CMU Daily - on the inside 27 May 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Early online release may become the norm
- Independents sign up to Sony Connect
- MTV plan gay channel
- Virgin Retail deny downsize plans
- American Idol final
- Cowell tells Posh to concentrate on fashion
- Joni Mitchell best of planned
- GWR deny shareholders looking to sell
- Album Review: Vanessa Freeman - Shades
- Bulldog Bash line up
- Missy Elliott cancels gigs over security fears
- MTV launch promo video schools programme
- Carling Weekend line up additions
- EU's concerns at BMG Sony merger pretty damn obvious
- RHCP confirm top support line up
- Jacko defense team call for court pressure to secure docs
- Album Review: Josh Martinez - Buck Up Princess
- Youth Music invite artists to donate a date
- Investigation into label finance reporting continues
- Classical Brits round up
- Ozzy a legend according to MTV Japan
- BB King gets polar prize
- Phish confirm split
- Andre scared for life during road rage chase
- Actually Mr Mathers, you can vote

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HOMELANDS IS HERE
Well, you know festival season is upon us when We Love Homelands beckons. To celebrate the first proper festival of the summer we put some quickfire questions to some of the artists and DJs on the bill - today Lottie.

Wierdest festival memory? When I was playing in the VIP in 2000, it'd been pissing down for days. The decks were sliding down the tent into the mud, and my record box was sinking into the mud!

Check out all of Lottie's quick fire answers on the Homelands page at here

Meantime, there's still a few Homelands tickets left for those latecomers out there - more info at http://www.welovehomelands.com

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EARLY ONLINE RELEASE MAY BECOME THE NORM
The early release of music via legit download services looks likely to continue with a number of record labels reporting that doing so, if anything, has reduced piracy and enhanced CD sales. Many in the industry originally feared that the idea of making tracks available via iTunes at the same time they were added to radio playlists - sometimes some eight weeks before CD release - would just ensure quality recordings of tracks appeared on P2P networks quicker, ultimately affecting CD sales.

However those labels which experimented with the strategy are reporting positive results. Young music fans, they argue, often download tracks from Kazaa not because they are unwilling to pay for it, but because they want the track as soon as it is added to radio and music TV playlists, which often means turning to a P2P network. If tracks are available via iTunes and Napster as soon as they are being played by the broadcasters then fans have a legit route to satisfy their impatience.

Of course such early release doesn't wipe out illegal filesharing, but nor does it seem to increase it. And the early-release download provides extra revenue for the label and can initiate word-of-mouth marketing for the track and the album it comes from.

Apple's Eddy Cue told reporters in the US this week: "A year ago, there were certainly labels that weren't willing to release any single prior to the CD being released. I'm not aware of anybody who falls into that equation today. Everybody gets it now."

Meanwhile, it increasingly looks like the download may well replace the loss leading CD single in due course. In the US, where the single format has suffered acute decline for years, Nielsen SoundScan reports that 39.6 million tracks have been downloaded so far this year - just 3.5 million CD singles have been sold.

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INDEPENDENTS SIGN UP TO SONY CONNECT
The independent music trade bodies in the UK, Germany and France (AIM, UPFI and VUT respectively) have all signed a licensing deal with Sony Electronics which will make their music available via the Sony Connect digital download service, which is due to launch next month.

Confirming the deal, Sony Network Services Europe's Robert Ashcroft told CMU: "Online music distribution is a key part of Sony's business strategy, and it is a prime objective to offer as much choice and as high a quality of music as possible. We are very pleased to have completed deals with so many highly respected independent labels, who have long had the reputation for breaking important acts and pioneering new styles of music. We look forward to continuing to expand our catalogue in the future and to working with AIM in the UK, VUT in Germany, and UPFI in France to do so."

Speaking for AIM's online licensing division Musicindie, Steve Johnston said: "We have concluded an important milestone deal with Sony Connect, which is set to become a key provider of digital content this side of the Atlantic. We look forward to seeing the service open for business in multiple territories across Europe in the near future".

As previously reported, the Connect service will launch in June offering music that can be downloaded to play on PCs and a wide variety of Sony portable players including the flash memory players, CD and MiniDisc Walkmans and the new Hi-MD WALKMAN.

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MTV PLAN GAY CHANNEL
MTV have confirmed their intention to launch a 'gay-orientated' channel in the US. The network originally announced its intention to launch such a channel - then in association with fellow Viacom division Showtime - back in 2002, but those plans were scrapped. The new venture, to be called Logo, should go live next Feb.

Obviously not everyone in America is so happy with MTV's latest commitment to gay TV. The Rev Louis P Sheldon, who heads up the exciting sounding Traditional Values Coalition, told the New York Times this week that the proposed channel was "bad news for American families" and called on other religious groups to join in a boycott of any companies who advertise on or sponsor Logo once it launches. "Madison Avenue has gone amok - they don't realize they've awakened the sleeping giant" he added somewhat mysteriously.


