WEDNESDAY
6 FEB 2013

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Q&A: ANDY INGLIS
Andy Inglis has been working in the music business for over two decades, primarily in artist and venue management. Never shy on sharing his viewpoints on the music industry, and especially the live sector, Andy regularly blogs on issues for his own site and MusicTank. Meanwhile, mid-way through the latest series of 'Get Plugged In' sessions, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke caught up with Andy to discuss his current projects and the state of the grass roots live music industry more>>
 
APPROVED: REBECCA & FIONA
It took Universal a painfully long time to release Rebecca & Fiona's debut album in the UK, quietly slipping it onto digital services late last year. Despite great singles and a solid collection of pop hiding away on the album, the duo never really got the push they deserved over here. Thankfully, it looks like their new material may receive more attention. New single 'Taken Over' is scheduled for an international release in the coming weeks, with a new album due to follow later in the year more>>

TOP STORIES
- Welsh royalties dispute heading for copyright tribunal
IN THE POP COURTS
- Randy Blythe's manslaughter trial kicks off
IN THE POP HOSPITAL
- Morrissey still ill, postpones shows but is re-releasing Kill Uncle
ARTIST DEALS
- Headhunterz signs to Ultra
IN THE STUDIO
- Booty Luv wrote 60 songs while battling Hed Kandi, now plan to release some
RELEASE NEWS
- Meshuggah give away new single
- Susanne Sundfør announces back catalogue reissues, London show
- Flaming Lips releasing Choco Heart LP
- Rilo Kiley reach into RKives
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Grouper playing Bristol residency
- Bo Ningen add live dates
FESTIVAL NEWS
- Festival line-up update
BRANDS & STUFF
- Spice Girls selling Viva-branded cocktails; Bunton loses labrador
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Four supermarkets and pound shops amongst those bidding for HMV stores
- BMG and Bella Union announce alliance
- Final MiniDisc player to be phased out
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- Virgin Media to merge with Liberty Global
- Deezer announces smart TV alliances
AND FINALLY...
- Timberlake album features visual music
VISIBLE NOISE - MANAGEMENT AND LABEL ALL ROUNDER
Multi tasking social and hard working all rounder needed to Join Label and Management company. Must have previous music industry experience and be able to deal with high pressure situations and tight deadlines. A passion for new marketing, technology and expanding avenues relevant to the music industry and all around it, as well as a broad knowledge of a variety of genres is a definite advantage.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
WARP - DIGITAL CONTENT & COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
Warp is looking for a new person to assist our digital team in promoting our artists from our London office. The ideal candidate will be highly motivated with a real passion for music, design, Warp’s artists and fluent in social communication. Basic HTML knowledge is useful. We hope to offer an involved, creative environment in which to learn about music promotion and the chance to make things happen. This appointment will be made on a one year contract basis.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SNAPPER MUSIC - DIGITAL & MARKETING PAID INTERNSHIP
Snapper Music seeks a dynamic and talented individual to join our digital and marketing team for a paid six month internship. Based in Camden, tasks will include preparation of meta-data, liaising with distributors (physical and digital), assisting with promo and reporting press results, product research and general admin duties.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.


WELSH ROYALTIES DISPUTE HEADING FOR COPYRIGHT TRIBUNAL
The royalties dispute between the BBC and the Welsh language music community is heading to copyright tribunal after the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

As previously reported, Welsh-language songwriters and publishers opposed a change in 2007 to the way royalties paid by the BBC's Welsh radio stations were then distributed to rights owners by collecting society PRS For Music. Three-way discussions between the BBC, PRS and affected music companies continued for a few years without resolution, until eventually about 300 Welsh-language creators and rights owners quit PRS and set up their own collecting society called Eos.

The change came into effect at the start of the year, and meant that the BBC could no long play songs owned by Eos members on its Welsh language station BBC Cymru under its PRS licence. With no deal done with Eos, the BBC channel has had to get by without playing about 30,000 songs, many of which would previously have been core to its catalogue. The dispute is also hindering the Beeb's abilities to meet its commitment to Welsh language programming.

