A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...
CMU Artists Of The Year. There are but two weeks until Christmas, which gives us just enough time to run you through our Artists Of The Year. As ever, we're selected ten artists who've gone above and beyond the call of duty in the last twelve (or eleven and a half) months. We'll reveal a new choice each day in the CMU Daily as we roll up to the Christmas holiday, our final selection being unveiled in the CMU Review Of The Year on 21 Dec. More about that next week though.
BRITs voting closes. If you're a member of the BRITs Academy then you have until 3pm on Wednesday 12 Dec to vote. Voting for the Best Single, however, will open on 10 Jan and close a week after that, so that's something to look forward to in the new year.
MPA Christmas lunch. The Music Publishers Association's annual Christmas lunch takes place this Friday at the Park Lane Hotel in London, kicking off with a champagne reception and continuing long into the night (yes, this iconic event in the music publishing calendar goes on somewhat longer than your conventional lunch).
New releases. Arriving just in time for the Christmas present buying market, today sees the release of the new Bruno Mars album, which people have told me is surprisingly good, and the debut long players from Gallops and Rachel Zeffira, which I can tell you myself are very good indeed. Also on offer is a Black Sabbath vinyl boxset, the special boxset edition of Mumford & Sons' new concert film, and a dub version of Peaking Lights' 'Lucifer' LP. There are singles too, singles like the amazing 'Lucky' by Albert and 'Disappear' by Petite Noir. Oh yes, and the 'X-Factor' winner single and that 'One Pound Fish Song'.
Gigs and tours. This Wednesday Friendly Fires will play a charity show to raise money to help improve awareness of male suicide, following the recent death of the band's friend Adam Connelly. Meanwhile, with the festive season now upon us, there will be Christmassy shows in the form of Soulwaxmas, Bella Union's Christmas Service, and a wintervallion gig hosted by Los Campesinos. As well as that, former Girls frontman Christopher Owens, Pinback, Cold Specks and Lowell will be playing one-off shows in London. You people outside London will be able to see Slow Club and Allah Las, and I think you should be happy with that.
BBC SOUND OF 2013 LONGLIST ANNOUNCED
Radio 1's Huw Stephens will announce the overall winner of the poll on a special breakfast show on the station on the 4 Jan, and this morning he said he reckoned the long list was "exciting and vibrant", with a good mixture of "strong vocalists, leftfield artists and a number of bands with their own take on modern pop".
He added: "It's always a varied list that surprises people, causes debate and speculation about the state of the music scene. For me, it's an exciting time of year, where we don't really know what the year will bring with new music, but this helps give people an indication of what might sound good".
And here it is, the long list, for you to digest and debate, consume and critique, dissect and dismiss, and bloody well bitch about. Good times.
DOHERTY PARTY DEATH: BLANCO APPEARED TO BE THROWN FROM BALCONY, CCTV EXPERTS SAY
At the time, police investigations focused on the theory Blanco's death was either suicide or an accident, perhaps as the actor attempted to make his exit by jumping to a lamppost. But a coroner rejected the suicide theory and, on declaring an open verdict, encouraged police to reopen their investigations. They did so in 2010, and Doherty was re-interviewed in February 2011.
However, following the new investigation the Crown Prosecution Service said in May last year that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in connection with the death.
Blanco's family have always maintained that previous investigations have not been thorough enough, and are again urging police to reopen the case following the re-examination of some of the evidence by 'Newsnight'.
In the process of its investigation, the programme showed footage of Blanco's death to two CCTV experts. The first, US based FBI trainer Grant Fredericks, said that the fall was "very consistent with a person being carried and literally dropped over the edge of the balcony".
Meanwhile, UK-based video forensics examiner John Kennedy said: "There's no defensive movement whatsoever. It's literally a drop from outside the rail. The only explanation I can think of is that somebody might have dropped him off the balcony. He doesn't climb over the railing himself. He doesn't jump. He just suddenly appears outside the railing and falls".
Doherty's former minder Jeannevol also spoke to the programme, explaining why he had, at one point, confessed to murdering Blanco but then later retracted his statement, saying: "The reason why I said to the police that I did it, is cos I'd go out and people would say 'you murderer', and the stress was just too much. [My] conscience is clear".
Speaking to the Daily Mail recently, Doherty admitted to feeling "sick to my stomach" about leaving the scene, but maintained that Blanco had caused his own death, saying: "I can understand how it looks dodgy. How ashamed do you think I am that I stepped over the body and legged it down the street? In my heart, I pray and pray that his mother will stop punishing and torturing herself because she is convinced that there was foul play. But I am certain there wasn't. The door was bolted and there wasn't anyone from the party outside on the balcony with him".
