• Guitarist testified he hadn’t heard the song Taurus until a few years ago

  • Lawyer says chords that begins Stairway were lifted from the Spirit tune

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page denies stealing guitar riff in Stairway to Heaven

The Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page testified on Wednesday that until a few years ago he had never heard a song that the megastar band is accused of ripping off for Stairway to Heaven.

“Something like that would stick in my mind. It was totally alien to me,” Page said of the instrumental song, Taurus, by the band Spirit.

A lawyer for the estate of Spirit’s late guitarist, Randy California, contends that the famous descending-chord guitar riff that begins 1971’s Stairway was lifted from the Spirit tune, which was released a few years earlier.

An eight-member jury is hearing the copyright infringement case in federal court. Jurors must decide whether the two sequences are substantially similar.

Earlier in the day, former Spirit member Mark Andes testified that riffs from both songs, played by an acoustic guitarist on a video aired in court, were the same.

Musical experts not involved in the case have said the sequence is common and has appeared in other pieces from decades and even centuries ago.

Page, clad in a dark gray suit, a vest and tie and wearing his white hair in a ponytail, acknowledged that he had three Spirit albums in his collection of some 10,000 record albums and CDs.

But Page said he only discovered he had Spirit’s first album, which contained Taurus, a few years ago after his son-in-law told him that comparisons with Stairway were cropping up online.

Page acknowledged that Led Zeppelin used a riff from another Spirit song in a medley during their first tour in Scandinavia but Page said he had heard it on the radio – and never heard Taurus.

In his testimony, Andes said Spirit played Taurus in 1968 at a Denver show where Zeppelin was the opening act, and that in 1970 he and Zeppelin singer Robert Plant drank beer and played the billiards-like game snooker after a Spirit show in Birmingham, England.

“Yeah, we hung out. We had a blast,” Andes said.

US district judge R Gary Klausner ruled in April that evidence presented in hearings made a credible case that Led Zeppelin may have heard Taurus performed before their song was created.

Plant and bandmate John Paul Jones are expected to testify at the trial, though Jones has been dismissed as a defendant in the case.

Led Zeppelin has settled several similar copyright disputes over songs such as Whole Lotta Love and Dazed and Confused, but the judge has barred a lawyer for the late Spirit guitarist from introducing evidence from those cases.

Stairway to Heaven has generated hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

Jackie Chan says fantasy adventure’s £156m gross during its first week will cause an influx of Chinese-language blockbusters

Jackie Chan: Warcraft's success in China scares Americans
‘People from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese’ … Jackie Chan. Photograph: VCG via Getty Images

Jackie Chan thinks the success in China of video game adaptation Warcraft: The Beginning could lead to an increase in homegrown blockbusters.

The $160m (£113m) film, which grossed a mere $24.4m in the US its opening weekend, surprised analysts with $156m at the Chinese box office from its first five days in cinemas.

Speaking this weekend at the Shanghai film festival, Chan said the result will worry Hollywood execs. “Warcraft made 600m yuan [£64m] in two days. This has scared the Americans. If we can make a film that earns 10bn [£1bn], then people from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese, instead of us learning English.”

The annual gross of China’s box office is expected to surpass North America, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The popularity of blockbusters in China and financing from companies there have influenced both where some blockbusters are filmed and who stars in them. Transformers: Age of Extinction, for example, was partly funded by the China Movie Channel, which led to Li Bingbing joining the cast and part of the film being set in Hong Kong. Iron Man 3, meanwhile, added footage for Chinese audiences that included the Chinese actor Fan Bingbing.

A sequel to Pacific Rim, which underperformed in the US, was greenlit after it became a hit in China. Pacific Rim and Warcraft were produced by Legendary Pictures, which the Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group bought in January for a reported $3.5bn.

