CMU Daily - on the inside 20 May 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- OD2 join download price war as Napster announce UK plans
- Metallica switch Warner label
- Remixing at Cargo and Barfly
- Opposition grows to BMG Sony merger from within
- LA station announce Weenie line up
- Xfm confirm Dublin plans
- Single Review: Delays & The Veils At The Astoria
- Jerry Springer to fill in on Capital Gold
- New dance station going live on Sky
- Talkin Loud A&R man joins Gut
- Party In The Park bill grows
- Morrissey pulls out of Radio 1 session
- Single Review: Phantom Planet - Big Brat
- Renowned jazz man dies
- Venues trade body appoints new board
- Ian Curtis film in development
- Hong Kong pop star hits out at Chinese industry
- Scruff mixes it up for Ninja
- Album Review: Bob Dylan - The Essential
- Madonna planning shock & awe with new show
- Commercial chart show has new producer


CMU is six years old this week - to celebrate look out for our revamped website online at plus a brand spanking new issue of the CMU Weekly out now.

From the archives - "We are not worried about charts, magazine covers and other popularity contests. We go in with modest expectations and with no one else to blame". Faith No More's Mike Patton in issue sixteen of CMU.


The digital music world looks set to enter a competitive pricing war before it has even been properly established. OD2, who run UK-based download platforms on behalf of MSN, Coke, Tiscali and Virgin Megastores, last night announced they would be cutting the cost of tracks downloaded from their services from 99p to 50p.

The announcement of OD2's significant price cut was timed to immediately precede a London press conference being held later today by Napster, who are expected to announce their UK launch plans. The OD2 platforms currently dominate the albeit fledgling British download market, but with Apple, Sony Connect and Napster all branching out into Europe in the next few months that position is going to be seriously challenged.

Announcing the price cut OD2 boss Charles Grimsdale told reporters yesterday: "There is clear evidence that the market for digital music is taking off in spectacular fashion. Consumers have quickly embraced a wide range of services that are easy to use, highly convenient and which represent great value for money."

Some in the music industry have expressed concern that a plethora of download services all of whom have access to the same extensive catalogue and who compete primarily on price point is in danger of devaluing their content, further fuelling public expectation that music is available for next to nothing. How the main digital music companies - many of whom depend not on music sales but on selling software or digital music players for much of their revenue - respond to these industry concerns remains to be seen.


With the axe already swinging over the roster at recently merged US Warner division Atlantic Elektra, Metallica's management have confirmed that the seminal rock band have switched allegiances within the major to Warner Bros.

Although no official reason has been given for the switch it is unlikely the band was among those being lined up to be dropped. However with most of the Elektra top guard axed in the merger (which many felt was a takeover of Elektra by Atlantic) it is likely the band no longer felt any allegiances to the division and would rather work with a label with less pending instability.

How they pulled off the switch is also being speculated in industry circles. Rumours say management threatened to postpone the delivery of the band's next album if such an internal move could not be facilitated. Given they make much more money on touring and merchandise than recording, getting Metallica back in the studio is going to be more important to the label than the band. Whether the band and their management had to make any concessions to secure the move - most likely extending the current contract in terms of albums to be delivered - is also as yet unclear.

Meanwhile lesser known artists on Atlantic-Elektra await news on who will fall victim to a cull that is expected to cut the labels' combined roster by 50%. Those on Elektra will be particularly interested to see if the roster cull - like the appointment of top guard at the merged division - tips very much in Atlantic's favour.


Now, a cynic may say we're biased, I'd argue we associate with the best. Either way - two fine nights to put in your PDA (or to scribble on a post-it, depending on your technical preference).

First up it is Xfm's Remix Night tonight at Cargo. The very excellent South will be playing live, as will new band Tremble, and then Barry Ashworth of the Dub Pistols will be going head to head DJ wise with Remix host Eddy TM. All kicks off at 8pm at Cargo, entrance is £6 before 9pm and £8 thereafter. Advance tickets from the Xfm Xchange on 0870 121 1049.

And talking of going head to head in a DJ fashion with Eddy TM, Mr Temple Morris will be Djing with Strictly Kev - one of the chief players in Ninja Tune's DJ Food outfit - on Saturday night. This three hour double bill DJ set is quite likely to feature nine million tracks - well, perhaps not nine million - but expect many fine tunes to appear. Kicks off at midnight at the Barfly in Camden, doors open at 10pm. Tickets £9, or £7 if you download a flyer from


Whether officials at the European Commission are planning to green-light or oppose the proposed Sony BMG merger we don't know, but we do hear rumours opposition is growing to the proposal among the top guard at BMG.

Word is some at BMG's US offices, fresh from a recent restructure and enjoying particular sales success just at the moment, are starting to question what they will gain by getting into bed with Sony - other than another restructure and, if the original proposals went ahead and Sony's Andrew Lack took the top job at the merged label, a new boss. Said merger opposers are said to be lobbying their German parent company to reconsider their plans - and are likely to step up their opposition if EU officials insist any major sell off of BMG assets to secure go ahead for the merger.

