CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 20th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- US satellite radio companies propose merger
- UK record industry goes back to court over CD-Wow
- Scottish unknown writing with Kylie
- Take That on Robbie
- Mary Kaye dies
- Ash reveal album tracklisting, sorta
- Radio 4 to write songs for Strummer film
- Jimmy Eat World on new album
- Osbourne says family member is HIV positive
- Polytechnic tour
- One day more T In The Park?
- The Thrills to play Dublin fundraiser
- Coldplay apologise for ticket prices
- Bloc Party gig halted by coin
- JMC's King on the reunion
- SXSW full gig schedule out
- Could EMI's difficulties aid a major merger?
- Divisions may merge at SonyBMG US
- Universal to acquire Octone
- Academy Group buys Brighton concert hall
- HMV Group shortlist ad agencies
- NUJ and BIPA oppose BBC's online ads proposals
- Radiocentre appoint a Meek man
- Duloks sell buttocks for cash
- Allen says boyfriend, not Winehouse, made her cry
- Pete Doherty quotes bible while on crack, blah, etc


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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rockers and ravers, bloggers and blaggers, pluggers and players, journos and junkies, fans, friends and, erm, family members, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the next edition of the CMU Recommended and universally revered Insomniacs Ball will take place on 5 Apr at the seOne Club in the bowels of London Bridge station. The third edition of London's bestest underground all nighter, once again a huge array of great indie and DJ talent will take to one of three stages at the ultimate Easter party.

Already on the bill are Brakes, Shy Child, These New Puritans, Shakes, Bolt Action Five, Fear Of Flying, Goose, Hadouken and The Longcut, plus those Wall Of Sound chaps will be hosting their very own Shock Rock Arena, which given the quality of that wonderful Shock Rock compo (out this week if I'm not mistaken), should be a brilliant addition to the proceedings. Also, this time the seOne vaults will be dressed to impress for the proceedings, with velvet curtains, candle sticks and dodgy portraits, and Ball attendees are encouraged to dress accordingly - cravats, tweeds and bowlers for the boys and sequins and tiaras for the girls (or vice versa if you prefer, I doubt anyone will complain).

Tickets are a mere £21.50, with a limited number of student tickets available for NUS card holders at just £15. VIP golden tickets which offer access to an exclusive VIP area are also available for sixty quid. Ticket type stuff can be found at, line up info will appear over the coming weeks at, and for press type nonsense you need to drop an email to

Expect plenty of Insomniacs Ball plugging to be going on in these parts in the coming weeks. Which reminds me, it's Breakspoll this week, make sure I do some more Breaking Ground plugging tomorrow.



So, I was just speaking to the PR for King Tuts Glasgow's monthly new music showcase Your Sound, and it occurred to me we should feature them here in MSOTD, and I'll tell you why in a minute. But first, in case you've forgotten, Your Sound is a regular event staged by King Tuts venue for the Glasgow music community. Aspiring bands are given a chance to network with industry and media types, while DJs play music from various unsigned bands, with the band that garners the most excitement being named 'artist of the month'. The MySpace is relevant because, while the event itself is aimed primarily at the Glasgow music community, the Your Sound people post full summaries of each event here, so those of us further afield can find out what music was being played and championed. And while there isn't actually any music on this MySpace, there are links to the MySpaces of certain featured bands, which are well worth checking out. The round up of Your Sound February is currently live. The next event takes place on 4 Mar, with Manda Rin (Bis, Kitchen & Data Panik) among the people due to be spinning some tunes, and I assume info on that day will be posted shortly after that.


This is quite a big story. It is, really. That's why it's here at the top. Might mean nothing to us here in the UK, where satellite radio is yet to be unleashed, but it could have quite an impact on the American music media space in the years to come.

