would have to hinder any deal-making if both transactions were approved at a federal level.
INDUSTRY WELCOMES HOOPER'S INITIAL THOUGHTS ON A DIGITAL COPYRIGHT EXCHANGE
As previously reported, the proposed Exchange would aim to lower the administrative costs of licensing content for digital services, and to give business and consumers easier access to copyright material, which is a great idea, but Hooper has been charged with the task of working out exactly how that might work. It's thought he might recommend some sort of a formal government-run online information exchange, or some other industry-run system that would achieve his objectives.
Launching his provisional report on the matter, which mainly sets out the case for such an Exchange's existence, Hooper told the BBC yesterday: "This will drive economic growth across the UK's creative and technology industries. And if the media companies are seen to be doing everything possible to enable and encourage new digital services via easier and more streamlined copyright licensing, then that makes it easier for politicians to be even tougher against copyright infringement".
The provisional report was welcomed by reps for the music industry, who noted in particular Hooper's admission that, relative to other countries, the UK's copyright licensing processes are already amongst the best, even if said processes could be simplified further. Quite how that latter bit can be achieved is what is still to come in the government's big feasibility study, but UK Music said it looked forward to working with Hooper and his colleagues to look for solutions.
UK Music chief Jo Dipple told CMU: "I think everyone involved in this feasibility study has appreciated Richard Hooper's thoughtful and methodical approach. Having revisited the question of whether copyright licensing is fit for the digital age, he has quite rightly recognised that the UK music industry is breaking new ground - licensing more digital music services than any other country and consistently supporting innovation. The report also identifies areas where music licensing can be improved. That is our aim too. UK Music looks forward to working with Richard Hooper [and his colleagues] throughout stage two of this study, and will be keen to highlight existing industry initiatives that have this specific goal in mind".
Meanwhile speaking for the record industry, BPI boss Geoff Taylor added: "We support the overall conclusion of the study that whilst the licensing of digital music is more advanced in the UK than in most other countries, a voluntary and industry-led DCE could help to further enhance transparency and efficiency. We welcome the acknowledgement that rights owners should remain free to choose the way in which they license their creative works, and look forward to working with Richard Hooper in Phase 2 to help design a DCE that will stimulate even more innovation in the UK's world-leading digital music market".
The next report is expected in July, meanwhile Hooper's provisional thoughts are online here:
MEGAUPLOAD TARGETED WITH CIVIL ACTIONS
The civil litigation follows, of course, criminal action against the Mega empire and its top execs, four of whom are currently fighting extradition from New Zealand to face copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering charges made against them in relation to their involvement with the controversial file-transfer and video sharing company.
First plaintiff Microhits owns music rights while co-litigant Valcom owns the copyrights in various TV and film assets, and according to The Hollywood Reporter both companies rely heavily on the charges made against the Mega business in America's criminal investigation in their civil lawsuits, filed with the Virginian courts.
Both claimants are seeking compensation of $30,000 to $150,000 per infringement, though their legal papers do not reveal how many of their works they believe MegaUpload infringed. Both companies have copyrights in thousands of bits of content, so could well push for mega-damages if they were successful in court, though a lot of content owners will be going after the Mega fortune if copyright infringement is proven in either the civil or criminal cases in the US. It's already thought the Motion Picture Association Of America is planning its own litigation on behalf of the big studios.
Team Mega, of course, continue to claim their operations were protected from infringement claims under American law, and that the US authorities' assault on their empire was politically motivated.
THE MORNING BENDERS OPT FOR NAME CHANGE
Writing on behalf of the band in this statement (www.themorningbenders.com), frontman Christopher Chu explains: "We simply cannot go on using a name that is demeaning to the gay community. The reason we are making music is to reach and unite as many different kinds of people as possible, and the idea that our name may be hateful towards anyone makes us sick".
He continues: "In the UK and many parts of Europe the name has simply become too distracting. The MUSIC has always been our number one focus, and we want to present that to people in as pure a way as possible".
