OK Go’s Business Meeting With Their New Record Label Heads

As most people know OK Go is no longer part of EMI as they have been having a big disagreement about their music videos being embedded. OK Go’s latest video “This Too Shall Pass” hit about 3.5 million views.

It appears that OK Go is enjoying the independence because they have just created a video called Business Meeting where the band is meeting “with the heads of their new label to discuss their options.” It turns out their new label heads are a couple of dogs with clothes on. This could be OK Go’s latest viral video.

WHOISMGMT? MGMT’s Album ‘Congratulations’ Leaks, So They Give It Away

MGMT’s new album, Congratualtions found it’s way onto the file sharing ecosphere over the weekend, so in a striking move to make the best of a bad situation, Columbia and MGMT decided to put the whole thing up to stream for free on the band’s website:

Hey everybody, the album leaked, and we wanted you to be able to hear it from us. We wanted to offer it as a free download but that didn’t make sense to anyone but us.

Which is a pretty cool way of going about things, if you ask us. Bound to generate interest in the band and their music, and more of a gift to their fans than a capitulation to the pirates. Music has changed so drastically that bands are having to combat leaks and pirates in new ways, and we really hope this strategy pays off for the band. Go visit the site, get a t-shirt, buy the album in legit music stores, and stream it on Spotify, and let’s make sure they get their dues.

Lady Gaga vs Ex BF Rob Fusari – Don’t You Want Me Baby?

rob fusari and lady gagaStefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga is both suing and being sued by her ex-producer and ex-boyfriend Rob Fusari. Fusari, who has had two songs with other artists hit the top spot in the Billboard top 100, claims that he was instrumental in the creation of LG’s persona, sound, style and everything that has come together to make her so successful. There’s no doubt that he is partly responsible for the development of the Gaga entity, as he’s already been paid over $600,000 for the part he played, but he’s looking for a lot more: 20% of royalties (plays, sales, etc) and 15% of merchandising revenue (!!!). He’s got a contract that he’s putting under the court’s collective nose, but “The above described arrangement was structured in such a way as to mask its true purpose – to provide to the Defendants unlawful compensation for their services as unlicensed employment agents,” according to Germanotta’s attorneys.

Ex-lovers’ tiff or business-world backstabbing? The stakes are high in either case, as Lusari’s career and a huge chunk of revenue are riding on the outcome of the case. It all reminds me a bit of that Human League song… *sings* “You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar…”

Hands Out Of Pocket – Warner Prepares Bid For EMI Publishing

Hands upGuy Hands and his team at the high flying venture capital firm Terra Firma have been chewing sour grapes ever since their purchase of recording giant EMI for £2.4 billion. They have been in court with their lenders Citibank over bad advice during the sale of the label, and have been practically walking on water to meet the huge cash demand of the interest payments on their gigantic loan (although they stopped short of selling off the Abbey Rd. Studios to get a cash fix). Now they are again scrabbling around to find £120 million to plug a covenant breach on the same loan, and a deal is in the offing from WMG to buy the still-profitable music publishing arm of EMI, an asset it’s been coveting over the garden fence for decades. Any bid for the £1.2 billion publishing arm is probably going to be made after EMI have cleared or defaulted on their next interest payment, in the first case, making an offer to EMI and Terra Firma, and in the second, talking to their creditor Citi if the company goes into receivership.

Gorillaz Playing London Dates

plastic beachA tour supporting their new album ‘Plastic Beach’ means that the Camden Roundhouse will play host to Damon & Co.’s 2D extravaganza on the 29th and 30th of April, in a show featuring Damon Albarn, The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, Mos Def, Gruff Rhys, Shaun Ryder, Bobby Womack, The National Orchestra For Arabic Music, Bashy, De La Soul, Kano and Little Dragon, along with new animation and artwork by Jamie Hewlett. The gigs will be the band’s first full UK performance since Demon Days Live at the Manchester Opera House in 2005.

Tickets are £45, but don’t grab your credit card just yet, they’re not on sale to the public until 9am on Friday 26th March, although you can sign up to be a Roundhouse member and get hold of some early bird tix. They will also be available at this time from www.livenation.co.uk and www.roundhouse.org.uk (all tickets subject to a booking fee). Subscribers to the Gorillaz fan club will have access to an exclusive limited ticket pre sale from 7.30am on Tuesday [ www.gorillaz.com/g-club – membership from £24.99].

