CMU Daily - on the inside 29 Jul 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Sony BMG merger gets the US go ahead
- EC commissioner squeezed out of anti-trust post
- Love finally sentenced over drugs charges
- Timberlake gets restraining order against snapper
- Bowie out and about in New York
- The Darkness go back to school
- Emi to release Kirsty MacColl box set
- Scissor Sisters announce UK tour
- Lil Kim's manager added to defendants in perjury case
- All star stage invasion at Roland Bolan gig
- New Nancy Sinatra album an all star fest
- Gareth Gates safe at BMG - for now
- De La Soul return
- PPL wins stage one in fight against British government
- The Vaults announce EP and tour
- Album Review: Way Out West - Don't Look Now
- Chris Rock on his Crackers single
- Beck works with Jack White on track for new album
- London mini-festival has rural feel
- Single Review: Slam - Lie To Me Feat. Ann Saunderson
- Real's revenues rise helping losses to fall
- Warp artist launches art commissions as mini-album
- Elvis flat saved and declared an historical site
- Natasha Bedingfield signs US record deal
- MPs report on novel anti-flyposting tactic
- Amazon ban anonymous reviewing

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SONY BMG MERGER GETS THE US GO AHEAD
The US competition authorities yesterday gave the green light to the Sony BMG merger. The go ahead from the Federal Trade Commission was the final step in the merger process after European Commission officials gave the deal the all clear last week. Only last minute contract complications will now stop the two majors combining to create a second music giant of the proportions of the Universal Music Group.

In a letter to the two companies the FTC said: "Upon further review of this matter, it now appears that no additional action is warranted by the commission at this time".

In a statement to the press BMG described the investigations by both US and European competition officials as "diligent", adding: "We now look forward to creating a global recorded music company comprising many of the world's most successful artists as well as a vast catalogue of recordings".

Although FTC officials monitored the EC's investigations into the merger, one reason why they could reach a decision so quickly, objections were never expected from the American bureaucrats, particularly as the merged major will base itself in New York, adding to city's dominance in the global entertainments industry.

Despite maintaining their opposition to the deal, the independent sector have now pretty much accepted there will be four major labels by the end of the year. All eyes are now on Warners and EMI, both of whom will be dwarfed by their two main competitors. Rumours that they will attempt to merge are still rife.

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EC COMMISSIONER SQUEEZED OUT OF ANTI-TRUST POST
In related news, the European Commissioner who gave the go ahead to the Sony BMG merger has been squeezed out of his EC job following some political games in his home country of Italy. But, despite the fact Mario Monti's last key decision was to give the go ahead for the major label merger without adding any conditions, those in the know say he will be remembered as one of the most strict regulators the EC has ever had. He issued $5.1 billion in anti-trust fines while he was in the job and blocked a number of other key mergers. One source told the New York Post yesterday: "Whoever Monti's replacement will be, he won't be as intense a regulator as Monti was. The new direction is a looser anti-trust attitude toward the Microsofts of this world." So, that EMI Warners merger (not that there is one of course) should find get an even quicker OK.

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LOVE FINALLY SENTENCED OVER DRUGS CHARGES
Courtney Love has finally been convicted on that long standing drugs charge which stemmed from an incident last year when she was found outside an ex-boyfriend's house under the influence of a "controlled substance". After numerous delays and set-backs in the case, Courtney finally showed up to court on time, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation. The probation conditions include a commitment to attend rehab, not drink alcohol and, somewhat ambitiously, to not go to places where alcohol is sold "cheaply".

Love was clutching a copy of NME as she went into the court room. Needless to say, this was a key component of their coverage of the trial - they write: "Love appeared healthy and playful inside, pulling a face behind her attorney's back, reading an article on estranged Libertine Pete Doherty's recent rehab attempts and asking NME's reporter about Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos before the Judge arrived in the courtroom".

After the trial Love, who still faces another set of drugs charges and two assault charges, told reporters: "It's not gonna go away. They come after you when you stick out and then they go away when you stop doing drugs. So let's see America. Can I stop taking pills?"

