The five biggest stories in the music business this week...
01: Reissue labels capitalised on 'Love Me Do' going public domain as the Intellectual Property Office began a consultation on copyright extension. By the end of the year the copyright term on sound recordings will be extended from the current 50 to 70 years, meaning anything released in 1963 will not come out of copyright for another 20 years. However, while the European Union approved that extension in 2011, it is yet to be incorporated into law in each member state, so the old term applied to 1962 recordings, meaning the first ever Beatles record releases, 'Love Me Do' and its b-side 'PS I Love You', are now out of copyright (though the copyright in the two songs themselves, subject to a life-of-creator plus 70 years term, remain). Capitalising on that fact, the Digital Remasterings label has included 'Love Me Do' on a compilation of early Beatles recordings, and Pristine Classical has released a remastered version of the track. CMU report | Philly.com report
02: Play.com announced it was shutting its retail site, and would become a marketplace for third party retailers. The mail-order site, launched in Jersey, was one of the first online operations to capitalise on the so called Low Value Consignment Relief that meant that companies on the Channel Islands (outside the EU) could sell low-cost products like CDs and DVDs to UK customers without charging VAT, giving them a 15-20% advantage over mainland retailers. Once Play.com became one of the biggest online retailers in Britain, many rivals also located their mail-order businesses on the Channel Islands to benefit from the VAT dodge. But last year the UK government closed the loophole. While Play.com had previously insisted LVCR was not core to its business, owner Rakuten - which acquired the firm for £25 million in 2011 - this week announced that the Play site would now cease to be a retail operation in its own right, though third parties will still be able to use the platform to sell their goods. CMU report | BBC report
03: The Virgin France entertainment retail chain declared itself insolvent. A Paris court will now decide if the 25 store business can be saved in any form. No longer part of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, the French Virgin retail firm has struggled in recent years amidst increased online competition. The news came as HMV in the UK negotiated with its money lenders, having admitted last month that it will likely break covenants linked to its debts this month. The retailer also announced a big sale kicking off in all its stores this weekend. While HMV management insist that the company always runs a major promotion in January, some commentators have suggested that this sale is much bigger than usual, possibly in a desperate bid to get more cash through the tills as it tries to placate bankers. CMU report on Virgin | Sky report on HMV
04: Max Hole was promoted to the CEO role at Universal Music Group International. Currently COO of the mega-major's international division, the promotion will see Hole lead the music company's operations outside of the US, including the integration of the EMI labels with the Universal business around the world. CMU report | Guardian report
05: Ian Rogers joined Beats to lead Daisy. The former Yahoo! Music GM and current Topspin CEO will lead a new company in the Beats Electronics group that will launch a new digital music service later this year, presumably built out of the MOG streaming platform Beats acquired last year. Rogers will work with Trent Reznor (who announced his involvement last month) on developing the new digital service, which, it's promised, will have some nifty discovery tools and Topspin integration, allowing artists to upsell products direct to fans. Rogers will remain on the Topspin board, with Beats making an investment in the direct-to-fan company. CMU report | MusicAlly report
In CMU this week, we spoke to Riku Salomaa of Music Finland as his country appeared under the spotlight at this year's Eurosonic festival, the CMU Insights team provided some tips for new bands reaching out to the media for the first time, and we provided a playlist of some recently CMU approved tracks. Newly approved, meanwhile, were Elizabeth Rose, Angel Olsen, Dyymond Of Durham and The Men.
BEATS RECRUIT TOPSPIN'S IAN ROGERS TO LEAD DAISY STREAMING VENTURE
Beats, which also counts technology maker HTC as a shareholder, and which was previously best known for its Dre branded headphones, moved into streaming music by acquiring US-based service MOG last July. Then last month Trent Reznor, who had announced an alliance with Beats in October, told The New Yorker that he was involved in developing a brand new digital music platform with the Dre/Iovine company with the provisional name of Daisy.
