A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...
Pussy Riot appeal. The appeal hearing for the three members of Pussy Riot convicted of hooliganism and religious hatred after staging a protest in Moscow's cathedral earlier this year will get under way on Wednesday. The appeal had been due to begin last week, but before it could get going one of the three, Yekaterina Samutsevich, reportedly argued with the judge, complaining that her request for a different defence lawyer had been ignored, leading to the week long adjournment.
City Showcase. This year's City Showcase festival, which commandeers shops up and down London's Regent Street as well as various venues around the city for new band showcases, begins tomorrow. There will also be a series of music industry panels and seminars in the Apple Store and Gibson Guitar Studio. Full details of the event, plus interviews and more can be found in the handy guide published by CMU's sister website ThisWeekLondon.com, which you'll find here.
New releases. Norwegian musician Susanne Sundfør's latest album, 'The Silicone Veil', finally gets its UK release this week, and you should absolutely rush out to buy it. Other albums you should most definitely be putting in your shopping basket this week are the new records from Converge, Why?, Tall Ships and Josephine. Then, if you wish, you may also check out the following: Ellie Goulding, Xzibit, Coheed & Cambria, Daphni (aka Caribou's Dan Snaith), MellowHype, Ty Segall and Fink, the latter of whom is releasing a live album. Annie Mac also has a new compilation out, which has an exclusive track by AlunaGeorge on it. By complete coincidence, AlunaGeorge's new single 'Your Drums, Your Love' is also out this week, and there's a new EP from Rhye.
Gigs and tours. Azealia Banks will bring her Mermaid's Ball to the London Aquarium this Saturday, while on Wednesday Aphex Twin will be conducting his 'Remote Orchestra' at the Barbican, and Radiohead, Marina And The Diamonds and Bloc Party will all kick off UK tours. Also doing the live thing this week are Hot Chip, Ren Harieu, Bo Ningen, Nine Black Alps, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Why?, Slash, Spector, Boys Noize, Kid Koala, Jack Beats, Egyptian Hip Hop, PINS, Angel Haze, Tall Ships and Wave Machines.
REDIGI CASE REACHES COURT
As much previously reported, ReDigi is a US-based service which allows users to sell on their MP3 collections, in much the same way they might sell on used CDs via eBay or the Amazon Marketplace. The start-up says that the principle in US copyright law that allows the resale of CDs - the so called first sale doctrine - also applies to digital music.
But the big music companies do not agree. They argue that the first-sale doctrine only applies to physical music products, mainly because when a CD changes hands no actual mechanical copy is made of the songs or recordings contained on the disk, whereas when an MP3 is transferred from one PC to another a copy does take place.
And while only one person can possess the original CD at any one time, in the digital domain the seller could keep a perfect copy of a recording while also providing another perfect copy to the buyer. That, the majors argue, is copyright infringement, and by providing the platform ReDigi is liable for contributory infringement.
But ReDigi has argued that its technology tackles that issue, by ensuring the buyer's copy of a track is deleted, and therefore, in essence, the track is transferred from PC to PC rather than copied. Therefore, the digital company reckons, its service is valid, under American copyright law at least.
Pursuing this one on behalf of the American record industry, EMI's Capitol Records initially pushed for a summary judgement in its favour, a ruling that would have basically killed ReDigi's business before it had even got off the ground. But in February Judge Richard Sullivan refused, saying that this case posed some big questions about the intricacies of American copyright law in the digital domain, and that a full hearing should be had so those intricacies could be fully discussed.
With opening remarks given to the court on Friday, lawyers for the two sides summarised their arguments to date. Addressing ReDigi, Capitol's rep Richard Mandel said: "You are selling and distributing recordings. In order to do that, you have to make a copy and that is a violation of the reproduction right of the Copyright Act". But Gary Adelman, representing ReDigi, countered: "There is no copy involved. The actual file is being transported. That's how the technology works".
