CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 29th July

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Sony cuts profit projections after poor first quarter
- So, what exactly is wrong with payola?
- IFPI reach anti-piracy agreement with Russian CD manufacturer
- Kelly asks for extension to prepare for underage sex trial
- Single review: Trabant - Nasty Boy
- Phil Collins gets his own back on Gallaghers
- Panasonic launch download platform
- Moby praises Eminem
- Fretwell instore at Apple
- McCready released from hospital
- EP review: The B-52's - Whammy Remix
- Flowers says he's learning from U2
- Best stuff this weekend?
- Stevens samples Cure
- Wyclef talks up mash ups
- Strokes announce tour details
- Album review: Clor - Clor
- AOL launch free MP3 service
- Doherty assault allegations shocker
- Radio 1 launch podcasts
- Ennio Morricone new compilation
- No black stuff at Manson wedding
- Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party threaten Christmas single
- Atomic Kitten threaten new album

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SONY CUTS PROFIT PROJECTIONS AFTER POOR FIRST QUARTER
The Sony top guard will presumably be looking forward to getting out of the office this afternoon - it hasn't been the greatest week after all.

First up music division SonyBMG had to admit to all those dodgy payola type practices and promise to pay a $10 million fine to shut up New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. And then parent company Sony Corp reported a sizable loss for the first quarter of its current financial year, forcing it to slash its profit projections for the year by a massive 81%, from $714 million to $89.3 million.

Though to be fair to the guys at SonyBMG, while they may have caused some PR problems for the parent company this week, it is the group's electronics division that is causing the biggest financial problems - they reported a $65.2 million loss for the first quarter, compared with a $207.4 million profit last year. Sony Electronics is going to have to pull something clever out of the hat to overcome its recent sales dive because the rest of the Sony group is going to struggle to prop it up for too long.

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SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS WRONG WITH PAYOLA?
Talking about payola and all that nonsense, several more pieces in the US press this week asking why Eliot Spitzer should pick out the bribing of radio bosses by record labels as being so bad in a world where publicists and lobbyists are constantly bribing their way into media coverage and the likes.

Spitzer's payola mission, of course, isn't just targeting those who hand over hard cash for airtime, but also those who use the supply of premium competition prizes or expensive freebies for programming chiefs. That, some argue, is what everyone working in PR does. And why, they add, is bribing your way into airtime any different than buying racking in record shops or support slots on tours, or getting on the cover of magazines by offering big competition prizes - all of which are commonplace in the music and other sectors?

Anyway, here's what columnist Daniel Goss has to say about the matter in an article on the Slate.com website: "In the half-century since the original payola scandals, the music industry, the broader commercial culture, and consumer expectations have evolved to the point where the payola laws seem outmoded and backward-looking. Fifty years ago, the prospect of a big record company and a big radio station owner conspiring to fix what got played could have threatened an important component of the economy and actually stifled musical creativity. But not today. If no one likes the music, it won't last, and the stations themselves will suffer. As Mel Karmazin, the former head of Infinity Broadcasting and CBS used to note, every radio comes equipped with an on/off switch."

Interesting stuff - full article is at: http://www.slate.com/id/2123483/nav/tap1/

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IFPI REACH ANTI-PIRACY AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIAN CD MANUFACTURER
Surely it's time for a little bit of music piracy news? Everyone loves music piracy news, especially on Friday morning. Anyway, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has reached an agreement with the largest optical disc manufacturer in Russia which they hope will help in the ongoing fight against CD piracy in Eastern Europe.

The agreement with the Ural Electronic Plant will mean that the IFPI will be able to monitor the installation of any new equipment at the CD manufacturing factory, and monitor the CD manufacture that goes on there. Management at the plant also promise to consult the IFPI should they ever be asked to manufacture CDs of dubious origins.

