CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 22nd June

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Notorious BIG murder finally in court
- EMAP take over Scottish Radio Holdings
- Canadian parliament considers anti-file sharing laws
- Harvey says accident wasn't "sinister"
- Ringo Starr won't ever tour with McCartney
- Telewest experiment with web TV
- Mel B won't agree to Live 8 reunion
- Glasto site open
- T In The Park crack down on forged tickets
- Silent disco to go to T In The Park too
- Leeds and Reading increase festival capacity
- Corgan wants to reform Pumpkins
- Korn guitarist does song for Dimebag
- Album Review: Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
- Gallagher says rappers encourage violence
- Radio 1 goes stateside via Sirius
- Beyonce to record single for Pink Panther
- Girl rocker conference welcoming submissions
- Freemantle launch online band competition
- Elton new single release
- TuneTribe launch date update
- Podcast plug in already available for iTunes
- Thompson returns to Cure fold
- Sharon Osbourne helps Tom Cruise
- I'm better than Britney, says Paris



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The mysterious murder of the Notorious BIG is finally in court, albeit through a wrongful death lawsuit that has been filed by the late rapper's family. The legal action claims that LAPD officials covered up a former officer's involvement in the murder of Biggie, real name Christopher Wallace. They also claim that police bosses failed to do anything about their officers moonlighting as security guards for hip hop groups during the mid-nineties - a situation which, allegedly, affected the LAPD's independence in investigating Wallace's shooting.

Wallace was killed on 9 Mar 1997, shot as he drove through LA. The incident came just six months after the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur and both incidents have forever been linked to the ongoing feud between rival hip hop record labels Bad Boy Entertainment and Deathrow Records, and their respective entourages and gang connections.

The family claim that the two labels hired off-duty police officers as bodyguards, and officers working for Deathrow were involved in the Biggie shooting. A popular theory is that one officer in particular, one David Mack, arranged for his college roommate, Amir Muhammad, to kill Wallace following instructions from Deathrow boss Suge Knight. However police have said there has never been enough evidence to pursue that theory, and Wallace's family also recently announced they were dropping their planned litigation specifically against Mack because of evidential problems (a decision possibly linked to reports a key witness to support that theory was backing away from earlier statements).

Nevertheless, Mack's involvement in Wallace's murder is crucial to the current court case. Jurors, who were selected yesterday, will have to decide whether or not there is strong enough evidence to rule that Mack was involved in the killing. If so, they will then be asked to consider if the LAPD or city officials should be held responsible for the off-duty officer's actions. After that they would be asked to assess suitable damages.

It is not clear what the civil case will achieve, or whether criminal proceedings would follow if the Wallace family win (Mack is already in jail following his involvement in a bank robbery). However it should shed some light the somewhat dubious LAPD investigations into the murder, and might give us an insight into the relationships between the police, LA and New York gangs and the hip hop community in the mid-nineties.


Now, I'm pretty sure I remember the management of Scottish Radio Holdings telling us all how much they valued their independence, and how they were planning on resisting attempts by bigger media companies to take them over, despite EMAPs recent takeover offer.

But perhaps I am thinking of a different Scottish Radio Holdings, because the chief executive of this one, David Goode, told reporters yesterday: "Combining Emap's radio business with SRH's network of 22 highly rated stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland will create a strong national radio group with exciting prospects. The Offer delivers significant value for our shareholders, enabling them to realise a premium in cash."

Anyway, EMAP's radio division yesterday secured their acquisition of the Scotland based radio company. They already owned 27% of it (an equity stake they bought of the Scottish Media Group back in Jan 2004), and they will now buy the rest of it, paying just over a penny a share, a deal which values the company at £391 million. The decision by SRH management to accept the acquisition isn't a complete u-turn - their opposition to an EMAP takeover in recent months has been more about agreeing a fair price than any real opposition to becoming part of a bigger radio group.

What the takeover means for SRH's radio stations, in particular Edinburgh's Radio Forth and Glasgow's Radio Clyde, remains to be seen, though EMAP are sure to want to absorb them into its Big City radio network.

It will also be interesting to see what the acquisition does to the radio sector at large. Following the Capital/GWR and EMAP/SRH merger, and the recent acquisition of the Wireless Group by Ulster Television, the other smaller players in the radio space will now have to seriously consider whether they can compete in the radio sector all on their own.

