CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 29th June
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- EMI and Warner turn down each others' takeover proposals
- Fun-Da-Mental man says he'll promote his controversial record from prison if he has to
- Warrant out for DMX
- Jury selection begins in Jacko v Schaffel case
- Bloc Party near to completing album
- Sleater-Kinney split
- Single review: La Frange - Fashion
- Creamfields gets green light despite local opposition
- Buckley biopic planned
- Goldfrapp may get Bond gig
- Rough Trade release Babyshambles B-sides
- Fields vids
- Go meet Rocky
- Bugz In The Attic launch
- Rooster in-store
- Don't Panic - they've added an extra date
- RIAA partner with iSafe on anti-P2P schools programme
- iPod stuff
- Vodaphone to stage live music awards
- BBC to sell ads on non-UK websites
- NME.com partnership to offer streams and community stuff
- Album review: Ice Cube - Laugh Now, Cry Later
- Spears gets her kit off, gets airbrushed
- Coyne: Ashcroft is a twat
- Brandon Flowers hates emo
- Danni Minogue strangled, almost
- Elton wants no flowers shocker
- Alex Turner acts like a teenager shocker
- Corgan and Love living together
- Harry McFly says one thing, Lohan says another

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TOP BIT>>
You will find the Cooper Temple Clause answering our Same Six Questions on the CMU Beats site today - though in their guise as top indie DJs, which should be interesting. We're doing that because the Coopers will be DJing at PayDay at Neighbourhood in West London this coming Friday night (more on that in the Club Tip bit tomorrow). As it happens, they will also be on the decks at next week's Kill All Hippies at the 333 Club in East London, which conveniently brings us back to London bestest (and CMU supported!) rock night and, more importantly, a special bit of KAH news. KAH will be bringing some rock sensibilities to the Lovebox Weekender at London's Victoria Park on 23 Jul, with the monthly club night hosting a special big top arena. On stage will be a stack of CMU favourites, including Battle, White Rose Movement, Longcut, Rumple Strips, The Delilahs and CMU double favourites Little Barrie (they're great - I just made up the tag line 'CMU double favourites' especially for them). Not only that, but Kill All Hippies founders Eddy TM and Jagz Kooner will be hosting the day and taking to the decks - supported by KAH regulars Mark Beaumont and Gavin Nugent. Surely a must-go festival in itself, and actually just one part of the full Lovebox Weekender. You'll find more info on all this at http://www.leylinepromotions.com and http://www.volvicloveboxweekender.com - and I'm sure we'll find some excuse to bring it all up again here in the CMU Daily before the big day. Meantime, don't forget tomorrow's PayDay and next Friday's KAH - both highly recommended.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

Up-Comms - PR Account Manager
Up-Comms, the PR division of content/research agency Ramp Industry (http://www.rampindustry.com), is looking for an account manager to join our team. Around half of the projects will be music-related; around half covering fields elsewhere in lifestyle/entertainment. We need someone who's massively organised, has at least two years experience in offline or online music PR; who's confident, creative and, as importantly, who's capable of implementing the PR/awareness themselves. Salary circa: £22k. Location: London. Preferred start date: early July. Please send your CV to andy@rampindustry.com

Outpost PR - Online & Press Office
Outpost PR is seeking a new online and press officer to join our fast expanding team. This is a unique, joint role covering all aspects of online promotion and traditional PR. Some online experience is a pre-requisite for this role, either in the form of HTML, web design, or other online knowledge. No direct press experience is required, though would be advantageous. Creative, motivated and enthusiastic, you will also be able to demonstrate exceptional writing and communication skills as well as an eye for detail. Please send your application, including CV, via e-mail to david@outpostmedia.co.uk stating 'Outpost Vacancy' in the subject line. No calls please!

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CMU SUPPORTS >>

LONDON CALLING 2006 29th Thursday - 30th Friday, June: At London Calling you can meet with the people who are steering the new music industry to its future, crack open a beer and enjoy the vibe from the two live stages hosting great new bands. Plus there are a whole range of off-site gigs and parties where the hottest acts on the circuit are turning up the volume to 11. Courtesy of CMU (an official media partner of London Calling) you can register now to visit the Exhibition strand for only £25 (instead of the current ticket price of £45 + VAT) - just click here www.londoncalling2006.com/register.htm, select the 'exhibition only' option and enter E48672C in the promotional code box. This pass allows you entry to the trade show floor, workshops, showcases and some of the evening events at London Calling.

