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US INDIES GROUP CALLS FOR AMERICAN REMEDIES FOR UNIVERSAL/EMI DEAL
In a statement, A2IM said: "With no divestitures or operating remedies proposed for the US - the world's largest music market and home to the vast majority of the technology companies who work with the music community - the negative impact on music consumers and emerging technology companies [of this proposed deal] is clear".
"Such market concentration will diminish healthy competition, providing one dominant market leader [with] damaging clout in terms of both consumer pricing and the means with which music is made available. Approval of such an acquisition with no US remedies will [also] further constrain [independent music] resources. We continue to join our European IMPALA independent music label colleagues in their concern over this acquisition and reiterate A2IM's opposition to this transaction".
As with IMPALA, A2IM's official viewpoint is that the regulator - the Federal Trade Commission in the US - should block the Universal/EMI merger outright, though many in the independent community on both sides of the Atlantic expect the deal to be ultimately approved, but want to see the maximum possible remedies attached to any approval, forcing Universal to sell of large chunks of EMI. As previously reported, proposed remedies in Europe include selling much of EMI's classical and jazz catalogue in the region, whole businesses in some territories, and the Parlophone and EMI/Chrysalis labels in the UK.
US competition regulators are traditionally less demanding than their European counterparts, though this deal has been put under a lot of scrutiny Stateside, and it remains to be seen whether any remedy negotiations will be required before Universal gets the all clear. As it currently stands, the mega-major still hopes to take full ownership of EMI's all important Capitol division in the US.
Responding to A2IM's latest statement, Universal noted the previously reported divide in the indie community, where some remain vehemently opposed to the Universal/EMI deal, but others have expressed no strong opinions one way or the other, while others still have spoken in favour of Universal taking ownership of the EMI record company (possibly with an eye to bidding for any EMI assets that regulators force to be sold).
The major said in a statement to Billboard: "[A2IM] clearly does not speak for the many indie labels and artists who have come out publicly in support of the deal. There is growing recognition that Universal Music's investment in EMI will create more opportunities for new and established artists, expand music output and support new digital services. Barriers to entry have evaporated in today's digital environment and there are more ways than ever for labels and artists to get their music out to fans. We are working with regulators around the world and are confident of winning approval".
INDUSTRY WELCOMES HOOPER'S COPYRIGHT HUB REPORT
As previously reported, the exchange would aim to pull together data about copyright ownership from all the content industries, making it easier for those wishing to licence music or other copyright material to work out who they need to speak to, and how a licensing deal might be done.
The exchange, or 'copyright hub' in Hooper's words, funded in the main by the content industries, would also take on responsibility for copyright education, and would oversee issues around so called orphan works.
Hooper's report proposes tapping into existing copyright databases, and databases in development, in order to be able to better 'signpost' rights ownership, though where there are gaps in those databases rights owners would be able to register directly with the hub if they wanted to, possibly putting in place the framework for a future compulsory copyright registry (though this is rarely mentioned by rights owners or political types).
Hooper also proposes that the report's co-author Ros Lynch now lead a steering committee to put his proposals into action, possibly with a little government funding to get things going.
Welcoming Hooper's report, UK Music boss Jo Dipple told CMU: "The front-footedness of the British music industry has been rightly recognised in Richard's report. Our industry has shown great leadership in enabling the digital market place. But there is work to be done and UK Music has tasked itself to give the [government] an annual update on the proposals. It is very important that we work together to maintain the momentum this process has created. We look forward to hearing the government's response to specific proposals".
PRS chief Robert Ashcroft added: "We both welcome and support Richard Hooper's findings and will work with our partners in the industry to meet the challenges he identifies, providing a better licensing environment for all. Looking ahead, we believe that the copyright hub recommended by Hooper could place Britain at the very centre of the global, online market for the creative industries. Coupled with industry efforts for a Global Repertoire Database, it will prove to be a critical building block in what must inevitably be an international project".
