CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 22nd November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Record Of The Day awards
- Black Eyed Peas win big at AMAS
- New Aussie indie awards next week
- Manics lend support to save record shop
- Syd Barrett stuff to benefit aspiring artists
- Iggy on Stooges album
- Lostprophets album
- Futureheads, Williams, form special Crimbo supergroup
- Charlatan: It's not the end
- Jay-Z guests on Fall Out Boy album
- New Little Barrie
- Maximo Park tour news
- Incubus tour
- Bullet For My Valentine postpone dates
- Cuban Brothers tour
- The Pierces support Mr Hammond Jr
- Ricall support Discovery Night
- AEG announce partnership with AOL
- EMI partner with Chinese media group
- SonyBMG downsize US classical division
- More NTL, ITV, Sky nonsense
- MTV launches in Pakistan
- NME showcase indie talent through covermount series
- Report reveals specifics of Press Gazette's problems
- Shears denies Sisters movie rumours
- Robbie to exhibit artwork
- Latest Gallagher news, involves gobbiness
- Mills McCartney: I'm a good person
- No Britney sex tape, okay?
- Javine labelled a 'skoda'

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VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE TRACK OF THE YEAR
Email in song title, artist and a sentence on why it's your favourite to 2006@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk

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TOP BIT >>
Another update on the CMU Favourite Track Of The Year poll, votes for which have been rolling in big time in the last few days. Here's what some people have voted for so far:

Danielle Sammeroff at Roadrunner: The Rapture - Get Myself Into It
"Owing to the barrage of abuse from friends and fellow subscribers of the CMU Daily last year, post my published nomination of Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone', I have opted for the far more credible 'Get Myself Into It' by The Rapture. What a seriously amazing tune!! Who would have thought they could top 'House Of Jealous Lovers' in the 'get up and shake your booty on the dancefloor stakes' (yes that is an official stake)? Well they have, and it rules."

Alex Farber, Mobile Media: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
"I can't imagine anything sounding as fresh as Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy'. Great new-skool upbeat soul that is nice and accessible but I don't think I will tire of or will date."

Steven Colborne, Motion Group: Jarvis Cocker - Running The World
"Because it's ballsy, honest, touching, clever, simple, powerful, and offers a stern middle finger to the man as all great music should!"

Alan Cullivan, Bareknuckle Management: Humanzi - Out on a Wire
"Because I was being interviewed for a job, heard this on the radio in the backround, couldn't believe how good it was and couldn't stop listening. Failed the interview. Now that's a tune."

Duncan Geere, CMU: Justice v Simian - We Are Your Friends.
"I'd like to vote for this as record of the year. It blew me away as a clubgoer, it blew me away as a music fan, and it blew me away as a DJ. Simply amazing."

So what about you? This is your chance to vote for your very favourite song of 2006. You can vote for any song that first surfaced this year - including single releases, b-sides, remixes, album tracks and bootleg mixes. To vote, just email the name of the track, the artist and (if you can be bothered) a two sentence reason why it's your favourite. Email it in to 2006@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk right about now (well, before 8 Dec).

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or are interested in a long term capital partner, please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - http://www.musicgain.com

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ADVERTISE YOUR SERVICES & PRODUCTS here for just £50 a week, or £150 for two weeks in the Daily and four weeks on the web. Email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for details.

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CMU RECOMMENDS>>

INSOMNIACS BALL - IT'S NEXT WEEKEND, OK?
The second Insomniacs Ball is this coming weekend - 25 Nov. And just look at the line up - The Young Knives, Art Brut, The Rumble Strips Pink Grease, Friendly Fires, Blood Red Shoes, The Sunshine Underground, Digitalism, Foals, Goose and Lo Fi Fink. They'll all be taking to one of the stages underneath London Bridge station in the seOne complex. Between the bands, on the decks you'll find Silverlink, Matthew WoWoW, Jagz Kooner, The Cooper Temple Clause, Gavin Nugent, Eddy Temple-Morris, The Freelance Hellraiser and Jeff Automatic. Plus the Fish Seeks Bicycle people will be hosting a brilliant chill out area. It all takes place on 25 Nov from 7.30pm all the way through to 6am the next day. This is going to be the big pre-Christmas event, so if you want to go you really ought to be booking your tickets now. You'll find info at http://www.insomniacsball.co.uk and you can buy your tickets at http://www.ticketweb.co.uk. Press info from Scruffy Bird.