As previously reported, Russia is the world's second biggest culprit in non-online music piracy, and by tackling the problem at the country's manufacturing plants industry chiefs hope they can start to have an impact on the biggest sources of pirated CDs. The manufacturers in turn hope that by complying with the IFPI they will secure more business from outside Russia.

Commenting on the agreement, Lauri Rechardt, IFPI Director of Litigation and Licensing told CMU: "We hope that this agreement will facilitate the growth of the legitimate music market in Russia. The UEP's commitment to take these measures to ensure the legality of the products it manufactures is an important step in the right direction."

Oksana Bozehnok, spokeswoman for the UEP added: "The agreement will promote the development of a legitimate manufacturing source for optical discs within the Russian Federation." Bosehnok expressed the hope that other Russian optical disc manufacturers will follow UEP's example.

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KELLY ASKS FOR EXTENSION TO PREPARE FOR UNDERAGE SEX TRIAL
R Kelly has asked a Chicago judge for more time to prepare to fight that trial over allegations he had sex with an underage girl. Obviously Kelly's lawyers haven't had much time to prepare for the trial, these allegations having only been around for, erm, flippin years (as long as I can remember). Kelly and his legal team arrived at court yesterday (Kelly looking really quite battered and bruised - apparently he'd played a rough game of basketball with friends) to ask for the extension. Judge Vincent Gaughan gave the R&B star until 2 Sep to prepare.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Trabant - Nasty Boy (Southern Fried)
For a country with such a small population, Iceland has had a disproportional influence on the music scene. The latest act to emerge from there, Trabant, sound nothing like Reykjavik's most famous daughter Bjork. The eclectic five-piece are composed of a rap producer, a death metal guru, a DJ, a rockabilly preacher and a former boy band star. They sound like an electro Prince gone Spinal Tap. 'Nasty Boy' has sleazy synths, ridiculous, over the top lyrics and a banging techno pop tune. The band's debut album 'Moment of Truth' was released back in 2001 and the follow up 'Emotional' will arrive in September; it should make for interesting listening. This is nasty but definitely nice too. JW
Release date: 25 Jul
Press contact: Darling [all]

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PHIL COLLINS GETS HIS OWN BACK ON GALLAGHERS
Phil Collins has appeared on pet-hate themed TV show Room 101 and apparently named Liam and Noel Gallagher whilst he was on it. The former Genesis star has been on the receiving end of a fair amount of insults from the Oasis boys; most recently Noel urged the British public to vote Labour in May's general election because "If the Tories get in, Phil Collins is threatening to come back and live here."

Collins said: "Noel calls me the anti-Christ. It frustrates me but who cares? I'm so flattered the Gallaghers have spent a lot of time thinking about me. I've repaid the compliment. I've just done the TV show Room 101 and they're both in it." Can't honestly say I blame him. But he ought to watch out if I ever get to go on that programme.

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PANASONIC LAUNCH DOWNLOAD PLATFORM
Now this is interesting, a technology company launching their own download platform to kick start sales of their digital music players - why's no one thought of that before?

Panasonic have teamed up with digital music company Loudeye to launch its own download platform in the UK. The new service coincides with the launch of a new line of Panasonic MP3 players, and presumably aims to demonstrate that consumers who buy digital music players other than Apple's iPod are still able to download large amounts of music. At launch Panasonic will offer discounts and other giveaways in a bid to promote both its download platform and MP3 players.

Announcing the new download service, Panasonic Brand Communication Manager John Dixon told reporters: "This is a tremendous new development we are offering our customers, and we were determined to offer them the very best service available. Loudeye was the natural choice for this collaboration."

Philip Shepherd, Strategic Partnerships boss at Loudeye, added: "This service will offer the first complete end-to-end service powered by Loudeye enabling consumers to buy both hardware and legitimate downloads from the same site."

