Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dre sort of apologises a little

Both Dr Dre and Apple have been forced to sort-of engage a bit with the allegations that Dre used to beat women up.

Dre had been ignoring these claims for years, but discovered that when someone makes a biopic about you and also ignores them, it becomes hard to pretend it didn't happen.

So, sit back and see how Dre tries to make amends for beating women up, and then ignoring them for decades:

"Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again.”

“I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
This raises a whole bunch of questions - Dre being a man of whom the world's most famous leading question, 'when did you stop beating your partners', can legitimately be asked.

More pressingly, if Dre deeply regrets what he did, isn't a bit of a coincidence that this regret has only just bubbled over into acknowledging that what your accusers have said is true the week after the movie came out?

And finally: even if your regret is heartfelt, why would you end it with the line about "all of our lives"? You think that the best way to say sort-of-sorry for beating women is to remind people that, hey, it's affected you too.

Apple, for their part, have popped out a statement which shrugs and says "well, he's never hit a woman so hard he cracked her ribs while he's been here":
“Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.”
What galls most here is the word "mistakes", as if repeatedly attacking women was a bit like speeding in a built-up area because you didn't see the sign.

Maybe Dre really is contrite. But it'd be easier to believe if we spoke about what it was he did then less than what he doesn't do now.

Skiibii: The Reggie Perrin of pop

Social media deciding to inflate 'someone being a bit queasy' into 'you are with the angles now XXXRIP' isn't anything new, but I think the case of Skiibii is something of a first.

Skiibii had a blackout, and went to hospital for a check-up. The hospital thought he was fine; the internet decided he was dead.

So far, not so unusual. But part of the reason why the web was already rummaging through Skiibii's cupboards muttering "dead men don't need season tickets" was that his manager had confirmed the death.

It looks like there was an attempt to turn the death-that-wasn't into a marketing triumph. Instead, it ended badly. PR Week reports that Skiibii is trying to clear up the mess:

Speaking to Cool FM alongside Skiibii, fellow artist KCee said he blamed their manager Soso Soberekon for allowing the rumours to escalate. "My so-called manager confirmed it, I put the blame on him," said KCee, going on to say: "We are going to treat him according to his mistake, and right now as I speak he is fired."

Soberekon this morning released a statement via his Instagram page offering an "unreserved apology to everyone". He said: "With my wealth of experience in the entertainment business, I would like to state that events leading to the above misinformation through my channel was due to a breakdown in communication."
Sacking might seem a little harsh, but if you're not sure if you're representing a person or a corpse, maybe management isn't really for you.

Gene Simmons is not a suspect

There's a raid on a house by police looking for child pornography. The house is owned by someone famous, but police go out of their way to stress that the suspect is not the famous person, nor a member of their family; and that the famous person is not a suspect.

The press still use the famous person's name at the front end of the headlines, and a massive photo of him.

It might not even be that someone from the house downloaded anything; it could just be the IP address. And Simmons wasn't even in the country when the alleged offence occurred.

But the AP report still ends with two lines about Simmons:

Phone and email messages to Simmons' publicist were not immediately returned.

The 65-year-old Simmons has been a central member of KISS since the early 1970s. His family was the subject of a reality TV series that aired for several years.
Yes, they were. But not the subject of the story you've just filed.

NOFX: pay to go away

What do you do when you see a hipster in your audience?

(This question shouldn't be attempted by Mumford And Sons.)

If you're in NOFX, you try to buy your way out of the terrible situation. The now-defunct NME reports:

The band were playing at the Cunard Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia when frontman Fat Mike spotted a fan on the front row who was wearing a tie-dye shirt and sporting a beard.

Fat Mike offered him cash to leave the gig immediately. "You have no business being here,” the singer said "I will pay you $100 (£64) to leave this show. Are you gonna stand in front and bother me all day with your fucking tie-dye shirt and your beard?"
The man didn't leave - presumably his people weren't going to be able to get his comedy penny farthing from valet parking for another hour - but after hearty negotiations, he accepted twenty dollars to take his shirt off and have that escorted from the venue.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Embed and breakfast man: Kate Nash

To offset the bad taste of Hollywood deciding to not let Dre beating a woman up spoil a good story, here's Kate Nash talking to Broadly:

Left out of Compton

There's showbiz for you. One moment, you're a threat to the status quo, with the President worrying over your lyrics. The next, you've been assimilated into a Hollywood biopic.

So it is that NWA, who once threatened revolution in the streets find themselves atop the multiplexes. It shouldn't be much of a surprise - after all, we're several years past the time Eazy-E took lunch with President Bush at a Republican fundraiser:

The good people of Compton, though, won't be able to see their neighbourhood's moment in the sun - Compton doesn't have a cinema.