Blanco's mother Sheila told Newsnight: "I think the whole case needs revisiting. The truth will out".
NOTORIOUS BIG AUTOPSY REPORT PUBLISHED BY TMZ
The rather grim autopsy documents reveal that the rapper sustained four gunshot wounds in total, the fourth of which killed him, entering his right hip and tearing through his colon, liver, heart and left lung. Toxicology results showed no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of death.
It's not entirely clear why the report has been published now, though the Wallace family wasn't informed about plans to make the document public, leading some to criticise the move. A spokesman for the LAPD yesterday apologised for not keeping the family in the loop, telling reporters: "Our detectives personally spoke with the Wallace family last night, and apologised for not notifying them prior to the release. Obviously this has been a challenging case for us to solve. We hope that witnesses or other people with information will come forward and give us the clues we need to solve this case".
Wallace was just 24 when he was gunned down in one of the more violent moments of the hip hop community's famous feuding. Various hip hoppers and off duty or former LAPD officers have been linked to the murder over the years, investigations into which are still ongoing.
CHERYL COLE SUES OVER X-FACTOR USA MONIES
The Girl Aloud alleges that she is owed at least $2.3 million relating to her short time working on the show. As previously reported, Cole followed Simon Cowell from the UK version of 'X' to sit on the judging panel of the American version of the talent franchise, but was axed before 'X USA' had even begun airing, reportedly because US producers had concerns about the Geordie's accent.
Cole says that while she was paid her $1.8 million fee for the first series of 'X-Factor USA', despite never appearing, she was contractually due another $2 million for the second series too, which her original contact included. She is also owed various expenses that were listed in that contract, including costs for wardrobe, a stylist, hotels in LA, first class flights and personal security.
Cole's lawsuit asks for all that she alleges is owed from the 'X' makers, plus interest, legal fees and any "further relief as the court may deem just and appropriate". Neither Blue Orbit nor any of the other companies with a stake in 'X USA' have as yet commented on the litigation.
PSY RESPONDS AFTER ANTI-AMERICAN PERFORMANCES EMERGE
The shows were protests against America's foreign policy, the first specifically responding to the death of two Korean schoolgirls killed in an accident with an American military vehicle, and the second against the US's 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In the footage he smashes a model US tank, and performs the lyrics: "Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives, Kill those fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture, Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers, Kill them all slowly and painfully". Which is nice.
The emergence of the angry protest performances comes as Psy tours the US in a bid to build a fully fledged worldwide pop career on the back of his YouTube hit 'Gangnam Style'. Responding to criticism of the videos, he said this weekend: "As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world".
"The song I was featured in - from eight years ago - was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq, and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians, that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I'm grateful for the freedom to express one's self I've learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words".
He adds: "I have been honoured to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months, and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it's important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language, we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology".
ONE DIRECTION TO RECORD 2013 COMIC RELIEF SINGLE
Confirming their involvement in the charity project, 1D's Harry Styles said these words, presumably in a suitably comedic fashion: "We have grown up with Comic Relief and taken part in lots of Red Nose Days at school, so we were thrilled to be asked to do this year's Red Nose Day single. It's such an honour for us. We can't wait to perform our version of this iconic pop song and to raise as much money as possible for this incredibly important cause that is really close to our hearts".
The group's Zayn Malik added: "At school Red Nose Day was a big deal! Me and my friends used to really look forward to it - I remember one year we all came in our pyjamas which was pretty cool!"
There's a gag in there somewhere, but let's save it up for when the not-quite-what-it-used-to-be 'comedy' telethon is really struggling around about 11pm on 15 Mar.
KATY B RELEASES FREE EP
With the album itself due for release in the spring, the 'Danger' EP is a pretty bold statement - it's not every artist who'd be happy to sling out collaborations with the likes of Diplo, Wiley, Jessie Ware and more on a free stop-gap release. Katy is though, and here's what she said about the EP: "I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with people I always respected and wanted to work with. All of the tracks were written quite quickly because I was so inspired by the beats. It was important for me to give people new music before the end of the year, a taster and a warm up of what's come".
DJANGO DJANGO ANNOUNCE NEW SINGLE, REMIX ALBUM
You can also hear a remix of the track by former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason on the band's new remix album, alongside reworks of its other tracks by a variety of producers. It'll be available with the original long player in independent record shops, and digitally as a standalone release.
Check out the full tracklist of the remix album below, and watch the video for the original version of 'Life's A Beach' here.
RHOSYN ANNOUNCES DEBUT EP
Listen to lead track 'Glass', a swirl of layered instruments and vocals, here.
