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WEDNESDAY 16 MAY 2012
Q&A: PRODUCERS
Producers are a supergroup comprised of Lol Crème, Trevor Horn, Stephen Lipson and Ash Soan, formed in 2006 and originally launched with a series of secret shows at The Barfly in Camden, which saw them perform covers of various songs from throughout the band's collective careers. With their debut album out on 28 May, CMU threw some questions at Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn more>>
APPROVED: AMANDA MAIR
Signed to one of Sweden's most consistently good record labels, Labrador, Amanda Mair is due to release her eponymous debut album on 11 Jun. It's album is an interesting mix of mainstream pop sheen and Swedish indie-pop twee-ness, a battle that is won and lost by each side at various points. Depending on your pop preference, you may root for one side or the either more>>
INTRODUCING: MANAGING A MUSIC BUSINESS ENTERPRISE COURSE
This unique fast-track course covers the A-Z of the music business in sixteen classes over four months. Each day long class covers a specific area of knowledge.

Ideally suited to young entrepreneurs starting out in the music business; those who are changing careers or graduates from other fields our accredited course will give you a fuller understanding of copyright, management deals, labels, contracts, live industry & touring, publishing and all other related areas, delivered via informal face-to-face classes.

Every session features a guest presentation from an established expert in their field, themselves currently working in the UK music business. We also focus heavily on social media, mobile and apps with specific lectures as well as focusing on the 'DIY' model, offering new ways of developing fans and revenue streams.

At the conclusion of the course successful candidates will receive a full accreditation; Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE), recognised by leading trade organisations and employers.

Contact us now for 'last minute' deals for 30th start. See our website for more details.

Next course starts on 30 May, followed by, final course in 2012; 5 Sep.
TOP STORIES
- Finnish ruling on illegal file-sharing over third party wi-fi may have effects across Europe
IN THE POP COURTS
- Jackson v AEG lawsuit unlikely to reach court until next spring
- Bret Michaels settles with Tonys
- Def Jam game maker says EMI lawsuit may put him out of business
POP POLITICS
- Jay-Z has no problem with gay marriage
- Lady Gaga denied Indonesian visa
CHARTS, STATS & POLLS
- Carly Rae Jepson tops first streaming chart
ARTIST DEALS
- EMI publishing signs Wild Belle
IN THE STUDIO
- Drake and Lil B may be doing "something real big"
- Little Boots "putting finishing touches" to new LP
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- The Hundred In The Hands announce live dates
- Giana Factory set one-off Dalston date
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Louis Theroux to curate cinema listings at ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror
- Festival line-up update
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Latest financials: Universal, Warner, Sony
- HMV announces alliance with Ticketmaster for hmvtickets
- A Greener Festival plants Festival Wood in Scotland
AND FINALLY...
- R Kelly ruins Mother's Day
SIX07 PRESS, NATIONAL SENIOR PR
Six07 Press is looking for an experienced national music press officer to take the role of Senior PR within the company. The candidate must ideally have two to three years' experience and have managed music press campaigns.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   

UNION SQUARE MUSIC, BUSINESS AFFAIRS ADMINISTRATOR
Union Square Music, one of the UK's most successful reissue and compilation specialists, is looking for an experienced Business Affairs Administrator. Already working within a music company you will be a highly organised and motivated administrator with an eye for detail.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
FABRIC RECORDS, A&R / PRODUCT MANAGER
We are seeking a self-motivated, proactive individual to help expand fabric Records beyond our compilation series. The successful candidate will have strong artist and industry contacts across all electronic genres, and at least two years record label experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

FINNISH RULING ON ILLEGAL FILE-SHARING OVER THIRD PARTY WI-FI MAY HAVE EFFECTS ACROSS EUROPE
One of the more interesting questions raised by any anti-piracy three-strikes system, whereby internet service providers can be forced to send warning letters to suspected file-sharers of unlicensed content, and to then reduce the net connection of any such file-sharing customers who ignore the warnings (either to slower speeds or to full disconnection of service), is what happens if the customer claims the illegal content sharing was committed by a third party on their wi-fi network?

