CMU Daily - on the inside 10 May 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Spector in court
- Gates dropped rumours
- Maverick win round one
- iTunes deny price rise reports
- Simon & Garfunkel confirm UK & Ireland dates
- Damon Dash plans to release Beckham album without Beckham
- GWR step up Classic FM promotion after good RAJARS
- Ricky Martin sued by former manager
- New editor at Metal Hammer
- Cooking Vinyl looking for web designer
- Faithless revamp their website
- Ryan closes his website
- Concert ticket costs continue to rise
- Vandross gives interview
- Chart update
- Police continue to investigate fatal fall at David Bowie concert
- Channel 4 toy with Channel Five merger idea
- Mp3.com relaunches
- Brit pop accountant faces jail
- Fa pick farm track for England song
- Zutons cancel gig after injury

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SPECTOR IN COURT
Michael Jackson's case may be looming, but all eyes were on the other high profile rock 'n' roll court case on Friday, with Phil Spector in court for a prelim hearing into the death of actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverley Hills home back in Feb 2003.

As reported on Friday, Spector's legal people last week revealed aspects of the coroner's report into Clarkson's death, all of which seemed to support Spector's claims that she had committed suicide. What they failed to reveal was that, while the coroner did admit that certain facts might suggest suicide, he actually concluded that Spector had held the gun and it was therefore homicide.

Speaking for the District Attorney who is prosecuting Spector, Sandi Gibbons disputed the defence's interpretation that the coroner's report suggests suicide. On the fact that Clarkson's hands were covered in gunshot residue suggesting she had held the gun, Gibbons said: "Any time a gun is fired there is a cloud of residue that emits from that weapon that covers a three-foot radius. She could have had her hands on her lap when the gunshot went off and residue would have been on her hands. There was residue on Spector's hands. He also had blood on his hands."

Spector's people claim he came into contact with Clarkson's blood after the incident, when police officers shot him with a taser gun forcing him to fall on the blood coated floor. However Gibbons responded: "If that was the case, it would not explain her blood on his jacket, which was upstairs, which he was not wearing when he was tasered. There was her blood on a door handle from when Spector went to call the limo driver. There's blood on the banister leading upstairs. There's a bloody rag upstairs. We believe he took the gun upstairs, wiped it off, and then took it back and placed it on her left side. And she's right-handed."

The coroner's actual conclusion that Clarkson's death was homicide seems to be based on evidence that Spector had possession of the gun when it was discharged, plus the lack of any signs of Clarkson being suicidal prior to the incident.

Speaking after the hearing on Friday - despite requests by his own legal team that he remain silent on the matter - Spector accused the coroner of being biased in his analysis of the evidence. Asked by reporters if the coroner should be considered objective in the case, Spector said: "He's not. He works for the Sheriff".

To that remark Gibbons' flatly denied any meddling by the Sheriff or the District Attorney in the production of the coroners report, adding: "The evidence is what the evidence is - the coroner's office could not rule that this is a suicide."

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GATES DROPPED RUMOURS
Well, if the ever reliable Sun is to be believed, Gareth Gates' pop idol days may be over. The tabloid reports that BMG has decided not to fund a third album from the Pop Idol runner up following disappointing sales of his second album, and a not-so-well-received performance at the Royal Albert Hall last month.

An 'insider' told the paper: "It has finally happened. Gareth's time at BMG records has come to an end. He's a lovely chap with great resilience but he simply doesn't sell records any more. There were initial meetings two months ago saying he was to be canned but the final decision didn't come until very recently. To be honest, there were a few big players who saw Gareth at the Royal Albert Hall a few weeks ago and they weren't very impressed. It's the end of an era in pop. There's no doubt that just a couple of years ago Gareth was the biggest pop star in Britain."

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MAVERICK WIN ROUND ONE
Round one to Madonna. No, not in the 'get off my land' right to roam debate here in the UK, but in the ongoing legal dispute between Warner Music and Madonna's label Maverick. As previously reported, Warners and Maverick are suing each other over various allegations of mis-management - although essentially the lawsuit is over if and how the co-owned imprint can part company with its major label parent following the takeover of Warners by Edgar Bronfmann Jnr.

