CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 14th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- A very long report on major mergers, or not
- IFPI win victory against Russian counterfeiters
- Jacko sued by ex
- Beatles tapes case latest
- Doherty back in court
- Glastonbury trademark application causes concerns
- Album review: Max Sedgley - From The Roots To The Shoots
- Oxfam planning lots of gigs
- BSP headline Tin Pan Alley
- Creamfields-goers plan to do the Crouch
- Edexcel reconsiders controversial music decision
- Killers confirm album title
- My Morning Jacket live album
- Goo Goo Dolls tour
- Album review: Folk Off - New Folk And Psychedelia From The British Isles And North America
- Travis deliver post-it for Blair
- Arthur launches own label for next release
- Regal launch singles club
- Live Nation take majority stake in merchandising firm
- Bids in for Liverpool licence
- Lily Allen criticises Libertines fans
- Borrell says there are no feuds
- Britney says she doesn't feel beautiful

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TOP BIT>>
Having just written a really rather long report on the whole SonyBMG / IMPALA / EU / merger thing, I'm not sure I've got enough energy to actually form an opinion on the whole issue here in the Top Bit. As we reported yesterday, pan-European indies body IMPALA has successfully convinced the EU Court Of First Instance to essentially annul the 2004 decision by the European Commission that Sony and BMG should be allowed to merge, on the basis that the Commission failed to properly investigate and resolve certain issues the merger posed. IMPALA reckon that by allowing there to be four rather than five major record companies controlling over 70% of the world's music market, it makes it harder for independents to operate, which is bad news for creativity and diversity in the music space. Personally I am split on this. I agree that anything that makes it harder for independents to operate is certainly bad news for creativity and diversity in the music space, on that there is no doubt. But does there being four (or even three) major companies rather than five make life that much harder for the indie sector? To be honest, I'm not sure it does, especially given that some of the biggest threats to the music sector today come from outside the record industry (and often impact on the majors more than the indies, who generally enjoy a more loyal customer base)? That said, if I was an indie label owner releasing top quality music that I couldn't get racked on the high street, played on the radio, listed in iTunes or covered in the mainstream music press, all of whom are dominated by the major players, I can understand why you would be concerned at the thought of major players becoming even bigger. But, in a week that also saw the independent sector call for some complicated changes in UK copyright law in a bid to secure a new income for their recordings, most likely off tele-communication firms who have been indirectly using music to build their businesses, I would say this to the collected independent sector: Of course you should protect your traditional business model, against the market dominance of global conglomerates and the growth of online piracy. But at the same time, just like the majors, the long term future of the music business relies on record labels developing new business models - and finding new ways to drive revenue from recordings and artists. Experimenting with new ideas can be more risky for the independents, of course, because whereas a major might lose some cash by backing an unsuccessful new venture, an indie might go out of business. But then the indies are so much better at experimenting, and they can change direction much more quickly and with less investment, and they often enjoy much stronger relationships with their artists - relationships which are integral in developing many of these new revenue streams. So, the point of all this? Well, like the majors, indies should protect their traditional assets, but should also invest time into identifying and developing new opportunities at the same time - because however many major record companies there are in the world, that's surely where the future lies for majors and independents alike.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

Warner Music - Graduate Finance Trainees
Competitive salary + bonus + study package - West London based

As the world's largest privately held independent music company we are constantly striving for competitive advantage. Not just in finding and developing new artists but also building the careers of bright, ambitious graduates. Although it's a tough, often demanding environment where you will be expected to tackle several jobs at once, you'll find it one of the most exciting and rewarding businesses to be in. Join us on our 9 month training programme starting October 2006 as a Graduate Finance Trainee

The Role: You'll receive development in one of three key areas within the finance function -
Financial Planning, Royalties and Financial Control. Working for the business as a whole, including our record labels, you will work alongside experienced, qualified Finance Managers gaining valuable knowledge of the music industry. And we'll offer you a generous study package to encourage you to obtain CIMA/ACCA qualifications.

Interested? Then please email your CV and covering letter to: HR.Consultant@warnermusic.com. Your covering letter should address the following questions: Why do you want to work for Warner Music? What have been your main achievements to date? What skills/attributes can you bring to Warner Music? And What vocational activities, related to music, have you been involved with during your education? Closing date Wednesday 19th July 6:00pm.