Nine Inch Nails musician and Apple Music executive joins music industry’s debate over Google’s video service: ‘I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous’

Trent Reznor: YouTube is built on the back of stolen content
Trent Reznor is not a fan of YouTube and its approach to music rights. Photograph: David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor is the latest artist to join the music industry’s war of words with YouTube, attacking Google’s video service over the role it plays for musicians.

“I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big,” said Reznor in an interview with Billboard.

Reznor was not speaking purely as an artist, however. He is also chief creative officer at Apple Music, the streaming service launched by Apple in 2015, which is one of the key rivals to YouTube in the digital music world.

“I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It’s making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That’s how I feel about it. Strongly,” said Reznor, widening his criticism to other rivals like Spotify in the process.

YouTube has faced a barrage of criticism from musicians and music-industry bodies in 2016, as part of a campaign in the US and Europe to rework copyright legislation that grants the service “safe harbour” status when users upload copyrighted material without the permission of the rights owners.

Rightsholders have also argued that YouTube’s vast catalogue of free music could impede the growth of paid music-streaming subscription services like Apple Music and Spotify’s premium tier – important context to Reznor’s comments, given his role.

In its most recent public statement, following an open letter to Alphabet boss Larry Page from rock band Sixx:AM, YouTube indicated that the criticism is having an impact on the company’s plans.

“The voices of the artists are being heard, and we’re working through details with the labels and independent music organisations who directly manage the deals with us,” a spokesperson said.

“Having said that, YouTube has paid out over $3bn (£2.1bn) to the music industry, despite being a platform that caters to largely light music listeners who spend an average of one hour per month consuming music – far less than an average Spotify or Apple Music user. Any comparisons of revenue from these platforms are apples and oranges.”

 

The Ulsterman also played with Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, as well as Marianne Faithfull and Donovan

Former Wings guitarist Henry McCullough dies, aged 72
Henry McCullough … ‘A super talented musician.’ Photograph: Ronnie Norton/PA

Henry McCullough, who played guitar in Paul McCartney’s band Wings, has died. He was 72.

His live music agent Nigel Martyn said McCullough died on Tuesday after a long illness. He said the guitarist never fully recovered from a severe heart attack suffered four years ago.

McCullough played with the Grease Band with Joe Cocker at Woodstock, and worked at various times with Marianne Faithfull and Donovan, and he also appeared on the original cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Northern Irelander was recruited to join the second version of Wings in 1971, and his guitar solo on My Love on the album Red Rose Speedway marked a career peak. He improvised it in a single take.

With music, sometimes you come across something and it’s a gift from God and it’s channeled through you,” he said in a 2011 interview with the website Pennyblackmusic. “I swear, I never heard those notes before that way.”

McCullough, who also played on the single of Live and Let Die, walked out of Wings in July 1973 after clashing with McCartney.

The rift was patched up in later years. “Just because there’s a little hiccup along the way, it doesn’t take away from what you’ve built up,” he said in a 2011 interview with the website Musiclegends.

McCartney paid tribute to his former bandmate. “He was a pleasure to work with, a super talented musician with a lovely sense of humour,” the former Beatle said in a statement. He said McCullough’s solo on My Love was a “classic that he made up on the spot” in front of a live orchestra.

McCullough also worked with George Harrison’s Dark Horse label, which produced his solo album Mind Your Own Business in 1975.

During his time with Wings, McCullough was one of the people whose voices are heard answering questions at the end of Pink Floyd’s song Money from the album The Dark Side of the Moon. His contribution: “I don’t know, I was really drunk at the time.”

McCullough grew up in Portstewart on the north coast of Northern Ireland, and one of his earliest musical memories was of the power of the singing at his mother’s church. “The choir would be singing all these harmonies and it would scare me half to death,” he said.

His reaction to the church was summed up in Failed Christian, one of the few songs he composed. In the song he said: “I’m going to meet my maker / A firm believer / Of spirit in music / There’s a prayer in a song.”

McCullough remained active on the music scene until the heart attack in November 2012.

