CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 2nd March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Ministry hone in on restrictive NDA in IMPALA/Warner debate
- Arctic Monkeys score double win at NME awards
- Bestival headliners announced
- Former O'Jay sues over royalties
- Jones sues over distribution of 1981 TV recordings
- Brown freed after radio station settles his child support debts
- Diddy did breach Diddy commitment over Diddy use
- McCartney and Mills return to court
- Foxy Brown pleads guilty to probation violation
- Album review: Type O Negative - Dead Again
- White Stripes on new album
- New Alice Cooper album
- Shirley Bassey plans single release
- Ryan Adams tracklisting
- Triptych news
- Brett Anderson tour
- Jack Penate EP, tour
- Pet Shop Boys tour
- My Luminaries tour
- Live review: The Rapture at London Astoria on 28 Feb
- EC announce more detailed investigation of SonyBMG merger
- Live Nation revenues boom
- Viacom bidding for Last.FM?
- EMAP publishers to go
- Xfm launch MySpace style upload service
- MTV International job cuts confirmed
- Church is up the duff
- Carlisle admits to lesbian antics

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TOP BIT>>
Oh, another busy busy week in music biz news, and no time to report on some of it. So let's do another catch up Top Bit shall we? Publishing stuff first, and major publisher Warner/Chappell this week announced it would take on the administration of thousands of compositions owned by IT giant Microsoft, which includes music used in video games made by the company's X-box division. Digital news, and US rock indie Victory Records has launched its own proprietary music player which will allow fans to stream music from the label's artists via their websites, blogs or MySpace pages. And over 5000 fans were doing just that within a day of the service going live.

On the media front, Capital confirmed they had in deed signed up sacked Kiss FM breakfast show host Peter 'Bam Bam' Poulton. He'll host the station's weeknight slot from 12 Mar, presumably in a bid to see if he can help Capital beat Kiss FM's current record for getting the biggest OfCom fine ever for on air rule violations. In the US, satellite radio firm XM announced it had joined forces with New York music club the Knitting Factory to launch a new alternative music channel, called 'Live From The Knitting Factory' and featuring music from college, indie, and unsigned acts. CMU favourites The Boy Least Likely To will kick off the series today, with Art Brut, Beauty Pill, Chin Up Chin Up, Georgie James and Portastatic all set to appear shortly.

Behind the scenes in the radio world, RadioCentre, those 'commercial radio is great' people, have announced the appointment of a new MD of the Radio Adverising Bureau, which is now a division of the Centre. Simon Redican, previously of News International, but before that of Classic FM, will take in the job. In the world of TV (and radio, I suppose), there was all sorts of shenanigans over at SMG, owners of the Scottish ITV franchises and Virgin Radio, where one of their shareholders forced a coup which saw most of the company's board replaced and which, insiders say, brought to an end chances of a merger between SMG and UTV, the Northern Irish ITV and commercial radio company.

And finally, with all the outrage (of sorts) going on about TV stations ripping off people by making them phone premium phone lines to take part in competitions that are already fully subscribed, there were allegations this week that X Factor bosses were also guilty of overcharging viewers with an interactive system. Apparently every time viewers voted in the pop contest by pressing their red button they were charged 50p instead of 35p. Some £200,000 was overcharged. The broadcaster said those overcharged could apply to get their money back, and that they'd make a £200,000 donation to Childline anyway. Have you noticed how these TV companies seem to think that if they pay some money to charity we should let them off for stealing money off their viewers? Shouldn't TV stations be banned from using premium rate phone numbers, then it wouldn't matter how incompetent or fraudulent the shows producers were, viewers wouldn't be ripped off? Well, shouldn't they.

And that's it for now - if only because it's getting really late and we ought to get this damn Daily out. Oh, but one more thing, go and do our reader survey! http://www.songpeople.co.uk/cmu

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

CARO'S LIVE TIP: THE BLACK GHOSTS
I don't honestly know that much about these guys, but earlier today I was asking myself "what band would I go and see this weekend if I weren't completely busy the whole time", and it was The Black Ghosts that came up (presumably because I've been hearing some positive things of late and want to check them out for myself). The fact is, one of my favourite live acts, The Fratellis, are also playing in London this weekend, as are people like Kaiser Chiefs and oh, I don't know, big people. But they're too big for me now. I like going to see live acts I don't know much about because it can be a lovely surprise when they turn out to be great. That's how I discovered I liked The Fratellis in fact, back in the day. Anyway, the point here is not The Fratellis, but The Black Ghosts, who are, to the best of my knowledge, playing at the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen tonight. I tried to listen to their MySpace tracks, but the music player wasn't working. All the same, I got the impression that it's dance-y, electro-ey pop. The MySpace page is here, if you want to check out the sounds http://www.myspace.com/blackghosts.

