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QUEEN MANAGER SUPPORTS UNIVERSAL'S EMI BID
Joining that latter camp this weekend just gone was Jim Beach, manager of Queen, a band signed for most of their career to an EMI label, before moving over to Universal once the private equity twonks at Terra Firma were in charge at the British major. Remembering his experiences of EMI of old, and then under Terra Firma's leadership, he wrote in a letter to the Times on Saturday: "Today's music business is very different to that of 40 years ago, when the band I represent, Queen, began its career with EMI Records. Then the company was a hugely influential creative force in the UK and overseas. It gave us extraordinary music across virtually every genre, and its artists shaped the tastes of more than one generation".
"But", he continued, "the latter-day EMI Records under private equity proved to be a very different place. Investment was slashed to the detriment of the artists, Queen among them, and we were not alone in jumping ship. I look forward to when EMI Records will again be owned by a music company as there are still great artists and executives there who need more creative people at the top".
Over in the US, a recent feature in The Tennesean on the EMI acquisition, while noting Warner Music's opposition to the deal, also quoted three players from the local indie music community who expressed indifference or even a positive attitude to the merger. Tom Baldrica of Average Joes Entertainment told the paper: "Whether you've got four majors in town or three - it's still the same battle for us, but there's one less Goliath".
Meanwhile David Robkin of Bigger Picture Group said: "The merger might even help independent labels, which attract artists precisely because they aren't big, mainstream companies. We're competing not necessarily based on dollars, but based on time available and creativity and flexibility, and I think that's something that as companies consolidate and get bigger - it actually creates opportunity for us".
And Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records remarked: "Consolidation doesn't matter as much in a digital world. When the major labels controlled the distribution channels, it was a different deal, but now the barrier to entry is literally turning on your computer. If I continue to make great records by great artists, nobody can stop us".
In the interests of balance, let's remember George Martin - a former EMI employee - recently said: "I am saddened that great companies have been swallowed up by the giants, and the domination of the recording and music publishing industry by Sony and Universal can only lead to a virtual monopoly in the European market".
Meanwhile Beggars chief Mills said: "We fear Universal's acquisition of EMI. The mere fact that it controls 50% of the artists that media and retail want already gives them leverage other companies don't have. [Adding EMI's artists] obviously gives Universal more access, but it also gives other people less. When one party has the ability to be so dominant, it's going to be difficult for anything outside the mainstream to come through".
Competition regulators in both the US and European Union continue to investigate Universal's proposed EMI acquisition.
GREAT ESCAPE UPDATES: COPYRIGHT DEBATES, DIGITAL PITCH PARTY, NOISEY TALKS, PLAYLISTS AND COMPETITIONS
Tomorrow morning copyright issues will be under the spotlight with two great sessions. The first, presented by PRS For Music, will look at piracy, and the battle to win over judges, politicians and, most importantly, the public in the debate on protecting music rights online. Arguably the music industry has done much better at presenting its case to the former two than the public at large, and public opinion is crucial if copyright rules are to work. The Register's Andrew Orlowski, Velocity Communications' Andy Saunders and Peter Bradwell from the Open Rights Group will join The Guardian's Helienne Lindvall to debate those issues.
Next up, around the corner at Komedia, ACUMEDIA at The Great Escape will focus on the copyright consultation currently being undertaken by the government, following last year's Hargreaves Review. Should UK consumers have a private copy right, and if so should they pay a levy on digital devices for the privilege? Should artists have the right to veto their music appearing on YouTube videos, even if they are being paid for it, and even if the video is a parody? And what about the grand plan for a Digital Rights Exchange? UK Music's Adam Webb, Cooking Vinyl chief Martin Goldschmidt, comedian Jill Edwards and Darryl Sherbourne from Future Copyright will debate the issues.
Tomorrow afternoon, at the conclusion of a day of sessions focused on the DIY approach, the first ever Great Escape Digital Pitch Party will take place. Representatives from thirteen companies which provide digital tools for artists and rights owners will take to the stage and outline what their services offer in just 90 seconds, then taking question from the floor. Each pitcher will also bring a drink to the party, explaining their choice of beverage as part of their pitch. Once the pitching is done, networking will begin while the drink is drunk. Pitching up will be: Sentric Music, Webdoc, Zimbalam, Music Glue, 7digital, Dizzyjam, Mobile Roadie, Shazam, Bandwagon, Pepper, Rara.com, INgrooves and Mixcloud.