But MTV Networks boss Tom Freston says he doesn't expect any major backlash to the channel -
confident advertisers will risk annoying the religious right given the estimated $400 billion spending power of America's gay population. I think he might be right.

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VIRGIN RETAIL DENY DOWNSIZE PLANS
Virgin Retail have denied reports in the British media that they are planning on streamlining their UK retail network. A report in the Sunday Express last weekend said Virgin would close up to a third of their 170-store chain of music stores in the face of acute competition from the supermarkets and online retailers.

The retail chain's Head Of Marketing Andy Kendrick yesterday denied there was any major store closure plan. He admitted that the group will be looking at the effectiveness of each store in turn, implying some may close. But he stressed the company has pledged a £90 million three year investment programme in its retail chain, and that much of the work currently being done would lead to relocation rather than closure.
Kendrick: "Most retail businesses turn over about 5% of their estates every year. Because we've been distracted by all sorts of stuff over the last few years we haven't been really improving the quality of our pitches."

Kendrick also confirmed that Virgin would soon be relaunching the Tower Records store at London's Piccadilly Circus which it acquired last year.

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AMERICAN IDOL FINAL
Well, there's one more Pop Idol in the world this morning, and you can never have too many Pop Idols (though BMG might not agree). Fantasia Barrino of High Point, North Carolina has won the third series of Ameican Idol after some 65 million viewers voted. With that done, auditions will soon be underway for a fourth season of the US version of the show, oh joy.

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COWELL TELLS POSH TO CONCENTRATE ON FASHION
Talking of Pop Idol, Simon Cowell has told the Sun that he met with Victoria Beckham recently and advised her to drop the embarrassing pop ambitions.

Cowell: "I saw Victoria when she was out here [LA] a while ago. I told her I thought she should concentrate on what she is good at and quit the pop. I doubt whether her music career will ever get off the ground again, unless she finds an absolutely brilliant song. If you ask me, her best asset is her eye for style. Fashion is definitely what she should be concentrating her energies on. I told her my advice would be to launch her own clothing range."

That said, Cowell also sees Victoria's future career including TV, and he is hoping he can find a TV format where he can work with her himself: "I know we would work really well together and she comes across very well on television. That's when you get to see the real Victoria Beckham."

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JONI MITCHELL BEST OF PLANNED
With Joni Mitchell still sticking to her commitment that 2002's 'Travelogue' will be her last album, Universal imprint Geffen have announced they will release another compilation, this time featuring 16 of her more politically minded tracks. 'The Beginning of Survival' will arrive in stores in late Jul and, we a promised, will included "commentaries on the world in which we live". Mitchell has co-produced the album herself and has added an essay and original artwork.

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GWR DENY SHAREHOLDERS LOOKING TO SELL
The boss of radio group GWR has denied rumours media company DMGT - who have a 30% stake in GWR - were planning on selling their shares in order to fund their attempt to purchase the Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

GWR Executive Chairman told reporters yesterday: "On the first day that the Telegraph business was put up for sale I read that it meant GWR's main shareholder would sell its stake. That's barking mad. If DMGT makes a decision it will be on strategic grounds. They have plenty of cash."

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ALBUM REVIEW: Vanessa Freeman - Shades (Chillifunk)
Finally, the soul / jazz / funk vocalist - who has shone so brightly in her collaborations with Nathan Haines and the Kyoto Jazz Massive - releases her solo project, produced by Phil Asher. And the skills of both artist and producer can be seen here - opening track 'Show Me' demonstrates Freeman can cut a real soulful gem and title track 'Shades' truly shows her ethic, smooth vocals - while 'The Way' exudes with that Asher funk gloss. That said, it's not as good as it could have been - 'This Love' has an overly funky backing, and the last few tracks are, in turn, a bit rocky ('Lifeline'), a bit bland ('Fresh and Wild') and just too overly cinematic ('Notice Me'). That's not to say it's not a good album, but the quality of early tracks is not maintained, and judging by past outings, I can't help feeling that Freeman could do better than this. PV
Release date: 17 May
Press contact: Favouritizm [all]

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BULLDOG BASH LINE UP
Line up news from the people behind Bulldog Bash - the music and biking festival which takes place at Shakespeare County Raceway from 12 - 15 Aug. Among all the biking type shenanigans will be loud music aplenty. Headlining is Chuck Berry no less - with support coming from the Insane Clown Posse, Breed 77, Electric Eel Shock, Broadzilla, Winnebago Deal, Beachbuggy, Never The Bride, Pat Savage Band, AM Lovers, Lord Bishop, Projekt Mayhem, Saltdog, Murder One and Intravenous.

