CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 13th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Take That favourite to win singles Brit
- NME Awards line up announced
- The Police confirm reunion tour
- Bow Wow launches label
- Field Music man launches side project
- B52s working on new album
- Cave talks about new Bad Seeds album
- Radiohead deny August release date
- Patrick Wolf single
- Gallows 7", tour
- Arcade Fire on album track
- Kapranos on Cribs album
- This is what happened to Gareth Gates
- Kelly Jones podcast launches
- Yo La Tengo confirmed for ATP
- Exit Festival confirmed
- Radio 1 live stuff
- Soul Britannia All-Stars tour
- The Feeling dates
- Eco-Live Aid planned
- Indie sale stats released
- Machin joins fan club development firm
- London venues win international prizes at Pollstar awards
- MySpace expand content filtering systems
- Digital Music Group do deal with YouTube
- Universal close to deal with Bolt.com
- Gaydar founder dies
- Emap back their man
- MTV job cuts rumoured
- More bickering between Sky and Virgin
- Robbie back in rehab
- Bobby and Whitney reunite for a night
- Scarlett says she's not seeing Justin

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TOP BIT>>
So, I was doing one of those 'beginners guide to the music industry' sessions last week (ninety minutes of me talking about the music industry, imagine that, bookings for March currently being taken) and I was saying how the starting point for many bands these days is to get themselves a decent manager or lawyer before starting to talk to record labels and publishers. Which led to the obvious question - 'how do we go about finding a manager or lawyer to work with us?' (and 'how do we find a lawyer who doesn't turn the clock on the minute we walk through the door?'). Which were good questions for which I didn't have an immediate answer. Hence this... We're looking to launch a new strand to our directory listing management and legal firms, and especially those interested in hearing from new artists. So, if you out there work in management or music law, and you're interested in connecting with new bands, then get thee to an email. Let us know your company name and address, web and email info, and most importantly details of how you work with artists, how you recruit new artists, whether you take unsolicited approaches, what kinds of music you specialise in, and what the deal is when you work with new artists (are you signing them, or selling them services?). And we'll take all that stuff and launch a brand new bit to the CMU Directory offering that info to brand new bands. So next time I'm doing a 'beginners guide' and some aspiring band asks me that tricky question I can say, "ha, get thee to the CMU website". Easy. Send your info, comments, thoughts to directory@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

JOB OPPORTUNITY AT VIRTUAL FESTIVALS
A rare chance to get paid to schmooze backstage at Glastonbury and other major festivals, gigs and industry shindigs, the Virtual Festivals.com guys are seeking a new online sales person to sell promotions, ad campaigns, ad space, advertorial, pitch for sponsorship and develop new business opportunities for the website. As well as being a great ligger, the role requires a proven ability to canvass, conduct meetings and manage campaigns. You will need to keep an eye on both the festival and online marketplaces and "work" anti-social hours meeting brand managers, agencies, PR and event/gig organiser types. You will be a key member of a small team in a great location, working for a very exciting, fast growing company. Salary negotiable, depending on experience. Email CV and covering letter to steve@virtualfestivals.com

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CMU RECOMMENDS>>

REMIX NIGHT FEBRUARY
It's another great Remix Night this Friday. First up Transmission, the band that features former Verve bassist and ongoing Damon Albarn collaborator Simon Tong, former Killing Joke members Youth and Paul Ferguson, and Dreadzone's Tim Bran, will be playing live. Given the all round busy-ness of these guys, this is likely to be you're only chance to catch them live before the summer - so get in there. Next you'll get Manchester boys Keith, who have been doing the live circuit for a while now, and who are getting even better with time. And as if that wasn't enough, DJing will be Mr Go Home Productions who is celebrating the long awaited release this week of his debut album 'Mashed'. All this plus, of course, Remix host Eddy TM, making for one hell of an evening. It all takes place on 16 Feb at Cargo in East London.

BASICS: Friday 16 Feb, Cargo, London, 9pm - 3am, tix £10. Press info from Leyline.

