CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 25th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Napster cut US workforce
- iMesh: into Canada, with a MusicNet deal
- EFF call on EMI to let hackers 'investigate'
- Former Bay City Rollers accused of major drugs purchase
- Arctic Monkeys debut even, even bigger
- Vines on new album
- Network Live enter into partnership with O2
- Album review: Jerome Froese - Neptunes
- US TOTP in the pipeline
- Walden shambles back
- Raconteurs confirm single
- All Saints back together
- Barat band announce UK tour
- FLC tour
- Shifty Disco celebrate nine years
- Radio 1 confirm live events programme
- MySpace to launch UK version
- Single review: The Go! Team - Ladyflash
- Cure release download only album
- Free Roy Ayers downloads
- Independents take over at The Downloader
- Gay rights group objects to Cowell
- Antony's appeal for middle class types
- U2 earn pots of cash in the US
- Britney gets help from the paps
- Madonna's marriage not in trouble, okay


OK, let's make this the last mention of Celeb Big Brother in the Top Bit, given that the whole thing reaches its climax at the end of the week, and the show has never deserved the column inches everyone (us included) gives it. Rebel MP George Galloway started off the latest series of CBB by justifying his presence on the reality show thus: more young people vote in Big Brother than vote in general elections, therefore if politicians want to reach young people they need to do so through mediums like reality TV. On many levels he's right, and as such, criticism from his political enemies regarding his stay in the BB house was a bit unfair. The problem with Galloway's theory, though, is that simply being on the show isn't enough to connect with the yoof - the medium provides the opportunity to connect, but not the connection itself. And that connection isn't going to be achieved by immediately falling out with the people in the house that the show's youth audience will most associate with - the younger house mates with music connections (mainly Ordinary Boy Preston, but to a lesser extent Maggot GLC and, though with only mythical music connections, Chantelle). How CBB housemates appear on TV is as much in the control of the show's producers as the celebs themselves of course, but it is Galloway's obsession with winning a game show he was never going to win in the first place that portrays him in a bad light, rather than the decision of Endemol producers to cut out most of his political banter. Ironically George might have achieved his aim but in a different way than he anticipated. He wanted to show young people what politicians are really like - and given that many politicians really are self-obsessed egotists whose primary mission in life is to win elections - he's done just that. Still, as Dennis Rodman pointed out during this week's major CBB fall out - it makes good telly. He's right you know. And it gives us lazy journalists something to write about too. So, well done George.


Following rumours last week that downsizing was imminent, there are reports this morning that Napster in the US has laid off about 10% of its workforce, including VP Programming Michelle Santosuosso. Most of the cuts seem to have been made in the company's programming and marketing divisions.

In an email to the company's workforce, Napster boss Chris Gorog reportedly wrote: "On behalf of the senior management team and the Board of Directors, you should know: we are focused on one thing and one thing only - building the company and winning. Together we have built the #2 market share product in the industry, grew revenues 100% year over year and have over $100 million in cash to continue building our business. These are the facts and any other static out there is either calculated manipulation by competitors or unprofessional reporters trying to draw attention to themselves with provocative 'Napster' headlines."


iMesh is rolling out its legit P2P service into Canada. As previously reported, iMesh is one of the companies piloting the use of 'tracking software' on P2P that in theory allows them to keep a record of what music from what record labels is shared, with the intention of then passing on a share of revenues to those labels. Although this is still something of a grey area, iMesh's attempts to establish a network that utilises the strengths of P2P while reimbursing content owners has got the support of most the major labels and a lot of independents.

The version of iMesh that essentially pilots this system went live in the US back in October last year, and will now be available in Canada. Confirming that move, the company's chief, Robert Summer, told reporters: "We are pleased to extend our authorized service to Canada in an effort to further provide consumers with the most compelling commercial P2P experience available today".

The move into Canada coincides with an announcement of a partnership between iMesh and digital music provider MusicNet, the people who provide the digital music libraries for a number of download platforms, including those run by HMV and Virgin. The specifics of the new deal aren't clear, though it seems that when iMesh users download a track in the MusicNet catalogue from another P2P user, they will be prompted to the fact that they can buy the track for themselves via a MusicNet powered download service. iMesh are also likely to offer a Napster style subscription service, which would give paying iMesh subscribers access to the whole MusicNet catalogue in much the same vein as HMV and Virgin's subscription packages.

iMesh do seem to be stealing some ground in the legit P2P domain, though it is early days and competitors like Mashboxx may as yet become dominant players. The bigger question remains, is there a place for legit P2P in the market at all? iMesh and Mashboxx will be hoping that a combination of ongoing legal threats and the frustration of spyware infected non-legit P2P networks will persuade existing file sharers onto their legit platforms, even if that requires the payment of a monthly fee.

