CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 10th February

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

- Scissor Sisters dominate at Brit Awards
- Robbie denies Doherty Brits story
- Plug Awards
- Prince highest rock earner in 2004
- Beastie boys back PETA anti-KFC campaign
- Yahoo rebrand launch
- Music platforms brace themselves for video fees
- Kerrang! sign up as media partner of Download fest
- KT Tunstall London instore
- So what did Jacko do to Feldman?
- Online media body supports British music, but not high royalty fees
- Woolies turn down takeover offer
- Elton John plans aids benefit
- MP3.com man launches new site
- Fans disappointed after fake DMX gig
- Jamelia wants a film career
- Joe gets a train
- Britney marriage on the rocks?
- Ashlee tearful after verbal abuse

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SCISSOR SISTERS DOMINATE AT BRIT AWARDS
Now let's get one thing straight. Robbie William's 'Angels' is not the best British song of the last 25 years. It's not even the best Robbie Williams song of the last 25 years. We're long-term Robbie fans here at CMU (I seem to remember us bigging up 'Life Thru A Lens' long before things went all crazy following the release of 'Angels' as a single), but he don't deserve that accolade. Then again, Robbie winning the special Brit gong designed to celebrate the award event's 25th anniversary did give Matt Lucas and David Walliams an excuse to dress up as Gary Barlow and Howard Donald again (the Take That Rock Profile was always my favourite) in order to present his prize, which provided some entertainment value if nothing else.

Anyway, it was the Brits last night. And as Victoria Newton wrote in yesterday's Sun, "it's back to the best of British at this year's awards following an amazing 12 months for music. In previous years the [Brits] show has been inundated with American artists - which implies that we don't have any good home-grown acts. Not this year". And to prove her point Ms Newton listed off some of the acts on the Brits line up this year, including those legendary Brits the Scissor Sisters, Green Day and, erm, Snoop Dogg.

Of course she's right about one thing - it has been a great year for British music and some of that was on show at last night's Earls Court show, in the line up of both winners and performers. That said, in terms of number of awards won the night really belonged to New Yorkers Scissor Sisters. They were victorious in three of the international categories - Best Group, Best Album and Best Newcomers - and wowed the crowds with their show-opening performance of 'Take Your Mama'. With three gongs in her hand, the band's Ana Matronic commented on her band's Brit successes: "If you told us a year ago we would be getting these awards today we would have called you crazy. You guys made our dream come true."

On the British music front, Franz Ferdinand, Keane and Joss Stone won two awards each. Muse took the best 'Live Act' award, Mike Skinner got Best Male Artist, McFly were named Best Pop and Will Young got Best Single for 'Your Game'. Other international awards went to Gwen Stefani for Best Female Artist and Eminem for Best Male Artist. Bob Geldof, meanwhile, was presenting with his prize for an Outstanding Contribution To Music.

To summarise, the winning list ran like this.

British Group: Franz Ferdinand (Domino)
British Male Solo Artist: The Streets (Warners / 679)
British Female Solo Artist: Joss Stone (Relentless)
British Rock Act: Franz Ferdinand (Domino)
British Live Act: Muse (Warner)
Pop Act: Mcfly (Universal Records)
British Urban Act: Joss Stone (Relentless)
British Breakthrough Act: Keane (Universal/Island)

British Album: Keane - Hopes And Fears (Universal/Island)
British Single: Will Young - Your Game (BMGSony/S)

International Album: Scissor Sisters (Universal/Polydor)
International Group: Scissor Sisters (Universal/Polydor)
International Male Solo Artist: Eminem (Universal/Interscope)
International Female Solo Artist: Gwen Stefani (Universal/Polydor)
International Breakthrough Act: Scissor Sisters (Universal/Polydor)

Best Song Of The Last 25 Years: Robbie Williams - Angels (EMI)
Outstanding Contribution To Music: Sir Bob Geldof (Eagle)

Labels wise, a very good night for the Universal Music Group who took all of the international prizes plus scored three British gongs via Keane and McFly. EMI can celebrate over the Robbie best song award, plus they scored two gongs courtesy of Virgin's Relentless imprint with Joss Stone. Warner were represented thanks to their association with 679 (The Streets) and their previous acquisition of Mushroom (Muse). But if it hadn't been for a merger with BMG, Sony wouldn't have had an act on the winners list at all, and even as part of the new mega-major they only scored one gong (with BMG's Will Young). As for the indies - big up Domino and their double win with Franz Ferdinand.

