CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 12th May
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Rajars round up
- Universal reaches settlement with Spitzer over payola
- French Senate pass watered down DRM law
- Clor to split. That was quick
- Manics' Bradfield solo album upcoming
- Depeche Mode cancellation
- CCC club closed down
- Single review: Hot Chip - Boy From School
- New festival announced
- Fun Lovin Criminals headline Rox
- King Creosote confirms show
- BBC rely on staff member audiences because of licensing problems
- Sony Walkmans become more iTunes friendly
- Single review: Chikinki - You Said
- Singer songwriter Soraya dies
- McLennan funeral takes place
- British Music Week next week
- Takeover bid for Billboard owners
- Richards discharged from hospital
- E17's Mortimer not happy with cover
- Rickitt gets winnable seat

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TOP BIT >>
Well, Encompass is upon us once again and I think it is only apt we dedicate the Top Bit to telling you about it. Actually, things are already underway, with the first batch of showcases taking place in various venues around the Shoreditch area of London last night. But things continue through to Sunday with something approaching an encyclopedia of quality electronic music on offer plus, as previously reported, three fantastic sounding seminar events on Saturday afternoon featuring the teams from Fabric and Wall Of Sound Recordings, plus the legendary Don Letts. If I had to pick out some of the acts performing to fill out the Top Bit of a daily music industry e-newsletter, I'd pick: Ame, DJ Zinc, Friction, Etienne De Crecy, Cassius, Mekon (with Mark Almond, no less), Hot Chip, Good Shoes, Simian Mobile Disco (oh yes, them especially), Ladytron, the wonderful Addictive TV and Eclectic Method, and the entire Soma Recordings night at 93 Feet East. For more information on all the events taking place as part of or affiliated to Encompass, and for details on how to buy festival wide wristbands, check out the website at http://www.encompass-london.com or if you are one of those media types, get on the phone to ePM.

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ON AIR>>

TODAY ON TOTALROCK
The Mighty Twang talks to fast rising metal heroes Chimaira and Communic ('Helldrive', 3-6pm). On Saturday May presents a right punk special, featuring interviews with Boston's The Unseen and Liverpool crew The Down And Outs, while Malcolm Dome talks to singer Nicky Moore about the final Samson album and new band From Behind ('Doom & Co.', 6-9pm). On Sunday The Mighty Twang meets The Sword ('Twang Show', noon to 3pm). Listen live at http://www.totalrock.com

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CMU SUPPORTS>>

THE GREAT ESCAPE: You know the deal by now - three great days in Brighton offering an unrivalled programme of one to one interviews with leading industry figures, including Michael Eavis, ie Music's Tim Clark and David Enthoven and, just added, EMI CEO Tony Wadsworth, plus more great gigs and showcases than you can possibly imagine including The Futureheads, British Sea Power, The Kooks, The Bees, The Feeling, The Cribs and Martha Wainwright. It all takes place 18-20 May - full details at http://www.escapegreat.com - plus if you work for an independent or grass roots media or music company, or in the college space, email greatescape@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk and we'll tell you how you can get a full delegates pass for the very special rate of £175.

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RIGHT NOW IN THE CMU BEATS BAR>>

Beats in Brighton
The Brighton Festival is under way, and you can check out CMU's preview of the Great Escape, plus reviews of other music events taking place at the Festival this year courtesy of our sister title ThreeWeeks in Brighton, all online later on today at http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk

MySpace Of The Day: The Freelance Hellraiser
I don't know who programmes Asda FM, but I think I like them. I mean, most of what I have to listen to while buying my bargain wine gums and incredibly cheap socks is the usual harmless-but-uninspiring pop nonsense you'd expect from an in-store radio station at a supermarket (and occasionally they play Ronan Keating and I have to knock something off a shelf to stop myself from screaming). But a few weeks back I got to shop to the wonderful Delays 'Valentine' and last night, to my utmost joy, they were playing 'Want You To Know' by the Freelance Hellraiser, a track which, I know I've mentioned before, instantly became one of my favourite songs ever made. So there I was, floating down the aisles to this wonderful melody, when it occurred to me that we'd never tipped Mr Hellraiser's MySpace, so consider that omission rectified. And now is a good time to check it out because the top track on the preview player thing-imy is 'You Can Cry All You Want', which is actually my favourite track off his forthcoming debut album 'Waiting For Clearance' (and given how much I love 'Want You To Know', the fact this is my favourite tells you how good it is). Also here to preview is original track 'Mama Said' and two of Freelance Hellraiser's remixes, plus there's details of his upcoming dates, including his own new London club Good Luck Studio. So go to this MySpace and preview some tracks, get on over to http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk and preview our interview with the man himself, and then pop down to Asda and, fingers crossed, you'll get to peruse the reduced bread rack while enjoying one top quality tune.

http://www.myspace.com/freelancehellraiser

PS: We forgot to tell you the address of yesterday's MySpace Of The Day - Captain - you'll find their stuff at http://www.myspace.com/captaintheband

Read more about our MySpace of the Day right now at http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

CARO'S LIVE TIP: Shack on Tuesday in Brighton
We're in Brighton a lot at the moment because our sister publication ThreeWeeks, as you probably all know, because we've told you quite a few times in the last week or so, is covering the Brighton Festival for the first time. Our reviewers are seeing lots of live music, incidentally, so you should go to http://www.ThreeWeeks.co.uk and read about it. Anyway, Shack are appearing in Brighton on Tuesday, supported by Jim Noir, and that seems to me to be a good enough reason to go to Brighton, and whilst you're there, you could take in a few Brighton Festival and Fringe things that are happening too. We've just got the new Shack album in and we're rather enjoying it. It's rather melodic stuff, of course, perfect for a school night.

Tuesday 16 May, Concorde 2, Maderia Shelter Hall, Brighton, 7pm, £12.50 or thereabouts, see http://www.concorde2.co.uk/

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Innervisions at 54
To celebrate the aforementioned Encompass festival, the 54 bar (the rather trendy venue above Commercial Street's Jawani eatery) is hosting the Innervisions night in conjunction with the Warm residents, which means you can expect a fine showcase of all things tech and funk. DJs will be Dixon from Innervisions and the awesome Ame whose album last year absolutely rocked, plus Henrik Schwarz will be doing his set 'live' set. Definitely one of the Encompass events I'd make a beeline for.

Friday 12 May, 54, 54 Commercial Street, London, E1, 10pm - 4am, £10 or £3 with the Encompass wristband. More at http://www.jawani54.co.uk/bar.htm

PS: I'm not sure what I was doing when I wrote the two clubbing type stories in yesterday's Daily, but I said DJ Swerve's new night at Neighbourhood/Soundbooth was a garage night, when it's an R'n'B / Hip Hop / 80's pop club. And while I told you that Nano Records and the Breaksday/TCR are launching a new club at the Renaissance Rooms tomorrow night, I failed to tell you it's called Stir, though I did put their web address - http://www.stir.uk.com - so you could probably have guessed.

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RAJARS ROUND UP
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for another CMU RAJAR round up - oh, we're too kind to you all, we really are. Yep, the latest round of radio listening figures were announced yesterday so, with the usual health warning of just how dodgy these stats can be, let's have a quick run through them.

Starting with our good friends over there at Xfm, who are having a rather good time of it. The lovely Lauren Laverne, in particular, is proving that women don't have to be confined to reading the weather when it comes to the world of London breakfast shows. She added 24% to her audience in the last quarter, and now enjoys 340,000 weekly listeners, just 9000 off the biggest audience ever reached by the Christian O'Connell enterprise she replaced. GCap owned Xfm fared well over all, pulling in 622,000 listeners - a whole 125,000 more than the last quarter - and its second highest reach ever. Well done them.