All that plus a laser filled dance tent, wrestling, wet t-shirt and beer gut competitions, and what are described as the ever popular erotic dancing girls - so a fun day out for all the family. More info at http://www.bulldog-bash.co.uk - press info from Workhard PR.

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MISSY ELLIOTT CANCELS GIGS OVER SECURITY FEARS
Missy Elliott has cancelled a concert in Jakarta seemingly because of warnings from the US Embassy there regarding the potential for terrorist attacks in Indonesia. Missy was due to perform in the city tonight as part of her current world tour, but yesterday local promoters Lunar Entertainment confirmed the gig had been cancelled. Their spokesman did not talk much about the reason for the cancellation, simply saying: "We apologise to all the fans of Missy Elliott because of this cancellation."

The cancellation follows a statement from the US Embassy in the city last Friday which warned of the "continued potential for terrorist attacks against Americans or American interests in Indonesia and worldwide," adding "a convergence of local and international factors has increased the potential threat."

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MTV LAUNCH PROMO VIDEO SCHOOLS PROGRAMME
A key problem with the education system today, of course, is how few kids know how to make pop promo videos. To put that right MTV this week launched a new project with EMI label Parlophone and software firm Adobe to encourage school children to try their hand at video making. The scheme - called The Boom! Initiative - will give teachers coaching in how to train their pupils in video production technique. Pupils will then be encouraged to create videos for music by various Parlophone artists, the best of which will be screened on a special MTV show over the summer holiday. An awards ceremony for the very best will then be held in Dec.

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CARLING WEEKEND LINE UP ADDITIONS
Organisers of the Carling Weekend festivals in Leeds and Reading have overcome any criticism as to the small number of 'The' bands on their bill by adding The Fiery Furnaces, The Futureheads, The Walkmen, The (International) Noise Conspiracy and The Open to their line up. Stereolab, A, Eastern Lane and Sick Of It All are also among the latest additions.

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EU'S CONCERNS AT BMG SONY MERGER PRETTY DAMN OBVIOUS
Word is the EU's main concerns regarding the proposed BMG Sony merger are the potential for price fixing in a consolidated industry, the size of the merged group's market share and the implications of Sony's digital music ambitions. How it took six months to state the obvious we're not sure. As previously reported the two majors have a fortnight to comment on the European Commission's 'Statement Of Objections' which was published this week. The EU should then make a final decision on whether or not to allow the merger on 22 Jul.

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RHCP CONFIRM TOP SUPPORT LINE UP
No words required, line up speaks for itself...

13 Jun: Edinburgh, Murrayfield: Red Hot Chili Peppers, N.E.R.D. and a very special guest (TBA)
18 Jun: City of Manchester Stadium: Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Chicks On Speed
19th - London, Hyde Park: Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Chicks On Speed
20th - London, Hyde Park: Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Chicks On Speed
23rd - Millennium Stadium Cardiff: Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Chicks On Speed
25th - London Hyde Park: Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Brown, Stellastarr*

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JACKO DEFENSE TEAM CALL FOR COURT PRESSURE TO SECURE DOCS
More from the Jacko trial. Defence lawyers have accused the prosecution team of being unnecessarily slow in handing over important documents including witness statements, copies of tapes and photographs seized from the singers home. Saying that is was "inexcusable" to have not handed over said documents over six months after Jacko's original arrest, Jacko's lawyers - Thomas Mesereau, Steve Cochran and Robert Sanger - have urged the courts to order prosecutors to hand over the paperwork.

In a document submitted to court the lawyers say: "Over six months after the charges were raised, the prosecution is far from satisfying basic discovery obligations. Obtaining complete discovery from the prosecution is indispensable for defence counsel to prepare properly for trial."

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ALBUM REVIEW: Josh Martinez - Buck Up Princess (Bella Union)
A self-proclaimed rapper, Josh Martinez successfully bridges the gap between rap and the more metrically enlightened pop artists of today - making him something of a Vanilla Ice for 2004, but in a good way. Lyrically he is diverse - not preaching about non-existent hardships like 'Eamon', and not trying to be what he obviously isn't. More importantly his sense of beat is unstoppable - and the beats that drive the tracks are awesome - soft and house-like. A gangsta white boy, who is no gangsta at all, well worth checking out. BS.
Release Date: 7 Jun
Press Contact: Smash Press [all]

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YOUTH MUSIC INVITE ARTISTS TO DONATE A DATE
Youth Music are still inviting artists interested in supporting young musicians to 'donate-a-date'. Organised with Splash Enterprises, the scheme aims to give musicians participating in Youth Music programmes around the UK the chance to meet and gain advice from established artists - to date Placebo, Kelly Rowland, Sum 41, Spooks, Arrested Development and Life Savas have all been involved.

Talking about the scheme Placebo's Brian Molko told CMU: "It's great that Placebo can help Youth Music in its commitment to ensuring music making is available to every young person. I wish it had been around when I was younger".