Anyway, the US's two rival satellite radio networks, Sirius and XM, yesterday announced their intent to merge. The two companies are proposing a tax-free, all-stock merger which will see the collected shareholders of each organisation controlling about 50% of the new merged firm. XM Chairman Gary Parsons would head the board of the new company, while Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin would run it on a day to day basis. Current XM CEO Hugh Panero will continue to run that company until the merger is closed.

Of course, it is not a completely forgone conclusion that the merger will, in fact, ever be completed because the deal will need the approval of the US government and, as rumours of a Sirius XM merger have circulated in recent weeks, Kevin Martin, the chief of the country's media regulator, the FCC, has repeatedly stressed that such a merger could not happen, because both companies' licence conditions forbid it. The merger will most likely need to find support in US Congress and, while the satellite firms will have a proactive lobbying strategy in place, they will have to out-lobby the powerful National Association of Broadcasters, which represents XM and Sirius' terrestrial rivals, who have no interest in there being one powerful satellite broadcaster focused on competing with them rather than each other.

Nevertheless, the satellite radio companies' chiefs yesterday spoke of the merger as if it was a definite. From XM's side, Parsons and Panero issued a joint statement, reading thus: "We are excited for the many opportunities that an XM and Sirius combination will provide consumers. The combined company will be better positioned to compete effectively with the continually expanding array of entertainment alternatives that consumers have embraced since the Federal Communications Commission first granted our satellite radio licenses a decade ago".

From the Sirius side, Karmazin told reporters: "This combination is the next logical step in the evolution of audio entertainment. Together, our best-in-class management team and programming content will create unprecedented choice for consumers, while creating long-term value for shareholders of both companies. Each of our companies has a strong commitment to providing listeners the broadest range of music, news, sports and entertainment and the best customer service possible. We look forward to sharing the benefits of the exciting new growth opportunities this combination will provide with all of our stakeholders".


The UK record industry is returning to court in a long running dispute with online music seller CD-Wow.

As previously reported (though you might need a long memory to remember), the major record companies first took action against CD-Wow owners Music Trading Online in 2004 over the internet firm's practice of buying CDs from distributors outside the European Union, and selling them via their online operation to UK customers. Because those non-EU distributors sell CDs at a lower unit price, CD-Wow was able to undercut their high street and other online rivals.

Although the distributors used by MTO were legitimate, UK copyright rules say that retailers must only source content products from distributors within the EU, unless given specific permission from a content owner to do otherwise. With MTO clearly violating those rules, the UK industry won its case against the internet company in 2004, and the company committed to only buy stock from EU based suppliers from that point onwards.

The new lawsuit alleges MTO have broken that commitment. Representatives of the major record companies say that while monitoring the CD-Wow service they were sold CDs that had been sourced in Hong Kong. They will look to the courts to enforce the original commitment and to compensate content owners for any recent copyright violations MTO have committed.

MTO are yet to comment, though lawyers for the UK record industry say they expect the internet trader to claim the sale of CDs from Hong Kong were isolated incidents caused by human error.


An unknown Scottish songwriter is working with Kylie Minogue after tracks on his MySpace were brought to the pop star's attention. Calvin Harris, 23, a DJ and former shelf stacker, has built up a large following using the networking site, despite having his demo tapes ignored by record companies for years. A spokesman for Kylie said: "She has been working on some tracks with Calvin. Kylie heard stuff he'd done and liked it. Things are going well".

Meanwhile, Harris has now signed to SonyBMG and is set to release his own debut single, 'Acceptable In The 80s', next month. He will also support Faithless on their upcoming UK tour dates.


Take That have been talking about how upset they are about Robbie Williams' situation following his recent, previously reported decision to check himself into rehab. I hope they don't feel as though they are having to do a 'damage limitation' exercise, after they were accused in certain quarters of 'snubbing' their former bandmate at the Brits.

The band's Mark Owen told Reveal magazine: "I'm so worried about him. I'm gutted and devastated things have ended up like this. I think he should come back to the UK. When I heard about him checking into rehab, I felt really sad - I just want him to get happy again. I'll do anything I can to help him. If he wants me to see him, I'll be straight on that plane".

