CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 28th October

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- SonyBMG appoint Compliance Officer to satisfy Spitzer
- More Lack-to-go nonsense
- Incriminating Spector comments will appear in trial

- More Courtney Love legal woes
- Auction house denies Beach Boys collectables are stolen
- Jackson launches legal action
- Artists record Jackson's benefit single in LA
- Bob gets yet more attention
- Ben Folds DVD out soon
- Franz Ferdinand don't know what they're singing about
- Single review: Imogen Heap - Hide And Seek
- Alfie split up
- Snow Patrol new album report
- Arctic Monkeys don't feel the pressure
- KT Tunstall headlines Hogmanay
- Carl Barat performs new songs
- Gorky's frontman to release solo album
- Hope Of The States special show
- Go! Team announce tour
- Sugababes tour
- BB King announces live dates/retirement
- Album review: AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb
- Can the Stiff spirit work today?
- BPI chief joins line up for MusicTank copyright
- US issue anti-piracy demand to China through WTO
- Mark Owen's special guests
- Hawkins says British music is dreary bullshit

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Jump at Cargo.
Another Cargo tip then. A bit different though. This eclectic sounding night is a bit of a hotchpotch on one level, but I mean that in a good way - because it will be a fine musical stew me thinks. Ten piece ska-hop band (if there can be such a thing) Babyhead debut, though the ones to watch are Kraak and Smaak (yeah, I know, it sounds a bit like 60's Batman action placard). Signed to Jalapeno records and covering anything breaks / funk / beats, but with Dutch charm, these guys' latest single has been championed by Pete Tong, and this live set should be well worth checking out (they played in Amsterdam last night, so let's hope they didn't party too hard, and that the Eurostar didn't prove too draining, so we can have them on top form). Also on the Jump bill is Mr Mouth, who is a simply amazing human beat box, comparable to the master that is Killa Kela. All that, plus the Soul Jazz lot (Pete Reilly and Scott Bethell) will be down there DJing. All in all, a night for the best in not often heard, mental, party music!

Friday 28 Oct, 7pm-3am, £6 before 10pm / £10 after, Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY, press info from Leyline.

CHRIS' CLUB TIP: Crossover at Ministry Of Sound
Like 75 buses, nothing all week, then two must-go clubs on the same night. Damn. Ah well, take your pick - the aforementioned Vigsy-tipped Jump from our good friends at Leyline, or the all new night at Ministry from our good friend Eddy TM! This one is part of Ministry's new weekly night Switch, which has a different resident each week, meaning it covers a nice range of dance genres over the course of the month. Tonight is the first Switch night hosted by Xfm's Eddy TM and features everything you'd expect from the man behind the wonderful Remix Show (we're biased, we know that, but we checked with an independent adjudicator and he confirmed The Remix is, in fact, wonderful). Basically "dance will rock", as it says on the flyer, with the Dub Pistols live on stage with Terry Hall and Rodney P, plus Leftfield's Paul Daley, DJ Skitz and MC D plus Eddy TM all on the decks, while in Room 2 it will be a bootleg frenzy with Go Home Productions, Osymyso and Backstage Sluts all playing the tunes. Wonderful.

Friday 28 Oct, 10pm-5am, £12, Ministry Of Sound, Gaunt Street, London, SE1, press info from Ministry IH.

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SONYBMG APPOINT COMPLIANCE OFFICER TO SATISFY SPITZER
SonyBMG have appointed one of its legal team to the new post of Compliance Officer. Gil Aronow will be charged with the task of ensuring the major record company complies with its agreement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer regarding its promotional practices.

As previously reported, earlier this year SonyBMG admitted that some of its promotions staff had used dodgy payola type tactics (bribery basically) to ensure its artists got air time on certain US radio stations - a practice not allowed by US law. The practices came to light following Spitzer's investigation into payola allegations, and the major made a deal with the Attorney General in a bid to demonstrate that it would not allow payola activity to continue. Aronow's appointment is part of that deal.

