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GLOBAL BUYS GMG RADIO
The deal will likely need regulatory approval, but according to Radio Today the boss of GMG Radio, Stuart Taylor, will depart with immediate effect. Global's MD for the regions, Mark Lee, will then be seconded to GMG Radio as CEO in the interim. Once fully merged, some reckon Real Radio stations will be relaunched as Heart outposts, further expanding the MOR pop station brand's FM reach.
Commenting on the deal, Global boss Ashley Tabor says: "We are pleased to have concluded this deal, and once the required approvals have been received, we will look forward to welcoming the GMG radio stations into the Global family. We believe that this is a very strong business with brands and assets that are highly complementary to those of Global Radio".
He continued: "The talented team at GMG Radio have been very successful in building strong brands, which have been attractive to listeners and advertisers and have attracted considerable external interest. We believe that this transaction gives the business an excellent opportunity to develop and flourish as part of Global Radio. I would like to thank everyone at GMG Radio for their outstanding achievements over the last few years and wish them every success for the future".
Radio Today has also published memos sent to staff members at the two companies.
AZOFF HITS BACK AT THE CONGRESSIONAL UNI/EMI OPPONENTS
Regards the latter, Azoff reckons Sohn's observations about the music industry and the creative community at large were somewhat removed from reality. He told Billboard's Ray Waddell: "I've got a huge group of people working on fact-checking those charts she put up. I must be in a different business. If what she was talking about is the business I'm in, then I don't know what I've been doing for the past 43 years. I picked up a tone that leads me to think that she may be one of those people that thinks artists and writers and creative people shouldn't own their own works in perpetuity, so she and I have a major disconnect out of the gate. [But] I was quite shocked by some of what she said about the rights of the creative community".
Asked about Bronfman's testimony, he continued: "I don't really know what his agenda is, but, gosh, he must have one. I was shocked by a lot of what came out of Edgar's mouth. Either he doesn't get it, or he was trying to twist some of what Mr [EMI boss Roger] Faxon, myself and Mr [Universal boss Lucian] Grainge were saying. [Bronfman] gleefully told the committee that he presided over two huge firings of both artists and employees at both Warner and Universal Polygram [implying the same would happen at EMI after Universal's takeover], and he was completely ignoring what Mr Faxon was saying, which was that EMI has already done all the cutting, and he ignored what Lucian was saying, that, 'we're buying all this so we can make EMI great again'".
And as for Mills, Azoff took issue with the Beggars man's observation regards how many of the A-list artists managed by the Azoff-founded Live Nation-owned Front Line management worked, or had worked, with major labels. Mills was responding to Azoff's earlier suggestion that artists no longer had to work with labels to reach mass audiences, and among those Front Line acts with major label pasts he mentioned was The Eagles.
Azoff: "I do want to point out that on their last record ['Long Road Out of Eden' in 2007], the Eagles did an exclusive deal in North America with Walmart. Everybody remembers it, I guess, except Mr Mills. So for him to lump the Eagles into that list was disingenuous. And I never said that artists' careers aren't best served by major labels. What I said was the business is really changing, and going forward artists are going to have more choices". He also argued that many of the Front Line artists currently signed to majors were in long-term contracts signed before recent shifts in the music business, and that "I'm sure that every one of them, when they reach the end of their contracts, will contemplate not re-signing to a major".
When approached by Billboard, Mills responded to Azoff's post-hearing points, telling the trade mag: "I have too much respect for Irving's long and illustrious career to get into a public slanging match [with him]. We were in a quasi-judicial environment, in which we swore to tell what we believe to be the truth, which I did. And for the record, I know how that Eagles album was released in the USA, and I believe Universal handled it overseas"
You can read Azoff's thoughts on how the Universal/EMI takeover compares to the big music deal he himself was involved in three years ago - the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster/Front Line - as well as some insight into Jared Leto's opinion on the issue (should you wish to have such a thing) in the full Billboard interview here.
Meanwhile, all six testimonies presented to the US Senate's anti-trust sub-committee last week are now available for reading online.
