CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 10th November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- New report says illegal downloading does affect record sales
- U2 won't shift release date
- Gorbachev praises Cat Stevens
- Skinner lost it all to gambling
- BMI Country Music Awards
- Tartan Clef Awards
- Bright Eyes fill two top positions in Billboard charts
- GLC on new single and homecoming gigs
- Jamelia disses Usher's extravagance
- Single Review: Franz Ferdinand - This Fire
- Major parents release financials
- Madonna news
- Maroon 5 drummer not impressed with Leo
- More additions to Big Day Out line up
- Princes Trust announce urban music festival 2005
- Weller cancels gigs
- Dedbeat present the word on hip hop
- Dench praises young
- Justin re-edits Britney chapter in autobiography

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BLATANT PLUGGING

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SAME SIX QUESTIONS: Ben Christophers

How did you start out making music for a living?
When I was at school, I played in cover bands and we would get paid to play every time. I didn't really enjoy it though, but it showed me how feasible it is to do. Signing a record deal helps to set you up but the money won't last forever, it wasn't until I started getting airplay that I realised that being the writer is one of the best ways to make a living in music. Join the PRS!

What inspired your latest album?
I spent some time in France while I was writing the album. Being in a different place can bring out different thoughts and ideas, I was listening to Edith Piaf, Francoise Hardy and Nina Simone a lot and loving the gentleness and traditional feel to their music and the melodies. I was falling in love with the acoustic guitar again after a long time of playing with samplers and electronics. It was a bit of a melting pot. Inside I think I wanted to bring the old and new together. I really wanted to make the album full of tunes. I love the Beach Boys and those harmonies they did and the way the vocals would over lap and swirl, so I didn't leave my studio until I had tried everything.

What process do you go through in creating an album?
I'm not sure there's a deliberate process, but I like to start off really simple with a few songs I'm pleased with. The bigger picture is a good vision to have, but it's too easy to get carried away with making too much music and filling it all in, so I like to think at a really basic level - write a few songs and the rest will fall into place. I write hundreds of little bits of music that I just store on DATs. Electronic bumps and squeaks. Sometimes they end up being something, or sometimes just a little noise somewhere, but it's a great way of bringing something to the surface that may not have come from a guitar or piano.

What artists influence your work?
The Beach Boys, John Denver, David Bowie, Joni Mitchel, Tom Waits, Francoise Hardy, Japan, Kraftwerk, Talk Talk, The Cocteau Twins, Faultline, Aphextwin, Boards of Canada, Stina Nordenstam, Kate Bush.

What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Stop tapping along and listen!

What are your ambitions for this album, and for the future?
More of where I've been, further than where I got, higher than I saw before, better than I thought possible ... that's all!

Ben Christophers' album 'The Spaces In Between' is out now on Cooking Vinyl. He plays three UK dates later this month:

29 Nov: Brighton, Komedia
30 Nov: London, 93 Feet East
5 Dec: Northampton, RoadMenders

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NEW REPORT SAYS ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING DOES AFFECT RECORD SALES
Ah, so now it's all settled. A new report in America reckons that illegal downloading of music does have a significant affect on record sales. Commissioned by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, the latest survey involved 412 students. They were asked about the albums they had bought recently, and those albums which they had downloaded illegally from P2P networks. Researchers reckon that students bought less albums when they had access to P2P networks, with an average decline in expenditure on music from $126 to $100.

Past reports on the real effects of downloading on record sales have been inconclusive of course. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reckoned about 15% of P2P users actually bought more music as a result of using the file sharing platforms, but added that two thirds of people cut back on record buying if they use illegal download services.

A report by Harvard and North Carolina universities, meanwhile, said the effect of high levels of file-swapping on record sales was "indistinguishable from zero".

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U2 WON'T SHIFT RELEASE DATE
U2 have said the schedule for the release of their new long player 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' will not be altered despite the fact we've all already downloaded the album off Kazaa (well, obviously we haven't, but some naughty people have). After it was revealed the new album had surfaced online some reckoned Universal/Island would bring the release of the CD forward to reduce the impact of the illegal distribution of the album online - but the band said yesterday the release date would remain 22 Nov as originally planned.

