THURSDAY 2 MARCH 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The alleged founder of the one time leading file-sharing facilitator KickassTorrents can be extradited to the US to face copyright crime charges, according to a court in Poland. Though there are still a number of stages to go through in the extradition process before Artem Vaulin is actually handed over to the American authorities... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Introducing herself to the world with debut single 'Flicker', Lxandra is off to a strong start. Bold and confident in both production and delivery, the track sets the scene for her as an artist who can comfortably encapsulate those two adjectives. "'Flicker' is about letting go", she says of the single. [READ MORE]
 
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU Insights recently presented two sessions at the Output conference in Belfast focused on how artists can get more media coverage and drive more streams. Look out for edited highlights of both sessions in a special edition of the CMU Podcast going online very soon. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
 
LATEST CMU TRENDS: The death of the record company has been predicted many times in the last fifteen years. Yet, in 2017, most artists still work with a record company - or a business that looks rather like a record company - in one way or another. As Music 4.5 considers what 'The Record Label Of The Future' might look like, CMU Trends reviews where we're at. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Kickass man can be extradited, says Polish court
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DEALS Avril Lavigne signs to BMG
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Mark Fry becomes MD of Warner Music Finland
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LIVE BUSINESS This year's Secret Garden Party to be the last
Coachella confirms website hack
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify reportedly plotting HD audio offer
YouTube to launch TV streaming service
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ARTIST NEWS Cilla Black musical to open in Liverpool
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ONE LINERS The Pirate Bay, Bruno Mars, Little Mix, more
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AND FINALLY... Nine Inch Nails fill EP packaging with black powder
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Kickass man can be extradited, says Polish court
The alleged founder of the one time leading file-sharing facilitator KickassTorrents can be extradited to the US to face copyright crime charges, according to a court in Poland. Though there are still a number of stages to go through in the extradition process before Artem Vaulin is actually handed over to the American authorities.

As much previously reported, Vaulin was arrested in Poland last year at the request of US prosecutors. They accuse him of rampant copyright infringement in relation to his role running KAT and want him to face charges in an American courtroom.

The KAT man is being represented in the US by Ira Rothken, the same lawyer as Kim Dotcom, who is likewise accused of copyright crimes, in his case in relation to his former business MegaUpload. Efforts to extradite Vaulin have not been caught up in quite so many technicalities as with Dotcom who, despite being arrested in 2012, is still living in his adopted home of New Zealand where he is now plotting a second appeal after the courts there twice said that he could be extradited to America.

The Polish courts have provided an initial all-clear for Vaulin's extradition much quicker than their New Zealand counterparts, though this week's decision is just stage one in a three stage process. According to Torrentfreak, a second court hearing must also back extradition, and then the move must be rubber stamped by the country's Minister Of Justice. Vaulin could then appeal the final ruling in Poland's Supreme Court.

The full details of the court's initial ruling on Vaulin's case are yet to be published, apparently because of "the complexity and breadth of the case". Vaulin himself remains in custody because, unlike Dotcom in New Zealand, he never managed to secure bail. Though recently he has been held in a hospital rather than prison because of ongoing back problems.

Back in the US, Rothken is attempting to have the whole case against his client dismissed based on that argument that - while KickassTorrents may have been liable for so called secondary or contributory infringement, by facilitating the infringement of others - that is a civil rather than criminal matter under US law.

By that logic, the American entertainment industry could sue Vaulin for damages, but the US authorities can't extradite him to face criminal charges. For their part American prosecutors reject that argument.

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Avril Lavigne signs to BMG
BMG has signed Avril Lavigne to a new record deal that will cover everywhere in the entire world except Japan, where she doesn't need BMG's help. The musician is currently working on material for her sixth album, due for release later this year.

"For this album I have a new team behind me, and I just signed to BMG", says Lavigne. "At this point in my career and in my life I just wanted to put fresh energy around me and I feel like I'm having somewhat of a rebirth in my life. I've been faced with a lot, gone through a lot emotionally. The whole writing process has been therapeutic and empowering. This album is a natural process for me and it's coming from a very honest place. My hope is that it is an inspiration to many people".

BMG's US President Repertoire & Marketing Zach Katz adds: "We are excited and proud to welcome Avril to the team at BMG. She is truly a rare talent with a highly accomplished career; uncompromising in her vision, an incomparable songwriter and performer, as well as a unique and real female force. Avril has always been a leader and a voice for her fans and generation - we look forward to furthering our collaboration".