X-FACTOR WINNER SINGLE IS IMPOSSIBLE
The winner's first single, out now digitally, is a cover of a track by Barbadian popstar Shontelle, 'Impossible', which Arthur performed on the 'X-Factor' final this weekend. The physical release, out on Wednesday, will also come with three extra covers, of LMFAO's 'Sexy And I Know It', Eurythmics' 'Sweet Dreams' and Adele's 'Hometown Glory'.
As expected, the winner single will be a charity release this year, and Together For Short Lives, a charity for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, has been picked as the beneficiary.
Commenting on the release of 'Impossible' as his winning single, Arthur told reporters: "I am absolutely overwhelmed to have won 'The X-Factor'. I am lost for words. To have been be able to perform my winner's single was just insane. I love the song and am so glad that proceeds of the single will be going to such a great cause".
Meanwhile 'X-Factor' overlord Simon Cowell said of the charity to benefit from the release: "Together For Short Lives is such an inspiring and important charity for so many kids and their families who really need help and support. I'm delighted that 'The X-Factor's' winner single sales will go directly to helping them".
As last year, the 'X' release will not overtly compete in the race for Christmas Number One.
KYLIE AND JASON DUET BACK ON AT HIT FACTORY LIVE
As previously reported, the original outdoor Hit Factory Live event in the summer was cancelled after rain waterlogged Hyde Park, where it was due to take place. When it was rescheduled as a winter indoor show, Minogue told The Daily Star: "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]".
But now, according to reports, organisers have confirmed that the duet will go ahead at the 21 Dec show, which I'm sure will please everyone who has tickets. And Kylie. And most of all Jason.
RICK ROSS CANCELS US SHOWS
Initially Ross cancelled just two US shows in North Carolina due to take place over the weekend, with speculation that this was due to online threats from the local chapter of the Gangster Disciples gang, according to local newspaper The Charlotte Observer. In a video posted to YouTube, the gang warned Ross against playing the planned shows in Charlotte and Greensboro, accusing him of having "dishonoured" a gang leader and using gang signs disrespectfully.
But now the cancellations have been blamed on the tour's promoter, with Ross himself telling AllHipHop: "I want to apologise to all of my fans who I missed performing for due to the cancellations and want to let them know that I will get back to their cities. I enjoyed my experience with my little bros Wale and Meek Mill and I'm ready to get back in the studio to make good music".
AMANDA PALMER CANCELS AUSTRALIA TOUR TO BE WITH SICK FRIEND
In a long blog post explaining her decision, Palmer wrote: "This is really, really hard for me to tell you. I feel like I'm letting a lot of people down. If you know me, you'll know that in thirteen years of touring, I've almost never canceled a single engagement. It's not my style. I take my professional commitments really seriously. Even if I'm sick, I play. But I also take my friendships really seriously.
She continued: "I know it's going to affect so many people - my band, my crew, all of you, especially those of you who have already made travel plans, booked hotels, bought plane tickets. All I can do is ask for your forgiveness and understanding... and ask you to wait. I will come".
BMG ANNOUNCES DEALS WITH SAM ELDRIDGE
The first is linked to Merok Records, the label Eldridge runs will The Big Pink's Milo Cordell, while the second will see Eldridge's own management company, Urok, launch a publishing unit. Urok is a partnership between Eldridge and his father Roy, who has had a long career in the British music business, including at the original Chrysalis Music company.
Confirming the new publishing partnerships, which will see some immediate signings (American singer-songwriter Daughn Gibson to Merok and DJ/producer Gemini to Urok), BMG Chrysalis UK SVP Alexi Cory-Smith told CMU: "These signings demonstrate the range and potential of these joint ventures. Sam Eldridge is a hugely talented music executive who richly deserves the title of 'Manager Of The Year' and we are delighted to be working with him".
Eldridge added: "BMG is the most dynamic and exciting publisher around today, combining the creativity of its indie heritage with a drive, focus and ambition to compete at the highest level. They have an amazing sync department which can allow smaller artists to become profitable quickly and maximise revenue for bigger artists. It is also genuinely international. We have spoken to every BMG office around the world and it's clear they immediately get it".
LOVELIVE TO STREAM CHRISTMAST TREE SESSIONS
As previously reported, Myleene Klass, Elbow's Guy Garvey, Spiritualized, Guillemots' Fyfe Dangerfield, Summer Camp, Josh Kumra and Kodaline are all set to perform at the Union Chapel fund-raiser, while Christmas-themed readings will come from the likes of Caitlin Moran, Chris Addison and Stuart Maconie.