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GORBACHEV PRAISES CAT STEVENS
To the US he was a dangerous terrorist set on destroying the liberty of the American people, probably by forcing them to listen to Boyzone cover versions of his classic pop songs. To the Russians, however, he is a commendable promoter of peace.

That is to say the Gorbachev Foundation, led by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, will today present singer songwriter Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam of course, with a Man Of Peace Award in recognition of his constant support for promoting peace and condemnation of terrorism. The Foundation gives the award on an annual basis "to a distinguished personage of culture and entertainment for peace messages, fraternity and integration between nations".

So good for the Russians - though with that new version of 'Father and Son' recorded with Ronan Keating out next month perhaps the Americans had a point.

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SKINNER LOST IT ALL TO GAMBLING
Don't know if this is true, or just clever image building PR, but anyway, The Street's Mike Skinner has told the Sun he has lost pretty much everything he has made from his two albums, as well as his promoter's tour cash float, after becoming addicted to gambling. He told the paper: "Basically, I was getting too drunk and betting lots of money. The US tour was nearly pulled halfway through because I lost the tour cash float in the casino. I was even getting in to spread betting. It's scary. I've lost a lot." But Mikey reports that his gambling habit is now under control - mainly because he had stopped drinking.

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BMI COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS
With her greatest hits album out this week (she's had a lot more hits than you probably realise - we should know, we listened to them all yesterday, well, we skipped a couple), Shania Twain had a good day yesterday when she won the Country Song Of The Year award for the fourth time at the annual country music awards staged by US performing rights agency BMI. Then she took the gong for her track 'Forever And For Always' which was the most-played country track on US radio this year.

Other winners at the awards included Toby Keith, who was named Artist Of The Year for his tracks, including 'American Soldier'. Casey Beathard was named Country Songwriter Of The Year for his work on tracks 'Hot Mamma' (recorded by Trace Adkins), 'Drinkin' Bone' (Tracy Byrd), 'No Shoes, No Skirt, No Problems' (Kenny Chesney), 'The Love Song' (Jeff Bates) and 'Walk A Little Straighter' (Billy Currington).

Meanwhile Loretta Lynn - best known for hits like 'You Ain't Woman Enough' and 'Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' - was named BMI Icon for her "enduring influence on generations of music makers".

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TARTAN CLEF AWARDS
With their greatest hits album out this week (they've had a lot more hits than you probably realise - we should know, we listened to them all yesterday, well, we skipped a couple), Wet Wet Wet had a good night last weekend when they won the Miller Tartan Clef award - the top prize at the Tartan Clef Awards, the Scottish music industry's annual awards bash.

Other winners included The Darkness, who took the award for best live performance for their T in the Park set; music legend Bruce Findlay, former manager of Simple Minds; Edwyn Collins, who received the Performing Right Society Songwriters award; Donovan, who was awarded the Sennheiser UK Outstanding Contribution to Music award; and rising classical star Nicola Benedetti, who took the Clear Channel Classical.

The event is staged in aid of the Nordoff-Robbins, and from what we last hear last year's figure of £127,000 is likely to be surpassed.

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BRIGHT EYES FILL TWO TOP POSITIONS IN BILLBOARD CHARTS
A good week too for Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst who has suddenly got himself the top two singles on the US Billboard's singles chart. He is at number one with 'Lua' and number two with 'Take It Easy (Love Nothing)' which come from two different Bright Eyes albums - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning' and 'Digital Ash in a Digital Urn' - both of which are due for release on Saddle Creek Records in the New Year.

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GLC ON NEW SINGLE AND HOMECOMING GIGS
Goldie Lookin Chain have been talking about their next single, 'You Knows I Loves You', which is released on 13 Dec. GLC member Eggsy told CMU: "This song is the people's definition of the culmination of alcohol and scantily clad ladies in nightclubs across the world. Released specifically for the Christmas period, the song will leave you with the haunting memories of the alcohol-induced mishaps that occur at Christmas parties. This is the musical scar to your horrific one night stand." So now you know - the GLC say they are aiming for the prestigious Christmas number two slot with this single (presumably even the GLC wouldn't want to push Band Aid out of the number one spot).