Here's a video that would have saved you all the effort of reading the above if I'd just pointed it out to you sooner.

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Mark Fry becomes MD of Warner Music Finland
Warner Music Finland has promoted Mark Fry to the position of Managing Director. The move comes as his predecessor - Niko Nordström - moves to head up Warner Music Australasia.

"Mark Fry has been a key part of the incredible success story of Warner Music Finland in recent years and I am delighted he'll now be running our team there", says Warner Music Nordics President Jonas Siljemark. "I look forward to working with Mark to build on the legacy of Niko Nordström and continue our success as a leading company in Finland".

Fry adds: "It's an immense privilege to become Managing Director of Warner Music Finland. Under Niko Nordström's leadership we became the biggest record label in Finland and I am determined to continue that track record of success in the years ahead".

Prior to this promotion, Fry was made General Manager of the division last year, after eight years as Marketing Director.

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This year's Secret Garden Party to be the last
Organisers of the Secret Garden Party have announced that this year's event will be its last. The final instalment will take place from 20-23 Jul.

Recalling the original event fifteen years ago, as a party for a few hundreds friends, founder Freddie Fellowes says: "Much has changed since our first Garden Party, when there was nothing else like it in the UK: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had yet to be invented and no one knew what a boutique festival was, let alone Glamping. Since then the Garden Party has defined and redefined outdoor events in the UK; we have done so as a collective of truly independent outsiders".

He goes on: "We have never compromised our principles and we never will. SGP has always been a beacon of what you can do within those terms and, as imitation - being the sincerest form of flattery - proves, it has set the bar for everyone else going forward. But it is exactly because of those principles, and the love of those who have made the Garden Party what it is, that we are committing this senseless act of beauty".

Fellowes concludes: "What better way to honour the love that has been given to this project and wholly demonstrate this principle than finishing now? This isn't some principled self-immolation: this is opening it up for the future. So this summer will be the almighty send-off that the Garden Party deserves and whilst that is going to cause some tears to be shed, think of it more as 'Dylan goes electric' than our Altamont. Because after all you can't be avant-garde from within an institution and lest we forget: the frontier always moves".

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Coachella confirms website hack
Coachella has confirmed that a hack of its website led to the theft of user data, but has insisted that no passwords or financial information were accessed.

It was reported by Vice's Motherboard last week that nearly a million Coachella user accounts were up for sale on the dark web. The seller claimed to be offering email addresses, usernames and hashed passwords.

The festival has now contacted customers warning that they may be the target of phishing attacks attempting to gain further information, saying: "We recently discovered that unauthorised third parties illegally gained access to the usernames, first and last names, shipping addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth individuals provided to Coachella".

However, it added: "We have confirmed that no user passwords were stolen, [and] based on our investigation, no financial was accessed and there is no indication that customer financial information has been disclosed. We have taken measures to block further unauthorised access and reported the matter to the appropriate authorities for further investigation".

In other Coachella news, Lady Gaga has been confirmed as the replacement for Beyonce at this year's festival. Beyonce cancelled her appearance last week on medical advice, as she will be heavily pregnant when the event takes place in April.

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Spotify reportedly plotting HD audio offer
Spotify is seemingly prepping a high quality audio version of its service, because that worked out brilliantly for Tidal, didn't it?

A bunch of Redditers have been redditing about what seems to be some product testing occurring on the Spotify platform. They have posted screen grabs of in-app notifications promoting the new Spotify Hifi service, though different screen grabs seem to show slightly different price points and specifications - some include physical product upsell - hence the thinking that Spotify is still playing with the proposition.

Tidal, before it was Tidal, was the first to really play with the idea of charging twice the subscription price for higher quality audio, and what was then known as WIMP initially developed the Tidal brand specifically for that element of its service.

It's a relatively simple way to generate more revenue from existing customers, though to date the sign-up for higher cost higher quality streams has been relatively modest. It would be interesting to see if Spotify could do a better job of upselling the HD service, given it is starting with a much bigger userbase.

Many people argue that the streaming music market needs to offer a wider range of price points - both cheaper and more expensive than the current standard of £10 a month - in order to appeal to a wider range of paying customers. Both SoundCloud and Amazon are now experimenting with lower-price options that offer less content or less functionality, and there are rumours Spotify is also considering what a £5 a month package might look like, in addition to possibly launching premium premium.

