CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 13th April

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- IFPI launch 963 new file-sharing actions
- New concerns over revamped UK music charts
- Stepfather takes to the stand: Jacko trial update
- Universal win appeal over Hallyday victory
- Album Review: Various Artists - Klubb Jazz 6
- Proud and Levis to stage breaking bands exhibition
- MusicNet acquired by private investment firm
- Razorlight singer cuts it fine
- Snoop wants to collaborate with Franz Wotsit
- RIAA confirm they will target college filesharers
- Unions may strike over BBC cuts
- Live Review: 36 Crazyfists Live At The Astoria
- Faithless to release greatest hits
- Tokyo Dragons tour
- Additions to Wireless festival
- Five get rights to screen MTV awards
- Single Review: Interpol - C'mere
- Not all that jazz
- Britney admits she's not just getting chubby

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THE TOP BIT>>

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IFPI LAUNCH 963 NEW FILE-SHARING ACTIONS
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry yesterday announced that 963 new lawsuits had been issued against suspected illegal file-sharers around the world. The latest legal campaign, the biggest round of anti-download litigation outside the US, will target individuals in 11 countries across Europe and Asia. For several of those countries, including The Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Iceland and Japan, it is the first time legal action has been taken against individual file sharers.

Announcing the latest round of lawsuits, IFPI President John Kennedy told reporters: "Today, people across Europe can be in no doubt that uploading copyrighted music on to file-sharing networks is against the law, affects jobs, investment in music and livelihoods, and carries the risk of financial penalties. We have spent two years raising public awareness of this, and ignorance really is no longer an excuse."

Here in the UK, the BPI is launching new litigation against 33 suspected filesharers, bringing the total number of anti-downloading lawsuits undertaken by the trade body to 90. All of the original 26 filesharers targeted by lawsuits last Oct have now reached a settlement paying, between them, over £50,000 in compensation. The contact information of the 31 people targeted last month has been secured from the relevant internet service providers meaning individual legal letters will now be sent. Meanwhile the industry organisation will now seek to secure the contact information of the 33 people added to their 'wanted' list yesterday.

Announcing the latest lawsuits, BPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor told CMU: "We have warned people time and again that unauthorised filesharing is against the law. Anyone who is engaged in this activity faces having to pay thousands of pounds in compensation. It's now easy to get music online legally. We will maintain our campaign until the message gets across."

Globally, 11,552 people have been targeted with anti-downloading lawsuits so far, though over 9000 of those have been initiated by the Recording Industry Association of America, who have been much more proactive in this area. We wouldn't want to bore you on this cloudy Wednesday morning with CMU's opinion on all this ongoing litigation - but if you're interested check the article in the Always Read The Label section of the CMU website - http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

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NEW CONCERNS OVER REVAMPED UK MUSIC CHARTS
Don't you just hate the music charts and everyone involved in making them? No? Well, we think the music charts are just ace, but it seems to be the fashion to knock them at the moment - well, to knock the incoming combined CD / download sales singles chart anyway. The planned singles chart revamp came in for some new criticism yesterday.

As previously reported, key players in the UK independent sector have already criticised the new chart over concerns that iTunes' dominance in the digital music sector will skew overall sales figures, and therefore chart positions, because certain indie labels still haven't managed to get their artists stocked by the Apple download platform.

But yesterday criticism was based around concerns that that dodgy marketing racket called 'buy-back' will be much easier once download stats are incorporated into the charts. Buy-back, of course, is when a record label buys copies of its own single release to boost its chart position, with the hope that a higher position in the singles chart will aid more profitable album sales. Chart bosses have always frowned upon and endeavoured to prevent buy-back campaigns, but some argue the technique was never widely used because organising a buy-back campaign with physical CDs is both logistically complicated and expensive.

But in the digital domain, some argue, buy-back is much easier to do. A few thousand extra sales can push a single from a Top 20 position up to a Top 10 position. With download tracks retailing at 79p-99p it wouldn't too expensive to do just that.

Some in the independent sector say they are not confident the Official Chart Company, who compile the chart, have done enough to stop that happening. Guy Holmes, chairman of Gut Records, told the BBC that he knew of two labels planning on instigating a buy-back campaign this week just to demonstrate to chart bosses how easily it can be done. Holmes: "The people who have instigated the chart have failed dismally in their responsibilities to make and keep our charts secure and to stop people with large amounts of money being able to take advantage of it. It's not a slight problem - it's a huge problem. I know of two different labels who are considering buying records online because they believe it's the only way they can teach the chart people that the security of the chart is no longer there".

However, Omar Maskatiya, Charts Director at the Official UK Charts Company, said he was confident that the new chart was sufficiently secure, and warned that any label found to instigating a buy-back campaign, for whatever reason, faced being banned from the charts: "We will treat hyping in the digital world in exactly the same way as we do for physical formats. We're pretty confident on the security front and obviously haven't taken that issue lightly." The OCC say that they will be tracking for any bulk purchase of individual tracks on one credit card and mobile phone, adding that they have been running the download only chart for eight months now and know how to deal with download platform data.

