A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...
CMU Review Of The Year. The final CMU Daily of 2012 will be with you on Thursday morning, but that won't be the last you hear of us this year. The following day we'll be sending out our Review Of The Year, looking back at the goings on in the world of musicians, the music business and the media over the last twelve months. There'll also be a special year in review edition of the CMU Podcast for you to listen to.
CMU Artists Of The Year. We've already unveiled five of our 2012 Arists Of The Year, and there are five more to come this week. Four will be revealed in the CMU Daily, with the final one bundled in with that Review Of The Year thing I just mentioned.
New releases. Amongst all the Christmas number one contenders and live DVDs out this week, there is one release really worth your attention, 'Spiky Dread: Issue 1'. The first release from DJ and producer Wrongtom's new label Rongorongo, it's a compilation of punky reggae from the late 70s and early 80s. It's not particularly festive, but I don't think it should stop you from soundtracking your Christmas with it.
Gigs and tours. If you're not too busy drinking yourself into a coma at Christmas parties this week, there are plenty of live music events you could be attending. The Hit Factory Live is one such example, where you'll be able to see Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan singing together. Also, Soulwax's annual Soulwaxmas show comes to London, Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler will be heading out on a festive tour, The Happy Mondays will play London's Roundhouse twice, Macy Gray will cover Stevie Wonder's 'Talking Book' album, Paul Weller and Bombay Bicycle Club will both headline charity shows, and Cold Specks will play a one-off show at the Sebright Arms in London.
NEW YORK FUND LOOKING TO FORCE CONTROL OVER HMV
Well, the Sunday Times was busy speculating about Apollo's interest in the HMV company yesterday following news that the Wall Street company had bought £20 million of the retail firm's debts from the Allied Irish Bank.
It's the first time one of HMV's moneylenders has sold on some of its debts, and came as the entertainment company last week admitted that it was set to break banking covenants in January, and was now busy negotiating with bankers to try and avoid the worse case scenario of failing to meet performance targets in its loan agreements, which would force the business into administration.
After a spike early last week, HMV's share price tumbled to 2.37p following the company's latest financial statement, that also confirmed the retailer was currently posting a loss of £37.3 million for the first half of the current financial year. That gives the company a market capitalisation of just over £10 million, compared to £1 billion when it first floated on the London Stock Exchange a decade ago.
Apollo, which was linked to a bid for EMI in early 2011, now controls about 10% of HMV's debts, and the Times says it is looking to acquire more, possibly putting it in a position to force control of the retailer if and when covenant tests are failed in January and April. Quite what Apollo would want with HMV isn't clear, though the brand clearly has some value if it could be separated from its high street liabilities.
There were rumours last week that HMV could go into administration this side of Christmas, or at least announce the closure of some of its stores, though management insist neither are currently on the agenda. But, assuming the company makes it into 2013, January is going to be make or break once again, and with the likes of Apollo now in the frame, it may not be current management who ultimately decide the entertainment retailer's immediate future.
New speculation about the collapse of HMV comes as electronics retailer Comet shuts the doors on its retail chain for the final time, having gone into administration last month. Hopes that a deal could be struck with an unnamed buyer to keep 140 Comet stores open now seem dashed, with administrators instead hoping that a sale of the brand and its online business will bring in some money for creditors.
MARILYN MANSON NEARLY LOSES EAR IN FIGHT
The singer tweeted: "I was hit by a glass table in a dangerous fight. I was, however, the victor, but had to have 24 stitches to keep my ear from becoming Van Goth".
Here's the ear, all mended.
ADELE TOPS SIX OF BILLBOARDS END OF YEAR CHARTS
But it's also worth noting that Ms Adkins has also debunked the theory that pop success in the 21st century requires constant exposure and 24/7 engagement with fans, given that Adele has hardly performed live at all this year, has given very few interviews, released just one new song, and averages about three tweets a month, and yet dominates in Billboard's end-of-year charts for US success in 2012.