On Laverne's achievements, The Guardian quote Xfm PD Andy Ashton thus: "Lauren has worked tirelessly to deliver an energetic and fresh new look to Xfm breakfast and London breakfast radio in general. She is absolutely unique and I am confident that this is only the start of her impact on the London breakfast radio market".

Elsewhere in the London breakfast show wars, Capital's Johnny Vaughan stayed ahead over all with 963,000 listeners, while Heart's Jamie Theakston pulled in 855,000 and Neil Fox, newly installed on Magic's London breakfast slot, got 804,000 - an 18% increase on the quarter. Radio 1's Chris Moyles saw his London audience fall, as did former Xfm now Virgin Radio breakfast man Christian O'Connell, though he did add 46,000 listeners nationwide, so presumably that will keep his bosses happy. The now departed Kiss breakfast show host Bam Bam saw his audience fall by 4% on the quarter, which may have, in part, led to that departure ahead of the promised Kiss revamp - who knows?

EMAP will be hoping that the Kiss revamp works because in the last quarter its audience declined from 1.43 million to 1.28 million, which still puts it way ahead of many of the other niche stations, but not as far ahead as EMAP will want it to be. Not that the EMAP top guard are probably too bothered this week, because presumably they are too busy celebrating the fact that they own what is now the biggest commercial radio station in London. Yep, as bizarre as it seems, in the last quarter, cheesy-listening Magic was a bigger station than both Capital FM and Heart 106.2. Its weekly audience went up from 1.67 million to 1.86 million, while its audience share was boosted from 4.9% to 7%. Of course the man behind this surge is Magic PD Richard Park - a former Capital Radio programme director who always seemed to understand what the London radio listeners wanted - even if what they wanted was radio trash.

Capital and Heart sit behind Magic, the former in second place in terms of audience size, the latter in terms of market share. That said, the relative positions of these three stations constantly fluctuate between one set of RAJARs and the next so everything remains to play for in terms of being biggest in London.

Finally, yet another good RAJAR outing for the Beeb, who recorded its highest ever share of the market - up to 55.4% - again proving that the commercial sector need to work together to regain some ground for the industry as a whole. The commercial sector, of course, knows this and keeps talking about doing it - though so far seems to have done very little about it (OK, there was UK Music Week, an event that pretty much passed me by without me even noticing). Though I'm sure they'd want me to point out they fare a lot better in the battle with the Beeb if you take the less advertiser friendly old people out of the equation - they being particular fans of the BBC radio network

And that's it, though I've carelessly missed out the local and digital stations, which I might dwell on a little in Monday's Daily.

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UNIVERSAL REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH SPITZER OVER PAYOLA
More payola news for you - hurrah. The Universal Music Group yesterday became the third major record company to reach a settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over allegations of payola.

As previously reported, Spitzer has been investigating the use of payola - essentially bribing radio stations to give artists airplay - for over a year now and he has already reached settlements with SonyBMG and Warner Music after unearthing evidence of marketing execs and the third party radio promoters they employed providing payments or expensive gifts to radio programmers in order to get their tracks playlisted.

Sptizer's investigation into the practices of Universal's US record labels showed evidence of the record company providing radio execs with free electronics, vacations, flights, hotel accommodation and tickets to major sport events and concerts. Spitzer also claims the label funded expensive promotions on behalf of radio stations, participated in advertising based pay-for-play schemes and used independent promoters to funnel payments to the radio stations. Artists who benefited from the payola tactics, which the Attorney General says contravene US rules on radio programming, include Nick Lachey, Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight, Big Tymers and Lindsay Lohan.

Admitting some wrong doing in this domain, the Universal Music Group has pledged to pay a $12 million fine which will be made in the form of a charitable donation to not-for-profit music education programmes in New York State. The major will also introduce measures to stop payola tactics being used by its marketing teams in the future.

Confirming their settlement with Spitzer, Universal told reporters: "We have been working cooperatively with the Attorney General's office in resolving these promotion issues and are pleased to have completed the process with this agreement. The reforms that we have agreed to with the Attorney General are consistent with the policies that we voluntarily implemented over a year ago".

