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STREAMING REVENUES GROWING FASTEST, THOUGH OVERALL MUSIC SPENDING STILL DECLINING
Download sales are also still increasing according to the stats report, and should be up 8.5% this year. Meanwhile, physical product sales continue to slump, of course, down 12%, though overall CDs and such like still account for 61% of music sold worldwide. The 50/50 physical-to-digital domination switchover may have happened in some territories, but not on a global level - though Strategy Analytics reckons that it could happen on that scale in 2015.
Obviously, that streaming services, which generate most of their revenues via subscriptions, are growing most rapidly in the digital music market is no secret, as the long mooted 'access' approach to online music finally gains traction, so called 'ownership' services, ie download stores, having dominated in the early days of digital. Though some cynics might note that a sizable portion of the money being paid over to rights owners by streaming firms still originates from start-up capital or advances from technology partners, and it remains to seen if such high levels of royalties can be sustained once that money runs out.
Anyway, those are the breakdowns, but what about music spending overall? Bad news there, spending on recorded music is likely to be down 2.6% this year overall, and 16% down in the UK, says Strategy Analytics. Though whether that slide is part of the ongoing contraction of the recorded music market that has been occurring ever since the shift from physical to digital began, or a reflection of the shaky economic climate, or of a slow release schedule, it's hard to say. Probably a combination.
The BBC quotes Strategy Analytics' Ed Barton as saying: "The extent of the decline took us a bit by surprise. The quality of the release slate was simply not desirable enough to drive the levels of spending we've seen in previous years. Maybe something will come along - even one of the compilations of songs from the Olympics ceremonies - which will give us something to shout about going forward".
AXL ROSE'S GUITAR HERO LAWSUIT CHOPPED IN HALF
As previously reported, Rose sued Activision for breach of contract and fraud back in 2010 over his previous involvement in the 'Guitar Hero' franchise. He argued that the company showed a digital animation of one time GNR guitarist Slash while the band's 'Welcome To The Jungle' was played, and also included songs by Slash's newer band Velvet Revolver in the same edition of the game, both of which were specifically prohibited in his contract with Activision, he said. The breaches, Rose reckoned, were worthy of $20 million in damages.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, an LA judge on Tuesday questioned why Rose had not filed his lawsuit until November 2010, three years after the original game came out - pointing out that part of his legal claim was therefore not valid because of the statute of limitations.
In a deposition, Rose countered: "The reason I did not file a lawsuit is because Activision - through my managers and representatives - offered me a separate video game and other business proposals worth millions of dollars to resolve and settle my claims relating to 'Guitar Hero III'. From December 2007 through November 2010, Activision was offering me a Guns N Roses dedicated video game, a game dedicated to music from the 'Chinese Democracy' album, and other proposals".
His lawyer then added that Rose had only decided to go legal when he discovered that "Activision had been intentionally concealing its plans to use [Velvet Revolver] and Slash in the game all along". Thus, Team Rose reckoned, the statute of limitations should not hinder any of the rocker's legal claim.
But the judge did not agree, and said that only Rose's breach of contract claim would be allowed to proceed to trial.
Activision, in response, added that Rose's remaining claims do not stand up because its deal was not with Rose individually, rather Guns N Roses' publishing company GNR Music, and it was not him who signed off on the sync licence. The company told the court: "Rose had no authority to enter into a license for 'Welcome To The Jungle' in his individual capacity because he does not own the song or the sound recording".
Originally expected to begin in January next year, the full trial will now not commence until 1 Feb 2013. As previously reported, Activision ceased production of its 'Guitar Hero' titles in February 2011, after sales slumped.
PUSSY RIOT PROTESTORS ARRESTED IN MOSCOW
As previously reported, the three accused women - commonly known as Masha, Nadya and Katya - were arrested earlier this year amidst allegations they were amongst the five members of the ten strong band who performed a "punk prayer" against president Vladimir Putin on the altar of the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour Of The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. A ruling is expected on Friday.
The protest, which took place on the steps in front of the cathedral, saw eighteen men and women don balaclavas similar to the band's own trademark headwear and hold up black cards spelling out the phrase: "Blessed are the merciful", reports Reuters.
Securities guards roughly broke up the protesters, and three were taken away by police for questioning, reports AFP.
