IS GOOGLE PLANNING A CRACK DOWN ON PIRATES USING ITS AD NETWORK?
Most ad agencies have entertainment-industry informed black lists of websites they won't directly shunt advertising or sponsorship money to on the grounds said sites are involved in piracy, but the online advertising networks they also hand ads and budget to aren't always as on it - partly because of slackness, partly because of the scale of their operations, and partly because of the issue as to who, exactly, other than a court of law, has the right to deem any one website as being a hot bed of piracy.
But according to the Telegraph, Google, as the owner of one of the leading online ad networks, is stepping up its efforts to cut off the advertising revenues of piracy enabling sites, and is talking to the likes of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, who have been in cahoots with key entertainment industry trade bodies for a while in a bid to stop piracy services taking money direct from users, with a view to joining their more coordinated effort.
Google has, of course, been under increased pressure from the content industries to be more proactive in the fight against piracy on various fronts, and the web giant has made various commitments along the line, though with mixed results if you ask the big music, movie and media companies. The downgrading of unlicensed content sources in Google searches remains possibly the hottest topic, though the web firm has been more vocal on the need to stop the pirates from carrying its ads, and last year it partnered on some research with PRS For Music that focused on the need to cut off the revenue streams of piracy enablers.
Quite what new plans Google may be concocting in this domain isn't clear, though the Telegraph seems to think they could be more radical than past efforts.
TAYLOR SWIFT SUED OVER ADVANCE ON CANCELLED SHOW
Except the ticketing company forced to pay out $1.8 million in refunds after the country festival was pulled is trying to claw back the cash to cover its costs. Though a spokesman for the singer points out that she had no direct agreement with the ticketing firm, which could hinder the lawsuit somewhat; and, says the Swift rep, her lawyers are yet to see the litigation anyway.
THE CRIBS TO PICK UP OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION GONG AT NME AWARDS
Confirming this bit of news, NME editor Mike Williams told CMU: "The Cribs arrived on the scene in 2003 with a DIY, never-say-die attitude and they've not let up since, literally bleeding for the cause at some of the most chaotic and thrilling gigs of the past decade, and at the same time producing five amazing albums that encapsulate punk spirit and outsider indie like no one else. Needless to say we're incredibly proud to salute their achievements by honouring them with this award. They truly are outstanding as well as inspiring, and we're looking forward to staying with them every step of the way for another ten years".
Meanwhile The Cribs themselves popped by CMU HQ and said in perfect unison (with Marr on backing guitar for old times sake): "It's a tremendous honour, and something that you never really dream of when first starting out as three maladjusted weirdos from the middle of nowhere. It's almost like a purple heart in some ways - recognition for your time in the trenches and varying degrees of suffering. Not sure there were too many acts of bravery, but if anything, we hope that people remember the fact that we always tried to negotiate this strange, and oftentimes sleazy industry with an ethic rooted in DIY - trying to forge your own path rather than riding the gravy train, so that makes this all the sweeter. Thanks a lot".
The NME Awards take place on 27 Feb.
SHAKUR ESTATE ANNOUNCES DEAL WITH JAMPOL MANAGEMENT
Moving forward the company will oversee licensing, merchandise and other ventures utilising the late rapper's image or music. Tom Whalley, the US record industry veteran who originally signed Shakur to Interscope in 1991, will also advise on projects.
Confirming the new arrangement, and revealing that there is yet more unreleased music by Shakur to be unleashed the rapper's mother Afeni Shakur told reporters: "I believe it is our responsibility to make sure that Tupac's entire body of work is made available for his fans. My son left many incomplete pieces and even more unfinished ideas. Using the blueprints he gave us, I am committed to fulfilling this duty".
Shakur, of course, was murdered in 1996, less than five years after the release of his debut album, though a plethora of work made by the prolific rapper before his untimely death has been released posthumously.
AZEALIA BANKS COLLABORATES WITH ARIEL PINK, REMIXES HARLEM SHAKE
Meanwhile, Banks has been hitting other virtual headlines over an unofficial (and, says its maker, DJ Baauer, totally unauthorised) rework of 'Harlem Shake', the 2012 dance track that went Top 3 in the UK charts this week thanks to the latest silly-dance phenomenon on YouTube. As everyone in the known world contributed their own efforts to the 'Harlem Shake' video fad, Banks went and released a version of the track on which she guests.
