CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 7th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Stewart ordered to pay $3million over cancelled concert
- Warner confirm receipt of DOJ subpoena
- MCPS-PRS announce podcast licence trial
- UK performing rights bodies propose merger
- Kylie comeback next Christmas?
- Jermaine doubts Jackson's innocence
- Grandaddy confirm album release
- New Springsteen album out next month
- Pearl Jam use aggression creatively
- New Terri Walker album
- New Cash material set for release
- New Ivories single
- New Clearlake single
- Arctic Monkeys DVD out next month
- Prince does a Wonka

- Ashcroft to headline IOW
- Oxegen sells out quickly
- Latest Wireless additions
- T In The Park line-up changes
- Homefires announce return
- New festival launched
- Giant Drag tour
- Thursday announce tour dates
- Paul Anka to swing at Albert Hall
- SonyBMG launch new joint venture with former Rough Trade A&R
- Music Week Award winners
- New Order track football fans' favourite
- BPI hold mobile music event
- Samsung launch mega-mobile
- Choice FM DJ sues over tabloid implications
- New BBC music show to be all interactive, like
- Radio 2 controller defends Evans' appointment
- Was Cruise cover rejection linked to Rolling Stone report?
- Madonna lied to her child
- Robbie Williams gets to play with Derren

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TOP BIT>>
Phew, long Daily today. Hey, let's top it off with a really long Top Bit. MCPS-PRS announced yesterday that they are planning on piloting a specific podcast licence which will allow those media podcasting music based programming to have one licence to cover all the publishing royalties on the tracks they include. This is possibly good news for podcasters - although I was under the impression MCPS-PRS's existing Joint Online Licence already kind of covered podcasts. Presumably the newly proposed specific licence will clear up any confusion left by the JOL in the still relatively new world of podcasting. Of course the MCPS-PRS announcement doesn't really help podcasters, because most of the confusion in this domain lies in recording royalties - while MCPS-PRS may be loathed by everyone involved in producing cover mount CDs, it is recording royalty body PPL that cause most of the headaches for those involved in the tricky world of webcasting. With PPL rumoured to be distancing themselves from responsibility for sorting out blanket licences for podcasts on the basis that podcasting is not broadcasting, it looks like podcasters are relying on the record labels themselves to sort this one out - which aint going to happen anytime soon. All of which means that, despite MCPS-PRS's latest pilot project, things remain very confusing for podcasters and webcasters. Meaning that the only people able to work in this exciting new space are the major broadcasters who can argue that their existing licences cover their online ventures, or grass roots bodies willing to run the risk of facing future litigation or crippling royalty bills, despite their best efforts to webcast legitimately. The solution to all this, as always, is collaboration. Both the record labels and music media companies recognise the many opportunities the world wide web offers, yet both are struggling to find business models that successfully take advantage of those opportunities. I can't help thinking that neither side can be successful without the other - but that will never happen while both sides suspect the other of building business models which depend on screwing them to succeed. Recent new licence proposals from both MCPS-PRS and PPL have moved things in the right direction - but neither go far enough, nor do they overcome that problem of mutual suspicion. Webcasters, podcasters, royalty collectors and record labels really need to sit down and figure all this out together - there are some great opportunities out there, and together there's no reason why everyone shouldn't take advantage of them.

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STEWART ORDERED TO PAY $3MILLION OVER CANCELLED CONCERT
A federal judge in the US has ordered Rod Stewart to pay a Las Vegas casino more than $3 million following the cancellation of a concert due to take place at the end of December 2000.

The $3 million is made up of a $2 million advance paid to the singer for the show that never happened, plus an additional $1 million in interest, penalties and legal fees. Stewart also faces a bill for an additional $153,483 over accusations that he and his lawyers were in contempt of court for failing to hand over key documents to the representatives of the casino prior to the original trial last September. And the casino may yet petition the courts to award them further compensation from the singer to cover other legal fees.