“Always open for offers, you know,” he told Musiclegends. “It’s the only way I know to make any money, to be honest with you.”

He produced arguably Elvis’s best album, helped write some of soul music’s enduring classics, and won a Grammy for his country work

Legendary producer and songwriter Chips Moman dies, aged 79
Chips Moman … Hero of American music. Photograph: Fiona Hanson/PA

Lincoln “Chips” Moman – the producer, musician and songwriter who helped Elvis Presley engineer a musical comeback in the late 1960s and then moved to Nashville to record Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and other top country performers, as well as co-writing some of the best loved soul songs of all time – died on Monday in LaGrange, Georgia. He was 79.

Donny Turner, a family friend who spoke with his wife, Jane, said Moman died at a hospice facility after a lengthy struggle with lung disease.

A fixture for decades in the Southern music scene, Moman hitchhiked from Georgia to Memphis as a teenager and worked at the fledgling Stax Records in the 1950s. He produced some of first hits for the famous label, including Last Night by the Mar-Keys, Gee Whiz by Carla Thomas and You Don’t Miss Your Water by William Bell.

He started his own studio, American Sound Studio, and formed the Memphis Boys studio band, which helped define the funky, down-to-earth Memphis sound of the 1960s. He helped produce hits from the Gentrys, BJ Thomas and Neil Diamond. With Dan Penn, he co-wrote the soul classics Dark End of the Street, a hit for James Carr and Do Right Woman, Do Right Man, a hit for Aretha Franklin.

One of his most notable collaborations was with Presley. For much of the 60s, Elvis had turned out soundtrack albums as pallid as the movies they were derived from. But by the end of the decade, Presley was anxious to challenge himself and chose the American Sound Studio for his intended comeback, with Moman producing.

The result was a prolific and productive session, with Presley re-establishing his mastery of soul, gospel, country and blues and showing he could keep up with the latest sounds. The album From Elvis in Memphis, released in 1969, received some of the best reviews of his career and was followed a year later by Back in Memphis. Hit singles included Kentucky Rain, In the Ghetto and what became the signature song of the latter part of Presley’s career, the chart-topping Suspicious Minds.

Moman left Memphis in 1972 and tried to start again in Atlanta, but when that didn’t work out, he moved to Nashville. There, he continued his streak of musical success by writing and recording for country artists.

He earned a Grammy in 1976 for co-writing the country song (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, a hit for BJ Thomas, and also wrote Luckenbach, Texas, recorded first by Waylon Jennings.

He produced Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys for Jennings and Willie Nelson, Pancho and Lefty for Nelson and Merle Haggard, and persuaded Nelson to record a cover of You Were Always on My Mind, which became one of Nelson’s biggest hits and earned him a Grammy for country vocal performance of the year.

In 1985 Moman produced the first and most successful studio recordings of the country supergroup the Highwaymen, featuring Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Jennings and Nelson.

He went back to Memphis in 1985 briefly, lured by the city’s mayor with financial incentives in the hope of revitalising the city’s music scene. There he produced the Class of ’55 recording sessions featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison.

He is survived by his wife, his daughter Monique and son Casey.

With no blockbusters to rival Jurassic World, failing sequels blamed for poor start to summer season in North America

2016 summer box office falls 22% on past record-breaking year
Down but not out: not all sequels have bombed in North America this year. Photograph: YouTube

Blockbuster season has got off to a shaky start with US profits down 14% between 1 May and 14 June compared to the same period last year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The downturn was predicted by industry analysts in late 2015, after hits like Jurassic World, Fast & Furious 7 and Minions helped drive a summer season that lead to the year being a record-breaker at the global box office.

Twelve months ago, Jurassic World was on its way to a $524.9m global take in its opening weekend, the highest on record until Star Wars: The Force Awakens posted a bigger tally in December. In comparison the global box office this weekend, lead by the video game adaptation Warcraft, is down 44%.