Elsewhere on the grapevine, word is some senior players at Sony share those reservations to the merger. Although original plans put their boss at the top of any merged company, BMG are by far the stronger of the two in terms of US market share just now, and some at Sony worry any merger could become a BMG takeover.


LA's alternative radio station KROQ has secured quite some line-up for their annual Weenie Roast mini-festival. We're talking The Strokes, The Hives, Velvet Revolver, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beastie Boys, The Killers, Modest Mouse, New Found Glory and Cypress Hill. All takes place at LA's Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre on 12 Jun.


Talking of alternative radio stations, Xfm has confirmed details of its long talked about plans to establish an offshoot in Dublin. The Capital Group owned station is working with Irish TV, radio and internet group UTV and Irish-owned radio consultancy Absolute Radio International in its bid to get an analogue frequency to broadcast a bespoke service to the city. The Dublin station would be based on, but separate from the London station, which already broadcasts in Ireland via satellite and cable TV services.

Confirming the plans Xfm MD Graham Bryce told reporters: "This license provides a fantastic opportunity to extend the Xfm brand into the Dublin market and further strengthen our expansion across the UK and Ireland. The combined strength of the Xfm brand, our unrivalled expertise in this format of radio and our partner's local knowledge will enable us to create something truly unique for Dubliners."


SINGLE REVIEW: Delays & The Veils at The Astoria on 14 May
"I'm in love!" As Jennifer Anniston is prone to declare melodramatically on TV commercials, but unlike her I'm not in love with a shampoo, but a band. Delays are a band you can't help falling for - but more on them later - first up are the Veils.

The Veils are currently one of the most underrated bands around. Their album 'The Runaway Found' is chock full of great tunes and powerful songs and is a definite contender for record of the year. Dark and intense songs like 'Guiding Light' and 'The Wild Son' are in the vein of the classic pop of bands like the Smiths or Suede, and are performed with great passion. The focal point of the Veils is charismatic New Zealander Finn Andrews. The band's diverse musical references are indicated by their unusual choice of cover song, a Scritti Pollitti track.

Delays look set to be the soundtrack for my summer, with their glorious sounds eminently suitable for blue skies and sunshine. But their songs sound even better in a dark auditorium. It helps, of course, that they look as good as they sound: Greg and Aaron Gilbert have to be the best looking brothers in indie pop. Greg's amazing vocals are even more stunning live than on record and his harmonies with Aaron are just lovely. As well as songs from their superlative album 'Faded Seaside Glamour' the band play a fair few number of new songs including 'Stop', a great disco stomp number, which is introduced as a possible single. Greg is fairly subdued for the frontman of a band, but this is more than compensated for by Aaron's mischievous onstage manner.

I had hoped that tonight would be a dream evening because I love both these bands - and my hopes were more than exceeded. JW


Following the news actor Elijah Wood is in the pipleline to fill in for John Peel on Radio 1, news today that Jerry Springer - he of talk show TV and the Opera - will fill in for Paul Coyte on Capital Gold next month. Which should be fun.


There'll be a new dance radio channel on Sky as of 1 Jun - Croydon-based Pure Dance from a company going by the name of New Dance Radio will start broadcasting on channel 938.


With Universal imprint Talkin Loud not talking so loud these days, one of the imprints former A&R guys, Paul Martin, has joined Gut Records. The man who signed up Roni Size and Reprazent to the dance label, will look after Black Moth Connection, Million Dan and new signing Evi-Dence in his new job.

Confirming the appointment Gut MD Steve Tandy told reporters: "The heart of any record company is its A&R department and the appointment of someone with Paul's urban experience and success empowers Gut's drive to find and develop the next generation of urban artists and music."


More top pop popsters (?) added to the bill at Capital Radio's Party In The Park. As of yesterday Alanis Morissette, Anastacia, Blue, Lenny Kravitz and Sugababes joined the bill, which already included Avril Lavigne, Busted, Jamelia, Nelly Furtado, The Calling, The Corrs and Will Young. Announcing the line up additions Capital's breakfast show host Johnny Vaughan added a little hyperbole telling his listeners: "This is without a doubt the greatest event that happens in London, it IS London. It's brilliant. I love it and can't wait to get up on that stage in front of 100,000 people." It all takes place on 11 Jul.


Prooving all those years hiding in LA haven't dampened his skill for being a bloody awkward drama queen, Morrissey has pulled out of a live session on Radio 1's John Peel show because he found out he would have to perform in front of 12 competition winners. Admitting he wasn't listening when his record label explained the competition component to his Radio 1 session, Morrissey axed the gig as soon as he realised,

recording a private session for Zane Lowe's show instead. The twelve competition winners will be given an alternative prize and reminded Johnny Marr was the real talent in the Smiths.


