CMU Daily - on the inside 22 Jul 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Indies make deal with iTunes
- More merger gossip
- Industry bods talk the future of CDs and downloading
- Ministry boss quits
- Barat can't see Libertines long term without Doherty
- Bestival looking for local IOW talent
- Second Duran Duran singles box set due
- Skinner on the Martin collaboration and the Mercury nomination
- Wyatt doesn't want to win Mercury music prize
- New Aladdin owners welcome back Ronstadt
- Noise Up ish 2 online
- Piracy reports published today
- Ryan Adams back on stage
- MTV plan Usher film
- BPI MIDEM grants open to all
- US college use iPods for academic storage
- P2P firm pay out to placate labels
- Robbie best of release date confirmed
- P Diddy launches vote campaign
- MTV appoint new boss
- Hancock rarities re-released
- Frampton not impressed with tribute swimsuit
- Rail companies close Reading line on festival weekend again
- Boston hotel open Britney room



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Following speculation last week that a deal was in the pipeline, the Association of Independent Music yesterday confirmed that they had reached an agreement with iTunes and that some of their members had already signed contracts that will enable their rosters to be sold via the download platform.

iTunes had to launch their European service last month without the independent labels on board, of course, after the indie sector refused to accept the terms they were being offered by Apple. Despite griping on both sides, negotiations continued and earlier this week a workable framework was agreed. The details of that framework are confidential, although word is the independents deal is now more in line with the deal offered to the major labels.

Announcing that a deal had been reached, AIM boss Alison Wenham, told reporters: "Following renewed discussions, our members have now been able to agree terms for the licensing of their repertoire to iTunes European service. The industry's future is wedded to the success of iTunes and similar services and it's great news for fans and industry alike that music from some of Europe's leading acts will soon be available on this service."

Beggars Banquet's Martin Mills, who sits on the boards of AIM and pan-European indie body IMPALA, added: "I am delighted that we are now able to be part of this great service. In the USA iTunes represents up to 5% of certain of our album sales already, and key tracks are selling in quantities that simply were inconceivable before. We look forward to participating in the rapid growth of this market, both with iTunes and with other services with whom we're already in business or will be launching shortly".

The Beggars Group and the Sanctuary Records Group are both known to have already inked contracts with iTunes based on the AIM agreement.


Surely time for another Sony BMG merger story? With the bigwigs at both Sony and BMG telling us how great the EU's decision to let them merge is, and more or less everyone in the independent sector still telling us how sinister it all is, some merger related gossip from the sidelines.

First up, and something of a sigh of relief from the other major labels, EMI, Warners and especially Universal Music. While none of the other majors were proactively supporting the Sony BMG merger, there were claims during the EU investigation that, merger or no merger, the major labels had too much dominance in the music space, and that some sort of regulation might be in order. By allowing the merger to go ahead with zero regulatory conditions, EC Commissioners essentially reject the need for wider regulation in the music business, which is good news for all of the majors. Recognising this fact an EMI spokesman told reporters yesterday: "We are pleased that the commission has not found collective dominance in the industry."

Talking of EMI, as the conclusion of the Sony BMG merger draws closer speculation rises regarding the possibility of an EMI Warner merger. As previously reported, some analysts reckon that the new four major labels system, where you have two big major record companies and two smaller major record companies, is much less stable than if you had three more or less equally sized record companies - ie Song BMG, Universal Music and a merged EMI Warner. On those grounds some say it would be hard for the EC to block any EMI Warner merger bid - despite having stopped the two majors merging in the past. New Warner Music owner Edgar Bronfmann Jnr - despite being the man who stopped the last round of EMI Warner merger talks when he stepped in at the last minute and bought Warner Music off Time Warner - has indicated he is interested in discussing a merger with EMI, and insiders say such a deal is high up his current priority list. Once again this week EMI said it was "not in discussion with Warner Music", adding: "We have a strong management team. We are producing high-quality music and we have the necessary scale in all regions", which almost certainly means merger talks are being considered!

And talking of Warner Music, rumours this morning surrounding former Warner boss Roger Ames - who is now working as a consultant for Bronfmann Jnr after being sidelined out of the Warner top job during the takeover. Word is that Ames has been offered a job at the merged Sony BMG, most likely to oversee international operations, an area where both merging majors have struggled of late. However, insiders say that any role for Ames at Sony BMG would have to be quite powerful because he won't be persuaded to join the company for purely financial reasons. With a $20 million pay off from Warner pending and an estimated existing fortune in excess of $100 million, monthly pay packet ain't too important for Mr Ames, therefore it would be ego that would clinch any deal.


