Wednesday, October 07, 2015

HMV: Has more vigour

Here's something that I don't think anyone was expecting to be reading a couple of years back: HMV is thriving.

Yes, HMV.

Yes, it's doing quite well:

The UK music retailer has opened 14 new stores this year, with another three planned before Christmas. This is in stark contrast to early 2013 when the business collapsed under £176m of debt and 80 of its 223 shops were shut. It was rescued by the retail turnaround firm Hilco, which took on 141 high street stores and 2,600 employees.
And turn around it has - mostly by not making the mistakes of the past, and admitting it's not a technology shop, or a cinema, or a youth club. It's been helped by the vinyl revival - which it may be hoping isn't just a fad - and there's this, too:
HMV has made a rapid comeback on the high street, wresting the title of the UK’s biggest music and DVD retailer back from Amazon in January.
I suspect the Guardian actually means physical retailer there, and it's a bit of a double-edged honour; it's not that it's suddenly become a more powerful retailer, just that online, people are streaming or downloading a lot more, so why would you buy a CD from Amazon?

Still, while it lasts, it's a tribute to Hilco and the work they've done. There's life in the old dog yet.

Not sure how it'll fare in the coming market crash, though...

If you're keeping track...

Here's what Bucks Fizz (or the remnants thereof) are legally trading as these days:

"Cheryl, Mike & Jay Formerly of Bucks Fizz". Not be confused with Bucks Fizz Style Band With Bucks Fizz Flavouring, or The Rump Of The Rump Of The Eurovision Winners 1981.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

A quick dip into fashion

It's Paris Fashion Week - you don't need me to tell you that. Our eye is caught by a line in Wonderland Magazine:

Acne Studio’s Creative Director, Jonny Johansson, pays the ultimate homage to the world of music. A binding of everything he has known and loved about music in the present and past, the collection works a reoccurring motif of coloured CD prints in green, purple, blue and red. Dominating Perspex guitar badges are attached to the backs and fronts of tops and the classic 80’s shoulder padded blazer.
Let's just stop there. If you're having trouble imagining what that's like... well, it's like this:
If there were trousers with that, it would exactly like something David Cameron would wear to a UK Music sponsored event:
- "maybe I need slightly larger lapel badges to show that I really like music like Smiths and The Sam Smith, right?"
- "good idea, Prime Minister; it'll also cover up this stain on the pocket. Is that bacon fat you've got on there?"

Thing is, the rest of the collection isn't bad - in fact, there's a couple of really nice pieces in it - but this is like someone who loves fashion and music trying to bring them together, and having as much success as someone saying "I don't get it, I love my Nan and I love cage fighting, why isn't Nan enjoying her first cage fight? Didn't she train hard enough?"

The tradition is upheld

Every year.

This week just gone

These were last week's new starts:

Chvrches - Every Open Eye

Download Every Open Eye

Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Going Down

Download B'lieve I'm Going Down

Voice Of The Beehive - Access All Areas

Shawn Colvin - Uncovered

Download Uncovered

New Order - Music Complete

Download Music Complete

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Lauren Mayberry doesn't want your proposals

Somebody called out a proposal during Chvrches in London. Lauren didn't fan herself and say yes:

"Come on! What's the hit rate on that? When you go into public places and ask women you don't know if they want to wed you. Does that work out well for you, sir?" Lauren lightheartedly enquired.

She went on: "Also, I assume because you're here that you know a bit about our band. I'm very grumpy. I don't want that shit.

"Thank you everybody else and sorry for shaming that one person - but if nobody tells you, you're never going to know."
It's probable that the guy wasn't actually expecting his proposal to be considered seriously - although it's lovely to think that maybe he did, and the wings had been a small mariachi band, a sommelier carrying champagne, and a dog with gift-wrapped ring in his mouth, all waiting for a signal from the guy to come in when Lauren said 'yes'. Seconds after the proposal flopped, all these people would have been milling about mumbling "we better still be paid for this".