With subsequent talks between the BBC and Eos having failed to reach an agreement on royalty rates, the Corporation has now confirmed its intent to take the matter to copyright tribunal, the special court that considers copyright and royalty issues where parties cannot agree on collective licensing terms.

Confirming that intent, the Beeb said this week: "Obviously, we'd prefer to come to an agreement without the need for a tribunal hearing, and that remains our focus. But if a permanent settlement cannot be reached through negotiation with Eos over the coming weeks, a tribunal hearing would ensure all the arguments are heard and that a fair and transparent decision on commercial rates could be reached. That's why we informed Eos last week that we would be starting the copyright tribunal process in parallel with our on-going negotiations".

The BBC has said that it will continue to negotiate with Eos out of court, that it will call off its copyright tribunal application if an agreement is reached, and that it has offered to contribute to the Welsh language collecting society's legal costs to "ensure that Eos is able to put its arguments to the independent copyright tribunal which is the established legal process to resolve commercial disputes of this nature in a fair and binding manner".

Eos' CEO Dafydd Roberts said he was considering a response to the BBC's tribunal plans, telling reporters: "We've taken legal advice on that today, so we'll be considering our position in terms of a copyright tribunal. But what's disappointing is that whilst we thought we were negotiating with the BBC on various terms, in fact all they were doing was preparing ground for the copyright tribunal".

Despite seemingly resenting the BBC's latest plans regards the ongoing dispute, Eos members are considering allowing the Beeb to start using their combined catalogue again while negotiations are ongoing. Roberts says that he doesn't want BBC Cymru to lose listeners because of the dispute, plus presumably Eos members don't really want to lose access for too long to what is arguably the most high profile public platform for their music.

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RANDY BLYTHE'S MANSLAUGHTER TRIAL KICKS OFF
The manslaughter trial of Lamb Of God's frontman has begun in the Czech Republic, with Randy Blythe pleading not guilty to the charges against him at the first day of the proceedings.

As previously reported, Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter when the band arrived in Prague to play a gig in the city at the end of June last year. The charge relates to the death of a fan after an earlier performance by Lamb Of God in the Czech capital two years earlier. According to reports, at that gig the fan, named only as Daniel N, climbed onto the stage several times during the show, and on the third occasion was allegedly pushed off by Blythe, and fell onto his head, sustaining injuries that later led to his death.

Blythe was jailed for more than a month after his arrest last year, but was eventually bailed and allowed to return to the US. Though he pledged throughout to return to face the charges and clear his name. And, according to the NME, speaking to KROQ ahead of his trial this week, Blythe said: "I said that I would come back to court today and I did. I do not shy away from responsibility. I'm not a person who runs away from problems. But I do not want to be punished for something I did not do".

Various witnesses who attended the gig in question have already given testimony in the trial. According to reports, there are some inconsistencies in the various accounts of the night given so far, both in how the fan came to be knocked off the stage, and Blythe's subsequent reaction (one version is that the frontman asked for confirmation that the fan was OK before proceeding with the gig). At least one witness is quoted as saying Blythe was "extremely aggressive" while performing.

Though Blythe himself has warned people following English-language coverage of the trial to be wary of reports, saying that much of it is based on dubious translations of testimonies given in Czech. He also cautioned Lamb Of God fans from venting online against the Czech Republic and those giving testimonies in the trial.

Blythe writes via Instagram: "I have read a few news reports of the progress of my case, and trust me - many things are incorrect. But this is the internet, and of course things are half-baked anyway. Keep in mind that translation is difficult, and many things can be lost, for Czech is a VERY DIFFICULT language. So wait and see, as I am. It is all I can do, except be honest and fight for my freedom in my own way".

He continues: "I also have heard of some people talking smack about the Czech Republic, saying 'Fuck the Czech Republic', etc. That's not how it should be. This is a very sad case, not something to rage at people you do not know over. I am not angry with the Czechs at all. A fan of my band is dead - what do I have to be angry about? I am an INNOCENT man, but I am also a very sad man right now. To not be sad in this instance would be inhuman".

