CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 13th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- HMV figures down, Megastore figures up
- Spitzer likely to focus on digital MFN clauses
- Circuit court turns down TVT appeal appeal
- Doherty fails to make Stoke gig shocker
- Tunstall says Bush should win
- Wilson says Oasis are daft
- Bloggers concerned about what's behind new iTunes service
- Does Apple trademark application precede mobile iPod?
- BT plans mobile TV launch for later this year
- CiTV launch pushed back a month
- The Storm makes way for Xfm
- Recall support Music For Images at MIDEM
- Mylo deaf, Day Out cancelled
- Ashcroft scared by bird flu
- Chili Peppers reveal a couple more things about album
- My chemical romance DVD and CD
- MCR, Lostprophets headline Give It A Name
- Charlatans return - hurrah
- Strokes rearrange tour dates
- Spinto single, album, tour
- Concretes single, album, tour
- Britney is worst, says Blackwell


As the more in touch of you will know by now, the 'C' in 'CMU' stands for college, and a key part of what we do around here is providing a link between the industry and mainstream media and the always vibrant college music scene - we let college types know what's happening in the music world, we let label and media types know what's going down on campuses around the UK, and we ensure we are up to speed with what's good and what's buzzing music-wise through our college review team. I mention all this now, because we are currently recruiting new people to join our team of college correspondents. Basically, we are looking for students studying music or media, or who work on their student newspaper or radio station, who are looking to hone their skills in music journalism, and to build connections in the music business. We provide free training in music journalism, plus offer access to a whole range of music and music events, and the opportunity to share your opinions and showcase your skills to a large audience. If you are such an interested student, or you know one, then check out the URL below for more details and an application form. We are particularly looking for additional correspondents in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, so if you study there, we especially want to hear from you. Full details at:



VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: 100% Dynamite at The Electroworks
Believe it or not, Soul Jazz Records have been running 100% Dynamite for eight years now, and during that time guests to play at this slightly dingy venue have included Horace Andy, Gilles Peterson, Ashley Beedle, David Holmes and one of my faves, Marc Mac (4Hero). The venue does sometimes get completely packed out, leading to some bizarre one-in-one-out shenanigans in the main room, but it's a good night nevertheless, where an open minded friendly crowd come together looking for some dub, reggae, soul, soca and big bass beats. Tonight should be especially good given that it will feature the sublime electrotones of Sabres Of Paradise man, Andy Weatherall. With Ashley Beedle on the 28th - a kicking start to Jan, and just a fiver all night.

Sat 14 Jan, 9pm - 3am, £5, Electowerks, 7 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, tel: 020 7837 6419, info at

Cargo again. But this is special. Coldcut are launching their long awaited and rather good new album 'Sound Mirrors'. The party is already sold out, so you'll have to impress the Ninjas somehow to get in. Eight years in the making, 'Sound Mirrors' features artists such as Roots Manuva, Robert Owens, John Matthias and Mpho Skeef - some of whom may show up this night. The Cargo gig will also see the launch of that mycctv thing reported on here in the Daily t'other day. Punters are encouraged to film goings on at this and all future Coldcut gigs on their mobiles, and to then submit their footage. The best bits will feature on the duo's website, and possibly their tour DVD, with prizes duly delivered to the people behind the best best bits. Other techy things happening at the party include a bluetooth bonanza that will see free beer vouchers being 'toothed to people's phones, plus, of course, a massive VJ set from Uncle Matt and Jon. Add that to a chance to hear the new material live, Ross Allen DJing and the presences of house vocal legend Robert Owens, this really is a must-go event, despite the lack of available tickets. Has anyone ever done a ram raid to get into a venue? Would be a tight angle on Rivington Street, mind you...

Thursday 19 Jan, 8pm - late, £10, Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, London. EC2A 3AY Press info from Ninja Tune. Info at


HMV boss Alan Giles yesterday quit after the books and music retailer reported particularly disappointed sales figures - including the worst Christmas trading figures reported by a UK retailer so far.

The HMV bit of HMV (they also own Waterstones) suffered most. In the six months up to the end of October underlying sales were down 12%, meaning the 200-store chain made a £300,000 loss, compared with a profit of £13.5 million in the same period the previous year. The sales decline slowed in the run up to Christmas, to just under 9%, but given that that is by far the busiest time of year sales wise for HMV it was still too big a decline.

Giles blamed a combination of new competition from online retailers and a price war led by the supermarkets for the poor performance. He said that online sales of records had been through "a quantum jump", adding: "A year ago I was saying the internet would plateau at about 10% of this market. Now I say that I was wrong. I just don't know now how far it will go. This is a brave new world for retailers."