It's also amusing that Lauren assumes that this wasn't just a bloke who was infatuated with her, specifically, to the point of inappropriateness, but she assumed he must make a habit of going about issuing proposals willy-nilly. "I don't even know why I'm still tearing strips off you, you've probably already gone over to the bar to ask the manager to marry you."

Putin is going to take on music pirates

So, apparently, Russia is going to stamp down on piracy by shaming advertisers:

The Russian government has vowed to crack down on the top 100 copyright-infringing sites, in order to shame the Top 100 brands into pulling their advertising from the pirate operations, Russia's Deputy Communications Minister Alexei Volin said this week.

"People need to come to their senses about this issue. Major brands are proud of being white-and-fluffy; so let's publish a list of all those brands that advertise on pirate sites." Wolin said this is the first step, with blacklisting sites also on the agenda.
We know that nothing upsets Putin like the sight of something where it has, legally, no place being - you know, like a Russian army brigade in Ukraine.

It's something of a turnabout for Russia to suddenly worry about music piracy, though - for years, the .ru domain consisted solely of the Pravda website and thousands of collections of mp3s you could buy for a few pence and however much money would subsequently be swiped from your credit card.

What the pop papers say: Missing by Moyles

Week three of the car-crash that is Free NME looking for an identity, and it manages to make last week's Robert Pattinson cover look like a wise choice. For staring out of the front page this time round, it's Chris Moyles.

Now, a Chris Moyles cover by itself doesn't have to be bad, if it was leading into a piece about Chris Moyles written out of curiosity. Instead, it just waves off four pages of fawning.

Moyles kicks off by announcing he's a feminist; he underpins this by listing the women he works with and muttering about tax on sanitary products. They ask about the whole "offering to fuck Charlotte Church now she's 16" thing - Moyles' defence is that he "said it once. I moved on." And how does NME counter this? Er, by just moving on to the next thing.

The next thing is his homophobia and racism. Unbelievably, Moyles uses the human shield defence - "one of my best friends is transgender".

Does the NME point out that this justification - don't judge me on what I do, judge me on who I know - is incredibly weak? No. Just write it down, type it up, print it out, move it on.

His continuing beef with Radio 1 is given paragraphs of space - which could have made for some interesting commentary; Moyles at Radio X suggests a man who's still obsessed with his Radio Ex, using the platform to try and convince Radio 1 that he's having a great time and he's really glad that they split up. Is there any attempt to quiz him on his obsession with Ben Cooper? Nope.

His tax arrangements? Mentioned just to allow Moyles to trot out a "I didn't break the law, and I paid it anyway" line before moving on. Yes, given the chance to ask him about his second hand car business, the NME blinks. Any opportunity to explore the question is gone.

Even on the reformatting of XFM as Radio X, which you think the NME would have once cared about, is treated in a way that will have Global Radio PR purring:

Don't expect to come to Moyles to find obscure new grime artists or cutting-edge psych-rock bands. Radio X has retained new-music champion John Kennedy's late-night X-Posure show for that. Moyles is here for the express purpose of entertaining people as they battle hangovers, get ready for another mind-numbing day in the office or peel out of bed before going to college.
That radio station which was supposed to be the home of alternative music on British radio? Don't worry, they've kept a tiny rump of that late at night - presumably when the 'real' audience is out building up those hangovers for the morning.

Back when Radio One was shunting John Peel ever further into the night, NME called the BBC on the bullshit claim that you can support new music best by putting it where nobody is listening.

Why on earth would NME give such a free pass to the new Radio X?

Clearly, in part, because the idea of taking something that used to be a distinctive, alternative voice for new music and pissing it down to yet another chart-and-chat platform might resonate with NME. The token music piece this week is a very, very, very short feature on Wolf Alice. They're dubbed "the best new band in Britain". The NME first wrote about Wolf Alice three years ago. The proper NME did. If they're pretending that Wolf Alice are a discovery now, no wonder they'd think John Kennedy is more than enough of that cutting-edge stuff.