BAD WEATHER CAUSES PROBLEMS AT MUSIC FESTIVALS
Filling the gap in the mud calendar was the Isle Of Wight Festival, which went ahead despite heavy rainfall, but struggled to cope when fields being used for car parking turned into a swamp. Most of the problems occurred as thousands arrived at the festival site, with queues of cars backing up onto the roads, and causing traffic chaos for both festival-goers and locals.
Many ticketholders, some of whom spent their first night at the festival in their cars on roads approaching the festival site, complained about poor communications, adding that the event's website and social media focused almost exclusively on the great performances on site that they were missing.
Some locals came to stranded festival-goers' aid, offering their drives as parking spaces and even their gardens as temporary camp sites, though others hit out at IOW Festival organisers for not having better contingency plans in place. The island's MP, Stuart Love, was among the critics, arguing that the bad weather hadn't come as a surprise, and that he had expected better planning from festival bosses. He called for a review of the way the event is organised, and the way it is licensed. Events on the Isle Of Wight are already subject to separate licensing legislation, in the form of the Isle Of Wight Act, introduced after the 1970 edition of the original incarnation of the IOW music fest.
However, the modern IOW Festival enjoys very good relations with local authorities on the island, and organisers and council officials were seemingly working closely together this weekend to deal with the chaos, with special measures being but in place to ensure festival-goers could depart the site and island more smoothly at the end of the event. A squad of 100 4x4s will be on hand to held shift stuck cars this morning, and public transport will be stepped up.
So organisers and councillors hope to avoid a second round of chaos, and may well be successful, helped in part by better weather conditions, and the fact a higher than normal number of festival-goers departed the site yesterday, keen to avoid the rush, even if it did mean missing out on Bruce Springsteen's headline spot.
Apologising to those festival-goers who were caught up with last week's chaos on arrival, IOW Festival boss John Giddings told ticket-buyers: "I am really sorry to everyone who had problems as they arrived at the festival but I hope that I have made up for it by providing one of the best weekends of music ever. We knew it was going to happen, we were prepared, we knew there would be adverse weather conditions, it was just slow and we caused a great traffic jam and I am sorry to all those who got stuck in it".
The Isle Of Wight event wasn't the only one hit by the bad weather this weekend. The second day of festivities at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, due to be headlined by Paul Weller, had to be cancelled over health and safety concerns, while in Liverpool the Africa Oyé event was called off, though a smaller in-door event featuring many of the festival's line-up was staged.
ONE DIRECTION UK COUNTER SUE IN NAME DISPUTE
As previously reported, in April One Direction USA sued the British boy band, and their label and management. The American band claimed they had been using the name since 2009, some time before the UK group was formed on 'X-Factor', and were also first to upload an album using the moniker to iTunes (albeit after One Direction UK had been formed), and that Simon Cowell, Syco and Sony Music knew this before launching their pop creations Stateside, because the US trademark registry had told them so. Syco and Sony Music therefore had no business launching their group under that name in the US, the American band argued, and as a result they were suing for damages.
In a counter suit filed last week, lawyers working for the Sony/Cowell empire have focused on the release date of the American band's first album, February 2011. They note that One Direction UK were created on British TV the previous autumn, that there had been globally accessible videos and a social media presence since then, and that those had enjoyed considerable views in America. They also point to a One Direction USA Facebook post from Autumn 2010 that noted the existence of 1DUK. Therefore, the Sony lawyers argue, it was One Direction USA who were at fault, releasing their album under that moniker despite knowing of the UK group's existence.
But all of that sort of ignores the fact that One Direction USA claim to have formed under that name in 2009, a year before five failed solo entrants on 'X-Factor' were merged into a boyband under that brand. Presumably Sony reckons that if you're not on YouTube then you don't exist. Or that if you file a harshly worded counter suit you can knock a zero off the inevitable out-of-court settlement payment.