BREAKING GROUND
Another storming night for your diaries - the second edition of breaks fest Breaking Ground. All the big names are going to be on the bill - Pendulum (Live), Stanton Warriors, Rennie Pilgrem with MC Chickaboo, Splitloop (Live), Precision Cuts, Janette Slack, Breakfastaz, Deekline & Wizard with MC Ivory, Cltr-Z, Freshold, Si Begg, General Midi, Soto, Merka, Symmetrik, Dirtpop, Mr Sushi and Fyoog. Phew. It will all take place at London's seOne Club on Saturday 2 Dec, from 9.30pm to 6am. Tickets are £18.50 in advance - from http://www.ticketweb.co.uk - press info from Leyline.
Full info>> http://www.leylinepromotions.com/breakingground

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: MR HUDSON & THE LIBRARY
I was introduced to Mr Hudson last week. Well, not in person, but to his music. And since then I've been tuning into his MySpace and the four tracks and video that are previewing here - and you might want to do so too, because I have a sneaking feeling these guys could be increasingly buzzy as their debut long player drops in the New Year. On that Mr Hudson himself writes, on his MySpace blog: "Got back from NYC with the mastered record in my hand. It's sounding big, even on my laptop speakers so I hope y'all like it. Play at maximum volume and turn up the bass. Mastering's a funny process. Very subtle. They don't seem to do much, but it definitely sounds bigger as a result". Can't wait to get my hands on a full copy of said long player, nor to see these guys live, especially as they are doing a brilliant tour of the nation's libraries in the New Year. Yep, Mr Hudson & The Library will be spearheading what I really hope becomes an established forum for promoting new music - the library circuit. A full list of those library dates, plus other blog entries, a Sun podcast and footage of their Bestival set are all here on this rather action packed MySpace.

http://www.myspace.com/mrhudson

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RECORD OF THE DAY AWARDS
It was the Record Of The Day Awards in London last night, again celebrating the best in UK music journalism and PR. Voted for by music media and marketing professionals from shortlists drawn up by the ROTD team, the winners this time round were as follows:

Media Winners
Music Magazine of the Year: NME
Editor of the Year: Conor McNicolas (NME)
Breaking Music - Writer of the Year: Peter Robinson
Best Music Coverage in a National Newspaper: The Guardian
Record Reviews - Writer of the Year: Alexis Petridis (The Guardian)
Artist and Music Features - Writer of the Year: Alexis Petridis (The Guardian)
Best Music Coverage in a Consumer Publication: Time Out
Best Online Music Publication: Popjustice
Best Free Music Magazine: The Fly
Best Music Podcast: Drowned In Sound
Live Reviews - Writer of the Year: Chris Elwell-Sutton (Evening Standard)
Popular Press: Best Music Section/Column: The Sun 'Something for the Weekend_
Popular Press: Best Journalist: Simon Cosyns (The Sun)
Music Business Writer of the Year: Adam Sherwin (The Times)

PR Winners
Best PR campaign for breakthrough UK act: Lily Allen
Best PR for an established act: Razorlight
Best UK PR for a breakthrough non UK act/release: Gnarls Barkley
Best UK PR campaign for an established non-UK act/release: The Killers
Best Independent UK music PR Company: Toast
Best Independent UK PR individual: Ruth Drake (Toast)
Best UK In-house PR Person: Andy Prevezer (Warners)
Best In-house label department: Polydor

There were also two 'outstanding contribution' prizes presented on the media side. The first was for 'outstanding contribution to music journalism' which went to Allan Jones of Uncut magazine, of whom the ROTD judges said: "Allan was editor of the weekly music bible 'Melody Maker' which has now sadly demised. He is credited with helping many bands break through in the UK including Ryan Adams, Pearl Jam and The Smiths amongst many others. He is now the editor of the influential Uncut magazine".

And the second was for 'outstanding contribution to music photography', which went to Tommy Sheehan, of whom the judges say: "Tommy is regarded as simply one of the best music photographers in the industry. He has worked with superstar acts including U2, Coldplay and Radiohead amongst many others. His signature photographic image is black and white portraits which have graced numerous magazine covers over the years".

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BLACK EYED PEAS WIN BIG AT AMAS
More awards, and The Black Eyed Peas were the biggest winners at the American Music Awards in LA last night, taking three awards in total - Favourite Rap/Hip Hop Album for 'Monkey Business', and Favourite Group in both the Rap/HipHop and Soul/RnB categories. There were a number of other multiple winners at the annual awards event, with Kelly Clarkson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mary J Blige and Rascal Flatts all taking two awards each.

The Black Eyed Peas were one of several winners not in attendance at the LA event, something some of the US media reporting on the awards have focused on - with Reuters claiming "no-show winners are a tradition at this event".

