BPI TELLS ISPS TO UNBLOCK PROMO BAY
As previously reported, last week The Pirate Bay span what began as a promotion on its main website to champion new creative talent into a standalone service called The Promo Bay, which uses the two promobay domain names. However, it was quickly spotted that some of those British ISPs currently blocking access to The Pirate Bay on copyright grounds were also stopping users from accessing the new service, even though all content on the new site was there with the blessing of its owners.
Virgin Media, one of the ISPs blocking access to the new service, told reporters that it was doing so because the court order forcing it to stop customers from accessing the main TPB site listed the promobay domains as URLs to be blocked too. That court order, of course, stemmed from legal action by the BPI against The Pirate Bay at large on the grounds of copyright infringement.
As we assumed, the BPI had included the promobay domains in its legal action because, until recently, they forwarded to the main Pirate Bay site. Having been made aware that The Promo Bay is now a standalone service which is clearly not enabling others to infringe copyright, the trade body has requested ISPs remove those URLs from their web-block lists.
According to the BBC, in a letter to the Open Rights Group the BPI's top man Geoff Taylor wrote this week: "Until very recently the domain name 'promobay.org' linked directly to The Pirate Bay and it was therefore a domain name blocked by the ISPs under the court orders. The newly reinvented Promobay.org website appears not to be engaged in copyright infringement and we therefore asked the relevant ISPs yesterday to no longer block it".
Both the Open Rights Group and Pirate Party UK had hit out at the blocking of the new Promo Bay site, saying it proved the dangers of the web-blocking system, which might inadvertently block access to legitimate websites. The BPI will be hoping that, by acting quickly on the change in use of the promobay domain, they have proven that not to be so.
Of course, as much previously reported, web-blocks can be circumvented by users who know what they are doing or where to look. The Pirate Party itself provides a proxy link that bypasses the block, though the BPI has requested that it stop doing so. Pirate Party boss Loz Kaye has said he is seeking legal advice on the matter before responding to that request.
CONCORD FOR SALE, BUT UNLIKELY TO GO TO FULLER
The Concord Music Group was created by the merger of Concord Records and Fantasy Records in 2004, and is currently owned by Village Roadshow Entertainment. According to Billboard, management at Concord are looking for a new owner because Village Roadshow, despite having just completed a refinancing, doesn't have access to the funds its music company's directors want in order to fuel expansion through acquisition.
Other than the Starbucks adventure and McCartney tie-up, Concord is probably best known for the jazz label the wider group grew out of, and many jazz fans were horrified at the news that the company might end up in the hands of Fuller, best known for creating 'American Idol' and managing the Spice Girls.
However, Billboard reckons that a sale to a Fuller-led consortium is unlikely, because the bidding is being overseen by Concord's existing management team who plan to stay in place after any deal is done, so an alliance with an existing music venture with its own ambitions is not going to be attractive. To that end Concord's reps are currently in talks with private equity groups.
That said, the logic of combining the EMI European assets on the block as a result of Universal's takeover of the one-time British major with Concord's primarily US-based business has not been lost on management at the Concord Music Group, and it's thought that if they can woo a private equity partner soon enough, they might then try to bid for Parlophone themselves.
TEAM MEGA GIVEN ACCESS TO RECORDS OF NEW ZEALAND SPY AGENCY
As previously reported, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key admitted in September that the GCSB "acted unlawfully" when it gathered communications between MegaUpload and its associates ahead of the January raid on the digital firm, in which its US-based servers were taken offline and seven execs at the company were arrested, four in New Zealand itself. Key ordered a government investigation into the GCSB's conduct in relation to the Mega operation, and a police investigation has since been announced too.
Dotcom's legal team have been seeking access to GCSB files through the New Zealand courts, and this week, according to Reuters, a judge ruled: "Plainly most of what is sought by the plaintiffs is relevant, so the plaintiffs are entitled to discovery of the items".
High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann also said that Dotcom et al could pursue civil action against the GCSB for damages in relation to the snooping the government agency undertook into their affairs without the correct legal authority.
A legal rep for the Mega team told Reuters after seeing Winkelmann's ruling: "We can now determine the extent of the GCSB's involvement, and we'll be able to claim for damages".
What impact the ruling will have on the efforts by US prosecutors to extradite Dotcom and his Mega colleagues to face charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement in the States isn't clear. But it's embarrassing for New Zealand authorities, given how high profile the MegaUpload case has been globally. As previously reported, it also emerged New Zealand police had the wrong kind of warrant for the raid they undertook on Dotcom's home.