Confirming the appointment, SonyBMG said in an internal statement: "As most of you are aware, SonyBMG has entered into an agreement with the New York State Attorney General's Office regarding the company's promotions practices. In fulfillment of our obligations under that agreement, we have named Gil Aronow, a Vice President in the SonyBMG Law Department, to the newly created post of Compliance Officer. In this role, Gil will be responsible for ensuring that the Company operates in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and maintains the highest possible standards and practices. Gil will report to senior management, to the SonyBMG Board of Directors and to the Attorney General's Office concerning the Company's compliance. Gil's extensive background in the law and the business of music and television, as well as his proven good judgment, make him the ideal choice for this position".

The major is also issuing Standards of Conduct for Promotion to make it 100% clear to everyone working in the company what kinds of promotional activity are not acceptable under their agreement with the Attorney General's office.

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MORE LACK-TO-GO NONSENSE
Talking of SonyBMG type things, more Andy-Lack-to-go rumours. As previously reported, gossipers say that SonyBMG chief Andy Lack is destined to be pushed out of his job as tensions between former Sony and former BMG execs at the top of the merged record company continue to rise. Lack apparently remains insistent he will stay, while former BMG types seem convinced he will go sooner rather than later. Either way, it seems some kind of clash in the SonyBMG boardroom is now inevitable and, with the board split equally between Sony and BMG men, it isn't clear how any clash of that kind could be resolved.

Word is that Sony Corp chief Howard Stringer and Bertelsmann top man Gunther Thielen are now in talks to try and find a solution for the executive tensions that are increasingly prevalent at their shared record company. Gossipers say there is real talk of one side of the partnership buying the other out, enabling which ever side does the acquisition to kick out all the board members from the other side in order to get their way. Some are even talking of the two companies un-doing the merger, though I don't see how that solution would be logistically possible given the extensive restructuring that has already taken place since the two majors merged.

It remains to be seen how this one rides out, though something will have to happen soon if Bertelsmann want to stop the departure of Michael Smellie at the end of the year. It was the resignation of Smellie, the highest standing former BMG exec in the SonyBMG hierarchy, that caused the anti-Lack movement in the BMG camp to become quite so proactive.

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INCRIMINATING SPECTOR COMMENTS WILL APPEAR IN TRIAL
Well, the first ruling in the Phil Spector murder trial went in favour of the prosecution yesterday. The court was in session to consider attempts by Spector's defence team to have dismissed comments made by their client immediately after the shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at his LA home. As previously reported, shortly after the shooting Spector told police that he had shot the actress by accident. But later he changed his story and said Clarkson had shot herself.

Spector's legal team say that those original comments should not be considered in the legendary producer's murder trial, because police deprived him of a load of prescription drugs he was dependent on at the time and therefore he was in no position to speak about what had happened.

However, a judge in California yesterday ruled that the prosecution will be able to use those potentially damaging statements in their case against the producer, which presumably means after round one it's one-nil to the prosecution.

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MORE COURTNEY LOVE LEGAL WOES
It's almost not news any more, is it? Courtney Love is in a bit of trouble again, and this time it's with a Seattle law firm who helped her obtain publishing rights to Nirvana's songs. The firm, Hendricks & Lewis are suing the troublesome star claiming that she owes them more than $340,000 in legal fees. They say they were told that Love does not have the money to pay what she owes them, despite the fact that they helped her secure more than $7 million in advances on late husband Kurt Cobain's material. It will come as no surprise to any of you that Love is currently in rehab serving a 28-day sentence for violating her parole in July.

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AUCTION HOUSE DENIES BEACH BOYS COLLECTABLES ARE STOLEN
The Beach Boys are threatening to sue a UK auction house over a sale of memorabilia, including original arrangement sheets for 'Good Vibrations' and 'God Only Knows', Brian Wilson and Mike Love's contract for the hit 'Do It Again', and personal photographs of the band with late Beatle George Harrison, all of which they say were stolen from the band.