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PRESS ROOM>>

PAY DAY JUNE
Eddy TM and Barry Ashworth's PayDay returns to Neighbourhood this Friday, 30 Jun. Live on stage will be buzz bands Vatican DC and Devils Gun, plus the guys from Cooper Temple Clause will be on the decks, alongside Eddy TM and Barry Ashworth. It kicks off a 9pm and runs till 2am, tickets are £10 on the door, or £8 in advance from http://www.ticketweb.co.uk. Press information from Get Involved.

Full press release at: http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/pressroom/payday

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ON AIR>>

TODAY ON TOTALROCK
Listen to the second part of TotalRock's major coverage of this year's Download Festival - including interviews with Devildriver, Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, Clutch, Opeth, Getamped and Within Temptation (5-6pm). Genius Maz talks to Aki, from the unconventional and controversial Fun-da-mental, about why their label are refusing to release the band's latest album, 'All Is War (The Benefits Of G-Had)', because of its supposedly controversial political content (6-9pm). Listen live at http://www.totalrock.com.

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RIGHT NOW IN THE CMU BEATS BAR>>

Same Six Questions: Cooper Temple Clause
So, you know the Cooper Temple Clause as that "five piece rock ensemble originating from Reading, England" (well, that's what Wikipedia calls them). Particularly known for their storming live performances, the Coopers are due to follow up their two fine albums to date with a new long player later this year (you'll remember one of the tracks from it, 'Damage', was available for free download last month). But it is not as a band that the Coopers feature here today - oh no. The boys will be taking to the decks as DJs at PayDay at Neighbourhood this Friday night, so we threw our 'DJ Same Six Questions' in their direction, just to see what would happen.

MySpace Of The Day: Archie Bronson Outfit
I was auditioning tracks to play on the radio show earlier today, and one of them was an Archie Bronson Outfit one. As you know, I can be a bit rushed when deciding what to play on the radio - don't judge me, I'm not one of these people who has the entire week to sit around listening to music to play on a radio show while getting paid lots of cash for it. No. I have to write items for the Daily, and suchlike. And that's not all. Anyway, enough about me and back to Archie Bronson Outfit. The song I auditioned this morning was, to my mind, a bit of a cracker, imminent single release 'Dead Funny'. Sadly for you, it's not streaming on the MySpace. Four other quality tracks are though, plus lots of upcoming live dates, although, to be fair, a great many take place in Europe. You might be planning a trip to Europe, however. Whatever your plans for the summer, it's time to make friends with these chaps. I promise you won't regret it.

http://www.myspace.com/archiebronsonoutfit

This and more at http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk

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EMI AND WARNER TURN DOWN EACH OTHERS' TAKEOVER PROPOSALS
I love the way the business press always illustrate stories involving EMI's merger ambitions with a picture of Robbie, Kylie or Chris Martin, depending on who has the highest profile at the time. Wouldn't it be great if that's what it was really like? Robbie, Kylie and Chris around a table in Brook Green, with Eric Nicoli, going through the fine details of Warner's proposed takeover, while Edgar Bronfman Jnr calls conference with Billie Joe Armstrong, Sean Paul and James Blunt to discuss EMI's proposed deal. Edgar would probably sit in a large chair in front of a big video wall, with a different artist tuned in to each screen - Bond villain like. Have you noticed how much Edgar Bronfman Jnr looks like a Bond villain?

Anyway, I'm digressing a bit. EMI and Warner were in the news again yesterday as merger talks between the two majors continue. Well, rather, merger non-talks are continuing. The boards of the two major record companies have both rejected takeover proposals from the other. Twice. London based EMI yesterday confirmed that New York based Warner Music had turned down its latest acquisition proposal, while at the same time proposing a takeover of EMI. EMI's board, in turn, had almost immediately turned that proposal down.