EMI is now the only major record company yet to settle with Spitzer. The Attorney General's investigations into their promotional practices are ongoing. Investigations also continue regarding the other side of this equation - ie what exactly the radio companies were doing accepting all these bribes (presumably what they were doing was having a very good time with all those freebies thank your very much). Most of the radio companies are still under investigation though, as previously reported, Spitzer has already launched legal proceedings against US radio conglom Entercom who, as far as we now, still plan to fight him in the courts over the whole thing.

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FRENCH SENATE PASS WATERED DOWN DRM LAW
Good news for fans of keeping DRM codes a secret so that technology firms can keep their unholy grasp on the digital music sector. That is to say, good news for Apple Computer shareholders. Yep, in a week that started with Apple Computers defeating Apple Corps in a trademark lawsuit, the week ended with the news that, as expected, politicians in the French Senate have amended proposed new copyright laws in Apple's favour.

As previously reported, France's Assembly, in a compromise with opposition MPs who supported the all out legitimisation of P2P file sharing, included a number of measures in the country's new copyright law that restricted the use of digital rights management technology in the legitimate sale of digital music - in particular forcing technology firms to share their DRM systems with competitors and allowing individuals to interfere with DRM technology if it was interfering with their consumer rights.

Those restrictions would have hit market leader Apple the hardest, because their entire digital music business model depends on preventing other companies from selling DRM protected digital music that is compatible with their players - so to lock iTunes customers to iPods, and iPod owners to iTunes. As a result they were the biggest critics of the French Assembly's proposals, accusing politicians of putting in place a copyright environment that would boost piracy.

However to become law the new legislation needed to be passed by France's upper house, the Senate, and pro-active lobbying from the content and technology sectors saw politicians there amend the new laws in the DRM companies' favour, so that the law they passed yesterday includes few of the restrictions proposed by the Assembly. A DRM Commission will be established to assess 'interoperability issues', though critics say this will inevitably work in favour of the technology firms rather than disgruntled customers frustrated with the DRM encoding integrated into the music they buy.

Despite the fact the music industry stands to lose as much as anyone if the technology firms are allowed to use digital rights technology to lock consumers into their products, that pesky condition known to the medical profession as 'piracy paranoia' means that the major record companies welcomed, and in part lobbied for, the Senate's amendments to France's new copyright law.

To that end Olivia Regnier of the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry yesterday welcomed the law as passed by the Senate, telling reporters: "The Senate, instead of enabling anyone to hack in, puts the matter in the hands of a regulatory authority, which will take decisions and potentially oblige companies to disclose their source code. We feel that the provision voted by the Senate is better balanced, there's an explicit expectation to respect the rules of the game."

A committee of French politicians will now have to check if the proposed legislation is constitutional before it becomes law. That committee will also be charged with the task of settling the inconsistencies in the laws passed by the Assembly and the Senate. Which will be fun for them.

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CLOR TO SPLIT. THAT WAS QUICK
The only fairly recently formed (2004?) buzz band Clor have announced that they are to split, after releasing just one eponymous album.

A statement from the band's manager said: "Clor, a band for whom musical differences surely seemed to be the whole point, have nonetheless succumbed to this hoariest of rock 'n' roll fates and decided not to be a pop group anymore. Unable to reconcile the yin and yang of wanting to be both wildly creative and chart-bothering, they will leave a big, uniquely CLOR-shaped hole in the all-too-generic world of guitar/electronic music. It is poignant that, as they split, Clor's star is arguably at its zenith, with 'Clor' about to be released in America and their future work eagerly anticipated by anyone with a keen interest in new music. Still, they leave a jewel of album for future generations to discover among the land-fill and rock detritus of so many of their peers."

On the planned direction of frontmen Barry Dobbin and Luke Smith, he added: "At the time of writing the future career paths of Dobbin and Smith are unclear, though both are likely to continue making music along their divergent routes."