The more prosaic reason for the free passes handed to Moyles and Radio X is probably the two page advert that appears immediately before the interview.

One other sign that the NME has lost its mojo quite badly - the person who used to maintain Wikipedia's list of NME covers hasn't bothered to update the list with the new ones. You can see why.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bruce Dickinson overthinks the standing on stage thing

Bruce Dickinson has shared how he sees his role knocking out old Iron Maiden songs for ageing rock fans:

"I feel like that sometimes on stage, that you are an intermediary between one world and another — the audience are in one world, the band are in their world, and as the singer, frontman, whatever, your job is to kind of bring the two worlds together, but not get them tangled up. Keep it under control without people realizing that, actually, they're in a safe place. Keep the audience in a safe place, but let everybody feel out of control. And so that's the way I feel often on stage.

"Standing there looking beautiful is not performing. Performing comes from engaging. And it's hard work; you've gotta work to do that. Audiences are brutal — I mean, they will eat you alive — because they all paid good money to be entertained, and they turn up expecting to be told what to do. They may disagree with that, but actually they do. They turn up to a show, and they go, 'I came here to be…' you know. 'This is gonna be good. This is gonna be good. What do I do now?' And the band guide them; you guide them, you guide them, you guide them to a great place, where they go, 'Wow! What a great experience. Wasn't that cool? And we did this. And we all sang, and we all chanted.' But if the guy comes up on stage and goes, 'I'm gonna stare at my shoes and it's all about me,' they're gonna kill you. 'Cause it's not all about you, dude — it's about the music, and it's about them; it's about the audience."
If they turn up and expect to be told what to do, how are they actually brutal? Unless you tell them to kill you for staring at your shoes? And why would you do that?

It's a slightly odd view of what he's doing - opening some sort of portal to a netherworld, while simultaneously having to be the health and safety guy making sure the audience don't cross over. Which they wouldn't do unless he told them to.

Really, he's mainly just choosing when Run To The Hills appears on the set list, isn't he?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Harry Styles gives his clothes to charity, like John Lennon told us to

Apparently, Harry Styles gets sent so many loads of designer clothes, he just drops them straight off at charity shops. Apparently:

A source shared: ''Harry was casually talking about all the free stuff he gets sent and how he can't keep up with all of it.

''He said he gives a lot of it away to friends and family but also drives up to charity shops and drops bin bags of designer clothes at a time.''
I'm hoping shrewd charity shops up and down the country are exploiting this news, selling polyester trousers to starstruck preteens by saying "no, a man with extravagant hair dropped these off here earlier today. He also handed over this collection of Midsomer Murders on slightly damaged VHS tapes."

I think Britney Spears has just recreated the Milgram Experiment

Compare and contrast:

This week just gone

Most-read September stories:

1. Emily Ratajkowski's blurred lines
2. Pop papers: First free NME
3. David Cassidy won't be coming back to the UK
4. Bruce Dickinson doesn't get the modern world with all its Tweetering and Facebookies
5. The Robert Forster album is streaming at The Guardian

These were the new releases:

Robert Forster - Songs To Play

Download Songs To Play

Metric - Pagans In Vegas

Download Songs To Play

Meg Myers - Sorry

Download Meg Meyers

Battles - La Di Da Di

Download La Di Da Di

Lana Del Ray - Honeymoon

Download Honeymoon

Phases - For Life

Download For Life

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Thomas Dolby is upskilling down-at-heel bits of Baltimore

Thomas Dolby, you're probably aware, has kept himself busy over the years. But he's doing something even more impressive than inventing ringtones and working with Magnus Pyke. Right now, he's working in a run-down part of Baltimore:

Another project in the works — spearheaded by Dolby's colleagues, Lucy Bucknell and Linda DeLibero — will help local ex-offenders make films that tell their personal stories.

