MONDAY
4 FEB 2013

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EDDY SAYS: TINNITUS AWARENESS WEEK - I'M AWARE THAT YOU'RE AWARE, AND THAT HURTS
This year's Tinnitus Awareness Week kicked off this morning bright and early, with British Tinnitus Association ambassador and CMU columnist Eddy Temple-Morris appearing on ITV's breakfast show 'Daybreak'. It meant a very early start, but such things are important because - despite the fact that tinnitus affects one in ten of us - very little is known about it and its causes, by both the public and healthcare professionals. This year Eddy and the BTA hope to change that, and in his latest CMU column Eddy discusses how more>>
 
APPROVED: BLANCK MASS - HELLION EARTH
As one half of Fuck Buttons, Benjamin Power made a right old electronic racket (a very good one, but still... quite noisy), so it stands to reason that at some point he might want to calm things down a bit. Hence his solo project, Blanck Mass, the 2011 eponymous debut album from which was a dreamlike wash of Eno-esque ambient instrumentals. Ambient music is great when it's expected, but at a festival last year a lot of casual attendees of his show complained that it just "sounded like an intro". Which is maybe why his subsequent work has seen him take a new direction, adding beats and clearer structure more>>
TOP STORIES
- HMV store closures expected this week
- Universal Music Publishing to withdraw digital rights for collective licensing system in US
- AKB48 member shaves head as apology for dating
IN THE POP COURTS
- Gaga deposition in PA case made public
- Axl Rose's lawsuit against Guitar Hero makers not looking good
IN THE POP HOSPITAL
- Morrissey explains hospitalisation
AWARDS & CONTESTS
- Unsigned Ebony Day wins MTV's Brand New for 2013
ARTIST DEALS
- A*M*E signs Epic deal
RELEASE NEWS
- MBV album goes live
- Primal Scream releasing LP in May
- Pond share new track
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Bloc to return with programme of parties
- Former Luminaire owner explains his concerns over Live Music Act
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
- No charges to be pressed over prank call tragedy
- Bauer's Absolute bidding reportedly falters
- BBC to live-stream Glastonbury, announces new music programming
AND FINALLY...
- Ed Sheeran to go away

A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...

Tinnitus Awareness Week. This week is Tinnitus Awareness Week, as organised by the British Tinnitus Association. The charity will be putting on a range of events to raise awareness of the condition and how to avoid getting it (and thus becoming aware of it all the bloody year round). Seriously, go and buy some earplugs. And read Eddy TM's latest column for CMU.

Grammy Awards. It's the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Some people will get awards (well, lots of people - there are plenty to go around), and there will be performances from the likes of Justin Timerlake, Maroon 5, Frank Ocean, Alicia Keys, and Ed Sheeran. The latter has graciously agreed to help raise the profile for some piano player called Elton John, with whom he'll duet.

MPG Awards. The MPG Awards will be handed out at a ceremony in London this Thursday, including the BRIT Award for UK Producer Of The Year. Up for that prize are Damon Albarn, Paul Epworth and Jake Gosling. Receiving this year's Outstanding Contribution trophy is Beatles producer George Martin.

New releases. Frightened Rabbit have a brand new album out this week, their fourth in total but a major label debut. Also out this week is an album of popular musical theatre covers by Girls Aloud's Kimberley Walsh, plus albums by Eels, Pure Love, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, FIDLAR, Veronica Falls and Amateur Best. There's also a new video accompaniment to Sigur Ros's 'Valtari', a live DVD from Emeli Sandé, the debut EP from Rhosyn, and the debut single from Dum Dum Girls/Crocodiles hybrid Haunted Hearts.

