The five biggest stories in the music business this week...
01: Pandora sued ASCAP to lower its royalty rates. The American streaming music service says that the rates currently being offered by the US collecting society are unfair, because they are not as favourable as those offered to traditional broadcasters like Clear Channel which have recently moved into the online music space. The likes of Clear Channel negotiate the royalties they pay for their online services at the same time as negotiating music publisher fees for their FM networks, via the Radio Music Licensing Committee. Pandora said that suing ASCAP was the standard route to go once direct negotiations had failed, though David Israelite of the National Music Publishers Association said it was "outrageous" that the digital firm, currently valued at nearly $1.3 billion by the stock market (and at one point at over $2 billion), was seeking to pay songwriters and publishers less money. CMU report | Billboard report
02: Warner Music announced a restructure of its US business. The biggest innovation is the grouping of the Warner/Chappell publishing business and the Rhino catalogue label into one division, bringing together the major's publishing and recordings catalogues for the first time. The frontline labels will continue to operate as a separate division, though with each label's head reporting directly into Warner Music CEO Stephen Cooper, meaning no replacement for the firm's recently departed recorded music chief Lyor Cohen is likely to be recruited. The third new division will bring together distribution and other artist services units. For the time being the structural rejig will only affect the US. CMU report | Variety report
03: EMI acquisitions had set back in Brazil, as Universal announced plans to launch Capitol UK. Both Sony/ATV and Universal were told by the Brazilian competition regulator that they couldn't merge the EMI publishing and label businesses they had respectively recently acquired in the country with their existing companies there. Both seem to hope that the set back is temporary. Meanwhile, in one of his first interviews since acquiring the EMI record companies, Universal chief Lucian Grainge said he planned to launch EMI's American label brand Capitol in the UK, the mega-major having been forced to sell off EMI's UK-based Parlophone brand by European regulators. CMU report | Bloomberg report | Grainge interview
04: AEG won the rights to stage concerts in Hyde Park, and announced plans to stage six events there and to launch a new city-centre festival on the site. AEG replace Live Nation as the operators of the Hyde Park stage, though execs at Live Nation have been telling everyone that will listen of late that they are glad to be rid of the Royal Park franchise, after increasingly draconian licensing rules made staging events in the park ever more frustrating. It remains to be seen if AEG can overcome those challenges. CMU report | BBC report
05: The UK government said it would consider the success of Google's anti-piracy measures, before considering whether any statutory obligations should be put on search engines in the in-development Communications Act, forcing such services to downgrade or remove copyright infringing websites from their search results. Back in August, Google said it would downgrade websites in its search results that had been the subject of large numbers of legitimate takedown requests by copyright owners. But some in the content industries remain frustrated with how well websites distributing unlicensed content score in web search results. CMU report | Guardian report
In CMU this week, we spoke to Inge Andre Sandvik about developments on his Soundrop app, Pinback compiled a great playlist for us, and Editor Andy Malt explained why Neil Fox should stop telling Radio 1 what music to play. We announced another batch of CMU Training courses and that we are again supported the Best Student Journalist prize at the Record Of The Day Awards, while approving of Frost, Ty Segall, Buke And Gase and His Clancyness.
WOMAN DIES AFTER ADVERTISING TOWER COLLAPSES OUTSIDE LINKIN PARK SHOW
The Linkin Park gig went ahead, despite the bad weather and resulting scaffolding collapse, with the band unaware of the injuries and fatality until after the show.
The band subsequently posted on their website: "Following our performance tonight at Cape Town Stadium, we were advised that several people were injured as a result of the collapse of an advertising tower erected by Lucozade in the parking area outside the venue. We wish to express our deep sadness and concern for those injured and our heartfelt condolences to the family of the fan who died as a result of her injuries. Though we have had no relationship with the sponsor or the entity responsible for erecting the structure, we take the safety of our fans very seriously and our thoughts are with all of those who were affected by this tragedy".
Meanwhile a spokesperson for the concert's promoters said: "We wish to reiterate how saddened we are about the regrettable accident that occurred outside the Cape Town Stadium. We are working closely with the City Of Cape Town and the Provincial Joint Operational And Intelligence Structures in an effort to investigate the accident".
