|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.
HMV BOSS TO DEPART
Simon Fox has had a rocky ride at the top of the last surviving nationwide high street music seller. He began with bold plans to expand the HMV brand into other areas of music and entertainment, but cash issues and money-lender pressure forced that strategy to be more or less abandoned in favour of renewed concentration of the firm's high street stores, even though it's hard to see how mainstream entertainment retail on the high street has any long term future.
Nevertheless, Fox did manage to placate bankers enough to secure solid funding, albeit in the short-term, and he insists that after some streamlining the company could be back in profit by next year. We'll see. By then the future of HMV will be the problem of former Jessops boss Trevor Moore, who will take over as CEO next month.
Confirming his departure, Fox said today: "I am proud to be leaving HMV with a profitable future secured. The appointment of Trevor Moore means that I will be leaving the company in safe hands".
Meanwhile HMV Chairman Philip Rowley said: "I want to thank Simon for his contribution to HMV. He has led the company through a turbulent period for the entertainment retailing industry and has played an invaluable part in securing HMV's future".
SECRETSUNDAZE GO BANG! MOVES FROM LONDON PLEASURE GARDENS
As previously reported, Bloc was shut down by police on its first night due to overcrowding, causing the rest of the event to be cancelled and the company behind it to go into administration. Although no official answers as to what exactly led to the problems have been forthcoming - and there have been various theories circulating as to what went wrong - some involved in the Bloc debacle were critical of the newly opened London Pleasure Gardens site.
In a statement yesterday, Secretsundaze co-founders Giles Smith and James Priestley didn't go into any detail about the decision to change locations, saying: "For our first Secretsundaze Go Bang! mini-festival we need to be absolutely sure that our fans get the event they deserve. As part of this, after much consideration, we have decided that an alternative venue is the best choice".
They continued: "In our ten years, Secretsundaze has provided some of London's best parties, and we need to ensure we have the perfect venue to cater to our needs. We are looking at three very exciting London venues for this spectacular event, and will announce as soon as we have made our choice. We want this to be the ultimate Secretsundaze experience, and so we feel that a move is the best option at this time".
Meanwhile a spokesperson for the London Pleasure Gardens said: "Demand for Secretsundaze has meant is has outgrown its original venue of the Dome at LPG. There has unfortunately been a delay on completing construction of the larger Hub venue at LPG so we're regrettably no longer able to host the Secretsundaze event".
All Secretsundaze tickets will remain valid for the new venue, which will be announced in due course.
BEYOND OBLIVION SETTLE WITH MAJORS
As previously reported, Beyond Oblivion planned to launch a subscription-based download and streaming service under the terrible name Boinc, where the subscriptions would be bundled into the cost of digital devices, masking the cost to the consumer. It was a similar model to Nokia's ill fated Comes With Music service. And while Boinc insisted it had overcome all of the Nokia platform's many problems, that didn't stop the whole thing collapsing before it had even launched late last year.
The company then went into bankruptcy, but was bought back by a new entity led by Kidron, called Gee Beyond, which seems to want to have another go at getting the Boinc service live - certainly users are being invited to take part in a beta test via the firm's website and a new iPhone app.
But there were some contractual issues hanging over from the old company. First, the maker of the digital rights management technology used by Boinc initially said that the contracts transferred over from the old to the new Beyond entity were no longer valid, though Kidron managed to negotiate new arrangements. Then Sony and Warner, who had both signed up to the original Beyond Oblivion venture, arrived saying that their contracts were very much still valid, and therefore they'd gladly take the circa $50 million advances they had both been promised.
The new Beyond company seemingly argued that the wording of the original Boinc contracts meant that label partners were only due their advances if and when a commercial launch took place. The labels, though, did not concur, and threatened to sue, a move that would have hindered greatly the new Boinc company's bid to move beyond the bankruptcy of the old entity.
But then on Monday it was announced a deal had been reached, which should see each major get up to $2 million from the monies created by the sale of the old bankrupt firm to Kidron's new entity.
A lot less than what they had been due under their original agreements with the old company though. So why settle? Possibly because the majors realise there simply isn't any money available to pay that kind of advance (as it was the original Boinc was relying on its own advances from technology partners to meet those promises). Or possibly because Kidron has convinced then that the second generation Boinc is something worth being involved in.
Either way, a judge must now rule on the proposed agreement.
FUTURE OF MUSIC COALITION REAFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO UNIVERSAL'S EMI BID
As previously reported, despite initially saying concessions would not be necessary to win regulator approval, Universal Music has now proposed the divestment of some key EMI divisions in Europe - including Parlophone and EMI/Chrysalis in the UK - in order to win approval for their big EMI deal from European Commission officials. But similar concessions have not, as yet, been discussed in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission is considering the deal.