Representatives for the band and their label, Brothers Records, said they would sue auction house Cooper Owen, the vendor they represent and anyone who buys one of the items up for sale because they are convinced the goods in question were stolen. They confirmed that US police are currently investigating their allegations, and added: "The FBI and Interpol may also become involved in the investigation."

But Cooper Owen Managing director John Collins denied that the memorabilia his company was auctioning off were stolen. He told the BBC that he had spoken to the band about their allegations, but added: "They have offered no evidence so we have no reason to stop the auction at the moment. The vendor vigorously denies the claims. He is furious as he bought the items at a sale by a Beach Boys representative who was clearing out junk around 25 years ago."

Collins added that his company were consulting their lawyers about the sale, and might consider countersuit legal action against the band.

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JACKSON LAUNCHES LEGAL ACTION
Michael Jackson has launched a counter suit against former associate Marc Shaffel, who says that Jackson owes him more than $3m, the result of a loan he made to the star, as well as payment for producing two TV shows. Jackson's new counter claim states that Mr Schaffel concealed and misappropriated funds, saying that Jacko's former associate failed to pay costs from the production of the song 'What More Can I Give?' and continued to represent himself as affiliated with the star after their business arrangement ended. Jackson also claims that Schaffel kept a number of his sculptures and paintings. It's all thrilling stuff.

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ARTISTS RECORD JACKSON'S BENEFIT SINGLE IN LA
Elsewhere in Jackson news, Billboard reports that a variety of artists have been laying down vocals for Michael Jackson's hurricane relief benefit single this week at the Conway Studios in Los Angeles. Jackson's spokesperson Raymone Bain said that "it was a good time to do the vocals" as a number of the acts involved were already planning to be in LA for the 25th anniversary celebrations for the BET TV network, but declined to say which artists were involved in the recent recordings. Sources suggest, however, that Ciara and Snoop Dogg were amongst the contributors.

Bain says that the track, which was originally entitled 'From The Bottom Of My Heart', will be getting a new name which will be revealed shortly, and that Jackson, as we know, is working on the song in London and was therefore not in LA for the sessions. Bain added that whilst in the capital, Jackson had been "tweaking the music as well as putting the finishing touches on it before sending it out to various artists" and continued "there are others who have to lay vocals well. [Jackson] plans on getting together with them for the chorus. We still have two to three more steps before the song will be ready for release."

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BOB GETS YET MORE ATTENTION
The Gorbachev Foundation have announced that the near-saint that is Bob Geldof is to be honoured with this year's 'Man Of Peace' award. This honour, awarded annually to those who have made an outstanding contribution to international social justice and peace, is voted for by previous winners of the Nobel Peace Prize who are participating in the Rome Summit.

Geldof will be presented with the honour in Rome on 24 Nov by previous Nobel winner Mikhail Gorbachov and by Mayor Of Rome Walter Veltroni during the World Summit of Nobel Laureates. As you'll remember, Geldof and Bono were both nominees for the actual Nobel Peace Prize which was awarded last month, though not to them.

I'm going to send Midge Ure a really nice Christmas present this year.

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BEN FOLDS DVD OUT SOON
And talking of Christmas presents, here's one that I'd like. Actually, call it an early Christmas present, because I'd quite like it to be in my possession by late Nov. This is a new Ben Folds live DVD and it's apparently out on 28 Nov in Australia and 6 Dec in the US. So no, I'm not entirely sure when it's out here, then. But hopefully around the same time.

The recording is of Folds' two concerts with the 83-piece Western Australia Symphony Orchestra back in March. 'Ben Folds And WASO Live In Perth' features behind-the-scenes footage of Folds and an interview in addition to the live recordings of some of my favourite Ben Folds songs. Folds continues the orchestral theme next month when he plays three shows with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Here's your tracklisting for the DVD. They're all crackers:

Zak and Sara
Smoke
Fred Jones Part 2
Boxing
Annie Waits
Brick
Steven's Last Night in Town
Evaporated
Rock This B*tch
The Ascent of Stan
Lullabye
Narcolepsy
The Luckiest

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FRANZ FERDINAND DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE SINGING ABOUT
Franz Ferdinand bassist Bob Hardy has revealed that he and the rest of the band don't always understand frontman Alex Kapranos' lyrics and frequently have to get him to explain what they mean. Hardy said: "We always talk about what they're about. You gotta know what the songs are about, otherwise you don't know how to play them."