A spokesperson for Lucozade makers GlaxoSmithKline told reporters that the advertising tower had been put up by a contractor who "fully complied" with the "safety specifics" as required by the city and concert organisers, and that the scaffolding had been checked and signed off by concerned relevant parties. The spokesperson added that the company was "deeply saddened" by the accident and that the firm was "in close contact with the concert organisers and investigating authorities and will cooperate fully with them in their investigations".
City authorities have said that they have already begun an investigation into the incident, while the husband of the woman killed by the tower collapse has confirmed that he is considering legal action.
MADONNA MAY FACE TRIAL OVER RUSSIAN GAY RIGHTS PROTEST
At a hearing this week it was decided that the singer may indeed have broken a recently passed local law in the city making it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors - there being children in her audience.
As previously reported, the singer, the promoter of her show and the venue she performed at are all being sued by nine parties, only some of whom actually attended the concert. They claim that the singer handed out pink wristbands at the concert, as well making a speech calling for improved gay rights in Russia. The accusers are seeking damages of 333 million rubles (£6.6 million).
SWEDISH SUPREME COURT REJECTS PIRATE BAY FOUNDER'S LATEST ATTEMPT TO HAVE JAIL TERM OVERTURNED
As much previously reported, Sunde was one of four men prosecuted in Sweden over their involvement in the file-sharing service. All four were found guilty in a combined criminal and civil case in 2009, and a subsequent appeal failed in 2010. The Swedish Supreme Court then refused to hear the case earlier this year, meaning the prison sentences handed down by the lower courts stand.
The Bay's main funder, Carl Lundström, was able to serve his time under house arrest, while co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, who left Sweden after the original trial and didn't show up for his original appeal hearing, is now in a Swedish jail after being deported back to his home country from Cambodia in September. But his fellow founders, Sunde and Fredrik Neij are still trying to avoid their jail terms.
Earlier this year Sunde appealed for clemency from the Swedish authorities and asked for a retrial, again questioning the case against him, while also citing health issues and his new business venture Flattr as reasons why his prison sentence should be quashed. But, according to Torrentfreak, this week the Swedish Supreme Court said: "Peter Sunde has not shown any evidence that may lead to new trial in the case. The Supreme Court therefore rejects the application for revision".
Responding, Sunde remained upbeat, having seemingly always expected this result in Sweden. Both he and Neij are now taking their case to the European Courts Of Human Rights, and Sunde now claims that his final attempt to overturn his conviction in his home country was always designed mainly to strengthen his case at a European level.
He told Torrentfreak: "I didn't really expect any other outcome. I was [actually] making a point, that no matter how innocent we are, it doesn't really matter. Our case was never up for a real trial, it was just up for us to lose. Now I can go to the European Court Of Human Rights and use this denial of appeal as basis for the European Convention being breached. I needed to try all things in Sweden before it was possible for me to try it, and I didn't want to be sent back to Sweden saying 'you didn't try THIS thing yet'".
STUDENT MEDIA AWARDS PRESENTED
Best Station: URN (Nottingham)
Best Male: Ethan O'Leary, 107 Spark FM (Sunderland)
Best Entertainment: Drivetime with Richie Lee, 107 Spark FM (Sunderland)
Kevin Greening Award: Beyond Silence - Saving the Sounds of Spring, IC Radio (London)
In a busy week for college media award giving, The Guardian's Student Media Awards, celebrating the best in student journalism, took place on Wednesday night, with winners like this...
Student Publication Of The Year: The Courier, Newcastle University
Student Reporter Of The Year: Elizabeth Porter, University Of Oxford
Those student journalists writing about music, don't forget you could have your work honoured alongside the great and the good of the wider music media at the Record Of The Day Awards later this month, with the CMU-supported Best Student Music Journalist prize. Any student music journalists wanting to put themselves forward should do so via www.thecmuwebsite.com/rotdstudentaward
BLUE HOPING FOR TAKE THAT STYLE RETURN
The band's Simon Webbe told BANG Showbiz: ''The old people are coming back now, that's what it's all about. Take That started it and we're all following! We want to let the music speak for itself because at the end of the day, no one was expecting Take That to come back with 'Patience', everyone was laughing saying, 'What, they're coming back? Whatever!', but when they heard the song it blew everyone away".
I'm not sure that's exactly how it happened, but maybe Simon Webbe has a better memory than I do. Of course, when Take That got back together they made fairly quick work of being successful, releasing new songs and whatnot. Blue, of course, have done little but talk about this new album since reforming in 2009. If the music's going to speak for itself it's going to need to speak a little louder.
