CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 5th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- EMI knock back latest Warner offer
- Publishing bodies call on MySpace and YouTube to complete licensing deals
- German indies body backs IMPALA/Warner deal
- RHCP send condolences to family of fan killed queuing for tickets
- Kelis charged with disorderly conduct
- View man fined a grand for drugs possession
- Michael Jackson stuff
- Elliott Smith retrospective tracklisting
- Earache sign SSS
- George Michael will play Wembley first
- Take That tour sold out
- Cocker to curate Meltdown
- Bloc Party man still concerned by US label's mag
- HIV Osbourne revealed
- Live review: Kunek and Dorian Small at VZD's, Oklahoma City
- Major HMV review planned
- BBC announce partnership with YouTube
- MTV UK chief quits amid restructure
- GCap take on Chrysalis man
- Virgin drop bitchy listings
- Chart update
- Total Rock world album chart
- This week's Student Radio Chart
- Subshot playlist
- Houston and Brown are staying friends
- Doherty on his wedding challenges


A big 'thank you' to everyone who has already done the CMU reader survey. A big 'please' to those of you who haven't. That is to say, "please will you do our reader survey" - we're looking to hone and improve our service in the coming months and could really do with your thoughts on all that.

As mentioned several times up here in the Top Bit, this is our first ever reader survey, and it is designed partly to find out a little bit about what you guys think about some of the issues in the music world at the moment, but also to find out what you think about the CMU Daily. We are doing this in association with Entertainment Media Research's website, who specialise in these kinds of things, and we will report back to you on the results in a couple of months. And we really will hone the Daily on the back of what you tell us.

And your opinions could potentially influence more than just us here at CMU. Songpeople also provide a whole range of other music media with guidance on their music policies, and will invite you to offer your opinions in other occasional surveys that give you the chance to share your musical opinions. You don't have to take part in those other surveys of course, but part of the CMU ethos is letting other media know what great new music is out there, and what great new music is getting people excited at the grass roots, and the Songpeople surveys are another way that you can all help us achieve that ethos.

So, if you haven't already, why not tell us what you think right now? Just go to to get started.



'Music With Meaning' is an opportunity to reach other like-minded musicians, fans and media, open the discussion further and bring intelligent music back to the forefront.

Music is the most powerful medium the world has ever known. Nothing else can influence the way we feel, think, behave and live like music can. We can no longer endure the empty-headed, emotionally-stunted, soulless, meaningless music being spewed out by the production line. We have had our fill of manufactured muppets and their pointless songs cluttering up popular culture leaving little room for those with something to say to be heard. We are not alone. Real music lovers of the world: it's time to unite and make a stand.

Together we have the power to demand more inspiration from our music and fight for music with a message and the power to move hearts and minds. We have the power to ensure the pop stratosphere is populated by real artists and meaningful music, not chinless talent vacuums striving for fifteen minutes of forgettable fame. What happened to true musical role models? Why should we be forced to seek solace in the achievements of eras gone by? We need inspirational music icons for this generation and generations to come; people who can highlight injustice in the world rather than draw attention to their own mundane pseudo-celebrity antics.

The Campaign For Music With Meaning is here to support artists who have something to say; who say it because they mean it; and who mean it because they care. Join us, and together we can crush the pretenders and make music with meaning the sovereign soundtrack of our lives.

If You Stand for Nothing, You'll Fall for Anything



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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: The Freestylers
There are bands that I never include in the MSOTD spot because I assume we've already featured them - "obviously The Freestylers have been MSOTD at some point" you say to yourself - then one day you happen to check the MSOTD archive on the CMU Beats Bar website and you realize, arrrgh, they never have. And when that happens, quick rectification is needed. So here it is. The Freestylers are true breaks meisters of course, and have provided us with more great slices of dance music than it is surely healthy for one production duo to provide. Last year's long player 'Adventures In Freestyle' was a suitably fine follow up to 2004's storming 'Raw As Fuck', containing as it did a number of stand out tracks, including last year's single release 'Painkiller' (another collaboration with the equally on fire Pendulum) and the upcoming single release 'Electrified' which I'm told is due out in early April. Freestylers Matt and Aston have a busy DJing schedule between now and then (did I mention they're damn hot DJs too?) and you can check that schedule out here on the MySpace, plus preview Freestyler classics like 'Painkiller' and 'Push Up' (audio tracks and videos for both appear) and check out or download their Radio 1 Mini Mix (done for Annie Mac I assume). Go check. And consider the 'Freestylers have never been MSOTD oversight' rectified.