And PPL boss Peter Leathem said: "In their very sensible report Richard Hooper and Dr Ros Lynch have understood the importance of robust data to support licensing in the digital age and the efforts that PPL, and its record company and performer members, have made on this front. Even though there is more to be done they have helpfully suggested building on such work to make both direct and collective licensing solutions even more compelling to businesses".
He continued: "PPL has also committed to continue to develop its licensing services and will collaborate with the wider music industry to achieve this. We are delighted that the progress the music industry has been making in delivering licensing models has been recognised, particularly at a time after the opening ceremony of the Olympics last Friday which demonstrated on a global stage the cultural value and commercial importance of music to the UK".
You can download Hooper's report here.
PUSSY RIOT TRIAL BEGINS IN MOSCOW
The charge stems from an incident in February this year when the band performed a song in the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour Of The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, protesting against Vladimir Putin ahead of elections that saw him win his third term as the country's president. Billed as a "punk prayer", the song called on the "Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin" to "throw Putin out".
The three women who went on trial yesterday, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested shortly after the performance, though all initially denied being members of the ten-strong band, who perform in masks. However, according to The Guardian, the defendants have now seemingly admitted involvement, and yesterday Tolokonnikova told the court that she was sorry if some people were offended by the protest, and that had not been their intention.
If found guilty, the women face up to seven years in prison. Many human rights campaigners have said that they do no hold out much hope of them being acquitted, but it is hoped that they will not be given lengthy jail terms. Activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva told The Guardian: "The court's decision will depend not on the law but on what the Kremlin wants".
MURRAY LAWYERS FILE APPEAL
According to WENN, legal papers filed this week by Murray's attorneys focus on the vial of propofol found at the scene after Jackson's premature demise in 2009.
As much previously reported, the late king of pop died from an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic, which he was taking to treat insomnia. The court that tried Murray ruled that the doctor had negligently administered the fatal dose of the drug to Jackson by intravenous drip, in a domestic setting with no monitoring equipment, and then carelessly left the unconscious singer alone.
Murray's defence team always claimed that Jackson self-administered the fatal shot of the drug. They want the appeal court to test whether there was any presence of lidocaine in the bottle in which the fatal shot of propofol was stored. Lidocaine is commonly mixed with anaesthetics by doctors to ease a patient's pain, and Murray would have done just that, the defence say. So if there is no trace of lidocaine, then that might point towards the self-administration theory.
The judge in Murray's original trial twice declined to order such tests. He was of the opinion that the evidence for self-administration was weak and, anyway, the prosecution always argued that even if Jackson had injected the fatal shot of propofol himself, Murray would still have been criminally negligent for allowing his patient to access the drug in a domestic environment.
It remains to be seen how the appeals court now responds.
BRING ME THE HORIZON SIGN TO RCA
KANYE, JAY-Z, CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG TO FEATURE ON JAY ELECTRONICA DEBUT
Though lacking an ETA, we do know that the record is set to include guest spots from Kanye West, The-Dream, Sean 'P Diddy' Combs, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Roc Nation boss Jay-Z, so at least it looks worthy of the wait. Third track 'Life On Mars (@FatBellyBella)' also references Erykah Badu - a past Electronica collaborator and mother to Thedford's three year-old daughter - via her Twitter alias, so there's a chance she's on the record, too.
Late US president Ronald Regan and Serge Gainsbourg are also mentioned, as are 'cinematic' British band The Bullitts.
Real Magic feat Ronald Regan
ELLIE GOULDING SETS RELEASE DATE FOR "BREAK-UP RECORD"
Billed by the singer - whose relationship with Radio 1 DJ Greg James ended back in January - as a somewhat inevitable "break-up record", it'll feature her version of Active Child's 'Hanging On', the downbeat Tinie Tempah duet she debuted earlier this month. Meanwhile, the lyric video for the album's official first single 'Anything Could Happen' will premiere via VEVO in a fortnight's time, a week prior to its release on 21 Aug.
