CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 16th February

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Jacko trial on hold - he’s got the flu
- Publisher sues Diddy over missing memoirs
- Crosby legal papers to be revealed in royalties case
- Islam gets damages over terrorism support claims
- T In The Park sells out
- Franz Ferdinand to co-headline V
- Homelands line up snippets
- Mean Fiddler back in takeover talks
- Another delay on Coldplay album
- Ozzy tops Kerrang rock survey
- Lanegan back on stage with QOTSA
- Kerrang! presenter suspended for on air stunt at boss’ home
- Jazz FM rebrands
- Music Week Awards nominations announced
- Tickets available for urban music awards
- Napster hack doing the rounds
- Madonna’s next album to be rockier
- Louis tells Girls Aloud to put on some weight

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JACKO TRIAL ON HOLD - HE’S GOT THE FLU
Well, the Jacko trial is on hold again today because Jackson has been rushed to hospital with a "severe case of the flu". Speculation was rife as to what exactly was wrong with Jackson when his lawyers initially announced he would not be attending court because he was “very, very ill” - with some asking themselves whether some kind of suicide attempt had taken place. But at the end of the day a physician who had been caring for the singer told reporters Jackson was suffering from a "a flu-like illness with some vomiting”, adding: "we expect a full recovery”. The trial is now scheduled to resume next Tuesday, hopefully giving Jackson time to recover.

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PUBLISHER SUES DIDDY OVER MISSING MEMOIRS
It was a busy day in the pop courts yesterday. Aside from the Jacko shenanigans, there was some extra work for P Diddy’s lawyers when publishing firm Random House announced they were suing the hip hop mogul over allegations he did not pay back a $300,000 advance that they paid him for an autobiography he never completed. The legal papers issued allege that Sean Combs and his Bad Boy Entertainment company "simply kept the money they never rightfully earned”.

The publisher says: "Random House has seldom resorted to a legal course of action with its prospective authors who don't write the books we have contracted for, but Mr. Sean Combs has left us no choice. He signed an agreement with our Ballantine imprint in 1998 to write his autobiography, which he agreed to complete and deliver to us in 1999. We now have waited for over five years and have received neither the manuscript nor the return of the money we advanced Mr Combs."

Combs’ people admitted that there was a “disagreement” between Diddy and Random House, but added they they hoped to avoid litigation and said: “we anticipate that this will be resolved quickly."

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CROSBY LEGAL PAPERS TO BE REVEALED IN ROYALTIES CASE
Elsewhere the courts ruled that documents exchanged between the late Bing Crosby and his attorney were no longer protected by the client-attorney privilege. The documents are important (possibly) in the ongoing legal battle between Crosby’s family and MCA Records.

Crosby’s heirs claim MCA owe them royalties relating to contracts between the label and the singer from 1943, 1949 and 1956 and began legal action against MCA back in 2000, suing for $16 million. As part of their defence MCA have requested to see some 59 documents that passed between Crosby and his business associates while those contracts were negotiated. His family said those documents were protected by the good old client-attorney privilege and could not be used in the case, but on Monday the courts disagreed.

The California Supreme Court explained: "When Crosby died, his privilege transferred to the executor of his estate and thereafter ceased to exist upon the executor's discharge”. So there you go.

Explaining why the documents may be of importance MCA’s lawyer Steve Kang told reporters: "The documents were communications between not so much Bing Crosby himself but between his business manager Basil Grillo and also Crosby's accountants. They concerned an audit that Bing Crosby was doing in the late 1950s and actually we're convinced that the issues they discussed in the audit and resolved are the same issues that the plaintiffs are raising today."

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ISLAM GETS DAMAGES OVER TERRORISM SUPPORT CLAIMS
Pop lawyers in the UK, meanwhile, have secured a damages payment for Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens of course) after two News International newspapers falsely claimed the peace-loving former pop star supported terrorism. The Sun and The Times both made the allegations after Islam was refused entry by US officials last year - the story basically said America was right to turn the singer away implying he supported certain Islamic terrorist groups.

Islam, who was presented with a Man for Peace award by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates last Nov, strongly denied the allegations and, while some insiders at the Times reckon his people misinterpreted what was written, the two papers have agreed to publish an apology for the comments and will pay Islam an undisclosed damages settlement, which the singer plans to donate to the post-tsunami releif effort. The two papers will also cover the singer’s legal costs and commit to not repeat the allegations at any point in the future.

