CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 21st June
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- BBC axe Top Of The Pops
- Coke closes down UK download platform
- Arctic Monkeys confirm bassist gone for good
- EMAP accept record fine
- Warner enter mobile music deal in China
- C4 announce radio partnership with Universal
- Biggie lawsuit postponed
- Pixie Black loses muse
- Portishead on new album
- George Harrison reissue
- Fingerlickin confirm second Export line up
- ATP Nightmare line up additions
- Rolling Stones cancel German gig
- Modest Mouse postpone US tour
- Korn singer explains illness
- Reading and Leeds sold out
- Scissor Sisters play Scala gig
- OK Go announce tour
- Juliette & The Licks tour
- Regina Spektor release, dates
- Broadcast dates
- Pharrell Williams added to B-live night
- Backlash reschedule London launch party
- Single review: Blood On The Wall
- More on government cultural leadership thingy
- EMAP appoint DLT and EH to Magic network
- EMAP sell French division
- MusicTank tackles the live sector
- Jackson's menagerie is being dispersed
- Culture Club to reform without George
- Play the Noir game
- Paltrow helped Madonna make up with Dad
- When Danny met Lily. Or not


Now, you might be expecting a Top Bit rant here about the demise of one of the UK's biggest music media institutions, but you'd be wrong (we'll do that tomorrow). Today we're talking about the rise and rise of one of the UK's newest music institutions - the super soar away CMU Daily. Why the sudden smug egotism you ask? Well, today is the fourth birthday of the CMU Daily, and we've just passed 10,000 subscribers, so we're feeling especially smug and egotistical at the moment. Don't worry, whenever we get smug or egotistical something terrible always happen to bring us back down to earth. I'm expecting our server to crash and wipe our entire database and archive any minute now. But while we are in ego mode I thought I'd answer three questions we're often asked - why do you do CMU, who exactly are you, and how are you funded? We set up CMU way back in 1998 because we wanted to create some kind of network that brought together everyone working in music - from the chief executives of the biggest music and media conglomerates to artists, DJs, producers, reviewers and label owners working at the grass roots of music. Reaching the mainstream industry and media was easy, the grass roots less so - so we used the college network as a framework to reach out (hence College Music Update). The aim was to provide a link between the mainstream and grass roots, and to keep everyone informed with what everyone else was doing. Along the way we hoped we could discover and champion great new artists making great new music from across all the genres. From 1998 to 2002 we did this through a fortnightly/monthly magazine, but on 21 Jun 2002 we went online and launched the CMU Daily, meaning we could talk to our rapidly expanding network on a daily basis. Four years on, we're still here, talking to an ever growing audience every day. We, by the way, are UnLimited Media, a small but very well formed London based media and marketing company, which makes it its business to discover, champion, support and enable cultural innovation through a range of media and projects, of which CMU is just one. Through CMU, and similar creative networks in the student and cultural sectors, we are incredibly well connected and respected in the music, college and cultural worlds, and we use that position to help other brands and media connect, work or support those audiences - and that's how we fund the operation. That, and by selling content creation and provision services, something we seem to be very good at. So that's us. If you want to know more, or offer any feedback, or hire our services, then drop an email to [email protected] Otherwise, scroll on and read about the demise of one of the UK's biggest music media institutions. And see you here tomorrow to rant about it.

PS: While we're in 'talk about ourselves' mode, why not celebrate our fourth birthday by telling a colleague who doesn't get the CMU Daily that they should subscribe? I know I will. As I'm sure you know, they need to email [email protected]



Sanctuary Group - Senior Label Manager
Do you have a feel for creating back catalogue CDs from Sanctuary's vaults - from the Kinks and Black Sabbath to Grandmaster Flash and Sham 69? Sanctuary Records Group, based in West London is currently recruiting for an experienced Product Manager with a proven ability to creatively market and promote a variety of artist projects. Working on our extensive back catalogue, energy, enthusiasm and tenacity is essential, as our heavy release schedule will demand meticulous planning and attention to detail. If you have at least 3 years experience in a similar role and feel that you can make an impact at Sanctuary Records Group, go to the Recruitment section of the Sanctuary Group website, and apply online. Alternatively post your details to Anna Young, Human Resources Administrator, Sanctuary House, 45-53 Sinclair Road, London, W14 0NS.

