A round up of music and music business events happening in the next seven days...
Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day isn't really music-related, but that doesn't mean music shouldn't be a part of it. Should you still be trying to think of something 'romantic' to do, Spotify has put together a website allowing you to write a love letter in song titles with a nifty virtual fridge magnet and playlist combo. Or you can just use it for practical purposes, as I have.
Beatles debut album re-recording. Yes, people, the day has finally come. At last today we will find out what would happen if Stereophonics, Mick Hucknall and other artists were to re-record The Beatles' debut album 'Please Please Me'. They're currently down at Abbey Road Studios trying to recreate it in the same twelve hour time span as the original. It'll then be broadcast in full by Jo Whiley on Radio 2 this evening, with a documentary about it all airing on BBC Four on Friday.
Beyonce documentary on HBO. "I don't think you're ready for this jelly", Beyonce once sang. And if by 'jelly' she meant 'sustained media exposure', as I assume she did, then we're about to find out if she was right or not. Following her singing exploits at Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony and at the Super Bowl, this Saturday HBO will air her self-made autobiographical documentary 'Life Is But A Dream'. A UK screening is yet to be announced.
David Rodigan's first show on 1Xtra. In November, David Rodigan resigned from Kiss FM after 22 year with the station, citing its "marginalisation of reggae music" and a "refusal to schedule the only reggae show on their network to a socially accessible time". He didn't stay out of work for long though, being quickly snapped up by BBC Radio 1Xtra. The first edition of his new two hour Sunday evening show will air this weekend.
New releases. New albums this week come from Foals, Tegan & Sara, Bullet For My Valentine, Modestep, Darwin Deez, Pissed Jeans and Comanechi. And if you can take a little bit more, why not grab the new singles from Azealia Banks and James Blake?
Gigs and tours. I don't know what gigs you're going to this week, but I'm pretty sure none of them are as exciting as Japanese popstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's debut UK performance at the Islington Academy on Wednesday. No, not even the Kaiser Chiefs' tour. Still quite exciting though are gigs and tours by Example, Frightened Rabbit, Sinead O'Connor, Deftones, Sam Lee, Swim Deep and Wolf Alice.
60 MORE EXECS GO AT HMV HQ
Joint administrator Nick Edwards told reporters on Friday: "Following our announcement of the closure of 66 stores yesterday, it has been necessary to consider the head office support required for the reduced store portfolio. As a result of this review, a number of redundancies at the head office have been made. This has been a difficult decision, but a necessary one in restructuring the business. We would like to express our gratitude to staff for their continued support during the administration".
According to Sky News, the latest round of cuts includes HMV Group's most recent CEO Trevor Moore, the former Jessops boss who joined the entertainment retailer last year after his predecessor Simon Fox jumped ship. Marketing Director Mark Hodgkinson is also reportedly among the latest redundancies.
TULISA SUES WILL.I.AM OVER SCREAM & SHOUT
It seems the track, the final version of which is credited to Will.i.am, Jean Baptiste and Jef Martens, was originally recorded by Contostavlos when she was working on her debut solo album, last year's somewhat lacklustre 'The Female Boss'.
It's thought the former N-Dubber only worked with Baptiste and Martens on the track, Will.i.am getting involved once Tulisa had decided not to include it on her album (or once the producers/songwriters had pulled out of the collaboration, depending on who you believe).
Will.i.am recently admitted the his production partners had originally worked with Contostavlos on what became 'Scream & Shout', but says that once he was involved he only ever envisaged Britney as a vocal partner on the record.
Either way, Tulisa and her publishing reps say that she contributed some of the lyrics that appeared in the final Will.i.am and Britney version of the song. And, according to The Sun, they are now suing to get the 'X-Factor' judge a nice little songwriting credit on the track, and an even nicer slice of all the royalties loot Will.i.am and Spears' chart topping rendition of it will have generated.
Will.i.am and his publishers are yet to respond to the lawsuit.
The big winners were probably Mumfords who took Album Of The Year for 'Babel'; fun. who were named Best New Artist and won Song Of The Year for 'We Are Young'; and The Black Keys, who took Best Rock Album for 'El Comino' and Best Rock Song for 'Lonely Boy'. Record Of The Year went to Gotye and Kimbra for 'Somebody That I Used To Know'.
Performances-wise Taylor Swift kicked things off, Elton John dueted with Ed Sheeran amongst others, The Black Keys played with Dr John, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z performed the former's new single 'Suit & Tie', and Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna, and Ziggy and Damian Marley all took part in a tribute to the late great Bob Marley.
If you've got time, you can browse the winners and nominees of all 81 categories on the Grammy website here.