Friday 2 Mar, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, 2 Hoxton Square, 8pm.

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MINISTRY HONE IN ON RESTRICTIVE NDA IN IMPALA/WARNER DEBATE
So, another good day for people who, like me, are big fans of open letters about the rights and wrongs of independent record label trade bodies approving major label mergers. I'm actually thinking of launching some kind of social networking group for us open letter fans - with perhaps occasional group gatherings where we can meet and discuss our favourite open letters, that kind of thing.

Anyway, I digress ever so slightly. The news here is that Ministry Of Sound issued a second open letter to the UK's Association Of Independent Music yesterday which in part reasserted certain demands made in their earlier letter on the matter, in part set out new demands and, in the main, provided us here on the outside of all this with a summary of one of the key topics for discussion at the AIM meeting on the matter on Wednesday - a meeting on which AIM itself is yet to really comment.

Ministry, of course, object to a deal reached by pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA with Warner Music, in which they have said they will not oppose any Warner takeover of EMI in return for certain commitments made by the merger to aid the indie sector. As AIM are affiliated with IMPALA, and share a number of board members with the European body, Ministry are calling on the UK body to reject and attempt to overturn the IMPALA/Warner agreement which they believe is detrimental to the indie sector and which they think has been reached in overly secretive circumstances.

The letter, from Ministry's lawyers Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons, initially notes that no formal response has been received from AIM regarding the letter it issued on Tuesday, and again requests that the trade body release any internal documents or external correspondence regarding major label mergers or, more specifically, the IMPALA/Warner deal. They also want to know if IMPALA board members involved in negotiating the deal have disclosed personal interests with regard to the concessions Warner have made in order to secure IMPALA backing for their expansion plans (presumably because Ministry suspect IMPALA members actively involved in the recently announced independent digital rights agency Merlin have more to gain from the IMPALA/Warner deal than those who are not).

With regard to the previously reported AIM meeting to discuss the fallout, which Ministry attended, the legal letter reveals a key issue of debate was the non disclosure agreement Warner has insisted those involved in the IMPALA/Warner deal sign to. Ministry say that NDA stops those involved in the deal from sharing the 'heads of agreement' between the trade body and the major with others within the industry association or their own organisations - which does seem a bit overly restrictive and which certainly hinders proper debate in the independent community regarding the pros and cons of supporting Warner's proposed acquisition of EMI.

Ministry's letter says: "It was a contractual condition imposed by Warner Music Group (WMG) that only those individual board members who had signed the NDA would be permitted to see the Heads Of Agreement between IMPALA and WMG. Apparently no one was allowed to take the Heads Of Agreement out of the room, or to discuss it with their lawyers or with their individual board directors. For our part we have never seen an NDA in such restrictive terms. We stated in the course of the meeting that AIM should refuse to consider the ratification of what IMPALA had already agreed, on those terms. We stated that it is essential that the Heads Of Terms be available openly for discussion with all members of AIM because this was the single most important matter being discussed in AIM's history and was so close to the very heart of AIM's constitutional aims".

Ministry say AIM chief Alison Wenham suggested at Wednesday's meeting that the requirement for confidentiality on this matter may be related to US rules regarding mergers and acquisitions (the IMPALA deal being very much linked to Warner's EMI takeover plans). But on that suggestion Ministry's lawyers say: "We have discussed this matter with out client's US attorneys who specialize in takeover matters involving [US regulator] the SEC. They have advised us that there is no regulatory reason or condition that they are aware of that requires these Heads Of Agreement to remain confidential. We can conclude therefore it is simply at the whim of WMG, to which IMPALA have weakly acquiesced, that the Heads Of Agreement have not been disclosed in full to all members of IMPALA".

Ministry conclude by arguing that the NDA revelation has made many UK independents even more suspicious about the way the IMPALA/Warner deal was reached, and that far from Wednesday's meetings being, as AIM claimed, "very helpful and positive", concern is now, in fact, on the rise. AIM, of course, have already announced the Warner deal will be discussed more fully at their scheduled board meeting next week. Ministry have said they will attend that discussion, but only if the aforementioned Heads Of Agreement are issued to AIM members beforehand, and without NDA restrictions. Which I don't really see happening, given that Warner would need to approve such a distribution first.

PS: For fans of this story (you know who you are), see the aside remark in the story on the EC's new investigation into the SonyBMG merger below.

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ARCTIC MONKEYS SCORE DOUBLE WIN AT NME AWARDS
Arctic Monkeys were the only double winners at the big NME Awards bash at the Hammersmith Palais last night. They took the prize for Best Album for 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' as well as Best DVD for 'Scummy Man'. Though, that said, Muse were named Best British Band while their frontman Matt Bellamy was proclaimed Sexiest Man, so in a way they won two awards also.