Now free from all such distractions, Chu and POP ETC have released a free mixtape (popetcetera.com), their first new output since 2010 album 'Big Echo'.
THE MEN DEBUT RSD TRACK, ANNOUNCE NEW UK DATES
Why not listen to it here: soundcloud.com/sacredbones/the-men-a-minor
In addition to playing London's Field Day festival this year, the band have also just confirmed amid a forthcoming US and European tour live dates at Dublin's Whelan's (30 May) and the Shacklewell Arms in East London (3 Jun).
PEAKING LIGHTS DISCUSS NEW LP
Out via Weird World on 18 Jun, it was recorded in Brooklyn following the birth of the duo's son, who is hailed as a "guiding light muse for the album".
That said, Coyes offers a further quote: "All of our record titles have come to us in dreams, daydreams and epiphanies. 'Lucifer' sat so strong with us. It means 'Venus, bearer of light' and is the first sign of the sunrise. To us this record is about play and playfulness, unconditional love, rhythms and pulses, creation and vibration".
Hear all that manifest in this hour-long 'Lucifer' mixtape, which features fragments of several unknown album tracks. Or, in Peaking Lights speak, gives "a few distant glimpses of [the record's] many spoils".
You can also have a closer look at this tracklist:
SMASHING PUMPKINS TO RELEASE OCEANIA LP
The exclusive EMI deal stems from Corgan and co's wish to make the album simultaneously available on an international scale (with the possible exceptions of Canada, Brazil and Australia, who are excluded from the EMI distribution zone), without pre-releases or press/radio previews spoiling any of their 'Oceania' fun.
Says "thrilled" EMI GM Mike Harris: "Everybody at EMI Label Services is looking forward to working closely with Billy and the band to help them deliver their vision and their music to fans around the world".
EFTERKLANG TO TOUR WITH NORTHERN SINFONIA ORCHESTRA
Staged in promotion of forthcoming Efterklang LP 'Piramida', preparations for 'The Piramida Concerts' have seen the band appoint Missy Mazzoli, Karsten and Daníel Bjarnason - past collaborators of Kronos Quartet, Oh Land and Sigur Rós respectively - to assist in composing classical arrangements for various album tracks.
Following the show's premiere at the Sydney Opera House, UK dates will run as follows:
23 Oct: Gateshead, The Sage
POLIÇA ANNOUNCE SHOW
With the LP's issue date reset to 30 Apr, the show takes place at the East London venue the following week (7 Jun).
141 MORE BANDS ADDED TO GREAT ESCAPE LINE UP
Confirming their return to TGE, the Temper Trap told CMU: "We can't wait to play The Great Escape again - being part of the event in 2009 was incredible and 2012 is going to be even better. We'll be playing songs from our new album, it's set to be a very special show".
Jack White signings The Black Belles on their first UK trip, former Supergrasser Gaz Coombes and We Are Augustines are among the other bands now added to the extensive list of acts set to play venues across Brighton between 10 and 12 May, alongside the CMU-programmed Great Escape convention, more news from which will be announced tomorrow.
