CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 26th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- UK record retail association rebrands
- Dr Elmo joins Sony digital music lawsuit
- Hendrix brother loses will contest appeal
- Hendrix song to be auctioned
- Extra stuff for Leeds festival
- Oasis greatest hits this winter
- Pavement reissue
- Mars Volta delay album release
- Jimmy Eat World head to studio
- New Jet album news
- The Sunshine Underground single, etc
- The Vines to play UK dates
- Fields at the Legion
- Album Review: Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
- Beyonce fans hate her vid
- Madonna tops rule breaking video poll
- Skinner vid won't be the longest actually
- MTV launch new interactive community building service
- Digital music awards call for entries
- The Orchard licences millionth track
- Metallica reach iTunes
- BPI confirm Japan trade mission
- City news
- Brown sues Bowie bonds man
- Be Your Own Pet turned down tour
- George Michael wedding on hold
- Rimes denies breast claims
- Lily Allen apologises over gak comments

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TOP BIT>>
Metallica have finally made their music available via iTunes. The sticking point for them regarding Apple's download platform wasn't so much the concept of making music available digitally - they've been doing that elsewhere for a while now - but that on iTunes you have to make individual tracks available for purchase - ie you can't force punters to buy an entire album. The fact Metallica have had to give way on that point and accept the individual track system probably tells us two things. Firstly, it reaffirms Apple's dominance in the digital music space - if you're not on iTunes (and you're not willing to sell your music as MP3) your iPod owning fans will have to go to illegal sources of digital music in order get your music on their players. But secondly, it reopens that other digital music debate - can the concept of an album survive in the digital age? It would be really interesting to know how many digital music shoppers automatically buy new albums in full when they go online, and how many pick and choose tracks from the album. Likewise, it would be interesting to know how many digital music shoppers under the age of 18 buy whole albums. Given that young record buyers seem to have little or no interest in the packaging and bumf that comes with a physical album release (the one thing I used to assume would safeguard the future of CD sales), it would be interesting to know if they are similarly disloyal to the concept that an artist and their label should have the right to decree how an artist's catalogue should be carved up, and to insist that people buy weaker album tracks in order to access the single releases people are actually after. The album was, after all, a commercial convenience more than anything else, and once the 'ten tracks every three years' business model was in place, bands learned to structure their creativity around that model. But as the business model justification starts to fade, you do have to ask whether or not the concept of an album (concept albums aside!) has become integral in the way musicians create? I suspect in terms of work ethic it has, and some artists will find it difficult to break out of that mould. But, depending on how the buying habits of young record buyers turn out, those artists targeting that demographic may have to develop new ways of working, perhaps releasing EP style collections on a much more regular basis. Such a move would have side effects of course - album tracks that don't have instant appeal but which are deemed as classic tracks with hindsight might never reach a wide audience, and labels would have to seriously reconsider their 'big-push' marketing approach. But, on the whole, for artist, label and fan alike, I suspect a reinvention of how and when music is created and released could be a very good thing.

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ON AIR>>

TODAY ON TOTALROCK
Catbird talks to young British band Chokehold ('Phantasmagoria', 9am to noon). Listen live at http://www.totalrock.com

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RIGHT NOW IN THE CMU BEATS BAR>>

MySpace Of The Day: Johnny Panic
South London rock outfit Johnny Panic are appearing at Proud in Chalk Farm on Thursday (27 Jul) and will be showcasing new material, playing a few tracks from their debut album 'The Violent Dazzling' and no doubt giving their new single, a cover of The Turtles' 'Happy Together', an airing. So what better time to check out their MySpace page, frankly, and get a taster of what you will experience on Thursday night, should you decide to pop along. (Entry is free from 7pm until 9pm, £4 after). They're a bit punky, Johnny Panic, and reminded me a bit of Hot Hot Heat, or someone, maybe, when I first heard the aforementioned album. The page is a bit wacky (far too big for the monitor, and that sort of MySpace shit really irritates me) but definitely worth checking out.

http://www.myspace.com/johnnypanic

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

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UK RECORD RETAIL ASSOCIATION REBRANDS
The UK's main trade association for music retailers, the British Association Of Record Dealers, has rebranded in recognition of the fact that many of its members now do as much business in the sale of DVDs and video games as in the sale of CDs and records (not to mention eggs and bread and milk - most of the supermarkets are members these days). The organisation will now be known as the Entertainment Retailers Association, or ERA (how the eggs and bread and milk come into that I'm not sure, though they can be entertaining I suppose, depending on what you do with them).

