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DONNA SUMMER DIES
Confirming the singer's death, a statement from her family read: "Early this morning, surrounded by family, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith. While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy".
Summer had been battling lung cancer, a condition which, various reports suggest, she believed may have been caused by inhaling toxic dust when the Twin Towers in New York collapsed after the 9/11 attacks on the city in 2001.
The singer was at her New York apartment, near the former World Trade Center, on the day of the attacks, after which thousands of tonnes of ash, which contained asbestos, lead and mercury, spread across lower Manhattan. According to The Sun, hundreds of New Yorkers in the area that day have since complained of respiratory illnesses.
Needless to say, the pop world lined up yesterday to pay tribute to the late singer, with the disco genre's other great diva, Gloria Gaynor, leading the eulogies, telling the world that Summer had "forever changed ... how Americans danced and enjoyed themselves. She may have had her 'Last Dance' here on earth, but 'Heaven Knows' it is dancing with joy for her arrival".
Former collaborator Quincy Jones said via Twitter that Summer's voice was "the heartbeat and soundtrack of a decade", while other pop queens credited the 'Hot Stuff' singer's influence on them and others, Kylie Minogue noting that the singer was "one of my earliest musical inspirations", and Gloria Estefan tweeting: "Few singers have impacted music and the world like Donna Summer! It's the end of an era".
As is customary in the download age, Summer's passing has already had an impact on her record sales as pop fans remember her musical legacy, with a 2003 best of compilation currently at number eight in the UK iTunes charts. Meanwhile the singer's family asked that any fans wishing to pay tribute do so by making a donation to the Salvation Army.
TENENBAUM LAWYER REQUESTS SUPREME COURT HEARING
But first, the customary recap. Joel Tenenbaum. Student. Does some naughty file-sharing of unlicensed content. Sued by Recording Industry Association Of America. Chooses not to settle out of court. Goes to court. Bullish legal rep Charles Nesson presents pretty lacklustre defence. Tenenbaum found guilty of copyright infringement. Ordered to pay $675,000 in damages. Can't pay, won't pay. Judge cuts damages to $67,500 on constitutional grounds. Appeals court says if damages to be cut different legal process (called 'remittitur') required, reinstates $675,000 damages.
Nesson has since been pursuing various routes in a bid to have the damages his client has to pay cut back to something more realistic. He continues to argue that a $675,000 damages bill is unconstitutionally high, while adding that, in his opinion, the judge hearing the case - Nancy Gertner - was in fact right to cut the damages figure down to size based on constitutional arguments, even though technically another process for reviewing damages should have been used first. Nesson argues that the labels will continue to appeal any ruling that doesn't go in their favour, meaning eventually the constitution element would have been up for consideration, and by going there first Gertner was simply saving his client from the hassle of unnecessary legal wranglings.
In his submission to the Supreme Court, Nesson argues that the record industry's subsequently axed "litigation assault" on small time file-sharers was "procedurally unfair and profoundly unethical". According to Ars Technica, he adds that the Recording Industry Association Of America sought to "punish [Tenenbaum] beyond any rational measure of the damage he conceivably caused, not for the purpose of recovering compensation for actual damage caused by him, nor for the primary purpose of deterring him from further copyright infringement, but for the ulterior purpose of creating an urban legend so frightening to children using the internet, and so frightening for parents and teachers of students using the internet, [so] that they will somehow reverse the tide of the digital future".
On the requirement for Gertner to initially review Tenenbaum's damages payment using the process of remittitur, he continues: "The deployment of remittitur as a means of fending off constitutional issues empowers the copyright-holding corporations to subject any individual who is seeking to protest the unconstitutionality of their settlement methods to years and then further years of endless litigation and repeated trials".
It's thought the Supreme Court will confirm any day know whether or not it will review the Tenenbaum case.
DONNA SUMMER 1948 - 2012
Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Boston, Massachusetts in 1948, and one of seven children, Donna Summer's first performance was in church aged ten when a scheduled singer failed to turn up. The story goes that the priest knew that she was fond of singing at home, and thought that, if nothing else, having a small child sing solo in front of a full church would be funny. Except, in fact, the young Summer's voice was so good the audience was shocked, and some cried with emotion. It was at that point, Summer later said, that as a ten year she old knew that she would be a famous singer.
