CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 24th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Microsoft confirm integrated music product plans
- Vivendi favourite to acquire BMG Publishing
- SonyBMG make pop track available as MP3
- Beyonce and mother are facing lawsuit
- Jack White still White, and Stripy
- Bright Eyes to release rarities set
- Electronic to release hits album
- Jane's Addiction best of
- Crowded House reunion rumours
- Audioslave man claims he's doing the Bond theme
- Camera Obscura announce publishing deal
- Anne McCue, album, tour
- The Russian Futurists, album, tour
- Stones confirmed as biggest live act
- IPC job moves
- Speculation about the future of ITV boss
- Trevor Dann to lead Radio Academy
- Chart update
- Total Rock World Album Chart
- CMU radio show
- Babyshambles not playing Ibiza Rocks
- Depeche Mode cancel gig
- Robbie to debut new stuff in Ibiza
- Madonna plays Russia
- Kylie Minogue's comeback gigs sell out super quick
- Skinner creates very long music video
- The Automatic trash GMTV
- George Michael snapped on the heath
- Timberlake on something or other
- Matt Willis told to lose weight

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TOP BIT>>
OK, let's start the week with one of those blatant plugs. This September, UnLimited Media will be publishing a special CMU Beats newspaper to coincide with the Freshers' Week season at colleges all over the country. The paper will include the CMU team's pick of the best new artists and releases for the Autumn months, and will be distributed to record buyers and gig goers in the college community in sixteen cities around the UK. It is the first time CMU has dabbled in the print medium since the Gratis and B4Beats magazines we distributed at festivals and Freshers' Weeks a few years back - and we're all very excited about it. Now, obviously we don't even need to tell you just how good a method this will be to promote your upcoming tours, releases and events to 150,000 hungry music fans in the student market, but in case you'd like to be told, erm, this is going to be an excellent method for promoting your upcoming tours, releases and events to 150,000 hungry music fans in the student market. For details on how to advertise, you should download the PDF linked to below, which will tell you all you need to know. Or, if you'd like to discuss a special package, email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call Chris on 0870 744 2643. Or, if you're a marketing person we already know, just sit back and wait until the PDF pops up in your in box later today. Needless to say, we'll let you know more about what we've planned right here in the CMU Daily over the next few weeks - possibly masquerading as some kind of media news story, when we'll all know really it's another blatant plug.

Check out: http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/freshersweek.pdf

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ON AIR>>

TODAY ON TOTALROCK
Hairball John speaks to members of Leatherwolf about their current album, 'World Asylum', featuring new vocalist Wade Black ('Hairball John', midnight to 3am). Listen live at http://www.totalrock.com

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RIGHT NOW IN THE CMU BEATS BAR>>

MySpace Of The Day: The Similou
This Similou was another of those bands I sort of discovered by picking a random single from the CMU box of boxes to take to the radio show and then quite seriously got to like. Well, I've quite seriously got to like their single. Now, the trouble with doing a MySpace Of The Day today is that MySpace has been down all morning (in fact, it's been a bit dodgy all weekend, ever since they upgraded things at the end of last week) and I can't refer to The Similou's page to remind myself what it's like, what's streaming there, or whether it's got a lovely backdrop or not. However, on the basis of that single, 'All This Love' (which, as established, I can't guarantee is streaming on the site) I recommend you find out more about this Swedish disco pop duo. Hopefully the MySpace page will help you do this, if not, find yourself a copy of the single, out 31 Jul, and play it.

www.myspace.com/thesimilou

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

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MICROSOFT CONFIRM INTEGRATED MUSIC PRODUCT PLANS
All that recent speculation that Microsoft was about to enter the digital music market with a direct competitor to Apple's iPod and iTunes seemed to be confirmed last week when the computer firm's General Manager Of Marketing, Chris Stephenson, revealed details of a "new music and entertainment project" called Zune.