Korda Marshall - now head of the UK arm of Warner division Atlantic Records - has suggested there might be a time when CD pricing would vary according to the anti-piracy technology included on the disk. Anti-piracy technology often (sometimes intentionally, sometimes as a side effect) prevents consumers from playing their CDs on their PCs or car stereos. Marshall says that discs which has such limiting technology on them might be cheaper than those without. Speaking on BBC Radio 2's Great Music Debate he said: "Maybe there's a point in the future where you'd buy a copy-protected CD at a lower price".

As for the future of the CD as a format on which we buy music he commented: "The industry's in a very, very healthy state and CDs are in their middle age. They've got a long, long way to go. It's not going to go anywhere".

Apple boss Steve Jobs, participating in the debate in his capacity as founder of iTunes, felt the CD might have another ten years of life expectancy. He said: "The traditional record stores are already having a tough go of it. But things don't happen that fast. I believe someday all music will be delivered over the internet - but that someday may be a decade a way."

Discussing the future of digital music, Jobs questioned the long term business models of some of his competitors. Confirming that Apple make most of their money on the sale of iPods, rather than by selling tracks via iTunes, Jobs said: "We basically make only a little bit of money on [iTunes] - we break even to make a little bit of profit, somewhere in that range, and we're the largest by far. So everyone else must be losing money. I don't know what people that don't have an iPod business are going to do because there's not a lot of money to be made running an online music store."


Ministry of Sound CEO Mark Rodol yesterday announced he was leaving the company after eleven years with the super club and one year in the top job.

Confirming his departure Rodol told CMU: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ministry of Sound and I am proud about what I have helped to achieve alongside a world class team of colleagues. I have decided that the time is right for me to move on and to look at new challenges. The entertainment industry as a whole is going through huge changes at the moment and I have a desire to play a part in developing a brand new template that will define how business is conducted in the future. I will be in a position to announce my new plans very soon".

A spokesman for Ministry of Sound added: "We would like to thank Mark for 11 years of exemplary service during which time he has played a major part in creating the hugely successful company that Ministry of Sound is today. He will be sadly missed and we wish him every success with his future endeavours."


The Libertines' Carl Barat has said he cannot see his band continuing in the long term without his estranged band mate Pete Doherty. As previously reported, Barat and the rest of the band have decided to carry on with summer festival commitments and the promotion of the up coming second album without Doherty because: "We couldn't just carry on the way it was going. Peter was going to die or someone was going to get killed". But asked in the NME this week whether the band can continue without Doherty Barat says: "It's not 'Can they', it's 'Will they'?... I want to be in a band with my friend. That's all I can say to that. And that I don't think I want to be in a band called The Libertines if he's not in it, in the long term."

This week's edition of NME features separate interviews with both Barat and Doherty. In his interview, Doherty says of his latest estrangement from the band: "The Libertines are forever but... I think (Carl) needs a wee bit of space, he's under a lot of pressure. I know he believes in music." Responding to rumours he is currently spending a grand a day on his drug addiction Doherty says: "I've never spent £1,000 a day on heroin, you'll die."


Calling all budding bands or DJs that live, erm, on the Isle of Wight. Organisers of the Bestival - Rob Da Bank's new festival event which will take place on the IOW in Sep - have reserved a peak time slot on their bill for a local band and DJ, and they are now encouraging local artists to send in demo or mix CDs for consideration. Tapes should be sent to Rob da Bank, Bestival Bands & DJ Competition, Studio 10, 25 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8NJ. The top five bands will be invited to compete at a final on 19 Aug. One DJ will be picked who will be tested at the final. Both band and DJ will then get a high-up-the-bill slot at the festival itself.

The Bestival is, of course, the new three day music festival being organised by Da Bank and his Sunday Best label. Full details at - press info from Darling Dept.

Talking of Sunday Best, this weekend is another one of the label's open air affairs at Brockwell Park's Lido. Mylo, Grand National, The Cuban Brothers and Rob Da Bank are on the bill. Very limited capacity and tickets are in much demand. For details of £1.99 guest list places contact by end of play today.


Duran Duran will release a special box set on 13 Sep featuring the tracks from every single released between 1986 and 1995, including a whole load of rarities taken off 12" releases. It will be the first time some of the tracks have been available on CD.

Among the tracks due to appear are 1986's 'Notorious', 1989's 'All She Wants' and 1993's 'Ordinary World'.