More recommends: http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk/cmurecommends

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: CASSETTE
Now, a single landed on my desk yesterday, and on hearing it, and liking it, I wanted to review it. However, as it was released back in January, I can't really, as there's a limit to just how late we feel we can publish reviews. So, on the basis of that single, 'The Smartest Bomb', released via download by the lovely Shifty Disco's Singles Club, I've decided to nominate them for MySpace Of The Day instead. You can actually hear the single on the MySpace page, which is nice, plus three other slices of quality electronic style stuff. You know me, not good on genres. In the very nice letter that accompanied the single, they quote the Evening Standard as saying 'If you like Goldfrapp, you'll love Cassette'. I hate to say the Evening Standard are right about things, but I do think that if you like Goldfrapp you'll like this. But to be fair, I liked this better than I like Goldfrapp, and that's a very good reason for you to take a look at this page.

http://www.myspace.com/cassettecassette

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TAKE THAT FAVOURITE TO WIN SINGLES BRIT
Take That are favourites to take the viewer voted Best Single Award at the Brit Awards tomorrow night. As previously reported, eleven tracks were shortlisted for the Best Single prize, but that has now been whittled down to the customary five following voting on commercial radio stations around the country. The final five are The Feeling's 'Fill My Little World', Razorlight's 'America', Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars', Take That's 'Patience' and Will Young's 'All Time Love'. The final winner will be voted for by ITV viewers as the awards show airs tomorrow.

Take That have odds of just 1/2 as we write, with Snow Patrol in second place with 9/2 odds, then it goes Razorlight 4/1, Will Young 10/1 and The Feeling 20/1. Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg cited Take That's "solid fanbase" for his company's decision to make the reformed boy band favourites to win the gong, adding: "They're only up for one award which means their votes will be concentrated in one category", which is a slightly nonsensical statement given that no other categories will be voted for on the night (and only four of the twelve have a public vote at all) but I'm sure he knows what he means.

Not that I'm sure the Take That boys deserve to win the prize given that Gary Barlow has admitted the group has lost at least two of the four Brit Awards they won back in their heyday. He told reporters this week: "We won four [Brit awards]. I have one and I'm pretty sure Mark [Owen] has another. We've lost two somewhere along the way and we need to locate them. We'd absolutely love to get them back".

Of course, tomorrow night's Brits fest should be an interesting affair given that it is the first time the awards event has been televised live since the long remembered and really rather infamous Fox / Fleetwood debacle in 1989. Bosses will be hoping that the live screening will bring back the 'edge' that people reckon the awards show has lost in recent years, but at the same time not so much edge that things sink as low as the 1989 show. Though I suspect a lot of the people tuning in will be willing for it to be a complete disaster - everyone loving a bit of car crash telly.

It will be interesting to see if host Russell Brand is up to the job of keeping control of the proceedings. While, as I've said, I've warmed to the ubiquitous TV irritant of late (though just for the record, Caro wants you all to know she still thinks he's a irritating cunt) it will be interesting to see if his chaotic presenting style works well in what is already a chaotic environment, or whether it will add to the chaos making the whole thing difficult viewing. Could go either way if you ask me.

According to last Sunday's The People, the Brits people are less concerned about Brand's abilities to stop the show descending into a Fox/Fleetwood style farce, and are more concerned about pulling in enough celeb names to present the awards. The tabloid says the awards show's organisers are struggling to find enough A-C-listers willing to take part - possibly because they've picked Valentines Night to stage the event, or possibly because awards shows are out of fashion in celeb-ville. The tabloid quote what they claim is an internal memo which reads: "We're not exactly falling over guest presenters this year - at least not halfway recognisable ones. We are in an apparent drought of suitable faces, the only consolation being that even the BAFTAs cannot find enough presenters". Perhaps they could see if Mick Fleetwood or Sam Fox are available. You know, just for old times sake.

