UNIVERSAL'S EMI DEAL DUE TO BE APPROVED IN EUROPE ON FRIDAY
We still don't know the final list of divestments Universal will have to make in order to win that EC approval, though insiders have told the Wall Street Journal that it will amount to 60% of EMI's European assets, and will include some global catalogues. It's still thought that on a worldwide basis, that will amount to between a quarter and a third of EMI in total.
Ironically the level of divestments being made will make it very difficult for Universal to truly deliver on its promise to reinvigorate the EMI recordings business in Europe, ie the promise it originally hoped would get EC approval with minimum concessions, given that it will no longer control over half of the EMI company across the EU; and especially in the UK where both the Parlophone and Chrysalis businesses are likely to be sold.
The WSJ reckons that approval will come in the form of a short written statement on Friday, presumably with a more detailed explanation to follow in due course. The Journal quotes an unnamed individual involved in the EC regulatory process as saying: "The die has been cast and the decision has been made, though it has come at a very heavy price for Universal. The next question is whether it will recoup the losses on its disposals and whether [the divestments] will go to a single buyer".
Of course approval from America's Federal Trade Commission is also still pending, though that is also expected to be confirmed within the month, allowing the Universal/EMI merger, and the sell-off of over half of EMI Europe, to begin.
CENTURY MEDIA REPORTEDLY SUING 7500 FILE-SHARERS
As is customary in file-sharing litigation, such action requires two stages of action: one lawsuit to gain an injunction forcing internet service providers to reveal the identities of web-users accessing the net at specific IP addresses, and then a second to actually sue the individuals for copyright infringement.
Though it's thought the strategy of Century Media's legal rep in the US, who is also representing some other copyright owners, is to then approach the accused and attempt to negotiate out-of-court settlements, thus gathering damages for the label, and covering his own fees.
Some judges have criticised this practice in the past, especially where it's believed that rights owners have no intention of ever enforcing their rights fully through the courts, but rather assume that the majority of identified file-sharers will pay up when sent a threatening legal letter, even if the case against them might not fully stack up in court.
Requests for statements from both Century Media's US and European offices did not receive responses. However, a spokesman for the label's US office told Metal Insider they weren't aware of the legal action, but would consult the company's German HQ - though the lawyer pursuing the cases, Jay McDaniel, is quoted by NorthJersey.com as saying: "What's critical to these cases, and what many people don't understand, is that it's the distribution that is the evil influence. It's the distribution that does the real damage and harm, not just to the client but to the culture industries and to creative endeavours in general".
Although copyright infringement lawsuits against individual file-sharers have fallen out of the spotlight since trade bodies representing the major labels, in particular the Recording Industry Association Of America, decreed they were an ineffective way of combating online piracy, such litigation is still routinely pursued in courts around the world by smaller rights owners, in particular porn companies.
In the UK, the last sizable music firm to threaten such action was Ministry Of Sound, though it backed down on those threats when the work of hapless legal firm ACS:Law - which breached data protection rules by accidentally publishing the information of all the file-sharers it was targeting - came to wider attention, even though Ministry wasn't linked to ACS in any way directly.
More recent file-sharing litigation of this kind has led to some new issues being considered by judges. In particular that tricky issue of what to do if an accused file-sharer has an unprotected wi-fi connection and claims others did the actual file-sharing over his or her network, given, with a few exceptions, courts generally don't like implying into law a legal obligation to password protect wi-fi hubs.
Another interesting issue raised in the Century lawsuit is whether all members of a BitTorrent 'swarm' (a network of users which use BitTorrent technology to link together, enabling faster file-sharing) can be held liable for copyright infringement conducted via that swarm, even if there is no evidence of unlicensed copying linked to some of their actual IP address.
MEGAUPLOAD EVIDENCE DEBATE BACK IN NEW ZEALAND COURT
America, of course, is trying to extradite Dotcom and other former MegaUpload execs living in New Zealand to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. The extradition hearing had originally been set for August, but was postponed into 2013 because of various outstanding issues, including the dispute over evidence sharing.