Kapranos himself told MTV: "I love the fact that you can make a song sound really, really simple. If all you hear is the 'whoo-hoo' from the chorus, that's fine, but you can put a lot more into [discovering the meaning of] it as well. It's there if you want to hear it." The conversation emerged out of a discussion of the band's new single 'The Fallen' which contains quite a lot of kooky sounding stuff - "And the Kunst won't talk to you/ Because you kissed St. Rollox adieu/ Because you robbed a supermarket or two/ Well, who gives a damn about the prophets of Tesco?", etc, etc.

Kaparanos explained: "It's based on a number of different characters who are pretty enigmatic in their own right. These characters, Glaswegian characters, who maybe sometimes stumble on the darker side of life and maybe are from the rougher side of life. And it's imagining Christ coming back as one of these characters that we'd know from back home and what he'd do and imagining him coming back and turning the rich into wine and drinking them and walking on the mean and maybe getting on Mary Magdalene. See, once you know it, it's that easy, it all makes sense."

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SINGLE REVIEW: Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek (Megaphonic)
This unusual track is from Imogen's innovative and impressive album 'Speak For Yourself' released earlier this year. 'Hide and Seek' is being released as a single following it's inclusion on the soundtrack of youth drama 'The OC' (it was used during the funeral scene of a key character), as subsequently it was given airplay on Radio 1 and became a popular download on iTunes. The song consists of Heap's voice fed through a vocoder, altered with various effects and reproduced to make a multi-layered track. The result is intriguing and very reminiscent of Laurie Anderson's avant-garde smash hit 'O Superman'. The multi-talented South London songwriter can also be heard on the soundtrack of American indie film 'Garden State' as part of her band Frou-Frou. JW
Release date: 31 Oct
Press contact: Strike 3 [all]

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ALFIE SPLIT UP
Alfie have issued a statement to NME.com revealing that they are splitting up, and explaining their reasons for doing so. Bassist Sam Morris said: "The reasons behind the decision are varied, but the main feeling was that it had seemed to run its course. As you know, we have always endeavoured to stay 'true to ourselves' musically, and we perhaps somewhat naively thought that this would be sufficient to catapult us into the upper stratosphere of the popular music world. It wasn't, and unfortunately, although it's true that a single note of one of our songs holds more worth than ten thousand James Blunt albums (a chilling thought) this has never been apparent to the record buying public as a whole. We wanted it to work, you wanted it to work, the record company wanted it to work. So the question remains: where did everyone else's loving go, for frig's sake? Well I don't know where their loving went, but I know their cash went straight into the crazy frog's wackily amphibious bank account."

Bandmate Lee Gorton added: "Some of the band felt we weren't getting the breaks anymore. Not that you're owed 'em mind, but it's easy to lose heart when you've been trying to do things your own way for so long yet still not getting the response you're after. Everyone's human and people have a right to worry about what's happening with their lives... it's hard to keep faith that "everything'll be alright", (which has been my mantra from day one), when it feels, ultimately, like no-one's listening. You lot, our faithful fans, being the exception of course. Ever loyal throughout, always providing that glimmer of hope and humanity when things have felt tough. I've been equally touched, entertained and encouraged whilst silently monitoring countless, seemingly trivial rows on the message board over the years. We've clearly meant quite a lot to some of you and knowing that and believing someone cares has provided priceless motivation!"

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SNOW PATROL NEW ALBUM REPORT
Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody has posted a message on the band's official website to update fans on progress on the new album, describing it as 'bigger and bolder' than previous material.