Warner Music - Press Officer
Warner Music are looking for a Press Officer to join their existing team. The successful applicant will have a minimum of six months experience in a press or related role, with impeccable writing abilities and a confidence in using Microsoft Office applications. A genuine knowledge and enthusiasm for music is imperative. If you would like to apply for this role, please send a covering letter which includes details of salary expectations and notice period to Victoria Carpenter by e-mailing [email protected] or post to The Warner Building, 28 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4EP.



Catbird will be talking to Liverpool band Nineteenth Century. He'll also be previewing the Tusla Festival in Finland ('Phantasmagoria', 9am to noon). Listen live at



MySpace Of The Day: Dreadzone
I've been meaning to mention this for a while, but forgot until I got a little prompt in the inbox yesterday. The always-good Dreadzone have created one of those rare things - a good World Cup song. Actually, more accurately, they re-jigged an existing song so that it has an England football team theme. 'Lion Shirt' is a reworking of 'Iron Shirt' off Dreadzone's 2005 album 'Once Upon A Time', and it is really rather fine. You can buy it (and a great Drum Monkeys remix) right now on CD and vinyl, or download it from TuneTribe here: But presumably you'll want to preview it first, which is where the wonder of MySpace comes in, because it is streaming on the Dreadzone MySpace right now. While you're there you can check three other tracks, plus read regular blog entries from Greg Dread. And presuming that gets you all re-excited about all things Dreadzone, you can find out when he's next playing in your neck of the woods with gig listings aplenty.

More on today's MySpace Of The Day at


Well, we said that the shift to BBC 2 last year was just stage one in a plan to ultimately kick the show out of the schedule and, while that observation was possibly just stating the obvious, we were right. The BBC yesterday confirmed Top Of The Pops will be axed at the end of next month after 42 years as a genuine British music institution.

Dwelling less on years of rubbish scheduling, major mis-management at the hands of an over-confident Andi Peters and a recent reliance on possibly the worst presenter in pop TV history, BBC bosses spent most of yesterday explaining that a weekly thirty minute pop show is no longer relevant in a world where music is available on tap via the web and a plethora of 24/7 music channels (by the same logic presumably they'll axe the Six O'Clock News next month).

Director Of Television Jana Bennett told reporters that "the time has come to bring the show to its natural conclusion", while Roly Keating, Controller of BBC Two, said: "The team did a sterling job in revitalising the format for our audience but we all recognise that the time has come to move on."

Most of the TV presenters who have been associated with the show over the years said they were not surprised about its demise when approached by the media yesterday. Original presenter Jimmy Savile said he was neither sad nor surprised the show had been axed, remarking of Top Of The Pops' heyday: "In those days you would have to wait until Thursday night to get your fix and you don't need to do that anymore. Top of the Pops has been overrun by video of music on TV."

DJ Mike Read, who presented the show in the eighties of course, added: "It was a situation that was obviously coming because of dwindling audiences. There are lots of people who say 'I used to watch it years ago but I don't like the music'. There needed to be a mix of old and new."

But another former flagship presenter was critical of the BBC's decision to axe the show. Noel Edmonds told reporters it was "dangerous" for the Corporation to "throw out one of the most recognised brands in TV today", adding: "It's a huge commodity and kids are still listening to music, even if they are downloading it. It's a tragedy when a broadcaster doesn't understand such a powerful brand".

He's right you know - but more on that tomorrow methinks. Meanwhile, the Beeb were keen to stress that they remained committed to including music programming in their schedules with the likes of Later With Jools Holland and, erm, that's it. It's a good job Channel 4 are launching new music shows on a weekly basis at the moment, or they'd be no one left for TV pluggers to plug to.


Talking of things being axed at the end of next month, Coke have announced that they will close down their UK download platform on 31 Jul.

The Coke branded digital music store, which is powered by Loudeye's OD2, was one of the first legitimate download services to launch in the UK, back in January 2004. However, since the arrival of iTunes in the UK, it has become increasingly overshadowed by the Apple service.

And while stats from XTN Data recently estimated MyCokeMusic had a 6% share of the overall market, the site lacked the profile of rivals like iTunes and Napster and, of course, for Coke profile was everything - MyCokeMusic was always intended primarily as a marketing platform.