Dotcom was in attendance at this week's court hearing, though was not actively involved in the proceedings. The US again presented its argument as to why it should not have to hand over all of its evidence, which includes millions of emails, for the extradition hearing, mainly on the basis that such a hearing is not a full trial. The New Zealand court is expected to rule on the matter in the next few weeks.
PIRATE BAY FUNDER FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
As much previously reported, Carl Lundstrom was put on trial alongside TPB founders Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm for his involvement in the Bay, and was found guilty of copyright infringement. Like the three founders, Lundstrom exhausted all routes of appeal in Sweden without having his conviction overturned, though he did successfully have his custodial sentence sufficiently reduced that he could, under Swedish law, serve his time under house arrest rather than in prison.
So, whereas Sunde and Neij are still trying to avoid jail through further legal action, and while Svartholm has so far avoided his custodial sentence by hiding out in Cambodia (until being forced back to Sweden earlier this month), Lundstrom has served his time. But there still remains the matter of the $7 million in damages (plus interest) the four Pirate Bay men were ordered to pay the music and movie industries.
With the Pirate Bay founders all being of limited means (well, depending on what exactly the status and value of Sunde's share in his new business Flattr is), only Lundstrom was ever going to be able to pay any substantial damages to the content industries. But now, according to Swedish magazine Ny Teknik, he has filed for bankruptcy in Switzerland, where he has lived since 2008. Which makes the chances of the labels and studios ever getting their damages even less likely.
Lundstrom has confirmed his bankruptcy application to Ny Teknik, though didn't reveal any more information about the move. The Bay funder became a multi-millionaire when his family's company was sold in the early 1980s, and he made millions more when he subsequently sold a telecom company he owned, though the exact state of his business and financial affairs today is not known.
LETHERETTE SIGN TO NINJA TUNE, GIVE AWAY TRACK
Of more immediate note is the duo's third EP 'Featurette', which is out digitally and on twelve-inch vinyl on 19 Nov.
Free digital copies of EP track 'Warstones' are also available to download at this link.
COOKING VINYL SIGNS MADNESS
Confirming the alliance, Cooking Vinyl's Rob Collins told CMU: "To sign one of the all time great British acts is a dream come true and the icing on the cake of an excellent year for the label. We now have two national treasures - Madness and Billy Bragg. 2012 has been a hugely successful year for the band, performing to a combined audience of over a billion worldwide at the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony alongside the likes of The Who, Take That and the venerable Spice Girls. They also took to the roof of Buckingham Palace at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June to perform two of their best loved hits, 'Our House' and 'It Must Be Love'".
Meanwhile Madness manager Hugh Gadsdon added: "We are delighted to be working with [Cooking Vinyl chief] Martin [Goldschmidt], Rob and the entire CV team. This is a deal that affords us the ability to choose and manage the best routes to market, whilst retaining a clear overview of all marketing and promotional activity. What first impressed me about CV was their astounding work with The Prodigy campaign in 2008 and their subsequent successful records for Marilyn Manson, The View and The Enemy. There is already a brilliant team spirit developing between Cooking Vinyl and my team, and we are looking forward to achieving our targets with what is probably the best album Madness have produced in their phenomenal career".
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 DESCEND WITH NEW MUSIC
Singer/drummer Sebastien Grainger, who with bassist Jesse Armstrong released DFA79's one and only LP 'You're A Woman, I'm A Machine' in 2004, substantiates the above facts via the band's official blog: "Jesse and I have been writing new songs and the only way we feel like we can make them any good is to go out and play them for people. We're going to throw our little muscle bound babies to the lions and see who survives. We tried just jumping into the studio, but the songs lacked spirit. They lacked life. So this tour is song CPR".
He adds: "There's no way for us to do it anonymously anymore, so we're inviting you to come along with us. Watch us Do It. The way we used to. The way everyone used to. We're a band, and bands just work it out together".