While the majority of the legitimate download platforms use Microsoft's digital music technology, Microsoft itself has so far resisted launching its own download service, despite reports at various points in the last few years that such a service was in development. While Microsoft's web portal MSN does provide a download service, this is simply an MSN branded version of the (albeit Microsoft powered) OD2 service used by many of its competitors. Microsoft has also resisted entering the MP3 player market, relying on players made by the likes of Creative to play music encoded in Microsoft's codec.

But rumours that an integrated Microsoft service - with a proprietary player and download platform, both using existing Windows Media technology - have been growing in recent months, and it is that service that Stephenson seemed to be referring too. While not going into any great detail about how the product will compare to Apple's music proposition, he did tell Billboard that Zune would incorporate WiFi technology, and would aim to build music fan communities in much the way Microsoft's Xbox Live aims to build communities of gaming fans. Describing the new service as "one part MySpace, one part iTunes and one part Xbox Live", he said: "Under the Zune brand, we will deliver a family of hardware and software products, the first of which will be available this year. We see a great opportunity to bring together technology and community to allow consumers to explore and discover music together."

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VIVENDI FAVOURITE TO ACQUIRE BMG PUBLISHING
According to top read the Financial Times, Universal Music owners Vivendi are currently the favourites to win the race to buy Bertelsmann's music publishing company, which, as previously reported at length, the German conglom put up for sale last month in a bid to pay for its recent high profile share buyback.

Fifteen companies are said to have bid for the publishing firm, including other music and media conglomerates as well as a number of investment consortiums. Bertelsmann confirmed last week that it had picked five preferred bidders from the fifteen. According to the FT, unsuccessful bidders included Viacom, financial firm Permira, and a proposed management buyout. Vivendi, Warner and private equity group BC Partners are reportedly in the final five.

Bertelsmann are said to be looking more favourably at takeover proposals from existing music companies because of the cost savings that can be achieved by merging BMG Music Publishing with an existing publishing house. Such a merger may, of course, lead to regulatory problems because it would require the approval of the European Commission, and pan-European trade body IMPALA, in buoyant mood following its win in the European courts over the SonyBMG merger, has said it will fight any attempts to merge BMG Music Publishing with an existing publishing major. Bertelsmann says it believes that there will be no regulatory issues in the sale of its publishing firm, though Vivendi might be a preferred buyer for tactical reasons - while the Universal Music Group is the biggest music company in the world, its publishing business is smaller than that of some of its rivals.

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SONYBMG MAKE POP TRACK AVAILABLE AS MP3
One small step for a record company, one major leap for music-kind? Mmm, we'll see I guess. SonyBMG are letting Yahoo sell digital copies of Jessica Simpson's new single 'A Public Affair' without any digital rights management technology embedded in the music file.

The move goes against a core digital music policy held by all four major record companies since pretty much the internet was invented - that digital music must be sold in formats that are 'protected', so that there are technical controls in place that govern where a file can be played, how many times it can be copied, and how, if at all, it can be shared with others. Most of the major download platforms, iTunes included, sell music in DRM-protected formats. But those who oppose the use of DRM, which includes most independent labels, argue that such technology adds to the costs of digital music and pisses off consumers without really delivering any extra safeguards to the music industry (every DRM is, after all, pretty easy to hack in one way or another). It also increases the power of IT firms like Apple because the only way to make available music files with DRM that work on iPods is via iTunes - but if you forego the DRM requirement, then anyone can sell music in the iPod compatible MP3 format.

SonyBMG making the Jessica Simpson track available via Yahoo as an MP3 may not be part of a wider change in policy, however, because the track is part of a special promotion which enables fans to buy the track in one of 500 varieties - each one name checking a different Christian name (ie you buy the one that name checks your name). The nature of the promotion, and the fact tracks are selling for double the usual rate - $1.99 - might have motivated the decision to go with MP3 rather than a DRM-ed music file.

Nevertheless, the anti-DRM brigade will be hoping the move represents a change of heart in the major record companies regarding the necessity of only selling tracks with digital rights management technology embedded, a change of heart that could revolutionise the digital music space.