For those not at the ceremony last night (or for those who were too drunk to focus on the actual proceedings) - the whole thing will be screened on ITV tonight at 8pm.

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ROBBIE DENIES DOHERTY BRITS STORY
Staying with the Brits and Robbie, and Mr. Williams' legal people have written to the Sun to request a retraction on that story which claimed their client was threatening to pull out of Brit Awards if Pete Doherty was allowed to attend. The paper quoted a source that claimed Robbie was concerned Doherty would grab all the press attention at the event - stealing the media eye away from his performance of 'Angels'.

However Williams' lawyers Sheridans yesterday issued a statement reading thus: "[The newspaper allegations were] grossly offensive and defamatory allegations against Robbie Williams and are completely untrue. Our client has not sought to have Pete Doherty removed from the guest list or banned from attending the Brit awards. He has made no threat not to appear or perform. He has not sought to impose any conditions concerning Pete Doherty. Our client is not unsympathetic in his attitude to any problems Pete Doherty has with drug or alcohol addiction."

The Sun acknowledged receipt of the letter but did not comment.

And believe it or not - that will be the only mention of Pete Doherty in today's CMU Daily. Good luck with the rehab, Pete.

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PLUG AWARDS
Anyway, who cares about the Brit awards, surely all the cool kids had their eyes on the Plug Awards in New York last night. These are a new alternative music awards thing originally set up in 2001 by Gerry Hart, occasional CMJ contributor and employee of management firm World's Fair. Back then they were essentially an online poll, but this year they were repeated and stepped up a bit. A board known as the 'Plug Cartel' selects the nominations - only artists on independent labels are considered.

The big winners on the night were TV On The Radio, who took the Album Of The Year prize for their album 'Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes' - which also won them the Shortlist Music Prize last year. Interpol were named Artist Of The Year while Arcade Fire were named New Artist Of The Year, Jean Grae got Female Artist Of The Year and Tom Waits got Male Artist Of The Year.

The awards were handed out at a special event at New York's Webster Hall.

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PRINCE HIGHEST ROCK EARNER IN 2004
Anyway, who cares about the acclaim of your peers or the voting public? Forget the awards, I want a wad of cash. And on that basis, Prince is the biggest winner this week, because he tops the new Rolling Stone's Rock 'N' Roll rich list, based on 2004 earnings.

The magazine reckon Prince last year earned $56.5 million from his publishing royalties and the revenues from the Musicology tour and album release - observing "Prince returned to centre stage last year after a decade in the commercial wilderness". Assuming Rolling Stone have done their sums right, Prince's 2004 income is just ahead of Madonna, who earned $54.9 million during the year, helped of course by her Re-Invention Tour.

