IMPALA CALLS ON EUROPEAN COMMISSION ONE MORE TIME TO BLOCK UNIVERSAL/EMI
As previously reported, having debated Universal's most recent proposals regards its EMI bid with representatives from each of the European Union's member states, this week the EC's competition chiefs will share their findings with other European Commissioners. From that meeting a final ruling should be made.
It is thought that, with Universal now offering to sell off between a quarter and a third of EMI's assets, including some catalogues on a global basis, and much of the one-time British major's UK operations, the EC will give the deal a green light. Approval from the US regulator is also expected later this month.
But IMPALA, which has opposed the deal throughout, continues to say that the EC should block the takeover outright. In a letter to the European Commissioners, the indie labels body asks the EC to "stay faithful to its Statement Of Objections issued in June, which concluded that the merger was a real danger in nearly all member states".
The letter adds that "allowing the biggest music company in the world to become even more powerful is inconsistent with the EC's stated concerns about the digital market and how copyright is misused, [and] its ambitions for unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries through their smaller actors".
IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith concludes: "Blocking Universal's attempt to increase its market power by buying one of its most thriving competitors is the logical outcome [of this investigation]. It is difficult to see how remedies could be compatible with the EC's Statement Of Objections, which predicted that the merger would cause foreclosure of competitors' access to media, as well as price increases and other problems. If Europe wants to promote competition and diversity, and ensure customers and consumers are protected from copyright abuse, now is the time to take a stance".
Of course the independent label community IMPALA represents is itself divided over the Universal/EMI deal, with some influential indie label chiefs expressing support for, or at least no concern over, the expansion of the mega-major through an EMI acquisition, particularly given the divestments Universal has committed to make.
Indeed those planned divestments have made the proposed EMI deal positively attractive to some entrepreneurs in the indie sector who would like to bid for the EMI catalogues likely to go on the block. That included IMPALA's own co-President Patrick Zelnik, one of the first indie label chiefs to speak resolutely in support of Universal, mainly because of his interest in bidding for the Virgin Records business, possibly in partnership with Richard Branson.
Though ironically, it looks likely that the Virgin catalogue will be the one bit of EMI not up for sale in Europe. And anyway, there's a very high chance major-label-in-the-making BMG may swoop and buy pretty much all of the EMI crumbs that are on the table (which will actually be several loaves).
Nevertheless, IMPALA itself remains the most staunch opponent to the EMI deal, despite the pretty radical divestments that are now believed to be in the proposals.
RIHANNA MOST NOMINATED AT MTV EMAS
Chris Brown narrowly escapes contention for 'Best Male' by virtue (I mean, unfortunate circumstance) of his new record 'Fortune' being ineligible in terms of when it was released. Though he is nominated for his guest feature on Pitbull's 'International Love'. But he really needn't attend the ceremony on that basis. Seriously, it'd mean stealing Pitbull's thunder, and no one wants that. Nor do we want to see him (Chris Brown) and Rihanna kissing again.
Anyway... moving on, the nominees are:
Best Song: Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe, Rihanna feat Calvin Harris - We Found Love, Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know, Pitbull feat Chris Brown - International Love, fun. feat Janelle Monáe - We Are Young
Best Video: MIA - Bad Girls, Lady Gaga - Marry The Night, Katy Perry - Wide Awake, Rihanna feat Calvin Harris - We Found Love, Psy - Gangnam Style
Best Female: Rihanna, Katy Perry, Pink, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj
Best Male: Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Flo Rida, Pitbull, Jay-Z
Best New Artist: Rita Ora, fun., One Direction, Lana Del Rey, Carly Rae Jepsen
Best Pop: Justin Bieber, No Doubt, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Rihanna
Best Live: Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z & Kanye West, Green Day, Muse
Best Hip Hop: Jay-Z & Kanye West, Nas, Rick Ross, Drake, Nicki Minaj
Best Rock: Linkin Park, Green Day, Muse, The Killers, Coldplay
Best Electronic: David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Skrillex, Calvin Harris
Best Alternative: Jack White, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Florence And The Machine, Lana Del Rey
Best Look: Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Jack White, Taylor Swift, A$AP Rocky
Biggest Fans: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry
Best World Stage: Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, BOB, Evanescence, Flo Rida, Jason Derulo, Joe Jonas
Best Push: Nov - Foster The People, Dec - Lana Del Rey, Jan - Mac Miller, Feb - Michael Kiwanuka, March - Gotye, April - Rebecca Ferguson, May - fun., June - Rita Ora, July - Conor Maynard, August - Of Monsters And Men, September - Carly Rae Jepsen
PRS TO PRESENT HERITAGE AWARDS TO FAITHLESS AND SUPERGRASS
The group's Sister Bliss told CMU: "We had some unforgettable nights in Camden, the local scene was always edgy and groundbreaking and we loved it. Electronic music was finally getting some broader recognition too and it was an exciting time for us. The Jazz Café is really important to our story and where our live career took off. We're so honoured to be getting this Heritage Award with them and celebrating where it all started. Can't believe it's been fifteen years!"