2016 summer box office falls 22% on past record-breaking year
Off target … The Huntsman: Winter’s War was a disappointing performer. Photograph: Universal Pictures

The summer season was kicked off this year by the release of Captain America: Civil War on 6 May. Bringing 2016’s tally forward a week increases the difference between this year and last to a 22% loss.

“No matter how you slice or dice the calendar, there is no question that the summer of 2016 thus far has been a bit of a bummer, with the underperformers outnumbering the overperformers, and a general malaise that has struck the early part of this most important movie-going season,” comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told the Hollywood Reporter.

He went on to blame failing sequels for the slump, a theory that was put forward by commentators from the main trade papers last week. Big budget seconds that failed to make the same impact as the original include Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. But, more recently The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 posted opening weekend takes equal to their source material, suggesting the industry’s bout of “sequelitus” was not as severe as some had feared.

Morrissey posts lengthy critique of the US presidential race, questioning CNN’s coverage and praising Bernie Sanders

Morrissey: Trump's response to Orlando terror attack is anti-gay and pro-gun
Pop star turned political pundit … Morrissey. Photograph: Jim Dyson/WireImage

Morrissey has addressed the US presidential race after the Orlando terror attack, blaming US gun laws on the incident and citing Donald Trump’s reaction to the massacre as “anti-gay”.

The open letter, which was published on Morrissey’s fansite True to You, details the political reaction to the massacre at an Orlando nightclub in which 49 people were murdered, referencing in particular, Trump’s lack of support for the gay community. He wrote:

Donald Thump, probably America’s next president, reacts to the Orlando massacre by explaining how, if the people within the club were themselves armed with guns, then there would have been fewer casualties. This, of course, is his way of avoiding any words of support to the Orlando gay community (it is their own fault for going into a nightclub without hand grenades). Donald Thump would therefore probably claim that the massacred children of Sandy Hook would still be alive today if only they’d had the common sense to carry sawn-off shotguns to school. The Thump response to Orlando is therefore anti-gay and pro gun possession … It’s all going so well for America!

Morrissey questioned CNN’s coverage of the Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen – which he calls a “flashing flood of publicity”. Responding to coverage of “selfie” images of Mateen that have circulated online, Morrissey wrote:

It is therefore acceptable for him to lovingly admire his own maleness, but it is not OK for other men to like other men? Does Islamic scripture say it is fitting for a man to sit alone taking adoring photographs of himself?”

The former Smiths frontman also praised the “independent success” of Democratic contender Bernie Sanders, whom he contrasts to Hillary Clinton. He describes her as “the face and voice of pooled money”. Morrissey predicted that the presumptive Democratic candidate would “repay the established elite with whatever they want if she is elected” and compared Trump to the former Alabama governor George Wallace for “hating just about anyone who doesn’t happen to be Donald Thump”.

Describing Sanders as “sane and intelligent” he added:

The idea of a man who is popular because he calls for world peace and for rescue of the environment cannot provide outraged headlines for CNN, who have devoted their online news page to Donald Thump long before Thump was even a logical contender. Thump doing absolutely nothing has been more newsworthy to CNN than Sanders’ state-to-state victories.”

 

Kanye West and fashion designer’s late mother ascends to heaven in first official trailer, which debuted at a Sony press conference in Los Angeles

Kanye West releases Only One game trailer at E3 event
Kanye West performs at in Madison Square Park in 2015 as part of his Season 3 show for his Yeezy fashion line. Photograph: James Devaney/GC Images

Those who paid witness to the Kanye West’s extravagant New York album and fashion launch in February would have been struck by a surreal intermission: when the rapper unveiled a preview of his own console game. Its trailer, which pays homage to his late mother, has now appeared.

The Only One video, after his song of the same name, debuted at Sony’s E3 2016 press event in Los Angeles on Monday. It features an animation of the Chicago rapper’s late mother Donda West, who rides on the back of a winged white horse that is galloping through the clouds towards heaven.

