GROOVESHARK TO LAUNCH MONETISED ARTIST PROFILES
That will allow artists to set up their own profile on the Grooveshark platform, adding and removing tracks, communicating with fans, posting blogs and such like. While basically offering the same artist profile functionality as MySpace, Facebook et al, the USP on Grooveshark will be that users will be encouraged to make donations to artists they like via the Flattr micro-payment system. Users can put a set some of money into their Flattr account, and then tag which artists they would like to share that cash with.
It will be interesting to see whether any artists embrace that new element of Grooveshark. The introduction of the monetised artist profiles is presumably part of the controversial digital firm's bid to present itself as a champion of artists, despite its various legal disputes with the big band major music companies.
Though, as previously noted, plenty of artists have also been vocal in their opposition to the streaming service, which some accuse of exploiting a loophole in the American copyright system to build a business around unlicensed content, while avoiding liability for copyright infringement by operating a deliberately shoddy takedown system, that assures legal impunity at the same time as being able to offer a large catalogue of major label/artist content without permission.
All the majors are currently involved in litigation against the digital company, mainly over the allegation that Grooveshark staffers also upload unlicensed music to the service as well as the firm's users. If proven, that would stop the company using the safe harbour protection of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Meanwhile the record industry is thought to be quietly lobbying American lawmakers to write into law minimum standards for takedown systems without which DMCA protection would not apply.
Artists signed to major music companies will likely be discouraged from setting up profiles on Grooveshark, or at least banned from posting tracks to the platform (the actual music generally be owned and/or controlled by the label/publisher rather than the artist, of course). And if music by signed artists was posted to the profile, it would create issues around who should receive any monies generated via the Flattr service.
Of course for self-releasing artists that's not a problem, and a Grooveshark artist profile may be attractive for unsigned bands looking for any possible revenue stream. Though for Grooveshark itself, most of those acts will not be adding content that is of major value to the digital firm's wider audience via its streaming platform.
The alliance with Flattr is interesting too. That is a service co-created by Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, which probably won't go down well with the big music companies either. Especially given the ambiguities around Sunde's stake in the business, which lawyers for the music and movie industries are interested in given his liability for the $7 million (plus interest) in damages he and his fellow Bay founders were ordered to pay when they where found guilty of copyright infringement in Sweden, but which all four TPB defendants have so far said they are too broke to pay.
All of which means the reaction of labels and artists to the all new Grooveshark will be very interesting.
PIRATE BAY MOVES "HOSTING TO THE CLOUD" TO MAKE SERVICE RAID PROOF
Swedish authorities first seized the servers of The Pirate Bay in 2006, though the file-sharing service's operators got it back online within 24 hours via servers hosted elsewhere. Since the 2009 court case in Sweden in which the site's three founders and key funder were found liable for copyright infringement, and the subsequent unsuccessful appeal in 2010, many have expected a second raid, even though there has been conflicting information regards exactly where the site is hosted.
The latest move by TPB's current operators would make such a raid all but impossible, because any one attempt to take the site offline would only hit one element of the operation, which could be compensated for by another. A couple of key functions, in essence gluing the service together and hiding the location of the cloud servers, will remain on two servers actually owned by the Bay, though operators say those functions could quickly be replicated on alternative servers in the case of any raid.
A spokesman for the Bay told TorrentFreak: "Moving to the cloud lets TPB move from country to country, crossing borders seamlessly without downtime. All the servers don't even have to be hosted with the same provider, or even on the same continent. If one cloud provider cuts us off, goes offline or goes bankrupt, we can just buy new virtual servers from the next provider".
So, that's fun. The content industries, of course, have most recently been busy trying to persuade ISPs around the world - directly or via litigation or legislation - to block access to The Pirate Bay to their customers, though serial file-sharers will always be able to circumvent any such blocks.
BLACK EYED PEAS COMPANY SUED BY UBISOFT
Ubisoft says it has spent nearly quarter of a million dollars developing an iPad and iPhone version of 'The Black Eyed Peas Experience' game, which is already available for Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360, as part of its deal with the group's company BEP Music. But, says Ubisoft, it hasn't had any response from the pop act since providing a prototype in March, despite BEP Music being contractually obliged to provide such feedback in a timely manner.
According to reports, the gaming firm's lawsuit says: "Since March 2012, and despite Ubisoft's repeated requests, BEP Music has breached the contract by failing and refusing to either approve or disapprove the iOS game in writing or otherwise".
They should have grabbed Will.i.am while he was running with the Olympic torch earlier this summer and got him to feedback there and then. Neither BEP Music nor the band have as yet commented on the legal action.
FLAVOR FLAV ARRESTED OVER DOMESTIC ALTERCATION
He was subsequently taken into custody amidst allegations he had threatened one person with a knife and beaten another. He has now been charged with one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon and one count of misdemeanour domestic violence.
