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THE WORD MAGAZINE TO CLOSE
Hepworth writes: "We regret to announce that the August issue of The Word, which will be published in the second week of July, will be the last. In the nine years since the magazine launched there have been dramatic changes in the media and the music business. These changes have made it more difficult for a small independent magazine to survive and provide its staff with a living. This hasn't been made any easier by the economic climate of the wider world".
He continues: "We would like to thank all the staff members past and present, plus the writers, photographers, illustrators, artists, PRs and advertisers who have helped make the magazine what it has been. We also want to thank the backers who have supported us throughout. Most of all we want to thank you, the readers. Your heartfelt involvement with the magazine - via its pages, its website, its events and its podcasts - have made the last nine years one of the most satisfying periods of our working lives. [Co-founder and Editor] Mark [Ellen] has written about this in greater detail in the August issue".
It's not clear whether this will have any impact on the rest of Hepworth's business Development Hell, which also publishes Mixmag and social network site dontstayin.com.
EC PUBLISHES SUMMARY OF ITS DECISION ON SONY BUYING EMI PUBLISHING
As assumed, a key factor in the regulators' decision-making was the complicated ownership structure of the EMI publishing company post any deal. Although Sony's existing publishing firm, Sony/ATV, will control EMI day-to-day, the EMI publishing business will remain a separate entity co-owned by Sony/ATV and a number of other investors. And as it is, of course, Sony Corp does not own Sony/ATV outright, it being a 50/50 joint venture with the Michael Jackson estate.
This is different than with the other big EMI deal, ie Universal's bid to buy the EMI record company. Universal Music is one entity owned by one parent company, and it plans to absorb the EMI labels whole, creating one mega music firm. But with Sony's bid, although Sony Corp will have an interest in the Sony Music record company, the Sony/ATV publishing firm and EMI Music Publishing, all three will remain autonomous, and the latter two will have other shareholders, a fact that has allayed some of the European regulator's concerns regarding the group's market dominance.
According to pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA, which has opposed both the EMI sales, the EC's report also concludes that online services and/or piracy will not, in their own right, constrain the "excessive market power" of big rights owners. This is important because one of Universal's counter-arguments to claims by opponents that a combined Universal/EMI would have too much power over the digital music domain, is that the dominance of certain digital service providers and the threat of online piracy constrains the rights owners power over things like pricing.
Commenting on the report, IMPALA boss Helen Smith told CMU: "We welcome the decision's confirmation that neither online customers nor piracy are capable of restraining excessive market power in music. It also acknowledges that online platforms are being asked to pay more for Anglo-American music than local music, which is exactly what we predicted".
She continued: "Against that backdrop, the merger is bad news for publishers and writers, as well as for collecting societies and any label or online service which needs to be able to rely on fair terms. We believe the remedies do not go anywhere close to securing future competition. We now need to study the EC's reasons in detail with our legal team to decide next steps".
The EC decision can be downloaded here.
ESSENTIAL CHIEF SAYS HE WAS MISQUOTED AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON EMI
In his submission to the committee, Grainge name checked a couple of independent music execs who had gone on the record as saying that, in the digital era, they felt it was easier for their companies to compete against even the biggest record companies. One of those execs was Chadwick who, in an interview with Music Week earlier this year, said that he didn't feel directly threatened by a combined Universal/EMI, because as the majors get ever bigger, there is an increasing number of artists who are looking for other options, such as using a smaller independent distribution company like his.
Grainge noted that Chadwick had said of the EMI deal, "Is it good for us? It's great for us". However, the Essential chief says that was quoted out of context because, while he doesn't feel directly threatened by the looming merger, he did express concerns, in the same interview, about the wider implications of further consolidation in the record industry. Clarifying his viewpoint, Chadwick submitted the following to Congress this week:
"Lucian Grainge's testimony to the Subcommitee on Antitrust, Competition Policy And Consumer Rights last week contained a selective quote from an expansive interview I gave Music Week magazine in the UK earlier this year. Mr Grainge suggested that I believed the proposed merger was a positive step for the business. In fact, my interview offered a view in which I questioned whether the merger would be good for the music business".