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TIMBERLAKE GETS RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST SNAPPER
Justin Timberlake claimed to be acting in the interests of the celebrity community at large yesterday, after winning a restraining order against a photographer who chases stars in their cars in order to gain an exclusive picture. Timberlake's comments followed the decision by a judge in Santa Monica, California to grant an injunction ordering photographer Artemus Earl Lister to stay away from the singer.

Shortly after the restraining order was granted Timberlake told reporters: "Unless somebody has the guts to carry this through legally, somebody's going to get killed through these [car] chases. It's about time that somebody did something about these stalkerazzis".

The court success will encourage Timberlake who is about to embark on legal action against the News of the World who alleged he was unfaithful to girlfriend Cameron Diaz.

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BOWIE OUT AND ABOUT IN NEW YORK
David Bowie seemed to be on the mend yesterday as he went shopping in New York's Chinatown area, near his apartment in the city where he is recovering from an emergency angioplasty operation. Bowie had the surgery while on tour in Germany after being admitted to hospital suffering from acute shoulder pains. Bowie is keen to get back on tour as soon as doctors given him the all clear - yesterday, despite obviously trying to hide his identity, he chatted with a number of fans who recognised him.

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THE DARKNESS GO BACK TO SCHOOL
The Darkness have made a surprise visit at their old school to open a new music centre. According to the Sun, Justin and Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham were all present for the opening at Kirkley High School in Lowestoft, Suffolk. They presented the music centre with Ed's first drum kit and two guitars.

Deputy head Hazel Johnson told the tabloid: "It was absolutely wonderful to see our ex-students who have been so successful. I had a fabulous afternoon talking to them. I haven't seen them since they left. We talked about their lives and how things have moved on."

The music centre visit was just one part of a busy day for Justin. After the school trip he and his mother Sandy went to the nearby Suffolk Wildlife Park to meet a baby giraffe that was named after him earlier this year.

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EMI TO RELEASE KIRSTY MACCOLL BOX SET
Following the news yesterday that the investigation into the death of Kirsty MacColl back in 2000 was reopening, news today from EMI that a three-disc box set of Kirsty's music will be released in Oct.

The box set, called 'From Croydon to Cuba', will feature tracks from throughout Kirsty's career starting with debut single 'They Don't Know' and working through to music she recorded just months before she was killed when a speed boat crashed into her as she dived off the coast of Mexico.

Highlights on the three albums include 1981's hit 'There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop', her version of Billy Bragg's 'New England' and the best Christmas song ever recorded - her duet with the Pogues, 'Fairytale Of New York'.

The album will be released on 11 Oct. Meanwhile a one hour documentary about MacColl's career, her tragic death and the somewhat weak sentence passed against the man who allegedly was driving the boat (he paid a £61 fine and £1450 in compensation) will be screened at the Edinburgh Television Festival at the end of Aug. The documentary covers the campaign being run by MacColl's mother Jean to uncover the facts surrounding her daughter's death - yesterday's announcement of a new investigation was as a result of that campaign.

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SCISSOR SISTERS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Scissor Sisters have announced details of their first major UK tour, which will take place in Oct. Dates as follows:

15 Oct: Bournemouth International Centre
19 Oct: Reading Rivermead
20 Oct: Swindon's Oasis Leisure Centre
21 Oct: Wolverhampton Civic Centre
23 Oct: Manchester Carling Apollo
24 Oct: Edinburgh Corn Exchange
25 Oct: Glasgow Barrowlands
27 Oct: Doncaster Dome
29 Oct: Blackpool Empress Ballroom
31 Oct & 2 Nov: London's Brixton Academy

The Hallowe'en show at the Brixton Academy is a fancy dress party, and costumes are compulsory. People may also wish to dress up smart when the band play the Brighton Dome on 11 Aug and 12 Aug, because on the second day they will be filming a live DVD.

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LIL KIM'S MANAGER ADDED TO DEFENDANTS IN PERJURY CASE
Lil Kim's business manager has been added to the list of defendants facing perjury and obstruction of justice charges relating to a shooting outside New York radio station Hot97 back in Feb 2001.

As previously reported, Lil Kim, her personal assistant and body guard have all been accused of lying to a grand jury who investigated the shooting, in order to protect associates.

Now business manager Hillary Weston has been accused of destroying business records requested by the grand jury, and of subsequently ignoring subpoenas.

