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Popcorn Time rival adds music into the mix
Although not as high profile as rival Popcorn Time, Showbox has plenty of users, while its lower profile means it hasn't been hit with the same kind of platform-killing legal action from Hollywood. The other USP of this app is that it is primarily designed for use on Android devices, bringing a free streaming-style service to mobile.
Previously it was all about film and telly show content, but on the mobile version of the app music has now been added, with lots of tunes to choose from. It's not clear where the app is pulling that music from, though Torrentfreak speculates one source might be all the tracks swimming around the Russian social network vKonktakte, because Showbox previously tapped movies and TV programmes from there.
Users can also playlist and share music, and while the experience is not currently as swish as with legit services like Spotify, Showbox developers stress that the new music option is still in beta, and more refinements are to come.
It remains to be seen how the record companies respond to the addition of music on Showbox. Perversely, it sort of tests the theory that one way to expand the reach of the streaming music market is to bundle musical streams in with a video-on-demand service. But this isn't the way the labels would like that theory to be tested.
The app isn't available via either Google or Amazon's Android app stores, so users have to have the savvy to access the software another way. But it's thought the app has nevertheless got a significant userbase, which may be enough to justify the labels kicking the lawyers into action. Though taking on Showbox may be more tricky than with the one-man-band that was (more or less) Aurous. Going after the ad networks that seem to be pumping big brand commercials into the Showbox app would be a starting point.
Music being added to Showbox comes as a streaming option is also starting to appear on classic file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay. Utilising a new browser plug-in called Torrents-Time, the Bay is starting to add 'stream it' links next to the video files it lists. Clicking the link will make the video play in a pop-out window without having to leave the site, making the consumption of torrented files much easier for the user.
All of which is a reminder that, while one way to combat piracy is to simply make legit platforms that offer a much better experience, the piracy platforms are also getting more sophisticated, so the legal set-ups need to be constantly improving user-experience too.
StubHub plots move into primary ticketing
The eBay-owned company has announced details of a new super-duper ticketing platform that it has developed which will "offer partners a re-imagined rightsholder branded experience, full market visibility, data ownership and the listing of primary and secondary ticket inventory in a single marketplace".
Don't worry, you only need to pay attention to that last bit, so no need to work out what the hell a "re-imagined rightsholder branded experience" might be.
The revamp means that StubHub has plans to start selling its technology to venues and promoters with tickets to shift, as well as the touts and resellers who would usually make use of its platform. Which is basically StubHub entering the primary ticketing space. And its launch client is basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers.
Under the new system, primary and secondary tickets would sit side-by-side, which is interesting, because while Ticketmaster operates in both sides of the ticketing market, it has separate brands and sites for its primary tickets business and its resale service.
Indeed, the ticketing major has got in trouble in the past for too heavily promoting its secondary sites via its primary sites, with fears consumers won't be able to work out whether they are buying a touted ticket, or not. So while StubHub is spinning having primary and secondary tickets side-by-side as something that enhances the consumer experience, some might argue it will confuse punters into unknowlingly buying resold tickets that [a] are more expensive and [b] could be cancelled by the promoter.
Nevertheless, StubHub President is excited about the development. Scott Cutler told reporters: "For over fifteen years, StubHub has been a marketplace that connected buyers and sellers of tickets to live events on the secondary market, but now we are in a position to provide the industry a true end-to-end ticketing solution that combines our experience in e-commerce and secondary ticketing with a set of features that will help our partners sell more tickets".
He added: "This new platform signifies the evolution of our company and a revolution in the industry. And we could not be more excited that the Philadelphia 76ers are joining us as our inaugural partner".
It will be interesting to see how StubHub fairs in trying to sign up primary ticketing partners, though it has enjoyed 'official resale site' status with some venues and promoters in the past, so has existing relationships to build on.
Though the primary ticketing domain already has plenty of start-ups trying to enter the market - not to mention Amazon dabbling in the space - most offering a better user-experience and better data than the big legacy players, though for many promoters what really matters when choosing a ticketing partner is who can advance the cash the quickest, which gives those with big pockets a real advantage.