After this, she began performing in school musicals and then, at the age of eighteen, shortly before she was due to graduate from high school, she auditioned for and won a part in a production of 'Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical', which was due to be staged in Munich. Despite initial objections from her parents, she took the part, dropped out of school and moved to Germany, where she lived for a number of years.
While living in Munich, Summer began recording her own music with producer Giorgio Moroder, and adopted her stage name after marrying Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1974 (they divorced two years later). The same year she released her debut album, 'Lady Of The Night', in The Netherlands, spawning two minor hits in the country.
In 1975, Moroder wrote what would become one of Summer's most famous songs, 'Love To Love You Baby'. However, due to the erotic moans required for the vocals, Summer said that she would only record a demo version in order for the producer to shop it around other potential vocalists. But so impressed was he with Summer's rendition, he eventually convinced her to release it herself. Despite being seventeen minutes long and deemed too sexual for many US radio stations (and the BBC in the UK), it shot to number two in the Billboard Hot 100 and made Summer an 'overnight' success.
The album of the same name went to number eleven in the US chart, and capitalising on this success Summer released four more long players over the next two years, all of which reached the Top 30. The most successful of these, 1977's 'I Remember Yesterday', reached number eighteen in the US charts and three in the UK charts, and spawned another of Summer's most famous songs, 'I Feel Love', which was a UK number one. Her biggest album success came two years later, with 'Bad Girls', which went to number one in numerous countries, and became her second consecutive US number one, after 1978's 'Live And More'.
After this, a dispute over musical direction with her label Casablanca, which had released seven of her eight albums by that point (over a period of four years), saw her depart and sign to the then new Geffen label. Wanting to break away from disco, which was beginning to wane in popularity, she and Moroder worked on a more rock-focussed sound on her first album for the label, 'The Wanderer', in 1980. Despite reasonable success in the US, with the title track becoming a number three single, both the album and singles from it failed to break the top 40 in the UK.
Her second album for Geffen, 'I'm A Rainbow', was shelved because the label was unhappy with it (it was eventually released in 1996), and Summer was told to record a new album with Quincy Jones, 1982's 'Donna Summer', her first without Giorgio Moroder. Geffen believed that Jones' association with Michael Jackson would guarantee the boost her career needed. However, while it was a moderate success, the album didn't return Summer to the popularity of her 1970s heyday.
Geffen then refused to release the follow-up to 'Donna Summer', though by that point a legal battle with Casablanca had decided that Summer still owed her former label one more album anyway, so the record rejected by Geffen was handed over to them. By this point Casablanca was owned by PolyGram, so it was they who released 1983's 'She Works Hard For The Money', which - despite Geffen's reservations - actually went on to enjoy something closer to the success they had been hoping for since signing the singer.
Something Geffen presumably cursed when Summer returned to them for 1984's 'Cats Without Claws' which, despite having the same producer as 'She Works Hard For The Money' (Michael Omartian) failed to break the top 40 in the US or UK. Its most successful single only reached 21 in the Hot 100.
In the mid-80s Summer also become embroiled in controversy after she was alleged to have made comments that AIDS was a punishment from God for homosexuals. Many people sent their copies of her records back to the labels that had released them in protest. She denied these claims and, seemingly unaware of just how fierce the anger against her had been up to that point, in 1989 finally wrote to AIDS campaign group ACT UP to apologise for any hurt she had caused.
During this time, Geffen also made another attempt to boost her career, hiring British producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman to write and produce 'Another Place And Time'. However, again Geffen was unhappy with the results and refused to release the record, opting to drop Summer from its roster instead. The album was then picked up by Warner/Atlantic and found success in the UK, particularly with the single 'This Time I Know It's For Real'. Summer then recorded a second album with SAW, but fell out with them in the process and the tracks for it were later re-recorded by Lonnie Gordon.
Although she recorded again sporadically, Summer became a much less prominent figure in subsequent years. Nevertheless, she remains one of the most enduring performers of the disco era.
Summer died at her Florida home on 17 May 2012. She is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano, their daughters Brooklyn and Amanda, another daughter from a previous marriage, Mimi, and four grandchildren.