In a statement to the city, EMI revealed that both they and Warner had now made two recent offers to acquire the other. As widely reported at the time, EMI made its initial unsuccessful offer of £2.31 billion to buy Warner Music on 3 May. Warner Music then responded with a bid to buy EMI for approx £2.46 billion, which EMI promptly turned down. EMI's second bid offering about £2.5 billion was also knocked back by Warner, who in turn offered £2.49 billion in a revised offer - rejected by EMI's board this week.

In their statement, EMI said yesterday: "The Board of EMI has unanimously rejected the revised alternative proposal from Warner Music... and considers it to be wholly unacceptable, having regard to EMI's prospects, the potential synergy benefits of a combination of the two companies and the range of strategic options available to EMI".

They continued: "The Board of EMI continues to believe [our recent offer to Warner Music] would be very attractive to both sets of shareholders and would deliver value to EMI's shareholders which is far superior to Warner Music's revised alternative proposal. The Board of EMI is committed to pursuing such a transaction only if it delivers enhanced value and earnings accretion to EMI shareholders."

What all this means re the possibility of an EMI Warner merger is not clear, and any comments on that issue would be pure and pointless speculation. Here goes. It remains likely that Warner's shareholders would accept an EMI offer if only the price was right. EMI boss Eric Nicoli, though, seems unlikely to support a Warner takeover whatever the offer - he being in bullish expansion mode just now, and not wanting to accept a deal which would almost definitely require him to take, at the very least, a back seat role at any merged enterprise. Of course Edgar Bronfman Jnr also seems quite happy sitting at the top of the Warner Music Group, and would possibly also try to block any takeover that would affect his powerbase in the music business, though, with a team of financial backers keen to cash in on the investment they made when they bought Warner Music off Time Warner, he surely has a contingency plan should EMI make an offer that is just too good to refuse - possibly the previously reported plan for Bronfmann Jnr to keep and then expand Warner's publishing division (which EU officials would probably force EMI to sell in any takeover) - a possibly attractive scenario given that music publishing seems to be an increasingly profitable and vibrant sector to be in. Though, all that said, some reckon that as takeover talks become prolonged in this way, the merger itself actually becomes less likely. Time will tell I guess.

As an aside, while checking something out about this story I noticed that the links box on the main Warner Music Group website lists the UK labels as being Warner Music, East West and WEA London, all of which, I'm pretty sure, have long been sidelined or rebranded as Warner Bros and Atlantic. See, stuff like that wouldn't happen if Billie Joe was on the board.

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FUN-DA-MENTAL MAN SAYS HE'LL PROMOTE HIS CONTROVERSIAL RECORD FROM PRISON IF HE HAS TO
The always inspiring Aki Nawaz, frontman of Fun-Da-Mental, has said that he's willing to go to prison if his band's new album does, as some claim, violate recently introduced anti-terrorism laws. Some legal people reckon the album, 'All Is War (The Benefits of G-Had)', includes some lyrics which could be argued to 'glorify' terrorism, which is now deemed an offence by the law.

Among the offending lyrics are those in a track called 'Cookbook DIY' written from the point of view of a suicide bomber. The track goes: "I'm strapped-up 'cross my chest, bomb belt attached, deeply satisfied with the pain I hatched, electrodes connected to a gas cooker lighter."

While Nawaz denies that the album condones terrorist attacks, it does strongly sympathise with the terrorists' cause. On the issue he is dealing with, Aki told the BBC: "As far as terrorism and the killing of innocent people goes, I find it repulsive. I know how the suicide bombers feel, but if they're going to do anything, it's got to be against military targets".

On running the risk of arrest for glorifying terrorism, he continued: "If I believe what I've done to be true, then I'll stick by my work 100%. If it means taking the rap and promoting the album from Belmarsh prison, I'll do it. What I have to say isn't new - other people have said far more contentious stuff than me".

Whether the album will get a full release, though, is a matter of some confusion because while Aki runs his own label, Nation Records, the BBC report that two of the company's 'silent directors' are greatly concerned about the possible criminal implications of the album and are threatening to quit if it is released.