Confirming his company's involvement in the charity stream, Richard Cohen, CEO at LoveLive, told CMU: "Undertaking a four hour live stream for a unique event such as this is hugely exciting. Save The Children is a remarkable charity and the line-up ensures that this will be an amazing experience for fans and supporters, who enjoy not just music, but the host of additional stars contributing to the evening. The stream will mark the first event of its kind for a UK charity and we are thrilled to have been chosen to collaborate with, and be part of this live music event".
PENK PULLS PRANK SHOW FOLLOWING MIDDLETON NURSE TRAGEDY
Jacintha Saldanha was a nurse at London's King Edward VII Hospital, which last week treated Kate Middleton for hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness. It was Saldanha who answered the phone to Aussie DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian when they called, at 5.30am London time, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles. She put them through to another nurse who discussed Middleton's condition. The conversation was then aired on 2Day FM and soon became a global news story.
Saldanha died on Friday, in an apparent suicide. The circumstances around her death will not be known, of course, until the conclusion of an inquest which is due to begin this week, while experts stress that suicide is never the result of a single incident. However, most assume the prank call was a key element, leading to widespread condemnation of Greig and Christian, 2Day FM and its owners Southern Cross Austereo.
The DJs and radio station had already apologised to an extent after initial criticism of the call, insisting it was just a joke, that the presenters had never expected to be put through to Middleton's ward given their unconvincing British accents, and that lawyers had cleared the pre-recorded piece before it was aired. Nevertheless, Greig and Christian continued to brag about their involvement in what was now a worldwide story, while the station was heavily promoting the prank on air and on its website.
All that changed once Australia woke up on Saturday morning to the news of Saldanha's death. The boss of Southern Cross Austereo issued a sombre apologetic statement (though continued to insist his company had done nothing illegal), confirmed that Greig and Christian would be taken off air until further notice, and that 2Day FM would not run any adverts in the short term (at least two major advertisers having already requested that their spots be removed). The station has subsequently claimed it tried to contact the two nurses to gain permission to broadcast the call before originally airing it.
The two DJs themselves withdrew from the social networks on Friday night our time to avoid angry and at times threatening criticism of their actions, and are said to be, understandably, devastated by the turn of events. A TV interview with the duo will air later today, clips of which are already online.
Nevertheless, and despite the tragedy, some have pointed out that prank calls are a regular feature on radio stations across the world. In the UK, Penk is perhaps the best known prank caller, such calls being a key component of his former shows for both Key 103 in Manchester and Capital FM in London. The wind-ups show on The Revolution, the Manchester station Penk now owns, includes 'greatest hits' from his prank calling past.
In the main such prank calls pass without incident, and there have been very few controversies in the genre here the UK. Though, whereas the original practical joke shows on TV usually began with a viewer nominating a friend or family member to be the victim of the joke, thus taking responsibility for them 'seeing the funny side', in more recent years prank formats have often picked their victims at random. In the vast majority of cases that's not an issue, though such random selection does remove any such buffer after this sudden, unexpected and potentially unwanted attention.
Some producers ensure all victims give their approval before any footage is aired (sometimes because regulations say they must, other times on ethical grounds), even if doing so delays broadcast and, in some cases, prevents content from being made public at all. Though in radio, where budgets are usually much smaller than in TV, such approval chasing may be less thorough.
Southern Cross Austereo, while maintaining it has broken no laws, says it will review its policies regarding such content. Meanwhile, from a UK point of view, Penk reckons prank calls could be phased out on British radio too. Speaking to Sky News he said: "I think there will be huge fallout. I think it will be, for want of a better phrase, the death of the wind-up phone call. [Media regulator] OfCom will wrap it in so much red tape that it will make it almost impossible to get these things on the air, which I think is a shame because they can be entertaining".
KE$HA REMOVES REVEALING FAN PHOTOS FROM MEMOIRS ON LEGAL GROUNDS
Apparently whenever a male fan boards the 'Tik Tok' singer's tour bus he is told to "drop trou" for a photo, and while said men are not seemingly required to expose their genitalia as part of this impromptu photo shoot, some do (and if they happen to be 'going commando', that's sort of compulsory). It was these photos that Ms Sebert was planning on including in her book.
Explains the singer to Rolling Stone: "Whenever a man came onto my bus, he had to drop trou, and I took a Polaroid of him, just to emasculate him and make sure he knew he was in the vagina jungle. That's what I call my bus. Some of the guys were wearing man-panties - but even if they were free-balling, there were no exceptions; they had to pose for a photo".
But, while any guy who boards Ke$ha's bus and immediately gets his dick out probably deserves whatever's coming to him, said flashers need not worry about incurring wider exposure. "I really tried to use these photos in my book" she continued, "but I think it's illegal, technically".