|WHAT IS THIS? The CMU Daily - to which you are subscribed. Unsubscribe information is at the end.
NOTE: Make sure you 'enable images' to see this e-bulletin properly. CLICK HERE to read this online.
ASSET SALE PROPOSALS WIDEN AS UNIVERSAL FIGHTS FOR EMI
As previously reported, the major had already committed to sell EMI's classical and jazz labels to overcome regulator concerns about the size and dominance of a combined Universal/EMI, and had said it would also sell some or all of the Virgin Records division (it increasingly looks like "all").
Now, according to the Financial Times, in a letter to the European indie label community, Universal chief Lucian Grainge has indicated that he might also sell the Mute catalogue that is still in EMI's control, the Sanctuary catalogue that sits within the existing Universal empire and, perhaps most significantly, the Chrysalis UK recordings catalogue and its Ensign imprint (though not including the Chrysalis-controlled Robbie Williams repertoire). The aim, insiders say, is to ensure that Universal, post its EMI acquisition, wouldn't control any more than 40% of any recorded music market in the EU.
Grainge has also reportedly responded to the previously reported open letter from Patrick Zelnik, the boss of French independent Naïve and Co-President of indie labels trade body IMPALA, who has come out in support of Universal's EMI bid, mainly because he hopes the Virgin label will go on the market, and he and his old friend Richard Branson can bid for it. In his letter in the FT, Zelnik said Universal should commit to sell any assets divested as part of its EMI takeover to indie music companies, and Grainge has seemingly now offered such a "first right" commitment to the indies if his big acquisition goes through.
As previously reported, the indie label community is split over whether to continue fighting the Universal/EMI merger or not - though IMPALA officially remains opposed to the deal, and Merlin, which represents a stack of indies in the digital domain, has said its board remains unanimous in its viewpoint that a combined Universal/EMI would be bad news.
Though the FT says that Kenny Gates of indie group [PIAS] welcomed Grainge's proposals yesterday, indicating his company might bid for any assets sold, and Gates' colleague Michel Lambot is another IMPALA co-President. Meanwhile it's thought Mute boss Daniel Miller, who bought his record company out of its EMI alliance in 2010, would be very tempted to support any arrangement that would enable him to buy back the Mute trademarks and catalogue that are still owned by the major from the days of their business partnership.
Other indie label bosses, though, are sure to remain opposed to the Universal/EMI deal in its entirety, which will likely cause tensions within the indie community (and possibly even more so than the last time the indie sector found itself divided over a possible major label merger, when then Warner chief Edgar Bronfman Jr tried to negotiate an alliance to get indie label support for his ultimately unsuccessful bid to buy EMI before Terra Firma swooped five years ago).
Talk of widespread asset selling of this kind is also likely to cause anxieties back at EMI HQ, where label staff still face an uncertain future, while watching the jobs cull going on downstairs at EMI Music Publishing, acquired by Sony/ATV last month. The merger with Universal was always likely to result in some downsizing, though the buyer indicated it wouldn't be as drastic as after past major label mergers. But if big chunks of the company are being sold to third parties, there's likely to be quite a bit of confusion, for a time, as to what that means for EMI employees.
None of which is much fun for the peoples of EMI Towers who, and God knows how, continue to sign artists and release records amidst all the dramas over in Brussels and Washington. Though the continued twists and turns will ensure that, when I get round to writing it, 'EMI The Opera' has an exciting final act. And with a guest star cameo by Sandie Shaw no less...
FAC SAYS ARTISTS SHOULD GET FIRST DIBS ON ANY EMI ASSETS UP FOR SALE
And whereas Naïve's Patrick Zelnik, in his open letter on the transaction earlier this week, argued that the EMI acquisition would be acceptable providing the indie sector, in which he operates, was given first dibs on any asset sales, the UK artists body has an alternative suggestion: commit to sell EMI (and, for that matter, Universal) catalogues back to the artists who recorded them in the first place.