Ah, that's a nice note to end on. Assuming the Canadian tour resuscitates the new tracks, Jesse and Sebastien may well be 'Doing It' (aka touring) in the UK quite soon. Or, not.
HEMLOCK RECORDINGS RELEASING ANNIVERSARY MIX
'Hemlock Recordings Chapter One' will feature James Blake's 2009 track 'Air & Lack Thereof', plus archival audio from Hemlock alumni FaltyDL, Ramadanman and Randomer. Here's the full tracklisting:
Fantastic Mr Fox & Rich Reason - Plimsoul
All of the above will be released on 12 Nov, and will be available either on CD or as a triple vinyl set.
TELEPATHE TALK NEW SINGLE, LP
First of all they've confirmed its title track, one seemingly first released in 2011, as a first official single. It may have altered since, but hear what it sounded like last year via Fader.
Despite 'Destroyer' the song and the album being minus issue dates, this Nowness interview with the band indicates that the single will be affixed to remixes by Trent Reznor and TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek.
The same article, which also features a stream of unreleased track 'Onyx', quotes Livaudais as saying this about the long player: "All the songs are about people we love. It's a record about fucking, basically. We're both so bored of hearing asexual indie rock. The new album is full-on predator".
Telepathe play the first of six British/Irish dates at London's Fabric on 21 Sep.
PEACHES SCREENS NEW MUSICAL, PENIS PYROTECHNICS STANDARD
Scripted by and starring Peaches, it features formation dancing, combustible sex organs, and this synopsis: "It begins with a philosophical lecture that is rudely interrupted by Peaches, who is spurred on by the advice of a 65 year old stripper to transform into a musician with magical sexual powers. As the story takes the shape of an operetta, Peaches' popularity grows and she seeks to gratify her fans' desires by becoming transsexual. She falls in love with a beautiful she-male, but when her heart is broken she must dig deep to find out what she desires and who she truly is".
So that's nice. And here's Peaches doing... well, Peaches in the film's official trailer.
She has also shared with Spinner, amongst other things, a desire that either Snoop Lion or actress Tina Fey sponsor a full-scale theatrical tour of the show. Here she is talking about that, and the complications of designing safe and effective "exploding boobs".
MARTHA WAINWRIGHT TO TOUR WITH BAND
Details as listed:
2 Dec: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
Last month, Martha also shared a pre-release preview of album track 'Proserpina', the last song written by her mother, folk chanteuse Kate McGarrigle, prior to her death in 2010.
Says Martha of the track: "It's the last song my mother wrote, and of course I also think that she wrote it for me, and for Rufus. We wrote songs together, ever since we were children. As we sing her songs, I think her voice can be heard in ours, literally through our pipes".
LOS CAMPESINOS! BOOK CHRISTMAS DATE
After announcing the festive show, the band tweeted this to that same effect: "That's our last show of the 'Hello Sadness' era, before we record album #5. Beautiful venue, extended set, excellent supports, Xmas cheer".
Tickets for the date, which falls on 15 Dec at London's Islington Assembly Hall, are available via Rockfeedback.
FREE ECO-ELECTRO TOUR TO HOST DJS BENJI B, MARTELO, OSSIE, NIC TASKER
Basically, rather than paying money, guests exchange a broken/unwanted electrical appliance for entry to each show. Items will then be recycled - always a good and noble thing - plus £5 per item will be donated back to various independent recording studios towards buying new equipment.
Radio 1's Benji B will DJ at all five dates, which will host varying rosters featuring Martelo, Nic Tasker, Ossie, Kidnap Kid, Kodiak Greenmoney, Conquering Animal Sound and DJ Die.