IVOR NOVELLOS PRESENTED
Here are the winners in full:
Best Contemporary Song: Lana Del Rey - Video Games (Lana Del Rey and Justin Parker)
PRS for Music Most Performed Work: Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)
Best Television Soundtrack: The Shadow Line (Martin Phipps)
The Ivors Jazz Award: Stan Tracey
Album Award: PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (PJ Harvey)
Best Original Film Score: The First Grader (Alex Heffes)
PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Take That
Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Ed Sheeran - The A Team (Ed Sheeran)
Lifetime Achievement: Mark Knopfler
Songwriter Of The Year: Adele Adkins
PRS for Music Special International Award: Jimmy Webb
BASCA Fellowship: Andrew Lloyd Webber
THE BIG PINK GIVE AWAY KING KRULE, ARAABMUZIK REMIXES
King Krule and Hippos In Tanks signing d'Eon take mix responsibilities for 'Hit The Ground (Superman)' and '77' respectively, while AraabMuzik enlists outré rapper Danny Brown (the star of Pitchfork's new 'Detroit State Of Mind' documentary, well worth a watch) for one of two remixes of the LP's title track.
JOHN MAUS RELEASING RARITIES COMPILATION
Dating back to 2003, several of its sixteen tracks have already been released as part of various compilations. The CMU approved 'No Title (Molly)' - as appears on Domino's previously reported Record Store Day flexi-disc thing 'Smugglers Way' - for instance.
One track from the new record, 2004's 'Mental Breakdown', can be streamed here, beneath which you'll note a list of the LP's other featured tracks: soundcloud.com/ribbonmusic/john-maus-mental-breakdown
You can also gaze upon the celestial pink orb (aka German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans' 2004 work 'Venus Transit') that is to be the rarity record's cover image here: www.ribbonmusic.com/label/2012/05/john-maus-announces-a-collection-of-rarities-and-previously-unreleased-material/
SUMMER CAMP ANNOUNCE EP
Out via Moshi Moshi/Apricot Recording Company on 9 Jul, you can preview part of it via this SoundCloud stream of Donna Summer-ish disco hustle 'Life', which might just be the absolute best thing Summer Camp have done to date.
LEONARD COHEN TO SPEND SECOND DAY AT THE HOP FARM
Blinking a lot so as to hide the pound signs in his eyes, the event's organiser Vince Power says: "The demand has been overwhelming and it's fantastic to announce the extra date. These will be Leonard Cohen's only UK dates this year and we're over the moon he's decided to play them here. It promises to be a fantastic weekend".
DOLDRUMS TO HEADLINE LONDON DATE
Almost simultaneously he's also gone and announced a headline date at achingly hip new Dalston venue Birthdays on 1 Jun, which will serve as a stretching exercise for slots at this year's triumvirate Dot To Dot festivals.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
FESTIVAL NO 6, Portmeirion, Wales, 14-16 Sep: No 6 HQ scores a bookings coup in securing Richard Hawley, Gruff Rhys and Death In Vegas, with the very good likes of Local Natives, British Sea Power, Summer Camp, Jessie Ware, Kindness, Field Music and The Invisible also brand new to proceedings. Notable subjects of past line-up announcements have included New Order, Primal Scream, Spiritualized and Erol Alkan. www.festivalnumber6.com
GUERNSEY FESTIVAL, The Rabbit Warren, Guernsey, 23-24 Jun: Main stage headliner Maverick Sabre captains a raft of acts climbing aboard the Guernsey Festival roster, as has hitherto carried Macy Gray, Kaiser Chiefs, Hadouken!, Delilah, The Charlatans, Daniela Brooker, Friction and Utah Saints. www.guernseyfestival.gg
LLANGOLLEN FRINGE FESTIVAL, various venues, Llangollen, Wales, 13-22 Jul: Staged amid a wider programme of multi-arts goings-on, the music part of this year's Llangollen Fringe is so far to host Wilko Johnson, The Beat, reggae troupe Talisman and African Soukous bandleader Kanda Bongo Man. www.llangollenfringe.co.uk
WICKERMAN, East Kirkcarswell Farm, Dundrennan, Scotland, 20-21 Jul: Dance pros Steve Lawler and Darren Emerson direct a cast of new arrivals to the Wickerman bill, joining other august line-up features like Scissor Sisters, Texas, The View, Levellers, Newton Faulkner and Cast. www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk
T IN THE PARK, Balado, Scotland, 6-8 Jul: The Cribs form a lone and relatively late addition to this year's T line-up, joining early-bird roster affiliates Snow Patrol, The Stone Roses, Kasabian, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Florence + The Machine, Tinie Tempah, New Order and so very many more. www.tinthepark.com
WILDERNESS, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, 10-12 Aug: Announced as part of a new cinematic strand that will take place throughout the weekend, Asian Dub Foundation are to deliver their acclaimed live score to French film 'La Haine' for Wilderness crowds. Amongst those already confirmed for the festival's live music portion are Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Wilco, Spiritualized, Stornoway, Lianne La Havas, Cloud Control, Field Music and Milagres. www.wildernessfestival.com
TEN TIPS ON FACEBOOK TIMELINE, PLUS NEW SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING COURSE
Specifically focused on recent changes made by Facebook when they rolled out Timeline to artist pages, though with some more general advice for getting the most out of the social network too, the ten tips are online at www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/facebook-timeline-bands-ten-tips/
The latest set of CMU tips come ahead of the launch next week of a brand new CMU Training course focused on all things social media, and how social media platforms can be used to engage, analyse and sell to fanbases, and to build audience.