Gigs and tours. Starting this Wednesday with 1974's 'Autobahn', Kraftwerk will play eight of their albums in full at successive live dates in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, representing the German quartet's first London-based live appearances since 2004. And if that hasn't got you screaming, how about the news that this Saturday Justin Bieber plays the first date of a protracted UK tour at Manchester Arena? After that you can travel back down to London to see Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. I'd imagine that's the gigging itinerary for most of you this week. The NME Awards tour also begins on Thursday, featuring Miles Kane, Palma Violets and Peace, and other shows you may want to go and see will be performed by Conor Oberst, Villagers, Patrick Wolf, Dutch Uncles, Esben And The Witch, Stornoway, Julio Bashmore, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Veronica Falls and Ryan Hemsworth, plus you can catch the debut live performance by Amateur Best.

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HMV STORE CLOSURES EXPECTED THIS WEEK
HMV administrator Deloitte is expected to announce the closure of 60-100 of the flagging entertainment retailer's stores this week as talks with possible buyers for the retail firm continue.

Following the axing of 190 jobs in HMV's HQ and distribution operation last week, and the closure of the HMV.com online operation, cuts could hit the frontline any day now. It's been assumed ever since HMV went into administration last month that the best case scenario was a streamlined version of the entertainment retail company coming out the other end, with a store network consisting of no more than half the current 230 shops. An announcement this week could be the start of that downsizing process.

It's thought the list of stores facing the axe is still being finalised but up to 1500 jobs could go. Restructuring specialist Hilco, which now controls much of HMV's debts, is still favourite to acquire the company in a streamlined form, so its interests store wise will be key in the decision making process here. Which units rival retailers have expressed an interest in acquiring will also presumably have an influence. Each identified shop will stay open for the duration of a closing down sale, before shutting for the final time.

It's thought the store axing will include one of HMV's Central London bases. Administrators will have to decide whether to close the firm's flagship store on Oxford Street or it shop in nearby Piccadilly Circus. The former is much more profitable, but demand from elsewhere in the retail sector will be much higher for the Oxford Street building.

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UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING TO WITHDRAW DIGITAL RIGHTS FOR COLLECTIVE LICENSING SYSTEM IN US
The US publishing sector looks set to move away from collective licensing in the digital domain following the news that Universal Music Publishing is planning to follow Sony/ATV/EMI's lead and do direct deals with streaming services.

The ways in which music rights owners have licensed ad-funded and subscription-based digital music services has varied from territory to territory ever since deals started to be done a decade ago. Though, in the main, the owners of song copyrights, ie the publishers, have primarily licensed such services via blanket licence deals negotiated by their collecting societies.

Meanwhile the owners of sound recording copyrights, ie the labels, have generally chosen to licence directly, or via distributors or aggregators, rather than through their collecting organisations (though some public performance rights bodies do licence Pandora-style 'interactive radio' set ups).

However, some publishing rights have been licensed to digital services directly in some markets, and in the US there seems to be a new agenda to move everything in that direction, especially amongst the bigger rights owners, who generally have more to gain from direct deals, because they can use their size to leverage a more favourable deal.

The US wing of EMI Music Publishing was the first American publisher to withdraw some of its rights from the collective licensing system in the digital domain, and recently Sony/ATV - which now owns the EMI publishing business of course - started to do the same, most notably striking up a direct deal with Pandora which most reckon will secure the Sony publisher a bigger cut of the royalties available for song rights from the streaming company.

And now, according to Billboard, Universal Music Publishing has notified the two biggest song rights collecting organisations in the US - ASCAP and BMI - that it will no longer require them to negotiate digital deals on its behalf, with the change coming into effect later this year.

Universal's publishing chief Zach Horowitz told Billboard: "In order to ensure that our songwriters are fairly compensated, we believe the best approach is for us to negotiate directly with these services. For that reason we notified both ASCAP and BMI at the end of last year that we will be withdrawing our digital rights for controlled catalogues at the earliest opportunity. With ASCAP, this will be effective 1 Jul 2013. With BMI we are still working out the effective date".

It's not clear if the other major publisher, Warner/Chappell, is considering a similar move, though it is thought BMG Chrysalis, one of the bigger independent publishers, is thinking about doing more direct deals with digital operators. Whether any of these companies start to withdraw from the collecting licensing system outside the US also remains to be seen.