Confirming the upcoming closure, a new posting on the MyCokeMusic site says: "In 2004, the digital music scene was just developing and the only way for Coke to offer access to music downloads was to open our own store. That's not true today and there is no need for Coke to continue to run a store."

MyCokeMusic services in Switzerland, Greece and Ireland are expected to continue for the time being.


A TV show axed, a download platform shutdown, how about a bit of band-member-quitting news? Well, here goes. The Arctic Monkeys have confirmed that bass player Andy Nicholson has left the band for good.

As previously reported, the bass player had already announced he would not appear on the band's recent US tour, but the official line was that he was taking time off because of exhaustion, and that he would return for the band's European dates. However, in a statement on their website, the band yesterday confirmed Nicholson's departure would be permanent.

The statement reads: "We are sad to tell everyone that Andy is no longer with the band. We have been mates for a long time and have been through some amazing things together that no-one can take away".

Nick O'Malley, who replaced Nicholson on the band's US tour, will stay on for at least the rest of the summer.


As expected, EMAP's Kiss FM has received a record fine from media regulator OfCom - in fact it was even higher than initial reports predicted. Kiss will be fined £175,000 for what the regulator called "numerous and serious breaches" of broadcasting rules by its former breakfast show host Bam Bam. A failure to get the consent of the "victims" of prank calls before airing their humiliation, plus the broadcasting of "inappropriate material" while children were likely to be listening, were among the complaints upheld against the breakfast show host.

The prank call complaint followed a feature involving Bam Bam's sidekick Streetboy who returned the call of a random man who had accidentally left a message on his mobile phone voicemail. That man had recently been made redundant and had thought he had called a human resources officer to discuss redeployment opportunities. In a recorded call Streetboy pretended to be that HR man, and told the caller that he shouldn't be wasting his time, and that he should "go and flip burgers or something".

OfCom called the prank "the most serious case of unwarranted infringement of privacy it had heard" saying "the broadcast was devoid of any justification of public interest and could have had a serious effect on the individual concerned". EMAP bosses, who quietly axed Bam Bam's show earlier this year while the presenter was off on holiday, admitted that airing the pre-recorded feature was a major mistake, describing it as a "horrible intrusion into someone's privacy... it was also extremely bad for the radio station".

EMAP have told the regulator that they cannot defend the prank call and other incidents that have been criticised, and have admitted that internal procedures to ensure broadcasting codes are adhered to were "not up to spec" at the time of the broadcasts. They say new measures have been put in place to stop such things happening again. Kiss FM MD Bill Griffin, meanwhile, said his station tried to "push the boundaries whilst engaging the capital's biggest young, urban audience. We accept that we can sometimes unintentionally overstep the mark. We have made every effort to prevent a reoccurrence."


Warner Music have announced a deal with Chinese mobile firm Unicom which will make them the first major to enter into a catalogue-wide mobile music deal in China. The deal will see ringtones, ringback tones and artist greetings from a plethora of Warner signed artists made available to Unicom's 130 million subscribers - providing a considerable revenue stream and marketing platform for the major's music.

Confirming the deal, Alex Zubillaga, Warner's Exec VP Digital Strategy And Business Development, told reporters: "We are extremely excited to be entering into the wireless entertainment business in China with a partner who shares our ambition to grow this important platform for music. We believe that the expansion of instant, compelling and secure mobile services in this region presents the music industry with huge opportunities, and we are proud to be at the forefront of those developments."


Channel 4's radio bit has announced a new partnership with Universal Music UK which will see the major become a "strategic partner" on the TV network's bid to win a national digital radio multiplex.

As I'm pretty sure we've mentioned before, Channel 4 is planning to bid for the multiplex when OfCom advertise it later this year (assuming, of course, that they do - as far as I am aware GCap, owners of the existing national digital radio multiplex, are still trying to stop the regulator from making a second one available).

The exact nature of Universal's role in Channel 4's bid isn't clear, though it won't result in any kind of Universal radio station. Universal will help Channel 4 "identify new opportunities for music exploitation on digital platforms", whatever that means (though, to be fair, there's talk of involving some of Universal's artists in that process - which is a nice idea).

