CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 29th September

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Coldplay and Gorillaz top MTV Europe award nominations
- Apple admit faults in iPod nano
- GCap confirming downsizing plans
- BBC to pilot interactive web TV channel
- Former INXS man not impressed with reality show
- Big issue for Kapranos
- Love denies mother's claims
- Queen song is world's favourite
- US download firm going for premium sound
- Chinese search engine begins talks with labels
- eDonkey plan to cease and desist
- Anti-iTunes rhetoric grows
- Motley Crue video online
- Album review: Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites
- Five O'clock Heroes tour
- Beatles memorial for Hamburg
- Beatles lyrics fail to sell
- Shirley Bassey's stuff flogged for £62k
- Addictive TV at Cargo
- Beautiful south live DVD
- James Blunt is skint

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COLDPLAY AND GORILLAZ TOP MTV EUROPE AWARD NOMINATIONS
The MTV Europe Music Awards, although voted for by European music fans, are often dominated by American artists. However, it is two British groups which dominate the nomination lists for this year's awards, and hurrah to that, even if one of them is Coldplay.

Yep, Coldplay and Gorillaz, both signed to EMI's Parlophone label (well done them), are up for five awards each. Coldplay are nominated for Best Group, Best Rock Act, Best Song for 'Speed Of Sound', Best Album for 'X&Y' and Best UK And Ireland Act. Gorillaz compete with their label mates in the Best Group, Best Song and Best UK & Ireland Act categories, and are also up for Best Video for 'Feel Good Inc' as well as Best Pop Act.

Gwen Stefani is the best performing US artist in the nominations list, up for four awards, while 50 Cent and Green Day each have three nominations. Another UK artist well represented is James Blunt, who also has three nominations, as do Ireland's U2.

Elsewhere in the nominations is the shortlist for a new category added to the proceedings designed to celebrate the best artist from that well known European country, Africa. Up for that are 2 Face, Kaysha, Kleptomaniax, 02 and Zamajobe.

The MTV Europe Awards take place in Lisbon in November and will be hosted by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as his Kazakhstani alter ego Borat Sagdiyev, which should be interesting in a xenophobic kind of way. Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Green Day and the Black Eyed Peas are all scheduled to perform.

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APPLE ADMIT FAULTS IN IPOD NANO
Apple has admitted there are problems with its new iPod nano after those previously reported complaints about how easily the MP3 player's screens scratch or crack.

The initial critical acclaim for the streamlined music player turned to criticism this week as more and more people in the IT community started to report on the problem with the player's screen. One disgruntled iPod user, Matthew Peterson, even set up a website dedicated to the flaw, which soon provided a platform for other customers experiencing problems with their player.

Yesterday Apple said that there had been problems with one batch of the iPod nano, meaning a small number of the players might have faulty screens. The computer firm was keen to stress that this was not a flaw with the general design of the player, but merely with the way a small number had been manufactured. Apple will now replace any players with faulty screens.

Peterson closed his anti-nano website on hearing the announcement, replacing it with a post entitled "Apple does the right thing".

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GCAP CONFIRMING DOWNSIZING PLANS
GCap Media has begun the post-merger downsizing that most inside the radio conglom have been expecting for a while now. The group confirmed yesterday it will axe up to 100 jobs and triple its cost savings target - measures it hopes will reassure the city following some less than impressive financials since the merger of GWR and Capital Radio.

The announcement follows the departure last week of former Capital boss as Chief Executive David Mansfield, with former GWR top man Ralph Bernard taking over that role in addition to his existing job as Exec Chairman. Mansfield's departure has been followed by the departure of two of his former Capital Radio colleagues, Commercial Director Linda Smith and Operations Director Paul Davies, giving the merged firm an increasingly GWR feel to it.

Bernard has dismissed criticism from the investment community who say that these changes at the merged firm should have been much sooner. Bernard: "We have done nothing differently to what we said we'd do. We said we would have a strategic review and we have given out full information on the declining revenue market. This is, I hope, the first stage in giving confidence ... that this business has got a grip of itself and is very clear about its direction."

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BBC TO PILOT INTERACTIVE WEB TV CHANNEL
The BBC is about to start piloting its integrated Media Player (the iMP, obviously), which will give viewers online access to BBC radio and TV shows on demand, shortly after they initially air on the BBC's main channels. The player uses a DRM technology which means users can watch shows via the net for a limited time only, and that they can't download the programmes and share them with others. 5000 people will take part in the pilot - selected from 30,000 who have expressed an interest in being involved.