Other winners included My Chemical Romance who were named Best International Band, Kasabian who took Best Live Act, Jamie T who won Best Solo Act and The Klaxons who took the newcomer prize. The Reading/Leeds Festival was named Best Live Event in the poll, all voted for by NME readers, while the Brixton Academy was named Best Venue. Meanwhile The Philip Hall Radar Award, one of the few selected by the NME editorial team rather than voted for by readers, and designed to big up brand new talent, went to the rather wonderful The Twang. On winning that gong the band told CMU: "It's mad - we've not even done anything yet! It's ace and a privilege - we've always read the NME while growing up and read about the awards so it's wicked".

Unlike at the Brits, Lily Allen didn't miss out on a gong at the NME Awards, though it was for Worst Dressed, which I don't suppose makes up for much. Elsewhere in the worst categories, Panic! At The Disco was named Worst Band while poor old Robbie Williams got the Worst Album prize for his 2006 long player 'Rude Box' (in fact we hear Robbie received one of the highest percentage of votes in any NME awards category ever, which presumably won't cheer up the already pretty down Mr Williams too much - though given he was up against four indie-tastic acts that's not that surprising really - and let's not forget, even a poorly received Robbie album outsells long players from pretty much every other artist shortlisted at the NME Awards).

Alongside Muse's Matt Bellamy in the all important 'sexiest' awards section was Kate Moss, who was named Sexiest Woman, despite everyone else in the 'sexiest' shortlists coming from planet indie, and Moss coming from, hell, I don't know what planet. Moss and sometime boyfriend Pete Doherty were in attendance at the awards show, although the sexiest gongs aren't actually formally presented, but she was due to present the lifetime achievement style Godlike Genius prize to Primal Scream. Unfortunately the couple were kicked out of the venue before Moss' presenting duties were required. Though before you assume it was rolled up twenties in the toilets that got the infamous couple evicted, it seems that the couple getting too, erm, "amorous", was the reason. The NME quote an anonymous source as saying: "Pete and Kate were trying to get into the premises' toilets but they were removed by the bouncers and told to go back to their table. Later they were both caught in a dark alleyway at the back of the building. So we got their own security guards to put them in a car and take them home".

In the end The Clash's Mick Jones joined NME editor Conor McNicholas to present Primal Scream with their Godlike Genius award. Jones joined the band during their awards set too for a cover of The Clash's 1978 song '(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais', something of a tribute to the legendary venue hosting the awards, which is to be demolished later this year of course.

Anyway, here's your winners list in full...

Best British Band: Muse
Best International Band: My Chemical Romance
Best Solo Artist: Jamie T
Best New Band: Klaxons
Best Live Band: Kasabian
Philip Hall Radar Award: The Twang
John Peel Innovation Award: Enter Shikari
Best Album: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Best Track: The View - Wasted Little DJs
Best Video: The Killers - Bones
Best Music DVD: Arctic Monkeys - Scummy Man
Best Live Event: Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds festivals
Best TV Show: The Mighty Boosh
Best Radio Show: Zane Lowe, Radio 1
Best Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Sexiest Man: Matt Bellamy
Sexiest Woman: Kate Moss
Worst Band: Panic! At The Disco
Worst Album: Robbie Williams - Rudebox
Worst Dressed: Lily Allen
Best Dressed: Faris Rotter
Villain Of The Year: George W Bush
Hero Of The Year: Gerard Way
Best Venue: Carling Brixton Academy
Best Website: YouTube

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BESTIVAL HEADLINERS ANNOUNCED
Hurrah for Bestival, it being the one music festival that takes place in a month when our lives aren't completely consumed with covering other festivals of the cultural kind. And once again Rob da Bank and the Sunday Best crew have put together a storming line up for us to enjoy, headlined by the mighty Beastie Boys and The Chemical Brothers, and featuring no less than: Gregory Isaacs, The Levellers, The Orb, Billy Bragg, The Maccabees, The Cuban Brothers, Dub Pistols, Calvin Harris, Mr Hudson & The Library, Simian Mobile Disco, Bonde de Role, Cagedbaby, Horace Andy, Jah Wobble, Zion Train, Fujiya and Miyagi, Fionn Regan, Daedalus, Ska Cubano, Super Nashwan, Kate Nash, Remi Nicole, The Shakes, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Fields, Adjagas and many more tbc. Plus there'll be all that quirky nonsense that ensures Bestival is one of the bestest festivals in the calendar.

Here's what Rob da Bank has to say: "I can't believe we're about to launch the fourth Bestival and I'm as excited as ever about the acts we've got on board already and the hundreds more to come. We're the only English festival to get the Beastie Boys and I can't wait to see the fancy dress loonies po-going along to 'No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn'. Friday headliners The Chemical Brothers are old favourites of all of us at Bestival HQ and their new tunes are miles ahead of everyone else as usual. Laser rave action ahoy! As for the Sunday headliner, well you'll just have to wait but it'll be worth it (and yes I do know who it is!)".

