CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 29th August
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In today's CMU Daily:
- BPI call for tougher action against CD pirates
- Babyface extorter sentenced
- Madonna Moscow gig moves after safety concerns
- Beatles dominate favourite albums poll
- Carling Weekend a success
- Doherty turns up shocker
- Toshiba manufacture Microsoft's music player
- AOL launch new open-to-all music service
- BMI records record revenues
- Macca pulls out of charity gig
- Springsteen denies split
- Elton plans hip hop album


The BPI is urging, possibly insisting, certainly suggesting that the government be more proactive in the fight against CD piracy, telling CMU (and anyone else who'll listen) that they feel intellectual property crime should be "higher on the police's agenda".

All this urging, insisting and suggesting follows the release of a BPI commissioned report that estimates that 37 million pirated CDs were sold in the UK in 2005, costing the sector £165 million, nearly 10% of its total sales. Of those pirated CDs, a third were sold at markets and car boot sales, while a quarter were sold on a casual basis between friends.

The trade body concludes that it feels trading standards officers should be granted the "duty, power and resources to tackle copyright offences". BPI boss Peter Jamieson said that police and trading standards officers did do a "superb job in difficult and dangerous circumstances" with regard to copyright crimes, but added that they were operating with "very limited resources", and that those resources should be increased.

The trade body is also pushing for stricter fines for convicted counterfeiters, and for rules that extend liability for the sale of pirated CDs to the owners of markets who offer counterfeiters a stall.


A man who tried to extort US R&B bod Babyface has been sentenced to six months in a halfway house. John Travis Clark claimed to be the singer / songwriter / producer's illegitimate son, and offered to "keep his mouth shut" in return for some cash. Clark was arrested after a sting type operation which saw the extorter pick up a phoney cheque from Babyface's lawyer's office. The six months in a halfway house, on top of 98 days served in jail since his arrest and a further six months probation were part of a plea agreement in which Clark admitted his crime.

Commenting on the case, Babyface, real name Kenneth Edmonds, told reporters: "I want to make it emphatically clear that John Clark is not my son. John Travis Clark sought to ruin my reputation by broadcasting his lies to the entire country, which would not only destroy my family but would resonate loudly in the music industry".


The venue and the date of Madonna's upcoming (and very first) Moscow gig has been changed, following those previously reported concerns that the original venue, outside a Moscow university, would lead to students packing out local college buildings in order to get a free glimpse of the star, and in doing so endangering themselves in a falling-out-of- windows kind of way. After officials expressed those concerns it was pointed out the only other suitably sized venue - the local football stadium - was being used for a football match that night - hence the change of date. By moving to 12 Sep, Madonna will now be able to play at the home of the Spartak Moscow football team where, it is hoped, less freeloading students will tumble to their death. Which is good news.


In case you were wondering (I know I was), The Beatles' 'Sgt Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band' is the nation's favourite number one album. Or rather, it is the favourite album among listeners of Radio 2. Or rather, it is the favourite album among the kind of Radio 2 listeners who are likely to take part in polls. Actually, I'm not sure if it was just Radio 2 listeners who took part in this. But it might have been.

Anyway, The Beatles topped the 'best number one album ever' poll being staged to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the music charts, which was revealed by Simon Mayo on Radio 2 this weekend. Jacko's 'Thriller' was second, U2's 'Joshua Tree' third and Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' fourth. Needless to say, The Beatles had several albums in the chart, with 'Revolver' in sixth place, 'Abbey Road' in eighth, 'The White Album' at 10 and 'Rubber Soul' at 11.

The survey also questioned music fans about their favourite non-number one albums - ie the albums they loved that never actually made it to the top spot. Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' came top, while Bowie's 'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars' came second.


Organisers of those there Reading and Leeds festivals have said they are "ecstatic" about the way this year's events went, which is lovely. For them. Here's what Mean Fiddler top bloke Melvin Benn said: "What a weekend. Two cities, Reading and Leeds, 214 different bands and performers playing in each city to a massive 200,000 people. Great weather, great music and great fans. To say I am happy would not even be scratching the surface. I am ecstatic, as were the bands and the fans". Glorious.