Owen went on to admit that "me and Rob went through a period where we didn't speak", but explained how Williams got in touch after Owen won C'leb Big Brother back in 2002, and that the two have spoken around three times a week ever since. "Rob was always my mate and I always felt very close to him", Mark says.

Colleague Howard Donald continued: "I've been calling him loads. I'm upset some people think it's our success that's made him depressed".

Owen added that he thought recent comments from the likes of Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher about Williams were not appropriate, saying: "I felt bad at the Brits because there were some jokes said about Robbie that made it look like he was being mocked".


Hawaiian guitarist Mary Kaye has died at the age of 83 from respiratory and heart failure. The musician, a descendent of Hawaii's royal family, born Mary Kaaihue, was the first woman to have a guitar named after her - the Fender Mary Kaye Stratocaster - and was sometimes referred to as "the first lady of rock and roll".

Kaye's Mary Kaye trio, comprising the guitarist, her brother Norman Kaye, and Frank Ross, set the Las Vegas 'lounge' trend of playing late into the night during their time at the city's Frontier casino hotel during the 1950s. Other hotels followed suit, creating similar lounge bars to keep gamblers entertained all night. During their time together the group recorded 13 albums and 21 singles, and appeared on television on a total of 22 occasions.


Ash have revealed an album tracklisting, but it's not final. What they've released is a list of fourteen tracks that may, that's 'may', feature on their upcoming new studio album. The new long player as yet has no name, or release date, but is expected to be out this summer.

I Started A Fire
You Can't Have It All Polaris
Suicide Girls / Subterraneans (TBC)
End Of The World
Shattered Glass
Roulette (TBC)
Princess Six
Dark And Stormy
What Is The Meaning?
In Hell / The Boy Who Lived In Hell (TBC)


Radio 4 have told that they've been asked to write music for a film about the life of Joe Strummer, produced by actor Tim Robbins. Guitarist Dave Milone said: "We're writing and writing. Not just for the movie but we're hoping the material will be our next record too".

The group have also announced that they'll play a show at Brooklyn's Studio B on 2 Mar.


Jimmy Eat World have been talking about work on their new album, and have indicated that they're not planning to hurry the process. Frontman Jim Adkins said in a statement: "During the Christmas break we wrote some new tunes and got ideas for a bunch more. We are working on those and giving them the chance to develop. We are still very excited about what we have completed thus far and we hope to wrap it up as soon as possible, but this is the way rock is. Sorry. Shit takes forever".


Kelly Osbourne has broken down in tears at a benefit gig and admitted that one of her family is HIV positive. The singer (?) was speaking at that previously reported KoKo event in support of HIV charity Body And Soul, and explained why the cause was special to her. Onstage to introduce a performance by Scissor Sisters, photographers reported that Osbourne started sobbing before leaving the stage. No comment has been forthcoming from the Osbourne camp.


Polytechnic, who release their debut album 'Down Til Dawn' on 23 Apr via Shatterproof Records, will play some of those gig type things at each of the following dates...

20 Feb: Nottingham Social
22 Feb: Glasgow King Tuts
23 Feb: Sheffield Leadmill
24 Feb: Manchester Academy 3
25 Feb: London Astoria (with The Shins).
27 Feb: London Luminaire
28 Feb: Bristol Thelka
1 Mar: London Wembley Arena (with Keane)
3 Mar: Sheffield Hallam Arena (with Keane)
4 Mar: Manchester MEN Arena (with Keane)
5 Mar: London Bush Hall (with Brett Anderson)
6 Mar: Newcastle Metro Arena (with Keane)
7 Mar: Glasgow SECC (with Keane)

Press info from Coalition.