A2IM and FMC reckon that similar concessions are now needed Stateside, though officially both remain opposed to the Universal/EMI deal outright. FMC Deputy Director Casey Rae told CMU: "It is never a comfortable thing to see musicians herded around like livestock by massive companies with a demonstrated lack of concern over how their business decisions impact the very people who make their businesses possible".
"Allowing a single label to dominate the market to such an extent will inevitably lead to a lack of legitimate options for consumers, set artificial limits on emerging music services and diminish access and compensation opportunities for musicians and independent labels. There is no reason to believe that the remedies proposed by EMI [so far] will have any effect on these outcomes, especially considering that they do not apply to the US market. If the merger is approved on either side of the pond, it can only be seen as a step backwards in the establishment of a viable 21st century music ecosystem".
"Historically, independent artists and labels have lacked the leverage to compete against the biggest corporate entities. More power in the hands of fewer companies means that any influence they do have will be greatly hampered. This is a betrayal of the promise of a digital marketplace where creators are compensated and fans can find the music they want. The goal of regulators in the US and abroad should be to preserve and promote competition at this crucial level".
PUSSY RIOT THREE BEING MISTREATED, SAYS LAWYER
Accusing authorities of waking the women up at 5am and keeping them in a tiny room without food until they are transported to court, Reuters reports that Volkova said: "The trial is being conducted in an outrageous way. The court sessions are lasting eleven hours a day, and our clients are not being allowed to eat or sleep adequately".
The case is widely seen as an attempt by Putin to silence critical voices against him. If the Pussy Riot members are convicted (as it is expected they will be) they face up to seven years in prison.
AIM INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AND PIONEER AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED
Collins told CMU: "How gracious of AIM to consider me, I'm most flattered. 30 years of rock n roll independence! It's where I started and I'm there yet. I think it's the future, young people".
Of his win, Miller said: "I am very flattered and honoured to receive this award. It's particularly special to be acknowledged by fellow independents".
Meanwhile, AIM boss Alison Wenham added: "I have such admiration for both Daniel and Edwyn and congratulate them on winning our most coveted awards. They are survivors, they never give up, they are ridiculously talented, and they set a standard for others to follow".
The second Independent Music Awards will take place at The Brewery in Clerkenwell on 29 Oct. More information at www.musicindie.com/awards
RUN-DMC BRING FORWARD REUNION
FEIST AND MASTODON SHARE INTERACTIVE VIDEO
Continuing the theme of collaborating without actually directly working together, the video allows viewers to crossfade between Feist's original and Mastodon's cover of the song - merging the two versions or just listening to one - over Vice Cooler's video for the track.
Have a play for yourself here.
BIFFY CLYRO RE-NAME DOUBLE LP, PREMIERE SINGLE
Discussing the band's sixth studio record yesterday via Zane Lowe's Radio 1 evening slot, Biffy frontman Simon Neil said: "It's a strange situation when you're revealing what you've been working on for the past couple of years - it doesn't get any easier, but it's still exciting... we're definitely a bit nervous but we're very excited".
Phoning in to premiere 'Stingin Belle', the first single to be taken from the dual long-player, Neil said of the track: "It was one of the first songs that really clicked when we were recording it... it represents the record... It shows how over-the-top the record is. It might be our last really over the top record".
He added: "I think we've gone as far as we can. We're still keeping things musical, still being as weird as we've always been".
Listen to 'Stingin Belle', as will surely feature amid the band's set-list when they play iTunes festival on 22 Sep, via this link.
MAJOR LAZER UNVEIL LP GUESTLIST... SHAGGY, BRUNO MARS, WYCLEF ALL PRESENT
So we know that the record - the successor to ML's 2009 debut 'Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do' - carries the title 'Free The Universe' and will be released on 5 Nov via Diplo's Mad Decent label imprint.
Oh, and a Major Lazer LP wouldn't be much of a Major Lazer LP without a ridiculous list of guest stars. Being no exception to that rule, 'Free The Universe' features Bruno Mars (!), Wyclef Jean (!!), Shaggy (!!!) and less ridiculous contributors in Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Tyga, Flux Pavilion, Wynter Gordon and Dev. Oh, and Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman, who appears on previously released single 'Get Free', obviously.
AMON TOBIN TO RELEASE LP AS TWO FINGERS
Described in PR speak as Tobin's "love letter to hip hop", this more conventional alternative to Tobin's abstract 'ISAM' project is out via Big Dada on 1 Oct.