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HOT OFF THE PRESS>>

ALOUD FESTIVAL GUIDE IN ASSOCIATION WITH SONY ERICSSON
Can't be arsed to research festivals this summer? The Aloud Festival Guide has got the info on over 60 events taking place, written by music-lovers for music-lovers. As well as news and updates, we've got on-site blogging from the festivals, features, photos and advice from the illustrious Professor Portaloo - don't shag Anne Widdecombe scores quite highly. You can also win tickets to Lovebox, Belladrum and Bestival by sending in your photos, and feature in our summer podcast - brilliant!

www.aloud.com/festivals
www.myspace.com/aloudfestivals

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RIGHT NOW IN THE CMU BEATS BAR>>

MySpace Of The Day: She Wants Revenge
These guys' eponymous album has been around since the start of the year, and the excellent 'Tear You Apart' has, I think, been doing the rounds since last Autumn. But I get the feeling that one or the other is getting re-promoted, because I've been seeing more about them now than before. Either way, if you are yet to check out Adam 12 and former Bomb The Bass collaborator Justin Warfield's new music venture, then a quick trip to their MySpace is certainly due. Apparently Warfield's vocals have been compared to those of Ian Curtis, and the band have opened a few gigs for Depeche Mode, and those are definitely two obvious reference points. But head on over to the MySpace to check out four tracks for yourself, or perhaps one of the many live dates listed (several in the UK, mainly next week).

http://www.myspace.com/shewantsrevenge

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

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Back To 95 at Ministry Of Sound
Does what it says on the tin really - one for dance heads with a need for some nostalgia. Old Skool Classics in the main room courtesy of EZ, Mikee B, Ramsey & Fen, Hermit, Daryl B and Operator, plus funky house in the bar from Philgood & Ram, Craze, Jolie, Eynamix & Maxim. Elsewhere, Brian Norman, Dave B, Rudy Rich and Demi will be playing 80s classics in the Baby Box, though quite what that has to do with going Back To 95 I'm not sure. Never mind - should be good.

Friday 14 Jul, Ministry Of Sound, Gaunt Street, 10.30pm - 5am, £12.50, more info at http://www.backto95.com

CHRIS' CLUB TIP: Finger Lickin at Fabric Live
We reported on this last week, but it's looking so good, we really ought to tip it too. CMU favourites Finger Lickin are celebrating their seventh anniversary with a special party tonight at FabricLive, and they're offering a drum & bass come breaks feast featuring no less than: Plump DJs, Soul of Man, Drumattic Twins, Scott Nixon, Goldie, DJ Hype, Pendulum, DJ Fresh, Peshay, Macpherson, Marcus Intalex, Calibre, DJ Lee (Old Skool Metalheadz Set) and Benji B. How good is that? Very much a must go, I'd say.

Friday 14 Jul, Fabric, 9.30pm - 5am, £12 (£10 NUS/Fabric First), more info at http://www.fingerlickin.co.uk, press info from Finger Lickin.

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A VERY LONG REPORT ON MAJOR MERGERS, OR NOT
If only this had all happened 24 hours earlier we could have staged a food fight at the BPI AGM, with the indies on one side and the majors on the other. I was already covered in strawberry jam by the time I got to the BPI HQ on Wednesday (long story involving a run in with a jam crepe), so I wouldn't have minded refereeing.

Anyway, the often tedious world of major record company mergers turned into an interesting war of words and moved into unprecedented territory yesterday as the EU Court Of First Instant ruled that the EU Commission should never have allowed Sony Corp and Bertelsmann to merge their recorded music operations two years ago - a ruling which essentially means that the very existence of SonyBMG violates European competition rules, and possibly interferes with the entire space time continuum.

As you'll all surely remember, it was pan-European trade body IMPALA that took the European Commission to court over its decision to approve the SonyBMG merger. They said the Commission rushed through approval of the merger despite widespread opposition and without sufficient analysis of the implications of allowing over 70% of the worldwide music market to be controlled by just four companies. On those grounds the trade body said the Commission's decision to approve the merger should be annulled.

And the EU Court Of First Instance agrees. In a statement issued yesterday, they said that prior to OKing the SonyBMG deal the Commission had failed to sufficiently demonstrate that the merger would not result in the "big four" having a "collective dominant position" in the world's music market. It also said regulators were guilty of conducting an "extremely cursory examination" of the risks posed to competition by the deal.

What they actually said was: "The Commission did not demonstrate to the requisite legal standard either the non-existence of a collective dominant position before the concentration or the absence of a risk that such a position would be created as a result of the concentration. So fuck you SonyBMG". Or words to that effect.

Of course the EU Court isn't necessarily saying that the merger itself should not have happened at all, rather that the Commission failed to investigate the implications of the deal properly, and failed to present enough evidence to contradict those "collective dominant position" allegations. Such evidence is arguably out there, but the Commission failed (or didn't try) to find it.