Meanwhile, commenting on the GLC's upcoming homecoming shows at the Newport City Live Arena on 15 and 16 Dec, Eggsy continued: "Christmas is a time for the family and Christmas is a time for togetherness, this is why we feel it's important to have an evening of Christmas based festivities in the UK's premiere entertainment centre. Mike will dress up as Fagan and drink sick from a bag, whilst Maggot will dress up as the baby Jesus and pass booze out to the tramps on the street. I myself, am currently looking into joining UB40, so may not be available for all the Christmas dates.'

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JAMELIA DISSES USHER'S EXTRAVAGANCE
Jamelia has told reporters that she was less than impressed when Usher boasted to her about the money he had spent on his bling. The singer says: "Usher told me he had bought a £100,000 gold chain. I was like, 'That's so stupid! You should buy a house, rent it out and invest it.' No matter how much money I have, I could never warrant spending it so frivolously. We weren't in poverty growing up but we had to save every penny."

Good advice for the kids there - though Mikey Skinner's method of wasting it all on gambling sounds more fun.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Franz Ferdinand - This Fire (Domino)
You know Franz Ferdinand's bass player? Well, I don't want to diss him, right, but have you noticed how uncomfortable he looks in the bright lights of fame compared to the rest of the band? Maybe he's just not as effortlessly cool as the others, but I do sometimes think he looks as he if wandered in by accident and feels too awkward to actually leave. Anyway. This, the final single from their much-lauded debut, is a download only release (how modern), re-recorded in LA with Jimmy Eat World producer Rich Costey. Before you all run screaming, don't panic - they've not gone and made it sound like a hideously ungainly sports metal cacophony or anything. It's as stylish as ever, of course, although, heard from the room next door, you couldn't be blamed for mistaking it for anything by !!!, The Rapture, Radio 4, or any of the bands from which those three and the Franz have appropriated their sound. And it's great, of course, if not quite hitting the lofty peaks of 'Michael' or 'Take Me Out'. But you know all this already, right? MS
Release date: 15 Nov
Press contact: Anglo Plugging All

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MAJOR PARENTS RELEASE FINANCIALS
Time now for finance news. First up, Universal Music Group's parent company Vivendi Universal have admitted that their overall revenues for the third quarter of this year were down 20%, but stressed this was due primarily to the sale of much of the group's entertainment companies to NBC. However on the upside the one big entertainment company they do still own - ie their record company - showed a revenue increase of 4% over the quarter.

Meanwhile, over at BMG parent company Bertelsmann a few smiling faces in the top guard following the news that the group's profits for the first nine months of this year were four times as big as the profits made in the first nine months of last year - up from 123 million Euro to 521 million Euro. Although they didn't break down where that profits boost came from, consensus is that BMG have had a good year and are likely to have made a healthy contribution to their parent company's success.

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MADONNA NEWS
Madonna news now, and first up the singer has announced she had split from her long-time manager Careese Henry. A statement from her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed the split: "After thirteen extraordinary years culminating in this summer's mega-successful 'Reinvention Tour,' they have decided to part ways. Henry declined comment as did Madonna who is currently out of the country promoting the release of her new children's book "The Adventures of Abdi."

Second up, and Elton John has had to apologise to Madonna again - though this time not for his off-the-cuff remarks about the singer miming at her live shows. Elton was asked by organisers of the UK Hall Of Fame Award to present Madonna with her award. But Elton has a prior engagement (he's recording an appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show) and so he had to turn down the opportunity.

Talking of Elton's recent Madonna outburst, and a spokesman for Madonna has denied that she sent Elton a box of chocolates after he made the lip syncing claims accompanied by a note reading: "obviously you have too much time on your hands". A spokesman for the singer told the New York Daily News: "If Madonna were to respond to Elton, you know it would be way way more clever than candy and that pathetic line."

Finally from our very busy Madonna desk, and the singer has told Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 she thinks the US should get out of Iraq: "I just don't want American troops to be in Iraq, period. My feelings are 'can we just all get out?' Global terror is everywhere. Global terror is down the street, around the block. Global terror is in California. There's global terror everywhere and it's absurd to think you can get it by going to one country and dropping tons of bombs on innocent people."

