CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 5th January

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- More documents released in Jacko case - but no more insight
- Kapranos confirms Ferdinand ready to work on album number two
- Wonder Stuff album re-released
- New Order on working with Stefani
- Apple iPod announcements expected
- Subscription models hope new Microsoft technology will give them an edge
- Easy Group talk up their cost cutting download service
- TuneTribe ready to launch
- Elvis heading for number one
- Britney working on new material
- Warner Bros boss likely to renew contract
- AudioJelly plan to donate a day's profits to tsunami relief effort
- Universal to release tsunami aid single
- Willie Nelson headlines US tsunami fundraiser
- Nelson best of in the pipeline
- SXSW line up
- Benefit planned for Damageplan gig victims
- Holmes' Oceans soundtrack launches with download
- Buzzcock album up for re-release
- FCC investigate Motely Crue New Year's message
- Will Young tops Heat's best body poll

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MORE DOCUMENTS RELEASED IN JACKO CASE - BUT NO MORE INSIGHT
As the long awaited Michael Jackson child abuse court case looms ever closer, the courts released a number of documents relating to the case on Monday, though once again much of the content of said documents was blacked out.

Among the documents were a report on the most recent raid on Jacko's Neverland home, most of which was blacked out; a statement saying that investigators had received information from a new confidential informant, most of which was blacked out; and various search warrants secured by the prosecution, most of which were, erm, blacked out.

In fact the only document released more or less in full was Judge Rodney Melville's decision to deny in part and approve in part a request by Jacko's defense to suppress evidence seized from the office of Jacko's PA - but even that was so vaguely worded it revealed little.

Melville simply said that Jackson did have "a reasonable expectation of privacy" and that that privacy extended to any "records of correspondence with counsel" that were kept in the PA's office. But he added: "The search warrant was not intended to reach any such materials and careful efforts have been made to avoid disclosure of attorney-client matters." To that end he ruled that papers found in a folder labeled with the name of Jacko's attorney - Thomas Mesereau - could not be used in the case, but added that there was nothing of relevance in that file anyway.

The continuing secrecy in this case is supposedly aiming to ensure Jacko receives a fair trial. While few cases are as sensitive or high profile as this one, many in the legal profession have expressed surprise at just what lengths officials are going to in order to maintain that secrecy. Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson told reporters last week: "I've never seen a case with this level of secrecy. You'd think we were dealing with the Pentagon Papers. Everyone is filing papers in code and we're on the eve of trial. It may be that the prosecutors are bending over backwards to protect the rights of Michael Jackson. But it's impossible to tell."

Jacko's trial kicks off on 31 Jan, of course, though there is one more pre-trial hearing on 12 Jan.

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KAPRANOS CONFIRMS FERDINAND READY TO WORK ON ALBUM NUMBER TWO
Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos has told the Daily Record that his band are ready to go into the studio to record that tricky second album - they hope to pick eleven songs from twenty odd new tracks they have written.

Kapranos: "We've written a few new songs and half the album is arranged and ready to go. We probably have all the ideas we need. We are hoping to have 20 songs to whittle down to the 11 we need for the next album. We'll take a couple of weeks break and start working on the new album at the end of January in Scotland - at a secret location in the countryside."

On the pressure of following up last year's hugely successful eponymous debut album, Kapranos continues: "There will always be people who like the band and those who aren't into us, and that isn't going to change, so we aren't worried about a backlash. Instead, we are going to work as hard as we can. We were talking to another band who had a successful album which came out at the same time as ours. They told us they're going to wait until 2006 until they record their next album. We were like, 'What are you waiting that long for'? They have new songs. I'm sick of waiting and want to hear our new stuff on record."

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WONDER STUFF ALBUM RE-RELEASED
The Wonder Stuff's first new album in twelve years - released by independent IRL last year - will get a US release via SonyBMG in Mar. There is no word on whether there are any plans on a major label supported re-release over here.

The album is called 'Escape From Rubbish Island' making reference to Hunt's decision to move away from the UK. He explains: "I've been trying to get out of England for a couple of years now. I'd rather be a guest in someone else's country than feel like I bear any of the responsibilities of how our government treats Britain's population"

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NEW ORDER ON WORKING WITH STEFANI
New Order's Bernard Sumner has been speaking to the NME about their experience working with Gwen Stefani on her solo album.