The first argument between the two sides was over which court should hear the dispute. Maverick wanted the case to be heard in California, Warners in Delaware. Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor Leo E Strine Jr sided with Maverick on Friday, agreeing the case should be heard in LA rather than in his court. However he stressed that if Maverick could not get a court date in the near future in the Californian courts he may reconsider.

While Maverick's legal people claimed the decision was in their favour, Warner Music tried to play down the importance of where any legal fight takes place, telling reporters: "Regardless of where the trial ultimately is held, we are confident the court will agree that Maverick's claims against the company are baseless and that WMG has met all of its financial and legal obligations to the joint venture."

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ITUNES DENY PRICE RISE REPORTS
Apple have denied reports in the New York Post that they have renegotiated contracts with the major record labels so that they can increase the charge of buying music on the iTunes service.

The Post reported that the new contracts paved the way for variable pricing on iTunes, so that rather than charging 99 cents for all tracks, premium music would sell for $1.25. The paper quoted a source as saying: "It allows some flexibility down the road".

However a spokesman for Apple denied the reports. While admitting Apple had renegotiated some points when its contracts with the major record labels came up for renewal after a year in operation, they claim price increases were not discussed.

The company's Natalie Sequeira told reporters: "These rumors aren't true. We have multiyear agreements with the labels and our prices remain 99 cents a track."

Sequeira admitted that one of the changes in the recent contract renewal was the number of times an iTunes user can cut tracks to CD - it fell from ten to seven. That change has been incorporated into the latest version of iTunes software, iTunes 4.5, which was officially announced last week.

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SIMON & GARFUNKEL CONFIRM UK & IRELAND DATES
Following reports last week that a London date was in the pipeline, Simon & Garfunkel confirmed three UK and Ireland dates for July this weekend. They will play the Manchester Evening News Arena on 14 Jul, London's Hyde Park on 15 Jul and Dublin's RDS Arena on 17 Jul. The first S&G live dates in the UK for over two decades, the three dates are part of an eleven date European tour.

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DAMON DASH PLANS TO RELEASE BECKHAM ALBUM WITHOUT BECKHAM
Damon Dash has said he will release the hip hop album he recorded with Victoria Beckham, only without Victoria's vocals. The fourteen track album was dumped by Beckham's record label Telstar, just before they dumped her and went bankrupt. Dash claims he was never paid for his work on the album so he reckons he should be allowed to release it himself, even though Victoria was involved in its creation.

Damon has told The Sun: "I want people to hear the album but it will be with another artist. A lot of work went into it and I don't want to throw it away. And the way I see it, as long as they didn't buy them I can do whatever I want."

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GWR STEP UP CLASSIC FM PROMOTION AFTER GOOD RAJARS
Radio group GWR have followed up the good news it received in the RAJAR figures last week (nationwide audience figures went up 300,000, and its London audience share is now only 0.4% off Heart 106.2), with the news of an aggressive new marketing campaign for the station, targeting listeners of talk and easy listening radio.

Announcing the new campaign Classic FM boss Roger Lewis told reporters: "We believe in classical music. We have shown that it can be part of everyone's lives. It's time to shout about it."

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RICKY MARTIN SUED BY FORMER MANAGER
Ricky Martin is facing a $63.5 million lawsuit from his former manager over claims of breach of contract. Angelo Medina claims that last September he stepped down as Martin's global representative in order to spend more time with his family, but that both parties agreed he would stay on as Martin's manager in home country Puerto Rico. But then, Medina claims, Martin abruptly cut off all contact and sued him for $2.5 million over allegedly undelivered services.

Prior to issuing the counter-lawsuit, Medina had told reporters he was dismayed at the news he was being sued by the star, whom he considered "a son". Martin's legal people, meanwhile, have said they will fight Medina's counter-suit, telling reporters last week "We reject the allegations".