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NME AWARDS LINE UP ANNOUNCED
Talking of awards, the NME say they have such a good line up for their upcoming awards show that the event will "go down in rock 'n' roll history", which I'm thinking is a slightly hyperbolic promise, though it may well be one of the final big events at London's Hammersmith Palais before the bulldozers flatten it, so in that respect it might have a place in rock 'n' roll history. NME chief Conor McNicholas goes as far as to say that he "cannot imagine a better line-up" which, to be fair, suggests he doesn't have a great imagination. You'd have to stage something really rather special for me to not be able to "imagine" a better line up.

But all this petty nit-picking isn't to say that the NME haven't put together a rather fine line up for their annual awards party, because they have. And it's especially good news for fans of bands beginning with K - yep, The Killers, Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs are all on the bill. Add to that those buzzy buzzy Dundonians The View and the legends that are Primal Scream (the winners of this year's NME Godlike Geniuses award) and it should be quite a night.

Here's what Conor says in full: "I cannot imagine a better line-up than this - what a great way to say goodbye to the Palais and remember one of the best years in new and live music ever. The ShockWaves NME Awards 2007 will be an event talked about for years to come!"

All of this takes place on 3 Mar. I'm pretty sure you can still vote at http://www.nme.com/awards.

By the way, for those of you not cool enough / too cool (delete as applicable) to be going to the NME Awards, we'll be having one of our regular CMU nights out that night (I say regular, actually it's the first one ever, but I see it being a regular thing). We'll be all going to see one of our very favourite bands, and we have a not inconsiderable guest list to get all our friends in. More on that later this week.

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THE POLICE CONFIRM REUNION TOUR
In possibly the least surprising press announcement so far this year, The Police yesterday announced they would stage a reunion world tour this summer, more than twenty years after they recorded their last studio album together. The tour will kick off in Vancouver on 28 May, before taking in the rest of North America then South America, Europe, Japan and New Zealand. All three of the band - Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers - attended a press conference in LA yesterday to confirm the tour plans. The announcement followed much speculation in recent weeks, and came immediately after their well received performance at this weekend's Grammys.

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BOW WOW LAUNCHES LABEL
Rapper (no longer Lil) Bow Wow is launching a record label and, with he himself now the incredibly past it age of 19 (nearly 20), he is hoping to use the new business venture to launch the career of another young rapper. Though that said, first signing Young Jinsu is 13, which is quite old compared to when Bow Wow first started rapping, at the tender age of five.

On the launch of the label and the signing of Jinsu, Allhiphop.com quote Bow Wow thus: "I'm passing the Lil Bow Wow torch to Jinsu. This Bow Wow movement with teenagers, girls and kids goes back to Jermaine [Dupri] being a mentor, father figure and learning from him and watching him for the past seven years. Jermaine has blessed me with the ability to do what I do and he's given me my shot into the industry. So now it's my turn to give blessings back to other people that also have the opportunity to do bigger and better things. It's only right to push your people forward".

I'm not sure if the name-checks for Mr Dupri in that quote are just a reference to the producer's role in launching and supporting Bow Wow's childhood rap career, or whether the new venture is some kind of partnership with Dupri who, as previously reported, has just take on a senior role at Universal's Island Def Jam Records. If I find out I'll let you know.

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FIELD MUSIC MAN LAUNCHES SIDE PROJECT
According to Pitchfork, Field Music's David Brewis is set to launch a new project, School Of Language. The musician also told the website that Field Music are planning some time off following UK and North American tour dates, and that the reason for the break is to give the band time to get re-inspired.

Brewis: "Even rehearsing for us is not a particularly creative experience - it's an interesting problem-solving challenge. We make good music, and it's quite enjoyable for performance, but it's not usually creative. When all of that time goes out, we realised that we don't get a lot of time to spend writing new music or having ideas percolate. So the ambition for all of us for the months after March is to find ways to get into the habit of being creative... All three of us have got quite a bit of stuff which is just not Field Music. So we're going to have to find other ways to do it."