This time both sides are calling for summary judgements in their favour, something Sullivan said he would consider in due course, though given his statements back in February you'd assume the judge is still in a mood to hear the full arguments from both sides in the courtroom before making a ruling that could set a precedent that blocks or launches a new strand of the digital music market, one that excludes the rights owners. According to Bloomberg, Sullivan said on Friday: "We're not making policy. Ultimately, what this is about is interpreting and applying an existing statute".
As previously reported, some have wondered whether a start-up the size of ReDigi has the funds to fight a complicated legal case of this kind if a full hearing is required, though the digital firm insists that it does. In July the company, which also has ambitions to work directly with artists, secured an extra $760,000 in loans.
SIMON FULLER CONSIDERING BID FOR EMI ASSETS
It's thought Fuller will bid for the EMI units, which include the Parlophone and Chrysalis record labels, via his joint venture with original Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, which was announced in June 2011. According to The Independent, private financiers and a leading mobile telecommunications company will also be involved in the £350 million bid.
Since parting company with his original business 19 Entertainment in 2010, having sold that company to CKX in 2005, Fuller has pursued various music, television, digital and talent management ventures through his new entity XIX Entertainment. Most recently, in the music domain, he formed a JV label with Sony Music called Sign Of The Times.
Quite what the Fuller-led consortium would do with Parlophone et al if it won the bid isn't clear, though rumour has it the XIX chief himself is particularly interested in the 50% stake in the 'Now That's What I Call Music' franchise, which he reckons has a profitable future as a media brand. It may be that Blackwell would be left to run the rest of the Parlophone business.
A spokesman for Fuller's firm simply told The Independent: "XIX is a growing company and we'd always be interested in new opportunities in music as they arise. With Simon's track record over 25 years as Britain's most successful music manager, we hope his interest in EMI would carry the support of the industry".
BMG remains the favourite bidders for much of the EMI European assets on the block, though Warner Music may also put in an offer, and others are known to be interested in smaller parts of the business.
LILY ALLEN STILL "TINKERING AWAY" AT NEW LP
FOXYGEN DETAIL LP TWO
LAUREL HALO ADDS AV LIVE DATES
GLASTONBURY SELLS OUT IN RECORD TIME
After a wobble in 2008, when festival organisers didn't declare a sell out until pretty much the gates had opened, tickets have become more in demand again in recent years. The festival's last outing in 2011 sold out within hours of going on sale. Although those of you who were left sobbing into your cereal about missing out on the 2013 bash yesterday, may take comfort in the fact that Glastonbury's deposit scheme means that some tickets will be resold at a later date due to cancellations.
Last year Michael Eavis told The Times that he thought Glastonbury only had a few years left in it before everyone lost interest. This weekend's boost may have changed his mind on that. In a joint statement, he and his daughter Emily Eavis said that they were "genuinely humbled by the sheer number of people who would like to come to the festival".
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
ONE LOVE, secret location, south England, 16-18 Aug: Aba Shanti Soundsystem, Bloco Fogo, Channel One, Earl Gateshead, Eccleton Jarrett, Instrument of Jah Sound System, Iration Steppas, Jah Tubbys, King Tubby's Hi Fi, Nick Manasseh, Robbo Ranx, Saxon Sound System, Sir Coxsone Outernational, Smith & Mighty, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System, Unity Hi-Fi, Youthman Promotion Sound. www.onelovefestival.co.uk
BILLY BRAGG TO DELIVER JOHN PEEL LECTURE AT RADIO FESTIVAL
Confirming his involvement in this year's Radio Festival, Bragg told CMU: "John Peel gave me my first big break in return for a biryani, and he was always hugely supportive of my work. He was a complete hero to the music industry and I'm delighted to be asked to speak at the event in his honour".
