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AEG BUYS HAMMERSMITH APOLLO FROM HMV
MAMA confirmed the conditional sale yesterday. The Apollo, which MAMA acquired in 2007 when Live Nation was forced to sell some of its London venues to secure approval for its purchase of a slice of the Academy Music Group, will actually be bought by an entity called Stage C, which is a joint venture between AEG Live subsidiary Ansco Music Club and CTS Eventim's getgo Consulting.
Stage C will pay £32 million for the venue, considerably more than the £13 million MAMA paid to acquire the building in the first place. The then independent MAMA certainly got a good deal for the venue, though it has become ever more profitable under the company's tenure, and has particularly grown is prestige in the live comedy domain thanks to the BBC TV show hosted at the theatre.
Confirming the deal last night, MAMA CEO Dean James told CMU: "It has been a privilege to have been the custodians of this fabulous venue for the past five years and I wish Jay Marciano [at AEG], Klaus-Peter Schulenberg [at CTS Eventim] and their teams as much success and pleasure as we have enjoyed. I would also like to thank [former owners] Paul Latham [from Live Nation] and Denis Desmond [from MCD] for giving us the opportunity to own such a wonderful asset".
The sale of the Apollo will enable the flagging HMV Group to extend its banking facilities, helping the firm's new strategy to focus on its core high street retail business. Commenting on the sale, HMV CEO Simon Fox told Music Week: "The Hammersmith Apollo is an iconic London venue and it has been a privilege to own it over the last three years. However the sale will enable HMV to extend its bank facilities, strengthen its capital structure and ensure a strong future for the Group".
The question now remains as to what will happen with the rest of the MAMA Group. When it first became clear that AEG was only bidding for part of HMV's live firm there were reports that the entertainment retailer might hang on to its remaining live assets, though it is now thought the rest of the MAMA company will be part of a second deal down the line, with a management buy out led by James seeming the most likely conclusion.
The MAMA chief certainly seemed to be looking towards the long-term future at a sans-Apollo MAMA yesterday, saying: "MAMA is, and always has been, a mid-sized live music venue and festival business and this will remain our focus going forward. Our festivals are a significant part of building artist's careers and offer a platform for those who are just starting out, right through to established acts. Florence And The Machine has played across our venues, from The Borderline to The Forum, and appeared on line-ups at The Great Escape and Lovebox. We have always worked with emerging talent, taking them through our estate, and we will be doing much more of this both in the UK and internationally".
NME PROMOTES MIKE WILLIAMS TO EDITOR
Williams joined NME in 2010, prior to which he founded and was editor of Kruger magazine for six years. Initially freelancing for the music weekly, he then took on the role of Features Editor before moving up to become Murison's deputy.
Upon the announcement, Williams told CMU: "I'm super excited to be the new editor of NME. As far as dream positions go, it really doesn't get any better than this. Krissi Murison has done an amazing job as my predecessor, and I'm totally honoured to pick up the baton from her. My challenge is to make NME magazine and the wider NME brand even sharper, our message more coherent and to engage even more with NME's audience of passionate music fans. With the brilliant team we've got in place, I can't wait to get started!"
Meanwhile IPC's Publishing Director Emily Hutchings added: "After an extensive recruitment process, I am absolutely thrilled to announce Mike Williams as the next editor of NME. He brings with him a wealth of editorial experience as well as knowledge in managing multiplatform brand extensions. Mike demonstrated a clear strategic vision and passion for NME that will help take the brand on to even greater success".
The NME print publication, of course, is in terminal decline despite gallant efforts by Murison to overhaul the magazine, though the wider NME brand remains as strong as ever, with future potential almost certainly locked to online and digital innovations.
AMY WINEHOUSE HOME UP FOR SALE
A spokesman for the Winehouse family told The Sun: "The Winehouses have decided to put the house on the market, with great regret. Amy loved that house but none of the family felt it appropriate that they should live in it [and] it was not practical to keep it empty while paying for its upkeep. It is a wonderful place and will be a happy family home for someone".
MEGAUPLOAD LAWYERS CALL ON US COURTS TO DISMISS INFRINGEMENT CASE
The US authorities who have been pursuing the case against MegaUpload and seven of its executives are sure to say that by trading in the US, and by basing its actual servers in the States, the American courts do have jurisdiction over the Mega empire, which stands accused of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.
But it is true that the US authorities have not been able to serve a criminal summons against the MegaUpload corporate entity because of the lack of a base in America. The firm is incorporated in Hong Kong. Lawyers for the Mega team say in their latest court submission: "Wholly foreign corporations may not be prosecuted for alleged violations of federal criminal law unless they waive [the serving of a summons]. In short, a corporation such as MegaUpload cannot be brought within the jurisdiction of this court for criminal proceedings absent its consent".