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MOBY PRAISES EMINEM
Moby has been praising Eminem for his politically motivated output, despite the fact that he and the hip-hop star have a history of apparently not liking each other very much. At a recent press conference Moby told Hong Kong reporters that he approved of Eminem's recent criticism of George Bush and the Iraq war, saying "I found myself respecting him for doing that." He continued: "Honestly, if he retired, I think the world of music would be a poorer place. He's a really fascinating public figure. I'd much rather have public figure musicians like Eminem because at least he's exciting."

He also said he was flattered that Eminem had mocked him in a recent video: "To have the most successful musician in the world dress up like you in a video and sing about you in a song - it was honestly some of the best publicity I've ever had"

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FRETWELL INSTORE AT APPLE
Well, sometimes the press release just says it all. Here it is...

"Do you like computers? Do you like Stephen Fretwell? Imagine if Stephen Fretwell were to play in a computer shop? Well, your dream has come true because Stephen Fretwell is to play in the very sexy Apple store on Regent St on Tuesday 2 Aug as part of iTunes 'Live From London' series".

So now you know. Press info from Paul Smernicki at Fiction Records.

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MCCREADY RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
American country singer Mindy McCready has been released hospital in Florida, four days after that alleged overdose. As previously reported, the singer was found unconscious in a hotel lobby at the end of last week. A companion who was with her at the time told investigators that she had taken large amounts of "substances" (it's not clear exactly what) and that she had also written a suicide note. Authorities are not pressing any charges against McCready, or her companion, William McKnight.

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EP REVIEW: The B-52's - Whammy Remix (Planet Clique Records)
The B-52's are named after slang for the exaggerated bouffant hairdos sported by the girls in the group and are probably best known for their number two smash 'Love Shack' back in 1990 but prior to this they had a slew of cult hits including '(Song For) Future Generation' which scraped to number 63. It seems a good idea to re-release these songs, including 'Whammy Kiss' from the fourth B-52's album 'Whammy', to give a whole new audience the opportunity to appreciate their whacky pop sounds, especially as they fit right in with the re-emergence of post punk. It's another issue whether the songs should be remixed. But I can see that modern day ears might find the B-52's a little too plastic sounding. Riton, who has remixed 'Trism', is amongst the producers funking up the songs and whisking them into the digital age. "I'm Cindy. I'm Pisces. I like Chihuahuas and Chinese noodles," run the typically kitsch lyrics to 'Future Generation' and here the Major Tweaks remix gives it a slicker, futuristic sound. Good stuff! JW
Release date: 25 Jul
Press contact: Darling [all]

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FLOWERS SAYS HE'S LEARNING FROM U2
Brandon Flowers says that U2 were an inspiration to The Killers when they supported the Irish band on tour recently. Talking to NME.com, Flowers said of Bono: "He's great, we've learnt so much. I saw them on the 'Elevation' tour when I'd never even played a gig, so it's such a strange thing that's happened to us. To go from the heart of the Las Vegas date to opening for them, I have a whole new perspective watching them!"

The Killers frontman explained how much he'd picked up from watching them in from the wings: "They're the best band in the world, no doubt about it, and they're the best live band at the moment and it's an amazing thing. We've learnt so much from watching all of them. We're just going to be good students."

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BEST STUFF THIS WEEKEND?
Bestival is approaching (9-11 Sep), but you all knew that already, yes? But you might not be aware of the following Bestival parties taking place this weekend a little bit closer to home (assuming your home is in London ... and not the Isle Of Wight ... I'll be in Edinburgh, so they'll be closer, but not close enough).

First up, there's a free party at The Oxford pub on Kentish Town Road in London tomorrow night (30 Jul). There'll be an intimate set by The Cuban Brothers (whatever that means) alongside DJ sets from the Dub Pistol's Barry Ashworth and the "hat-loving" Sombrero Sound System. It all kicks off at 4pm and carries on till 11pm and it's free, hurrah.

