CMU Daily - on the inside 23 Jun 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Loudeye buy OD2
- Westminster council join flypost crackdown
- Barclay brothers get The Telegraph
- AIM boss reaffirms Sony BMG and iTunes opposition
- Mojo honour the greats
- Apple launch iPod car adaptor
- BMG re-release Scott-Heron back catalogue
- New Beeb boss has great hopes for BBC's future role
- Hot Hot Heat back in the studio
- Jay Z makes a few surprise appearances
- Album Review: Various - Discomania
- Major Elvis doc planned
- EMI not merging with Warners, OK?
- Blackcube gig tomorrow
- Britney 'panic stricken' after mother knocks over snapper
- Glasto round up
- 02 to launch combined mobile / MP3 player
- Music Choice launch new stage at V fest
- Gambling site take gamble on J Lo marriage


Seattle based digital media company Loudeye have acquired the UK's main supplier of music download services OD2 in a bid to strengthen their position as the digital music sector becomes increasingly competitive.

Both companies are back end download suppliers in that they do not target consumers direct, but run the platforms behind many other consumer facing brands' download services. As the major players in the digital music sector, including iTunes, Napster and Sony Connect, take off globally, both Loudeye and OD2 will be hoping their combined roster of clients in the US and Europe - which include MTV, Tiscali, HMV, Virgin Megatores and Coke - means that collectively they will maintain a good share of the download market.

Loudeye have purchased London based OD2, which counted Peter Gabriel among its founders, for a reported $38.6 million. OD2 boss Charles Grimsdale will run the European division of the expanded Loudeye operation.


Flyposting really isn't flavour of the month. Now Westminster Council are following their Camden Council counterparts in a bid to utilise the Anti Social Behaviour Order system to stop flyposting, by threatening the bosses of media and entertainment companies with all sorts of nasty consequences if they do not pledge to stop pasting up paper on the walls of central London.

MTV UK, Dennis Publishing, The Mean Fiddler Group and most of the record companies are being targeted by the campaign. Bosses of those firms have been sent 'commitment to good behaviour' (ie 'commitment to not fly post') cards which, so the council says, must be returned otherwise the local authority will start proceedings against them on the grounds of criminal damage.

A spokesman for the council explained yesterday: "We are serious about legal action, but we are hoping this will be enough to persuade them to stop. If it means going that far we will, but we hope it won't come to that."

Keen to show they are serious but not dull the council have also launched a colourful website for their anti-flyposting campaign at

All eyes are now on Camden Council and BMG. Unlike Sony, BMG have not committed to stop flyposting despite being threatened with anti-social behaviour charges. If that case goes to court it will properly test Camden and Westminster's use of ASBO's to tackle the flyposting issue - and legal opinion is pretty much split as to which way the courts would side. Presumably everyone else will try to procrastinate making any commitment one way or the other until the whole thing is tested in court.


As expected, Hollinger International yesterday decided who they wanted to sell the Daily Telegraph too. And the successful bidders are ... the Barclay brothers, the somewhat mysterious billionaire hotel owners, who already own the Scotsman publications in Edinburgh. Ironically disgraced former Telegraph boss Conrad Black, who owns a majority stake of Hollinger, tried to do a quick behind closed doors sale of the Telegraph Group to the Barclays months ago, but was blocked in the courts. Word is the Barclay brothers raised their offer by several million at the last minute to secure yesterday's acquisition.
No word on what the deal means for The Telegraph, although the Barclays have said they don't plan to interfere with the paper's right wing agenda. Whether the Barclay brothers' media man of choice, Andrew Neil, who oversees the brothers' other media interests, will have a role in the Telegraph group is also unclear.


Alison Wenham of the Association of Independent Music used the organisation's annual general meeting in London yesterday to restate the independent sector's opposition to the proposed Sony BMG merger and their continued disappointment at the deal being offered to European indie labels by Apple iTunes.