That EMI Group confirmed on Friday that it has rejected Warner Music Group's latest takeover offer. As expected, Warner offered its London based rival 260p a share, somewhat down on the 320p a share it offered last year, but a reflection of EMI's stock exchange performance since its current financial woes became clearer at the start of the year.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, EMI said its board had met to consider the offer on Friday but had decided it was "inadequate". Continued doubts that an EMI Warner merger would get approval from European regulators was also cited as a reason to reject the bid. The company said its board felt it was "not in the best interests of EMI shareholders to entertain a pre-conditional offer which would entail prolonged regulatory uncertainty and unacceptable operational risk at a critical time for the Company".

Of course, and as reported ad infinitum, EMI's concerns about whether or not European regulators will approve a merger between it and Warner follow that European Court ruling last summer which overturned the European Commission approval given to the Sony BMG merger in 2004. EC commissioners who are now re-reviewing the Sony BMG merger have said they need to undertake a more thorough investigation and won't report back until July.

As also previously reported an awful lot of late, Warner have moved to alleviate those fears of potential regulatory problems for their EMI takeover ambitions by reaching an agreement with IMPALA, the independent record label trade body, whose opposition to the Sony BMG merger led to the European Court ruling. But EMI remain cautious regarding the regulatory challenges of a merger with Warner - especially given that some key independent record labels - in particular Ministry Of Sound - have spoken out against the IMPALA/Warner deal and vowed to fight any major label merger regardless. More on which in a minute.

Of course cynics might argue that the EMI board are overplaying the regulatory risks of pursuing an EMI Warner merger, which would surely not be good news for the EMI board itself, many of whom would surely not be offered a job in an Edgar Bronfman Jr led EMI Warner (nor especially want one, for that matter). In fact, for those within EMI keen to resist a Warner takeover, and keen to persuade their shareholders that selling to Bronfman Jr would not be a good idea, the fact Ministry Of Sound are making the IMPALA/Warner deal less clean cut is presumably great news.


The two organisations that act as 'parents' to many of the world's publishing royalty collection societies, both performing and mechanical rights (including the UK's PRS and MCPS), have called on YouTube and MySpace to step up their efforts to reach publishing licensing deals regarding the inclusion on their respective web platforms of copyright songs and music.

The statements from Paris based CISAC and BIEM, who represent performing and mechanical rights societies respectively, are not especially confrontational, and admit that they do not want to see large parts of their members' catalogues removed from the online operations. However, they do stress that both YouTube and MySpace need to conclusively reach agreement with the publishing rights societies regarding back payments on unlicensed music already distributed by the services, and on licences for moving forward. They also point out that MySpace and YouTube's pledge to remove copyright music at the request of its owner does not amount to compliance with existing copyright laws which, they argue, puts the onus on the media owner to ensure all music is licenced before allowing it to go live.

On that point, in a joint statement, CISAC and BIEM told reporters: "So far, the two sites have responded to copyright infringement by removing the works in question or by developing applications that can identify and expunge unauthorised works. Contrary to copyright laws, which firmly place responsibility on the user to secure permission before using a copyright work, this system places the onus on the copyright owner to inform the user about the infringement after the fact. Furthermore, removing works from these admittedly innovative services does not represent the best long-term solution for both rights holders and the services. BIEM and CISAC therefore favour licence agreements that recognise the copyright owner's right to adequate remuneration for the use of his works on these sites".

Commenting further, CISAC Director General Eric Baptiste told reporters: "While we welcome the success of YouTube and MySpace, we must emphasise that users of copyright works need to first secure a licence. Right owners want the public to have legal access to their creative works, so they need an arrangement with users that allows them to maintain control over uses of their works and also be paid for it".