However, many of those not in attendance did supply the customary video messages. Speaking via satellite from Costa Rica, Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am thanked fans "for keeping hip-hop progressive and pushing it forward", while the Red Hot Chili Peppers spoke from London, with bassist Flea beat boxing while frontman Anthony Kiedis thanked "the American people".

Amongst those in attendance to pick up their prizes was Jamie Foxx, Favorite Male Soul/Rhythm & Blues Artist, who told the awards audience: "I'm like a rookie in this music thing. This means a lot more than you think, man". Meanwhile a suited Chamillionaire, picking up the prize for Favourite Breakthrough Artist, said: "This is the first time I've ever worn a tie, so this is big. It's just stepping out of the box a little bit. People expect me to wear a hoodie".

For fans of complete lists of winners, here's a complete list of winners...

Pop/Rock
Favourite Male Artist: Sean Paul
Favourite Female Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Favourite Band, Duo Or Group: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Favourite Album: Nickelback - All The Right Reasons

Country
Favourite Male Artist: Toby Keith
Favourite Female Artist: Faith Hill
Favourite Band, Duo Or Group: Rascal Flatts
Favourite Album: Tim Mcgraw - Greatest Hits, Vol 2

Soul/R&B
Favourite Male Artist: Jamie Foxx
Favourite Female Artist: Mary J Blige
Favourite Band, Duo Or Group: Black Eyed Peas
Favourite Album: Mary J Blige - The Breakthrough

Rap/Hip-Hop
Favourite Male Artist: Eminem
Favourite Band, Duo Or Group: Black Eyed Peas
Favourite Album: Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business

Adult Contemporary
Favourite Artist: Kelly Clarkson

Alternative
Favourite Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Latin
Favourite Artist: Shakira

Contemporary Inspirational
Favourite Artist: Kirk Franklin

Favourite New Breakthrough Artist: Carrie Underwood.

The American Music Awards select nominations based on record sales within each category, with winners then selected by a poll of 20,000 music fans.

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NEW AUSSIE INDIE AWARDS NEXT WEEK
And even more awards from around the world, and the Australian Independent Record Label Association will next week stage its own awards event, recognising the best and most successful artists signed to Australian indie labels. The awards are a spin off from the Association's weekly independent sales chart, and as such will be known as the AIR Charts Awards.

Two of the four awards due to be presented will be based on record sales in Australia in the last year. The shortlist for Best Performing Independent Album includes Ben Lee's 'Awake Is The New Sleep', Hilltop Hoods' 'The Hard Road', John Butler Trio's 'Live At St Gallen', Lior's 'Autumn Flow', Pendulum's 'Hold Your Colour' and The Herd's 'The Sun Never Sets'. The shortlist for Best Performing Independent Single includes Behind Crimson Eyes's 'The Art Of War'/'Cherry Blossom', Blue King Brown's 'Blue King Brown', Hilltop Hoods' 'Clown Prince', Karnivool's 'Persona' and The Grates' 'The Ouch, The Touch'.

The other two awards will be more subjective. Up for Independent Artist Of The Year are Ben Lee, Hilltop Hoods, John Butler Trio, Lior, Pendulum and The Herd, while up for Most Outstanding New Independent Artist are Behind Crimson Eyes, Blue King Brown, Gotye, Jen Cloher, Karnivool and The Drones.

The overall winners will be announced at a bash in Sydney on 29 Nov.

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MANICS LEND SUPPORT TO SAVE RECORD SHOP
Manic Street Preachers have lent their support to a campaign to save what is apparently the oldest record shop in the world. The Cardiff store, Spillers, which began trading in 1894, is set to close because of a recent rent hike.

In a statement, the band said: "Spillers was a lifeline, it gave us our musical education. The only record shop in Wales where we could find the music that made us who we are."

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SYD BARRETT STUFF TO BENEFIT ASPIRING ARTISTS
Syd Barrett's family are to auction off his possessions at an auction house in Cambridge next week, and a percentage of the profit from the 29 Nov sale will be put towards developing better art education in the area. The late music star, who died back in July at the age of sixty, studied at the Camberwell School of Art, of course, and took up painting again following his breakdown, and departure from his band Pink Floyd.

Amongst the items for sale are a number of paintings by Barrett, all of which are rare, as he frequently destroyed canvases after finishing painting on them. A representative from the company running the sale, Cheffins, said: "Syd felt he was more artist than musician and this gift will ensure he is remembered as a dual talent." See http://www.cheffins.co.uk for more information.