For its part, Spotify told The Verge: "We are always testing new products and offers but have no news to share at this time".

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YouTube to launch TV streaming service
For its next trick, YouTube has announced that it is moving into the exciting world of TV streaming. Initially available in the US only, it will combine content from terrestrial and cable broadcasters, at a cost of $35 per month.

"There's no question that millennials love great TV content", says YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in a sentence that suggests she's not sure what any of those things are. "But what we've seen is they don't want to watch it in the traditional setting. Instead, the younger generation wants to consume TV the way they're used to consuming content online, live or on demand".

At launch, the service will include about 45 channels, as well as offering content from YouTube creators, top trending videos from across the video site, and exclusive content from its Red subscription service. And you'd better hope the public thinks more of those last few bits than you do, because YouTube's entering a fairly crowded marketplace here and those are the bits that make its offer stand out.

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Approved: Lxandra
Introducing herself to the world with debut single 'Flicker', Lxandra is off to a strong start. Bold and confident in both production and delivery, the track sets the scene for her as an artist who can comfortably encapsulate those two adjectives.

"'Flicker' is about letting go", she says of the single. "Dealing with the demons and accepting the situation as it is. The first ever writing session I had, Flicker was created and therefore it is naturally my first release. I followed the advice of letting go and by releasing the track the prologue to the story of my journey is set".

A second single is expected this summer, while her debut album should be with us at some point in 2018. Watch the lyric video for 'Flicker' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Cilla Black musical to open in Liverpool
A musical telling the story of the life of Cilla Black, based on 2014 Sheridan Smith-starring ITV drama 'Cilla', is set to open in Liverpool in September this year. The project, which received approval from the singer prior to her death in 2015, has been adapted by the TV programme's writer Jeff Pope.

"Once the show had gone out on television, we talked to her about the possibility of doing a stage version", Black's son Robert Willis tells The Mirror. "Jeff, who hadn't written a book for a musical before, and myself went about looking at musicals, and we visited Liverpool and the Cavern. We had a lot of fun; and my mother was excited about it - though the success of the drama surprised her a bit. Initially, she couldn't understand why anybody would be that interested".

Following Black's death, plans for the show went on hold, but it will now run at the Liverpool Empire from 7-16 Sep, before heading out on a nine date UK tour.

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The Pirate Bay, Bruno Mars, Little Mix, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget has confirmed it has started blocking access to The Pirate Bay following the issuing of the first web-block injunction in Sweden last month. The firm says that although it is not allowed to appeal this web-block, it will fight subsequent requests for web-blockades as they arrive in court.

• Although the official stats for the recorded music market in 2016 are yet to be published, research firm Midia has analysed publicly available figures from the majors, trade bodies and collecting societies and reckons the global record industry saw revenues rise 7% to $16.1 billion, the largest post-Napster growth by quite some margin.

• US collecting society SoundExchange has a new Chief External Affairs Officer in the shape of Richard Conlon. It is in fact Richard Conlon, not just a shape. He worked for US collecting society BMI for a bit before. "I am excited", he says.

• Bruno Mars has released the video for 'That's What I Like'.

• Little Mix have announced that they will release a new version of 'No More Sad Songs' from their 'Glory Days' album featuring Machine Gun Kelly tomorrow.

• Future Islands, the most futuristic islands of the future, have released a new video for 'Ran'. Their new album 'The Far Field' is out on 7 Apr.

• Thurston Moore's done a song. Here it is.

• Adna has a new song out called 'Thoughts'. Thoughts?

• Freddie Dickson will release his debut album, 'Panic Town', on 7 Apr. Here's latest single, 'Fuel'. He'll headline The Finsbury in London on 11 Apr, so you should go to that.

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Nine Inch Nails fill EP packaging with black powder
When Nine Inch Nails put their new EP 'Not The Actual Events' up for sale last year, fans were offered the opportunity to buy it in digital form with a "physical component". What does that mean? It means you need a wash.

A notice on the outer packaging of the physical component, which was shipped this week, provides a number of warnings. "Caution should be exercised" with both the audio recordings and the physical packaging, it notes. And in red: "This will make a mess". It then absolves NIN of any responsibility if anyone's day is ruined by opening the envelope.

Sometimes mystery is fun, so the wise person might just put the whole thing on a shelf and leave it be. Everyone else discovered that they'd just paid $12 for a pack of postcards laced with a black powder that will indeed make a mess of anything it comes into contact with.

Oh Trent, you joker.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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