The keynote is hosted by BBC 6music, and this year sponsored by 7Digital. Commenting on the event, Radio2/6music Controller Bob Shennan said: "6music is a place that combines free-thinking and musical expertise, so it feels very much like a natural home for the John Peel Lecture. I'm proud that we can continue John's legacy to inspire conversation about music and that Billy - an icon of British music whose outspoken views are sure to spark debate - will take centre stage for this special occasion".
This year's Radio Festival takes place from 12-14 Nov. Info here.
THE PRODIGY SPONSOR UNDER-THIRTEENS FOOTBALL TEAM
Team coach Chris Chapman told NME: "I'm blown away that Liam was up for it. The team were stoked and immediately started asking if The Prodigy could come to see them! It's a good match though because the lads are a bunch of football prodigies!"
FUELED BY RAMEN TO BE HEADED UP BY ROADRUNNER PROMOTIONS MAN
The record company's founder, John Janick, announced he was leaving his job running the label, and his second role as Co-President of Warner's Elektra Records, last week, to take up the COO post at Universal Music's Interscope. Then on Friday his right hand man, Joe Calitri, also left the Warner company.
Mike Easterlin, currently Head Of Promotions at Warner's Roadrunner Records, will now become GM of Fueled By Ramen. He will head up the label in addition to continuing his involvement with Roadrunner; arguably a sign that both subsidiaries have been down-graded in the eyes of Warner Music management in the last year.
DECLAN MORRELL JOINS UNIVERSAL PUBLISHER
Confirming the appointment, Olson told reporters: "Declan Morrell is one of the finest music publishers I have ever known. He is a difference maker and a true music man through and through. I could not be happier that he has joined our team".
Morrell himself added: "It is a true honour to join this great music company, and to be part of such an exciting young and dynamic creative team".
DEEZER GETS NEW FINANCING, AS BUSINESS ANALYSIS SITE QUESTIONS CURRENT STREAMING MUSIC MODEL
The Deezer investment comes as business analysis website PrivCo questioned the sustainability of the streaming music business model. Well, specifically Spotify, though the main issue the PrivCo piece raises - basically how much of the company's revenue goes straight to the music companies - applies to most subscription-based streaming services (even if Spotify is slightly more exposed because of the costs of running the promotional freemium option).
Although the PrivCo piece seemingly focuses on the latest filed accounts from UK-based Spotify Ltd, which, as previously reported, doesn't give the complete picture of the Spotify business any more, some of the concerns it raises have been mooted before in some parts of the digital music sector - ie once the venture capital that is propping up this seemingly booming market runs out, will there be a sustainable business without drastically increasing prices to the consumer, or renegotiating royalty terms with the rights owners (royalties that some in the music space already reckon are too low).
PrivCo's Sam Hamadeh says: "Spotify's 2011 results indicate that drastic changes must be made quickly to its business model in order to generate growth while actually improving operating margins so that break-even, let alone profitability, is somewhere, anywhere, on the horizon".
Hamadeh reckons that the flat pricing model that Spotify and most of its competitors currently operate (where pricing is based on devices that have access, rather than amount of music consumed), will have to change down the line. He writes: "Either the online music royalty payment model to artists and music companies needs to change, which is highly unlikely in the near term given that digital royalties are record companies' only growing revenue stream, or Spotify needs to asap introduce a tiered subscription system, as opposed to its current flat monthly fee model, which is clearly a broken business model. As currently designed, Spotify's business model is unsustainable. Spotify's heaviest users will have to pay, for example, for a 'Spotify Platinum' level for $25/month with more song plays allowed. No matter how we slice the math, it is patently clear that something must change soon on Spotify's business model if the company is to survive".
Of course a lot about the licensing arrangements between companies like Spotify and the labels and music publishers is shrouded in secrecy, making it hard to truly assess long term viability from the outside. Though in the US even long-established services like Pandora and Rhapsody, which have cheaper licensing overheads by offering less interactivity, are yet to prove they have definite long term sustainability. Which is a sobering thought for anyone in the music business still attaching phrases like "saviour of the industry" to Spotify-style set ups.
