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COULD UNIVERSAL JUST SELL OFF EMI IN ITS ENTERITY?
As previously reported, the mega-major has proposed a wide-ranging assembly of divestments in Europe to reduce the dominance of a combined Universal/EMI over here, including the sell-off of both the Parlophone and Chrysalis businesses in the UK. Some of those who originally opposed Universal's EMI deals in Europe have told European Commission regulators that they are satisfied with the proposals. But others are pushing for more, in particular the global sale of certain Anglo-American catalogues that dominate across Europe, even if they don't originate here.
Despite originally insisting no concessions should be necessary at all, Universal management seemed to give way in quite a big way last month when European officials made it clear significant divestments would be required. But as regulators push for even more, the major seems to putting the brakes on a little, presumably partly to placate nervous shareholders in parent company Vivendi who are probably getting concerned about the deal, and partly to ensure that Universal isn't left with too few EMI assets to form a combined music company worth having.
The Daily Mail quotes one senior Universal exec as saying: "If the Commission rips the heart out of this deal then we would lose money on it. But we are not going to do a deal that does not make sense. Universal was not the highest bidder for EMI. We were the only ones prepared to take on the regulatory risk. Some of those other bidders are talking to us about buying assets. We would have no problem selling EMI [in its entirety], but we're not at that stage yet".
So, Plan F isn't in active consideration just yet, but Universal bosses would like the EC to know it exists. Of course some Euro-twonks might question whether Universal and its boss man Lucian Grainge would really go for that option. It would be a humiliating climb down, and could cost Universal handsomely given its commitments to current EMI owners Citigroup, and despite the Mail's insider's claims that there were higher bidders for the music firm out there.
Though for current EMI staffers, if an aborted Universal deal was replaced with a Warner merger, that would probably be a good thing. An EMI/Warner integration would result in job losses, but not the turmoil currently incoming, especially at EMI UK, where the one time Great British record company is being lined up for demolition.
But EMI's London HQ shouldn't get too excited. Talk of Plan F is almost certainly a bluff, at the moment at least. Whether knowledge that the plan is now on the table will have any impact on the regulators within the Commission, remains to be seen.
GOOGLE TO CONSIDER TAKEDOWN NOTICES IN PAGE RANKINGS
The 'legitimate' bit is key there. While Google wants to keep content owners happy to an extent (it wanting said content owners as partners on other projects, and also to placate those political types who are prone to support the entertainment industry), it doesn't want to be seen to be censoring the net, or to be providing a system whereby big copyright owners can force websites into obscurity by filing a million take-down notices. And, it added, the new algorithm could never de-list a site completely.
The web firm said on its blog: "Only copyright holders know if something is authorised, and only courts can decide if a copyright has been infringed; Google cannot determine whether a particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law. So while this new signal will influence the ranking of some search results, we won't be removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner".
Nevertheless, record label trade body the BPI welcomed the announcement, with its top man Geoff Taylor telling CMU: "We have argued for some time that the fact that certain websites are subject to very high numbers of DMCA notifications, because they feature a large amount of illegal content, should be reflected in lower search rankings. Consumers overwhelmingly want and expect the top search results for entertainment content to feature legal, licensed services. We will look carefully at how much impact this change will have in practice, but we welcome the announcement from Google and will be pressing other search engines to follow suit".
News of the new piracy-aware algorithm led some to speculate whether Google's own YouTube would be affected, it being subject to a fair number of take-down notices, but it seems 'nuances' in the new system will help protect responsible user-generated content set ups. Though those nuances will benefit all user-upload sites, Google said, not just its own.
BEASTIE BOYS SUE MONSTER ENERGY DRINK
According to Variety, the lawsuit filed last Tuesday claims that the band's music was used in a number of online videos - the first of which was posted five days after the death of the band's Adam Yauch - and also in an MP3 download featuring a 23 minute mix of the band's music. The use of the band's name in these promotions too, say the band, incorrectly implied that they had granted permission.
The timing of the lawsuit is interesting. As previously reported, it was also revealed last week that Yauch's will prohibited the use of his music, name or likeness in any advertising following his death.