BIEM Secretary General Ronald Mooij added: "Online music distribution is a major challenge for the creative music industry. Both platforms are responsible for what is made available on the web by means of their services and therefore play a major role together with the music industry in the creation of a healthy internet that respects copyright. I am confident that MySpace and YouTube will see to their responsibility in terms of copyright by reaching a settlement that will allow them to exploit each and every one of the millions of works in copyright societies' repertoires in a lawful and regulated manner and, by doing this, contribute to the development of legitimate content distribution".


Back to that IMPALA agreement, and as the UK's Association Of Independent Music meets again this week to discuss the previously reported opposition among some of its membership to the recently announced agreement between the pan-European trade body and Warner Music, Germany's independent labels body VUT has given the indie/major alliance its backing.

As you no doubt remember, in the agreement, IMPALA have said they will not oppose a Warner takeover of EMI, should one be attempted, in return for undertakings by Warner to aid the indie sector and especially its new digital rights venture Merlin. The deal, announced on 20 Feb, surprised many in the independent sector who had not been consulted about the alliance, with two UK labels, Ministry Of Sound and Gut, resigning from AIM, an IMPALA affiliate, in protest. Ministry have gone further by demanding that IMPALA release all documentation relating to the deal, while claiming AIM is constitutionally bound to oppose any deal that enables further consolidation in the major label sector.

One of Ministry Of Sound's objections to the IMPALA/Warner deal is the secrecy that seems to have surrounded it, and one of the people they said had been kept in the dark about the whole thing was Konrad von Lohneysen, who represents the independent sector on the German division of labels trade body IFPI. However, the body that specifically exists to represent the same indie labels, VUT, announced on Friday that its board had voted to back the IMPALA/Warner arrangement.

The German trade body's president, Mark Chung, said the specifics of the IMPALA/Warner deal, which remain confidential and have so far not been shared with those UK indies who oppose it, are attractive, and beneficial to the interests of the wider independent sector. The deal is known to include Warner support for Merlin, which makes the deal more attractive for those indie labels who hope to benefit from the new cross-sector digital rights venture. But Chung stressed that the Merlin benefits are not the be all and end all of the Warner agreement.

According to Billboard, Chung said: "It goes without saying that considerable funds are required to make Merlin powerful and effective, [but we] would have accepted this contract even without that financial support [because Warner] accepts a model in which the independents are strong, competitive players in the market and therefore better partners".

Whether the UK's AIM can offer similar backing remains to be seen. IMPALA issued a statement on Friday which indirectly knocked back Ministry's demands that all documentation relating to the IMPALA/Warner deal should be shared with the members of all affiliated indie trade bodies. As previously reported, Ministry have said they will not discuss the matter further until such documentation is made available, and available without having to sign what they describe as the overly restrictive non-disclosure agreement Warner have forced all participating representatives into signing so far. But IMPALA said in a statement on Friday: "The Board of IMPALA has decided, in its judgment of the best interests of its members, to limit any further circulation or disclosure of the Warner agreement until such time as the parties agree that it may be fully publicly disclosed, and further fully informed discussion is possible. IMPALA is continuing the process of consulting with local associations, and accepts that this may mean that certain of them nonetheless may not be able to confirm their position until full disclosure is possible".

Of course, as Ministry, the most vocal opponents to the IMPALA/Warner deal, have said they are resigning from AIM anyway, it may be that the UK body will be able to give the deal its formal backing, despite there being opposition within the UK indie sector. Unless, of course, Ministry can, as they have kind of implied, take legal action against the association to force them to block the IMPALA/Warner arrangement, on the grounds that backing the deal would go against the constitution that founded the trade body.

Should the AIM board decide to back IMPALA despite opposition within, and assuming Ministry do not or cannot take legal action to force the trade body to do otherwise, it will be interesting to see if Ministry bosses can form an alliance with other dissenting indies and other bodies against further major label consolidation (likely to include some artist managers, indie publishers and retailers) and successfully block an EMI Warner deal without IMPALA. If so, the IMPALA/Warner deal becomes pretty redundant anyway because, as far as we're aware, Warner's commitments to the indie sector and Merlin only kick in if and when an EMI Warner deal is completed. (And, of course, given our top story today, this whole dispute might be redundant anyway - it is not a foregone conclusion there'll be an EMI Warner merger either way).


