CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 1st August

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- FBI operation leads to eight music piracy arrests
- Downloads will be worth $2 billion by 2010
- Gap plan iTunes promotion
- HP to stop reselling iPods
- Hard-Fi get a leetle confused

- Jacko Greatest Hits struggles in US
- Japanese tax change to benefit UK labels
- Blackpool's got its rock, shouldn't Morecambe have its punk?
- Les Mis tops best musicals poll
- Album review: Mew - Frengers
- Tom Petty signs new deal
- ITC urban unsigned deadline extended
- Lennon's lyrics sell for £600k
- Chart update
- Live 8 helps BBC score online record
- The Go! Team get US deal
- Joe Longthorne in intensive care
- American Idol get legal help
- Bee Gee gets honorary from LIPA
- Franz Ferdinand on bust up in Paris
- Albarn calls Doherty a mess shocker

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TECHNICAL STUFF>>

A small number of you may have not received Friday's edition of the CMU Daily as a result of a technical problem known in the trade as 'human error'. Sorry. You can, of course, read it at http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk - if you didn't receive a copy you probably should, because you missed a great Pete Doherty gag.

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FBI OPERATION LEADS TO EIGHT MUSIC PIRACY ARRESTS
Piracy news anyone? Well, US authorities have charged eight people who they suspect are key members of an online piracy network that is part of what techy types like to call the "warez scene". The eight people are allegedly responsible for illegally uploading thousands of music tracks, movies and software packages onto a network of servers around the world, which are then downloaded and sold by other pirates.

The arrests, which took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, followed two FBI investigations - Operation FastLink and Operation SiteDown - which involved police forces in fifteen countries. Confirming the arrests, acting Assistant Attorney General John C Richter told reporters: "Cases like these are part of the Justice Department's coordinated strategy to protect copyright owners from the online thieves who steal and then sell the products they work so hard to produce. These charges strike at the top of the copyright piracy supply chain".

Elsewhere in music piracy news, the lovable Recording Industry Association of America launched 765 new civil lawsuits against individuals expected of illegally sharing music files via P2P networks like Kazaa. The first such RIAA action since the Supreme Court ruled that P2P company Grokster could be held liable for the copyright infringement it allows, RIAA boss Cary Sherman launched the latest litigation by saying: "Last month, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that businesses that encourage the theft of music can be held accountable for their actions. We will continue to send a strong message to the users of these illicit networks that their actions are illegal, they can be identified and the consequences are real."

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DOWNLOADS WILL BE WORTH $2 BILLION BY 2010
Talking of download type shenanigans, only legal this time, a new report reckons that pay-as-you-go downloads will earn the music biz some $2 billion a year by 2010, although that will only account for a third of all music sales coming from the net. Some $3 billion a year will come from mail order CD sales from the likes of Amazon, while a further $1.5 billion will be generated by subscription services like Napster. Well, that's what the number junkies at the Informa Media Group reckon, and who are we to argue?

Of course what record label execs are really interested in is whether the growth in online sales will be fast enough to compensate for the ongoing decline in worldwide CD sales - are the two closely linked so that overall music sales will stay as they are (with, perhaps, a short term boost while consumers repurchase back catalogue in a digital form) or will the industry come out of the physical-to-digital transition period somewhat worse off year on year? Time will tell I guess.

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GAP PLAN ITUNES PROMOTION
And staying with downloading, Gap in the US has announced a deal with Apple which will see the clothing store give away free iTunes vouchers with their new range of jeans, under the banner 'find your favourite fit'. The promotion will kick off on 8 Aug and run till the end of the month.

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HP TO STOP RESELLING IPODS
And talking of going into business with Apple - well, I say that - the opposite really, Hewlett Packard has said it will stop reselling Apple's iPod music players. The announcement ends a deal struck in early 2004 which allowed HP to sell a version of the iPod with their logo next to the Apple branding. The HP branded iPod accounted for about 5% of overall sales of the digital music player.

It isn't clear what the reason is behind HP's decision to end this particular relationship with Apple. It might mean the IT firm are planning to make more proactive moves of their own in the digital music space, or it might mean that new chief executive Mark Hurd wants to move the company out of the music sector completely - the Apple deal was done by his predecessor Carly Fiorina.

HP's change in direction was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Apple, who told reporters last week: "HP has decided that reselling iPods does not fit within the company's current digital entertainment strategy".

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HARD-FI GET A LEETLE CONFUSED
Mercury nominated buzz band Hard-Fi, who are in the US at the moment having a bash at recruiting American fans, were slightly confused when they first heard about their recent nomination for debut album 'Stars Of CC TV'. The band were playing a gig at New York's Mercury Lounge alongside Nine Black Alps, and the fact that the venue shared a name with the Music Prize led to a moment of misunderstanding when news of the nomination first came through. NME report that Frontman Richard Archer admitted: "We thought, 'What, they give you an award for just playing the Mercury Lounge?' Then the penny dropped. 'Oh that Mercury Prize'."

