CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 20th January

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- IFPI report confirms digital explosion
- US anti-download campaign secures first convictions
- Californian senator renews bid to write law against P2Ps
- Jacko update
- More Mondays gigs
- Rowetta to appear at Harlem Nights party
- Single Review: Bugz In The Attic - Booty La La
- Super Furry's album complete
- Osbournes plan tsunami benefit single
- Hatherley's all star vid
- Electric Six return
- Aim rebrand digital division
- Tokyo Dragons tour
- Single Review: Tokyo Dragons - What The Hell
- New singles on Basement Jaxx best of
- Guy Chambers launches new production company
- Electronics giants partner on anti-piracy solutions
- Paxo lays into Thompson at BBC conference
- Dave Matthews driver charged over bus toilet incident
- Online petition requests an Ashlee Simpson ban

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IFPI REPORT CONFIRMS DIGITAL EXPLOSION
In a new report entitled 'Stating The Bloody Obvious', the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry yesterday revealed that 2004 was the year digital music really took off. The worldwide industry association reported that 200 million tracks were bought from legitimate download platforms in the US and Europe last year, adding that the 230 online music stores that now exist generated in the region of $330 for the music industry.

Looking ahead to 2005, the IFPI expect similar growth in the sector - estimating that overall income from digital music sales will double. The industry organisation also expects the mobile music sector to grow in the next twelve months.

Commenting on the report, IFPI boss John Kennedy told reporters: "At last the threat has become the opportunity". That said, he stressed the threats still existed and that legal action by his and other industry organisations against illegal downloading remained key: "We don't underestimate the challenge that free is still a very attractive concept. The biggest challenge for the digital music business has always been to make music easier to buy than to steal. In addition, legal action is necessary and while it's not always popular we know we have to carry on and we believe that it's having an impact".

No comment, however, on that report published by Shelley Taylor & Associates earlier this week that said most of the legitimate download sites are rubbish, and the many competing codecs too damn confusing, all of which encourages kids to carry on sharing simple MP3s via the P2P networks.

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US ANTI-DOWNLOAD CAMPAIGN SECURES FIRST CONVICTIONS
Talking of the legal fight against illegal file sharing, the US Department Of Justice has announced it had secured its first two guilty pleas in their 'Operation Digital Gridlock' campaign against illegal content distribution online.

The Department Of Justice's campaign is targeted primarily at people running websites that proactively enable the illegal sharing of copyright content, contravening US copyright law as it currently stands (ie not the Kazaa style companies who still claim that, because their technology has legitimate uses, they are not guilty of copyright violation in the eyes of the law, unless a civil action by the record labels can prove otherwise).

The first guilty pleas came from William R Trowbridge and Michael Chicoine who were accused of running a file-sharing community called the Underground Network, which made copyrighted games, movies and music available to members. The two men will now be sentenced on 29 Apr and face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Announcing the prosecutions US Attorney General John Ashcroft told reporters: "Those who steal copyrighted material will be caught, even when they use the tools of technology to commit their crimes. The theft of intellectual property victimizes not only its owners and their employees, but also the American people, who shoulder the burden of increased costs for goods and services."

US Attorney Kenneth Wainstein added: "These prosecutions - the first federal enforcement actions ever taken against criminal copyright theft over peer-to-peer networks - send a powerful message to cyber-criminals."

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CALIFORNIAN SENATOR RENEWS BID TO WRITE LAW AGAINST P2PS
And from the same 'death to the illegal downloaders' file, news that Californian Democrat Senator Kevin Murray is back on the case to force a change in the law that would make P2P networks indisputably illegal (in the State of California anyway). Murray wants to get a change in the law which would stop Kazaa et al using that 'Betamax plea' which the courts have generally accepted when the record companies have tried to close the P2P networks down through litigation (you know, the "we just make the technology, not our fault if the kids misuse it" plea). Murray's latest attempt to get a change in the law would make it illegal to sell, advertise or distribute file-sharing software.

