CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 25th January

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Jermaine Dupri takes on new urban role at Virgin
- Dash / IDJ deal expected soon
- Independent associations launch new coalition
- Scottish tsunami aid planned
- Chris Evans not interested in new radio career
- U2 tour dates - this time official
- Album Review: Woodbine - Best Before End
- Apple pass 250 million download mark
- Napster considering film and game extensions
- Creative technology profits down despite good MP3 player sales
- Fiery Furnaces planning double album
- Album Review: Fiery Furnaces - EP
- Costello working on opera
- Cash tops video poll
- My Chemical Romance tour
- Axl Rose signs to Sanctuary publishing
- Powell quits FCC top job
- Former Ministry drummer joins REM proper
- Oasis cover on OC
- Rizla launch club tour
- Ocean Colour Scene tour
- Mtv, Capital and IPC launch mega research panel
- Aguilera to get engaged?
- Has Kylie left it too late to start a family?
- Doherty in love

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JERMAINE DUPRI TAKES ON NEW URBAN ROLE AT VIRGIN
Hip hop artist, producer and label owner Jermaine Dupri is shifting allegiances and joining the US division of EMI's Virgin Records in the new post of President of Virgin Records Urban Music. In the new role Dupri, who has worked with the likes of Usher, TLC, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Chingy, Ludacris, Toni Braxton and was the man behind, erm, Kriss Kross, will oversee Virgin's whole urban music operation. He will also continue to run his own label So So Def which will ally itself with Virgin, ending the imprint's existing relationship with BMG's Zomba Music Group. Dupri will also record as a solo artist for Virgin, and is expected to produce music for artists across the EMI group.

Commenting on his new appointment, the ever modest Dupri told reporters yesterday: "I am happy to join the Virgin Records family, and look forward to working with the whole Virgin Records team. As the new President of Urban Music for Virgin Records, I'm up for the challenge. My strengths as a producer and hit-maker were magnified this year with the success of my work with Usher. By joining So So Def and Virgin, I plan to do for Virgin what Russell Simmons did 10 years ago, when he moved Def Jam to Island Records. I will catapult Virgin into a young, hip label with chart-topping success in both RnB and rap music. I also hope to change the whole look of the company so when up-and-coming RnB and hip hop artists are looking for a home, Virgin will be the first stop."

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DASH / IDJ DEAL EXPECTED SOON
Talking of hip hop producers and their record label empires, Damon Dash, now without a stake in a record label since selling his share of Roc-A-Fella to the Universal Music Group, is reportedly on the verge of signing a new joint venture deal with Universal's Island Def Jam division. IDJ boss LA Reid, who kept his business relationship with Dash's former business partner Jay Z alive by making him boss of Def Jam, is apparently very keen to keep Dash in the fold and, according to the New York Daily News, could well launch a new label with the producer as early as next week. That paper reckons the new company could be called Roc For Life, and its first signing is likely to be singer Nicole Ray, who previously recorded for Roc-A-Fella.

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INDEPENDENT ASSOCIATIONS LAUNCH NEW COALITION
Representatives from independent music associations from across the world launched a global coalition at MIDEM yesterday aiming to pool their collective knowledge, resources and influences, and to create an international strategy to deal with the common commercial, political and cultural issues affecting all independent record labels. The move to create the global network follows the launch, in recent years, of powerful independent music associations in most key territories.

Over 100 representatives of the independent sector attended the meeting that launched the coalition, and among the associations involved are AIR (Australia), AIM (UK), AAIM (US), UFI (Spain), IMNZ (New Zealand), CIRPA (Canada) and IMPALA (the pan-European body). All other independent music associations are invited to join.

Commenting on the launch of the new coalition, Alison Wenham, Chair of the UK's Association of Independent Music and Vice President of IMPALA, told CMU: "The MTV and iTunes negotiations are just two examples of what we can achieve when we act collectively. The coalition's action plan will make a radical difference by giving independents all over the world access to these benefits and put them on a level playing field."