Nevertheless, the result is a considerable coup for IMPALA and the independent sector it represents, and they were in a suitably jubilant mood following the court announcement yesterday morning. In a statement, the trade body told reporters: "This is a victory for music and cultural diversity. It is the start of market recovery."

The group's recently appointed President, Patrick Zelnik, told CMU: "This is a watershed in European affairs. A landmark judgement for music. There is no doubt that it will block any further mergers and will transform how music and other creative sectors are treated. We have proved that, by acting collectively, we can challenge the unchallengeable".

Michel Lambot, IMPALA President during much of the court case, added: "This judgement is a turning point for the EC. The Court has recognised that the rights of Europe's creators to create should not be thwarted by unchecked concentration. We see it as a call for the EC to turn its rhetoric on Europe's creative sectors into action".

Recently appointed IMPALA chairman, and the boss of London based Beggars Group, Martin Mills, said: "We are delighted with the judgement. There was an objective need in the general interest to ensure effective judicial review of a decision comforting anti-competitive structures. This is an incredible result, especially considering the inequality of arms between IMPALA and the Commission and Sony Corporation and Bertelsmann Group".

But what does all this mean for SonyBMG, the company created by the merger and, arguably, two years on, one unmergable entity (in so much as anything can be unmergable)?

They could urge the Commission to appeal the decision to the EU's upper court (the Court Of Second Instance, presumably) though IMPALA reckon that isn't likely for some technical reason I can't be bothered explaining. Or they could just hope that when the Commission review the merger proposal anew (which they will now have to do, appeal pending) that they will reach the same decision (ie that the merger can go ahead) while satisfying the court's concerns.

Otherwise, what? Well, IMPALA say this: "The merger will go back to the Commission but the independents believe that the problems highlighted by the Court right across the music market are too fundamental to be repaired. Without competition clearance SonyBMG would have to dismantle."

The Commission said this: "We will study the ruling and, if the merger is annulled, then we will relaunch the merger review process".

SonyBMG say this: "Today's judgment does not affect the validity of the Sony BMG joint venture, which has been up and running since August 2004. We are studying the judgment carefully and shall discuss the appropriate next steps with the European Commission."

Whether the EU courts would really force Sony Corp and Bertelsmann to split their combined record company back into two separate entities isn't really known - as I said, this is kind of unprecedented territory - but it is hard to believe they would; the precedent that would set would make a lot of very powerful mergers and acquisition fans very nervous. But it might slow down the rumoured talks between the two partner companies regarding Bertelsmann selling some of its 50% stake to Sony Corp. (Perhaps Bertelsmann should sell out to Sony Corp right away, then Sony, as sole owners of the company, could send Howard Stringer in saying "merger, what merger, no, we've always owned RCA, honest guvnor").

The decision might, however, spell an end to plans by London based EMI and New York based Warner to stage a similar merger (well, not that similar really, they've no interest in joint ventures, but the result of the acquisition of one by the other would be the same in terms of the size of the merged entity and the consolidation of the music industry it would cause). Bloomberg quote one analyst as saying the Court's ruling "appears to pour a bucket of ice water over the hopes of an EMI-Warner merger". But both EMI and Warner were unwilling to draw such a rash conclusion - both saying they would have to look at the EU Court's ruling more closely to see if it would affect their chances of getting a merger past the European Commission. EMI boss Eric Nicoli, speaking at a shareholders meeting yesterday, remained optimistic, saying: "We would not have made a proposal if we thought we could not receive regulatory approval. There's no reason at this stage to change that view".

So, all in all, little is certain about anything regarding the framework of the recording industry this morning, except that writing about it has created possibly the longest ever story in a CMU Daily.

PS: You'll see Beggars chief and IMPALA chairman Martin Mills welcoming the EU Court decision up there in that story - as he should do given his role in the independent sector. It will be interesting to see how he responds should an EMI Warner merger deal ever get to the European Commission for approval. As previously reported, Beggars has just entered into a partnership with Edgar Bronfman Jnr's Warner Music to launch Beggars Japan. But as also previously reported, IMPALA has vowed to fight aggressively any attempt by EMI and Warner to merge. Which means poor Martin could find himself leading a forceful fight in the European courts against his new business partner! Still, all this SonyBMG shenanigans might mean that eventuality may not occur any time soon.

PPS: Have you noticed we always write SonyBMG, whereas everyone else (except the Times, on occasion), writes 'Sony BMG'? I'm sure there was a brief period shortly after the merger when SonyBMG themselves wrote it thus - because that's why it was adopted into the CMU dictionary as such. But I know for certain SonyBMG write it Sony BMG these days. Fools. It would be much harder to demerge SonyBMG - but with that space between the two words, well, anything's possible.