Commenting on the trial, and the public interest in being involved in it, Tony Ageh, the Beeb's Controller Of Internet, told reporters: "This response has been fantastic. There was a sense from the first technical trial that a catch up TV and radio service would be extremely popular with people. This has been confirmed in these numbers; the public have been quick to realise the possibilities that iMP will bring them. It has the potential to truly revolutionise the way that people watch and listen to programmes."

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FORMER INXS MAN NOT IMPRESSED WITH REALITY SHOW
A former INXS front man has criticised the reality show that helped find a new lead singer for the band. Yep, Michael Hutchence has come back from the dead to give his two cents worth on the show. No ... not really. Jon Stevens, who fronted the band for three years after Hutchence's death, has said the TV show was all about money, warning its winner, JD Fortune, that he is likely to be ripped off big time now that he is working with the band.

According to New Zealand website Stuff, Stevens, now a judge on the New Zealand version of Pop Idol, warned JD Fortune: "Make sure you've got a great lawyer. But they'll [Fortune] get raped and pillaged anyway. The main objective of the show was money, money and greed. It could only create great television and not good music".

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BIG ISSUE FOR KAPRANOS
According to The Mirror, Franz frontman Alex Kopranos signed some copies of The Big Issue for a vendor when in Glasgow recently, which the seller then flogged off for five quid each. The tabloid also reports that the seller also attempted to sell the pencil Kopranos had used to sign the magazine.

Kapranos apparently said: "I nipped into Glasgow city centre to go shopping and bumped into a friend. But my friend knew the guy next to us selling the Big Issue who shouted, 'Here, you're that guy from that band', and helpfully pointed it out to everyone walking past. I ended up chatting with people about the new album and signed some things, including a few of the Big Issue guy's mags. He stood in front of me to sell them for £5 apiece."

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LOVE DENIES MOTHER'S CLAIMS
Courtney Love's manager has issued a statement in response to a book written by the singer's mother, Linda Carroll, which is set for publication at the start of next year. In the book 'Her Mother's Daughter', Carroll apparently claims that Love was already on drugs by the age of four, encouraged by her father Hank, and that she began therapy at the age of six. Carroll also reportedly claims that her daughter was caught reading pornography in an adult book shop at the age of nine.

The statement reads: "We note the recent publication of Linda Carroll's "memoir", which involves stories about her daughter, our client Courtney Love. We find it astonishing, and profoundly depressing, that any mother would write a book containing numerous allegations about her own young daughter. This is especially true of Ms Carroll, who abandoned her daughter when she was seven years old and whom Ms. Love thus barely knows at all."

It continues: "Ms Love has not read the book herself, but has been made aware that it contains numerous substantial inaccuracies and several scurrilous falsehoods. It is not our intention to dignify these with individual responses, but we strongly suggest that the book be viewed for what it is, a work of vicious and greedy fiction. Ms Love will have no further comment on this sad situation."

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QUEEN SONG IS WORLD'S FAVOURITE
Queen song 'We Are The Champions' has been voted the world's favourite song in a Sony Ericsson poll of 700,000 music fans across 66 countries. That standard top ten Queen favourite 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was down in 26th place. Sony Ericsson Corporate Vice President Dee Dutta said: "We Are The Champions is an anthem worldwide both in music and sporting arenas. It conveys the passion music brings to our lives and proves a classic rock song is truly timeless".

Other songs that made the top ten included Britney Spears' 'Toxic', which, for some unknown reason, came in second, followed by Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' in third place. It seems the Jackson fans were out in force in the UK though; the UK top ten comprised no less than seven Jackson hits, with the three remaining places going to the aforementioned 'Bohemian Rhapsody', GnR's 'Welcome To The Jungle' and, predictably, Robbie Williams' 'Angels'.

Here's what happens when you let the people decide what the best songs ever are:

1. Queen - We Are The Champions
2. Britney Spears - Toxic
3. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
4. The Eagles - Hotel California
5. Shakira - La Tortura
6. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
7. The Beatles - Yesterday
8. U2 - One
9. John Lennon - Imagine
10. Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing

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US DOWNLOAD FIRM GOING FOR PREMIUM SOUND
A US company called MusicGiants is planning a new download service which will appeal to those who like their music to be of a high audio quality.

