FULLER AMONG NINE INITIAL BID PROPOSALS FOR PARLOPHONE
As much previously reported, Universal Music is selling the UK-based Parlophone record label, and a number of other European sound recording catalogues, as part of its commitment to the European Commission, which green lighted the Universal/EMI merger subject to significant divestments in Europe. Universal this week opened a 'data room' to share information about the EMI units for sale with interested bidders.
According to the FT, amongst the nine to have already submitted informal initial proposals are Warner Music and the much discussed joint venture between XIX Entertainment's Simon Fuller and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, which may or may not have the backing of Jacob Rothschild's RIT Capital Partners. Ronald Perelman's investment company MacAndrews & Forbes, which unsuccessfully bid for both Warner Music and EMI last year, is also thought to be among the nine.
BMG, a favourite to bid from the start, has reportedly signed a non-disclosure agreement with Universal, but has yet to submit a proposal. It's thought Sony Music has also expressed an interest and signed an NDA, though a Sony acquisition of Parlophone could come with its own competition regulatory issues - Sony Music being the other mega-major in the music industry, even if its sister music publishing company, Sony/ATV - recently expanded through its acquisition of the EMI publishing business - operates autonomously from the Sony record company.
Meanwhile, other bidders have also reportedly come forward interested in the smaller European EMI and Universal units that are being sold, and which could be bundled in with the bigger Parophone deal, or offloaded separately. As previously reported, there have been rumours that London-based [PIAS] is interested in Universal's independent label services unit Co-op Music, which is amongst the planned divestments. And the FT reports that Jason Flom, head of the Universal-affiliated Lava Records, who spent a short time in a senior position at EMI, is also amongst those interested in buying one of the smaller units for sale.
It's believed that Universal will look to have final binding offers from all parties by the end of January, with the aim of having deals done by the end of March.
AEG HITS OUT AT JACKSON PA'S LAWSUIT
Williams claims that AEG's own contract with Jackson for the ill fated 'This Is It' tour included provisions for his staff, and that that gives him, and any other former staff members of the pop star, the right to sue for lost income caused by the singer's premature demise in 2009.
AEG's liability, or not, for Jackson's death, as employers of the doctor convicted for causing the singer's demise through negligent treatment, is the issue at the heart of an ongoing lawsuit between the Jackson family and the live firm.
AEG denies liability but, even if it lost that case, the live firm says that Williams' lawsuit is without merit, because, contrary to what the claimant alleges, he was not a direct beneficiary of Jackson's AEG contract, so has no grounds for bringing a claim over the pop star's wrongful death.
An AEG rep told TMZ that the "lawsuit is clearly frivolous; it is literally barred by at least four different legal doctrines", while on Williams' bid to make the case a class action, so that any former Jackson associates could also claim damages, the live firm added: "The idea that Mr Williams purports to sue on behalf of the many persons who did enter into relationships with AEG Live and Jackson ... and with whom AEG Live parted ways with the utmost friendship and respect, is disgraceful".
AEG's man concluded: "This is just the latest wrongful death lawsuit with someone hoping to profit from Michael Jackson's tragic death in the same way they profited from his life".
It remains to be seen how the courts respond to Williams' legal claim.
LAYO AND BUSHWACKA TO SPLIT
Layo Paskin told Société Perrier: "We are drawing a curtain on [the project] now. There will be a handful of gigs together in 2013 and [then] that will be it for us. We [achieved] so much through passion and [hard] work - four albums, maybe 50+ singles, remixes, compilations for XL and Global Underground and The End. I believe deeply in the quality of [our] music from 1998 to [now] and that is what kept us relevant. Though I think that [it has] has come to a natural conclusion".
DEPECHE MODE SIGN TO WILLIAM MORRIS ENDEAVOR
As previously reported, the band are currently working on a new album to be released next year and have plans to head out on a world tour in support of it.
KATY PERRY STARTS WORK ON ALBUM THREE
Wells has previously worked with Perry on several tracks from both her previous albums, 'One Of The Boys' and 'Teenage Dream'.
BLACK SABBATH TO RELEASE VINYL BOXSET
But what's inside? Well, nine twelve-inch records - all remastered to near-pristine studio quality - for a start, also a seven-inch single comprising the band's first ever single 'Evil Woman' and b-side 'Wicked World'. A book featuring original tour programmes, a code to download the set online, a 'Master Of Reality' poster and 'Volume 4' photo insert also dwell within.
Pressing on with their recent reunion - though presumably still sans estranged drummer Bill Ward - Black Sabbath also say via the above Facebook link that they'll definitely release a brand new LP in the new year.
COMANECHI ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Watch the video for 'Major Move' here, and then check out the tracklisting for the album.
RIHANNA SETS DIAMONDS DATES
'Diamonds', is also the name of the first single from the coy popstar's new LP 'Unapologetic'. That's released on 19 Nov, the very same day that her 777 mega-entourage jets into London.