Certainly Ian Rogers of the Yahoo Music Blog seemed pleased with SonyBMG's participation in the Simpson promotion: "We've been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now. DRM has a cost. It's very expensive for companies like Yahoo to implement. We'd much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway."

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BEYONCE AND MOTHER ARE FACING LAWSUIT
Beyonce Knowles and her mother Tina are being sued for $1.5million by a former colleague. The pair are named in the action, filed to New York State's Supreme Court on Wednesday, and brought by Greg Walker, CEO of Icon Entertainment, who worked with Tina and Beyonce on their House Of Dereon range of clothing.

Walker claims in the suit that he brokered a $15 million deal but received just $25,000 of the money, and says: "Beyonce and Tina Knowles agreed on the terms of our business relationship, but have failed to properly compensate me for reasons unknown to me. I just want to receive my fair share and move on with my business."

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JACK WHITE STILL WHITE, AND STRIPY
Jack White has refuted gossip that he's quit White Stripes in favour of his new band The Raconteurs, and says that he finds his first band just as interesting as he ever did, despite his high profile 'side project'. White told The Independent: "I find the White Stripes extremely fulfilling. It's extremely challenging. It's harder to be in the White Stripes than in this. I don't get to break for a second when the Stripes play live". Nevertheless, it's been confirmed that The Raconteurs with release a second album before White Stripes release a new long player.

White adds that he's gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of years (thinking it's okay to shill for major corporations presumably being a part of that). He says: "I'm a different person from what I was two years ago, which is about keeping out of negative environments and getting into positive environments."

Elsewhere, White has denied reports that he has ever likened The Raconteurs' debut album 'Broken Boy Soldiers' to Nirvana's breakthrough album 'Nevermind'. White says he was surprised by claims that he and fellow Raconteur Brendan Benson had compared the two long players, and explained: "That was a big misunderstanding. A friend of ours heard 'Nevermind' six months before it came out, and I played him ours before it came out. He said it was the same feeling he got with 'Nevermind'. You know, this is a really good record and it's going to be big but none of us ever said such a thing. It's ridiculous, who would ever make such a statement? We were really bummed that it got put out."

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BRIGHT EYES TO RELEASE RARITIES SET
Bright Eyes, aka Conor Oberst, is set to release a compilation of rarities, entitled 'Noise Floor', on 9 Oct. The album will comprise unreleased tracks, covers, collaborations and one-off singles recorded by Oberst between 1998 and 2005. As previously reported, the musician is currently working on a new studio album. We don't have a tracklisting for the new album, but we do have a tracklisting for this 'Noise Floor' compilation. Do you want it? Oh, come on, admit it, you know you're hot for it. Hot. Here it is:

Mirrors and Fevers
I Will Be Grateful For This Day
Trees Get Wheeled Away
Drunk Kid Catholic
Spent On Rainy Days
The Vanishing Act
Soon You Will Be Leaving Your Man
Blue Angels Air Show
Weather Reports
Seashell Tale
Bad Blood
Amy In The White Coat
Devil Town
I've Been Eating (For You)
Happy Birthday To Me (Feb. 15)
Motion Sickness

Five additional tracks will appear on a vinyl version of the release, as follows:

Act Of Contrition
Hungry For A Holiday
When The Curious Girl Realizes She Is Under Glass Again
Entry Way Song
Its Cool, We Can Still Be Friends

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ELECTRONIC TO RELEASE HITS ALBUM
Great news for very big fans of Johnny Marr (me), as an Electronic best of compilation is set to be released this autumn. If, for some bizarre reason you are not aware of Electronic, it was Marr's post Smiths 80's/90's band with New Order's Bernard Sumner. Actually, if you weren't aware of that, feel shame. Well, only if you feel like it, I'm not going to force you. Anyway, the album, entitled 'Get The Message - The Best Of Electronic', is out on 18 Sep, and, because I know how hot you are for stuff like this today, here is the tracklisting:

Forbidden City
Getting Away With It
Get the Message (Single Mix)
Feel Every Beat
Disappointed (Single Mix)
Vivid (Radio Edit)
All That I Need
For You
Imitation of Life (New Edit)
Out of My League
Like No Other
Twisted Tenderness
Late At Night (Radio Edit)

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JANE'S ADDICTION BEST OF
Of course, Electronic only ever released three studio albums. Which is something they have in common with Jane's Addiction, who also only released three studio albums, and, handily for this linky sentence, are also set to release a best of, and in the same week too (well, they are in the US anyway, no word on a UK release date just yet). How about that for a coincidence, eh? Shit, it's almost eerie. I'll tell you what else is eerie. I've got a tracklisting for you, but I'm going to keep you waiting for it just a little bit longer. You know you love it. Anyway, 'Up from the Catacombs' is out via Rhino on 19 Sep, and is actually mostly material from the band's first two albums. Are you ready now? Primed? Here it is:

Stop!
Ocean Size
Whores
Ted, Just Admit It...
Ain't No Right
Had a Dad
Superhero
Been Caught Stealing
Just Because
Three Days
I Would For You
Classic Girl
Summertime Rolls
Mountain Song
Pigs In Zen
Jane Says (Live)

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CROWDED HOUSE REUNION RUMOURS
Rumours are going around that there's going to be a Crowded House reunion. Melbourne's The Age reported at the end of last week that frontman Neil Finn is recording a new Crowded House album, having replaced the late Paul Hester with a new drummer, Ricky Gooch. Finn fans fink otherwise, however. Members at Finn website frenz.com have been voicing their opinion that it's not a Crowded House return, but another project. One fan wrote: "I'm sure Neil and co are giggling in the studio over this one. Perhaps it's a long talked about project with Nick and another drummer... maybe not necessarily Crowded House as such."

Finn has repeatedly said that he would never do a Crowded House reunion, not least because of the death of Paul Hester, despite the fact that the drummer actually left the band two years before the band actually split. As previously reported, Hester committed suicide in March 2005.

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AUDIOSLAVE MAN CLAIMS HE'S DOING THE BOND THEME
Audioslave singer Chris Cornell has apparently told a Finnish newspaper that he has written and performed the theme tune for the new Bond film, 'Casino Royale'. According to reports, Cornell said "I haven't seen the new Bond fully, because it is still being edited, but I have seen several clips of it. Absolutely amazing movie. Very different than earlier Bonds."

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CAMERA OBSCURA ANNOUNCE PUBLISHING DEAL
Glasgow based label-less band Camera Obscura have announced a deal with BMG Music Publishing. BMG's Head of A&R, Caroline Elleray says: "Tracyanne Campbell is an absolutely wonderful songwriter and a charismatic and enigmatic front person for the band. We are delighted to be working with them and believe they will communicate to real music lovers worldwide very soon!...Get yourself a copy of the album and listen to 'Country Mile' ... and 'Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken' ... and 'Let's Get Out Of This Country' ... and 'Frazzle Dazzle Rose' ... in fact, listen to the whole album all the time and then go back to the previous two!"

Band Manager Francis Macdonald added: "The BMG deal is a milestone in what is turning out to be a watershed year for the group. We've made very solid progress. BMG will be a sympathetic, powerful ally in our ongoing campaign. Onwards and upwards!"

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ANNE MCCUE, ALBUM, TOUR
Anna McCue, she of 2004 album 'Roll', will return with her second long player 'Koala Motel' on Cooking Vinyl on 4 Sep, and will follow up the release with these here live shows. Press info from Cooking Vinyl.