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WARRANT OUT FOR DMX
DMX shows no signs of slowing in his attempts to gain more CMU Daily coverage than Pete Doherty. An arrest warrant has been issued for the rapper, real name Earl Simmons, for missing his scheduled court date on 21 Jun, where he was due to answer a charge of speeding and driving erratically whilst in White Plains, New York, on 2 Jun. He had already been granted a one week extension, having originally been called to appear on 16 Jun. Judge Barbara Leak told reporters: "We have granted him a number of courtesies. It ends now."

Simmons' lawyer, Stacey Murray, explained that her client had flown into New York for the court date, but had become ill during his journey, and said he would now appear in court today. DMX is, of course, facing more of the same next month, being due to appear in court in Harrison, New Jersey on 21 Jul over yet more reckless driving.

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JURY SELECTION BEGINS IN JACKO V SCHAFFEL CASE
Jury selection has begun in the US in Marc Schaffel case against Michael Jackson. As previously reported, Schaffel claims that Jackson owes him $3.8m. Jackson, meanwhile has filed a counter-claim against his former business associate. Prospective jurors are being vetted over just how much they know about Jackson, and if they hold any existing opinions which might make them open to prejudice during the trial. Which all seems a bit redundant, really, given that probably pretty much everyone in America has an opinion on Michael Jackson.

Jackson's lawyer, Thomas Mundell, again confirmed that the singer is unlikely to appear in person at the Santa Monica court, but that video depositions will be played, adding: "I'd love for him to be here, but he lives in Bahrain, which is 10 time zones away."

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BLOC PARTY NEAR TO COMPLETING ALBUM
Bloc Party have posted a message on their official fan page saying that they've nearly finished work on their second album, produced by Jacknife Lee, and expounding on the new work's exploratory sounds. Bassist Gordon Moakes wrote: "Bloc Party have finished a month at Grouse Lodge in County Westmeath in Ireland laying down licks and chops for the next record. It rained a lot but it was a truly enjoyable experience."

He continued: "We've all been banging and hitting things, detuning guitars, programming beats and making various kinds of racket. I guess we had big ideas for this album and Jacknife has given them the green light and urged us to go further. I shan't reveal too much just yet, but expect a song where Matt and I play drums simultaneously; some truly R&B-styled beats; Russell's work with a Big Muff pedal; the sound of a guitar amp being thrown off a first-storey balcony; at least one unplayable guitar solo; both eggshell-thin fragility and trouser-flapping hugeness; piano, glockenspiel, strings; you name it."

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SLEATER-KINNEY SPLIT
Sleater-Kinney have announced they are to split after eleven years, according to a statement on their official website. The girl trio's last gig will be their appearance at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago on 4 Aug.

The statement reads: "After eleven years as a band, Sleater-Kinney have decided to go on indefinite hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last. As of now, there are no plans for future tours or recordings. We feel lucky to have had the support of many wonderful people over the years. We want to thank everyone who has worked with us, written kind words about us, performed with us and inspired us."

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SINGLE REVIEW: La Frange - Fashion (North & South)
This trio's gimmick is a revolution of popular, modern culture in a Gallic style. Uniformed quaintly in cute berets and stripy jumpers, they begin their mission with this debut, which demands a return to flares in a world dominated by tight jeans. The track delivers light, bouncy rock that takes the listener through the decades and includes a repetitive, catchy chorus line that will have crowds chanting. B-side 'Left Outside' is a slower tempo accompaniment. This is really about Brighton cool that aims to be alternative in a scene where everyone is trying to be different - but is actually very similar. These guys do the same with their strong lyrics and dance to melodies, making them another band to add to the growing play-list - we will still rave about them, dance along to them, and most probably buy the album. RM
Release Date: 7 Aug
Press Contact: Triad Publicity [all]

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CREAMFIELDS GETS GREEN LIGHT DESPITE LOCAL OPPOSITION
Creamfields was yesterday granted its licence, despite opposition from local residents who fear disruptive noise levels.

As previously reported, the annual event is moving venues this year. Previously it was staged at the Liverpool Airfield site in Speke, but redevelopment there means it can no longer be used. The Cream possee have secured a new site in Daresbury, near the North West town of Warrington, but as they went through the process of securing a licence from the local authority to stage the event there, a number of local residents began to air their concerns. Meanwhile a neighbouring council urged officials considering the licence proposal to turn it down on the grounds that the event risks bringing unacceptable levels of noise and an increase crime and anti-social behaviour to a semi-rural setting.