The one-day course, which costs just £95 plus VAT, takes place in Shoreditch next Wednesday from 11am - 6pm. More details and bookings at www.thecmuwebsite.com/cmutraining-socialmedia/
VIRGIN ATLANTIC INSTALLS RECORDING STUDIO AT HEATHROW
Virgin Atlantic's Greg Dawson: "As an airline we want to do all that we can to help every musician's career take off and to celebrate the launch of the edit suite".
"Help every musician's career take off". Aha! Hahaha! Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Urgh.
OFCOM ANTI-PIRACY CODE EXPECTED NEXT MONTH
This is the long awaited guide to how the government will expect internet service providers to assist copyright owners in the fight against piracy, and will bring into action - in theory at least - various provisions set out in the 2010 Digital Economy Act, including the three-strikes system of sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers with the ultimate threat of sanctions against those who ignore the warnings that they are infringing copyright.
As much previously reported, there have been various delays getting the copyright elements of the DEA up and running, despite OfCom publishing a first draft of its code back in 2010, not least legal efforts by BT and TalkTalk to overturn the copyright elements of the Act.
Ironically, the one bit of action considered by the DEA but not actually enacted by the legislation - the issuing of web-block notices forcing net firms to block access to copyright infringing websites - has been achieved under existing copyright law before those measures actually included in the digital act have been instigated.
It will be interesting to see what OfCom's final code says, and how quickly what it sets out is likely to swing into action. According to ZDNet, OfCom says that, while a June publication of its code seems realistic, the processes and rules in it will still be subject to EU scrutiny. A spokesman for the DCMS recently admitted it is unlikely three-strike warning letters will be sent out before spring 2014.
LIVE NATION AND AEG BOTH INTERESTED IN OLYMPICS STADIUM
The Olympics venue will be third biggest stadium in the UK, behind Wembley and Twickenham. Live Nation chief Michael Rapino told the news service that his company was interested in operating the venue if the price was right, while AEG exec Rod O'Connor confirmed his firm had also met with the committee running the bidding for management rights.
It has long been expected that West Ham football club would become the main tenants at the stadium after the Olympics, though various legal challenges by rival football clubs have hindered those plans.
That said, London mayor Boris Johnson has said he still ultimately expects West Ham to get their hands on the stadium, though it's not entirely clear if Live Nation or AEG could also have some rights over the venue for other sports and entertainment events.
AIR STUDIOS FOR SALE
The studio base was acquired by Richard Boote, founder of the Strongroom studios, in 2006, and since then both the Air and Strongroom complexes have operated under the Air Entertainment Group banner. The group has also expanded its interests into other parts of the entertainment and content industries of late, and it is a desire to focus on those newer ventures that has motivated the sale of the Air Studios itself.
Boote told reporters: "Air Studios is a profitable part of our business and the decision to put Air on the market has been a difficult one. However, with the group's vision of content creation and a more public-facing focus [around the Strongroom brand], it was felt that the Studios would benefit longer term from having an owner that will continue its great recording heritage that keeps it on a par with Abbey Road".
