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IMPALA CO-PRESIDENT BACKS UNIVERSAL'S EMI DEALS, SUBJECT TO CONCESSIONS
The opinion piece arguably puts Zelnik in conflict with pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA, of which he is co-president. Though, while IMPALA has, officially at least, been vehemently opposed to the Universal bid from the start, insisting European regulators must block the deal outright, realists in the indie label community have long assumed that the battle against the EMI acquisition was more about securing the best possible concessions from the Vivendi-owned music major, rather than blocking the transaction completely.
Zelnik cautions against outright war within the record industry, between Warner and the indies on the one side, and the two big acquisitive players, Sony and Universal, on the other. The Naïve man argues that there are bigger threats to the record business. First, the risk of failing to find a truly mutually beneficial framework for working with the web and tech giants who now dwarf even the bigger music majors. And second, allowing private equity to come into the industry, asset strip the lucrative catalogues for a five year return on investment, to the detriment of new talent development, which safeguards the industry's future ten years down the line.
Universal buying EMI is probably the lesser of various evils, Zelnik concludes, despite his past involvement in the fight against the consolidation of the music rights industry. Providing, that is, as part of Universal's big EMI bid, certain provisions are met.
He writes that Universal should commit "first, to transparent, non-discriminatory, easy licensing to new platforms. This should encompass Universal, EMI and independents, representing the majority of the market - the rest would soon follow. Second, Universal should make targeted, surgical divestitures to independents instead of to hedge funds, private equity or pension funds. Independents reinvest their profits better in signing new artists and developing new genres, and are instrumental in musical and technological innovation that is the lifeblood of music. Third, there should be direct financial support for industry groups that aid in levelling the playing field between small and large labels, so that the innovations of entrepreneurial labels are quickly adopted by the rest of the industry".
It should be noted that Zelnik is not entirely neutral in all of this. He has long been an advocate of more transparent licensing in the digital domain, and clearly sees this as an opportunity to force Universal into a commitment on transparency that isn't necessarily in its best commercial interests. While point three, if fulfilled, would presumably see Universal more proactively supporting organisations that support the indie sector, such as, for example, IMPALA, in which Zelnik is so involved. (A few years back, when the indie sector struck up a deal with then Warner chief Edgar Bronfman Jr in which it agreed to not oppose his ultimately unsuccessful bid to buy EMI, it's thought a similar request was made).
But point two is perhaps where Zelnik's real conflict of interest exists, given separate reports this morning that the Naïve chief is preparing to bid for EMI's Virgin Records division, should Universal decide to sell it in a bid to placate European regulators. Zelnik, who launched the then independent Virgin record label into the French market in 1980, is apparently planning to bid for the modern day Virgin Records, in Europe at least, in partnership with Richard Branson. Though Branson would be a junior partner in the deal, it's thought, mainly guaranteeing use of the Virgin brand, with the newly independent Virgin, should it be achieved, run by Zelnik.
Also speaking to the FT, Zelnik said: "If Universal is ready to sell Virgin Records, then Richard Branson will support a transaction and support me in doing it. He wants Virgin to be in my hands".
Responding to Zelnik's FT piece, IMPALA says that it reflects his opinion, and not that of the trade body, which remains opposed to Universal's EMI deal. The group's Executive Chair, Helen Smith, told CMU: "Our board took a clear decision yesterday to continue its opposition to the Universal/EMI merger, rejecting remedies which do not deal with the specific problems set out in the EC's statement of objections. The issue isn't just digital, it's physical and access to media-exposure for new artists, as well as the foreclosure of independents when it comes to signing artists. We all respect Patrick Zelnik's view, but the FT article is the Naive position, not the Impala position".
As previously reported, having responded in writing to the European Commission's statement of objections to its bid to buy the EMI labels, Universal will now meet with EC officials face-to-face to discuss the terms on which they might green light the acquisition. Universal hasn't officially proposed any concessions to regulators, but boss man Lucian Grainge has said he will, and rumour has it the major's share in VEVO and EMI's Virgin division may be among the assets he will propose his company sells.