However, attempts to make legit P2P platforms compelling are in danger of making them overly complicated with too many choices and options. If there's one thing Apple's iTunes has taught us - it's make it flipping simple. Too many complications and newer non-legit P2P software, or a more conventional subscription model like Napster's, might seem a more attractive proposition rather than iMesh et al. We'll see I guess.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation are calling on EMI to commit to not take legal action against computer programmers who 'investigate' their copy-protection software. The London based major has said it plans to start putting copy-protection software onto more releases this year, despite the fallout that followed SonyBMG's use of so called rootkit copy protection technology last year, which turned out to potentially damage users' computers, and therefore proved very embarrassing (and expensive) for the major. EMI stress that the copy protection software they plan to use, developed by Macrovision, does not use rootkit technology, and does not have the problems associated with the SonyBMG software.

By 'investigate', of course, the EFF really mean 'hack'. Many a computer programmer loves nothing more than getting a CD with a new kind of copy protection software on it, and attempting to find a way around it. Some label execs and technology firms in the past have threatened to take legal action against programmers who deliberately try to hack their software, especially if they publish information about any successful hacks. However, the EFF points out that it was independent computer programmers trying to hack SonyBMG's rootkit technology that discovered the potential harm it was doing to the record label's customers' PCs.

With that in mind, the EFF has written to EMI asking that it "publicly declare that it will not take any legal action against computer security researchers interested in investigating copy-protection technologies used on compact discs released. Unfortunately, because some copy-protection vendors have leveled legal threats against security researchers in the past, researchers may be reluctant to examine EMI compact discs. While researchers may be put off by legal risks, criminals intent on exploiting security vulnerabilities, of course, will have no such legal compunctions".

EMI are yet to comment.


Two former members of the Bay City Rollers are accused of "conspiracy to supply" cocaine, after a meeting in the car park of an Essex hotel last May. Former Bay City Rollers guitarist Patrick McGlynn is accused of going to the Essex hotel with the intention of buying £16,000 of the drug, while the band's former frontman Les McKeown is accused of setting up the sale.

Prosecutors told Basildon Crown Court this week that when they searched McGlynn's car at the hotel they found a line of cocaine on a CD, and £16,000 in cash. In the car of another driver, one Jason Abbott, police found £16,000 worth of the drug. Prosecutors say the line of cocaine in McGlynn's car was a 'free sample' intended to be consumed before the purchase of the rest of the drugs. But McGlynn claims that he had, in fact, intended to buy a car off Abbott, and that the line of coke was for his personal use "to cheer him up".

McKeown, in trouble with authorities last year after causing and then fleeing a traffic accident while driving over the alcohol limit, is implicated in this new case because text messages suggest he set up the meeting.

McGlynn and McKeown deny all charges - the case continues.


Arctic Monkeys debut 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' may become more than just the fastest selling indie rock debut ever in recorded history; it might be the fastest selling debut in recorded history full stop.

The album sold 118, 501 copies on the first day alone, which is more than debut albums from Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand sold in their first week. It's now thought that sales could exceed the 306,631 copy debut sales record set by reality show assisted pop-purveyors Hear'Say five years ago.

HMV's head of music Phil Penman told CMU: "We knew day one sales were going to be big, but nobody expected them to be this huge. It's as if they had won the X Factor, but achieving the same kind of sales without the benefit of a massive TV audience. They're well on their way to having the first million-selling album of 2006. If it continues to sell at this rate, there's even a danger shops could sell out by the end of the week."


The Vines new album, due in the UK on 3 Apr, is nearly finished, according to a statement on the band's official website. It reads: "After spending the second half of 2005 writing, rehearsing and recording, the band commenced mixing with producer Wayne Connolly in early January, and will be finished at the end of the month. Amongst the many highlights of the time spent in the studio are Craig's amazing vocal performance on his new country ballad, and his 20 minute prank phone call to Hamish responding to Hamish's 'Kombi for sale' ad in the local paper."