It all takes place from 7-9 Sep on that Isle Of Wight. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.bestival.net/

For those wanting some Sunday Best style fun much much sooner than all that, may I suggest a visit to the Lock Tavern in Camden this Sunday sometime after 3pm where you will find Rob da Bank, Chris Coco, Nigel Godrick and the Sombrero Sound System all DJing, plus live sets from the Dulwich Ukelele Orchestra, Dan le Sac v Scroobius Pip and the rather wonderful (and must remember to get my hands on their singles) The Hat. Lovely.

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FORMER O'JAY SUES OVER ROYALTIES
A former member of the O'Jays is suing his former bandmates and record label in a royalties claim. Sammy Strain says he never received any royalties from his sixteen years with the soul group, and is suing for $15 million. Strain was a member of the soul outfit from 1976 to 1992 and recorded eleven albums with them. He claims O'Jays founders Eddie Levert and Walter Williams deliberately conspired to cut him out of royalty payments, and also names R&B producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (who wrote many of the group's hits) and their label, Philadelphia International Records, as defendants in the case. Strain's lawyer Charles A Whittier told reporters this week: "My client has been stabbed in the back for the love of money".

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JONES SUES OVER DISTRIBUTION OF 1981 TV RECORDINGS
Tom Jones has begun legal proceedings against a Californian company called C/F International who, he claims, is illegally distributing sound recordings he made as part of a TV show in 1981. Jones and his company, Tom Jones Enterprises, is seeking to stop the licensing firm from distributing rights to sound recordings from the 24 episode Tom Jones Show, which features all sorts of Jones solo performances and some pretty high profile collaborations too. The legal papers also seem to claim that any licensing rights C/F did once have (to the TV shows rather than the sound recordings pulled off them) are long since terminated anyway due to various breaches of contract.

In a statement, Tom Jones Enterprises said this week: "[We] have commenced legal proceedings in California against C/F International, Inc [and] its principal, Burt Rosen, seeking rulings that the [defendants] never had any right to exploit sound recordings of Jones' performances in the television programs, that they no longer have any rights in the programs themselves and that an injunction be granted preventing them, their licensees and others acting in concert with them from further exploiting the unauthorised recordings taken from the programs and the programs themselves".

Jones says he feels the distribution of the recordings is "deceiving the public as to their source, quality and authenticity", and that he is seeking the injunction against C/F to "prevent further deception and fraud of the public and to protect [his] reputation and career".

Commenting on the case, Gordon Williams of Lee & Thompson, Jones' London based legal counsel, told CMU: "Don Engel, a prominent California attorney, is handling the seminal proceeding against the licensors of the recordings intended to determine, among other things, that no one has a right to distribute sound recordings taken from the television programs. Our firm will follow by instituting actions here and wherever necessary to ensure that the unauthorized inferior product is removed from circulation. The recordings have spawned hundreds of titles of various forms and permutations that are currently being sold through every possible avenue of distribution worldwide".

C/F are yet to comment.

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BROWN FREED AFTER RADIO STATION SETTLES HIS CHILD SUPPORT DEBTS
So Bobby Brown is out of jail after three days, after a radio station stumped up the $19,000 he owes in late child support and court costs, payment of which had become conditional for his release. As previously reported, Brown was arrested last weekend following his latest failure to meet child support obligations to Kim Ward, the mother of his two teenage children. Brown's lawyer said his failure to pay was not down to unwillingness, but because the sums he was expected to supply Ward with were beyond his means now his musical career was less successful. Nevertheless lawyer Pheadra Parks pledged to find the money earlier this week, and in the end it was secured off Washington station Hot 99.5 FM who agreed to pay the debts in return for a commitment by Brown to appear on a week of programming on the radio station, including giving a candid interview about his life and, presumably, his current divorce from Whitney Houston. No word from Parks on whether Brown will now endeavour to cut his child support commitments to avoid future missed payments and resulting jail time.

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DIDDY DID BREACH DIDDY COMMITMENT OVER DIDDY USE
Well, I noticed this week's press release for Diddy's upcoming European tour was very much headlined P Diddy, because, of course, he is not allowed to use the Diddy name in the UK after losing a legal battle over the name with London producer Richard 'Diddy' Dearlove. Issues surrounding that legal battle were back in court this week, with the key issues being discussed now set to go to full trial in October.