The letter highlights an important consequence of any music rights sale, ie that the recording artists (or songwriters if it's a publisher being sold) whose past work is owned and/or controlled by the music company for sale suddenly find themselves having to work and negotiate with a whole new team of people. Sometimes that can go in an artists' favour if relations with their label's former owners had turned sour, but often acts and their managers suddenly see their friends and champions within their label or publisher eased out.
If Universal is going to have to streamline its catalogues to win approval for its EMI bid anyway, why not give the "first right" to bid to all and any artists who might be in a position to pay market value to acquire their former catalogues. The FAC told CMU this morning: "Should regulators consider allowing the Universal/EMI merger to proceed, we believe that all artists signed to any Universal or EMI label should first be allowed to acquire their rights, at market value. Indeed, any artist affected by this deal going ahead should be offered such a remedy".
Noting Universal boss Lucian Grainge's previous pledge to spearhead a "manifesto for the new music industry" as part of any EMI deal, the featured artist trade body added: "This is an historic opportunity to create a more sustainable music industry - a future music industry more meaningfully described as a collection of individual artist businesses rather than specific sectors like records, publishing and live".
The full letter in the FT, included below, is signed by FAC co-chairs Ed O'Brien of Radiohead, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Sandie Shaw, all of whom, like Zelnik (with his ambition to control Virgin Records) do have a vested interest of sorts. All have worked with EMI at some point in their careers (though Shaw has actually worked with Universal subsidiaries more frequently).
Radiohead parted company with the UK major somewhat acrimoniously after Terra Firma's 2007 acquisition of the firm, while Pink Floyd were involved in long drawn out legal wranglings with the label over the future exploitation of their catalogue. Both bands would therefore likely be interested in bidding to regain control of their earlier works if such a sale was on the agenda, allowing them to truly control their future digital destinies. And the world may well be a better place if they could, though, of course, The Head and The Floyd constitute two of EMI's most valuable catalogues, and it seems unlikely Grainge would want to relinquish control of either of them.
The FAC's letter is as follows...
Sir, The views of Patrick Zelnik ("A Universal EMI merger could rescue the music business", Comment, July 17) were as welcome as they were needed. His analysis was incisive, but his solution stopped one step short of perfect.
MORE PRESSURE ON GOOGLE TO MORE PROACTIVELY TACKLE PIRACY
The Supreme Court judgement overturned earlier rulings in the lower French courts after the country's record label trade body SNEP sought an injunction forcing the web giant to act on such auto-complete terms. The top court concluded such an injunction would be an "appropriate and proportionate measure" to help copyright owners protect their rights online.
The matter will now have to return to France's Court Of Appeal for a final ruling on what Google will be forced to do. The web firm, of course, insists that it is a responsible player when it comes to protecting intellectual property rights online, and that it routinely balances the interests of rights owners and content users, and would no doubt point out that it has already voluntarily introduced measures to try and stop auto-complete from directing users towards pirated music and movies.
Though, of course, and as previously noted, in some parts of the music industry anti-piracy rhetoric has now shifted very much in Google's direction, while governments around the world fiddle around with new laws to force internet service providers to take a more proactive role in policing online copyright infringement (the result of the music and movie industries' last big push on this issue). U2 manager Paul McGuinness summarised this shift to seeing the web giant as the problem by telling MIDEM at the start of the year "it amazes me that Google has not done the right thing".
While auto-complete terms have caused anger amongst rights owners in the past, and while some still get hot and bothered when their content appears on YouTube without permission, most annoyance amongst rights owners (and managers like McGuinness) with regards Google these days focuses on the search results people see when they type in an artist's name - ie that, alongside and sometimes above official artist and label sites, come sites offering free content without licence.
Google, of course, will remove such links if informed about them, in compliance with American copyright law. And UK record label trade body the BPI is one of the most prolific organisations in demanding such link removals from web companies - a report by the government's IP Crime Group this week reckons it could submit some 12 million such requests in 2012.
But there is a growing feeling in the music rights sector that this approach puts an unnecessary burden on the rights owners, and it should be the responsibility of Google itself to automatically remove offending links, especially for websites that have been proven in court to be enabling infringement (ie The Pirate Bay et al). In the US, this resentment feeds into a wider consensus that the country's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which sets out the takedown system framework that most web firm's work to, sets the standard too low for the tech companies.