“I would just love it if all of humanity that’s out here on the streets looks at this building, and rather than view it as yet another gleaming university edifice that they can’t go near, that they really have a stake in the building,” Dolby says, "and that it can have a positive effect on the community and on the revitalization of Station North.”

Sure, Thomas Dolby knows this kind of “revitalization” can be complicated.

“People get displaced, people will be complaining about the rent and all the rest of it,” he says. “And those are all things that anybody developing a neighborhood has to take into account.”

Especially, he says, if that “anybody” is a relative newcomer who — until his recent move to Fells Point — was splitting his time between the west coast of the United States and the east coast of England.

“I don’t want to steam in here like the expatriate Brit who thinks he can come in and immediately come to grips with the neighborhood,” Dolby says. “I’m learning all the time. So I spend as much time as I can in Station North, talking to people, and I’m trying to make sure that anything I initiate here makes sense, really, for the neighborhood.”
That's a really cool approach - although the "people will be complaining" line suggests he might already have had his fingers burned a little.

Australia might not let Chris Brown in

Australia's Immigration Minister is being encouraged to refuse an entry visa to Chris Brown, on account of his domestic violence:

Australian Minister for Women Michaelia Cash, speaking alongside Turnbull at an event in Canberra highlighting new government efforts to fight domestic violence, urged Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to bar the performer.

"People need to understand that if you are going to commit domestic violence and then you want to travel around the world there are going to be countries that say to you, 'You cannot come in because you are not of the character we expect in Australia'," Cash told reporters.
It would be an important signal to the wider world, although recently Australia has had something of a reputation for not allowing anyone in at all.

Kenny Rogers to walk away

Sad news from MegaCountry. Kenny Rogers is retiring:

Rogers, 77, said that has accomplished everything he wanted to achieve as an artist and that he wanted to spend more time with his children, including his 11-year-old twins.

“I’m sure I will miss it,” he said when discussing his retirement. “I swore that I would do this until I embarrassed myself. And I’m getting to where I don’t walk around well … my mobility’s really driving me crazy.” Later in the Today segment, Rogers stated that he felt that he owed the fans who've supported him for so long the chance to say goodbye during the world tour, and that he plans to "go out with a flurry."
Isn't a "flurry" kind of underpowered for a farewell? You might not want to go out with a bang, but a flurry seems only a step up from going out with a shower.

The rural dean lay inert in his John 3:16 shirt

Pope Francis - his chosen Papal name means 'one desperate to be liked' - is going to release an album of rock music.

Or rather, it sounds like some of his god-related-thinkings have been slapped on top of some "contemporary" music. It's Yet More Christian Rock, not Francis going "Holy child" to the tune of "Gangnam Style".

Friday, September 25, 2015

What the pop papers say: Bloodless coup

Last week, the free NME made a semi-decent bid at suggesting there was a life ahead for the title.

This week? Not so much. You could probably just about get away with a Robert Pattinson cover, if you didn't feel the need to allude to Twilight on it. The NME does, so they don't.

There's also three pages on Jeremy Corbyn but it's not clear who it's aimed at - the information assumes so little background knowledge that it's presumably intended as a 'start here' guide, but why would anyone who hadn't bothered to discover that he's the new Labour leader by now give a shit? And who is this audience who need to have Corbyn's voting record detailed for them, but who will know who Tony Benn is? After a summer where young people have been more engaged with politics - and Labour politics at that - this suggestion the kids need a primer is embarrassing at best.

There's a really confused sidebar, too - the "punkest politicians of all time". It includes Berlusconi, calling his dodgy behaviour as being "in the punkest fashion possible". Apparently either the all-new NME doesn't know much about the fraudulent, sexist Italian politician, or it doesn't know much about punk.

They also include Cromwell, but don't manage to squeeze in the whole being the only non-Royal head of state. It also describes him as "extremely unpleasant", which suggests the NME doesn't like punk. (Their inclusion of Andy Burnham reiterates this.)