In fact Adele tops six of Billboards sixteen non-genre-specific end-of-year charts, including the US trade mag's 2012 lists of top artists, top albums and top digital albums, and of most successful artists in the album, digital album and digital song charts. We already knew that Adele had had an incredible year Stateside, but lists like this really hammer it home.
The other Brits to make an appearance at the top of a Billboard 2012 chart are, unsurprisingly, One Direction, who lead on the Top New Artists list.
Check out the end of year charts for yourself here.
UNION J AND ELLA HENDERSON SIGN TO SONY
So now both Union J and Ella Henderson will be relying on the fact that, as One Direction, JLS and Jedward will tell you, winning the ITV talent show has little relevance when it comes to whether or not you have a sustainable pop career ahead of you.
Confirming she was heading into the studio to record a debut album, Henderson told reporters: "I'm so excited to go into the studio and do what I've always wanted to do. I've written stuff already but I can't wait to write new stuff. I've not written all the way through the period I was on 'The X-Factor' and it unlocked so many emotions I've never experienced before, it's going to be very exciting".
BRITNEY SPEARS IN STUDIO, "STOMPING ON GENRES"
Rihanna/Usher collaborator Blake spills thus to That Grape Juice: "I think her fans will be surprised by it. I would say it's definitely the 'unexpected' Britney in so many ways, in that she's playing with new textures and stomping on new grounds and genres".
THIS JUST-IN: BIEBER UNPLUGGING AGAIN
Anyway. Its release will fall in January, and this is a video of Bieber extolling its "intimate" qualities.
THE KNIFE LP GIVEN TITLE, RELEASE DATE
JESSIE J POSTPONES ARENA DATES TO MAKE LP
Says J: "I would like to be the first to tell that you that my tour has been rescheduled to later next year. I am honestly truly sorry but I hope you all can understand that it's just because I would like to take more time to finish my new album. I promise to make this tour my biggest and best ever and cannot wait for you all to hear my new songs".
Tickets to all original shows are valid at the new dates, as are listed at this link.
NO DIRECTION HOME FESTIVAL CANCELLED
In a statement on the festival's website, organisers said: "No Direction Home Festival 2012 was a great success and lots of fun. It also lost a good deal of money. Not more than we could cope with, but more than expected. We had planned for NDH to get somewhere near to breaking even in the second year, and that is now perhaps a tougher target than it was".
They continued: "We have decided to take a year out from No Direction Home in 2013 to give us time to get our planning right, to create a fantastic line-up and to build on the feel that everyone liked this year. The change will be a disappointment to everyone who has already bought tickets or who was planning to come along and we regret this, but overall we are happy with the decision. Welbeck Estate was pleased to host No Direction Home's first year, and is supportive of its return in 2014".
Automatic refunds for people who had already purchased tickets for the 2013 event have already begun to be issued. Anyone who has not had their money back by 21 Dec is asked to contact the festival direct.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Optimus Alive acquires its third and final headliners in the shape of Green Day, while in the same breath organisers added Alt-J and Of Monsters And Men to the bill. And Blur promise their only German date of 2013 at the Berlin Festival, as will also feature a top-billed set by Pet Shop Boys.
In British fest goings-on, Dorset's always-reliable End Of The Road reserves space on its programme for Sigur Rós, Belle and Sebastian and others; Gottwood ensigns an initial ton of promoters, labels, brands and artists; and the Tewsbury-set Lakefest reveals its 2013 edition will star Levellers, who cancelled their slot at last year's event because of in-band injury.