Confirming the partnership, Channel 4's Director Of Radio, Nathalie Schwarz, told reporters yesterday: "We have always said that music programming will form a key part of our plans and partnering with Universal Music is an enormous measure of support from the music industry. Digital technology offers the music industry some incredibly exciting opportunities but it needs to act now to embrace this change. We want to give control back to the people that matter, the artists and listeners - people with a passion for music - to create really groundbreaking music programming."

Universal UK top bloke Lucian Grainge added: "Channel 4 has asked us for input into the possibility that our artists could take a pro-active role in making and contributing to radio programming in future - to break the formula and communicate directly with their audiences. If we, as the No 1 music company in the UK., can be part of that conduit for the artists' community to get involved, it's an exciting prospect. We're delighted to be involved."


A US district judge has postponed the wrongful death case being brought by the family of slain rapper Notorious BIG, real name Christopher Wallace, against the city of Los Angeles, to give the family's attorneys more time to obtain information from the defence. The retrial was set to go ahead on 16 Oct, but now Judge Florence Cooper has set a new date of 16 Jan.

As previously reported, this is the second time the case has gone to court. A mistrial was declared last summer following the discovery that an LAPD detective deliberately withheld information potentially linking two police officers, David Mack and Rafael Perez, to Biggie's murder. Lawyers for the late hip-hop star maintain that the new officers helped to organise his killing, on the orders of Death Row mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight.

Earlier this year the city of Los Angeles was ordered to pay the Wallace family $1million compensation over the withheld evidence.


Pixies man Frank Black has told Billboard that he tried to write some tracks for a new Pixies album to persuade bassist Kim Deal to participate, and failed. The band reformed in 2004, of course, but only released two songs. Black says he wrote a number of tracks "in an attempt to convince one of the Pixies to make a Pixies record again. I can't say who she is."

Black continued: "I tried to find my Pixies muse and write a so-called Pixies number but they weren't any good. They sounded a little contrived or something. That's the problem with trying to repeat something you did a long time ago; if you go 'Okay, I'm gonna try to recreate something, tap into some mood I used years ago', even if it's the same songwriter, it's kind of fakey. What can I say? Sometimes I wish I could just spit out some Pixies-esque songs, but it doesn't really work that way. You write the songs and they come out the way they come out. They might sound like the Pixies, but these days mostly...not."


Portishead's Geoff Barrow has posted a message on his band's MySpace page revealing that the duo have completed the tracks for a third studio album. The long player will be the first Portishead release since their 1998 live album, 'Roseland NYC Live'; though singer Beth Gibbons released a solo album, 'Out Of Season', in 2002.

Unlike Thom Yorke, Barrow's postings are beautifully spelled, and have perfect grammar. Oh no, no they're not: " Weve had our meeting with the label it was really possitive....which makes the whole thing so much easier to deal with nice people...the tracks are in a right mess but sounding like a album for the first time in years their fukin a bit weird though...its great its nice to think us old gits have a few tunes in us without sounding like coffie table zero 7 - moby - chill out shit!! "


Ah, my favourite Beatle. Parlophone are set to reissue George Harrison's 'Living In The Material World' album on 25 Sep. The CD will be issued in two formats, as a standard edition and a special edition. Both will contain the re-mastered album plus two additional B side tracks, but the special edition will also include an expanded 40-page booklet and a DVD featuring rare live footage and a mini-feature created from film, commissioned by George in 1973, of the album's production process.


Fingerlickin have confirmed that the second edition of their 'Export' compo series will come out on 31 Jul. This one has been mixed by A-Skillz and he promises a very fine fusion of funk, hip-hop and old school electro including contributions from likes of the Jungle Brothers, Ali B, Black Grass, Superthriller, Kurtis Blow, label mates The Plump DJs, plus there's plenty of A-Skillz and Krafty Kuts. Press info from Get Involved.

Talking of great compo albums, remind me to tell you about an upcoming installment in Distinctive Records dance/breaks Y4K series - though this one will be called YrocK because it is being compiled and mixed by dance-meets-rock master Eddy TM (do you see what they've done there?). I've had a sneaky preview and all I can say is that you music journalist types should be making sure you're on Distinctive's press list ahead of its August release.


The All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas event, curated, of course, by Sonic Youth man Thurston Moore, has announced more additions to its line-up, including DKT MC5 featuring Mudhoney's Mark Arm, Dead C, Wolf Eyes and Bardo Pond. Tickets are on sale now for the event, which takes place at Butlins in Minehead from 8 - 10 Dec.