When faced with this debate on BBC2's Newsnight last night, Google stuck with its standard line, that it is a responsible company, but that it has to balance the interests of rights owners with users. It also insists that rights owners, rather than obsessing about its search engines, should focus on websites that more tangibly profit from piracy, and go after the payment services and ad networks that enable said services to make money (something outlined, of course, in that recent joint report published by Google and PRS For Music).
Of course not everyone in the wider music industry is anti-Google, and some would likely agree with the web giant as to where rights owners and artists should prioritise their anti-piracy efforts. Though this debate is likely to rumble on for sometime.
LAMB OF GOD FRONTMAN DISCUSSES MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE
As previously reported, Blythe was arrested and charged when the band arrived in Prague to play a gig in the city at the end of last month. The charge relates to the death of a fan following a performance in the Czech capital two years ago. According to reports, the fan, named only as Daniel N, climbed onto the stage several times during the show, and on the third occasion was pushed off, allegedly by Blythe, and fell onto his head, sustaining injuries that led to his death.
Blythe posted bail of four million Czech koruna (approximately £130,000) the following week. However, he was told he would have to stay in jail for at least another ten days after the prosecution contested his release on bail, saying that he was likely to attempt to flee the country.
Speaking to Blesk, Blythe said: "I do not know anything about what happened [at the Prague show two years ago]. I remember very few shows [in any great detail], because I play so many. I just remember that the club had a small stage, which we barely fit onto. Also, apparently there was a security guard because lots of people were climbing onto the stage. I think I remember one guy in particular, but I could be confused with other clubs. Since I don't wear my glasses when we play, I see little more than outlines of people. In any case, I did not attack anyone. The only thing that could have happened was that I came into contact with someone from the audience, when I was protecting myself from unpredictable [people jumping onto the stage]".
Asked about his treatment by police and the logistics of the case, he said: "I believe that [the police investigation is] very professional and it follows the principles of good conduct. But in terms of justice, frankly, I do not understand because it is different than the US. I thought that if we paid bail, I'd be released. I definitely don't know how my charges will be explained in court, as our goal [at a show] is to make sure the audience enjoys themselves".
Blythe is next due in court today, where the prosecution's challenge to the singer being released on bail will be considered again. If convicted, Blythe faces up to ten years in prison.
JACKSON ESTATE HITS OUT AS STAR'S SIBLINGS BACK FAKED WILL THEORY
But the estate says all such claims were debunked long ago, and that it's disappointing that certain Jackson family members left out of the will are now backing those allegations. The legal statement says: "Any doubts about the validity of Michael's will and his selection of executors were thoroughly and completely debunked two years ago when a challenge was rejected by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals and, finally, the California Supreme Court".
It continued: "Under the supervision of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, co-Executors John Branca and John McClain have diligently carried out their fiduciary duties as well as their obligation to Michael to make sure that his estate benefits the only family members he named in his will - his mother and his three children".
And concludes: "We are saddened that false and defamatory accusations grounded in stale internet conspiracy theories are now being made by certain members of Michael's family whom he chose to leave out of his will. We are especially disheartened that they come at a time when remarkable progress has been made to secure the financial future of his children by turning around the estate's finances as well as during a time when so many of Michael's fans, old and new, are enjoying his artistry through exciting new projects".
FIDLAR SIGN TO WICHITA RECORDINGS
Now to set the mood for all this forthcoming stuff, here's 'Oh', taken from band's eponymous 2011 EP.
KEVIN RICHARDSON REJOINS BACKSTREET BOYS TO RECORD NEW LP
Since Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McClean and (my all-time favourite) Brian Littrell have operated as a quartet across their last two long players - '2007's 'Unbreakable' and 2009's 'This Is Us' - the new record will mark the group's first as a five-piece since 2005.
It's set for release in Spring 2013 which, by commercially convenient coincidence, is also when the Backstreet Boys will celebrate their 20th anniversary.
Comments Richardson of the timely re-group: "Being back with my brothers again feels great. I love these guys. We have gone through so much together. We just have a chemistry . . . a bond that will always be".
