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LIVE NATION BUYS A SLICE OF CREAM
Live Nation has bought the stake in the clubbing firm previously owned by entertainment investment outfit Ingenious, which recently announced that its involvement in growing the profitable company had reached completion.
The deal is also Live Nation's latest move into the dance and electronic music space, and as part of the transaction Cream chief James Barton will become President of Electronic Music for the company. The live firm seemingly has ambitions to grow the Cream brand, and especially the Creamfields festival operation, in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.
The festival has already enjoyed some success with spin-offs and franchises in various corners of the world other than the North West of England, but it will be interesting to see to what extent the Live Nation alliance will step that up.
Confirming his company had bought a stake in Cream, Live Nation boss Michael Rapino told reporters: "We are committed to being a leader in electronic music and as one of the most recognisable brands in the electronic community, Cream is at the forefront of the mainstream youth culture today".
Barton, meanwhile, added: "I am delighted to be a part of the Live Nation team and know that the company is the perfect partner. Our strategies are aligned and through the combined efforts of the Cream and Live Nation teams, we will substantially grow our electronic music offerings across the globe".
THE GREAT ESCAPE 2012: WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS IN COPYRIGHT DEBATE
Artists, labels and other rights owners have scored a number of wins in recent years in persuading judges and ministers to crack down on illegal file-sharing, but when it comes to public opinion those who support file-sharing, or at least fear the draconian enforcement of copyright, have generally had the upper hand. And public opinion is everything - the successful anti-SOPA protests in the US earlier this year, led by Wikipedia and other leading web firms, derailed anti-piracy legislation Stateside that had been years in the making.
But what can the music community do to better put its side of the argument to the world at large? CMU spoke to two of the experts taking part in this Great Escape debate just before taking to the stage, and between them the advice is this: give a better voice to artists and creators, try to be less combative, and rethink your corporate PR strategy.
Songwriter and Guardian journalist Helienne Lindvall told CMU: "We need to end the myth that the music industry equals a bunch of big corporations, and that copyright only exists to line their pockets. The way to do it is to help creators and small labels feel safe enough to speak out".
She continued: "As there's safety in numbers, let's start off by using a tool that the anti-copyright lobby has used with great success: online petitions. We need to support creators and smaller labels who dare to speak out, as it's vital people understand that the erosion of copyright has a much more detrimental effect on creators and small labels than the big corporations. And to get people to understand, we need to explain why in an easy to grasp way".
Meanwhile PR expert Andy Saunders of Velocity Communications told us: "If the creative industries think that they can put the genie back in the bottle they are wrong. They need to accept that, stop being so combative and take a more consultative approach to these issues".
He added: "By properly engaging with consumers, ISPs, content licensees and governments, and listening to their arguments and concerns - rather than simply taking a blunt instrument, zero tolerance approach to all issues of copyright infringement - they might find a way through the no-win situation they currently find themselves in. They also need to invest in some decent PR strategy, which takes a more sophisticated, nuanced approach to the issues. This shrill, hectoring approach to external communications will get them nowhere".
PRS For Music is hosting a whole day of sessions at The Great Escape today, including Brian Molko In Conversation with 6music's Matt Everitt, and the always essential Will Page keynote, which became even more essential last night with the announcement that Martin Mills, Chairman of the Beggars Group, was joining his panel. Check theCMUwebsite.com/thegreatescape for more information about the convention and wider TGE festival.
THE GREAT ESCAPE 2012: TOP TIPS FOR NEW ARTISTS
The first practical session in this strand will provide insights galore for new acts, and before the experts providing the advice took to the stage, CMU got some top tips from each of them.
First up, DIY artist MJ Hibbett told us: "Don't wait around for just the right gig or release, get on with it - after all the most important part of 'Do It Yourself' is 'Do It'! Get a diary and use it to plan out what you're going to do - not just gigs, but notes to yourself to ring people, set up recordings, re-hassle people for gigs - everything".
He added: "Don't pay somebody else to do something if you can learn to do it yourself. Learning how to set artwork up into the correct format, for instance, is a colossal pain the first time you have to do it, but once you've learnt how it works you can do it forever and save yourself time and money".
Thinking about the copyrights songwriters create, Simon Pursehouse from Sentric Music says: "As an emerging artist you'll probably make more money from your music publishing rights than anywhere else - so ensure you're registered with a performing rights organisation and that you're claiming what is rightfully yours".
As for the sync potential of those rights, Pursehouse adds: "Landing syncs isn't easy and competition is fierce, but get a good representative in this space, and then make sure they have everything they need - WAVs, key information and correct metadata".
In terms of selling recordings, Mark McQuillan of Brighton-based distributors Republic Of Music advises: "Believe in your product and work as hard as possible to engage your core fanbase to purchase - signed CDs, bonus discs and added value items will help. Don't just sit back and wait for orders to come in, as it ain't gonna happen, so be prepared to work for every sale".