Is the owner of a wi-fi network liable for any copyright infringement that occurs via their net connection? Can liability be circumvented if the wi-fi network is password protected, but a third party hacks in somehow? And if so, does that mean any three-strikes legislation - such as that contained in the UK's Digital Economy Act - implies into law an obligation on every ISP customer to password protect their wi-fi?

This question doesn't actually come up quite as often as you might imagine - in either straightforward file-sharing litigation cases or the operations of active three-strikes systems - mainly because in most cases, when ISP customers are hit with legal or warning letters about file-sharing, they generally say "fair cop mate, I won't do it again". But occasionally the accused pleads ignorance of any file-sharing activity via their net connection, and assuming they are willing to maintain those claims at the witness stand, the question must be considered: is 'someone else did it on my wi-fi' an acceptable get out?

One previous case that considered this question in an albeit relatively junior German court decided that there was an obligation on ISP customers to put at least basic password protection on their wi-fi networks in order to circumvent any liability for copyright infringement then conducted on said net connection.

Which makes it easier to enforce three-strikes and more conventional file-sharing litigation, though many fear such a conclusion, as it arguably puts new liabilities onto the libraries, hotels, colleges and cafes which provide open wi-fi (or at least password protected wi-fi where the password is openly published). And such extra liabilities might make such institutions less likely to offer wi-fi as a matter of course, just as plentiful wireless internet hotspots are becoming the norm in many towns and cities.

The good news for those concerned about wi-fi liabilities is that a Finnish court has just ruled that there is no obligation to password protect wireless networks, and that the 'someone else did it on my wi-fi' defence is satisfactory in illegal file-sharing cases, even if the wi-fi network had no password protection, providing the evidence available gives that excuse some credibility.

In the Finnish case, reported on by Torrentfreak, the defendant was accused by anti-piracy group CIAPC of downloading unlicensed content in July 2010, but it was shown that that downloading occurred during a twelve minute window via the woman's open wi-fi network while she had 100 guests at a party at her house.

The defendant's lawyer told Torrentfreak: "The applicants were unable to provide any evidence that the connection-owner herself had been involved in the file-sharing, the court thus examined whether the mere act of providing a wi-fi connection not protected with a password can be deemed to constitute a copyright-infringing act".

And, unlike its German counterpart, the Finnish court ruled on that question with a resolute "no". In doing so Finnish judges considered a number of European Union directives on copyright, which means the ruling possibly has ramifications beyond Finland itself. Indeed, should CIAPC choose to appeal, lawyers for the accused say they might ultimately push to have the matter considered at the European Courts Of Justice. If the ECJ decided this was, indeed, a matter for European rather than national law, any such ruling could settle the 'does the wi-fi excuse stand' question across the Union.

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JACKSON V AEG LAWSUIT UNLIKELY TO REACH COURT UNTIL NEXT SPRING
Katherine Jackson's lawsuit against AEG Live regards its employment of Conrad Murray as her son's personal doctor will now not reach court until next April, after lawyers for the live firm said they needed more time to prepare.

As previously reported, AEG's attorneys had already said they were struggling to get all the information they needed from the Jackson camp in order to prepare their defence. Last month a judge ordered the Jacksons to provide whatever information was still lacking pronto, though their lawyers argued that they had gathered together the required material as fast as they could, noting that doing so had required asking the late king of pop's children some pretty harrowing questions, which had taken a certain amount of time to do.

Murray, of course, was last year found liable for the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, with the LA criminal courts ruling that the doctor had caused the singer's demise through negligence, in particular in providing his patient with the dangerous surgical drug propofol in a domestic environment as a cure for insomnia, and then failing to properly monitor his patient.

Mrs Jackson says AEG Live should accept civil liability for Murray's actions as it was the company which hired the doctor and was paying his bills. However, the live firm argues that, while it may have provided the money to pay Murray's fees, he had been recruited by and reported to Jackson himself, and the company therefore cannot be liable for the doctor's actions.

The case had originally been due to reach court in September, but legal reps for AEG say they need more time to prepare, because of the amount of information they are processing and the time it took to gather that material, as well as number of other 'procedural issues'. The live firm's court submission also said the company had new information that showed Jackson's drug dependencies preceded the appointment of Murray, and that that evidence should be reviewed before any trial begins.