Whether rights owners should licence digital services collectively, as they generally do with radio, tour promoters and other forms of public performance, has been a hot debate in recent years.

While big rights owners are probably most attracted to direct deals because they often result in higher royalty payments and upfront advances (utilising the threat "well, you try launching your service without our catalogue), there are other advantages to direct deals: labels and artists can retain vetoes over certain tracks, in theory multi-territory licences are easier to negotiate (most collecting societies only licence in their home market, though with some exceptions in Europe), and rights owners can circumvent those collecting societies around the world that are either inept or corrupt (or both).

Though the advantage of collective licensing is that in each territory a digital operator need only do two or three deals to licence pretty much all music, the lack of upfront mega-advances means innovative but cash-strapped start-ups aren't automatically blocked from the market and, assuming a society distributes royalties accurately and fairly (which, admittedly, not all do), then it's fairer for smaller rights owners - ie people are more successful if they write or release music that gets played a lot, rather than if they managed to negotiate a better advance or per-play rate at the outset.

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AKB48 MEMBER SHAVES HEAD AS APOLOGY FOR DATING
A member of Japanese girl group AKB48, Minami Minegishi, last week shaved her head and then issued a tearful apology via the group's official YouTube channel, after it emerged that she had broken the 'no dating' rule imposed by the band's management. In Japan, hair cutting is often seen as a symbol of a 'new start', though not always in such an extreme manner.

Japan's most popular pop franchise, AKB48 currently has 90 members, who are split into teams, graded by experience (starting with 'trainees'), and rotated based on popularity. Eventually members 'graduate' when they reach their early 20s. So popular have AKB48 been that they have spawned a number of spin-off groups in Japan and other nearby countries.

Minegishi's very public apology followed an expose in a Japanese newspaper revealing her violation of the strict code of conduct enforced by the moguls behind the AKB48 phenomenon. It was subsequently revealed on the group's official blog that 20 year old Minegishi had been demoted to 'trainee' level as punishment for "for causing a nuisance to the fans", or so reported The Japan Times.

Appearing on the (since deleted) video with her head roughly shaved, Minegishi said: "As a senior member of the group, it is my responsibility to be a role model for younger members. If it is possible, I wish from the bottom of my heart to stay in the band. Everything I did is entirely my fault. I am so sorry. I don't believe just doing this means I can be forgiven for what I did, but the first thing I thought was that I don't want to quit AKB48".

Following widespread coverage of the incident in Western media - with some expressing concern for Minegishi while criticising the constraints put on AKB48 members - the group's manager Tomonobu Togasaki denied speculation that Minegishi had been instructed to shave her head.

Writing on his English language Google+ page, he said: "It wouldn't be necessary even if you ask if it was necessary or not. It was just that Minegishi really wanted to convey how strong her feeling was. I heard that when she came out from the make up room, she had already shaved her hair. It seems that the staff beside her did [try to] stop her. However, I heard that she said that people might think of her as a fool, but she really wanted to put her reflection into action, so she cut her bangs using scissors without losing control over herself".

Appearing in public for the first time since the video was posted, at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday, Tokyo Hive reports that Minegishi told fans: "I am extremely sorry for taking thoughtless action as an AKB48 member. I did not [shave my head] to be forgiven. I wanted to regain everyone's trust, and to start again from the beginning".

Whether a show of 'starting anew', or a penance in itself, there has been much derision that a situation so drastic could grow out of a young girl simply having a boyfriend. A similar incident last year saw a member of the group being sent to join a regional sub-group. The latest drama has caused many to ask what effect, on both the group's members and their fans, such strict enforcement (and the existence at all) of contractual obligations to stay single could have. To that end, this Japan Times opinion piece is well worth reading.

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GAGA DEPOSITION IN PA CASE MADE PUBLIC
A deposition made by Lady Gaga as part of a legal dispute with a former PA has gone public thanks to the New York Post, and sees the star getting angry and sweary - despite the formal legal surroundings in which she is speaking - as she responds to allegations made by Jennifer O'Neill, who claims she is owed $380,000 from two stints working with the singer.