"To clarify further, my company is a sales, distribution and services company and tends not to compete on label or artist signings with Universal or EMI, however I nevertheless believe that the concentration of market power that would result from the merger would be a negative step for the industry and for independents".
"My considered view is the increase in market share and market power of the merged company would give it too much leverage with important gatekeepers such as radio, TV, music magazines and other media, as well as across retail. Therefore, although the transaction could free up certain artists, given Universal's enhanced market power, those artists would have significant difficulty in accessing media and commercial outlets on level terms. A merger would also enhance Universal's ability to abuse its dominant position in the emerging digital market and this would be certain to disadvantage independents in their ability to compete across the world".
As previously reported, although last week's Congressional hearing made for entertaining viewing, what really matter to Universal are the regulatory investigations being undertaken by the FTC in the US and the European Commission over here.
NEW ZEALAND JUDGE CONFIRMS MEGAUPLOAD RAID AND DATA SHARE ILLEGAL
As previously reported, it first emerged back in March that police had secured the wrong kind of warrant before they raided Dotcom's mansion at the request of the US authorities. The raid was part of a united effort with American officials to shut down the controversial MegaUpload file-transfer service, which is accused of widespread copyright infringement.
Then earlier this month it was revealed that the FBI had taken copies of data stored on hard disks seized during the raid, back to the US. MegaUpload attorneys argued this breached the rules that said any seized property must stay within New Zealand, though the country's police countered that that rule only applied to physical property, not data.
But Judge Helen Winkelmann disagreed yesterday, ordering New Zealand police to return the data files to Dotcom. While on the warrant issue, she told the court: "The warrants did not adequately describe the offences to which they related. Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid".
It's not really clear what judicial confirmation of errors having been made by officials means for the criminal case against Dotcom and his fellow former MegaUpload executives, though obviously it's embarrassing for New Zealand police, and arguably gives the Mega team some claim to the moral high ground. America's application to have Dotcom et al extradited back to the States is still ongoing. Meanwhile New Zealand police said yesterday they were considering the judgement and were in discussions with the Crown Law Office "to determine what further action might be required".
According to the Australian Associated Press, MegaUpload's main legal rep Ira Rothken told Radio New Zealand earlier today: "One would think, with such a large case, that they would have a higher standard of care in how they conducted themselves. In terms of egregious behaviour, this is at the high end of the scale of egregious, wrongful intrusion on privacy".
MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS VOTING OPENS
UK MVA Editorial Director David Knight told CMU: "The MVAs has become a globally-recognised event for celebrating the outstanding creative work in music videos in the UK and around the world. Last year filmmakers travelled from Europe and the United States to attend our biggest show ever. It was a very good night indeed - and I'm sure the fifth MVAs will be the best one yet. Apart from anything else, you won't have to fight past the builders in Leicester Square to get into the Empire this year!"
DJ POLL VOTING OPEN
UNIVERSAL SIGNS ROD STEWART
Confirming the new worldwide partnership, Universal top man Lucian Grainge told reporters: "I've known Rod and [his manager] Arnold [Stiefel] for many years and have been wanting to work with them for some time. Rod possesses one of pop music's most inventive and memorable voices; and we're delighted to be part of the next great chapter in his already storied career. UMG remains committed to artistic creativity and expanding opportunities for artists in the marketplace. And nowhere is this more evident than in our new partnership with an artist of Rod's calibre".
Stewart himself added: "I'm confident that by partnering with my fellow CBE, Lucian, and his cracking, top-notch company, we have the best team in the business".
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NOISETTES ANNOUNCE ABSOLUTE ALLIANCE FOR SELF-RELEASE
The band's manager John Arnison told CMU: "We are delighted to have partnered up with Absolute Marketing for the release of the new Noisettes album, which is their strongest album yet. We wanted the release to be independent, but I required a partner on this that both I and the band could have faith would help deliver".