Of particular interest is the Chrysalis Group, who own the Heart, Galaxy and LBC stations. The consensus is that they need to acquire another radio company, or they risk being acquired by another media player, either a media group who currently have no radio assets or a global radio player like Clear Channel. Or, worse still, investment types will force them to sell off each station separately.

Finding someone to acquire might not be as easy as it sounds, even if you can get together the finance to attempt a takeover. The Guardian Media Group have knocked back offers to buy their radio assets, which include Smooth FM and Real Radio, while the Scottish Media Group keep on insisting that Virgin Radio is not for sale. The Guardian (who, admittedly, aren't exactly unbiased on this matter), reckon Chrysalis bosses, who have just issued their third profit warning in a year, need to do something dramatic quickly to avoid losing control of their radio business. The Guardian say some are recommending they sell off their profitable music publishing business to fund an aggressive acquisition push in the radio space.


The Canadian music industry have welcomed proposals by the government there to amend Copyright legislation to cover the illegal sharing of music online. Canadian record labels have so far struggled to pursue illegal down loaders through the courts because judges have said existing copyright law does not give them the power to stop people making their music available via P2P networks, nor the power to stop technology firms making P2P technology available.

The new bill would make it illegal to upload songs into online shared directories - ie directories accessible via P2P networks - unless you are the rights holder of the material. It would also be illegal to tamper with copyright protection technology on CDs. However, the legislation protects the right of consumers to make copies of music for personal use.

Announcing the proposals, Canadian Heritage Minister Liza Frulla told reporters that the bill sends "the message to everybody out there that it's not free because it's on the Internet. The objective is to modernize the Copyright Act in order to be able to clarify the rights of the authors and to include the control over ... making available their material on the Internet."

The bill also looks to protect internet service providers from liability for any copyright violation committed by their customers. ISPs instead would be obligated to undertake a "notice and notice" procedure - alerting customers that a copyright owner has made a complaint against them and telling them to remove copyrighted material or to risk facing a lawsuit - ie a process most ISPs already undertake on a voluntary basis.

Needless to say, frustrated record industry bosses welcomed the new proposals. Graham Henderson, president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, told reporters: "We're flooded with relief. It's now pretty obvious ... the Canadian government intends this activity, uploading, to be illegal. There's now no issue about that."


Brian Harvey (well, strictly, his manager) has said there was "nothing sinister" about the bizarre accident in which he was crushed by his own car at the start of the month. The former East 17 star has been taken off a ventilator, his condition is currently stable, and he is able to talk about the incident. Manager Simon Harrison said "Brian has had a series of recollections, but... it was nothing sinister," but then said that no more could be revealed about the accident just yet, as Harvey already has two exclusive interview deals lined up. Well, fancy that.

Harrison was a little more forthcoming on the singer's state of health and continued: "It is very positive... he is now in a normal ward. He could go home in a week, but it could be up to eight weeks. He is on the road to recovery, but they are long-term healing injuries."


Ringo Starr has told US TV show Access Hollywood that he will never tour with Paul McCartney again. Which isn't much of a surprise, given that the last time they toured together it was 1965.

Anyway, Ringo said "I haven't toured with Paul since '65. We're never going to do it. We are not going to tour together. I go with my band. He goes with his."

He went on: "The blessing of being a musician is you can go until you drop. As long as I can hold those damn sticks, I'll be fine. I might be playing the blues, but I'll be fine."


Telewest is trialing web TV via its Blueyonder broadband platform thingy. The cable company currently has a pilot service offering four channels via your PC - Blueyonder 01 offers highlights from Telewest's own Flextech channels, Broadsports offers, erm, sport, Broadwise offers internet related guides while Broadway has entertainment programme (do you see what they've done there? Clever, clever).

Commenting on the pilot service, Telewest boss Eric Tveter told reporters: "Not only are we developing on-demand services for our digital TV platform, but we're also able to exploit the potential for video content via the internet. Only recently has increasing broadband connection speeds and improvements in encoding technology allowed the continuous streaming of such high quality video."


Will they? Won't they? The possible Spice Girls reunion is getting to be something of a soap opera, with Bob Geldof, apparently, still keen for the girls (ahem) to perform, despite some reports to the contrary.