Following comments by Coldplay's Chris Martin on his collaboration with The Streets (he provided the vocals to a version of current Streets single 'Dry Your Eyes' which wasn't included on the album), Mike Skinner yesterday told Radio 1 his side of the story. "There's another company that owns the copyright on his voice and that's a very big company. I went over to Camden and recorded it in their studio with my laptop and then I took it back and mixed it and finished it and sent it back to his label and all we really heard was 'No it's not really working', so I don't really know really. I get the impression that he didn't like the sound of his voice on it or that his record label didn't want it to happen."

However Skinner reckons the version of the track with Martin's vocals surfaced on a US radio station recently, and therefore may well be now online. Skinner: "It was leaked on an American radio station - so I don't know if it's got on the Internet yet.

Finally, commenting on his Mercury Music Prize nomination, Skinner continued: "People say I snub awards but I don't, I don't go cos I don't fit in. The Mercurys are really full on and I didn't realise you're supposed to wear a suit and I turned up in my trainers and cap (last time). I won't go this time, I've been thinking about it, so don't bet on me winning cos you don't get an award if you don't go! It is a great award and I'm very proud to be nominated again."


Talking of the Mercury Music Prize, another of the nominees has said it would be "a disgrace" if he was to win. Talking about his nomination, ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt (whose album 'Cuckooland' is the the 12-1 outsider on the list) told the Telegraph: "I think it would be a disgrace if anything came of it. I'm just in it [the shortlist] to keep the contest broad. Others who have been shortlisted - Amy Winehouse, Basement Jaxx, Belle and Sebastian - are far more deserving", he said.


Well, it turns out that venue in Las Vegas that banned Linda Ronstadt when she made some pro-Michael Moore remarks on stage is in the process of being sold to new owners, and those new owners have spoken out in support on the singer.

As reported yesterday, some audience members stormed out in disgust when Ronstadt dedicated a song to Moore while performing at Vegas' Aladdin Theater, and the venue's management asked her to leave pledging to never book her again. Moore responded by saying that if the venue revoked that ban he would appear with Ronstadt as one of her backing singers.

Yesterday Robert Earl, chairman of Planet Hollywood International who are the prospective new owners of the venue, told reporters: "We hope to be approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission to become the new owners of the Aladdin Resort in Las Vegas as early as 1 Sep. Upon the assumption of ownership, and with a new management team in place, we would like to offer the use of the Theatre of Performing Arts to Linda Ronstadt for a second concert and further to take Michael Moore up on his offer to join her on stage to introduce her and sing a song. We respect artists' creativity and support their rights to express themselves. We were very sorry to hear about the unfortunate circumstances of this past Saturday night and want to make it clear that Planet Hollywood has never, in our 13 year history, restricted any artists' right to free speech and we will continue with that policy once we take ownership". And hurrah to that.


Issue number 2 of the online grass-roots magazine Noise Up is online for all to see. There's all sorts of features on music makers and music making, plus the chance to mix your own version of Catskills' 'Black Grass' and a whole host of classic hip hop videos to watch, as selected by CMU favourite Charlie Dark. Check it all out at


Expect lots of talk on music piracy today as both the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the BPI release their latest reports on both counterfeit CD and online piracy. Stats galore are promised.


Ryan Adams was back on stage last week for the first time since breaking his wrist after falling off the stage at a Liverpool gig. He sang and played guitar during the encore at a Gillian Welch and David Rawlings gig in New York. Adams is due to make a proper return in Sep with an appearance at the Austin City Limits festival. UK dates are planned for Nov.


MTV is planning a film about chart topping Usher, which will be produced by and star Usher. According to the Hollywood Reporter the idea from the film came from Usher's mother Jonnetta Patton, who also acts as his manager.


The BPI has announced a change to the system for awarding funding to companies who want to attend MIDEM. The trade organisation makes monies available to help labels promote themselves at the annual industry fest in Cannes, but until now any one label has only been able to receive three grants in any one ten year period. However the 'slate has been wiped clean' in preparation for this year's grant giving, meaning anyone can apply oblivious of past funding. Full details and application forms will appear on very soon.


All you cool kids with your iPods beware - the Apple digital music player may lose some street cred following the news one American college is planning on using them to store students' academic work.

According to the Financial Times, Duke University will distribute iPods to 1800 freshers this year. The devices will be used as portable hard disks, carrying 'orientation information' and an academic calendar. Students will then be able to download study materials to their iPods on a regular basis.

Of course lecturer's powerpoint presentations will have to compete for disk space with the latest Linkin Park and Blink 182 downloads, so the plan may as yet be flawed. But if the scheme encouraged legal downloading as well as digital study then presumably the music industry would approve.