There are a full four album reviews this week, which is something. But there's only one music feature - Rudimental - and it looks about two hundred words long.

The first issue they had over a month to work on. The second issue, clearly, didn't have as much time, or as much room for thought, and so gives a clearer sense of what the new NME is trying to be.

What it seems to be is a really watered down Shortlist. Which is a blow to those of us who were hoping it might at least be a watered down NME.

Something better: Art Decades**, which has just* launched its fourth issue, with a 20 page appreciation of Lush. There's interviews with both Miki Berenyi AND Emma Anderson. One of the main revelations is that there's a Lush song which rips off the theme of Reggie Perrin.

* - I say "just"; it's dated July 2015.

** - You can get it via

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Robbie Williams: The Return: The rerun

Robbie Williams is hoping to rejoin Take That again.

The way he keeps popping in and out of the band, and with Gary Barlow's love of ten-pound-note, it might make sense for Williams to be put on a zero hours contract, so we can all skip the tortuous negotiations every time he finds a blank space in his bank statement ("in his diary").

Sunday Mirror seems surprised by children growing up

I know it must be a bore of a job, having to try and interest people in a picture of Mel B, while trying to justify running a photo of a teenager. But... come on, Sunday Mirror:

Mel B's daughter Phoenix continues her grown-up transformation as teen towers beside her mum
"Continues her grown-up transformation". I know teenagers find growing into adulthood can be difficult, but who knew that it was such a struggle for headline writers as well?

This week just gone

Stories from five years ago this week:

Seal puts family ahead of cash
Apple force Harry Hill album name change
Cher auctions follows
Music Week pronounces indie dead; NME kicks the corpse a bit
Carla Bruni did those David Bowie covers
A lovely little story about Peter Skellern

These were already out a week by the time Friday came round:

Welsh Rock For Refugees

Low - Ones And Sixes

Download Ones And Sixes

Nerina Pallot - The Sound And The Fury

Download The Sound And The Fury

Richard Hawley - Hollow Meadows

Download Hollow Meadows

Beirut - No No No

Download No No No

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What the pop papers say: The free NME

Well, it even made the news on BBC Radio Bristol, so I suppose claims that the latest NME relaunch was "historic" aren't that overblown.

But what are we left with now?

The first nought-pee NME has bagged a pretty strong cover - Rihanna, with a fairly hefty interview with Peter Robinson. It's eveb got coverage in People and other US titles, and having talk lines picked up by other media won't hurt with getting the magazine picked up in shoes shops.

Editor Mike Williams explains the choice of Rihanna for the cover:

[She] totally embodies the spirit of the new NME. She's individual, she's iconic and, as she tell us in our world exclusive interview: "I just have a way of breaking the rules".
They might have been better getting Madonna, to be honest - her best days behind her, jumping awkwardly onto any fad a little too hard and a little too late, and when your Dad spots you're listening to her he asks "is she still going?"

It's also slightly awkward that Rihanna was on (one of the) covers of the 2010 relaunch, and significantly hasn't turned up since. Until yesterday.

The claim that Rihanna is iconic, and thus like the NME, is a bit weird too, as in Mike's welcome letter it comes just one paragraph south of a claim that:
Whether or not you know that NME launched in 1952 as New Musical Express [...] isn't important (though we're very proud of our incredible history).
If knowing the brand is insignificant, then the obvious question is: why have you slapped the brand on the magazine? If the letters "NME" don't have to mean anything to the reader, and the magazine under the letters is all new, why didn't you just come up with a name that would carry some meaning?

While the Rihanna interview is meaty (and obviously next week we'll get an idea if that scale of ambition is keeping up), the rest of the magazine is quite slight. Chrvches are interviewed, although the resulting piece is two pages, heavily padded out with (what don't appear to be specially shot) photos. Space is found for a tiny box about 'other bands which spell name funny ways' that doesn't mention Pvris, and implies that they're expecting readers to be going 'isn't Chrvches a strange word').