Elsewhere in the rich list, Metallica come in at three after their Anger With The World tour helped them push their annual earnings up to $43.1 million. Elton John is in fourth place with $42.7 million, followed by Jimmy Buffett, Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, Phil Collins, Linkin Park and Simon and Garfunkel.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Silent League - The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused (Something In Construction Records)
This record is so subtle and unassuming that it only has a ghost like presence on first listen. But after several plays it seeps into your consciousness and the beautiful textures of the music become clear. All the songs are written by singer Justin Russo while twenty musicians are credited as being part of The Silent League (although they make do with eight when they're playing live). The New York outfit have a dreamy, wistful, sometimes quirky sound. The lush, stately title track is one of several tracks to sound like Mercury Rev. Indeed Russo played keyboards with Mercury Rev for 'Deserters' Songs' and the Rev's Sean 'Grasshopper' Mackowiak is one of this albums guest musicians. The theremin dominated 'Motion Picture' is more like the Flaming Lips and the sweet pop of the Beach Boys is also an influence. 'Goliath' has a big screen cinematic feel and indeed the song seems to reference the 'Midnight Cowboy' soundtrack in the outro. Highlights include upcoming single 'The Catbird Seat' which has unexpected echoes of George Michael's 'Careless Whisper' and the lovely chiming 'Glass Walls'. Arguably there is quite a lot of music similar to this around at the moment, but there's room for the Silent League. Their music is beguiling and following lukewarm reviews for the new Mercury Rev album, there could be a gap in the market. JW
Release date: 7 Feb
Press contact: Wild [CP, CR, RR, NR] David Laurie [RP, NP]

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BEASTIE BOYS BACK PETA ANTI-KFC CAMPAIGN
The Beastie Boys are backing a new PETA campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken - the animal rights body have long accused the fast food giant of having a terrible record in the treatment of its poultry.

An open letter signed by the band says KFC bosses should insist the farms that supply their chickens adhere to certain rules regarding the treatment of their livestock. "You have the responsibility to tell your suppliers that what they are doing is wrong," it says, "By doing nothing, you are to blame for the cruelty that these chickens endure, which is truly sickening."

So that's them told.

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YAHOO REBRAND LAUNCH
Yahoo! has re-branded its US music platform, formerly called Launch, as Yahoo! Music. The company says the re-brand aims to "leverage the power and esteem of Yahoo!" to further develop its music proposition. At the moment the platform's personalized radio service is still branded as LaunchCast - it's not clear if that will remain as a sub-brand under Yahoo! Music banner. The new brand name will be rolled out to the company's Launch sites in other territories over the next few months.

Announcing the change Yahoo! Music VP Dave Goldberg told reporters: "Yahoo! is committed to being at the forefront of digital music and providing consumers with a compelling and comprehensive music experience.ăThe Yahoo! Music brand will allow for deeper integration across the Yahoo! network as we continue to develop new initiatives to expand our music services for consumers around the world."
Yahoo! acquired Launch in 2001 turning it into the company's main music outlet, and one of the world's biggest music sites.

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MUSIC PLATFORMS BRACE THEMSELVES FOR VIDEO FEES
Talking of online music platforms, more on the decision by the Universal Music Group to start charging websites a per-stream fee for music videos. US industry website Hits Daily Double reckon that there were eight billion on-demand video streams via the major music platforms in 2004 which, they point out, could have earned the music business $80 million if they'd only charged a penny per stream. With that kind of maths the other majors are pretty sure to follow Universal's lead, and word is SonyBMG are already making moves in that direction.

It looks like most of the big music platforms are gonna accept the new demands from the majors, even though it will mean accepting a cut in profits, or removing free video streams from their music service. MSN, Apple, Real, Yahoo and AOL are all said to be close to finalising their deals with Universal, and are not doubt awaiting similar calls from the other labels.

Rumour has it Yahoo are being most resistant, spreading the word that the cost of paying to stream videos will mean less money to promote breaking artists and new music. Remains to be seen if they act on those threats.

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KERRANG! SIGN UP AS MEDIA PARTNER OF DOWNLOAD FEST
EMAP have confirmed a media partnership between its Kerrang! brand and Clear Channel's Download festival - the 2005 line up for which was announced earlier this week. The deal will see Kerrang! promote the festival through ticket promotions, competitions and interviews across the Kerrang! magazine, TV, radio and online outlets.

EMAP's Co-Promotions boss Gigi Dryer told reporters: "The Kerrang! platform has proved to be the number one destination for rock and metal lovers and has transformed the promotion of live events in this sector. Our unique co-promotion offering of cross-media ticket selling capabilities and market position has enabled a host of events to sell out in record time."