Legal reps for 1DUSA don't seem too bothered by the counter suit. Attorney Peter Ross told The Hollywood Reporter: "It looks like we got defendants' attention. This is the response we expected, given who we're up against. An effort is being made to intimidate these young men from California. Our clients believe in their case and will not be deterred".
BASKETBALL STAR SUES OVER BROWN/DRAKE ALTERCATION
San Antonio Spurs player Tony Parker is suing the nightclub where the fight occurred, the WiP club, for $20 million, claiming that the venue should take responsibility for the fight which, he says, resulted in him suffering a "corneal laceration of the left eye and other injuries".
As previously reported, the specifics of what happened on 14 Jun aren't clear, and reps for both Drake and Brown insist their men were not directly involved, but aggression between the two music stars' entourages led to quite a lot of glass being thrown around the VIP area.
Drake dated Rihanna for a short time after her violent split from Brown in 2009, and it's thought tensions were raised on the night when Brown tried to placate Drake with a bottle of champagne, but the goodwill gesture was knocked back.
The criminal investigation into the incident is ongoing, and the first civil proceedings relating to the fight were announced last week by a Macys employee. Parker's lawsuit says that WiP management were "reckless, careless and negligent" in allowing both Brown and Drake into the venue on the same night, given the known tensions between the two artists.
BLACK KEYS SUE AD MEN OVER SONG USE
Pizza Hut and its ad agency are accused of using the song 'Gold On The Ceiling' without permission, while US DIY chain Home Depot is accused of using the band's hit 'Lonely Boy'. A lawyer for the Ohio duo say the two commercials were a "brazen and improper effort to capitalise on the plaintiffs' hard-earned success". They also claim that the band made both brands aware of the unlicensed use of their music last month, but as yet neither company has taken any action.
Pizza Hut, Home Depot and their respective ad agencies are yet to respond. There seems to have been an increasing number of artists crying foul over the uncleared use of their music, or tracks that sound very similar to their music, by advertisers of late, which may be due to miscommunication at the artists' end (between them and any labels or publishers that administrate their music), a misunderstanding in the ad agency (as to who owns rights), or just incompetence or bad behaviour on the ad men's part. All of which sound feasible.
KYLIE TO GET SPECIAL SILVER CLEF AWARD
Commenting on the award, Minogue told CMU: "I am thrilled and honoured to be receiving the 25th Anniversary O2 Silver Clef Award from Nordoff Robbins. The work that Nordoff Robbins does, using music therapy to transform the lives of vulnerable children and adults is amazing. This will be a special event and I am delighted to be able to attend and reunite with many friends too".
Meanwhile Nordoff Robbins Chairman David Munns told reporters: "Kylie Minogue is a legend and also an international treasure. Her success across the music industry has been meteoric from the start and she is the obvious choice for our unique 25th Anniversary O2 Silver Clef Award. We are thrilled to be celebrating her success".
The awards take place in London on Friday. Other musicians to be honoured include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jessie J, Michael Bublé, Emilé Sande, Conor Maynard, Fatboy Slim, Manic Street Preachers, and Laura Wright.
BBC 6MUSIC REVEALS MOST BLOGGED ABOUT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR SO FAR
Meanwhile, the Top 25...
SCOTT WALKER RECORDING AGAIN
Pitchfork reports that the album "could possibly be released in late fall", which means we'll most likely have it by winter.
DIZZEE RASCAL HAS SOME BIG POP SONGS READY TO GO
As well as collaborations with Calvin Harris, Eric Morillo and pop maestros RedOne and Alex Da Kid, it seems Dizzee has also shared studio time with Dr Dre affiliate Fredwreck in devising tracks for the untitled record, which is set for release later this year. Speaking to The Sun earlier this month, Dizzee said: "I'm a couple of tracks short of what I want but there are some big tunes done already. They are big pop songs - I'm not afraid to say it. It worked well for me on the last album".
BLUR TO TWEET NEW SONGS
The tracks, 'Under The Westway' and 'The Puritan', have been written for the band's upcoming appearance at one of those slightly embarrassing Olympics gigs in Hyde Park. Says Damon Albarn: "I wrote these songs for Hyde Park and I'm really excited about getting out there and playing them for people."