The Jackson camp seem undecided about whether or not the oppose the proposed postponement of the case. The family's attorney, Kevin Boyle, said he thought the lawsuit should have 'priority case' status because it involves a minor under fourteen years old - Jackson's youngest son Blanket - which, under the LA system, means the courts have a duty to avoid unnecessary delays. That said, 'priority case' status wouldn't speed up any court hearing that much, and Boyle seemed to admit earlier this week that having more time to prepare might help his side too.

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BRET MICHAELS SETTLES WITH TONYS
American rocker Bret Michaels has reached an out of court settlement with the organisers of the Tony Awards, in relation to an incident at the 2009 edition of the event.

As previously reported, the Poison frontman was knocked on the head by moving scenery as he left the stage after performing at the 2009 Tonys show. The programme's producers said Michaels had messed up his exit resulting in him being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the singer's people insisted he'd never been told scenery would be lowered onto the stage immediately after his performance. Nevertheless Michaels initially said he wouldn't sue.

However, in 2010 Michaels suffered a near fatal brain haemorrhage, which, according to the lawsuit he filed after recovering from it, was a result of the Tony Awards incident. The legal papers again insisted that the singer was given no warning about the scenery or the dangers it presented, adding that the subarachnoid haemorrhage was "at the hands of the Tony Awards".

Michaels will now receive an undisclosed sum, which a rep for the awards called "an amicable resolution".

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DEF JAM GAME MAKER SAYS EMI LAWSUIT MAY PUT HIM OUT OF BUSINESS
While MP3 resale service Redigi insists it has the resources required to fight EMI in court after the major sued the digital start-up claiming its business model infringes copyright, another company facing litigation from the record company reckons EMI's legal action could push it out of business.

As previously reported, EMI is suing gaming companies 4mm Games and Terminal Reality over the 'Def Jam Rapstar' game, which was basically rap karaoke. The major claims that some of the tracks that featured in the game included samples owned by either the EMI record or publishing companies, and that the gaming firms failed to secure licenses to use said samples in the context of the gaming platform. It is suing for $8 million.

The litigation is all the more devastating for 4mm Games because, despite some positive reviews and the power of the Def Jam brand, the 'Rapstar' game was not a commercial success. In an interview with Games Industry, the firm's co-founder Jamie King suggests various reasons why the game failed, mainly that the companies involved in the project didn't have the resources to make a gaming product of this scale succeed, and admitted that the EMI litigation now has to potential to kill his company.

King: "We have not got any new funding and obviously we need to resolve everything with 'Rapstar'. And we've also got to eat. I get very annoyed at times, I would like there to be a way out of it but I don't know if that's going to happen". He added that most of the former 4mm team are now working on new projects elsewhere, and that he himself is mainly working for a marketing agency.

Of course the Def Jam brand is owned by Universal Music, although the major doesn't seem to have been actively involved in the marketing or distribution of the game itself, and was not named as a defendant in EMI's lawsuit. Though given there's a very high chance Universal will own EMI by the end of the year, perhaps there's hope for King to reach some kind of amicable deal via the Def Jam connection, if he can hold off until Universal's big EMI takeover is complete.

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JAY-Z HAS NO PROBLEM WITH GAY MARRIAGE
It seems fairly ridiculous to me that there is any debate about who can get married to who. If people want to marry each other, why would you stop them? Really, it's just a contract that says they can have each other's stuff, isn't it? And that they won't be dicks to each other. And I was always told that sharing and being nice to people was a good thing, even if such things are done partly because of a legal requirement.

Anyway, Jay-Z agrees with me, and so does Barrack Obama, so I think I'm in good company. Obama recently announced publicly that he was in favour of same-sex couples getting married and now, because it's apparently a thing that people are being asked a lot at the moment, CNN has got Jay-Z to say the same. Whether we really needed to know the rapper's opinion on this matter I don't know, though, to be fair, there do seem to be a lot of people out there who don't like the idea of people being happy and getting on with their lives, so maybe it is a question that should be brought up when interviewing influential folks like Jay-Z.

The rapper said in an interview on Monday: "I've always thought it [not letting same-sex couples marry] as something that was holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business, and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination plain and simple".