Meanwhile, find out about all this year's TGE bands, and get yourself tickets, at www.escapegreat.com
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BENICASSIM, FIB Heineken, Valencia, Spain, 12-15 Jul: Vince Power scores a serious booking coup in bagging Bob Dylan, who joins festival proceedings alongside other new conscriptions Jessie J, Robyn Hitchcock and TEED. At the Drive-In, The Stone Roses, Florence And The Machine, New Order, Noel Gallagher´s High Flying Birds, David Guetta, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees are amongst those announced on previous occasions. benicassimfestival.co.uk
DOT TO DOT, various venues, Manchester/Bristol/Nottingham, 2-4 Jun: Taking place across multiple venues in a triplet of cities, Dot To Dot organisers have named Wavves, Bastille, Clock Opera, Islet, Willis Earl Beal, Pond and Beth Jeans Houghton amid the festival's initial line-up, with Neon Indian also primed to play its Mancunion edition only. www.dottodotfestival.co.uk
END OF THE ROAD, Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: 2:54, Deer Tick, The Mark Lanegan Band, Concrete Knives, Marques Toliver and Peggy Sue expand upon EOTR's existing 2012 roster, which hitherto housed Grandaddy, Grizzly Bear and Tindersticks in its headline slot, plus Midlake, Beach House, The Low Anthem, Dirty Beaches, Veronica Falls, The Antlers and Villagers. www.endoftheroadfestival.com
GOLDEN DOWN, Black Bush Valley, Matterley Estate, Hampshire, 15-17 Jun: Mount Kimbie, Thundercat, Hercules & Love Affair and Lorca number amongst Golden Down's most recent roll-call, thus lining up beside prior recruits Lee Scratch Perry, Roots Manuva, Four Tet, Apparat, Ghostpoet, Dub Pistols, Floating Points and Slow Club. www.goldendownfestival.co.uk/
HARD ROCK CALLING, Hyde Park, London, 13-15 Jul: Resurgent grunge legends Soundgarden have been newly named to reign over the Friday bill at this year's Hard Rock Calling, with Iggy & The Stooges also set to join such select performers as Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Lady Antebellum, Paul Simon, Jimmy Cliff, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Alison Krauss & Union Station. www.hardrockcalling.co.uk
HOP FARM MUSIC FESTIVAL, Hop Farm Country Park, Paddock Wood, Kent, 29 Jun - 1 Jul: Bob Dylan is poised to reprise his 2010 appearance atop the Hop Farm roster, confirmed as he is to share headlining duties with Peter Gabriel & The New Blood Orchestra and Suede. An extra horde of just announced acts includes Damien Rice Primal Scream, My Morning Jacket, Maximo Park, Patti Smith, The Stranglers, Billy Ocean, The Psychedelic Furs, Lianne La Havas, Slow Club, Tom Vek and White Denim. www.hopfarmfestival.com/
LONDON BLUESFEST, various venues, London, 26 Jun - 6 Jul: The London leg of this double-barreled blues spectacular is newly set to host Erykah Badu and Nick Lowe, who further supplement a bill that also stars Van Morrison, Tom Jones, George Benson, Hugh Laurie and Ronnie Wood. www.bluesfestlondon.com
LOVEBOX, Victoria Park, London, 15-17 Jun: Recent add-ons Grace Jones, Mika and Felix Da Housecat mean three more stars for this year's Lovebox tenth anniversary happening, sharing space with Lana Del Rey, Bobby Womack, Niki & The Dove, Patrick Wolf, Hot Chip, Magnetic Man, Azealia Banks, Danny Byrd and Emeli Sande. www.lovebox.net
PUKKELPOP, Kempische Steenweg, Belgium, 16-18 Aug: With supreme Pukkelpop beings Björk, Foo Fighters and The Stone Roses ruling this festival's delectable listings in some style, additional Belgian treats include Bloc Party, The Black Keys, Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club, Frank Ocean, The Big Pink, Enter Shikari, Jessie Ware and Tune-Yards. www.pukkelpop.be/en
T IN THE PARK, Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland, 6-8 Jul: Cher Lloyd, McFly, Shed Seven, The Subways and Childish Gambino form a sundry batch of brand new T acts, accompanying the afore announced Snow Patrol, The Stone Roses, Kasabian, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Florence And The Machine, Tinie Tempah, New Order, David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Nicki Minaj. www.tinthepark.com
TRAMLINES, various venues, Sheffield, 20-22 Jul: Roots Manuva, We Are Scientists, Ms Dynamite, Mr Scruff, Charli XCX, Spector, Alt-J, Clock Opera, Frankie And The Heartstrings and Peace are first to feature on the roster of this free-for-all music fest, as are Alternative Stage guests Esben And the Witch, Mazes, Frankie Rose, 65daysofstatic, and Rolo Tomassi. www.tramlines.org.uk/
WIRELESS FESTIVAL, Hyde Park, London, 6-8 Jul: The Weeknd, Labrinth, Childish Gambino, Chiddy Bang, Jaguar Skills and Theophilus London lead the latest additions to what's perhaps the festival season's most mainstream music programme, as also features co-headliners Deadmau5, Drake and Rihanna, plus a supporting cast including Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Professor Green, Wiz Khalifa, J Cole and Example. www.wirelessfestival.com
CONVERSE ANNOUNCE LATEST ARTIST COLLABORATION
Converse's VP of Brand Marketing, Joy Howard, told CMU: "Converse is in its seventh Three Artists One Song series, and with each new collaboration we're continually blown away by how talented these artists are when they come together to express themselves. Mark Foster, Kimbra, and A-Trak are making some of the most exciting music out there today and we're thrilled that [we] could be the catalyst for bringing them together".