One of the 100 local residents who attended the council hearing considering the licence application this week told reporters: "I believe the proposed event and the influx of people on such a large scale has the potential to do untold harm to the community. We have nothing against Creamfields, but it is a Merseyside-based commercial operation. Do they really care about the area in which we live, other than as a site for this event?"

Nevertheless, officials awarded the event its licence, meaning the festival will now definitely go ahead on the Daresbury site over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Festival organisers, who hope to make the Daresbury site a permanent home for Creamfields, have pledged to consider local residents' concerns in the way they stage the event.

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BUCKLEY BIOPIC PLANNED
A film about the life of the late Jeff Buckley is to be made, according to Hollywood Reporter, who say that the singer-songwriter's mother, Mary Guibert, is set to produce the film, after acting on fears that a biopic would, at some point, be made without her consultation. Guibert is quoted as saying: "the time was right to have a project where integrity could be built into the script and that we could wrangle it so that it didn't get co-opted or changed in getting to the screen".

As you all surely and definitely know, Buckley released just one album, 'Grace', prior to his death by drowning back in 1997.

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GOLDFRAPP MAY GET BOND GIG
According to the Daily Mirror, Goldfrapp are in talks to provide the theme for the new Bond film, 'Casino Royale'. The musical director for the film, David Arnold, has, they report, been asked to select a band in line with the supposedly 'edgiest' Bond yet - the very-different-from-his-predecessors Daniel Craig.

Some source or other told the tabloid: "Alison and Will are absolutely thrilled. Nothing has been signed yet, but they're the hot favourites. They're a slightly cooler choice than you'd expect, but producers are determined to make 'Casino Royale' the edgiest Bond yet to appeal to younger people."

Incidentally, mental Bond fans have been running a completely mental hate campaign to get Daniel Craig removed from the job. I just thought I'd mention it. Because I think it's really mean.

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ROUGH TRADE RELEASE BABYSHAMBLES B-SIDES
Rough Trade are to release a collection of Babyshambles B-sides in the US. The band's debut album was released in America in April, but no singles were released. Which is presumably why they're doing it. It'll be out, in the US, clearly, on 1 Aug, tracklisting as follows:

The Man Who Came To Stay
East Of Eden
Albion (single version)
Babyshambles
Blackboy Lane
Monkey Casino
Do You Know Me
Clementine
Why Did You Break My Heart/Piracy

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FIELDS VIDS
OK, it's a sunny day, let's assume you're going to be looking for some time-wasting tactics later today. How about you go check the video to a new track from those Anglo-Icelandic electro-indie guys (and girl) Fields, who release a new EP on 10 Jul via Black Lab Recordings and Atlantic Records? The track with the video is called 'Brittle Sticks', the other three tracks on the EP are 'Heretic', 'Isabel' and 'Roll Down The Hill'. Here are the links...

Windows Media Hi: http://tinyurl.com/kplof
Windows Media Lo: http://tinyurl.com/kb29v
Real Hi: http://tinyurl.com/fu5tq
Real Lo: http://tinyurl.com/hmhls

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GO MEET ROCKY
Or how about you go and meet Rocky? You can meet him at http://tinyurl.com/guyz8, though don't ask me where he's gone, because I don't know. He's surfacing on 14 Aug though, that much I know.

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BUGZ IN THE ATTIC LAUNCH
Bugz In The Attic are to celebrate the release of their debut LP 'Back In The Dog House' on 24 Jul with a launch party at Neighbourhood on 11 Jul. And that's it really. It should be good, though, because they are pretty corking.

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ROOSTER IN-STORE
Rooster, who I like, incidentally, are also to celebrate a 24 Jul release, of their album 'Circles And Satellites', with an in-store at HMV on Oxford Street, at 6pm on that very day. They headline at Scala the same evening, so that'll be a busy night for them.

They're doing two other in-stores, HMV in Birmingham on 10 Jul, and HMV in Glasgow on 11 Jul.