No comment from anyone in the Lil Kim camp regarding the new charges as yet.

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ALL STAR STAGE INVASION AT ROLAND BOLAN GIG
Something of a star studded affair at Alan McGee's Death Disco where people were turned away in droves as everyone wanted to see Roland Bolan (son of Marc) play. During the proceedings Gary from The Libertines joined in on tamborine, Finlay Quaye added some vocals, Carl from The Libertines added some percussion and then, during a bit of a stage invasion, Har Mar Superstar joined in. A great night for all those who managed to get in - a depressing story for anyone turned away.

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NEW NANCY SINATRA ALBUM AN ALL STAR FEST
Talking of all star things - Nancy Sinatra will return with a new album in Sep, and it will be full of celebrity collaborations. U2's Bono and The Edge, Jarvis Cocker, Sony Youth's Thurston Moore, Jon Spencer, Calexico and Morrissey are all involved, while her band will feature the aforementioned Cocker plus guitarist Richard Hawley, Sonic Youth bassist Jom O'Rourke and Smithereen drummer Dennis Diken. The album will be released on Sancturary's Morrissey imprint Attack.

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GARETH GATES SAFE AT BMG - FOR NOW
Obviously you've all been kept awake at night worrying about the future of Gareth Gates, what with all those "he's been dropped" rumours. Well, you can sleep soundly from now on, well for the time being. The latest gossip is that another Gareth album is in the pipeline, but it will have to be pretty damn good otherwise the axe will soon fall.

A source told the Star: "Gareth signed a multi-album deal with BMG, but there are options within the contract allowing the label to pull out at any stage. His last album didn't sell anywhere near as well as it should given his high profile and exposure. As a result, the pressure is on him to come back to the label with songs good enough to convince them to carry on with him."

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DE LA SOUL RETURN
According to allhiphop.com, De La Soul will return with their eighth album in late Sep - hurrah!

The new long player - to be called 'The Grind Date' - will be released by Sanctuary Urban Records, the label run by Matthew 'father of Beyonce' Knowles. Guests on the album will include Spike Lee, Common and Ghostface, and its launch should coincide with the launch of a new Nike trainer called De La Dunk.

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PPL WINS STAGE ONE IN FIGHT AGAINST BRITISH GOVERNMENT
UK recording rights society PPL has won the first stage of a legal battle with the British government over politicians' failure to implement European legislation that would extend the circumstances in which royalties should be paid on public airings of sound recordings.

The dispute relates to a 1994 European Directive which, PPL argue, should have been implemented into British law. That Directive would have meant certain groups would lose their current exemption from paying royalties to record labels when they play their recordings in public. PPL reckon that had the directive been implemented the extra income record labels would have received over the years would amount to millions.

The government argued that PPL had left it too long to take court action against its failure to act on the Directive, and as such hoped to have the case thrown out of court. But that argument was rejected by the High Court in London yesterday.

PPL will now proceed with their action, although word is the royalties body is hopeful they can still strike a compensation deal with the government without actually taking the case to court.

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THE VAULTS ANNOUNCE EP AND TOUR
Following much support from specialist DJs at both Radio 1 and Xfm, the very fine The Vaults release a new three track EP on 9 Aug on Lucky 7 / Red Flag Records. The Friday Night Monday Morning Blackout EP will hit record shops towards the end of their UK tour, dates as follows:

24 Jul: Hastings The Crypt
28 Jul: Reading The Fez
29 Jul: High Wycombe White Horse
30 Jul: Peterborough The Met
2 Aug: Glasgow King Tut's
3 Aug: Manchester Roadhouse
4 Aug: Birmingham Bar Academy
5 Aug: Liverpool Academy 3
10 Aug: London Camden Barfly
11 Aug: Southend Chinnery's
12 Aug: Brighton Pressure Point