The rebrand in itself won't dramatically affect the operations of the organisation, which has been evolving a wider remit in the entertainment retail space for some time. Its council members will remain unchanged, and ERA chiefs say they will continue to work closely with other trade bodies in the UK and European music, video and gaming sectors, such as BPI, BVA and ELSPA.

Confirming the rebrand, ERA secretary general Kim Bayley told reporters yesterday: "Our rebrand can be seen as the culmination of industry change over the last five years. Film and games retail sectors have become as large as music, and digital formats have delivered a sea-change in the way people buy and consume entertainment. The name change demonstrates our commitment to represent the interests of our increasingly diverse membership, through a period of rapid industry change."

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DR ELMO JOINS SONY DIGITAL MUSIC LAWSUIT
Dr Elmo, that's right, Dr Elmo, has joined that previously reported potentially landmark lawsuit against Sony Music in the US. This is the one being pursued by, among others, Cheap Trick and the Allman Brothers Band which relates to the cut of the pie received by artists in the digital music space.

As previously reported, this lawsuit relates to long standing recording contracts entered into by Sony and their artists way before the birth of the iPod or MP3 - ie contracts which do not mention digital music. Those contracts recognise two main revenue streams that labels will capitalize on from an artist's recordings - the sale of records and the licensing of music to third parties (broadcasters, film studios and advertisers, mainly). Because of the costs associated with releasing records, artists get a much smaller share of the revenue on that revenue stream than they do on licensing arrangements.

And that is the crux of the case. The record labels view the sale of music via download sites like iTunes as an extension of the 'sale of records' revenue stream. The plaintiffs view the sale of downloads as an extension of the 'licensing to third parties' revenue stream. The distinction is important financially - an artist could expect about 25 cents more per track sold if you adopt the plaintiffs' viewpoint.

The lawsuit was initially filed in April, but a new version was lodged earlier this month adding ring tone revenues into the mix. Extra artists were listed as claimants on the updated lawsuit, among them Dr Elmo, or Elmo Shropshire, best know for his comedy songs, including his big hit 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer', which is apparently something of a Christmas favourite in parts of the States, and therefore worth a fortune in terms of royalties.

As far as I am aware Sony are yet to comment on this lawsuit. Needless to say, if the artists are successful, this lawsuit could have implications for the entire digital music sector, and not just SonyBMG.

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HENDRIX BROTHER LOSES WILL CONTEST APPEAL
Jimi Hendrix's brother Leon has lost his legal bid to contest the will of his father Al Hendrix, who, when he died four years ago, left half the estate to his adopted daughter Janie, while splitting the rest between numerous family members. Al Hendrix was, of course, the sole heir to Jimi's multi-million dollar fortune.

The original suit had alleged that Janie Hendrix had unduly influenced Al to disinherit Leon, and was rejected by a Seattle judge back in 2004. The Washington Court Of Appeals has upheld that decision, concluding that Janie Hendrix had adequately rebutted the accusation, supported by substantial evidence. The court also rejected Leon's separate lawsuit against Janie which alleged "tortious interference with [his] inheritance expectancy," concluding that the "tort claim arises out of the same nucleus of facts as his will contest and his allegations are duplicative."

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HENDRIX SONG TO BE AUCTIONED
Elsewhere in Jimi Hendrix news, a previously unreleased Hendrix track is set to be sold at auction. Intellectual property firm Ocean Tomo say they own the song, 'Station Break', and that it will be put up for sale in New York City on 26 Oct.