Anyway, the 'Diamonds' dates are as follows:
10 Jun: Cardiff, Millennium Stadium
MONEY, PALE SEAS, G R E A T W A V E S TO PLAY BELLA UNION CHRISTMAS SERVICE
After you've bought tickets, why not look at a quite recent CMU 'Behind The Label' interview with Bella Union originator Simon Raymonde.
CARL BARAT, ED HARCOURT RECITING BECK SHEET MUSIC
Fortunately, other artists - not least Carl Barat, Ed Harcourt and The Duke Spirit's Leila Moss - are happy to do so in lieu of Beck, and will perform selected titles from the 'Song Reader' collection - which comprises illustrated sheet music for 20 unreleased tracks including two instrumentals - at London's Rough Trade East on 3 Dec.
Access to the show is via wristband only and the majority of wristbands are only available if you buy a copy of 'Song Reader'. Still, if that sounds like something you'd like to do, go to this web page for details.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
EUROSONIC NOORDERSLAG, Groningen, The Netherlands, 9-12 Jan 2013: Girls Names, Indians, Karin Park, Treetop Flyers, Phantom Limb, AG Trio, Snorri Helgason, China Rats, DakhaBrakha, Elephant, Garda, Gasmac Gilmore, Mile Me Deaf, Monica Heldal, Nelson Can, Nick Mulvey, Pink Holy Days, Roscoe, Rover, Semantik Punk, SKIP&DIE, Stubborn Heart, Tommigun, Vanderbuyst, Douwe Bob, FS Green, Guerilla Speakerz, Handsome Poets, Hydroboyz, John Coffey, Mister & Mississippi, Navarone, Rina Mushonga, The Horse Company, The Kik, Town Of Saints, Tim Vantol, Tenement Kids. eurosonic-noorderslag.nl
MIDEM FESTIVAL, Magic Mirrors, Cannes, France, 26-28 Jan 2013: Madness, Asaf Avidan, Indaba Winner, Birdy Hunt, C2C, Balthazar, Lou Doillon, Archive. www.midem.com
ROSKILDE, Sigur Rós, Volbeat, Kvelertak, Goat. roskilde-festival.dk
SONISPHERE FRANCE, Snowhall Park, Amnéville, France, 8-9 Jun 2012: Iron Maiden. fr.sonisphere.eu
SONISPHERE ITALY, Fiera Milano Live Rho, Milan, Italy: Iron Maiden. it.sonispherefestivals.com
UNIVERSAL MUSIC EARNINGS SLIP YEAR ON YEAR
Elsewhere in the Vivendi financial report, it was revealed that new records from Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Nicki Minaj, Lana Del Rey and Carly Rae Jepsen were amongst Universal Music's best sellers.
While on the EMI takeover, the French conglom confirmed Universal management still planned to find £100 million in savings at the combined Universal/EMI, while on the ongoing sale of those European assets the mega-major was forced to sell by regulators investigating the EMI deal, the Vivendi statement said: "The sale process of certain EMI recorded music assets is underway, and these divestments are generating robust interest. Team integration is also progressing according to plan".
ROADRUNNER PRESIDENT STANDS DOWN
It's the latest upheaval at the rock label, which has been a wholly owned Warner Music subsidiary since 2010. In April, the company's founder Cees Wessels departed, also somewhat suddenly, and the division's non-US operations were greatly downsized, leading to about 36 job losses worldwide, and a greater reliance on Warner's international infrastructure to market and distribute Roadrunner releases outside of America.
When Wessels and the 36 other international Roadrunner execs, many of whom had been with the label for many years, were laid off in April, it was the continued presence of Nachsin that assured continuity at the rock label, and continued credibility in the metal community in A&R terms. Which makes his departure now all the more significant, and his replacement will face a challenge convincing artists and fans that Warner is genuine when it says that it remains committed to preserving the Roadrunner brand and the label's hard rock remit.
Confirming his departure in a memo to staff, seen by Billboard, Nachsin wrote: "I am so proud of what we have accomplished to showcase Roadrunner as not only a 'record company' but as a lifestyle and cultural beacon for fans around the globe. The chemistry of groundbreaking artists worked by a world-class group of truly committed employees has made Roadrunner a name with no equal over the years. That will continue".
Meanwhile Atlantic US co-chairs, Craig Kallman and Julie Greenwald, who oversee the Roadrunner label, said in a joint statement to staff: "For two decades, Jonas has been a passionate champion of Roadrunner's incredible roster of artists and helped forge the unique identity of one of the world's great labels. Everyone who has worked with Jonas - including artists, managers, the Roadrunner team and the wider Warner Music family - have all been touched by his commitment and leadership. He has been instrumental in the careers of so many extraordinary artists, from superstars including Nickelback and Slipknot to breaking talents Young the Giant and Stone Sour. We will all miss Jonas and wish him the best in his next endeavour".
UNIVERSAL APPOINTS LSO MAN TO NEW CLASSICAL MARKETING ROLE
Confirming his new role, Jenkins told CMU: "I'm delighted to have joined Universal Music and to have the opportunity to help their amazing roster of artists reach the widest possible global audience. Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Mercury each have exceptional plans for 2013, with both established and younger musicians".