Er, okay. The band continued: "After a couple of pretty tough years, making this album has been a genuinely creative experience for everyone, and the close proximity to friends and family has been brilliant. Thanks so much to everyone who has stayed in touch over this time, and for the amazing support of everyone on the Forum, at Dreamin' The Insane, Capitol and Heavenly, and friends the world over for all of your kind words and encouragement. The band can't wait for you to hear the new songs."


US based digital music company Network Live, which specialises in broadcasting live events through digital media platforms, has announced a partnership with mobile phone network O2 which will make the group's content available via mobile to customers in the UK, Ireland and Germany.

Network Live is a joint venture between AOL, XM Satellite Radio and live music company AEG, and most of their high profile output so far has reached the public via AOL and XM. The new deal, which follows O2's involvement in Network Live's recent Live 8 and Madonna broadcasts, will provide Network Live with a valuable new audience, while giving the phone company exclusive content in the increasingly competitive mobile music sector.

The deal sits alongside an existing partnership between O2 and AEG relating to the redevelopment of that old Millennium Dome over there in East London. As a principle sponsor of the AEG run complex, O2 is expected to have its own 2000 capacity music venue on the site, and events held there will most likely be webcast to the phone network's customers via the Network Live relationship.


ALBUM REVIEW: Jerome Froese - Neptunes (Moonpop)
Guitarist Jerome Froese is an erstwhile member of Tangerine Dream, who he joined in 1990, to help bring the influential electronic group into the modern era. 'Neptunes' is an interesting affair, and will appeal to those with a keen ear for post-rock tapestries and spacey electronica. The sleeve notes claim that most of the album's sounds were made with guitars; as such, the album has much in common sonically with the likes of Slowdive and Seefeel, who made similarly experimental use of the old six string on their 90s output, although Froese lacks the former's way with effortless melancholy, or the latter's sublime alien rhythm. Ulrich Schnauss is perhaps the most valid reference point from today's glacial electronic progeny, and anyone who enjoyed his 'A Strangely Isolated Place' album will find much to admire here. Tracks like 'Radio Pluto' and 'The Fade From Death To Afterlife' are shimmering odysseys through space, with some nice moody choral voices adding subtle resonance. He does overdo it on some tracks with widdly guitar solos though, which are a bit too 70s prog rock for my liking, and will be, I suspect, for the techno purists too. A respectable chill out album then (and probably soon to be heard as a soundtrack for an exhibition about space travel in the Science Museum or something), with a few diverting moments, but nothing magisterial. MS
Release date: 30 Jan
Press Contact: Sliding Doors [all]


A US version of Top Of The Pops might be in the pipeline. Louis J Pearlman, the man behind the Backstreet Boys, Nsync and that Making The Band TV show, is reportedly in talks with a number of US TV shows about developing the BBC brand over there, with talk of a launch in the second quarter of the year.


It would seem that Patrick Walden has, to the surprise of all concerned, returned to the Babyshambles fold, if his appearance at the band's gig in Cambridge on Monday is any indication. Walden played a full set with the band, who appeared 90 minutes late.


Super-side-project The Raconteurs, fronted by Jack White and Brendan Benson have confirmed that they will release a limited edition debut single at the end of this month. 1000 copies only of 'Steady As She Goes'/'Store Bought Bones' will be out on 30 Jan.


Can it be true? Are All Saints reuniting? Well, yes, apparently. The nineties girl group have confirmed that they are signing to EMI, with a new album and tour expected later in the year. All four members, Shaznay Lewis, Melanie Blatt, Nicole Appleton and Natalie Appleton have been pursuing vaguely musical careers since their split in 2001.

Jamie Nelson of EMI imprint Innocent told Music Week: "I just don't think anyone has taken their place. It just sort of came up in conversation with Shaznay and by chance they had all met up a week or so before, so it all just fell into place really. They've always been the right side of credible, the right side of cool and I think so long as they deliver the right record you can't really go wrong."