Brian Chater, President of Canada's CIRPA added: "The international agenda of the music business has been dominated by four multinationals. The independents priorities get ignored. Without separate associations, governments never hear that the priority issues for their national companies are very different and very real, from market access, concentration, access to finance through to the unraveling of collective licensing. Co-ordination at international level is vital."

The Coalition plan to meet again in May to discuss next steps.

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SCOTTISH TSUNAMI AID PLANNED
Hot on the heels of Cardiff's tsunami-aid fundraiser at the weekend, details of a Glasgow benefit concert in aid of the post-tsunami relief effort have been revealed. Talking place at the city's SECC arena on 19 Feb the show will have something of a 'Scotland's greatest hits' feel to it with Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian, Mull Historical Society, Mogwai, Travis, Deacon Blue, Idlewild, Eddi Reader, Slam, Teenage Fanclub, Texas and Trash Can Sinatras all set to play.

A spokesman for the fundraiser told reporters: "February 19 2005 will go down as one of the most incredible nights in Scottish music history. We've been amazed by the huge generosity of the artists, the venue and the various operators in the live music scene in Scotland who are giving their time and facilities to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. With this fantastic line up now announced, we are urging music fans to buy tickets as quickly as possible to contribute to a very worthwhile cause and to make sure that they are part of this unique and exciting event."

Tickets are on sale at £28.50 a time from http://www.secctickets.com.

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CHRIS EVANS NOT INTERESTED IN NEW RADIO CAREER
Despite rumours he is in talks with Heart 106.2 about a new show, Chris Evans has told the Guardian he isn't interested in returning to radio.

Following his return to the airwaves as part of last week's Radio Aid fundraiser, he told the paper: "I was worried that when I finished my two hours at 10am, that I would get that feeling again - that I wanted to do radio - but I was relieved that when I came off air I didn't have that feeling because I don't want to go back to radio". Asked about whether he fancied returning to radio management like his days in charge of Virgin Radio, he added: "Absolutely not. I don't like business. I don't like meetings. I don't like dealing with banks."

Evans, who said he agreed to the Radio Aid shift after much consideration and because it was for a good cause, says he might consider occasional TV or radio presenting work - he will present the Brits next month - but that he is not looking for a regular show.

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U2 TOUR DATES - THIS TIME OFFICIAL
U2 have officially announced the dates of their forthcoming world tour, and the UK dates are more or less the same as those leaked on the internet earlier this month (except, readers in Manchester confused by the venue name listed in the unofficial tour dates, should be more familiar with the actual arena being used - the City of Manchester Stadium). All of which means the dates are as follows:

14 Jun: City Of Manchester Stadium
18 Jun: Twickenham
21 Jun: Hampden Park
24 Jun: Croke Park, Dublin
29 Jun: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Interestingly, the unofficial tour itinerary leaked on the web had a second date at Twickenham in the schedule - it will be interesting to see if that date is subsequently announced "due to popular demand"!

Commenting on the world tour, which kicks off in San Diego on 28 Mar, the band's manager, Paul McGuinness, told Billboard: "This tour will be not unlike the last production in that the lowest priced tickets will be on the floor. The best seats are the cheapest, and we want people to get excited. One of the great privileges of working with U2 is you get to go on the road with them."

Tickets officially go on sale on Friday, although subscribers to the band's website will be able to buy tickets from today.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Woodbine - Best Before End (Domino)
Woodbine's eponymous debut was a fractured, cathartic trawl through drug-addled inertia, its pained musings on alienation and loss making it one of the most bleakly poignant albums of recent times. Six years on, and this follow-up finds the Domino signings in scarcely more chipper spirits. With shared vocals from Susan Dillane and Graham Swindon, 'Best Before End' offers more deliciously lilting melodies sung over sparse twelve-bar blues riffs. It's about as lo-fi as it gets without disappearing off the radar entirely, hence destined to leave some listeners cold, but repeated listens reward you with evocative snatches of claustrophobic pop which linger in the conscious like aural cold turkey. DL
Release date: 14 Mar
Press: Hermana [CP, RP, NP] Cool Badge [CR, RR, NR]

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APPLE PASS 250 MILLION DOWNLOAD MARK
More good news from the world of Apple who yesterday confirmed that not only had they sold their 250 millionth download, but that the iTunes network now regularly sells over a million downloads a day - on one occasion they sold 1.25 million tracks in one 24 hour period.