Those playing the game will assume the role of “Kanye’s mom, Donda, [who is] flying through the gates of heaven,” according to the film and animation studio Encyclopedia Pictura.

West’s game was directed by Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch of Encyclopedia Pictura, who have made videos for artists such as Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear and Björk. It has been in production since 2015.

Further details regarding the game and its release have not been announced. West joins a long line of musicians who have dabbled in the world of gaming, from Wu-Tang Clan’s multiplayer fighting game Shaolin Style in 1999 to Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker game for Sega in the early 90s.

Sponsors left in a dilemma over tennis star’s ban and allegations against Johnny Depp

Brands count cost of celebrity ties after Johnny Depp and Maria Sharapova
Johnny Depp at the Hollywood premiere Of Alice Through The Looking Glass last month. Photograph: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

It has been a tricky week for brands that rely on celebrities to endorse their wares. An image of Johnny Depp rolling his shirt sleeves up while advertising a perfume named Sauvage has suddenly become a headache for Dior, while Nike, Evian and racket manufacturer Head are all pondering the solidity of their relationship with tennis star Maria Sharapova. Further afield in Hong Kong, protests were held outside Lancôme stores over the company’s cancellation of a concert by Canto-pop star Denise Ho Wan-sze, a known supporter of the pro-democracy movement .

While Nike said it stood behind Sharapova, facing a two-year ban after admitting using a now banned performance-enhancing drug, Dior has so far refused to comment on allegations of domestic violence levelled by Depp’s estranged wife Amber Heard, despite calls from anti-domestic violence groups.

Earlier this month the British charity Women’s Aid said that, should the allegations against Depp prove true, Dior should sever its relationship with the brand. “A responsible fashion house would stop working with a perpetrator of domestic abuse,” the charity said. “The ‘hero culture’ that can surround famous men should not distort our reactions to abusive actions.”

It’s not the first time Dior has run into difficulties. In 2008, then brand ambassador Sharon Stone said that an earthquake in China was the result of “bad karma” over the occupation of Tibet. Dior immediately withdrew Chinese advertising featuring the actress.

Brands count cost of celebrity ties after Johnny Depp and Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open last January. Photograph: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

Harvard brand professor John Quelch says brands have to go through a complex series of calculations when deciding how to react to trouble with celebrity endorsers. A brand such as Nike may be less sensitive to a consumer backlash because, clearly, Sharapova needs athletic wear to win tournaments, so the company’s credibility remains intact. “If you have market power like Nike, you can set terms that are much tougher because athletes value the endorsementof Nike – it means as much to them as it does to the company. They feed off each other.”

But for brands that are increasingly seen as offering leadership around social issues, the dilemma around celebrities can still be acute. Quelch says Dior would almost certainly have written in a clause for moral turpitude in a contract with any Hollywood star. While a brand can’t write in penalties for box-office flops, they can write a moral turpitude clause that is as broad and sweeping in its lack of definition as possible. “So whatever unforeseen misbehaviour arises, the moral turpitude clause can be activated,” he says. By contrast, a powerful celebrity would seek to limit the moral turpitude clause to specified acts. “That might or might not include hitting your wife.”

But brands do not welcome celebrity endorsers who are likely to express their views on non-commercial issues. In Hong Kong, Lancôme’s parent company L’Oréal was believed to have come under pressure from Chinese authorities to cancel Denise Ho Wan-sze’s engagement over her pro-democracy stance.

But the move proved to be a black eye for the firm as Ho urged fans to stand up against “the white terror that is spreading among our societies”. In a statement, Lancôme said Ho was not a spokesperson of the company and that it was “sorry for the confusion”, citing “possible safety reasons” in cancelling the concert.

The social media and public backlash that followed L’Oréal’s decision highlights difficulties that sponsors are now encountering with celebrity endorsers, says Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the Innovation Group at J Walter Thompson.