Although that's not quite as isolating as Digital Spy tries to make it sound. Because...
Dr Dre and Ice Cube fans will have to journey 4 miles east to Paramount's Bianchi Stadium theatre to witness their city depicted on-screen.
A four mile trip to the cinema isn't exactly onerous, is it? People in the suburbs of Brighton have to travel further than that to get to the pictures, and nobody's suggesting Straight Outta Withdean is going to get green lit soon.

More worryingly is the excising of Dre's treatment of women. Dre beat Dee Barnes, and she wonders why this isn't mentioned in the biopic:
That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.”

But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, “Uhhh, what happened?” Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.
Hollywood likes its gritty stories. But just not with too much reality. After all, you don't want your heroes to be unrelatable, right?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

iTunes Music festival upgrades with new interface

The long-running iTunes music festival - an event which mostly exists so the music industry can be gently reminded who is in charge here - is being rebranded this year as the Apple Music festival.

Amongst the acts: Florence and One Direction. 1D playing the Roundhouse is an interesting way to create the maximum number of upset excluded fans in one go.

Children to permanently work around age ratings, government announces

The entirely pyrrhic move of making pop videos display age ratings (or, rather, some pop videos on a couple of platforms) has achieved whatever low bar of success it was aiming for, and will now have its pointless life extended permanently, the government has announced.

So far, the BBFC has rated a massive 132 videos from the estimated 10 million plus music videos (about one third of videos on YouTube are music videos of one type or another; Quora estimates there's more than 80 million videos on the service).

I'm assuming the idea is that you're so unlikely to find an age rating on a video that you'd forget the way your workaround the requirement to prove your age by the next time you come across one.

The equally vapid labelling will apply to Vevo as well.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Managerobit: Jazz Summers

Jazz Summers, manager and label owner, has died.

There's a statement from his company, Big Life management:

Jazz Summers, the legendary music manager, has died aged seventy-one. He had been living with lung cancer for over two years. The music industry has lost one of its most vibrant, most notorious and most brilliant characters. A champion of new music, a non-conformist and a visionary, Jazz Summers will be greatly missed.

Jazz Summers was a master of artist development. His ability to hear a song and recognize its power and potential brought him huge success across several decades.

Jazz managed Wham!, Lisa Stansfield, Soul II Soul, The Verve, Badly Drawn Boy, Snow Patrol, Klaxons, La Roux, Scissor Sisters and London Grammar among many others.

His artists have sold over sixty million albums and seventy two million singles around the world including over one hundred Top 40 hits in the past forty years.

Jazz was born on March 15th 1944. He enrolled in military school aged twelve and joined the army aged fifteen. He served as a radiographer, spending time in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

In 1985, in partnership with Simon Napier-Bell, Jazz helped Wham! to become the first western pop group to tour China. Summers was crucial in breaking the band in America and established a reputation as an expert in the American market. A reputation that would be strengthened by his work with Snow Patrol and La Roux.

Summers formed his own management company Big Life in partnership with Tim Parry in 1986. They also ran Big Life Records, which featured hundreds of releases from artists including The Orb, Yazz, Coldcut, De La Soul and The Soup Dragons.

In 2003, Jazz was awarded the prestigious Peter Grant Award and in 2007, the Strat Award at the Music Week Awards.

Big Life will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. It continues to prosper.

Summers was an active campaigner for artists’ rights. As chairman of the MMF (Music Managers’ Forum) he was vocal in many issues affecting artists, including the extension of copyright, secondary ticketing, and VPL. He was also prominent in setting up the Featured Artists’ Coalition and Julie’s Bicycle, a not-for-profit organisation working on sustainability in the creative industries.

In September 2013 Summers’ autobiography ‘Big Life’ was published to critical acclaim.

Jazz is survived by his wife Dianna, his daughters Katie, Rio and Georgia, his granddaughters Claire, Lila and Rose and his brother Don.
It wasn't, naturally, all clambering up the ladders - in 1999, the Big Life record label went into receivership and was eventually purchased by Universal. But before they folded, they released Mega City 4 and KMFDM records, and anyone would be happy with that.

And while 'taking Wham to China' might not sound very much of a big deal, it's worth recalling what a huge coup that was at the time (one minute in):

This week just gone

On this day: Most read-pieces

2014: Jonathan Ross picks up swing shifts at Radio 2; Mail goes into meltdown
2013: One Direction fans fly into panic when similarities between Best Song Ever and Baba O'Riley
2012: Lennon's house goes on the market for £15million. Imagine, eh?
2011: Vampire Weekend released from cover copyright spat
2010: Stonewall's idea of a gay icon is Will Young

These were the new releases:

Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique - Love Is Free

Iris Dement - The Trackless Woods

Download The Trackless Woods

HolySiz - My Name Is

Download My Name Is

Mac DeMarco - Another One

Download Another One

Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy Live

Download Psychocandy Live

Ivy Levan - No Good

Download No Good