PPPS: All sorts of share prices fell in the music industry yesterday in response to the EU Courts decision. We possibly should have included that a bit higher up, rather than down here in the PS bit - but I don't have any shares in the music business, so I find it hard to care. The share price in CMU remained unchanged. Ie, non-existent.

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IFPI WIN VICTORY AGAINST RUSSIAN COUNTERFEITERS
Loads of pop courts news today - in fact, it's a bit of pop courts special. The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has scored a victory in its fight against counterfeit CD operations in Eastern Europe. The Arbitration Court Of The Moscow Region has ruled that, as the IFPI alleged, a Moscow based CD manufacturer called Russobit-Soft has been illegally producing CDs from a string of Western artists, including Depeche Mode, Destiny's Child, Enrique Iglesias, Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Whitney Houston and Westlife. These counterfeit CDs were then sold all over the world.

The court issued an injunction ordering Russobit-Soft to stop manufacturing any of the 30 albums named in the case by the IFPI. Additionally they will have to pay four million roubles (US$148,000) in statutory damages, plus meet a number of costs related to the case, including a "substantial proportion" of IFPI's legal fees.

The conclusion of the legal action, which began in December 2003, will give the IFPI a renewed boost in their bid to pressure the Russian authorities into assisting them in their fight against counterfeit CD piracy in the country. Russia is currently the second worse country for this kind of music piracy in the world, after China.

Welcoming the ruling, IFPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor told reporters: "This case illustrates IFPI's continuing commitment to take on CD plants in Russia that try to profit from piracy and to make them pay for their actions. But the Russian government needs to do much more to enforce against illegal optical disc production in Russia, which is spiraling out of control. It must also update Russian laws and procedures so that where copyright owners take civil action; they are able to obtain an injunction and damages that properly reflect the scale of their losses, within a reasonable timeframe."

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JACKO SUED BY EX
Of course, it's compulsory that any Pop Courts Special must include some Jacko litigation, so here it is. Michael Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, has launched a lawsuit against the singer claiming he failed to pay her what he promised in their divorce settlement. According to the Associated Press, Rowe is seeking an immediate payment of $195,000 plus another $50,000 so that she has her living expenses covered while she, erm, proceeds with separate legal action against Jackson to try and win custody of their children.

As previously reported, the Jackson/Rowe divorce settlement saw the latter giving up her rights to their two children, but a subsequent 2004 court case invalidated that agreement, and she is now fighting a custody battle for them. On the divorce payments, the new lawsuit claims Jackson stopped making promised payments in October 2003.

Elsewhere in Jacko legal news, and the ongoing Jackson/Schaffel court case we've been reporting on, where both sides gave their concluding statements yesterday and the jury is expected to start considering their verdict later today. As previously reported, Marc Schaffel is suing former associate Jackson over allegations he is owed substantial fees and royalties from his time working with the singer. Jacko is counter-suing saying Schaffel "looted" the Neverland bank account while the two worked together.

The case included considerable bitchiness on both sides - something still evident in the concluding statements. Speaking for Schaffel, Howard King told the court: "I resent that Mr Schaffel is portrayed as some sort of parasite hanging on to Mr Jackson. Mr Jackson says under oath what he thinks he needs to say". Over allegations that paperwork was lacking to back up some of Schaffel's claims, King added that the jury must bear in mind that, when working with Jacko, Schaffel was living in "Michael world, not our world. It's a world where a superstar professes love for Marc Schaffel and entrusts him... Michael world - a world without receipts".

Jackson's attorney, Thomas Mundell, urged the jury to "send him [Schaffel] from this courtroom with nothing", adding "Mr Schaffel saw Michael Jackson as an opportunity. He could do projects for him and become part of the action. He was living the life of Riley, traveling around the world in private jets".

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BEATLES TAPES CASE LATEST
Nigel Oliver, 55, of Slough, attempted to sell stolen tapes of The Beatles last recording sessions, a jury has found. As previously reported, Oliver was charged with two counts of handling stolen goods, being caught trying to sell the tapes, on behalf of two other men, for about $250,000. He has, however, been found unfit to plead to the charges, and did not appear in court during the case.

In court, the jury heard how police uncovered documents instructing the sale at the man's home, as well as a key to a locked suitcase containing George Harrison's passport. Previously, MD of Beatles company Apple, Nigel Aspinall, told the court: "These tapes have huge commercial value. They've got over 80 hours or more of sound footage on them of the Beatles recording and chatting about stuff. There's lots of very unknown stuff and music on there that they wouldn't have recorded in a normal session."