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LADY GAGA DENIED INDONESIAN VISA
Lady Gaga has been refused a working visa to perform in Indonesia, after protesters there threatened to cause "chaos" outside a planned Gaga concert, a spokesman for the country's national police, Saud Usman Nasution, has told Reuters.

The show was due to take place in Jakarta on 3 Jun and is the second on the singer's current tour to attract protest, although a performance in Seoul, South Korea did go ahead despite local opposition.

As previously reported, the chairman of the Jakarta branch of the Islamic Defenders' Front Salim Alatas recently 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".

Gaga and her people are yet to comment.

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CARLY RAE JEPSON TOPS FIRST STREAMING CHART
Carly Rae Jepsen has become the first artist to top the new Official Streaming Chart from The Official Charts Company.

As previously reported, the new chart collects data from both ad-funded and subscription streaming services including Spotify, We7, Napster, and Deezer, amongst others. In addition to this, the OCC also revealed last week that is in "advanced discussions" with several video streaming services to launch a separate video streaming chart.

After it was revealed last week that Ed Sheeran was the most streamed artist of 2012 so far, on Monday he also became the artist with the most entries in the current Streaming Chart, with seven tracks appearing in the Top 100, compared to the three that are listed in the retail singles chart. Though the top spot overall went to Carly Rae Jepsen, who's at three in the main singles countdown.

As the first streaming chart was published on Monday, OCC MD Martin Talbot said: "Many many congratulations to Carly Rae Jepsen, who has captured a piece of history in claiming the top spot in the very first Official Streaming Chart. The launch of this chart is a landmark moment for the UK music industry - and it is appropriate that such a signature spring smash can claim this historic first".

The current streaming top ten according to the OCC is as follows (retail chart position in brackets):

1. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe (3)
2. fun. feat Janelle Monae - We Are Young (5)
3. Gotye feat Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know (9)
4. Alex Clare - Too Close (4)
5. Nicki Minaj - Starships (11)
6. Train - Drive By (6)
7. David Guetta feat Sia - Titanium (21)
8. Sean Paul - She Doesn't Mind (24)
9. Marina & The Diamonds - Primadonna (14)
10. Azealia Banks feat Lazy Jay - 212 (18)

Check out the complete top 100 here: www.officialcharts.com/official-streaming-chart/

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EMI PUBLISHING SIGNS WILD BELLE
EMI Music Publishing has announced a global songwriting deal with New York based brother-sister duo Wild Belle, who have been building a fanbase on both sides of the Atlantic since self-releasing a track via Bandcamp.

Confirming the new deal, Roger Faxon, overall boss of the EMI Group, told CMU: "As the world's leading and most creative publisher EMI is the perfect home for Wild Belle and I'm thrilled that Natalie and Elliot [Bergman] have chosen to join us. Our European and North American teams have worked hand-in-hand to bring this agreement to completion and I've no doubt that Wild Belle and EMI Music Publishing will have a long and very successful association together".

The brother half of the duo, Elliot, added: "We couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of the EMI family. [EMI Music Publishing's] Guy [Moot], Daniel [Lloyd-Jones] and Jon [Platt] have the best ears, minds and hearts in the music world and we are so happy to have them in our corner. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with them!"

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DRAKE AND LIL B MAY BE DOING "SOMETHING REAL BIG"
So, rumour has it that 'based' rapper Lil B has collaborated/is collaborating/will collaborate with R&B lothario Drake on "something real big".

The buzz around the prospective partnership began with a tweet from the former, who (presumably) was quoting Drake when he wrote: "I want to work with 'THE BASEDGOD' again, he is the only one, I heard rumours 'THE BASEDGOD' will be working with Drake - Lil B".

When asked to clarify the mystery message, Lil B told Fuse: "Yeah, we're about to do something real big. I can't speak on it too much right now, but Drake is the only artist I wanted to work with. We've talked about doing some production. He wants to do something and we're gonna make it happen. Something real big, so just look out for it".

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LITTLE BOOTS "PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES" TO NEW LP
Despite alt pop character Little Boots releasing a new single in the form of the James Ford-produced 'Shake' last November, there's been no sign yet of an album to go with it. That is, there wasn't until Ms Boots - real name Victoria Hesketh - gave an interview in the current issue of Q Magazine, stating that such an LP "will definitely be released later on in the year".