MegaUpload's lawyers have previously presented the same arguments in the New Zealand courts, where four Mega execs are fighting extradition to the US, including founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz. The argument there is that the company cannot be prosecuted because of jurisdiction issues, and the charges against Schmitz et al individually do not come with a sufficiently long sentence to fall under the remit of the US/New Zealand extradition agreement.
The Mega team also continue to claim that the company's management team cannot be held liable for any copyright infringement undertaken by the service's customers, certainly not under the criminal law. While technology providers have been held liable for their customer's infringements in civil cases, it's not clear what the position is regarding criminal proceedings of this kind in the US, though in Sweden the founders of The Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright crimes for providing the tools to help others infringe. And the US authorities are also claiming that Mega executives themselves uploaded unlicensed content to the MegaUpload servers, and incentivised others to do so too.
The legal wranglings continue.
'LOST' LANA DEL REY LP APPEARS ONLINE
It comprises fifteen tracks credited to May Jailer, a potential early alias of Del Rey's, whose real name is Lizzy Grant. Though its origins remain strictly unofficial, there's a definite likeness between the frail, folksy vocal featured on 'Sirens' and that on 'Born To Die', though the former lacks the latter's lush (ie expensive) production.
Decide for yourself by listening to all of 'Sirens' here, courtesy of dubiously-named YouTube user DanndyGarbage: www.youtube.com/user/DanndyGarbage/videos
That, or just 'Birds Of A Feather': www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBKRmLyLTv4
BLOC PARTY ALBUM ANNOUNCED
Produced by Alex Newport, whose past credits include LPs for Death Cab For Cutie, The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In, it's set for release on 20 Aug.
A detailed blog entry from Bloc vocalist Kele Okereke (as can be read in its entirety here), says: "In the past we have tried to hide the passion with which we perform, tried to obscure it, manipulate it so it didn't resemble us anymore. We have learnt a lot from those years but we feel with this record we have to move forward, we have to challenge ourselves by not relying on Pro Tools or the invisible grid that seems to be mapping out all of popular music these days. We have to push ourselves to the limit of our abilities or else there is no point in carrying on".
He continues: "This record is the sound of four people in a room, loving what they do and doing it to the best of their ability. It is the sound that only the four of us could make and I am prouder of it than any record we have ever made".
It was, of course, once rumoured that Bloc Party were proceeding to make the new LP minus Okereke (and even looking to replace him), such speculation starting when Kele alleged in an NME interview that he'd seen the band walking into a New York studio to record without him. Well, now we know why he said that; it was all a clever ruse to distract us gullible fools from what was really going on, which was that the entire Bloc line-up - Kele included - were at that moment writing 'Four' in secret.
Kele touches on this in his statement, saying: "We started making this record in NY in the winter of 2011. We didn't want to let the world know so we told a lie that got out of hand but it made us laugh in the process, which brought us closer together".
Anyway, let's forget about all that... because it's all very silly. What's not silly, however, is this very exhilarating LP trailer featuring studio scenes, audio clips and an unfinished lyric about the nature of 'pain': www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4M5EqOGsMA
USHER TO LIVESTREAM APOLLO SHOW, DANCE WITH FAN HOLOGRAMS
Though that's not the highly interactive bit. Rather fans are being invited to join Usher on stage. Well, sort of. The fans won't be on stage as he performs his new hit single 'Scream', rather the R&B gent will instead appear flanked by dancing digital 'avatars' custom-designed by fans watching the concert at home.
The man responsible for all this is filmmaker Hamish Hamilton, visual director of various U2 tours and Madonna's Super Bowl spectacular, who says this: "Literally, people will be able to create their own avatar and have it dance on the screen with Usher".
Hamilton is confident that he and his collaborators, Montreal-based multimedia types Moment Factory, can translate the idea into a workable concept... even though they haven't yet done so. He says: "We know that the principles work - now we have to ensure that we can create this in a way that is live and interactive. There are literally people at computer [companies] all around the world as we speak, trying to work out the way of doing it".
I quite literally cannot wait to see this. But I suppose I'll have to, at least until 11 Jun. In the mean time, I'm going to visit www.amexunstaged.com/usher and design myself a hologram/avatar to eclipse all the other holograms/avatars and thus ensure my hologram/avatar is chosen to dance with Usher. You should do that, too.
DUM DUM GIRLS' DEE DEE TO GO SOLO FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY
She'll also rejoin the band in the capital for an ensemble set at ULU on 17 Nov, both outings coming in prolonged promo of the Dum Dums' sophomore LP, 'Only In Dreams'.