COHEED & CAMBRIA DETAIL DUAL LP, TOUR DATES
'The Afterman', as it's titled, will comprise two volumes; 'Ascension' and 'Decension'. 'Ascension' will be available first via 2 Recordings/Everything Evil on 8 Oct, while 'Decension' (which I'm fairly sure isn't an actual word), is slated for release in February 2013.
In lieu of an audio preview, here are four forthcoming C&C tour dates, plus an official 'Afterman' trailer:
8 Nov: London, Koko
TOY TO TOUR
Behold details of those live listings, plus a trailer for 'Toy' the long player, here:
19 Oct Sheffield, Plug
OM LIST LIVE DATES
And they are:
25 Sep: Birmingham, Rainbow Warehouse
THE VACCINES, MYSTERY JETS PLAYING WHISKEY PARTY UP DEVIL'S ARSE
The three bands will play live in Castleton cavern The Devil's Arse on 6 Oct, it boasting Great Britain's largest cave opening. By the way, the party's taking place in a cave because Jack Daniel's whiskey is made using iron-free Tennessee cave water, so it all makes sense.
If you'd like to spend time with The Vaccines in The Devil's Arse, look for tickets via the Jack Daniel's Facebook Page from 1 Sep.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
MELTDOWN, Southbank Centre, London, 1-12 Aug: Boy George. www.southbankcentre.co.uk/meltdown
STREAMING PAYS BETTER THAN RADIO, SAYS BEGGARS' MARTIN MILLS
Speaking at UKTI's Global Business Summit On Creative Content, where Spotify's Ken Parks also revealed that the company now has four million paying subscribers, Beggars chief Mills said: "I'm finding that some of our artists, particularly the more catalogue artists, are opening their royalty statements and earning more [from streaming] than from any other source on some individual tracks. [For Beggars] it pays many, many more times than radio play. We're big supporters".
Sony Music UK chief Nick Gatfield added: "It's a hot debate for a number of artists and I think it's largely down to ignorance - and I have to say, ignorance from some of the rights holders and major record companies as well. We're all familiar with headlines about Lady Gaga getting streamed x million times and getting a cheque for £3.60, but the reality is that, when you look at the model, the life-span of a piece of music tends to be much more on Spotify - you can monetise it over a longer period of time and ultimately that will benefit us".
Meanwhile, Parks said: "To date we've paid back over a quarter of a billion dollars to rights holders - 180 million dollars in the last year alone. We're probably pacing about twice that in the next twelve months. We've paid a lot of money back to the industry and in some cases we're paying half a million dollars a quarter to rights holders, so the money is real. As we scale the business, it's only going to get better".
UNSIGNED GUIDE APPOINTS NEW PARTNERSHIP MANAGER
Confirming the appointment, Unsigned Guide Editor Louise Dodgson told CMU: "We're very pleased to have Dean join our team and have no doubt he will be a great asset to The Unsigned Guide during a particularly thrilling time when we have many new developments in the pipeline. We're looking forward to unleashing lots of new features to The Unsigned Guide service over the coming months and beyond, and Dean will be an integral part of this".
Taylor himself added: "I am extremely excited about joining The Unsigned Guide, I have known the team for many years and have always had the utmost of respect for the business. Having the opportunity to become a key part of this team and help orchestrate the expansion of the TUG brand is a great challenge and I am looking forward to helping implement new ideas and strategies that will further cement our position as the online 'go to' place for bands and musicians, artist managers, music students and independent music businesses navigating the UK music industry".
CONOR MAYNARD WOULD LIKE TO LICK CELEBS' FACES
Speaking to MTV, the nineteen year-old Brightonian - who studio partners to date include Rita Ora, Pharrell Williams and his own personal R&B mentor Ne-Yo - has gushed thus: "It's been crazy. I had to get very used to meeting my idols very quickly. I got to work with some incredible people. There's some amazing, amazing names I'm honoured to have on this album and I had to get used to meeting these people before I even released a track".
But wait, what of the licking thing? Says Conor: "I had to control myself and not want to run in there and lick their faces. I had to control that. I had to be normal at the same time".
Fortunately for Frank Ocean, who for some reason gifted a track titled 'Pictures' to the 'Contrast' cache, he and Conor never came within licking range.
Says Maynard of his Odd Future benefactor: "Well, I mean, with Frank Ocean, funny enough, I never got to meet him. It was one of those sessions where a song is put out there, where someone writes it, and someone else hears it and I end up with a song on my album. For me, it's kind of annoying I never got to meet him, but at the same time it's an incredible song".