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DOHERTY BACK IN COURT
Pete Doherty has made his latest appearance at Thames Magistrates Court for a review of his progress on his previously reported rehab programme. Appearing before Judge Jane McIvor, the singer explained that he is having implants fitted (again) to help him get off drugs.

Now, I'm not saying that Judge McIvor is a soft touch (no, I'm not) but she's a lot more understanding than I would be, even if Doherty did make those vulnerable-puppy eyes at me, the way he was doing on J-Ross on Friday.

McIvor, acknowledging that, while he had not yet had a negative drug test, doctors were pleased with his progress, said: "You are going in the right direction. It's not easy, especially in your circumstances. I appreciate that entirely. I think your concentration should be, within six months of the order, to get a negative test." She has also recommended that Doherty's twice weekly drug tests be reduced to once a week.

Elsewhere in Doherty news, Roger Daltrey has had a go at the Babyshambles star. Actually, I think that should be "another go" at him, because I'm sure the Who man has expressed negative opinions on him before. Anyway, Virgin.net quote him as saying: "I have time for anarchy but Pete Doherty is feeble minded. What he does has nothing to do with rock 'n' roll. He is severely dependent and needs urgent help."

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GLASTONBURY TRADEMARK APPLICATION CAUSES CONCERNS
More legal shenanigans, this time involving that lovely Mr Eavis at the Glastonbury Festival. He is trying to trademark three names associated with his annual music fest, but has sparked a row with some of his neighbours, because one of the words he is trying to secure is the name of the town itself.

Festival organisers are applying to the EU Office Of Harmonisation to licence the terms 'Glastonbury Festival', 'Glastonbury & Avalon' and 'Glastonbury' in a bid to stop shady types from producing unofficial Glasto CDs, merchandise or websites using one of those names. But some other local businesses are objecting to the latter of those applications, because they fear it would stop them from using the word Glastonbury in their own names or products.

Eavis was due to meet with local councillors and business men last night to discuss the application. Local mayor John Coles told reporters that he was pretty sure that an agreement could be reached because Eavis' motives weren't to block local businesses from using their town's name. Explaining the concerns of some of the locals, Cole said: "There are people objecting to Michael using the name Glastonbury because if he does get the monopoly - which I don't believe he is trying to do - then no-one will be able to trade under the name of Glastonbury".

Both the Glastonbury Festival people and the local Chamber Of Commerce said they wouldn't comment ahead of last night's meeting. So I guess we can expect some kind of statement from one or the other today.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Max Sedgley - From The Roots To The Shoots (Sunday Best)
Apparently, when he was learning the drums, Sedgley benefited from the knowledge of James Blades, an absolute legend among British percussionists, who created the BBC's V for Victory signal during the war and recorded the gong strokes for Arthur J. Rank's films. Now that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with this review, but it's such an outrageously cool fact that I just had to drop it in. In fact, maybe it does have a sliver of something to do with this review, because this album is outrageously cool as well. It kicks off on just about as strong a track as you could start an album off with - 'Happy'. You might remember this as being the track that ITV chose to soundtrack their coverage of Euro 2004, and if you don't, who cares, because it still packs a punch when the beat and that seriously heavy groove kicks in (incidentally, try and catch the video for it, because that's ace as well). The next track, 'I've Been Waiting', is really strong as well, with a classic groove and vocals - it's really accomplished for a debut album. There isn't really the space to list all the highlights on this album here, but I will just point out 'Set it Free', one of the most joyously infectious dance floor tunes I've heard in a long while. Sedgley's now got a live band together, and I would definitely recommend checking them out ( Jamm@Brixton this weekend!); some of these songs would work amazingly well in a live setting. On the strength of this debut, Sedgley's soon going to be slaying dance floors everywhere. TH
Release Date: 17 Jul
Press Contact: Sunday Best IH [all]

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OXFAM PLANNING LOTS OF GIGS
Oxfam is hoping to stage 2,500 fundraising concerts across the UK in October, with 650 gigs already organised by members of the public. According to reports the programme of gigs, to be called Oxjam, will feature Kaiser Chiefs, Goldfrapp and Franz Ferdinand among many others.

Chief Kaiser Ricky Wilson says: "Big or small, it doesn't matter. Please sign up and make a noise, whether it's shaking a tambourine for hours, dancing till the break of dawn or forming a band on the spot".

Alison Goldfrapp: "We are playing lots of big festivals across Europe this summer but Oxjam is different. Anyone can join in and help make poverty history through making good noise."

Oxfam spokesman Gareth Simpson added: "We have the support of the music industry and some of the best acts around today. Now we need people to register to take part to help make it a massive success."