We hear Get Loaded In The Park went pretty well too on Sunday. Well, Babyshambles showed up, which in itself is a remarkable achievement. Though Doherty is in rehab on court order at the moment (there was a special dispensation for him to appear at the festival), so at least festival organisers knew where to find him.

According to the NME, Doherty opened his set with the call "big up to The Priory and the Metropolitan Police", while the back drop to the stage flashed up recent Doherty related newspaper headlines. But, we're told, the music was quite good too. Which makes a nice change. Well done Get Loaded In The Park.


A filing by Microsoft to the US Federal Communications Commission has revealed that Toshiba are manufacturing the computer firm's much talked about new Zune digital media player. The FCC document, called 'HDD Portable Audio Player', mentions 'Zune' by name, and Microsoft have subsequently confirmed Toshiba's involvement in the venture.

The FCC paper also describes some of the features of the new player and in doing so confirms a number of recent rumours about it. Features outlined include WiFi connectivity, an integrated FM radio, 30GB storage capacity and a screen larger than rival players.

As previously reported, Zune is Microsoft's attempt to take on Apple's dominance in the digital music space. As well as the bespoke hardware, Microsoft will launch a download platform to feed the devices via the latest version of Windows Media Player.


AOL in the US has unveiled a new music service which includes a subscription package offering audio and video streaming, radio programmes and downloads. The AOL Music Now programme will, like most new AOL things, be available to anyone, and not just AOL's ISP customers.

Confirming the new service, AOL Music Now's president, Amit Shafrir, told reporters: "It's available to anyone to come to the service and search for songs. We have a huge online presence and won't have to spend tens of millions of dollars in marketing to attract users."


US royalties body BMI has reported that its revenues in the financial year 2005/2006 were up 7% year on year to more than £779 million. That, according to BMI CEO Del Bryant, is the largest performing right income of any copyright organisation and, combined with a decrease in operating costs from 14.2% to 13.2%, means that the payout to the organisation's songwriters, composers and publishers is up 8.2% to $676 million.

Among the areas with the biggest increases for BMI were cable television revenue, which grew by $24 million, international revenue, which was up to $204 million, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, new media revenues, which were up by $16 million.


Paul McCartney has pulled out of a benefit gig in LA because of his divorce from Heather Mills. The gig was for the Adopt-A-Minefield charity, but because Macca was a joint patron of the organisation alongside his now estranged wife, he says he thinks it would be inappropriate to go ahead with the fundraiser. It's a decision which means the charity event will now not happen at all - though, in Macca's defence, he is reportedly making a personal donation that meets the rather large amount of cash the gig would have raised.

A spokesman for the charity said: "As it is an event they both hosted, given their separation, Paul doesn't feel he can perform this year". On Macca's donation, he continued: "This is not compensation and we have not asked for any money. Paul is not under any legal obligation, but he has offered to make a donation. He wanted to do this because he realises that not having the event this year is a big financial blow to us. The event has been cancelled because losing Paul at such short notice meant it was very difficult for us to replace him. We have not yet received a cheque so I have no idea how much he will give".


Talking of rock divorces, or rather, not, Bruce Springsteen has denied reports he has split from his wife, Patti Scialfa. Reports of the split seemingly began in the New York Post, but in a statement posted on Springsteen's website, the singer says the reports are "unfounded and ugly rumours", and that "our commitment to one another remains as strong as the day we were married. We have built a beautiful family we love and want to protect". So, that's you told, New York Post.


Elton John has told Rolling Stone that he is planning to make a hip hop record, and that he plans to work with the likes of Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West on making it (though I'm not sure they've been told this yet).

He told the magazine: "I want to bring my songs and melodies to hip-hop beats. It may be a disaster, it could be fantastic, but you don't know until you try. I want to work with Pharrell, Timbaland, Snoop, Kanye, Eminem and just see what happens".

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