In a statement commenting on the latest milestone the company told reporters: "When we launched the iTunes Music Store we were hoping to sell a million songs in the first six months - now we're selling over a million songs every day, and we've sold over a quarter billion songs in total".

Obviously the number of tracks sold by iTunes should continue to grow as the number of iPod owners increases. 4.5 million iPods were sold in the last quarter, and the new cheaper iPod Shuffle is expected to supply another boost in the coming months.

The growth in iTunes customer base is important, because it means iTunes becomes less dependent on the small number of cash rich music fans who download hundreds of tracks as they soon as they buy a music player. Most people only buy just a few tracks each month, but there are now so many of those people that they are enough to supply iTunes with substantial regular business.

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NAPSTER CONSIDERING FILM AND GAME EXTENSIONS
Not wishing to let Apple hog all the attention, it looks like Napster could well be planning to branch into video and games using the same subscription / download model. The possibility of such a move was confirmed by the company's chairman Chris Gorog when he told the Financial Times: "We are currently considering moving into video, particularly to tap the younger video-game generation. I do think that while there are huge players in the delivery of movies like Sky, there could be a role for Napster."

However Gorog was quick to add that the company's immediate priority was expanding its music service, in particular into mainland Europe. He said Napster would soon arrive in Germany, and that his company was currently looking to strike strategic alliances there like the ones he has with Virgin Radio and Dixons here in the UK.

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CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY PROFITS DOWN DESPITE GOOD MP3 PLAYER SALES
Not wishing to let Apple and Napster hog all the digital music headlines, news from Creative Technology, the Singapore-based company who make the Zen and Muvo MP3 players and who are Apple's closest competitor in the MP3 player space. Unfortunately it's not great news. The company has announced its profits for the second quarter are $25.5 million, 10% down on last year - and that's despite selling two million MP3 players over the Christmas period. It's not clear if the decline in profits is because MP3 players, which account for about 65% of their business, are proving less profitable as competition in the digital music space increases, or if the company's profit margins were hit by factors outside its MP3 player operations.

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FIERY FURNACES PLANNING DOUBLE ALBUM
The Fiery Furnaces, who have just released a ten track album called 'EP' and who, with one album, filled all of the 77 minutes allowed on a CD, have told Billboard their next release will be a double album akin to recent releases by OutKast and Nick Cave.
Working titles for the two halves of the album are 'Garfield L' and 'Singing to Speak Chinese' - the latter will be a collection of "pop-friendly tunes" while the former is the duo's attempt at a "narrative pop opera", which should be interesting!

Talking of that EP album...

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ALBUM REVIEW: Fiery Furnaces - EP (Rough Trade)
Confusingly, while this record is called 'EP' it is in fact an album; this is typically idiosyncratic of the Fiery Furnaces. Having forged a distinctive sound on two studio albums they follow those up with this ten-track compilation of singles and B-sides plus new track, 'Here Comes The Summer'. The nucleus of the Chicago based band are brother and sister Eleanor and Matthew Friedbeger. Trademarks of the Fiery Furnaces are whimsical lyrics, unusual vocals and an eclectic sound taking in influences from a bewildering range of music from folk, blues and art rock. The playful sound of 'Single Again' contrasts with the lyrics which veer from the ridiculous to the serious; "When I was single my pockets would jingle...I married a man, he beat me he banged me, I wish I was single again." Meanwhile former single 'Tropical Iceland' has an exuberant sound to match the lush descriptive lyrics. The band frequently sound like they're experimenting with instruments found in a toy shop and they have as much fun with their words, taking the piss out of Hoxton trendies in 'Duffer St George'. Like an exotic pot-pourri, the Fiery Furnaces might be an acquired taste for some but they are undeniably creating very remarkable and interesting music. JW
Release date: 24 Jan
Press contact: Rough Trade IH [CP, RP, NP] Anglo [CR, RR, NR]