JENNIFER LOPEZ SUES FORMER DRIVER FOR $20 MILLION
Lopez's litigation is a countersuit to a claim by Manoukian himself, filed earlier this year, in which he claimed that he was denied pay owed to him for work he did for the singer, that he was unfairly demoted to the position of her driver, and then quit after being publicly humiliated by her manager, Benny Madina.
In her counterclaim, Lopez says that last October, following his resignation, Manoukian's then lawyer "made written and oral demands that unless Manoukian was paid $2.8 million, he would disclose sensitive and personal information that he had allegedly heard while driving Ms Lopez".
As well as accusing her former employee of "blackmail, extortion, and related acts", the lawsuit also points out that this was "in total disregard of Manoukian's signed confidentiality agreement".
ANGEL HAZE SIGNS TO ISLAND RECORDS
EMINEM NOW RECORDING SOLO LP
A guest at US radio station Shade 45 (primarily to promote his label Shady Records' forthcoming release, hip hop supergroup Slaughterhouse's new long player 'Welcome To Our House'), the Detroit rapper confirmed he'd just begun to concentrate on his own next record, the sequel to 2010's 'Recovery'.
Asked what his next LP's status was, he said: "I've actually kinda just started. I've been on the move a little bit too much [of late, but] we actually just finished the [Slaughterhouse] album last week... Now I've got time to be able to start doing things for my own project".
Listen to the entire Shade 45 interview here.
SKRILLEX COLLABORATES WITH KANYE WEST
Skrillex - who said back in March that he'd taken West's private plane to the rapper's Las Vegas studio - confirmed the collaboration to the Daily Beast, saying: "I did some music with Kanye and from what I know, it's actually going to be the first song on his new album".
LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONY SOUNDTRACK GOES ON SALE
As had been rumoured, Ed Sheeran did perform Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' with the band's drummer Nick Mason and "some other people" (they being Mike Rutherford from Genesis and The Feeling's Richard Jones), though sadly Stephane Grappelli failed to appear, as Sheeran had suggested he would, on account of him having been dead since 1997 (as one of our readers duly pointed out when that claim was first reported).
Other rumours also came true: The Spice Girls sang from the tops of black cabs, George Michael wowed the crowd with a rendition of 'Freedom' and then lost them by inexplicably singing a new track, Muse performed the worst song of all time, and Beady Eye covered Oasis's 'Wonderwall'. However, Kate Bush was a no show, despite 'Running Up That Hill' being played - David Bowie was similarly replaced by Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Lily Cole standing around for a bit.
As well as that, Elbow performed their official BBC Olympics theme and 'One Day Like This' as all the athletes shuffled into the stadium, Emeli Sandé sang 700 times, Jessie J informed the crowd that it wasn't about the money money money from the back of a convertible Rolls Royce and did 'We Will Rock You' with Brian May and Roger Taylor (although Freddie Mercury did appear via some 'Live Aid' footage via not quite a hologram but several big screens), Fatboy Slim pretended to DJ atop a traditional British inflatable octopus, and the Kaiser Chiefs covered The Who (presumably not realising that the actual Who were booked to close the show).
Also, Take That, The Pet Shop Boys, Ray Davies, One Direction, Madness, Tinie Tempah, Annie Lennox, Taio Cruz, Eric Idle and Russell Brand were all in attendance.
And, as with the opening ceremony, this whole soundtrack is now available to buy. That's right, you can own recordings of Russell Brand singing 'I Am The Walrus' and The Kaiser Chiefs' version of 'Pinball Wizard' for all eternity.
The Artistic Director of the closing ceremony, Kim Gavin, said: "I was lucky because Seb Coe basically just asked me to put on a party, a celebration of London and the UK. To me the sport was always the main event, and I wanted to create a great after show party for the athletes, the volunteers, the spectators and people watching around the world. My approach, just like any party, was to start with the music. We wanted the ceremony to reflect on UK music and how good and global British music is".
Here's the full tracklisting for the compilation:
PATRICK WOLF TO RELEASE ACOUSTIC COMPILATION
Wolf recalls borrowing Gabriel's grand piano: "I went on a mission to find a grand piano with the best bass response still full of character, and I was told about Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, but the piano there was too new for me. So Peter lent me his Bosendorfer Grand and later his bodhran and hammer dulcimer - the album and I are very grateful".
