CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 1st March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- AIM to consider IMPALA/Warner deal in detail next week
- The Divine Comedy take Choice Music Prize
- Country Music Award noms
- Jim Aiken dies
- Seal loses manager payout appeal
- Hawkins in race for Eurovision
- Jay Kay is not quitting, can we just get that settled once and for all please, because if not, well, who knows what he'll do, but he won't quit, that is for certain
- Run DMC daughters launch footwear line
- Wagner issues another statement re Petty dispute
- Domino time
- Ugly Rumours to break top 20
- Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk headline Rock Ness
- GLC for charity gig
- Tangerine Dream gig
- Camera Obscura single
- Snoop and Diddy on tour next month
- Diddy accused of assault
- Single review: Los Campesinos - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives/Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(s)
- RIAA announce step up in college P2P litigation
- EMI sign up to Last FM
- Oasis stuff
- Take That send Robbie texts

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TOP BIT>>
So, good news for fans of petty corporate squabbling, Virgin and BSkyB have failed to reach an agreement over their previously reported dispute regarding how much the former should pay the latter for the right to include the Sky free channels on its cable TV network. Which means they've lost the right to include the Sky free channels on their cable TV network.

As previously reported, relationships between Virgin and BSkyB have been deteriorating for a while, since before NTL/Telewest rebranded as Virgin Media in fact. Virgin was especially pissed off when BSkyB took a 17.9% stake in ITV just as they were proposing merger talks with the commercial broadcaster. But the more recent dispute has been over the monies the two companies pay in order to include each other's channels on their respective networks.

Virgin recently entered into a new deal regarding the inclusion of its Flextech channels (Living, Trouble, Bravo and UKTV) on the Sky network, in which they reluctantly agreed to take a considerable cut in the fees they receive off the satellite broadcaster. Virgin were hoping that when they then entered into discussions with Sky regarding the inclusion of the satellite broadcaster's channels on the cable network that they could also cut the costs they pay. But BSkyB said "no, not interested in that, thank you very much". So Virgin said "well, we're not paying you what you're asking". And Sky said "well don't then - we'll just pull our channels". And Virgin said "Go on then - see if we care". Or something like that. Talks did continue this week (despite Virgin saying Sky had stopped talking at the end of last week), but things came to a head yesterday.

Both sides began a PR war away from the negotiating table, with both Virgin and Sky keen to paint the other as the bad guy in this dispute (interestingly Sky often refer to Virgin as Virgin/NTL, presumably because they think it is easier to fight a branding war with NTL than with the often untouchable Virgin). Sky encouraged Virgin customers to lobby the cable firm to accept their financial demands, while suggesting Virgin customers might want to switch to Sky's satellite service to make sure they keep access to Sky One etc. Virgin are hoping their consumers will back them in the fight for long enough (ie not jump ship) until that the loss of potential audience to Sky starts to have an impact on their advertising rates. Meanwhile they've been putting bitchy messages on their electronic programme guide where Sky's channels used to be - my personal favourite being the Sky News channel, which now says 'Sky Snooze - try BBC News 24'.

It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, wins this fight. Virgin is taking quite a gamble given that it can't really use its own channels as bargaining power, because they have just entered into a new contract to supply them to Sky for the foreseeable future, and would be in breach of that contract if they tried to take them off the satellite network. And while the Virgin brand does generally enjoy good brand loyalty, Virgin Media's customers are actually NTL/Telewest customers who have just received an envelope explaining the rebrand, so they might not be feeling especially loyal just yet. Or not loyal enough to go without Lost, 24, Battlestar Galatica and rolling Simpsons. Especially if they believe Sky when they say Virgin are unable to pay for Sky's channels because of all the money shelled out on the expensive rebrand from NTL/Telewest.

If nothing else, for those of us without either Sky or Virgin TV services, it is quite fun watching large corporations getting all tetchy and bitchy with each other. It kind of makes them seem a bit more human, which somehow makes them seem less sinister. Of course they start to look a bit pathetic instead, but that's possibly better than sinister.

