CMU Daily - on the inside 21 May 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Napster UK launches
- EMI and HMV have Canadian squabble
- Longterm HMV man retires
- IFPI say "buy Greek downloads, go to jail"
- Independent video casting call!
- Album Review: Grand National - Kicking The National Habit
- Courts maintain Jacko case media ban
- Home Choice plan expansion
- Ice-T to work with Hasselhof
- EU runs late on merger statement
- NIN Reznor sues former manager
- MTV confirm Rome for euro awards
- Darkness Hawkins on the throat op
- Album Review: Yourcodenameis:Milo - All Roads To Fault
- Libertines on anti-racism bill again
- Dot Cotton wants to help Doherty
- Live Review: The Vines at Colston Hall, Bristol
- Capital fortunes up
- Peterson launches album at Rouge tonight
- Englebert's london album signing

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CMU IS SIX! HAPPY BIRTHDAY US!
CMU is six years old this week - to celebrate look out for our revamped website online at http://www.cmuonline.co.uk plus a brand spanking new issue of the CMU Weekly out now.
From the archives - "We wanted to get away from the whole big beat sound as possible. That's proved a shitty stick with which we've been tarnished from day one." Death In Vegas in issue twenty-three of CMU.

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VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Hospitality
The ever trendy Herbal on Kingsland Road hosts those friendly Hospital Records people representing, as they do, the more soulful side of drum and bass. Hospital star High Constant, aka Lincoln Barrett, will be paving the way tonight with new acts Child Support and Crisis Loner, coming together as Social Security, (soon to be releasing some dubs on sister imprint MASH), and Tomahawk who will be playing more liquid, r and b tinged drum and bass. Upstairs will be the Wah Wah 45 crew - Dom Servini and Simon Goss (label honchos brother!!) with Aaron Jerome will be joining the dots from hip hop, soul, funk, broken beat, house - mixing and blending up some party pieces. PV

Fri 21 May, 9pm - 2am, 12-14 Kingsland Road , Shoreditch , £4 b4 10.30 £6
after, more info from info@hospitalrecords.com

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NAPSTER UK LAUNCHES
Roxio owned Napster have beaten both of its arch-rivals, iTunes and Sony Connect, by being first to launch their digital download service in Europe. Napster yesterday went live here in the UK following a relatively low-key run up to launch, and will now be hoping to sign up as many members as possible before their competitors arrive.

The UK service is based very much on the platform which has been running in the US since last Autumn, but with UK specific content and catalogue. The service has two levels. The subscription model which gives consumers unlimited access to listen to any tracks on their PC with a per track charge for consumers who want to burn music to CD or transfer it to a portable music player. Then there is Napster Light, more akin to the iTunes model where consumers do not pay any subscription fee, but can only access 30 second previews of tracks, they must pay 99p to store the tracks on their PC or MP3 player.

The community access of the subscription model is important to Napster, who see themselves as much more than just an online retail outfit. The business model seems to rely on real music fans becoming hooked to the various content and community aspects of the platform, and therefore not shifting their loyalty to the cheaper pay-as-you-go services likely to be launched by all and sundry in the next year. In that regard the Napster top guard were dismissive of the decision by competitor OD2 (who run the Coke download service among others) to slash their prices this week.

On the community building aspect of their service, Roxio are keen to stress Napster's grass roots heritage. Of course Roxio's only real connection to the original and, dare we say it, legendary P2P network is that they bought the name, logo and URL in a back room liquidation sale after the major labels (BMG excluded) forced Napster into bankruptcy. But, to be fair, from what we see so far the new Napster have tried to create a service that offers much more than just basic downloading, and they have put a lot of energy into replicating certain features of the original P2P network - in particular the huge number of tracks available (currently 500K, with 200K more being added over the next month) and that aforementioned notion of community (members can recommend, champion and suggest tracks). The key difference, of course, is this time all five major record companies and the independent sector are all on board.

Announcing the UK launch in London yesterday, Napster president Brad Duea told reporters: "We have the largest database of music in the UK, while the community elements feel like the old Napster. But it is all done securely and reliably."

For the full low-down on Napster look out for an interview with Napster's UK General Manager Leanne Sharman in the CMU Weekly next week.