Littrell adds: "Having Kevin back in the mix adds that extra special magic to our group. We're over the moon to have him back and it's a great way to give back to our fans".
DJ SHADOW TO RELEASE 'BEST OF' BOX SET
'Reconstructed: The Best Of DJ Shadow', which includes classic collaborations with Richard Ashcroft and Little Dragon, plus two unreleased demos entitled 'Listen' and 'Won't You Be', is set for issue in September. It'll also be available as part of 'Reconstructed: The Complete DJ Shadow', an autographed, limited edition (500 copies in all) box set containing eight CDs, a twelve-inch vinyl, an essay by music writer Dave Tompkins, and also... photos!
'Best Of' tracklisting:
Midnight In A Perfect World
back to top
ODD FUTURE OUTLINE NEW LPS FROM TYLER, DOMO GENESIS, MELLOWHYPE AND TRASH TALK
And while, according to the digital oracle that is the collective's official Tumblr, 'Wolf' won't be out until November, Domo Genesis's 'No Idols' will be released on 1 Aug (weirdly, a Wednesday), with MellowHype's sophomore suite 'Numbers' arriving on 1 Oct.
The press release - captioned "This Is Our 'Press Release' (those things are kinda stupid)" - also bears news of '119', the new record from Sacramento hardcore band Trash Talk, who signed to Odd Future Records back in May.
And that's it for now, bar listings for a Septeber 'Camp Flog Naw Tour' that'll presumably feature most if not all of the OF line-up. Though being an all-American tour, who really cares about any of it?
Anyway. One thing we can all appreciate is second preview of MellowHype's 'Numbers' in new track 'La Bonita'. Listen to that here.
ATP HOSTING ONE-OFF PURITY RING, OM, BALAM ACAB AND BAND OF HORSES SHOWS
Psychedelic chantsmen Om - whose new LP 'Advaitic Songs' is out now via Drag City - play the Scala on 30 Sep, while witch house project Balam Acab visits Dalston's Birthdays on 10 Oct.
Seattle rock quintet Band Of Horses will trail the 17 Sep release of their new long player, 'Mirage Rock', with a show at the Hammersmith Apollo on 20 Nov, while Canadian alt-pop unit Purity Ring will appear at the Scala on 20 Nov in promotion of their new record 'Shrines'.
FLYING LOTUS TO PLAY BRIXTON ALL-NIGHTER
It now has album art and a tracklisting, the latter of which tells us that not only will the LP feature a previously mentioned appearance from Thom Yorke, it'll also include guest cameos by Erykah Badu, Thundercat, Niki Randa and Laura Darlington.
But wait, because before you take a look at that, you should know that FL's only currently listed British show will take the form of an "all-nighter" at London's Brixton Academy. That takes place on 3 Nov, and will comprise "two special Flying Lotus performances".
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF ANNOUNCE ALBUM, TOUR DATES
You can listen to the entire LP, plus download its title track for free, via this SoundCloud player.
30 Aug: Glasgow, Pivo Pivo
And from the CMU archives, in case you'd like a little extra reading, here's Alynda's Q&A from May 2011.
PULP, HOT CHIP, WARPAINT, GRIMES TO CAPTAIN MAIDEN COACHELLA CRUISE
Taking two separate routes - the first in the Bahamas from 16-19 Dec, and the second to Jamaica on 19-23 Dec - the SS Coachella will also carry the likes of Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, Simian Mobile Disco, Black Lips, Cloud Nothings, El-P and Father John Misty.
Sea-faring activities will include DJ tutorials, a 'snowball bar crawl' and - best and most bizarrely of all - wine-tasting with James Murphy.