The post read: "At the end of the third week in the studio and things are going great. We've completed (minus vocals which we'll do at the end) eight songs and they're sounding great (I'll put the trumpet away now). Most of the titles will change as I'm still tinkering with lyrics so to give you song names now would just be confusing. One that hasn't changed is chasing cars which we played on our last US tour and the shows we did with u2 and in Ireland, so some of you may know it. It's sounding pretty big."

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ARCTIC MONKEYS DON'T FEEL THE PRESSURE
Talking of band's whose names call to mind icy conditions, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has told Xfm that he and his band are not feeling under pressure since 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor' shot to the top of the singles chart, and are not worried about following it up with a second number one with their next single release 'Sun Goes Down (Scummy)'.

Turner said: "I imagine there is pressure, but we haven't taken that step yet. I know what you mean though, it does put a bit of pressure on you I s'pose. I think people understand that every single doesn't have to go to number one, and I think it's good that 'un went in at number one, just to lead off ready for everything else." He added.

He continued: "Worried following it up? Not at all. We kinda didn't do anything to help make it get to number one, if anything we went the other way." He explained. "It's great for music and that, but nah, we never think, 'We've got to top that with another number one'. We just want to try and make the record as good and interesting as it can be."

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KT TUNSTALL HEADLINES HOGMANAY
KT Tunstall is to headline Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations in the Scottish capital's Princes Street Gardens this December. She's joined on the bill by fellow Scottish rockers Texas and the brilliant El Presidente at the event, taking place, as you might expect of a New Years Eve party, on 31 Dec. Tunstall said "I've spent a few Hogmanays at the street party over the years and have always dreamt of playing it one day. Until we're on that stage, I won't believe we're allowed on it."

Tickets for the concert, which are 35 quid, go on sale today.

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CARL BARAT PERFORMS NEW SONGS
Carl Barat has performed his new songs on a 'secret' tour of Europe. The ex-Libertine's new band, Dirty Pretty Things (hang on though, isn't there another band with that name who are trying to stop Barat nicking it?) played the songs last Tuesday in at the Triptyque in Paris following a small number of unannounced shows in Italy. Barat also played a few Libertines songs, 'Can't Stand Me Now', 'Time For Heroes' and 'France'.

After the event Barat spoke to NME.com, saying "I've taken a year to sweep up the pieces, focusing, and remembering who I was and why I did what I did rather than tying up the loose ends of the Libertines, which has really taken up a lot of time and emotional space."

Bassist Didz Hammond who, as previously reported, joined Barat after leaving previous band The Cooper Temple Clause, sang the lead on one song as well as providing backing vocals elsewhere. The interview with Barat will be published in NME this week.

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GORKY'S FRONTMAN TO RELEASE SOLO ALBUM
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci frontman Euros Childs is to release an as-yet-untitled solo album in Feb next year, preceding that with a single release 'Donkey Island' on 28 Nov. Childs reveals what inspired the song: "I was on holiday once, I can't remember if it was in Turkey or Greece, but a bloke was selling trips to 'donkey island', and I envisaged someone being shipwrecked and having to adapt".

He'll be promoting that single release with the following gigs:

28 Nov: Betws y Coed Glanaber Hotel
29 Nov: Cardiff Buffalo Bar
30 Nov: Aberystwyth Cwps
1 Dec: Manchester Kings Arms
2 Dec: Brighton Freebutt
4 Dec: Nottingham Maze
5 Dec: Leeds Mixing Tin
6 Dec: London 12 Bar

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HOPE OF THE STATES SPECIAL SHOW
Hope Of The States are to play a special show at Fugitives And Refugees at the Buffalo Bar in London tonight. Appearing as Thee Hope Of The States Wooden Electrik Arkestar, the band will be "using whatever instruments they can lay their hands on and playing songs old, songs rare, songs lost and songs composed specifically for the night". The event will also feature DJ sets from Hope Of The States, Type2Error, Union Fires and Idiot Green Boys.