Commenting on his legal victory Islam told reporters yesterday: "It seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days to make scurrilous accusations against Muslims, and in my case it directly impacts on my relief work and damages my reputation as an artist. The harm done is often difficult to repair."

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T IN THE PARK SELLS OUT
If you want tickets for this year’s T in the Park, well, you can’t. The Scottish music festival has already sold out, just four days after its line up was announced. Of course organisers of the event put some tickets on sale last year following the buzz that surrounded the 2004 festival but, even so, to sell all 130,000 tickets for the 2005 event is quite an achievement and suggests the recent rise in demand for festivals continues. The T in the Park sell out came before organisers announced James Brown and Travis have been added to a bill that already included Green Day, the Foo Fighters and Keane.

On the rapid sell out, T in the Park CEO Geoff Ellis told reporters: "After last year's sell-out, we did think this year's event would sell slightly earlier, however this is way beyond our expectations. We are extremely proud that fans are so excited about T in the Park that they have made absolutely sure that their place at Balado is booked for 2005, and we will deliver one of the greatest events yet for them in July."

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FRANZ FERDINAND TO CO-HEADLINE V
Staying with festivals news, and organisers of the V Festival have announced Franz Ferdinand will co-headline this year’s event, alongside previously announced headliners Scissor Sisters.

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HOMELANDS LINE UP SNIPPETS
And more festival news. We call it the first festival of the year, which isn’t strictly speaking true, but it certainly marks the start of the ‘festival season’. We’re talking about We Love Homelands, which takes place over that Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. The line up has just been announced - full details tomorrow, but for now top level CMU favourites on the bill: The Streets, Roots Manuva, 2 Many DJs, John Digweed and Felix Da Housecat.

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MEAN FIDDLER BACK IN TAKEOVER TALKS
Staying with live music and, after much speculation in the London finance community yesterday, UK live music company Mean Fiddler have admitted that they are in talks with an unnamed party who are interested in buying the promoter and venue owner. The announcement confirmed take over rumours that had pushed up the value of the firm’s shares by 13 per cent.

The new takeover talks follow an aborted attempt by Mean Fiddler founder and chairman Vince Power to sell his 41% stake in the company last Oct. That deal would have seen the company’s fledgling download platform become a central part of the company, with Power staying on as a non-executive director overseeing the group’s festivals - which include the Leeds and Reading Festivals, and an interest in the Glastonbury Festival.

It is not clear yet who the interested party is in the new takeover negotiations, nor what plans that buyer would have for the company. Some are speculating possible buyers this time will already have an interest in the live music or venue business - with both Clear Channel and the Anschutz Entertainment Group, the latter of whom are planning on turning the Millennium Dome into a 20,000-seat stadium, both muted as possible buyers.

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ANOTHER DELAY ON COLDPLAY ALBUM
Quick update from the Coldplay camp - the already delayed release of their third album has been pushed back again. EMI label Parlophone had pencilled in a May release date, but the latest word is the new album won’t appear now until Jun at the earliest.

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OZZY TOPS KERRANG ROCK SURVEY
Black Sabbath’s eponymously titled debut album from 1970 has topped a poll of best British rock albums of all time, as voted for by readers of Kerrang! The band also take fifth place with ‘Paranoid’ and appear two other times on the list - with frontman Ozzy Osbourne scoring two solo entries too.

Other albums in the top ten of the survey include two from Iron Maiden - ‘Number of the Beast’ and ‘Iron Maiden’, plus the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’, Led Zeppelin’s ‘IV’, The Clash’s ‘London Calling’, Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ and the Manic Street Preachers’ ‘The Holy Bible’. The newest of the albums in the top ten is Muse’s ‘Absolution’.

Commenting on the survey Kerrang! editor Ashley Bird told reporters: "It's amazing to see so many incredible homegrown albums in one list, and without any of the abysmal fashion bands that currently clog up the music scene. These are the real opinions of proper rock fans."

Commenting on Black Sabbath’s success in the poll, Osbourne said it was a triumph for British rock, adding: "Back then [when they recorded ‘Black Sabbath] you'd hear: 'If you go to San Francisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair'. We lived in Aston, Birmingham. The only flowers I ever saw were on a gravestone in our local cemetery."

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LANEGAN BACK ON STAGE WITH QOTSA
While Mark Lanegan officially left Queens Of The Stone Age last year, around about the same time Josh Homme split with creative partner Nick Olliveri, word is he was back on stage with the band in Milan on Monday night. Although he didn’t play any instruments, he did co-vocal on a few songs. No word on whether it was a one off or a sign that Lanegan may be performing with the band on a more regular basis.