PS: We're all going to see Big Strides at the Electric Ballroom in Camden tonight. If you're going too, do come and say hello. I'll wear a big hat and Caro will wear florescent sun glasses so you know what we look like. Actually, that won't work - why don't you go look at our pictures on the CMU MySpace, then you'll recognise us - http://www.myspace.com/cmubeats

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: EBB
Ebb is a Stockholm based singer songwriter of the electronicy kind, who's set to release a single and an album shortly, but the reason that I am nominating him for MSOTD just now is because he's playing at the Pigalle on Monday, and, having heard what he can do, you might just want to pitch up for a school-night gig. From what I can gather, his debut album, 'Loona', out here on 26 Mar, has gone down very well in his native Sweden, so hopefully it'll go down well here too. The aforementioned single, 'Life Is On TV', out on 19 Mar, is one of the tracks previewing on the website, so make sure you have a listen to it, as it's rather nice. Oh, and people like me, who listen to Radio 4, can hear him on Loose Ends on Saturday. In the meantime, visit the MS. And if you want any press info type stuff on this chappie, best to contact Emms.

http://www.myspace.com/ebbloona

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AIM TO CONSIDER IMPALA/WARNER DEAL IN DETAIL NEXT WEEK
Actually, there's not really much new news on the ongoing fallout over the deal between pan-European indies trade body IMPALA and Warner Music, but if we do one of those customary quick round ups of the story to date as an introduction it will look quite lengthy and you won't notice the lack of new news.

As previously reported, IMPALA last month announced it had reached a deal with Warner Music in which it had said it would not oppose any attempt by Warner to takeover EMI, in return for certain commitments by the major to aid the indie sector and its new digital licencing agency Merlin. But there is growing opposition to that deal among some of the independent labels aligned to IMPALA's affiliate trade bodies, and in particular our very own Association Of Independent Music, who enjoy an especially close relationship with the European body. London based independents Ministry and Gut have already announced their intention to quit the trade body because, they say, they believe any EMI Warner merger would be bad for the independent sector, and they could not be part of any trade association that supported further consolidation of the major record companies.

Ministry went further by issuing an open letter which claimed AIM was constitutionally bound to oppose the deal, and to force IMPALA to back out of it. In that letter Ministry also claimed the IMPALA/Warner deal had been done in secret, and that even AIM boss Alison Wenham was in the dark about the specifics until it was publicly announced, despite the fact she also sits on the IMPALA board.

AIM confirmed yesterday that they had held an internal meeting to discuss the IMPALA/Warner agreement and the opposition mounting against it and the way it was made. Confirming that those internal discussions were ongoing, but making very little other comment on the issues at hand, Wenham told reporters yesterday (this is the new bit, by the way): "I am pleased to report that the board had a very useful and positive meeting this morning. We did not have time to conclude the discussions relating to the IMPALA agreement, and the board will conclude those discussions at its regular monthly board meeting next week".

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THE DIVINE COMEDY TAKE CHOICE MUSIC PRIZE
The Divine Comedy has won the Choice Music Prize, the Irish equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize, that aims to celebrate Ireland's 'album of the year'.

Twelve Irish media types met in Dublin last night to decide which of the ten shortlisted albums should be awarded the overall Irish Album Of The Year prize. In the end Neil Hannon's Parlophone released long player 'Victory For The Comic Muse' was chosen and he was presented with a cheque for 10,000 euros and a special glass trophy.

Hannon was by no means the favourite to win the prize, and earlier in the evening he'd said he had "a snowball in hell's chance" of winning, all of which meant he had no speech prepared when he was announced as the overall winner.

Eight of the ten shortlisted acts, including Duke Special, David Kitt, Republic Of Loose and Si Schroeder, performed at the Dublin awards event which is in its second year, won last year by Julie Feeney's '13 Songs' album.

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COUNTRY MUSIC AWARD NOMS
More awards, this time from the wonderful world of country music over their in the Yoonited States. Nominations for the 2007 CMT Music Awards, which are kind of the MTV VMAs for country music (CMT being MTV's country music channel, of course) have been revealed, and Rascal Flatts led the way with three nominations, albeit two for the same prize - one for Video Of The Year and one for for Group Video Of The Year.

Also up for the overall Video Of The Year prize are Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks, George Strait, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland and Toby Keith, though, somewhat confusingly, four more nominees will be added on the night of the awards, and then viewers will be given the chance to vote on the overall winner.

Other Video Of The Year noms who appear on other shortlists include Keith Urban, also up for Best Male, Dixie Chicks also up for Best Group and Carrie Underwood who is also nominated in the Best Female category. Plus the director of her pop promo for 'Before He Cheats', Roman White, is shortlisted for the Best Director gong.