Speaking about his new project, Brewis made it clear that nothing's set in stone: "People think of a band as being a set of people, and I'd prefer to think of a band as being an idea, like a set of rules or a concept that works in one way. That can change over time, but it's not entirely dependent on the people who are doing it."

He added that collaborators on the project are set to include Futureheads drummer Dave Hyde and bassist David 'Jaff' Craig, plus former Kenickie guitarist Marie Du Santiago: "I'm going to get them to do some singing for us, because Marie's got a really beautiful voice, and Jaff is really good at harmonies, and I just want to get some other voices on there".

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B52S WORKING ON NEW ALBUM
Hurrah for this. The B52s might be close to releasing a new album, their first in fifteen years. The B52s have reportedly been working on new material for a while now, and, if I remember rightly, when they pulled out of bookings to play last year's Wireless Festival in London they cited studio commitments. But the band's Fred Schneider has now confirmed to the Atlanta Journal that work has begun proper on the comeback album, and that they are about half way through as we speak. They are recording at Atlanta's Nickel And Dime Studios. The paper quote Schneider thus: "This is where we started, so it just feels right to be making this record here. We've loved recording at Nickel And Dime Studios, too. There are no distractions there. Once you're in Avondale, you're in Avondale. I love the Salvation Army there. I've found some great records there".

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CAVE TALKS ABOUT NEW BAD SEEDS ALBUM
Nick Cave has mentioned that he's been working on a new Bad Seeds album during an interview on 6Music to discuss his new Grinderman project. Appearing with collaborators Jim Sclavunos, Martyn Casey and Warren Ellis, Cave was discussing with presenter Julie Cullen the different projects each of Grinderman's members are pursuing. Cave said of his own stuff: "I've been writing the new Bad Seeds one, which we'll be recording in June or July."

So there you go. The previously reported eponymous Grinderman album will be released in early March.

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RADIOHEAD DENY AUGUST RELEASE DATE
Radiohead have denied that the release date for their new album is 6 Aug, despite the fact that Amazon have listed it as being released that date via EMI, subject to confirmation. As you will remember, the release of 2003's 'Hail To The Thief' marked the fulfillment of their EMI contract, and as yet the band have not announced a new deal with any label.

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PATRICK WOLF SINGLE
Patrick Wolf is to release the title track from new album 'The Magic Position', out 26 Feb, as his next single. The single, out 26 Mar, will be available via download, CD and on two 7"s. The CD will be backed 'The Marriage', one 7" is backed by 'Augustine' and 'Secret Garden', whilst the second 7" will feature a live recording of 'The Libertine'.

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GALLOWS 7", TOUR
Punk band Gallows have announced they're to release a limited edition 7" of their first demo recordings. Later versions of three of the tracks on the disc made it onto their 2006 album 'Orchestra Of Wolves' but the fourth has never been released in any form. Here are the band's upcoming tour dates:

2 Mar: Manchester, Roadhouse
3 Mar: Glasgow, Barfly
4 Mar: Birmingham, Bar Academy
5 Mar: Cardiff, Barfly
6 Mar: London, 100 Club

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ARCADE FIRE ON ALBUM TRACK
Arcade Fire have spoken to the Toronto Star about the inclusion on their new album 'Neon Bible' of a re-recording of the track 'No Cars Go', which first appeared on the band's eponymous 2003 debut EP.

The bands's Regine Chassagne said: "I always had an orchestra in my mind from the conception of that song. I always heard it like that in my mind. But there was no way we could have done it like that back then. I was using the accordion to imitate the strings, but I imagined it with an orchestra. Then it becaome an option and I wanted to do it."