And it is that new in-development service that Rogers has been brought in to run, though he will also head up MOG in the interim too. Daisy will operate as a standalone company under the Beats umbrella, of which Rogers will be CEO. He will report into Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine and COO Luke Wood, and will work alongside Reznor, who has the title Chief Creative Officer, from the firm's Santa Monica HQ.
Rogers, who was GM of Yahoo! Music before joining Topspin in 2008, has enjoyed a high public profile as leader of the direct-to-fan business, and of the emerging direct-to-fan market at large. He will not completely break his ties with the company by taking the new job with Daisy. Beats is making an investment into Topspin, Daisy will look to integrate with the sell-through platform, and Rogers will remain on the Topspin board as Executive Chairman.
Daisy, of course, will enter an increasingly crowded marketplace when it reaches the streaming music market later this year, even if it will, presumably, take over MOG's existing customer base. Last month Reznor spoke, as most people involved in streaming music services do these days, about the importance of 'discovery tools', indicating that he was confident the Beats service would have some USPs in helping users navigate its catalogue of music.
Though arguably the integration of Topspin services will be a more interesting differentiation - and one that may placate those artists who like to moan about the small royalties they see from the streaming sector. While for major rights owners streaming music is becoming a pretty good revenue stream, for individual artists the potential of Spotify et al has always seemed more as a promotional and fan engagement platform, though no streaming company to date has really developed that potential.
Confirming his company's Daisy plans and Rogers' appointment yesterday, Iovine told CMU: "What's missing from the digital music landscape is a cultural context. We need to bring an emotional connection back to the act of music discovery. With Trent and now Ian we have the right team in place to do it".
Meanwhile Luke Wood added: "For Ian, innovation and disruption is a concept he has mastered - he is able to instinctively identify the opportunities for growth and improvement that exist in the digital music space better than anyone I have ever met and he knows what it takes to win. There is no one better for this role".
While Rogers himself said: "After years of fighting and uncertainty, it's now undeniable all the world's music will be available on every device by just clicking play. However, the current streaming experiences aren't good enough. They aren't good enough for fans, who need it to be easier to find music they love. And they aren't good enough for artists, who want to grow their audiences and make money. This is the opportunity I've been working toward my entire career".
IMPALA RAISES CONCERNS OVER SONY BID FOR EMI LABEL ASSETS
As previously reported, Sony and BMG are bidding together to acquire much of the EMI European division that is being sold, including the UK-based Parlophone business. It is thought that if their joint bid was successful, the two companies would then split the acquired assets between them, rather than working together long term.
This would mean that the second biggest music company in the world, ie Sony Music, would become even bigger, just as the biggest, Universal, also grows in size as a result of the main EMI deal last year. Plus, of course, the Sony-controlled music publishing business, Sony/ATV, also grew last year by leading the consortium that successfully bid for the EMI music publishing company.
Therefore the sale of any EMI assets to Sony would not, IMPALA reckon, achieve the objectives anticipated by the European Commission when they forced Universal to commit to divest over half of EMI's European assets as part of its takeover of the one-time British major music company. And to that end the trade body wants the EC to investigate the ongoing divestment process.
IMPALA said in a statement this morning: "Universal and Sony were allowed to buy EMI on the basis that the divestments they make would compensate for the reduction in competition in an adequate way. Strict rules apply to make sure this happens".
It continued: "First, the purchaser must have no connections to the seller. Second, the seller must not benefit from the divestments or re-acquire any market influence over the assets. Third, the divestment must not raise any competition concerns (which rules out any Sony involvement in bids). Any breach of these conditions or other irregularity, or any result which protects the position of Sony or Universal, whether co-ordinated or otherwise, is forbidden and would be blocked by the EC".