He continued: "Have strong distribution, if possible, as they can open doors into all the key first stage stores (and the best indies, iTunes and the online retailers) and listen to any advice your distributer offers regarding release strategy, release dates, formats and added value. And try not to overspend on promo costs or over budget on initial sales potential - it will leave you no options for phase two and beyond. It takes time to build a release, but small well planned steps can get you there".
And finally, from a legal angle, Josh Little of ACUMEN told us: "Check the availability of your band name early and register a trademark. Your band is your brand so you need to protect it early on. And as much as possible, don't enter into agreements on a handshake. They will only cause you pain later on. Oh, and copyright is free and automatic. You don't need to register it - just able to prove when you created your work".
So, that's a lot of tips to be getting on with. Look out for a plethora of useful advice coming out of the Old Courtroom at The Great Escape today. We'll document a helping of it here at theCMUwebsite.com/thegreatescape
PROTESTS PLANNED AT LADY GAGA SHOW IN INDONESIA
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the Islamic Defenders' Front said: "Lady Gaga insults all religions. Even Christians in Korea opposed her. She is promoting the worship of Satan".
The chairman of the group's Jakarta branch Salim Alatas also told AFP: "We will stop her from setting foot on our land. She had better not dare spread her satanic faith in this country. Her style is vulgar, her sexual and indecent clothes will destroy our children's sense of morality. She's very dangerous".
The group claims that it has rallied 30,000 people to demonstrate outside the concert, though they will still be outnumbered by its 40,000 ticketholders.
OFFICIAL CHARTS COMPANY LAUNCHES STREAMING CHART
The first rundown of the 100 most played tracks will be published on Monday 14 May. Ahead of that, the OCC has announced the top ten most-streamed artists of 2012 so far. Interestingly, it's one of the few charts published this year that haven't featured Adele near the top, thanks to her massively popular '21' album not being available in full on streaming services. Coldplay, who also held back their latest album 'Mylo Xyloto' from streaming services (although it is available now) do appear in the top ten though.
Sitting up at the top of the list is Ed Sheeran, who told CMU: "[It's] amazing to hear that I am the most streamed act of 2012. Streaming services and online in general have always been an important way for me to get music out to my fans. A new Official Streaming Chart that recognises another way of enjoying music can only be a good thing".
Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot added: "This is a true coming-of-age moment for music streaming in the UK. Services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster and We7 have been building their audiences over the past few years and are now delivering millions of audio streams every week to hundreds of thousands of music fans. For the first time, from next week, we will have transparency on exactly what they are listening to on these new services".
The top ten most streamed artists of 2012 so far are:
1 Ed Sheeran
KORN PERFORM WITH FORMER GUITARIST
Welch left the band in 2005 after converting to Christianity, which he claims cured him of various drug addictions. The relationship between Welch and his former bandmates has been tense at time since he quit, but has seemingly become more friendly of late, leading to the collaboration last Saturday.
Speaking to EarplugsRequired.com Welch explained: "It wasn't planned. I was just going [to Carolina Rebellion] because my daughter loves Chevelle and she likes Evanescene and everything ... And then when we got there, we just hung out. Nothing was talked about at all; we just hung out. And then right before Korn's set, they said, 'Hey, you wanna jam with us?' ... So I got up and did 'Blind' and it was amazing. It was really fun. There was tears. It was a family moment".
According to Blabbermouth, both Welch and Korn bassist Reginald 'Fieldy' Arvizu have said that a full reunion in the future was not out of the question.
FRANKMUSIK DEBUTS NEW DEMO
It's the third in a line of other such tracks that may potentially feature on singer/producer Vincent Frank's new LP, which will mark his first full-length Frankmusik release since last year's 'Do It In The AM'.
There's been no word yet as to whether Frank - who was dropped by Island Records imprint Cherrytree after disappointing sales of 'Do It In The AM', has signed a new deal, but for now 'One Mile' will just have to do:
RIZZLE KICKS KICKED OFF MURS' US CAMPAIGN
Unfortunately for Brighton duo Rizzle Kicks - who appeared on the original - guest rap duties on the US version will instead be carried out by Philadelphia rap-pop pairing Chiddy Bang, who should seemingly prove more popular with an American audience.
Olly, of course, has been selected to support during One Direction's impending US tour, which should spur on his American campaign quite nicely.
Sidestepping the Rizzle Kicks issue, Murs says: "Hopefully I can convert them [One Direction fans] into the Murs army and the Ollyettes so if they can be converted, that will be great. There's always room for everyone, but for me, America is just a good challenge and fingers crossed the song does well and if it does, it will be amazing!"