GANGNAM STYLE PASSES ONE MILLION SALES IN THE UK
Says OCC boss Martin Talbot: "This is an amazing achievement by Psy. It is further confirmation of 'Gangnam Style' as a true phenomenon - it is the first UK million-seller by an Asian music star, and a sign that K-pop has truly arrived in the UK!"
Currently the 1990s spawned the highest number of million-selling singles with 32. However, in just the last three years there have been fifteen, five of which made their debut on the chart in 2012. As well as 'Gangnam Style' there was 'Somebody I Used To Know' by Gotye, 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen, 'Impossible' by James Arthur and 'We Are Young' by Fun.
LETHERETTE TO RELEASE SELF-TITLED LP
Apparently, what sets Letherette apart in the EDM realm is that they are 'fun', so that's nice. You'll find an info page featuring a 'Letherette' tracklisting and advance order details via this link.
Meanwhile, this is the official video for first single 'D&T', which will precede the LP buy-date on 11 Mar.
FRANKMUSIK 'FAR FROM OVER'
ED BANGER BIRTHDAY PARTY TO FEATURE JUSTICE, BREAKBOT, BUSY P
Technically, Breakbot are the only ones playing a live set, the others are DJing. But so what, it's Justice's first London appearance since 2010, so it'll still be grand.
Tickets to the show, which is at The Forum on 3 May, are available as of 9am tomorrow.
RHYE PLAYING LONDON SHOW
'Woman' is released via Polydor on 4 Mar and, on that basis, the show has been arranged to take place the following night.
BLEACHED MAKE DALSTON DATE
If you'd like to go, buy a ticket here, and be at the Dalston Victoria on 27 Feb.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Martin Williams, the main man in marketing at the Eden Project, sure cares, and so he says: "Announcing a star of Jessie J's huge stature is a massive coup for the 2013 Eden Sessions. We're really excited that she is going to be dazzling fans at the Eden Project. This latest announcement adds another dimension to a fabulous line-up, showing the true versatility and quality of the Eden Sessions".
Picturesque indie fest 2000Trees is another one updating its listings, as now feature Gallops and Thursday-night headliners Future Of The Left. 2000Trees warden Andy Rea says: "We are really pleased to welcome back some of our favourite bands and we were inundated with fan requests for them. We're certain it will be one to remember and we can't wait for the music to start".
And that's not all. Other highlights of the day in our FLUUs include Bonobo aligning with Chic (feat Nile Rodgers) atop Birmingham's self explanatorily-billed Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival; an initial wave of artists (A Guy Called Gerald, Luke Vibert and LFO) striking Bang Face right smack in the visage; a Bo Ningen, Meursault and Robyn Hitchcock-featuring first line-up missive c/o Scotland's Doune The Rabbit Hole; and Wychwood acquiring live rights to Kate Nash.
2000TREES, Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, 11-13 Jul: Future Of The Left, Gallops, The Xcerts, Max Raptor, Freeze The Atlantic, Empire. www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk
BANG FACE WEEKENDER, Trevelgue Holiday Park, Newquay, 13-15 Sep: LFO, Rebuild, Graham Massey, A Guy Called Gerald, Venetian Snares, Luke Vibert, Black Sun Empire, Congo Natty: Rebel MC & Tenor Fly & Congo Dubs, DJ Pierre, Phuture, Shut Up And Dance, Aphrodite, Krome & Time, Kid606, Otto von Shirach, Hellfish & Producer, The Panacea, Kanji Kinetic, Rotator, Broken Note, Saint Acid, Bang Face Crew. www.bangface.com
EDEN SESSIONS, Eden Project, Cornwall, dates tba: Jessie J. www.edenproject.com/sessions
DOUNE THE RABBIT HOLE, secret location, Scotland, 22-25 Aug: The John Langan Band, Haight Ashbury, Galoshins, Meursault, Bo Ningen, Bombskare, The Monochrome Set, Robyn Hitchcock, Rozi Plain, Mother Ganga, Horndog Brass Band, Jo Mango, Randolph's Leap, Rachel Sermanni. dounetherabbithole.co.uk
MOSTLY JAZZ, FUNK & SOUL FESTIVAL, Moseley Park, Birmingham, 5-7 Jul: Bonobo, Soul II Soul Sound System, Craig Charles, Stubborn Heart, Troumaca. mostlyjazz.co.uk
WYCHWOOD, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire, 31 May - 2 Jun: Kate Nash, Craig Charles, Police Dog Hogan, Emily And The Woods, Seasfire, NewQuay Times. www.wychwood.co.uk
MUSIC INDUSTRY TALKS TO TAKE PLACE AT FORMER EMI VINYL FACTORY
The full schedule and line-up of speakers is as follows:
Sunday 17 Feb: This house believes music has lost its cutting edge
Monday 18 Feb: This house believes in 2013 that music cannot be owned
Tuesday 19 Feb: This house believes we are a 'live nation'
SONY CORP LOSSES LESSEN
As previously reported, despite the music and film industries having had a challenging few years, it's not Sony's mainly US-based global entertainment businesses that have been causing problems for the Tokyo-based parent company. Rather, a slump in the fortunes of the group's traditional cash cows in consumer electronics, and especially in the television set space, has hit the firm hard, as it has also had to tackle issues thrown up by a strong yen and various natural disasters.
