CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 4th November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- IMPALA confirm they will appeal SonyBMG merger
- Jay-Z carries on regardless
- Sizzla latest reggae star hit by gay rights campaign
- First Sunday this Sunday
- Destiny's Child dates
- Lemon Jelly tour
- Velvet Revolver add extra London date
- Weller dates cancelled
- Head Automatica dates cancelled
- Karmadownload talk up first eight weeks
- Madonna to advertise Israel
- Slim Shady produces new Tupac album
- Interscope bring forward Eminem release - again
- Almond on the mend
- Busted join Band Aid
- Sanctuary celebrate Sugar Hill anniversary
- Mr Britney's ex says: Spears is pregnant

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BLATANT PLUGGING

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SAME SIX QUESTIONS: Rennie Pilgrem

How did you start out making music for a living?
I started performing at the huge raves in the early 90s. We started to release our own music because we were getting nowhere with sending demos to other labels.

What inspired your latest album?
Travelling around the world playing to lots of different crowds, and particularly the crowd we have at HUM. I've also been inspired by the new "anything goes" general direction of dance music.

What process do you go through in creating an album?
Initially writing the stuff on my laptop, then getting live musicians involved when relevant and mixing it all down in my studio in London.

What artists influence your work?
At the moment I would say a lot of the punk funk stuff is getting me going. Also Amp Fiddler has made the best album of the year. Breakbeat-wise I think J.D.S. are giving everyone a kick up the arse.

What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
You lucky bastard.

What are your ambitions for this album, and for the future?
I am doing a HUM mix album with Meat Katie in the spring. I am releasing a J.D.S. Album in the summer and I hope to have a follow-up album out early 2006. I want TCR to be acknowledged as the finest breakbeat label in the World. I also would like to still be Djing when I'm 40.

Rennie's album 'Pilgremage' is out now on his own label TCR - press info from pippa@tcr.uk.com. Rennie's regular night HUM celebrates its third birthday a week on Saturday (13 Nov) at Canvas - press info from Letitia@leylinepromotions.com

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IMPALA CONFIRM THEY WILL APPEAL SONYBMG MERGER
The industry body representing independent labels in Europe - IMPALA - yesterday confirmed they were appealing the decision by the European Commission earlier this year to allow major record companies Sony and BMG to merge. With the two majors already in the process of combining their operations, IMPALA want the EC to reconsider their position, arguing that the final decision the Commission made went against their own research which warned of the dangers of further consolidation in the music industry.

In a statement issued yesterday IMPALA told reporters: "The European Commission recognises that independents are marginalised and have increasing difficulty in competing. Its decision to approve the merger goes against this and its responsibility to promote competition, consumer choice and diversity. When the market favours the strong multinational companies, anti-trust regulators need to address the market failures and also safeguard the potential of the emerging digital business for all players - large and small."

After confirming they had put aside the necessary funds to finance a legal fight against the merger, the statement continued: "The independents want to address the market imbalance and play their part in establishing a fair and competitive market place. They owe this to their consumers and music fans."

Michel Lambot, Co-chairman of the PIAS group and President of IMPALA, told CMU: "This is about protecting European as well as world-wide cultural diversity and self-determination in a world where globalisation means Hollywood. The news coming in today from the US elections affirms our decision that we need to make a stance against US domination of our cultural, political and economic interests. Although this is not the first time third parties have appealed a Commission decision approving a merger, it is a historic moment for the music business. It is the first time the industry has ever seen such a stance against concentration in the name of market access, fair play and diversity. What impresses me is the extent of feeling right across the sector that enough is enough."

Beggars boss Martin Mills - also an IMPALA board member - told us: "It has been said that cutbacks at the merged entity will be good for indies. Those benefits, if any, will be no different or greater than those accruing from similar actions by EMI and Warners, and will be a simple result of scalebacks by the majors. In practice what will impact on indies is an aggressive duopoly in the marketplace. We are seeing this already with the effects of Universal's power alone. We have no choice but to appeal."

It is unclear whether IMPALA really believe they can undo the SonyBMG merger given the commercial damage such a move would do to Sony and BMG given that consolidation has already begun. It may be that the move is more to ensure that major players and legislators in the music business are wary of any other consolidation in the future.

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JAY-Z CARRIES ON REGARDLESS
As R Kelly begins legal action against Jay Z and the promoters of the co-headliner Best Of Both Worlds tour, Jay-Z yesterday announced he would, in fact, fulfil all forthcoming dates under the new banner of Jay-Z And Friends.

Shortly after Kelly was kicked off the tour following a number of disputes between the two headliners, promoters announced the tour would finish immediately, with the scheduled dates still to come cancelled. However, yesterday they went back on that announcement and said the tour would resume with Jay-Z as sole headliner as of the tour's Miami date on Friday.

