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NEW REPORT UPBEAT ABOUT DIGITAL MUSIC FUTURE
This is the lead stat in a new research report from Informa-owned analyst firm Ovum. It reckons that subscription-based music services, and especially those bundled in with mobile packages, will play the most important role in that growth - and it's because mobile music revenues could actually fall in the US and Europe, Ovum reckons, that the outlook is less good in those territories.
But in traditionally smaller markets, where piracy may well have hit both CD and conventional download revenues in the past, the bundling of subscription services with mobile packages - something some experts have long said is where the real potential of digital music lies - will lead the digital music boom between now and 2017, Ovum reckons.
The company's Mark Little told CMU: "In Asia Pacific, growth created by consumers migrating to subscription services such as Lismo Unlimited from KKBOX in Japan will result in a regional CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 44%. With Spotify landing in the US, joining Rhapsody, Sony Music Unlimited, Rdio and MOG, such brands are helping reinvigorate on-demand subscriptions, and we estimate a 40% CAGR over the forecast period".
He added: "We expect the main driver of digital music in the forecast period to be subscriptions, because it is a format that can be easily bundled by service providers, as well as offered directly, resulting in increased penetration of subscriptions around the world".
Ovum's upbeat (overall) predictions, follow a report last week by German music association BVMI that said that the digital music market was finally gaining momentum there too. Digital services have been slower to take off in the world's third largest music market than in many other Western countries, in part because collecting society GEMA has been slow to licence non-download based platforms.
But, according to the new BVMI report, 22.1 million Germans consumed digital music in 2011, and while digital still accounts for less than 17% of recorded music revenues overall in Germany, digital income was up 21.2% last year, as music fans started to embrace the 70 legal download and streaming services now available in the country.
Though, despite the glimmers of hope within, you sense that the report, which was co-published by the German book industry and the German Federation Against Copyright Theft, was really designed to put new pressure of politicians in the country, who have generally been less keen than their counterparts in the UK and France to introduce new measures for combating online piracy (even if the UK measures haven't really be enacted, and the French measures may well be curtailed later this year).
The survey claimed that 75% of the Germans it polled reckoned it was appropriate to fine people who offer copyright content online without permission, while over 50% endorsed fines for the people who then download content from illegitimate websites.
Frank Briegmann, President of Universal Music Deutschland and a member of the BVMI board, told reporters: "The growth of the digital market is something we are very happy about. It just about compensates for the decline in the physical market. [But] in order to achieve a long term reversal of this trend and to return to positive growth, rigorous action against copyright violators is needed. That is the only way artists will be paid fairly for the use of their work in the future".
MEGAUPLOAD FOUNDER GIVEN ACCESS TO CASH
As much previously reported, assets held by the controversial file-transfer website and its founder were frozen in January, when the US authorities shut down the MegaUpload servers and, at the request of the Americans, police in New Zealand arrested four executives linked to the Hong Kong incorporated digital company. The US is currently trying to extradite those executives to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.
The lack of funds to pay rapidly mounting legal fees has been a bugbear of Dotcom and his team since day one, and they have been pushing the New Zealand courts to release monies, arguing that without access to cash the defence is at a significant disadvantage. And on Wednesday, despite opposition from US and New Zealand prosecutors, the country's High Court conceded, by allowing Team Mega to take out a NZ$6 million loan secured against frozen assets. Dotcom himself will also be allowed to sell some of his infamous fleet of cars.
The MegaUpload team had asked for $8 million, of which $2.7 million would go on past legal fees, $2.5 million on future legal costs, and $2 million would be used to pay past and future rent bills (Dotcom having taken out a loan to make a February rent payment, and then negotiated a postponement on the next rent bill).
Although the original plan was for the US's extradition case to be heard in August, that won't now take place until next March. However, an ongoing squabble over the warrant used to raid Dotcom's mansion in January, and what should happen to assets seized given the wrong warrant was seemingly used, should return to court next month, with the prosecution looking to overturn a previous court ruling in the defence's favour on that issue.