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JACKO UPDATE
Dreadful TV presenter Martin Bashir is trying to resist moves to make him give evidence at the forthcoming Michael Jackson child abuse trial. As previously reported, prosecutors in the case have requested Bashir as a witness - they want to question him about the time he spent with Jacko while filming that legendary behind the scenes ITV documentary. But Bashir, who now works for US network ABC, has said his work "speaks for itself", adding that under California's shield law, journalists could not be forced to testify about things they observed while doing their job. He has asked the judge overseeing the case to turn down the prosecution's request to have him appear in court. Judge Rodney Melville will consider Bashir's request on 28 Jan.

Elsewhere in Jacko court case news, and Jackson's lawyers have requested that the young accuser making the child abuse allegations against the singer should not be referred to as the "victim". They feel that the use of the "v" word would prejudice the case against their client, adding that it was the jury's job to decide whether the complainant and his family were "victims".

In a statement Jacko's lawyers said: "The prosecution, court personnel and the state's witnesses should not be allowed to characterize the complaining witnesses as 'victims' before the jury has had a chance to decide the ultimate question of whether they are victims."

Last bit of Jacko news - and Judge Melville has given approval to a recorded statement made by Jackson responding to evidence given by his victim - sorry, I mean accuser - which was leaked by US TV network ABC last week despite the strict media coverage ban that surrounds this case (and reported on by other unscrupulous media outlets like, erm, the CMU Daily). The statement has been recorded for Fox TV, although Fox says it is yet to view the recording and doesn't know if or when it will screen it.

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MORE MONDAYS GIGS
Following on from last year's Get Loaded In The Park, and with Bez very much in the public eye at the moment, the Happy Mondays have confirmed they will play two more gigs - this time at the Brixton Academy. This time they will co-headline with The Farm, with DJ sets coming from Primal Scream's Mani and Inspiral Carpets' Clint Boon. The two shows, under the banner of '48 Hour Party People', will take place on 25 and 26 Mar.

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ROWETTA TO APPEAR AT HARLEM NIGHTS PARTY
Talking of the Happy Mondays, X-Factor contestant and former Monday Rowetta is making a live PA appearance at Steve Lawler's Harlem Nights third anniversary party at the End on 28 Jan. Among other things, she will be singing 'Souls On Ice', the track produced by Steve Lawler vs King Unique which, we hear, has had considerable A&R interest since being championed by the likes of Pete Tong on the Essential Selection.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Bugz In The Attic - Booty La La (V2)
Bugz In The Attic are made up of nine, yes nine, West London producers, musicians and DJs. Their new single 'Booty La La' is already doing some serious damage on both the dance floors and radio waves across the UK. Anyone smart enough to catch them at Fabric will know what this collective are all about, but 'BLL' is your invite to the Bugz' punk-funk shindig. A very heavy bass-line and a sunny, housey drum pattern that would animate my Gran, form the base of this sexy, funk-fuelled, electro-disco cut. The fantastically catchy and energetic vocal supplied by the hilariously named M'pho is sassy and classic, a real gem. This is pure fun in a crystal case, and the Bugz will no doubt be bringing life to the most comatose of parties and become the short-lived darlings of London's superficial, fashionable types over the coming months (see Chk Chk Chk). OG
Release date: 10 Jan
Press contact: Renegade [CP, CR] V2 IH [RP, RR, NP] Sainted PR [NP]

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SUPER FURRY'S ALBUM COMPLETE
The next album from Super Furry Animals is more or less ready to go after the band spent 20 days in Rio De Janeiro completing the project with Brazilian producer Mario Caldato.

On the trip to Rio to finish mixing the album (the actual recording took place in Cataluna, Spain), the band's Gruff Rhys told NME: "We loved the idea of returning to Rio. Last time we went there [to play with The Rapture and The White Stripes], our schedule was too tight, and we didn't have time to see the city". This time, guided by Caldato, they saw some local gigs and also a football game at Maracana stadium.
On the album, Rhys says the new material has an "orchestral" flavour". As yet untitled, it is due for release in May.