Forthcoming shows will be based on that which Jay-Z performed in New York last weekend immediately after Kelly was axed from the bill. With Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Slick Rick, Professor Griff, Doug E Fresh, Kanye West, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Mary J Blige and Foxy Brown all guesting at that show, promoters will hope ticket buyers won't consider themselves short changed now that Kelly is off the bill.

P Diddy, Mary J Blige and other special guests are promised for Friday's show.

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SIZZLA LATEST REGGAE STAR HIT BY GAY RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
More from the ever growing file on the backlash against dancehall artists with a history of writing homophobic lyrics. This time Sizzla has cancelled all five of his UK dates, due to kick off in Milton Keynes last night, after gay rights groups called on the Home Office to ban the reggae star from entering the UK on the grounds his lyrics incite violence against the gay community.

A spokesman for the Home Office confirmed yesterday: "We have received representations against the visit and we are considering those representations. However we do not discuss an individual's immigration status with third parties."

One of the venues who cancelled a Sizzla date, the Stratford Rex in east London, said the show had been called off as a result of "circumstances beyond our control". Stressing that Sizzla's people had signed a contract pledging to not perform sexist, racist or homophobic lyrics, they added: "We will continue to support reggae and hope to rearrange concerts with popular and established artists from Jamaica."

Gay rights group OutRage! say that one Sizzla track - 'Pump Up' - contains the lyrics "fire fi di man dem weh go ride man behind", which they translate to mean "burn the men who have sex with men". With that in mind they described the cancellation of Sizzla's UK tour as a "triumph".

As previously reported, the Metropolitan Police's Racial and Violent Crime task force is already investigating lyrics by Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer and five other reggae artists after OutRage! complained that they incited violence against gay people. The task force would not comment on whether or not Sizzla was one of the other five artists being investigated.

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FIRST SUNDAY THIS SUNDAY
If we had an awards programme here at CMU (which we don't) and if it included an award for 'Best Club Concept' (which it doesn't) then First Sunday, produced by Leyline in association with EA Games, would be the winner. It's the daytime club where great DJs spin fantastic tunes alongside a programme of films, games and stuff for the kids. DJ wise this month we're talking Johnny Le Page, DJ Fraggle and resident Eddy TM. On the gaming front EA are supplying Need For Speed Underground 2 and EA Sports FIFA 2005. It all runs this Sunday from 1pm to 8pm at Westbourne Studios on Acklam Road - admission is £5, kids go free. Press info from: letitia@leylinepromotions.com

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DESTINY'S CHILD DATES
So much tour news today. First up, Destiny's Child have announced three UK dates for next Jun - as follows:

2 Jun: Earls Court, London
5 Jun: Birmingham NEC
6 Jun: Manchester MEN Arena

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LEMON JELLY TOUR
Next up, CMU favourites Lemon Jelly have announced a UK tour for the New Year, as well as confirming they will release a new single, 'Stay With You', on 22 Nov. Tour dates as follows:

27 Feb: Belfast Mandela Hall
28 Feb: Gateshead Sage Arena
2 Mar: Manchester Academy
3 Mar: Sheffield Octagon
4 Mar: Cambridge Corn Exchange
5 Mar: Edinburgh Usher Hall
7 Mar: Brighton Dome
8 Mar: Birmingham Academy
9 Mar: Bristol Academy
12 Mar: London Forum

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VELVET REVOLVER ADD EXTRA LONDON DATE
Moving on, and Velvet Revolver have added an extra London date on their New Year tour after selling out both Hammersmith Apollo dates. Full tour schedule now as follows:

9 Jan: Carling Apollo Hammersmith
14 Jan: Glasgow SECC
15 Jan: Newcastle Arena
16 Jan: Manchester Men Arena
18 Jan: Birmingham NIA
19 Jan: Cardiff International Arena
21 Jan: Brixton Academy, London
22 Jan: Carling Apollo Hammersmith - Sold Out
23 Jan: Carling Apollo Hammersmith - Sold Out

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WELLER DATES CANCELLED
Elsewhere in gig news, and onto cancellations. Paul Weller has been forced to cancel the first three dates of his forthcoming tour because of a throat infection. It means Weller's Keighley and Glasgow dates, due to take place this weekend, will now take place on 5 Dec (Keighley) and 6 & 7 Dec (Glasgow).

Weller also releases a new single - Thinking Of You - on 15 Nov, 50p of each CD sold will go to Children In Need.

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HEAD AUTOMATICA DATES CANCELLED
While we are on cancellations, Warner Music signing Head Automatica have had to cancel their support slots with the Lostprophets and their headline show at London's Mean Fiddler because vocalist Daryl Palumbo has been hospitalised with a recurrence of Crohn's disease. Fingers crossed the illness won't affect the band's support slots of The Used's UK tour in Jan.