The other feature is even more dispiriting - why Big Bang Theory is the new Friends. Now, if we were in season two of Big Bang Theory, this sort of thing might just pass; if it was an unwatched gem tucked away in the schedules, it might have had something to say. But even on E4, it's getting an audience ten times the circulation of the new NME, so an article saying "hey, they're friends but it's like they're family" is bemusing. Next week: "hey, you guys, there's a series called Hollyoaks and it's a bit like Emmerdale but with a different accent."

It's good to see Peter Robinson Versus is back - although this week it's John Lydon. Asked what he'd tell new readers about the NME, he cracks wise with "you've got a good tractor section", although his more familiar put-down of "not new, not musical, and not particularly express" is now more fitting than ever.

The best innovation is a column by Katherine Ryan - I'm going to call her the new Alan Parker as a result. Other new clutter - a page asking people what they're listening to (currently the only indication that 'ordinary' people will be featured in the magazine, something of a strange decision in the social media era); a 'good week/bad week' ladder; a games page - could have come straight from Shortlist or any Saturday magazine bundled with a regional newspaper.

And what of the music? There's only three album reviews - a few shorter pieces do little more than acknowledge they are now available; a handful of tracks. The live pages are ten big pictures of upcoming gigs. There's no reviews of events that have happened, and one of those gigs is One Direction.

The good news, at least for Time Magazines, is that there's a lot of advertising - pages and pages of live ads (why print a full gig guide when people will pay you to promote their events?). So as it's clear there's barely any editorial budget at all, economically the relaunch appears to be working.

The 1980s NME would have seen you through a decent length train trip. The early 21st Century might have lasted a fast journey between Milton Keynes and London. This new version, if your train was five minutes late, you'd have finished before you got on board.

It's not that it's slight, but - presumably to encourage as many people as possible to pick it up - there's no sense of what it is, or what it believes, or even what it likes.

It's not a great new era for such a venerable title, but on the plus side: you do get a little bit more than what you pay for.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Morrissey, the ray of sunshine, predicts death for Corbyn

Morrissey played Plymouth last night, and took the chance to comment on current events. In particular, he suggested Jeremy Corbyn might want to check his brake cables before cycling:

Fans on Twitter disagree on the exact quote – see tweets below – but all agree that Morrissey said that left-wing Corbyn's vegetarianism and opposition to both war and the monarchy put him under threat. NME has spoken to someone who attended the gig last night and who verifies that Morrissey did say this about Corbyn.
Yes, I'd imagine the All New Free NME went to great pains to verify that Mozzer said something, what with their history.

It's not impossible that the establishment might move against Corbyn - the experiences of Benn and Wilson suggests it's a real possibility - but I somehow suspect it's not going to be over his rejection of sausage rolls. Nobody is going to be meeting in a clean room at MI5 fretting that a leader who won't have a shepherds' pie is going to drag us into a dystopian nightmare. "It's not that he's going to quit NATO and dump the nukes, Commander. It's that he won't be eating a bacon bap while he does it."

Grace Jones dishes it out

Oh, Russell Harty. You thought you got a bashing at the hands of Grace Jones? You got away lightly.

In her new biography, she pretty much slams down everyone who has made music in the last twenty-five years:

Trends come along and people say, ‘Follow that trend’. There’s a lot of that around at the moment: ‘Be like Sasha Fierce. Be like Miley Cyrus. Be like Rihanna. Be like Lady Gaga. Be like Rita Ora and Sia. Be like Madonna.’ I cannot be like them – except to the extent that they are already being like me.

I have been so copied by those people who have made fortunes that people assume I am that rich. But I did things for the excitement, the dare, the fact that it was new, not for the money, and too many times I was the first, not the beneficiary.
She then has a pop at Doris:
I remember when one of the singers on the list of those who came after me first said that she wanted to work with me. Everyone around me is going: ‘You have to do it, it will be so good for you, it will introduce you to a whole new audience, you will make a lot of money’. No! It will be good for her; she will draw from everything I have built and add it to her brand, and I will get nothing back except for a little temporary attention. No one could believe that I said no, but I am okay on my own. I am okay not worrying about a new audience. If the fuck don’t feel right, don’t fuck it.