O'Neill alleges that Gaga made her work 24/7 when she worked as the singer's personal assistant, to the extent that she was expected to sleep in her employer's bed so she would be on constant call.

Says O'Neill: "I was by her side virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That includes sleeping in the same bed with her. Because she did not sleep alone... Unlike anybody else on that tour, I did not have my own hotel room. I was not asked if I wanted my own hotel room. I had no privacy, no chance to talk to any family, no chance to talk to any friends, no chance to have sex if I wanted to have sex. There was no chance to do anything".

The former PA, who worked with Gaga in 2010, reckons she is owed 7168 hours of overtime, nearly 300 days worth, because of the allegedly constant demands made by the singer while O'Neill was in her employ. The claimant reckons that equates to $380,000.

But in her sworn deposition in response to O'Neill's allegations, Gaga hit out forcefully, claiming her former PA was never qualified to do that job, that she was no good at it, that she was never offered overtime, and that she should have been grateful for the $75,000 a year salary she was paid and the party lifestyle being on the Lady's team offered.

According to the Post, Gaga, who calls O'Neill a "fucking hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn't earn", tells the lawyers who were surrounding her at the time: "This whole case is bullshit, and you know it. I'm quite wonderful to everybody that works for me, and I am completely aghast to what a disgusting human being you [O'Neill] have become to sue me like this. Because she slept in Egyptian cotton sheets every night, in five-star hotels, on private planes, eating caviar, partying with [photographer] Terry Richardson all night, wearing my clothes, asking YSL [Yves Saint Laurent] to send her free shoes without my permission, using my YSL discount without my permission".

Dissing O'Neill's work, Gaga continued: "She would only open a couple of [my 20 odd] bags, and it was very stressful for me because on my off days I couldn't really have a day off because, you know, I weigh 115 pounds, and I was trying to move these huge, big luggages all by myself in the room, and I did it all the time. By the way, she was asleep until midnight most of the time, so I was very often waking up and moving my own luggage and doing shit by myself, and it was - it was a problem that I had".

On O'Neill's workload, while Gaga conceded that she required her PA to be available at various times throughout the day and night, the total amount of work done still equated to an eight hour a day job, she insisted, hence her unwillingness to offer overtime.

It remains to be seen if the case reaches court.

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AXL ROSE'S LAWSUIT AGAINST GUITAR HERO MAKERS NOT LOOKING GOOD
Axl Rose's legal battle with Activision could collapse because of the good old statute of limitations.

As previously reported, Rose sued the gaming firm over allegations it breached an agreement with the Guns N Roses star by featuring his former bandmate and long-time beef buddy Slash in 'Guitar Hero III', which also featured the GnR track 'Welcome To The Jungle'. Rose had said he would only licence the then buoyant pretend-to-play game franchise a track on the condition that edition would be Slash free.

Rose sued Activision - ironically ultimately owned by the same company as his record label Geffen - in 2010 for $20 million, claiming breach of contract and fraud. But last August a judge ruled that because the offending game was released in October 2007 the fraud claim was invalid, because under the jurisdiction of relevance a short statute of limitations applied in that domain.

Rose claimed that the delay in his litigation was due to alleged assurances by Activision that it would make good the 'Guitar Hero III' debacle by releasing a special GnR edition of the game, featuring the current line-up of the band only, and based around the 'Chinese Democracy' album, released a year after 'GHIII'.

To that end, Rose's lawyers argued that the dispute between their client and Activision began not in October 2007, but when the GnR chief realised Activision was set on screwing him over. But the judge considering the case last summer did not concur. However, the breach of contract element, which could be made up to four years after the alleged breach, was allowed to proceed.

Except, the four year limitation only applies to written contracts. And last week lawyers for Activision returned to court to claim that any commitment given to Rose's people regards 'GHIII' being Slash free were given verbally, therefore the rocker is relying on an oral contract, where the limitation period would be two years. Thus the statute of limitations could gazump that claim too.