'Neon Bible' is out 5 Mar, and the band are live on the following dates thereafter:

8 Mar: Manchester Apollo
9 Mar: Manchester Apollo
11 Mar: Glasgow Barrowlands
12 Mar: Glasgow Barrowlands
14 Mar: London Brixton Academy
15 Mar: London Brixton Academy
16 Mar: London Brixton Academy
17 Mar: London Brixton Academy

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KAPRANOS ON CRIBS ALBUM
Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos has been speaking to 6Music about The Cribs' forthcoming new album, which he is producing. Speaking about how work on the new long player is progressing, Kapranos revealed that Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo has provided guest spoken word vocals on a track called 'Be Safe', saying: "He went through a few different takes and there was a little bit of juxtaposing different sets of texts together which worked really well. He was a real joy to work with".

On his decision to get involved in the production of the LP, Kapranos continued: "I knew it was something I wanted to do at some point, production like this, but I didn't know it would happen so soon. The timing was perfect! Franz had just finished touring and we weren't going to get together to write for a while and I couldn't think of a band I'd want to go into a studio with more than these guys. I like their company and I love their music".

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THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO GARETH GATES
For those of you that have always wondered 'Whatever Happened To Gareth Gates', but not enough to spend your Christmas evening watching 'Whatever Happened To Gareth Gates' on the telly, well, you might want to get your name down for this showcase event. Yes, the former not quite Pop Idol will be performing songs from his new album 'Pictures Of The Other Side' at the Pigalle Club on Piccadilly in London on 21 Feb at 7pm. There's a complimentary bar, but that is, of course, totally irrelevant, you'll all be there to hear the brand new Gates material that will be on offer. I'm planning on going and keeping a wide berth from the bar, to prove my commitment to Gareth's music. I think this is a very limited place event that is really for important industry and media types only, so if you are one of those then you should contact Hudson PR or go to http://www.garethgates.com/invitation if you want to go.

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KELLY JONES PODCAST LAUNCHES
That Kelly Jones fella has launched a brand new podcast thingimy which will feature live performances from his previously reported solo album plus interview footage. The podcast is available via iTunes. I think you go to this URL to get it. Though I've never used iTunes to access podcasts, so I'm not sure how it works. But worth a click.

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/
wa/viewPodcast?id=215097666

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YO LA TENGO CONFIRMED FOR ATP
All Tomorrow's Parties have announced that Yo La Tengo and Brightblack Morning Light have been confirmed to play ATP Vs The Fans - the event taking place from 18-20 May in Minehead, and being curated by the promoters with a little help from music fans who are voting for the artists they want to see perform. Cool. Look here: http://atpfestival.com/events/vs-the-fans.

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EXIT FESTIVAL CONFIRMED
The promoters of the Exit Festival have confirmed that the event is returning in 2007 and will take place from 12-15 Jul once again at the Petrovaradin Fortress on the banks of the river Danube in Serbia. Tickets at a cost of 78.5 euros are on sale now for the event, which in the past has boasted line-ups including the likes of White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, Massive Attack, Fatboy Slim and Scissor Sisters. The programme for this year's festival will be announced in April.

Anyway, if you want to go, you'd better get your skates on, as UK sales are limited to 5000. See http://www.exitfest.org for info and tickets. Press info from Global Publicity.

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RADIO 1 LIVE STUFF
Radio 1 has announced details of its live music line up for 2007. Among the highlights are the return of the Big Weekend event in May, the return of the Six Weeks Of Summer programme which will see the station broadcast from various holiday destinations, plus another series of Radio 1 Presents gigs which will include exclusive gigs from Kaiser Chiefs and My Chemical Romance. There will also be a new music event in November especially aimed at the under 18s.

Plus, of course, Radio 1 will have presence at various music festivals, including Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading, T In The Park and Download in the UK, plus Russia's Fortdance festival, Iceland's Airwaves, Spain's Sonar and the Miami Music Conference. They will also be involved in the second year of the BBC Electric Proms, which are planned for the Autumn.

Here's what Radio One Live Music Editor Jason Carter has to say: "This year is shaping up to be amazing. We're going to focus on the events that we've built ourselves and take them to the next level and at the same time continue to broadcast all of the best live music from the UK and internationally".