For fans of nomination lists you'll find the full monty at the URL below - the awards are on 16 Apr over there in Nashville.

http://www.cmt.com/shows/events/
cmt_music_awards/2007/nominees/

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JIM AIKEN DIES
Irish promoter Jim Aiken has died at the age of 74, following a short illness.

Born in Jonesboro, County Armagh, Aiken started his career as a physics and maths teacher in Belfast, leaving in 1965 when his work promoting bands began to take off. Closely associated with the likes of Cliff Richard, Garth Brooks and Elton John, the promoter travelled the world encouraging acts to visit Northern Ireland when the troubles were at their height, and went on to become one of Ireland's leading promoters. He later played a key role in arranging a series of concerts at the Northern Irish parliament building Stormont to celebrate the Northern Ireland peace process.

He was also a past member of National Concert Hall, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Investment Belfast, was involed with radio stations FM104 and Redfm, and was part of the consortium which brought HMV to Ireland

Dancer Michael Flatley said: "Jim was a gentleman. True to his word and tough in negotiations - and why shouldn't he be? He always stood by what he said, he always honoured his deal. I would have gone to the end of the world for big Jim Aiken".

Aiken's family released a statement saying that he had died peacefully at home, and extended their thanks to well-wishers. Aiken is survived by his wife Anne, five children and eleven grandchildren.

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SEAL LOSES MANAGER PAYOUT APPEAL
Seal has lost his bid to overturn that previous court ruling that ordered him to pay his ex-manager commission on earnings from his first two albums.

As previously reported, John Wadlow won his case against the singer last June when the High Court in London ruled that the former manager was due the commissions because of a 1995 agreement. An earlier agreement between the two men was called into question because it was alleged Wadlow had used undue influence to coerce his client into signing it. However the 1995 agreement superseded that contract, and the judge ruled that agreement was legitimate. Seal was ordered to pay Wadlow £500,000 as a preliminary payment until accounts relating to the albums could be properly assessed.

Seal appealed the ruling, claiming the 1995 agreement was reached by undue influence on Wadlow's part also, but Judge Roger Toulson in the Appeals Court backed his colleague in the High Court who ruled that was not so, noting the agreement, which ended the singer and manager's business relationship, was "not unreasonable or oppressive" from Seal's point of view.

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HAWKINS IN RACE FOR EUROVISION
Well, the news is out as to which high profile stars other than Morrissey were approached to take part in this year's Eurovision, and none of them are as high profile as Morrissey, really. Well, Justin Hawkins, formerly of The Darkness, of course, is pretty high profile, and he's one of the six acts set to compete to represent the UK at this year's song contest in Helsinki.

Also taking part in BBC 1's 'Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up' this year are Brian Harvey, ex of East 17, former Atomic Kitten Liz McLarnon, reformed Scottish pop act Scooch and hip-hoppers Big Brovaz. The final act is a newcomer, called Cyndi.

The programme will be hosted by legendary Eurovision veteran Terry Wogan and talent-free TV presenter Fearne Cotton. Wogan says: "This year hope springs eternal. Who knows, this could be the year that the UK makes it into the top ten. It's about time."

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JAY KAY IS NOT QUITTING, CAN WE JUST GET THAT SETTLED ONCE AND FOR ALL PLEASE, BECAUSE IF NOT, WELL, WHO KNOWS WHAT HE'LL DO, BUT HE WON'T QUIT, THAT IS FOR CERTAIN
OK, let's get this straight, Jay Kay is not quitting the music business. Got that? Good. Jamiroquai's people issued a statement yesterday after the Mirror ran a story saying Kay was bored of making music and was going to give up recording and performing.

The tabloid spoke to Kay after his previously reported gig in the sky record breaking attempt with Sony Ericsson (which took place on Tuesday) and reported the following quote from that conversation: "I haven't been happy there [current label SonyBMG] for a while. I've had some ups and downs but in the end the downs were just too many. When we talked about me leaving, I jumped at the chance. I'm bored. I don't want to go back on the road. We all need a rest to be honest. I don't need the money or a deal. I might be back if I get my inspiration again, but who knows. All I'm going to do now is fly my helicopter and look for the right lady to have children with".