Team Rose are seemingly relying on an email exchange between a rep of GnR and Activision as proof a contract existed. But, according to Billboard, the judge hearing the case last week seemed to be leaning towards Activision's arguments - though it's not clear if that's because he is treating the email conversation as if it was verbal, or because the emails simply allude to something actually agreed on the phone.

Either way, things seem to be moving very much in Activision's favour on this one. A final ruling is expected later this month.

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MORRISSEY EXPLAINS HOSPITALISATION
Morrissey has cited "concussion, a bleeding ulcer" and Barrett's oesophagus - a throat condition that can, in certain cases, prove pre-malignant - as the reasons he was hospitalised last month, causing a number of American gigs to be cancelled. Seemingly since discharged, he adds that he's "determined" to go on with his US tour "if it kills [him] (which, on the face of it, it almost has)". Oh, Moz.

The ex-Smith's clarification via fansite True To You ran thus: "The reports of my death have been greatly understated. Once admitted to the William Beaumont Hospital at Royal Oak in Michigan, I received treatment for concussion, a bleeding ulcer, and Barrett's oesophagus. The positive from all of this is that there are now no known ailments left for me to try".

He continued: "I am fully determined to resume the tour on 9 Feb at the Chelsea Ballroom in Las Vegas. If there's an audience of any kind in attendance, I just might die with a smile on my face, after all. If I am not there, I shall probably never again be anywhere. Equally, I am determined to play Flint (Michigan) if it kills me (which, on the face of it, it almost has)".

"Thank you to everyone present at both Brooklyn (New York) and Melbourne (Australia) during recent weeks for two of the best nights of what might charitably be termed my 'career'. My debt to you will outlive time itself. Pause at my headstone, Morrissey".

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UNSIGNED EBONY DAY WINS MTV'S BRAND NEW FOR 2013
Fans of MTV have chosen a winner from that Brand New For 2013 ones-to-watch shortlist MTV began hyping in... 2012, and no, 'it' isn't the BRITS-beloved Tom Odell, or Angel Haze, or HAIM, or Disclosure. It is, in fact, unsigned nineteen year old Ebony Day, who's the first artist sans a label contract to have won the contest, like, ever (well, since 2011, when the poll first ran). She's had approx nineteen million YouTube views to date, and thus is being hailed as a kind of she-Bieber.

Says an excitable Ms Day, who plays her first headlining live date at London's Borderline on 4 Apr (advance tickets via this link): "I'm so overwhelmed that my fans have made this win possible for me! It's all down to their ongoing support and hard work that I have won MTV's Brand New For 2013 and I can't thank them enough. This is a dream come true for me, I've never been happier".

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A*M*E SIGNS EPIC DEAL
Asterisk-loving pop artiste A*M*E - who made the BBC Sound Of longlist this year, if that changes anything - has signed to Sony division Epic UK.

She was initially signed to Gary Barlow's Universal-affiliated vanity label Future Records, but that closed over Christmas with, says The Mirror, estimated debts of £4 million.

Anyway, things look bright for A*M*E, at least, and she has a single to release via Epic anon.

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MBV ALBUM GOES LIVE
So, My Bloody Valentine's first album in over two decades slipped online this weekend.

And when confirmation that the new record was now available to buy from the band's website appeared on Facebook, a barrage of fans ran towards www.mybloodyvalentine.org forcing the new site temporarily offline.

But it's working now. The new record, 'mbv', is available on CD, vinyl or for a lovely download. Which is good news for fans of capital letter free tracklistings...

she found now
only tomorrow
who sees you
is this and yes
if i am
new you
in another way
nothing is
wonder 2

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PRIMAL SCREAM RELEASING LP IN MAY
Cast your mind back all the way to the autumn of 2012, when Bobby Gillespie first hinted at a new Primal Scream LP. It was a significant time, if an uncertain one, because he didn't really say anything specific. Well, that very Primal Scream LP now has a) a title and b) a release date, which are a) 'More Light' and b) 6 May.