Elsewhere in Barrett related news, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour is to release three songs paying tribute to his late bandmate next month. Gilmour says he will release two versions of 'Arnold Layne' a track written for Pink Floyd by Barrett. The release will be completed by an acoustic version of another Barrett track, 'Dark Globe'. The tracks are released via download from 25 Dec, with a physical release expected later that month.

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IGGY ON STOOGES ALBUM
Iggy Pop has confirmed that The Stooges have finished a new album, their first new material in thirty three years. The pink legends will release the LP, produced by Steve Albini, in March of 2007.

Iggy says of the new album: "The one thing that kind of amazes me is that it sounds like us. But it doesn't sound quite like 'Fun House', 'Raw Power' or our first one. You put it on, and right away, you'd know, well, that's them. There they go."

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LOSTPROPHETS ALBUM
Lostprophets say they're going to get a new album out before the end of next year, and they want to get it done quickly, according to Gigwise.

The band's guitarist Mike Lewis told the website: "We're gonna start writing the next record in February, March time. In the past we've always toured, taken a break to write and record a record and then toured again. But with our next record we're not gonna do it that way.We're gonna take March off and write and then do the arena tour in April and The Full Ponty in May and hopefully we're gonna record the album in May or June. We just wanna do the next record very different."

He continued: "The first record was done in two weeks, y'know our second record took a year, our last one was a year... the next one we wanna take it back. Write it in a month, record it in a month and get it out the end of next year."

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FUTUREHEADS, WILLIAMS, FORM SPECIAL CRIMBO SUPERGROUP
Will my Christmas-album dreams never stop coming true? Billy Idol album. Sufjan Stevens long player. Now a bunch of bands have got together to form a Crimbo 'supergroup' for a good cause, and a rendition of 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas'. Calling themselves The Joseph & Mary Chain, the group comprising The Futureheads, Kathryn Williams, Field Music and The Golden Virgins, will appear on compilation LP 'It's Not Like Christmas', which is to be sold in aid of homeless/housing charity Shelter.

The album, a combination of original tracks and slightly warped covers of Christmas classics, is on sale now at iTunes, and gets a physical release on 13 Dec. It's full of tracks by some CMU endorsed music acts, so what are you waiting for? Here's the tracklisting:

Duels - Do You Hear What I Hear?
Envelopes - Pink Christmas
Ingo Star Cruiser Ft. Gaby Froden - Just Like Christmas
Iain Archer - Little Drummer Boy (Black Forest Version)
Duke Special & David Ford - Of Whoredom & Falconry
El Perro Del Mar - Oh! What A Christmas
The Late Greats - Sleigh Ride
Amusement Parks On Fire Ft Leila Moss - The Day It Snowed
Electric Soft Parade - The Friday Before Christmas
David Ford - Have Yourself A Bitter Little Christmas
747s - Blue Christmas
Swimming - In Dulci Jubilo
Minuteman - Last Christmas
Emmy The Great ft. Lightspeed Champion - Christmas In Prison
The Joseph & Mary Chain - The Twelve Days Of Christmas
Amazing Pilots - White Christmas
Sketches For Albinos - Let It Snow
Matt Harding - Purple Snowflakes

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CHARLATAN: IT'S NOT THE END
Tim Burgess says that the Charlatans will be back with more original material, and that the recent release of a singles collection doesn't mean the end of the band.

He told Xfm: "I'm going to come back with another Charlatans record. I keep getting asked to do a solo record and I think I'm going to starve people of it. Wait until they're really, really going for it, but I will do another solo record yes. I always thought people hated it so I just kind of put it away, and when I was doing the DJ tour with Alan [McGee] so many people come up to me and ask me if I'm going to do another one."

On the subject of the new Charlatans album, he continued: "I have been thinking about how it's gonna sound but I'm quite happy to just let the idea come, but we've got one song that everyone is really happy. It does sound like The Charlatans. Well you know sometimes we like to go on missions? Like with 'Simpatico' we wanted to do a ska kind of thing and with 'Wonderland' we wanted to do a punk thing. It's kind of good and it's kind of stretchy, but now I feel that I have enough information in me now to go out and make a full on Charlatans record. Embracing everything but playing to the trend as well."

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JAY-Z GUESTS ON FALL OUT BOY ALBUM
Formerly retired rapper Jay-Z is to appear on new Fall Out Boy album 'Infinity On High'. The hip hop star features in a track called 'Car Crash Hearts' rapping about the band's critics, and dedicating the record to the fans.

Bassist Pete Wentz told MTV: "It's so important to begin strong, and I don't think you can start much stronger than this. This is a message recorded directly to our fans - it's one of the few times on the record where we speak directly to them, and I think it's amazing that Jay is having a conversation with our fans. Also, it's a snapshot of where we are right now. And years from now, when I laying in some gutter somewhere, Jay-Z will still be on this record."