Archer also spoke about the band's recent gig at the Neighbourhood club in London, and the fact that all this is happening so very quickly: "It's all a bit of a blur. We'll probably look back on it say 'Man, remember when we did that? Neighbourhood was one of our favourite shows to date, it was a great atmosphere. We did that show, we made this video on Saturday when we were on top of a building in Brentford. Then we're in New York getting word of a Mercury nomination. It's totally mad, it hasn't really sunk in yet."

He went on: "It's kind of mad when you look at the other artists who are nominated and you see Coldplay, and when you think that their album was recorded in the poshest studios around and ours was done in a lock-up in Staines. Half of it was done for £300 and the other half was done for probably about a grand and they bought us a few extra microphones. It was all DIY and here we are with a Mercury nomination, it's kind of crazy. I didn't realise we were up for it, I thought we'd missed the cut-off point."

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JACKO GREATEST HITS STRUGGLES IN US
Well, despite the fact that it shot into the charts over here, it's not doing too well in America. Michael Jackson's recently released new greatest hits compilation, 'The Essential Michael Jackson', sold only 8000 copies in the US in its first week on release. Perhaps the majority of the American public already own one of those other greatest hits compilations, 'HIStory', 'Number Ones' or 'The Ultimate Collection'.

Or, of course, they may just not like him any more after those recent allegations and revelations and that's what PR-to-the-tabloid-stars Max Clifford thinks. He apparently said: "He came to me a month ago and I turned him down. It would be the hardest job in PR after Saddam Hussein and I would be astounded if he could turn things around. People were extremely offended by even some of the things he admitted in court. The final judgement is with the record buying public and they have made their verdict clear."

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JAPANESE TAX CHANGE TO BENEFIT UK LABELS
With a special British music promotion due to kick off in Japan today, the government there has confirmed it is axing a complicated tax system which was costing UK content owners 10% of their potential royalty. The BPI, who are coordinating the promotion of UK music in Japan this week, welcomed the tax change. They had been lobbying for the system to be changed for years - while other countries have similar 'withholding taxes' the Japanese one was particularly damaging for UK labels because of the size of the country's music market, and the popularity of British artists there.

Welcoming the tax change, Paul Birch of the BPI's International Committee told reporters: "It has long been an irritation to UK labels, particularly independents, that 10% of their royalties were skimmed off even before they left Japan. We welcome this move, and applaud the Japanese and British government for their work towards lifting this burden".

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BLACKPOOL'S GOT ITS ROCK, SHOULDN'T MORECAMBE HAVE ITS PUNK?
Council officials in the North West seaside town of Morecambe have said they are "bitterly disappointed" that organisers of a punk festival have decided to move their event back to the neighbouring and rival town of Blackpool.

The festival, which was headlined by the Stranglers this year, moved from the economically booming Blackpool to the struggling seaside resort of Morecambe in 1996. That move provided Morecambe with a much needed boost in its tourism calendar. However organisers of the festival say the 2006 event will move back to Blackpool because it is cheaper to stage it there.

Councillors for the nearby city of Lancaster, keen to promote Morecambe as a holiday destination, say they are very disappointed by the decision, stressing that they offered numerous benefits to the festival's organisers, including a pledge to increase their allowed capacity by 2000, in a bid to persuade promoters to keep the festival there.

City Councillor Ian Barker told reporters: "Morecambe has had a long and successful relationship with the Punk Festival. We have made an extremely generous offer to the organisers. We are therefore surprised that they feel they cannot bring the festival back to Morecambe next year. That will disappoint many punks who say that Morecambe is their preferred venue for the festival. We will keep in touch with the organisers to persuade them that Morecambe is the best place for this event.'

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LES MIS TOPS BEST MUSICALS POLL
After criminally overlooking the Rod Stewart musical 'Tonight's The Night', Radio 2 listeners have voted Les Miserables as the top, top stage musical of all time. The West End French revolution spectacular was picked by 40% of the 400,000 listeners who took part in the survey. The full top ten looked rather like this:

1. Les Miserables
2. The Phantom of the Opera
3. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
4. The King and I
5. Sunset Boulevard
6. Evita
7. Chess
8. The Rocky Horror Show
9. Follies
10. Hair