“Celebrities are sharing more opinions and pictures on social media to promote their own personal brands. It’s becoming more difficult for brands to control celebrities that are tied into a brand relationship. They’ve got their own independent ways to broadcast their ideas and thoughts.”

Whereas brands could once tightly control the messaging, says Greene, they now have to deal with several streams of commentary. “It’s become far more important for celebrities to have a social media presence and the messages get picked up and spread more quickly.”

Exacerbating that trend, Greene adds, is the politicisation of social media users, including celebrities such as Lena Dunham, the American actor and creator of TV hit show Girls, who use their public platforms to draw attention to issues. In some instances, the importance for celebrities to maintain credibility with their audience is more important than their allegiance to sponsors.

The critically lambasted video game adaptation makes just $24.4m while the Enfield-set sequel becomes the biggest horror opening since the 2013 original

Warcraft loses box-office battle as The Conjuring 2 scares US audiences
Warcraft: The End? … Duncan Jones’ fantasy Warcraft: The Beginning might be the start and end of the franchise. Photograph: AP

Video game adaptation Warcraft: The Beginning has delivered a lacklustre result in its opening US weekend, making just $24.4m.

The $160m budget fantasy adventure had suffered from negative reviews, with a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and bad buzz after a much-maligned marketing campaign. But the film has been a hit in China, making $156m in its first five days and its global total now stands at $286m. Industry experts claim it will need to make $450m to break even.

It was envisioned as the start of a new franchise but its future is now in doubt and will depend on international numbers. Similarly, an underwhelming US total for Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was offset by large numbers overseas and a sequel is now in pre-production as a result, set to star John Boyega.

The weekend was won by haunted house sequel The Conjuring 2, which made $40.4m, the biggest opening for a horror film since the original opened with $41.9m in 2013. It was also the best ever debut for a horror film in June.

The original ended up with $318m from a $20m budget and while the follow-up, which takes Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga’s paranormal investigators to Enfield, was made for $40m, it will still turn a healthy profit. Internationally its total is already $90.4m.

Another sequel to a 2013 sleeper hit, Now You See Me 2, opened decently with $23m compared to the original’s $29.4m. The heist thriller, which brings back cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo, cost a hefty $90m so will need a strong overseas showing to make a profit.

Last week’s top film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 dropped 60% in its second weekend.

Bowie’s longtime producer says his comments about the singer’s voice were ‘taken the wrong way’

Tony Visconti apologises to Adele after suggesting her voice is manipulated
Offended … Adele. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s longtime producer, has apologised for negative comments he made about Adele’s voice.

Last week, the producer suggested that the singer’s vocals might have been digitally enhanced.

“You turn the radio on and it’s fluff, you are listening to 90% computerised voices,” Visconti told The Daily Star on 8 June. “We know Adele has a great voice but it’s even questionable if that is actually her voice or how much has been manipulated. We don’t know.”

Visconti – who is currently promoting the new TV talent show Guitar Star, in which he hopes to find “virtuosos like Hendrix, Cobain and Bowie” – has since told Billboard that his comments were not meant to be spiteful.

“I’m sorry that what I said in regards to what’s being played on radio was misconstrued yet I cannot apologise for something taken the wrong way,” he said. “If Adele has taken my comments as offensive that was certainly not my intent.”

He added: “Adele has a great voice and it brings pleasure to millions.”

Since his original comment, the story had already reached Adele herself. During a gig at Paris’s Accor Hotels Arena, the singer is captured stating: “Some dickhead tried to say that my voice was not me on record … Dude, suck my dick.”

Zayn Malik apologises to fans as anxiety about live performances prevents his appearance at the Capital Summertime Ball

Zayn Malik cancels gig amid the 'worst anxiety of my career'
‘I cannot apologise enough’ … Zayn Malik. Photograph: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Zayn Malik has described his struggle with anxiety after it forced the singer to cancel a live performance in London.