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COSTELLO WORKING ON OPERA
The Fiery Furnaces may be working on a pop opera, but Elvis Costello is composing a real one.

Called 'The Secret Arias', Costello's opera will be based on Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen's unrequited love for Swedish soprano Jenny Lind, and will include love songs written by Andersen to the singer who, despite the songs, alas, never returned his affection.

Confirming Costello's involvement in the project, Henrik Engelbrecht of Copenhagen's Royal Theatre, who will stage the opera next year, told reporters: "Elvis immediately loved the idea".

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CASH TOPS VIDEO POLL
Time for another completely random pop survey? I think so. Phone company 3 has asked a bunch of music types what their favourite music video of all time is, based on the somewhat dubious concept that they are celebrating "three decades of pop music videos" (presumably they are going with the theory that 1975's Bohemian Rhapsody was the first proper pop video).

To be fair, though, the pundits have picked some interesting videos to tip, with the promo for Johnny Cash's track 'Hurt' coming out top. And while, as you might expect, Michael Jackson has two videos in the top five ('Thriller' at 2 and 'Billie Jean' at 5) winners of the other top positions are less predictable, going to Aphex Twin for 'Come To Daddy' (at 3) and Radiohead for 'Just' (at 4).

Commenting on the winning video one of the pundits surveyed, REM's Michael Stipe, said: "It's just heartbreaking. Kudos to director Mark Romanek for having the audacity and the courage to do a video like that. The video is just devastating. And beautiful. It might be an obvious choice, but it touched me in a really big way."

That other leading name in the art of good video direction, erm, McFly's Tom Fletcher, who voted for Jacko's 'Thriller', commented: "A good video shows a band's personality and should make the song better. It should be able to stand on its own," he said.

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MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE TOUR
My Chemical Romance have announced a headline UK tour for Apr, following up the 28 Feb release of new single 'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)'. Dates as follows:

6 Apr: Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
7 Apr: Glasgow QMU
8 Apr: Manchester Academy
9 Apr: London Astoria

Press info from Mercenary PR.

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AXL ROSE SIGNS TO SANCTUARY PUBLISHING
Sanctuary Music Publishing have signed up Axl Rose in a deal which will see the music group manage the G'n'R man's whole songwriting catalogue, including his forthcoming new G'n'R album 'Chinese Democracy', now due for a 2089 release. (Actually, G'n'R bassist Tommy Stinson told US newspaper Pioneer Press last week the long long long awaited new G'n'R album is almost done - believe it when we see it).

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POWELL QUITS FCC TOP JOB
One for fans of media regulation. Michael Powell has announced he is stepping down from his role as Chairman of the US media regulator, the FCC. In a statement issued yesterday he said: "Today, I sent a letter to the president thanking him for the incredible privilege of chairing the Federal Communications Commission during his first term. With a mixture of pride and regret, I informed him of my intention to step down as a commissioner and chairman sometime in March".

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FORMER MINISTRY DRUMMER JOINS REM PROPER
Bill Reiflin, formerly drummer for the band Ministry, has been appointed the full time drummer for REM. Reiflin, who played on the band's recent album 'Around The Sun', officially replaces Bill Berry, who left REM back in 1997. So now you know.

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OASIS COVER ON OC
The OC returns to Channel 4 this weekend - hurrah! Though knowing Channel 4, after four episodes they'll probably take it off air for six months to make way for wall to wall coverage of championship bowls. Anyway, random OC related music fact for you - the finale episode of the current series will include a cover version of Oasis' 'Champagne Supernova' by American indie rockers Matt Pond PA. Bet it's not as good as Ben Folds' cover.

