Loaded: Nuns sign record deal
If you are a record company boss and your life is ruined by illegal downloads, what do you do?
You could get all aggressive and plan to go after the downloaders, or you could be far more sensible and effective and sign an act whose potential fanbase is (a) old enough not to be fully au fait with the art of illegal music grabbing, and (b) too honest to consume music in that way.
It makes perfect sense then for Decca -- the label most famous for turning down The Beatles -- to sign up a bunch of ladies who will get the punters splashing the cash in their millions. Welcome to the hottest new thing in music, France's most spectacular contribution to song in 2010, The Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation.
"When you hear the sound of nuns chanting, it's like an immediate escape from the challenges, stresses, noise and pace of modern living," says Tom Lewis, A&R head at Decca, who presumably can also make out the distinctive tcha-ching of the cash tills.
The Nuns' signing follows the worldwide success of the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz whose 2008 Universal Music album, Chant: Music For Paradise, sold more than one million copies. Those who downloaded it illegally got 10 Hail Marys for their trouble.
Meanwhile, the Nuns' album, Voices -- Chant from Avignon, will be released worldwide in November.
The term 'YouTube sensation' is bandied about so carelessly that it has lost its impact completely, but one figure who truly lives up to that billing is 16-year-old Justin Bieber, the biggest thing to happen to pre-teens since Miley Cyrus.
The Canadian attracted millions of viewers to the performances he recorded at home and uploaded to the site. Island Records came calling and he has released two albums in the space of 12 months, the most recent of which, My World 2.0, topped the US chart making him the youngest male act to do so since Stevie Wonder in 1963. In addition, he was the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album chart in the Billboard Hot 100. He's also the reason why young boys are sporting such girlish haircuts at present.
Now, Bieber-mania is set to get even bigger with the announcement from publishing giant HarperCollins that they will release his memoir -- a memoir at 16? -- in October. Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever is expected to be the biggest-selling non-fiction book globally in the run up to Christmas.
And if that wasn't enough, it looks like Bieber will star in a biopic of his own life. Davis Guggenheim, who directed the Oscar-winning environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth and the guitar-tribute film It Might Get Loud, is expected to be at the helm. The film is slated for release on Valentine's Day next year.
Cover bands are 10 a penny these days, but standing head and shoulders above the rest are The Classic Beatles (below), four Dubliners who have played the music of John, Paul, George and Ringo for the past 20 years. Right now, they are performing at the Olympia. Their show, Get Back, is a must for Beatles fans, tracing as it does the meteoric rise of the fab four -- from rough and ready skiffle chancers to mind-bending adventurers in hi-fi. The run ends on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Fran King, who "does" Paul in The Classic Beatles is releasing a second solo album. My Sweet Elixir has attracted some glowing reviews in the US, where it was released at the end of the last year, and unsurprisingly his songs are heavily influenced by a certain Liverpool quartet. Which is never a bad thing.
Speaking of Macca, his music is set to feature in the forthcoming series of Glee after he wrote to the show's creator to ask to be included. Ryan Murphy, who devised the high school-based musical TV show, said that McCartney wrote to him by hand to ask if he would consider using his music.
"I received some fantastic mixed tapes from Paul McCartney a couple of weeks ago," he told the BBC. "It came out of the blue in a package, handwritten, and it had two CDs and it said 'Hi Ryan, I hope you will consider some of these songs for Glee'. I had heard that he is a fan of the show. I was gobsmacked... So of course we are going to do something with him."
Susan Boyle is expected to feature as a lunch lady in a forthcoming Christmas special of the show. Perfect casting.