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DON'T PANIC - THEY'VE ADDED AN EXTRA DATE
Now, I knew they were buzzy and all, but not so buzzy that they could sell out three consecutive nights at the Brixton Academy. Well, they haven't yet, but a third night has had to be added to Panic! At The Disco's Brixton run next October. A 22 Oct gig has been added to the previously announced 23 and 24 Oct gigs due to that popular demand thing. Tickets for the new date are on sale now.

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RIAA PARTNER WITH ISAFE ON ANTI-P2P SCHOOLS PROGRAMME
The Recording Industry Association Of America has joined forces with a US based not-for-profit "internet safety education" organisation, iSafe, to organise a new schools programme to educate teenagers about the rights and wrongs of sharing music files online. The programme, for both middle school and high school students, will try to persuade young music fans that illegally sharing copyright music online is not only illegal, but ethically wrong.

Confirming the partnership, RIAA Boss Mitch Bainwol told reporters: "When students think critically about these issues - why we have intellectual property laws, how they should apply on the internet, what constitutes ethical behavior online - that's a positive development for all". The programme will also try to communicate the "safety issues" of using P2P technology - ie that doing so increases the risks of user's computers becoming infected by viruses. Bainwol continued: "For the internet to truly be safe and secure, there needs to be balance and rules of the road".

How successful the new campaign will be remains to be seen. Some say that the vast majority of P2P users are already aware of the legality and ethics of sharing copyright music online, yet they continue to share music in this way all the same. Other critics also say the 'safety risks' of using P2P are often exaggerated. However, with the legitimate download sector continuing to boom, some surveys suggest P2P usage growth is slowing down, and the RIAA will be hoping that a new generation of teens who, unlike the last generation, have access to a plethora of legitimate sources of music, can be persuaded not to go the P2P route.

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IPOD STUFF
Speculation is rife, again, about Apple's next big iPod announcement, even though a date for said announcement is yet to be set. Digital Music News quote one man who knows about these things (apparently), Jon Erensen of research firm Gartner, as saying the recent fall in the cost of flash memory (or NAND memory) means that an iPod Nano with boosted capacity is quite likely: "We expect Apple to introduce a new, high-end NAND flash-based iPod by the fourth quarter of 2006, offering between 10GB and 12GB of storage. The impact of an iPod with this capacity will have significant implications for the NAND flash market".

However, not everyone agrees, with Shawn Wu of American Technology Research suggesting that, while flash memory is indeed cheaper, delays in producing the stuff caused by Apple switching supplier means that the next Nano will have only 8GB of memory. Meanwhile Wu, who seems to be taking something of a pessimistic stand re Apple's upcoming iPod launches, also reckons that the much talked about widescreen iPod, designed for consuming movie content, will not now surface until mid-2007. The problem here, Wu reckons, is that Apple want to launch the new player with some high profile movies already available to play on it via iTunes, and protracted negotiations in Hollywood mean that isn't going to happen for a while. These delays - in delivering both a high capacity nano and the widescreen iPod - will put Apple somewhat behind its desired product launch schedule, Wu reckons, which could impact on Apple's financial performance.

Still, a lot of iPod users will possibly be looking to buy a new player later this year, even if no exciting new variants are on the market, mainly because their iPod shuffles have died a sudden death. Certain IT communities online are reporting what some are calling "the flashing orange and green lights of death" - apparently the little lights on the player start flashing pretty randomly and, shortly afterwards, the player stops working. Software upgrades sometimes provide a fix, the bloggers say, but frequently not.

The Shuffle has been on the market for some seventeen months, meaning the early adopters are now well out of their 12 month warranty period. Whether those users will just cut their losses and invest in a new player (Apple boss Steve Jobs did, after all, once say consumers would buy a new iPod every year), or whether they'll go the good old fashioned American route and sue, remains to be seen. If they did sue they might have some kind of case given that the problem seems to be pretty widespread (and there's a lot of iPod Shuffle owners), though Apple has been pretty good at settling class action suits regarding defects in iPods (avoiding too much bad PR without hugely costly settlements). Possibly of more concern to Apple is that quite a lot of players still in warranty are experiencing the same problem - and the cost of replacing them all could prove pricey.