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EMI AND HMV HAVE CANADIAN SQUABBLE
A dispute between EMI and HMV in Canada means music by artists signed to the major and the independents it distributes in the territory is becoming more expensive in the flagship retailer's stores. That means CDs from the likes of Nickelback, Janet Jackson, Norah Jones, Sum 41, Radiohead and Sarah McLachlan are rising in price from anywhere between $2 and $10.

The dispute revolves around the volume discount HMV is demanding from EMI. Such a discount enables the retailer to compete with the supermarkets on the mainstream new releases. The major says it cannot afford to meet HMV's discount demands, and the retailer in return says it is therefore unwilling to subsidise the major's releases at their end.

Although both sides are guarded in speaking about the dispute for commercial reasons, HMV Canada president Humphrey Kadaner has told The Canadian Press: "EMI chose to reduce the level of support that they had previously offered HMV. That means we can't give EMI distributed products the same level of "value-added" support as we give other labels".

EMI argue they haven't increased their CD prices - rather sales of their music at HMV has fallen by 25% in recent years so they are unable to offer the same bulk buy discount. Label head Deane Cameron told reporters: "It's not fair for us to have trading terms that reward HMV for their volume if their volume is not there. HMV is selling a lot more DVDs these days. That's why we're getting elbowed out. We asked them to consider different trading terms. That wasn't received too well and we appear to be in the penalty box. It's disappointing for artists to be punished to this extent."

It's not the first time HMV Canada have got into a dispute with a major label over price point - a similar dispute with Warner Music two years ago led to the retailer withdrawing their catalogue from their stores completely. Commercially speaking both sides are trying to protect their profit margins in a declining market. However Terry McBride of independent label Nettwerk, whose music is distributed by EMI and therefore affected by the dispute, argues both sides lose out when they start to argue in this way.

"It's extremely short-sighted because people are already buying less and less CDs. The reason why HMV and EMI are having this little tussle is because EMI margins have been shrunk, the marketplace is shrinking and every player in this business needs to come to terms with that and be part of the solution - not get into these stupid little trade wars. Nobody wins."

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LONGTERM HMV MAN RETIRES
Elsewhere in the HMV empire, the group's COO Brian McLaughlin has told staff at the retailer that he will retire from his full time role after 36 years with the company (he started as a humble sales assistant!). McLaughlin will still sit on the board, but will not be involved in running the company day to day.

Confirming McLaughlin's departure HMV Group CEO Alan Giles told reporters yesterday: "We are indebted to Brian for building HMV UK into a highly respected market leader, with an outstanding group of talented employees and a passionate, performance-driven culture. During the past three years, he has made a much wider contribution to performance improvement across the group and we are delighted that we will continue to benefit from his experience and wisdom in a non-executive capacity after his retirement. On behalf of the board and everyone in the group, I would like to wish Brian a happy and fulfilling retirement."

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IFPI SAY "BUY GREEK DOWNLOADS, GO TO JAIL"
If you going to the Olympics this summer, beware, don't be tempted by the country's prolific pirated CD market - otherwise you could face jail.

That warning follows a decision by an Athens court who jailed a native man for three months for buying illegally copied CDs on the street. Greece has the worst piracy rate in Western Europe despite the prosecution of numerous illegal CD vendors in recent years. The Greek authorities, who have not been too hardline on the music black market in the past, seem to be cracking down ahead of the Athens Olympics in August.

With that in mind the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, who pushed for the prosecution of that bootleg-CD buyer, have warned people travelling to the country that they will maintain a hardline campaign against the sale and purchase of illegal CDs.

IFPI spokesman Ion Stamboulis told reporters: "This is not a symbolic measure. We are determined to prosecute the buyers and we have the support of the authorities."

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INDEPENDENT VIDEO CASTING CALL!
If you've ever wanted to be in a music video - well consider this to be your casting call. London based singer songwriter Affe Adel is producing a music video for an upcoming single release next weekend (29-30 May) in South London, and she is looking for people to take part. Affe is signed to her own independent label LEDA Records, so needless to say there isn't a big budget - but travel expenses within London will be paid, and you'll get a copy of the video to show the grandkids one day.