Remind yourself how utterly awful the early version of 'Under The Westway', debuted by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon at a pre-BRITs party in London earlier this year, was here. And you can watch a video of Alex James explaining what's going on tonight here.
AZEALIA BANKS, MISSY ELLIOT GUEST ON MIA REMIXES
Featuring an exclusive bonus gif file (wow!) and behind-scenes photos from the 'Bad Girls' video shoot, the pseudo-BMW logo pendant (re-tooled to say BGDW, aka "bad girls do it well") and digital memory device will also bear mixes by Danja, Switch and Leo Justi featuring guest MCs Missy Elliott, Rye Rye and Azealia Banks.
If you have $50 to spare, you can purchase MIA's 24-carat music merch via her webstore.
Or listen to the Switch-remixed and Missy Elliot/Rye Rye-featuring 'Bad Girls' version here.
TOY TO RELEASE DEBUT LP
The band are also poised to play the first of several shows at London's Proud Gallery on 4 Jul, with festival bookings at Latitude, Tramlines, Reading & Leeds and Kendal Calling also imminent. And to put us all in the mood, here's the video for the just-mentioned 'Motoring', followed by a tracklisting.
Colour's Running Out
ERASED TAPES ARTISTS TO PLAY ENSEMBLE LONDON DATE
All three ET-signed artists will visit London's Hackney Empire on 18 Oct, this being the outing's only UK date. In place of a birthday cake, you can instead share in the birthday revelry via this video, as is introduced by Erased Tapes originator Robert Raths.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
EASTERN ELECTRICS, Area 12, Greenwich Peninsular, London Docklands, 4 Aug: One of London's foremost one-day dance festivals is now primed to host brand new headliners Azari & III, who in addition to Damian Lazarus, Andrew Weatherall, Koreless and MK Huxley are added to an existing roster featuring Julio Bashmore, Crazy P, Tensnake, Lorca, Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex and Joy Orbison. www.easternelectricsfestival.com
LARMER TREE, Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, Dorset, 11-15 Jul: Soul-pop babe Joss Stone has just been confirmed to appear as a special guest alongside eclectic Bristol sextet Yes Sir Boss at this year's Larmer Tree fest; with this Stone-cold standout moment taking place parallel to performances by the already announced likes of Jools Holland, Paloma Faith, Levellers, Amadou & Mariam, Roots Manuva and Tim Minchin. www.larmertreefestival.co.uk
TRADE GROUPS CRITICISE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE'S REJECTION OF ACTA
In a joint statement, the creative industry bodies say that members of the European Parliament should wait for the opinion of the European Courts Of Justice regards whether or not the global intellectual property treaty breaches fundamental EU rights before making a final decision on the agreement.
As previously reported, years in the making, ACTA has had its critics from the start because of the secrecy that surrounded its drafting, though public opposition has only really begun since the treaty was signed by various countries around the world late last year and earlier this year, partly fuelled by the big campaigns that occurred in the US against new anti-piracy laws there back in January.
Although most EU member states and in theory the EU have already signed up to the agreement, those which have not are now having second thoughts, and the European Parliament, which is yet to vote on the EU's backing of the treaty, is now expected to vote against it too, especially after last week's Trade Committee statement.
Opponents say that the agreement will enable countries to sneak draconian new copyright laws in through the back door, citing international obligations. But ACTA supporters in Europe insist the agreement merely brings other countries inline with IP rules that pretty much already exist under European law.
Responding to last week's Trade Committee report, the consortium of content industry organisations, including the International Federation Of The Recording Industry, said: "The recommendation by the European Parliament's International Trade Committee that the Parliament should reject ACTA is a disappointment to Europe's creative, innovative and manufacturing sectors, which employ over 120 million people across Europe and depend on intellectual property to support and grow their businesses".