All in all, it will be interesting to see how things work out this weekend.

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STEPFATHER TAKES TO THE STAND: JACKO TRIAL UPDATE
The stepfather of Michael Jackson's current accuser took the to witness stand yesterday to tell the court how his family was bribed and later harassed into rebutting accusations made against Michael Jackson following the screening of Martin Bashir's documentary on the singer.

Jay Jackson (yep, the Arvizo family are now actually the Jackson family) told the court that one of Jacko's associates offered to give Gavin Arvizo and his siblings a house and college education if they agreed to take part in the PR exercise designed to overcome the embarrassments created by Bashir's ITV show. During that time they would receive regular phone calls from Jacko's people, sometimes those calls would come as often as every 15 minutes.

Asked as to what effect all this had on his wife, Gavin Arvizo's mother, Jay Jackson said: "[She] was somewhat emotional. She was crying and she was sitting in the closet having these conversations with [the Jackson aide]."

Mrs Arvizo and her children did eventually go to Neverland to make a video defending Jackson. It was during that visit that the family claim they were held hostage by Jackson's people who, they allege, would not let them leave until the video was made. The video in question was never broadcast, although it has been shown to the court.

In a bid to quash Jacko's defence team's attempts to portray the Arvizo family as money grabbers out to cash in from their relationship with the singer, prosecution lawyers asked Jay Jackson about the media interest in Gavin after the Bashir documentary aired. He said Mrs Arvizo was approached by a number of British newspaper offering sizable sums of money for her family's story. The Arvizos, Jay Jackson was keen to point out, turned down all those offers.

Jay Jackson is due to give more evidence when the case continues later today.

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UNIVERSAL WIN APPEAL OVER HALLYDAY VICTORY
A Parisian appeals court has rejected an earlier court ruling which said that Universal Music should give back French rock singer Johnny Hallyday all the rights to his past recordings. The original court ruling followed allegations made by Hallyday that at the start of his career the record label forced him into contracts that meant he was then indebted to them financially, enabling them to force him into future projects and contracts. The courts gave Hallyday back the rights to his music and ordered an independent assessor to look into the various contracts that had been drawn up between Universal and the singer.

But yesterday a court in Paris overturned that decision after Universal appealed, claiming that it was setting a dangerous precedent for the courts to allow recording artists to undo past contracts once they were rich and famous. Doing so, they argued, could affect the number of companies and individuals willing to invest money in breaking talent.

In overturning the decision the courts forced Hallyday to stick to his existing contract with Universal which runs until the end of the year. He will have to produce one more album for the label, and will not be able to release another record with a different label until 2007. The courts said that while Hallyday's back catalogue will stay with Universal, he could record and release new versions of those tracks after 2007, but that a fee would have to be paid to Universal to do so.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Klubb Jazz 6 (Slip N Slide)
My swiss cheesed brain told me that Klubb Jazz 5 was bland, so I went through something of an internal debate before even spinning this disc. It's a lucky thing I decided to have a listen, because it's actually rather good. From the top... Dalminjo's 'Bossa Note' eases us in smoothly with its laid back house and is followed by Jafrosax's 'In The Morning', an awesome track with Duplaix on vocal duty. Vega vs. the Truby Trio is all good in 'Alegre' and Fat Jon's 'Everywhere' (Swell rework) is a bit of a classic if only because of that piano bit. Belezamusica 's 'Running Away' is a soul jazz classic with Haji on remix duties, and 'SupraSumo' by Sumo, still doing the rounds on dancefloors all over town, is also pretty damn good. 'Dingo' by Tiger Stripes is a real thumper, contrasting with 'Underworld' by Praful which is kind of introspective, and Yah Yah by Soul Magic which is just a little too sticky. 'Whatever' by Phunk Nouveau is also a bit off kilter, but if you want to get some jazzy house in your life, there's a lovingly picked selection here. PV
Release date: 4 Apr
Press contact: Slip N slide IH [All]

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PROUD AND LEVIS TO STAGE BREAKING BANDS EXHIBITION
London's Proud Galleries are to host a photography exhibition as part of a new music strand being staged by Levi's called One To Watch. The jeans brand have been staging a number of gigs around the UK involving breaking artists like Razorlight, The Departure and Death From Above 1979. A snapper has been in the wings at those gigs and the exhibition will include the pictures he took. Also on show will be a collection of photos taken by a photographer who joined Kaiser Chiefs and The Bravery on tour, plus pictures submitted by amateur photographers around the country who are vying for the role of official photographer for the One To Watch season. It all kicks off on 18 Jun at Proud's Camden gallery. Press info from Idea Generation PR.