The track, apparently co-written by Jerry Simon, now president of RSVP Music, is said to have been recorded before Hendrix's rise to fame. Simon says he came across the master tape in his closet back in 1994 and, asked why it got 'lost' for so long, said: "It just slipped through the cracks".

The successful bidder will receive the original reel-to-reel, and half ownership of the recording, the right to remaster, issue a non-exclusive licence, the right to receive half of the royalties generated by the recording and the right to half of the public performance rights. The other half of the rights are owned by the Hendrix estate.

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EXTRA STUFF FOR LEEDS FESTIVAL
Mean Fiddler have announced details of some extra fun being planned for the Leeds bit of the Carling Weekend bonanza.

First up, there will be a new new bands stage, called the Topman Stage (whether that means it is sponsored by Topman, or it is being run by a top man, I'm not sure - the former probably). On there will be a mix of unsigned and recently signed and alternative talent, including Dirtblonde, Ever Since The Lake Caught Fire, Little Ze, Letters And Colours (they're all unsigned), Polytechnic, Stoney, Champion Kickboxer, The Somatics, The Lodger and The Scaramanga Six.

Secondly, some late night entertainment is being planned to capitalise on the festival's 3am licence, and to try and keep potential troublemakers (who occasionally surface at the Leeds Festival) occupied with non-troublesome activity. Stuff being planned for the late night post-main stage zone include a series of sound systems in the campsites, BMX displays and maybe, just maybe, a late night kick around on a floodlit football pitch.

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OASIS GREATEST HITS THIS WINTER
Oasis have announced that they will release a greatest hits compilation this winter. The long player, apparently entitled 'Stop The Clocks' will feature eighteen tracks, a mix of chart singles and less well known B sides (which presumably makes it not actually a 'hits' album), selected for inclusion by the band. Of course, the big hits will be on there, with the likes of 'Wonderwall' and 'Supersonic' slated to appear on the compilation, set for release on 20 Nov.

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PAVEMENT REISSUE
Matador are to reissue Pavement's seminal 1995 release 'Wowee Zowee.' It follows the recent re-release of earlier works 'Slanted & Enchanted' and 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'. No actual release date has been announced, but the album is expected to include rarities, B-sides and outtakes.

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MARS VOLTA DELAY ALBUM RELEASE
The release of the new Mars Volta LP has been delayed. As previously reported, their third studio album, 'Amputechre', was set for release on 22 Aug, but will now not be out until 12 Sep.

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JIMMY EAT WORLD HEAD TO STUDIO
Jimmy Eat World are to start recording their new album next month at their studio in Arizona. According to a post on the band's web site by drummer Zach Lind, the band will start work on 7 Aug with producer Producer Butch Vig. No title or expected release date was revealed. But if we find out anything else, we'll let you know.

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NEW JET ALBUM NEWS
Jet have confirmed details of their previously reported new album. 'Shine On' will be out on 2 Oct, preceded by the release of a single 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' on 18 Sep. Drummer Chris Cester seems pretty confident about the new long player. He says: "The first album was written for pubs. This one is written for stadiums!"

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THE SUNSHINE UNDERGROUND SINGLE, ETC
Recent winners of the Zane Lowe Fresh Meat thingy, The Sunshine Underground, have announced details of the digital release of their third single, 'Put You In Your Place', which will be out on 14 Aug, and available with a variety of exclusive live versions via various digital platforms. The single, taken from upcoming debut album 'Raise The Alarm', out on 28 Aug, will also be released on CD and on two 7"s, each with a different B side.