Wentz added: "I think he recorded some of it in Australia while we were sleeping. It was insane. We called him up and thought we were gonna talk to his assistant. Then he answers the phone, like, 'Yo, this is Hov', and we were like, 'Um...' It just happened like that. And it was pretty crazy."

He went on to joke: "Don't hold your breath waiting for him to break out the eyeliner and scene hair. I think he's just a smart dude. He appreciates the energy some of the bands in our scene bring."

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NEW LITTLE BARRIE
Hurrah, we have a release date for the next single from Little Barrie. 'Love You', the first single from the band's second long player, 'Stand Your Ground', will be released via Genuine on 15 Jan. The press release says it's a "restless confession of desire" and that it "digs in its elbows and pushes its way to the front", adding that "with skiffling drums, a popping bass line and a crackling lead guitar, it's indicative of the more urgent rockabilly blues featured on the band's new album". Which means nothing to me, but I still can't wait to hear it. The album will follow on 29 Jan. Press info from Sainted.

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MAXIMO PARK TOUR NEWS
News for extreme fans of Maximo Park needing a good excuse for a trip to China next month. The band are to play two shows in the country, in Beijing on 7 Dec and Shanghai on 9 Dec. They'll be road testing songs from their upcoming, yet-to-be-named second album, apparently.

Singer Paul Smith says of the live dates: "This band has allowed us to take our music to some far-flung places, as we attempt to connect with people on a mass level. China is beyond our wildest dreams, in terms of playing songs that we wrote in our bedrooms in Newcastle! It'll be interesting to see how people react to the new songs in our set, since no-one will have seen us play any of them before, new or old. We want to cause low-scale chaos with people's emotions!"

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INCUBUS TOUR
Incubus have announced a series of UK arena dates to follow the release of upcoming album 'Light Grenades', out on 27 Nov. Where and when as follows:

31 Mar: Birmingham NEC
1 Apr: Manchester MEN Arena
2 Apr: Cardiff CIA
4 Apr: Glasgow SECC
8 Apr: Bournemouth IC
9 Apr: Nottingham Arena
12 Apr: London Brixton Academy
13 Apr: London Brixton Academy

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BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE POSTPONE DATES
Bullet For My Valentine have had to postpone three gigs because frontman Matt Tuck has fallen ill. Last night's concert in Newcastle and upcoming gigs in Manchester and Cardiff are all affected - though all three should be rescheduled for January dates.

A statement on the band's website reads thus: "Matt has been undergoing further tests this afternoon [21 Nov] and has been instructed that in order to prevent any further damage to his vocal cords he should not perform for three days. Unfortunately this means having to postpone the Manchester and Cardiff shows scheduled to happen this week. However, they WILL BE re-scheduled to January 2007. We will advise the new dates here very soon (all tickets will remain valid). Thank you for all your messages of support and get well soon messages for Matt".

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CUBAN BROTHERS TOUR
Those most Cuban of Brothers are currently on a tour of sorts and will be appearing at the following places on these exact dates:

25 Nov: Alexandra Palace, London
30 Nov: Take Two Party, Paris
7 Dec: Guilty Pleasures, London (DJ Set)
9 Dec: Zouk Out Festival, Singapore
15 Dec: Leicester University
1 Jan: Fatboy Slim Party, Brighton

The dates kind of coincide with the release of the Brothers' new single 'Love Is Alive', out on Sunday Best on 4 Dec. Press info from Get Involved.

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THE PIERCES SUPPORT MR HAMMOND JR
We're hearing some interesting things about The Pierces, whose debut album 'Thirteen Tales Of Love And Revenge' will be released next March on Lizard King Records. Which means you might be interested in checking them out when they support Albert Hammond Jr at the following gigs:

22 Nov: Birmingham Academy 2
24 Nov: Leeds The Cockpit
25 Nov: Manchester Academy 3
27 Nov: Glasgow ABC 2
28 Nov: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
29 Nov: London Scala

That said, I think that's tour pretty much sold out, so you might have to make do with one of the following...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rR8yl__6Ko&eurl
http://www.myspace.com/thepierces

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RICALL SUPPORT DISCOVERY NIGHT
Ricall, the music licensing search people, have confirmed they are sponsoring upcoming 'Discovery Night' events, including one tonight. These are regular gigs that aim to showcase new and unsigned singer songwriting talent to industry and media types. As well as supporting the night directly, Ricall will be adding featured artists to their music library, used by media and marketing types looking to licence music for their productions.

