Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Hungover air

Given the stink coming off one of their past names, there's something almost wholesome about the idea of a Radio One dj tumbling out a club three hours before the breakfast show.

Thanks for that, Cheryl Cole

You know what?

Kate Middleton's adored by Prince William: Even a pop star's biography says so
Thanks for that, Examiner, for who would believe that anyone - even people who had a massive wedding on TV - cared about each other at all were it not confirmed by Cheryl Cole?
William spent some time conversing with Cheryl after she performed at the Queen’s Buckingham Palace Diamond Jubilee reception. According to Cheryl's new book, "Cheryl: My Story," William couldn’t help but gush about his wife, Kate Middleton, after she had done something that had to do with the pop star.
Ah, I see the problem here. This wasn't Cheryl confirming that William and Kate get on, it was Cole desperately namedropping.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Channel 4 plan 2013 answer to The Roxy

Channel 4 have suddenly noticed that T4's main raison d'etre - doing short introductions to reruns of Friends - has vanished now that Friends is on Comedy Central, and are axing the weekend morning show.

The money it saves from this new approach of "letting the bloody Hollyoaks omnibus take care of itself" is going to be poured into - oh, of course - a Friday night music show. Because Channel 4 has a spiffing recent record of agenda-setting music shows on which to build, like that one that did the album charts, and... the other ones. You know the ones.

Maybe they should try calling up The Chart Show people.

Gordon in the morning: Canning One Direction

When even Gordon Smart is pointing at your work and calling it "cringeworthy", you must have really stunk the place up.

So it is with the One Direction Pepsi advert. Let's look at the advert, shall we?

There are so many questions here.

If all these people are so bloody successful, how come they're incapable of coming up with the idea of getting a Pepsi from somewhere else? "We can summon crowds of cheering people from thin air, but are incapable of looking for our PR - who, to be fair, is probably hiding in the corner - and asking them to sort out a can of soft drink."

There's only one of Man From The Sports. But there are more than one of One Direction - I suspect there might be as many as four or five, although they're so bland and indistinguishable it's hard to tell if there's lots of them or just a few moving about a bit. Are One Direction really planning on sharing a can of Pepsi between them?

The pay-off is crazy. Everyone knows you don't give the other boyband members the bribes to become a member of a boyband, right? It's usually the managers who you'd be offering the sticky, sickly treat to.

But mostly: what were Pepsi thinking? Is there anything more off-putting than putting a bunch of people into a room and getting them to bore on about how astonishingly brilliant they are? (And doesn't it make a nonsense of the very idea of having celebrities in your advert if they have to explain who they are?)

Nice to see the Pepsi tradition of 'awkward men dancing badly in the final frame' is upheld, thought.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cher Lloyd has a dream

ContactMusic reports:

Cher Lloyd wants to duet with Nicki Minaj because she admires her ''guts''.
And we're using "guts" in the old-fashioned sense meaning of "actual fan base", aren't we?
'I've always said from day one that the person I'd love to collaborate with would be Nicki Minaj. Just for the pure reason that I think she has so much guts and does what she wants and obviously says what she wants, and I love her.''
It's not clear what Cher thinks she'd be bringing to this collaboration, although I understand her Nandos card is one stamp away from a free half-chicken, so it's not like she'd be turning up empty-handed.

Getty offer to turn Soundcloud into pounds. At a price.

You know how, if you're happy to not be fussy about what happens to them, you can ask Getty to take care of commercial licencing for your photos on Flickr?

They're about to start offering a similar service on Soundcloud.

The upside is that, if your music is there, and someone wants to use it on a film or in a podcast, Getty will make the process very smooth.

The downside is that, because Getty are interested in scale and flogging rights with an industrial approach, there's not much room for artists to control what happens to their music. You sign up for Getty to be not just your middleman, but your manager, too. The ratecard is fixed, the artist hands over any power to object if, say, an anti-abortion podcast wants to use a song from an abortion supporting singer.

Although Getty have a cookie-cutter approach, they're charging quite heavily for it, as Hypebot explain:

If the music is licensed, the artist receives just 35% of the upfront licensee fee plus 50% of Getty Images' share, as publisher, of any backend performance royalties.
It might be frictionless, but given Getty merely wait until someone asks to use the music and pushes a bit of paperwork around, it's hard to see why they're helping themselves to such a large slice of the cash.

Gordon in the morning: Dog rough

This has been muttered about before, but - presumably because dogs are easier to cope with than people - Simon Cowell is working on a dog talent show.