The ruling relates to a concert Stewart was due to perform at the Rio Hotel back in December 2000. The singer was forced to pull out because he was recovering from a throat operation. He subsequently offered to play at the hotel on alternative dates, an offer the hotel turned down. Stewart claimed that by offering to play additional dates he had fulfilled his side of the contract and could therefore keep his $2 million advance. The hotel argued that their contract did not accommodate any dates other than those originally agreed, and that when he could not perform on those dates the contract became void and the singer was therefore obliged to return the money.

A court sided with the hotel last September, and Stewart was told he would have to return the advance plus additional interest and legal fees. Yesterday's ruling confirmed the exact sum Stewart would have to pay the hotel. The singer's people made no comment yesterday, but it is known Stewart intends to appeal the original ruling against him.

Meanwhile a lawyer representing the company who own the hotel yesterday said that the various court rulings on this matter were "the right result" and "a long time coming".

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WARNER CONFIRM RECEIPT OF DOJ SUBPOENA
The Warner Music Group has confirmed it has received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice relating to the pricing of digital music.

As previously reported, it was revealed last week that the DOJ planned to follow up investigations initiated by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer into the agreements between the major record companies and the download platforms. Insiders say the legal men are concerned that so called 'favoured nation' clauses in those contracts, that mean major record companies enjoy the benefits negotiated by their rivals, violate US competition law.

In its latest filing with the Securities And Exchange Commission, the Warner Music Group confirmed that on 28 Feb they received a 'Civil Investigative Demand' from the DOJ which was aiming to clarify whether or not "pricing of digitally downloaded music violates Section 1 of the Sherman Act". The major, which says it will cooperate with any investigations, confirmed that the information sought by the DOJ was essentially the same as that already requested by Sptizer's office in New York.

The filing referred to the DOJ's investigation as being "industry-wide", implying that the other major record companies will have received the same subpoenas.

While we're on the Warner Music Group, one for fans of board news. Anyone? Warner have appointed one Michele J Hooperjoins to their board as an 'independent director'. Hooperjoins, a co-founder of Chicago based Directors' Council, will sit on the company's audit committee, and as an independent member of that committee will fulfil rules set by the New York Stock Exchange regarding the involvement of independent people in auditing roles in newly listed companies. So now you know.

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MCPS-PRS ANNOUNCE PODCAST LICENCE TRIAL
Those lovable publishing royalty types over there at MCPS-PRS have announced a trial of a specific podcasting licence. Technically speaking podcasting is possible under the MCPS-PRS Joint Online Licence, but the new system will be designed specifically for people broadcasting music based programming via a podcast system. From what we can see the new licence will ask for 12% of a podcaster's revenue, or a minimum fee per track downloaded as part of a podcast, whichever is greater. Whether that will leave podcasters better off than podcasting under a JOL remains to be seen.

MCPS-PRS's counterparts in the work of recording royalties, PPL, are yet to make any moves into developing a licence for podcasters. Those in the know reckon that current PPL thinking is that podcasting isn't broadcasting (because podcasters deal directly with individual listeners, rather than to a large undefined audience) and therefore it isn't in their remit - which passes the problem of how to licence recordings for podcasts back to the record companies. Which probably means you shouldn't expect any clear podcasting licence from that side of the industry anytime soon. Though a number of podcasters are lobbying for clarification - so who knows?

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UK PERFORMING RIGHTS BODIES PROPOSE MERGER
Talking of PPL, the UK's three collecting societies representing performers (ie artists and record labels, not songwriters and publishers) have announced intentions to merge to form one single body.

PPL has confirmed it has passed on plans to merge with the Association Of United Recording Artists (AURA) and Performing Artists' Media Rights Association (PAMRA) to the UK's Office Of Fair Trading, who will assess whether the plans have any monopolies implications. The OFT has invited comments from third parties to the plans.

PPL, AURA and PAMRA have worked closely since a previous agreement in 2003 which saw the former undertaking the royalty collection administration of the other two. The full merger will require the support of each organisation's members as well as UK monopolies authorities.

The leadership of all three support the merger proposals, stressing that the merger would increase efficiency to the benefit of all members, and enable them to better concentrate their efforts on collecting monies internationally. A spokesman for PPL said that the merger would mean "costs are reduced, duplication of work is eliminated and income increased", adding that "by centralising the performer interests into a restructured PPL it will be possible, for the first time, to successfully recover broadcast and public performance income from the many overseas collecting societies that have yet to pay UK performers."