Confirming the sponsorship, Ricall boss Richard Corbett told CMU: "We are delighted to sponsor the Discovery Nights. The partnership is a perfect fit as many of our clients are looking to stay at the forefront of the music scene and want to be aware of upcoming talent. They get to experience new talent first hand at these evenings. Further, we are delighted to support the unsigned singers and songwriters at this pivotal point in their careers. Having breaking talent on the Ricall platform allows new artists the opportunity to license their music, and gives producers the opportunity to source breaking tracks they can make their own."

Ruth Rothwell, one of the co-founders of the Discovery Night showcases, added: "Being involved with new artists; we know how valuable synch exposure is. Ricall and Discovery are an excellent combination that will surely produce great success stories!"

As mentioned, the next one of these showcases takes place tonight, in London, at the Revue Bar. Acts to feature include Electric City, The Laurel Collective, Nicole Jackson and Eugene McGuinness. Press info from cfoster@uk.peppercom.com.

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AEG ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP WITH AOL
Live entertainment conglom AEG yesterday announced it has signed AOL as a 'founding partner' for the revamped Millennium Dome in London which, as everyone surely knows by now, will relaunch next year as The O2. AOL will be the complex's official online and broadband partner, receiving branding around the venue plus certain rights to webcast events taking place there. The internet company will also stage its own events at The O2, mainly as part of its established AOL Sessions programme.

Confirming the partnership, AEG Europe CEO David Campbell told CMU: "We're delighted to welcome AOL as a Founding Partner for The O2. Like The O2 itself, each of our Founding Partners is the "best in class" in their industry and AOL is no exception. It leads the way in delivering interactive content with music at the heart of its offering. The O2 is similarly focused on taking live music to a new level by providing state-of-the-art facilities and the best programme of entertainment when it opens next year. AOL is therefore an excellent partner for The O2, and we're sure the relationship will be a great success."

AOL Europe chairman Philip Rowley added: "This relationship has great benefits for AOL, The O2 and for our respective customers. We provide complementary showcases for each other by providing the best and most innovative customer experiences offline and online. It is also a landmark for AOL as we turn our focus in Europe to becoming a leading portal business."

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EMI PARTNER WITH CHINESE MEDIA GROUP
EMI Music South East Asia has announced an alliance with the Shanghai Media Group which will see the distribution of content from various artists of the major's catalogue across mobile, internet, TV, radio and print platforms operated by the Chinese company. Artists to be featured will include both local names like Anson Hu, Sandy Lam, David Tao and Jolin Tsai, and global acts like Robbie Williams and the Rolling Stones.

Confirming the deal, SMG Vice President Zhang Da Zhong told reporters: "The cross-platform digital release of music with EMI is a major step towards developing legitimate music distribution in China. It proves that new media has become a major distribution channel for music, and sets a milestone for new media development in China".

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SONYBMG DOWNSIZE US CLASSICAL DIVISION
SonyBMG in the US has confirmed that it has downsized its classical and showtunes orientated Masterworks division, which can't be good news for the classical sector. Six members of the Masterworks team, including president Gilbert Hetherwick, have all left the major as part of the downsize.

In a statement the major says the cutback is part of the ongoing integration of Masterworks into its Commercial Music Group, which was set up back in July bringing together the classical department with SonyBMG's US TV and Strategic Marketing divisions.

The statement reads thus: "In order to make Sony BMG Masterworks more responsive and more effective in adapting to the new realities of the classical music market, the label was recently made part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment Commercial Music Group. As part of the Group, Masterworks will have access to additional resources in the areas of digital, sales, promotion and A&R. Masterworks remains committed to being a leader in classical and Broadway music, as well as in soundtracks."

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MORE NTL, ITV, SKY NONSENSE
NTL says it is "considering all of its options" following the news that ITV was rejecting its merger approach.

But that hasn't stopped the cable operator and its newish stakeholder Richard Branson from further dissing BSkyB following their surprise purchase of a 17.9% stake in ITV last week, a move seen by many as an attempt by the satellite broadcaster to block any merger between ITV and the cable company - a merger which would create a commercial TV giant, in UK terms, and a formidable competitor to the Murdoch's British Sky Broadcasting.

In a statement NTL has said that the share purchase gave BSkyB a "material influence over ITV, Freeview and the UK media", adding that "regardless of public statements by BSkyB, its holdings in ITV will reduce competition and raise plurality concerns in the UK media market. This is clearly not in the public interest". That follows comments from Branson at the weekend when the Virgin mogul said he would ask the Office Of Fair Trading, OfCom and possibly the European Commission to investigate the share purchase on the grounds that it may have contravened UK broadcasting or, more likely, competition rules.