The specific cast requirements are as follows: one male of 'restircted growth', one pair of female twins (age 16-35), one female and one male bodybuilder, and one female with a large tattoo on her back.

Anyone interested can check out Affe's music at http://www.affeadel.com, and should then contact Vienna at info@affeadel.com.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Grand National - Kicking the National Habit (Sunday Best)
Praise Britannia, boys and girls it is time to find all your 'St Georges' and wave them high with pride. The UK is happenin' again, if you ask me - and the British scene, centring on London I suppose, has once again edged ahead of our bitter competitor NY. Whether it can last I don't know, but enjoy it while you can. And Grand National is a new addition to our arsenal of cultural musts. A group that has so much going for them that I would be hard pressed to find fault. Well, if you insist I will. But first the references. They are the reincarnation of the Happy Mondays, with a slice of The Police and a side serving of New Order - be that good or bad that is for you to decide. But it is comforting to know that we too can create the retro sound that the Scissor Sisters are making oh so popular. They have an abandon and a soulful edge that can only be gained after one too many nights of letting loose at the Elektric Ball Room. Are they going to tip the odds massively in the UK's favour? Doubtful. But they will surely influence more music to come - cause and effect, and the effect could be far more significant than they themselves probably foresee. Grand National has convinced me to shout from the rooftops "Rule Britannia!" I suggest you all get the album and do the same; there is nothing better than letting go of your inhibitions. BS.
Release Date: 24 May
Press Contact: Anglo [CR, RR, NR]

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COURTS MAINTAIN JACKO CASE MEDIA BAN
The California Supreme Court has reportedly said it will not lift the gag order that has been placed on all involved in the Michael Jackson child-molestation case. The decision follows calls by key media organisations to let them interview participants on both sides of the case before it kicks off proper in court later this year. But the courts have sided with prosecutor Thomas Sneddon who called for the media ban to remain in place. Word is that Jacko's recently appointed lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr, unlike his predecessor Mark Geragos, does not oppose the gagging order.

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HOME CHOICE PLAN EXPANSION
Video Networks - the company behind the video-on-demand service HomeChoice - are planning considerable expansion following some refinancing and concessions by BT which will greatly reduce the cost and barriers in getting the platform into people's homes.

Home Choice is delivered to your TV via an ADSL phone line. Viewers can access a range of TV programmes, movies and music videos on demand at the push of a button - and pause, rewind or fast forward those shows. In addition a catch up service means certain programmes that air on the standard channels go into the Home Choice service after their first airing, providing a 'catch up service'.

Although now eight years old, Video Networks have struggled post dot-com crash - particularly because of high costs and restrictions placed on the company by BT - who owned the monopoly on the network required to get the service out there. So much so there were rumours two years ago that the whole service was about to go under. But things have improved greatly and HomeChoice bosses are confident that their £35 a month broadband internet / TV on demand package will really take off this time as it expands around London and cities around the UK.

Video Networks boss Roger Lynch told the Media Guardian: "BT's wholesale prices were extremely high. And their network couldn't do what we wanted it to do. But recent BT announcements brings us in line with other EU countries. We have just launched an electronic programme guide that integrates video on demand and the broadcast channel. We're putting a lot more focus on the internet side and it is a big opportunity for us."

More at http://www.homechoice.co.uk

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ICE-T TO WORK WITH HASSELHOF
Sitting somewhere on the dividing lines between interesting, amusing and worrying, word is Ice-T is set to produce a hip hop inspired album for Mr David Hasselhoff.

The Knight Rider / Baywatch man is, as we all surely know, something of a rock star in Germany. But reports suggest he is planning on going a little hip hop on his next release and Ice-T, a friend and neighbour of the actor, is on board to produce.

According to the Sun, Ice-T told reporters: "The man is a legend. And we are going to show a whole new side of him. He's gonna come out as Hassle The Hoff - I promise you. The Hoff will surprise people with his rap skills and humour."

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EU RUNS LATE ON MERGER STATEMENT
The European Commission's statement of objections against the proposed BMG Sony merger will now be released next week - it was due out on Wednesday but the EU's competition people were running a bit behind, and are now off on a long weekend!