Anyway, it appears that the spanner in the works is Mel B, who, Geldof says, "has difficulty going back to something she did in the past". He told Channel 4's Richard & Judy that 'Scary' is working in California, but added "I'll call her during the week and if she can't do it, she can't do it." When host Richard Madeley suggested The Spice Girls reform without her, Geldof said "No, it's got to be all or nothing."

We here at CMU are on the edge of our seats. Let's hope they put them, I mean, us, out of our misery soon.


So, we're bracing ourselves for thousands of 'out of office' replies to come bouncing back to the CMU server after we send out today's CMU Daily as the slackers out there bugger off to Glastonbury early. The Glasto site opens at 10am this morning, of course, with people due to arrive on site over the next three days before Coldplay, Ash and Faithless take to the main stage on Friday.

The latest news from the meteorological monkeys suggests the weather won't be quite as heatwave-esque as originally thought - rather it will be mild and generally sunny but with some showers.

Elsewhere in Glasto news, we hear some 200 sets of tickets are yet to be delivered for the festival because the people who bought them failed to provide details of a place where ID could be checked on delivery - one of the conditions of Glasto's super strict ticketing system. Those festival goers will now have to pick up their tickets from a shop in nearby Shepton Mallet.


Talking of strict ticketing conditions, the promoters behind T in the Park have announced that tickets for this year's events will include a unique barcode which will carry personal details about the ticket holder. If those details do not match the ID carried by the festival-goer they will be refused admission.

The move is part of the sold-out festival's attempts to beat ticket touts who sell forged tickets for the popular music event. In a court case against one alleged forger earlier this year the head of security at T in the Park admitted he could not tell the difference between genuine tickets and forgeries. The bar code system should overcome that problem, and as a result festival organisers are telling music fans not to buy tickets from unofficial sources because they are likely to be disappointed when they arrive at the T in the Park site if they do.

T in the Park promoter Geoff Ellis told reporters: "Every year we are contacted by music fans that have bought tickets through touts which have either never turned up or are not genuine and there is nothing we can do to help them. Hopefully this new system will be a deterrent in stopping fans from taking this risk because now they know there's no way they will get into the event without a ticket that is uniquely bar-coded."

The moves by T in the Park mirror those by organisers of the Glastonbury Festival who have introduced a number of measures in recent years to stop ticket touts from not only selling forged tickets, but from bulk buying tickets and selling them on at a profit.


Talking of Glasto and T in the Park, that silent disco thing that will be launched at Glastonbury this weekend is also set to appear at the Scottish rock fest. As previously reported, the silent discos will see revelers provided with headphones so that they can get down to the funky music all night long without disturbing those who live around the festival site which is a great idea, if only for the opportunity of watching spaced out festival-goers coming to terms with a load of people dancing in a silent room.


More festival news, and Mean Fiddler have announced that Leeds City Council's licensing committee have agreed to an increase in capacity at this year's Leeds Festival, meaning an additional 2500 tickets can now be sold for the Friday of the event, and an additional 5000 tickets will be sold for both Saturday and Sunday. The decision follows a similar concession made by Reading licensing authorities to increase the capacity of the other Carling Weekend event - the Reading Festival.

Commenting on the capacity increases, Mean Fiddler man Melvin Benn told reporters: "We are delighted that more music fans over the country can enjoy the Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds Festivals and that both Leeds and Reading Councils have continued to support the live music events in the North and South of the country."


Former Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan has said that he wants to reform the band, who split in 2000 following the release of (maybe not) final album 'Machina'. The singer, whose solo album 'TheFutureEmbrace' was released on Monday, has taken out a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune, saying that his heart remains with this old band.

Corgan wrote "When I played the final Smashing Pumpkins show on the night of December 2, 2000, I walked off the stage believing that I was forever leaving a piece of my life behind. I naively tried to start a new band, but found that my heart wasn't in it. I moved away to pursue a love that I once had but got lost. So I moved back home to heal what was broken in me, and to my surprise I found what I was looking or. I found that my heart is in Chicago, and that my heart is in the Smashing Pumpkins. For a year now I have walked around with a secret, a secret I chose to keep. But now I want you to be among the first to know that I have made plans to renew and revive the Smashing Pumpkins. I want my band back, and my songs, and my dreams. In this desire I feel I have come home again."