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BSP HEADLINE TIN PAN ALLEY
British Sea Power have been confirmed as last minute headliners for the Tin Pan Alley festival, the free event taking place this Sunday (16 Jul) in Denmark Street, London, in aid of homeless charity Shelter. They join acts on the line-up such as Vincent Vincent & The Villains and The Holloways.

BSP say: "We are hoping to channel the ghost of the Sex Pistols from their old Denmark Street rehearsal room. We'll also invite Elton John to guest - in memoriam of his time as tea-boy at Mills Music."

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CREAMFIELDS-GOERS PLAN TO DO THE CROUCH
The Creamfields people have been asking ticket buyers what dance move they are most looking forward to employing at the event when it takes place at its new home in rural Cheshire at the end of August and, perhaps unsurprisingly (given that the survey was done during the World Cup), the robot dance made popular again by Liverpool/England footballer Peter Crouch has come top. In fact 70% of Creamfields-goers say they plan to do some robot style body popping at the event. Let's hope they don't get in the way of the 20% of ticket buyers who say they plan to employ the Keith Prodigy style head bang.

Commenting on the poll, Cream boss James Barton told CMU: "Considering the amount of hardcore dance music fans that visit Creamfields each year, the fact that the most popular dance will be 'The Crouch' is astounding. Whilst the inclusion of Gnarls Barkley and The Zutons [on our line up] is bringing a whole new fanbase to the event, we didn't anticipate Peter would have such a huge influence on the ticket-goers!"

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EDEXCEL RECONSIDERS CONTROVERSIAL MUSIC DECISION
Exam board Edexcel is reviewing a decision to stop offering A levels in Music and Music Technology, a move that shocked teachers and course organisers all over the UK, whose schools and colleges had invested large sums of money in studio equipment in order to teach it. Edexcel, the only exam board to offer such a course, is now in talks about continuing the courses, which were, apparently, studied by the members of Arctic Monkeys.

Originally, Edexcel had said it would not continue because "the complexity of the current assessment model and constraints of the new subject criteria have made it impossible to produce a sustainable specification which will be attractive to schools and colleges", planning instead to focus on a BTEC qualification "which has proved popular in our centres".

The move prompted a barrage of posts on the Times Educational Supplement's online forums, criticising what seems widely regarded to be a commercial move on the part of Edexcel. Teacher and writer Andy Collyer, one of the authors of Edexcel's music technology syllabus, said: "I was stunned and appalled when I heard the news of the demise of these two subjects. Many centres, students and parents still see the GCE as the 'gold standard' and I cannot see schools moving over to BTec," he said. [They] must not be allowed to perpetrate this cost-cutting, ill-conceived nonsense."

An examiner for AS-level arranging in Music Technology also commented, saying: "My school has spent a lot of money on a new studio and music ICT rooms on the basis of this A-level being introduced. Given the school's academic sixth form, the subject being available at BTec only is not going to go down well with the school. I feel quite betrayed."

Now Edexcel's chief executive, Jerry Jarvis, has agreed to meet with senior examiners to discuss a possible compromise. A statement from the board reads: "Students starting courses in 2006 and 2007 would be unaffected by any changes, with exams continuing to January 2010. However, in view of the enormous support being shown for our existing qualifications, and the encouragement that we have received, we have resumed the process of discussion with all parties to seek a solution that meets the needs of our centres and their students."

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KILLERS CONFIRM ALBUM TITLE
The Killers have confirmed that their second album will be called 'Sam's Town' and will be released on 2 Oct. The name is apparently taken from a casino in the band's native Las Vegas. The album will be preceded by the single 'When You Were Young', out 18 Sep.

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MY MORNING JACKET LIVE ALBUM
My Morning Jacket are set to release a two CD live album, which will come with an accompanying DVD. The release date for 'Okonokos: Double Live Album' is yet to be confirmed, but, you lucky kids, there is a tracklisting for your delectation, so read on.

Singer Jim James says: "We want to make this a watchable movie that is an hour-and-a-half or an hour-and-45 minutes, so you can hopefully sit down and watch the whole thing as an experience, rather than it being three hours long with every single song we've ever played."