As previously reported, Dearlove claimed that Sean 'Diddy' Combs was in breach of the court ruling regarding the use of the Diddy name in the UK because the hip hop mogul's MySpace and YouTube pages use the disputed name. They are, of course, hosted in the US but accessible in the UK. Hearing Dearlove's latest claims, Judge David Kitchen agreed there was a breach, but refused to issue an injunction banning Combs from having the Diddy name on the MySpace and YouTube websites because there is, of course, the issue that Combs himself isn't able to stop his US presence on the social networking and video sharing websites from being accessed in the UK. The issue of control will be discussed when the case gets a full court hearing later this year (if it does, word has it both sides now hope an out of court settlement can be reached before then).

Judge Kitchen did say, however, that Combs was in clear breach by name checking himself in a song released in the UK since the court ruling governing the use of the name (the track is 'The Future' on last year's 'Press Play' album). Diddy's people said they would ensure the line - "mainline this Diddy heroin" - would be removed from the song when performed in the UK.

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MCCARTNEY AND MILLS RETURN TO COURT
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills have returned to the high court this week for the latest hearing in their ongoing divorce case. A private session began on Wednesday in Court 47, a part of the high court reserved for family cases, and it's thought to be a preliminary hearing. As previously reported, McCartney and Mills separated in May last year following four years of marriage, and divorce proceedings began the following July.

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FOXY BROWN PLEADS GUILTY TO PROBATION VIOLATION
US rap star Foxy Brown has pleaded guilty to violating the terms of her probation by visiting Florida recently without requesting permission from her probation officer to leave New York. The hip-hopper's unauthorised trip to the Sunshine State was revealed, as previously reported, when she was arrested there on 15 Feb after getting into a spat with a beauty shop owner. Brown, real name Inga Marchand is, of course, on probation due to that incident back in August 2004 when she assaulted two Manhattan nail salon employees during a dispute over the cost of a manicure.

In court yesterday, probation officials asked that the court end Marchand's period of probation and send her to prison instead. Judge Melissa Jackson has given her another chance, however, and is letting her continue on with the current terms of her plea deal. She warned, however, that if Brown violates probation again, she may end up serving a year behind bars.

Brown will still face charges of battery and resisting arrest whilst down in Florida. As previously reported, she held a press conference earlier this week denying those charges, and saying "The only crime I am guilty of committing is being a young black female celebrity in Broward County".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Type O Negative - Dead Again (SPV Records)
It would probably be folly to point out exactly how ridiculous it is for middle aged men to be singing self-deprecating teen-angst lyrics (if you can't see what's wrong with opening a song with a roar of "goodbye cruel world" then you're not taking this music as seriously as you ought). Once a prominent feature of Roadrunner's roster of metal bands in the mid-90s that went on to spawn the obnoxious weed called nu-metal, Type O Negative perhaps slipped off the radar far more noticeably than Sepultura or Machine Head. Time out of the spotlight could mean a re-appraisal of what made your band great, but it more often involves getting fat and lazy and re-visiting the same worn path when the time comes to step back out onto stage. While Type O Negative have not 'sold out' or released a covers album, 'Dead Again' fails to deliver much in the way of thrills. Peter Steele's voice sounds stronger than it ever has, and we live in a world where being a sex-symbol to prepubescent girls carries a lot of weight, but his vocal strength gets lost in the depths of the utter ridiculousness of his lyrics.
At its best, it all threatens to turn into some kind of gothic cross between The Birthday Party and Wall-era Pink Floyd, but this promise never really comes to fruition, although 'September Sun' comes deliciously close. AM
Release Date: 19 Mar
Press Contact: Work Hard [all]

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WHITE STRIPES ON NEW ALBUM
White Stripes have announced that they're at the mixing stage with their new album, which is apparently to be called 'Icky Thump'. A post on the band's website revealed the names of six tracks set to appear on the LP - 'Catch Hell Blues', 'Little Cream Soda', 'Rag And Bone', 'Clicky Bump', 'You Don't Know What Love Is (Just Do As You're Told)' and 'I'm Slowly Turning Into You'

The band write: "We are doing our best (whatever that is) to release the album as soon as corporately possible. And though we are tired, worn, weary, hungry, cold and left without an ounce of nutrition amongst ourselves, we are in the midst of planning performance type shows around the world."

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NEW ALICE COOPER ALBUM
Alice Cooper has revealed that he's working on a new album, and that he's planning a tour. In fact, here's what he said to Hendrix TV (whoever that is) about it: "I'm working on my 31st album right now, in fact it'll be out in May. The tour starts in May, it'll be a world tour. It'll be called "Along Came A Spider and it'll be a full on Alice Cooper production."

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SHIRLEY BASSEY PLANS SINGLE RELEASE
Shirley Bassey is set to release a single for the first time in ten years to mark her 70th birthday, collaborating with rock band Never The Bride on a track called 'The Living Tree'. The singer is also reportedly considering the offer of a set at Glastonbury, and is due to release an album of remixed tracks.