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KERRANG! PRESENTER SUSPENDED FOR ON AIR STUNT AT BOSS’ HOME
When you hire a presenter to join your radio station and bill his show on your own website by bragging at how previous over-the-top stunts have led to him being sacked from more or less every job he’s ever had, you probably ought to prepare yourself for the worst. And if you include a show in your schedules "where a lot of fucked up shit goes on", it’s best to assume that at some point you might become a target of some of that fucked up shit.

Advice that perhaps Andrew Jeffries, Programme Director at Birmingham’s Kerrang! radio station, should have been given when the station hired one Tim Shaw. That way he might not have been so surprised when he returned to his house the other night to find Shaw and his producer Greg Pebble had broken into his house and staged a fake burgalry - all live on air.

Jeffries explains: "My wife and I had been to the cinema and came home to find we had been burgled, or so we thought. The window was smashed and there were obscenities on the walls. They had hidden the TV and other items to make it look as if we had been robbed. They emptied the cupboards and our clothes were strewn all over. Then they jumped out of a cupboard and told us it was a 'mock burglary' and they were broadcasting it all. I threw them out. The Asylum Show [Shaw and Pebble’s programme] has featured pranks before but this was way over the line. There is a limit and this was way past it."

The presenter and producer were subsequently suspended. In an official statement the EMAP owned station said: "Kerrang! would like to confirm that management have suspended presenter Tim Shaw and producer Greg Pebble indefinitely following an attempted on-air prank that went way far beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour”.

The interesting question is what the station would have said had it been a d-list celebrity whose house had been broken in to - is it the stunt that crossed the “line”, or the choice of victim. Either way, presumably there is an on-the-edge radio station somewhere who will soon be bragging how their new presenter is so crazzee he was sacked from his last job after he broke into his bosses house. The PD of that station should be careful where he parks his car.

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JAZZ FM REBRANDS
Talking of radio, and bad news for fans of jazz, but good news for fans of, erm, smooth. GMG Radio have announced they are relaunching London’s Jazz FM as Smooth FM. In line with the rebranding of Manchester’s Jazz FM last year, it means the station will be reinvented to include a much wider range of music - and in particular soul and RnB. It seems there just aren’t enough jazz fans out there - either that, or there just aren’t enough advertisers interested in jazz fans, because, as GMG boss John Myers pointed out when justifying the rebrand: “It's a sad fact of life that Jazz FM has never made a profit in its 15 years of existence”. In a bid to placate jazz types the station remains commited to its nighttime jazz programming and has said it will be launching a 24/7 jazz music stream on its website.

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MUSIC WEEK AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
More awards incoming. The Music Week Awards take place on 3 Mar and the nominations for the judged awards were announced yesterday - shortlists for the reader voted awards will be announced later this week. Judged shortlists run thus:

Best Digital Music Service sponsored by Sonopress: 3, AOL Music, Karmadownload.com, Napster, Urban Digital Vending by Inspired Broadcast Networks, Vital PIAS

Best Radio Station sponsored by PPL: Clyde 1, 107.6 Juice FM, Kerrang! 105.2, Radio City 96.7, XFM

Best Music Exploitation: ‘Thunderbirds’ by Busted in the ‘Thunderbirds’ film; ‘Oh, 2 Be A Speaker’ by Fatboy Slim in the O2 ‘Speakers’ ad; ‘Stop’ by Jamelia in the ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’ film; ‘You’ll Be Under My Wheels’ by Prodigy in the BMW 1 Series ad; ‘Confusion’ by The Zutons in the Peugeot ‘Shame’ ad

Producer of the Year sponsored by Sanctuary Studios: Jim Abiss for Kasabian - ‘Kasabian’, Andy Green for Keane - ‘Hopes & Fears’, Brian Higgins/Xenomania for Girls Aloud - ‘What Will The Neighbours Say’, Tore Johansson for ‘Franz Ferdinand’ - Franz Ferdinand, Mike Skinner for The Streets - ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’

Best PR Campaign: Duff Battye of Duff Press for Velvet Revolver, Murray Chalmers of Parlophone for Jamelia, Rachel Hendry of Darling Dept for The Killers, Matthew Rankin of Atlantic Records for Brian Wilson, Sundraj Sreenivasan of Polydor for Scissor Sisters