Speaking to 6Music's Lauren Lavern last Friday, Gillespie added that it'll feature special guests like My Bloody Valentine's Debbit Googe, and The Pop Group's Mark Stewart. Hurrah!

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POND SHARE NEW TRACK
Tame Impala in-laws Pond have lifted a pilot track titled 'Giant Tortoise' off their new LP 'Hobo Rocket', as follows last year's 'Beard, Wives, Denim'.

Whilst the album itself won't be available till "late spring", 'Giant Tortoise' can be played to one's heart's content right now.

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
So, in notable FLUU goings-on, the BBC has revealed it'll live-stream this year's Glastonbury Festival via TV, online, tablet and mobile on a greater scale than in past years, allowing viewers for the first time to "choose from simultaneous live streams from all the major stages". Which is very, very nice of it.

Back to line up additions, and prior to details on new artist adds at Chagstock, Field Day, Meadowlands, Pulse, Relentless Boardmasters, V-Dub Island and Isle Of Wight, a special mention must first go to the Chicago-based Pitchfork Music Festival. The event's very weird triplet of headlining acts will be... R Kelly, Björk, and Belle And Sebastian. That's R Kelly... and Björk... and Belle And Sebastian. Imagine.

And now, if you have a minute, scan this FLUUs list at thy leisure:

CHAGSTOCK, Whiddon Down, Devon, 19-20 Jul: Billy Bragg. www.chagstock.info

FIELD DAY, Victoria Park, London, 25 May: Objekt. www.fielddayfestivals.com

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Isle Of Wight, 13-16 Jun: Example & DJ Wire, Madeon, Sub Focus, Wiley, Jaguar Skills, A-Trak, Ms Dynamite, Lee Foss, Miguel Campbell, Derrick Carter, Benga, Andy C, Grandmaster Flash, Mosca, Huxley, Mistajam, Modestep, MK, Friction, Roses Gabor, Duke Dumont, Monsta , Gorgon City, Waifs And Strays, Alexis Raphael, DJ Ez, Faith SFX. www.isleofwightfestival.com

MEADOWLANDS, Glynde Place, Glyne, East Sussex, 24-26 May: Public Service Broadcasting, Nostalgia 77, The Physics House Band, The Correspondents, Time And Space Machine, Fat 45, Phoria, Bentcousin, Bat Country, The Self Help Group. meadowlandsfestival.com

PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL, Union Park, Chicago, USA, 19-21 Jul: R Kelly, Björk, Belle And Sebastian. www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com

PULSE FESTIVAL, Sunnyfields Farm, Southampton, Hampshire, 10-11 May: Dreadzone. www.pulsefestival.org.uk

RELENTLESS BOARDMASTERS, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, 7-11 Aug: Basement Jaxx, The Vaccines, Everything Everything, Ben Howard, Grandmaster Flash, Delphic, Little Comets, Clean Bandit, Cosmo Jarvis, The Other Tribe, Dusky, T Williams, Bondax, Gorgon City, Monki, Maribou City, Panda, Eton Messy DJs. www.boardmasters.co.uk

V-DUB ISLAND, County Showground, Northwood, Isle of Wight, 15-19 Aug: The Neville Staple Band. v-dubisland.com

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BLOC TO RETURN WITH PROGRAMME OF PARTIES
The team behind the Bloc Festival have confirmed they have a new venture, though it will take the form of ten parties at a new venue in East London rather than a new festival.

As much previously reported, the company behind the popular holiday-park-based Bloc events went under last summer after an attempt to move their annual bash to London. The festival at the then brand new London Pleasure Gardens shut down just a few hours into its first night after over-crowding issues. The debacle forced both Bloc promoters Baselogic Productions and the London Pleasure Gardens itself into administration.