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GO! TEAM ANNOUNCE TOUR
Yay. The Go! Team have announced a 2006 tour starting in Feb next year. Tickets go on sale today, and the dates are as follows:

15 Feb: Liverpool, Carling Academy
16 Feb: Leeds, Met Uni
17 Feb: Glasgow, Barrowlands
18 Feb: Manchester, Academy
20 Feb: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
21 Feb: Newcastle, Uni
22 Feb: Sheffield, The Plug
24 Feb: Reading, Uni
25 Feb: Brighton, Corn Exchange
26 Feb: Bristol, Academy
27 Feb: Norwich, Waterfront
1 Mar: London, Koko
5 Mar: Oxford Brookes Uni
6 Mar: Stoke, Keele Uni
7 Mar: Cardiff, Coal Exchange
8 Mar: Southampton, Uni

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SUGABABES TOUR
Yet more tour. My girl-pop-group of choice Sugababes have announced a 2006 UK tour starting in March. Tickets went on sale this morning.

17 Mar: Sheffield City Hall
18 Mar: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
20 Mar: Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
23 Mar: Newcastle City Hall
25 Mar: Manchester Apollo
27 Mar: Hull City Hall
28 Mar: Nottingham Royal Centre
30 Mar: Bristol Colston Hall
31 Mar: Plymouth Pavilions
1 Apr: Bournemouth International Centre
3 Apr: Brighton Centre
4 Apr: Ipswich Regents Theatre
6 Apr: Reading Riverman
7 Apr: Cardiff International Arena
8 Apr: Birmingham NIA
10 Apr: London Hammersmith Apollo

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BB KING ANNOUNCES LIVE DATES/RETIREMENT
Blues Legend BB King has announced a series of gigs marking his retirement from UK touring. King's five date tour begins on 29 March in Sheffield, takes in Birmingham, Bournemouth and Manchester, ending at Wembley Arena on 4 April. King, who is now 80, averaged 275 gigs a year during the fifties, notching up a record 342 gigs in 1956. Tickets on sale as of this morning.

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ALBUM REVIEW: AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb (Warp)
AFX is a pseudonym for a certain Richard D James, aka the Aphex Twin, and this album is a re-release of two pioneering limited EPs he quietly slipped out in 1995. It's a welcome re-issue, not least since the original records have gone for silly money on eBay over the years. It marks a watershed in the Aphex oeuvre: this is where he invented invented both drill 'n' bass and mutant breaks-driven schizoid 'tronica, ditching the trademark lush ambient soundscapes in favour of experimental dissonant discordance that marked him out as, amongst other things, a kind of techno Syd Barrett (a description even more apt on his 1996 'Richard D James' album, which cemented his reputation as an innovative purveyor of frazzled electronic English whimsy that teeters on the boundaries of genius and madness). It's by turns sinister and cheeky, punctuated by random disembowelled children's voices, forboding zither-type sounds and crystalline synths, all drowned in atypical marshy reverb. It's all genius, of course, and, although at times a touch challenging to listen to, it remains a milestone in electronic music. MS
Release date: 31 Oct
Press contact: Warp IH [all]

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CAN THE STIFF SPIRIT WORK TODAY?
"One of the problems with major record labels today is that people who work there only know about their specific role or department. That's what was so great about working at a label like Stiff Records, everybody did a bit of everything, and that meant you had a really strong team".

And so some words of wisdom from former Virgin Records boss Paul Conroy, reminiscing about his days as General Manager of the legendary London based independent Stiff Records, the home to a stack of musical legends, including, among many others, Ian Drury And The Blockheads, Graham Parker, Kirsty MacColl, Madness and the early releases of Elvis Costello. He and Stiff Records co-founder Dave Robinson were discussing the history of the label at a special MusicTank event at London's 10 Room last night, reminiscing about Stiff's ten year history from 1976 to 1986, and in particular the seven years that Conroy spent with the independent.