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SOUL BRITANNIA ALL-STARS TOUR
Following on from the BBC's Soul Britannia series focusing on 1970s British soul and funk, a show of a similar name - The Soul Britannia All-Stars - is set to tour the UK featuring the likes of Linda Lewis, Madeline Bell, Cymande, Hamish Stuart, Gonzalez, Carol Grimes and Root Jackson.

The dates are as follows, press info from Gerry Lyseight.

8 Mar: Edinburgh
10 Mar: Leicester
11 Mar: Gateshead
14 Mar: Bristol
15 Mar: Warwick
16 Mar: Basingstoke
17 Mar: Poole

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THE FEELING DATES
The Feeling have announced that they'll play three dates as part of the Forestry Commission's lovely Forest Tour. The reason I say lovely is because I really love the idea of going to a gig in a forest, not because I've actually been to one. I'd love to, though. Maybe this year.

Anyway, The Feeling's singer Dan Gillespie says: "We're really looking forward to doing these forest shows. Last year we played a few festivals but people didn't really know our songs. I'm hoping that'll have changed this year."

Here are the dates:

16 Jun: Delamere Forest, Cheshire
22 Jun: Cannock Chase Forest, Staffs
30 Jun: National Arboretum, Glos

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ECO-LIVE AID PLANNED
Having successfully made poverty history with Live 8, it's hoped the great and good of planet pop can now fix that other tricky problem, global warming, with another big gig.

This one is being organised by the increasingly in vogue former US Vice-President Al Gore (who got one of the biggest cheers of the evening at the Grammys this weekend) and will be very much built around the Live 8 model - taking place in the first week of July (7 Jul) and with events around the world. It will even be called Live Earth. A full announcement is expected soon, though rumour has it Kylie, U2, Madonna, Robbie, Coldplay and Oasis will all appear.

There's even more talk about a Spice Girls reunion in relation to this event. Such a reunion was, of course, much rumoured to be happening at Live 8 prior to the event. Depending on who you believe it didn't happen because Mel C wasn't interested or Bob Geldof never actually asked them. Whether there is any more credibility to those rumours this time I don't know, though presumably Emma Bunton will be very pregnant by July.

Anyway, that's not really the important bit of this story - more on the other Live Earth plans when we get them.

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INDIE SALE STATS RELEASED
Some stats from the Association Of Independent Music for you. The indie trade body has revealed that two thirds of the silver albums achieved by UK artists in 2006 were from artists signed to independent labels, while one third of the gold albums achieved also came from indie signed artists. Overall, independents accounted for 28% of all award worthy UK albums (ie those that sold enough to go silver, gold, platinum or multi-platinum) released last year. So now you know.

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MACHIN JOINS FAN CLUB DEVELOPMENT FIRM
Steve Machin, formerly Head Of European Music Services (Strategy And Business Development) at Ticketmaster, has been appointed VP Of International Business Development for UltraStar, a New York based company that specialises in fan club management and marketing, helping artists to commercialise their fan relationships. Machin is the US company's first full time 'international' employee, and he will be based in London. He will be responsible for introducing UltraStar's unique suite of online marketing services to European music artists, developing pan-European and localised marketing deals, identifying strategic European media and distribution partners, as well as managing relationships with local ticketing companies and promoters.

Commenting on his new role, Machin told CMU: "I am very excited to be working with UltraStar. Bands and artists, live acts, and the fans now have the chance to connect directly and meaningfully. There are so many opportunities for growth here in Europe".

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LONDON VENUES WIN INTERNATIONAL PRIZES AT POLLSTAR AWARDS
The boss of London's Wembley Arena has responded to the venue's victory in the Best International Arena category at last week's Concert Industry Awards, the US live sector's annual awards event staged by Pollstar Magazine. The London venue, which re-opened last year after a considerable refurbishment of course, beat Coliseo de Puerto Rico, the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the Manchester Evening News Arena and The Point in Dublin to take the Best International Prize.