A separate regulatory investigation is ongoing in the US, though regulators in New Zealand and Japan have approved the deal without remedies.
LIVE NATION EUROPE CHIEF EXPLAINS WHY SPRINGSTEEN WAS CUT SHORT
Which is presumably why the live music major's COO for Europe, Paul Latham, felt the need to email the Wall Street Journal yesterday to set the record straight on why his company had pulled the plug on Springsteen at the end of his headline set at Saturday's Hard Rock Calling, explaining that in London the wealthy neighbours of Hyde Park are even more influential than the Boss, meaning licensing rules must be stuck to. He also added that Springsteen wasn't too pissed off (despite the drunken rant his guitarist Steven Van Zandt posted online), and that he hoped the premature shut down would just make the show all the more memorable.
In the email, published by the Journal, Latham writes: "For the last twelve months we have been fighting the good fight with the local authority and their licensing teams to retain the ability to stage concerts in Hyde Park. The current licences were granted on very strict noise restrictions, traffic plans and curfews with the 'sword of Damocles' hanging over any future events if we broke any of the conditions. Suffice to say the residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of City Hall and Parliament".
Adding that he had hoped that a three and a half hour slot would have been sufficient even for Springsteen, Latham admitted that his team didn't foresee the planned brief McCartney guest spot turning into a Beatles medley. Showery weather also messed with the evening's schedule, he added.
He concluded: "We were assured that they [Springsteen and McCartney] were going to only do a couple of numbers so we could turn a blind eye to a ten minute over-run and risk the wrath of our naysayers, but then the couple of numbers happened to be Beatles medleys and when Bruce went to change guitars to start again I'm afraid the power had to come off on music history in the hope that we will be allowed to create more in the future. Suffice to say we were most concerned that Bruce and co would have been discommoded by our actions, but they were unanimous in their opinion that it had been one of their greatest gigs for many a year, and being thrown off the stage added legend to the myth".
PROSECUTORS CLAIM MEGAUPLOAD HAD ENOUGH US CONNECTIONS TO FACE AMERICAN CRIMINAL LAW
As previously reported, the US government wants to prosecute both MegaUpload and its key executives for alleged copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. But legal reps for MegaUpload and its founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz claim that as the Mega corporate entity was based in Hong Kong, criminal proceedings cannot be filed against it. And while the US could still go after the MegaUpload boss directly, Dotcom's lawyers say the charges against their client are not sufficient to justify extradition from New Zealand, where he currently resides.
But last week, in a filing with the Virginian court, prosecutors said that MegaUpload had plenty of connections with America, and therefore is subject to US criminal law. The filing notes that the firm rented vast amounts of server space in the States (which was how US officials were able to shut the MegaUpload site down), that it utilised American financial services companies like PayPal, and that it had large numbers of American customers.
It adds that MegaUpload's own terms of service were self-proclaimed to be "governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State Of California", and that when the digital firm was annoyed at Universal Music having its promotional 'Mega Song' taken down off YouTube last year, it chose to sue through the US courts. That it didn't have an actual legal address in America, the prosecutors concluded, was just a technicality.
The court filing concluded: "It appears that defendant MegaUpload, for its own convenience, would subject itself and its users to the jurisdiction of courts in the United States, even as the company now argues that it cannot be brought before a federal court to face criminal charges".
As previously reported, Dotcom recently said he would voluntarily go to the US to face the charges against him and his company providing the American authorities guaranteed him bail, and gave him access to frozen Mega funds to pay for legal fees. Though the offer was made via Twitter.
JON LORD 1941 - 2012
Born in 1941 in Leicester, Lord learned classical piano from the age of five. However, when he moved to London in 1959, his intention was to become an actor. Studying at the Central School Of Speech And Drama, he played piano in clubs in the evenings and as a studio session musician merely to pay the bills.