The band have also confirmed a series of live appearances with more to be announced soon. Currently, dates are as follows:

29 Jul: Leeds Across The Tracks Festival
5 Aug: Sheffield The Plug
6 Aug: London Adventures In A Beetroot Field Boat Party
9 Aug: Edinburgh 'T On The Fringe' @ Cabaret Voltaire
25 Aug: Reading Festival
26 Aug: Leeds Festival
8 Sep: Bestival

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THE VINES TO PLAY UK DATES
Following their previously reported surprise gig in their hometown of Sydney last week, The Vines have announced a series of UK appearances. As you will remember, the prospect of future live dates was called into question by frontman Craig Nicholls' diagnosis with Asberger's Syndrome back in 2004. The band are to play two headline dates as well as appearing at Reading and Leeds, as follows:

24 Aug: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
25 Aug: Reading Festival
26 Aug: Leeds Festival
29 Aug: London Forum

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FIELDS AT THE LEGION
Fields have got together with club night Sonic Cathedral to bring you three nights of "shoegazing reverie" (according to the press release) this summer. The series of events, entitled 'Sowing Seeds', will feature live acts and DJ sets and will take place at The Legion in Old Street. And they start tonight! Tonight! Quick!

Tickets are £6, more info from http://www.soniccathedral.co.uk and/or http://www.fieldsband.com. Here's your line-up:

26 Jul, 7pm - midnight:
My Latest Novel (Live)
Fields (Live)
Engineers (DJ set)

24 Aug, 7pm - 2am:
Fields (Live)
iLiKETRAiNS (Live)
Secret Machines (DJ set)

28 Sep, 7pm - 2am:
The Radio Dept. (Live)
Cyann & Ben (Live)
Fields (Live)
Ulrich Schnauss (DJ set)
Maps (DJ set)

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth (Rabid Records)
Easily one of the best singles of the year, Jenny Wilson's astonishing 'Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward' appeared out of nowhere; a perfect slice of shimmering disco inflected pop that heralded a highly promising new talent. Unfortunately, 'Love And Youth' is a slight disappointment, being as it is a more than competent album, but brandishing nothing remotely close to the aforementioned slice of genius. We're basically in slightly quirky female singer-songwriter mode here, albeit with an electronic sheen that makes this album shine brighter than those typical of the genre. There's a dreamy ambience pervading the tranquillity of 'Crazy Summer' and 'Those Winters', suggestive of a slightly less unhinged Björk (though, having said that, the artwork does make her look rather scary). Other, more upbeat and anthemic songs reach for the heights of 'Let My Shoes...' and though they don't quite reach it, are rarely mediocre. By no means a crushing disappointment then; merely a good album, when a great one was tantalisingly suggested. MS
Release date: 31 Jul
Press contact: Darling [all]

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BEYONCE FANS HATE HER VID
More than 2000 Beyonce fans have signed an online petition to ban her new video and demanding it be re-shot, which makes it seem like they're not very keen on it. The promo for 'Deja vu', the first single from new album 'B'Day', features her boyfriend Jay Z, and the petition, addressed to the singer's label Columbia, complains of "unacceptable interactions" between the pair. It also cites a lack of theme, bad editing and an unsuitable wardrobe, saying: "This video is an underwhelming representation of the talent and quality of previous music-video projects of Ms Knowles'".

Elsewhere, Beyonce has been voicing her regret about her formerly diva-ish behaviour. Apparently she was a bit shocked when she saw footage of herself performing with Prince at the 2004 Grammy awards. What she has to say about this is a bit mental, because she keeps referring to someone called 'Sasha', who is her stage 'alter-ego', apparently. Yes, I see. It's 'Sasha' who's the diva, not Beyonce. Got it. Anyway, Ms Knowles says: "I saw that I didn't even give him [Prince] the mic. It was supposed to be in the middle, not in front of my mouth. Sasha just took over."

She also claims that 'Sasha' lay dormant during her work with Destiny's Child, saying "I just know when to be quiet and let other people shine... I didn't think it was appropriate to let Sasha out."

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MADONNA TOPS RULE BREAKING VIDEO POLL
More video related news now, and Madonna and Michael Jackson have confirmed their leading roles in the world of music video by both getting multiple entries in MTV's top ten videos that "broke the rules".