Meanwhile, IMPALA boss Helen Smith added: "Our position from the start has been that music must not be allowed to become a 'two horse race' and making sure the independents are able to compete effectively is crucial. All interested companies should be treated equally as bidders for any assets to be sold off. Properly strengthening the independents should be part of the outcome. The divestment processes must not be conducted in a way that simply comforts the market leaders' view of how competition should, or should not, develop".
WITNESSES IN DAPPY TRIAL ACCUSED OF USING CASE TO GAIN MONEY AND ATTENTION
As previously reported, Dappy is alleged to have approached two nineteen year old women, Grace Cochran and Serena Burton, at the Guildford filling station in the early hours of 28 Feb last year. It is claimed that when they refused a request to get into his car, he became angry and spat at them. Another man came to the women's defence and a fight broke out.
Giving evidence yesterday, Burton admitted to Dappy's lawyer Paul Greaney that she and Cochran had sent messages to each other via Blackberry's BBM messaging service discussing selling their story to the media. In one, Burton wrote: "Ha ha ha, oh my fuck, my friend's dad works in the media and he told her that apparently we can get a grand for that type of story from The Sun or something".
Greaney also referred to tweets in which the pair seemed to revel in the attention they have received since the trial began proper this week. After leaving court on Monday, Burton tweeted: "Ha ha ha, love life, now we are famous", to which Cochran replied: "Buzzing to be papped".
Burton also admitted that when another friend wrote to her about the case on BBM on Tuesday, she said of her imminent call to give evidence: "Ha ha ha, I do not even remember [what happened], to be fair, but I will bullshit".
But commenting on those conversations, Burton denied that she intended to sell her story or that she had or intended to make up any evidence in court, saying: "What I say to my friends and what I say to you are two different things, it's just conversation. We were just joking between each other, there's nothing in there to take seriously".
Dappy's interview with police following his arrest was also played in court, revealing that Dappy admitted to being at the petrol station during the fracas, but denied starting the aggro, saying he was just been doing some promotional work for his new single.
He said: "I walked over to the girls and said my new single 'Rockstar' with Brian May is out on Monday, go and buy it. They were just being rude to me. I just said hello, promoting my single, I said 'Hi, my single [with] Brian May is coming out'. Two guys coming out, being put in a headlock, bam, that's all I remember. Someone put me on the ground, in a headlock straight away. One of my security tried to get him off me, we all fell on the ground and I get put in a car after that".
Stressing that he was simply trying to do a bit of PR when troule began, he said later in the interview: "My job is simply to do with word of mouth - if I see a bunch of people who will buy my record in the near future, I will do my best to get them to buy my record".
Dappy denies charges of common assault, assault and affray. The trial continues today.
BIEBER SUED BY FORMER BODYGUARD
Moshe Benabou was seemingly fired by the Bieber machine late last year. He claims that the Biebster repeatedly struck him in the chest during a run-in. It's not clear if that incident led to his dismissal. But either way, Benabou claims he is still owed overtime and holiday pay to the tune of $421,261.
A legal rep for the claimant told the Associated Press: "For nearly two years Mr Benabou devoted himself completely to ensuring Mr Bieber's personal safety. Mr Benabou deserved, as does any employee, to be treated with respect, dignity and in accordance with the law. Unfortunately, he was not".
Team Bieber are yet to comment.
CLAUDE NOBS 1936-2012
Born in Montreux Switzerland, while he initially trained as a chef, Nobs later got a job at the Swiss city's Tourism Office. It was as Director of that body that in 1967 he founded a jazz festival in the city, utilising contacts he had made via Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün of Atlantic Records in the US to secure an impressive array of international talent for the event.
A success from the start, Nobs grew the festival year-on-year, it becoming an important fixture in the jazz world's calendar and, as the music policy of the programme expanded somewhat, in the wider European festival circuit. And the event continues to enjoy much success today, attracting an eclectic mix of artists, and gaining particular attention for its annual awards.
In the 1970s Nobs' profile in the European music industry quickly grew beyond his festival, especially when in 1973 he became director of the Swiss branch of Warner, Elektra and Atlantic.