GRIMES CANCELS SHOWS DUE TO HEARING PROBLEMS
Boucher - who despite her aural ills apparently kept a date at Vancouver's Commodore last night, and is still billed to begin her North American tour in Minneapolis on 22 Oct - confirmed the cancellations via Twitter on Tuesday. "Hey guys, so sorry for the cancelled shows. I'm having trouble with hearing loss, tinnitus and am trying to stay away from loud music for a bit", she tweeted, adding: "Am still planning to finish the tour and will try to get back to Canada asap".
The above updates probably won't impact Grimes' English fans - aka the ones going to her single GB stopover at Bristol's Motion on 13 Nov - though it should remind everyone that tinnitus can affect us all. With that in mind, you might like to read Xfm DJ Eddy Temple-Morris's recent CMU column on the topic, in which he also launched a new campaign to create a compilation featuring tracks from artists who suffer from tinnitus. Proceeds from the record will go to the British Tinnitus Association in order to help to provide support for sufferers and conduct research into possible cures.
ROBBIE'S FUTURE WITH TAKE THAT UNCERTAIN
Speaking while on a visit to the BRIT School, reports BBC Newsbeat, Barlow said that the decision about whether Robbie (or seemingly any other members of the band) would be joining in was yet to be made: "We haven't made any [firm] plans. I think this is the great thing about the band these days. We're still yet to meet, all five of us, so we'll decide then".
Asked if his recently announced solo tour was a sign that Take That is beginning to be wound up again, he said: "Definitely not. I guess in a way it's my last bit of freedom actually, because once I commit to Take That again, it's an eighteen month, two year thing. So I'm sort of celebrating my last few months of freedom".
BMG SIGNS US SONGWRITER/PRODUCER DARRELL BROWN
Confirming the deal, BMG Nashville's Executive Vice President told CMU: "Darrell is an incredibly gifted songwriter and producer. He brings great depth and energy to our roster in every genre, and is the type of writer that is never satisfied with what is happening in the moment, but always reaching forward. It's an honour for our team to work with him".
FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS ANNOUNCE ALBUM, TOUR
Hoping to have the new album completed for release early next year, frontman Frankie Francis said: "We're raring to go with this new record, it's been a long year, and staying off the road so we can write and record a great album has been tough for us at times, but we've put everything we have into it and can't wait to unleash it".
They couldn't keep themselves off the road quite long enough to finish it completely though. The band are taking a break from recording for a brief UK tour, including dates supporting The Cribs, kicking things off with a headline show at London's 100 Club last night.
Stream and download 'I Still Follow You' here, and then check out the tour dates below.
18 Oct: Bath Moles
R KELLY'S TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET TO RETURN NEXT MONTH
Speaking to Time, Kelly said: "We just shot 20 chapters. They'll be coming out the day after Thanksgiving. 'Trapped In The Closet' is forever. I've got like a hundred chapters to come".
ICONA POP RELEASE EP
Comprising six tracks, two of which ('Manners' and 'Sun Goes Down') you may have heard as part of last year's pre-Warner 'Nights Like This' EP, it also features the relatively new 'Ready For The Weekend', 'Good For You' and 'Top Rated', plus Charli XCX collaboration 'I Love It'.
Stream it all now via SoundCloud.
PANTHA DU PRINCE DETAILS NEW BELL LABORATORY COLLABORATION
'Elements Of Light', as it's been titled, is a continuous composition in five parts, each named after an 'element of light'. Arranged and conducted by Lars Petter Hagan, it features an array of classical, synthesized and percussive instruments, not least a three-ton bronze bell carillon.
Hear track three, 'Photon', here.
THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE NAME DEBUT LP
London label Marshall Teller isn't releasing the LP for a good while, 28 Jan 2013 to be exact, but you can stay vaguely amused till then by viewing an 'Out Of View' trailer, or perhaps by dreaming of THOAP tours to come...
BEYONCE TO RUN SUPER BOWL HALF TIME
Now, to erase those images once and for all, why not look at a photo of Beyonce captioned "Countdown to touchdown".
GHOSTING SEASON ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER TOUR
Check out the tour dates here, and then have a listen to their excellent debut album, 'The Very Last Of The Saints', here.
15 Nov: Sheffield, Bungalows And Bears
BUDO GRAPE ANNOUNCE UK TOUR DATES
The band released their sixth album, 'Kare No Namae Wo Omoidasenai', earlier this year, and ahead of their trip to the UK to promote it, guitarist Nagai told It Came From Japan: "It's our dream to play in the UK, because I've loved British rock music since I was a child, like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who. And after that the new wave movement, punk movement, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Smiths. A gig in the UK is our dream. So dreams come true".