T In The Park organisers are reportedly going to make this year's festival three days instead of two - ie it would begin on the Friday. Though said organisers haven't commented on those reports - which appeared in Scotland's Sunday Mail. Though they are expected to announce initial line up news on Thursday, so I guess they'll say then if the number of days is going to be increased.


Yahoo Music's report on this story refers to The Thrills as "posh rockers" which seems an odd description if you ask me. I'd call them "talented lovely blokes The Thrills" myself, and that's nothing to do with the fact they're CMU subscribers. Anyway, The Thrills, who are currently working on their third album, will play at a special gig in Dublin next month in aid of the Help A Dublin Child campaign being staged by the city's FM104 radio station in aid of Barnardos. The gig, at Dublin's Olympia Theatre, aims to raise 50,000 euros, and will also feature sets from The Blizzards, Duke Special and The Coronas. There's info on the gig here...


Coldplay have apologised to South American fans about the cost of tickets on their recent tour. Frontman Chris Martin said of the tickets: "We just found out how expensive they are and would like to say we are sorry. We didn't know beforehand. The tickets of course could not have been extremely cheap because we are playing smaller venues here, but the price is a little embarrassing. When you are a famous band, a lot of things happen that you don't know about".

Of course, if you profess to be the sort of socially aware do-gooder that Martin comes across as, one would think you'd make it your business to know.


Bloc Party's gig in Aberdeen on Sunday was stopped part way through after frontman Kele Okereke was hit by a flying coin. An audience member launched the monetary missile two songs into the band's set, and the group were forced to leave the stage. Okereke was not hurt, however, and the band returned after a short hiatus and continued with the gig.

Someone on a forum somewhere said: "It was a pretty good gig in the end, but aside from a couple of songs they didn't look they were having fun and the coin-throwing incident made the rest of the gig feel a bit awkward."

The band's remaining tour dates are as follows:

20 Feb: Edinburgh Corn Exchange
21 Feb: Newcastle Academy
22 Feb: Sheffield Octagon


Jesus And Mary Chain bassist Phil King has said that he never thought he would see a reunion of his band, who, following their acrimonious split back in 1998, are set to play a set at this year's Coachella.

King told 6 Music: "I was very surprised about it. I didn't think it was going to happen. One of the reasons is because Jim's [Reid] wife is about to have a baby so we thought it would be too difficult, but it seems we're doing it now and it's great."

On the set list for the Coachella appearance, he added: "I spoke to William a couple of days ago and I was asking him about it and he said 'oh, just learn 21 Songs ' which is the greatest hits, so it should be just all the hits".

King also says that the band will consider further live dates, depending on how they get on at Coachella.


Organisers of the SxSW convention have released their full gig line up for 2007, and it features 1000 acts. Which is far too many for me to publish here, so you should go to and click on the 'bands' button to get the full day by day listings. That's what I'll be doing. As always, there are MP3 downloads available from many of the artists booked to appear.


So, EMI's recently reported financial woes could have an upside. Well, for fans of major label mergers, anyway.

According to Reuters, some legal types say that the best case for persuading European officials to allow EMI and Warner Music to merge their operations (as you'll remember, with all the shenanigans surrounding the Sony BMG merger, it's thought EC officials would be unlikely to approve an EMI Warner merger in the current environment) would be to cite the "failing firm" defense, that is to say to officials, "you have to let us merge with Warner, otherwise we'll go under, and that's in no-one's interest".

Though, it has to be said, while that's a fun idea, it's not really likely to be a route EMI would choose to take. Firstly, while there has been much disappointment in investment circles at the London major's financial performance, they're not really doing so badly to fall into the "failing firm" category. And secondly, if they were admitting to being a "failing firm" that would make them very much the weaker party in any EMI Warner merger, and EMI chiefs still aren't going to be all that keen on what would essentially be a Warner takeover.

Still, if a private equity firm were to stage a hostile takeover of the EMI Group in order to get their hands on the more profitable EMI Music Publishing, and if they were to then sell off the recorded music division, and if Warner was interested in buying it, and if that equity partner chose to sell it to them, well, then EC approval would be required and the "failing firm" defence may come in useful. Still, there were a lot of ifs in that sentence.