We've reported before on how few players in the digital music space have talked about the quality of the sound they produce, and on how few music fans seem to care. But MusicGiants plan to make music available using Microsoft's "lossless" WMA format which, they say, provides seven times better sound quality. Of course users will need to have a decent soundcard in their PC and good speakers plugged in it to benefit - but the company seems to be going for the niche but cash-rich audience who will probably be willing to invest in that kit in order to get a boost in audio quality.

They will need to be cash rich because tracks sold via MusicGiants will be sold for $1.29 each rather than 99 cents, and they will have to pay $50 to download the player needed to play the music (though they will get a $50 credit for music downloads as soon as they do).

No word yet on the service's launch plans or on whether they plan to go global - although they say they have already entered licencing deals with all of the major record companies.

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CHINESE SEARCH ENGINE BEGINS TALKS WITH LABELS
The Chinese search engine which was ordered by the Beijing courts to close down a service which enables people to search for MP3 tracks from both legal and illegal sources has entered into talks with the four major record companies to see if it can find a compromise.

Bosses at Baidu.com are trying to resist having to close down their MP3 search function, probably because it is one of the few services they offer that sets them apart from main rival Google. They argued that because they do not illegally host copyrighted music on any of their own servers they could not be deemed to be acting illegally. However the courts disagreed, arguing they were promoting the illegal acquisition of music online, and benefiting from it.

Baidu.com says it wants to find a way to ensure its MP3 search service does not violate copyright. Earlier this week it had a five hour meeting with the major record companies to find a way to achieve that to the content owners' satisfaction. However the labels were reportedly not satisfied with the search engine's proposals, and the meeting ended without resolution.

Baidu.com probably have more to lose by not reaching a compromise because the major labels want to use the recent court ruling to force the search engine to pay them 1.67 million yuan ($206,000) in compensation. That said, Baidu.com have said they will appeal the original ruling if a compromise cannot be reached, which would buy them time if nothing else.

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EDONKEY PLAN TO CEASE AND DESIST
Well, it seems that reports that said reports that eDonkey was going off line jumped the gun possibly jumped the gun. That makes sense yes?

Well, Reuters reported last week that popular P2P network eDonkey had gone offline and closed its New York offices following the sending of a cease-and-desist letter by the Recording Industry Association Of America. That letter cited the recent US Supreme Court ruling in the MGM v Grokster case which said technology companies could be held liable for the illegal file sharing their P2P software enables. Those reports, however, seemed to have jumped the gun because the eDonkey website is still live and it turned out they had moved out of New York months ago.

However, yesterday eDonkey boss Sam Yagan told a Senate committee on all things P2P that he planned to comply with the RIAA's demands, not because he thought he would lose a legal battle with the industry organisation, but because he didn't have the funds to fight it. He told the committee: "I'd like to make it clear to the Committee that we have replied to the RIAA's cease-and-desist letter. I have personally committed to [RIAA president Cary] Sherman, which I reiterate today, that we are in the process of complying with their request. I am not here as an active participant in the future of P2P, but rather as one who has thrown in his towel and with no interest in replaying past issues."

While on one level that news could be seen as a victory for the RIAA, you could argue that the latter comment makes that victory somewhat pyrrhic. Many in the industry now recognise that it is not really in their interest to have P2P networks like eDonkey closed down like they did with the original Napster. Rather, the industry should be working with those P2Ps with large existing subscriber lists to turn the networks and their users into the legit P2P subscribers, generating income for the content owners. Otherwise as one P2P network closes down the kids will jump ship to another offering free access to copyrighted music.

As Yagan told the Senate committee this week: "I fear that the winners in Grokster will not be the labels and the studios, but rather the offshore, underground, rogue P2P developers who will have just lost half a dozen of their biggest competitors".

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ANTI-ITUNES RHETORIC GROWS
The anti-iTunes rhetoric in the music space is gaining some pace. Following harsh words from Warner boss Edgar Bronfmann Jnr regarding iTunes insistence that their one-price-fits-all model has to stay, one of the major label's digital executives, Michael Nash, has now indicated that if Apple don't start to compromise somewhat the major labels may have to unite and cut off the IT company's music supply. Speaking at an industry event in San Francisco, Nash told reporters that "the industry can say 'Okay, we'll cut [Steve Jobs] off'". This follows comments made by Universal digital exec David Ring at a trade conference in Santa Monica where he said confidently: "99-cents has been a good business model so far, but pricing is going to fluctuate".