While Farmer added: "I'm thrilled that we've been able to appoint someone of Chaz's calibre and experience. The appointment underlines our commitment to classical music, and Chaz's innovative approach will help us promote core classical repertoire and expand the audience for classical music in both the physical and digital spheres".
MU LAUNCHES WORK NOT PLAY CAMPAIGN
The campaign follows criticism from various quarters, and especially the MU, about various Olympic-themed events this summer that asked musicians to contribute their time for free, or for next to nothing. But the Union says that its members face the expectation of working for free all the time, because many people see playing music as a hobby rather than a job.
MU General Secretary John Smith told CMU: "We are concerned at a growing trend of professional musicians not being paid for their work. In this era of illegal downloading, live revenue is incredibly important and musicians rely on it to be able to survive".
He adds: "Too many people seem to think that music and entertainment are a hobby rather than a career, and are unaware of the years of training and hard work that it takes to become a professional performer. It is difficult enough to earn a decent living as a professional musician these days, and, headline artists aside, it is not a highly paid profession. We're looking to challenge the idea that musicians should be happy to work for free, and we're delighted that so many musicians and music fans are joining up to this campaign".
You can find out more about the campaign at www.worknotplay.co.uk
GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC IS LIVE IN UK
PRS top man Robert Ashcroft told CMU: "Google Play uses cloud technology to offer millions of users an opportunity to enjoy vast music libraries on devices simultaneously. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Google on this genuinely exciting service. It means we can give consumers across Europe another legal platform to discover our music creators' work".
Meanwhile Google's Head Of International Music Licensing added: "We are excited to be launching our service across Europe this week. Music On Google Play is the first truly cloud-based, free-to-user music service that allows for consumers to have their music libraries available to them from any internet-connected device, and seamlessly synchronised on their Android devices. Google Play makes it easy for users to discover and own even more music through our intuitive interface and cloud locker. It is a whole new way of living with music and technology - and it's free".
Google announced last month that its music store, which launched Stateside last year, would arrive in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain this week. The European version of the Google Play digital locker service will launch with scan-and-match functionality, making it easier for consumers to set up a copy of their MP3 collections on Google's servers.
When the Google locker originally launched in the US the scan-and-match bit was missing, because that extra bit of functionality requires a licence from the music rights owners (a basic locker arguably does not). But the web giant reached a deal with most rights owners regards its locker services a couple of months back, including Warner Music, which was initially a hold out on the Google music platform.
Although, while all the majors and many indie labels are on board with Google Play, the boss of British record label trade body the BPI still used the arrival of the web giant's music service in the UK this week to again hit out at the web firm for not doing enough to stop unlicensed sources of music appearing high up in Google search results. As previously reported, this has become one of the record industry's favourite piracy gripes this year, and while Google pledged in August to start downgrading websites that are subject to valid copyright takedown notices in its search ratings, the BPI's Geoff Taylor says he is yet to see that have any impact.
Taylor told the BBC this week: "We don't think it makes any sense for them [Google] to be doing something which does support artists and then, on the other hand, undermine artists by referring consumers to illegal sites. We personally think that three months should be long enough to get it [the downgrading of illegal content sources] working".
VEVO GOES LIVE IN THREE MORE COUNTRIES
I mean, what if the peoples of Spain, France and Italy had all got together to bake the biggest cake that has ever been baked to thank the VEVO team for all their hard work in getting the YouTube-powered video service live in their countries? That would surely have been more thrilling?
Anyway, Team VEVO said this morning that they "couldn't be more thrilled" to be now sharing their catalogue of 50,000 high def music videos with Spanish, French and Italian web users. So that's nice. The VEVO brand has been live in all three countries for a while within the YouTube platform, but now the stand-alone VEVO.com site and various smartphone apps are available there too, with Xbox integration incoming. How thrilling.
Says VEVO's SVP International Nic Jones: "We are very excited to launch VEVO today in France, Spain, and Italy. We take special pride in offering the best in premium music video programming, grounded in local repertoire to deliver a total music viewing experience across every connected platform".
Elsewhere in digital music expansions this week, Spotify went live in Ireland and Luxembourg. We are yet to ascertain whether that led to Team Spotify reaching the peak of their thrill quota though. But we are investigating.
JOHNNY DEPP HANGS OUT WITH ONE DIRECTION
Anyway, One Direction recently popped around to Depp's house for a cup of tea, or something. The actor's daughter Lily Rose is apparently a big fan. Though if the source who spoke to The Sun about it is anything to go by, they just hung around playing music with Depp himself rather than talking to his daughter.
Says the source: "Johnny found out 1D were in town and, after making a few calls, they came round to his studio. He brought out his piano and guitars for the boys to test and they had a little jam session. Lily Rose just watched with her blushing mates while her dad temporarily joined the world's biggest boyband".
And just in case you think this all sounds made up, here's a picture of the band and Depp together, posted to Instagram by 1D entourage member Andy Samuels (he's the tall one you won't recognise).