It continued: "More than 130 organisations representing the breadth of European industry have urged the European Parliament to wait for the opinion of the Court Of Justice of the European Union before taking a final decision on the treaty. A vote to follow the INTA recommendation and to reject ACTA now would be to ignore the voices of industry, unions, employees, the Commission, the Council and Member States. ACTA should be given careful and responsible consideration before a decision that will have significant effects on the EU's trade relationships and economy".
Among the trade body leaders quoted in the statement was Johannes Studinger of trade union grouping UNI MEI, who said: "The majority of jobs in our knowledge-based societies rely on intellectual property. Counterfeiting and piracy, including on the internet, are creating a global black market threatening the economic basis of real jobs in the creative industries. It's a global problem that needs a global response. We need a tool like ACTA to improve international cooperation in IP protection".
Of course some welcomed last week's Trade Committee announcement, with Peter Bradwell of British campaigning organisation the Open Rights Group telling The Guardian: "MEPs have listened to the many, many thousands of people across Europe who have consistently demanded that this flawed treaty is kicked out. This is the fifth consecutive committee to say ACTA should be rejected. It now falls to the vote of the whole European Parliament in July to slam the door on ACTA once and for all, and bring this sorry mess to an end".
GREG JAMES ADMITS HE ASPIRES TO HOST RADIO 1'S BREAKFAST SHOW
A BBC Trust report recently said that the Corporation's pop station still had more work to do to realign its programming with the youth demographic it exists to serve, and the recent promotion of James, age 26, to the drive time slot is part of Radio 1 management's efforts to make their output seem more youthful.
But the Moyles breakfast show, despite continuing to gain sizable ratings, remains Radio 1's biggest problem in terms of its need to be more youthful and distinct. Some external commentators reckon that, at a station that arguably has a public service remit to constantly reinvent itself, no one should sit in the breakfast slot for eight years, especially when they are demanding ever increasing fees, and that Moyles' long tenure on the show is down to ratings chasing and the power of certain cliques within the nation's favourite, both prioritised ahead of Radio 1's programming obligations.
That said, and despite past rumours of tensions between Moyles and Radio 1 management, and of a looming axe, and of the DJ being in talks with Global Radio, it's now thought Moyles will stay in the breakfast slot at the BBC station until his current contract runs out in 2014, what will be the tenth anniversary of his breakfast show. But at that point Radio 1 breakfast will be freshened up.
And many reckon that James, providing he doesn't screw up his drivetime tenure, will be a shoe in for the breakfast show position come 2014. Admitting he'd find it hard to turn the show down, James has told the Mirror: "It's the flagship show and the one the rest of the station sort of follows. [And] I've been honest in saying I'd like to do it - but that really doesn't mean I want to see Chris sacked tomorrow".
Insisting that everyone at Radio 1 gets on, James did admit that that didn't stop there being a competitive culture, noting: "It is competitive, but then it should be - I should be pressured to be as good as I can be every day because there's always someone else who wants to do it".
REVEREND V PLANET POP
On Cheryl Cole, and the £350 meet and greet packages apparently available on her upcoming tour: "You can pay £350 to meet her. That's extortionate. I'd pay £350 NOT to meet her. She had to go away for a bit because people got so fed up of her. She was probably sent to Coventry to work in a car plant. Now she's back in her Spandex charging £350 to meet her. What next?"
On The Wanted: "The music industry is just going round in a circle. To me, The Wanted sound like 5ive and they were fifteen years ago - and they were shit. Come on!"
On the Bieber: "His bird's fit. That's the only thing I can say about him".
On Katy Perry and Rihanna: "There's nothing to differentiate them between any other pop lasses".
And on pop music in general in 2012: "What I'm saying is, it's about the fact all over this country there are young kids in practice rooms who are dead talented, who get absolutely nowhere because money's pumped into Justin Bieber and shit like that. Chart music is just fucking dog shit at the minute. Everyone fucking thinks it unless they're a lunatic".
Though One Direction were saved from the Reverend's wrath because Harry Styles follows him on Twitter. That's the power of social media, people.