Talking of downloading, an Israeli tech company has agreed to pay $4.1 million to the major record labels in compensation for the copyright infringement their iMesh file sharing software is estimated to have facilitated. Bridgemar Services, who own iMesh, also committed to rework their business model by the end of the summer to ensure their platform no longer enabled the illegal sharing of copyright music.

The deal, approved by a New York court, could be a landmark one because software companies who make file sharing platforms have generally sidestepped liability for copyright infringement providing the sharing of files does not go through their own servers. The iMesh deal could strengthen the record labels' legal case against other P2P software makers, such as Kazaa owners Sharman.

Bridgemar settled the copyright infringement dispute in a bid to placate the record labels who, they hope, will now make some kind of deal which would enable them to offer a legal P2P platform. While some reckon the majors would never give legitimacy to a P2P network, if Bridgemar could pull it off they would stand to make a killing with the only major label supported legal file sharing system on the market.


EMI have confirmed the Robbie Williams best of will be released on 18 Oct and will feature two news songs - 'Radio' and 'Miss Understood' - the latter of which will also appear on the soundtrack to the new Bridget Jones movie.


P Diddy has officially launched his 'for-Gods-sake-vote' initiative - Citizen Change. He aims to motivate the US's 42 million 18-30 year old voters, especially in minority communities, to vote in the upcoming presidential elections. Launching the campaign he explained: "The forgotten ones will ultimately decide who the next president is. Bush and Kerry are neck and neck. We will make the difference. We will be the deciding factor." Let's hope the deciding factor don't vote Bush.


MTV Networks Group President Judith McGrath was yesterday promoted to the position of Chairman and Chief Exec, taking over from Tom Freston who himself was promoted to the job of Co-chief Operating Officer of parent company Viacom last month following the departure Mel Karmazin, who allegedly fell out with Chairman and Chief Executive Viacom Sumner Redstone - are you keeping up with all this?

McGrath's new job will see her take responsibility for all the channels in the MTV group - which includes all those with MTV in their name plus VH1, Comedy Central, CMT and Nickelodeon. Confirming her appointment she said she was "flattered, nervous, crazed and thrilled".

Mark Rosenthal, the current President and Chief Operating Officer of MTV Networks, an MTV veteran of 22 years and the leading contender for the top job, promptly resigned after McGrath's appointment. Herb Scannell, another MTV top exec who had also been in the running for the job, will stay with the company and take over McGrath's President role. Phew.


Special editions of two rare Herbie Hancock albums will be released on the US next month via Sony's Legacy label.

First up, 1979's 'VSOP Live Under the Sky', which will feature all of its original tracks plus ten previously unreleased tracks recorded in Tokyo in the year of the album's release.

Second, Hancock's first solo piano release - 'The Piano' - which was previously available only as a limited release in Japan. It includes the tracks 'On Green Dolphin Street', 'Someday My Prince Will Come In' and 'My Funny Valentine' plus four originals improvised on the spot: 'Harvest Time', 'Sonrisa', 'Manhattan Island' and 'Blue Otani'.


Rock veteran Peter Frampton is suing Australian surf-wear firm Billabong over a bikini they sell which bears his image with the line "baby I love your waves" - making reference to his hit song 'Baby, I Love Your Way'. It's no secret that the swimsuit was designed with Frampton in mind - it is sold as 'The Frampton'. The rocker is looking to the LA courts to stop the sale of the swim wear and for appropriate damages.


You can imagine the meeting - "You know how we pissed off all those music fans by closing the main railway line between London and Reading on the weekend of the Reading Festival last year? Well, it was such a success - let's do it again!" Yep, those crafty souls at First Great Western railways (presumably aided by the ever talented Network Rail) have decided the August Bank Holiday weekend would be just the weekend to close the railway line between Paddington and London. Which means another very tight squeeze on the occasional Reading trains that go from Waterloo. Oh joy.


A hotel in Boston has opened a Britney room. Designed by Spears' mother to look like the singer's bedroom, and complete with Britney's favourite treats in the minibar, you can book out the room at the Onyx Hotel for $349 a night - 10% of which goes to the Britney Spears Foundation. A bit pricey, and much less attractive when you hear Britney's 2002 movie 'Crossroads' is shown on the TV.

Elsewhere in random Britney gossip, the singer's fiance has become a father for the second time. Kevin Federline's former girlfriend, actress Shar Jackson, has given birth to the couple's second baby at an Orange County hospital. According to People magazine Spears, who will marry Federline in Nov, is yet to meet his other child - a 2 year old girl - but hopes to meet both kids in due course.

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