Former Korn guitarist, Brian Welch, who quit the band last year to spend more time being a Christian, is to self-release a solo album, and one of the tracks on it is dedicated to murdered Pantera/Damageplan guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott.

Welch wrote on his website: "It is called, "A Letter To Dimebag. It is written in guitar language, and I did it because he used to tell me we needed to put guitar solo's in Korn. So, this song's for him, and to him. It's saying how much I miss him. Even though we weren't too close, his very friendly personality had a great impact on me!"

On the self-release, he continued: "I'm gonna finish my record quick and then sell it on my website. That way, there are no hands on the money that I make, so I can give it back to my people by building something positive, like a skatepark or something."


ALBUM REVIEW: Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar)
Cover versions are often the sign of a barren imagination, and usually appear as nothing more than a near replica of the original version. Okkervil River may have done just this on their new long player, but they offer a spectacular twist upon the subject; using another track as a concept for an entire album. Concept albums are risky projects to undertake in the first instance; usually the whim of an egotistical artist, they alternate between the messy and the masterpiece. This one errs towards the latter, and even so, you couldn't fault the band's ambitions. Loosely based around the track 'Black Sheep Boy' by the under appreciated singer-songwriter Tim Hardin, Will Sheff, the creative force behind Okkervil River, takes the original text, and creates an epic tale of the title character, using the imagery of the Hardin track. Naturally, the album has it's roots in the 60s folk scene that Hardin emerged from, but it retains a contemporary and relevant edge. The album opens, of course, with the title track, a short, modest song about seclusion, then follows with 'For Real', with its guitar stabs of sudden violence and insidious lyrics, which are literally shrieked in the final moments of the track by Sheff, it's a perfect showcase for his song writing talents. The band's talents lie in their more mournful tracks; the likes of 'Get Big' and 'A Stone' move at a funereal pace, and are founded on dark, profound lyrics, but remain completely affecting and poignant. The likes of 'The Latest Toughs' and 'Black' hint at a more alternative rock direction, demonstrating a variety to the band's sound. 'Black Sheep Boy' is an elaborate and intriguing record, well composed and arranged, oozing confidence throughout. The influences of the likes of Big Star, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen are all present, and would appeal to fans of these artists, as well as those yearning for literate, ambitious folk. KW
Release date: 27 Jun
Press contact: In House Press [all]


Noel Gallagher has told Observer Music Monthly that he hates hip-hop because it gives a negative message to fans and encourages violence.

The Oasis man said "I despise hip hop. Loathe it. Eminem is an idiot and I find 50 Cent the most distasteful character I have ever crossed in my life." On the subject of their influence on young people he continued. "I'm not saying they are directly responsible, but that's how you end up with these gangs of youths stabbing people."

Hmm. All well and good, but perhaps he should have a word with his brother, who, as previously reported, told NME a while back that he would rip out Scissor Sisters vocalist Jake Shears' vocal chords because he's rubbish, which sounds like condoning violence to me. Oh, I forgot. The Gallagher brothers aren't speaking at the moment, are they?


Well, Xfm might want to take on BBC Radio 1 as the UK's biggest music station, but Radio 1 are seemingly interested in becoming America's favourite. The BBC music station have confirmed that they have done a deal with US satellite radio station Sirius which will see their output broadcast across America too. The American service will come with a time delay so that the Breakfast Show airs at breakfast time, and so on. Radio 1 will arrive on the Sirius network in late Summer.


Beyonce Knowles has told MTV she is to record a single from the new Pink Panther movie starring Steve Martin. The singer appears in the film as Xania, a pop star and murder suspect.

Knowles also hopes to record music for another movie - 'Dreamgirls' - which she will begin filming with Usher and 'Ray' star Jamie Foxx at the end of the year. As previously reported, Beyonce will play the leader of a trio of female singers, in the film, which is based on the hit Broadway musical. She told MTV: "I grew up listening to the soundtrack and hearing about that play. I wish I could have seen it in the flesh, but they're redoing it, and I'm so excited. For the first time, I feel that I'm going to be challenged."


One for all the girl-rockers out there. Organisers of an American rock convention dedicated to female musical talent have confirmed some details about their 2005 event, and are inviting female artists to put themselves forward to play at the event.