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KYLIE COMEBACK NEXT CHRISTMAS?
According to IOL.com, Kylie Minogue is to stage her post-cancer comeback next December, and rejects claims that she is to perform at the opening ceremony of this month's commonwealth games. A 'source' is quoted as saying: "There's a lot of talk about the Commonwealth Games this month, but that's absolute rubbish, even though they are being held in her home city of Melbourne. She would have loved to do the opening ceremony, but while her health is definitely restoring itself, it's a little to soon for her to take the stage again. The December set will be spectacular. Those lucky enough to be there are in for a real treat."

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JERMAINE DOUBTS JACKSON'S INNOCENCE
According to reports Michael Jackson's elder brother Jermaine has questioned the innocent verdict returned at Jacko's 2005 child abuse trial. Jermaine's views have apparently been expressed in a book proposal co-authored by Stacy Brown, who wrote 'Michael Jackson: The Man Behind The Mask'.

New York Daily News says that the eight page proposal for 'Legacy: Surviving The Best And Worst', features material from an interview with Jermaine Jackson, who allegedly says that he only backed his brother during last year's trial because he thought Jacko might commit suicide if his family did not stand by him. The paper quotes Jermaine as saying: "Does he really know what he does with these kids? I don't want to tell you my brother's innocent. I am not certain that he is."

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GRANDADDY CONFIRM ALBUM RELEASE
Grandaddy have confirmed that their last ever album will be released on 8 May. 'Just Like The Fambly Cat' will be preceded by the release of a single 'Elevate Myself' on 1 May. Frontman Jason Lytle said: "Cats are renowned for just disappearing when they're ailing. And then they're just gone. There's something very noble and romantic about that." So there you go.

The long-player's tracklisting, for those of you who love these things, is as follows:

What Happened...
Jeez Louise
Summer... It's Gone
Oxygen / Aux Send
Rear View Mirror
The Animal World
Skateboarding Saves Me Twice
Where I'm Anymore
50%
Guide Down Denied
Elevate Myself
Campershell Dreams
Disconnecty
This Is How It Always Starts

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NEW SPRINGSTEEN ALBUM OUT NEXT MONTH
Bruce Springsteen is to release his latest album, inspired by folk legend Pete Seeger, on 24 Apr. 'We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions' is made up of the American star's take on 13 traditional songs long associated with Seeger, and is accompanied by a DVD featuring behind the scenes footage of the recording process.

Springsteen says: "So much of my writing, particularly when I write acoustically, comes straight out of the folk tradition. Making this album was creatively liberating because I have a love of all those different roots sounds... they can conjure up a world with just a few notes and a few words."

Springsteen is expected to announce a US and European tour shortly.

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PEARL JAM USE AGGRESSION CREATIVELY
Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder says that the band's eponymous eighth album, set for release on 2 May, has given them an opportunity to use their aggression positively. Saying that stuff like the war in Iraq has got them all fired up. Vedder said on the Pearl Jam website: "It's like we took our aggressions and shaped something positive from them in a very direct manner. Our band is like an old car, and this record is our new engine."

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NEW TERRI WALKER ALBUM
Mercury nominated Soulstress Terri Walker is to release a new album, 'I Am', on 8 May preceded by the release of a single of the same name on 10 Apr. Walker heads out on tour to coincide with those dates, as follows:

10 Mar: London Live On The Park - Hyde Park
21 Apr: London Jazz Cafe
22 Apr: London Jazz Cafe
26 Apr: Leeds The HiFi Club
27 Apr: Bracknell South Hill Park
29 Apr: Culdaff Inishowen - The Backroom
30 Apr: Manchester Living Rooms
01 May: Brighton Komedia
06 May: Liverpool Carling Academy 2

Walker will also be holding a London showcase on 8 March at 6pm, info from Noble PR.