Says Ellie, who since her split from James has been linked to American fratstep DJ Skrillex: "This album for me is a journey from dark into light, from confusion to understanding. I didn't set out to write a break-up record but I think it became one".
So whilst you're hanging on for 'Halcyon', what track more apt to listen to than... err, 'Hanging On'?
EXAMPLE, BLOC PARTY, ANIMAL COLLECTIVE SHARE NEW SINGLES
First to Example, who announced last week that 'Say Nothing' would be the first single from his forthcoming fourth album, and unveiled it on yesterday's Capital FM breakfast show. It will be released on 9 Sep, and you can listen to it here.
Next, Kele Okereke and co of Bloc Party, who are now previewing 'Day Four' as a precursor to their post-hiatus LP '4'. The album is out in all good record shops on 20 Aug, and here's 'Day Four' to occupy all ears in the interim.
Animal Collective have also debuted brand new audio in the form of 'Today's Supernatural'. It represents the first single taken from the Baltimore quartet's ninth LP, 'Centipede Hz'. AC's first studio album since 2009's 'Merriweather Post Pavillion', that's out via Domino on 3 Sep. Listen to it here.
ÓLAFUR ARNALDS PREVIEWS TECHNO EP
Bearing the title 'Thrown', it's set for release by Erased Tapes on 24 Sep. In the meantime, you can preview its title track and remixes by 65daysofstatic and the just CMU approved FaltyDL via this SoundCloud player.
PHILCO FICTION PREPARE TO GET PERSONAL
Check out the new Holy Strays remix of the group's debut UK single 'Portrait Of Silence' (along with the seven and a half minute original) here.
HERBERT GRÖNEMEYER PREPARES TO RELEASE DEBUT ENGLISH LANGUAGE ALBUM
In September, Grönemeyer will release his fourteenth studio album, his first performed entirely in English. Entitled 'I Walk', it will be released through Grönland on 24 Sep. The first single, 'Will I Ever Learn', is released this week, featuring guest vocals from Antony Hegarty.
Watch the clip of the 'Will I Ever Learn' video here.
SLASH TO TOUR
7 Oct: Edinburgh, Corn Exchange
DAN LE SAC SETS HEADLINE DATES
If you'd like to read more about Dan Le Sac in the context of his LP, maybe give this CMU interview a read.
And now, the dates:
1 Oct: Brighton, Coalition
SPECTOR LIST SPECTOUR IV
Swim Deep, Splashh and LULS (?!) will join Fred Macpherson and band at various stages of the outing. All three acts, meanwhile, will be present at its London finale on 10 Nov.
11 Oct: Glasgow, Oran Mor
DEMON ANNOUNCES TABU DEAL
CENTURY MEDIA RETURNS TO SPOTIFY
As previously reported, the label issued a statement last August saying that it was "of the opinion that Spotify in its present shape and form isn't the way forward", but that the company "also believes that [the streaming service] is a great tool to discover new music" and therefore the label was "in the process of reintroducing our bands to Spotify by way of putting up samplers of our artists".
But it then added: "Physical sales are dropping drastically in all countries where Spotify is active. Artists are depending on their income from selling music and it is our job to support them to do so. Since the artists need to sell their music to continue their creativity, Spotify is a problem for them. This is about survival, nothing less, and it is time that fans and consumers realise that for artists it is essential to sell music to keep their heads above water".
However, in a statement yesterday confirming his company would more fully embrace Spotify once again, Don Robertson, President of Century Media's North American division, told CMU: "We respect that music fans want to have instant access to our catalogue via Spotify. But we also have to consider the rights of our artists. After practicing some due diligence, we're moving ahead confident that both the artist and the fan are being fairly served by this developing platform".
Meanwhile Antje Lange, General Manager of the company's European office added: "Spotify offers great tools to discover new artists. We feel that this is essential for our promising newcomers. In that respect, Spotify gives those artists a very good forum".