Do you want a reminder of the full line-up? Do you? Do you? Oh, go on then.

Iggy & The Stooges, Sonic Youth, Bardo Pond, Six Organs of Admittance, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Charalambides, My Cat Is An Alien, The Skaters, Melvins, Magik Markers, Alexander Tucker, Deerhoof, Wooden Wand, Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Richard Youngs, Wolf Eyes, Negative Approach, Dead C, Monotract, Prurient, Awesome Colour, DKT MC5 featuring Mark Arm.


The Rolling Stones have been forced to cancel one of the postponed dates on their European tour as they have been unable to find a new date for the gig. The band's Frankfurt concert will now not go ahead. Ticket holders are being offered tickets at a reduced rate for other dates in Germany.

As you all surely know by now, a series of dates were cancelled following Keith Richards' incident involving a coconut tree in Fiji, and subsequent surgery. The band begin the tour on 11 Jul in Milan, and will, as previously reported, be joined by Ronnie Wood, despite his recent admission to a clinic in London to deal with his problems with alcohol.


Talking of postponed tours, Modest Mouse have postponed theirs, because they are trying to finish their new album. The band had arranged a series of US dates to take place this August but have now announced via their website that those dates will be rescheduled.

A statement from the band, who are currently in the studio in Mississippi, reads: "The group sincerely apologises for any inconvenience and is looking forward to finishing their new album and rescheduling the dates"


Korn's Jonathan Davis has told Billboard about his recent diagnosis with rare blood disease immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), which, as previously reported, forced him to miss his appearance at Download and to cancel his band's European tour.

The singer, now at home in Los Angeles explained: "I was on the bus and noticed all this bruising all over my body. It wasn't bad, just here and there, but I was like, 'What the hell? This ain't right.' I don't remember hitting myself or anything, and I never bruise. It is a rare blood disease. Kids get and it goes away, but adults get it and it doesn't."


All tickets for this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals have been sold. That previously reported extra fifteen thousand Reading tickets lasted just minutes after they went on sale yesterday. As reported many, many times already, The Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds Festivals takes place from 25 - 27 Aug, in, er, Reading and Leeds. I'm not going, I'll be in Edinburgh. But I'm sure it'll be very nice.


Scissor Sisters played new tracks from forthcoming second album 'Ta Dah' at that previously reported gig at London's Scala on Monday. The new songs the performed included 'Kiss You Off', 'Paul McCartney' and the Elton John penned 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing'. Not that the names are going to help you know what they sound like. They also played tracks from the old album, of course, including Scissor Sisters favourites 'Take Your Mama', 'Laura' and 'Filthy Gorgeous'.


OK Go have announced details of a European tour. It's quite lengthy, so I'm just going to tell you the UK dates. Is that OK? Go:

26 Jun: Leicester Charlotte
27 Jun: Birmingham Barfly
28 Jun: Tunbridge Wells, Forum
18 Jun: Bristol, University
19 Jun: Cardiff, University 'Solus'
20 Jun: Wolverhampton, Wulfren Hall
21 Jun: Newcastle, University
22 Jun: Manchester, Academy
24 Jun: Glasgow, ABC
25 Jun: Leeds, Met University
27 Jun: Portsmouth, Pyramid
28 Jun: London, Astoria


Juliette and The Licks have announced a headline tour, fresh from appearing at the Foo Fighters gig in Hyde Park last weekend. Tickets went on sale this morning, dates as follows:

26 Sep: Brighton Concorde 2
27 Sep: London Mean Fiddler
28 Sep: Manchester Academy
29 Sep: Sheffield Leadmill
30 Sep: Edinburgh Rock Festival
2 Oct: Nottingham Rescue rooms
3 Oct: Dublin, The Village
4 Oct: Glasgow ABC
5 Oct: Leeds Cockpit


I like Regina Spektor. She was MySpace Of The Day I think, a while back. Anyway, she releases her new single 'On The Radio', on 3 Jul via Warner, ahead of the release of her new album 'Begin To Hope', out on 10 Jul. She's also on tour in the UK to support those releases - I may have mentioned that in the MySpace plug. Anyway, here are the dates, including festival appearances:

25 Jun: Brighton, Concorde
27 Jun: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
28 Jun: London, Queen Elizabeth Hall
1 Jul: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
2 Jul: Cambridge, Junction
8 Jul: Scotland, T In The Park Festival
9 Jul: Oxegen Festival
10 Jul: Sheffield, The Leadmill
18 Jul: Birmingham, Academy 2
19 Jul: Gateshead Sage
21 Jul: Leeds City Varieties Theatre
22 Jul: Manchester Lowry Theatre
23 Jul: Truck Fest, Oxfordshire
19 Aug: V Festival, Staffordshire
20 Aug: V Festival, Chelmsford


Ahead of the release of new album, 'The Future Crayon', on 21 Aug, Broadcast have announced three tour dates for next month, as follows:

19 Jul: Bristol The Fleece
21 Jul: London Bush Hall.
22 Jul: Birmingham, Supersonic Festival, The Custard Factory,


I've been meaning to report on this for a few days now, but then it all got a bit bigger. The Bacardi B-Live people are staging a great night in London this week. In fact, they are staging it twice - once over in West London at Neighbourhood (on Thursday, 22 Jun) and then again in East London at Cargo (on Friday 23 Jun). You get Osunlade and Tortured Soul live, plus the BBE All Stars on the decks - which should make for a rather fine night. The "bigger" bit is that we heard yesterday that the Neighbourhood date will also include one Pharrell Williams on the bill. Oh yes. I am guessing there'll be more info at, though it was insisting I download a new version of Flash for me to check so I don't know for certain. Press info does come courtesy of the lovely Get Involved people though, that much I do know.


Music magazine Backlash have confirmed the date of their rescheduled party to celebrate their previously reported shift of operations from Norwich to London. The original plan was to stage the party on 23 Mar but that event was postponed after the headline band had to pull out due to ill health. The new date will take place on 6 Jul at London's fashionable Luminaire with the Diesel-U-Music Award winning The Pistolas headlining, with support from Stagecoach and The Ladies. It all kicks off at 8pm and pints of Carling are £2.50 all night. Tickets are a fiver on the night or cheaper in advance via


SINGLE REVIEW: Blood On The Wall - Reunite On Ice (Fat Cat)
Blood On The Wall are a cool NY trio composed of siblings Courtney and Brad Shanks and veteran drummer Miggy Littleton. This release comes courtesy of Brighton based label Fat Cat, which I hadn't been familiar with previously but will certainly look out for in future on the strength of this very interesting single. 'Reunite On Ice' skitters along with guitars reminiscent of 80's goths Bauhaus, while the shrieking vocals recall At-The-Drive-In. The B-side, 'Dead Edge of Town', is possibly even more fascinating; it's a live version of a track which references the weird darkness of psychobilly band the Cramps and electronic underground outfit Suicide. The single comes from the band's upcoming album 'Awesomer', which is so titled because it's awesomer than their debut. JW
Release date: 19 Jun
Press contact: Hermana [all]


"Culture in the UK helps to define and shape and deepen our lives as individuals. It also makes a significant contribution to our nation's prosperity. If this significant part of our economy is to prosper and grow, we must recognise the role of our cultural leaders in delivering that success and ensure the emergence of a talented and diverse group of future leaders".

Not my words, oh no, but those of Prime-Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown, who is throwing £12 million at a scheme aiming to promote "excellence in management and leadership" in the cultural sector. It's a fantastic scheme. Well, it will be for the 2000 cultural types who get a cut of the cash. Or more to the point, for which ever shady outfit gets to run the £6000 a head training programme said cultural types are set to receive at the tax payer's expense. Am I sounding a bit cynical here? I'm sorry, it's probably the weather.

Anyway, launching the scheme, which was originally revealed in the last Budget, the government's chief culture monkey, Tessa Jowell, said yesterday: "In economic terms, the cultural sectors account for over 5 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product, and for the last decade the sector has grown at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. We need to enlist leaders from a wide range of backgrounds to reflect the diversity that has made Britain a cultural powerhouse".