Asked when on earth that might be, she said: "I'm not sure when exactly, but we're just putting the finishing touches to it and I can't wait for it to all be completed! I'm really excited!"

Hesketh, whose last Little Boots record was her 2009 debut 'Hands', said her new suite would favour collaborations with producers over guest vocalists, adding: "It's great when you've been locked in the studio for ages, you've got all this music made, to get it out there. At the moment I've only got about five people listening to the songs. It's kind of crazy! You really need to get the music out there and get a reaction, so I'm really looking forward to doing that. It's been a while!"

A while? It's been three years, but who's counting?

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THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS ANNOUNCE LIVE DATES
Synth-pop-inclined and Warp-signed duo The Hundred In The Hands have shared details of several forthcoming shows, which will precede their appearances at all three editions of this year's Dot To Dot festival. The band are also to release their much anticipated new LP, 'Red Light', on 11 Jun.

Tour dates:

29 May: London, Madame JoJo's
31 May: London, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
1 Jun: Cambridge, The Portland Arms

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GIANA FACTORY SET ONE-OFF DALSTON DATE
Danish dark-pop sorts Giana Factory have announced a headline date at Dalston destination The Nest to mark the release of their week-old debut album, 'Save The Youth'.

Tickets for the show, which takes place on 25 May and features live guests Beaty Heart, Joakim and Alan Braxe, are available here: www.ilovethenest.com/joakim-alan-braxe/

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LOUIS THEROUX TO CURATE CINEMA LISTINGS AT ATP'S I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR
TV journalist Louis Theroux has been named as co-curator of the cinema stage at ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror, which takes place in London later this month, directing the festival's Friday film programme while Mogwai and the Prince Charles Cinema team will direct Saturday and Sunday proceedings respectively.

Amongst other selections, Theroux will present a preview of director Mark Cousins' 'What Is This Film Called Love?', which features new music by PJ Harvey and Soundescape.

As well as looking after one day of movies, Mogwai are curating the whole music programme for the event (with the ATP team), and on that side have chosen, amongst many others, the following to perform: Slayer, Sleep, Melvins, Mogwai, Dirty Three, Codeine, Mudhoney and The Afghan Whigs.

It takes place from 25-27 May at Alexandra Palace. And you can download a free two-hour mixtape including tracks by all of the above, and more besides, here: illbeyourmirror.com/mixtape2012/

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

BEATHERDER, Gisburn, Lancashire, 29 Jun - 1 Jul: Dutch electronica trio Kraak & Smaak crown a company of new confirmations for this year's Beatherder, as System 7, Jalapeno Sound System, Eddy Temple-Morris and Stealing Sheep also join an existing roster ruled by Orbital, Death In Vegas, Lee Scratch Perry, Mr Scruff & Mc Kwasi and Goldie. www.beatherder.co.uk

BERLIN FESTIVAL, Tempelhof Airport/Arena Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 7-8 Sep: Grimes, Django Django and Clock Opera's presence serves as a further supplement to the Berlin Festival billing, as has hitherto housed the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Friends, Little Dragon, Sigur Ros, Metronomy and a score of similarly great international artistes. www.berlinfestival.de

BLOC WEEKEND, London Pleasure Gardens, Royal Victoria Docks, 6-7 Jul: Bloc has made a last pass at recognition as this year's most essential electronic line-up with the announcement that Amon Tobin will bring his acclaimed AV spectacle, ISAM, to this year's proceedings. Elsewhere, Bloc guests can expect sets by James Blake, Orbital, Flying Lotus, Oneohtrix Point Never, Nicolas Jaar, Battles and Snoop Dogg. www.blocweekend.com

BLOODSTOCK, Catton Hall, South Derbyshire, 10-12 Aug: Witchsorrow, Batallion and Dripback form the newest recruits to Bloodstock's 2012 edition, and thus line up against veterans Behemoth, Alice Cooper, Watain, Dimmu Borgir, Orange Goblin, Testament and Sepultura. www.bloodstock.uk.com