AFP also posted this video of the protest being broken up, which shows security guards attacking journalists as well as protestors.
JOE JACKSON DROPS CONRAD MURRAY LAWSUIT
Jackson Senior first sued the medic for wrongful death in 2010 a year after his son's untimely demise, but last week, according to TheWrap, he filed papers with the LA Superior Court asking that the case be dismissed without prejudice. Quite why Jackson has decided to end his litigation now isn't clear, though given the incarcerated Murray's circumstances the Jackson family patriarch was never likely to see much cash form the former medic, even if he won the case.
Katherine Jackson's lawsuit against AEG Live, the promoters of the fated Michael Jackson 'This Is It' shows in London, who the Jackson family say should be held liable for Murray's actions because they paid his bills, is ongoing.
BARONESS TOUR BUS FALLS OFF VIADUCT
Nine people, including the four band members, were travelling in the bus when it crashed. Seven people were taken to hospital with minor injuries. However, two people, including the driver, had to be freed from the wreckage by firefighters and were said to be hurt more seriously, ITV West reports.
The band, who are currently touring the UK in support of their third album 'Yellow & Green', which was released in July, played a gig in Bristol on Tuesday night and were travelling to their next show in Southampton. All tour dates have now been postponed.
Tony Cook, who was working nearby where the crash happened, told the BBC: "At the top of the hill it is quite windy so they were going quite slow and seemed to be taking it quite carefully. It was torrential rain - it was like one of these eastern storms or something - it was like a river down here".
He continued: "When we got down there the driver was hanging out of front of the coach, but his legs were trapped so we had to free him and get him back and comfortable. Then we got some ladders down there so that the people that were conscious inside could get out. We just got the people to the side of the road and made them comfortable and just helped where we could, because obviously there was quite a bit of commotion, screaming and that, but then the police and the ambulance got here and they took over".
Inspector Nick Hunt from Avon and Somerset Police added: "Police are investigating the circumstances of the accident. At this stage it is too early to tell what the cause was".
ALICIA KEYS SETS STUDIO ALIGHT RECORDING NEW LP
Writing via a statement on her official website, she says: "I'm in the studio right now working away on my new album and I am SO excited! I'm ignited! I'm like a match to a flame!"
She continues: "But let me just say before making this record, in some ways I felt like a lion locked in a cage... I felt like a girl misunderstood that no one really knew, I felt like it was time to stop making excuses for any part of my life that I wanted to change. Once I made that choice I became a 'Girl On Fire', the lion broke free!"
Apparently, we'll be "learning more about it soon", but for now we have fire, lions, and mixed metaphors. Can't wait!
DEVO DEDICATE SINGLE TO MITT ROMNEY'S DEAD DOG
The single is titled 'Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro (Remember Seamus)', and will have a digital-only release on 25 Aug. But it doesn't end with the track, oh no. Devo's Gerald V Castale has also commissioned an official smartphone game in collaboration with Dogs Against Romney. 'The Crate Escape: Seamus Unleashed' will be available to download and play from 26 Aug, aka National Dog Day.
Details via www.dogsagainstromney.com
JOHNNY GREENWOOD FILM SCORE SET FOR RELEASE
It'll feature eleven of Greenwood's original pieces, plus four 1950s-era tracks (ie contemporary to the time in which the movie is set), and Nonesuch Records will do the issue honours on 11 Sep. The movie itself will premiere next month at the Venice Film Festival.
Meanwhile here are Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams acting their hearts out in the 'The Master' promo reel.
GARY NUMAN TO TOUR
Numan's new LP 'Splinter', parts of which he'll play for the first time on the tour, is set for release in 2013.
2 Dec: Southampton, Guildhall
THE KILLERS PLAYING FREE RADIO 1 CONCERT
Further details here.
FAYE ADDS LIVE DATES, SHARES BILL WITH FOXES
The date is one of two just listed as part of Faye's mini-tour, which also comprises appearances at London's Shacklewell Arms (17 Oct) and Cardiff's Swn Festival (18 Oct).