The Red Hot Chili Peppers have sent their condolences to the family of a teenage fan who was killed while he queued through the night outside a ticket agency in New Zealand in a bid to get tickets to the band's up coming Aukland show, which went on sale at 9am this morning. The fan was killed when he was hit by a car as he slept outside the shopping centre where the ticket agency was based. The driver did not stop and police are now trying to find the dark coloured Nissan Skyline involved in the hit. A spokesman for the band's management said they were shocked by the incident, adding: "The band's hearts and prayers are with the family at this sad time". The New Zealand tour's promoter, Michael Coppel, also expressed his sympathies.


US singer Kelis (whose full name, I've just discovered, is Kelis Rogers-Jones) has been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Miami. Officers alleged that the 'Milkshake' singer tried to disrupt a police operation in the South Beach area in the early hours of Friday morning, apparently rushing at police officers and screaming racial profanities at them. She was later released on bail.

Which all seems quite confusing. The tabloids seem to be able to shed some light on the matter - the officers in question were female undercover officers posing as prostitutes and were talking to a group of men that included her husband, hip-hop star Nas. It's not entirely clear why Kelis got disorderly with the undercover cops, but a police spokesman explains why her actions were a problem: "Kelis' actions caused people walking by to stop and form a crowd. The sidewalk was blocked by the disturbance, causing people to walk in the street and causing traffic to stop".

No comment from Kelis' publicist Tracy Nguyen, as yet.


The View's Kyle Falconer was fined £1000 when he appeared at Dundee Sheriffs' Court last week to face those previously reported charges of cocaine possession. The singer, who is only nineteen, by the way, admitted possessing £150 worth of the drug when he was apprehended outside Abertay University's students' union when his band performed there last August.

Falconer's defence lawyer Billy Boyle explained to the court that he had been given the stash by naughty music industry types and had not taken any of the substance, and on that basis asked that his client be given an absolute discharge, saying that a conviction would make it "next to impossible" for Falconer to get a visa to visit and tour the US. The band have, as previously reported, already been forced to cancel one tour, seemingly because of the drugs charges. Boyle added that they have also been forced to turn down £1m for a jeans commercial and delay the US launch of their album 'Hats Off To The Buskers'.

But presiding sheriff Paul Arthurson said it was "simply not realistic" to issue the requested discharge, and told the singer: "If you are in the public eye you have certain responsibilities and I ask you to bear that in mind in future".


Michael Jackson made an appearance in Japan at the weekend to host that previously reported exclusive fan party and to sponsor a fan art competition. The singer arrived at the country's Narita Airport dressed in sunglasses and a leather jacket and was ushered past hordes of screaming fans, some carrying signs bearing slogans such as "We love Michael" and "Welcome to Japan".

Fans have apparently paid more than 400,000 yen (about 1800 of your earth pounds) for a ticket to the exclusive party at which they will get thirty seconds or so of personal time with the pop megastar, whilst the competition is being held for those who can't afford the cost of the party. Three winning fan artists will get to share brunch with Jackson, and have their photo taken together.


I cannot remember whether we have reported on the tracklisting for the previously reported Elliott Smith retrospective due to be released by Domino on 8 May, but I've just been sent one, so assuming we haven't, here it is. Press info from Domino IH.

Disc One:
Angel In The Snow, Talking To Mary, High Times, New Monkey, Looking Over My Shoulder, Going Nowhere, Riot Coming, All Cleaned Out, First Timer, Go By, Miss Misery (early version), Thirteen.

Disc Two:
Georgia Georgia, Whatever (Folk Song in C), Big Decision, Placeholder, New Disaster, Seen How Things Are Hard, Fear City, Either/Or, Pretty Mary K (other version), Almost Over, See You Later, Half Right.


Earache have signed Liverpool thrashers SSS, aka Short Sharp Shock. The label plan to release the band's late 2006 debut 'Short Sharp Shock', originally given a 1000 copy limited release by Dead & Gone, complete with bonus material. The band are playing a number of upcoming tour dates, as follows:

14 Mar: Liverpool Zanzibar
18 Mar: Nottingham (Alldayer) Old Angel
23 Mar: Newport Le Pub
30 Mar: Liverpool The Pilgrim
14 Apr: Brighton (Alldayer) The Engine Room
15 Apr: London Venue Tbc
14 Jun: Liverpool Barfly


The latest act set to be the one to play the first gig at the new Wembley Stadium is George Michael. The singer is booked in to perform at the venue on 9 Jun as part of his upcoming European tour. Previous were-going-to-be-the-firsts include Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams and The Rolling Stones. Muse also previously announced that they would be the first as they're due to play the venue on 16 Jun, but it looks like they've been gazumped.