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MANICS' BRADFIELD SOLO ALBUM UPCOMING
Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield has recorded his debut solo album 'The Great Western' and it's set to be released on 24 Jul, preceded by a single, 'That's No Way To Tell A Lie' on 10 Jul. The long player features a cover of Jacques Brel's 'To See A Friend In Tears', as well as a lyrical contribution from bandmate Nicky Wire.

On the album, Bradfield says: "I actually really enjoyed it a lot. Seeing 'Words and Music by James Dean Bradfield' written down actually made me feel happy. For once I've lost a bit of my insecurity."

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DEPECHE MODE CANCELLATION
Depeche Mode cancelled a concert in Chicago yesterday because Dave Gahan is afflicted with laryngitis, according to publicist Mitch Schneider, who confirmed that a doctor who examined the singer on Thursday morning told him he must rest his voice.

Gahan evidently began to lose it (his voice) during the band's Wednesday night show in Kansas City, which saw the singer struggling to perform the first six songs of the set. Martin Gore then took over vocal duties for a few songs, telling the crowd that his colleague had suffered a "medical emergency" but the concert then ended abruptly with the group's road manager telling the 5,500 strong crowd that "We are unable to continue because we have lost our man in the middle."

Schneider says the band are looking into rescheduling the Chicago date.

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CCC CLUB CLOSED DOWN
The after hours venue where Proof and Keith Bender were fatally shot last month has been shut down. The CCC Club, which was, of course, operating illegally at the time of that incident, has been forced to close for a year, and has also been fined an as yet undecided figure. The club's co-owner Alfred Thompson has thus far declined to comment.

As previously reported, police now believe that Proof, aka Deshaun Holton, was the first to fire in the incident which took place at the venue on Detroit's Eight Mile Road, shooting army veteran Keith Bender in the head. Subsequent shots, thought to be fired by Bender's cousin Mario Etheridge, killed Holton at the scene. Bender died a week later in hospital.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Hot Chip - Boy From School (EMI)
Following the top 40 success of previous single 'Over and Over', the West London outfit look set for another hit with 'Boy From School', yet another taster for the highly anticipated album 'The Warning', due for release on 22 May. The rough edges and sense of humour of previous efforts have been toned down somewhat, but the results are just as stunning. The band's most obvious attempt at crashing the mainstream is a melancholy ballad dealing with loss and acceptance; the combination of Alexis's vocals with the mournful synths in the background produce rather affecting results, and continues the path of sheer brilliance the band have been on since debut album 'Coming on Strong'. Watch out too for the Hammer and Tongs directed video, which recreates a wonderful vision of the ancient world. KW
Release date: 8 May
Press contact: EMI [all]

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NEW FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED
Yet another brand new festival has been announced, although this one's claiming that it'll be small and intimate, so hopefully won't add too much to the problem (which may, admittedly, be a problem that exists mostly in my head) of festival market saturation.

Anyway, it all sounds pretty nice. Electric Gardens is to take place at the Mount Ephraim Gardens in Kent and will feature performances from the likes of The Charlatans, The Automatic, Larrikin Love, The Long Blondes, The Boy Least Likely To and two newly appointed CMU favourites, Scully and The Fratellis, plus some quality dance acts including: Plump DJS Cassius, Caged Baby, Layo & Bushwacka and Audio Bullys. Tickets start at £20, more info from http://www.electricgardensfestival.com.

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FUN LOVIN CRIMINALS HEADLINE ROX
Woo. Those lovely Fun Lovin Criminals have been announced as headliners for this year's Rox Music And Arts Festival, which takes place on 29 May at Bognor football stadium. I love Fun Lovin Criminals. I suspect my love of Fun Lovin Criminals is enhanced by what you might call a soft spot for Huey Morgan. But enough about that. Desert Rain, Dakota, The Scream and Carmen Rosa are also amongst the acts appearing at the event, which will feature a mix of signed and unsigned bands appearing across two stages, as well as music workshops and suchlike.