Further details at ss.coachella.com
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR, Catton Hall, Walton-on-Trent, South Derbyshire, 9-12 Aug: Malefice. www.bloodstock.uk.com
BROWNSTOCK MUSIC FESTIVAL, Chelmsford, Essex, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: Labrinth, Nero, Zane Lowe, Grandmaster Flash, Toddla T, Artwork, Doorly, Jackmaster, The Cuban Brothers, Magistrates, Extra Curricular, Mele, Missing Andy, Format, Angry vs The Bear, BB, Man Get Out, British Intelligence, Stealing Signs. www.brownstock.co.uk
BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER, Butlins Resort, Bognor Regis, 18 - 20 Jan 2013: Andrew Weatherall & Ivan Smagghe, Ben UFO, Dave Clarke, Eats Everything, Erol Alkan, Heidi Presents The Jackathon, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, Scuba, The Toddla T Soundysystem. buggedoutweekender.net
FARMFESTIVAL, Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Somerset, 28 Jul: Tall Ships, Klumzy Tung, More Like Trees, DJ Mishima, Fingerman. www.farmfestival.co.uk
SWN, various venues, Cardiff, Wales, 18-21 Oct: A Girl Called Ruth, Afro Cluster, Al Lewis, Among Brothers, Arcane Roots, Bo Ningen, Brotherhood Of The Lake, Chain Of Flowers, Charlotte Church, Clock Opera, Death At Sea, Denuo, Django Django, Draw Me Stories, Dry The River, Errors, Eugene Francis Jnr, Exit International, Falls, Faye, Feed The Rhino, Fire Season, Fist Of The First Man, Gallops!, Gallows, Glass Pear, Golden Fable, Greta Isaac, Gulp, Hey Sholay, Hysterical Injury, Irma Vep, Islet, Jemma Roper, Jewellers, Joanna Gruesome, John Grant, Katell Keineg, Lanterns On The Lake, Laura J Martin, Liars, Manhattan Coast, Marc O'Reilly, Micachu & The Shapes, Milk Maid, Mowbird, Nebula, No Ceremony, No Thee No Ess, Out Of The Woods, Paper Aeroplanes, Peace, PINS, Prosperina, Quiet Marauder, Rangda, Rozi Plain, Rusty Shackle, Sam Airey, Scritti Politti, Sex Hands, Shy And The Fight, Sion Russell Jones, The Adelines, The Ash And The Oak, The Bright Young People, The Invisible, The Knox, The Lovely Eggs, The School, The Vestals, This Many Boyfriends, Tomos Lewis, Torches, Turbowolf, Urban Development Vocal Collective (UDVC), Various Cruelties, Verity Susman, We're No Heroes, Zervas & Pepper. swnfest.com
THE GARDEN PARTY, The Mason's Arms, Kensal Green, London: Justin Robertson, Rocky, Barry Ashworth, Russ Cuban, Paradise 45, Terry Farley, Dub Pistols, Don Letts, Sophie Lloyd, Severino. www.carnivalgardenparty
LATHAM ALLIES WITH PARTISAN PR
Confirming the arrangement, Hall told CMU: "I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work with Chris. He is one of the most experienced, popular and respected PR's in the industry and he'll be
Latham added: "I hold Peter in the highest regard, both as a friend and professionally. He has quietly built Partisan into a successful, highly rated PR company with a talented young team. I jumped at the chance to join forces with him because I think together we all offer a really strong proposition".
OLLY MURS DISCUSSES THE FALL
In a moment of perfect slapstick, Murs slipped while walking down a set of stairs to get off the stage at last weekend's GuilFest, while still singing Stevie Wonder's 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours'. As is the way these days, the video was online within minutes and quickly spread itself over the internet, like jam on the crumpet that thinking about this metaphor has made me want to eat.
Discussing the incident, Murs told Capital FM: "It was really funny because the guy who was filming had to cut it, [but when] the song finished I said 'I bet someone has got this on video and it's going to be straight on YouTube'. Then the next morning my management said they'd found it already, it's so funny. Literally for the last couple of days I've had every friend I know - my cousins, my uncles - everybody I know is killing me".
Two attempts there, but he failed to actually pinpoint why it was funny. Shall we give him another try? Yes. Go on Olly: "It was really funny because I was in last night and I got an email from Robbie [Williams]. And Robbie said: 'Just so you feel better about yourself'. And he sent me a link of him falling over on stage at this massive show, live on TV, in front of 24 countries and 300 million people or something. I thought that was really sweet".
Nope, that's not why it was funny either. See if you can spot why it's funny here.