VERTIGO MAN GOES GLOBAL
Confirming the appointment, overall Global boss Ashley Tabor told CMU: "We're really excited about Paul joining Global Talent and Global Publishing - he brings huge experience from his time at Universal and Polygram before that. Given our focus on growing our talent and publishing businesses, I know we have someone in Paul who will help us achieve those ambitions. He comes to Global at a very exciting time and we look forward to him joining our very strong team".
Adam himself added: "I'm thrilled to be joining this outstanding and ambitious media company, and I look forward to the challenges this role will bring".
ABSOLUTE RADIO AND ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS FORM LIVE PARTNERSHIP
Absolute Radio Marketing Director Clare Baker told CMU: "Absolute Radio and Abbey Road Studios have similar brand values - there is a huge synergy between our core music credentials. This partnership will produce a series of memorable music moments".
The first event will be a performance from fun. in Abbey Road's Studio Three to a small invited audience. A video of the performance will then go live on absoluteradio.co.uk this weekend and will be broadcast in full on the station's Sunday Night Music Club at 10pm on 27 May.
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #110: JACK WHITE V GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
Actually, it seems that White does feel he has justified reason to take fire at the big book of records, because back in 2007, he and Meg White played what they believed was the shortest gig ever. They contacted Guinness and asked to be in the book but were apparently denied.
Speaking to Interview magazine, White said: "We'd done this whole tour of Canada, where we played in every province, and almost every day we would do a free show. I would decide each morning what kind of show we would do. So when we were in Newfoundland, the idea that I came up with at breakfast was, 'Let's play one note today...'"
He continued: "I told Meg as we were getting out of the car: 'Make sure you grab your cymbal [and] when you hit the cymbal, grab it so that the note only lasts a millisecond'. I was thinking that afterwards we could contact the Guinness World Records people and see if we could get the record for shortest concert of all time. So we did it, but ultimately they turned us down".
Bummer. No biggy, really. Though Jack is still miffed.
He ranted further: "The Guinness book is a very elitist organisation. There's nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what a record is and what isn't... Most of the records in there - who has the biggest collection of salt and pepper shakers or whatever - are just whatever they want them to be. So with something like the shortest concert of all time, they didn't think whatever we did was interesting enough to make it a record. I don't know why they get to decide that, but, you know, they own the book".
Wow, maybe he's right. Maybe this is a massive conspiracy just waiting to be uncovered. I'd sure like to know what Guinness World Records has to say about all this. If they're turning down The White Stripes for records, who knows what other achievements the shadowy organisation might be hiding from the public. Norris McWhirter and Roy Castle must be spinning in their graves. Whatever happened to "dedication's what you need, eh?" I want answers. We NEED answers. We MUST KNOW THE TRUTH.
"The White Stripes were in fact recognised in the 2009 Edition of the Guinness World Records book for the shortest music concert ever when, on 16 Jul 2007, they played just one note at St John's in Newfoundland, Canada".
In a statement issued to NME, Guinness World Records continued: "Subsequent to this appearance we received a large volume of applications from bands and performers seeking to beat this record. The ultimate results of this was individuals claiming that simply appearing on stage was enough to qualify them for this record".
Oh, yeah, I can see why that would be a problem.
"The results were difficult to objectively measure (for example, how many members of the crowd need to be able to see the performer before they disappear off stage?) and as such it's difficult to justify an appearance as a concert by any reasonable definition of the word".
Wow, that's a bit more scientific that Jack White had me believe as well.
"The nature of competing to make something the 'shortest' by its very nature trivialises the activity being carried out, and Guinness World Records has been forced to reject many claims of this kind. As such, we have been forced to cease listing records for the shortest song, shortest poem, and indeed the shortest concert".
Oh man, Jack White made a mockery of the whole system. Jack White is a MONSTER. GWR doesn't mind though, it's all water under the bridge: "Many of us at Guinness World Records are enormous admirers of Mr White's oeuvre, and we would be extremely pleased if he were to attempt any of the 40,000 records that are currently active on our database. In order to apply, all he needs to do is head to www.guinnessworldrecords.com, fill in a short application and grab his own slice of record-breaking glory".
If he's going to go around playing one just one note before he walks off stage, maybe he could start by applying for the record for having the most annoyed fans.