Industry insiders admit that it is the combination of online and supermarket led competition that is making times so difficult for the likes of HMV. In order to compete with the cost-cutting bulk-buying supermarkets on mainstream chart releases, HMV has to slash its price-point on those releases. With much higher high street overheads than the supermarkets, that makes their profit margins on those titles tiny. Therefore the high street record stores rely on the sales of back catalogue or alternative releases not stocked by the supermarkets. But that is the area where the e-tailers compete - offering music fans a hugely comprehensive and easy-to-access range of releases - and again, with their lower overheads, the e-tailers can easily compete on price point.

All that said, as Giles was announcing his disappointing sales figures and resignation, those crafty types over at Virgin Megastore decided it was just the right time to tell everyone they'd had a very good Christmas thank you very much.

The retail chain's MD, Simon Douglas, told reporters: "Contradictory to retail industry concerns prior to the Christmas period, shoppers returned to the high street in their droves following a sluggish start to the Christmas shopping season. The third week of December saw a sales increase of over 44.8% week on week, which was stunning, and the overall period has seen Virgin up 3.2% on last year's like for like Christmas sales. Furthermore, we've managed to increase our margin during a period, which saw competitive pricing across many entertainment products. In a challenging year, Virgin has made a huge investment into its store portfolio and opened a record number of stores in 2005. We have continued to work closely with our suppliers to support their releases and operational improvements has led to improved margins, increased stock availability and a stronger customer offer. Furthermore, Virgin has heavily invested in customer service in 2005 and saw the benefits by coming second out of 300 shops in an independent customer service audit." Although he admitted that this was a challenging time for traditional music retail, Douglas said he was optimistic about the year to come.

Despite the interesting differences in performance from the two high street leaders, it is still pretty impossible to predict what the future holds in the digital age for HMV, Virgin Megastore, Woolworths as a music seller and the smaller players in this space. Both HMV and Virgin have now moved into the digital arena, of course - five years too late some would argue, but before downloading has really gone mainstream they would no doubt respond. Despite the dominance of newer rivals online, there is still a place for the traditional music sellers in the long term, but that future surely lies in being able to offer consumers a combined real world, mail order and download experience. While the traditional companies continue to operate their stores, mail order websites and download platforms as almost separate businesses, short term successes, although a real achievement for the management behind them, do not necessarily improve long term prospects.


Speculation continues regarding that investigation into online music pricing seemingly being launched by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

As previously reported, both major labels and digital music companies have reported that Spitzer's office has subpoenaed information from them regarding their download deals. Despite record labels publicly dissing the deals being offered by iTunes et al - in particular the insistence by Apple on a one-price-fits-all system - rumour suggests it is the record labels that Spitzer believes are acting unfairly in this space. Having surveyed a number of senior execs, Billboard reckon that the issue that the Attorney General is going to focus on is so-called "most favoured nation" clauses.

These are clauses that enable a record company to ensure none of its competitors are getting a better deal than they are - either by forcing a download platform to share information about its other label agreements, or by tying their deal to others - ie 'we'll accept an agreed cut of revenues, but if you offer another record company a better deal, we want that deal too'. These kind of clauses, some argue, is basically "defacto collusion" on the part of the labels.

Chatter about the clauses has grown since venture capitalist Sean Ryan, a former and RealNetworks/Rhapsody executive, wrote about them on his blog - arguing that such clauses meant labels didn't have to collude in order to achieve the results of collusion. He wrote: "I used to refer to it as the 'Lazy Business Development' clause since it effectively saves labels from actually negotiating the terms - they just claim MFN and do an audit once a year if they think a competitor is getting better terms".

However, some label insiders deny they are acting unfairly, with Billboard quoting one exec as saying: "[Spitzer's] really got it totally wrong. That it's a monolithic price is totally false. I know (different labels) charge different prices."


The catchily titled US Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit has denied a motion launched by US independent TVT to have an earlier court decision regarding its dispute with Universal's Island Def Jam overturned.

This is a long running one. It all centred on Ja Rule. He was originally signed to the independent as part of Cash Money Click, but entered into a solo deal with Def Jam when a fellow CMC member was jailed and the project went on hold. TVT argued that when they released Ja Rule from his CMC contract the label reserved the right to release certain records involving Ja Rule, but that when they tried to do so Def Jam unleashed a campaign to prevent the album's release. In the original hearing the courts sided with independent saying the major was guilty of fraud, willful copyright infringement and wrongful interference with a contract. They awarded TVT a massive $108 million in damages. But that was later dropped to $54 million and then, last year, an appeal court overturned all the charges against IDJ, except that of breach of contract.