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MORRISSEY STILL ILL, POSTPONES SHOWS BUT IS RE-RELEASING KILL UNCLE
Following his recent hospitalisation with various health complaints, and subsequent show cancellations, Morrissey has been advised "on doctors orders" to postpone additional dates on his US tour. Writing via Facebook, Moz says concerts in Las Vegas (9 Feb), Phoenix (10 Feb) and Sparks, Nevada (2 Mar) will be reset, but promises he'll still be able to play in El Paso on 12 Feb.

But wait, it's not all bad, because Parlophone is to carry on with its Moz re-release campaign via reissues of Morrissey's 1991 solo LP 'Kill Uncle' and 1989 single 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys'. The latter will feature added live tracks 'People Are The Same Everywhere', 'Action Is My Middle Name' and 'The Kid's A Looker', which date back to a live Radio 2 Session circa 2011.

The new 'Kill Uncle' will, says Tru To You, have a "revitalised quality" to it, and will carry a rearranged tracklisting as follows:

Our Frank
Sing Your Life
Mute Witness
King Leer
Asian Rut
Pashernate Love
East West
Found Found Found
Driving Your Girlfriend Home
The Harsh Truth Of The Camera Eye
There's A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends
(I'm) The End Of The Family Line

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HEADHUNTERZ SIGNS TO ULTRA
Dutch EDM artist Headhunterz, currently a leading name within the hardstyle genre, has signed a global deal with Ultra Music, the New York-based dance label into which Sony Music recently invested. A Headhunterz single and EP are now due for release this spring.

Confirming the signing, Ultra's GM and A&R boss David Waxman told CMU: "Immediately after I first heard one of his productions, I wanted to work with Headhunterz. He brings a unique style to electronic music that is incredibly reactive upon first listen and his cult-like following is also a testament to his refreshing sound".

Headhunterz himself added: "The deal with Ultra Music is a turning point in my career as an artist and producer. Having complete creative control in every aspect of what I do as Headhunterz will no doubt allow me the space and creativity to be true to hardstyle whilst being able to spread my music on an even larger scale backed by their resources, I am thrilled to get started on this exciting new adventure".

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BOOTY LUV WROTE 60 SONGS WHILE BATTLING HED KANDI, NOW PLAN TO RELEASE SOME
Booty Luv have blamed "label politics" for the lengthy wait for a follow-up to their 2007 debut album, 'Boogie 2nite'. Released by Ministry Of Sound imprint Hed Kandi, that album went to number eleven in the UK album charts and spawned four top 20 singles, including its title track which went to number two.

The duo's Cherise Roberts told Digital Spy: "We've got new management now. It has taken us a while to get all the old label politics stuff out of the way, but the groundwork and boring paperwork is done. We've spent a lot of time in the studio as well".

Her partner Nadia Shepherd added: "We got about 60 songs done in all the time we've been away. We managed to creatively sort things and get some new material started. It's been good. We can't wait for the guys to hear it. I think a lot of people thought we fell off the face of the earth - like we've just been at home sitting down or something. We really haven't!"

The pair returned with their first single for over three years, 'Black Widow', last month and plan to release a new album later this year. Watch the video for the single here.

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MESHUGGAH GIVE AWAY NEW SINGLE
Swedish metallers Meshuggah are giving away two free tracks to download in exchange for that email address of yours. The tracks in question are 'Pitch Black', a 2003 studio outtake, and a live version of 'Dancers To A Discordant System', recorded at last year's Distortion Festival in the Netherlands.

Fans can also purchase ten-inch vinyl editions of the single, if they happen to be going to see the band on their upcoming US tour. Otherwise, you can download the two tracks here and listen to that live version of 'Dancers To A Discordant System' here.

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SUSANNE SUNDFØR ANNOUNCES BACK CATALOGUE REISSUES, LONDON SHOW
One of our Artists Of The Year last year, Norwegian musician Susanne Sundfør has announced that she will re-issue three albums from her back catalogue later this year.