However, one of the bands he played with, The Artwoods, found brief success with their single 'I Take What I Want'. After that, in 1967, he formed Santa Barbara Machine Head with the brother of Artwoods frontman Art Wood, a certain Ronnie Wood, who would, of course, go one to become a member of The Faces and The Rolling Stones. The band was short-lived, but did help Lord to create his signature sound before joining Deep Purple in 1968.
Deep Purple were put together by manager Tony Edwards, with the initial line-up also featuring bassist Ian Simper (who Lord had recently worked with during a brief stint with The Flowerpot Men), guitarist Richie Blackmore, vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice.
Over the eight years the band initially performed, Lord and Paice were the only constant members, with Lord writing many of their biggest hits, including 'Smoke On The Water', and under his direction they undertook various classical projects too.
When the band split, he and Paice formed a new band with singer Tony Aston - Paice, Aston & Lord - who recorded just one album, 'Malice In Wonderland', in 1977, before splitting. Lord then joined Whitesnake, fronted by Deep Purple's last frontman David Coverdale, until 1984, when Deep Purple reformed with the 'classic' early 70s line-up of Lord, Paice, Blackmore, vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover.
The band enjoyed considerable success during the mid-80s, particularly as a touring act, although a strained relationship between Blackmore and Gillan led to the singer being replaced by Joe Lynn Turner for two years; Gillan only returning for the band's 25th anniversary after Blackmore had been given $250,000 to agree to the reunion.
Line-up changes continued through the 1990s, and Lord eventually left the band in 2002, when his request that they take a year off from touring was declined.
From 1970 up to this year, Lord also composed numerous solo works and albums, many of them orchestral compositions, and until his death he was working with supergroup WhoCares, with Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, HIM guitarist Mikko Lindström, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newstead, and Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain.
Jon is survived by his second wife Vickie (twin sister of Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice's wife Jacky), their daughter Amy, and his daughter from his first marriage, Sara.
50 SHADES OF GREY PROPELS SIXTEENTH CENTURY CHANT TO CLASSICAL NUMBER ONE
The Tallis Scholars' recording of Thomas Tallis' 1570s piece 'Spem In Alium' has been rising up the classical countdown for the last six weeks, eventually bringing Luciano Pavarotti's recent three week run at the top of the chart to an end on Sunday.
'50 Shades Of Grey' author EL James told OfficialCharts.com: "I am delighted to have introduced so many of my readers to this amazing sixteenth century piece of music. It is absolutely wonderful and the recording from the Tallis Scholars is particularly special. A deserved number one!"
Meanwhile Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, added: "I am thrilled that 'Spem In Alium' has attracted such a large new audience. It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human brain, an extra-ordinary and moving piece written for 40 individual singers. After performing 'Spem In Alium' for nearly 40 years I still cannot conceive how Thomas Tallis set about writing it. Even with 21st century computers it would be a daunting task! For me it ranks alongside the best works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and confirms Tallis as England's greatest composer".
The Official Classical Singles Chart was launched in May of this year to reflect the growing trend for classical music to be bought as single tracks, rather than full albums. "It shows the changing ways in which classical fans are buying their music", said Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot.
Listen to The Tallis Scholars' recording of 'Spem In Alium' here.
NEW THE WANTED LP MAY FEATURE RITA ORA, DAPPY, LMFAO
Revealing that Rihanna-alike Rita Ora, ex-N-Dubz rapper Dappy and 'Sorry For Party Rocking' hitmakers LMFAO are amongst the guests set to feature on the "worldwide album", Shiva added: "It's gonna be another one of those mixed bags; anthemic, some high-hitters, some slow songs... something for everyone, again".
So that's good for everyone across the world to know. And speaking of 'good' things, Shiva assures us that if said collaborations aren't good, they won't make the final tracklisting. "Some songs are a bit too extravagant, too iffy", he said, adding: "It's all about the music. I'm excited".