Disc 1 tracklisting:
Wordless Chorus
It Beats 4 U
Gideon
One Big Holiday
I Will Sing You Songs
Lowdown
The Way That He Sings
What A Wonderful Man
Off The Record
Golden
Lay Low

Disc 2 tracklisting:
Dondante
Run Thru
At Dawn
Xmas Curtain
O Is The One That Is Real
Hell
Steam
Dancefloors
Anytime
Mahgeeta

And whilst we're in the business of listing things, here's a list of their upcoming live appearances:

19 Aug: Staffordshire V Festival
20 Aug: Chelmsford V Festival
22 Aug: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
23 Aug: Manchester Academy 2
25 Aug: Glasgow ABC
26 Aug: Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
29: Birmingham Academy

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GOO GOO DOLLS TOUR
Talking of listings, Goo Goo Dolls have announced a series of UK tour dates, as follows:

29 Sep: Leeds University
30 Sep: Manchester Apollo
2 Oct: Glasgow Academy
3 Oct: Music Hall
4 Oct: Academy
6 Oct: Cambridge Corn Exchange
8 Oct: Southampton Guildhall
9 Oct: Nottingham Rock City
11 Oct: Liverpool University
12 Oct: Cardiff University
13 Oct: London Shepherds Bush Empire

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ALBUM REVIEW: Folk Off - New Folk And Psychedelia From The British Isles And North America (Sunday Best)
If ever there was an album to lose yourself in over a weekend, this stunning compilation from Sunday Best is surely it. Spread over two CDs (one with British artists, the other American), it's simply full to the brim with fantastic music. In fact the problem with writing about it here is that there are far too many amazing songs to do them any justice in the space of this one review. For the Brits you have, amongst others, Tunng's brilliant reworking of Bloc Party's 'The Pioneers', Vashti Bunyan's ethereal 'Here Before' and Eighteenth Day Of May's jaunty instrumental 'Dawn'. The Americans have people like Laura Cantrell, Mi and L'Au and the brilliant Sufjan Stevens, all bringing their distinct sound to the table. Highlights for me have to be This Is The Kit's absolutely gorgeous 'Two Wooden Spoons', one of the most simple, heartfelt songs you could ever hope to hear, and James Yorkston and Reporter's 'Woozy With Cider', which, whilst having a very folky name, seems anything but, with its spoken word vocal unveiling its story over a lovely, sparse musical background. The choices of songs here really reflects the vibrancy of a scene which consistently produces some of the most original, beguiling and surprising music around, whilst being emphatically ignored by the wider record-buying public. Much kudos should go to Sunday Best for releasing this album - with this and the Max Sedgley album out (and reviewed here!) on the same day they seem to be on a bit of a roll. TH
Release Date: 17 Jul
Press Contact: Sunday Best IH [all]

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TRAVIS DELIVER POST-IT FOR BLAIR
Travis have made a special visit to Downing Street to stick a giant post-it note on the door of number 10, which read "Some steps forward. Much more to do at G8."

Frontman Fran Healey said: "We're here to remind Gordon and Tony that we've not forgotten about Africa and neither should they. Everything's been done in half measures. A half measure is better than no measure, but the key point, and the one that was forgotten last year, is trade. You can drop the debt, you can triple or quadruple aid, you can give all the anti-viral drugs in the world, but if you don't allow a country to be self-sustaining it's all for nothing."

Alison Marshall, spokeswoman for anti-poverty organisation Bond, added: "The trade talks are currently in crisis. We really need some movement toward trade justice for developing countries for them to be able to work their way out of poverty."

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ARTHUR LAUNCHES OWN LABEL FOR NEXT RELEASE
Singer, songwriter, artist and all round CMU favourite Joseph Arthur will release his next album, 'Nuclear Daydream', via a new label he is launching, called Lonely Astronaut. The label, which he will co-run with long time friend Eric Gerber, will be distributed via SonyBMG's independent distribution partnership thingy Red. Arthur told Billboard: "It's interesting, starting your own venture like this, there's a lot of resistance to doing something independent".

Not sure what that means regarding the release of that album in the UK - last year's 'Our Shadows Will Remain' came out via Warner imprint 14th Floor over here. I guess I should have tried to find out, but I forgot. And now I'm writing this a 7 o'clock in the morning and I'm guessing no one at 14th Floor will be around to answer the phone. Hey, when we hear anything, we'll let you know.

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REGAL LAUNCH SINGLES CLUB
I noticed the press release for this referred to EMI/Parlophone imprint Regal Recordings as "Lily Allen's label" which is interesting - given some of the great records Regal has released over the years and just how new and unproven Ms Allen is. Then again, she did deliver them their first ever number one, so I guess she's pretty popular with the Regal crew just now.

Anyway, Regal have announced they are launching a singles club, which will release a monthly single every month for the next year, each one from a different artist. Confirming the venture, Parlophone / Regal boss Miles Leonard told CMU: "The new Singles Club is very much a continuation of what Regal exists for - we've always picked up artists for one-off releases. The plan is to bring out a single a month featuring two tracks from an artist that's doing something that really excites us. Some of these acts might go on to bigger things, some of them might not, but all twelve releases will definitely be worth hearing."