Defining the significance of the collection at large, he says: "I thought it was time after ten years to take a moment to understand and document what these songs have grown up to be while I've been travelling them around the world the last decade".
Having already announced a special concert date at London's Old Vic theatre on 28 Aug, Patrick embarks on a wider GB tour on 6 Nov at the Lowry in Manchester.
LIGHT IN THE ATTIC MARKS TENTH ANNIVERSARY WITH SINGLES SERIES
The first instalment will comprise Iggy Pop & Zig Zags' cover of Betty Davis's 'If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up' plus her 1973 rendition, the idea being that each single features a contemporary artist's version of a classic track once re-issued by LITA as it's A-side, with the original as the B-side.
Alex Maas and Erika Wennerstrom's spin on Wendy Rene's 'After Laughter (Comes Tears)' circa 1964, and soul singer Charles Bradley's cover of Rodriguez's 'I'll Slip Away' complete the set.
Pre-order details for the singles series are here.
4AD SHARES FREE SUMMER SAMPLER
With that said, all that remains is to download it via this widget.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Only In My Dreams
WILLIS EARL BEAL ANIMATED FILM
Once an illustrated supplement to Beal's first LP debut, 'Acousmatic Sorcery', it'll premiere at willisearlbeal.com in September.
BLOC PARTY TO PLAY EARLS COURT
Pre-sale tickets will be available to those signed up to the band's mailing list (something you can do now via this link) from 15 Aug.
LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL BAGS SUGAR MAN
1960s folk figure Sixto Rodriguez, who is still (despite what's implied at the beginning of 'Searching For Sugar Man') very much alive, will crown his cult resurgence with a live set at the Royal Festival Hall this autumn. Staged as part of the London Jazz Festival, the concert takes place on 17 Nov.
Watch the 'Sugar Man' trailer here.
MURCOF ANNOUNCES LONDON SHOW
It all takes place on 6 Oct, and to get you in the mood here's 'Cuerpo Celeste' from Mucof's amazing 2008 album, 'Cosmos',
JENNIFER LOPEZ 'CURATING' T-SHIRTS
On the staff at teeology.com to lend "creative guidance" to designers, J-Lo's main role is to select her favourite collections that will then be subject to a vote by the site's members. Granted, it's no 'American Idol'.
Here's Lopez maxing out on t-shirt talk: "Anything creative always piques my interest. This is a different type of online experience where you get to be involved in which designs get made. And it gives us a beeline to what people really like. I live in t-shirts when I'm not doing the red carpet. I love the sexy, casual feel and the way a good t-shirt makes you feel cool. It's like you're not trying too hard".
You can read J-Lo's in-depth teeology biography here.
AMAZON TO COPY TRACKS FROM CDS INTO CUSTOMER'S LOCKERS
As previously reported, when it first launched, Amazon's digital locker had no licenses with the music companies, meaning that users had to upload their own MP3s to their bit of the Amazon server to access them from other net-connected devices, utilising their private copy right under most copyright systems (but not the UK, though the service isn't available outside America yet).
However, last month it was announced Amazon had got deals with the labels to add scan-and-match, meaning that the cloud set-up scans a user's PC and automatically transfers high quality copies of any tracks found into their locker. That brought Amazon's service inline with Apple's existing locker. Adding the option to automatically have tracks from CDs purchased added to a locker account would be a USP.
According to Billboard, at least two labels and most of the publishers like this idea, and are on board for an autumn launch. We are also still expecting the roll out of the Amazon locker into Europe at some point.
TONY HADLEY SERENADES TEAM GB WITH GOLD
Though, of course, not everyone in Team GB is a gold medal winner. Had they really been on the ball, they would have had a larger line-up so that everyone involved had their position covered - 90s Canadian rockers Moist could have done 'Silver', Queens Of The Stone Age could have done their little known song 'The Bronze', and then Beck could have finished up with 'Loser'.
No, wait, that's the sort of cheap gag we'd have rolled out before London 2012 changed everything and we all became relentlessly optimistic. No one is a loser at the Olympics, and Tony Hadley quite rightly marked everyone on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team as gold. So there.
Here he is, singing and that.