Meanwhile, Rhys is about to start promotion on his debut solo album, 'Yr Atal Genhedlaeth', which he is releasing through the band's own label Placid Casual. That includes a tour of Wales (with a stop off in Dublin) dates for which go like this:

8 Feb: Bethesda Ogwen Hall
9 Feb: Dublin Whelans
10 Feb: Colwyn Bay Theatr Colwyn
11 Feb: Harlech Theatr Ardudwy
12 Feb: Penarth Paget Rooms
13 Feb: Cardiff Sherman Theatre
14 Feb: Aberystwyth Theatr Y Weri

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OSBOURNES PLAN TSUNAMI BENEFIT SINGLE
Not to be outdone by the Mike Read organised tsunami-aid single which is out on Monday, Sharon Osbourne is now doing a Geldof and getting together her celebrity mates to record a charity record in aid of the post-tsunami relief effort. The single will be a cover version of Eric Clapton's 'Tears In Heaven' and names set to appear on the recording include: Elton John, Pink, Rod Stewart, Robert Downey Jr, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Steve Tyler, Phil Collins, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and, of course, Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne.

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HATHERLEY'S ALL STAR VID
Today's tip for avoiding work - checking out the video to Charlotte Hatherley's new single 'Bastardo' complete with special guest appearances from David Walliams, Simon Pegg, Alice Lowe, Julia Davis, Lucy Davies and Lauren Laverne. Directed by Edgar Wright (of 'Shaun of the Dead') it's an epic homage to the golden age of those classic girls' publications 'Jackie' and 'My Guy', and you can check it out at the following links:

Dial up: http://www.vitaminic.co.uk/vita/wmv/BASTARDOwindows56k.wmv

Broadband: http://www.vitaminic.co.uk/vita/wmv/BASTARDOwindowsbband.wmv

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ELECTRIC SIX RETURN
Electric Six will next month release their second album, their first for new label, Warner imprint Rushmore Recordings. Although lacking the production talents of producer Soul Child which, in our very humble opinion, was what made debut 'Fire' so special, the new long player promises to be full of the raw energy and fun you'd expect from Dick Valentine, with a few darker more leftfield tracks. The album will hit stores on 14 Feb, just ahead of a UK tour which kicks off in Glasgow on 20 Feb and climaxes at the Astoria on 10 Mar. Press info from Warners IH.

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AIM REBRAND DIGITAL DIVISION
The Association of Independent Music's new media bit, known until you started reading this story as Musicindie, has been re-launched as AIM Digital. Like Musicindie, AIM Digital will negotiate and administer collective licensing deals on behalf of AIM member labels. It will also provide training and support for labels new to the digital domain.

Announcing the re-launch, AIM Digital General Manager told CMU: "AIM pioneered collective licensing for new media, and the launch of AIM Digital underlines our commitment to level the playing field for Indies by actively licensing to new digital services across the world."

AIM boss Alison Wenham added: "Musicindie was created by AIM in 1999, to enable the independent sector to take advantage of new media business development. It has become a vital part of AIM member labels' digital business and knowledge base. The renaming of Musicindie reflects our desire to cement the direct relationship between AIM, AIM Digital and AIM members."

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TOKYO DRAGONS TOUR
A favourite of CMU's increasingly scary 'ROCK department', the Tokyo Dragons, have announced they will be supporting Do Me Bad Things (another CMU favourite) on their forthcoming tour. Given they are already due to head out on tour with The Quireboys next month, that means a lot of gigs are coming up for the Dragons, which will tie in nicely with the release of new single 'What The Hell' on 21 Feb and debut album 'Give Me The Fear', which is due out in Apr.
All those dates as follows:

Supporting The Quireboys...

4 Feb: Gloucester Guildhall
7 Feb: Norwich, The Brickmakers
9 Feb: Belfast, The Limelight
10 Feb: Manchester Academy 3
11 Feb: Milton Keynes, Woughton Centre
12 Feb: Sheffield Corporation
13 Feb: Newcastle Foundation
15 Feb: Cambridge, The Junction
16 Feb: Bilston Robin 2
17 Feb: Bristol, The Fleece
18 Feb: London, Mean Fiddler
20 Feb: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
23 Feb: Nottingham, Rock City Basement
24 Feb: Crewe Limelight
25 Feb: Glasgow, Cat House
26 Feb: Bradfor, Club Rio
27 Feb: Clee Thorpes, The Beachcomber

Supporting DMBT...