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NEW CASH MATERIAL SET FOR RELEASE
A set of previously unreleased Johnny Cash songs are set to be released this summer. Tapes recorded back in 1973, containing around fifty unheard tracks, were discovered by the singer's son back in 2004. The collection, entitled 'Personal File', will be released in May.

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NEW IVORIES SINGLE
The Ivories are to release a new single on 10 Apr. 'Heartstrings' will get a CD and 7" physical release, with 'Long Way Home' on the B side. The CD will also feature a video of the band's performance at Koko back in November.

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NEW CLEARLAKE SINGLE
Clearlake, fresh from touring with CMU favourites The Crimea, are set to release a new single, 'Neon', on 20 Mar. It's the second single to be taken from their third album 'Amber', which was released earlier this year, and will be out on CD, 7" and on 12" featuring remixes from Backstage Sluts and from Long Range (Orbital's Phil Hartnoll and friends). They head out on tour later this month alongside label mates Archie Bronson Outfit, dates as follows:

23 Mar: Taunton, Club Aura
24 Mar: Cardiff, Barfly
25 Mar: Brighton, Freebutt
26 Mar: Winchester, Railway
27 Mar: Wolverhampton, Little Civic
28 Mar: Leicester, The Charlotte
30 Mar: Salisbury, Old Ale House

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ARCTIC MONKEYS DVD OUT NEXT MONTH
An Arctic Monkeys DVD featuring two short films inspired by the band's track 'When The Sun Goes Down' is to be released next month. The shorts, 'Scummy Man' and 'Just Another Day' are written and directed by Paul Fraser, who co-wrote the award winning film 'Twentyfourseven'. The DVD, which will also feature the single's promo video, will be out on 10 Apr.

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PRINCE DOES A WONKA
The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince has decided to copy that old Willy Wonka trick of hiding golden tickets inside chocolate bars in order to lure people into his magical chocolate factory. No, wait. The tickets are, of course, purple, and will be hidden in seven special copies of Prince's new album '3121', set for release on 20 Mar. The tickets will invite the winner to a secret, exclusive concert at the star's Purple Paisley home in Minneapolis, so quick, get your Dad to buy thousands of copies of the new long player and get all his factory workers opening them.

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ASHCROFT TO HEADLINE IOW
Richard Ashcroft has been announced as headliner for the closing night of this year's Isle Of Wight festival. He joins Lou Reed, Maximo Park and Kubb on Sunday night's bill and other previously announced acts such as The Prodigy, who headline with Placebo and Goldfrapp on the Friday. The Saturday night headliner is yet to be announced but rumor suggests it might be Foo Fighters.

As previously reported, the festival takes place from 9 - 11 Jun at Seaclose Park, Newport.

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OXEGEN SELLS OUT QUICKLY
Oxegen sold out in just under twelve hours when tickets for the Irish festival went on sale on Friday. This year's festival, featuring performances from the likes of The Who, The Strokes, James Brown, The Go! Team, Bell X1, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Damian Marley, takes place, as previously reported, from 8 - 9 Jul at Ireland's Punchestown Racecourse.

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LATEST WIRELESS ADDITIONS
Lord, yet more festival news. Will it ever end? A bunch of new acts have been confirmed for this year's Wireless Festival. The lovely Fun Lovin Criminals, Violent Femmes, Beth Orton, Damien Marley and Terry Callier have been added to the London end, whilst The Zutons and Eels have been added to the new Northern leg of the event in Leeds.

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T IN THE PARK LINE-UP CHANGES
No, not more festival news. Please, no more. Oh, alright. Paul Weller, Goldfrapp, The Kooks and The Feeling have all been added to the line-up for the sold out T In The Park festival. They join acts such as Placebo, The Who, The Charlatans, Manu Chao, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and Primal Scream on the line-up, but sadly not Belle & Sebastian, who have been forced to pull out of the Scottish event due to travel difficulties, apparently.

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HOMEFIRES ANNOUNCE RETURN
What, more? Okay, one more festival item but then that's it. No more. It's over. Folk festival Homefires has announced that it will return for a third year this summer. The event, put together by Adem and Eat Your Own Ears, takes place at London's Conway Hall from 3-4 Jun. A bill has yet to be announced but tickets have already gone on sale, at a cost of £20 per day.