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MUSICNET ACQUIRED BY PRIVATE INVESTMENT FIRM
The digital music backend provider MusicNet, the main competitor of OD2/Loudeye and the company who will provide the backend to HMV's new download platform, has been sold to a New York based private equity firm called Baker Capital. No word on the price paid for the firm, though investment types reckon it will be close to the $36 million RealNetworks paid for a company called Listen.com back in Aug 2003.

The company's new owners told reporters that MusicNet would now be "capitalised with the funds necessary to expand the scale of its operations, increase the breadth of its digital content offerings and launch its growing list of marquee global distribution partners." So now you know.

MusicNet began in 1999 as a joint venture between EMI, Bertlesmann, Time Warner and Real Networks (these were the days when we all assumed the record labels and not Steve Jobs would lead the digital music revolution). The original plan was to launch an iTunes-esque consumer facing download platform, but as the IT players started to dominate, the venture quickly moved into providing back end services to consumer brands wanting to enter the download space.

No real word on what the change in ownership will mean for MusicNet, though day to day operations should continue unchanged for the time being, with Alan McGlade staying on as CEO.

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RAZORLIGHT SINGER CUTS IT FINE
Razorlight's Johnny Borrell only just made it to the US in time for the kick off of the band's 21 date US college tour with Muse. The singer had mislaid his passport and visa and had to stay behind in the UK waiting for replacements whilst band mates flew to Miami where the concert was to take place. Borrell flew in merely hours before the gig at Boca Raton was due to begin, making it with moments to spare thanks to a special dispensation by customs and police allowing him to be picked up as quickly as possible. Sadly, Borrell's birthday present, a brand new cricket bat, was lost by US immigration.

Despite the cricket bat tragedy, Borrell is positive about the tour, telling NME: "I'm very much looking forward to going to America this time. We're doing a lot of the South which I haven't seen, I'm just looking forward to being out there."

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SNOOP WANTS TO COLLABORATE WITH FRANZ WOTSIT
Snoop Dog has allegedly expressed an interest in working with Franz Ferdinand, unless there's another band who did a song called 'Take Me Out'. Playlouder.com reported the rap star as saying: "I'm working on an album that I plan to do with a lot of European artists. I wanna do something with the people that sang 'Take Me Out'."

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RIAA CONFIRM THEY WILL TARGET COLLEGE FILESHARERS
The Recording Industry Association of America has formally confirmed those reports that it will be specifically targeting college students in the next stage of its litigation campaign against illegal filesharers. As previously reported, the RIAA is concerned about the use of the high-speed internet network internet2 for the transfer of copyrighted music and video files - the network is designed for transferring academic files but those naughty students have been using it to speed up illegal music exchange. 405 lawsuits are expected to be issued against students at 18 different colleges. Confirming that action RIAA boss Cary Sherman told reporters: "We simply cannot allow internet2 to become a zone of lawlessness".

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UNIONS MAY STRIKE OVER BBC CUTS
Unions at the BBC are to ballot members over proposed strike action in response to the 4000 job cuts that have been proposed by Corporation bosses. The decision to proceed with the strike ballot followed a three hour meeting between unions and the Beeb's director general Mark Thompson. The three main unions represented within the BBC - BECTU, Amicus and the National Union of Journalists - say they are proceeding with strike plans because Thompson would not meet their demand of no compulsory redundancies.

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LIVE REVIEW: 36 Crazyfists live at The Astoria, London 8 Apr
Bands like 36 Crazyfists creep out of the woodwork. You ask a Kerrang-reading 15 year old who his/her favourite band is, and they might say Marilyn Manson, Slipknot or My Chemical Romance. But ask for second, third and fourth favourite bands, and you will eventually arrive at 36 Crazyfists. They'll never be the first band to spring to mind, but when the Alaskan four-piece put a gig on in the UK capital the teenagers are piled high. And they all know the words. So with their ever positive bleach haired front-man Brock, the 36CF storm through a set of tracks from their two highly successful metal albums, the debut 'Bitterness The Star', and roaring follow up, 'A Snow Capped Romance'. As well as old anthems the band debuted a few numbers from their as yet uncompleted third album. The band's big strength is that they aren't pushing boundaries of form or style. They aren't saying anything new or shocking. They're a solid heavy metal band who look fucking great and can rock the shit out of 1,200 kids who have seen the likes of Killswitch Engage and Mastadon. And for this reason they'll be around long enough to be invited onto The Best Heavy Metal Albums of All Time in the year 2038. And maybe even have one of their own on there. JG

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FAITHLESS TO RELEASE GREATEST HITS
The ever marvellous Faithless are to release a greatest hits album, to be titled 'Forever Faithless', which is scheduled for release on May 16. The release of the long player marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worlds' bestest dance acts.