BT LONDON LIVE, Hyde Park, London, 28 Jul: Tom Jones has been announced for one of the free shows due to take place in Hyde Park this summer as part of the Olympics entertainment programme. He'll play on 28 Jul. Feeder, Dodgy, Levellers, Cast, Amy Macdonald, Paul Carrack, Kenny Thomas, and the cast of West End Queen-fest 'We Will Rock You' will all also do free stints in the park over the Olympic fortnight - go to the BT London Live website and see if you can work out who's playing when. I couldn't. www.btlondonlive.com

FIELD DAY, Victoria Park, London, 2 Jun: Field Day organisers disclose a DJ roster featuring sets by Amateur Best and Odd Future's The Internet as an extra festival draw, with this lot and further new additions Chairlift, Blanck Mass and Debruit joining such previously announced revellers as Franz Ferdinand, Sleigh Bells, Mazzy Star, The Vaccines, AfroCubism and Metronomy. www.fielddayfestivals.com

HARD ROCK CALLING, Hyde Park, London, 13-15 Jul: Having only just heeded Hyde Park's Hard Rock Calling, late arrivals Tom Morello, Karima Francis and The Dirty Youth are now destined to join an overall festival bill including Soundgarden, The Mars Volta, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. www.hardrockcalling.com

ITUNES FESTIVAL, The Roundhouse, London, 1-30 Sep: Jack White, Usher, Norah Jones and One Direction tick pop boxes across the board as the first acts announced to attend individual dates at this year's September-spanning iTunes Festival, tickets for which - as ever - are free but subject to a lottery. www.itunesfestival.com

LIVE FROM JODRELL BANK, Cheshire, 23-24 Jun: Craig Charles, Gomez, and Jake Evans are the latest star players set for the Paul Weller headlined second night transmission of Live From Jodrell Bank, as is also orbited by Graham Coxon, Baxter Dury and Little Barrie. Elbow will headline on the previous day, though their supporting line-up is still to be confirmed. www.livefromjodrellbank.com

SWINGFEST, Essen, Germany, 5-7 Oct: Swingfest's avant-garde listings this year encompass A Winged Victory For The Sullen, who'll headline beside Moritz Von Oswald, Murcof and Hidden Orchestra. And what's more, each listed artist will play an hour's worth of music. www.denovali.com/swingfest

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LATEST FINANCIALS: UNIVERSAL, WARNER, SONY
Universal Music saw its revenues increase by 9.1% to 961 million euros in the first quarter of the year, according to its parent company Vivendi.

The major said a strong release schedule had helped with growth, and that a "continued focus on cost management" and booming digital sales also played their part. Revenues for the wider Vivendi group were down just under 1%, while net income was down 13.4%, mainly because of continued challenges within the group's tel co division, though gaming unit Activision Blizzard also saw revenues fall.

While speaking to analysts about the latest financials, Vivendi's CFO Philippe Capron insisted that his music company's acquisition of EMI was "on track", despite various concerns raised in regulatory investigations into the proposed deal in the US and Europe. Most criticism of the takeover, Capron said, came from head on competitors rather than consumers or other business partners of the wider music business, making him "very confident" regulator approval would ultimately be achieved.

Elsewhere in major label financials, Warner Music saw its revenues slip 8% during the first quarter of the year to $628 million, though net income was actually up. The declines, which occurred in both recordings and publishing, were blamed on a "light release schedule" and the customary "CD sales are sliding and digital is yet to fully compensate" thing.

And finally, last week it was revealed Sony Music made a $463 million profit in its last financial year on sales of $5.5 billion, a good performance somewhat lost it the wider gloom that continues at parent company Sony Corp which posted a $5.7 billion loss overall, it's fifth year in the red and the worst year in the conglom's 66 year history, news which sent the firm's share price to a 25 year low.

Natural disasters affecting factories in Japan and Thailand and exchange rate issues presented by the Yen haven't helped, though a seriously under-performing electronics division is the main problem which Sony Corp's new boss man Kazuo Hirai has pledged to fix, and pretty quickly too, with ambitions to be back in profit by this time next year. Some serious smartphone and tablet computer sales will be needed to help meet that ambition, however many records One Direction and the wider Cowell machine sells.