And then there's one of those legendary Bestival/Sunday Best lido parties taking place at the Brockwell Lido (on Dulwich Road, SE24 between Brixton & Herne Hill in London) this Sunday (31 Jul). Swimming, games, a barbeque, plus Rob da Bank, The Cuban Brothers, Hot Breath Karaoke, Sean Rowley's Guilty Pleasures and Dave Elvis. Sorted. Takes place from 7-11.30pm and it costs a fiver to get in.

As Vigsy is currently holidaying in a bit of Ireland that the internet is yet to reach and therefore there's no Club Tip this week, let's make these our Friday Tips (Vigsy did mention something about Warm at the Medicine Bar in Shoreditch and Global Gathering - but these sound much better).

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STEVENS SAMPLES CURE
Pop princess Rachel Stevens has sampled a bit of The Cure on a track for her forthcoming album, using part of 'Lullaby' in the track 'All About Me'. Which seems a bit odd.

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WYCLEF TALKS UP MASH UPS
Wyclef Jean has been talking up the wonderful mash up trend that has been gaining increased momentum in the last year - you know, the cutting together of different tracks to make new tracks (you do all read CMU's Remix Update, yes?).

Anyway, in a recent interview with the Associated Press, Jean spoke about the genre-mixing mash-ups, and rambled thus: "The way that we're moving forward toward music, it's all about using music together. We have hip-hop, we have rock, (but) all the kids now, we all listen to the same thing. If you're listening to rock, you're listening to rap."

Jean was speaking ahead of his performance at Amsterjam, a concert due to take place on Randall Island, New York on 20 Aug, which will, among other things, be celebrating the whole mash up thing. Super.

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STROKES ANNOUNCE TOUR DETAILS
The Strokes have confirmed three South American dates, which seems like a good excuse for a trip to Rio, if you ask me. They will appear at Rio de Janeiro Museum Of Modern Art on 21 Oct, Sao Paulo Sambodromo Anhembi on 23 Oct, and at Porto Alegre Gigantinho Gymnasiumon 25 Oct.

The band are expected to play songs from their forthcoming third album, which is due out early next year. NME.com reports that the band have built their own studio into their Manhattan rehearsal space and that drummer Fab Moretti thinks they're more relaxed working there, with the result that they are experimenting more with their sound. He said: "To get where we are right now we couldn't have the pressure of hearing the fucking change fall in the bucket every time seconds passed [in the studio]. So instead of using the money they [the label] were going to give us to make the third record at a studio, we just bought our equipment and now we have it permanently and we don't feel that guillotine falling. It really helps us to explore."

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ALBUM REVIEW: Clor - Clor (EMI/Regal)
Post-punk remains a rich seam to be mined for twenty first century bands. But while many current bands are finding the dark angular sound of Joy Division et al a powerful influence, refreshingly Clor take their inspiration from the more fun indie rock of the 80's, such as Devo and the B-52's. The first track of the album even borrows the name of a B-52's song, 'Good Stuff'. The band's fusion of synth pop and guitars might lead to comparisons to The Killers and The Bravery. Their snappy single 'Love and Pain' has already been a top forty hit but Clor's oddball appeal and their disinterest in cultivating a media friendly image may sabotage their chances of huge chart success. They are experimental but in an intriguing rather than pretentious way. Singer Barry Dobbin has an unusual voice to match their jerky, quirky sound. The cheap, cheesy synths on recent single 'Outlines' are reminiscent of New Zealand new wave band Split Enz. Meanwhile 'Gifted' brings to mind Pavement, especially in relation to Barry's vocals as he sings plaintively, "You were once the brightest star in my firmament, You came crashing down." The Brixton based quintet, originally from Rochdale, might need to work on their image (although they're doing fine as they are) but music wise this is fresh and tasty. JW
Release date: 25 Jul
Press contact: EMI IH [all]

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AOL LAUNCH FREE MP3 SERVICE
AOL has added a free MP3 Page to its US music service. The page will give music fans the chance to download free tracks from a range of artists, especially emerging talent. Tracks will be supplied as MP3 allowing users to transfer them to any digital music device or burn them to CD.

