APPLE OPENS ITUNES STORE IN 56 MORE COUNTRIES, INCLUDING RUSSIA
Yes, Apple opened up its market-leading download store, accessed via the iTunes software, in a whole 56 extra countries yesterday, meaning the digital content service is now available in 119 markets worldwide. The long list of new countries, which includes some of the world's smaller territories, also includes some major markets, in terms of potential customer base, including India and Russia.
There had been speculation that Apple's plans to launch in Russia had been scuppered by licensing issues and problems getting its vouchers into Russian shops, with local media saying plans for iTunes Russia had been "delayed indefinitely" after an expected mid-November launch didn't occur. But seemingly those issues were exaggerated somewhat, and it's possible Apple was waiting to get iTunes 11 live first.
AMY WINEHOUSE'S CAMDEN HOME SELLS FOR £1.98 MILLION
At one point intended to be used as an HQ for the charity set up by the Winehouse family in Amy's memory, the Amy Winehouse Foundation, the building was put up for sale in May with an asking price of £2.7 million, though a buyer was not found.
Auctioneer Chris McHugh told the BBC: "I think [the Winehouse family] are pleased they have drawn a line under it. They did have it on the market but that didn't get the result for them".
PROSECUTORS SUBMIT LAMB OF GOD MANSLAUGHTER CASE TO COURT
As previously reported, Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter when he and his band arrived in Prague to play a gig in the city at the end of June. The charge relates to the death of a fan following a performance in the Czech capital two years ago. The fan, named only as Daniel N, is said to have climbed onto the stage several times during the show, and on the third occasion was allegedly pushed off it by Blythe, falling onto his head and sustaining injuries that led to his death.
Blythe posted bail a few days after his arrest. However, the prosecution challenged his release, saying that he was likely to attempt to flee the country. A judge then ruled that he would stay in jail for at least another ten days while this was assessed. He was finally released in August after five weeks in custody - though only after his bail was doubled from four million to eight million Czech Koruna (approximately £260,000).
Returning to the US upon his release, Blythe issued a statement saying that he would go back to the Czech Republic to face trial if required, adding: "While I maintain my innocence 100%, and will do so steadfastly, I will NOT hide in the United States, safe from extradition and possible prosecution".
Lamb Of God's manager Larry Mazer yesterday issued a statement on the latest development in the case, saying: "After a three month investigation, the prosecutor in the Czech Republic has decided to move forward with an indictment of Randy Blythe on the charge of manslaughter with intent to cause bodily harm. Obviously, we intend to fight vigorously against these charges as we feel that in no way did Randy intend to cause bodily harm on the young fan who subsequently died from injuries sustained at the show. As he has stated previously, Randy intends to go to Prague to defend himself at trial".
He continued: "While it is a tragedy that a Lamb of God fan died following a performance by the group, in no way do I feel that Randy did anything improper that led to the young man's injuries and subsequent death. The price of a ticket to a show does not entitle audience members access to a band's stage. In the years since the murder on stage of Dimebag Darrell Abbott, performers of all genres have had to become more guarded while performing, in response to the dangers presented by fans trying to become part of the performance. We believe that Randy responded professionally to the numerous amount of fans rushing the stage that day, a number of them captured on videos that have been posted on the internet. We have testimony from the venue operator that acknowledges lax security and an improper barricade being used that evening. Numerous testimonies from fans also were contradictory as to the actions of the multiple fans that tried to access the stage".
Finally, he concluded: "At this point, all that the band, myself, and our lawyers can do is to present a defence and try to convince the panel of judges who will hear the case that Randy is innocent of all charges and that his name and reputation need to be cleared and that he be permitted to carry on with his life and career always mindful that a fan passed away after a Lamb Of God performance".
If found guilty Blythe faces five to ten years in prison.
NORDIC MUSIC PRIZE NOMINEES NAMED
A jury of music professionals featuring - as per last year - Domino Records' Laurence Bell, Rough Trade co-owner Jeannette Lee, DFA boss Jonathan Galkin and Sony/Columbia A&R man Mike Pickering are now deliberating over LPs by the likes of Norway's Susanne Sundfør and Lindstrøm, Sweden's First Aid Kit, Iceland's Retro Stefson, Denmark's Choir Of Young Believers and Finnish quartet Kerkko Koskinen Kollektiivi. The eventual winner will be awarded a cool 20,000 euros at the 2013 by:Larm festival, as is scheduled to take place in Oslo between 13-16 Feb.