UNIVERSAL PUBLISHING SIGNS ROBBIE WILLIAMS SONGWRITERS
"We are thrilled to be a part of the Universal Music Publishing family and can't wait to forge a successful partnership", say the duo in unison.
Robbie Williams, meanwhile, adds: "How fortunate for me that Tim and Flynn came into my life - as vital and as good as any writers I've worked with. I look forward to watching their careers going from strength to strength... I love the little bastards".
NINE INCH NAILS MATERIAL "IN THE WORKS", TOURING "A POSSIBILITY", SAYS REZNOR
Asked by Rolling Stone if he was likely to start working on new Nine Inch Nails material, Reznor said: "All signs point to yes. Yeah, there will be new music. There are some things in the works".
It seems there might also be some new NIN live shows, despite Reznor swearing off that in 2009 and selling off all the band's equipment just to be sure. He says now: "Yeah, if it feels right, it's a possibility [that we'll play live]. I never said that that wasn't going to happen, just that it couldn't go on as it was. Having a few years doing other things, I've enjoyed [them] and I'm enjoying doing How To Destroy Angels, and there will be a place for stuff that falls in the Nine Inch Nails column of things. It's a different kind of work".
I'm not sure he really 'never said never' about future NIN touring, it all seemed pretty final at the time. But, whatever, let's talk about the there mentioned How To Destroy Angels, Reznor's new band with wife Mariqueen Maandig, soundtrack composing buddy Atticus Ross and longtime collaborator Rob Sheridan. Out on Monday, you can hear their 'An Omen' EP via Hype Machine here.
DOLDRUMS TO RELEASE LP
If you'd like to size up Woodhead's live credentials in the mean time, he'll be playing across Purity Ring's previously noted UK tour.
And now, a 'Lesser Evil' tracklisting, plus the video attached to past single and now-LP track 'She Is The Wave'...
ANAÏS MITCHELL RECORDS LP OF FOLK BALLADS, SETS LIVE DATE
Mitchell and instrumentalist Jefferson Hamer will perform their arrangements of Child's finds - as apparently "embrace an American sensibility as well as a deep respect for the heritage of the tradition" - at London's Cecil Sharp House on 5 Mar 2013.
LANA DEL REY HINTS AT TROPICO FILM, SCREENS NEW VIDEO
The tbc 'Tropico', and this is just a guess, may be one of the movies Del Rey said she'd been composing scores to back in July. A fair guess, I'd say, since it'd be strange if LDR's film project didn't also feature LDR's music.
Anyway. Here's 'Bel Air'.
DEATH GRIPS ADD LONDON SHOW
This time, they're playing at the larger capacity Kentish Town Forum on 2 May 2013, by which time they'll be... well, I have no idea.
Tickets for the Forum show are on sale now via this link.
YOKO ONO TO DIRECT MELTDOWN 2013
Speaking to The Observer, a media partner of the event, the artist/activist/musician says: "I'm not pursuing big names for the sake of big names. I'm thinking along the lines of a concept, which is more refreshing. There will definitely be an element of feminism and the plight of women, I am very interested in that. All women are icons of feminism and we have a responsibility to that. I am thinking of having one or two events where I ask men to say something strong about themselves too".