He reveals that when Stefani first approached them about writing a song for her album they declined the offer - "She asked us (to write a song) but we told her that because we were in the middle of writing our own album, we wanted to keep the good songs for ourselves". But Stefani was so keen to work with the New Order boys she wasn't put off - she wrote a New Order-style song herself and invited them to record it with her - the result being the track 'The Real Thing'.

'The Real Thing' isn't the only Stefani track with a New Order sound - Jacques Lu Cont remix of Stefani's single 'What You Waiting For?' has a definite New Order feel to it - but Sumner isn't too bothered: "I was really knocked out by it. And I know it sounds like New Order, but it's like seeing yourself in a mirror and someone's re-interpreted. That's the most recent thing I've heard that I've been impressed by. Loved it, absolutely loved it."

Which is just as well, because Jacques Lu Cont is now remixing tracks from the new New Order album, which is due out in Mar.

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APPLE IPOD ANNOUNCEMENTS EXPECTED
With the whole US techy industry on its way to Vegas for this weekend's Consumer Electronics Show, and with the Macworld Conference in San Francisco next week, all eyes are currently on Apple, who are expected to reveal details of there plans for iPod and iTunes in 2005.

Pretty much everyone now expects the computer giant to announce it is launching a cheaper flash-memory iPod - plus insiders say there will also be news on Apple's wifi products and new developments in content availability. Rumour also has it that Apple are working with Motorola on some kind of combined mobile phone / iPod - though that project may not be among next week's announcements

Analysts reckon launching a cheaper flash-based iPod will further Apple's dominance in the digital music space. Steve Lidberg of Pacific Crest Securities told CBS Marketwatch: "We look for Apple to introduce a flash-based iPod and wireless accessories and new types of audio content to monetize [its] customer base", adding that he expected Apple to have a "strong year" during which they would initiate new partnerships that will deliver iTunes to more devices.

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SUBSCRIPTION MODELS HOPE NEW MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGY WILL GIVE THEM AN EDGE
Not everyone is so confident that Apple will continue to dominate the digital music space - though it has to be said it is iTunes' main rivals who are the most vocal in predicting a turn in the computer giant's fortunes.

Those who are pushing a subscription rather than pay-per-download model (most prominently Napster) are confident a new technology from Microsoft will help them fight back. One of the key problems of the Napster subscription model - where you have access to the platform's entire catalogue while online - is your monthly subscription fee does not enable you to listen to that music on your portable player.

However, Microsoft are about to launch a new technology which downloads subscription-dependent tracks to portable players - ie consumers can download tracks from Napster's library to their MP3 player, but they will only play while the consumer's Napster subscription was live.

Of course only new digital music players will be able to cope with this new technology, and it will never work with an iPod, but those companies running subscription services are confident it will make a big difference. Napster boss Chris Gorog told reporters: "With our plan, customers can get 10,000 songs on their device for $180 a year" - a similar sized music library via iTunes, Gorog argues, would cost $9,900.

Yahoo's music boss Dave Goldberg - who is also overseeing a subscription based system - agrees: "Selling 99 cent singles isn't working as a business model for us or consumers."

It will be interesting to see to what extent this new technology aids the subscription model services - and in turn what affect that will have on the iTunes-style platforms. Advocates of the pay-per-download model continue to argue that music fans, who have always seen a CD, vinyl or cassette purchase as being for life (despite the obvious flaws in the technology) will still prefer to pay to 'own' digital music, rather than 'borrow' it.

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EASY GROUP TALK UP THEIR COST CUTTING DOWNLOAD SERVICE
While the big guys continue to argue about which business model will work, other players still reckon what matters is price. To that end EasyGroup's Stelios Haji-Ioannou has been talking up his new EasyMusic service, which went live on 23 Dec.

As previously reported, the Easy service, being run in conjunction with Wippit, has variable pricing, and hopes to undercut the big players like iTunes and the OD2 managed services. Commenting on their Christmas launch, Stelios told reporters: "Once again the EasyGroup has reduced prices to consumers. With prices starting at 25p a track, EasyMusic is bringing lower prices and better value to all music lovers."