While the evening was primarily concerned with the history of the label, and the many exploits of its staff and artists during a decade of making music, both Conroy and Robinson provided some tips and inspiration for those currently embarking on a career in independent music. "The fact you have to get involved in everything at an independent is a really good thing", Conroy continued, "you all get involved in everything, even though half the stuff you do you've never done before. Some things work, some things don't, but when you have that approach you can achieve so much more".

As for tips for artists or independent labels of the future, Robinson provided the words of wisdom: "It's all about persistence. Believe in what you do, and try and get exposed as much as you can. If no one will pay an intention, just play in your local pub. Get yourself noticed and stick with it. Most bands I can think of made it because of a lucky break. You've got to stick at it until that lucky break happens."

And how has the industry changed? Robinson: "Has it changed? I don't know. The major labels are all run by accountants now, the mavericks and characters have gone. But then again, we hated the majors then too, nothings changed there. We achieved a lot just by being independently minded, and I think that can still be the case".

"And the one thing we didn't have", Conroy continued, "was the internet. New bands don't have to depend on a handful of radio stations and magazines any more, they can reach fans through the net themselves. That's a great opportunity for new bands, and you can see it working here and there. Persistence is still the important thing, but making use of those new opportunities is another way for independents to make it".

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BPI CHIEF JOINS LINE UP FOR MUSICTANK COPYRIGHT
Talking of MusicTank, they are organising a Copyright Conference on 10 Nov, and yesterday they confirmed that BPI top man Peter Jamieson has joined the already big list of speakers at the event. He will provide the keynote speech for one of the panel discussions at the event, on the topic 'Copyright Review: Getting The Rights Balance'. He joins other key note speakers Emma Pike, Director General of British Music Rights and Co-Chairman of the Music Business Forum and Professor Martin Kretschmer, Joint Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management at Bournemouth University.

Full details about the event, including booking info, is at http://www.musictank.co.uk/events_copyright_conf.htm

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US ISSUE ANTI-PIRACY DEMAND TO CHINA THROUGH WTO
The American government has formally put pressure on China to step up its efforts to combat piracy. With China an increasingly important market for the music and entertainment industries, record labels, studios and software firms are increasingly concerned at the continuing high levels of piracy that takes place in the country. And the problem actually affects a much wider base of companies - with fashion firms and companies like Gillette also suffering from the widespread sale of counterfeit goods in China.

US Trade Representative Rob Portman has issued a demand via the World Trade Organisation for the Chinese government to work harder to combat its piracy problem. Representatives from both Japan and Switzerland have lodged similar complaints. Chinese authorities have made some moves to combat piracy in the last year, with China based internet portal NetEase closing its music service in response to piracy concerns, and Chinese search engine Baidu facing prosecution for its role in assisting the illegal distribution of music online. However, many industry execs say that while Chinese officials may be adopting the right rhetoric towards piracy, their achievements in combating it have been minimal, especially in tackling the country's massive bootleg CD and DVD market.

It remains to be seen if, given this kind of international pressure, the Chinese government are willing or able to tackle the problem any further.

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MARK OWEN'S SPECIAL GUESTS
The Sun claims that Mark Owen is trying to get the rest of Take That to reunite for a one-off show on his tour. He's appearing at the intimate Islington Academy on 20 Dec, the tenth anniversary of their split. According to the tabloid, Mark says he has "some very special guests lined up", but clearly, they could be anyone. He releases his new single 'Hail Mary' on 12 Dec.

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HAWKINS SAYS BRITISH MUSIC IS DREARY BULLSHIT
Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins says that British bands (except his, obviously) are producing very dull music, and says the reason The Darkness are so influenced by seventies style rock is that no-one more recent is able to inspire them.

He says, "British music is the laughing stock of the world. It's such fucking dreary bullshit. It's such a cliché to say, 'We were so bored of the industry around us that we started our own band!' But it's no coincidence that all our influences are from a long time ago."

If that's the case, though, how is it that the dreariest band of them all is doing such great business all over the bloody planet? And I think you all know who I mean.

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