But a spokesman for Jay Kay yesterday said the paper had got the wrong end of the stick completely, telling CMU: "In a quick chat with one of the paper's journalists following his record breaking Gig In The Sky yesterday (in which he broke world records for the world's highest and most high speed gig) Jay mentioned he was taking some time out to update his home studio and take a few months off before the band go back in to start writing a new album later in the year. He also talked about weighing up his options following the expiration of his deal with SonyBMG and of looking forward to working on new arrangements of songs before they next go out on tour so they have fresh take on the tracks
they play live. So, in true tabloid style, any reference to Jay 'quitting music' was way wide of the mark".

So that's that settled.

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RUN DMC DAUGHTERS LAUNCH FOOTWEAR LINE
Vanessa and Angela Simmons, the daughters of former Run DMC rapper Reverend Joseph 'Run' Simmons are to launch their own line of footwear. Pastry Footwear will comprise a collection of colourful, athletic shoes, apparently, aimed at young women. Each shoe type will get a colour related name - eg Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Shortcake and Red Velvet and will be packaged with lip gloss and a scent that complements the shoe's theme.

The line will be released in the US on 23 Mar. The development of the project is chronicled in MTV's Simmons reality show 'Run's House', which is set to air in the Spring.

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WAGNER ISSUES ANOTHER STATEMENT RE PETTY DISPUTE
More on the previously reported dispute between singer songwriter Jim Wagner and Tom Petty. As you may remember, Wagner claims Petty stole one of his songs, 'The Last Great Radio DJ', and reworked it for the song 'The Last DJ'. Wagner issued a statement restating his case back in January, and has now issued a new statement saying he is still to get a formal response from Petty. He also noted a press statement issued by Petty's manager, Tony Dimitriades, in response to his January statement, in which he called Wagner's claims "ludicrous and insulting". Wagner argues that Dimitriades was Exec Producer on Petty's 'The Last DJ' project, so has a vested interested in Wagner's claim against the song, so is in no position to give a unbiased response to the dispute. Wagner is now looking for a lawyer who will take on his case on a no win no fee basis, or a sponsor to fund a legal battle. You can read his latest lengthy statement on the Undercover website at the following URL:

http://www.undercover.com.au/News-Story.aspx?id=1655

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DOMINO TIME
And now the Domino Records news slot. A brand new feature in recognition of the fact I've been sitting on a stack of Domino press releases for a week now and have somehow managed to not report on any of them. So here's a quick round up.

First up, new Arctic Monkeys. The band's new single, 'Brainstorm', got its first public airing via Xfm last night. The single is out on 16 Apr, and is the first release off new album 'Favourite Worst Nightmares', which is due out on 23 Apr. On the flip side of the single will be a collaboration between the Monkeys and that Dizzee Rascal chap called 'Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend'. The Arctic Monkeys have been playing some 'secret gigs' this week - that is to say gigs announced just days before they happen. Such was the excitement for the band's impromptu appearance in Middlesbrough, that fans were queuing up from late Monday night to get tickets - even though tickets didn't go on sale till midday the next day. Which, given the weather this week, is somewhere on the line between being committed, and needing to be committed.

Next up, upfront information on a London gig from Brooklyn-based Animal Collective who will be taking to the Koko stage in Camden on 17 Jul. The show will include live performances of the group's new material, which will appear on their first long player for Domino, due later this year.

Next, Mr Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) and jazz drummer Steve Reid have been collaborating on a new album called 'Tongues' which will be out on 19 Mar. There's a little sneaky preview of their collaborations at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brBOOjTrzYA, but if you want to experience it all for real you really should check out one of these live dates:

20 Mar: Exeter, Phoenix
21 Mar: The Trinity, Bristol
22 Mar: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
23 Mar: The Plug, Sheffield
24 Mar: Academy 4, Manchester
25 Mar: The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
26 Mar: The Cluny, Newcastle
27 Mar: Medicine Bar, Birmingham
29 Mar: KOKO, London
31 Mar: Komedia, Brighton

And finally some Bonnie Prince Billy news for ya. His new single, 'Strange Form Of Life' will be out on 19 Mar, complete with three b-side tracks taken from sessions he did for the Day Trotter website.

Press info on all of this from those lovely Domino types. And that's my Domino press release backlog sorted. Hurrah!