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VODAPHONE TO STAGE LIVE MUSIC AWARDS
It was like I was saying the other day, what the music world really needs is another awards event, so hurrah for Vodaphone, who are launching a live music awards thingy in October. You can vote now, although voting will run to the end of the summer and given that some of the awards are for best festival performances you possibly ought to wait a while before voting (I mean, Depeche Mode were pretty damn good at Wireless last weekend - but who knows what is still to come this festival season). Should you want to vote now, however, you can do so in the music awards section at http://www.vodafonemusic.co.uk

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BBC TO SELL ADS ON NON-UK WEBSITES
The BBC has announced it will most likely start including advertising on its international website from next Spring - because technically speaking our licence fees aren't meant to be providing a news service for the world (though, given the blatant editorial bias of most US news services, I think providing Americans with something a little more balanced is quite a good use of our licence fees).

Although the Beeb are keen to stress that they will be low key ads, while pointing out they already include advertising on their non-UK TV channels, the decision is likely to be criticised by the commercial sector, who argue that they will pull advertisers away from other websites - especially US news sites (of course, perhaps if those US news sites provided that aforementioned balanced coverage, the news junkies and therefore the advertisers would stay with them).

The ad funded international sites would be coordinated by the BBC's commercial division, BBC Worldwide, which has just reported profits for the last financial year of £89.4m. BBC Worldwide often comes in for criticism from the commercial sector, who accuse the company of using its access to licence fee funded BBC brands and resources to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Its mooted plans to launch a news magazine in the UK have come in for particular criticism, even though BBC Worldwide argue such a title would fulfill the provisos set by government for its commercial ventures.

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NME.COM PARTNERSHIP TO OFFER STREAMS AND COMMUNITY STUFF
NME.com is reportedly in talks with US music search engine and web radio network Mercora regarding a partnership that would deliver sponsored search revenues for NME while providing streamed music for its users. The Mercora powered service would also help NME readers communicate with other Mercora users with similar music tastes. If all goes to plan, the joint service could launch as early as next month.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Ice Cube - Laugh Now, Cry Later (EMI/Virgin)
It's been a while since the heights of gangsta rap, and indeed, the music of Ice Cube, as he returns from the recent diversion of his acting career with further reflections on ghetto life, guns and poverty. With its pumping bassline and well respected MC style the album boasts plentiful tracks to blast out of clubs and car stereos. There are eastern twangs on 'Smoke Some Weed' while 'Dimes & Nicks' does a parody of Kanye West's opening track on 'College Dropout'. An extensive album, it speaks lyrical on prison life and gun violence, whilst 'Child Support' continues the anger at black women who gain benefits. This is a dark record, but beyond the cussing of females, the f-words and n-words it has to be asked if hip-hop can't be stretched further than this, not that the themes expressed aren't valid, as the rapper represents the disillusionment and decay of urban life. And through the mostly same-old rapping there are key tracks that give the record credibility - 'A History of Violence' will surprise those who prefer more sophisticated hip-hop with its 60s funk beat, whilst the pounding bass and heavy rhymes of 'Stop Snitchin' and 'Go To Church', which features a guest spot from Snoop Dogg, will please die hard fans of standard, mainstream rap. RM
Release Date: 28 Aug
Press Contact: EMI IH [CP, CR] Virgin IH [RP, RR, NP, NR]

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SPEARS GETS HER KIT OFF, GETS AIRBRUSHED
A fairly heavily pregnant Britney Spears has appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine virtually naked (and rather airbrushed). There are also some fairly disturbing pictures on the inside, one of which involves a large furry garment and a rather salacious look on the singer's face, making it seem like some kind of pregnancy-fetish porn, which is good news for consumers of pregnancy-fetish porn. I have no proof that such fetishists exist. But I'm prepared to put money on the fact that they do.

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COYNE: ASHCROFT IS A TWAT
Flaming Lips man Wayne Coyne says Richard Ashcroft is an arse, and seems to be suggesting that the former Verve man recently pulled out of a TOTP appearance because he "sensed a punch-up backstage" with The Flaming Lips, and, claims Coyne, "a lot of people would have jumped in and helped", had he got into a fight with Ashcroft.