Explaining how the collaboration came about, Never The Bride's Nikki Lamborn described how she and bandmate Catherine Feeney found themselves staying at a Monaco hotel patronised by Bassey, and so left a copy of their CD and a letter for her. A few weeks later, they received a call from Bassey's manager.

Lamborn: "We didn't write it with Shirley Bassey in mind, but the way it came out, we always said, 'Wouldn't it be amazing if this could end up being a Bond song?' You know how you have these little dreams? We just kept pinching ourselves. It was stunning. My heart was in my mouth because I'm such a fan. She really goes for it, sweat was lashing off her. I think her voice is even better now than she's been in the past."

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RYAN ADAMS TRACKLISTING
The prolific Mr Ryan Adams has announced a tracklisting for his new album, 'Easy Tiger', which is set for release on 4 Jun. Here are the songs, although this may not be the order in which they appear.

Goodnight Rose
Everybody Knows
The Sun Also Sets
Halloween Head
Off Broadway
Two Hearts
Tears of Gold
These Girls
Two
I Taught Myself How to Grow Old
Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
Rip Off
Pearls on a String

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TRIPTYCH NEWS
I always type Triptych wrong the first time, which is odd, because I'm widely acknowledged to be one of the world's best spellers. Anyway, it's time for a Triptych update (aha! Right first time, that time) - you all know what Triptych is, but for that one kid at the back of the CMU class who's not been listening, it's the festival of music events taking place across three Scottish cities, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, this year from 25-29 Apr.

Here's what George Kyle from sponsor Tennent's says of the festival, now in its seventh year: "Triptych has championed startling grassroots and international music with shows from the likes of Aphex Twin, Franz Ferdinand, Candi Staton, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Chuck D, Grace Jones and Prince Buster since 2001. This year's Triptych promises to further delight and enlighten with a quality, accessible, nationwide programme whose divergent musical luminaries share one common, critical attribute: timelessness".

So there you go. Anyway, the event has been busy confirming new acts in addition to those previously reported ones - Ute Lemper, Terry Riley and Brazilian buzzy buzz buzz band CS. Also amongst the diverse acts appearing at this year's event are King Creosote, DJ Premier and Marley Marl, Cat Power, Evan Parker, Sister Nancy and Sister Carol, The Funkmaster, Euros Childs and Gruff Rhys.

Incidentally, Triptych's not just about the live stuff, there's a film programme too, with showings for the likes of 'Beat Kings: The History of Hip Hop' and Arthur Lee eulogy 'Love Story'. See the website for info, acts, tickets, news and everything: http://www.triptychfestival.com.

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BRETT ANDERSON TOUR
Brett Anderson has announced a UK tour this summer to follow the release of his single 'Love Is Dead', and his eponymous solo debut on 26 Mar. Tickets on sale now, dates as follows:

1 May: Bristol University
2 May: Manchester Academy 2
4 May: Glasgow QMU
5 May: Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
6 May: Newcastle University
8 May: Cambridge Junction
9 May: London Shepherd's Bush Empire

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JACK PENATE EP, TOUR
Jack Penate is set to release a self produced EP in April entitled 'Spit At Stars'. As of today, he's on a massive UK tour, dates as follows. Hope he's taking his vitamins.

2 Mar: Southend Chinnery's
3 Mar: Southampton Lennons
4 Mar: Hastings Brass Monkeys
6 Mar: Hertford Marquee
7 Mar: Northampton Soundhaus
9 Mar: Winchester Railway
10 Mar: Tunbridge Wells Forum
11 Mar: Swindon Brunel Rooms
24 Mar: Bedford Esquires
25 Mar: Peterborough Met Lounge
27 Mar: York Fibbers
28 Mar: Nottingham Social
29 Mar: Preston 53 Degrees
30 Mar: Birmingham Barfly
31 Mar: Wakefield Escobar
2 Apr: Brighton Engine Rooms
3 Apr: Bristol Louisiana
4 Apr: Reading Fez
5 Apr: Norwich Arts Centre
6 Apr: Cambridge Junction
7 Apr: Leeds Cockpit
9 Apr: Aberdeen Tunnels
10 Apr: Glasgow Nice And Sleazy's
11 Apr: Newcastle Cluny
12 Apr: Sheffield The Plug
14 Apr: Derby Victoria Inn
15 Apr: Hull Adelphi
16 Apr: Manchester Night & Day
17 Apr: Birmingham Bar Academy
18 Apr: London ICA
21 Apr: Cardiff Barfly
22 Apr: Oxford Zodiac
23 Apr: Leicester Sumo

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PET SHOP BOYS TOUR
Those Pet Shop Boys are to tour the UK this summer. Hurrah. They're also reportedly working on new material, which is good. Here are the dates:

24 May: Gateshead Sage
25 May: Wolverhampton Civic Hall
27 May: Hammersmith Apollo
28 May: Manchester Apollo
29 May: Brighton Centre