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
ICELAND AIRWAVES, various venues, Reykjavik, Iceland, 31 Oct - 4 Nov: Kindness, Ólöf Arnalds, Blouse, I Break Horses, Sin Fang, Nico Muhly, Vacationer, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Jesuslesfilles, Lay Low, Hjálmar & Jimi Tenor, Daníel Bjarnason, Ben Frost, For A Minor Reflection, Pascal Pinon, Sam Amidon, Bloodgroup, Kool Thing, Árstíðir, Blouse, GusGus, Ghostigital, Borko, Passwords, Skúli Sverrisson, Kira Kira, Pétur Ben, Legend, The Echo Vamper, Samúel Jón Samúelsson Big Band, Dr. Spock, Úlfur, Sometime, Beatmakin Troopa, Jafet Melge, Futuregrapher, Tonik, Stereo Hypnosis, DJ Andre, Prince Valíum, HIGHASAKITE, Beneath, Celestine, Plastic Gods, Shiko Shiko, Cercueil, Captain Fufanu, Puzzle Muteson, Croisztans, Angist, Low Roar, Momentum, Langi Seli Og Skuggarnir, Paul Corley, Benjamin, Fenster, Eclectic Moniker, Technical Kidman, Heavy Medical, Contalgen Funeral, Hinir Guðdómlegu Neanderdalsmenn, Thizone, Bendagram, Dimma, Wistaria, Heflarnir. www.icelandwairwaves.is
SWN, various venues, Cardiff, Wales, 18-21 Oct: AlunaGeorge, Beard Of Wolves, Black Moth, Bodhi, Casual Sex, Clinigol, Cold Pumas, Cut Ribbons, Dad Rocks, Echo Lake, Eilir Pierce, Fossil Collective, Hawk Eyes, Hud, Ifan Dafydd, Joyce The Librarian, Kwes, Lleuwen, Osian Howells, Pedestrain, Portasound, Pulled Apart By Horses, Push & Run DJs, Samoans, Splashh, Swnami, Tall Ships, Teleman, The Bent Moustache, The Experimental Tropic Blues Band, We Were Evergreen, Without Maps, Y Bandana, Y Lladron, Yr Angen. www.swnfest.com
JAMES MURPHY TO DIRECT SHORT FILM
Talking to Pitchfork about his first directorial foray, Murphy says: "It's pretty funny and very strange, I'm weirded out and flattered at the same time. A lot of things aligned. I think having it based on photos is cool. I'm a still photographer - I like pictures and I don't like that they're so disposable now. I'd like if people take their pictures seriously".
HMV CHANGES STOCK MARKET LISTING
When the company first wrote to its shareholders last month requesting that they back the change in listing category, it said: "The board considers that the proposed transfer is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders as a whole. The board believes this transfer will facilitate a more cost efficient and timely strategic review of the live business and reduce administrative costs generally. Furthermore, the board wishes to align its regulatory responsibilities and the associated costs thereof with the company's size".
The new status, which was backed by nearly all of the firm's shareholders at a General Meeting this week, will likely have an impact pretty quickly, with HMV still looking to sell off the rest of its live music division the MAMA Group, having sold the Hammersmith Apollo to an AEG/Eventim JV.
TUNECORE CEO EXITS
A blog post from Price confirming his departure yesterday mainly goes over his and his company's achievements in the last six years, and says little about the circumstances of his departure, or his future plans, if he has any as yet. Though he does conclude: "Peter and I look forward to continuing to change the industry on a global scale to the further betterment of artists, songwriters and investors and to issuing our next announcement".
There are various theories regards Price's exit. Some reckon board members felt Price could be too confrontational, citing the firm's ultimately resolved squabble with Amazon earlier this year. Some reckon the board disagreed with Price's integration of Tunecore's primary recordings distribution business and it's music publishing interests when doing deals with digital providers, something which, according to Billboard, delayed the firm's signing up to Rdio. Others simply reckon there were concerns regards the company's financials, despite the firm seemingly doing well to outsiders.
Either way, Tunecore without Price is likely to be a very different place. And what Price does next will be interesting to watch.
DJ MAG ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION, MAGAZINE DENIES CLAIMS
The blog describes itself as "a counterbalancing force to the commercial venture of EDM" acting against people "selling people the music without the culture". In that guise, it says, it was given a series of leaked invoices issued to a selection of big name figures in dance and their associates. The information came up, it said, during an investigation into possible corruption within the annual DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll voting system.