He continued: "I have worked with Absolute on many projects as they have the expertise in house that is needed to bring a high profile record to market. Absolute provide all the skills of an established and successful record label whilst we retain the ultimate ownership, which is the perfect partnership".
Listen to the album's lead single, 'Winner', here.
SKRILLEX COMPOSING FILM SCORE
Starring a very zeitgeisty Hollywood cast including James Franco and Selena Gomez, 'Spring Breakers' and its Skrillex-y score are set to premiere in 2013.
MUMFORD & SONS RELEASE VIDEO TRAILER
View the rustic promo, which also features some maritime semaphore flags allegedly spelling out the word 'Babel', here.
LYKKE LI, MGMT COVER FLEETWOOD MAC FOR TRIBUTE LP
Lee Ranaldo Band feat J Mascis - Albatross
TIM BURGESS DETAILS SOLO LP, TOUR DATES
Set for self-release via Burgess's own label O Genesis on 24 Sep, it features various members of Lambchop, My Morning Jacket and Factory Floor, as well as Earl Scruggs' grandson Chris Scruggs and lo fi character R Stevie Moore (who, as it happens, has his own greatest hits record coming out via Burgess's label soon).
Burgess will be touring to promote the new record with a five-piece band, featuring The Charlatans guitarist Mark Collins, on the dates shown below.
But first, a tracklisting:
18 Oct: Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
RITA ORA SETS LIVE DATES
Ms Ora will be playing Manchester's Sound Control on 29 Aug before gracing The Scala in London on 30 Aug.
'How We Do (Party)' will be available in all self-respecting pop music shops as of 12 Aug, and here is its video.
HOW TO DRESS WELL TO PLAY 'INTIMATE' LONDON SHOW
CMU approved producer Tom Krell will be present to preview (and promote) his new LP 'Total Loss', which is out by way of Weird World on 17 Sep.
When that happens, its tracklisting will look like this:
When I Was In Trouble
MICACHU & THE SHAPES TO TOUR
As previously reported, 'Never' is out via Rough Trade on 24 Jul.
24 Jul: London, Arcola Theatre Tent
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 6-9 Sep: Bestival has just taken on a further horde of resident artists, not least David Rodigan, Kate Nash, Summer Camp, Disclosure, Dan Le Sac, Scroobius Pip and Rudimental, who join headliners New Order, Stevie Wonder and Orbital. www.bestival.net
BOOKSTOCK, Shoreditch, London, 26 Aug: Dub Pistols, We Were Evergreen, Mark Archer, Bikini Beach Band and many more are now poised to be part of The Book Club's Summer street fest, which is free to attend with a priority wristband. www.wearetbc.com/bookstock
MERTHYR ROCK, Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr, Wales, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: Razorlight, Skindred and Kids In Glass Houses have now been named as headliners across Merthyr Rock's three-day rosters, as also feature Deaf Havana, Yashin, Lower Than Atlantis and Saves The Day. www.merthyrrock.com
UNSOUND, Krakow, Poland, 14-21 Aug: Taking place beneath the banner theme 'THE END', Unsound's second wave of conscriptions includes Hieroglyphic Being, Voices From The Lake, Shackleton, Kuedo, Colly G, Taxman and Evian Christ, all of whom align with Julia Holter, aTelecine, V/Vm, Tim Hecker and Oneoftrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin on the festival's line-up at large. www.unsound.pl
VIVENDI CHIEF RESIGNS
Levy had been Vivendi's CEO for a decade, having initially joined a company on the brink. The one-time water firm had over-expanded in the late 1990s, and was facing major financial problems, not to mention allegations of false reporting. Levy helped restructure the business, selling off some key entertainment assets, and enabled the firm to become strong again.
Though more recently shareholders have been getting tetchy because of the underperformance of the group's French mobile business SFR, which has been struggling to battle some tough new competition of late. And despite recording an annual profit in 2011, investors were unhappy when the firm said earnings were unlikely to grow for at least two years because of SFR's struggles.