However, founders Alex Benson and George Hull are now planning to move beyond the shambles of 2012, and are hoping that the Bloc brand - after years of love from its core audience - can survive the fall out of last summer's event, which left festival-goers relying on their band's or credit card providers for refunds.

Last month a revamped Bloc website appeared promising new events incoming, with the existing Bloc Facebook page making a similar promise. And now that site is listing the planned parties. Of the new venture Benson and Hull told Resident Advisor in an interview last week: "It's a really simple proposition - just a series of ten shows in a new studio venue featuring a selection of artists that we love. Some have played for us many times before, others are completely fresh, but they all represent something which has inspired Bloc in some way".

Benson and Hull can seemingly continue to use the Bloc name, despite the demise of Baselogic, because they only ever licensed the use of the brand to their production outfit. Asked if they'd considered returning to the live scene under a new name, the founders said: "No, we've been doing this for ten years now. Putting on parties in strange places, then clubs, then a festival. Thanks to the support of our crew and the loyalty of our crowd, it evolved an identity of its own which went way beyond the people who started it - that's the spirit we want to keep going. If it isn't called Bloc, it won't be Bloc. So many people have put so much energy into it for so long, that to just abandon it doesn't seem right".

You can read the full interview here.

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FORMER LUMINAIRE OWNER EXPLAINS HIS CONCERNS OVER LIVE MUSIC ACT
The passing of the Live Music Act last year was welcomed by many in the music industry, with high hopes that the removal of bureaucracy introduced by the 2003 Licensing Act for those staging grassroots gigs would encourage the owners of pubs and small venues to start staging music events again, increasing the number of platforms available for new talent to perform live.

But the move - while backed by most of the music industry's trade groups - was not without its critics, most notably Andy Inglis, who formerly ran North London venue Luminaire, and who continues to work as a manager and occasional promoter, as well as lecturing on the live music industry. He aired his concerns - chiefly that an increase in pubs staging free music events to increase footfall could negatively impact on those grass roots venues for whom music is their core business - in a blog post last year. And in a new interview with CMU he says those concerns remain, despite admitting that in some towns the new Act may have have a positive impact.

Speaking last week after the first edition of the latest Get Plugged In programme, the live-focused training course staged by MusicTank and led by Inglis, he said: "Perhaps if the music industry had the first idea of what it takes to keep small venues open they wouldn't have been so quick to create the conditions that allow the emergence of up to 13,000 venues that can now stage live music for the first time. I've asked both UK Music and the Musicians Union - both vocal supporters of the Act - where the people needed to populate these potential new venues were going to come from, and where these people would find the money to financially support these potential new venues. Describing their response as 'wooly' would be to disrespect sheep".

He continues: "If many of the existing small live venues in England and Wales [where the Act applies] are having a tough time - and I know a lot of them are, because I've talked to them - how will this huge dilution of the audience help them? And if we're about to make it easier for pub landlords to increase their takings by putting some bands on, do we really believe they will go to the expense of providing suitable technical and hospitality facilities for the artists? And what do we think this will do for the reputation of the UK's grassroots venues abroad? You know we're [already] a laughing stock, right?"

Although conceding that some pub landlords may invest in creating decent performance spaces, and that in towns that currently lack any small gig venues that would be a good thing, he adds: "When you've got one of the main architects of the Act telling me, at a reception at City Hall last year, that because my argument is 'commercial' - ie the idea that it might damage existing businesses - it is also 'irrelevant', then you can see why I have doubts that anyone [involved in lobbying for the new law] has the first fucking idea about what the grassroots live industry actually needs to enable it to prosper".

Read the full interview with Inglis on theCMUwebsite.com later this week. The second session of the latest Get Plugged In course takes place in London tomorrow, info here. Individual session tickets are available.

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NO CHARGES TO BE PRESSED OVER PRANK CALL TRAGEDY
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has said it will not bring any charges over the hoax call made by an Australian radio station last year, which it's believed contributed to the death by suicide of a London nurse.