Just days after media reports that EC Commissioner Mario Monti would give the Sony BMG merger proposals the green light, Wenham stressed again that allowing the further consolidation of the music industry would be a "economical, political, cultural and legal error," adding "We call on the EC to prevent what I feel would be an act of cultural vandalism. It is scandalous that the EC should even consider letting this through."

Confirming that AIM and pan-European independents association IMPALA had sent a letter to the EC again stressing their opposition to the merger proposals, Wenham said that if the merger did get the go ahead the two organisations would try and have the decision overturned in the Court of First Instance in Brussels.

On the dispute between the independent sector and Apple's iTunes, who have launched in Europe without securing access to most independents' catalogues because of a dispute over wholesale pricing, Wenham encouraged indie labels to continue holding out for a better deal. She said: "[Apple boss] Steve Jobs is banking on the fact that some of you will crack. They are banking that you will need the service more than he needs you."


MOJO magazine yesterday announced the artists to be honoured in its first ever MOJO Honours List, a new annual awards programme celebrating those artists who have made a long and consistent contribution to the music world.

And the winners are:
Inspiration Award: The Clash
Songwriter Award: Ray Davies
Catalogue Release of the Year: Muzik City - The Trojan Records Story
Vision Award: Led Zeppelin
Mojo Medal: Geoff Travis of Rough Trade
Hall of Fame: Arthur Lee
Hero Award: Roger McGuinn
Classic Image Award: Bob Gruen
Special Award: The Shadows
Classic Album Award: Television - Marquee Moon
Mojo Mondial: Sting
Maverick Award: The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Icon Award: Morrissey
Maestro Award: Jimmy Page
Lifetime Achievement Award: James Brown

Commenting on the debut awards MOJO Editor in Chief Phil Alexander told CMU: "While other awards celebrate the biggest names and the best releases of the preceding year, we believe there's long been a need to properly honour the extraordinary talents of the artists, bands and songwriters whose careers have been responsible for enhancing our rich musical culture. This is about music that's built to last and that has provided us with the soundtrack to our lives. It's absolutely appropriate, therefore, that the inaugural Mojo Honours List comes on the 50th anniversary of the birth of rock 'n' roll - it was in the summer of 1954 that Elvis Presley started it all with his first single, That's All Right (Mama)."


Apple and BMW are launching a car adaptor for the iPod, which means BMW owners will be able to listen to their iPods though their car's sound system, control the tracks they listen to via their steering wheel and power the player via their car. The £149 adaptor will go on sale on 12 Jul.


BMG have re-released the back catalogue of Gil Scott-Heron as part of their mid-price range following the BBC 2 documentary on the singer songwriter's role in the African-American rights movement of the seventies. Which means those of you missing some of these great albums can fill the obvious hole in your record collection for less money.

The albums available in the mid-price range include 'A New Black Poet', 'Pieces Of A Man', 'Free Will', 'Ghetto Style', 'Reflections' and 'Moving Target'.
Press info from PPR.


Former Channel 4 boss Mark Thompson got very emotive yesterday as he took over the Director General post at the BBC, telling the Corporation's workforce that the BBC would have an even "bigger role than ever in building public value" in the next decade, acting as a "Noah's Ark in a digital world", ensuring "the digital future is still full of great British content".

Speaking to a back drop of 'Land Of Hope & Glory' (well, he should have done), he continued: "I believe we can look forward to one of the best - maybe the best - period in the BBC's history, in which the combination of the new technologies and our audiences' hunger for outstanding British content give us a chance of becoming an even more indispensable part of this country's national life."


Hot Hot Heat are back in the studio with producer Dave Sardy to record their follow up to 'Make Up the Breakdown'. Having spent much of the year so far writing new material word is the band have 25 songs to play with.

Writing on the band's website frontman Steve Brays says: "Our goal is to write about 20, record 16 and then put the best 13 on the record. It's getting hard to decide now though because it seems that each song is better than the last. We've been locked away five days a week in this studio and we're really starting to be able to hear what the record is going to sound like."