EDM Snob writes: "The issue came to our attention during our investigation into allegations of cheating in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. As a result of that investigation, an insider approached us with financial data revealing many cases in which the UK-based publication accepted large payments in exchange for feature articles about an artist, presenting these articles as news. We were able to match these payments with the resulting articles".
But yesterday DJ Mag issued a statement refuting these allegations, saying: "In response to recent postings by EDM Snob, DJ Mag would like to clarify that the invoices that have been published are for legitimate advertising and CD covermount deals. This can easily be verified by checking the magazine issues mentioned. They are not 'secret documents' but are confidential company invoices and have been obtained without our consent".
It continued: "This stunt simply looks like an attempt to drive traffic and interest in EDM Snob's blog, and divert attention away from our ongoing investigation into cheating in this year's poll. We view the obtaining of these invoices as a criminal matter and have contacted the police".
Earlier this month, DJ Mag reported that it had discovered that someone on eBay's Italian site was selling votes in the Top 100 DJs poll. This lead to an investigation of voting in the poll, which uncovered cheating, said the magazine. As a result, Swiss DJ Miss Diamond was disqualified.
DJ Mag MD Martin Carvell said: "This year, DJ Mag has discovered blatant cheating and several high-profile DJs are currently under investigation. Our methods of analysis are sophisticated but time consuming, and DJ Mag has to be absolutely sure that illegal methods have been used to acquire votes before evicting DJs from the poll".
NME APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY EDITOR
NME Editor Mike Williams announce the appointment on Twitter on Tuesday, saying: "Hooray! I've just hired a new Deputy Editor for NME! It's Eve Barlow".
Williams, of course, was promoted from the Deputy role to become Editor of the music weekly earlier this year.
LIAM HAD TO ASK PERMISSION TO SING WONDERWALL AT OLYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONY, SAYS NOEL GALLAGHER
Speaking to Xfm, Noel said: "They had to re-record it and then send it to me. I did play a bit of cat and mouse with them for a few days - I took it til Friday night at ten o'clock before I said yes and they were shitting it. Not Beady Eye, the organisers. Because I had to say yeah and I was like: 'Meh, it's alright. I'm not sure with this new string arrangement', and they were like: 'Fuck! the gig's on Sunday', so I was like: 'OK, alright, you can have it then'".
He added that he turned down the opportunity to play the London 2012 finale himself, saying: "I was asked to do it a long time ago and, to be frank, they were being [too] secretive about it. I was like: 'Who else is playing?', and they were like: 'We can't tell you, you've got to sign a confidentiality agreement' - it's like it's the Iran nuclear programme or something. I mean what do they think is going to happen? ITV are going to get hold of it and put on a gig the night before with the same bill?"
He continued: "[After that] they [said they] wanted me to do it acoustically and then they wanted me to mime. I'm all for miming in TV shows - I'm all for that - but if you're in a stadium with 80,000 people and you're pretending...? I can play live! One of the organisers, I said [to him:] 'Why do you want me to mime?' and he said: 'It's a big gig'. Really? I do this shit for a living! In the end, I was just like: 'You know what I'd rather watch it on the telly'".
According to The Guardian, Noel got another dig into Beady Eye's performance at a War Child Benefit gig on Tuesday, dedicating his own performance of 'Wonderwall' to "Stratford's finest Oasis tribute band".
WILL.I.AM'S CAR STOLEN AT PARTY
The last-known sighting of the car - a custom model the R&B star apparently refers to as the 'Delor-i-am' - was a photo Will posted, advertising the vehicle to potential thieves, via Twitter on Monday evening.
Anyway. If you care about any of the above, stay up to date with the Will.i.am car saga via twitter.com/iamwill
KILLERS DRUMMER MOLESTS MICHELLE OBAMA (BY ACCIDENT)
The handsy sticksman, who was summoned to play at The White House as part of 2010's American Independence Day celebrations, told NME: "I ended up grabbing Michelle Obama's ass. She's a hugger! And she's unexpectedly tall so, when we were all being introduced to them, she went in for the hug, and because she's so tall, she ended up with her arms over me like this. Which meant that, the way I had positioned myself, suddenly I found I was grabbing her ass".
So that's it; Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci touched Barack Obama's wife inappropriately, albeit without meaning to. Now will you all please pre-order 'Battle Born', and let that be the end of it.