Although Ricky Martin has not dominated the pop agenda as much in recent years, he remains a big star in the Latin music world, picking up three awards at the recent Latin Billboard Awards.

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NEW EDITOR AT METAL HAMMER
Seminal rock magazine Metal Hammer has a new editor. Jamie Hibbard has taken over the helm at Future Publishing's flagship music magazine, and his first issue is out today with a three way split print run with one of the members of Slipknot on each.

Confirming his appointment, Jamie told CMU: "I'm extremely excited to have the helm of the good ship Hammer in these times where rock and metal are definitely back. There's more great rock and metal bands out there than there's been in years and I'm looking forward to Hammer going bigger, better, nastier and louder than ever before."

On the magazine itself he continued: "Over the last three years Metal Hammer has gone through some huge changes - covering more bands and appealing to more people. We're the heaviest rock magazine out there and the kids know where to come when they've got fed up with the more corporate magazines."

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COOKING VINYL LOOKING FOR WEB DESIGNER
Independent label Cooking Vinyl are looking for a new web designer. The job will centre on running the label's website - updating content and looking after the online shop. The designer will also be responsible for designing e-cards, html newsletters and other viral marketing tools, as well as helping out with print design and IT support. Needless to say the person will need to be a good user of Dreamweaver and Flash, and will benefit from strong html skills and some knowledge of PHP and MySQL. Interested people should send a CV plus URLs of past web work to hakon@cookingvinyl.com

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FAITHLESS REVAMP THEIR WEBSITE
Talking of websites, Faithless have relaunched their website prior to the release of new album 'No Roots', which is out on 7 Jun. Aside from all the usual web type stuff, you will find a download version of 'Mass Destruction', what will be the first single release off the new album on 31 May. The download is the Zinc Remix of the track.

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RYAN CLOSES HIS WEBSITE
Still on websites - Ryan Adams has closed his down for a few days as a mark of respect for the death of six friends - or, that is to say, the end of the Friends TV show. The site apparently closed its doors after the shows' final airing in the US on Thursday night - no word on when it will return, it is still closed this morning.

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CONCERT TICKET COSTS CONTINUE TO RISE
According to the New York Times, rock concert ticket prices continue to rise in the US. They reckon average best seat ticket prices are up $50 on last year, and nearly ten times the price they were ten years ago. They point out that best seat tickets for a Madonna gig were around $250 last year, now they are $300 - in 1990 they were $30!


Two years ago similar rising ticket prices were used to explain what was then considered to be a ticket-sales-decline-crisis in the US live sector. Now, although overall tickets sales continue to slide slightly in the States, no one is talking of crisis, perhaps because bands and promoters are making more money out of gigging than ever before.

In that regard, the New York Times reports that a band like The Eagles can now make more out of a week of touring than selling a million albums. Whether or not the live sector can continue to profit so highly remains to be seen.

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VANDROSS GIVES INTERVIEW
Singer Luther Vandross has told Oprah Winfrey he plans to carry on recording despite still recovering from the stroke he suffered last year. Giving his first interview since the stroke, he quipped: "I'll be singing at 80."
Asked about how he felt about his illness, he told Oprah: "I was fit to be tied. It was a chore, coming back from the stroke. I was very depressed."

On the diabetes that caused the stroke, and his relative ambivalence to his condition over the years, Vandross continues: "It was something that I did, and I wish I hadn't. Diabetes is a very nifty, crafty disease. It seems like a soft disease at first. It's anything but. It's anything except that. What it does is it incapacitates you."

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CHART UPDATE
Well, Eamon is still at number one this week with his single 'Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)'. He fought off new competition from Christina Milian, who went in at number two with her single 'Dip It Low' yesterday, and from Natasha 'sister of Daniel' Bedingfield, who went in at three with 'Single'. Buzz band Keane scored a new entry at four with 'Everybody's Changing' while the Ronan Keating / Leanne Rimes duet 'Last Thing On My Mind' went in at five.