Details at meltdown.southbankcentre.co.uk
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
DOWNLOAD, Donington Park, Leicestershire, 14-16 Jun 2013: Volbeat. www.downloadfestival.co.uk
GROEZROCK, Gestel, Belgium, 27-28 Apr 2013: Rise Against, Bring Me The Horizon, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Hatebreed, Riverboat Gamblers, Emmure, Attila, Comeback Kid, Texas Is The Reason, Chelsea Grin, Buried In Verona, AC4, Grade, The Story So Far, Polar Bear Club, Into Another, August Burns Red, Title Fight, Nothington, The Rocket, Stick To Your Guns, Obey The Brave, Far From Finished, Russ Rankin, Tim Vantol, Vinnie Caruana, Rocky Votolato. www.groezrock.be
NOVA ROCK, Pannonia Fields II, Nickelsdorf, Austria, 14-16 Jun: Kiss,
ROCK AM RING, Nurburgring, Germany, 7-9 Jun 2013: Green Day, Korn, Paramore, The Prodigy, A Day To Remember, Airbourne, Amon Amarth, Bad Religion, Boys Noize, Bring Me The Horizon, Broilers, Bullet For My Valentine, Casper, Cro, Fettes Brot, Five Finger Death Punch, Fritz Kalkbrenner, Fun., Kraftklub, Royal Republic, Seeed, Selig, Simple Plan, Sportfreunde Stiller, Stone Sour, The Wombats, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Tocotronic, Volbeat. www.rock-am-ring.com/en
SONAR REYKJAVIK, Harpa Concert House, Iceland, 15-16 Feb 2013: James Blake, Squarepusher, Modeselektor, Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, GusGus, Retro Stefson, Ólafur Arnalds, Gluteus Maximus. www.sonarreykjavik.com/en/2013
SXSW, various venues, Austin, Texas, United States, 12-17 Mar 2013: Alt-J, BADBADNOTGOOD, Charlotte Church, Chris Cohen, Dels, Eagulls, Gallows, Haim, Ryan Hemsworth, Ital, Klaxons, Swim Deep, Amon Tobin, Virals, The Zombies (extended list here). sxsw.com
JON MAC JOINS FESTIVAL REPUBLIC AS READING AND LEEDS BOOKER
Mac has worked for MAMA for over a decade (originally for Channelfly, one of the companies that morphed into MAMA) booking venues, tours and increasingly festivals, including Lovebox and the newer Wilderness event, as well as The Great Escape, the showcase festival and music business convention that he co-founded in 2006. In a statement confirming its new recruit, Festival Republic noted that: "Jon's reputation and experience in booking small rooms, as well as multi-stage outdoor festivals, will be of much benefit in the next phase of the Reading & Leeds Festivals".
Meanwhile Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn told CMU: "I am very pleased to announce that Jon will be joining the team at Festival Republic and taking Reading and Leeds Festivals forward into 2013 and beyond. This is an exciting time for the festivals, with a fresh look for next year, and I can't wait to start working with Jon to ensure both Reading and Leeds remain the highlight of the festival season for many years to come".
Mac himself added: "After twelve incredible years with MAMA it's time for a new challenge. I've grown up with Reading and Leeds and look forward to joining the team at Festival Republic to play a part in the next chapter of one of the world's most important live music events".
Mac's move to Festival Republic will also see him stand down as a Director of The Great Escape, the MAMA-owned showcase festival and music business convention he co-founded with Glastonbury booker Martin Elbourne. In his place in that role, Kat Morris, currently Operations Manager for TGE, will become Managing Director of the event, having already stepped up her role in co-ordinating both the festival and convention in recent years.
Confirming that change, Elbourne told CMU: "After seven great editions of The Great Escape, I'd like to personally thank Jon for his co-founding and subsequent management of our event. While we are obviously sad to see him move on, I am very pleased that Kat Morris, after starting with The Great Escape in its second year and having made such a significant difference to the event over the years, is able to step up to the role of Managing Director. I think Kat is more than capable of growing our much respected event even further, and indeed leaving TGE with such a strong team in place is one of Jon's many achievements".
EDINBURGH'S AVALANCHE SETS DEADLINE THAT MIGHT RESULT IN CLOSURE
The owner of the Edinburgh record store has published a blog post outlining the ongoing challenges he faces, which are very similar to those faced by indie record shops across the UK as sales of physical music products slump, and supermarkets and price-cutting mail-order sites (until recently benefiting from an offshore tax break) take an increasingly large slice of the sales of lucrative mainstream releases. The growth of direct-to-fan selling online by more alternative acts is also starting to have an impact.
Although no final decision has been made, the post says that a deadline has been set of 6 Jan next year, and if a solution to current financial challenges cannot be found by that date, then closure of the physical Avalanche shop is likely, though hopefully an online operation would continue.
The post says: "I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere and that date is Sunday 6 Jan 2013. I hope that by then there will be a plan, but at worst I will simply close the shop and concentrate on expanding our online presence and pursuing other opportunities. I'll always be [particularly] keen to support Scottish artists, but maybe the focus on how that is done will need to change. I'm happy to listen to all ideas of course. Avalanche is a fantastic shop window quite literally for Scottish artists and their music but sadly it is often taken for granted".