Arguably a weakening of the yen was the key factor in Sony seeing some improvements in the latter part of 2012, which resulted in a very mixed response in investment circles to the latest announcement, despite losses for the last nine months being 75% down on the previous same period - investment types also looking for revenue boosts that come from product innovations.
ANGEL MUSIC BECOMES GLOBALGATHERING GROUP
The GlobalGathering Group will continue to operate the GlobalGathering, Godskitchen, FutureGods and Ec-lectricity brands and, in line with its parent company, will seek new international expansion in the next two years.
Moving forward, MAMA chief Dean James will also be CEO of the GlobalGathering Group, while former Angel Music CFO Gary Turner will become MD of GlobalGathering UK and Paul Hugo becomes MD of GlobalGathering International. MAMA's Head Of Talent Richard McGinnis will also be responsible for talent booking across GlobalGathering Group's events.
MUSIC BODIES WELCOME GOVE'S U-TURN ON GCSE-LEVEL EXAMS
The change in emphasis was criticised by Billy Bragg at the Radio Festival last year. He argued that the changes would hit most the children of less well-off families, who could not afford to pay for music education outside the core school curriculum, and added: "Evidence shows that pupils from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to go on to higher education. Young people do better in English and maths subjects if they study the arts. They are more easily employable, more likely to vote, to volunteer and to get a degree. You might add to that they will be more likely to get into the charts too".
Welcoming Gove's u-turn on the exams system last week, David Lipsey, the Labour Lord who became chair of the board of governors at London-based music school the Trinity Laban Conservatoire Of Music & Dance last year, told Times Higher Education: "Amongst the army of critics [of this policy] the arts have been prominent - and rightly so. [The plans] would have poisoned Britain's culture at its roots, reducing the standard of students we attract and therefore limiting their ultimate achievement. This is a great day for the arts and a good day for Britain".
Meanwhile Deborah Annetts, CEO of the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, which also campaigned against the removal of music from the GCSE-level curriculum, told CMU: "We welcome this announcement; this is good news for children and good news for education. We must learn from the last six months of consultation and ensure we work together to create high quality and rigorous GCSEs and A-Levels with appropriate assessment fit for the 21st century. Creative subjects such as art, music and design and technology need to stay at the heart of education so that we can develop talented youngsters to feed our creative industries and generate growth".
ROUGH TRADE AND GUARDIAN COLLABORATE ON NEW MUSIC DOWNLOAD SERVICE
The Tracks Of The Week initiative will offer subscribers a weekly six-track download EP covering all genres except classical and compiled utilising The Guardian's editorial expertise and Rough Trade's artist and label connections. The weekly compilation will feature pre-release tracks and some exclusives, and will provide - Rough Trade say - "a trusted, valuable, convenient and fun way to keep abreast of the best new music". The new subscription service will cost £2.99 a week, though a month's free trial is available to Guardian readers.
Rough Trade co-owner Stephen Godfroy told CMU: "In this post-digital age, where all music formats are enjoyed together for their respective merits, we're delighted to offer, in partnership with The Guardian, a music service that offers genuine digital value and excitement for the music lover. Not knowing what you're going to receive each week replicates the thrilling sense of adventure felt in our offline stores, providing customers a priceless moment of trusted discovery, surprise and joy - characteristics at the heart of any Rough Trade store experience".
The Guardian's music chief Caspar Llewellyn Smith added: "Everyone knows how tough it is out there for record stores at the moment, but the Rough Trade shops are a real success story, largely because of the passion and expertise of their staff. We hope the same is true of the Guardian's music coverage, and by working together through this new partnership, we'll be able to help point fans at the good stuff. I love the sense of serendipity involved in Tracks Of The Week. What could be nicer than getting six new, hand-picked pieces of music arriving in your inbox each Friday?"
AUSSIE PRANK SCANDAL DJ RETURNS TO THE AIRWAVES
Michael 'MC' Christian and Mel Greig grabbed global headlines after they phoned the London hospital that was, at the time, caring for a then recently pregnant Kate Middleton. Pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, they convinced one nurse to connect them to Middleton's ward, and another into discussing her condition. The former nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, took her own life just days later.