On the state of American society in Bush's second term as President she continued: "People are becoming very polarised. We have people who don't want to think, and who just want to guard what is theirs, and they're selfish and limited in their thinking and they're very fearful in their choices."

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MAROON 5 DRUMMER NOT IMPRESSED WITH LEO
Maroon 5's drummer Ryan Dusick has told reporters he wasn't very impressed with Leonardo DiCaprio's behaviour at one of the band's recent gigs. Dusick: "DiCaprio came to watch our show and sat in the VIP lounge with our moms and there clearly wasn't enough room for him. He just started shoving and pushing my mom around. Then he flipped her the finger. Can you believe that? Leo flipped off my mom."

Dusick's comments follow Adam Levine's slagging of Robbie Williams - apparently Mr. Williams tried to romance Levine's ex-girlfriend Kelly McGee.

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MORE ADDITIONS TO BIG DAY OUT LINE UP
Slipknot and the Polyphonic Spree are among the latest additions to the line up for Australia's Big Day Out Festival, which kicks off in, erm, new Zealand on 21 Jan. Other new additions include: Spiderbait, Regurgitator, Carl Cox, Decoder Ring, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Hatebreed, The Hives and D4. They join the already announced bill, which includes Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers, Powderfinger, System of a Down, Grinspoon, The Donnas, John Butler Trio and Eskimo Joe.

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PRINCES TRUST ANNOUNCE URBAN MUSIC FESTIVAL 2005
The Princes Trust have announced that they will stage another Urban Music Festival next Apr, following the success of the first ever festival in May this year. Announcing plans for the Festival, which combines showcases of leading urban music talent with workshops and sessions for young people looking for a career in the music business, Ellie Gray of the Princes Trust told CMU: "We are extremely pleased to be able to announce the event for next year, helping us to reach even more young people looking to get their lives back on track. The festival's artist line-up will be as exciting as last year's, while at the same time giving a platform to the UK's young music talent."

More info at http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/umf - press info from trudi.dunlop@princes-trust.org.uk

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WELLER CANCELS GIGS
Paul Weller is the latest artist to have to cancel live dates because of illness. He has been taken ill with a serious throat infection which, according to the Sun, requires hospital treatment. It means that all of the singer's Nov tour dates are now likely to be cancelled. Weller issued a detailed statement to his fans- "Sorry" - well, he has got a throat infection, he can't be waxing lyrical can he?

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DEDBEAT PRESENT THE WORD ON HIP HOP
Here's one for the diary. The Dedbeat people are presenting a night of alternative hip hop featuring some of the most interesting MC's recording today. Called Word, the night will feature the talents of Organized Konfusion's Prince Po, the leftist flows of Anti Pop's Beans, the diverse sounds of Mike Ladd's, Big Dada's MC / Producer extraordinaire Busdriver, and a debut performance from Def Jux's newest signing Rob Sonic. It all takes place at the Scala on 18 Nov.

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DENCH PRAISES YOUNG
Judi Dench has praised Will Young for his acting abilities after she worked with him on the filming of new musical comedy Mrs Henderson Presents. According to the Sun Dench waxed lyrical thus: "Will Young is ace. He's wonderful. He's perfect for the part and he can act too. And he's the most amazing singer".

Talking of Will Young, he is the latest artist to confirm involvement in the re-recording of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' - due to take place this weekend.

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JUSTIN RE-EDITS BRITNEY CHAPTER IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Was born, went to school, went to an audition, joined a hugely successful boy band, went solo. The autobiographies of 23 year old former boy band stars make such good reading. Of course the pending autobiography from Justin Timberlake does contain one chapter people actually want to read - the chapter where he dishes the dirt on his relationship with Britney Spears. But, word is, Timberlake has insisted on some last minute re-edits to that chapter - publishers fear he will remove much of the really bitchy stuff.

Confirming that Timberlake was reworking the Britney section of the book following her marriage to Kevin Federline, a source at the book's publisher has told reporters: "We hope he doesn't change too much as the first version was really amazing - although it may upset Britney".

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