Dee Dee has also penned a self-professed "ode to self-love" in new 'theme song' 'I Don't Care' for Rookie Magazine, and you can listen to all two minutes 39 seconds of it here: rookiemag.com/2012/05/theme-song-may-2012/
DAN DEACON DETAILS LIVE DATES
6 Sep: London, Scala
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BEERMAGEDDON, South Winfield, Derbyshire, 24-25 Aug: With Wretched Soul, Rezinwolf and Sunday headliners Def Con One just booked to usher in the ale a-rock-alypse, Beermageddon's roster so far also includes Imperial Vengeance, Evil Scarecrow, Fallen Fate, Bloodshot Dawn, The Furious Horde, Fury and Twilight's Embrace. www.beermageddon.co.uk
BELLADRUM TARTAN HEART, Belladrum Estate, Inverness-shire, Scotland, 3-4 Aug: Having shed 'Beautiful' from their moniker, The South lead the latest influx of acts to the Belladrum bill, as also features Foy Vance, Man Like Me, Karima Francis and Dog Is Dead. They join existing bookings Travis, The Wombats, Beverley Knight, Frightened Rabbit, Buzzcocks, Vintage Trouble, Willy Mason, Lanterns On The Lake and We Are Scientists. www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk
KENDAL CALLING, Lowther Deer Park, Hackthorpe, East Cumbria, 27-29 Jul: New to slot into Kendal Calling's 2012 programme are DJ Yoda, A Skills, Ghostpoet, D/R/U/G/S and Metronomy's Olugbenga DJ set, who'll all soundtrack the brand new Kube dance stage. This lot align with co headliners Maximo Park, Dizzee Rascal, James et al on the festival's line-up at large. www.kendalcalling.co.uk
MERTHYR ROCK FESTIVAL, Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr, Wales, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: This brand new boutique bash will count Razorlight, Kids In Glass Houses, Saves The Day, Deaf Havana, Yashin and Arcane Roots amongst its initial line-up, with many more acts yet to be announced. www.merthyrrock.com
NOZSTOCK, Bromyard, Herefordshire, 27-29 Jul: Now appearing as part of Sika Studios' takeover of Nozstock's Bullpen Arena are hip hop types Dr Syntax, Ricta and Idylli, all of whom (plus other new additions Crowns) go to supplement an overall line-up featuring The Futureheads, Dreadzone, The Proclaimers, The Correspondents, Willy Moon and Son Of Dave. www.nozstock.com
TRUCK FESTIVAL, Hill Farm, Steventon, 20-21 Jul: Final upgrades to the now complete Truck roster include the introduction of Alphabet Backwards, DJ Nelly B Page and Nick Cope, who join Mystery Jets, The Temper Trap, Tim Minchin, Frightened Rabbit, Future Of The Left, Turbowolf, British Sea Power, The Low Anthem, Guillemots, King Charles, Brontide, Little Comets and, last on this list but not least, Villagers. www.thisistruck.com
AIM LAUNCH INDIE LABELS CONFERENCE
MORE CANCELLED FESTIVALS, THIS TIME OVER HEALTH AND SAFETY (OFFICIALLY AT LEAST)
Bath Council say they had health and safety concerns with the three day event, while the venue due to host the festival, Bath Racecourse, said in a statement: "Unfortunately, the organisers have failed to fulfil their contractual obligations and the racecourse has taken the difficult decision to withdraw the use of the venue due to breach of contract and health and safety concerns".
However, said organisers claim that certain council officials never wanted the event to go ahead, and deliberately raised "minor" health and safety issues right at the last minute, when it was too late for promoter to act. You can read the organisers full statement at: www.lastjubilee.co.uk
Elsewhere in cancelled festivals news, an event called the Crystal Palace Garden Party due to take place in South London from 23-24 Jun, with Rick Wakeman, Hawkwind and Focus booked to play, has been pulled, also due to health and safety issues (though undisputed ones). The event planned to use the Crystal Palace Bowl space in Crystal Palace Park, but have discovered that the stage there is in much worse condition that originally believed.
A statement from the event's organisers said: "There was some obvious weather wear to the stage and the temporary boards that were put down some time ago... However, on closer examination it seemed there might be a more serious problem. A surveyor was called and rotten joists checked etc it was discovered the dilapidation was much worse than was at first thought. It couldn't be guaranteed to be fixed in the time available so it was felt the safest thing to do all round was to cancel the event and hopefully try again next year".