6 Sep: London, The Borderline
7 Sep: Bristol, Bonaventure
8 Sep: Birmingham, Glee Club
9 Sep: Buckingham, The Granary
10 Sep: Nottingham, The Maze
11 Sep: Glasgow, King Tuts

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THE RUSSIAN FUTURISTS, ALBUM, TOUR
Canadian lo-fi indie types The Russian Futurists will release a new album on 28 Aug. Well, I say new, it will feature a collection of tracks off each of their three albums to date - 'Method Of Modern Love', 'Let's Get Ready To Crumble' and 'Our Thickness'. The new long player will be called 'Me Myself And Rye'. They too will promote the album with a tour, supporting the practically named Swedish trio Peter, Bjorn And John. Dates as follows, press info from Triad.

5 Aug: London @ Spitz
7 Aug: Birmingham @ Bar Academy
8 Aug: Manchester @ Roadhouse
9 Aug: Glasgow @ Nice and Sleazys
10 Aug: Dublin @ Whelan's

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STONES CONFIRMED AS BIGGEST LIVE ACT
Well, when we (well, Billboard really) declared U2 the most successful touring band of 2005 at the end of last year, we did point out that the Rolling Stones were yet to report on ticket sales from their Bigger Bang tour. We've not done any maths on this, but I am guessing that if they had then they would probably have come out top.

Either way, the Stones have been the most successful touring band so far this year, despite Keith Richards' tree related shenanigans. Their tour grossed $147.3 million between November 2005 and May 2006 (again, according to Billboard), making it the biggest live music operation during that period.

U2 came in second, though to be fair they did have to postpone a number of dates during that time period due to family illness, though it is unlikely that even with a full touring schedule they would have surpassed the Stones in terms of ticket sales. Not that they have anything to be down about - they did gross $73 million in those seven months. Following them in terms of tour revenues were Bon Jovi ($65 million), Billy Joel ($47.4 million), Cirque du Soleil's Delirium ($38.7 million), Aerosmith ($35 million), Coldplay ($29 million), Luis Miguel ($25 million), Trans Siberian Orchestra ($24 million) and Paul McCartney ($17.6 million).

Commenting on their successes, Stones tour producer Michael Cohl said that the last six months had not only been a good time for the band in terms of ticket sales. He told Billboard: "This [period] includes the tail end of the American tour, plus the Superbowl, which was the biggest television audience the band had ever played to. Then two weeks later we played to two million people at a free concert on the beach in Copacobana which was the biggest live audience anyone's ever had. It's kind of astounding when it keeps improving 43 years later."

Despite concerns that rising ticket prices could threaten recent successes in the live sector, Billboard reports that ticket revenues from live music events in the US between January and June this year were up 24.6% - though attendance was up just 5.4% with those rising ticket prices adding to the overall revenue rise. Worldwide revenues were up 13.3%, with a 2% attendance rise. The top ten grossing world tours played a significant role in the overall increases in both revenue and attendance.

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IPC JOB MOVES
Various job appointment type things over at IPC - with two senior roles on gossip mag Now filled. Andrew Sumner takes on the role of Publishing Director full time (he's being filling in on the role since the start of the year) while Tammi Iley moves within the group to become the title's Publisher.

This might be relevant to you music types, because Iley was previously publisher of the NME. The publisher role on IPC's music weekly is being filled by Emily Hutchings, formerly Associate Publisher at Uncut. I've no idea who is taking over at Uncut. I don't think they've said.

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SPECULATION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ITV BOSS
There was speculation in the weekend papers about the future of ITV boss Charles Allen. The Sunday Times say investment types are concerned that ITV failed to capitalise on the potential of the World Cup to turn round its fortunes in terms of audience share, and that they are now looking for a change of senior management in a bid to gain a new boost of energy. The papers say Allen will depart next month. Time will tell, I guess.

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TREVOR DANN TO LEAD RADIO ACADEMY
Former Radio 1 producer and EMAP pop chief Trevor Dann will take on the top job at the Radio Academy, the association that exists to support the radio industry, and which stages both the Radio Festival and the Sony Awards. He will replace John Bradford, who steps down from the top job at the Academy in the Autumn.