Carl Barat's band Dirty Pretty Things have announced their first UK tour, which will kick off towards the end of next month. The group, who will put out an album later in the year, played a series of European dates in 2005, but have yet to gig on home turf. Tickets go on sale as of tomorrow at 9am and the dates are as follows:

26 Feb: Oxford Zodiac
27 Feb: Birmingham Academy
28 Feb: Norwich Waterfront
2 Mar: Northumbria University
3 Mar: Leeds Cockpit
4 Mar: Liverpool Stanley Theatre
5 Mar: Glasgow ABC2
7 Mar: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
8 Mar: London Kings College
10 Mar: Sheffield Leadmill
11 Mar: Stoke Sugarmill
12 Mar: Manchester Academy 3
13 Mar: Nottingham Rescue Rooms


Hurrah, the Fun Lovin Criminals will be back on tour in the UK in March. The new live dates should coincide with a guest presenting slot for FLC Huey on BBC 2's Never Mind The Buzzcocks. We hear he will fill in for Mark Lamarr when he takes break from the show. More on that when we get it, meantime, those UK dates as follows:

1 Mar: Liverpool Academy
2 Mar: The Junction, Cambridge
3 Mar: Shepherds Bush Empire, London
4 Mar: 53 Degrees, Preston
5 Mar: Carling Academy Newcastle
6 Mar: De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Press info from Blaim - [email protected]


Shifty Disco will be celebrating their ninth birthday with a party at The Croft in Bristol on 3 Feb featuring sets from Seagull Strange, The Race, Paperlung and My Device. Tickets are £5 in advance from

Meanwhile the singles club label enters the third year of its weekly download club, with releases from My Device, Toshack Highway, the Tourettes and Paperlung (fronted by ex-Boo Radley singer Sice) all due to appear in the coming weeks. More info on that from


Radio 1 have confirmed details of the live events they will be staging and championing in 2006, and have announced plans to extend the online output of their live activity.

Among the live events being staged by the station itself this year will be a Radio 1 DJ tour in April, the Big Weekend event in May, the Ibiza weekend in August, a second John Peel Day in October, and an 'In New Music We Trust' Weekender and another Chart Show Live event in November.

Other live events Radio 1 will be involved in include the Trance Energy Holland festival and Brit Awards in February, SXSW in March, Glasgow's Coloursfest and Swansea's Escape Into The Park in June, T in the Park in July, the Reading and Leeds Festivals in August, and Belfast's Planet Love festival in September.

As well as on air coverage, Radio 1 will provide coverage online, via mobile, and via the interactive 'press your red button' thingummy you get on digital TV. Content will also be made available at some of the events themselves via Bluetooth.

Commenting on all that interactive gubbins, Radio 1's Interactive Editor Daniel Heaf told CMU: "Over the last few years we have seen Radio 1 develop its interactive elements to a stage where we can now truly call ourselves a multi-platform broadcaster. Recent events such as The Chart Show Live, Gorillaz, Kanye West and Coldplay have shown us that our audience have a huge appetite for this type of broadcasting and we are determined to meet this demand."

Radio 1 Live Music And Events man Jason Carter added: "This year we wanted to get to as many parts of the UK as possible. There is such a huge amount of new home grown talent around at the moment that we are determined to broadcast as much of it live as we possibly can."


Fox Interactive Media have announced that they are planning to launch a focused UK version of MySpace within the next thirty days, and are planning, not surprisingly, for the initial focus to be on the music section. The site, which, as you all surely know, allows users to blog and network, has around 50 million registered users, 32 million of whom are said to be actively using the site, and most of whom fall into that holy-grail of advertising reach, the 16 - 34 age bracket.

FIM president announced the move at a meeting of the National Association of Television Programme Executives in Las Vegas. He described the success of the two year old site as "not something you can compare to anything in the history of the internet", and told the BBC news website: "Clearly the first place to go is music, so we will tap into the music scene. We're already working in the US with CD:UK which is coming over to the US, to be called CD:USA, and we're going to integrate bands from MySpace into that programme. We hope when we go back to the UK to tap into how successful that show is. Hopefully they'll want to market through MySpace and we'll tap into the local events scene, parties, clubs, artists, film makers, television producers, so I think it's going to grow pretty rapidly."

As previously reported, Fox's parent company News Corporation purchased Intermix Media, who owned MySpace, in July last year for $580m.