Les Miserables producer Cameron Macintosh said he was "knocked out" by the result, but conceded that he probably only won because the Westlife musical hasn't been written yet.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Mew - Frengers (SonyBMG/Evil Office)
Mew have earned comparisons to the early '90s shoegazing scene and, whilst there's some truth in it, there's far more to them than simple effects pedals and footwear scrutiny. 'Frengers' takes Slowdive's saturated-with-melancholy/Sonic Cathedral of Sound approach and uses it in the context of otherworldly songs a la Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev, ending up with some quite marvellous, almost indefinable, pop symphonies. If this all makes the music sound shy and apologetic, then listen to the (shock!) loud guitars on 'Am I Wry? No', '156' and 'Behind The Drapes' and suddenly you're also thinking 'Bends'-era Radiohead, Muse and such like. It remains, though, the heartbreaking epics of 'She Came Home For Christmas' (a festive number one every year in some perfect, parallel universe) and the nine minute 'Comforting Sounds', that leave you most awestruck and struggling for futile metaphors and adjectives. Danes Mew, like fellow Scandinavians A-ha, also have a knack for making the happy sound wonderfully sad, their music similarly being imbued with a glacial, windswept melancholy evocative of long Scandinavian winters. A staggeringly beautiful album. MS
Release date: 18 Jul
Press contact: SonyBMG IH [all]

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TOM PETTY SIGNS NEW DEAL
An announcement is expected shortly from Tom Petty regarding a new contract with Sanctuary Records. The deal will end the legend's $20 million deal with Warner Bros, a relationship which began back in 1989 after Petty's early departure from MCA. Some of the star's early master recordings are thought to be part of the new deal.

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ITC URBAN UNSIGNED DEADLINE EXTENDED
Did we mention that the deadline for submitting demos for this year's In The City Urban Unsigned strand has been extended to Monday 22 Aug? Did we? Well, it has. Basically any urban talent (hip hop, R&B, drum & bass, that kind of stuff) interested in being considered to perform at the Urban Music Summit bit of this year's In The City should send a three track demo CD with biog and image to A&R Coordinator, ITC Urban Unsigned 2005, Home@The Dairy Studios, 43-45 Tunstall Road, London, SW9 8BZ. The deadline is now 22 Aug. Did I mention that?

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LENNON'S LYRICS SELL FOR £600K
John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for 'All You Need Is Love' sold for £600 grand at that memorabilia sale at the Hippodrome last week. As previously reported, the manuscript, found on his music stand after The Beatles final TV appearance in 1967, was one item in a collection of Lennon memorabilia which went on sale in London on Thursday. Commenting on the sale of the piece, auction house director Ted Owen explained why someone might pay that sort of money for a piece of paper that a famous person once wrote on: "It's probably one of the few remaining Beatles lyrics in private collectors' hands and one of the most important musical manuscripts in existence. It was the anthem of the peace movement . . . the anthem of 1967."

Elsewhere in the sale, that military tunic that allegedly inspired the Sergeant Pepper album cover, after Lennon wore it for a Life magazine shoot in 1966, went for £100k, a piano from the Beatles star's New York apartment brought £140k, and a pair of his round specs sold for £55k.

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CHART UPDATE
I think it is time to start the James Blunt backlash - so while last week he was "warbling" at the top of both the single and album charts, this week I think we'll say he's "whining". The whiner. Anyway, 'You're Beautiful' is still top of the singles chart this week, and 'Back To Bedlam' remains at the top of the albums chart. Wonderful.

New entries wise on the singles chart - Daniel Powter goes in at 2 with 'Bad Day', Eminem is at 4 with 'Ass Like That', Bananarama stage their comeback at 14 with 'Move In My Direction', Uniting Nations' 'You And Me' is at 15, Dancing DJs v Roxette's 'Fading Like A Flower' is at 18, Nine Inch Nails' 'Only' is at 20, Martin Solveig's 'Everybody' is at 22, Natalie Imbruglia's 'Counting Down The Days' is at 23, Tony Christie's 'Avenues & Alleyways' is at 26, El Presidente's 'Without You' is at 30 and Lucie Silvas' 'Don't Look Back' is at 34.

Albums wise, and it is Mr Crazy Frog who has the highest new entry, going in at number 5 with his work of artistic genius 'Crazy Hits'. Other new entries are the acoustic version of Alanis Morrisette's 'Jagged Little Pill' at 12 and the wonderful Editors' with their debut 'The Back Room' at 13.

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LIVE 8 HELPS BBC SCORE ONLINE RECORD
Whether it helped make poverty history, I guess time will tell, but Live 8 certainly gave a boost to the BBC's online division, which is almost as important, surely. A record number of 14.6 million page impressions were clocked up by the Beeb's Live 8 site in the three day period surrounding the event, while the BBC's Live 8 mobile phone website got a further 112,000 hits.