Confirming the appointment, Radio Academy Chair Helen Boaden told reporters: "Trevor is the perfect person to take on this role at such a critical time for the industry. His passion and commitment to quality radio are second to none and he understands the need to embrace change and the new opportunities offered by the digital revolution. I am absolutely confident that he will ensure that the Academy remains relevant and dynamic for a new generation".

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CHART UPDATE
So, possibly thanks to all that sporty fundraising, possibly thanks to their naked video and GAY performance, possibly thanks to a genius reworking of a Queen classic (two of those are more likely than the other), McFly are back atop the singles chart this week with their 'Don't Stop Me Now'/'Please Please' double a-side, pushing that Lily Allen way back into fourth place, and presumably raising lots of money for charity, which is always nice. Rihanna is at 2 with 'Unfaithful' and Shakira is at 3 with 'Hips Don't Lie'.

McFly, obviously, have the highest new entry - the next totally new listing on the singles chart not coming until position 16, where you'll find the Red Hot Chili Peppers with 'Tell Me Baby'. Then it goes Christina Aguilera 'Ain't No Other Man' at 18, Chris Brown ft Lil Wayne 'Gimme That' at 23, Snow Patrol 'Chasing Cars' at 25, Franz Ferdinand 'Eleanor Put Your Boots On' at 30, Wolfmother 'Woman' at 31, Supermode 'Tell Me Why' at 36, Bullet For My Valentine 'Tears Don't Fall' at 37, Ray Lamontagne 'Trouble' at 38 and Klaus Badelt 'He's A Pirate' at 40.

All new entries at the top of the album chart, with Razorlight going straight in at number one with their new eponymous long player, closely followed by Lily Allen at two with 'Alright Still' and Paolo Nutini with 'These Streets' at 3. And then... No, that's it. Oh, no, the late Ali Farka Toure goes in at 34 with 'Savane'.

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
As counted down on Total Rock over the weekend - http://www.totalrock.com. New and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros)
2. Tool - 10,000 Days (Volcano)
3. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner)
4. Underoath - Define The Great Line (Tooth & Nail)
5. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
6. AFI - Decemberunderground (Universal/Polydor)
7. Lostprophets - Liberation Transmission (Visible Noise)
8. Billy Talent - Billy Talent II (Warner/Atlantic)
9. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam (SonyBMG/J Records)
10. Godsmack - IV (Republic)
11. Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day (Universal/Mercury)
12. Muse - Black Holes & Revelations (Warner Bros)*
13. Feeder - The Singles (Echo)
14. The Eagles - The Complete Greatest Hits (Warner Bros)
15. Rolling Stones - Forty Licks (EMI/Virgin)
16. Angels & Airwaves - We Don't Need To Whisper (Universal/Interscope)
17. Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now (Warner Bros)
18. Various - WWE: Wreckless Intent (Sony BMG)
19. Def Leppard - Yeah! (Universal/Mercury)
20. System Of A Down - Hypnotize (SonyBMG/Columbia)

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CMU RADIO SHOW
There's a new edition of the CMU radio show going live later today, and on it you'll hear all the following top tunes. You can listen to it at anytime at http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk/cmuradio.

Roy Ayers - Everybody Loves The Sunshine (off The A-Z of Annie Mac) (Sunday Best)
The Egg - Nothing (Square Peg)
Cosmic Rough Riders - When You Come Around (Korova)
Humanzi - Diet Pills & Magazines (Universal/Fiction)
The Duke Spirit - Portrait (Universal)
DJ Shadow - Enuff (Universal/Island)
Coldcut - Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Ninja Tune)