Looking ahead to Saturday, and there's a great selection of more laid back panels for the weekend, including the Digital Wedding and a session where brand experts will tell it like it is. Plus you'll get Producers (Lol Crème, Trevor Horn and Ash Soan) and 'How Soon Is Now?' author Richard King in conversation, John Robb's Pop Question Time and the return of Heroes & Villains. Also taking place on Saturday, will be the recording of an edition of Vice's 'Noisey Talks', in which music types debate various issues in front of a live TGE audience, and Noisey's cameras for later webcasting (food and drink will also be dished out).
Spector's Fred Macpherson will lead the talking, and he'll be joined by Klaxons' Jamie Reynolds, Radio 1's Jen Long and Peter Jarrett from Record Of The Day. Macpherson told CMU: "Before 'Noisey Talks' I didn't think there was a platform to discuss the minutiae of the music industry with like-minded indie geeks, and at the same time talk about other things I'm fond of, like Princess Diana, One Direction, Colin Firth and Stephen Hawking".
So, get all those in your diary (or download the official Great Escape app from the Apple or Android app stores and make your own itinerary). But don't forget the music while you're at it! Over 300 bands will play Brighton over the next three days. We've already tipped some artists playing via three CMU Playlists (here, here and here), which you can check out still at the links below.
Plus, have some more playlisting action why don't you? This year's lead international parter at The Great Escape is Catalan Sounds, showcasing music from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. And the Catalan Sounds team have put together a Spotify playlist of the bands from their region playing at this handy link.
Meanwhile, how about a playlist of tracks from some of the many Canadian bands playing this year? Canadian Blast will host its own venue as part of the proceedings this time. To get you in the mood, you can check out a playlist featuring some of the Canadian acts appearing at TGE here.
And finally, a CMU approved act playing TGE this year, Bleeding Heart Narrative, have announced a competition to mark their performance at Above Audio on Friday at 8.45pm. Via the Great Escape and the band's own Facebook pages, fans will be asked to list one animal and two objects. The band's five favourite suggestions will win a copy of the latest BHN EP 'Bison'. But that's not it! "In recognition of the fact that 'Bison' is almost exactly how you say 'Brighton' with a mouth full of drawing pencils" (the band say) the top three will also have there suggestions of animals and things turned into a personalised drawing by BHN frontman Oli Barrett.
Phew. Hey, see you in Brighton. Wear a hat.
BEASTIE BOYS SUED FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
The lawsuit, filed by the Tuf America record label, related to two songs on the band's debut album, 'Licensed To Ill', and two more on the follow-up, 'Paul's Boutique'. The company claims that the group illegally sampled two Trouble Funk songs - 'Say What' and 'Drop The Bomb' - on said tracks.
That it has taken over 20 years to pursue this litigation is partly linked to the fact Tuf America only gained control of the copyrights in Trouble Funk's catalogue in 1999, the additional ten year wait seemingly being down to the fact it's only recently that the label noticed the alleged infringements.
See the full lawsuit here, courtesy of All Hip Hop: allhiphop.com/2012/05/07/beastie-boys-hit-with-lawsuit-over-track-on-pauls-boutique/#wpcom-carousel-120911
FORMER RHCP GUITARIST SAYS HE WAS SHUNNED AT ROCK N ROLL HALL OF FAME
Speaking to Billboard, Sherman said that the decision to exclude him and Navarro "was probably the band's and not the Hall's", adding that the exclusion was for "whatever reasons they have" and "it's really painful to see all this celebrating going on, and be excluded ... I'm being dishonoured; and it sucks".
However, the band's lawyer Eric Greenspan has denied the exclusions were down to the band themselves, saying: "It's not a decision made by the band. It's made by the Hall Of Fame. They determine which of the members, through [a band's] career, get inducted".
RADIO 1 AND OCC REVEAL BIGGEST SELLING SINGLES OF THE CENTURY
It's mainly shit pop music basically, but that's what the people want, see. Perhaps most interesting to know is that while Simon Cowell's 'X-Factor' has taken over Planet Pop in the last decade, its winners have never quite topped the two finalists of the first ever edition of Simon Fuller's 'Pop Idol', Will Young's debut double A-side and Gareth Gates' only slightly painful rendition of 'Unchained Melody' sitting either side of Adele in the top three. Good times.