Artists or bands interested in getting involved should contact Ben Steadman at bensteadman@splashtv.com. Press info on the scheme Radiator PR on 020 7404 8281.

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INVESTIGATION INTO LABEL FINANCE REPORTING CONTINUES
The Recording Artists' Coalition in America is looking for artists to participate in a hearing before US Congress' Select Committee on the Entertainment Industry on the long running Royalty Accounting and Accountability Bill. As previously reported the bill, being crafted by Californian State Senator Kevin Murray, aims to force major entertainment companies, especially record labels, to be more open to artists on the sales of their music, enabling said artists to ensure they are getting all the royalties they are due. Despite various delays along the way, and a commitment by some in the industry to adopt such proposals anyway, the bill continues to work its way through the system. The latest hearing, at which the Coalition wants artists who have had issues with their label's financial reporting to speak, will take place on 8 Jun.

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CLASSICAL BRITS ROUND UP
Well, it was the fifth Classical Brits last night, and star of the evening was Welsh bass baritone Bryn Terfel who won the awards for Best Album and Best Male Artist. Other winners included Italian opera star Cecilia Bartoli who was named Best Female Artist, British conductor Sir Simon Rattle who won Orchestral Album Of The Year for his recording of Beethoven's Symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic and violinist Daniel Hope who, at the age of 29, was named Best Young British Classical Performer. The contemporary music award went to US composer Philip Glass for his soundtrack to the film 'The Hours'.

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OZZY A LEGEND ACCORDING TO MTV JAPAN
Talking of awards - Ozzy Osbourne has been given the Legend Award at this year's MTV Japan Awards. Other winners at the US artists dominated event included OutKast, Good Charlotte and Janet Jackson whose recent controversies obviously inspired the Japanese enough to award her the Inspiration Award. Brit artist wise - the Chemical Brothers picked up the best special effects in a video honour for the promo for Get Yourself High.

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BB KING GETS POLAR PRIZE
More awards, and legendary blues guitarist B.B.King has been awarded the 2004 Polar Music Prize in Sweden from King Carl XVI Gustaf. Accepting his award - given for his services to blues music - King said: "Ladies and gentleman thank you very much. I am a bit nervous. I have never met a King before so I am nervous but also grateful from the bottom of my heart".

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PHISH CONFIRM SPLIT
Popular American "jam band" Phish have announced they will split up at the end of their upcoming summer tour. Writing on the band's website vocalist Trey Anastasio explained: "We love Phish and the Phish audience too much to allow it to drag on beyond the point of vibrancy."

He added that all the band agreed that: "Phish had run its course and that we should end it now while it's still on a high note. We realised that we were faced with the opportunity to graciously step away in unison, united in our friendship and our feelings of gratitude. It's been an amazing and incredible journey."

The band will release their final album - 'Undermind' - on 15 Jun before embarking on a US tour.

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ANDRE SCARED FOR LIFE DURING ROAD RAGE CHASE
Peter Andre has told the Sun about a road rage incident that led to a high speed car chase. Andre was on his way to collect a puppy for girlfriend Jordan (you couldn't make this up) when he got lost. An unnamed driver in a black Mercedes became frustrated with Andre's driving as he tried to find his way to the dog breeder - so much so he suddenly started chasing him. Andre sped away and was followed by the Mercedes for several miles, until finally Andre eventually came off the road. The singer then called the police who found Andre arguing with the unnamed driver.

Andre: "It was very frightening and I was genuinely scared for my life. There were other people in the car and we were all shaken up. I didn't know what to do but call the police. They tell me they are going to look into the matter."

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ACTUALLY MR MATHERS, YOU CAN VOTE
Eminem was in Detroit last weekend telling hip hop fans that they should register to vote. Speaking as part of the Hip Hop Action Summit's campaign to encourage both the young and black communities in America to register to vote - Slim Shady told the kids they should exercise their right to vote, explaining that he can't vote after a conviction three years ago for carrying a concealed weapon.

Convincing stuff, except that in the State of Michigan being convicted of a felony offence does not bar you from voting. The only reason Eminem can't vote is because he isn't registered to do so. Slim Shady's people said they had always assumed the conviction prevented him from voting, and that they would now look into the matter.

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CORRECTION
Given that everyone around here has been rating tracks on their personal Launchcast radio station for months now, I really should know that the Launch personalised radio service - which launched in the UK earlier this month - is run by Yahoo and not AOL, as we said on Tuesday. Sorry! The Launch service can be accessed at http://uk.launch.yahoo.com

AOL, of course, run their own music channel specifically for their customers, including the ever popular AOL Sessions.

Thanks for the eagle eyed reader who spotted the error - of course they did work for Yahoo's music division, but well spotted all the same.

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