Details via www.facebook.com/makenoiseuk, and listings as follows:
6 Nov: Belfast, Oh Yeah Music Centre - Benji B & Ossie
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
FROME FOLK FESTIVAL, The Cheese and Grain, Frome, Somerset, 16-17 Feb: Amy Wadge, Pete Riley, Sam Kelly, Phil King, The Longest Johns, Te Willows, Dave Garner & Alan Doyle. www.fromefolkfestival.co.uk
HRH PROG, Magna Science Adventure, Rotherham, 6-7 Apr: Hawkwind, The Enid, Caravan, Antlered Man, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Mostly Autumn, TesseracT, Aeon Zen, Enochian Theory, Order Of Voices. www.hrhprog.com
AEG COULD FETCH $7 BILLION
According to Billboard, insiders have said that AEG has "multiple suitors", even with the $7 billion price tag. As previously reported, Anschutz wants to sell AEG to one party, and has said that it is in no particular hurry to sell, and is committed to finding the right buyer. The Blackstone Group is advising on the sale.
PALMER PLEDGES TO PAY MUSICAL FANS INVOLVED IN HER SHOWS
The tour is part of the project Palmer funded by raising $1.2 million on fan-funding site Kickstarter, the album from which was released earlier this month. Palmer, now widely recognised as the queen of online fan engagement, invited musicians amongst her fanbase to join her band, the Grand Theft Orchestra, on stage at their local Theatre Is Evil gig to play strings or horns on certain songs.
Plenty of fans came forward, thrilled at the privilege of playing with Palmer. Some musician groups, however, were less than thrilled, hitting out at the singer for expecting musicians to play for free as part of a million dollar plus venture. Palmer initially hit back at the criticism, arguing her musical fans saw the opportunity to play as an added benefit, while adding that her budget - which has generally been public domain since the Kickstarter fundraising campaign was in full swing - didn't allow for the additional string and horn players to be hired via traditional routes.
But discussion about Palmer's fans-play-for-free initiative grew online, not least when Steve Albini waded into the debate calling the singer an "idiot" for using unpaid musical talent. And with all that in mind, Palmer has now announced she will provide a fee for fans who participate in her show, and will send fees to those who have performed at past gigs.
Palmer wrote: "Me and my band have discussed it at length, and we have decided we should pay all of our guest musicians. We have the power to do it, and we're going to do it. My management team tweaked and reconfigured financials, pulling money from this and that other budget (mostly video) and moving it to the tour budget. All of the money we took out of those budgets is going to the crowd-sourced musicians fund. We are going to pay the volunteer musicians every night, even though they volunteered their time for beer, hugs, merch, free tickets, and love: we'll now also hand them cash".
CI AND AWAL ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE
Confirming the new partnership, Hitchman told CMU: "CI is the acknowledged market leading digital supply chain platform. Having this deal in place, in conjunction with our own state of the art content management and data reporting systems, ensures that AWAL provides best-in-class digital distribution with an efficient supply chain assuring our route to market".
Meanwhile CI General Manager Kieron Faller said: "We're obviously excited to have AWAL join our group of premiere independent clients. CI are enabling independents to compete on a level playing field with the majors, helping them to have access to the kind of technological capability otherwise only available to those with extremely deep pockets and a lot of specialised knowledge and expertise. Artists, fans, labels, distributors and services all benefit from options like CI".
THIS JUST-IN: BIEBER, ONE DIRECTION NAMED BILLBOARD'S 'HOTTEST MINORS'
(Who else but) Justin Bieber is ruled most 'hot' on the basis of his "more adult-leaning full-length 'Believe'", "tabloid-ready pictures with girlfriend Selena Gomez" (who places at six) and "adorable, now-legal good looks". Eew.
"Fresh faced quintet" One Direction, meanwhile, fly the 'hot' flag for us Brits, scoring the accolade of second most 'hot' in front of the I-can't-believe-they're-still-not-21 likes of Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt, Demi Lovato, Cher Lloyd, Nick Jonas and a still-just-about 'hot' Miley Cyrus. If you're perplexed as to why the number one underage hottie Justin Bieber's touring-partner-to-be, Carly Rae Jepsenis absent from the ranking, it's because she's 26. Yes, really.
Take an incredulous scroll through the '21 Under 21' list via this link, or alternatively just look at the names now:
1. Justin Bieber