Best Catalogue Marketing Campaign: Chris Birrell of Demon Music Group for ‘The Very Best of Brazil’, Daryl Easlea of Universal Music UK for ‘The Summer of Motown’, Emma Greengrass of Big Brother Recordings for ‘Oasis - Definitely Maybe DVD’, Danny Keene of Demon Music Group for ‘Ian Dury Re-issues’, John Reed of Sanctuary for The Kinks - ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’

Best TV Concept Marketing Campaign: Grainne Devine Gill of Sony BMG for Ultimate Dirty Dancing, Karen Meekings and Eddie Ruffett of UMTV for Pop Party 2, Marium Raja of Def Jam / Mercury for Westwood, Catrin Thomas of EMI Virgin for The Best Worship Songs Ever

Best International Marketing Campaign sponsored by Interoute: Mirelle Davis & Caroline Butler of Domino Records and Brian Cellar of Epic US for Franz Ferdinand, Chris Dwyer and Alex Myers of Universal for Keane, Chris Dwyer and Rob Fleming of Universal for U2, Carole MacDonald and Mike Allen of EMI for Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits, Sian Thomas of Universal for Jamie Cullum

Best UK Marketing Campaign sponsored by Yahoo! Launch: Orla Lee of Polydor for Scissor Sisters, Mark Mitchell of King Harvest and Bart McDonagh of Domino for Franz Ferdinand, Jo Power of Sony BMG for Kasabian, Siona Ryan of Parallel Lines for The Killers, Poppy Stanton of Polydor for Girls Aloud, Jon Turner and Alex Waldron of Island for Keane

More on all that at http://www.musicweekawards.com. In related news, the winners of Music Week’s Market Share Awards for 2005 were presented earlier this week, winners as follows:

Top Singles Company
1st BMG
2nd Universal / Polydor
3rd Universal / Island

Top Compilations Company
1st UMTV
2nd EMI / Virgin
3rd BMG

Top Artist Albums Company
1st BMG
2nd Polydor
3rd Sony

Best Independent Label
1st Ministry of Sound
2nd Dramatico
3rd XL Recordings

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TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR URBAN MUSIC AWARDS
More awards news, and the UK Celebration Of Urban Music awards show takes place at the Hammersmith Palais on 23 Feb with Jamelia, Lemar, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Estelle, Shystie and Jay Sean all up for awards. The Black Music Congress, who run regular events and programmes for anyone involved or interested in black music, have a number of tickets for the event - for details on how to get on their list email editor@britishblackmusic.com with ‘celebration of urban music’ in the subject line.

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NAPSTER HACK DOING THE ROUNDS
The geek blogs have been busy in the last few days with talk about a way of hacking the Napster download platform giving you permanent copies of tracks which, according the the Napster model, you should only have access to while you’re paying to subscribe.

The hack, using a tool in the Winamp software, enables you to turn the download platform’s encrypted music files into normal WAV files, which can then be burned to CD or converted to MP3. Although there is a little loss in sound quality, it means Napster subscribers with a bit of time on their hands can get permanent access to the download platform’s extensive music libraries. The hack isn’t, actually, a new one and it is quite complicated to use. However a step by step guide to hacking Napster files in this way has begun to circulate online, hence the new interest in the method.

Needless to say, Napster played down the risk of the hack. A spokesman told reporters: "It's not a new thing. We do all we can to make our system as secure as possible for people who want to pay for music." She’s right of course and the hack shouldn’t be a major revelation to label execs, though some at the top of the majors are said to be concerned the hack is getting so much coverage again.

Most DRM systems, of course, fail to stop music fans plugging their PC soundcards into an amp and re-recording tracks onto DAT or mini-disk. The logic has always been that if DRM hacks are even just a bit complicated, or require music fans to invest in a bit of expensive kit, then the chances are most people won’t try them. And, as yet, that theory has generally proved to be true.

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MADONNA’S NEXT ALBUM TO BE ROCKIER
Rumour has it Madonna’s next album will be more rock influenced. The Sun quotes a source who says: "Living in Britain she has become a real fan of Franz Ferdinand and loves the kitschy sound of The Darkness. She is close to finishing the new album and there is a real hard rock feel to it."

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LOUIS TELLS GIRLS ALOUD TO PUT ON SOME WEIGHT
Here’s a fun one - Louis Walsh has told Girls Aloud too put on some weight. Having asked them to diet last year he now fears they have gone to far. ITV.com report Mr Walsh as saying: "I'm worried they look too skinny now. The problem is everyone's telling them how good they look."

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