After much shouting to and from the band's backstage trailer, curly-haired Jay McGuinness was eventually able to confirm the LP's release date, saying: "Roughly November. Our marketing team probably care about the Christmas sales. Hi marketing team, thanks for your diligent work!"
MUMFORD & SONS DETAIL NEW ALBUM
The band have this to say of the new long player, which is released via Island Records in partnership with their own label Gentlemen Of The Road: "We are more than excited to release 'Babel' into the world. We had started writing new songs well before we got into the studio to record. At first, we peeled ourselves off the road quite reluctantly. We love playing live, obviously, but it had also become an important part of our creative process, we had been writing and rehearsing in sound checks, and sort of 'road-testing' new songs on our very gracious audiences. But then we fell in love with recording again".
Adding their appreciation to the album's producer Markus Dravs (also responsible for Arcade Fire's 'The Suburbs' and Mumford's 2009 debut 'Sigh No More') and engineer Robin Baynton, they continue thus: "As a band, we've never been closer or more collaborative, all working to our strengths. And so we feel that this record is a natural progression that we're proud of, and we cannot wait to take it out on the road".
The road, the road, the road. And now, why take this 'Babel' tracklisting out for a trial spin:
FLYING LOTUS LP TO INCLUDE THOM YORKE CAMEO
ODD FUTURE'S MELLOWHYPE, DOMO GENESIS SHARE NEW AUDIO
First up, MellowHype cohorts Hodgy Beats and Left Brain, whose very playable first LP 'BlackenedWhite' came out last year, are soon to share a sophomore set in the forthcoming 'Numbers'. The first anyone has heard of it, a track entitled 'Fakuoy', is available for free download via the OFWGKTA Tumblr.
Not to be outdone, OF's live-in "weed rap" protégé Domo Genesis also premiered audio from his new collaboration with producer The Alchemist. Featuring verses by Action Bronson and Genesis's Odd Future associates Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples, it's also free to collect via the OFWGKTA Tumblr.
PURITY RING STREAM LP ONLINE
KASABIAN TO PLAY BRIXTON ACADEMY
Tickets go on sale this Friday at 9am. Be there, or be Serge Pizzorno's hair.
CASS MCCOMBS ANNOUNCES TOUR
21 Aug: London, Birthdays
RUSTIE TO PREMIERE LIVE SET IN LONDON
Tickets for the standalone date, details of which are available via its Facebook event page, go on sale tomorrow.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
ATP NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Pontins, Camber Sands, 30 Nov: Wire, Mission Of Burma, Bear Claw, Alix and The Ex + Brass Unbound are amongst the first acts announced for ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas, as will also feature a rare live sighting of its guest curators Shellac. www.atpfestival.com/events/shellacxmas.php
BINGLEY MUSIC LIVE, Myrtle Park, Bingley, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: With Bingley Music Live's special Sunday night guests just announced as White Lies, the festival's diverse on-stage array will also include Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Charlatans, Jake Bugg, Maverick Sabre, Kids In Glass Houses and Citizens! www.bingleymusiclive.com
ONE LOVE FESTIVAL, The Hop Farm, Kent, 10-12 Aug: Bunny Lee, Jah Tubbys and popular TV rodent Rastamouse have all just received invites to play this year's One Love happening and thus join such existing bookings as Macka B, Dawn Penn, Don Campbell, By The Rivers and Ragga Twins at this, the UK's only reggae-based camping festival. www.onelovefestival.co.uk
REWIND FESTIVALS, Perth, Scotland/Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, 18-22 Jul: Familial pop quintet Five Star form the latest feature of Rewind's nostalgia-rich listings, as will host The Bangles, Kool & The Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Rick Astley and Soul II Soul playing across the festival's twin sites. www.rewindfestival.com
SOUTH WEST FOUR, Clapham Common, London, 25-26 Aug: Soon-to-be-ex Swedish House Mafia man Steve Angello has been confirmed as the latest DJ joining South West Four's sizeable dance roster, as also houses Skrillex, Pete Tong, Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles, Skream & Benga and Flux Pavillion. www.southwestfour.com
UNIVERSAL FINED IN JAPAN OVER TAX DISPUTE
Though, to be fair, the tax issue has arisen as a result of money moving around and between different corporate entities within the Universal group. The major says that it believes its actions were all "appropriate procedure under tax law", but the Tokyo tax man reckons the company did some restructuring simply to trim its tax bill in the country.