In addition to the main download service, Easy also plan to launch an unsigned section called 'Copyleft' (as opposed to Copyright - geddit?) where bands will be able to post free downloads in order to promote themselves to music fans.

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TUNETRIBE READY TO LAUNCH
Staying with download platforms, and TuneTribe, the download site backed by, among others, Groove Armada, is due to go live this month having raised over a £1 million in funds. The site will be very much about independent music - concentrating on unsigned and independently signed artists. Crucially the service plans to give the artist a bigger cut of the profit. The service is now in a position to launch following the recruitment of Irish entrepreneur Patrick Rainsford as a financial backer.

Commenting on Rainsford's involvement, TuneTribe co-founder John Strickland told reporters: "He [Rainsford] brings a depth and breadth of technology that can move us on to a different level."

The new funds will be spent primarily on refining the technology and on a marketing drive for the new service. The plan is to make the TuneTribe service available through as many different platforms as possible - Strickland: "It will be downloaded on to whatever platform we think is appropriate, wherever you need to have access to Tune Tribe. That's what we are trying to build".
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ELVIS HEADING FOR NUMBER ONE
Midweek sales figures suggest it is pretty damn likely Elvis will have the 999th British number one with the re-release of 'Jailhouse Rock', which is currently a couple of thousand units ahead of this week's number one, Steve Brockstein's cover of 'Against All Odds'. If so, the re-release would be Elvis' 19th number one in the UK, which would mean that, if the re-release of 'One Night' next Monday also topped the charts, Elvis would have Britain' s 1000th number one with his twentieth chart topper, which is nice maths if nothing else.

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BRITNEY WORKING ON NEW MATERIAL
When Britney said she was taking an extended break from the music business, by break she meant going back into the studio to start work on a new album. That is to say, Jive Records have confirmed Ms Spears has begun work on a new long player - she even gave a sneak preview of one new song while be interviewed by LA's KISS-FM radio last week.

She told the station: "It definitely has the raw thing going on it. I recorded this song when I was on tour, right before I hurt my knee. It was done, I think, four or five months ago. My band, we didn't use ProTools or anything with it. It's all live. There's a lot of stuff you can do to make it better. It's going to get better. It will get better - this is a really, really rough mix."

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WARNER BROS BOSS LIKELY TO RENEW CONTRACT
Warner Brothers US boss Tom Whalley is now expected to renew his contract with the major when it comes up for renewal in Aug. There had been rumours that he would bow out from the label which, of course, came under new ownership midway through Whalley's last five year tenure. The latest word is that Whalley will renew his contract for a lower sum than the $2.2 million (plus $3 million bonus) he earned on his last deal, but with the promise of something good when Warner's current owners proceed with a flotation, probably later this year.

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AUDIOJELLY PLAN TO DONATE A DAY'S PROFITS TO TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORT
Back to those in the music biz doing there bit to raise money for the relief effort aiding those affected by the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Dance music download site Audiojelly.com is planning on donating all its profits made on 15 Jan to the relief appeal, and they are encouraging other websites to do the same.

A spokesman for Audiojelly told reporters: "The internet has played a key role in helping and bringing together many people who have been effected by this unprecedented global tragedy. It would be a wonderful gesture if on this one day, every online store across the world could give up their proceeds to help this cause. This is an ambitious goal, but this could be a significant gesture. There are 365 days of operational business in the year of most online stores. To donate funds from one day is an easy - and small thing to do, yet it could add up to making a huge impact to those in desperate need."

Audiojelly will be donating their profits to the UK Disaster Emergency Committee's fund and encourage other British online retailers to do likewise.

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UNIVERSAL TO RELEASE TSUNAMI AID SINGLE
According to Music Week, Universal Records - fresh from releasing the new Band Aid record - are likely to release the charity record being organized by DJ Mike Read in aid of the Tsunami relief effort. As previously reported, that record has already secured the involvement of Cliff Richard and Boy George.