Meanwhile Lisa Auger, General Business Manager at Jazz Café, added: "We are pleased to be included in the history and achievements of Faithless. From their first gig at the Jazz Café to sold out stadiums and countless record sales, we are honoured to erect the PRS For Music plaque to commemorate their achievement in the British music industry".
The next Heritage Award after this one will go to Supergrass, with a plaque being erected at Oxford's Jericho Tavern, where the band regularly played in the early part of their career, and where they were first signed. The Supergrass award will be presented on 3 Oct.
ANASTACIA ANNOUNCES BMG ALLIANCE
The US singer is the latest artist to sign an interesting 'partnership deal' with the v2 BMG company, which sees the music rights business providing the services of a record label to the artist, but taking on less risk, and giving the talent more control and a greater revenue share in return.
While it has acquired some master recording catalogues outright, to sit alongside its extensive song catalogues, when working with recording artists on new material BMG has generally pursued this partnership route, which seems like an enhanced version of the old fashioned distribution deals artists and labels have always done.
Confirming the company's new partnership with Anastacia in Europe, BMG's MD of European Repertoire, Fred Casimir, told CMU: "Anastacia is an international superstar with a huge appeal, particularly in Europe. We are very pleased that she has chosen to release her next two albums in partnership with BMG".
Meanwhile Anastacia's manager Craig Logan added: "We're delighted to partner with BMG. For artists like Anastacia with a strong sense of who they are and where they're going, the BMG model is really interesting, because it gives you more control and real transparency".
PRIMAL SCREAM RECORD DOUBLE ALBUM
Describing the LP as "one of the best ones we've ever done", Gillespie defined its general 'sound' as "free rock, psychedelic... I'm not going to say 'experimental', but it's a rock record. It's kinda out there".
Gillespie also revealed that, since many of the tracks clock in between seven to nine minutes, it'll be released as a 2CD set. Apart from all this, the real reason for his and Laverne's conversation was a forthcoming live session Primal Scream are recording for 6music. Set for broadcast in October, it may or may not offer a first listen to the band's new material.
NEW ORDER TO BEGIN MAKING "ELECTRONIC SYNTH" LP IN 2013
Speaking about the new record from backstage at this year's Bestival, Sumner told Mixmag: "We've not had time to do it this year as we've played so many gigs, but next year we're not going to play so many, so we'll do it then".
He added: "I think I'd like to make an electronic synth album, as the last few that I've done have been guitar albums".
SOUNDGARDEN NAME NEW LP
Been Away Too Long
Watch a really wild promo trail for it now.
JOHN TALABOT TO RELEASE LP EXTRAS, REMIX EP
JT will also release an EP of 'fIN' remixes - the first volume of several such collections - towards the end of the month, with input by Bullion, Kenton Slash Denton and Pachanga Boys.
And in the meantime, this is his and 'fIN' track 'Destiny' collaborator Pional's version of Chairlift's 'I Belong In Your Arms'. And speaking of that, Chairlift have translated the original 'I Belong' into Japanese, and this is what came of it.
LOSERVILLE OPENS IN THE WEST END NEXT MONTH
It seemed like a pipe dream, and, as the years went on following its premiere in theatre-central Bracknell in 2009, even more so. But then in April this year it was announced that the play would have a month-long summer run at Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse. Leeds might be further away from London than Bracknell but right then it felt so much closer. A West End transfer must surely have now been on the cards. Was it? Could it really be? Hell the fuck yes it could.
'Loserville' will open at the Garrick Theatre in the West End on 1 Oct and run until March 2013. Five months it's open for. Unless it gets extended, of course. Which it surely will, cos look how long 'We Will Bloody Rock You' has been running for, and that's rubbish.
Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax Theatres, which owns the Garrick, said: "I had a ball when I saw this show at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. [It's a] fresh, fizzy, fun and delightfully original contemporary musical with a young cast bursting with talent. If you aren't 25, you'll feel like it!"
That's bad news for CMU staff under the age of 25 when it comes to our impending office outing to see the show. I'm excited though.
ADELE TO PROVIDE NEXT BOND THEME, CONFIRMED
There's been speculation for sometime that Adele would record the next Bond song, and more so than ever last week when the singer was seen at Abbey Road Studios, where work is underway to complete the 'Skyfall' soundtrack. And now the film's producers have confirmed her involvement in the latest Bond theme to Total Film magazine.
It will be the first new material from Adele since her second album '21'. The film will open in the UK on 21 Oct.
MERCURY NOMINEES TO PLAY LIVE SHOWS
Jessie et al will play at LSO St Luke's in London on 26 Sep. Tickets will be free, "although a donation of £10 will need to be made to War Child in order to secure each pair of tickets". Which I think means tickets are £5 each, though War Child's a great charity, so hurrah for that.
Anyone wanting to go to the gig needs to register with a special ballot system today at this URL.
2 CHAINZ 2 STOP IN LONDON
TENEBROUS LIAR TOURING ANON
Beginning with an LP-coming-out-party at London's The Macbeth on 15 Oct, said tour starts again on 26 Oct for a further nine sporadically-spaced dates:
15 Oct: London, The Macbeth
SKREAM ADDS GOLDIE AND GUESTS TO SKREAMIZM NIGHT
Goldie, Krystal Klear, Route 94 and Hijack will all appear at the Brixton date, which happens on 9 Oct.
The Skreamizm tour, meanwhile, now looks like this:
20 Sep: Dublin, Twisted Pepper
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
SWN, various venues, Cardiff, Wales, 18-21 Oct: The Blackout, Alone, ANiMAL, Astroid Boys, Beatbox Fozzy, Bof!, Bright Light Bright Light, Candelas, Casi Wyn, Childhood, Cloud 4mations, Crushing Blows, Dirty Goods, DJ Cluedo with MC Local and MC Traumatik, DJ Kinzy, Drenge, Eddy Temple-Morris, Effluence, Elro, Enfield Tennis Academy, Esther, Face & Heel, Fear of Men, Foxes, Gala Drop, Gareth Potter, Goodtime Boys, Gwenno, Harry Keyworth, Hexstatic, Holy Mountain, Huw M, Jake Mattison (solo acoustic), Jethro Fox, Kid Chocolat, Kozzie, Kutosis, Laurence Made Me Cry, Llwybr Llaethog, Love Motel, Luke Sital Singh, M.I.K, Man Without Country, Martin Creed, Mazes, MC Vocab & MC Reepa, Mine, Mr Fogg, My First Tooth, Night Engine, Pale Seas, Pariso, Plyci, Pol, Pull Yourself Together DJs, R Seiliog, Rae Morris, Ratatosk, Richard James presents In Chapters, Save Your Breath, Seasfire, Sen Segur Sevans DJs, Spooky Bizzle, Stealing Sheep, Stubborn Heart, Sun Drums, Survivalists, Sweet Baboo, The Dead Beggars, The Earth, The Family Band, The Lay Lows, The Naturals, The Physics House Band, Tim & Puma Mimi, Toddla T, Trwbador, Wild Swim, Y Pencadlys, YNGVE. www.swnfest.com
CREDIT CRUNCH CAUSED EMI DEAL TO GO BAD, SAYS TERRA FIRMA CHIEF
And to an extent, Guy Hands is right. The plan, of course, was to share the multi-billion pound debt that had been used to buy the EMI record company and music publishing business, and to refinance here and refinance there, sharing the risk and, perhaps more importantly given the public interest in a company as old and iconic as EMI, making it much harder for outsiders to work out the state of play in the tricky times.
But by autumn 2007 there was no one left willing to share the risk, leaving EMI with a very public multi-billion pound debt to a flagging US bank that was in the process of falling out with Hands big time. That bank, of course, repossessed in 2011, and has since split the EMI company into two, merging the two sides of the business with the firm's two biggest competitors, and thus basically killing off Britain's last major music company, which had been celebrating its 80th birthday as the bankers took over.