While last year's 'The Silicone Veil' and her eponymous debut have been available in the UK, 2008's re-recording that first album 'Take One', 2011 instrumental work 'A Night At The Salle Playel' and her amazing 2010 album 'The Brothel' have been off-limits, but will go back on sale on 8 Apr through Sonnet Sound.

Sundfør will also return to the UK for a live show at the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on 11 Mar, tickets for which you can purchase here.

And just before you go, here's a live version of 'Running To The Sea' by Röyksopp, on which Sundfør provides guest vocals.

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FLAMING LIPS RELEASING CHOCO HEART LP
The Flaming Lips have only gone and flaming done it again... 'it' meaning releasing music via weird media. Past ventures have included real human skulls and gummy foeti, for example.

This time, Wayne Coyne and co have bequeathed loving fans a Valentines treat in the shape of new USB-stick based LP 'Songs Of Love'. The fifteen track mix is set into an anatomically realistic (and edible) replica of a human heart made of "72% South American dark chocolate studded with hazelnut mini whoppers and waffle cone crunch". Mmm, coronary candy.

Although unlike Austria musician Soap&Skins' offering in that confectionary genre, it doesn't contain real blood. What a cop out.

Anyway. All the hearts made so far have been purchased, but you can nevertheless lust over one via this link.

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RILO KILEY REACH INTO RKIVES
On-a-break folk-pop types Rilo Kiley have devised a very sophisticated name for this new archival rarities LP they're releasing, and that name is 'RKives'.

Carrying lots of so far unreleased tracks and B-sides from across the band's four LPs, plus a wild card remix of 2007's 'Dejalo' by LA MC Too $hort, it's now available to order in advance of its digital/CD/vinyl release on 2 Apr.

Tracklisting:

Let Me Back In
It'll Get You There
Runnin Around
All The Drugs
Bury, Bury, Bury Another
Well, You Left
Draggin Around
I Remember You
Dejalo (Zondo Remix feat Too $hort)
A Town Called Luckey
Emotional
American Wife
Patiently
Rest Of My Life (demo)
About The Moon

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GROUPER PLAYING BRISTOL RESIDENCY
'Ethereal pop' soloist Liz Harris, alias Grouper, is to act as 'artist in residence' at Bristol's Cube Cinema between 31 Mar and 4 Apr.

She'll start by playing a live set featuring highlights of her just re-released 2008 LP 'Dragging A Dead Dear Up A Hill', and the set of studio spares she taped at that time, 'The Man Who Died In His Boat', and over latter days will paint a mural in the microplex cinema's foyer space.

Info on all that via this link.

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BO NINGEN ADD LIVE DATES
Psych types Bo Ningen have added a trio of all-English dates to the end of a tour of their native Japan. The shows will serve as mini promo ops for the band's 2012 long player 'Line The Wall', the first single from which, 'Henkan', you can appreciate as and when you wish to do so here.

Tour dates:

28 Mar: Brighton, The Haunt
30 Mar: Sheffield Queens Social Club
4 Apr: London, Dingwalls

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
So, as Sonar Barcelona shares the identity of its love-or-hate new headliner (it's DJ Skrillex, by the way), and Rhythms Of The World Festival reveals that - because it's unable to find a site this year - it's cancelling its 2013 edition (but will be back in 2014), what else is happening in the festivals domain?

Well, for a start, Primavera Sound's Porto-based parallel Optimus Primavera Sound has added a sizeable cache of rather great artists - not least My Bloody Valentine, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Fucked Up, 'Sugar Man' Rodriguez and Grizzly Bear to its existing, Blur-featuring listings.

New-cool-Croatian-festival-on-the-block Unknown - a collaborative event arranged by Hideout Festival, The Warehouse Project and Field Day - has just said it'll mark its first year of existence with the live presence of Jessie Ware, TEED, Disclosure and Four Tet, and this is what Field Day boss Tom Baker has to say of that: "I'm really thrilled to be working with Hideout and The Warehouse Project on a brand new event that combines brilliant live bands alongside some of the best and cutting edge DJs in the world, in a setting of glorious sunshine, clear blue skies and wonderful beaches! What could be better!"