So, there you go, it's decided. We all have to go. Here are the dates:
26 Oct: Brighton, The Prince Albert
And here's the somewhat lo-fi video for the opening track from their latest album, 'Sutsutenkororin'.
KYLIE HOPING TO PERFORM AT HIT FACTORY LIVE
Speaking to the Daily Star, Minogue said: "I really felt for people when it was cancelled; it was so touching, the level of excitement. I was like: 'Oh, someone's gone and got a bubble perm and are all ready to go'. We did the rehearsal two days before and Jason and I looked at each other and realised we had never done it live as it was released back in the mime days of 'Top Of The Pops'. We have actually done it live three times in rehearsals but that's it".
She continued: "They've revamped the show and I've said: 'If I'm available, I'll be there'. My schedule to the end of the year is making me cross-eyed - I'm all over the place. [But] if it doesn't happen now, it'll be something to look forward to [at another time]".
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
ATP NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Pontins, Camber Sands, 30 Nov - 2 Dec: Rachel Grimes, Turing Machine, Gay Witch Abortion, Kash, MyOwnFlag. www.atpfestival.com/events/shellacxmas.php
ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 4-7 Jul 2013: Editors. www.rochwerchter.be
UNIVERSAL PROMOTE ROBINSON TO HEAD NEWLY COMBINED SYNC/BRANDS/TELLY UNIT
Confirming the appointment, Universal UK chief David Joseph told CMU: "Marc's attributes don't stop at being the most respected and successful synch specialist in music and I am excited about what he can achieve in this new wider role. Sponsorships and media partnerships are both fast-growing areas of our business which will benefit from Marc's creativity and strategic thinking as well as his understanding of how commercial deals can play a role in artist development".
Robinson added: "This is a really exciting new phase for everything we are doing in sync, brand partnerships and production. We have an incredible team in place to offer a one stop shop for brands, agencies and media companies alike, taking what we have learnt over the past few years to deliver great music, effective partnerships and innovative new projects".
The new Globe team will also have two Senior Directors Of Commercial Partnerships in the form of Sarah Desmond, promoted from within the major, and Jennifer Hills, who joins from advertising agency Carat Global.
WARNER MUSIC LOOKS TO RESTRUCTURE DEBTS
According to Billboard, the firm hopes to capitalise on relatively low interest rates in the debt markets just now by buying back some of its existing debt, and then entering into new deals with bondholders, details of which were revealed at that previously reported money lender meeting yesterday. The major has also announced it has arranged a new credit facility with its lenders, moving up from $60 million to $150 million.
The ultimate aim of all this is to reduce the major's overall interest payments, which will help cashflow and such things. Credit Suisse Securities will manage the debt buy back.
LAVE RECORDS RENEWS UNIVERSAL ALLIANCE
Confirming that partnership had been renewed, Flom told reporters yesterday: "Republic is the perfect place for Lava to grow and expand. Already, we've solidified the label as a crucial presence in the modern landscape. We're going to continue pushing the envelope together and bringing some great music to the mainstream".
Universal Republic chief Monte Lipman added: "Lava is an incredible partner for us. Jason's commitment to finding and developing talent remains paramount to the label's success. We've always shared passion for breaking new acts, and working together has been immensely rewarding".
NORTH LONDON BUSINESSES ASK TFL TO END ABBEY ROAD CONFUSION
According to Reuters, St Johns Wood businesses reckon tourists are getting confused when plotting a trip to the legendary studios on a London transport map, and are ending up in completely the wrong part of town, via a newish stretch of the Docklands Light Railway network opened last year to serve the area of East London near the Olympic Park.
It's not clear how many tourists have made the mistake, but the assumption is that a not insignificant number have, and some of those that do will give up rather than trek back across town to the more famous Abbey Road in North London, or might just assume the studio complex no longer exists, have their photo taken on a random pedestrian crossing in East London, and carry on none the wiser.
Zoe Waterman from the St Johns Wood based Beatles Coffee Shop told Reuters: "It was a bigger problem over the summer when everybody was already out in East London and using the DLR for the Olympics, but it's still an issue for us, as numbers are down".
But a spokesman for Transport For London didn't seem to be suggesting there are any plans to change the name of Abbey Road station, telling reporters: "It is unfortunate that some visitors sometimes get confused by the odd duplicate place names in our large and varied city... but this situation is also a reminder that nothing beats some in-depth research".
VAN HALEN DISSES ONE DIRECTION
Having had a run in with the boyband stars, Van Halen wrote on Twitter: "Fun fact: Was just insulted by that shitty boy band One Direction in the lobby of our hotel this morning! Greetings Birmingham!", adding: "No joke. That ACTUALLY happened. That group of kids in One Direction were dickheads".
Wrapping up with an observation about the teen group's lovely haircuts, Van Halen Jr concluded: "They must call themselves that because all of their hair points in One Direction".