Commenting on the delay a BMG spokesman said yesterday: "We understand there is delay due to matters internal to the Commission and that this does not bear in any negative way on the merits of our case. We are expecting a Statement of Objections, and are prepared to receive and respond to it. We look forward to addressing any remaining concerns identified by the Commission."

The two majors will have a fortnight to respond to the objections. The Commission will then make its final decision on whether or not to let the merger go ahead on 22 Jul (bank holiday breaks permitting).

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NIN REZNOR SUES FORMER MANAGER
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has filed a million dollar lawsuit against his former manager John Malm and former business manager/accountant Richard Szekelyi accusing them of fraud and breach of fiduciary duties.

Reznor alleges that he was convinced to sign a five-year management agreement in 1989, even though material information was not disclosed in the contract; that Malm and Szekelyi registered the Nine Inch Nails copyright and took 50 percent ownership in merchandising, the Nothing Records label and earnings from other Reznor projects; that more than $3 million of Reznor's money was directed to jointly owned corporations without the musician's knowledge; and that Malm and Szekelyi used Reznor's money and company money for personal travel, entertainment and expenses.

Although he reckons he is owed millions, Reznor doesn't know exactly how much so he has petitioned the court to order Malm and Szekelyi to open their books to provide full disclosure of the amount he is due.

Malm and Szekelyi are yet to comment on the allegations.

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MTV CONFIRM ROME FOR EURO AWARDS
MTV have confirmed that Rome will host the 2004 MTV Europe Music Awards, the first time the awards have been held in Italy since 1998, when they were hosted in Milan. The awards will take place in a purpose-built tented structure at Rome's famous Tor Di Valle.

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DARKNESS HAWKINS ON THE THROAT OP
The Darkness' Justin Hawkins has been talking to the Sun about the surgery he had on his throat. As previously reported, Hawkins had the operation after throat problems forced the band to cancel a number of US gigs.

Hawkins: "I had a hiatus hernia and acid reflux. Basically, there's a sphincter inside your throat, as well as up your bottom. It's supposed to control how much acid is let up into your throat. But mine was broken so my stomach was spitting acid into the throat. It was literally burning my voice up. Doctors stuck a tube down my nose to measure the acidity. Three per cent is normal. They operate at 12%. But I clocked a whopping 82%. It was one of the worst cases in medical history. I was taking indigestion tablets to stop it. But they weren't working. So I had to go through with the procedure."

Speaking about his singing voice post-op, he continued: "I'm definitely back to my best. If anything, my voice is now sounding better than ever because I haven't got to hold back."

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ALBUM REVIEW: Yourcodenameis:Milo - All Roads To Fault (Universal
Now here's something a little different, a five-piece hailing from Newcastle, post-hardcore, noise-infused and able to hold their own in the not-so big bad world of the UK Emo/rock scene. Yourcodenameis:Milo have built up a steady, yet dedicated following via relentless gigging, with an unyielding persona to wow a crowd at ten paces. Not just that mind - they're also the first band ever to do a session with the legendary John Peel for Radio 1 on the basis of a demo submission. Yes, EVER, people. That repetoire must surely be a good omen, and indeed the mini-album 'All Roads To Fault' fulfils expectations. It's not your usual watered-down emo-core - monotonously dreary songs performed by the major-stylists of selling out a la Funeral For A Friend. Quite the opposite in fact, as it's full of enthusiastic spirit, only beaten by their gutsy determination to simply, rock out. The heavily-rotated-on-MTV2 opener 'All Roads...' provides a prime example, with loud At The Drive-In-esque vocals and guitar beating. Genius I tells ya. Yourcodenameis:Milo are a band through which you can take pride in the ressurection of Britpop once again. YN
Release date: 10 May
Press contact: Hermana [CP, RP, NP] Island IH [CR, RR, NR]

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LIBERTINES ON ANTI-RACISM BILL AGAIN
Given that lead singer Pete Doherty is currently on suicide watch at the Priory, keeping fans up to date with his attempts to kick the drugs via his web chat, it is not surprising to hear that the Libertines have had to cancel a high profile instore at the Oxford Street branch of HMV, which was due to take place on Monday.