DAVE BRUBECK 1920 - 2012
Born in California in 1920, Brubeck did not originally intend to follow a career in music, despite his older siblings having done so, and him having taken lessons from his mother while he was growing up. However, after beginning to study Veterinary Science, he was convinced to study music instead by his head of department. Though that plan initially hit a hurdle when it emerged that he could not read a musical score.
But after serving in the army during the Second World War, Brubeck subsequently returned to his studies and became a recording artist in 1949. It was in 1951 that he formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the group for which he is best known, and which grew in popularity so much that he was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1959 (though he maintained that Duke Ellington should have received that honour).
Later the same year, the Quartet release 'Time Out', an album that the Columbia label was originally reluctant to release because it used a variety of unusual time signatures. However, it was a huge success, and spawned the group's best known composition, 'Take Five', written in 5/4 by saxophonist Paul Desmond.
Although popularity brought with it disdain from some of his peers, Brubeck and his quartet remained popular and toured almost constantly until they split in 1967 (reuniting in 1976 for a 25th anniversary tour). After the Quartet had disbanded, Brubeck continued as a solo composer and performer, branching out into other genres, including opera and ballet, and recording right up to the present day, as well as touring regularly until 2009.
Brubeck is survived by his wife Iola and their six children.
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JONATHAN HARVEY 1939 - 2012
Born in Sutton Coldfield in 1939, Harvey was heavily involved in music academia, earning doctorates from both Glasgow and Cambridge universities, and later acting as a Professor of Music at Sussex University and Stanford University in the US, as well as having roles at other institutions in the UK, US and Germany.
His career as a composer really began to take off in the early 1980s with a series of pieces created at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique in Paris, combining classical instruments and electronic sounds. Though, as well as this more avant garde work, he composed in a broad range of other classical genres too, creating pieces for solo instruments and unaccompanied choirs and operas, in addition to full orchestral works.
A multi-award winner, Harvey's work remains in heavy demand for performances worldwide, with over 150 taking place each year. Over 100 performances of his work have also been released as recordings.
Announcing Harvey's death, Vice Chairman of Faber Music, Sally Cavender said: "I have worked closely with Jonathan for 30 years. His impact as a composer has been profound and international in its scope. The spirituality of his music also pervaded his personality; no one who met him came away without commenting on his gentleness, generosity and breadth of imagination ... Music simply poured out of him, naturally and organically. In every sense he was a superior human being and one that it has been a privilege to know, as much as it has been a delight to treasure his music".
Controller of BBC Radio 3 and director of the BBC Proms, Roger Wright, added: "We have lost a hugely important figure in classical music. His was a powerfully original music which rightly received international acclaim. His gentle spirit and inner strength impressed me greatly and he will be much missed".
Despite suffering a serious terminal illness, Harvey completed three final works in the last year of his life. He is survived by his wife Rosaleen, and their two children, Anna and Dominic.
EWAN ROBERTSON 1985 - 2012
Robertson first worked with Big Dada as a volunteer while studying design at St Martins College, and later when he co-founded the Oscar & Ewan design agency with Oscar Bauer in 2007. Through that partnership Robertson and Bauer worked on artwork for artists like Wiley and Roots Manuva, as well as Ninja Tune acts including Amon Tobin and Bonobo.
In addition to his design work, Robertson also released music through Big Dada under the name Offshore, his new mini-album, 'Bake Haus', coming out just last month.
Praising "his talent and the originality of his vision", Big Dada said in a statement: "An incredibly subtle man, part of his talent was to make difficult things look easy. His recent record, 'Bake Haus', was one such example, apparently thrown off without breaking a sweat, but actually the result of considerable thought and skill - the minimalism a deliberate choice, beautifully delivered on. He was also, in addition to his many talents, one of the finest individuals we have had the honour of working with - straightforward, positive, funny and understated, he was a proper gent. We will miss him terribly and send all our love to Jen and his family, whose loss is so much greater".
GRAMMY NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
Obviously, there are about 900 categories at the Grammys, so I'm not going to list them all here. If you're really interested, you can look through the complete list on the awards' owner website.
Or, instead, you can do the sensible thing and watch E from Eels' acceptance speeches for the categories he expects to win, which he has already recorded and 'accidentally leaked' to the internet.
BRITS CRITICS CHOICE SHORTLIST NAMED
Actually, mild sarcasm aside, we're very pleased to see AlunaGeorge on the shortlist. Tom Odell and Laura Mvula are also on it.