Hellfest has public grant pulled after refusal to drop Phil Anselmo
President of the Pays De La Loire region Bruno Retailleau issued a statement last week saying that these steps had been taken in the wake of the recent racism scandal surrounding Anselmo, in which he was filmed giving a Nazi salute and shouting "white power" at a show in the US. However, organisers have accused Retailleau of using this is an excuse to remove funding from an event he simply does not like.
As previously reported, Anselmo initially said that his actions were part of an in-joke about bands being served white wine backstage at a tribute show for late Pantera guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott, where the "white power" incident occurred. He subsequently apologised and later offered to quit Down to avoid damaging his bandmates' careers. This followed the band being pulled from Dutch festival FortaRock.
In his statement, Retailleau said that video footage of the original incident "leaves no doubt as to [Anselmo's] intentions" and that he would ensure that there was no room for "hate speech, whether racial or religious" at publicly supported events and that "those who preach racial or religious hatred cannot receive public money".
Down are listed as the headliners of one of Hellfest's smaller stages. In an interview with Ouest France, festival director Ben Barbaud accused Retailleau of attempting to score political points. He noted that the first the festival knew of the threat to withdraw funding was when the politician's statement was issued, questioning why he did not come and speak to organisers directly first, or bring up his concerns at a meeting late last month.
"They found a perfect excuse to pull the grant", said Barbaud. "They can keep their 20,000 euros". Ouest France notes that the total budget for Hellfest is sixteen million euros.
Defending Anselmo and the decision not to cancel Down's performance, Barbaud said: "[He] apologised repeatedly. He even offered to leave the band, who must also be disgusted with what happened. Everyone agrees that [his actions were] unacceptable and that the metal scene is neither racist nor anti-Semitic. I know Phil Anselmo very well, and he has been to Clisson many times. I am convinced that his apologies are sincere".
"We have never seen this kind of behaviour at Hellfest", he continued. "No one has been seen making [racist] gestures or speech, either on stage or behind the scenes. I deeply believe that [Anselmo] is a good person. [But] he is a provocateur who plays the big man and loses control when he's drunk. He made a huge mistake. But you can find many examples of people who have said terrible things after a small amount of alcohol, including [in our local government]".
However, Barbaud did add that the band had already been downgraded to a stage smaller than he thought suitable for them, at the request of their agent. He also said that he expected Down's upcoming European live dates to be cancelled anyway.
Police urge caution over buying tickets for Eastwood Festival
Police say that organisers of The Eastwood Festival, which is being advertised as a festival of Russian music taking place at the end of May, had not contacted them or the local council about licensing or safety.
"Until we are able to ascertain the validity of both this website and the event we would ask residents who are thinking of attending to exercise caution and take our advice into account before providing your bank details for payment", said a police spokesperson. "We will continue to attempt to make contact with event organisers and land owners and will provide more information as and when it comes to light".
Initial line-up announced for TalkRadio
Anyway, the launch schedule of the all new TalkSport has been announced, with Paul Ross set to host breakfast, former Heat Editor Sam Delaney signed up for drive, one time LBC host Julia Hartley-Brewer on mornings, and the mighty Iain Lee taking over late nights.
Lee is returning to the airwaves after his abrupt departure last year from his most recent employer, BBC Three Counties. The presenter caused a mini-controversy when he called a bigot who was guesting on his show "a bigot". TalkRadio might be hoping for similar controversies on its late night show to ensure a bit of press, though just in case Lee doesn't deliver that on schedule, it's also booked George Galloway for a Friday evening show.
The new digital radio network is due to go live on 29 Feb, with TalkRadio on air from 21 Mar. Confirming the initial DJ line-up, Liam Fisher of TalkRadio operator UTV Media told reporters: "TalkRadio will give listeners something completely different from morning until night with presenters and content guaranteed to get you talking. Our work is still not done, with more fantastic presenters to be announced later this month".
Snow Patrol top PPL's love song airplay list
Anyway, the record industry's collecting society PPL has scoured its airplay data from the last fifteen years to identify the most (radio) played love songs of the 21st Century in this here United Kingdom Of Love. And Adele could only manage to crawl in at number fifteen! I think that puts everything into a brand new perspective, doesn't it?