The exact nature of the "disagreement regarding strategic direction" is not known, though it's thought disagreements are mainly between Levy and the firm's Chairman Jean-René Fourtou, and may relate to SFR's fortunes. A US court ruling earlier this week relating to a decade old legal dispute with US-based Liberty Media (relating to those allegations of false reporting) may have also added to stresses, Vivendi having been ordered to Liberty 765 million Euros. The French firm plans to appeal.
Though, commenting on Levy's sudden departure, a source told Reuters: "It's not Jean-Bernard's record, it's not the situation at Vivendi, it's not even the situation at SFR that's the problem, it's the future of the group".
Confirming Levy would depart, Vivendi said in a statement last night: "A Vivendi Supervisory Board was held this June 28. Jean-Bernard Lévy is stepping down as Chairman of the Management Board following a divergence of views on the strategic development of the Group. The Supervisory Board wishes to thank Jean-Bernard Lévy for his contribution over the last ten years alongside Jean-René Fourtou". The firm's Legal Counsel Jean-Francois Dubos will take over from Levy, for the time being at least.
The change in leadership at Vivendi isn't likely to have any major impact of Universal Music, or its bid to buy the EMI record company, which, insiders say, still has the full support of the group's board.
EMI APPOINTS NEW CLASSICS A&R PRESIDENT
Confirming the appointment, EMI Music UK boss Andria Vidler told CMU: "I'm delighted that Jean-Philippe is joining EMI Classics in this important role to strengthen our A&R capability. Classical music is core to EMI and in Jean-Philippe we have one of the most experienced and respected A&Rs in the business".
Rolland himself added: "I have been working closely with the EMI team in London for many years and it is my pleasure to strengthen our professional relationships to achieve more successful projects together".
DIGITAL APPOINTMENTS: 7DIGITAL, DEEZER, EMUSIC
Elsewhere, streaming music platform Deezer announced the appointment of a new Director of International PR, Julie Harari-West formerly of global PR firm Weber Shandwick. Laurent Billion, Chief International Officer for Deezer told CMU: "Julie has joined our senior team in this new role created to help us build our brand worldwide as we continue to expand globally. Deezer is the leading music streaming service in France and with Julie's help we will look to replicate this success around the world".
And finally subscription-based download service eMusic has appointed an International Editor, Amber Cowan, who has had previous journalistic and editorial roles at the likes of The Times, BBC and London Lite. She will head up the firm's UK-based editorial team. Says eMusic CEO Adam Klein: "As eMusic continues to grow its UK team, Amber's experience in music journalism and her successful track record in securing exclusive interviews will help us continue to promote music discovery to our members, and bring them closer to the artists they love".
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #116: PHOTOGRAPHERS V THE STONE ROSES
According to the BBC, the original contract demanded that professional photographers documenting the shows sign all rights in the photos they take over to the band for a sum of £1, and accept limits on what they could then do with their pictures. A revised contract was submitted on Monday, though this has seemingly not placated the angry photographers.
Ian Tilton, who has photographed the band throughout their career, including for album artwork, told the BBC that he supported the boycott, saying: "I understand that the Stone Roses want to make money from the pictures. But I don't agree that the photographers can only use the pictures once, for one publication. The photographers should be allowed to earn money from the pictures they take".
John Toner, who represents freelancers at the National Union Of Journalists, added: "Too many musical artistes now wish to grab rights from photographers. Having said that, people are surprised that The Stone Roses have chosen to go down this route. We fully understand why a band would wish to retain merchandising rights, and the photographers would be happy to concede this. Equally, a photographer must have the right to license editorial use of images without obtaining the band's permission for each use".
So, there you go. If you're not going, then you'll never see it. There will be no pictures. None. Not even one. Except all the shitty wobbly ones people will be tweeting. Oh, except what's that you say, Murray Chalmers?
Asked for comment by the Beeb, the band's press officer Chalmers said: "There is no boycott". And before you say, 'but it does sound quite a lot like there is one, he added: "We have a complete list, a full quota of photographers who are covering the concerts".