Whether the BSkyB purchase actually had any bearing on the subsequent rebuttal of NTL's merger proposal by ITV isn't clear, though Branson said yesterday: "I cannot comment for NTL or what the company may do, but speaking personally, I fully expected ITV to announce this [the rebuttal] soon after BSkyB made its share purchase on Friday. It appears that this share purchase has already had a material influence on the company and damaged the plurality of the British media. ITV has closed the door on NTL without even seeking to discuss the strategic merits of a combination with NTL. It appears that ITV now has an 800lb gorilla in its midst".

But ITV is sure to dismiss any accusations that the BSkyB share purchase influenced its position on the possibility of a merger with NTL - pointing out that BSkyB have said they will not be looking for a board position at the commercial broadcaster as part of their share purchase.

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MTV LAUNCHES IN PAKISTAN
MTV yesterday launched a new 24 hour channel serving the Pakistan market. The new service, which the music network claims reaches 3.5 million households, has been established through a partnership with the Pakistan based Indus Media Group, and will replace their existing music channel, which has been broadcasting since 2001.

MTV say the new service will be almost "totally locally-driven" in terms of content. Speaking to Billboard, MTV Networks International boss Bill Roedy said: "Out of the gate, it will be music-driven and locally-sensitive. Made by Pakistanis, for Pakistanis".

Describing how the new service fits in with MTV's global strategy, Roedy continued: "This is about completing the puzzle. It continues our quest of product innovation, launching new products around the world. And we're using a model which allows us to expand our reach without investment. Pakistan is one of the fast growth economies in the world and it affords a great source of creativity and content for us".

The new Pakistan service launches days after the official arrival of MTV in Turkey. Their service there went live on 23 Oct but formally launched on Friday with an event in Istanbul.

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NME SHOWCASE INDIE TALENT THROUGH COVERMOUNT SERIES
The NME has confirmed it will publish three covermount CDs each showcasing the rosters of a different leading indie label. The labels set to feature are 1965 Records, Transgressive Records and the awfully buzzy Modular Records. Among the artists set to appear are The View, Ripchord and North London band The Draytones (from 1965), The Young Knives, The Subways and Mystery Jets (from Transgressive) and Wolfmother, The Avalanches and New Young Pony Club (Modular).

Commenting on the CDs, NME's Conor McNicholas told CMU: "This CD series showcases what's uniquely great about the British music scene - independent labels nurturing new talent and doing it with passion and originality. This series really is the best of the best new music from the UK scene right now."

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REPORT REVEALS SPECIFICS OF PRESS GAZETTE'S PROBLEMS
Top dogs at most of the UK's national and regional newspaper groups have received copies of a report by one Roger Eastoe regarding the viability of the newspaper industry's weekly trade mag Press Gazette. As previously reported, current owner Matthew Freud has put the title into receivership, and the main proposal to safeguard its future is to transfer ownership to a trust to be founded, coordinated and initially funded by representatives of the main newspaper companies.

According to the Media Guardian (which isn't entirely unbiased when it comes to media for the media, it being one itself), the report is "full of astonishing details that reveal extravagant financial stewardship by the previous owners, Matthew Freud and Piers Morgan". The Guardian's Roy Greenslade says that operating costs "ballooned" after Freud and Morgan's takeover, yet no money was made available for subscription marketing, meaning the number of subscribers fell from 3433 to 2776, despite a general opinion across the media industry that the title improved editorially.

The report concludes that there is a case for the newspaper groups to takeover the ownership and funding of the magazine, pointing out ad revenues have started to increase of late. But Greenslade questions whether the newspaper groups will be willing to take on a title which has been losing £14,000 an issue of late - especially as Eastoe admits that the title can still be expected to be losing £3000 an issue by 2007, even if cutbacks and a new sales push prove successful. A decision is probably needed in the next week or so, and in his analysis, and despite Eastoe's overriding optimism, Greenslade doesn't seem to think the chances of the newspaper groups agreeing on a workable solution on that timescale are all that high.

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SHEARS DENIES SISTERS MOVIE RUMOURS
Jake Shears says that rumours that Scissor Sisters are about to make a biographical film are complete rubbish. To be honest, I hadn't heard those claims until I heard that the band's frontman had disputed them.

He said: "Let's face it, look at our videos! They're hard enough to get sorted out for the screen so no, I can't see the movie ever coming to light."