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HMV ANNOUNCES ALLIANCE WITH TICKETMASTER FOR HMVTICKETS
HMV has announced that Ticketmaster UK will take over the running of hmvtickets, which sounds a bit like the high street retailer getting out of ticketing, though the official line is that this is a move to "extend the scope" of the hmvtickets service. Certainly there will remain a separately badged HMV tickets platform within the HMV.com website, even if it is mainly selling Ticketmaster tickets, and the retail firm will keep an in-house ticketing team to liaise with promoters and venues.

Here are some quotes.

HMV boss Simon Fox: "We remain committed to offering our customers a premium-quality ticketing service, and by partnering with the world's number one ticket agent we're now in a position to significantly expand the range and depth of events that we can make available to them, not just loads more gigs and festivals, but also across comedy, sport, theatre and many other attractions besides".

Ticketmaster UK MD Chris Edmonds: "This partnership is bringing together two leaders in their field in the form of HMV as the leading entertainment retailer and Ticketmaster, the world's leading ticket provider. Enabling our customers to buy tickets from HMV's network of stores is another great addition to our service we can now offer. We are excited about the opportunity of using our combined experience to deliver ticket and music bundles".

hmvtickets was originally launched as part of the entertainment retailer's grand diversification strategy, which also included the purchase of the MAMA Group - aka HMV Live - which gave the firm a network of venues and a portfolio of tours and festivals. But, as much previously reported, HMV is now in the process of selling MAMA in a bid to raise some cash to reduce debt liabilities.

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A GREENER FESTIVAL PLANT FESTIVAL WOOD IN SCOTLAND
The musical eco-champions at A Greener Festival have planted 300 trees to create Festival Wood in a corner of the Dundreggan Estate near Loch Ness in Scotland as part of an initiative to "give something back to the great outdoors that we love to enjoy".

Festivals like T In The Park, Belladrum Tartan Heart, Bestival, Deer Shed, End Of The Road and Glastonbury have all contributed to the initiative, as have the Big Green Coach company which provides coach travel to various festivals and live events, and A Greener Festival's Helen Wright, Claire O'Neill and Ben Challis recently made the trip to Scotland to plant the trees. Slotting in to an existing tree-planting programme run by Trees For Life, it's hoped hundreds more trees can be planted on the site later this year thanks to additional support from affiliated festivals.

O'Neill told CMU: "Festival Wood is a positive reforestation initiative from A Greener Festival. It is not an offset scheme as such, but an opportunity for the festival community to give something back to the great outdoors that we love to enjoy. A festival legacy that will grow and grow and be there for future generations".

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R KELLY RUINS MOTHER'S DAY
If you'd paid for tickets to a special 'Mother's Day Weekend' R Kelly show in a Texas strip club, what would be the least you'd expect?

This is a question people who attended such a show on Saturday (Mother's Day in the US) had to consider before paying for tickets. Do you take a punt and pay the general admission price of $30, or do you assume that it's going to be so good that it'll be worth forking out for one of the VIP packages costing between $60 and $550? Information about what each package offered seems to have been a bit vague. And I think it's also fair to say that, regardless of what they paid, most people left disappointed.

Billed as "an intimate night with R Kelly", fans who attended had to wait until nearly 1am for the singer to take to the stage. At this point, he sang over a CD playing his hit 'Ignition (Remix)', and left the stage again, only to return briefly to inform the crowd that if some attractive women didn't come and join him in the VIP area forthwith, he was "going to be up out this bitch", according to The Austinist.

As this point, the DJ for the night, who was clearly expecting more from the star too, began rallying the angry crowd, before the promoter came on stage to inform them that this was a "celebrity-hosted" party and that they were silly to expect R Kelly to perform a full show in a small club for $30 a pop. Which is true, though the promoter might still have made that clear at some point before the night began.

Still, it seems that word got back to Kelly that some people weren't happy. So, half an hour later he returned to the stage. Not to sing, but, according to Austin Music Source, to admonish them for being so ungrateful, telling the crowd that he "wasn't contractually obligated to sing" and that he had only done so previously as "a favour".

Eventbrite, whose ticketing system the promoter used for the night, has said that it will offer refunds to anyone who felt short-changed.

You can enjoy the unique atmosphere of the night for yourself via this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYaeag2d9h4

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