With this one, who I will call Doris, I thought she was trying on other people’s outfits: she’s a baby in a closet full of other people’s clothes, a little girl playing dress-up, putting on shoes that don’t fit. I could see what she wanted to be when I watched her doing something when she started out that was starker and purer. Deep down, she doesn’t want to do all the dressing-up nonsense; she loses herself inside all the play-acting.
Doris, I think you can safely assume, sounds like it's going to be Madge. Or maybe not... as Doris appears alongside Madonna on this list:
I still feel I could go into teaching. What is teaching but passing on your knowledge to those who are at the beginning? Some people are born with that gift. With me, the teaching side morphed into the performing side. It’s in there. And these are my pupils – Gaga, Madonna, Annie Lennox, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Miley, Kanye West, FKA Twigs and... Doris.
I think that's a double burn to Kanye West right there...

My real hope is that Doris turns out to be Doris from Why Don't You. But notably missing from the final list is Nicki Minaj.

The Dancing Baby is free to dance

Eight years after a dancing baby created a shitstorm, a Federal Appeals Court has told Universal that it needs to think things through before issuing takedown notices:

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that copyright holders like Universal must consider fair use before trying to remove content from the Internet. It also rejected Universal’s claim that a victim of takedown abuse cannot vindicate her rights if she cannot show actual monetary loss.

“Today’s ruling sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “We’re pleased that the court recognized that ignoring fair use rights makes content holders liable for damages.”
The baby in question danced for a few seconds while a Prince song played in the background. Universal sued with a straight face claiming that this would stop Prince from being able to make a living.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sony plotted to buy BitTorrent

Here's a strange little nugget: Torrentfreak has seen documents which show Sony was planning to buy BitTorrent in 2006.

There was a solid business idea behind the scheme (more solid than the botched attempts to turn Napster into a legitimate business) - Sony was going to use BitTorrent to provide a link between their film content and their physical products.

A little creepy, though, to admire a company's software but attempt to destroy the company through lawsuits before making an offer to buy it, isn't it?

BPI want to see the colour of BBC money

Earlier this week Tony "Memorial" Hall made a speech about the future of the BBC where he promised all sorts of entertaining, educational and informative things to come, for all the world like a man whose funding wasn't being choked off by George Osborne.

Amongst the ideas was a music streaming service which would, somehow, offer the last 50,000 tracks played by the BBC for licence fee payers to dip into somehow, and for some reason.

Clearly, Hall was just making up ideas which sound lovely, like news for North Korea and something something Royal Shakespeare Company probably on iPlayer or whatever. Nothing seemed that well thought through, least of all the music streaming.

But this hasn't stopped the BPI from running forward to demand to know the precise financial details of the half-formed idea. Billboard reports:

U.K. music industry body BPI expressed some worries about the plans. “The starting point for some of the BBC’s suggestions, around how such a service might work, involved launching such a service but paying no money for it," CEO Geoff Taylor said, according to music business strategy and information company Music Ally. "I just don’t think that’s viable."

He added: "There will have to be a sensible deal behind it if it is going to happen.”
I wonder if Geoff Taylor was ever asked out on a date:

- Hey, Geoffrey, I...
- Geoff
- Sorry?
- I prefer Geoff. It's funkier.
- Uh... right. Well, I was wondering if you'd like to go to the cinema with me sometime, maybe to...
- I insist you tell me now how you propose we fund the raising of any children which might result as actions set in train following this proposed event
- What... I...
- Tell me now, or there will be no cinema dates.
- I... uh... how about we make musicians sign punitive contracts which takes huge fees off them for services, one of which could be funding a self-important lobby group that can pretend it speaks for "music" as if it was a democratic body, which you could run for a huge salary?
- Hmm. Good plan. I'll pick you up at seven on Saturday, and we can go see The Goonies.