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NEW FESTIVAL LAUNCHED
Okay, one more. This is the last, and I'm only putting it in because it's a brand new festival. 'Aerosolics' is set to launch this summer with a line-up that thus far includes The Departure, The Feeling, The Young Knives and the Baker Brothers. The event takes place from 30 Jun - 2 Jul at a 'secret location'. In Surrey.

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GIANT DRAG TOUR
Giant Drag have announced a series of tour dates to coincide with the release of a new single 'This Isn't It' on 17 Apr. The dates are as follows:

10 Apr: London Borderline
12 Apr: Glasgow Barfly
14 Apr: Liverpool Academy
15 Apr: Cardiff Barfly
18 Apr: Birmingham Bar Academy
19 Apr: Leeds Josephs Well
20 Apr: Manchester Night & Day Café
21 Apr: Bristol Louisiana

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THURSDAY ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
US band Thursday have announced a series of live gigs to follow the release of their new album 'A City By The Light Divided' on 1 May. The dates are as follows:

26 May: Oxford Zodiac May
27 May: Newcastle Northumbria University
28 May: Manchester Academy 2
29 May: Glasgow Garage
30 May: Birmingham Academy 2
31 May: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
1 Jun: London Electric Ballroom

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PAUL ANKA TO SWING AT ALBERT HALL
Paul Anka is to appear - for one night only - at the Royal Albert Hall. He'll be performing songs from his 2005 'Rock Swings' album, as well as some of his classic hits. You know, I haven't actually heard the 'Rock Swings' album, which seems like an oversight, given that it's a collection of swing covers of rock classics, and given how much I like rock and swing. Ah well, maybe I'll get to go to the concert instead. It's on 1 May, 7.30pm, tickets priced between £29.50 and £45. Press info from Noble PR.

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SONYBMG LAUNCH NEW JOINT VENTURE WITH FORMER ROUGH TRADE A&R
It seems like everyone is setting up a record label at the moment. Perhaps it's time we launched a CMU record label. Any major labels out there wanting to invest lots of money in a joint venture - you know the phone number. We'd make great A&Rs. That Jo from S Club and Justin from Hollyoaks duo - golden ticket, I tell you.

Anyway, SonyBMG have announced a new joint venture with James Endeacott, who was most recently an A&R over there at Rough Trade, where he worked with The Libertines, Hal and The Strokes. The new label, to be called 1965 Records, will be marketed and distributed by the newly created Columbia division of SonyBMG UK and, if it builds itself a roster even half as good as Rough Trade's, it'll be sure to be a CMU favourite.

SonyBMG top bloke Rob Stringer confirmed the new venture by saying: "We are thrilled to be working with the unique A&R talents of James Endeacott through the formation of his new label 1965. James is an inspirational character (on and off the pitch!!). It's going to be an exciting musical adventure!"

Endeacott himself added: "Someone like me should not be allowed to start any fires on their own....luckily the good people at Columbia are going to help me. Unlock your mind it's 1965".

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MUSIC WEEK AWARD WINNERS
It was the Music Week Awards last week, celebrating the best in music industry type things. And the winners were:

Record Company of the Year: Universal Music UK
Independent Record Company of the Year: Rough Trade Records
Top Publisher: EMI Music Publishing
Producer of the Year: Stephen Street
Manager of the Year: Supervision Management for Franz Ferdinand & Kaiser Chiefs
Best Venue: King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
The A&R Award: Domino Records
The Strat: Daniel Miller
Best Music Retail Chain: HMV
Best Independent Store: Piccadilly, Manchester
Best Digital Music Store: iTunes
Best Music Sales Force: Pinnacle
Best Distributor: EMI
Best Digital Music Service: 3 UK
Best Regional Promotions Team: SonyBMG
Best Independent Promotions Team: Anglo Plugging
Best National Promotions Team: Atlantic
Best Radio Station: BBC Radio 2
Best PR Campaign: Barbara Charone of MBC for James Blunt
Best UK Marketing Campaign: Rob Owen for Gorillaz' 'Demon Days'
Best International Marketing Campaign: Sulinna Ong & Dave Shack for Il Divo
Best Catalogue Marketing Campaign: Charlie Stanford & Darren Henderson of Sony BMG for Elvis Singles campaign

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NEW ORDER TRACK FOOTBALL FANS' FAVOURITE
New Order's 1990 football hit 'World In Motion' has been named the best World Cup song by football fans, which isn't all that surprising, given that it is the best World Cup song.