Dotcom, meanwhile, is investing much of his energies into trying to get the Megabox direct-to-fan platform, that he had been developing before the January shutdown, up and running, while routinely telling the world via Twitter how he and his future Mega ventures will single-handedly empower artists, and change the entertainment industry, and possibly the world, forever. Even though his own musical offerings arguably remind us why the A&R filtering process of the old school record industry isn't always a bad thing.
LL COOL J BURGLAR PLEADS NOT GUILTY
As previously reported, LL Cool J discovered the man, named as Jonathan Kirby, in his kitchen at around 1am last Wednesday morning. He tackled the intruder and detained him while his daughter called the police - breaking Birby's jaw, nose and some ribs in the process.
Due to California's "three-strikes" law, Kirby faces a sentence of 38 years to life if found guilty, as it would be his third conviction in the state. He will now be held in jail until another hearing on 10 Sep to decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.
WILL.I.AM SIGNS WITH BMG, RECORDS MARTIAN SINGLE
The company will now manage the publishing copyrights created by the Black Eyed genius. "Genius?" you query. Well, BMG's Venus Brown certainly thinks so, enthusing: "The word 'genius' gets thrown around a bit too much these days, but in the case of Will.i.am it's undeniably true. Will.i.am's range, cleverness and global appeal as a songwriter/producer are just a part of what makes him special and I'm so grateful that he has chosen BMG as his partner and home for his works".
One such 'work' is a new project i.am has undertaken with NASA, whereby he has created a track to be broadcast from Mars via the Curiosity rover-bot gadget. Bearing the aptly astral title 'Reach For The Stars', it's described as "a new composition about the singer's passion for science, technology and space exploration".
NASA.org will host the track's official premiere, as it's beamed live to earth from Curiosity, on 4 Sep. In the meantime, listen to a tantalising Earth-based excerpt here.
PARALYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY SOUNDTRACK RELEASED
And making Paralympians compete at a separate parallel Olympics does mean we get a second opening ceremony, and Universal therefore gets to release another Olympics-themed record. And while last night's Paralympics opening ceremony might not have been the wondrous mindfuck Danny Boyle delivered at the start of the main event, many of you may still wish to remember the proceedings with a copy of the musical score, which went on sale last night, and features the following musical moments...
London Symphony Orchestra - Prologue
ONE DIRECTION CHRISTEN LP
Ooooh, I for one am excited.
As you may know, Louis, curly Harry Styles and the other 1D boys have chosen 'Live While You're Young' as the first single to be taken from their new long player. So far crowned the fastest selling pre-order single ever; it'll be available to buy, download and swoon over from 30 Sep.
'Take Me Home', meanwhile, is destined for release in November.
PURE LOVE, MELLOWHYPE POSTPONE LPS
First to Frank Carter's post-Gallows reincarnation Pure Love, who have postponed the release of their first LP, 'Anthems', by six months. It'll now be out on 4 Feb, and they haven't even bothered to explain why. If you forgive this and are still interested in all-things Pure Love, the band begin a headline tour at the Exeter Cavern on 25 Oct.
Rap duo MellowHype, aka Odd Future's Hodgy Beats and Left Brain, have blamed a delay on their new record, 'Numbers', on their own sense of artistic perfectionism, setting its release date back by a week to 8 Oct. Hodgy shared the revised date via Twitter, adding in a since-deleted tweet: "My album is great but it wasn't intact. I'm on tour getting these masters right. I won't settle and put out music I'm unsatisfied with".
Beats also published an official tracklisting by way of compensation, and this is it:
But while delayed the album as a whole might be, MellowHype have just released the video for lead 'Numbers' single 'La Bonita', and this is it.
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING UNVEIL NEW LP VENTURE
They'll release a new LP in 'Arc' via their new label, Sony's RCA, on 14 Jan 2013, preceding this with new single 'Cough Cough', which apparently marks a "musical leap forward" for the band.
This is what lead singer Jonathan Higgs has to say about said track, a kind of commercial contradiction: "'Cough Cough' is about the power of money and the desire to get away from it. It's also about waking up and seeing the world as an unfair place and then slipping back under the spell of greed. It's about having no money, and wanting more money, and wanting nothing to do with money at all".