The TV network surveyed over 10,000 viewers for the survey, designed to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary. The slightly ambiguous title of the poll means that some of the videos that appear are listed because they broke new ground on their release, while others seemingly get their place in the chart because they literally "broke the rules", ie they violated broadcasting rules or caused protests from one lobbying group or another.

The number one video, Madonna's 'Like A Prayer', possibly achieved both. Certainly the promo, with its burning crosses and black Christ-like figure, caused a backlash among some Christian groups on its release. However, some of Madonna's other more controversial videos, like those for 'Justify My Love', 'Erotica' and 'What It Feels Like For a Girl', all of which were censored by MTV themselves in one way or another, do not appear in the top ten. Her other entries - 'Ray Of Light' at 4 and 'Vogue' at 5 more likely appear for creative rather than controversial reasons.

Likewise the two Michael Jackson entries in the top ten. 'Thriller' is, predictably, in there, at number three, while his collaboration with sister Janet, 'Scream', one of the most expensive pop promos ever, is at number 6.

Other top ten rated 'rule breaking' videos can be split between the 'ground breaking' and the 'viewer-group bothering' categories. Presumably Britney Spears' 'Baby One More Time', Robbie Williams' 'Rock DJ' and Eric Prydz's 'Call On Me' fall into the latter, while Jamiroquai's 'Virtual Insanity' falls into the former. Not sure what category Spice Girls' 'Wannabe', the tenth biggest rule breaking video, falls into. Given that it introduced us all to the world of the Spice Girls for the very first time, I suppose it broke new ground in over-produced, aggressively-marketed mediocrity.

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SKINNER VID WON'T BE THE LONGEST ACTUALLY
Oh, by the way, you remember that we reported how Mike Skinner will be recording a 25 minute pop video for MTV's 25th anniversary, and how that was going to break the record for pop video length? Well, no sooner had we published that story, than we had Norris McWhirter, on the phone (well, possibly not him, he being dead and all, though I forgot to ask the caller their name, so who knows?) alerting us to the fact that Michael Jackson's 'Ghosts' currently holds the world record for longest music video, and it is 38 minutes long - so Skinner won't, in fact, break any records. Of course, you might argue Ghosts is a short film rather than a pop video. But then again you might argue that, likewise, so will Skinner's 25 minute pop promo. Because when exactly does a pop promo become a short film? We would investigate further, but I must admit, I'm finding it very hard to care. Perhaps Norris could advise.

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MTV LAUNCH NEW INTERACTIVE COMMUNITY BUILDING SERVICE
I get all the MTV spin offs confused. MTV Hits, MTV Base, MTV Dance, MTV Urge, MTV Overdrive - I think I preferred it when there was just MTV, even if it was fronted by a bunch of not entirely sane Europeans.

Anyway, the latest MTV innovation is MTV Flux, which is confusing me a bit because I'm sure they've used that one before, but new MTV Flux is all about interactive community building social networking things. I suspect it could be called MTV MySpace if there was no such thing as trademark laws, because this does seem to be MTV's attempt to take on the Murdoch owned community site, though with the USP of having its own TV channel.

Launching pretty much simultaneously in the UK and US (I think, its definitely launching next month over here), at the core of all this will be a special MTV Flux website where viewers will be encouraged to sign up and create their own Flux page and identity (so far, so MySpace). But, more than that, once signed up registered members, or 'fluxers', will then be able to control and communicate via a new MTV TV channel of the same name - a back to back video affair where the tracks played will be requested by and dedicated to Flux members.

Commenting on the new service, Nick Bampton of Viacom Brand Solutions told reporters yesterday: "Flux truly demonstrates MTV's understanding of its audiences and its ability to innovate with them. User-generated content and social networking are increasingly popular trends. Not only does MTV Flux tap into the heart of these, it also offers something that has never been seen before."

The website will properly launch next month (though a beta version is already up), with the TV channel following in September.

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DIGITAL MUSIC AWARDS CALL FOR ENTRIES
The people behind the BT Digital Music Awards (BT? I'm not sure) have opened up entries for this year's awards programme. These are the annual awards that celebrate the best in, erm, digital music. So that's artist websites, online promotions, podcasts, webcasts, blogging, that kind of thing.