CMU BEST OF 06 SO FAR MONTAGE THING (WITH ONE OLDER THAN THAT)
The Loose Cannons - Why You (Fat Fox)
Infadels - Love Like Semtex (Wall Of Sound)
Team 9 - The Money Song (team9.net)
Justice v Simian - We Are Your Friends (Ten)
Delays - Valentine (Rough Trade)
Akira The Don - Clones (Genepool)
Space Cowboy - I Know What Girls Like (Tiger Trax)
The Doors - Hello I Love You (Adam Freeland Mix) (Marine Parade)
The Cuban Brothers - A Million Stories (Sunday Best)
Damien Marley ft Bobby Brown - Beautiful (Universal/MCA)
Barefoot - Born Slippy (OneTwo Records)
Art Brut - Formed A Band (Rough Trade)
The Fratellis - Creepin Up The Backstairs (Universal/Island)
Bell X1 - Rocky Took A Lover (Universal/Island)
Adam Green - Hollywood Bowl (Rough Trade)

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BABYSHAMBLES NOT PLAYING IBIZA ROCKS
Oh, we spoke too soon in reporting that Babyshambles were to return to Manumission's Ibiza Rocks night because, and you're going to find this hard to believe, they've pulled out. Apparently so Doherty can enter one of those rehab clinics. Though he is due in rehab on Monday, and the gig isn't until Wednesday. They're being optimistic if they think he'll stick rehab for more than 48 hours - but nothing wrong with a bit of optimism I suppose.

Ibiza Rocks / Manumission man Andy McKay was really rather nice about the whole thing, telling reporters: "We were all really looking forward to welcoming Babyshambles back to the island this year for Ibiza Rocks but, at the end of the day, we love and support Pete and it's his health and happiness that are important. He's promised us that he'll celebrate his recovery with a special comeback gig at Ibiza Rocks, so we can't argue with that."

Mmmm, he'll return to celebrate his recovery. Which is when, remind me?

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DEPECHE MODE CANCEL GIG
Elsewhere in cancelled gig news, Depeche Mode have called off a gig in Portugal because, the band claim, the concert's promoter had not paid suppliers' bills. A spokeswoman for the Mode said that companies involved in the show "had not received any money and logistically the show couldn't happen". She denied speculation that poor ticket sales were actually to blame, adding that she didn't know "where all the ticket money went". The band apologised to fans, and advised they seek a refund from wherever they bought their tickets.

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ROBBIE TO DEBUT NEW STUFF IN IBIZA
And elsewhere in Ibiza news, word has it Robbie Williams will launch his next single 'Rudebox' on the White Isle, because he thinks the more dance feel to his new material should go down well with the crowd out there. Reports suggest he will guest on one of the Radio 1 shows out there, and will perform new material from forthcoming album '1974' for the first time.

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MADONNA PLAYS RUSSIA
Madonna is to play in Russia for the first time ever this autumn, according to reports. The singer will appear in the country on 11 and 12 Sep as part of the Confessions On A Dance Floor tour. The two gigs will take place in a central Moscow location, or so says the events' Russian organiser, speaking to news agency ITAR-TASS, who added: "Decorations and costumes for the singer will arrive in Russia on 27 trailers."

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KYLIE MINOGUE'S COMEBACK GIGS SELL OUT SUPER QUICK
Tickets for Kylie Minogue's upcoming UK gigs have sold out in just six minutes. Demand was such that a further four dates were added to the series of concerts, which will mark the end of the singer's Showgirl Homecoming tour. As well as appearing, as planned, at Wembley Arena on 2 and 3 Jan, she will also now appear on 5, 6, 8 and 9 Jan. The original Showgirl tour was, of course cut short following Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis back in May 2005.

Live agent Dave Chumbley said: "The demand for Kylie is absolutely phenomenal and these are the fastest selling shows I have ever experienced. It will be fantastic to see Kylie back on stage again."

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SKINNER CREATES VERY LONG MUSIC VIDEO
Mike Skinner is to create the longest music video promo ever to celebrate MTVs 25th Birthday. The video will be twenty minutes long, beating the previous record held by Michael Jackson's 'Thriller', which was 13 minutes long. And still is, actually, if you watch it now.

