CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 2nd August

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- BPI get tough against illegal filesharers
- Licencing law change threatens pub venues
- Mick Jagger claimed sixties drugs bust a frame up
- Franz Ferdinand change their minds about album
- Maximo Park announce big London gig
- Magic Numbers play instore
- Hawkins says he nearly quit
- Virgin confirm UK digital launch
- EMI do deal with 3
- Ringtone sales might be in decline
- TOTP audience continues to slump after channel shift
- Woolies warn MVC sale will cost them cash
- Rare Costello promo DVD
- Madonna single release date set
- Warchildmusic put out call for promo tat auction
- Corgan plays some old songs
- Beatles get more coverage
- Spandau man says they were asked to Live 8
- Britney books blessing for babby
- J-lo pregnant?

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BPI GET TOUGH AGAINST ILLEGAL FILESHARERS
The BPI yesterday stepped up its legal campaign against illegal downloading by launching civil proceedings against five people suspected of making large amounts of copyrighted music available via P2P networks without the copyright owner's permission.

The new stage of litigation follows those previous successful lawsuits to secure the identities of suspected filesharers off their ISPs. Since that legal action began some sixty people have reached an out of court settlement with the trade organisation regarding their past file sharing activities. However the five people now facing new legal proceedings have refused to comply.

Announcing the new litigation, BPI chairman Peter Jamieson told CMU: "Music fans are increasingly tuning into legal download sites for the choice, value and convenience they offer. But we cannot let illegal filesharers off the hook. They are undermining the legal services, they are damaging music and they are breaking the law."

BPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor added: "So far 60 UK internet users have settled legal claims against them for illegal filesharing, paying up to £6,500 in compensation. We have tried to agree fair settlements, but if people refuse to deal with the evidence against them, then the law must take its course. That's why we have had no choice but to take these five individuals to the High Court. We will be seeking an injunction and full damages for the losses they have caused, in addition to the considerable legal costs we are incurring as a result of their illegal activity."

It will be interesting to see what will now happen should any of these lawsuits get to court. The conclusion that sharing music online without the permission of the copyright holders is illegal is pretty damn sound given UK copyright law, but it is only when things like this are put to test in the courts that we get any clarity as to how judges will apply those laws. Presumably the five people who have refused to settle out of court have reasons to make such a refusal. Of course, they may be disputing the evidence that is being used to prove they shared music online, but it would be interesting to see how things turned out should any of them be disputing the law - ie disputing the assumption that uploading tracks to P2P networks is illegal.

Of course, if the BPI win these court cases the file sharers in dispute will actually do the trade organisation a favour. The real value of targeting individual file sharers in this way isn't really the relatively modest compensation they can be forced to pay - but rather the PR potential of heavy handed litigation, scaring other potential downloaders away from non-legit music source. The media will take much more interest in a successful legal fight in the high court than in any out of court settlement.

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LICENCING LAW CHANGE THREATENS PUB VENUES
The UK's live music industry may suffer as a result of a revamp of British pub licensing which leaves hundreds of smaller pubs and bars in danger of being without a licence to trade.

That fear follows a revamp of UK licencing laws, primarily designed to allow British pubs and bars to open for longer hours each day. Because of the change in the law all pubs must reapply for their licence, oblivious of whether they plan to take advantage of the more flexible opening hours or not.

The deadline to do that is this weekend, but a new report by Glenfiddich reckons that tens of thousands of pubs and bars are yet to reapply. That has led to fears that many of these establishments will not complete their paperwork in time, and as a result will have to close once the new licensing regulations become law, at least temporarily until licensing bosses clear any backlog.

This may have an impact on the live music sector because many of these pubs and bars host regular gig nights, forming something of a UK-wide network of performing spaces for grass roots artists. Some in the live sector fear that if a high number of these pubs close, even for a short time, that will have a detrimental effect for breaking bands looking to build a fan base through pub gigs.

Feargal Sharkey, as chairman of the Live Music Forum, the body set up by the British government to support live music, has urged pub landlords all over the UK to make sure they meet the licence reapplication deadline. He told reporters: "Live music is, for the majority of us, a cherished part of our everyday lives and that's why we need all venues that have the capacity to put on live acts to apply for their licence - this is the lifeblood of our music industry."

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MICK JAGGER CLAIMED SIXTIES DRUGS BUST A FRAME UP
According to recently released secret police files, Mick Jagger claimed that police tried to plant heroin on him during a drugs bust back in 1969. His allegations followed a drug raid on his home in Chelsea by a local drugs squad, when cannabis was found on the premises. The files show that Jagger made the claims weeks after the incident, saying that the officer in charge of the operation, Detective Sergeant Robin Constable, tried to plant a 'white powder' in a piece of folded paper which he produced from a box that was in the house. Jagger said: "I think he put the box down and opened the folded paper. He said 'Ah, ah, 'we won't have to look much further'. As I got to him he showed me the paper and I saw it contained some white powder." He went on to suggest that the policeman attempted to solicit a bribe. Jagger was later found guilty, fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of 50 guineas.