Behold all that and more in its official video.
NEW PHILCO FICTION, NATHAN FAKE LPS NOW STREAMING
Since we're talking streaming, I'll also mention 'Steam Days', the new LP from electronic auteur Nathan Fake, who by the way is now to accompany Orbital on their forthcoming tour. Drowned In Sound has a SoundCloud player containing the entire LP, and you can listen to it to your heart's content (again, only until it's officially out on 3 Sep), here.
THE VACCINES TO INOCULATE ALLY PALLY
Most ambitious of all is a date at London's Alexandra Palace, as will also feature 'special guests' in Canadian hardcore vets Fucked Up. Yes, Fucked Up are playing warm-up act to The Vaccines. No comment. Diiv, Deap Vally and Pale will take sub-billings across other dates, which look thus:
15 Nov: Plymouth, Pavilions
ALUNAGEORGE ANNOUNCE TOUR
That said, and without any unnecessary ado, its dates are:
15 Nov: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
CRYSTAL CASTLES SET HEADLINE DATES
22 Nov: Birmingham, Institute
HERBERT GRÖNEMEYER TO APPEAR AT ROUNDHOUSE
The concert takes place on 28 Oct, and may just feature guest cameos by the long player's various collaborators, not least Bono, Antony Hegarty and James Dean Bradfield. Unless they're busy, in which case it won't.
ANGEL HAZE DETAILS LONDON LIVE DEBUT
The hyped MC - who's quoted here side-stepping Nicki Minaj comparisons and talking prospective studio duets with Azealia Banks and Paul Epworth - will toast her recent signing to Universal's Island Records with the show and single release, which take place in unison on 8 Oct.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
FREEZE FESTIVAL, Battersea Power Station, London, 26-27 Oct: Public Enemy, DJ Shadow, Grandmaster Flash, A-Yo! (Mark Ronson vs Zane Lowe), Riz MC, Stanton Warriors, DJ E-Z, Snatch The Wax, Swami Baracus, Smiler, Astroid Bous, Future Disco, Vagabondz. www.relentlessfreeze.com/music
ICELAND AIRWAVES, various venues, Reykjavik, Iceland, 31 Oct - 4 Nov: Shearwater, Diiv, Haim, Apparat Organ Quartet, Snorri Helgason, Reykjavík, Rökkurró, Útidúr, Nova Heart, Dikta, Lára Rúnars, Benni Hemm Hemm, Gluteus Maximus, Mr Silla, Árni Vector, Asonat, Atrum, Bárujárn, Bix, Boogie, Trouble, Dream Central Station, Elíza Newman, EmmSjé Gauti, Enkídú, Epic Rain, Fu Kaisha, Gang Related, Geir Helgi, Ghost Town Jenny, Gísli Pálmi, Good Moon Deer, GP!, Halleluwah, Hanne Kolstø, HaZar, Hellvar, Hljómsveitin Ég, Hollow Veins, Jack Magnet Quintet, Japanese Super Shift & The Future Band, Jón Þór, Lockerbie, Love & Fog, Love Demons, M-Band, Magnús Leifur, Mikael Lind, Monotown, Morðingarnir, Myrká, Myrra Rós, Noise, Nóra, Nuke Dukem, Oculus, Oyama, Pedro Pilatus, Quadruplos, RVK Soundsystem, Saytan, Sindri Eldon & the Ways, Skurken, Stafrænn Hákon, Steve Sampling, Strigaskór Nr 42, Svartidauði, Tanya & Marlon, The Foreign Resort, Thor, Trouble, Two Tickets to Japan, Ultra Mega Technobandið Stefán, Vigri, We Made God, Woodpidgeon, Ylja, Þórir Georg, Æla. www.icelandairwaves.is
TUSK, Star & Shadow, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 5-7 Oct: The Unit Ama, Lobster, Priest, Trancers II. www.tuskfestival.com
SPURNED TUNECORE FOUNDER CONCERNED ABOUT COMPANY'S FUTURE
Wells confirmed that both man were taken by surprise when they were respectively fired by the TuneCore board, particularly so in the case of Price, as he has always been the very vocal figurehead of the company. Now, says Wells, he worries that the company will be grown by its investors to the cost of the digital distributor's original ethos - inviting artists to "sell your music, not your soul".