30 Mar: Exeter, Cavern
31 Mar: Cardiff, Barfly
1 Apr: Birmingham, Academy
2 Apr: Leeds, Cockpit
4 Apr: Glasgow, King Tuts
5 Apr: Edinburgh, Venue
7 Apr: Sheffield, Fez Club
8 Apr: Leicester, Princess Charlotte
9 Apr: Nottingham, Rock City
11 Apr: Norwich, Arts Centre
12 Apr: Oxford, Zodiac
13 Apr: Aldershot, West End Centre
14 Apr: London, Mean Fiddler
15 Apr: Preston, 53 Degrees
16 Apr: Dublin, Crawdaddy
18 Apr: Manchester, Hop & Grape
19 Apr: Liverpool, Academy

And talking of our ROCK department, and their (his?) love for the Toyko Dragons...

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SINGLE REVIEW: Tokyo Dragons - What The Hell (Universal/Island)
My reviews of the Tokyo Dragons (that date from 2003) read like the diary of a frustrated clairvoyant, who can see the future, knows it's coming, but gets rather annoyed when it all seems to take longer than expected. So much so your confidence may well be waning in my predictions. But trust me, it IS coming back. That big rock sound, that melodic hard rock, that stadium epicness, those wind-tunnel solos, the hair, the leather, the denim, the whole fucking lot. Just be patient. It will be here to replace the earnest emo, the boy bandits and the polished pop rock of nameless Scandinavian feather twats. If my humble opinions don't speak loud to you... Read. My. Stats. After the success of 'Get 'Em Off' - which cultivated both a growing fanbase and some blinding reviews - Tokyo Dragons have penned a deal with Island Records for an album - due soon(ish). New single, 'What The Hell' has melodic similarities to Aerosmith's 'Dude (Looks Like A Lady)', but carries a more feral and untamed punch with all the slides, vibrato and crunchy guitar noises left in - and to fantastic effect. While this single would have been stylistically unremarkable 20 years ago, its raw energy, solid tune and shameless musicianship stand so tall in 2005 - surrounded by immovable 'The' bands and their shockingly dull music/live shows/members. My crystal ball may be a little ahead of itself, but it's never wrong on subjects like the future of rock 'n' roll. JG
Release date: 21 Feb
Press contact: Triad [CP, RP, NP] Island IH [CR, RR, NR]

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NEW SINGLES ON BASEMENT JAXX BEST OF
Basement Jaxx's greatest hits album, which is due out in Mar, will include, as is compulsory these days, two new tracks, at least one of which will get a single release. The new tracks are called 'U Don't Know Me' and 'Oh My Gosh', the former featuring Lisa Kekaula of The Bellrays, the latter Vula Malinga.

'Oh My Gosh' will be released as a single on 14 Mar, with the best of released on 28 Mar.

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GUY CHAMBERS LAUNCHES NEW PRODUCTION COMPANY
Guy Chambers, the songwriter best known for working with Robbie Williams on most of his best stuff, has launched a new production company with music management duo Johnny and David Crawford. The new company, called Helix Music, has been created primarily as an outlet to work with new teen rock outfit Linchpin which are being managed by the Crawfords' management firm Bloodmusic. Chambers will now work with Linchpin to develop their sound and put some tracks on tape.

The four members of Linchpin are just 14 years old and formed their band because, they say: "it cost too much money to go see bands, so we thought we'd take matters in to our own hands and start a band for our mates to come see." Which seems fair enough to me.

Commenting on the Linchpin project, and his new company, Chambers told CMU: "This project came across my radar completely by chance but the quality and the potential of the band was obvious from the first listen and I knew instantly that I wanted to be involved. Bloodmusic have done a great job getting Linchpin to the level they are at now and we are delighted to have teamed up with them. It's enormously exciting to be working with such a young, enthusiastic and creative band that has set their sights extremely high. I can't wait to start recording the record!"