Anyway, this video features footage shot by MTV viewers, young filmmakers who were given a camera and told to film whatever they felt like filming, and Skinner used the film to inspire a new song. It will be aired for the first time on 1 Aug. Skinner said: "I have been blown away by the creativity and imaginations of the young people involved and we have watched hours of videos in order to find the most interesting and intriguing content for this epic work."

An MTV spokesperson said: "Although it's our 25th birthday, it's important to remember that we wouldn't have lasted 25 minutes without great, creative music videos and our brilliant, open-minded viewers. So it makes sense to mark our birthday by giving viewers the chance to make their own, special music video."

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THE AUTOMATIC TRASH GMTV
The Automatic apparently trashed the set during an appearance on GMTV at the end of last week. According to reports, the band ran amok (lovely phrase, that) in the garden, knocking stuff over, like instruments, furniture and cameramen.

Keyboardist Alex Pennie told NME.com why their appearance got so very rawk n roll: "We decided to stay up all night after the gig in Bristol rather than have to get up early for GMTV - we've never been very good in the mornings! Frost [guitarist] was pretty drunk when we started 'Monster' and I'm easily led. Before we knew it, I was standing in my boxer shorts in the GMTV garden and Frost has trashed all the equipment."

He continued: "Wonder if we'll get asked back? Maybe we won't have to worry about early starts any more."

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GEORGE MICHAEL SNAPPED ON THE HEATH
Well, one thing was certain from the pictures of George Michael taken by News Of The World journalists in the middle of the night on Hampstead Heath - he wasn't pleased to see the photographer. Presumably he looked even less happy when he found out the tabloid had interviewed the 58 year old Brighton based van driver that he had, erm, 'met' on the Heath that night.

The tabloid reports that: "When reporters confronted George he was wild-eyed and trembling. Hiding his face under a baseball cap, he screamed: 'I don't believe it! Fuck off! If you put those pictures in the paper I'll sue!' ... George [then] stumbled to his flash Mercedes coupe, retrieved his keys from their hiding place on top of the rear wheel and roared off into the night".

Apparently "friends fear" for George's increasingly erratic behaviour, although his long term partner Kenny Goss, who is reportedly going to enter into a 'civil partnership' with the singer sometime soon, chose not to say very much at all when questioned by journalists at their North London home, saying: "George is not going to say anything today. He has already said what he wants. This is behind us. That is everything we are going to say on the subject. We are getting on with the rest of our lives."

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TIMBERLAKE ON SOMETHING OR OTHER
Have you noticed how the drip drip drip of Justin Timberlake news has already kicked off in anticipation of his new album? Clever PR that. Robbie's people are similarly skilled at feeding the press with nonsense stories in the run up to major releases (knowing how much we love nonsense stories, I know we do) so, even if the two top popsters don't end up competing for record sales, they're sure to be competing for column inches.

Anyway, the latest Timberlake story doing the rounds seems to come from that previously reported GQ interview (which I think was the one where he talked about drugs and stuff). Anyway, in it he also admits to being "infatuated" with ex-girlfriend Britney Spears from the moment they met. He told the magazine: "I was in love with her from the start. Infatuated with her from the moment I saw her."

So now we know. Oh, and he's got a record out sometime soon too.

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MATT WILLIS TOLD TO LOSE WEIGHT
If the Mirror has it right, then Matt Willis has been ordered to lose weight by his record company. Meaning that they must be evil because he is so not fat. An 'insider' (from where? The evil record company?) said: "when bosses saw Matt bopping away in his new video they decided he didn't look in good enough shape for the pop market. They made it clear it was time to fight the flab and get fit. So they've hired a personal trainer for him. Matt is not the lithe young teenager he once was. If he was a normal person, he wouldn't be classed as overweight but on TV everyone looks heavier."

I repeat, he is so not fat. And, frankly, he looks a lot hotter now than when he was a lithe young teenager. We love him the way he is, and, for the record, we like his music. Eat, Matt. Please, eat.

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