Speaking of things that are amazing, here's the all-American Chiddy Band remix of 'Heart Skips Of A Beat': soundcloud.com/ollymurs/heart-skips-a-beat-feat-chiddy
GUILLEMOTS RELEASE FIRST OF FOUR ALBUMS
Produced by Jonas Raabe and recorded in Norway, you can stream the first album in the series, 'Hello Land!' below. Frontman Fyfe Dangerfield has also written a letter explaining more about the project, and you are welcome to attempt to read his handwriting here: guillemots.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/hello_land_introduction.jpg
NOVELLA ANNOUNCE FIRST EP
Produced by ex Test Icicles man Rory Attwell, it's out on 28 May, and will carry the following tracklisting:
In lieu of seeing the band's not-quite-finished-yet video for 'He's My Morning', have a listen instead to 'Don't' Believe In Ayn Rand'. Or, for context, read this Wikipedia entry on Russian-American novelist and author of 'The Fountainhead' novelist, Ayn Rand - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand
THE WALKMEN TO TOUR
27 Oct: Birmingham, Institute
M83 ADDS LIVE DATES
The extra dates are thus:
There's also a mystery trailer for imminent 'Hurry Up' single 'Reunion' to look at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=__b6RTrPV2s
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
DOT TO DOT, various venues, Manchester/Bristol/Nottingham, 2-4 Jun: Triumvirate festival Dot To Dot books the excellent Cloud Nothings, Doldrums, O Children, Kwes and Odd Future's The Internet for all three of its city editions. Friends will visit the Nottingham leg only, while Here We Go Magic are bound for Bristol. Also appearing across the weekend are Wavves, Willis Earl Beal, Pond and Neon Indian. www.dottodotfestival.co.uk
FLOW FESTIVAL, Suvilahti, Helsinki, Finland, 8-12 Aug: Flow organisers confirm Lykke Li, Death Grips, Miike Snow, Saint Etienne and Friends as its freshest bill fare, more established examples of which include the previously announced Bon Iver, Bjork, Fiest, The Black Keys, Frank Ocean and Bobby Womack. www.flowfestival.com
LATITUDE, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, 12-15 Jul: Latitude HQ has releases the list of its latest 2012 guests, as includes Slow Club, Weird Dreams, Hooray For Earth, Peace, Kwes, Clock Opera and Los Campesinos. This little lot align with the afore announced Bon Iver, Paul Weller, Elbow, Bat For Lashes, Janelle Monáe, M83, Chairlift, The Horrors and Wild Beasts. www.latitudefestival.co.uk
LOUNGE ON THE FARM, Canterbury, Kent, 6-8 Jul: Eugene McGuiness, Jamie N Commons, Fionn Regan, Fink and Matthew & The Atlas are amongst those acts just added to a diverse LOTF line-up, which prior to this latest announcement was to host Emeli Sande, The Wombats, The Charlatans, Roots Manuva, David Rodigan, AlunaGeorge, Caspa, Charli XCX, Disclosure, Niki & The Dove and Pale Seas. www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk
THE ORCHARD ACQUIRES IRIS
According to Billboard, Laszuk's email reads: "Today we announce that we're joining with The Orchard. We've thought hard about where the industry is headed, and we truly believe that this is the best next step for our labels. Marketing, technology, and legal expertise are all fundamental at The Orchard, and we know that they have the momentum to help you succeed for the next nine years. I look forward to continuing to work with you. Myself as well as the staff you've gotten to know well will be here to answer questions and continue to move your music into retail and beyond".
THE PIRATE BAY CONDEMNS ANONYMOUS FOR VIRGIN MEDIA DDOS ATTACK
The latest of these attacks was carried out on Virgin Media this week, after it became the first company to enact a court-ordered block on The Pirate Bay, stopping its customers from accessing the file-sharing site.
In a statement issued via its official Facebook page, The Pirate Bay said: "Seems like some random Anonymous groups have run a DDOS campaign against Virgin Media and some other sites. We'd like to be clear about our view on this: We do NOT encourage these actions. We believe in the open and free internets, where anyone can express their views. Even if we strongly disagree with them and even if they hate us. So don't fight them using their ugly methods. DDOS and blocks are both forms of censorship".
INTELLITIX POWERS SOCIAL MEDIA BOOM AT COACHELLA
The technology was powered by Intellitix, which offers various RFID solutions for festivals, including access control, cashless payment systems and the reduction of counterfeit tickets.
Intellitix head Serge Grimaux told CMU: "Coachella is renowned for being a frontrunner in the festival industry, and using RFID technology to unite the festival community and the online networks of fans was truly a momentous occasion. The phenomenal response to the Live Click shows how important these new ways of connecting to social media will become".
HARRY STYLES BEING GROOMED FOR SOLO CAREER?
A source told The Daily Star: "Harry has stacks of fans in America, it's safe to say they absolutely love him. He's been offered a big solo project, so he flew out to Los Angeles without the rest of the boy band. He's been in America filming something. It may have been an advert or a film - I can't say exactly what - but it's worth a lot of money".
They continued: "He's a poster boy in the States. He has the perfect look - cute, British, well-spoken, and girls love his curly hair. He's a corporate company's dream and a vast number of American firms want a piece of him. All sorts of companies are vying to have him promoting their products. His family have been joking he'll be in the Rich List before long".
So, there you go. Of course, previous rumours the boy band's American management planned to position Harry as the frontman of the group turned out to be nonsense. But if someone who may or may not know Harry and his family anonymously says a solo career is already emerging, then it must be true. I mean, just look at his hair.