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LONDON PLEASURE GARDENS GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION
In a statement on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Newham Council (which provided funding for the project) told CMU: "The decision by London Pleasure Gardens Limited to enter into voluntary administration is regrettable but understandable. It is disappointing that the anticipated visitor numbers and revenue from recent planned events have not materialised. London Pleasure Gardens won the right to operate the site for two years from the LDA and Newham Council as the winner of a Meanwhile London Competition. We continue to believe that the site has a viable long term future as a visitor attraction and destination. We will now work with the administrator once appointed to help secure our investment and to discuss the future scope and nature of our involvement".
As previously reported, having opened at the end of June, disaster hit the site on the second weekend when the first major event to be hosted there, the Bloc festival, was shut down by police due to overcrowding. Although blame for this is yet to be fully attributed, many complained that the site was not yet ready to accept visitors.
Then last week, the organisers of another event due to take place at LPG, Secretsundaze Go Bang!, announced that they were moving to a new venue with just three weeks to go, 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".
As well as this, LPG creative director Debs Armstrong also resigned from her post last week, saying in a personal blog post on Monday: "I don't feel now like [London Pleasure Gardens is] following the vision that we set out to do but it's important to maintain that - it's the whole point. Hopefully the road will swing toward it again at some point".
London Pleasure Gardens was set up by the team behind the Shangri-La area at Glastonbury and funded by a £3 million loan from Newham Council. It had been due to fully open to the public last weekend with free entry and a big screen showing the London 2012 Olympics. However, according to Reuters, restrictions on visitor numbers put in place by the London Organising Committee Of The Olympic And Paralympic Games (LOCOG) left it mostly empty.
EC SENDS DETAILED QUESTIONNAIRE TO STAKEHOLDERS OVER UNIVERSAL'S EMI CONCESSIONS PLAN
Although the EC was always going to take Universal's proposals to those who had previously expressed concern about the EMI deal, insiders say that the 30 page questionnaire that went out last week is unusually detailed. It also specifically asks whether the proposed divestment package "includes a sufficient proportion of Anglo and/or American repertoire", indicating concerns that, if allowed to keep all of EMI's US operations, Universal could still be too powerful in Europe, despite off loading half the EMI business there, simply because of the importance of key American artists.
As previously reported, artist and indie label groups in the States, while officially still opposed outright to Universal's purchase of the EMI record company, are also lobbying regulators there to force dramatic divestments in line with those now on the table in Europe, even though US competition officials have traditionally been less demanding when green lighting music industry mergers. Universal may, as yet, not be able to keep hold of the whole of EMI's lucrative Capitol division Stateside.
Of course on both sides of the Atlantic opinion is divided in the indie label community regards the combination of Universal and EMI, with some indie chiefs supporting the deal, especially if it results in catalogues going on the block which they can then bid for.
It's not known what Naïve Records' Patrick Zelnik - one of the first high profile indie label bosses to break rank and support the deal - now thinks, given Virgin Records is not on the list of possible sell-offs. Former Virgin exec Zelnik hoped to join with Richard Branson to buy the EMI division. Though Ministry founder James Palumbo remains a supporter, penning another piece in favour of Universal's deal for the Sunday Telegraph this weekend.
He wrote: "Now we are facing a backlash to a deal that promises to rebuild EMI. Universal will be gaining market share, enjoy benefits of scale, be able to negotiate better deals, [critics] protest. But so what? The music ship is in choppy seas. Fighting on deck won't help navigate the storm. The capacity for people in the music business to battle against each other rather than deal with the challenges appears to be never-ending".
Of course, somewhat ironically, Universal's promises to rebuild EMI after a decade of turmoil, and three and a half years of disastrous private equity rule, might be hard to fulfil, especially in the UK, if most of the EMI UK business is carved up for sale in order to get deal approval. It's still not clear if EMI UK's Virgin division, pretty much all Universal would retain here under the current plan, would be big enough to justify running as a standalone entity within the Universal UK empire.