That left IDJ owing TVT just $176,000. Moreover, TVT had lost its case against IDJ on the fraud and infringement charges, and therefore owed the major label its legal costs for defending those allegations - which were rather a lot more than $176,000. Add to that TVT's own legal fees, which would now not be charged to IDJ, and you can see why the independent's boss Steve Gottlieb was keen to appeal the appeal.

But that appeal to the Circuit Court has now been denied, meaning they won't overturn their original appeal decision. This leaves TVT in a tricky position potentially facing huge legal bills from the major. That said, an appeal route up to the Supreme Court remains for the indie - whether Gottlieb will choose to take it remains to be seen.


Pete Doherty failed to turn up to yet another Babyshambles gig on Wednesday, this time scheduled at Underground in Stoke. The no-show occurred following his previously reported court appearance at Ealing Magistrate's Court, where, as he emerged from the building, Doherty was heard to mutter "I shouldn't be here, I'm supposed to be in Stoke for a gig".

A fan told "When we got to the place, the atmosphere was electric, such a good place to see a gig! The supports came on and the atmosphere was really starting to build up. After fully expecting Babyshambles to be on at 10pm, it then went an hour before we heard anything at all, being told that he was 'in a car' and 'on his way'. Of course, knowing the man, we thought it was in typical Pete fashion that he was running late and that he would be there to tear the place up. [Band collaborator] The General then made an appearance. People's hopes then started to pick up again, with the rest of Babyshambles coming out with The General to play a few songs. After five minutes of the General leaving the stage, officials informed us of Pete's absence for the night."

It would seem, however, that the night went rather well for Babyshambles' support band The Holloways, who apparently performed a very well-received warm-up slot before it became clear that the headline act were missing a frontman. A few of the crowd suggested that The Holloways get back on stage and play some more, which the band did (somewhat apprehensively, by all accounts, fearful that the reaction from gig-goers might be a bit hostile) and subsequently went down a storm with the 'Shambles fans. The Holloways are more likely to turn up and play a gig than Babyshambles, so why not plan to catch them at the Xfm all-dayer on 21 Jan, or at one of their upcoming Club NME dates.


KT Tunstall has apparently said that Kate Bush should get the Best Female Solo Artist award at this year's Brits, despite the fact that she is up for that gong herself. As previously reported, Tunstall is up against Katie Melua, Charlotte Church and Natasha Bedingfield as well as Bush in that particular category, and is up for two further awards.

Anyway, Tunstall appears to be rooting for the competition in the Best Female race, saying "It's got to be the Kate Bush award - even though I'm up against her. She's just a legend. I'm chuffed to be in the same category as her." She's apparently not quite so impressed by all of her fellow competitors, however. On the subject of Ms Melua she added "that Katie Melua and her, like, 'Nine Million Bicycles' - what's that all about?"


Another from the file marked 'comments regarding the Brit nominations'. And before we go any further, I must insist on pointing out that whatever I may think of the Gallagher Brothers (and it's not pretty) I'm not sure that it's been confirmed that Oasis have decided not to go to the Brits and it might all be just rumour. However, commenting on those rumours (or does he know something I don't?) Chief Kaiser Ricky Wilson has said the Gallaghers are daft to boycott the awards event (if indeed they have) over the fact that they didn't get enough nods.

Wilson told The Mirror: "It's daft as fuck they aren't going to the Brits because they didn't get lots of nominations. They probably think they've been snubbed, but they haven't. Usually nothing scares Oasis - they are like rock bears. We are just rock hyenas or meerkats."

He also shared not much of an opinion on fellow five-times-Brit nominee James Blunt: "Some people love James Blunt and some people hate him, but I just really don't care. It's like me being a lawyer or a farmer and being compared to a telesales assistant. I talked to him and we had a right good chat but let's just say I don't have any of his records."


IT types have expressed concerns regarding a new feature in the iTunes player which makes track suggestions based on the music users download, import or listen to. The 'MiniStore' feature is presumably a response to concerns in the digital music space as to how punters go about navigating such large catalogues of music, and is basically a version the 'if you like that, you'll like this' function used by many e-tailers.

The problem IT bloggers have with the new function is that Apple are seemingly being vague about how they are collating data about iTunes users in order to offer the new service, and more to the point, what they plan to do with that data. Bloggers point out that the new function is potentially an evasion of privacy because it tracks music you put into iTunes from other sources (eg tracks ripped from CD) and not just that which Apple sells you. They want Apple to reveal more about their mechanics and plans.