Other online coverage from the Beeb that pulled in the crowds includes their Glastonbury coverage, which scored 13.4 million page impressions, as well as their coverage of major sports events like Wimbledon and the NatWest One Day Series.

As for the BBC Online's radio on demand service, the Archers remains the most accessed show, with Radio 1's Chris Moyles in second place.

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THE GO! TEAM GET US DEAL
The wonderful The Go! Team have signed a US deal with Sony division Columbia, which will see band's debut 'Thunder, Lightning, Strike' released over there by the major. The US version of the album, released over here by Memphis Industries last year, will feature two new tracks and a reworked version of current single 'Bottle Rocket'.

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JOE LONGTHORNE IN INTENSIVE CARE
Singer Joe Longthorne is in intensive care in Manchester Royal Infirmary, a month after a successful bone marrow transplant. The entertainer was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 16 years ago and his condition developed into Leukaemia in 2003. Longthorne came to public attention when he won TV talent contest 'Search For A Star' and went on to have his own TV series.

Business partner Terry Lodge has told reporters "Joe's fight for life has intensified over the course of the last few weeks. His survival odds have shortened even further recently to odds against," whilst Longthorne's tour manager, Zeb White, said on the official website that the singer's condition had "deteriorated" in the last week. White continued: "Joe is expected to remain on the ventilator until next week at the earliest. This was always going to be the most dangerous period, post-transplant, as Joe does not have an immune system to fight such infections. All the indications are Joe will make a full recovery if he can get through this setback and we all know if anyone can do it, Joe can."

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AMERICAN IDOL GET LEGAL HELP
The producers of American Idol are bringing in independent counsel to determine whether judge Paula Abdul had an affair with one of the participants. As previously reported, contestant Corey Clark, who was ejected from the show in 2003 after failing to reveal that he was facing criminal charges, claims to have had an affair with Abdul during the course of the competition. Fox Entertainment president Peter Liguori explained: "Any allegations against this show we take quite seriously." He refused to say whether the producers would fire Abdul if the allegations were found to be true, but the network continues to support her; she is included in a new Fox talent contest this summer, 'So You Think You Can Dance'.

Quite why any of this matters so very much is open to question. Observers claim that if proved, the allegation could damage the show's credibility, but one suspects that with the allegations already being out there, any damage this could do in the mind of the public has already been done. And in any case the American Idol contestants ultimately stand and fall on the result of a public vote, not necessarily the opinions of the judges, so it getting to the stage of an actual investigation into a possible case of sex between two consenting adults seems a bit extreme, as such fraternisation is hardly likely to have a massive impact on the vote. Then again, this is 'American' Idol, aired in a country where Janet Jackson had to go on TV to apologise for not showing her nipple on national television. So that might explain it then.

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BEE GEE GETS HONORARY FROM LIPA
Robin Gibb has been given an honorary companionship by Paul McCartney at the latter's fame school, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. The 'companionship' is the equivalent of an honorary degree, and previous recipients have included songwriter Guy Chambers and Ash frontman Tim Wheeler. LIPA founding principal Mark Featherstone-Witty, said: "Around 30 successful showbusiness people have shared their lives and skills with students this year from Dawn French to Richard Wilson. We would want to honour them all, but the degree ceremony can really only cope with four."

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FRANZ FERDINAND ON BUST UP IN PARIS
Franz Ferdinand have told NME.com all about the huge fight they had backstage at the Paris Zenith in November that had band members thinking a split might be on the cards. Frontman Alex Kapranos explained the how the pressure of their intensive touring schedule got too much: "All of France's press were there. Everyone from our label was there to give us our gold discs for record sales. I remember having this huge argument, things getting flung across the dressing room. I can't remember the exact details to be honest. But there were 400 people outside listening to it. Then in the middle of it all we stepped out, were given our gold discs, gave everyone a smile and then stepped back inside to continue fighting."

Bandmate Nick McCarthy said "Of course I thought about leaving the band. Absolutely. After that moment, for the next few days I was thinking, 'Is it worth it? If we get on each other's nerves that much... But mine and Alex's friendship was born out of a fight anyway, so it's fine. Living together 24 hours a day for a year and a half had just got to the point where if you dropped your pencil, it was the other guy's fault. I'm quite glad it happened. After that, it couldn't get much worse."

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ALBARN CALLS DOHERTY A MESS SHOCKER
Damon Albarn has apparently criticised Pete Doherty, saying that he was appalled by the Babyshamble's Live 8 performance: "The concert was all about raising awareness, but Peter looked like he was having trouble raising his own awareness. He looked wasted. He's a mess. I'm starting a campaign to Make Doherty History."

Well, I know he is a pain in the arse. But we don't have to actually kill him, do we?

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