Speaking about the award, Wembley Arena GM Peter Tudor told CMU: "This award reflects not just the investment made in turning the building into the stunning arena it now is, but also the efforts of the whole team in consistently offering excellent service to all of our customers both front of house and backstage - it's great that the industry has recognised these efforts".

Another London venue, the Royal Albert Hall, took the Best International Theatre prize at the awards, while the US venues that were awarded in the various venue categories included Universal City's Gibson Amphitheatre (Theatre), Charlottesville's John Paul Jones Arena (New Venue), LA's Greek Theatre (Small Outdoor), the Hollywood Bowl (Major Outdoor) and New York's Madison Square Garden (Venue).

The Coachella Festival won the Best US Festival prize, while the Reading/Leeds Festival won the Best International Festival. Among the artists winning awards for their live activity last year were Tim McGraw/Faith Hill, Def Leppard/Journey, Madonna and Panic! At the Disco.

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MYSPACE EXPAND CONTENT FILTERING SYSTEMS
MySpace has announced it will make available free software tools to enable media companies to block the uploading of unauthorised video clips to the social networking site. The service extends a facility already offered to owners of music content.

MySpace have licensed technology from Californian based Audible Magic for the service. In theory the technology identifies the digital 'fingerprint' or 'audio signature' in an audio or video file as it is uploaded, and if the signature relates to a piece of content that has been 'blocked' by its owner then the software stops the file from appearing on the MySpace site. Content owners can file the 'digital fingerprints' of content they do not want to be uploaded with the social networking firm.

Confirming the expansion of the filtering service, MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe told reporters: "Video filtering is about protecting artists and the work they create".

A number of music and media companies are already reportedly making use of the filtering service, though to be honest I've never found anyone able to tell me how good this technology actually is in recognising and blocking copyright content. It's possibly brilliant for all I know - though it does sound a little too clever to actually work!

Either way, MySpace's use of the Audible Magic system seemingly puts them ahead of YouTube in the copyright protection space. A number of content owners who have reached past agreements with the video sharing service are now expressing concerns that YouTube is being too slow at introducing content filtering and tracking functionality, which was a key part of many of those agreements. YouTube bosses say they are still on track to deliver such systems, though they haven't given any clear timelines as to when they will go live.

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DIGITAL MUSIC GROUP DO DEAL WITH YOUTUBE
Talking of YouTube, according to the Wall Street Journal the video sharing platform has signed a deal with independent digital distributor Digital Music Group that will see some 4000 hours of video content, including a load of music videos, TV shows and films represented by the distributor appear on the website. The aggregator will get a cut of ad revenues generated by their content.

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UNIVERSAL CLOSE TO DEAL WITH BOLT.COM
Universal Music is reportedly close to reaching a settlement with Bolt.com, the YouTube rival which it launched litigation against last year.

Universal's action against Bolt.com and another video sharing service, Sony Corp owned Grouper, followed tough words from the major's chief, Doug Morris, regarding the unauthorised distribution of music owned by the record company via content sharing websites. Those tough words were aimed initially at the big player, YouTube, but they managed to avoid legal action by reaching a licensing and profit/stock share deal with the record company. The smaller players didn't reach such deals, hence the legal action.

Despite initially criticising Universal's litigious approach, reports suggest an out of court settlement between the two companies will amount pretty much to a complete climb down by Bolt.com, who are expected to admit copyright infringement and pay Universal in the region of several million dollars in compensation. The company is also reportedly negotiating similar settlements with the other majors, so much so it has reportedly agreed to sell itself to smaller rival GoFish in order to raise the money to pay the labels.

Insiders say Universal hope any favourable Bolt.com settlement will force Grouper to also comply with its demands.

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GAYDAR FOUNDER DIES
The co-founder of Gaydar Radio, the digital station aimed at the gay market, has been found dead at his London home. A spokesman for the station's owners, QSoft Consulting, said Gary Frisch had died unexpectedly following an "apparent accident or suicide". Police are still investigating his death.