Here's the top ten, then head over to the website of the Official Charts Company, which is in charge of stuff like this, to see the full top 150: www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/the-official-top-150-biggest-selling-singles-of-the-21st-century-revealed-1382/
1. Will Young - Anything Is Possible/Evergreen
NO DOUBT SHARE STUDIO CLIP
It depicts the group, who ceased to record LPs after the release of 2001's 'Rock Steady', taping instrumental and vocal parts for forthcoming single 'Push & Shove'. Produced by Major Lazer's Switch and Diplo, and guest-starring Jamaican reggae artist Busy Signal, it should precede the album's 25 Sep release date.
But until that time, you can keep pace with No Doubt's webisode series via YouTube. And here's the latest clip in question: www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8xNSiDIDng
FANG ISLAND ANNOUNCE SECOND ALBUM
Explaining their ethos, guitarist Jason Bartell said: "One of our core ideas has always been that our songs would be all of your favourite parts of the song that other bands make you wait eight minutes to get to. We wanted to be the band that's nothing but your favourite hooks back to back".
Meanwhile, fellow guitarist Chris Georges provided a list of reasons the band chose to call the album 'Major':
- Major key (the first song is minor though!)
And here's a short teaser trailer that we can all enjoy: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE9UfnSeSkE
And finally, here's the tracklist:
ANDRÉ 3000 CONFIRMED TO PLAY HENDRIX IN NEW FILM
There were doubts that the rock guitarist's estate would permit the film - which is based on the time Hendrix spent writing 'Are You Experienced?' in England circa 1966 - to be made, it having blocked a number of past proposals. That said, the estate's OK is only really required if Hendrix recordings are needed for the soundtrack, so it's possible Ridley's version just features other music. Or perhaps Hendrix's family members just liked his pitch. Currently in the pre-production stages, filming for 'By My Side' is expected begin in Ireland later this month.
Acting aside, Benjamin is also rumoured to be working on a solo LP. And he told GQ earlier this year: "This year I think I'm planning to do a solo project. I don't know when it will come out, but hopefully it'll come out this year. As far as [new] Outkast [is concerned], I really don't know if or when that will happen".
FIRST AID KIT ANNOUNCE TOUR
The duo will also release 'Blue', the new single taken from their sophomore LP 'The Lion's Roar', via Wichita on 18 Jun.
20 Nov: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
FOUR TET ANNOUNCES SINGLE, ALL-NIGHT BRIXTON DATE
Tickets for the show, which will run throughout the night and feature marathon DJ sets by Four Tet, Caribou and tbc extra guests, are priced at £5 each (plus £1.60 booking fee) in fond memory of the time Hebden says he "saw Fugazi at Brixton in the 1990s... £5 ticket, no light show, no bullshit... one of the best things I've ever seen".
The just mentioned 'Jupiter' will be released with its B-side 'Ocaras' via Hebden's own Text Records on an as-yet unspecified date in the future.
As you speculate on exactly what that date might be, listen to the former track here: soundcloud.com/four-tet/jupiters
ROUGH BEATS FESTIVAL CANCELLED
Set to take place from 8-10 Jun in Clapham, Yorkshire, Rough Beats was to host Pulled Apart By Horses and Gruff Rhys as its topmost-billed acts, third headliner Azealia Banks having withdrawn from her slot a fortnight ago.
A statement from Rough Beats HQ, which has promised to refund all purchased tickets in full, reads: "It is with a very heavy heart that we write to you to announce that, due to financial pressures, we have no responsible option but to cancel Rough Beats Festival 2012. The decision to cancel has not been made lightly - indeed it goes against every instinct of our hearts - but not to do so would put all the contractors, contributors, artists, traders and suppliers at risk of substantial losses".
As to staging the event in coming years, organisers say: "We have to take stock financially, physically and emotionally over the next few weeks before we can consider what's next".