SINGLE REVIEW: Phantom Planet - Big Brat (Sony/Epic)
Phantom Planet return with the first single to be taken off new eponymously titled album - presumably hoping to garner more of a mainstream following thanks to the use of their track 'California' as the main theme tune to teen drama 'The OC'. And the band don't seem to be shying away from that association with this single, adequately titled, as it is, 'Big Brat'. And like the show, while this track may not inspire profound philosophical discussions, who cares? So, you don't have millions in the bank or attend regular pool parties, but lead singer Alex Greenwald's shouty drunken vocals will have singing along in empathy for the big brat lifestyle anyways. With such infectious melodies and retro hooks this single prepares for a serious assault on the waves. RP
Release date: 31 May
Press contact: Sony IH [all]


Renowned jazz drummer Elvin Ray Jones, best known as a member of John Coltrane's quartet, has died aged 76. Jones - who played alongside Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis during his prolific career - died of heart failure in a New Jersey hospital on Tuesday.


More from the exciting file marked 'industry associations'. The trade organisation for the biggest venues in Europe - the European Arenas Association - has appointed a new board.

The EAA exists to represent the interests of major arena venues, and currently has 23 members in 18 countries across Europe. Representatives from some of those venues make up the Association's board.

The latest reshuffle follows the departure of Stockholm Globe Arena's Stefan Holmgren, who was EAA President but has now chosen to retire from the organisation. He is replaced in the top job by the group's former Vice-President, Wilfrid Spronk, who is MD of Munich's Olympiapark/Olymiahalle.

Both of the UK's EAA member arenas are now represented on the board. Linda Barrow of Birmingham's NEC becomes Vice President, while Peter Tudor, who heads up sales and marketing at London's Wembley Arena, becomes Honorary Secretary and Treasurer.

Finally, Marco Pontini, who represents both the Milan Forum and Rome's PalaLottomatica, has become second Vice-President.


According to Variety, a new movie is being planned to tell the tragic life story of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. The film will be produced by Amy Hobby with the help of London-based Neal Weisman, a friend of former Factory Records boss Tony Wilson - who originally signed the band.

Talking to the trade mag in Cannes, Weisman said: "Ian Curtis was a tragic romantic in the classic sense of the word. He always thought he would be famous as some kind of poet and die by his mid-20s, and that's what happened."

No word on casting as yet, though Moby is reportedly on board to coordinate the music.


Hong Kong based pop star Jacky Cheung has hit out at China's music industry saying their obsession with pop acts combining music and TV careers to boost sales means young artists couldn't concentrate on their musical skills - and criticising labels for not investing enough time and money in new talent.

Cheung, one of China's biggest pop stars after twenty years of performing, told reporters: "If our own industry doesn't take it seriously, you can't expect others take it seriously. Once singers debut they are expected to be up to par. In reality, that's not really possible. Before, you were allowed to evolve, but now you're not."


Mr Scruff is about to put out his first commercially available mix CD as part of Ninja Tune's rather good 'Solid Steel' series. It will be the first in an ongoing collection from Scruff intended to reflect the incredibly varied selection of music played at his legendary 'Keep It Unreal' club nights. And just to prove it, the first CD features a 74 minute bouncy mix of reggae, classic hip hop, deep soul, rare funk, dancefloor jazz, heavy beats and leftfield electronic nuggets. The mix CD will grace the shelves come August.


ALBUM REVIEW: Bob Dylan - The Essential (Sony/Columbia)
What can you say about one of the most proclaimed artists to ever roam the world? Bob Dylan and his tight-lipped, poetic folk-rock still provides one of the most uplifting things that anyone with taste can listen to. The timing of this best of couldn't be better. With all the recent bootleg and live series you might wish to accuse Sony Music of "overkill", but no. What does this album have that the last hundred didn't? It has relevance, that's what: he has compiled the most beautiful songs that have graced the airwaves for the past 30 years. This album is not just another greatest hits (for starters, they aren't all hits), it is a collection of fantastic songs that managed to slip through the cracks of mediocrity, conveniently compiled on one holistic album. And while, as Dylan himself admits, "The Times are a Changin'", Dylan himself is still one of the most powerful voices of the 21st century. Cazart! BS.
Release Date: 7 June
Press Contact: PPR [CP, RP, NP] Sony IH [CR, RR, NR]


Madonna is apparently planning to stage her most shocking stage performance yet, which, given some of her past shows, is quite a challenge unless she's willing to go to the lengths of that 'Nine Songs' film.

That said, some of the rumours circulating about the new show suggest it may be more real world shock rather than sex shock. Word is fans will see Madonna being "frazzled" in an electric chair while huge screens will show images of starving children and people killed in Iraq.

But for those who like to keep their heads in the sand while gigging - we're promised a simulated lesbian sex scene too.


Following the appointment of new presenters earlier this week, production company Somethin' Else have appointed a new producer to work on the Hit 40 UK commercial radio chart show. Katherine Wong will take over the show just before the arrival of new hosts Simon Hirst and Katy Hill next month.

Confirming her appointment Wong told reporters: "It's a great opportunity to join Hit 40 UK as it enters a new chapter. I'm really looking forward to working with a fantastic team on what is still the biggest chart show in the UK."

Somethin' Else director Steve Ackerman added: "We're delighted to have someone of her experience on board and know she'll be an asset to an already strong team at an exciting time for the show."

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