Tony Hall hasn't yet addressed BPI concerns, but has been heard muttering about "why shouldn't chickens be connected to a creative journalistic nexus?"

"I never touched her bottom" claims ex-radio host

Over two years ago, a breakfast show host on Denver's KYGO was accused of touching Taylor Swift's bottom, and was dumped from his job.

Now, just twenty seven short months later, David Mueller - known professionally as Jackson before the incident, and 'that guy fired for touching Swift's arse' afterwards - has filed a lawsuit.

The crux of his case is that it was a case of mistaken identity:

According to the suit, Mueller posed with Swift and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher.

After some small talk, "Swift suddenly announced it was picture time" and "quickly put her right arm" around Melcher. Mueller jumped into the photo "at the last second."

Swift cordially thanked the couple and they left, the suit said.

After the photograph, Mueller, in the suit, said he met a co-worker who "excitedly told him about his experience meeting Ms. Swift earlier that night."

The co-worker "described and demonstrated how he had put his arms around her, hands on her bottom," according to the filing.
The lawsuit also makes reference to his lifetime ban from Taylor Swift concerts, but it's unclear from reports if he is seeking to have this overturned.

Robert Forster: Streaming Now

The new Robert Forster album, Songs To Play, is streaming over on The Guardian website right now.

This week just gone

One year ago - popular from September 2014:

1. Apple gave everyone a free U2 album nobody wanted
2. Paloma Faith misses the point of naked photos
3. U2 tell people who didn't want their album they were wrong
4. Bono inventing a new music format
5. RIP: Robert Young
6. Robin Thicke says he was too out of it to take responsibility for Blurred Lines
7. Tatu have shifted their position on gay rights a bit
8. RIP: Peter Gutteridge
9. New Pornographers on David Letterman
10. Neil McCormick, who knows Bono, explains why U2's unwanted spam was alright

These were the interesting new releases:

Suede - Dog Man Star Live

Download Dog Man Star

Giant Sand - Heartbreak Pass

Download Heartbreak Pass

Troy Sivan - Wild

Download Wild

Ane Brun - When I'm Free

Download Wild

Lou Barlow - Brace The Wave

Download Brace The Wave

Steve Earle - Terraplane

Download Terraplane

Helena Hauff - Discreet Desires

Download Discreet Desires

Saturday, September 12, 2015

David Cassidy won't be coming back

Sad times for David Cassidy fans, as he's never, ever going to come back to the UK because... well, he he didn't make very much money last time:

Asked by [This Morning] if he would be touring the UK soon, Cassidy, 65, replied: “Probably not. The problem is there is a 20 per cent foreign entertainer’s tax, and with everything else that it costs to go there – no, I don’t think so.
“I’d love to, but I ended up making $630 (£408) last time I went there, so it didn’t make a lot of sense.”
It's true, there is a tax on foreign entertainers, but it only kicks in if you make more than the UK personal tax allowance. If Cassidy ended up with less than five hundred quid, it seems that was less because of the tax regime and more... well, that he didn't make enough money in the first place.

Cassidy also bristled when asked about being bankrupt:
Speaking from the five-bedroom Fort Lauderdale house via video link, Cassidy became irritated when asked about reports that he has filed for bankruptcy.

“Are you trying to rubbish me?” he demanded in response to Holmes’s questions.

“When you declare bankruptcy in this country, it's something you do in order to reorganise what you have, your assets, so I'm not going to discuss that.”

The house sale “has nothing to do with declaring bankruptcy, that was a totally separate issue. I’m doing it because I’m in the middle of a divorce,” he said.

When Langsford attempted to steer the chat into less choppy waters by asking if Cassidy was glad to have the support of his fans during a difficult period, he snapped: “Don’t interrupt me,” before telling her nine times to “wait” when she tried to speak.
What a shame that he won't be coming back to Britain. What a loss.