Clear Channel's Jenni Cairns added: "Kerrang! is the natural choice for promoting the festival across the UK, and we look forward to an incredibly successful 2005."

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KT TUNSTALL LONDON INSTORE
CMU's friends in the North tell us KT Tunstall is one to watch. I've only ever seen her Popworld interview, which didn't give much of an insight, but who am I to argue with our friends in the North? Anyway, if you're London based and want to see Scotland's new buzz act perform, she will do a free gig at HMV Oxford Circus on 23 Feb at 6pm.

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SO WHAT DID JACKO DO TO FELDMAN?
Well, big up Celebrity Justice, who have managed to out-scoop dreadful journalist Martin Bashir with a Jacko story. Bashir has interviewed actor Corey Feldman about his former friendship with Michael Jackson for US TV show 20/20. However rival news show Celebrity Justice has uncovered a 1993 interview Feldman gave to police about his friendship with Jacko, and have released it two days ahead of Bashir's interview. Wonderful.

The interesting thing about the two interviews is that in 1993, when Jacko faced the Jordy Chandler child abuse allegations, Feldman defended Jacko to the hilt. But in the new interview he says he has had a "sickening realisation" that his friendship with Jackson wasn't as harmless as he first thought.

In 1993 he told police: "Nothing ever happened with Michael and me. Believe me, if there was something that I'd been hiding for all these years, then I would want nothing more than to bring it out right now, to make sure that Michael got the help that he needed... Nothing happened. He never did anything out of line. I mean, the closest he ever came to touching me was maybe slapping me on the leg once to talk about that I had lost weight."

But in the new interview he says: "I started looking at each piece of information, and with that came this sickening realisation that there have been many occurrences in my life and in my relationship to Michael that have created a question of doubt." The Bashir interview airs in the US tomorrow.

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ONLINE MEDIA BODY SUPPORTS BRITISH MUSIC, BUT NOT HIGH ROYALTY FEES
The UK Association Of Online Publishers, which includes various companies with big online media interests, has been talking about music. They agreed that their members should look at ways to use their platforms to help develop British music talent - which will please the likes of PPL and PRS. However, they added that certain licensing rules set by the music industry were keeping many potential webcasters out of the space, adding that they were putting together some recommendations about licence fees which they would soon pass on to the licensing bodies and the EC. So now you know.

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ALBUM REVIEW: American Head Charge - The Feeding (DRT Entertainment)
This is brutal. It's the artistic audio catharsis of a band that has been through rehab and all the shite that record label wranglings throw at you. Its brutality is confined - thankfully - within some great songs, including the blinding album opener 'Loyalty'. Anyone can roar. But to make it sound honest, earnest and heartfelt demands something else - and whatever that intangible matter is, these guys have it by the freight crate. It isn't hard to imagine that having sold 40,000 copies of their 2001 album, 'the War Of Art', this album will throw AHC from the limelight to the spotlight with the speed and unstoppable force of one of those massive American lorries hauling something heavy. Like this album. JG
Release date: 14 Feb
Press contact: Pure Press [all]

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WOOLIES TURN DOWN TAKEOVER OFFER
Retail news! Bosses at Woolworths have said they have turned down the offer from private equity firm Apax to discuss a possible takeover deal worth an estimated £789 million. Their decision hinged on certain conditions Apax were insisting on before entering proper takeover talks - in particular giving Apax access to confidential financial data.

In a statement Woolworth's said: "The board, with its advisers, has considered this indicative proposal carefully. It has concluded that the range indicated does not provide acceptable value or certainty to justify entering into detailed discussions with Apax."

Finance types still reckon Woolies is vulnerable to takeover as it continues to do battle with the supermarkets and online players who are aggressively competing in the mainstream music space.