Meanwhile, back in the States, two senators from the Congressional Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights, which held a high profile hearing on the Universal/EMI deal in June of course, have sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating the deal in America. It doesn't say much we didn't already know, but does conclude: "Without reaching any final judgment as to the legality of the deal under the antitrust laws, we believe this proposed acquisition presents significant competition issues that merit careful FTC review to ensure that the transaction is not likely to cause substantial harm to competition in the affected markets".
LAMB OF GOD FRONTMAN RELEASED FROM PRAGUE PRISON
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 June. 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 allegedly pushed off by Blythe, and fell onto his head, sustaining injuries that led to his death.
Blythe posted bail a few days after his arrest. However, the prosecution challenged his release, saying that he was likely to attempt to flee the country. A judge ruled that he would stay in jail for at least another ten days while this was assessed. Over a month later he has finally been allowed to leave the prison - though only after the amount of money he needed to pay was doubled.
A spokeswoman for Prague's Municipal Court, Martina Lhotakova told reporters on Friday: "The decision was reached yesterday at the end of a closed session. The only condition of release was the approximately eight million Czech Koruna bail (which has already been paid)".
Blythe's lawyer Martin Radvan said that his client now planned to return to the US but would return to the Czech Republic to face trial. Speaking to Radio Prague, Radvan said: "That's what he wants to do. As a world-renowned artist, in a specific genre of music, of course, he cannot afford to simply disappear. There would be posters with his picture all around the world, and if he wants to continue performing, he will have to return [to the Czech Republic]. And he wants to return because he believes he is not guilty of anything he has been charged with".
TIËSTO NAMED WORLD'S HIGHEST PAID DJ
Also mentioned are 'fratstep' scene-leader Skrillex, Cristal connoisseur Steve Aoki and 'Jersey Shore' lothario DJ Pauly D.
Here are those all-important stats:
Tiësto ($22 million)
RZA RECORDS HANDBAG FREESTYLE WITH EARL SWEATSHIRT
Anyway. Speaking to MTV about the collaboration, Sweatshirt said: "Dude, RZA dropped an eight minute, 32 second based freestyle the other day that started off with him talking about a purse. It was so tight. And it was not just any purse; it was his purse".
Asked by a sceptical Tyler, The Creator - who was also present at the MTV interview - if this was really the case, Sweatshirt added: "I am not playin. When the song comes out, I'm gonna do hashtag #RZAsPurse".
As to whether all eight minutes and 32 seconds of RZA's purse verse will feature on the tbc long player, he said: "I'm not gonna use the whole thing. I just chopped it up".
DRAKE PREVIEWS NEW AALIYAH TRACK
And yesterday, producer Noah '40' Shebib possibly confirmed that news by posting a new track called 'Enough Said' to Drake's October's Very Own blog. Details are sparse, but we know that it's billed as Aaliyah featuring Drake, rather than the other way around (so suggesting this will be an Aaliyah project, rather than just a new Drake track sampling the late singer). We also know it was produced by 40. And... er... that's about it.
Oh, it's quite good too. Listen here.
LADY GAGA NAMES NEW ALBUM
Apparently the capitals are important. I'm pretty sure they aren't, but Gaga tweeted yesterday: "Make sure when writing about my new album/project 'ARTPOP' that you CAPITALIZE the title - it's all in the details".
THE DYING SECONDS TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM
This week sees the release of the latest single from the record, 'Scars', the video for which you can see here.
TWIN SHADOW WRITES A NOVEL
Pitchfork quotes Lewis Jr as saying this of the video for new Twin Shadow single 'Five Seconds', which also acts as a preface to the book: "Is about a motorcycle gang in the future. The video is the prologue to the story, and it's about friendship, in a way; two black motorcyclists who are fighting the good fight".
DATES SET FOR THIS YEAR'S SOULWAXMAS
All of the above will grace the stage at Manchester's Warehouse Project on 13 Dec, and also at London's Brixton Academy on 21 Dec. And a merry waxmas to one and all.