It adds: "Up to that date I will need to take as much money as possible to catch up on just about everything (rent, rates, tax, record company bills etc) and therefore will have the sale I vowed I wouldn't have. We are not short of stock, and hopefully a sale when added to some Christmas business and the visitors here for the festive period will enable us to catch up. With the announcement that the new Frightened Rabbit album will be released on 4 Feb in an ideal world a new revitalised Avalanche would be in place by then, but as our good friends in One Up in Aberdeen have said, unless there is a noticeable and prolonged improvement in business we simply can't survive where we are".
Having been in business for 27 years, Avalanche moved to new premises in Edinburgh's Grassmarket two years ago.
PETER GABRIEL GABBLES HIS RERELEASED ALBUM
Gabriel's Real Word Studios has been involved in the creation of Gabble, an online service that converts simple remarks and statements into pictures at the click of a button (play here to get your head around what that means - www.gabble.com). In the 'So... Gabble' app, the singer's lyrics are represented in pictorial form, and users can replace the images Gabble provides with their own pictures or illustrations, and submit their own illustrated versions of 'So' lyrics to Gabriel's website.
Commenting on his latest digital venture, Gabriel says: "I'm sure Gabble will initially be used to make funny, irreverent and downright rude communications, but there are many potential serious applications that will follow. Imagine you're on holiday in China, fall ill and need a doctor urgently. Just load your phone's Gabble app, speak into it and your words will translate into simple pictures anyone can understand, no matter the language they speak".
CMU ADDS PINTEREST TIPS TO DIY:GUIDE, SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING COURSE UPCOMING
CMU Publisher Chris Cooke says: "No company or public figure can afford to ignore social media anymore, though in music understanding how social media platforms fit in to your marketing and communication plans is even more important. For artists and music companies there is an even bigger choice of social media tools to use, but with tight budgets and limited time, you can't use all of them. Our social media course outlines the social media that matter, and provides advice on how to use them most effectively".
BAUER APPOINTS NEW MARKETING MAN FOR MUSIC TITLES
Confirming his new role, Littlejohn told CMU: "After six very enjoyable and rewarding years at Sky I am thrilled to be joining the talented Bauer team to help drive forward some of the nation's most iconic and respected brands. I look forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead and shaping each brand as we accelerate into a highly competitive, evolving marketplace".
He will report to Bauer Marketing Director Anne-Marie Lavan, who added: "Reece has a great mix of experience in print, broadcast and online and I'm sure will add huge value to the business".
FORMER XFM DJ TO RUN SOLO LONDON MARATHON
Marsha had originally planned to take part in the New York Marathon, raising money for the cancer charity of London's Royal Marsden hospital. But that race, of course, was cancelled after New York City was hit by Hurricane Sandy, leaving parts of the city badly damaged and half of Manhattan without power. But having done the training, and with so much sponsorship money pledged, Shandur, now based in Canada, decided she had to run 26.2 miles somewhere, and opted for her home city of London. She will run the route of the UK capital's big race this Sunday, kicking off at 10.30am.
Says Marsha: "I completely understand why the New York Marathon was cancelled - the victims of Hurricane Sandy needed the city's energy and resources far more than we did. However, it was still important to me that I ran the 26.2 miles somewhere. Partly because I had trained for so long - I'm no athlete, so it was a big deal for me to spend five months running almost every day - but also, I wanted to justify the thousands of pounds that people had donated to sponsor me".
Shandur has picked the Royal Marsden's Cancer Charity because it has treated one of the former DJ's heroes, Lisa Lynch, who has written the blog www.alrighttit.com and the book 'The C Word' since being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28 in 2008.
Shandur: "Lisa is such an incredible writer. Her blog and book have frequently made me laugh out loud and then weep silently - usually within the same paragraph. The funny, frank and moving way that she has talked about cancer has armed me in the most incredible way. Given that cancer affects one in three of us, she's done a wonderful service to me and so many other people, by showing us what it's really like - no punches pulled - but entertaining us along the way. She truly is my hero".
HARRY STYLES DESCRIBES HIS PERFECT GIRL
Speaking to Cosmopolitan as the star of its present print edition - the first ever to feature an all-boy cover (and Zayn Malik's new haircut) - anti-superficiality activist Styles said: "I find ambition really attractive - if someone's good at something they love doing. I want someone who is driven".
So girls, there you go. I don't know whether it works if your main ambition is to sleep with Harry Styles. Of course if your main ambition is to not sleep with Harry Styles, well, that's a romantic comedy in the making.