Artists and music companies are being encouraged to enter, so if that's you, you should get on over to http://www.dma06.com and decide which of the 19 categories you are eligible for. Alas, there is no Best E-Newsletter Aimed Primarily At People Working In the Music Industry And Music Media, With A Special Mission To Support The Grass Roots And College Sectors category, which is a major oversight if you ask me.

The deadline for entries is 16 Aug, with the awards themselves taking place at the Camden Roundhouse on 3 Oct. If it's press info you're after, I'd try those Kazoo people - laura@kazoo.co.uk.

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THE ORCHARD LICENCES MILLIONTH TRACK
The Orchard, the independent online digital distribution people, have just licensed their millionth track - Barenaked Ladies' song 'Sound Of Your Voice'. Commenting on that landmark, The Orchard CEO Greg Scholl told CMU last night: "Reaching this benchmark is the epitome of the 'long tail' phenomenon, that is, leveraging the largest catalogue of music in the world across a global distribution network through creative and targeted sales and marketing approaches. Our relationship with Barenaked Ladies and their management company, Nettwerk Music Group, also illustrates another important aspect of The Orchard's business: we provide focused attention and top-quality marketing and distribution services to all our labels, servicing both up-and-coming indie bands and multi-platinum sellers. Our scale and the diversity of our offering, and the size and strength of our marketing and product management teams, set us apart."

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METALLICA REACH ITUNES
Elsewhere in digital music news, Metallica have finally licensed their catalogue to iTunes. Metallica have been one of the most cautious bands with regards the digital domain - and were one of the most vocal in the original anti-Napster battle. Although they have made their music available via digital previously, they have always disliked Apple's insistence that they are able to sell albums on a track by track basis, rather than as complete long players - the band's music has been available so far only by download platforms where you have to buy a whole album in one go. But that changed yesterday when their catalogue appeared as individual tracks on the Apple platform.

In a post on their website, the band said: "Over the last year or so, we have seen an ever-growing number of Metallica fans using online sites like iTunes to get their music. So, in continuing with the tradition of offering our albums for sale online, as well as making our live concerts available for download in their entirety, we are now offering fans the opportunity to obtain our songs individually."

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BPI CONFIRM JAPAN TRADE MISSION
The BPI has announced details of its now annual government supported jolly to Japan. Well, they call it a 'trade mission', but that's a euphemism, and doesn't alliterate with Japan.

Oh, but there is a commercial aspect to this, honest guvnor. 55 British artists and 30 UK music companies will be represented on the mission/jolly, all of whom will be looking to make valuable links in the Japanese market. Apparently at least 15 participants on last year's mission subsequently secured licensing, distribution and/or promotional deals, which is good news. And the rest got to stock up on some cheap sake, so result all round really.

Confirming this year's mission/jolly, which this year will coincide with a month long programme of radio promotions for new British bands on Japanese radio, BPI boss Peter Jamieson told CMU: "British recorded music is currently going through one of its most creative periods and it is important that we spread the word internationally. The UK remains the most successful exporter of music outside north America, but we cannot take that success for granted. The BPI has prioritised Japan in its international strategy over the past three years and we are beginning to see the results. British music is stronger and more visible in Japan than it has been for years."

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CITY NEWS
Oh dear, it really is too hot here at CMU HQ to be processing financial news. But it doesn't take too much processing on our part to report that investment types will be waiting to see how RealNetworks are doing when it releases its second quarter earnings tomorrow. The digital content firm have been faring better on Wall Street over the past year, but some remain unsure about the company's long term prospects - especially in the music space where Apple dominate and where Microsoft, despite now being friends of Real (after years of litigation), could become a strong competitor should their recently announced Zune platform take off. Still, Real have some interesting future plans of their own - whether anything will be revealed about those when they release their latest figures tomorrow, remains to be seen.