You can also play a strange little point-and-click adventure game on the band’s website by clicking here. It’s clunky, but who knows, you might win something?

Spotify Growing Fast – Product and Territory Expansion Slated

Spotify currently boasts 7 million users, all of them in Europe. Not bad for a product that was only released in October 2008 – this figure does only relate to the number of people on their free service, but their £10 a month premium service is also gaining traffic at a remarkable rate; they had “more than 250,000” premium users on 23rd Jan ’10, and are now boasting 320,000 paid subscribers, (as of the 17th March ’10), and increase of 28% in under 3 months, and an extra £8,400,000 a year into the coffers. Spotify still needs to up their percentages though, according to UMG’s [Universal Music Group’s] SVP [Senior Vice President] Rob Wells [and they would know, because they’ve taken shares in the business], they need to have around 10%-12% of their users as premium subscribers [they’re currently at about 5%] to have a viable business in the long term. This might change as more and more advertising dollars go online though – as both Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek and industry analysts Kantar Media are saying:

kantar media advertising[Table via TechCrunch’s article on the same]. Other interesting facts are that 15% to 18% of the Swedish population use Spotify – and the Swedish music industry’s revenues are up, and that Spotify’s p2p based system is actually using more interwebs than the whole nation of Sweden. There are rumours of a Spotify set-top box and/or home stereo system, a bit like that Sonos thing, but running off your Spotify premium account.

Other signs of Spotify’s ambition came from comments about Apple – Ek described them as having a freemium model like Spotify’s, as everyone (in his opinion) downloads a lot of free stuff and then buys the stuff they really like on iTunes:

“The vast majority of people’s libraries are free from Limewire or trading through friends. And then there’s a small portion of tracks that they’ve bought… I really believe that if music could be legally available on any device that you wanted… I think the music industry would be radically bigger than what it is today”.

He also thinks that Apple will change the way that iTunes works, to allow remote access from anywhere to your iTunes music account on a cloud: “People want to share, to access independently. I think it makes a lot of sense for them to do something in that area.”

Puffy Palace For The Premiership?

on the head son40 year old demi-billionaire rapper, business man and jet owning loon Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs has set his sights on buying Championship team Crystal Palace, who were recently put into administration [and RN Simon points out lost to his team Reading 1-3 last month] and are flirting with relegation to the UK’s Division 1. The egocentric star recently spent the evening drinking in London nightclub Runway, and insisted on having the DJ play half an hour of his music to announce his arrival, and on having his ‘fragrance’ Sean John sprayed into the room at intervals, although whether this was to dampen the stench of the proles, or to scent-mark the club like a tom-cat is unclear – more in this article from Music-News.com

Vinyl Up Close

You’ll need your 3-D specs to properly appreciate this amazing view of the surface of an LP, magnified x390 3d groovesby an electron microscope, photographed by Chris Supranowitz at the University of Rochester, who has also taken pictures of a load of other interesting stuff, including the pits on a CD, ladybird claws, and the surface of a fly’s eye… Makes you appreciate the wonder of the commonplace! Click on the pic to go to Chris’s project page, where you can find the rest of his images, or here to go to an amazing and totally non-music-related zoomable image of an ant under an electron microscope. 1950’s monster movie anyone?

The End Is Nigh – Chaos Reigns At Myspace

darth murdochPoor old Myspace – everyone loves to hate them these days. Even before it was assimilated into Newscorp’s Dark Empire, it was beset with a hideous, clunky user interface, a messaging system only slightly less cumbrous than training a carrier pigeon to take your messages, some of the slowest load times on the internet and that’s all without mentioning the millions upon millions of scene-teens that infested the site like so many gnats, their sparkly, buggy, eye-scorching profiles and six-figure friend counts repulsing the mind at every click. What it did have going for it was content. You could click over to a band’s profile and see a neat summary of news and information about them and maybe listen to a song or two. Then came Facebook, and Grooveshark, and Last.FM, and Spotify, and suddenly Myspace was wondering where all the traffic had gone. Then it’s spiritual heart got cut out when Tom got bought out and booted, its got decapitated twice [DeWolfe, Van Natta], and now it looks set for an implosion of hideous proportions, as when all of its management staff and key programmers get their bonus paycheques in June, a lot of them are going to abandon ship.

With an owner that’s rooted in old media, and known for his rapacious treatment of his conquests, is there any hope for Myspace?