Coyne told NME: "People I know who've run into him recently say that he's kinder than he used to be, but from my own experience, yes, he is a pompous dick. I don't really believe in karma, but he does go out of his way sometimes to act as if he's the only person on the planet who matters. And I love some of his songs! That's the power of music - great songs can be made by such a worthless twat."

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BRANDON FLOWERS HATES EMO
Brandon Flowers has done his bit, yet again, for US inter-band feudery, by having another pop at Fall Out Boy, and emo in general. Bless him.

He told NME of the magazine's recent cover stars: "You don't realise what you could be getting yourselves into, with Fall Out Boy, and what kind of impact it could have in a way that you don't really want. Culturally, if it gets as big as it is in America, it could change an entire generation of people growing up here. Emo, pop-punk, whatever you want to call it, is dangerous. We don't wanna dislike anyone, and we've still never met Fall Out Boy, but there's a creature inside me that wants to beat all those bands to death. They just all go into the happy emo funnel and everyone loves 'em without thinking. 'Oh, Fall Out Boy likes you? Fuck! I'm gonna go buy your CD!'"

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DANNI MINOGUE STRANGLED, ALMOST
According to reports, Dannii Minogue nearly got strangled by a rare white python whilst filming at a recent video shoot. Minogue: "The python was on its best behaviour for most of the shoot and was curling around me beautifully. Everyone was thrilled. But then things started getting out of hand. It constricted itself really tightly around my waist and I couldn't breathe. I started gesticulating wildly to the director to let him know I was in trouble but he thought I was just moving around more passionately."

I'm not saying anything.

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ELTON WANTS NO FLOWERS SHOCKER
Big news this. Elton John has made no request for floral arrangements at his upcoming concert appearance in Bournemouth. The singer famously once admitted to spending more than £10,000 a month on flowers, of course, and local florist David Shires had claimed that he wanted red and white roses on display in his dressing room. A spokesman for Elton has said that this is "completely untrue", adding "He doesn't even use a dressing room. He goes straight in and flies straight out again." You'll sleep better now, won't you?

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ALEX TURNER ACTS LIKE A TEENAGER SHOCKER
Well, I suspect he might be 20, to be honest, but it's too late to change the headline now. Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner apparently had to turn to his Mum for advice on what to do because evident cradle-snatcher Kate Moss, b. 1974, asked him out.

One of The Sun's excellent 'sources' said: "Alex was amazed when Kate came backstage and said she loved the band. When someone like Kate Moss asks for your number you give it to her. He never thought she'd actually call. He was home in Sheffield when the phone rang and this girl said 'Hi, it's Kate'. He thought it was one of the girls he used to go to school with asking for free tickets. When he asked 'Kate who?' he freaked out when she said it was Kate Moss."

And continued: "She asked him if he wanted to meet up and he mumbled something about being busy with the band and he'd have to see. Then she followed it up with a few texts and he panicked and told his mum Penny. She is a straight-laced teacher and had already warned him about getting mixed up with drugs while in the band. There was no way she wanted her son involved with Kate after all her cocaine carry on. He was going out with someone else from school at the time so he ignored the texts. I think Kate got bored of asking in the end."

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CORGAN AND LOVE LIVING TOGETHER
According to reports, Billy Corgan has moved in with Courtney Love - although it's not clear whether the relationship is platonic or not - or plutonic, even, according to Yahoo's Launch music news page.

Anyway, Love apparently commented: "Not many people know this, but Billy's been living with me for the last four months. Billy has one wing, Frances [Love's daughter with Kurt Cobain] has another and I have one."

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HARRY MCFLY SAYS ONE THING, LOHAN SAYS ANOTHER
Harry Judd out of McFly, who thus far hasn't been shy about spreading the news of his alleged conquest of Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan, and has now, claim the News Of The World, said that they were at a nightclub when she asked him to kiss her: "I was really nervous because she is so successful and talented. I thought, 'This is awesome'. Then she invited me back to her hotel. I left at eight next morning." He adds: "She still isn't admitting it."

Lohan has, in fact, issued a denial. Her publicist, Leslie Sloane Zelnick, says: "He is using these lies for publicity. It's convenient how he's making up these stories when he has an album coming out."

In fairness, if it did happen, it's a bit mean of him to kiss and tell like that.

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