But Apple claim there is nothing to reveal, because they are simply not using the new service to gather consumer data. They also point out that the 'MiniStore' feature can be easily disabled if a user so wishes.

But with heightened paranoia regarding the major player's intentions following the fallout caused by SonyBMG's use of that dodgy copy-protection software, some IT types say that isn't good enough. Writing on a Macworld blog this week, one Rob Griffiths says: "This isn't about the MiniStore itself. It's about Apple's attitude in rolling this change out to the millions of iTunes users, without as much as a peep about what's going on behind the scenes."


Talking of bloggers blogging about Apple Computers, there's been much speculation regarding the IT firm's plans in the mobile space. Despite its software partnership with Motorola, who made iTunes available on its ROKR phone, some reckon Apple will launch its own mobile iPod devices in the future. Apple won't comment one way or the other on those reckonings, but they have applied for a US trademark on the term 'Mobile Me', which some reckon will be used for a mobile compatible iPod.

Of course the term could in the pipeline for use with any number of future Apple devices, though the trademark application does say that the expression 'Mobile Me' would be used, in part at least, for the provision of "digital music from local or global communications networks, including the internet, intranets, extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular and satellite networks," while also covering "information relating to music entertainment, education, interactive entertainment and education" which, as you can imagine, has done nothing to dampen the ongoing speculation.


Talking of mobile type things, BT have said they will launch a mobile-based TV and radio thang in the latter half of this year following a pilot run by its mobile division, BT Movio. In that pilot 1000 people tested mobile TV services by using special smartphones. The majority said they would upgrade their own phones to receive the service, 38% said they'd switch networks to get the service, and 73% indicated they'd pay for it. The BT platform is most likely to be offered as a back-end service for other mobile players with Virgin Mobile a likely first client.


Bad news for those planning on spending most of February tuning in to ITV's new kids channel. The launch date for CiTV has been pushed back from 11 Feb to 11 Mar. So you'll just have to go back to watching Men & Motors instead.


GCap's digital rock station The Storm will go off the air on 23 Jan to make way for sister station Xfm. Launched five years ago, The Storm was part of GWR's original digital radio package, broadcasting on digital, online and via Sky. However, as part of the post-merger consolidation at GCap, which saw the Capital owned Scottish youth station Beat 106 also rebranded as Xfm this month, The Storm is to go - offering Xfm additional national exposure on digital. A version of The Storm will stay in the short term on digital in London, Bristol and Wolverhampton where Xfm already has a digital outlet, but that will be a back to back music service. GWR's other digital service, Core, is unaffected by the change at The Storm.


Can you believe its MIDEM time already? Yep, the music business' annual jaunt to Cannes kicks off at the end of next week. Among the showcases, seminars and drinking sessions on offer, one to look out for is the Music For Images conference, which is this year sponsored by Luc Besson's film studio EuropaCorp and music company the Recall Group. Taking place on 24 Jan, this is a one day event looking at the increasingly important relations between the music, film, TV, advertising and video game industries.

EuropaCorp and Recall have been working together through a global licensing agreement which will see the latter release soundtracks for the former's movies. The first US release from that partnership will be the soundtrack to 'The Three Burials' (out later this month), the directorial debut of actor Tommy Lee Jones. The two companies have been working on an extensive marketing campaign for the release - and an insight into that work will be among the sessions offered at the MIDEM event.

More info in the conferences section at


Mylo has been forced to cancel his appearances at Big Day Out after he contracted a virus over Christmas that has led to his becoming deaf in one ear, with a partial loss of hearing in the other. He is now stranded in South Africa where he was due to play a show.

According to a statement, Mylo "contracted a virus over the New Year which resulted in partial hearing loss in one ear. Unfortunately the situation has since worsened and he has lost hearing in one ear completely, and has only partial hearing in his other ear. He was hoping that a couple of days rest would help regain his hearing. However, since his arrival in Cape Town for a show and receiving specialist medical treatment, unfortunately no progress has been made."

The statement continued: "As a result of this, he is grounded in Cape Town and unable to move at the moment. As you can probably imagine it is impossible for him to perform right now and therefore we regretfully have to cancel the Big Day Out shows."

He's not the first to make a last minute exit from the Australian touring festival. As previously reported, AFI have pulled out, although Jack White, who was recently forced to cancel White Stripes tour dates in Japan is expected to recover in time to take part in Big Day Out as scheduled.