The first release is out on 14 Aug and comes from the Kate Bush/PJ Harvey-influenced Joana & The Wolf - it's called 'Purple Nights'. Singles from Indigo Colony and Blue Sky Research will follow in September and October respectively.

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LIVE NATION TAKE MAJORITY STAKE IN MERCHANDISING FIRM
Live entertainment conglom Live Nation made its first major move into the artist merchandising sector yesterday by acquiring a majority stake in Trunk Ltd, a US company which has exclusive merchandise licences with many of the biggest rock artists, including AC/DC, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Blondie, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Motley Crue and David Bowie.

Trunk Ltd will continue to be led by its founder and existing CEO Brad Beckerman, who will also take on the role of President and COO of Merchandising at Live Nation. Through the deal the company will expand the sale of its goods into Live Nation venues, as well as creating limited edition products tied to Live Nation promoted tours.

Confirming the deal, Beckerman told reporters: "Live Nation and Trunk Ltd share the same core consumer. Our partnership gives both of our companies the ability to enhance each other's brand."

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BIDS IN FOR LIVERPOOL LICENCE
So, did you get your bid in for the new Liverpool FM licence? Well, you're too late if you didn't because the deadline was yesterday. All the usual suspects have bid for the licence.

EMAP, who already dominate the local radio spectrum on Merseyside with their Radio City and Magic 1548 outlets, hope that they can win the support of OfCom and get themselves a third licence by promising a speech based station - CityTalk - which would provide a mix of conversation, news, sports, current affairs, comedy and local issues. Keen to convince us all that this speech station would not turn out to be like most other commercial talk stations - ie, 24 hour phone ins - EMAP say CityTalk would "offer intriguing insider views, local comment, around-the-world insight, and in-depth commentary on the biggest stories of the day alongside the most pressing local issues". EMAP bosses also say that students at Liverpool's John Moores University would be involved in producing some of their shows.

Chrysalis are bidding to put their digital rock station The Arrow on the terrestrial airwaves in Liverpool, claiming they will showcase the city's musical talent. They have Beatles producer George Martin backing their bid. The Guardian quote Chrysalis' Daniel Owen as saying: "We are delighted to have Sir George's support for a quality rock station which will also serve to promote both established and emerging music talent in Liverpool, Europe's Capital of Culture in 2008. Our bid will offer a significant new mainstream radio format and broaden choice for music lovers in Liverpool."

And talking of the Guardian - their radio division are also bidding with a proposed station called RockTalk, which would offer speech radio by day, and rock based music programming by night. Super.

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LILY ALLEN CRITICISES LIBERTINES FANS
I am coming perilously close to being pig-sick of hearing about Lily Allen. It's nothing personal, I just wish she'd shut her gob and stop saying things I feel I have to report on.

Anyway, responding to the reaction following her previously reported verbal attack on former Lib Carl Barat, Lily says: "Libertines fans gave me a lot of shit, but I think they're all obsessed with that band in a really dangerous way. I get hate mail all the time! I like it. I feel bad for my fans who send me nice messages because I tend to only reply to the really horrible ones. People are constantly being rude about me, especially after The Kooks and the Carl Barat thing."

She insists, however, that she's not an indie-hater: "I like lots of indie bands. I'm a fan of good guitar music. I think it's just that at the moment everyone's like, 'Music's so great, we've got these great indie rock bands' but in reality they all sound the same. They're just doing what S Club 7 and Steps did - regurgitating the same songs because that's what people are buying at the moment."

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BORRELL SAYS THERE ARE NO FEUDS
According to the Daily Star, Razorlight's Johnny Borrell has denied that he likes getting into feuds with other bands, and insists that he has nothing against anyone. At all. Maybe. Well, here's what he said: "I regret nothing. There were a lot of bands that started out at the same time as us. We were new boys in the playground showing off. Us and Kasabian - that's silly. I saw them on TV and they were so clearly into what they do."

He added: "I read some stuff The Strokes were meant to have said about me. The night before that came out, I was at a party and had my photo taken with Albert Hammond Jr. So why was the photo never printed? I guess because it would've shown there was no fall-out."

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BRITNEY SAYS SHE DOESN'T FEEL BEAUTIFUL
She should have a chat with Christina Aguilera. Britney Spears says she doesn't feel beautiful all the time when she's pregnant, which is hardly surprising. I would have thought that most expectant mothers have their fat days. Anyway, she was speaking about her recent, naked appearance on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, and called it "empowering", but commented: "You don't feel the most beautiful all the time."

She adds that she is more relaxed during her second pregnancy, however, saying: "With this one, I was like, I've just got to wing it. It was weird for me at first because of who I am. Wherever you go, they expect you to look a certain way. I'm not supposed to be this big huge pregnant superstar."

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