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KARMADOWNLOAD TALK UP FIRST EIGHT WEEKS
The people behind independent music download platform KarmaDownload have been reflecting on their first eight weeks in business, which saw them sign up a download distribution deals with Vital Digital (who represent, among others, Domino, Defected and PIAS) Jeepster, Cargo and US dance specialists InGrooves; getting nominated for best download platform at the BT Digital Media Awards, and launching a new mobile service with YR Media. The company now hopes to expand their service globally.

Rounding up the platform's launch period Karma boss Jamie Estrin told CMU: "Since launching 8 weeks ago, we have already established a real niche in the market and have had a fantastic response from all sides of the industry. With so much incredible music being added from independent labels and unsigned acts, our offering to music enthusiasts is getting stronger by the day. We are concentrating on developing new initiatives to enable their music to be heard across the widest number of outlets possible."

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MADONNA TO ADVERTISE ISRAEL
Well, Madonna really is in ad mode at the moment. Following reports she was in talks to appear in adverts for Versace, now an Israeli newspaper has reported that the singer has filmed an advert to promote tourism in Israel. The ads, which will be screened initially at the World Tourism Fair in London, aim to demonstrate that Israel is a safe place to visit.

Elsewhere, and Madonna has announced she will provide the voice to Princess Selina in a new animated movie called 'Arthur'.

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SLIM SHADY PRODUCES NEW TUPAC ALBUM
Eminem has produced 12 of the songs due to appear on a new Tupac Shakur album - the seventh album release since Shakur was murdered back in 1996. The album called 'Loyal to the Game', features guest appearances from numerous hip-hop stars including 50 Cent, Jadakiss and Lloyd Banks, and Nate Dogg.

It's not the first time Slim Shady has produced posthumous releases for Tupac - he produced three Tupac songs for the soundtrack to the 2003 documentary film 'Tupac: Resurrection'.

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INTERSCOPE BRING FORWARD EMINEM RELEASE - AGAIN
Talking of Mr Mathers, and Universal label Interscope have announced they will release Eminem's new album 'Encore' five days early in the US. The album was due for release on 16 Nov, it will now hit stores the previous Friday on 12 Nov. This is the third consecutive Eminem album that has had its release date brought forward - a similar move was made on recent Snoop Dog and Destiny's Child albums.

The need to bring forward release dates in this way is often blamed on internet piracy - labels say they are getting the CDs in store quicker because tracks from the album are already circulating online. However it is more likely the release date shift is a PR exercise - the shift itself ensures extra news coverage, while a Friday release does not have to share the day's music news agenda with any other releases.

Confirming the release date shift Steve Berman, Head of Sales at Interscope, told reporters: "This is something we have been anticipating. Once we had all of our pieces together we started a discussion as to whether Encore should come early. We knew there would be a tremendous demand for this album. On our end, we were ready... We just had to press the button on the date."

Both the regular version of the album and a special 'collectors edition' featuring different packaging and a free ringtone will be available on the new date

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ALMOND ON THE MEND
Some happy news for you - word is Marc Almond is expected to make a full recovery after that motorbike crash last month.

A message posted on the singer's website reads: "He is recovering slowly in hospital but is confident he will get back to full health eventually. Marc has asked us to pass on his thanks for all the good wishes he has received from his fans".

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BUSTED JOIN BAND AID
More from the Band Aid project and, according to the Sun, Busted are the latest to sign up, ensuring the record will sell to the kids. They join Chris Martin, Robbie Williams and Dido on the project - the reworking of 'Do They Know It's Christmas' is due for release on 29 Nov.

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SANCTUARY CELEBRATE SUGAR HILL ANNIVERSARY
Sanctuary Records will next month release two albums to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sugar Hill records, the label that helped unleash hip hop onto the wider world.

First up is 'The Best Of Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill' - a definitive greatest hits album of Sugar Hill Records, and probably their most important artist, Grandmaster Flash. The album includes 'Rappers Delight', 'The Message', 'White Lines' and 'Step Off', plus a special bonus CD mixed by Prime Cuts from the Scratch Perverts.

The second release - 'The Message - The Story Of Sugar Hill Records' - is a four CD collection including previously unreleased material, extensive sleeve notes and interviews with the Robinsons and Grandmaster Flash.

Press info on both from Noble PR.

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MR BRITNEY'S EX SAYS: SPEARS IS PREGNANT
And let's end it all with a bit of blatant gossip. The ex-lover of Britney's new husband Kevin Federline reckons that Ms Spears is definitely pregnant. According to Pagesix.Com actress Shar Jackson, who has two children of her own with Federline, received a phone call from him in which he revealed the news. Britney's people were somewhat less absolute in their response this time round, saying, simply: "As far as we know, Britney is not pregnant".

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