Scotland Yard dismissed his claims, describing Constable as a "hard working and competent police officer" and said "Michael Jagger is an intelligent young man, and doubtless is on the fringe, if not embroiled in the world of users of dangerous drugs."

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FRANZ FERDINAND CHANGE THEIR MINDS ABOUT ALBUM
Franz Ferdinand have decided to give their next album a name after all. As previously reported, the band were originally intending to release a second eponymous album that would only be distinguished by the artwork's colour scheme. The album is now to be called 'You Could Have It So Much Better...With Franz Ferdinand' and is set for release on 3 Oct, preceded by a single release 'Do You Want To' on 19 Sep.

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MAXIMO PARK ANNOUNCE BIG LONDON GIG
Maximo Park, who are shortly to appear on that previously reported NME 02 Rock n Roll Riot tour, have announced their biggest London live date so far, with a gig at Hammersmith Palais on 7 Dec. Tickets for that go on sale today.

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MAGIC NUMBERS PLAY INSTORE
And whilst we're talking of London live dates, The Magic Numbers are to play a special semi-acoustic set at Fopp on Earlham Street on 8 Aug at 5pm to coincide with the release of their new single 'Love Me Like You.' They join fairly prestigious list of other bands who have done instores at Fopp - including Tenacious D, The Rapture and Franz Ferdinand. Entry is free. So make sure you're there early.

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HAWKINS SAYS HE NEARLY QUIT
Justin Hawkins has told the BBC just how close he came to quitting when relations in The Darkness broke down a few months ago. As previously reported, the group sacked bassist Frankie Poullain over 'musical differences', and now the Darkness frontman has referred to him as merely "a certain item that's been replaced".

He went on: "It wasn't a nice situation. There was a wedge being driven between myself and my brother [guitarist Dan Hawkins] and that's the relationship I've had with him all his life. It really was an awful, awful environment. You've got to be a band that has longevity and enjoys your career and if that involves a personnel change then so be it. You mustn't let anyone stand in the way of what's the best job in the world."

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VIRGIN CONFIRM UK DIGITAL LAUNCH
The Virgin Group have confirmed they will launch their new digital download platform in the UK on 2 Sep, just days before high street rival HMV launch their new service. The new Virgin Digital platform will replace the existing smaller download services run via Virgin's ISP and the Virgin Megastore websites.

The new digital service, modeled on Virgin's US download platform, will be closely tied to the Megastore retail chain, with the high street shops set to be decked out with specific digital departments where existing customers will be able to buy MP3 player technology, and will be introduced to downloading in a familiar environment.

The online service itself will use a MusicNet back-end, offering customers either a pay-per-track service, or a subscription option. Full details of pricing and the content and functionality of the site are to be confirmed.

Confirming the launch date, Steven Kincaid, Marketing Director for Virgin Megastores UK, told reporters: "We are launching Virgin Digital as the demand for quality downloads intensifies. With a strong music heritage behind us and a high profile on the high street, we believe Virgin has the best platform to launch a digital service that will become the ultimate download destination".

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EMI DO DEAL WITH 3
EMI have done a deal with groovy 3G types 3 which will see the mobile company get access to 100 tracks from EMI's a-list catalogue - including Robbie Williams, Norah Jones and lovely Coldplay - which they in turn will make available to their customers as full track downloads for £1.50 a shot. The new deal will run alongside 3's existing arrangement with SonyBMG and a number of independent labels, and is part of the mobile network's ongoing mission to compete in the download space. Though, as with most of their mobile competitor's music packages, they're still a long way off from offering anything near any of the decent online music suppliers.

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RINGTONE SALES MIGHT BE IN DECLINE
And the mobile sector needs to start competing properly with the online download space, especially if a new report in the Financial Times is to be believed - because that report reckons that the ringtone bubble might be about to burst. The willingness for the great general public to waste a few quid just to have a poor imitation of a top pop tune as their ringtone was what got the mobile sector so excited about music in the first place - the logic always flowed "if they'll spend three quid on a ring tone, surely they'll pay two quid for a full track download". But, if ringtone sales start to decline, it might turn out the mobile networks have missed the boat, if there was ever a boat to catch.

That said, the FT report suggested the people most struggling at the moment are those companies that specialize in just ringtones - the companies who bought the publishing rights to tracks, converted them into ring tones, and then flogged them on to mobile networks, or direct to the consumer. They seem to be suffering because of the growth of 'realtones' - the ringtones which are actually a clip of a real track rather than a casio keyboard style reproduction. The record labels control those clips, and they are selling them directly to the mobile networks, leaving the middle men with an ever decreasing slice of the market (except, of course, those middle men who don't need the record labels and their realtone clips because they've got a crazy frog all of their own to flog).

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TOTP AUDIENCE CONTINUES TO SLUMP AFTER CHANNEL SHIFT
Well, if you believe the conspiracy theory that the Beeb moved Top Of The Pops from BBC1 to BBC2 so that less people will notice when it is quietly axed early next year, it seems the Corporation's strategy is working, because TOTP is averaging less than half the audience in its new BBC 2 Sunday night slot than it did when up against Coronation Street in its Friday 7.30pm slot.