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UGLY RUMOURS TO BREAK TOP 20
Ugly Rumours are going to be the first unsigned act ever to make it into the top twenty using 7 Digital's previously reported indiestore download service. You know who Ugly Rumours are, because we did a CMU-Tube Of The Day about it - they're a parody of Tony Blair's university band of the same name, with a TB lookey-likey as lead singer, and they've done a cover of 'War (What Is It Good For?)' and it's already sold enough downloads through its indiestore to be guaranteed a chart position.

The track was recorded, of course, in association with the Stop The War Coalition and has been released to highlight ongoing opposition to the conflict in Iraq. At the rally following the anti-war demo in London last week, the band played, and the crowd were encouraged to pre-order the single by texting 'peace1' to 78789. When the single went on sale on Monday, thousands of downloads had already been sold. As previously reported, indiestore allows artists to sell their tracks via phone as well as through the web. The song costs £1.50 and you can get it from www.indiestore.com/uglyrumours. Profits go to Stop The War.

Ben Drury, MD of 7digital.com says: "Unsigned bands are incredibly savvy, they realise that by mobilising their online fan base they can have a crack at the charts. Being able to sell and offer pre-sales by SMS is a really powerful tool, allowing you to store up sales for a certain release date - just like a signed act - and also reach people that don't have a credit card. indiestore is the only service offering this so far."

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CHEMICAL BROTHERS, DAFT PUNK HEADLINE ROCK NESS
It's been announced that The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk are to headline Rock Ness, the Highlands' biggest music fest. The event, as I think we may have previously reported, has been expanded to two days this year and takes place on 9 and 10 Jun. Other acts set to appear include CMU favourites The Cuban Brothers and Alabama 3.

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GLC FOR CHARITY GIG
Goldie Lookin Chain have been added to the bill for a charity gig taking place later this month. They join Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys, The Automatic and The Alarm on the bill for the event - Pop Factory's Burberry Workers Concert - at Ystrad Leisure Centre on 24 Mar.

Money raised from the event is to go to the 300 workers at Burberry's Treorchy Factory who are to lose their jobs due to the factory's relocation to the east (of the globe). Tickets on sale tomorrow at a cost of £12.50.

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TANGERINE DREAM GIG
Tangerine Dream have announced that they'll play their only 2007 UK gig at London's Astoria on 20 Apr to celebrate the legendary electronic outfit's previously reported fortieth anniversary. The band will play that also previously reported upcoming album 'Madcap's Flaming Duty', out 2 Apr, in its entirety. Tickets on sale now, at a cost of £22.50.

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CAMERA OBSCURA SINGLE
Camera Obscura have announced that they'll release a single, 'Tears For Affairs', on 16 Apr. Released via Elefant Records, it'll be available via 7", CD and download, the vinyl version featuring a cover of Abba's 'Super Trouper'. It's the fourth single to be released from their fourth album 'Let's Get Out Of This Country'.

The band have also confirmed a series of tour dates, as follows:

27 Mar: Edinburgh Liquid Room
29 Mar: Inverness Ironworks
30 Mar: Aberdeen Lemon Tree
2 Apr: Newcastle Academy 2
3 Apr: Birmingham Glee Club
4 Apr: Southampton Joiners
17 Apr: Brighton Komedia
18 Apr: London Koko
19 Apr: Oxford Zodiac
20 Apr: Manchester Jabez Clegg
21 Apr: Glasgow ABC 1

Press info from Triad.

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SNOOP AND DIDDY ON TOUR NEXT MONTH
Snoop Dogg and Diddy start that previously reported tour next month, and they've given it a stupid name. Snoop Pass The Puff. An 'insider' says: "They wanted the stupidest name for the gigs. They plan lots of surprises." Stupid? Oh, come on. It's quite clear what it means.

Here are the Europe wide dates, in case you fancy a trip.

12 Mar: Oslo Spektrum
13 Mar: Copenhagen The Forum
14 Mar: Berlin Max Schmelling Halle
15 Mar: Stuttgart Schleyerhalle
16 Mar: Hamburg Sporthalle
17 Mar: Frankfurt Festhalle
18 Mar: Munich Olympiahalle
19 Mar: Zurich Hallenstadion
21 Mar: Paris Bercy
23 Mar: Dusseldorf Philipshalle
24 Mar: Brussels Forest National
25 Mar: Amsterdam Heineken Music Hall
27 Mar: London Wembley Arena
28 Mar: Cardiff International Arena
29 Mar: Manchester MEN Arena
30 Mar: Glasgow SECC
31 Mar: Dublin The Point
01 Apr: Dublin The Point
02 Apr: Nottingham Arena