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ROBBIE TO EXHIBIT ARTWORK
Robbie Williams is going to get to exhibit some paintings at Wales Millennium Centre at Cardiff Bay. The four apparently Warhol-style pieces, pictures of the singer and some coloured shapes, will cost £2,950 each. Which is typical, really, of this modern day culture of celebrity where you get famous for one thing and then everyone pretends you're good at everything. Most of the people I know could manage a Warhol-esque self portrait with coloured shapes on it. They wouldn't get exhibited or paid ludicrous amounts of money for it, though.

A spokeswoman for the Centre said: "Robbie's a real artist - both in his music and his pictures. We wanted to bring art into the 21st century and make it interesting for younger people. Robbie's perfect for that. We want people to see that art is for everyone. It's fun, and not just about names like Picasso."

Yes, you let him think that. I expect his ego could do with a boost.

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LATEST GALLAGHER NEWS, INVOLVES GOBBINESS
Noel Gallagher's been busy not making any friends by saying that soldiers wounded in Iraq need to quit their whining. The Oasis man, whilst recognising Tony Blair's decision to go to war as an "almighty cock-up", had a go at those who join the army but don't want to see action, saying: "you get a million people walking through Hyde Park - 'Don't send the troops and all that'. The troops want to go, all they want to do is fight! They're soldiers. They're loving it, until they get shot - then they're claiming compensation. If you're bothered about getting shot - here's a thing - don't join the Army."

Of course, what he's forgetting is that many of those 'soldiers' are disenfranchised sixteen year old kids with no prospects, desperately looking to find a future. But never mind. Look what he said about anyone who gives a shit about the environment: "Greens are hippies with no place in the world. How do you suggest we get millions of Chinese not to have a fridge? Or get millions of Americans to stop using their big, stupid cars?"

Elsewhere, Noel and brother Liam have said that the new Beatles album 'Love' is a crap idea. Of course, their best of 'Stop The Clocks' was released on the same day, so it's perhaps not that surprising that they didn't like it. Noel Gallagher said: "It's a pointless exercise," whilst Liam called 'Love', produced by George Martin of course, "rubbish", and added: "If you haven't got The Beatles by now you're not going to get it. I'm all Beatled-up!"

Finally, in Oasis news, Noel is set to perform a special gig in a fan's living room as part of Radio 1's planned Live Lounge tour hosted by Jo Whiley, which takes place from 27 Nov to 1 Dec. Other acts taking part in the series of events include Lily Allen, who will perform on a houseboat on the Thames, The Ordinary Boys, who'll play at Preston's house, and The Kooks, who will do a set at a friend's London home. The Gallagher show is on 1 Dec.

Nuff Gallagher? Yes thanks.

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MILLS MCCARTNEY: I'M A GOOD PERSON
Heather Mills has spoken out in defence of, er, herself, in a new interview with US TV programme Extra. Mills spoke of how she had fallen in love with her soon to be ex husband, and not his money, explaining that things just didn't work out the way she'd hoped. The former model said: "I fell in love for the right reasons. I'm a good mother, I'm a good person."

Speaking publicly for the first time since the separation was announced back in May, Mills went on to say that her love for the ex-Beatle had been 'unconditional' (er...?) and that she was "just madly in love, blinded by love, and totally, totally madly in love."

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NO BRITNEY SEX TAPE, OKAY?
Recent rumours regarding the alleged Britney Spears/Kevin Federline sex tape have suggested that Britney is planning to give away copies of the recording to stop K-Fed making money out of it. But now Federline's lawyer has stepped in to say "there is no bloody sex tape, alright"? Well, he put it a bit more formally than that.

Attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan issued a statement pertaining to those "reports rampant in the press and media regarding rumours of alleged attempts by Kevin Federline [to sell the alleged sex tape]. While this is endemic of countless false and inaccurate stories that have made their way into the media regarding Kevin, his marriage to Britney, and the divorce proceedings which they are presently going through, I want to put this issue to rest once and for all. There is not a sex video of Kevin and Britney in existence. It goes without saying that the stories of Kevin attempting to sell such a video are patently false and anyone who reports that they have information of such attempts is either lying or reporting the lie of someone else".

Clear? Good.

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JAVINE LABELLED A 'SKODA'
Javine's ex boyfriend has spoken out about the singer's fling with Harvey So Solid, who is, of course, married to ex-Misteeqer, the lovely Alesha Dixon. Music producer K-Gee said that his love for Javine "dried up" the minute he found out what she was up to.

He also added his support for Alesha, telling Heat magazine: "My heart goes out to her big style. I think he has been foolish for ruining his marriage to such a beautiful girl and lovely person. I'm not going to lose sleep over him as he's the one who's lost out. He's just traded in a Bentley for a second-hand Skoda."

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