Popular in both industry circles and the artist community, Nobs also had cameos on records from some of the artists he worked with, and is name-checked in the Deep Purple song 'Smoke On The Water', which is based on a fire that occurred at a Frank Zappa concert in Montreux, and which notes how Nobs personally rescued some of the young music fans trapped in the burning building with the line "Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground".
Paying tribute to Nobs yesterday, a statement on his festival's website reads: "For all of us who were fortunate enough to cross your path, you will always remain the one who questioned certainties. "And why not?" you would repeatedly ask when we tried to argue that a project would not be feasible! But you never let challenges get in the way of your dreams - and the Montreux Jazz Festival is the ultimate proof of that! But not the only one. Your audacity resonates in each one of us, as does your strong sense of generosity and sharing. Thank you for taking us where we never thought we could go. We will carry on in your spirit, utilising everything you taught us".
BRIT NOMS ANNOUNCED
Leading the way in terms of number of noms are Emeli Sandé, Alt-J and the Mumfords, who are all up for three BRIT gongs, which have this year been designed by Damien Hirst and sponsored by Smarties.
And here they are people, the shortlists in full. Media and industry types in the BRIT Academy, who voted late last year for most of these categories, are this year also voting for the Best Single prize, though get to choose just one track off the shortlist of fifteen, rather than five of a much bigger longlist as with the other awards.
Best British Male: Calvin Harris, Plan B, Richard Hawley, Olly Murs, Ben Howard
Best British Female: Emeli Sandé, Paloma Faith, Bat For Lashes, Jessie Ware, Amy Winehouse
Best British Group: Mumford & Sons, The xx, Muse, One Direction, Alt-J
Best Live Act: Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, Muse, The Vaccines, The Rolling Stones
Best British Breakthrough: Jake Bugg, Jessie Ware, Alt-J, Ben Howard, Rita Ora
Best International Group: The Black Keys, The Script, Alabama Shakes, Fun, The Killers
Best International Male: Jack White, Gotye, Michael Buble, Frank Ocean, Bruce Springsteen
Best International Female: Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Cat Power, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift
British Album Of The Year: Alt-J - An Awesome Wave, Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events, Paloma Faith - Fall To Grace, Plan B - iLL Manors, Mumford & Sons - Babel
Best British Single: Adele - Skyfall, Alex Clare - Too Close, Coldplay & Rihanna - Princess of China, DJ Fresh feat Rita Ora - Hot Right Now, Emeli Sandé - Next To Me, Florence And The Machine - Spectrum, James Arthur - Impossible, Jessie J - Domino, Rizzle Kicks - Mama Do The Hump, Labrinth & Emeli Sandé - Beneath Your Beautiful, Robbie Williams - Candy, Olly Murs feat Flo Rida - Troublemaker, Rita Ora feat Tine Tempah - RIP, Stooshe - Black Heart, Rudimental feat John Newman - Feel The Love
Elsewhere in BRITs news, London-based music content firm LoveLive was confirmed as 'official digital partner' of the awards yesterday, and will provide a 'cross-platform content strategy' for the big awards bash, which will take place on 20 Feb at the O2 tent in East London. Confirming that, LoveLive boss Richard Cohen told CMU yesterday: "2012 was an incredible year for British music and culture, and an incredible year too for LoveLive. We are thrilled to be entering the New Year working on one of the most prestigious events in the music industry's calendar".
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ADELE NOMINATED FOR BEST SONG OSCAR
The full shortlist for the category is:
J Ralph - Before My Time (from 'Chasing Ice')
Meanwhile, the noms in the other music category, Best Original Score, are as follows:
Dario Marianelli for 'Anna Karenina'
NAS WORKING ON NEW MUSIC
He was also asked if he'd ever work with Lauryn Hill, with whom he recently toured in the US, to which he replied: "I don't know. I would love to. It's really about sitting down and really cracking into it. She's a real serious artist".