Sure, but what else in FLUUs news? Oh yeah, Ibiza Rocks has given its image a 'math-rock' facelift by booking Foals for its closing party, whilst Knebworth's Eastern Electrics takes on an extra 20 acts inc Miguel Campbell and Maya Jane Coles. Also, over in America, Sasquatch has, probably with its hairy mythical paw, invited Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Rós, The xx, Arctic Monkeys to join its roster this year. How nice.

EASTERN ELECTRICS, Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, 2-4 Aug: Dave Clarke, Deetron, Felix Dickinson, Futureboogie, Giles Smith, Huxley, Infinity Ink, James Priestly, Josh Wink, Jozif, DJ Koze, Laura Jones, Luca Pilato, Maceo Plex, Masters At Work, Matthias Tanzman, Maya Jane Coles, Miguel Campbell, MK, Moderat, Nick Curly, Planetary Assault Systems, Ralph Lawson, Raresh, Robert James, Ryan Crosson, Sasha, Shadow Child, Soul Bros, Tama Sumo, Tommy Four Seven, Waifs And Strays. www.easternelectrics.com

IBIZA ROCKS, Ibiza Rocks Hotel, San Antonio, Ibiza, Span, 5 Jun - 18 Sep: Foals. www.ibizarocks.com

OPTIMUS PRIMAVERA SOUND, Parque Da Cidade, Porto, Portugal, 30 May - 2 Jun: The Breeders, Dan Deacon, Daniel Johnston, Daughn Gibson, Dead Can Dance, Dear Telephone, Deerhunter, Degreaser, Dinosaur Jr, Do Make Say Think, Explosions In The Sky, FIDLAR, Four Tet, Foxygen, Fuck Buttons, Fucked Up, Ghostigital, Glass Candy, The Glockenwise, Grizzly Bear, Guadalupe Plata, Hot Snakes, James Blake, Julio Bashmore, L'Hereu Escampa, Liars, Local Natives, Los Planetas, The Magician, Manel, Meat Puppets, Melodys Echo Chamber, Memoria De Peixe, Merchandise, Metz, My Bloody Valentine, Neko Case, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Nurse With Wound, OM, Paus, Pegasvs, Rodriguez, Roll The Dice, Savages, The Sea and Cake, Shellac Of North America, Swans, Titus Andronicus, White Fence, Wild Nothing. www.optimusprimaverasound.com

SASQUATCH, Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington, USA, 24-27 May: Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Rós, The xx, Arctic Monkeys, Primus, Empire of the Sun, Grimes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Lumineers, Alt-J, The Tallest Man on Earth, Tame Impala, Earl Sweatshirt, Japandroids, Death Grips, Dirty Projectors, Danny Brown, ake, Andrew Bird, Bloc Party, Dropkick Murphys, Built to Spill, Azealia Banks, Steve Aoki, Father John Misty, El-P, Killer Mike, Divine Fits, Twin Shadow, Solange, Disclosure, Toro Y Moi, Devendra Banhart, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Presets, Torche, P.O.S., SchoolBoy Q & Ab-Soul, John Talabot, DIIV, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Wild Belle, Suuns, Caveman, Hundred Waters, Menomena, Shad, Fang Island, Matthew Dear, Porcelain Raft, Surfer Blood, Holy Ghost!, Red Fang, Reignwolf, Atlas Genius, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. www.sasquatchfestival.com