Anyway, let's turn our attention away from EMI, and look at potential redundancies at another major record company. Yes, let's. Though before you all start panicking, this is in the US. American readers of the CMU Daily have permission to panic.

Rumour has it SonyBMG will follow EMI's lead and merge two of its big US divisions into one. As previously reported, EMI recently merged its Capitol and Virgin US divisions to create one group. SonyBMG may now follow suit by merging its Epic and Columbia divisions.

As I remember it there are basically four big divisions to SonyBMG US - former Sony labels Epic and Columbia and former BMG labels RCA and Zomba/Jive. There's no word on the latter two, but the consensus seems to be that Epic and Columbia will become one sooner rather than later, enabling the consolidation of the two division's operations and a resulting reduction in head count.

Perhaps Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin was right when he said last weekend: "In the next couple of weeks, maybe months, there will be a bloodbath at the major record companies".


Elsewhere in major label nonsense, Billboard reports that Universal's Interscope/Geffen/A&M bit will today acquire Octone Records, ending the New York independent's long standing relationship with SonyBMG.

Octone was established in 2000 by James Diener, then a senior A&R and marketing VP at BMG's RCA/J Records division. The major distributed Octone releases, and also set up a joint venture with the indie, OctJay, through which commercially successful artists were "upstreamed" so that they were essentially handled by the major, especially internationally. In the new deal with Universal the label will be rebranded A&M/Octone, and the new company will acquire SonyBMG's share in OctJay.

As I understand it, A&M's existing roster will continue to be released under just the A&M name, with marketing and distribution handled by the central Interscope/Geffen/A&M team. The Octone roster and all future A&M signings will be released under the new A&M/Octone name, and will be managed by the Octone team, which will continue to be led by Diener. The most successful band to go through the Octone/BMG joint venture, Maroon 5, will stay with the label, and their second album will be the revamped company's first big project.

A&M haven't been signing new talent of late since the imprint's former president, Ron Fair, moved to take over sister label Geffen. In the UK A&M hasn't been active for a long time, with A&M US releases released over here by Polydor. Whether that will continue to be the case following the revamp in America I don't know - I suspect so.

Confirming the Octone acquisition, Interscope Geffen A&M chief Jimmy Iovine told reporters yesterday: "A&M is one of the jewels in our family of labels, which has thrived under the leadership of Ron Fair. Ever since he became chairman of Geffen Records, I have been thinking about the next chapter for A&M. Once I got to know James Diener, and recognised his accomplishments with Octone, I saw the opportunity to marry these two imprints in order to create a new exciting company, in the tradition established by [A&M founders] Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss".


That there Academy Music Group has acquired a concert hall in Brighton, taking the group's venue portfolio up to 12.

The acquisition will see the city's Hippodrome restored into a music and entertainment venue after forty years as a bingo hall. From 1901 until 1964 the venue was one of the city's key entertainment venues, in its latter years hosting gigs by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. From the mid-sixties it was a bingo hall until its closure last year.

Confirming the acquisition John Northcote, the boss of AMG, which also owns London venues Shepherd Bush Empire and the Brixton Academy, told reporters: "We're delighted at the prospect of maintaining and developing a site with such history, especially as this venue still retains many of its original features and grandeur of its early years. Our aim is to bring the Hippodrome back as a quality entertainment venue, working with local bands and artists as well as major UK and international acts".

The Group, who are still in talks with Live Nation regarding the live music multi-national taking a majority ownership stake in it, also announced it has increased the maximum capacity of its Carling Academy Birmingham venue from 2700 to 3000.


Music retailer ad agency news anyone? HMV Group is reviewing its media planning and buying accounts, and we're told incumbents OMD and PHD will now compete with Starcom and MediaCom for the work. Previously HMV Group's media buying account has been split, with one agency doing HMV, one doing Waterstones. But the plan is to merge both into one account - so only one of those four companies will be successful.