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ELTON JOHN PLANS AIDS BENEFIT
Elton John has confirmed he will perform a gig in Philadelphia in Jul to raise fund for AIDS charities, including his own Elton John AIDS Foundation. Commenting on the concert Elton told reporters: "Having recently spent time in South Africa I saw first hand how the programmes of the Elton John AIDS Foundation are really assisting in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It will be a long fight, and one that must be met with strength and compassion, but we can all make a difference. I met with vulnerable and orphaned children who have been left destitute. There are three quarters of a million such children in South Africa alone and eleven million on the continent".

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MP3.COM MAN LAUNCHES NEW SITE
Michael Robertson, the man behind the original MP3.com, has launched his new download platform - http://mp3tunes.com. The platform's USP is that all tracks are supplied as un-DRMed MP3s - ie they will play on more or less any music player. The service launches with some 330,000 tracks in its catalogue, which people can buy for 88 cents a time.

Launching the site, Robertson told reporters: "A consumer-friendly digital music store that provides true music ownership to paying customers can triple the digital music business almost overnight. MP3tunes gives the consumers more value because they can use the music on all their computers and MP3 players - whatever brand they may have".

No word on what the major labels think of Robertson's new venture - though from what we can see, the site, like the original MP3.com, is currently selling primarily unsigned and independent artists.

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FANS DISAPPOINTED AFTER FAKE DMX GIG
Here's an interesting one - according to AllHipHop.com, DMX fans in Springfield, Illinois were left disappointed when the hip hop star didn't show for a gig. However, while DMX has a reputation for no-shows, this time it wasn't his fault - the gig was a fake.

Two men claimed they represented DMX and approached local concert promoters Darryl Williams and Mike Williams asking for help staging a gig in the town. The local promoters had already booked a venue for a planned Lil Wayne gig, so they used that slot for the promised DMX show instead. 500 tickets were sold for the event after the phony promoters advertised the gig in local papers. However with just hours to go before the gig, the two men grabbed the ticket sales revenues and fled the venue, leaving some very unhappy DMX fans behind them.

The promoters told fans they could get a refund from the agents who sold them tickets - however those agents said they had already passed on the monies from ticket sales to the two phony gig promoters and therefore any refunds were unlikely.

DMX's people have said little about the whole scam, except that the rapper may record a radio statement to apologise to fans for the fake gig. Meanwhile local police are investigating the incident.

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JAMELIA WANTS A FILM CAREER
Jamelia is reportedly hoping to kick off a film career, and has signed up to the same agent as Kate Winslet. The Sun quote the singer as saying: "I have been offered roles. It's great when people seize opportunities. I just want to have fun."

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JOE GETS A TRAIN
The late great Joe Strummer is to have a class 47 diesel train named in his honour. The former Clash man's train will be unveiled at Bristol's Temple Meads station this weekend and will then operate on the East Anglia line.

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BRITNEY MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS?
Now it seems very unfair to start spreading rumours that Britney's marriage to Kevin Federline is already on the rocks. But as two celeb mags in the US are doing just that, don't see why we shouldn't.

Touch Weekly quotes a friend of Federline who says: "Kevin has suddenly started partying like a single guy. In addition to going out on several occasions without his wedding band on, he's been hanging out with his old posse of pals and flying to Las Vegas for weekends of drinking."

Meanwhile Life And Style Weekly says Ferderline's recent partying has made Britney re-consider her plans to start a family.

Ah well, by Britney's standards five months of marriage is quite good going.

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ASHLEE TEARFUL AFTER VERBAL ABUSE
Anyway, don't spend any time worrying about Britney, what about poor Ashlee? Wannabe popstress Ashlee Simpson was reportedly reduced to tears when verbally abused by a group of teenage girls while on a recent shopping trip. According to the always reliable National Enquirer the teenagers starting shouting "you're a faker!" when they saw Ashlee out shopping, with one adding "you have no talent, Ashlee... and you're not as pretty as your sister!"

The magazine says a tearful Ashlee fled the scene, sobbing: "I don't know if I can take much more of this... it sucks... it really sucks."

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