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE "READY" TO RELEASE SOMETHING, SOON
Which is all a bit vague. One thing's certain, and that is that Justin has a very smart 'crib'. Oh, and that he's going to release an LP quite soon. Or at least that's what was revealed in a short video he posted online yesterday entitled 'I'm Ready'.
In it, while wandering around his home, JT says this of his one-LP-per-five-year hit rate to date: "As close as I get to it, I don't know that I could physically torture myself year in and year out, and expect it to fulfil me the way that it does and the way that it is right now".
He adds: "I don't want to put anything out that I feel like is something I don't love, you just don't get that every day. You have to wait for it".
DESTINY'S CHILD TO RELEASE BRAND NEW TRACK AND HITS COMPILATION; BEYONCE RECORDING SOLO
Romance and sensuality-themed 'best of' compilation 'Love Songs' - as will feature an all new Pharrell Williams-hallmarked track titled 'Nuclear', the band's first original music in eight years - is apparently (says Amazon) set to be released via Sony Legacy on 29 Jan. So, that's nice.
It'll carry this tracklisting:
Cater 2 U
DAUGHTER DETAIL DEBUT LP
LEONARD COHEN BOOKS O2 ARENA DATE
ENTER SHIKARI PLAYING FREE CONVERSE NIGHT
Tickets are free, but interested parties must enter their details via play.converse.co.uk for a chance to win a pair.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Meanwhile, in Slovakia, alternative revel Pohoda acquires A-listers Smashing Pumpkins, who'll preside over a roster also starring Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Amon Tobin, Kaiser Chiefs and Erol Alkan. Likewise, Alpine dance summit Vertigo - Europe's highest-altitude festival of its kind -marks its first ever edition by inviting Droog, MANIK, Inxec, Climbers, Lula Circus and many others besides.
Finally it's back to Blighty, and Alice Cooper, who's just been named first-night headliner at 2013's Cropredy festival. He'll make his only British PA this year at the Fairport Convention-hosted Oxfordshire bash.
Says Fairport Convention's Dave Pegg: "We've been hoping to get Alice Cooper to Cropredy for years and at last the work calendars have coincided. Alice is one of rock music's great originals and his live shows are pure entertainment with their great combination of rock, theatricality and breathtaking staging. We are sure our audience will be blown away by Alice Cooper. Rock acts always go down well with the Cropredy crowd - just ask Status Quo, for example".
That we shall. But first, a look at an itemised and unedited list of all new alterations to the above festivals:
BENICASSIM, FIB Heineken, Valencia, Spain, 18-21 Jul: Arctic Monkeys. fiberfib.com
FAIRPORT'S CROPREDY CONVENTION, Cropredy, Oxfordshire, 8-10 Aug: Alice Cooper, Peatbog Faeries, Romeos Daughter, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, Danny And The Champions Of The World, Brooks Williams. www.fairportconvention.com/cropredy.php
NEW YORK SOUND CITY, The Knitting Factory, New York, 12 Mar: The Enemy, Reverend And The Makers, Tea Street Band, KOF, Brodka, The Verdict, The Anfield Wrap. www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk/home/business/new-york-sound-city.aspx
POHODA, Trencin Airport, Slovakia, 11-13 Jul: Smashing Pumpkins, BEAK>, Django Django, Mixhell, Race Horses, Prazsky Vyber, Prago Union, Vec, Zlokot, Davova Psychoza. www.pohodafestival.sk
VERTIGO, Ski Jumping Hotel, Pragelato, Piemonte, Italy, 15-18 Aug: Droog, MANIK, Inxec, Climbers, Lula Circus, Darius Syrossian, Enzo Siragusa, DJ W!LD, Hector, Jack & I, Colin Chiddle, Charlie Dave Kent, Alex Niggemann, Daniel Bortz, Move D, Finnebassen, Chopstick & JohnJon, Hot Since 82, Flashmob, Fabio Giannelli, Jobe, Saytek LIVE, Silky, DZeta N' Basile. www.vertigofestival.com
AMAZON ANNOUNCES AUTORIP SERVICE FOR CD BUYERS
Just under 37,500 releases are currently listed as eligible for AutoRip on Amazon.com. However, Amazon's VP of Worldwide Digital Music, Steve Boom, tells TechCrunch that over 50,000 are currently licensed, with deals in place with Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI (though not the rest of Universal), and all the major publishers, as was as many indies.