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ALBUM REVIEW: Way Out West - Don't Look Now (Distinctive Records)
WOW's third album is possibly their best yet: a magnificently varied 76 minutes that effortlessly segues their trademark progressive epics (all manic, mammoth beats, acid mayhem and huge apocalyptic synths) with more tranquil, blessed-out songs and seductive ambient chicanery. Opener 'Anything But You' sets the tone and perfectly illustrates the group's manifesto: huge breakbeats and menacing bass assault you whilst melancholy synth patterns dreamily float by and "secret weapon" Omi oozes soulful, sultry vocals. Similarly harking back to early singles 'Ajare' and 'Domination' are the likes of 'Fear' and 'Killa' - both equally relentless and impressive, with the latter book-ended by gorgeously poignant John Barry strings which are almost worth getting the album for alone. Meanwhile, there are numerous lush, moody sound-scapes to admire; 'Changes' and 'Northern Lights' being as soothing as they are graceful. Similar in style and scope to label-mates Hybrid's recent 'Morning Sci Fi' album, this is a welcome step forward for Way Out West which, like all the best dance albums, will cause mayhem on the dancefloor but provide ample enjoyment from home listening, File under "non-bland". MS
Release date: 30 Aug
Press contact: Emms Publicity [all]

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CHRIS ROCK ON HIS CRACKERS SINGLE
Comedian Chris Rock has been talking to MTV about his new single - 'Crackers' - which deals with the very serious topic of racism against America's black population through the ages, but in a very unserious way. Taking the music from OutKast's 'Hey Ya' and parodying that track's popular video, Rock says: "It's like a Public Enemy record - but funny".

On lines like "You raped my grandma/ Ooh, you raped my grandma/ My grandma and great-grandma/ You kept raping them/ Aah, AH, ah, AH-aaaal!", Rock continues: "There's nothing funny about rape, but there's something funny about it in the context of the song. The song 'Hey Ya!' just seems so happy, so any depressing lyric with that same melody seemed funny to me."

On how he came up with the concept for the song he continued: "I don't know, the same way I come up with everything. 'You know what would sound funny? If they were saying 'Crackers' instead of 'Hey Ya!' I didn't expect for this to ever get played, but the record company was like, 'That's a single.' So here we are".

The track will feature on an upcoming Chris Rock album called 'Never Scared' which will also include a number of sketches and parts of Rock's stand up act. Both will be released in the US in Aug - no word on if and when there will be a UK release.

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BECK WORKS WITH JACK WHITE ON TRACK FOR NEW ALBUM
More from the Beck camp. Following reports that the new album will see a return to the classic Beck sound following his return to the studio with producers the Dust Brothers, specifics about some of the tracks have come to light.

First up, Beck has been working with Jack White on one track. Little is known about the collaboration yet - it isn't complete and hasn't go a title - but word is it is going to rock.

Another track, called 'Guero', has been described as a "dancey, autobiographical account of growing up as the only white kid in an East Los Angeles neighborhood" featuring samples of street noises and people talking.

Meanwhile another cut, 'Brazilica', features Brazilian guitar akin to 'Mutations' album track 'Tropicalia'.
The new album should be ready for an early Autumn release.

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LONDON MINI-FESTIVAL HAS RURAL FEEL
The line up has been announced for an interesting mini-festival taking place in London this weekend. Return Of The Rural takes place next to the 'not-all-that-rural' Griffin Pub on Leonard Street in EC2.
The events organisers explain: "Return Of The Rural adopts a pastoral approach to two days of live music, DJs and other pastimes. The line up takes in the best of both established and up and coming live acts around today; musicians that tread the line between traditional songwriting and forward thinking experimentation with ease. In an atmosphere reminiscent of a 1940's village fayre, Return Of The Rural offers London dwellers the chance to drink, dance and enjoy".

The rural feel will come from the haybales, tombola, welly boot throwing and hog roast. Music wise you're talking Clinic, Half Cousin, Leaf Cutter John, James Yorkston, Beth Orton, MCraft and The Zillions plus DJ sets from Kieran Hebden and EYOE DJs.