Here are quotes from all of them:
AlunaGeorge: "We both feel incredibly honoured to be shortlisted for this award. Completely blown away, it's a great feeling to have our music recognised in such a big way. 2013 is going to be an incredible year for UK music".
Laura Mvula: "Wow, I'm speechless! It's unbelievable and I'm in total shock. I don't think I've experienced this kind of shock before. It's such a huge honour to be included in this prestigious shortlist, I don't think that I can put it in to words. Thank you".
Tom Odell: "I'm thrilled to be nominated and I feel privileged to be in the same company as previous nominees of the calibre of Adele, Emeli Sandé, Michael Kiwanuka and Florence".
Previous winners of the award, which was introduced at the 2008 BRITs, are Adele, Florence And The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Elemi Sandé.
ALUNAGEORGE DISCUSS DEBUT ALBUM
Speaking to Vogue, vocalist Aluna Francis said of the songs contained therein: "[There are] some of the singles that we've already put out, some down-tempo waltzes, some meandering beats-based tracks and some big, odd, off-kilter bangers. In some ways, we're starting from scratch. Any appreciation we get is a surprise. I have no idea if what we're doing is what people want to hear, but the response that we've had so far has been absolutely amazing! I guess we'll have to wait and see".
MIA 'LEAKS' NEW SONG TO FAN (APPARENTLY)
Explains the track's uploader: "MIA leaked the song cos a group of worldtowners (such as @The_Chutzpah, @The_Perplex @normacriley etc) spammed all day asking her to leak something AND since she's a great and generous person and very close to her fans - she emailed the song to @The_Perplex".
What fun. Listen here.
KURT VILE ADVERTISES NEW LP; "NO CHEESE, JUST ROCK"
Interviewed by Spin, Vile says of the new record, as was recorded between Dinosaur Jr man J Mascis studio, and one in LA: "You turn it on and it sounds like me. But the guitar playing is better and the ideas are new. It's classic, it's epic, with many more solos".
Inspired by Barney Hoksyns' Laurel Canyon expose 'Hotel California' to collaborate with a collective of musicians - Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, Woods' Jeremy Earl, harpist Mary Lattimore and Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux to name several - Vile adds: "I just wanted to catch those cosmic vibes, circa 2012. It's so many hours of sessions. It's totally our [1979 Fleetwood Mac LP] 'Tusk', but no cheese. Just rock".
EARL SWEATSHIRT TITLES NEW LP, SHARES NEW VIDEO
The prodigal MC, who came back to Frank Ocean and Tyler The Creator et al's Odd Future collective earlier this year after spending time at a correctional facility in Samoa, will release 'Doris' via Tan Cressida, the Sony/Columbia imprint he began back in May.
In the meanwhile, this is Sweatshirt's new video for Doris' track 'Chum':
BLUR, KASABIAN, RYAN ADAMS TO PLAY NOEL GALLAGHER'S TEENAGE CANCER TRUST SHOWS
Noel will play the RAH beside his High Flying Birds on 23 Mar, sharing a bill (and potentially, a 'Tender' rendition) with ex-Britpop nemeses Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn, so that's charitable.
He tells Xfm: "I wouldn't be adverse to getting up with them and playing 'Tender' though - that being one of my favourite Blur songs. What would I have said in 1997? There would have been swear words involved. Definitely. We're all older now. I've been on tour with Graham recently and I've met Damon recently... we're all old dudes from the past".
Nightly listings for all six shows via this link.
KRAFTWERK PLAYING EIGHT DATES AT TATE
The residency starts on 6 Feb with 1974's 'Autobahn' and tickets will be available from 12 Dec at 7.30am sharp.
Info via this page.
THE WEEKND TO TOUR
20 Mar: Manchester, Ritz
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Here in the UK, the Focus Wales festival and conference has announced its first artists, who include Charlotte Church, who will be showcasing some of her new, more rocky material, including that on her recently released EP 'One'. The three-pronged Slam Dunk festival is also back to take bands such as All Time Low, Senses Fail and Streetlight Manifesto around Leeds, Hertfordshie and Wolverhampton.
Then, further afield, Stop Making Sense in Croatia has made a couple of announcements too.