Anyway, this is that shortlist:
Selvhenter - Frk B Fricka
ATOMS FOR PEACE SHARE LP RELEASE DATE
Sharing scant detail (and failing to clarify much else) via the Radiohead site, Yorke says: "It's a while to wait I know, so I'm sure some other things will occur before then. I'm still reeling from being on tour for much of the year but we are planning to get together and play etc next year! We're figuring all that out right now. Atoms is an ongoing and open ended project, where it leads I know not for certain... which is what is nice about it".
Yeah, I guess that is quite nice. As is AFP's new single 'Default'. Well, maybe 'nice' isn't the word, but anyway, this is it.
STUART WARWICK DETAILS NEW LP
In the meantime, whilst all that's being pressed, claim a free digital copy of LP track 'Sailors'.
FEAR OF MEN COMPILE SINGLES EP
It's available as of 12 Feb 2013 on twelve-inch vinyl only, so pre-order at this page.
Have a tracklisting and a blast of ex A-side 'Green Sea' now:
DAVE GROHL TO PREMIERE SOUND CITY DOCUMENTARY AT SUNDANCE
Says Grohl of the film: "As a first time director, I am humbled to be able to share my passion for songwriting and storytelling with this incredible cast of legendary musicians, as seen through the extraordinary story of America's greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City. Being included in this group of artists is a true honour, and the Sundance Film Festival is the perfect place to premiere a film about craft, integrity, and passion for art. I am over the moon!"
Watch the trailer for the film here.
HURTS ADD LIVE DATES
MCFLY TO TOUR
The coincidentally 26-date tour will advance thus:
19 Apr: Swindon, Oasis
TAMRYN TOURING ANON
Anyway, to the dates and a private screening of the video to match 'Tender Signs' track 'The Garden':
31 Jan: London, 93 Feet East
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Talking of getting line-up confirmations out early, T In The Park has followed the recent lead of the Isle Of Wight Festival of issuing two headliner announcements one after the other, by adding The Killers to the top of their bill, after announcing Rihanna and Mumfords as headliners just there yesterday. Also today, news of a brand new festival for you, in the form of Essex-based dance event We Are FSTVL, whose roster so far stars Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos, Cocoon Heroes, Martinez, Joy Orbison and Damian Lazarus. Scan a comprehensive summary of that info below.
T IN THE PARK, Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland, 12-14 Jul 2013: The Killers. www.tinthepark.com
WE ARE FSTVL, Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Upminster, Essex, 25 May 2013: Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos, Cocoon Heroes, Martinez, Joy Orbison, Damian Lazarus, Maxxi Soundsystem, Kerri Chandler, Sascha Dive, DJ Sneak, Guy Gerber, Javi Bora, Matthias Tanzmann, Nick Curly, RPR Soundsystem, Raresh, Petre Inspirescu, Rhadoo, Remo,The Martinez Brothers, Art Department, Dixon, Mathew Jonson, Mr C, Subb-an, Clive Henry, Amarilli, Huxley, Geddes, Waifs And Strays, Deetron, Delano Smith, John Heckle, James Priestley, Giles Smith, MK, No Artificial Colours, PBR Street Gang, Digitaria, Mark Jenkins, Alexis Raphael, Cozzy D, Dusky, Terry Farley. www.wearefstvl.com
LIVE NATION TO OPEN MOSCOW OFFICE
Confirming the development, Live Nation boss man Michael Rapino told CMU: "Establishing an office in Russia is the next step in our global expansion. Russia and nearby markets have become an important part of our global tours in recent years, and by establishing a local presence we can rapidly scale our concerts for over 200 million fans".
Meanwhile McWilliams himself added: "Russia and the Ukraine are markets that deserve our attention and focus. We have learned this through our experiences over the years with artists such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, U2, Shakira and many others. We currently have a solid pipeline of business that goes through the region and this move will only strengthen our position. I am looking forward to working with both our existing and new partners as we develop and expand the company's presence in the region".
SOUNDCLOUD LAUNCHES NEW VERSION, IS IT NOW THE "YOUTUBE OF AUDIO"?
The redesign sees the online audio service shift further towards being more of a social network and discovery tool. Its aim, said Ljung, is to become the "YouTube of audio".
Ljung also revealed some stats to show how much his service has grown since its launch in 2008, confirming that now around 180 million people (or 8% of the world's internet users) come into contact with the platform each month. Also, over ten hours of audio is uploaded to it every minute, and that continues to grow.