ITV - presumably on the same basis that they signed up for a second series of Red Or Black - are apparently clearing space in the schedule for a dancing dog show.

Simon Cowell has vanished beyond the Simian Wimbledon horizon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mick Hucknall hailed for his contribution to radio

Congratulations to Mick Hucknall from the Frantic Elevators, who is picking up a prize:

Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall is to receive this year’s PPL Lifetime Achievement Award at The Radio Festival in Manchester.
Previous winners of the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award, which honours, recognises and celebrates those whose work and dedication has left an indelible mark on the music radio industry, include Sir Paul McCartney, Trevor Horn, Paul Weller, Gary Barlow and last year’s winner Ronnie Wood.
Wood was an interesting though controversial winner - his radio work has got a lot of praise, but he hadn't been working in the medium very long.

So, what is Mick Hucknall's contribution to music radio?


Has he actually presented or produced any radio programming? Radio Festival, what work has Mick done for music radio?
Clive Dickens, Chairman of the Radio Festival, said: “We are thrilled that Mick is being presented with the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a true legend of British music and has achieved monumental acclaim. He has had amazing success and has remained at the top of his profession and rarely off the radio for a remarkable 25 years.”
That makes it sound like his "indelible mark" consists of having had his records played by other people on the radio.

Isn't that a rather passive sort of "lifetime achievement"?

Gordon in the morning: X Factor in danger of becoming a 'pantomime'

All is not happy over at The X Factor, within the tolerances of the word "is":

FUMING Gary Barlow has threatened to quit X Factor if a similar shambles to Sunday’s deadlock drama ever happens again.

The Take That singer, 41, summoned host Dermot O’Leary and show chiefs to an emergency meeting to discuss his ultimatum last night.

The head judge is said to want to “put a stop to tricks” and end “pantomime” on the show.
Demanding an end to pantomime on the X Factor is akin to requesting they drop the cakes from The Great British Bake-Off.

Indeed, the presence of Dermot at this latter-day Yalta Conference points towards this being as much part of the great pantomime as anything - why would you want the conduit there? Isn't this a job for the producers?

Apparently, at the weekend, someone who could sing a bit got sent home leaving someone else who couldn't really sing that well but was a show-off. Like kicking out Mark Owen to make room for Robbie Williams, if you will.

So, what is the upshot of all this foot-stamping and toy-tossing?
The Sun can reveal he will return this weekend — on the condition that his demands are met.
Altogether now: Oh no, they didn't...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Neil Horan attacked by angry beast

Oh, there is nothing that is not wonderful about how the Wandsworth Guardian has covered Neil Horan's ordeal at the sharp end of a squirrel. There is even a wonderful bit of photoshoppery.

[via @scaryduck]

Gordon in the morning: Zach off

Pete Samson files from America, with news of a surprising intervention in UK politics:

HOLLYWOOD funnyman Zach Galifianakis has launched a campaign from the US: “Make Boris Johnson Prime Minister.”
Obviously, there's little surprise in Murodch hacks doing their master's bidding by running a story that bolsters his beloved pet toff and adds a bit of showbiz glitz to the anointed one. But Galifianakis actively running a campaign to pull off the difficult trick of getting a safe Tory MP to resign their seat, Boris into parliament, and replacing David Cameron? He must be deeply convinced in the Boris agenda to sign up to that - how much time has he spent studying British politics?
The actor was wowed by the Mayor of London after watching him on David Letterman’s late-night chat show before the Olympics.
That seems a fairly slight base upon which to start a campaign. You... you are sure he's running a campaign, aren't you, Pete?
[F]or the Hangover star there is one bright light shining in the dark world of politics – and that’s Boris and his dazzling blond barnet.

Zach said it would be “amazing” if Boris was made PM. He told The Sun: “He would change the face of what a national leader could be. He’s charming, very funny – and has that weird hair.”
So the "campaign" consists of muttering something about how funny it would be if we landed ourselves with a Prime Minister with unruly hair.

You wouldn't be slightly overselling the story, there, Pete, would you?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Fuller swoops for EMI offcuts

There's a clutching of handkerchiefs to mouths at the news that Simon Fuller might buy the bits of EMI regulators are making Universal sell as the price of merger.

Fuller! Imagine! He did the S Clubs and game show pop stars! The very idea.

And, yes, the idea of an already rich and poweful man becoming a bit more rich and powerful is hard to celebrate.