More on all of that here:
FOCUS WALES, various venues, Wrexham, 25-27 Apr 2013: Charlotte Church, Michael Rother, Gallops, Man Without Country, We Are Animal, John Lawrence, Swnami. www.focuswales.com
SLAM DUNK, Leeds University/South Hertfordshire University/Wolverhampton Civic, 25-27 May 2013: All Time Low, Pierce The Veil, Streetlight Manifesto, Woe Is Me, The Early November, The Wonder Years, Fireworks, Four Year Strong, The Story So Far, Senses Fail, The Skints, Polar Bear Club. www.slamdunkmusic.com/slam-dunk-festival
STOP MAKING SENSE, The Garden, Tisno, Croatia, 1-4 Aug 2013: Ame & Dixon, Will Saul. stopmakingsense.eu
SXSW, various venues, Austin, Texas, United States, 12-17 Mar 2013: Paloma Faith, The Joy Formidable, Sky Ferreira, Lianne La Havas, Charli XCX, Chvrches, Darwin Deez, Cate Le Bon, Bonobo, Angel Haze, Gallops, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Josephine, Nzca/Lines, Wall, Rhye, Girls Names, Paws, Skinny Lister, MS MR, Tall Ships, Born Gold, Fallulah, Mø, Feathers. sxsw.com
BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY SELLS PREMIUM SCENT
Songwriter Will Oldham, who also has coffee and condom-based promotional enterprises on the go, is now selling bottles of unisex 'intoxicant' 'Bonnie Billy', a "mystical, swirling dance" featuring topnotes of Egyptian jasmine, mukhallat and Assam oud. Fancy.
NB: It costs $22 per 5ml.
BIG MOUTH PUBLICITY APPOINTS NEW ONLINE PR
Emanuel told CMU: "After what has been a very busy and successful 2012, it is an absolute pleasure to welcome Natalie to Big Mouth as we continue to grow our online team. We are both very excited for what 2013 holds for all our artists and the Big Mouth online department".
Amongst Big Mouth's online clients are Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, My Bloody Valentine, The Vaccines, Edwyn Collins, Tom Waits, Toy, Cold Specks, Ladyhawke, Ren Harvieu and Beth Orton.
APPLE ISTREAM NOT LIKELY SOON, BUT PANDORA SHARE PRICE STILL FALLS
And C-Net now reports that Sony, Universal and Warner Music all remain unimpressed by the IT giant's pitch for moving the market-leader download store into the streaming space, which basically means Apple isn't currently offering attractive enough financial terms for licensing such a service. As previously noted, Apple isn't generally that keen on investing its own cash upfront when licensing content, and most streaming services initially launch with a loss-leading strategy. All of which means we are unlikely to see an iRadio button added to iTunes anytime soon.
Which is good news for the other streaming music platforms, most of whom fear Apple becoming a head on competitor, given the IT firm's large share of the wider digital music market. And not least Pandora, whose share price always wobbles when rumours of an imminent Apple streaming service launch do the rounds.
Not that the Pandora share price needs any such rumours to wobble at the moment. Despite the streaming music firm reporting a $2.1 million profit for the last quarter, compared to a loss of $7.9 million in the same period last year, Wall Street did not respond well to Pandora's latest financial announcement, because of a prediction that revenue growth would slow in the next quarter returning the company into a loss.
Pandora, of course, is hoping to make itself more profitable by cutting the amount of royalties it has to pay to the labels and publishers, a move that has not impressed the music business or artist community.
RADIO 1 ANNOUNCES NEW LATE SHOW
Those presenters are Phil Taggart and Alice Levine. Taggart has been the voice of BBC Introducing in Northern Ireland for a couple of years already, and has been a stand-in presenter for Radio 1, including in the late night slot. Levine is known for her TV presenting work for MTV, Channel 4 and ITV, having first risen to fame presenting an online entertainment show for Bebo.
Here are some quotes...
Radio 1 boss Ben Cooper: "Signing Alice and Phil to the 10pm to midnight show rounds off an incredible year for Radio 1 - from Jay-Z and Rihanna on stage at Hackney to launching a brand new breakfast show with Nick Grimshaw. With Phil and Alice we have a great set of talented DJs who will continue to champion the best in new music".
Taggart: "I've been a total Radio 1 geek since I can remember, religiously listening to the chart show and to John Peel on my battered little stereo. It's a total privilege to be given two hours, four days a week to play brand new music that I am really passionate about and the fact I am doing it with Alice is a complete dream job. She's sharper than a safety pin and genuinely funny. I can't wait to get on air and start the show".
Levine: "Being offered the chance to be part of the Radio 1 family is a dream come true and to be doing the 10pm to midnight slot is completely unbelievable. I'm so glad Phil, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of music, will be by my side. The prospect of starting in this slot, which has been hosted by so many DJs that I admire, is a big deal and I can't wait to get started and put our own spin on it".
GANGNAM STYLE SET TO GENERATE OVER $8 MILLION THIS YEAR