In the survey of 1500 football fans by Littlewoods Pools, 'Nessun Dorma' was named second best World Cup song - though technically speaking it wasn't really a World Cup song at all, rather it was the theme music used by the BBC for their coverage of the 1990 tournament.

The Lightning Seeds / David Baddiel / Frank Skinner's 'Three Lions' was third favourite, with Fat Les' 'Vindaloo' coming fourth. 1982's official England team song 'This Time (We'll Get It Right)' was voted the worst.

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BPI HOLD MOBILE MUSIC EVENT
More for fans of mobile music shenanigans. The BPI are holding an event for record label types on the topic of mobile music, which will look into just how record companies can make money out of the mobile world's current obsession with all things music. Among the talkers talking with be Ralph Simon of the Mobile Entertainment Forum America, Andy Baker of DX3 Technologies and Matt Jones of Moyst. It all takes place at the BPI offices in London tomorrow (8 Mar) at 5.30pm - info from webbo@bpi.co.uk.

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SAMSUNG LAUNCH MEGA-MOBILE
Talking of mobile music, Samsung have just announced a new smartphone that comes with an 8GB memory - meaning that you have a phone that starts to get close to actually competing with iPod type devices as a digital music player. The SGH-i310 comes with a high quality digital camera, camcorder, inbuilt digital music and video player with playlist functionality and room for 2000 tracks. No word on whether it includes a kitchen sink - or for that matter a phone. The new device will be showcased at German techie fun fair CeBIT next week, and should be available to buy towards the end of the year.

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CHOICE FM DJ SUES OVER TABLOID IMPLICATIONS
And talking of innovative uses for mobile phones, a Choice FM DJ has joined footballer Ashley Cole in legal action against the Sun and News Of The World over allegations the two men, and a second footballer, took part in raunchy games together, which included using a mobile phone as a sex toy.

Neither Cole nor Choice FM DJ Masterstepz, real name Ian Thompson, have been named by either tabloid in relation to the story, but the two men claim that pixellated pictures and certain statements in the stories published essentially implicated them as being involved in the alleged mini-orgy.

Lawyers for Thompson claim that the papers implied that their client was the "well known DJ" mentioned in their stories, and said: "Although Masterstepz was not named in the articles, the manner of publication has led to his being identified as the DJ alleged to have been involved. For example, the articles made use of a photograph of Masterstepz with footballer Ashley Cole, taken from the Choice FM radio station website and crudely pixellated in an attempt to conceal their identities. Further hints as to the identities of those claimed to be involved were also published in the Sun newspaper. These proceedings have been brought because the allegations are utterly without foundation. Masterstepz values his reputation as a leading DJ and is not prepared to let his name be tarnished by the claims in these newspapers".

Thompson's lawsuit follows similar legal action taken by Arsenal player Cole on Friday. His lawyer said that the tabloids were guilty of "cowardly journalism" and that it was "disgraceful" that the England player should face such "insinuation and innuendo" before his wedding to Girls Aloud girl Cheryl Tweedy.

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NEW BBC MUSIC SHOW TO BE ALL INTERACTIVE, LIKE
A new BBC 3 music show, to be fronted by our old friend Zane Lowe, will have several interactive components. Firstly listeners to Lowe's Radio 1 show will be able to help pick which bands appear on the show, which has a working title of Guerrilla. Additionally, the show will climax with a secret live gig. The headliners and venue of that gig will be announced at the start of the show, and the first 200 people who then show up at the venue in question will get to see the exclusive gig live. Footage of that gig will then be available via digital interactive and on the Radio 1 website.