The Banks-featuring edit began as an official collaboration with Baauer it seems, but one he decided not to put out. The Mad Decent-signed producer, real name Harry Rodrigues, tells The Daily Beast: "She laid something on 'Harlem Shake' and it was so-so. Didn't love it. And that was a little while ago, and since all this video stuff happened, our plans all changed. Because of that, we decided to just release the song on its own with no vocal version. So we told her, 'Please don't release your version'. And she said, 'Well, I'm going to put it online anyway'. And we said, 'Please don't. We'd really like it if you didn't'. And she did".
And if you're somehow oblivious to the whole 'Harlem Shake' thing, this may or may not help you understand.
BIG DADA TO RELEASE GRIME 2.0 COMPILATION
Compiled by journalist Joe Muggs and the label's founder Will Ashton, the album delves into the latest crop of grime producers and MCs, as well as rubbing up against the scene's godfather, Wiley, and more.
The compilation is due for release on 6 May, but you can hear snippets of what it has on offer in this trailer.
And here's the complete tracklist:
DAVID BOWIE ADDS EXTRA NEXT DAY DETAILS
Set for release on 26 Feb, the single will precede the LP itself, which will be available in various shapes and sizes - not least a 'deluxe' Blu-spec CD carrying four extra tracks, no less - on 11 Mar.
The standard 'The Next Day' tracklisting is as follows:
The Next Day
ALISON MOYET GIVES AWAY NEW TRACK
WILLY MOON TALKS DEBUT LP
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
And here are all the latest listings in full:
WIRELESS, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 12-13 Jul: Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Trey Songz, Snoop Dogg, John Legend, Miguel, Frank Ocean, Emeli Sande, Rita Ora, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Fresh, Calvin Harris. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk
Y-NOT FESTIVAL, Matlock, Derbyshire, 2-4 Aug: The Horrors, The Enemy, Ash, Dan Le Sac v Scroobius Pip, Dry The River, 65daysofstatic, Dutch Uncles, We Are The Ocean, Three Trapped Tigers, The 1975, Lewis Watson, Johnny Foreigner, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Toy, Stealing Sheep, The Computers, Wet Nuns, The Family Rain, The History Of Apple Pie, Sharks, Arcane Roots, Planes, Jack Martello, King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, Gnarwolves, Zico Chain, Evarose, Gallops, The Physics House Band, Rat Attack, Naymedici, Max Raptor, Stagecoach, Axes, Gunning For Tamar, My First Tooth, Crushing Blows. ynotfestivals.co.uk
FESTIVAL CRIME CONFERENCE TO MEET AGAIN NEXT WEEK
Bringing together promoters from various British and Irish festivals, including Festival Republic's own Reading, Leeds and Latitude, plus Download, T In The Park, V Festival, Secret Garden Party, Global Gathering, Womad, Lovebox and Oxegen, along with police chiefs who have major music events in their regions, the event aims to share knowledge and best practice to cut down crime rates at festivals.
This year safety and liaison issues around a cancelled event will also be discussed following the last minute cancellation of some high profile festivals last year, mainly due to bad weather.
ATOMIC KITTEN DESIGN COSMETICS LINE
Gifting one Alan Titchmarsh with the info, the band's Kerry Katona - who reunited in a big way with the original AK litter (aka Natasha Hamilton and Liz McClarnon) as part of ITV's 'Big Reunion' - said: "We have just signed a contract for our own perfume range and cosmetic range, so this isn't the last of Atomic Kitten".
GATFIELD: SONY UK RELIED TOO MUCH ON X-FACTOR
We know all this because of an interesting interview with Sony Music's UK boss on the CBI website posted late last week. Gatfield begins by noting: "The bedrock of this business is new music. As long as you've got credible new music coming through, there are always ways of finding the music-loving public, whether it's online or through stores. The fundamentals are great talent".
Talking about his joining Sony Music UK in 2011, initially as President Of Music and subsequently CEO, Gatfield adds: "My mandate from my boss was: 'We've got to turn the UK back into a domestic repertoire powerhouse'. It had lost its way in terms of domestic A&R. We also needed to become a strong exporter of talent and fuel the Sony machine globally with British talent".