Press info on the venture from Velocity Communications.

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ELECTRONICS GIANTS PARTNER ON ANTI-PIRACY SOLUTIONS
Electronics giants Sony, Samsung, Philips and Matsushita (Panasonic) are getting together to develop standard specifications for piracy-proofing software. The new consortium, to be called the Marlin Joint Development Association, will also included Philips-owned digital rights management developer Intertrust Technologies, which has been specializing in the area of making things piracy proof for sometime.

It is the first big effort by the consumer electronics industry to tackle the piracy problem together since the Secure Digital Music Initiative, a similar consortium which also involved the record labels, and which kinda collapsed back in 2001. Confirming the new consortium in the Wall Street Journal, Intertrust boss Talal Shamoon said: "The CE industry has been pretty quiet, but now they are getting ready to detonate their DRM". It is not clear what relationship the CE firms intend to have with Apple and Microsoft who, of course, have their own DRM solutions.

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PAXO LAYS INTO THOMPSON AT BBC CONFERENCE
A Jeremy Paxman performance that sounded on par with the legendary Michael Howard gig took place earlier this week, although, alas, we won't get to see it. Paxo interviewed BBC DG Mark Thompson at an internal BBC event and took the opportunity to lay into his new boss, who is behind the plans for major job cuts at the Corporation.

According to the Guardian, Paxman kicked off with what he referred to as his "Gordon Brown question" - "Why should we believe a word you say when you said last year [while still running Channel 4] that you weren't interested in being director general?" The Guardian report Thompson "looked sheepish" and stumbled over his answers, frequently sipping from a glass of water while Paxman rounded on him again.

At one point Paxman asked: "Were you ignoring the facts when you said the BBC was basking in jacuzzis of cash?", referring to something Thompson said while still at Channel 4 which seems, of course, at conflict with his cost cutting agenda since arriving at the Corporation. The poor DG had to admit that comment had been "a bit of a joke".

But Thompson stuck to defending his proposed changes at the Beeb. When asked about moving whole departments from TV Centre in London to new premises in Manchester he said the move was necessary because the Beeb's London HQ was "creaking at the seams", adding, "To use a technical term, it's completely fucked."

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DAVE MATTHEWS DRIVER CHARGED OVER BUS TOILET INCIDENT
An update for those of you following the events that followed that incident when the chemical toilet on The Dave Matthews Band's tour bus was emptied while on a bridge above a busy river cruiser, drenching the passengers on board the boat. The driver of the bus, Stefan Wohl, has now been charged with reckless conduct and will face the charges in court in Mar. Investigators have confirmed Wohl was alone on the bus at the time of the incident, distancing the band from any responsibility. As previously reported, at least one of the passengers on the boat is suing both the band and the driver. The band, while distancing themselves from the incident, did apologise for their driver's actions, participating in police investigations and offered to donate $100,000 to environmental groups involved in keeping the river in question clean.

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ONLINE PETITION REQUESTS AN ASHLEE SIMPSON BAN
Here's an interesting one! Following that embarrassing incident on TV show Saturday Night Live, where a technical error revealed she was miming, pop star Ashlee Simpson is facing more criticism for her singing abilities outside of the studio after 65,000 people added their names to an online petition calling for her to be banned from singing live.

The website, www.stopashlee.com, was set up as a joke by New Yorker Bethany Decker after she saw Simpson's performance at a recent half-time football show in Miami at which the singer's audience booed her off stage. The online petition called on Simpson's label, Geffen, and her father's management company JT Entertainment to stop Ashlee from singing live, saying: "We, the undersigned, are disgusted with Ashlee Simpson's horrible singing and hereby ask her to stop. She cannot match the sound of her voice that can be found on her CDs when she sings live. She simply yells the words (sometimes the wrong ones) into the mic."

As word spread about the site and the number of people signing the petition passed the 65,000 mark, Decker told the New York Daily News: "It's been really surprising. With word of mouth and people mentioning it on the radio, it's gotten insane."

It remains to be seen if the joke petition helps or hinders Simpson's first US tour which is due to kick off next month.

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