Richard Ashcroft has apparently admitted to Xfm that he recently got a bit paranoid about the possibility of a bird flu epidemic, telling Dominik Diamond: "I had my freak out nine months ago and thought about stockpiling food and everything." Don't mock. It's coming.

Elsewhere in Ashcroft news, the singer played a special gig for Radio 2 on Wednesday, backed by a forty piece orchestra as well as his usual five piece band, and played a selection of Verve tracks as well as material from his new album and previous solo outings for a 600 strong crowd of competition winners.

Ashcroft played the following tracks in the set, which will be broadcast on Radio 2 on 21 Jan at 8:30pm:

Music Is Power
Words Just Get In The Way
A Song For The Lovers
The Drugs Dont Work
Velvet Morning
Sweet Brother Malcolm
Lonely Soul
Why Do Lovers?
Lucky Man
Break The Night With Colour
Bitter Sweet Symphony


Red Hot Chili Peppers have confirmed more details about the release of their latest output. The previously reported new long player 'Stadium Arcadium' is a 24 track double album and will be out on 8 May preceded by the release of a single, 'Dani California'. The band plan to return to the UK for a tour later this year.


More releases, this time it's retrospective. My Chemical Romance are to release a new, three disc DVD collection entitled 'On A Murder Scene' on 21 Mar, which charts the band's career and features a documentary, live footage and videos. A CD of the same name will also be released featuring live tracks such as 'Helena', 'The Ghost Of You' and 'Give 'em Hell Kid'.


Talking of Chemical Romances, er, My Chemical Romance and Lostprophets have been confirmed as headliners for this year's Give It A Name indoor festival. The event, last year a one day festival in London, will now last two days and take place in two locations, on 29 and 30 Apr at London Earl's Court and Manchester's MEN Arena.

Other confirmed acts include The Ataris, Taking Back Sunday, Atreyu, Panic! At The Disco, Underoath, Angels & Airwaves The Bled, Goldfinger and Bayside. Day and weekend tickets went on sale this morning at 9am.


Hurrah indeed - The Charlatans will return on 10 Apr with a brand new album called Simpatico, to be released via the Sanctuary. It will be preceded by single 'Blackened Blue Eyes' a week earlier. Press info from Coalition.


The Strokes have rearranged two of their upcoming UK and Ireland tour dates. The tour was originally scheduled to start in Belfast on 19 Jan followed by a gig in Dublin on 20 Jan. The tour will now begin in London on 24 Jan, and end in Ireland, with gigs planned in Dublin on 20 Feb and Belfast on 21 Feb.

The full list is as follows:

24 Jan: London Shepherds Bush Empire
25 Jan: Bristol Colston Hall
27 Jan: Nottingham Ice Arena
28 Jan: Doncaster Dome
31 Jan: Manchester Apollo
3 Feb: Brighton Centre
4 Feb: Portsmouth Guildhall
9 Feb: Glasgow Academy
10 Feb: Edinburgh Corn Exchange
11 Feb: Hull City Hall
13 Feb: Wolverhampton Civic Hall
14 Feb: Blackpool Empress
17 Feb: London Hammersmith Apollo
18 Feb: London Hammersmith Apollo
20 Feb: Dublin The Point
21 Feb: Belfast Ulster Hall


US buzzers The Spinto Band release a new single, 'Direct Helmet' on 6 March, taken from their upcoming debut album, which will get a UK release sometime in the Spring. They're also to embark on their first UK tour shortly, dates as follows:

18 Jan: Nottingham The Social
19 Jan: Bristol Louisiana
20 Jan: Liverpool Club EVOL
21 Jan: Manchester Bierkeller
23 Jan: Glasgow King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
24 Jan: Leeds The Cockpit
25 Jan: London Cargo
26 Jan: Brighton Ocean Rooms


More single, album, tour news. The Concretes are all set to release a new album, 'In Colour', on 6 Mar, preceded by a single 'Chosen One', on 27 Feb. They'll also be headlining three tour dates in advance of the single release, as follows:

15 Feb: Bournemouth The Old Fire Station
18 Feb: Liverpool Academy 3
22 Feb: London Scala


Veteran US fashion critic Mr Blackwell has named Britney Spears 'worst dressed celebrity' in his 46th annual list, The Sun reports. Blackwell says that Spears has gone from "Princess of Pop" to "Fashion Flop". I would have to agree, I'm afraid.

Fellow popstrels Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson also made the list. Speaking of all the ladies on the receiving end of his criticism (is there a gentlemen's list, by the way? I'd like to know) Blackwell said: "These women may be fabulously talented in their respective fields, but when it comes to fashion, they resemble weary weeds in a lovely garden."

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