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WILLIE NELSON HEADLINES US TSUNAMI FUNDRAISER
Elsewhere, Willie Nelson has agreed to headline a benefit concert in aid of the relief effort to take place in Austin, Texas this weekend. Patty Griffin, Spoon, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis and the Geezinslaws are also on the bill.

Musician Michael Hall, who is coordinating the fundraiser, told reporters: "I started at the top and when Willie said, 'Count me in,' I knew we were off and running. This came together unbelievably quick. The scope of the tragedy has really affected everyone I've talked to. People really want to pitch in."

Proceeds from the event will go to the American Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.

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NELSON BEST OF IN THE PIPELINE
Talking of Willie Nelson, Universal will release a compilation of the country legend's music next month including, for the first time, songs from across his four decade career, and his six record deals. Kicking off with the original 1961 demo for the now classic 'Crazy' and his first Top 10 hit 'Touch Me', the album, to be called 'Songs', will also include duets with BB King, Brian McKnight, Waylon Jennings and Lee Ann Womack.

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SXSW LINE UP
And talking of Austin, Texas, the provisional line up has been announced for this year's South By SouthWest festival, which takes place in the city from 16 - 20. On the bill are the Kaiser Cheifs, Hot Hot Heat, The Dears, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, The Kills, The Raveonettes, Billy Idol, Aimee Man, 22-20's, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, American Music Club, The Go! Team, Jack Ingram, Nada Surf, Rolling Blackouts, Robyn Hitchcock, The Longcut, and Saul Williams. On the talks front, Erykah Badu has been confirmed as keynote speaker. Booking info at http://www.sxsw.com.

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BENEFIT PLANNED FOR DAMAGEPLAN GIG VICTIMS
A benefit concert to raise funds for the families of those killed during that shooting at a Damageplan gig last month will be held on 14 Jan at the same venue where the tragic incident took place. As previously reported, four people, including the band's frontman 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott, were killed when one Nathan Gale opened fire at the gig at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio.

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HOLMES' OCEANS SOUNDTRACK LAUNCHES WITH DOWNLOAD
A download-only single from David Holmes forthcoming Ocean's Twelve soundtrack will be released on 24 Jan, a week before the album gets its retail release. The track available for download is called '7-29-04 The Day Of'.

Commenting on Holmes' soundtrack for the movie, his label tell us: "As with the soundtrack to the previous installment of the movie, David Holmes has sculpted a work that perfectly compliments the atmosphere of the film by combining an evocative score of brand new material with classic works from European composers such as Gianni Ferrio, Roland Vincent and Piero Umiliani".

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BUZZCOCK ALBUM UP FOR RE-RELEASE
Sanctuary Music will this month re-release the Buzzcock's 1993 album 'Trade Test Transmissions', the band's first album after they regrouped in the early nineties. Originally released on Caroline Records, the new version includes no less than seven bonus tracks, mainly coming from a pair of singles that were released to support the original album.

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FCC INVESTIGATE MOTELY CRUE NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE
Well, if you invite Motley Crue to perform on your live New Years Eve show there's a high chance that at some point Vince Neil is going to turn to Tommy Lee and say "Happy fucking new year, Tommy!".

And that's what happened when the Crue performed on a live New Years edition of Jay Leno's Tonight show on NBC last week. Needless to say US media regulator the FCC has received a number of complaints and is now investigating.

Neither NBC or the band have officially commented on the incident, though an unnamed spokesman for the band played the whole thing down, saying it was an off-the-cuff remark not intended to offend, or to test TV regulators.

Technically speaking the FCC is less strict about swearing between 10pm and 6am - but word is those who care about these things will argue that on New Year's Eve those easily offended children are likely to be viewing TV later than normal.

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WILL YOUNG TOPS HEAT'S BEST BODY POLL
Perhaps no surprise that Rachel Stevens topped the female bit of Heat magazine's best body poll, though presumably few expected Will Young to top the male bit.
But after 10,000 Heat readers cast their votes, Stevens beat Kylie, Beyonce, Cat Deeley and J-Lo into the top slot, while Mr Young stole a lead over David Beckham, Jude Law, Eastender's actor Nigel Harman, Robbie Williams on the male side.

Assuming mainly female readers voted in the male category, perhaps it's proof that you tend to want what you can't have.

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