Wembley MD Alex Horne says this: "He's no stranger to this great stage having performed at the old stadium with both Wham at Live Aid and as a solo artist. This is a fitting first gig in the new stadium. We are looking forward to putting the stadium back on the world map as a major music destination".

They claim that the venue will be open for the FA Cup final on 19 May. Fingers crossed, eh?


Not a surprise, this, really. All of Take That's upcoming tour dates have completely sold out. The original 22 dates sold out in two hours, so the band added six new shows, which proceeded to sell out in less than an hour. They are, of course, number one in the charts again this week, bless em.

Little Mark Owen says: "We're here in Tokyo at the moment so it's really surreal to hear the news from the UK. We are all totally overwhelmed, and also a bit nervous! We're trying to celebrate but we're all a bit jet lagged".

Jason Orange adds: "We want to thank everyone who has bought a ticket today and for all the support we've received. A No.1 single, album and now a sell-out tour, it's unbelievable. We'll be looking to make this the best tour we can and look forward to seeing everyone in November".

The band have announced, by the way, that a quid from every ticket will be going to the Take That Trust, which raises cash for various charities and suchlike that encourage and enable young people in the performing arts sector.


Jarvis Cocker is to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Patti Smith, Morrissey, John Peel and David Bowie and will curate this year's Meltdown festival, which will take place as usual at London's South Bank Centre in June.

Cocker explained his plans for this year's event thus: "I think the main thing is to mix things up; things that maybe shouldn't go together, I'm hoping to get a weird mix of contemporary things and revivals of old stuff; and as much as possible that involves audience participation to a degree. I'm hoping to get some film stuff together. There will be high culture there, and low culture; some very low".

The South Bank Centre's Glenn Max, 6Music: "Jarvis seemed such an obvious choice. He has the right temperament; he pays the right kind of attention to the world, and has championed many different things. He has the right sense of humour, playfulness, and mischief".


Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke has slagged off his band's US record label. Well, not really, but he has slagged off the magazine that is owned by the same company.

Bloc Party, signed to V2 and Wichita over here, are signed to Vice Records in the US, the record label spin off of arty New York mag Vice - that glossy affair that you sometimes stumble across in bars in this country too. Vice has courted controversy in the past because, despite its trendy image and audience, it has published articles sympathetic with more right wing or conservative groups and opinions, less often associated with the trendy crowd. Some articles on immigration a couple of years back led to some criticism of underlying racism, though others deny that was ever the case, and say the mag, while sometimes conservative, is very much anti-racism.

Anyway, Okereke now says he wished he'd been more upfront about his objections to the magazine at the time his band signed to the brand's record label. He's quoted as saying: "That's one of the things that I most regret about our history. I wish I'd voiced my concerns at the time, articulated them more clearly. The people that we work with are lovely, and they're a separate company from the magazine, but Vice the brand just fills me with dread, really. It's a real kind of nasty vortex, where any decency and general compassion to other people has just been completely obliterated. I don't know if the magazine is still like that, but it certainly was very much so back then".


The Osbourne family member with HIV, as referred to by Kelly Osbourne at her recent appearance at that Aids Benefit thingy, has revealed himself to be Kelly's cousin Terry Longden.

Longden was just off stage at the event, and gave his cousin permission to say whatever she liked. He says: "I told her to say whatever she wanted because it might help someone in a similar situation, but I didn't expect her to cry. I felt quite guilty. She gave me a big hug when she came off".

Speaking about how he told the famous family of his illness, he added: "I spoke to Sharon and she was fantastic. She totally understood and gave her support. Five minutes later Ozzy rang and he was great, which was a relief. They were amazing. I couldn't have a better family".