Confirming all the interactive gubbins, Jez Nelson of Somethin Else, who are making the show, told reporters: "Music trends are no longer determined just by record companies but by fans' direct relationships with bands through downloads. By creating a format which reflects the passion people really feel for music, we're looking to shake up music on television and create a truly credible programme with attitude."

The show, which will see long term MTV presenter Lowe appear on BBC TV for the first time, will be co-presented by fellow Radio 1 DJs Annie Mac and Nihal, and comedian Russell Kane.

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RADIO 2 CONTROLLER DEFENDS EVANS' APPOINTMENT
Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas has been forced to defend her decision to give Chris Evans the drive time slot on her station. As previously reported, Evans is due to take over from Johnnie Walker in the late afternoon slot. But since that was announced last week, Radio 2 listeners have been swamping the station's message boards to express their disappointment / disgust / all out anger at Douglas' choice of drive time host. Some have called for listeners to organise a petition against the appointment, while others are threatening to stage demonstrations outside Radio 2's London HQ, which sounds a bit extreme, but there you go.

Douglas has made her own post on the station's website defending Evans' appointment. She wrote: "The decision on who should replace Johnnie at drivetime was never going to be an easy one. Chris has been at Radio 2 for around a year now, and in that time he has increased audiences on Saturday afternoons while also taking on a wide range of programmes across the network. The feedback we have had from listeners during that time has been positive. Chris is also one of the best radio presenters of his generation. All change is disruptive and I do not underestimate the effect that such a major change will have on listeners. Once the programme is on air, I would be very interested in your reaction and feedback".

But subsequent posters have generally maintained an anti-Evans viewpoint, accusing Douglas of failing to listen to her audience. Some of those posting, meanwhile, are accusing the Beeb of hiding hundreds of similar anti-Evans postings to try and contain the opposition to the appointment.

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WAS CRUISE COVER REJECTION LINKED TO ROLLING STONE REPORT?
Not really a music story, but it involves Rolling Stone magazine, and it's kind of interesting, so let's go with it. New York magazine claims that Tom Cruise turned down a cover interview with US magazine Men's Journal because sister title Rolling Stone was running an expose on the slightly mad Scientology religion of which Cruise, of course, is a devoted follower. The Rolling Stone piece, called 'Inside Scientology', apparently reports on how "the church has a storied reputation for squelching its critics through litigation, and, according to some reports, intimidation". Wenner Media, who own both Men's Journal and Rolling Stone, haven't commented on Cruise's decision not to do the cover interview, nor any links with Rolling Stone's Scientology piece. A representative for Cruise told New York magazine that "we were never confirmed to be the cover, we were in discussions", but when asked about the Rolling Stone report simply said: "we were aware of it."

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MADONNA LIED TO HER CHILD
Well, all parents do at some point, I suspect, so it's possibly a little harsh to be so judgemental.

According to The Sun, Madonna has admitted that snogging Britney Spears during that MTV Awards show a few years back has made her daughter Lourdes ask difficult questions. Apparently Lourdes told her mother: "Mom, you know that they say you are gay?" Madonna apparently responded: "I am the mommy pop star and she is the baby pop star. I am kissing her to pass my energy on to her." I'm not sure if that's a better answer than "We did it to sell records and get a rise out of Justin Timberlake", but there you go. And didn't she kiss Christina Aguilera too?

Elsewhere, the Queen Of Pop has spoken out about Elton John, who recently accused the singer of cheating her fans by miming on stage. She told Out magazine: "He did send me a letter apologising for his last outburst, right before his wedding. But he seems to be angry. I seem to have become a target. It's not very gentlemanly or gracious."

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ROBBIE WILLIAMS GETS TO PLAY WITH DERREN
Well, some might think being pierced with big needles isn't fun, but that lovely Derren Brown has proved that it very definitely can be, by piercing Robbie Williams for his latest Channel 4 show. The singer was apparently mentalised by Brown, who then stuck needles in his arms. The magician apparently told The Sunday Mirror: "By the end Robbie's looking quite sickened and troubled. But to be fair they were massive needles."

Har har. The show is set to be broadcast on 26 Mar.

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