But there's actually an upside, which does make the idea of Fuller rummaging in the EMI bins something we should welcome.

First of all, he's apparently thinking of buying all the bits - Mute, Parlophone, the 50% of Now Thats What I Call Music - the whole lot, rather than taking a couple of bits.

It'd actually be enough, surely, to count as a fairly considerable label in its own right; and still based firmly in the UK. Wasn't the loss of that something we were meant to mourn when EMI was sold off?

Also, whatever Simon Fuller's other faults, he is a pop music man. Isn't it better for Parlophone to be owned by the bloke who put together S Club 7 than Guy Hands and his Motorway Service Station business? Or, indeed, than Universal, a tiny part of a conglomerate that might have spun off its water business but still doesn't seem to moved on from pushing sewage about?

It would be lovely to think Parlophone could be turned into a worker's co-op, or Mute become a John Lewis style concern, but that's unlikely to happen. Also, can you imagine the meetings when Chris Martin started to pipe up?

So, the whole thing in the hands of a man who understands how to sell music? Could be worse.

And at least it's not Cowell.

Warners man takes chunk of Deezer

Len Blavatnik, who bought Warners a while back, has invested about 80 million quid in Deezer, the music streaming site.

Is Blavatnik a shrewd investor? Besides the way he lobbed cash into Warners, which doesn't really suggest a man able to set aside sentiment from a long-term outlook.

Well, he put cash into Top-Up TV.

Yes you do, Top-Up TV. They had that advert with the gnomes in it a few years back. They base their business on the idea that when people buy a Freeview box to avoid having to subscribe to TV services, what they really mean is they desperately want to be able to subscribe to TV services. That Top-Up TV.

Deezer, this far, has been ticking along - mostly trying for growth outside the US where it's too difficult and/or expensive to do much. Presumably the new money will be an attempt to break that market.

There's something almost a little sweet about Deezer's Wikiepdia entry, particularly this line:

Some artists are not available on Deezer due to licensing restrictions by the record labels: Francis Cabrel and The Beatles are examples.
Nothing says 'not really trying in North America' like the lack of Francis Cabrel tracs being a major point of note, does it?

Deezer's fundamental flaw is that it requires you to be logged in to Facebook to use it. It's bad enough that Facebook insists you be logged in to use it, but at least you can see why Facebook might tie themselves so closely to their single log-in. What future would Deezer have when Facebook hits its Decline of Empire point?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Kenickie: life after Kenickie

Marie Nixon (DuSantiago) has moved into politics. Sort-of. She's become the new CEO of Sunderland uni student union.

Randbobit: RB Greaves

Ronald Bertram Aloysius "R. B." Greaves III has died.

Greaves lived in both the UK and the US, having a career in both places - this side of the Atlantic as Sonny Childes; in America as RB Greaves. His biggest hit was Take A Letter, Maria, an only slightly disturbing tale of a man getting his secretary to take down a note to his wife about her infidelity.

Greaves was 68; he had been ill with prostate cancer.

Oprah rejoices at Rihanna-Brown reunion

Oprah has long pushed a "men who hit you can change" line on domestic violence, so it's not surprising that she's thrilled at the news that Rihanna and Chris Brown are reuniting. Still, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth:

"I'm not surprised," Winfrey said of Rihanna's decision to work on her relationship with Brown, who released a personal video yesterday in which he reveals he still loves his ex. "You know what I loved about that interview is that she came with a big, wide open heart. She was in the space of forgiveness. And that she learned a lesson, that she was repeating with Chris Brown exactly what she needed to learn from her father."
Really, Oprah? It was Rihanna who needed to "learn a lesson", was it? Isn't "teaching their partners a lesson" what people say they're doing when they batter them?

Everyone has their own choices to make, but to suggest that it was Rihanna who had the lessons to learn sends a stinking rotten message.

Glastonbury 2013: they've got it down, right?

They've been doing Glastonbury online ticket sales for years. They've had a year off, so 24 months to prepare. So this year they stand a good chance of ticket sales not being a fiasco, right?


It's not just the computers causing problems, but The Independent points out an extra zinger waiting to shake people down:

We're hearing some complaints that callers may be charged just for reaching the engaged tone, and with many hitting redial repeatedly, be careful, this could be expensive. The note on Glastonbury's small print reads:

Please note some network providers will charge for an engaged tone
Paying to hear Glastonbury not answer its phones. Charming.