The National Union of Journalists and the British Internet Publishers' Alliance reckon that the BBC Trust should stop plans by the Beeb to include advertising on its overseas websites. The Corporation has been toying with the idea of adding adverts to its websites when accessed from outside the UK because some question why UK licence fee payers are funding online content read by large audiences outside the UK.

The BIPA are concerned that the move will provide a stepping stone for the BBC to become more commercial in the UK web space. The Corporation has already had to cut back some of its former online operations which were accused of falling outside of the Beeb's public service remit and using BBC resources to compete with commercial websites. The NUJ are concerned that the 'ads show when seen from abroad' system won't work, and also argue the commercialisation of BBC's online operations will have editorial impact.

The Trust is due to consider internal BBC proposals for online advertising tomorrow.


The wonderfully named Kip Meek, formerly Chief Policy Officer at media regulator OfCom, is joining previously reported commercial radio industry body RadioCentre as a non-executive director. He is also on the board of the much previously mentioned Ingenious Media, and is a non-executive chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

Confirming the appointment, RadioCentre top man Andrew Harrison told reporters: "I'm absolutely delighted that Kip has agreed to join us here at RadioCentre. Through his work at Ofcom, he has done an enormous amount of work with the radio sector and his knowledge will be invaluable to us".

You know I was thinking this weekend, I quite fancy being a non-executive director of some media quango. I can attend meetings and talk endlessly about any random media topic - which is what non-executive directors do, right? I could be the slightly edgy one on the board (ie the unshaven one that doesn't wear a suit). Any offers to the usual address.


Three piece girl band The Duloks are selling advertising space on their buttocks to help them fund a trip to Singapore to play the Baybeats Festival. The girls are known for playing dressed in American Apparel short shorts, which is probably what gave them the idea. Singer Mira Manga, says: "It's going to be superhard to raise money for the flights but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity that we're determined to take a shot at least! Why do flights have to be so expensive?!"

The band release their debut single later this year. Those wishing to spend cash on a piece of Dulok ass would do well to contact


Lily Allen says that Amy Winehouse didn't make her cry, despite what reports might suggest. Recent pictures of Allen in tears were of the singer weeping as she said goodbye to her boyfriend, and not, as some suggested, of her blubbing because of an argument with Amy Winehouse, who of course beat her to 'Best British female' at the recent Brit awards.

Allen: "The story about me being in tears because I didn't win a Brit or had a fight with Amy is complete rubbish. She and I are friends and we were hanging out at the Brits and at the Oasis party afterwards. I was talking to her for ages. I always said that I wasn't expecting to win, and that if I wasn't going to win then I hoped Amy did. I'm very pleased for her. The pictures of me crying were taken when I was saying goodbye to my boyfriend who I haven't seen much of recently. I've been working really hard and travelling a lot and I only got to see him at the Brits so the tears were just because I was leaving to get on yet another plane".


According to reports Pete Doherty recently quoted the bible as he mixed crack cocaine with ammonia at a party in Scotland. A 'source' told the Daily Record: "Pete started to mix the drug with a big silver crucifix hanging around his neck. As he was doing it, he quoted a passage from the Bible, saying, 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church'". Quite what the relevance of the quote is passes me by.

I'm not one hundred percent sure when this happened. It might have been last May (so, not that recently) when the band were playing at Glasgow's Barrowlands, when a homeless man called David Cook reckons Babyshambles gave him £1,000 to buy drugs for them.

Cook told The People: "A member of the crew gave me money to buy heroin and cocaine. Pete shook my hand and thanked me for what I was doing. I was invited to join them backstage. There were lots of people there, most of whom were doing drugs. Pete refused to go on stage until the drugs were finished. He had to be dragged out."

Plus ca change, eh?

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