Recently CBE-ed EMI chief Eric Nicoli also threw his backing behind the scheme, telling reporters: "Music is an important constituent of the creative sector and the UK music industry is dynamic, vibrant and flourishing. Britons buy more music per capita than in any other country in the world and the UK is second only to the US as a source of international repertoire. We do, however, face more challenges than ever before. Just as we invest heavily in technology, infrastructure and developing our artists and their music, it's also vital that we invest in our people".


More EMAP news, though this one doesn't involve dodgy prank phone calls and record fines. EMAP's cheesy listening station Magic has announced a number of new presenter appointments, including a Mr Dave Lee Travis and a Mr Eamonn Holmes. The new presenters will host shows on the eight Magic AM stations that are dotted around the North of England and which are going through a previously reported revamp as EMAP try to replicate the recent successes of Magic London on its regional outposts.


And more EMAP news, and a story that puts the £175,000 fine into perspective. The media group is to return £285 million to its shareholders after selling its French magazine business to Italian firm Mondadori - the conglom owned by the family of that Silvio Berlusconi chap. EMAP secured 550 million euros (£380 million) in the cash deal to sell the French division, which includes among its roster of titles the French editions of FHM and Closer.

Confirming the sale and the dividend payment, EMAP top fella Tom Moloney told reporters: "EMAP will now be allocating more resources, including launch spend, onto faster growth platforms. The sale of EMAP France is in line with this strategy, and also allows us to return to shareholders a significant portion of the value created during our period as a French consumer magazine publisher."


The next MusicTank Think Tank will be talking about all things live music - aiming to identify who the winners and losers are as this sector of the music business continues to boom. Ben Challis will give the key note in his role as the legal guy for the Glastonbury Festival. Geoff Huckstep of the National Arenas Association and MJ of Live Here Now will also be on the panel. It all takes place on 11 Jul at Bertorelli's in Soho - info at


Michael Jackson is, it seems, moving closer to the closure of his Neverland ranch, and is finding new homes for his large collection of exotic beasts. The singer' tigers, Sabu and Thriller, have been taken on by actress Tippi Hedren, who runs the Shambala feline sanctuary in California.

Her fiancé Martin Dinnes, who has been Jackson's veterinarian for a long time, says that the animals will receive the best possible care. He told reporters: "We're being really, really fussy about where they go. We want the best possible environments. Michael is adamant about that."

Dines also maintains that Jackson's zoo has not been neglected, despite reports to the contrary. "There has never been a lapse in the animals' care or feeding," he said. "I visit about once a week."


I had been hearing rumours to this effect, actually, but now the BBC are reporting on it, so it must be official. Culture Club are to reform without original frontman Boy George. Band manager Tony Gordon said that a TV company was interested in following the new band, possibly on a world tour, and explained that the group are on the lookout for three or four "young, great singers".

He told the BBC: "We cannot replace George - that's going to be an impossibility. We want to keep the brand but give it an uplift and make it fun - great fun. Culture Club music was always joyous. We need that right now - we need a nice, happy band."


Jim Noir's wonderful 'Eanie Meany' is being re-released on 10 Jul following indie label My Dad's recent alliance with Warner on all things Mr Noir. There's also a rather good Fatboy Slim remix doing the rounds, which will get a 12" release on 17 Jul. But I'm telling you this now so that you can go and play the fun little web game that's been devised to promote the release. This also wants me to upgrade the Flash player on my PC, so I guess I should be doing that really. Assuming your Flash is up to date, you can play the game at


According to reports, Mrs Chris Martin Gwyneth Paltrow was instrumental in getting Madonna to end her feud with her father Tony Ciccone, begging the singer to reconcile with him before it was too late. Paltrow's father Bruce died in 2002 from throat cancer, and the actress has always regretted not spending more time with him before his death. A friend of Madonna, Cheryl Buchhalter, says: "Gwyneth had a heartfelt talk with Madonna about her agony over losing her dad Bruce."


According to The Sun, McFly's Danny Jones was disappointed not to have met Lily Allen at T4's On The Beach concert at the weekend. He was, according to the tabloid, on his way to see her when he was mobbed by a crowd of fans, and by the time he emerged she had gone. He was quoted as saying: "Lily's gorgeous. I've got to meet her."

And there was me, labouring under the misapprehension that he has a secret girlfriend. In any case, we hear that he's not necessarily Lily's type, as she's said she's got a thing for "bald, fat men". She should, in that case, give me a call. I've got stacks of them.

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