An average of 1.1 million have been tuning in to the new time slot - compared to an average of 2.4 million for the BBC 1 slot. Of course TOTP bosses will point out that BBC2 shows always receive smaller audiences than those on BBC1, whatever the time slot or format (and they'd be right), but still, it's a pretty poor showing for once mighty pop show.

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WOOLIES WARN MVC SALE WILL COST THEM CASH
Woolworths has admitted to the city that its proposed sale of music retail chain MVC will end up costing it money. Woolies have been trying to flog off loss-making MVC since Mar this year, and last week completed a deal with a group of retail investors led by Chris Steed, the managing director of private equity firm Argyll Partners.

However, while Woolies will get £5.5 million for MVC, plus a commitment from the new ownership to keep using their Entertainment UK division to supply stores with CDs and DVD, the deal does not include all of the stores in the MVC chain, leaving Woolworths with the cost of closing those shops and paying redundancy packages to their staff.

A spokesman for the retail chain told reporters: "The sale of MVC will create an exceptional loss (including trading losses of the discontinued business) of approximately £34 million in the half year to July 30. But the disposal of MVC removes a loss-making business from the group and allows us to be solely focused on our retail business in Woolworths."

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RARE COSTELLO PROMO DVD
A rare collection of Elvis Costello promos is to be released on DVD for the first time on 5 Sep. The 27 track collection will contain all of the singer's videos, from his first single 'I Don't Want To Go To (Chelsea)' to his final single for Warner Brothers '13 Lead Steps Down'. Costello has recorded an audio commentary for each of the DVDs - and it's apparently quite entertaining. Bonus features include more than seventy minutes of rare TV archive footage culled from a variety of European channels.

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MADONNA SINGLE RELEASE DATE SET
Madonna's new single, 'Hung Up', is to be released on 7 Nov. It is the first track to be taken from the singer's latest studio album 'Confessions On A Dancefloor.'

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WARCHILDMUSIC PUT OUT CALL FOR PROMO TAT AUCTION
War Child Music, the website that supports the work of the War Child charity, is running a fun little promotion to help raise funds. They are asking for media types who get sent loads of promotional tat to empty their filing cabinets and donate any promo gubbins to War Child Music. They will then sell off that stuff via a special War Child eBay auction.

As a starting point they are looking for individuals at different music and media companies to put themselves forward as a War Child Tat Amnesty Chief. Their job will then be to let as many people in their company know about the scheme, and to go around their offices recruiting tat for the auction. The company who generates the most tat will even win a cup!

Anyone interested in becoming their company's Tat Amnesty Chief should email katieb@warchild.org.uk asap. She will tell you what you need to do.

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CORGAN PLAYS SOME OLD SONGS
Despite those reports that Billy Corgan marched off stage at a Melbourne gig after fans made too many requests for his old songs, the singer played a two hour acoustic set at The Marquee Club in Sydney, and broke out a few oldies without anyone even asking. Perhaps it's just the case that he'll only play old tunes when he wants to. Which seems absolutely fair enough to me.

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BEATLES GET MORE COVERAGE
A new album is to released which will pay tribute to one of the Beatles most revered albums, 'Rubber Soul'. The long player is entitled 'This Bird Has Flown - A 40th Anniversary Tribute To The Beatles' Rubber Soul' and sees artists such as The Donnas, Ben Kweller and The Fiery Furnaces contributing to a track-by-track recreation of the classic record.

The album's track listing is as follows:
Drive My Car - The Donnas
Norwegian Wood - The Fiery Furnaces
You Won't See Me - Dar Williams
Nowhere Man - Low
Think for Yourself - Yonder Mountain String Band
The Word - Mindy Smith
Michelle - Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
What Goes On - Sufjan Stevens
Girl - Rhett Miller
I'm Looking Through You - Ted Leo
In My Life - Ben Lee
Wait - Ben Kweller
If I Needed Someone - Nellie McKay
Run for Your Life - Cowboy Junkies

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SPANDAU MAN SAYS THEY WERE ASKED TO LIVE 8
One of the members of Spandau Ballet have said that that they were approached to reform for Live 8. According to itv.com, Gary Kemp said: "Bob wanted us to play, but we can't get ourselves agreeing and all coming back together in the same room. It's a tough thing getting Spandau Ballet back together right now."

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BRITNEY BOOKS BLESSING FOR BABBY
According to The Sun, Britney Spears has booked a Kabbalah blessing for her baby at the sect's Los Angeles headquarters nine days after the baby is due to be born, and plans to invite up to 70 family and friends. No doubt Madonna is on the list.

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J-LO PREGNANT?
Well, we mustn't call her J-Lo anymore, because she doesn't like it. But anyway, according to America's Star magazine, J-Lo is pregnant. One of those beautifully informative, yet anonymous sources told the publication "It's very top secret right now. She could be six to seven weeks gone".

What is it with this rash of celebrity babies? I can smell the vomit from here.

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