Tickets are on sale now, info from http://www.the-rox.com, press info from harris_pi@yahoo.co.uk

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KING CREOSOTE CONFIRMS SHOW
King Creosote (aka Kenny Anderson) has confirmed that his biggest headlining show to date will take place at Shepherd's Bush Empire on 26 Oct, which is quite a long way off, actually. He'll also appear at the ABC in Glasgow on 21 Oct. Tickets are available now.

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BBC RELY ON STAFF MEMBER AUDIENCES BECAUSE OF LICENSING PROBLEMS
The BBC has had to ask staff members to become the studio audience on a number of its shows after licensing difficulties were identified by a London local authority.

The BBC first hit licensing problems last month when they staged a live recording of the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the concourse of their Television Centre building in West London. Officers from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the local authority which administrates the area where Television Centre is located, pointed out that following those previously reported changes in UK licensing laws that came into effect last year, the BBC now needed a licence to stage events of this kind if members of the public were in the audience.

That incident led to a review of all programmes recorded at the TV studio complex and this week the Council identified a number of shows that, because they involve 'live performance', will require a licence if members of the public are to form the audience. Music shows like Top Of The Pops and shows that feature live music, like chat show Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, are all affected.

The BBC hopes to get temporary licences for most affected shows while applying for a long term studio-wide licence, but there won't be time to do that for some recordings taking place this week. To overcome that problem the Corporation hopes to recruit audiences from its workforce though, in the case of the Jonathan Ross chat show, the live music component may just be dropped for a week, or be filmed separately without an audience.

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SONY WALKMANS BECOME MORE ITUNES FRIENDLY
Sony Electronics have acknowledged the dominance of Apple in the world of digital music by installing a new music management software on their digital Walkmans that makes the players as compatible with iTunes as they can go without getting their rival's lawyers on the phone.

Sony originally entered the digital music market with their own proprietary codec called ATRAC, and with a complicated bit of software called SonicStage available to convert existing music files into the Walkman friendly file format. As the digital Walkmans and Sony's download platform Connect (which does, believe it or not, still exist) began to falter when put against stiff competition from Apple, the electronics giant tried to make their players more friendly towards other file formats, especially MP3 and Microsoft files, and that trend has resulted in the latest iTunes-friendly system.

Basically the new Sony system will mean tracks that punters rip off CD through the iTunes software will play on a digital walkman. Tracks bought from the iTunes Music Store won't work, of course - but that's Steve Jobs' fault, so don't go blaming the Sony Corp for that one.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Chikinki - You Said (Urban Cow Records)
Last time Chikinki had a new album out, they toured madly, playing frequently to not-very-arsed student union audiences, failing to make it very big anywhere except Germany. 'You Said', from their forthcoming third album, suggests reactions will be much the same this time around. A playful synth-driven intro is quickly spoiled by Rupert Brown's characterless vocals, somewhat reminiscent of Hot Hot Heat's Steve Bays but without the ear-piercing range that makes him fun. Chikinki have all the right ingredients - swirling indie tunes with simple synths and guitars which are sure to raise a few flicky-fringed heads. However, Rupert's friends should take to jumping up on him from behind every now and then so he can learn to squeal a bit more. TL
Release Date: 8 May
Press Contact: Fistral PR [all]

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SINGER SONGWRITER SORAYA DIES
Colombian born singer songwriter Soraya Lamilla has died from breast cancer, aged 37. The Latin music star, whose eponymous 2003 album won a Latin Grammy, recorded five albums during the course of her ten year career. Soraya had said only this week that she felt she was beating the disease, and wrote on her website: "I have not lost this battle, because I know the fight was not in vain. Instead, it will help end a larger battle, which is early detection to prevent this terrible disease."

Diagnosed in 1991, Soraya lost both her mother and grandmother to breast cancer, and worked as a spokeswoman for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The singer's manager, Joyce Fleming released a statement which commended her for "giving hope to women who, like herself, suffered from this illness".