The tracklisting is as follows:

Insomnia
Mass Destruction
God Is A DJ
Don't Leave
Muhammed Ali
We Come One
Reverence
Salva Mea
One Step Too Far (featuring Dido)
Bring My Family Back
Miss You Less, See You More
Tarantula
Fatty Boo
Reasons featuring Ian Dury
Why Go? Featuring Estelle
I Want More

Faithless will also start a tour (Hurrah!) in April. Dates as follows:

22 Apr: Manchester MEN arena
23 Apr: Doncaster Dome
24 Apr: Newcastle Arena
26 Apr: Birmingham NIA
28 Apr: Plymouth Pavilions
29 Apr: London Alexandra Palace
30 Apr: London Alexandra Palace

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TOKYO DRAGONS TOUR
And talking of tours, Tokyo Dragons, currently on tour supporting Do Me Bad Things, embark on their first UK headline in late Apr and May:

22 Apr: Peterborough, Metropolis Lounge
23 Apr: Hull, Adelphi
25 Apr: Wolverhampton, Little Civic
26 Apr: Liverpool, Barfly
27 Apr: Newcastle, The Archer
28 Apr: Derby, Victoria Inn
29 Apr: Bristol, Louisiana
30 Apr: Coventry, Colosseum
7 May: Bedford, Esquires

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ADDITIONS TO WIRELESS FESTIVAL
Moby, Fischerspooner, Death In Vegas, Hard Fi, James Blunt, The Others and The Mitchell Brothers are amongst the latest artists to be added to the line up for the O2 Music Wireless Festival 2005. More acts are expected to be announced soon for the event, which takes place in London's Hyde Park next month.
The updated line up looks like this:

24th Jun:
New Order
Moby
The Bravery
Graham Coxon
Dresden Dolls.
On The Xfm Stage: The Dears, Fischerspooner, Hard Fi, Rilo Kiley.

25 Jun
Basement Jaxx
Roots Manuva
Lcd Soundsystem
Stereo Mc's
The Mitchell Brothers
On The Xfm Stage: Mylo, Death In Vegas.

29 Jun
Keane
Supergrass
Rufus Wainwright
On The Xfm Stage: Secret Machines, Brendan Benson, James Blunt

30 Jun
Kasabian
The Others
On The Xfm Stage: Soulwax, Radio Soulwax Presents 2manydjs, Ladytron.

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FIVE GET RIGHTS TO SCREEN MTV AWARDS
Channel 5, or should I say 'Five', have won the rights to broadcast the extended highlights of the MTV Europe Music Awards, a show that has been aired by Channel 4 in recent years. In a two-year deal Five will broadcast all the UK terrestrial coverage of MTV's annual pan-European awards event, as well as coverage of its US equivalent, the Video Music Awards, and MTV's annual movie awards event. The next MTV Europe Music Awards will take place in Lisbon in Nov.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Interpol - C'Mere (Matador)
Interpol are one of those bands I've been in two minds about. They've always been suspiciously stylish and a bit too in hoc to their heroes Joy Division and New Order. But still they're undeniably enigmatic and let's not forget that even before Franz Ferdinand had conquered charts and minds, Interpol were probably the first of the new generation of post-punk bands to break through. They know how to crank out a great tune too. This third single from the band's album 'Antics' nags away very effectively with its dark hued guitar sounds. On the B-sides each band member has a turn at remixing one of the tracks from the album, which makes for some interesting listening. JW
Release date: 11 Apr
Press contact: Matador IH

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NOT ALL THAT JAZZ
Alice Cooper, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Tori Amos, Lisa Stansfield and Crosby Stills & Nash are among the stars expected to appear at the, erm, Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in Jul. In fact, contemporary music is heavily represented, with Garbage, Velvet Revolver, Kasabian, Queens of the Stone Age, Lauryn Hill and Craig David also scheduled to perform gigs at the 39th annual event.

Soul and Blues will be featured with performances from BB King and Solomon Burke, and a tribute to the Stax soul label with Isaac Hayes and Booker T & The MGs. Ibrahim Ferrer will represent the Latin element. Seventy nine year old pianist Oscar Peterson is the biggest name from the jazz world, but festival bosses don't seem too concerned about the plethora of other genres represented at the event. A spokesman told reporters: "The jazz festival hasn't been a jazz festival for many, many years. It covers a very, very broad musical spectrum."

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BRITNEY ADMITS SHE'S NOT JUST GETTING CHUBBY
It's about time really. Britney has finally admitted that she's pregnant, after pretending not to be, despite being the owner of a stomach which has been visibly distended for several weeks.

Anyway, the pop princess has sent a message to her fans via the official website. "Dear fans, the time has finally come to share our wonderful news that we are expecting our first child together. There are reports that I was in the hospital this weekend, Kevin and I just want everyone to know that all is well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Love, Britney & Kevin."

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