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
2000TREES, Upcote Farm, Withington, Gloucestershire, 12-14 Jul: Hundred Reasons, Esse B and DJ Twiddle top a shortlist of late additions to the 2000trees billing, which also features 65daysofstatic, Pulled Apart By Horses, Rolo Tomassi, Johnny Foreigner, Future Of The Left, Lower Than Atlantis, Dry The River, Lanterns On The Lake, 2:54 and Run, Walk! www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk
DOUNE THE RABBIT HOLE, Duncarron Fort, Scotland, 24-26 Aug: With King Creosote and Hidden Orchestra just confirmed to headline on Saturday and Sunday respectively, this year's Doune The Rabbit Hole will also host The Phantom Band, Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells, Three Blind Wolves, Sparrow & The Workshop and Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard Dogs. www.dounetherabbithole.co.uk
ICELAND AIRWAVES, various venues, Reykjavik, Iceland, 31 Oct - 4 Nov: Being (on a par with Björk, of course) Iceland's main music export, it makes sense that this year's Airwaves fest will close with a just announced finale set by Sigur Rós. Jonsi and co join Poliça, Philco Fiction, Patrick Wolf, Friends, Django Django and Daughter on the festival's live line-up as it stands so far. www.icelandairwaves.is
POP DOLL NEWS: ONE DIRECTION AND LEE 'SCRATCH' PERRY
Anyway, here's Hasbro's John Frascotti confirming the worldwide (excluding UK and Ireland) deal: "In the short time since the group's debut, One Direction has captured the hearts of many young fans across the world. The band is poised for continued and increasing global success. We are excited about the opportunity to provide One Direction's very enthusiastic international fan base with a diverse product line that captures the essence of the band members".
If you're a plastic doll fan but aren't into boy bands, don't worry, there's something for you too. According to Pitchfork, a Japanese company has released a limited edition vinyl figurine of reggae icon Lee 'Scratch' Perry created by multi-instrumentalist and occasional artist Archer Prewitt from The Sea And Cake. Well, why not?
UNIVERSAL ANNOUNCES SHOP WINDOW VINYL PROMOTION WITH PRETTY GREEN
Universal Music has teamed up with Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green retail chain to flog vinyl albums to music fans in the street. Artwork from twelve classic albums will be displayed in the windows of ten Pretty Green shops, alongside information on how those looking into the windows can use their smartphones to order copies of the records, utilising an app called Simply Tap.
Via the app customers will be able to "instantly buy the vinyl records" from the shop window, by which they mean a copy will be sent out in the mail and arrive at the phone owner's home a couple of days later. Records for sale via the promotion, which will kick off in late May, include long players from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Elbow, Paul Weller, The Jam, The Cure, Ian Brown and Paul McCartney.
Says Universal Music's MD Commercial Division Brian Rose: "We are seeing continued passion as well as new enthusiasm for vinyl through our online store Uvinyl and the great support the format gets from those indie music shops which are still flourishing, but by harnessing the latest technology we hope this partnership with Pretty Green will lead to much wider opportunities for selling music on the high street".
Meanwhile Pretty Green's Brand Director Nigel Grant added: "As music is a large part of Pretty Green's heritage the collaboration with Universal Music and Simply Tap is in perfect synergy with our brand values. Through our label we strive to bring style, culture and music from past decades firmly into the future. We feel that providing the virtual vinyl outlets in-store further complements our brand and ideals".
[PIAS] ANNOUNCES NEW DIGITAL PR
SINEAD O'CONNOR HITS OUT AT IRISH INDEPENDENT ARTICLE
O'Connor began a tour in support of her latest album, 'How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?', in March, but cancelled the remaining dates in April, telling fans via her website that she was "very unwell due to bipolar disorder", having suffered "a very serious breakdown between December and March", which, she revealed this week, had led her to attempt suicide in January. She added that she had been advised by her doctor not to tour at all but had initially forged ahead because she "didn't want to 'fail' or let anyone down".
Around the same time she also fired O Ceallaigh, and it is this which Irish Independent reporter Niamh Horan focussed on in Sunday's article. Horan quoted a source as saying: "Fachtna received a very colourful email from Sinead. And things deteriorated after that".
In a response published via her website, O'Connor said that this was simply not true, and that she had sent "a perfectly reasoned email for perfectly poignant reasons" that ended their professional relationship, which she said had deteriorated in recent months. This was, she said, because he and the rest of her management team had failed to support her as she struggled with severe mental distress at the same time as promoting an album and touring.
O'Connor says that her touring schedule breached agreements in her management contract for the amount of time she could be away from her children in any month. She added that the promotional schedule running concurrently with the tour was also "unreasonable in my opinion and even at times inhumane", making it difficult to manage her illness, and that she was not consulted about most of the commitments scheduled. She also claims that some people around her had told her that delays and problems on the tour were her fault because of this.