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MCLENNAN FUNERAL TAKES PLACE
A public funeral for Go Betweens man Grant McLennan, who, as previously reported, died suddenly in his sleep last Saturday, has taken place in at the St Johns Anglican church in Brisbane. Around 1000 people amassed for the funeral, and heard tributes from his sister Sally, his songwriting partner Robert Forster and McLennan's girlfriend Emma Pursey.

Meanwhile Forster has thanked fans and friends for their tributes to the musician in a post on his band's website: "Today I went to the website and read some of the magnificent tributes that have flown in for Grant. People for some days have been telling me of the beautiful things written there. And today I felt well enough and strong enough to go in and read. I thank you all. In time I shall read every one of them. I see familiar names scattered from our past. The vast majority I don't know. All of you Grant and I have met through our music. Your words and thoughts I find very, very moving. I sense the love and understanding for Grant and his music, and I take the support you send to me to my heart. These last days I have Grant in my head. He talks to me in odd moments. I hear him... and I always will."

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BRITISH MUSIC WEEK NEXT WEEK
Next week is the previously reported British Music Week in Berlin, with loads of UK music related events being staged in the German capital, all organised by the BPI and a load of local media partners. A number of great acts have been added to the bill in recent days, including Boy Kill Boy, Goldrush, Olympus Mons and Sunshine Underground. If you're around that part of the world, or are looking for an excuse to be, then we suggest you check http://www.britishmusicweek.de

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TAKEOVER BID FOR BILLBOARD OWNERS
US music industry titles Billboard and SoundScan may soon have new owners, or at least that's what the New York Post reckons. They've reported that a Merrill Lynch analyst has called on shareholders of VNU, the Dutch media company who own the industry magazines, to support a takeover bid by a private equity group, which includes Warner Music backers Thomas H Lee Partners. The Post reports that analyst Toby Reeks reckons there's a 90% chance enough shareholders will sell in order to give the bidders ownership, even though their offer is slightly below VNU's actual value.

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RICHARDS DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL
Well, this should hopefully put an end to speculation that he's on his deathbed. Keith Richards has been discharged from hospital following surgery for the injuries he sustained after falling from a coconut tree in Fiji. His publicist has confirmed that he is no longer in hospital, but that he will have to return as an outpatient for check-ups.

The Rolling Stone has thanked his doctors and "the beautiful ladies who make painful nights less painful and shorter... many thanks, Kiwis. I hope I wasn't too much of a pain in the arse - after all, it was my head that was fixed."

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E17'S MORTIMER NOT HAPPY WITH COVER
Tony Mortimer out of East 17 has said that he was unhappy to discover that Girls Aloud had done a cover of his track 'Stay Another Day'. His main objection was that he felt they had given the song a romantic interpretation which is possibly inappropriate, given that the track was written about his brother's suicide.

He said: "I found it really odd they were singing a song about my dead brother. It should've been left alone for a few years. [But] I love Girls Aloud, although I prefer to watch them rather than listen to them. If we ever do a big tour they'd be the first band I'd ask to come on the road with us."

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RICKITT GETS WINNABLE SEAT
This is an item about Adam Rickitt You may think of him as a former Corrie star but if you do, try to recall his brief incarnation as a pop star. You remember. He did that video promo where he was naked in a glass box. Coming back to you? See.

So, you may be aware that Mr Rickitt now has political aspirations. It looks as though he may be in with a chance of actually getting somewhere because David Cameron has added his name to an 'A List' of Conservative candidates who will be put up in 'winnable' seats at the next general election. At the age of only 27, he's been selected ahead of people older - although not necessarily wiser - than him, such as "chick lit" novelist Louise Bagshawe and Margot James, the openly gay vice-chairman of the party.

Of course, his appearance on the shortlist has got nothing to do with him being a blonde pretty-boy. Party leader Cameron says: "This is not about appearance, this is not about political correctness. It is about being more effective. I want to make sure the conversation the Conservative party has in that building [parliament] among itself is like the conversation we need to have with the rest of the country".

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