Getting in on the quoting action, Spotify' Head of Content Steve Savoca also said: "Spotify's global growth provides a powerful platform for artists to connect directly with our hugely passionate audience. The return of Century Media's fantastic catalogue is cranking metal music to our ears".
INVESTMENT MAN INTERESTED IN BUYING GROOVESHARK, MAKING IT LEGIT
The tech site says Faliks has proposed buying the Grooveshark business and reinventing the service so that it is more like Spotify, ie only music provided by labels would be available, and users would not be able to upload their own music collections to the platform.
He would then hire music lawyer Gary Stiffelman to negotiate with the major labels that are currently suing Grooveshark, arguing that with the 'user-upload' element of the service removed, the majors may be willing to play ball, given the size of the firm's userbase.
However, says C-Net, Faliks' approaches have, so far, been rebuked by Grooveshark owner Escape Media, which is possibly in talks with another possible buyer, interested in the firm despite its various legal woes.
PIRATE BAY MONEY WOULDN'T REACH ARTISTS
Torrentfreak says that the IFPI document reveals that "there is an agreement that any recovered funds [from The Pirate Bay four] will be paid to IFPI Sweden and IFPI London for use in future anti-piracy activities".
That move will likely anger the artist community, which has been critical in the past of the tendency of major labels to keep damages (directly or via their trade bodies) paid by file-sharing companies which lose in copyright litigation, even though artists too have lost income from the illegal sharing of music online. The tech and file-sharing community will also latch onto the revelation, given the record industry is always keen to stress it represents artists as well as corporates when fighting copyright infringement and organisations accused of enabling piracy.
Of course it should be noted that so far no money has been collected from the four men found guilty of copyright infringement for their involvement in the Bay. The three founders have no money (and one is AWOL), so are unlikely to ever contribute to the damages amount. Their wealthy funder, also found guilty, will presumably have access to funds, but has so far seemingly resisted handing anything over.
SPIN LOSES EDITORS AS FUTURE IS PLANNED
Editor-In-Chief Steve Kandell, Managing Editor Catherine Davis, Associate Editor Melissa Giannini and Spin.com News Editor Devon Maloney were among those laid off on Friday. Buzzmedia confirmed the layoffs yesterday, but noted that a team of 25 remain, and that that team will be grown further once the future direction of the brand has been finalised.
The publisher's statement read: "We are retaining a powerful Spin team of 25. Specifically, Charles Aaron, who leads editorial efforts across all of Spin, will continue in his role as Editorial Director. In the coming year, we will build upon this core staff by doubling the editorial team. This investment will enable us to continue enhancing Spin's offerings, which includes making the Spin archive, an incredibly important part of music history, much more accessible".
It continued: "Buzzmedia and Spin are committed to moving forward with print, but we are still determining exactly how print fits in with Spin's multiple distribution points and growth initiatives. While we are early in this process, we have concluded that Spin's print offering will change after the September/October issue and we will not publish a November/December issue. Spin will continue to be led by a strong staff with deep experience in both digital and print. We look forward to sharing what the print offering will be going forward".
BLUR BULLIED "ANNOYING" ALEX JAMES
Speaking through 'tears of laughter' to The Sun, the jocular bassist remembers: "There was one time when I had two black eyes and a head butt in between. I think I was the most annoying! When I look back, I can see that it was no way to run a business but there was also real joy for all of us in playing music and that somehow ironed out all the fights".
He adds: "The main talent for a bass player is the haircut and turning up on time. I even had a haircut on the way in today, I was here on time and everyone else is fucking late".
Speaking in praise of the odd bout of in-band James-bashing, a 'fucking late' Graham Coxon added: "I think creative tension is misconstrued by a lot people. It's actually a really good thing. We were quite fortunate that we could all input ideas that would work. There's no such thing as musical differences with us".
The real reason Blur were talking to The Sun, by the way, was to discuss 'Blur 21', their deluxe 21-disc boxset. It's out now, so if you like deluxe 21-disc Blur boxsets, you should buy it. If not, don't.