Although digital music has, of course, boomed in recent years, CDs are still the dominant format on a worldwide basis. That dominance is slipping though, with digital now outperforming CDs in some territories, and schemes like this may be a way to further transition those consumers still buying all their music on disk over to a digital platform. And if Amazon can become suppliers to those later-adopters, that would help the firm further expand its Amazon MP3 service, which, while the second biggest player in the market, remains overshadowed by Apple's iTunes.
TOP OF THE POPS REPEATS WILL CONTINUE
As more editions were dropped last year as allegations were made against Saville and other former 'TOTP' presenters and performers, BBC Controller Richard Klein said: "At the moment we actually haven't scheduled 1978, so we'll take a view. We have only done it the last two years, so if we didn't do it again it wouldn't be the end of the world, and audience figures have declined quite markedly [anyway]. It has done a good job, [but] whether I choose to continue or not I don't yet know".
However, a spokesperson for the channel said yesterday that "'Top Of The Pops' is continuing [on BBC4] with 1978 this year", though programmes featuring Jimmy Savile will not be shown. Gary Glitter, whose performances have been removed from previous repeats, did not appear on the show in 1978.
SHARON OSBOURNE NOT IMPRESSED WITH LADY GAGA'S RESPONSE TO KELLY OSBOURNE'S BULLYING FANS CLAIMS
Osbourne Jr spoke about the online hate that has been sent in her direction over the years in an interview last year, and noted that she had received a lot of negativity from the Lady Gaga fanbase in particular (albeit mainly in response to comments she had made about Gaga on Alan Carr's Channel 4 chat show).
Said Osbourne: "Lady Gaga's fans are the worst. They've said I should kill myself, that they hope I get raped. I mean it's crazy, but I've had this all my life and I just try and ignore it". But, she added, she felt Gaga herself should occasionally step in and admonish her bitchier fans. "I actually think she's a good singer", Osbourne said, "but she has the worst fans in the world and you have a responsibility to stop that. I think you do anyway".
Although the interview was published last year, Gaga has only just responded, mainly because Sharon Osbourne recently reignited the debate by writing to one of Lady Gaga's management reps asking what they were doing to stop their client's fans taunting her daughter online.
In her open letter, posted on her website, Gaga said she sympathised but pointed to Osbourne's involvement in the E! show 'Fashion Police' which, she said, was based around the kind of bitchiness and negativity that Osbourne was now complaining about.
Wrote Gaga: "I have empathy for you Kelly, but I feel it culturally important to note that you have chosen a less compassionate path. Your work on E! with the 'Fashion Police' is rooted in criticism, judgement, and rating people's beauty against one another. 'Appearance' is the most used reason for bullying in the world. Your show breeds negativity, and over the years has even become comedic in nature. I urge you to take responsibility and accountability for the example that you are setting for young people. We can all do our part in the media to set a standard of respect, compassion, and love".
Responding via Facebook, Osbourne Sr criticises Gaga for responding on this issue in the public domain, says her response dodges the real issues, and then bangs on a bit about Gaga wearing fur. She concludes: "By your actions to Kelly right now, you have shown me that you are nothing more than a publicly seeking hypocrite and an attention seeker. You know it would have been much more dignified of you to do this privately. I am calling you a bully because you have 32 million followers hanging on your every word and you are criticizing Kelly in your open letter. Are you so desperate that you needed to make this public?"