The former One Direction member, who has since established a solo career, was scheduled to play at Capital FM’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium on Saturday alongside Ariana Grande, Tinie Tempah, Years and Years and Clean Bandit.

Ahead of his appearance, however, Malik posted a message to his followers, describing his anxiety, especially surrounding the pressures of performing live.

While the singer’s debut album, Mind of Mine, received largely positive reviews, he has played very few solo gigs to support its release. When he performed his new track It’s You on US show The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in February, his subdued performance received a negative reaction from viewers.

Malik has previously commented on grappling with his “intrusive and invasive” fame. In his first interview following his departure from One Direction, Malik described the day he decided to leave the band:

“I was always thinking it. I just didn’t know when I was going to do it. Then by the time I decided to go, it just felt right on that day. I woke up on that morning […] and was like, ‘I need to go home. I just need to be me now, because I’ve had enough.’

Jay Z’s streaming service marks what would have been the singer’s 58th birthday with 15 album strong collection of B-sides and unreleased recordings

Tidal uploads rarities from Prince's back catalogue
Almost 3m Prince songs were bought in the five days after his death in April. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Anyone still unsure about a Tidal subscription may be swayed by its latest addition: a large portion of rarities from the Prince back catalogue.

The streaming service is celebrating what would have been Prince’s 58th birthday today by uploading 15 of his albums. Including B-sides and rarities as well as unreleased recordings and live albums spanning 1987 to 1996, the latest offering from Tidal starts at The Black Album and ends with Girl 6 – Official.

While the late musician previously endorsed Jay Z’s subscription service, offering Tidal his albums Hitnrun and Hitnrun Phase Two as exclusives, he removed all his music in 2015. His 40-plus albums are now on Tidal, in addition to this new batch of uploads.

“After one meeting, it was obvious that Jay Z and the team he has assembled at TIDAL recognize and applaud the effort that real musicians put in2 their craft 2 achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry,” Prince said during the release of his Hitnrun in August 2015. “TIDAL have honored Us with a non-restrictive arrangement that once again allows Us to continue making art in the fashion We’ve grown accustomed 2 and We’re Extremely grateful 4 their generous support.”

Following Prince’s death from an opioid overdose on 21 April, the artist has seen a surge of interest in his music. Five days after his death, 2.8m Prince songs had been purchased, with Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, and Little Red Corvette his top sellers.

Tidal’s new batch of Prince albums:

  • The Black Album (1987)
  • The Gold Experience (1995)
  • Chaos & Disorder (1996)
  • Crystal Ball (1998)
  • 1999: The New Master (1999)
  • Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999)
  • Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic (2001)
  • The Rainbow Children (2001)
  • One Nite Alone … Live! (2002)
  • One Nite Alone … The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over (2002)
  • Indigo Nights (2008)
  • The New Power Generation
  • Exodus (1995)
  • New Power Soul (1998)
  • Various
  • 1-800-NEW-FUNK (1994)
  • Girl 6 – Official (1996)

The Guns N’ Roses frontman is trying to get Google to remove images that he says violate copyright – and they just happen to be a little unflattering

Appetite for destruction: Axl Rose demands Google remove 'fat' photos
Axl Rose performs at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday in London. Photograph: Chiaki Nozu/Getty Images

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose has long battled the trappings of internet-era celebrity. When his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, the singer wrote a 1,000–word open letter refusing his own part in the induction and imploring the organization not to include him in absentia. The hall of fame politely yet swiftly declined his request.

Undeterred, Rose is now taking on the definitive hall of fame – waging war against Skynet itself, no less – by demanding that Google removes the now infamous photos of his sweaty, rounder-than-usual face from a 2010 concert now associated with the “fat Axl Rose” meme from their search engines.

Rose might feel the meme is detracting attention from Guns’n’Roses’ forthcoming tour, what with the memes about “sweet pie’o’mine”, or “take me down to bakery city’. But then again, most people probably wouldn’t have heard of it if he hadn’t started issuing DMCA takedown requests.