Apple, of course, say that if the labels force a change of their existing model it will lose custom to the illegal P2Ps. The labels may well decide, however, that there are now sufficient alternatives to iTunes to play hard ball without risking too great a loss of the growing digital music revenue stream. Of course that would be even more true if the majors would bite the bullet and make music available in DRM free MP3 format, which plays on the iPod as well as all the other digital music players out there - though that in itself is something the majors may consider to be too risky. Either way, more interesting times could be ahead in the digital music space.

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MOTLEY CRUE VIDEO ONLINE
You can check out the video for the previously reported Motley Crue rework of 'Home Sweet Home', featuring Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, at the following website: http://www.flashenhanced.com/motleycrue/ecard. Don't go saying we didn't tell you.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites (Sony)
The recent single from this album and also top 40 hit, is named 'Special', which is a neat summation of the Danish band. Mew have a highly individual sound; their musical soundscapes evoke images of icy tundras and whirling snowstorms. The opening track 'Circuitry Of The Wolf' starts off in an uncharacteristically aggressive way with visceral guitars and pounding percussion but it rounds off with the trademark fragile vocals of Jonas Bjerre. The tracks bleed into each other so that the listener is transported breathlessly from one song to the next without a pause. 'The Chinaberry Tree' with its glacial keyboards and ecstatic vocals is typical of the band's sound. The magical 'Why Are You Looking Grave?' and 'An Envoy To The open Fields' feature the contrasting gravelly guest vocals of J Masics (Dinosaur Jr). Previous single 'Apocalypso' and 'The Seething Rain Weeps For You' both build up a cacophony of instruments into a wall of sound. 'White Lips Kissed' has lovely and very jolly sounding keyboards and features particularly high pitched vocals from Jonas. Perhaps the album's finest moment is the superlative 'The Zookeeper's Boy', with its shimmering harmonies. Mew found many new fans with their last album release 'Frengers' in 2003, and this dreamy, otherworldly album should increase their audience further. Special indeed. JW
Release date: 26 Sep
Press contact: Sony IH [all]

PS: In case any of you wondered why we ran a review of that 2003 Mew album 'Frengers' back in August this year, well, erm, we just wanted to get you in the mood for the new album. Well, actually, our reviewer was so excited about the new Mew single that was out, he accidentally emailed us his CMU review of 'Frengers' from back in 2003 (which was, remarkably, still on his PC) and, due to our much talked about August busy-ness, we didn't notice until approximately forty-nine seconds after we'd pressed send. Still, it's a good album too, which you should track down if you don't already own it.

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FIVE O'CLOCK HEROES TOUR
Talking of errors (we don't make that many, honest), when in yesterday's Daily we said that the extremely busy Five O'Clock Hereos were setting out on a marathon tour we were very right. The gig dates we then published, however, might not have been completely correct. Goes with these instead...

NME tour
29 Sep: Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
30 Sep: Liverpool, Academy 2
1 Oct: Glasgow, School Of Arts
3 Oct: Middlesbrough, Empire
4 Oct: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
5 Oct: Leeds, Warehouse
6 Oct: Northampton, Roadmenders
7 Oct: London, Koko

In The City:
2 Oct: Manchester, M2 'Stylish Riots' In The City

With Ladyfuzz
10 Oct: Stratford, Cox's Yard
11 Oct: London, Metro
12 Oct: Brighton, Union
13 Oct: Leicester, Charlotte
15 Oct: Northampton, Soundhaus
16 Oct: Bristol, Louisiana
17 Oct: Liverpool, Uni Academy
19 Oct: Manchester, Jebez Clegg
20 Oct: Carlisle, Brickyard
21 Oct: Newcastle, The Cluny
22 Oct: Hull, The Welly Club
24 Oct: Glasgow, Barfly
25 Oct: Aberdeen, The Tunnels
26 Oct: Dundee, Westport Bar
27 Oct: Inverness, The Raigmore
29 Oct: Leeds, Josephs Well
30 Oct: Stoke, Sugarmill
31 Oct: York, Fibbers
2 Nov: Birmingham, Barfly
3 Nov: London, Metro
4 Nov: Southampton, Joiners

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BEATLES MEMORIAL FOR HAMBURG
German radio station Oldie95 is attempting to raise around £68,000 to create a memorial sculpture of The Beatles for the city of Hamburg to commemorate the time the band spent there. The tribute, which will be located on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg's St Pauli district where the group performed, will depict all the band members, including fifth Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe. The statue will be cast in bullet proof glass, to be illuminated after dark, and Beatles lyrics will be etched into the grooves of the record.