THIS JUST-IN: BIEBER FANS RAMPAGE, THOUGH IT'S A WINDOW THAT DEFEATS THE POP TEEN
First up, it's a while since we've had a story about Bieber fans gathering in dangerous numbers and getting close to bringing down human civilisation as we know it, but it's happened again. This time in Oslo, Norway, where the pop teen played a free show this week, his first in the country for almost a year. But the show very nearly didn't go ahead because of the large number of fans crushing each other in the street as they tried to get a glimpse of the singing haircut. Word had it that the authorities were close to declaring an actual state of emergency.
Bieber attempted to reduce the crush by tweeting to the assembled fans (perhaps remembering the legal repercussions of when he failed to do so at a US shopping mall in 2010), writing: "NORWAY - please listen to the police. I don't want anyone getting hurt. I want everything to go to plan but your safety must come first".
He did eventually take to the stage to play five songs, though not before almost 50 girls were injured, with fourteen taken away for hospital treatment, according to TMZ.
Oslo mayor Fabian Stang has now called for an investigation into how things got so out of control, telling TMZ: "I have already called on the Emergency Planning Agency to examine the entire event from the planning stage to its implementation. We have to find out what went wrong and why it happened". If this video is anything to go by, it began when Bieber had the audacity to start travelling around in a car: www.youtube.com/watch?v=35HJe_iyNGU
After Norway, came France, and the opportunity to relive another classic Bieber tale. Because, as all followers of CMU's Bieber Desk coverage will know, this boy not only possesses a talent for gathering large numbers of hyperactive hyperventilating teenage girls. He's also pretty adept at walking into glass doors. Though this time he actually walked into a glass wall.
Bieber was performing an intimate gig in a tower block in Paris, and between songs nipped backstage for a quick breather. He noticed a handrail, went to lean on it, but didn't realise it was on the other side of a sheet of glass. Cue loud bang as the pop boy's head hits the glass hard. Though, credit where it's due, despite now having a very sore head Bieber went back on stage and performed his final song before returning to his dressing room and passing out.
According to TMZ, he was out for about fifteen seconds. A doctor was called, who confirmed the singer had a light concussion and should rest. Poor boy. Though he seemed quite cheerful about it all when speaking to TMZ later, which is how we are justifying including this in the 'and finally' section.
Bieber, of course, has a bit of a history of walking into glass, having been caught on camera twice walking headlong into glass doors. Alas the latest battle with glass was not filmed, as far as we know, but you can always enjoy the pop star's past glass-based altercations...
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #112: THE ENEMY V THE CHARTS
It's no use telling The Enemy's frontman Tom Clarke that though. He doesn't care. The charts, he says, are "full of shit".
Speaking to The Sun ahead of the chart countdown on Sunday, Clarke said: "Kind of whatever to the charts, it's full of shit anyway. We took time off and we knew we were coming back into a completely different marketplace. It's the wild west at the moment, it could do anything. The UK music chart at the moment is who's got the biggest bank. We all know Simon Cowell has, if you've got 'X-Factor' TV money to put behind it, it's a bonus".
He wasn't even going to listen to Reggie Yates revealing the Official Chart results on Sunday, because what's the point? "I'm not going to get too excited, I'm just going to see what happens. I'll look it up on Google or wait for my mum to text me. I'm not sure if I can deal with listening to the rest of the shit just to see where we chart".
Of course, it would be easier for Clarke to maintain his nonchalant stance over the charts had he not tweeted over and over and over and over and over and over and over again when he discovered last Friday that 'Streets In The Sky' was apparently only 3000 sales off the top spot. Just being in the top ten, he said, was "amazing", but added that it would be great if his fans could "get it to number one and show everyone guitars are alive and well".
To be fair, I think the news that his record was close to number one even took him by surprise, but when he heard, boy did he make it known. In a series of tweets he excitedly wrote: "I NEVER thought we'd be in this position! But for fuck's sake, tell all your mates! Go and buy another copy and I'll come round and press play on your CD player personally! It's incredible that you lot have got the album so close! Just that final push if you wanna show radio and the charts what you want! Show them that you control the charts not them! Can't believe we're SO close, yet it seems so far away!"
Sadly it wasn't to be, and the number one was snatched from their grasp by Emeli Sande. Guitar music, it seems, would have to wait for another chance to fight its corner. Though I suppose that guitar music fans can take some solace in the fact that a blues album went to number two. Oh, and another blues album was at number four. And Tom Jones' bluesy new album was just ahead of The Enemy at eight. Come to think of it, fun. are quite guitary. And Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran, The Temper Trap, The Cult, Coldplay, Tenacious D, Slash, Jack White, The Script, and Train all have albums in the top 40. They're all quite heavy on guitar use.
Apart from them though, The Enemy are basically the only band representing 'guitar music' in the UK charts right now. Which is why they didn't go top, because of all the pop shite.