AOL hopes to use the new free track service to promote its other download partnerships with iTunes and MusicNet. Many of the tracks available at the launch of the new page seem to come from existing AOL promotions, though presumably they are hoping more labels will see the value of promoting their artists through the service in the future.

The new free MP3 service is part of AOL's ongoing expansion of its music services, aspects of which it recently started making available to non-AOL subscribers for the first time, opting for a sponsorship led business model. The next new service expected to be launched is a music video page, which already exists in beta form at http://aol.com/video.

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DOHERTY ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS SHOCKER
According to the NME, police are investigating assault allegations against Pete Doherty, over an incident that is said to have taken place at one of Doherty's regular haunts, the Boogaloo pub in London, in which a reporter from a national newspaper was apparently punched in the face.

The Met released a statement saying: "Police are investigating an allegation at the Boogaloo pub, Archway Road, Highgate, N6 at approximately 18.55 on Tuesday 26 June. No arrests have been made. It is alleged at that the suspect punched the victim in the face causing bruising."

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RADIO 1 LAUNCH PODCASTS
Lovely Radio 1 is making bits from the Chris Moyles radio show available to download as a podcast, should you want to fill your iPod with Moyles links. The clips podcast show will go live each Thursday at 6pm and you can either download it from the station's website, or subscribe to the podcast so it automatically appears in your iTunes. Wonderful.

But not as wonderful as a podcast service providing news, reviews and interviews from the Edinburgh Festival, the largest arts festival in the world, every day from 8 Aug. Now that would be really wonderful. I wonder if anyone's doing that?

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ENNIO MORRICONE NEW COMPILATION
Hurrah. There's going to be a brand new double disc compilation of Ennio Morricone music, and that can only be a good thing, because the man is a genius. The new 30 track set is called 'Crime And Dissonance' and primarily features some of the composer's overlooked experimental work from the early 1970's. Morricone, who is famous for his Sergio Leone scores, hasn't been involved with the production of the CD but continues to compose and occasionally perform.

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NO BLACK STUFF AT MANSON WEDDING
Marilyn Manson's fiancée has said there's to be none of that horrible black gothicy stuff at their wedding. Saucy Cheesecake-throwback dancer model lady Dita Von Teese (I doubt that's her real name), who is to marry Manson later this year said "It's not going to be dark. No bats instead of doves, no black wedding gown. (But) we're hoping for snow and fog!" It would seem Manson is steering a bit clear of the arrangements, in any case. "He's very interested in the ceremony, but he's trusting my judgment on all the aesthetics."

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KAISER CHIEFS AND BLOC PARTY THREATEN CHRISTMAS SINGLE
Why must we talk about Christmas already? It's only July. Oh well, if we must, we must. Damn The Sun, who report that Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party are going to team up and record a Christmas single. Apparently they want to do a cover of Mariah Carey hit 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. The Sun claim that Kaiser Chiefs' Nick Baines said: "We talked about doing a festive single with Bloc Party, like a sort of limited-edition cover."

Well, if they're going to do it, I really think they should do it in style, with a cover of that nice song from that lovely Cliff Richard. What's it called? 'Millenium Prayer'? 'Mistletoe And Wine'? Go on, boys. I'll let you choose.

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ATOMIC KITTEN THREATEN NEW ALBUM
Well, when they went their separate ways last year Atomic Kitten said they were "just taking a break", and damn, they've only gone and stuck to their word. Yep, Natasha Hamilton, Jenny Frost and Liz McClarnon are reportedly due to go back into the studio to record another album.

The Sun quote McClarnon as saying: "We've been talking about a reunion. We really enjoyed working together for our charity single earlier in the year and it's given us the impetus to have another go as a group. We've talked about recording some new material and plan to go back on the road next year,"

Normally this news might depress me, but my copy of the new McFly album has just arrived so nothing's going to spoil my good mood.

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