It's hoped that the sculpture will be ready by May next year, coinciding with World Cup Finals being held in Germany at that time. Oldie95 also hope that the surviving Beatles or Yoko Ono will be able to attend the unveiling. Around £14k has been raised so far, with organisers creating 5,000 certificates worth 10 euros each to persuade fans to invest, as well as seeking larger investors to make up the difference. Oldie95's Martina Mueller said "Hamburg was the musical birthplace of the Beatles, but we don't have anything here to mark this. Everyone thinks it is good for Hamburg, good for tourism and good for local people as well."

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BEATLES LYRICS FAIL TO SELL
And talking of the Beatles, John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for 'I'm Only Sleeping', tipped to fetch more than £200,000 when they went on sale at Christie's in London on Wednesday, have failed to find a buyer. The lot, a first draft scribbled in blue felt pen on the back of a phone bill, did not reach its reserve price. A spokeswoman for the auction house said that they were "surprised and disappointed."

Another Lennon related lot, a previously unheard interview with the singer and wife Yoko Ono recorded at their Bed-In For Peace protest in Montreal in 1969, went for £18,000, though. Other memorabilia that sold at the auction included a banjo owned by George Harrison and a catsuit once worn by Freddie Mercury.

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SHIRLEY BASSEY'S STUFF FLOGGED FOR £62K
And elsewhere in celebrity auction news, furniture and art from Shirley Bassey's Monaco apartment have sold at auction for a total of £62,000. The singer put eighteen items on sale at Sotheby's due to plans to redecorate her home more simply. Among the higher selling items were a faux leopard-skin Louis XVI style salon suite which sold for £3,300, and a mahogany chest which sold for £9,600, more than £8,000 above the estimate.

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ADDICTIVE TV AT CARGO
Here's one for your diary. Addictive TV will be at 'Media Whore', the Raindance Film Festival closing party at Cargo next Sunday. Described as "A night of visual mastery and mayhem from the crème de la crème of British VJs", Addictive TV will headline with a DJV set of film and video mash-ups, with support from Inside Us All, Maskomi and Media Lounge. Get there early for a chance to grab a goodie bag. All happens at Cargo, Rivington Street, Sunday 2 Oct from 7pm, entry £5.

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BEAUTIFUL SOUTH LIVE DVD
The Beautiful South are to release a live DVD of their gig in Dalby Forest in Yorkshire back in Jun. 'The Beautiful South - Live In The Forest' will be out on 14 Nov and features performances of some of the band's best known hits, including 'Perfect 10', 'Rotterdam', 'Don't Marry Her' and 'A Song For Whoever'. There's also a behind the scenes feature, and an interview with the band's Paul Heaton.

Info from Noble PR.

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JAMES BLUNT IS SKINT
Ah well. You can't have everything. Despite the fact that 'Back To Bedlam' has sold about 1.5million copies, and despite the fact that 'Beautiful' is the best selling single of the year (even though 'Wisemen' is better), James Blunt is still skint. Don't worry too much about him, though, because someone's picking up his hotel tabs.

Blunt apparently told The Sun: "I haven't been paid so actually I'm skint. I don't own a car or an apartment. But I do own a motorcycle for getting around London. Money doesn't mean that much to me anyway. I've been used to having no cash for years. And it would be crazy to have an apartment because I'm staying in hotels every day anyway."

And then there's more bad news (or good news, if you're an adoring fan). He's single with an aching heart. He apparently told The Mirror's 3am girls "The music business makes it pretty difficult to hold down relationships because I travel so much. So I'm no longer with my girlfriend. I'm young, free and single. But I'm always looking for love because I guess nobody wants to die alone. You just have to meet people and see what they're like in their mind. I would never rule out dating a fan."

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