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MY LUMINARIES TOUR
Yes, more tour news. And yes, as you may have gathered from the headline, it's news regarding a tour that the popular beat combo (and CMU favourites) My Luminaries are shortly to commence. Here are the dates and corresponding locations:

8 Mar: Liverpool Zanzibar Club
12 Mar: Newcastle Cluny
13 Mar: Leeds Josephs Well
15 Mar: Manchester Night & Day
16 Mar: Cardiff Barfly
17 Mar: Southampton Lennons
19 Mar: Birmingham Barfly
20 Mar: Brighton Hope
21 Mar: Bristol Louisiana
22 Mar: Islington Bar Academy
28 Mar: Dublin Crawdaddy
7 Apr: Bromley The Clink

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LIVE REVIEW: The Rapture at London Astoria on 28 Feb
The Rapture might want to consider revising their lyrics "people don't dance no more," seeing how there wasn't a still soul in sight at their sold out Astoria show this week. Playing as part of the NME Awards London shows programme thing, the quartet, accompanied by a designated tambourine player, stole the crowd with their first droning note as if challenging us to an hour long dance party. New York City has yet again birthed a band that makes you want to move and shake, so don't expect to stay dry at one of these shows. Within minutes, waves of sweat drenched boys and girls edged their way to the back, out of the mass of moving bodies, for a breath of air that was seriously lacking in the venue. There are certain bands you can tell would rather be nowhere else than out in front of their fans making music, and The Rapture are a shining example. All stage antics aside, never have I seen such genuine pleasure in performing, true and sincere entertainment. Bassist and singer Mattie Safer touched on this on their website writing, "In general, touring is kind of an interesting life. You basically spend 23 hours a day doing somewhat unpleasant things in order to have that 1 hour a day that gives you the greatest feeling I know out there. It's indescribable how good it feels to be out there in front of an audience, and for that I thank everyone who has already seen us and everyone who is going to come. I owe you". Also, after this week's show, I'm convinced The Rapture's Gabriel Andruzzi should be credited with reinstating the cowbell in to modern day music and making it something people really get excited about, and for that, I owe him. RL

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EC ANNOUNCE MORE DETAILED INVESTIGATION OF SONYBMG MERGER
As expected, the European Commission has announced it is launching a new more detailed investigation into the 2004 merger of Sony and BMG's record label operations which means competition regulators will now not rule on whether the merged enterprise, SonyBMG, can continue to operate in its current form until July.

The EC has been reconsidering whether or not the SonyBMG merger should have gone ahead ever since the European Courts last year ruled it should not have given approval in 2004 based on the evidence available to it at that time. They were due to announce their findings yesterday, but instead said a second probe was necessary before reaching a conclusion, so that officials could undertake a "thorough analysis of the complex information".

The pan-European trade body IMPALA, who spearheaded the original legal fight against the SonyBMG merger, welcomed the news of a more detailed investigation, claiming that the fact EC officials had not been able to re-approve the merger without in-depth investigation backed their claims that there were/are considerable concerns regarding the impact the merger could and has had on the wider music sector.

The trade association says it hopes the new in-depth investigation will look into issues ignored by the original 2004 probe into the potentially anti-competitive results of further consolidation in the record industry. They said in a statement yesterday: "IMPALA has been pushing for a wider investigation as, last time around, the focus was mainly on price. IMPALA's members have raised specific concerns about their reduced market access. These include the collective dominance of the majors and co-ordination of competitive behaviour in retail, radio and television, press and other media, as well as in the vital on-line market. The independents also asked the Commission to address other vital issues such as cultural diversity, the role of creativity and small business in the Lisbon strategy, vertical integration, links with sister publishing companies, unfair leveraging of repertoire and review of SonyBMG promises during the first investigation, as well as what has happened since".

Keen to distinguish their continued opposition to the SonyBMG merger to their recent somewhat controversial backing of a Warner takeover of EMI, the trade body continued: "IMPALA's agreement with Warner acknowledges that mergers without far-reaching remedies cannot be authorised. IMPALA expects the Commission to roll that out as a template for SonyBMG to serve as a model for the independents and all majors to work together towards market recovery". Which is possibly a controversial statement in itself, given that up until now IMPALA have been resolute that the only way forward in this domain was for SonyBMG to be demerged into Sony Music and BMG, but now seem to be implying that if SonyBMG made the same commitments to the indie sector as Warner are proposing to make should they takeover EMI, then all might be fine. Will be interested to see Ministry's take on that!

EC officials will now report back on 4 Jul.