UK WEB-BLOCK HAS HAD NO AFFECT ON TRAFFIC, SAYS THE PIRATE BAY
The Bay's blog writer wrote: "We never really noticed a blockade ... The only thing we noticed were comments on blog posts, and lots of journalists e-mailing us more about the UK than other things for once. We never bothered to reply, so journalists wrote what they wanted us to say. In a few days everything was back to normal for everyone".
However, Geoff Taylor from the BPI, the record label trade body that secured the court injunctions that forced the ISPs to block the Bay in the first place, disagreed, telling the BBC: "The goal of our action was to reduce UK use of The Pirate Bay, which was causing particular harm to British musicians and labels. Before the court case, the site was one of the top 50 most popular sites in the UK. Today it has fallen to number 282. [Though] we recognise there is more to do to reduce illegal P2P use overall".
But for its part, the Bay questioned the reliability of the figures Taylor quoted. It wrote: "These ranking systems (like Alexa) are guestimating traffic. The information comes from people that aren't tech savvy ... And we've seen that we have more traffic than most sites we've compared e-penises with even though they are ranked 50-100 positions over us in these charts. Put simply, they're not really accurate".
It added: "And speaking of these guestimates. They're not only guessing how much traffic we have, but also what and how much is being shared and so on. We've never given out that information - we never even stored it. When we've done measurements ourselves we kind of laugh at how crappy other peoples estimates are. People that charge millions to guestimate will not give their clients a number that is against their interests... so look at these numbers with sober eyes and look at what is in the earnings for the people that hand out these numbers".
LIVE NATION BUYS REXLY
Garland says that he sees the Rexly acquisition as helping his company push ahead with data tools in the mobile space, while Live Nation will help with the marketing and distribution of the start-up's existing app.
CARLY RAE JEPSON DIDN'T EXPECT SUCCESS
She told the AP: "[When we were writing 'Call Me Maybe'], we used the idea of [it] being like a modern-day Annie Lennox-type pop [song], like 'Walking On Broken Glass'. I want to do songs like that. So, we decided to add some different instruments like strings, things you don't normally hear in pop songs right now. [But] we weren't expecting that it was going to be a game-changing song, we just thought it was a little bit of a tune and now we're all just kind of looking at each other like: 'What happened?'"
With her next album due to feature collaborations with such underground heroes as Owl City, LMFAO's Redfoo, fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff and Justin Bieber, she added: "Style-wise, I think my love affair with pop music is just getting stronger. If anything I want to go further down that road - I'm inspired by Robyn, La Roux and Dragonette, I love those artists. I'm hoping to add my little spin to pop music so that it's a little refreshing, like something you haven't heard yet".
1D ARSE NOT A 1D ARSE
We are blaming The Sun for this, which initially claimed the naked snap of Tomlinson in the shower had been posted online by Horan, though the tabloid did suspiciously remove the article a few hours later. Last week a spokesman for the band told E! News that the Instagram account in question didn't actually belong to a member of One Direction, and nor did the arse it featured.
So, consider that resolved. And that's it, we're not reporting on any more naked photos of One Direction unless they are hand delivered by the group themselves (which may or may not be the PR strategy planned for tricky album number three). Meanwhile, as The Sun story we previously linked to featuring the photo was deleted, presumably leaving all the 1D fans who came to theCMUwebsite.com having Googled "One Direction arse" very disappointed, here's a link to the E! News page that does have the photo. If you can convince yourself that 'What Makes You Beautiful' is one of the best pop songs ever written, you can probably convince yourself that's really a 1D boy in the shower.