SINGLE REVIEW: The Go! Team - Ladyflash (SonyBMG)
God. When you invented music you did something strange. This song seems so fickle and silly, so tongue-in-cheek and naughty, so of-the-moment and perishable. Oh, but it digs so deep, much deeper than pick-and-mix music should. It has reserved a seat in my house. It has carved its name in the wood. According to the press release, this single is a remix of the album version. I do not know the original and cannot comment; but I do know that I adore this. The opening words, "Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah" move me like only nonsense lyrics can. It's up there with Junior Senior's "Everybody, move your feet and feel united". The music is unpredictable and delightful. It sways. It swoons. It makes me see moons, and I'm not even drunk. The b-sides? Several mixes, including one by the legend Kevin Shields. But none are anywhere near the mighty disco power of the main player. Hell yeah (yeah yeah yeah yeah)! SIA
Release date: 30 Jan
Press contact: SonyBMG IH [all]


The Cure are set to release a new album comprising re-recorded versions of some of their classics tracks. The download-only collection, '4Play' will be released at the end of the month via iTunes in the UK.

The set includes new versions of songs such as 'Three Imaginary Boys', 'Seventeen Seconds' and 'Pornography', reworked last summer, as well as four new interviews with front man Robert Smith.


Talking of online music type things, Rapster BBE are celebrating the release of the Roy Ayers remix package on 6 Feb by making a free download package available online. The 'Holiday Package' includes the track 'Holiday' and two remixes from DJ Spinna and Kenny Dope. You can download it from

Meanwhile, the new album will be launched at a party at Madame JoJo's in London this Saturday (28 Jan) with a number of people who have remixed tracks on the LP on the decks.


INDEPENDENTS TAKE OVER AT THE DOWNLOADER, the 'complete guide to legal downloads', is currently running a special promotion whereby each week a different independent 'label' will take over and make available a free MP3 from five of their artists - a different one each day. It gives labels the chance to promote their current and upcoming releases, while providing music fans with some free tracks. This week Wichita are in control, with Deep Elm, Roadrunner, XL and Cooking Vinyl all due to take over in the coming weeks. More info at


A gay rights group in the US has criticised Simon Cowell over comments he made about contestants on talent show American Idol. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it had contacted broadcaster Fox to voice concerns over the remarks.

In the first episode of the show's latest series, Cowell apparently told a male contestant to "wear a dress" whilst fellow judge Randy Jackson was heard to ask another contestant: "Are you a girl?", provoking the group's worries over the show's attitude to gender issues. Spokesman Damon Romine explained: "Last week we heard and voiced concerns about the 18 January edition of American Idol - specifically, the producers' decision to turn a contestant's gender expression into the butt of a joke. We've spoken with Fox and have entered into what we hope will be a productive, ongoing conversation about the show's representation and discussion of sexual orientation and gender expression."

No comment from Fox.


The Mercury Prize winning Antony And The Johnson's album 'I Am A Bird Now' is very popular amongst posh people apparently. The LP came in at 132 in the 2005 best seller list, but according to a Time Out survey, the album made it into the top ten in certain areas with a reputation for poshness, namely Hampstead, Richmond and Islington. Perhaps it's because it's a bit operatic.


According to the Billboard Money Makers chart, U2 made more money than anyone else in the music industry in the US last year. The band apparently took $225million in album and digital sales as well as box office receipts. Crikey. Hope Bono's planning to give some of that away to the African kids.

Anyway, other groups showing up at the top of the list were The Rolling Stones in second place with a grand total of $152million, country star Kenny Chesney in third with $88million, and Paul McCartney in fourth with $84million. Which just shows you that country music and dad rock is the way forward if you want to make some cash.


Apparently Britney Spears was recently forced to call on her enemies for assistance when her Ferrari broke down in Malibu, according to The Sun. A bunch of paparazzi types who'd been following the popstar, who was travelling in the car with her brother Bryan, helped to push the car to the side of a road when it conked out. Spears then called for help, and she and her sibling were later driven away by some helpful policemen.


We know you've all been speculating about the state of Madonna's marriage, following split rumours sparked by a US gossip columnist, who says that the pair have already split but are trying to keep it quiet. Well, you can all stop speculating, because Madonna has spoken. Well, her US spokeswoman, who's been on the London set of her latest video, has. She said: "Guy came to the set to visit - once with the children Rocco and Lourdes, and once without. Mr and Mrs Ritchie seemed perfectly comfortable and adoring of each other. My sense is that they're quite a happy, content couple."

Madonna's UK spokeswoman added (although I'm not sure if she and the US spokeswoman were in the same room at the time): "There have been a lot of silly stories which are all untrue." So, that's you told.

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