Wells says that his own departure in May, although a shock and disappointment, was basically pretty amicable. He tells Hypebot: "I left TuneCore on excellent terms: they were very happy with my work, there were handshakes all around. I was told my position was 'dissolved', that's all. I was extremely surprised. [And] I was disappointed that no effort was made to find [an alternative] place for me after my position was dissolved. I was even more disheartened that I wasn't given a chance to come up with something on my own. But I was assured my leaving was no reflection on my performance, but was best for the company's bottom line. Okay, sometimes a founder has to go. I understand there are phases in the life of a company. Gary Burke and Jeff Price, the other two co-founders, were still there, I knew TuneCore was in good hands".
However, he continued: "[Then] more than a month ago, Jeff Price was asked to leave. This was lightning out of nowhere, and it gives me real reason to worry. Jeff was the heart and soul and brains of TuneCore, and I can't understand why he was asked to leave ... I've not heard any satisfactory explanation as to why Jeff was asked to leave, nor have I been told who's running the company. I and the other shareholders need to be kept informed, and the silence is distressing".
Discussing TuneCore's potential future direction, he said: "Most concerning of all, the company is now in the hands of its big-money investors, principally Opus Venture. When TuneCore began in my living room with Gary and Jeff, we only had ourselves and the artist to answer to. But VC never has a pure motive: they enter a company to grow it, to make it a success, but not necessarily solely for the company or its vision, its employees or its customers. VC has to answer to its own needs, its return-on-investment, and its ultimate exit. This is the double-edged sword of venture capital: you get from them the money to grow, the support and know-how, sometimes even personnel. But you also dilute your vision. Your investors answer to different, at best mixed priorities".
Read the full interview here.
DOES CHANGE IN BERTELSMANN STATUS PREEMPT SHARE SALE?
Well, the Mohn family who control the German media giant don't generally like sharing their business assets. But Hypebot has noted that a recent change in legal status under German company law - so that the business is now a KGaA (partnership limited by shares) rather than an AG (joint stock company) - might be a move designed to enable a partial IPO while protecting the interests of the Mohns.
Though the official line is that the shift from AG to KGaA is an "identity-preserving change of legal form", and is not intended to have any major impact on the company's ownership or corporate structure. So a Bertelsmann IPO? Possibly, but also, possibly not.
DARLING DEPARTMENT CLOSES, DIRECTORS ANNOUNCE NEW COMPANIES
Cartwright has now announced the launch of a new management company for electronic artists, with a roster featuring Jamie Jones, Hot Natured, Ali Love, Infinity Ink and Invisible Cities. Stevens and Laub, meanwhile, have launched a new company together, First & Last Music, which will see them staying in both management and consultancy, looking after Natty, Foxes and Sam Frank as well as continuing to work on talent sourcing and music rights projects for companies such as Ray-Ban and Ralph Lauren.
Both companies will jointly manage Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
KOBALT APPOINTS NEW CREATIVE VP
In his new role as Senior VP Creative for the expansive music rights firm, London-based Miller will "develop Kobalt's creative roster, exploit the company's catalogue around the world and sign new deals".
He will report to Kobalt's Exec VP Creative Sas Metcalfe, who told CMU: "I am delighted that Miller has joined our worldwide creative team based in our UK office. His publishing track record speaks for itself, and I'm sure our roster of writers and artists will benefit from his knowledge and experience".
MADONNA PUBLISHES TOUR MANIFESTO
To date, her performances on this tour have mainly angered those on the political right, for, amongst other things, superimposing a swastika on the face of French National Front leader Marianne Le Pen, supporting the jailed members of Pussy Riot, and promoting gay rights. However, these latest criticisms came from more liberal minds, worried that the singer is glorifying guns and violence in her performances.
In a letter to Billboard, she wrote: "It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns - but they are used as metaphors. I do not condone violence or the use of guns. Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case its wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken".
She concludes: "It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end. I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, invigorated and will want to make the world a better place".
Read the full letter here.