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THREE-STRIKES CUTS PIRACY IN NEW ZEALAND, SAYS LOCAL RECORD INDUSTRY
As much previously reported, New Zealand is one of a handful of countries to have introduced what labels like to call a 'graduated response' system for combating illegal file-sharing, via which internet service providers are forced to send warning letters to suspected file-sharers, usually with the ultimate threat of some kind of sanction if warnings are not headed (eg a fine, net suspension, public exposure of all the Justin Bieber tracks they've downloaded, that kind of thing).
So far, says RIANZ, some 2766 warning letters have been sent out, and handful of those accused of file-sharing have now reached strike three, according to TVNZ, though they are yet to face the Copyright Tribunal where they could face a fine of up to NZ$15,000.
According to the record industry trade body, there has been a noticeable drop in file-sharing in the country since the new rules went live - with one stat claiming that, whereas before three-strikes the top 200 movies of the moment would be illegally downloaded up to 110,000 times a month in the country, that number has now dropped to 50,000.
But, RIANZ adds, while progress has been made, 40% of New Zealanders still routinely access unlicensed content on the net, and more should be done. The solution, in the trade body's mind, is to reduce the fee to the rights owners for instigating a three-strikes letter from the current NZ$25 to NZ$2, so that labels could increase their letter requests by more than tenfold.
Three-strikes, of course, has been contentious wherever it has been proposed, and there were initial delays getting the system live in New Zealand because of protests and disagreements as to how the letter sending should work. Stats from South Korea, where three-strikes is also live, as well as these from New Zealand, both suggest graduated response warning letters can have an impact on file-sharing, though those who oppose the whole thing would likely interpret data differently.
In the UK, of course, the 2010 Digital Economy Act provided the framework for a three-strike system (well, for strike one anyway), though as yet no warning letters have been sent. A stack of celebrity musicians put their name to an open letter this week calling on PM David Cameron to prioritise getting the graduated response process described in the DEA live as soon as possible.
BENN ADMITS OLYMPICS WEREN'T MAIN REASON FOR CANCELLING BIG CHILL
As previously reported, Festival Republic acquired the previously independent Big Chill in 2009, after a tough few years for the event forced it into liquidation. Plans for the 2012 edition were already underway, and some bands had already been booked, when Benn announced that it would not go ahead.
At the time, Benn said: "I looked long and hard late last year at moving the date so it didn't clash with the Olympics, but with the mix of the festival fans desire to keep the date and an inability to find an alternative date that works, I plumped for maintaining the existing weekend. Sadly, the artist availability and confirmations we were achieving led me to conclude that I couldn't risk going ahead with the event [in its usual form] this year".
However, yesterday he told BBC Newsbeat that he is trying to come up with a new format for Big Chill, saying: "I'm sure something will return that will have a completely fresh take on what a festival should be. The Big Chill [cancellation this year] was [due to] a clash with the Olympics [in part]. But more importantly with The Big Chill, it was me not being absolutely certain where I wanted to take the festival and what I was doing with the festival".
He added: "I'm actually going down there next week to the very same site to have a look. I'll go with a couple of people that I hope will be working with me on - not The Big Chill, it won't necessarily be The Big Chill - but a replacement or something to be born out of that".
GARY LIGHTBODY GUEST STARS IN 'GAME OF THRONES', SNOW PATROL GRANTED LATE LIVE LICENSE
Posting a photo of himself in authentic GOF garb on Snow Patrol's Facebook page, the radio rockstar and part-time thespian added: "So I did my scene this morning for 'Game Of Thrones'. I looked like this. Can't say much, just it's no pivotal role. Fun!"
Yes, what fun. What's also fun is that Snow Patrol, who will perform at the opening of the BT-sponsored Olympics fest in London's Hyde Park on Friday, have been granted a late-night license entitling them to make loud sounds beyond the park's customary curfew. Unlike poor old Bruce Springsteen, whose set at this year's Hard Rock Calling festival was halted at 10.40pm as per normal noise regulations, Snow Patrol are permitted to play until half past midnight. Hurrah!
JACKSON ESTATE EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER GUARDIANSHIP OF LATE SINGER'S CHILDREN
Katherine Jackson was reported missing to the police last week, but she turned up at the home of her daughter Rebbie. Another of her sons, Randy Jackson, subsequently told MSNBC: "She's been playing cards every day. She is having a good time. Her health was ailing. And her doctors ordered that she get immediate rest, isolate herself from the outside world and rest. She wasn't doing too well".
While it's good that the Jackson matriarch is safe, Randy's comments have only increased concern about his mother's abilities to care for Michael's children, one of whom - Paris - said on Twitter this week that she hadn't seen her grandmother for eight days, and "something is really off, this isn't like her at all - I wanna talk directly to my grandmother". Randy Jackson said that he and his sister Janet had tried to visit the three children at their LA home to explain the situation regards their grandmother, but that "we were kind of denied access".