BLUE NOTE LAUNCHES FIRST COMMERCIAL APP TO COME OUT OF OPENEMI
Don Was, who became President of Blue Note Records at the start of the year, told reporters: "We are excited to be linked with the first app to be created through the OpenEMI initiative. As a label, Blue Note is not only dedicated to pushing boundaries musically, but also to developing new ways of connecting the label's music with fans around the globe. Groovebug and the OpenEMI team have developed an innovative way to discover and showcase Blue Note music in a way that is consistent with our tradition of uncompromising artistic excellence".
While Neil Tinegate, VP Digital Projects at EMI Music, added: "Groovebug have done an amazing job with the Blue Note App, creating a fantastic experience that really brings this outstanding content to life. The app looks and sounds incredible, and is a brilliant way to get completely immersed in the world of Blue Note and its seminal artists. The partnership approach of the OpenEMI process has meant that whilst EMI has taken care of tasks such as licensing and clearances, and now distribution and marketing, Groovebug have been able to concentrate on what they do best - designing and building a stunning app".
And, Jeremiah Seraphine, CEO and co-founder of Groovebug, said: "We are delighted that EMI took the lead in pioneering a forward thinking partnership approach for working with technology companies. The new approach incentivises developers to build consumer-centric products with business models, rather than churning out more cookie-cutter marketing products that don't offer value to the consumer. Ultimately the music fan benefits when forward thinking technologies like the Groovebug Platform are applied to amazing catalogues of music like the Blue Note jazz collection".
BBC PULLS SAVILE FRONTED TOTP REPEATS
The BBC said it thought it was "appropriate" to postpone the airing of the pop shows, in one of a number of statements issued last week in response to the growing scandal around Savile. The Corporation's stance grew ever stronger during the week as the scale of the allegations increased, and amidst questions as to why a 'Newsnight' investigation into similar claims was canned last year.
By Friday, new BBC Director General George Entwistle encouraged any BBC staffers past or present who knew anything about Savile's alleged criminal behaviour to tell the London Metropolitan police, who are investigating the allegations.
While said investigation may ultimately permanently tarnish (if it hasn't already) the reputation of Savile - widely hailed as a much loved entertainer and clubbing innovator after his death last year - many now wonder if it may also name and shame other radio or music stars of the era, some of whose behaviour in this regard is already on the record, though much more, as with Savile's conduct, has generally been the subject of rumour and innuendo rather than rigorously assessed investigation in the past.
MEDIA SOUND HOLDINGS BUYS ISLE OF WIGHT RADIO
Confirming the deal, MSH CEO Allan Moulds is quoted by Radio Today thus: "Media Sound Holdings is a profitable and ambitious radio group and we are very much looking forward to working with Claire and her talented team at the Arqiva Radio Station Of The Year Isle Of Wight Radio. This deal will allow our five radio stations to continue to deliver great local radio whilst benefiting from economies of scale. In addition, we have some very exciting plans to expand both our events and magazine activities".
Willis added: "Isle of Wight Radio has 22 years of heritage and has been awarded a number of industry accolades. Since taking over The Beacon Magazine in July 2011 we have been looking further at ways we can develop the business and we are delighted to be merging with Media Sound Holdings as this provides scope on so many levels to grow and also introduce new platforms".
CHRIS BROWN EXPOSES 'THE REAL CHRIS BROWN'
DEADMAU5 CALLS FORBES HIGHEST PAID DJS LIST "BULLSHIT"
The producer said: "It's bullshit. I had to call my manager and say, 'Yo! Where's the other 10?' Sure, we've seen $20 million in the past two years, but that's gone back into the studio, into tours - they cost up to $10 million alone. It's money in, money out for all of us, but the list makes us look like a bunch of overpaid dicks. The cool thing about it, though, is that it says, 'invest in this shit because it's hot', to the idiots with more money than all of us put together. It's a self-propelling stupidity that's now influxing big industry money into the previously small EDM market".