It all takes place from 2pm on Sat and Sun. Admission is free but you need a ticket - more info from info@eatyourownears.com

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SINGLE REVIEW: Slam - Lie To Me feat. Ann Saunderson (Soma)
A smoother and more subtle release from the Scottish boys here. Slam are, of course, renowned more for their stomping, archetypal techno - such as the timeless 'Positive Education' - than for their melodic house. But this single from the forthcoming LP 'Year Zero' is a crossover triumph. Ann Saunderson's infectious vocals float perfectly over the simple, yet brilliantly effective syncopated hi-hat pattern and tough kicks. Championed by DJ's across the board, this is an affectionate, evocative track with a melody that sets up camp in your head and refuses to leave. OG
Release date: 30 Aug
Press contact: Soma IH [all]

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REAL'S REVENUES RISE HELPING LOSSES TO FALL
Always space for some dull financial reporting in the CMU Daily. Real Networks have reported that revenues for quarter 2 of 2004 were $65.5 million, up 32% from the same period last year and up 8% from first quarter of this year. All that income means their losses for this quarter were only a mere $4.6 million, down from a $9.6 million loss in the same quarter last year, and down from a $10.4 million loss in Q1 this year. Some $2.8 million of that loss went on the cost of its continued anti-trust litigation against Microsoft. So that's all right then.

Elsewhere in dull financial news, and more good news for the Sony group who have announced their Q2 profits were 23.3bn yen - that's twenty times higher that the same period last year. Much of the profit boost came from electronic sales outside Japan. Despite the positive swing the company says its estimates for year end profit remain unchanged because of up coming restructuring costs and the current weak demand for electronic goods in Japan.

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WARP ARTIST LAUNCHES ART COMMISSIONS AS MINI-ALBUM
On 6 Sep London based electronica label Warp (home of Aphex Twin) will release a new mini-album by South African born Mira Calix called '3 Commissions'. It is a half art half music release, featuring pieces specifically commissioned by Geneva's Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, London's Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican.

The album will be officially launched at a party at London's Hayward Gallery on 20 Aug where Mira will play alongside Andrea Parker, Mark Bloom and label mates Plaid. This is a free event open to the public and will include a performance of her piece 'NuNu' which is described as a "ground breaking interplay between human and insect worlds".

More info at http://www.miracalix.com

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ELVIS FLAT SAVED AND DECLARED AN HISTORICAL SITE
The Memphis flat where Elvis Presley lived as a teenager has been saved from demolition and declared an historical building and will be open to the public. Elvis lived there in the city's Lauderdale Courts from 1949 to 1953. The building was due to be demolished but an appeal by Elvis fans and the Memphis Heritage Preservation Organization won the site its survival and new status.

Commenting on the building Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, told reporters: "Living at Lauderdale Courts, Elvis had access to a myriad of musical experiences. The proximity to Beale Street, Sun Studio and Pop Tunes made this community the perfect environment for his incredible talent to grow and flourish."

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NATASHA BEDINGFIELD SIGNS US RECORD DEAL
Natasha 'sister of Daniel' Bedingfield has signed a recording contract in the US with BMG label Jive Records - In the UK she is signed to BMG's Arista label. Those in the know seem quite confident of the potential of Natasha's career in the US - especially now she has been signed up by New York talent agency Evolution Talent who also represent the likes of Eamon, P Diddy, Anastacia, Fatboy Slim and the aforementioned Bedingfield sibling Daniel.

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MPS REPORT ON NOVEL ANTI-FLYPOSTING TACTIC
Favourite story of the week. A committee of MPs have been looking into flyposting - and needless to say have concluded the whole thing is evil and nasty and should be stopped. Of course their investigations have kind of been over taken by the anti-social behaviour order action taken against companies who flypost by Westminster and Camden councils - most major companies have pledged to stop flyposting on the back of that action (although the legalities of the whole thing are yet to be tested in court). But there is reference to a much more novel way of combating flyposting in the MP's report. They make mention of action taken by Oadby and Wigston borough council in Leicestershire. Recognising that most flyposting came from gig promoters they sent their own staff round and pasted the word 'cancelled' on top of all the posters! The offending promoters soon stopped flyposting.

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AMAZON BAN ANONYMOUS REVIEWING
And our other favourite story this week comes from the Media Guardian website. They report that Amazon are stopping anonymous reviewing on their site - to add a review to books or CDs from now on you will have to have to be registered with the site, which means handing over your credit card info and therefore your full name. The reason for the change? It has become common practice in the publishing industry to anonymously go onto Amazon and write rave reviews for your own books, and slate those published by your competitors!

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