Although stressing it wasn't their role to directly intervene on the guardianship of the Jackson children, estate bosses John Branca and John McClain did express concern yesterday, saying in a statement: "We are acutely concerned about the welfare of Mrs Jackson, and most particularly with Michael's minor children. We are concerned that we do what we can to protect them from undue influences, bullying, greed, and other unfortunate circumstances. While we do not have standing to directly intervene, we have monitored the situation and will continue to do so. We believe measures are being put in place that will help protect them from what they are having to deal with".
In his interview with MSNBC, Randy also accused his late brother's estate of exaggerating the issue around Katherine Jackson's ability to care for her grandchildren in a bid to distract attention from the recent letter in which a number of Jackson siblings accused Branca and McClain of forging his brother's will in order to take control of his estate. As previously reported, the executors last week issued a statement denying those allegations, pointing out a court had already debunked the 'fake will' conspiracy theory, though Randy and several other Jacksons are standing by those claims.
With the exception of Tito, who yesterday retracted his support of the 'fake will' allegations, saying in a statement: "I completely retract my signature from the 17 Jul letter sent to the executors of my brother's Michael's estate and repudiate all the claims made against them. I don't want any part of that letter whatsoever".
Whether that's linked to the rumours the estate plans to smile on the idea that his son, the aforementioned Tito Jr, should care for Michael's children isn't clear.
PRS LANCHES MUSIC MAKEOVER COMPETITION FOR 2012
PRS said in a statement yesterday: "Research conducted by PRS For Music with pub-data specialists CGA Strategy Ltd identified the significant positive impact of live and recorded music on sales in pubs - an increase of £667 on Fridays and Saturdays and 36 more units each day during the week. In deeply challenging economic times for the great British pub, the research confirms that live music is a vital life-line to many venues".
As well as staging the Music Makeover competition, the song rights collecting society will also be sending packs to pub owners this summer offering advice on how to make live music work. There's more about the competition at www.prsformusic.com/musicmakeover
KOBALT SIGNS MCCARTNEY ADMINISTRATION DEAL
The deal will cover all of McCartney's post-Beatles solo songwriting work and his output with Wings, plus compositions by over 1200 other songwriters in the MPL Communications, MPL Music Publishing and Cherio Corp catalogues.
Kobalt founder and CEO Willard Hadritz told Billboard: "It's one of the biggest privately-owned catalogues in the world. We will put the focus on creating some noise around this catalogue going forward".
DAN SNAITH ANNOUNCES DAPHNI ALBUM
Says Snaith: "DJs have the potential to blindside you. During the time I was making the Caribou album 'Swim', I fell back in love with those moments in small, dark clubs when a DJ puts on a piece of music that not only can you not identify, but that until you heard it, you could not have conceived of it existing. Daphni tracks are rough and spontaneous. They're about working fast and intuitively, capturing the manic energy needed to start a track one afternoon, and have it finished and be playing it in a club that night".
Listen to one of those "rough and spontaneous" tracks, 'Ye Ye', here, after which you'll find the album's tracklisting.
Yes, I Know
BAT FOR LASHES DEBUT NEW SINGLE, NUDE LP ART
It bears the title 'Laura', and will be available free to all those pre-ordering the long player prior to its release on 15 Oct.
As well as listening to 'Laura' and weeping to your heart's content, you can also now look at BFL's risqué LP artwork, as features a naked Khan carrying an (also naked) man in a kind of artistic fireman's lift. The image is credited to revered NYC photog Ryan McGinley - for whom nudity is a longstanding visual motif - though, so it's all okay.
KREAYSHAWN SCREENS NEW VIDEO
And here is the equally inexplicable video for it, as includes a fuzzy dip-dye weave and various other feats of wig-making.
BOYS NOIZE ANNOUNCES ALBUM
Here's a tracklisting, after which you'll note those tour dates:
What You Want
9 Oct: Glasgow, Academy
PAWS TO RELEASE DEBUT LP
Speaking about the LP, which is out on 1 Oct, guitarist/vocalist Philip Taylor says: "The thirteen tracks that make up the album are a mixture of old and new. We just picked thirteen puzzle pieces from our catalogue that we could piece together to make a final picture, representing the past two years of our writing. The choices all came comfortably and they flowed together without much thought".
The album's double A-sided lead single 'Jellyfish/Bloodline' is released on 30 Jul, and you can listen to both halves of it here.
NE-YO DECLINES MARTIN LUTHER KING FILM ROLE OVER FAT FEARS
The singer, whose acting CV includes a part in big-screen action smash 'Battle: Los Angeles' (great preparation for playing King, surely), tells The Mirror: "I definitely want to do more acting but it's got to make sense with the music. I recently had to turn down an amazing opportunity to be in a movie playing Martin Luther King".
But wait, it gets better (worse): "They wanted to start shooting at the time my album 'RED' comes out and wanted me to gain 30 pounds, so I couldn't do it. I'm kicking myself but acting can't take the place of my music. Plus, I've been killing myself in the gym for months preparing for this album because I wanted a complete makeover".