Jay-Z made a few surprise live appearances in New York over the weekend. Firstly he showed up on stage at a Phish concert - the band backed performances of '99 Problems' and 'Big Pimpin'. Then he appeared at the Dysfunctional Family Picnic event staged by New York radio station K Rock, where again he performed '99 Problems'.


ALBUM REVIEW: Various - Discomania (Universal/Mercury)
I'm known in these parts as the 'disco queen' (actually I'm not, more likely to be mistaken for a 'drag queen', but still...) and so you'd think I would have heralded the arrival of this album with a shout of glee. Which I did, actually, during the initial moments when I assumed this was a genuine disco compilation. But then I read the track listing and realised that 'Discomania' is the soundtrack to the ITV programme by the same name which hosts various stars doing covers of disco classics. My cheers, clearly, died away, but gamely set about having a listen. There are some moments on this album that aren't dire. Jamelia's take on 'If I Can't Have You' is pretty respectable, as is Boogie Pimps 'Sunny', and I perversely rather enjoyed V's version of 'Can You Feel It'. However, Geri sings flat (again) on 'It's Raining Men', Rachel Stevens doesn't have enough vocal power to carry off 'Knock On Wood' and the Girls Aloud cover of 'I'm Every Woman' sucked. To add insult to injury, cast-members from Coronation Street were allowed to contribute a sorry attempt at 'Lady Marmalade', and possibly my least favourite recording artist of the present time, Sophie Ellis Bextor, butchers one of my favourite disco songs of all time ('Yes Sir, I Can Boogie'). The presence of the legendary Donna Summer on this album doesn't save it. This is not an album for the true disco fan. The only really positive thing I can see coming out of this is that it might introduce a new generation to the joy of Disco. That and it might be worth a listen whilst putting your on make-up in the company of girl friends over a bottle of Lambrini. Hmm. Maybe not. CM
Release date: Mercury IH
Press contact: 21 Jun


The estate of Elvis Presley is planning a major documentary season about the singer's life and work, including plenty of previously unseen footage. The programme is likely to be debuted on TV, with a subsequent DVD release. But don't get too excited just yet, the planned air/release date for the programme is 2007 - to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of his death.


Now, will you stop spreading all these rumours about EMI and Warner Music wanting to merge? Because they're just not true. Or so say EMI. Though a cynic might say that when a major label denies its intention to merge, that means a deal is practically done.

Either way, EMI are denying media reports that suggest they are considering the 'merge with Warners' option. The most recent merger rumours follow reports that new Warner Music owner Edgar Bronfman Jnr is keen to pursue some kind of joint venture with the London based major - especially if Sony and BMG merge.

Bronfman recently told reporters that a music sector consisting of two large major record companies (ie Universal Music and a merged Sony BMG) and two smaller ones (ie Warners and EMI) would not be good for the industry at large. Some insiders reckon those comments were not intended to encourage EU officials to block the Sony BMG merger, rather to prepare them for an EMI Warners merger. The argument being that three equally sized major record companies is better than four majors of which two are so dominant.

With that in mind, some in the British media have been speculating that Warner EMI merger talks are not far away. The Times noted: "If the Commission is willing to go from five majors to four, it seems likely that it would accept moving from four to three".

While the Guardian quoted one industry insider as saying: "Lines of communication [between EMI and Warners] have remained open. The regulatory environment is more benign than it ever has been. If EMI were to leave £100m of cost savings on the table [by ruling out a merger with WMG], they would have to give a good explanation to shareholders."

But EMI yesterday insisted a merger with Warners was no longer on their agenda (the last set of plans for such a move were dropped after Bronfman bought out Warner Music). A spokesman for EMI said there are no current discussions going on between EMI and Warners and stressed that the company's management believe it can continue to compete successfully and profitably without a tie-up.