SONAR BARCELONA, Zamora, Barcelona, Spain, 13-15 Jun: Skrillex. www.sonar.es/en

UNKNOWN, Rovinj, Croatia, 10-14 Sep: Actress, Disclosure, Django Django, Four Tet, Henrik Schwarz, Jessie Ware, Lindstrom, Moderat, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Ame, Cyril Hahn, Damian Lazarus, Daniel Avery, Daniel Baldelli, Dixon, DJ Koze, Erol Alkan, Floating Points, Francesca Lombardo, Geddes, Giles Smith, James Holden, James Priestley, Jamie XX, Joy Orbison, Julio Bashmore, Kerri Chandler, Michael Mayer, Optimo, Prins Thomas, Richy Ahmed, Scuba, SBTRKT, Subb-an, Tim Sweeney, Todd Terje. www.unknowncroatia.com

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SPICE GIRLS SELLING VIVA-BRANDED COCKTAILS; BUNTON LOSES LABRADOR
Critics have said that The Spice Girls new West End spectacle, 'Viva Forever!', is best viewed after alcohol, something that's now been officially okayed by the Girls themselves, who've branded a range of 'Viva Forever!' cocktails for sale in Harvey Nichols.

The Daily Mail says they're champagne-based, cost £14.50 per glass, and have each been "lovingly created" to 'match' a Spice Girl, so that's nice. 'Mel B's one has a 'Scary' chilli taped to its rim, whilst 'Sporty' Mel C's is a blend of Amaretto, curacao bleu and lemon juice, apparently because she's part-Italian, part-French and part-embittered.

Victoria 'Posh' Beckham's glass has a funereal black bow on it, but she wasn't present at the 'grand unveiling' of the range to appreciate that, she not wanting to have anything to do with it and all.

Meanwhile, has anyone seen Emma Bunton's chocolate labrador Phoebe? She's gone AWOL, and looks approximately like this.

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FOUR SUPERMARKETS AND POUND SHOPS AMONGST THOSE BIDDING FOR HMV STORES
Four supermarket chains are thought to have put in bids for some of HMV's stores, administrators Deloitte having set last Friday as a deadline for bids from those companies interested in taking over some of the flagging entertainment retailer's shop unit leases for their own operations.

It was already known that Morrisons had its eye on some of HMV's high street bases as it pursues a growth strategy for its Tesco Metro competing convenience store network. According to the Independent, Tesco has also expressed an interest in 20 HMV sites, Sainsbury's 25 and Iceland 50.

River Island and Topshop owner Arcadia are also thought to be bidding, while some lucky HMV customers may see their local store replaced by new branches of Poundland and 99p Stores. Well, they sometimes sell CDs don't they, and who wouldn't want 100 Greatest TV Themes for a pound?

As previously reported, administrators are expected to announce the closure of up to 100 HMV stores as soon as this week. It's still thought that Hilco, owners of HMV Canada, will acquire the HMV brand and takeover a streamlined network of stores around the UK.

Meanwhile one of the Deloitte men overseeing HMV's administration has confirmed the previously reported sale of the G-A-Y brand and venues to its founder Jeremy Joseph. HMV acquired the G-A-Y business through its takeover of the MAMA Group in 2010, but it wasn't part of the MAMA management buy out last year.

Confirming the sale of G-A-Y to Joseph, a deal which should safeguard about 200 jobs, joint administrator Rob Harding told reporters this week: "We are pleased to have completed the sale of HMV's shareholding in G-A-Y to the natural purchaser".

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BMG AND BELLA UNION ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE
Indie music company Bella Union has announced an alliance between its publishing division, Bella Union Songs, and BMG Chrysalis. The partnership will result in a joint venture business representing songwriting talent globally, with BMG providing rights management services, and both BMG and Bella Union providing creative support to its acts.

Confirming the deal, Bella Union co-founder Simon Raymonde told CMU: "Over the last few years, I have seen at close hand how BMG has worked so wonderfully with some of our artists such as Beach House and Fleet Foxes. I can't wait to get started on the opportunity to work with such a committed and passionate team and together develop artists, songwriters and producers".

Kate Hyman, SVP of Creative at BMG Chrysalis US, added: "We are thrilled and excited to be working on publishing deals with Simon, one of the industry's A&R greats. This is the perfect next step for Bella Union and BMG".