Here's the list. It's Valentines Day soon. That's why they did this list. But I assumed you'd worked that one out for yourself.
1. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
Lil Chris' family hope his death with spark discussion of mental illness
As previously reported, Hardman was found dead at his home in Lowestoft in March last year. Coroner Peter Dean said that the musician had struggled with the pressures of finding fame at a young age on the second series of Channel 4's 'Rock School' in 2006. "Sadly that fame also brought with it difficulties and problems but he had shown a desire to relaunch that career once more", he said.
Following the inquest, Hardman's sister Hannah said: "He had an amazing experience as a singer and celebrity and it is difficult to regret a moment of that. Nobody who knew him would have a bad word to say - he was the funniest, most lovely practical joker you could ever meet. But at the same time it was very difficult for him and he spoke very openly about his depression".
"The one thing we would like to take away from this tragedy is to get people speaking more openly about mental illness", she continued. "Unfortunately it is something that society cannot yet cure but by talking about it we can hopefully help people in a similar situation. I know that is what he wanted".
Find out about the symptoms, causes, treatment and how you can help others with depression on Mind's website here.
US Girls returning to the UK
Watch the video for 'Navy & Cream' here.
And those tour dates? Well, those are here:
5 Apr: London, Oslo
Merlin, Attitude Is Everything, Chugg Entertainment, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Roll up! Roll up! Get down to Merlin for low, low prices on administration fees. Now just 2%, down from 2.5% last year. "It is hugely satisfying to announce today's 20% reduction in administration fees", said Charles Caldas, CEO at the indie label digital rights agency.
• Attitude Is Everything will launch its new State Of Access report at Bush Hall in London on 22 Feb. There will be a presentation about the report, followed by a discussion of its key findings. Free tickets here.
• The CEO of Australian live firm Chugg Entertainment, Matthew Lazarus-Hall, is standing down to start his own consultancy business, though he will continue to be involved in some projects with his former employer.
• The European Arenas Association, which is my favourite of all the arena associations, has a new General Manager in the form of Nancy Skipper, most recently Administrator at the UK's National Arenas Association, my second favourite of all the arena associations.
• Rivers Cuomo covered 'Trap Queen' by Fetty Wap. Here's fifteen seconds of it.
• Mat Zo will release his second album, 'Self Assemble', on 1 Apr. From it, this is 'Soul Food'.
• Death Grips have released a new track, 'Hot Head', from their forthcoming 'Bottomless Pit' album.
• Here's Femme's new single 'Light Me Up'. Her debut album, 'Debutante', is out on 15 Apr. There's an album launch party at Corsica Studios in London on 13 Apr.
Beyonce also turned down a Coldplay collaboration
In a new Rolling Stone interview, Martin reveals that he once met with the singer and producer Stargate in the studio to play them a song he'd written called 'Hook Up', which he seemingly reckoned could be a Beyonce hit. "In the sweetest possible way", he goes on, "she told me, 'I really like you - but this is awful'".
They're all still mates, of course, getting together for one of their Super Bowl half time show shindigs from time to time. And she did provide some vocals for a track on their new album.
Martin is successful enough to deal with the occasional knock back too. He's even come to terms with the fact his band are sometimes the butt of jokes, or snarky 'and finally' stories that suggest all Coldplay songs are "shitty". Though he admits in the same interview that, "I had a couple of years in the mid-2000s where it was really confusing to me. I was like, 'Why is our band sometimes a punchline?'"
Because it never fails, that's why. I mean, who can forget these classics...
Why did the chicken cross the road? Coldplay.
There was an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman. Coldplay.
Doctor, Doctor, I think I'm a pair of curtains. Coldplay.
Knock knock. Who's there? Coldplay.
People still insist on picking up the phone and saying their home number, why are you doing that? What a complete waste of time. "020 767 944!" I know that, I've just dialled it! It's the last thing I did on Earth was dial those numbers. Do you open the front door and say your address? Coldplay.
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