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LIVE NATION REVENUES BOOM
Live Nation yesterday announced fourth quarter revenues for 2006 were up 39.8% on 2005 - up $299.7 million to $1.05 billion - though the company still recorded an overall loss of $33.1 million for the period. Those figures mean that in its first year of trading as an independent entity apart from the Clear Channel media company, the live music conglom saw full year revenues rise from $2.94 million to $3.96 million, but with overall losses of $31.4 million.

Despite the overall loss, there seem to be smiles in the upper echelons of Live Nation, and those figures do seem to have been well received by financial circles, coming as they do at the end of a year of concentration and expansion at Live Nation - with the firm concentrating on the live music sector, and continuing to acquire businesses in that sector to guarantee themselves market leader status in the global live industry.

Commenting on the last financial year, the company's CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement: "We began 2006 as a broad-based live entertainment company with a vision to transform ourselves into a global vertically integrated live music company. Since then, we successfully moved Live Nation closer to our goal by (i) beginning to shed non-core businesses such as our sports representation business and Las Vegas productions and announcing the plan to divest selected non-core venues and our North American theatrical business, (ii) aggressively expanding our live music platform by acquiring House of Blues, CPI and entering new top tier global music markets and (iii) extending our capabilities to provide additional goods and services surrounding live music events by establishing livenation.com and acquiring majority stakes in companies such as Musictoday and TRUNK. Now, at the beginning of 2007, I can say we are focused on live music with the tools to execute on our strategy to become a global vertically integrated music company, connecting artists and fans through the live concert experience".

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VIACOM BIDDING FOR LAST.FM?
Rumour has it that Viacom might be close to buying London based online music social networking information sharing and recommendation platform Last.fm (still haven't found a good way of describing what they do, I'll work on it over the weekend). Consensus is that Viacom could definitely benefit from the Last.fm's network and user insights, though the online firm aren't in any real urgency to sell, meaning Viacom will have to make a very good offer to secure the company.

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EMAP PUBLISHERS TO GO
Media Week are reporting that EMAP is planning to scrap the role of 'publisher' at all of its consumer magazines as part of its previously reported bid to save £40 million over two years. Exact details of which people that affects, and whether those people will be redeployed within the group or made redundant, is not yet know. Title closures are also still expected - and in fact one title, the very recently launched home technology magazine, Digital Living, has already been reportedly axed.

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XFM LAUNCH MYSPACE STYLE UPLOAD SERVICE
Xfm is launching a MySpace style music site that will allow unsigned bands to upload tracks and photos and stuff. The new platform, to be called Uploaded, will link in the station's cross-network Music:Response strand, which has just got itself a new sponsor in the shape of Stolichnaya Vodka.

The plan is that Xfm will keep an eye on music uploaded to the unsigned platform and pick out the best for on air exposure. Here's what the station's music chief Mike Walsh says: "We have a long history of helping to break new bands and giving them their first air play and this will enable us to step it up a gear and also get important feedback from our listeners about who is exciting them at any given moment".

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MTV INTERNATIONAL JOB CUTS CONFIRMED
MTV has released more info about how its previously reported global restructure will affect its non-US operations. A further 250 jobs will go globally, with cuts at the music network's London office among them. The cuts will be undertaken through "a collective and individual consultation process in accordance with UK employment laws", whatever that means. Here's what MTV Networks International president Bob Bakish says about the restructure: "These changes will position us well for the next phase of our growth - increasing our operating margins through more efficient corporate structures. The moves mobilise our resources to build our multiplatform brand portfolios in priority markets and expand growing revenue areas such as ad sales, digital media and consumer products". And here's what one London based MTV employee told Billboard: "It's been a rough day. And the next few weeks are going to be tough."

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CHURCH IS UP THE DUFF
Charlotte Church is such a copycat. The minute she hears that there's going to be a CMU baby, she has to up and steal its thunder by announcing that she's going to have a baby too, with rugby international boyfriend Gavin 'Silverboots' Henson (though before you gossip columnists get your pencils out, we should stress Caro CMU is not having Henson's baby). The singer's management have confirmed the pregnancy, earlier than they would like to have done, because of media speculation due to the fact that Church didn't drink at her recent 21st birthday celebrations. Which is pretty telling, actually, given Charlotte's normally healthy enjoyment of the, er, odd jar.

Confirming that the singer is in "early pregnancy" and that she and her boyfriend are delighted by the news, a statement on her website continued: "Charlotte felt she had no choice other than to go public, and she was keen to ensure that her fans had the opportunity to read the truth."

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CARLISLE ADMITS TO LESBIAN ANTICS
Former Go-Go Belinda Carlisle has admitted that she has 'experimented' with her sexuality a bit in the past, but doesn't want to talk about it too much because of her teenage son. She told PlanetOut: "I've been there and I've done it all. Let's just put it that way. Without going into too much detail. I think all of us in the band, we've... all been there and done that."

So now you know. Bet you'll sleep better now.

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