Our favourite up and coming rockers of the moment, Blackcube (check the interview in the artist section at are playing in town again tomorrow night - and as interest in these guys grows it should be an extra buzzing show. Not only that but friends of CMU will see a familiar face on bass guitar, with someone from this neck of the woods filling in for the band's regular bassist who is on holiday.

Other Blackcube dates coming up:
24 Jun: Hope & Anchor, Islington
17 Jul: White Hart, Brentwood
21 Jul: Buffalo Bar, Highbury
27 Jul: Pop, 14 Soho Street
1 Aug: Bar Form, Enfield
14 Aug: Water Rats (tbc)

Press info from James Alexander at G PR on 07816 777 191 - more at


Britney Spears was apparently "panic stricken" after her mother did what is increasingly known in the trade as a "Chris Martin" - she knocked over a photographer. But Mrs Spears did it in style, running over British snapper Colin Reavley leaving him with a damaged ankle. Then again, serves him right for crowding round the Spears' family car as mother and daughter attempted to leave a pet shop where she had just bought a new puppy. According to the Sun Britney was so distraught when she saw the snapper fall after being hit by her mother's 4x4 she started screaming and crying, and had to be calmed down by a paramedic.


Well, it's Glastonbury time - you can tell - it's raining.
Lots of Glasto news this morning. First of all rumour has it Liam and Noel Gallagher have demanded that the back stage area at the festival is drug free when they take to the stage for their headline set. No word on why the sudden zero tolerance stand from the Oasis boys, but a source tells the ever reliable Daily Star: "They have done the whole bad-boy rock thing and now they are respectable adults with children".
Secondly, good news for footie fans planning on getting to Glasto early this weekend. Festival organisers have confirmed England's quarter final clash with Portugal will be screened on the festival site on Thursday night. So no need to cluster round occasional radio sets tuned to Radio 5.

Finally, Michael Eavis has been talking about his plans for Glastonbury 2005. He told Virtual Festivals: "I'd like to get U2 headlining for next year and I'll be making a phone call to them. I know they like to do their own thing but, then again, so does Paul McCartney, and they don't come much bigger than him. I might also try Prince again. We approached him for this year and he seemed interested but in the end he couldn't make it."

Finally finally, if you bump into CMU's man at Glasto this year, be nice to him, and remind him he's promised to send in his report on Sunday night even when every mobile network on site inevitably crashes.


Talking of mobile networks, O2 have said they are preparing to launch the first proper download phone onto which you can download full DRM protected tracks. O2 were the first network to launch a proper music-to-mobile download service, but the tracks were actually held and played on a small Nokia device that you plugged into your mobile. However the network say they will soon be launching a new service which will utilise a Siemens phone which means your mobile itself will essentially become an MP3 player. Expect a launch later in the summer.


Digital music channel thingy Music Choice will sponsor a stage at the V Festival in August which will feature a whole string of great bands (including several CMU favourites) - the bill includes Hope Of The States, Delays, Joy Zipper, InMe, Cathy Davey, The Bees, The Crimea, Magnet, Thea Gilmore, South and Longview.

Confirming their sponsorship of the stage Music Choice Director Of Music And Marketing Simon George told reporters: "Music Choice is committed to playing music by only the best artists around and we're delighted to be getting involved with this brand new stage at the V festival to support the hottest acts of the moment, and the future greats".


Online gaming website Mybookie has offered J Lo and Marc Anthony $100,000 if they stay married for at least 18 months - because so many of their customers have betted on the couple splitting in less than a year!

J Lo reportedly married Anthony in a low key affair earlier this month, less than one week after Anthony's divorce from former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres came through. Mybookie say that if J Lo's third marriage can last a year and a half they will pay the money to a charity of their choosing.

MyBookie director Jimmy Mason told reporters: "We wish them only the best - we're big fans of hers! But given J Lo's turbulent history in the relationship department, and the massive response from players betting that they won't even make it one year, we decided to offer the challenge".

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