TALL SHIPS ANNOUNCE XOYO SHOW
Check out new single 'Gallop' here.
GREEN MAN SPONSORS CRICKET TEAM
Marc Jones from CCCC told CMU: "The club would like to say a huge thanks to the Green Man Festival for the sponsorship of the new kit this year. It's great that they choose to support a local club and we will be repaying the favour by coming to taste their cider and listen to some good tunes over the festival weekend. The club is always looking for new playing members and volunteers to help out and the festival and their organisers have done us a real favour by supporting us this year".
"Bowled over", very good. Green Man takes place from 16-19 Aug with sets from artists including Van Morrison, Feist, Mogwai. And maybe some cricket.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR, Catton, Derby, 10-12 Aug: Andraste, Dave Macpherson, IAMI, Kyrbgrinder, Kobra And The Lotus, Absolva, Orianthi, Dakesis, Skarlett Riot, Triaxis and The Mercy House. www.bloodstock.uk.com
ITUNES FESTIVAL, The Roundhouse, London, 1-30 Sep: Pink. www.itunesfestival.com
The annual event had seen delegate numbers drop off for a number of years, as the traditional big trade-fair model became less viable for budget sensitive music companies - so much so it didn't take place at all in 2009.
It continued to struggle on its return in 2010, not least because of new competition in Germany from Berlin Music Week and the Reeperbahn event in Hamburg, both arguably more suited to the modern industry, where execs prefer more intimate networking opportunities, and look for more credible artist showcases.
AMAZON ACCOUNTS FOR FIFTH OF UK ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL SALES
But, according to the latest stats, Amazon has now grown its market share by 3.2% year on year, meaning it now accounts for 21.1% of entertainment product sales, giving it quite a lead over HMV, which now accounts for 16.6% of sales, down from 17.4% in the same period a year earlier.
Kantar Worldpanel Consumer Insight Director Fiona Keenan told Retail Week: "Amazon has grown its market share considerably since last year and now has a convincing lead over HMV, which has again seen year-on-year losses. The retailer will undoubtedly have been affected by its store closures; however, the trend of consumers switching spend online has also had an impact".
"However, HMV is not alone - supermarkets too are feeling the squeeze as Tesco dropped 1.7 percentage points and Asda 0.2 percentage points in the past year. Sainsbury's is the notable exception to this rule, increasing its share of the market to 5.3% as a result of a strong focus on its video offer".
JAZZ ATKIN JOINS OOH BRILLIANT
Ooh Brilliant's James Penycate told CMU: "We're delighted to welcome Jazz Atkin to the role of Digital Project Manager. Jazz will become an integral part of all our digital campaigns working with the PR team and external PR teams, labels and management companies on our rostered acts. Jazz has first rate skills and an fantastic energy about her, which will benefit everyone we work with".
He added: "She joins Ooh Brilliant at a very exciting time with campaigns underway or due to start shortly for Niki & The Dove, Gold Panda, Best Coast, Peggy Sue, Ghostpoet, The Neighbourhood, Fixers, Star Slinger, Echo Lake, Swiss Lips and No Pain In Pop, Wichita Recordings and more".
CAA RECRUITS ITB AGENT
Confirming the appointment, CAA's music boss Rob Light told reporters: "Maria brings to CAA an exceptional eye for talent and an expertise in developing artists. She has a deep understanding of the electronic music landscape and will be a terrific asset to our team as we continue to expand the agency's global business".
Last week CAA's US team lost one of its agents, David Zedeck, to live music giant Live Nation, where he will become Exec VP Global Talent & Artist Development.
DJ SHADOW STRIKES UP PARTNERSHIP WITH BITTORRENT
BitTorrent users will be invited to download a free digital package including three tracks from the record, plus videos and photos. They will then also be invited to "support" the DJ by downloading a new bit of RealPlayer software, with BitTorrent and Shadow seemingly getting a commission every time a fan does so.
BitTorrent's Director Of Marketing Matt Mason told reporters: "This is the first time ever that an artist has worked directly with BitTorrent to monetise content. It is kind of a giant leap forward".
While BitTorrent has become favoured by many illegal file-sharers in recent years, the tech company itself is not involved in any of the piracy services that utilise its technology, though its relations with the music industry have nevertheless suffered over the years because of its association with file-sharing.
As previously reported, in addition to the rarities record, Shadow also plans to release a best of box set later this year.
FLO RIDA "DEFINITELY" DOING WORKOUT DVD
Having spoken about his present LP 'Wild Ones' (out now, everyone) and his loyal fanbase to Billboard, the rapper was then quizzed on the rumoured fitness venture, to which he answered: "I'm definitely going to do that. I have quite a workout regimen. I've always been about fitness and my fans can definitely appreciate that".
Asked if the regime would be suitable to do at home, Flo said: "It will definitely be flexible".
As will his fans, presumably, once they've watched it.