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RIZLA LAUNCH CLUB TOUR
Rizla have announced details of a club tour they are staging this summer as part of their 'inspired-by' programme which, we're told, "celebrates the work of inspirational icons in music from the past and the present through to the talent of today". The club tour will include the talents of Greg Wilson, DJ Drexia, Craig Richards, Swayzak, Erol Alkan, Jo Jo De Freq and Andy Weatherall and will visit Leeds (27 Mar), Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham (May) and London (Aug). More info at http://www.inspired-by.co.uk - press info from Exposure PR.

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OCEAN COLOUR SCENE TOUR
Ocean Colour Scene have announced a 22 date tour to promote up coming new album 'A Hyperactive Workout For The Flying Squad', out in Mar. Dates as follows:

2 Apr: Liverpool Academy
3 Apr: Cambridge Corn Exchange
4 Apr: Reading, Hexagon
6 Apr: Edinburgh, Usher Hall
7 Apr: Aberdeen, Music Hall
8 Apr: Glasgow, Academy
10 Apr: Belfast, Ulster Hall
12 Apr: Hull, City Hall
13 Apr: Stoke On Trent, Victoria Hall
14 Apr: Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
16 Apr: London, Brixton Academy
17 Apr: Southampton, Guildhall
18 Apr: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
20 Apr: UEA, Norwich
21 Apr: Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
22 Apr: Bristol, Colston Hall
24 Apr: Brighton, Dome
25 Apr: Exeter, University Great Hall
26 Apr: Cardiff, University
28 Apr: Leeds University
29 Apr: Manchester Apollo
30 Apr: Newcastle, City Hall

Press info from Frequency Media - margaret@fmguk.com

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MTV, CAPITAL AND IPC LAUNCH MEGA RESEARCH PANEL
MTV, Capital and IPC are planning on launching a mega research project called Play which will see the three media firms tapping into their respective audiences to create a massive panel of consumers who they will regularly fire questions to in order to monitor the changing lifestyles and attitudes of the public at large. All of which means we'll be getting regular stat filled quarterly reports stating the bloody obvious and telling us nothing. Looking forward to it.

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AGUILERA TO GET ENGAGED?
And so, onto the mindless gossip section. Word is Christina Aguilera's boyfriend Jason Bratman has been busy shopping for an engagement ring. A 'source' has told the New York Post: "He's been making inquiries about rings with different jewelers. Christina really loves him. She is so happy with him."

A spokesperson for Aguilera, however, told reporters: "They are not engaged and she is not pregnant" which is odd, who mentioned her being pregnant?

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HAS KYLIE LEFT IT TOO LATE TO START A FAMILY?
Talking of not being pregnant, Kylie Minogue has said she fears she may have left it too late to start a family, having spent too much of her life "climbing the ladder of success". She told reporters: "When I was younger I always thought that children were a given. Definite. I didn't know anything about my life except that I'd have kids. Now I'm a bit older, I realise I might not.But it would be nice to have a family, and if I'm going to have children, I need to think about that now. Where do I really want to go? Am I just going to keep climbing the ladder of success? What's up there? Basically, I'd just like a bit more balance and harmony in my life."

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DOHERTY IN LOVE
And talking of love (which we were I think), former Libertine and old friend of the show Pete Doherty has told reporters he is in love with Kate Moss - so much so, in fact, that he's given up drugs and had her initials tattooed on his arm. Lovely.

According to the Sun, Doherty told Lauren Laverne during a recording of ITV's Orange Playlist show: "I've really found love with Kate. I think it will last. She's good for me because she's got a beautiful soul and I think I can trust her. I believe her when she says she love me and I know I mean it when I say I love her."

The show airs on 17 Feb - let's hope loves lasts at least that long for the former Libertine.

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