Run by ROCKRGRL magazine, and called the ROCKRGRL Music Conference, the whole thing takes place in Seattle from 10 -12 Mar. Guest speakers already confirmed include: songwriter Sue Ennis, Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano, Jennifer Finch (L7, the Shocker), KIIS-FM (Los Angeles) Music Director Julie Pilat, Derek Sivers of CD Baby, Indiegrrl founder Holly Figueroa and Daisy Rock Girl Guitars founder Tish Ciravolo, plus, giving the keynote speech, punk icon Patti Smith.

Artists interested in getting involved (and that can be solo female artists, or bands with at least one female member) need to put in an application before 1 Jul - full details at


We seem to be entering the age of the online battle of the bands, with several websites springing up in the last year which enable unsigned bands to upload their music to a central server on the off chance they can build an online fan base and may be even attract some A&R interest. It's basically the Peoplesound concept of old, though some of the more interesting sites include voting mechanisms which can secure certain bands priority positioning if their music proves popular with the wider community (or if they manage to persuade enough friends to infiltrate the system and vote for them).

The latest of these is reportedly being set up by Freemantle Media and will be built around the American Idol brand. To be called American Idol Underground, wannabe bands will be able to upload their music to a central site. They'll have to pay $50 for the privilege but they'll get a guaranteed 200 plays on the streamed radio station run on the American Idol Underground website, and if they get the approval of other community members and a panel of 'celebrity judges' they will win stuff - probably cash and studio time.

No word yet on whether the plan is to expand the project globally, or whether sister company SonyBMG will get in on the act if any real commercial talent rises through the ranks.


Elton John has revealed details of his new single, 'Electricity', which is taken from the Billy Elliott musical and is set for release on 11 Jul. The CD will also feature oldie 'Bite Your Lip' and a live version of 'Your Song' recorded in Atlanta last November.


Yeah, we were a bit too eager when we said independent download site TuneTribe would be officially launching on 28 Jun. We meant, of course, 28 Jul. But still, there's plenty of cool stuff up on their site already, in particular loads of fabulous Loose Cannons tracks that you really ought to all buy - more at


Talking of interesting new online gubbins - back to the wonderful world of podcasting. And a company called BadFruit has launched an iTunes plug in which means users can access podcasts directly via their media player, a month ahead of an official iTunes re-release which will reportedly include podcasting capabilities. The plug in is called, of course, BadApple.

Rumours abound as to who is behind BadFruit, which some reckoning it might be Michael Robertson, the man behind the original website. Speculation also as to why a company would go to the effort of launching such a plug in when the official version of iTunes will be getting the same functionality within weeks, especially when doing so might involve a certain level of iTunes hacking that could get Apple's legal team on your case.

BadFruit seem to justify their actions by suggesting that the bigger technology players will be very selective in what kind of podcasts their players will list. The company's FAQs page explains: "Podcasts are significant because they offer a wide-range of diverse topics and ideas, not just those endorsed by one company. BadApple gives you access to all podcasts, - even ones which Apple might disagree with and never list in iTunes software."


More comings and goings in The Cure camp. Following the news last month that guitarist Perry Bamonte and keyboard player Roger O'Donnell had been dropped, the band have now confirmed that former guitarist Porl Thompson will be back for the summer tour, with the new line up making its debut at this year's Benicassim Festival in Spain on 5 Aug.

A statement on The Cure's official website says: "We are delighted to announce the return of guitarist Porl Thompson for The Cure shows this summer! This will be Porl's third time in the band - he first played from 1976 to 1978, and then again from 1983 to 1993 and it's a real pleasure to have him back once more!"


It's possible he's big enough and rich enough to not to need any help, but Sharon Osbourne has apparently offered to help Tom Cruise sue the TV crew who squirted him with water at the War Of The Worlds premiere on Sunday night. Sharon was subject to the same prank played by Channel 4 show 'Balls Of Steel' a few weeks ago, and has contacted Cruise's lawyers to offer the paperwork from her incident.

Sharon did, however, get more tangible revenge when she was attacked, by throwing a bucket of water over the culprit. Of the incident, she told reporters: "I was really mortified that one adult could do that to another. I was totally stunned."


Paris Hilton has said that she will be a "way better mother" than Britney, according to The Daily Star. Paris, who is rumoured to be pregnant, thinks looking after her chihuahua Tinkerbell has given her an excellent grounding in how to look after a child. She's right of course. They train nannies that way, don't they?

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