She said: "I was shocked when I found myself expected to carry out unreasonable tasks and stay sane fit and healthy, while not being given space, time, or assistance of any kind to get medical help. I was very shocked and wounded to the core to find myself the subject of criticism and angry complaints rather than care. I was never told when I did anything right. And I was often told what a stress and trouble I am".
Read the Irish Independent article here: www.independent.ie/lifestyle/independent-woman/celebrity-news-gossip/sinead-oconnor-splits-from-her-manager-and-former-lover-3101526.html
And O'Connor's full statement here: sineadoconnor.com
GEORGE MICHAEL: I TURNED DOWN LEVESON
The claim came following a lengthy rant on Twitter about the British press and the current government, beginning with an expression of disappointment that no newspapers had picked up on comments he made last week about gay teenagers in the US being taken to bootcamps in order to be 'cured' of their homosexuality. His attention quickly turned to The Daily Mail, which he accused of being "every bit as guilty of hacking and lying as Murdoch's bunch", before moving onto recent events in the Leveson Inquiry.
He continued: "[Murdoch] has been called 'unfit' to run a major media company by MPs. Understatement of the year? And it's so funny that the Conservatives in government are defending him! Trying to cover their arses when those lily white buttocks of theirs are already on display for the whole world to see. Cameron must be the most cowardly PM we've seen for decades".
Finally, he said: "I was asked to talk to the Leveson inquiry, but I declined. It's all bullshit. It has been several years since two hacking journalists were sent to prison for bugging the royal family ... Shame on our political system for its refusal to take this further. The day they make this sham real and start genuinely prosecuting people, I would more than happy to help. Until then, what's the point?"
But a spokesman for the inquiry subsequently told The Guardian: "The inquiry has never asked George Michael to appear".
This morning Michael took to Twitter again to respond to this claim, and to dish a bit more dirt. He wrote: "So apparently I'm lying about being approached by the Leveson Inquiry. A 'spokesman' says that I was never asked to participate. By which I suppose they mean they didn't actually have my phone number, so they spoke to my legal team. Funnily enough, had they wanted my phone number they could probably have got it from News International"
He continued: "Truth is, though I didn't want to participate, I sent the inquiry a letter from the poor man who was blackmailed (literally) into giving News International a completely fictional account of meeting me on Hampstead Heath. Poor bastard... he wrote a letter to me to apologise for the story, which made the front page of the News Of The World several years ago".
Michael went on to say that the man in question explained how two journalists had told him that they had photographs of him having sex with a celebrity on the Heath and that they would publish them unless he told his side of the story. Unaware of who the celebrity was supposed to be, he said (according to Michael) that he was bullied into handing over a statement confirming that he'd had an encounter with a man there, but was only told the story would claim the other man was George Michael once he had handed over his statement. Upon being told this, he apparently replied: "But that's impossible because the man I met was about six foot four and had a Dutch accent".
Michael concluded: "I thought that the letter, written by a man whose only crime was to be chosen as someone perfect to humiliate me, was a perfect example of just how horrific the methods of News International had become, and that the inquiry may be more sympathetic to a member of the public than just another celeb complaining about their lot. So I sent it to them. I was going to save it for the memoirs, but fuck it".
He concluded: "Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'm five foot eleven, and can't do a Dutch accent to save my life".
BANKS SAYS LIL KIM OFFENDED BY PRE-WRITTEN RHYMES
Speaking via Twitter, Banks wrote last weekend: "Okay, so true tea is that Lil Kim got mad that I wrote a verse for her on a record I wanted her on. Everyone knows Lil Kim doesn't write her own raps and I saw this as a faster more efficient way of getting the track done. [But] she then had her assistant write me some long ass offensive email about how Lil Kim writes her own raps and doesn't need anyone's help. So my question was and is still... IS SHE DOING THE TRACK? Who cares about what you use to do... WILL YOU DO THE TRACK?!"
I suspect that by tweeting in this way, the answer to that question is now more likely to be "no". In fact, I'm almost certain it is, because Kim's publicist told All Hip Hop: "My client and Azealia have NEVER spoke to one another or met AT ALL. Kim was actually very flattered [by] Azealia's public admiration for her, which is why it's so hard to understand how someone who claims to be a true Lil Kim fan could flip the script so easily on someone who was supposedly their idol".
But Banks insists she has no beef with Kim, who she'd still like to work with. A subsequent tweet read: "All this extra shit is stupid. Keep closing your own doors ma. Lil Kim, there is no beef. At all".