Other new entries of note include Ash with 'Orpheus' at 13 and Mr Graham Coxon, who goes in at 22 with 'Bittersweet Bundle Of Misery'.

Albums wise, a plethora of best ofs continue to dominate - with Guns 'n' Roses slipping back up to the number one spot, new entry compilations from The Who and The Pixies and other best ofs from The Shadows, Abba and the Bay City Rollers!

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POLICE CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE FATAL FALL AT DAVID BOWIE CONCERT
Clear Channel have issued an official statement following the cancellation of that David Bowie concert last week after the death of a stage hand minutes before the singer was due on stage. Few details of the incident have been released except to say that local police are investigating.

Clear Channel, who were promoting the concert at Miami's James L Knight Center, said this weekend: "A statement was read to the audience after the accident, informing them that refund or postponement information would be available shortly. David Bowie and his touring company are deeply saddened by the news of this tragic accident and send their sincerest condolences and thoughts to the stagehand's family and friends."

The incident reportedly involved a 44 year old local man who was checking spotlights prior to Bowie's set - support band Stereophonics having completed their set. He was working on a 50ft ladder at the side of the main stage area when he fell. Miami police have confirmed there were no signs of suspicious activity but added they were continuing with their investigations.

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CHANNEL 4 TOY WITH CHANNEL FIVE MERGER IDEA
What started off as a rumour a few months back may become a reality. Latest word is the Channel 4 board is seriously considering a merger with Channel Five. Channel 4 boss Mark Thompson reckons a merger would reduce both companies' costs, aiding future development. Channel 4 would be able to continue to invest in edgy programming while Channel 5 chases the audiences. However not everyone is convinced - many believe Channel 4's public service role would always be in conflict with the main aim of Channel Five shareholders - maximum profits. Any significant change in Channel 4's structure would involve a change in broadcasting legislation - so don't expect any major changes too soon.

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MP3.COM RELAUNCHES
That other big name of the early days of digital music - MP3.com - has relaunched under its new owners CNET. Originally a platform for unsigned artists to make their music available digitally - MP3.com was destined for big things when bought by Vivendi Universal in 2001, but Vivendi's financial woes meant little was achieved during its ownership, except the closure of its European operations. Now owned by CNET the plan seems to be to make MP3.com a guide to the various digital music websites out there.

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BRIT POP ACCOUNTANT FACES JAIL
The former accountant of bands like Primal Scream, Suede and Echobelly has been jailed for a year after being found guilty of some shady accounting which basically involved siphoning off his client's money while claiming the cash was being used to pay tax bills. Frank Dixon pleaded guilty to 25 counts of false accounting charges at London's Harrow Crown Court on Thursday, and now faces a year in jail.

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FA PICK FARM TRACK FOR ENGLAND SONG
The Football Association have picked their official song for the England team for Euro 2004. The bad news - it's not the track especially created for the tournament by Christian O'Connell's breakfast show on Xfm. The good news - it's not a Blazin Squad track either.

The official track is a DJ Spoony remix of the Farm classic 'All Together Now' complete with extra vocals from a Liverpudlian boys choir! Spoony has played the track on his Radio 1 show - but we missed it, so God knows what it sounds like. All we know is Spoony introduced the track by saying: "The song is a classic and I'm a massive England fan, so when the FA asked me to get involved, I couldn't believe my luck."

The Farm's Peter Hooton, who originally wrote the song about that famous British/German football match that took place during a Christmas Day truce during World War One, told reporters this weekend: "The fact that the greatest game in the world had momentarily united the soldiers was the reason I wanted to capture the spirit of that day in the lyrics. It's a fantastic honour to have our song chosen to be the official England anthem."

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ZUTONS CANCEL GIG AFTER INJURY
CMU favourites The Zutons had to cancel their Friday night London gig because drummer Sean Payne broke his fingers. Payne suffered the injury while helping roadies load flight cases into a van the day before. The ULU gig will be rescheduled.

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