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DIDDY ACCUSED OF ASSAULT
Talking of Diddy, Mr Sean Combs has been accused of battery, in an incident at a Los Angeles hotel on the night of the Oscars. It's alleged that the hip hopper attacked real estate agent Gerard Rechnitzer on Sunday at the Roosevelt Hotel near Academy Awards venue the Kodak Theatre, according to an LAPD spokesman. No comment from the Combs camp.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Los Campesinos - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives/Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(s) (Wichita)
Well, the titles are a promising start, and the single itself is fairly mad, but in a good way, mind. Essentially two and a half minutes of indie randomness, it sees a chorus of girl group harmonies, grungy guitars and Phil Spector chimes alternate with a Streets-esque rap with a reasonable level of wit in the lyrics. And then, a frantic finale with a bloke shouting about fizzy drinks and a frenzied crescendo of noise and, that's it. The B-side pulls a similar trick in terms of its loud/quiet boy/girl dynamics but it's a bit too generically indie for my liking. Still, quite probably the best single this month by any seven piece Cardiff group you're likely to hear. MS
Release date: 26 Feb
Press contact: Wichita IH [CP, RP, NP, CR, RR, NR] Bang On [O]

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RIAA ANNOUNCE STEP UP IN COLLEGE P2P LITIGATION
So, as expected, the Recording Industry Association Of America yesterday announced it was stepping up its campaign against illegal file sharing at colleges around the US. The association said it was sending out 400 letters yesterday to students at 13 colleges, via their colleges (because they have no way of identifying the individual students). They will ask the colleges to tell the students that they will face litigation unless they agree to settle with the record industry association over past copyright infringement, and pledge to stop sharing music in the future. Hundreds more letters will be sent out on a monthly basis from this point onwards. To be honest I'm not sure how that is greatly different than the trade body's existing approach to on campus file sharing, except the threat of legal action is somewhat more explicit. Will be interesting to see how both colleges and students respond.

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EMI SIGN UP TO LAST FM
EMI have followed Warner in reaching an agreement with music tracking social networking thingimy Last.fm (I really must ask Last.fm how they like to be referred to) which will mean EMI's artists will gain more exposure via the networking service. Or something like that. Look, here's what EMI's digital chief Barney Wragg says: "The ability to discover music through social interaction on the service, coupled with their seamless integration of opportunities to purchase or subscribe, makes this agreement of huge value to EMI and our artists". And here's what Last.fm's top man Felix Miller says: "We are looking forward to explore new ways to engage music fans with the gems of EMI's extensive back catalog as well as finding audiences for new, up and coming acts and releases".

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OASIS STUFF
The Gossip's front-lady Beth Ditto has told NME that Noel Gallagher is a fan of hers. She and the band were invited to Oasis's BRIT after party, where Gallagher paid her a compliment about her voice. Ditto said: "Noel Gallagher said I had one of the best voices in rock. To me that's great. I had a huge Oasis poster on my wall when I was in junior high. This was Arkansas, where no-one has heard of Oasis". Really? Arkansas sounds great.

Elsewhere in Oasis Stuff, Noel has said something nice (to NME) about Damon Albarn's new project The Good, The Bad and The Queen. He says "I love the bit at the end of their song 'The Good, The Bad and The Queen' when it goes crazy. There are some nice passages of music on their album as well".

Which is quite a turn around given that he used to want Albarn to get Aids and die. And Albarn was recently quoted as saying: "I can't make it up with Noel. Britpop would be over and heaven forbid that we'd ever admit we'd all grown up! Britpop still reigns supreme over Britain as a musical force and will do until Blur and Oasis split."

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TAKE THAT SEND ROBBIE TEXTS
Take That's Gary Barlow has responded to criticism that they 'snubbed' Robbie Williams when they failed to mention him when collecting an award that he had nothing to do with their winning at the Brits recently, saying that they are doing their bit to support their former band mate but don't want to shout about it because it's a personal thing. Williams is, of course, in rehab, because of a dependency on painkillers and anti-depressants.

Barlow said: "We got picked up a lot for not mentioning Robbie when we collected the award and for us it seemed like everyone was just jumping on the bandwagon. But we have all sent texts and emails to him. We just want to deal with it privately."

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