And on the role of 'X-Factor' in Sony's new talent equation: "Every one of our competitors would want the platform that 'The X-Factor' delivers. We have a phenomenal pipeline of talent coming through the TV formats and we're incredibly lucky to have that. But I think we relied on it too much and took our eye off the ball. We got complacent".
Gatfield believes that after a "year of restructuring and consolidation" he has now put in place the framework for a more holistic approach to new talent development, and while it's too soon to say how big the pay back will be, he's optimistic: "We have a whole range of new artists coming to market between now and March 2014. We have the most nominated artists in the critics' end-of-year polls for breakthrough success, while Tom Odell won the BRITs Critics' Choice award. You can't take any
NINJA TUNE LAUNCHES CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR OUT OF PRINT VINYL
Essentially the site collects the necessary number of pre-orders to cover the cost of repressing the records, making it worthwhile for the labels and ensuring that fans can get their hands on the records without having to fork out a fortune. As well as Ninja Tune itself, the service has Beggars, Domino, Sunday Best, Tru Thoughts, Big Dada, Accidental, Catskills and Brainfeeder also on board at launch.
Ninja Tune staffer and Beat Delete founder Martin Dobson told CMU how the idea came about: "It's a bit weird actually, the idea came to me in my sleep. Well, fully formed when I woke up one morning. I dreamed it up nearer the time of the [PIAS] fire, and when we found out how much stock Ninja Tune had lost, but more importantly how much stock the smaller indie labels lost, many of which wouldn't be able to repress much of their older and less sought after niche classics. It's taken a while to come to fruition but we've got some great labels on board already and a few exciting ones in the pipeline which I can't wait to announce in the next few weeks".
On how it all works, he added: "The labels decide on the price and order threshold they need to make the repress of the release feasible, we put the release up on the site and then customers can order the albums as you would normally on any shop. However their card is not charged until the order threshold is reached, once it is, we notify the label and then they go out and repress the product and post out the orders. It's likely to take two or three weeks once the threshold has been met for the album to be delivered to the customer".
Amongst records currently being offered for represses are Mr Scruff's 'Keep It Unreal', 'Brand New Second Hand' by Roots Manuva, 'Angles' by Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, and 'Your Future, Our Clutter' by The Fall.
Check out the site at www.beatdelete.com
UNIVERSAL PROMOTIONS: BRIEGMANN, CHOUDHURY
Briegmann, who has led Universal's operations in the German market, will have his remit expanded so to also cover Eastern Europe and the Nordic region in addition to Germany, Switzerland and Austria. He will also continue to oversee the Deutsche Grammophon label, and will join Universal Music Group International's management board.
He reports in to Universal's International boss Max Hole, who told CMU: "I've worked closely with Frank for many years and he shows calm authority and cool judgement in everything he undertakes. He combines business acumen with an instinctive understanding of artists and their ambitions, and will bring new energy and focus to all of the countries in his region".
Choudhury, who joined Universal in 2006 having previously worked in international marketing roles at both Sony and Warner, will oversee all aspects of international marketing for Universal's UK signed artists, reporting in to both Universal Music UK boss David Joseph and the major's President of Global Marketing Andrew Kronfeld.
Says Kronfeld: "This promotion recognises Hass's commitment and hard work in growing international sales of UK repertoire and helping develop the careers of artists including Amy Winehouse, James Morrison, Taio Cruz, Florence & The Machine, Amy Macdonald and, more recently, Jake Bugg and The Lumineers".
EARMUSIC RENEW PARTNERSHIP WITH ABSOLUTE
Confirming the renewed alliance, earMUSIC's Max Vaccaro told CMU: "[With Absolute] we have found more than just a distribution company. Absolute turned into our English office and in a few years we have achieved great results with radio airplay, charts successes and we have made an enormous step forward with our catalogue. Absolute in the UK and earMUSIC in Europe seems to have been the best choice for many artists who have trusted us and we feel this is only the start".
Absolute chief Henry Semmence added: "We have been working with Max and his team for several years now and are delighted to have helped establish earMUSIC as a highly successful label here in the UK. We are even more delighted to have renewed the deal and look forward to being involved with some iconic bands and releases over the coming months".
NIGHTWISH METALLER WORKING ON SCROOGE MCDUCK-INSPIRED ALBUM