BERLIN FESTIVAL, Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, Germany, 6-7 Sep 2013: Blur, Pet Shop Boys, Turbostaat. www.berlinfestival.de
END OF THE ROAD, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, 30 Aug - 1 Sep 2013: Sigur Rós, Belle and Sebastian, Angel Olsen, The Barr Brothers, Damien Jurado, Daughter, Horse Thief, John Murry, King Kahn & The Shrines, Palma Violets, Pokey Lafarge, Serafina Steer, Strand of Oaks, Woodpecker Wooliams. www.endoftheroadfestival.com
GOTTWOOD, Anglesey, Wales, 20-23 Jun 2013: Hypercolour, Louche, Tief, Wolf Music, Jaunt, Wigflex, Hit & Run, Apogee, Eton Messy, Idiosync. www.gottwood.co.uk
HOVE FESTIVAL, Tromøya, Arendal, Norway, 2-5 Jul: Kings Of Leon. www.hovefestivalen.no
LAKEFEST, Croft Farm Waterpark, Tewkesbury, 9-11 Aug: Levellers, Chas & Dave, Cosmo Jarvis, Baka Beyond, 3 Daft Monkeys, Missing Andy, The Roving Crows, The Chip Shop Boys, Erica, Avert Francis. lakefest.co.uk
OPTIMUS ALIVE, Lisbon, Portugal, 12-14 Jul 2013: Green Day, Alt-J, Of Monsters And Men. www.optimusalive.com
NUMBER OF A&RS AT LABELS RISES THIS YEAR, SAYS MUSIC REGISTRY
The stats, from Music Registry, reckon that major and independent labels in the US and UK together recruited 55 new A&R people this year, while 27 were laid off, meaning 28 new roles overall. This compares to an overall reduction in the number of A&Rs industry-wide of 24 in the previous two years, and comes despite the merger of the Universal and EMI record companies and the downsizing such mergers always cause (though the real impact of that on A&R may follow in 2013).
It's not entirely clear where the Music Registry gets its data from, nor how A&R roles are defined (based on job title or responsibilities?), but still, it's an interesting bar chart to look at. If true, perhaps the death of A&R has been exaggerated somewhat, in much the same way predictions about the demise of the record label have not really come true.
SPECULATION ABOUT FUTURE OF TROIS-STRIKES
Although the body has been prolific in sending out warning letters to suspected file-sharers, the future of trios-strikes and Hadopi itself has been called into question this year, before strike three has really got underway, with the new French government less enthusiastic about cutting off the internet connections of prolific copyright infringers.
Ministers commissioned a review of the three-strikes system, and the people doing that review submitted a preliminary report last week. In it they noted that levels of P2P file-sharing in France had gone down since the introduction of trios-strikes, but they added that that may be because web users are instead accessing unlicensed content illegally from sources other than P2P networks, which aren't being monitored by Hadopi. Concerns from consumer rights groups about three-strikes are also revisited in the report.
No immediate change of policy is likely, given the review isn't expected to submit its full report until next spring. However those reviewing Hadopi's work are already proposing alternative ways to combat illegal file-sharing and other forms of online piracy, in the main targeting those companies and websites that make it easier for individuals to infringe, rather than the individual infringers themselves.
That would potentially move France more into the realm of web-blocking instead of three-strikes. As previously reported, in the UK the Digital Economy Act introduced its own version of three-strikes in 2010, but that is yet to go live, while the movie and record industries have won web-blocking injunctions against file-sharing services under existing copyright laws.
DANNY WALLACE EXITS XFM BREAKFAST
Confirming the news, a spokesman for Xfm owners Global Radio was quoted by Radio Today thus: "We can confirm that Danny Wallace is stepping down as host of the Xfm Breakfast Show. We'd like to thank him for all of his hard work, enthusiasm and passion whilst on Xfm and to wish him continued success in all of his future endeavours. A new host for London's Breakfast Show will be announced in due course".
Wallace said: "I have had a ball doing the Xfm Breakfast Show and am very proud of what we've achieved together... from being the most-awarded show at the Sony Awards last year to the Arqiva I was thrilled to win, I think we have created the very best show we were able to, every single day. But now it is time to concentrate on my dancing. So from 2013, I will get back to my aggressive street-dancing. In addition, there's a new novel I need to write, a sitcom script I owe ABC, and time-consuming commitments both here and in the US. I'd like to thank Xfm and Global Radio for giving me the show. Particularly as at the time, even I thought 'that's a weird booking'. But it's worked out wonderfully".