MC and Greig's show was immediately taken off the air at Sydney-based 2day FM as the ethics of prank calls staged and broadcast without the permission of the victims, or even their close friends or family members, was debated in the wider radio industry. And then late last month, a new programme was launched in the schedule spot previously occupied by the controversial DJs.
Nevertheless, station owners Southern Cross Austereo insisted that both presenters would eventually return to the airwaves and, according to The Guardian, MC has now popped up on one of the media-group's stations in Melbourne, Fox FM, where he worked before moving to the 2day FM show. He will present a basic morning-time music-based show which has no phone-in features. He didn't mention the controversy during his first stint on the new programme.
Confirming MC's return to one of his company's stations, Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran told reporters: "We are happy to have Michael back on air. We have always supported our talent returning to work when appropriate and today marks that occasion for MC. We look forward to [also] welcoming Mel Grieg back when the time is right".
As previously reported, the UK's Crown Prosecution Service recently said it would not pursue any criminal action against the DJs or their employer, because there was no case for manslaughter in relation to Saldanha's suicide, and while British data protection and communications laws may have been breached, it wouldn't be possible to extradite anyone from Australia to face such charges, and "however misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank".
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GOVERNMENT TESTS LIFE WITHOUT FM IN DIGITAL RADIO PILOT
Earlier this month the government announced a project in Bath that will see 235 people remove analogue radios from their lives, to see what it's like living in a digital-only radio age.
Research firm Ipsos MORI will monitor the six week initiative, which will see 235 people using only digital radio platforms, including the sometimes divisive Digital Audio Broadcasting network. Older, assisted living and disabled people will be amongst those involved in the trial, as will people who are registered blind or partially sighted.
As much previously reported, the move from analogue to digital-only radio is taking much longer than it did in the TV domain, with the radio industry itself split on the long-term viability of the DAB platform.
Some say that the DAB network isn't extensive or popular enough to replace the FM network, though others point out that consumer uptake of DAB services would likely rocket if a deadline was set for shutting off FM (in reality FM wouldn't actually be shut down immediately, rather most key services would become DAB-only, though FM would remain for areas were DAB coverage is patchy or where there isn't room for all local stations on the DAB network).
The six week pilot in Bath will inform the government's policy on the shift to digital radio, which is currently under review. Lib Dem MP Don Foster, the local MP for Bath and the Liberal Democrats' former spokesman on Culture, Media and Sport, said last week: "Bath has a great choice of stations on digital radio and I'm delighted that Bath has been chosen as the location for the Government Go Digital pilot".
He added: "I know the Department Of Culture, Media & Sport are keen to find out more about the experience of older people, assisted living people, disabled people and those who are registered blind or partially-sighted. Radio is of special significance to all these groups and it is vital that we consider fully their views and concerns before implementing any decision to move from the current technology".
BBC HOPES CHANGES WILL HELP VOICE RETAIN ITS AUDIENCE
Although early editions of 'The Voice' - where the franchise's principle gimmick, that judges can't see the wannabes auditioning, is centre stage - performed well in the ratings, interest in the series waned as it became more and more like a mediocre 'X-Factor' rip off.
There was speculation that the show's celebrity judging panel would be shaken up for series two, though in the end Will.i.am, Jessie J, Tom Jones and Danny O'Donoghue from The Script were all rebooked, as producers - probably rightly - realised that the problem with series one was in the format of later shows, rather than any of the people involved.
In series two there will be just three live shows - the bit where 'The Voice' becomes pretty much indistinguishable from 'X-Factor' - and a new section has been added to the series called 'the knockouts'. Some other elements that have apparently worked on the US version of 'The Voice' will also be incorporated.
All of which means show bosses are hopeful that this time 'The Voice UK' will maintain momentum throughout its series, heightening interest in its climax, which will hopefully result in the winner's first single at least going Top 40, and the accompanying finalists live show tour not being cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
KANYE BANS KILT SNAPS
This Beyonce-esque act of 'reputation management', says The Sun, may be a reaction to a 'diss' track released by rapper Lord Jamar titled 'Lift Up Your Skirt'. In it, Jamar brands West's fashion choice "queer shit", adding: "He introduced skinny jeans to the rap scene and then he wore a fucking skirt on the video screen. Then he wore it again at a memorial. I can't pretend, this shit is deplorable". Yeah, and so is homophobia.
Anyway, this is what Kanye was saying about his kilt last year: "I love this, I don't care if people think I am wearing a kilt or not wearing a kilt. I just love the silhouette. I think it's really modern".
Yes, yes it is. Look.