SKREAM ANNOUNCES "BACK TO BASICS" DUBSTEP NIGHT
Details at www.skreamizmlondon.com
O CHILDREN TO TOUR
17 Oct: York, Stereo
HMV FINANCE CHIEF TO DEPART TOO
A spokesman told The Independent that finance chief David Wolffe "has indicated his intention to leave the company", just eighteen months after joining, but that he "will remain with the company until a successor is appointed to ensure a smooth handover".
Fox revealed last week that he was stepping down after a bumpy six year ride heading up the HMV Group, a period during which the CEO tried to reinvent the company to capitalise on its strong brand, only to be forced to refocus on the firm's shrinking high street business by money lenders.
REDONE ANNOUNCES CASH MONEY IMPRINT
Says RedOne, real name Nadir Khayat: "I have always been impressed with the way Slim and Baby [Cash Money founders Ronald Williams and Bryan Williams respectively] do business. Their determination to build their artists' careers from the ground to superstardom, shows their sheer commitment. I have strived to work with the best in the industry throughout my career and this opportunity to partner my 2101 label with Cash Money on these projects is one such example. Together, we'll be able to continue to help build global stars and make hit music that we hope fans around the world will enjoy".
Slim added: "We consider Cash Money a family, and RedOne fits right in. He is a world-class producer, songwriter, musician and now record executive who just adds to what we have built here, and look forward to expanding in the years ahead".
PRIMARY WAVE APPOINTS CEE LO AS CCO
He told The Hollywood Reporter: "We've formed this incredible personal bond in two years, and Cee Lo is very excited and participatory in our business, so we wanted to do it in a bigger way and give him a piece of the company".
And Green's role? "It will be very high level - artists can plug into him for advice, he may look at artwork or write with an artist. It covers the myriad things that he can potentially do". Good times.
TIME OUT TO GO FREE
There has been speculation for some time that Time Out might become a free magazine. The title has faced tough competition in recent years, both from the growth of listings in the broadsheet newspapers, especially at the weekend, and from the internet. While arguably no one-stop listings destination for London has ever been properly launched online, the web makes it easy for more casual cultural consumers to check out cinema listings or West End line-ups without investing in a £3.25 magazine.
Nevertheless, the Time Out brand remains strong, and current Editor-In-Chief Tim Arthur insists that the decision to make the magazine free in London is not a desperate bid for survival, but a strategy that the title's publisher only now thinks is right. Arthur also denied there had been pressure from Oakley Capital, which has owned half of the Time Out company since 2010, to pursue the ad-funded free route.
The Guardian quote Arthur as saying: "This is not driven by private equity, it is something that has been looked at over a good amount of years on and off. [Time Out] is still a profitable magazine, this has not been driven by decline, it is driven by opportunity. As a magazine it was the next thing to look at really, and now feels like the right time".
The free Time Out will come out on Tuesdays, fitting into an increasingly busy schedule for free magazines in London, where Shortlist comes out on Thursday, its sister women's title Stylist publishes on Tuesday, and Sport magazine is distributed on Fridays.
RIHANNA FASHION PROGRAMME TO FEATURE CHERYL COLE, KATY PERRY, LITTLE MIX
The various guest stars, who also include The Saturdays, Little Mix, Pixie Lott, Katy B, Little Boots and Tinchy Stryder, will each episode task the programme's aspiring fashion designer contestants with creating an outfit, and then choose their favourite one.
The show's eventual winner has already been picked (it's a pre-recorded show), but his or her identity is still a strict secret. But we do know s/he designed the er... fashion-forward look Rihanna modelled whilst headlining at London's Wireless Festival last month. If you'd like to see what that look looked like, look here.
One-time Girl Aloud Nicola Roberts will also mentor the designers throughout the series, which is set to begin on Sky Living later this month.
MADONNA'S CAREER IS OVER, SAYS ELTON JOHN
News.com.au reports Elton's succinct takedown as unfolding thus: "Why is she such a nightmare? Sorry, her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn't happen to a bigger cunt. If Madonna had any common sense she would have made a record like 'Ray Of Light' and stayed away from the dance stuff and just been a great pop singer and make great pop records, which she does brilliantly. But no, she had to go and prove... she looks like a fucking fairground stripper".