SIRIUS XM'S LABEL ROYALTIES RISE, BUT NOT AS HIGH AS RECORD INDUSTRY HOPED
As much previously reported, while FM and AM radio stations in the States do not currently pay any royalties to record companies and recording artists (they only pay music publishers and songwriters), satellite and internet radio services do need to pay a royalty, and these are set by the Copyright Royalty Board and paid via collecting organisation SoundExchange.
Satellite broadcaster Sirius XM currently pays 8% of its revenues to the record companies, though next year that will rise to 9%, with further rises in the coming years, so by 2017 it is paying 11%.
Despite the rises, SoundExchange had been pushing for significantly higher rates (12% next year, with a rise to 20% by 2017), so relatively speaking Sirius XM got off lightly, resulting in a 7% uplift in the broadcasting company's share price.
As previously reported, internet radio operators, led by Pandora and Clear Channel Radio's iHeartRadio, are pushing for net-based radio services to have CRB-set royalties calculated more in line with satellite services. The digital firms argue that the current online radio royalties system proves much more expensive, putting online operators at a massive disadvantage to satellite broadcasters, not to mention terrestrial radio firms who are paying nothing to the labels.
REAL AND SMOOTH TO BROADCAST HIT FACTORY LIVE
Smooth presenter - and one-time Stock Aiken & Waterman collaborator - Pat Sharp will host the special show, that will also feature recordings of live performances from the SAW-celebrating concert, that was originally due to take place in the summer, but which will now occur at The O2 this Friday.
Acts expected to sing at the Hit Factory extravaganza are Steps, Bananarama, Sinitta, Rick Astley, Dead Or Alive, Pepsi & Shirley, Hazell Dean, 2 Unlimited, Brother Beyond and Jason Donovan, with the latter duetting with Kylie Minogue on 'Especially For You'.
Confirming Real and Smooth would air footage of the show on New Years, the radio firm's Programme Director John Simons said: "This is the perfect soundtrack to get your New Year's Eve off to a cracking start. I defy any child of the 70s, 80s and 90s not to be transported back to one of the most memorable musical eras as soon as they tune in. We're delighted to be exclusively broadcasting this one-off Hit Factory Live concert".
As much previously reported, Real and Smooth, formerly owned by the Guardian Media Group, are in the process of being acquired by Global Radio.
WORK UNDERWAY ON BIEBER SITCOM
Actually, the planned show, in which US TV network ABC has expressed an interest, will be based on Bieber's life from before he was famous, centring on a "teenage music prodigy" whose adolescence will parallel that of the pop teen. It's not clear if Bieber would cameo in the show himself, though he and his manager Scooter Braun are executive producers on the project.
The show has reportedly been in development for over a year, and has now reached the pre-pilot 'script commitment' stage.
SPICE GIRLS SEARCHING FOR POSH REPLACEMENT
According to the Mail, four of the Spice Girls fancy having another go at a reunion tour, but Victoria Beckham isn't up for it. Rather than touring as a foursome again, insiders say that Mel B, Mel C, Emma B and Geri H are planning on recruiting a new fifth member. Sugababe Heidi Range has been mooted as a possible replacement for Vicki B, while a robotic mannequin fully able to replicate Beckham's trademark pointing has presumably also been considered. But a find-a-fifth-member talent show is also reportedly on the cards.
A source told the tabloid: "The girls are going it alone without Victoria. They are keen to get back together and were trying to work out if they could do it as a four-piece. I think they know this is the last chance for them to get the band going again. But the Spice Girls as a foursome is not going to get them another record deal or sell out big venues. They need an extra cherry on the cake. And the cherry on the cake would be if they replaced Victoria. And that leads to the next question: who do they replace her with?"
A spokesman for Beckham implied his client wouldn't be taking part in any new Spice Girls reunion, but said "Victoria respects all of the girls and will always support them all personally and professionally". Some gossipers have noted how Beckham reportedly arrived late for the recent premiere of Spice Girls musical 'Viva Forever', didn't take part in a photoshoot alongside the new show, and left an after-show party early. Then again, given the reviews that musical's been getting, perhaps Beckham has just acquired some decent self-awareness of late.