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FINAL MINIDISC PLAYER TO BE PHASED OUT
One from the 'like, they still made those?' files, and Sony has confirmed it is stopping the production of MiniDisc stereo systems this spring. And while it will continue to make actual MiniDiscs, with the tech giant having already stopped producing portable MiniDisc players in 2011, that's basically the beginning of the end of the briefly buzzy 1990s better-than-CD-honest data-storage device whatnot.

We'd include a quote from someone still using MiniDiscs, but after a brief search of the world, we couldn't find anyone. Though now that they are officially being phased out, a Shoreditch-based MiniDisc revival seems inevitable (after all, the slightly exaggerated cassette revival followed the news that Sony was ceasing the manufacture of the old-school Walkman in the US). We'll keep an eye out for it and let you know.

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VIRGIN MEDIA TO MERGE WITH LIBERTY GLOBAL
UK internet service provider and cable TV company Virgin Media has announced it will merge with Liberty Global, the international arm of John Malone's US-based Liberty Media.

The deal, which Liberty says is worth $16 billion, is subject to approval by shareholders, and follows confirmation from the Virgin-branded digital company that its income for last year was up to £699 million from £540 million the previous year.

The international side of Malone's media empire already has various interests in Europe, and the Liberty chief has previously indicated an interest in moving into the UK.

It's thought that, for the time being at least, Virgin Media's UK operations will continue as before, presumably continuing to use the Virgin brand (depending, possibly, on the buy-in of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which owns about 3% of the Virgin Media business).

Virgin Media has arguably been the most supportive of all the UK ISPs in the music and entertainment industries' attempts to fight online piracy, though, of course, Virgin and BSkyB both have vested interest in that domain, with both operating film services, and therefore having more to lose from the illegal file-sharing of movie content.

Liberty Media has various interests in the film and TV sectors, as well as being a controlling shareholder in US satellite radio company Sirius XM and owning just under a quarter of live entertainment giant Live Nation.

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DEEZER ANNOUNCES SMART TV ALLIANCES
Streaming music company Deezer has announced new partnerships with Samsung, LG and Toshiba that will see the digital content service made available via the electronics firms' smart TVs. Users of said telly sets will be able to access up to 20 million tracks via the Deezer platform, should they so wish.

Confirming the new deals, Deezer top man Axel Dauchez told CMU: "We are committed to delivering a music revolution. Deezer is already available directly via a number of hi-fis and in-car entertainment systems - and of course on most smartphones, tablets and PCs - but we believe that putting Deezer at the heart of the TV experience marks the next innovation for music. For many of us, the living room is the heart of the home, and we want Deezer to be a part of that".

Speaking for LG, Richard Choi, SVP of the firm's Smart Business Centre, added: "We are providing our customers with a new on-demand content service that enables browsing, sharing, organising and, of course, listening to songs from a huge range of international artists. LG was the first company to integrate Deezer - a service already available for PCs, tablets and smartphones - in its Smart TV line-up. Going forward, LG and Deezer will continue to explore ways to deliver innovative music experiences on smart TVs and other media platforms".

Deezer says that it is now the "dominant digital music service provider via smart TVs", while confirming that it is also providing streaming services of one form or another in 180 countries worldwide, and "in every continent in the world". Which is good news for music fans in Antarctica.

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TIMBERLAKE ALBUM FEATURES VISUAL MUSIC
Justin Timberlake's new album is called 'The 20/20 Experience'. This we all know. But why? Why is it called that. I must know why. I just wish Justin would say why. Oh god, help me. Help me please.

Ahem. Well, anyway, Justin went on Ryan Seacrest's radio show on Monday and revealed all, so despite all that stuff back there, I do already know why it's called that. Here's what he said: "It more or less came out of me playing some of the stuff for my friends and they would come in and out of the studio and I'd say, 'What do you think of this?' And my best friend said, 'This is music that you can see,' and for some reason that stuck with me".

So there you go. Aren't you glad you found out? It's music you can see. But only, like, in your imagination, man. Or if Justin is singing it right into your face.

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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