The Warner Music Group will post the financials for its third quarter on 3 Aug. Lots of people will be awaiting those - but presumably bosses at EMI in particular. Everything's gone a bit quiet on the whole EMI Warner thing - especially since the EU courts undid the EC decision on the Sony BMG merger - but some say we can expect more movements on that front sometime soon.

Finally in city news, Sanctuary have released their latest figures which, presumably, show that the cross-sector music company continues to struggle. As I say, it's far too hot for me to be looking at the figures for myself, but the statement from Sanctuary CEO Frank Presland that accompanies them probably tells you all you need to know: "These results highlight, the difficult position that the Group was in. I have now been Chief Executive for two months, and management is working hard to establish the appropriate controls and systems to put the business on a proper footing. We have a new business strategy, with the Group divided into three autonomous divisions, each focused on its own profit and cash generation. These will be supported by a more cost efficient Group centre. Trading in the second half of the year is in line with management expectations. We are currently finalising budgets for fiscal 2007 on the basis of the new structure that we have put in place."

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BROWN SUES BOWIE BONDS MAN
Oh, this is kinda city news. The man behind the so called 'Bowie Bonds' (the method used by David Bowie and his accountants back in the early nineties to secure a big cash payment from an investment firm in return for giving up the royalties of his copyrights for a set period), is being sued by James Brown over dealings relating to a similar copyright bonds initiative. Banker David Pullman, who has done bond deals for Bowie and others, was involved in James Brown's bond dealings but, the singer claims, messed it all up by not making certain funds available when he needed them - Pullman apparently claims he kept the funds to cover fees he was owed, or something like that.

Brown is quoted as saying: "[Pullman] was my friend and I'm surprised and shocked he'd do this. [But] no matter what happens, I'll still be the hardest-working man in show business!"

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BE YOUR OWN PET TURNED DOWN TOUR
Be Your Own Pet have revealed that they recently turned down an offer to appear on the Vans Warped Tour in the US because they didn't want to tour with emo bands. "It's not really our thing. We didn't want to be with all those other bands that are playing. All this emo-screamo stuff seems so overdone and pretentious and not real."

They've been opening for Sonic Youth instead. Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore says of BYOP's decision: "Any rock band of 17-, 18-year-olds would love to do the Warped Tour. But they were like: No. Way. They see it as fabricated, moronic music and a propagation of dumbed-down youth culture, and it's who they tried to set themselves apart from in high school. They just want to be in the van playing doughnut shops across America with their friends. They know that right now, that's the coolest thing they can do."

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GEORGE MICHAEL WEDDING ON HOLD
More media speculation regarding George Michael following those News Of The World photos of him on Hampstead Heath, fresh from some kind of late night sexual encounter with an unemployed van driver from Brighton. Most attention has been on what Michael's very public adventure on the Heath would mean for his plans to 'marry' long term partner Kenny Goss - as previously reported, they had been planning a 'civil partnership' thing to celebrate their upcoming tenth anniversary. But latest media reports say that all 'wedding' plans are now on hold. One source has told the press: "They are reassessing their relationship at the moment so there are no immediate plans. Things are very much up in the air."

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RIMES DENIES BREAST CLAIMS
Very important news, this. LeAnn Rimes has denied claims that she has had a breast enlargement. As previously reported, the singer recently checked in to hospital for surgery on her leg, but now people are speculating that she secretly underwent cosmetic surgery. "There's this plastic surgery thing going around," she says "I'm afraid people are going: 'Did she get her boobs done? Did she get butt implants?'"

Shit, did she get butt implants? Butt implants? Wow.

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LILY ALLEN APOLOGISES OVER GAK COMMENTS
Lily Allen has posted comments on her blog apologising for those previously reported comments she made which appeared to condone drug use - you may remember that she said she would celebrate the success of her latest single by taking cocaine - or 'gak', as she put it. She now insists that she "did not want to encourage youngsters to take drugs," adding: "I made a silly joke while being interviewed. I'm so sorry if I have disappointed any of you."

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