However, fingers are crossed for Doherty and as such the band have been booked to play the latest Love Music Hate Racism event on 6 Jun in Finsbury Park. The last time the Libertines played for the anti-Nazi organisation they put in a storming performance, so this should be one hell of a show. Especially given that Mick Jones, Goldie Lookin' Chain, The Stands, Red Alert, and the 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster are also on the bill.

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DOT COTTON WANTS TO HELP DOHERTY
Talking of Pete Doherty, according to the Mirror Eastenders actress June Brown (who plays Dot Cotton) has told reporters her charity TKB - set up to help people kick drug addictions - is up for sending the Libertines singer to a Thai monastery to help him with his rehab.

Talking about how her charity supports drug addicts by offering rehab in the Far East, Brown told the papers: "Anyone can go. We will pay your fare, all you need is to commit to treatment. I'm a huge Libertines fan. It'd be a marvellous place for Pete to kick his addiction."

A spokesman for Doherty told the paper: "It's a great offer but he is already being treated."

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LIVE REVIEW: The Vines at Colston Hall, Bristol on 15 May
The one thing you can rely on with the Vines is to expect the unexpected. Tonight they're playing a venue which is more used to sedate classical concerts and half of the hall's seats have been removed to accommodate the rock fans. The audience is amused to hear a recorded announcement saying, "Ladies and gentlemen please take your seats, the performance will commence in 5 minutes." They are less pleased to discover they can't take their drinks into the auditorium, on the express orders of Craig Nicholls. The Vines now have a very good set list, songs from their well received debut mix with their criminally underrated second album 'Winning Days'. The title track of their current album is a particular highlight, a lovely melodic, Beatles-esque song. While the album's more visceral guitar tracks such as 'Animal Machine' and 'TV Pro' are explosive and dramatic. It's fairly soon evident which members of the audience have or haven't seen the Vines live before. The former have smug 'told you so' expressions on their faces and the latter just stand there looking gob smacked. Although undeniably erratic, tonight Nicholls is in top form and that means he's pretty amazing (not to mention amazingly pretty). Craig is an electrifying frontman because you just don't know what he's going to do next. He butts the mic with his head at least five times making a very audible 'bonk' each time, possibly in response to it feeding back. Then at the beginning of 'Mary Jane' he lights up for the first time this evening. What could he possibly be smoking? Then there is the traditional trashing of equipment during final song 'Fuck the World' with Nicholls looking particularly possessed. Some folks say Craig is ker-azy, some people think he's faking, I've said it once and I'll say it again, the Vines are one of the best and most exciting band around and that's because of Mr Nicholls. JW

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CAPITAL FORTUNES UP
More good news from Capital - who are enjoying some better times after a couple of years of disappointing ratings and revenues. Reporting that the new Johnny Vaughan breakfast show was performing well with listeners and advertisers alike, Capital boss David Mansfield has yesterday confirmed his company had seen profits rise by 4% in the six months up until 31 Mar. Mansfield told reporters: "Johnny Vaughan is off to a great start with early encouraging feedback from listeners and advertisers."

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PETERSON LAUNCHES ALBUM AT ROUGE TONIGHT
Gilles Peterson launches his '...In Brazil' album at London's Rouge on Charing Cross Road (next to Centrepoint) tonight with a top line up of DJs on the decks - including Ady Harley (BBC 1Xtra), DJ Cliffy (Batmacumba), Joe Davis (Far Out), Mark Robertson (Spiritual South), Dreem Teem (Radio 1), Femi and Gerry Lyseight with Patricia Marx playing live. Press info from gerry lyseight on 020 8674 1012 or gerry@mambo.eclipse.co.uk

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ENGLEBERT'S LONDON ALBUM SIGNING
Get this in your diaries. Engelbert Humperdinck will be signing copies of his new album 'Engelbert - His Greatest Love Songs' in London next Thu (27 May). The singer is enjoying a bit of a resurgence at the moment thanks, of course, to that John Smiths beer ad featuring Peter Kay at a Humperdinck concert. And where has the king of romance chosen for such an event? HMV? Virgin Megastore? Tower Records? No - Harrods. All kicks off at 1pm, press info from PPR.

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