But it could have all been so different. In a polemic on banking regulations for the Financial Times, Hands writes: "At Terra Firma we believed EMI presented a great investment opportunity, which is why we committed to it in May 2007 and underwrote such a high exposure to a single deal across two of our funds. We were confident that we would be able to sell down part of our investment to co-investors. No one knew that credit conditions would change so quickly and disastrously. We were not the only firm caught out by the crash but, because it was large and colourful, EMI became the poster child for failed deals".
He continues: "The irony is that EMI could have been a good deal if the debt and equity market conditions had not changed so dramatically. Our problems stemmed from the timing of the transaction not the strategy. Our view of the music industry's overall market decline proved to be largely correct.
As EMI's subsequent performance has shown, our plans for transforming its operations were effective. Under our ownership, EMI moved from having an annualised negative cash flow of £150m a year to a positive cash flow of £250m a year, while at the same time EMI's market share increased 13% in an industry that declined by 15%".
We've noted before that the EMI repossessed off Terra Firma in 2011 was much healthier than the one the equity twonks bought in 2007, though whether that was as a result of clever strategy from Team Firma, coupled with the sort of brutal but necessary streamlining only ruthless City types could achieve, is debatable. Certainly you never sensed that any calculated strategic thinking was pouring in from the owners at the top of the organisation while Terra Firma was in control, especially once the shit hit the fan. It could be argued that, instead, certain executives inside EMI managed to rise to a huge challenge once put under the intense pressure of a collapsing business.
But either way, Hands is right to say that, more than anything, the credit crunch helped shape the final gloomy chapter of the EMI story. And whatever you think of his time as EMI owner, Hand's opinions on the banking sector, and the sort of rules private equity firms like his should self-enforce to prevent another EMI (Terra Firma, after all, was a big loser from that debacle), make for interesting reading.
ACM ANNOUNCES FIRST SCHOOL FRANCHISE
The first partner is relatively local to ACM itself, it being Box Hill School, also in Surrey. Via its partnership with ACM, the school will offer extra-curricular music courses on Saturdays for ages seven to sixteen. The new courses, which kick off on 29 Sep, aim to capitalise on a recent £1.5 million investment in the school's music department.
The school's Headteacher Mark Eagers told CMU: "Music encourages teamwork, inspires confidence and nurtures respect for others. It really is a skill for life. ACM understands and shares our passion, so we could not ask for a better partner in inspiring our students to develop their musical ability. We know our students will approach the classes with their usual 'have a go' ethos and we can't wait to see the talent that emerges".
Meanwhile ACM Commercial's Operations Manager James Connell added: "This project is about making music exciting and accessible, by losing the formality and offering an environment in which creativity can flourish. It is the first scheme of its kind in the UK, so we're very excited and passionate about it. Box Hill School could even blaze the trail for similar schemes in schools across the country".
O2 MUSIC SPONSORSHIP CHIEF MOVES TO LIVE NATION
O2, of course, has been prolific in the music sponsorship domain on Skee's watch, most notably branding a network of music venues across the UK, a venture which saw Skee working closely with her new employer, and the Academy Music Group, which is co-owned by Live Nation.
REVERB MUSIC ACQUIRED BY US PUBLISHER
Confirming the deal, Reservoir's Exec VP Rell Lafargue told CMU: "The acquisition of Reverb Music builds on Reservoir's already robust infrastructure by adding an administrative and creative presence for our company and our songwriters in the United Kingdom. I look forward to integrating the Reverb catalogue and welcoming the team, as well as a host of incredibly talented songwriters".
Meanwhile Barrett added: "I am thrilled to forge this new relationship with Reservoir and carry on the Reverb legacy. To be able to continue to build on the strong foundations of the catalogue and current roster created with the support and resources of Reservoir is ideal".
WYCLEF WRITES ABOUT LAURYN LIES IN NEW BOOK
Jean has previously indicated that his affair with Hill, or its ending, led to the collapse of The Fugees in 1997, though in his new book 'Purpose' he reveals that it was Hill lying about the paternity of one of her children that brought their relationship to a head.
According to the New York Post, Jean alleges in the new book that Hill told him he was the father of one of her sons, when actually the child's father was Rohan 'son of Bob' Marley, with whom Hill has had five children.
The Post's excerpt from Jean's book reads: "In that moment something died between us. I was married and Lauryn and I were having an affair, but she led me to believe that the baby was mine, and I couldn't forgive that. She could no longer be my muse. Our love spell was broken".