Frisch co-founded the Gaydar brand in 1999, and it remains perhaps best known for its online dating service, though QSoft said the digital radio spin off was "one of Gary's proudest achievements to date".

In a statement the company said: "Gary was a highly regarded leader and colleague who cared first and foremost about the gay and lesbian community that we serve. He was an accomplished entrepreneur and a very generous man who also cared deeply about the people who worked for and with him. Gary's legacy as a co-founder of the Gaydar phenomenon is immense and it is one that we shall both celebrate and continue into the future. Gary will never be forgotten and he is deeply missed by us all".

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EMAP BACK THEIR MAN
EMAP yesterday issued a statement of support for their chief executive Tom Moloney amid rumours plans were afoot to replace him following the fall in share price that followed an admission by the group last week that their profits would be at the bottom end of expectations.

A spokesman for the media conglom told reporters simply: "There is no plan to replace Moloney, and headhunters have not been appointed ... he has the full backing of the board", adding that the rumours that possible replacements were being sounded out about the job were probably being spread because "some people were trying to destabilise Moloney".

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MTV JOB CUTS RUMOURED
Elsewhere in media news, reports in the New York Post suggest that MTV Networks are about to axe 500 employees around the world in order to secure $250 million in annual savings. The job cuts seemingly follow a change in strategy at the music broadcaster following the departure of top man Tom Freston last year. Gossipers say a number of senior and veteran MTV people could be up for the chop.

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MORE BICKERING BETWEEN SKY AND VIRGIN
The bickering between satellite broadcaster Sky and their recently re-energised cable TV competitors Virgin Media (formerly NTL Telewest) continues, with Sky threatening to pull its flagship channels Sky One and Sky News from the cable network. The two companies are currently renegotiating the deal regarding the inclusion of Sky's own channels on the cable network, and word has it there is considerable disagreement between the two media companies over price. To that end, Sky are telling viewers of its channels on the cable network that they should lobby Virgin Media to ensure the Sky channels remain on the network - ie that Virgin should agree to whatever price Sky are demanding. Of course Sky arguably have nothing to lose - either they bully Virgin into paying a higher price, or they pull their channels and try to use it as an excuse to persuade cable users to switch to Sky satellite (assuming, that is, the average cable viewer watches Sky's channels - though Sky One does have some pretty good US shows). With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Virgin can win this one - though an appeal to media regulator OfCom may yet be made - with Sky's actions arguably backing Richard Branson's previous accusations that Sky are abusing their market dominance in a anti-competitive way. Expect more bickering.

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ROBBIE BACK IN REHAB
Robbie Williams has celebrated his 33rd birthday (which is today by the way - Happy Birthday Robbie), by admitting himself into rehab for treatment for his dependency on prescription drugs. The rehab decision follows his decision last Autumn to end his world tour early because of "stress and exhaustion".

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BOBBY AND WHITNEY REUNITE FOR A NIGHT
According to the gossips Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were seen dining out together in LA on Sunday night, prompting rumours that the pair are giving their marriage another go. In town to attend a pre-Grammy party on Saturday, Houston gave the actual awards a miss the following night and instead met with her estranged husband and daughter Bobbi Christina for a quiet meal. Speculation would seem premature, however, given that only last week, it was revealed Houston had petitioned authorities to fast-track her divorce proceedings.

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SCARLETT SAYS SHE'S NOT SEEING JUSTIN
Scarlett Johansson has denied rumours that she's dating Justin Timberlake. Speculation on the matter began due to the actress's appearance in Timberlake's new 'What Goes Around... Comes Around' video, and subsequent gossip that her involvement had led to tension between Justin and then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz - tension which, it was alleged, led to their break-up.

Anyway, here's what she says: "We have a lot of friends in common, and Justin's a sweetheart, and it's always good to see him but there's a lot of speculation and I try not to read that stuff. I think when two people are single and are seen together, it's immediately like a crazy feeding frenzy."

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