As previously reported, Aussie DJs Michael 'MC' Christian and Mel Grieg called London's King Edward VII Hospital last year while it was treating Kate Middleton, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles enquiring about their (grand)daughter-in-law's condition. Taken in by the hoax, nurse Jacintha Saldanha connected the call to a colleague who then discussed Middleton's health with the radio presenters.

When the Australian DJs then broadcast the pre-recorded hoax the stunt became global news. While most media criticism about the prank was aimed at MC and Grieg and their employers 2day FM rather than the hospital caring for Middleton, Saldanha took her own life a few days later. Since the tragic turn of events MC and Grieg have been off the air and, while 2day FM say they will both return at some point, a new show launched in their old slot last month.

The CPS last week said that, having considered the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the case, they had concluded there was not a case for manslaughter here, and that while it was possible elements of the UK's Data Protection Act, Communications Act and Malicious Communications Act had been breached by 2day FM's decision to air the prank call, no action would be taken, partly because it is impossible to extradite individuals from Australia for such violations, and partly because "however misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank".

Media regulators in Australia are still considering the incident.

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BAUER'S ABSOLUTE BIDDING REPORTEDLY FALTERS
Bauer Media's bid to buy Absolute Radio has reportedly faltered, according to The Guardian. Insiders say that takeover talks got very close to reaching a deal, but final specifics could not be agreed.

As previously reported, TIML Radio has been toying with the idea of selling the loss-making UK radio business for a while, though initially withdrew from active sale talks until John Pearson, who previously led the station when it was still Virgin Radio, arrived with a new offer late last year.

Pearson's bid ultimately failed, but seemingly led to new talks between TIML and Bauer, the radio division of which owns the likes of Magic, Kiss and Kerrang! Radio. Word has it that this time Bauer got very close to doing a deal. Quite what stopped things going through isn't clear, though TIML has generally tended towards the optimistic when it comes to a price-tag for the Absolute business.

It's not clear if this will lead to Pearson re-entering the game, or is an opportunity for TalkSport owner UTV Radio, which has also expressed an interest, to lead the bidding. Time will tell.

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BBC TO LIVE-STREAM GLASTONBURY, ANNOUNCES NEW MUSIC PROGRAMMING
The BBC announced last week that it is stepping up its provision of live music via its digital platform - so online and via the red button - with live streams and on-demand coverage of things like Radio 1's 'Live Lounge' and Radio 2's 'In Concert' series planned. Though the biggest promise in last week's announcement was probably the pledge to live stream all the major stages at this year's Glastonbury, using the technology built for last year's London Olympics.

Acting Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie said: "Our ambition this year is to offer music fans unprecedented coverage of live music. On desktop, mobile, tablet and connected TVs, we will bring BBC audiences closer to the music they love by offering a full performance or festival-goer experience for those who can't be there"

The BBC also announced some new music programming across radio and TV, including a month-long strand of performances and programmes under the title 'Baroque Spring In March', looking at the Baroque period and the work of composers such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. As part of the season, Radio 3 will host a 'Baroque Remixed', coupling the BBC Concert Orchestra with composers such as Will Gregory from Goldfrapp. Also, BBC Two will show a documentary on Bach, and BBC Four will screen documentaries on Verdi and Wagner.

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ED SHEERAN TO GO AWAY
Ed Sheeran says he's moving to rural America for a while, and who am I to oppose that?

Chatting away to The Sun, the Framlingham-raised realist, who's soon to start a US tour with his trampolining pal Taylor Swift, says: "I'm moving to the States for a bit. I love New York but it's too similar to London. I still don't own a place in London, I own one in the country in England because I like having the escape".

Still talking, he adds: "I wouldn't want to be in the city. Los Angeles is cool but you find a lot of douchebags there. I'd rather be surrounded by people in cowboy hats that spit tobacco".

"Douchebags", very American. Ed says his in-development new LP is "on its way", and that we can anticipate its release in "February 2014". So really, it's less "on its way" than "a year away" isn't it, Ed?

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