LIVE REVIEW: Kunek and Dorian Small at VZD's, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 2 Mar
This is Dorian Small's second gig ever. No sign of nerves, though - he and his backing band seem to be having a great time. Acoustic pop melodies mesh smoothly with samples and plenty of synth, much like Simple Kid or Brendan Benson, while numerous audience members whisper to their friends that they've never seen this venue quite so rammed full of people before. Dorian Small appears to be making quite an impact on the gathered crowds. Fast forward 40 minutes and somehow the crowd has grown even larger. A queue of people stretch along the pavement outside, peering through the window. Kunek take to the stage and as the applause dies down they launch into a mesmerising, hypnotic performance. Much like Aqualung, Sigur Ros, Radiohead or Pink Floyd, they excel in cultivating fields of sound, rather than melodies. Perhaps that's due to their upbringing in the fields of Northern Oklahoma, far from the city lights. Perhaps not. Either way, Kunek are a band to be patient with. Don't expect to be instantly 'wow'ed, ignore the fact they wear their influences on their sleeves and you'll be utterly in love before you know it. DG


Good news for fans of strategy reviews. The HMV Group has announced it will be releasing a major one in the next two weeks, which is very exciting. This is part of CEO Simon Fox's attempts to turn round the fortunes of the high street books and music seller (them owning Waterstones, also, of course), or to at least convince city types the company's fortunes are capable of being turned round amid ever increasing competition from supermarkets and online music providers. The review should be made available to investors on 13 Mar. Some reports suggested that the review will include up to 20 store closures, rumours that probably came about because Fox is known to have instructed a property agency to review its portfolio of stores - though HMV insiders are saying store closures are not planned in the short term.


The Beeb has announced a partnership with YouTube which will involve the launch of BBC channels on the video sharing platform, offering YouTube users legitimate access to clips of BBC programmes and some bespoke content generated by the Beeb for the video site. Some of the content will be accompanied by advertising, especially when accessed outside the UK, but some will not (news based content in particular), with YouTube seeing a BBC association more as a traffic generator than a source of revenue. Any revenue generated, however, will be shared with the Corporation. It will be interesting to see how other commercial webcasters respond to the deal - given the opposition in some quarters to the proposals that BBC websites should carry advertising when accessed from out side the UK (the BBC Trust, by the way, has put off making a decision on non-UK BBC advertising). I'm also not entirely sure how the deal will affect the masses of BBC content already uploaded illegitimately on YouTube. We haven't heard of any BBC move to order that content to be removed, which is good news for me, because I'm still only half way through the Yes Prime Minister series someone has kindly uploaded for me to watch. The Beeb, of course, is getting ready to launch its own on demand video service the iPlayer, though that will use a Windows Media Player based download system rather than a YouTube style Flash video streaming service.


More on the changes at MTV, well, kind of. The music network's UK chief Michiel Bakker is quitting, which is quite big news because he has been with MTV for almost twenty years, ie ever since its August 1987 launch in Europe. Bakker's departure comes amid a massive restructure at the music broadcaster, which has seen 250 jobs cut in the US, and a further 250 jobs axed outside America. Though MTV say the UK chief's departure is unrelated to the restructure. A successor will be recruited, though Senior VP and MD Music & Comedy Heather Jones and Senior VP Finance & Operations Richard Tan will oversee his areas of responsibility in the meantime.

In a statement, Bakker told reporters: "I have had a great time at MTV Networks. In my time here I have seen the company grow from a single TV channel to a portfolio of great multi-media brands, spawning an entire generation on the way and never losing its cool. The company has a great and challenging future ahead of it but I have decided it is time to turn the music off and see where life takes me".

MTV Networks Vice-chairman Bill Roedy added: "As one of the first employees of MTVN Europe, he helped establish far-reaching distribution for MTV across the continent. In recent years, Michiel has helped build our strong multi-brand portfolio of TV channels and digital media services in the UK making it our largest international business".

Although not technically part of the company's restructure, Bakker is the latest in a string of high profile MTV execs to quit the company since overall global chief Tom Freston's resignation last September.


GCap has nabbed the Head Of Programmes at its rival Chrysalis for the role of Programme Director For Content And Digital. Pete Simmons will join GCap to oversee its digital brands and to coordinate the sharing of content between the group's various stations. He'll report to GCap's Group Programme Director Dirk Anthony who said this: "Pete's vast programming knowledge and experience will help create greater value from the rich content GCap generates every day". It's not clear how soon Simmons will arrive at GCap's Leicester Square HQ - his arrival is presumably dependent on contractual commitments to Chrysalis.