Amongst the new features available are the reposting of tracks (similar to retweeting on Twitter), continuous play of related tracks, automatic following within SoundCloud of artists that users have already liked on other connected platforms (eg Facebook) and improved search. From tomorrow the company will also start adding new features to its mobile apps.
Said Ljung: "There's no other platform out there that lets everyone get so close to such a diverse community of music and audio creators. From today, 'Next' is now simply SoundCloud. It's a platform for people to discover new, original music and audio, for creators to build audiences, and for everyone to share what they hear whether online or on mobile".
Co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss added: "Everything's new: [this is] much more than an aesthetic redesign, the latest SoundCloud is a state-of-the-art, re-engineered platform that feels so different from before and offers an even better music and audio experience. Our passionate community's feedback during the beta has gotten us to where we are today: ready to turn on the new SoundCloud for everyone".
Of course "YouTube of audio" is an interesting line, in that on one level in makes perfect sense. Creators who make videos distribute them on YouTube and creators who make audio use SoundCloud. Though, of course, the Google-owned video site is more than just that. It helps creators monetise their content, and, on the music side, by having its own licensing arrangements with both record labels and music publishers, it provides an albeit limited freedom for artists, labels, publishers and fans to upload and share music content, with YouTube ensuring that relevant rights owners are cut into ad revenues.
SoundCloud has never shown much of an appetite to become an ad spot seller, or a licensee of music rights, and from a business point of view that makes perfect sense: the upselling of premium accounts to more prolific audio creators is arguably a much more secure business to be in, than trying to enter the high-cost online jukebox and low-profit web ad space.
As SoundCloud has started to become a destination site for creators, labels and music fans alike, many have anticipated some kind of impasse on rights issues between the digital start-up and the big rights owners, though that has never occurred, possibly because SoundCloud has circumvented infringement claims by operating a pretty effective takedown system, while making clear it sees itself as a service provider to the music industry, rather than as a customer of its music rights.
Which sort of makes SoundCloud more the "Vimeo of audio", while Mixcloud can probably make a better claim to being the "YouTube of audio". Although, there's also an argument that YouTube is the YouTube of audio, given research to suggest young music consumers are playlisting tracks on the video site, minimising the browser window, and using the Google-owned site as an alternative to Spotify et al.
360 DEGREE VIDEO PEOPLE LAUNCH FACEBOOK APP WITH SLASH
The first Mativision app for the uber social network has been created with Slash, and will be accessible via the guitarist's Facebook page, featuring a live performance of his track 'Standing In The Sun'. Commenting on the project, Slash told CMU: "I think the 360 application definitely takes the listener into the world of the musician so that you can actually be in the room where the artist is recording or in a live situation where you can be all around the stage and behind the stage and it just gives it a lot more depth and it really sort of puts you in the world of what the artist is doing".
Mativision boss Anthony E Karydis added: "We are very proud to be working with Slash for this Facebook app, bringing fans a true Mativision 360 video experience. The fact people don't even need to leave Facebook to use our app is going to have a big impact for us. It is perfectly optimised for social sharing and spreading the word about Mativision".
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TURNTABLE.FM PEOPLE DEVELOPING MORE PASSIVE SERVICE
According to Hypebot, Piki is similar to Pandora-style music services, in that it is much more passive than Turntable.fm, providing a stream of music geared towards a user's tastes, though in line with the original service relies heavily on recommendations and favourites of a user's friends when deciding what music to play.
Asked how Piki fits into an increasingly crowded market place for digital music providers, Turntable.fm chief Billy Chasen told TechCrunch: "There's still demand to listen to music that's powered by other people, instead of an algorithm like Pandora. But instead of having it in very real-time, in a room like Turntable, we are providing a laid-back experience with Piki".
The new service is in invite-only beta at the moment, and is likely to be a US-only service when it goes live. The new spin-off service from Turntable.fm follows the launch in October of a new web service for EDM fans called djz.com by Chasen's co-founder Seth Goldstein.
BIEBER ON THE ADD OF POP FANS
Anyway, cheap pops at the cheap pop maker aside, Bieber was talking to Style magazine about the need to provide modern pop fans with a constant supply of new sounding songs. Said the man himself: "People get bored. Everything is so accessible that they get sick of things. A new song gets old quickly, because fans can go on the internet and watch it so many times in a row. You have to be creative fast. If I stayed doing the music I did on my last album, they'd get bored. They've already had that. I just have to give more and more".
Keep giving Justin, keep giving. Or don't, I'm easy either way.