His argument – bolstered by web privacy firm Web Sheriff, a company with inexplicable taste in clip art that advocates B2B “persuasion” over litigation in piracy cases – is that the images, taken by Canadian photographer Boris Minkevich and originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press, are actually Rose’s own property. Rose claims all photographers were required to sign a release form upon entering the concert; this may be the general rule at GNR shows, but Minkevich has said he doesn’t recall whether he did or did not sign one.

Google declined to comment on the case.

The DMCA – or Digital Millennium Copyright Act – is the act that officially codified and criminalized internet piracy in America in 1998. Though well-intentioned, it has subsequently become the worst nightmare of everyone except major music labels and other corporate entities trafficking largely in intellectual property.

Legal teams who send out DMCA notices (the ones powerful enough to get taken seriously, anyway) usually don’t care to determine whether the use of their clients’ copyrighted property is protected by fair use. That means anyone using parts of a copyrighted work for satirical, parodic, educational, research-based or critical purposes – all of which are legal – can be shut down without warning, and it takes a herculean amount of effort, time, and legal fees to subvert, which is almost always not worth the fight for the fair user.

As advocacy nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation succinctly put it in 2010: “By banning all acts of circumvention, and all technologies and tools that can be used for circumvention, the DMCA grants to copyright owners the power to unilaterally eliminate the public’s fair use rights.”

Rose has not stated a motive for insisting these unflattering photos are removed aside from copyright, but it’s probably safe to assume it’s for the same reason Beyoncé’s publicist requested something similar of BuzzFeed in 2013. Bey, we assume, did not want you to see her being quite that fierce, or grimacy.

On one hand, being able to remove photos of yourself disseminated without your permission should in theory be fairly easy. On the other hand, in reality, for everyday citizens and under far worse circumstances, without the heft of a DMCA notice to bolster your request – and a legal team to protect your pristine public image – it is decidedly not.

If only Rose could pause for a moment to think a bit beyond than his own personal plight, perhaps he would think to lend his celebrity clout to the fight for legislation against online harassment. Until then, it might be preferable to shift attention to this far superior Axl Rose meme until an understanding between the two parties is reached.

Fans delighted by impromptu singalong to Me and I at a Stockholm gala to celebrate 50 years since Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson met

Abba reunite for first public performance in 30 years
Super troopers … the original members of Abba line up at the opening of Mamma Mia! The Party in January. Photograph: IBL/Rex/Shutterstock

The four members of Abba performed alongside one another for the first time in over 30 years in Stockholm this weekend.

On Sunday, at a private gala to mark 50 years since songwriting duo Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson met for the first time, the pair were joined by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstadon stage at Berns Salonger in Stockholm. As well as discussing their career, the group sang their 1980 hit Me and I, according to Swedish newspaper Expressen – an event many fans never foresaw happening.

The impromptu performance reportedly began when Lyngstad and Fältskog recited the track as a tribute to Andersson and Ulvaeus, before the other half of Abba joined in and made the reunion official. Footage of the performance hasn’t yet surfaced, but images appeared on social media.

Although the group’s last tour took place in 1982, the four-piece were last publicly seen together in Stockholm for the opening of a new entertainment venture, Mamma Mia! The Party.

Despite their occasional individual performances, the group – made up of two former married couples – decided they would not reunite for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. “Agnetha is not flying, so I don’t know how she’s going to get to New York,” Andersson told Rolling Stone at the time.

Speaking to Expressen, Lyngstad said of their 2016 reunion: “It was absolutely amazing. A lot of emotions.

“We’ve made this journey throughout our history. Benny and Björn in particular. It’s been very nostalgic.”

“We took a break in ‘82, and it was meant to be a break,” Ulvaeus said in 2014. “It’s still a break and will remain so. You’ll never see us on stage again.”