THE ORCHARD STREAMLINES STAFF POST MERGER
SONY DADC CENTRE DUE TO RELAUNCH THIS SUMMER
The new complex will have an extra layer of offices than the old building, and will have "more capacity, technology investment and an enhanced security concept" according to Sony DADC bosses, who hope to have the facility up and running by the summer.
MCV quote Sony DADC's UK General Manager Natasha Tyrrell thus: "Despite suffering the complete loss of our UK distribution centre in summer 2011, our customers have been very supportive and encouraging during the difficult period post fire, while our team has shown tremendous strength of character and determination to succeed. We are determined to keep this fantastic team together, to strengthen their resources and to create a great place to work - while supporting our current client base in their growth strategies".
Indie label distributor [PIAS] used the Sony DADC centre, which was why the fire affected so many independent labels. The music firm has been using an alternative Sony DADC centre since the fire, as well as working with Proper Music to supply independent retailers.
EMI LAUNCH DANCE NETWORK
Says Cools: "EMI has long been home to some of the most innovative and successful artists in dance music and given our incredibly strong dance roster and our global rights approach we've been looking at how we can best serve our electronic music artists going forward. By taking our existing expertise in dance music and creating a new global structure we can ensure that our artists are working with people who are the experts in the genre, who have an unrivalled track record of success, and know how to take full advantage of the ever growing opportunities for dance music around the world".
ODD FUTURE PREMIERE TV PRANK SHOW
Produced by 'Jackass' creators Dickhouse Entertainment (yes, really), the show comprises a mix of skits, sketches, pranks (plus the occasional live performance), and is available for UK viewers to screen via its American broadcasters Adult Swim.
So if you fancy watching a be-wigged Tyler, The Creator and friends hitting each other with bin lids, and other such stunts, look here to find the first of what may be many 'Loiter Squad' episodes.
As previously reported, Odd Future's UK tour starts today in Birmingham, continuing on to London's Brixton Academy tomorrow. Speaking of London, as of today the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane will be flogging OFGWKTA merchandise at a short-term pop-up shop, this exclusive sample sale ending on 2 Apr.
BIEBER COULD BE SUED OVER PHONE NUMBER PRANK
The Biebster reportedly teased his fans by tweeting a phone number recently, with the call to action "call me right now". It was a fake number, and didn't even have enough digits. But that didn't stop his fans from inserting their own final digits, trying zero through nine in the desperate bid to make phone contact with their hero.
Which left ten land line owners really rather pissed off as a deluge of Bieber fans started swamping them with optimistic phone calls. And I've seen Bieber fans chatting on Twitter, they're not the sorts of people you'd want to be taking wrong number calls from.
According to TMZ two of the affected phone line owners are now suing the popster claiming his behaviour was "reckless". Bieber is yet to respond. I tried calling him on this number I got off the internet (I added the missing zero), but I just got some very rude people telling me to "fuck off". He really ought to hire some new staff.