Ah, that's no fun, Virgin Media have taken down the previously reported bitchy listing information for the Sky channels no longer available via the Virgin cable TV network. As previously reported, on the channel where Virgin had once aired Sky News, the electronic programme guide read 'Sky Snooze, try BBC'. But that and other bitchy lines have been removed, seemingly at the request of Richard Branson personally.

The move led to an unusually courteous exchange between the two rival media firms, with Branson telling the Guardian: "I have asked them [Virgin Media's staff] to take it [the bitchiness] down. We do not mean any disrespect to Sky News. I think it is a very good news channel". Sky responded: "Sky applauds Sir Richard Branson's decision to halt Virgin Media's childish mocking of Sky News and our other basic channels".

Though Sky did get in another dig about Virgin's refusal to pay the price it is asking for the cable network to include the satellite broadcaster's free to air channels on its network: "After Virgin Media's negative comments about the quality of our channels in recent days, it is refreshing to hear Sir Richard's praise for Sky News as a 'very good news channel' and we call on him to take action to restore our basic channels to Virgin Media customers".

Meanwhile, Virgin Media have confirmed that it will allow customers to cease subscribing to its services without having to pay any contractual service breakage fines because of the loss of the core Sky channels on its cable TV platform. The move follows a statement from the National Consumer Council last week saying it was concerned that the dispute between Sky and Virgin was having an unfair impact on consumers, and that it might urge regulators to step in to protect consumer interests. Virgin stressed that "the withdrawal of Sky's basic channels does not breach our agreement with customers" but said that it would allow consumers to leave them without fulfilling their contractual obligations anyway, as a good will gesture.

Virgin Media CEO Steve Burch said on Friday: "Virgin Media wants to do the right thing by its customers and resolve this dispute, as well as its underlying causes. We think our customers will quickly recognise that the improvements we've recently made to our TV service, together with other exciting enhancements we've got in the pipeline, make Virgin Media's TV service the most comprehensive and exciting in the UK. Over the next month, however, if they don't agree, we will not use technical legalities to stand in the way of them switching to another service. Among both our customers and the public as a whole, we believe there is a significant groundswell of support for our decision to stand up to Sky: we are determined to ensure it is the customer that benefits from our determination to do so".

Insiders say Virgin would actually quite like the NCC to initiate some kind of regulator investigation into the Sky/Virgin dispute because they believe there is a case for arguing Sky are acting anti-competitively (ie refusing to negotiate with Virgin over its channels in a bid to persuade the cable firm's customers to switch to Sky Digital) and that any regulatory action would probably go in their favour. Which it may or may not, who knows?


Chart news everybody. And, as we said, those Take That boys are top of the singles chart once again with what I am led to believe is their tenth number one in the form of single 'Shine'. Lovely. Though not so lovely for Kaiser Chief fans, given that the uber-boy band have pushed the uber-indie band, and their song 'Ruby', into second place. Gwen Stefani and Akon are number three with 'The Sweet Escape'. Sweet.

The first proper new entry this week is at 8 where you'll find Cascada with 'Miracle', then it goes Camille Jones and Fedde Le Grande with 'The Creeps' at 16, Pigeon Detectives with 'Romantic Type' at 19, Ugly Rumours just missing the top twenty with their digital only anti-war release 'War' at 21, Cushh with 'Do It 2 Me' at 31, Calvin Harris with 'Acceptable In The 80s' at 32, Maccabees with 'About Your Dress' at 33, The Horrors with 'Gloves' at 34, P Diddy and Keyshia Cole with 'Last Night' at 35, Idlewild with 'No Emotion' at 36, Good Charlotte with 'Keep Your Hands Off My Girl' at 38 and Ghosts with 'Stay The Night' at 39. Which is quite a lot, really.

Albums wise, and those Kaiser Chiefs fans annoyed with Take That for ending the band's short reign at the top of the singles chart, can presumably take heart that the band's new album, 'Yours Truly Angry Mob', tops the album chart, outselling the second place long player from, erm, Take That (though, it has to be said, it is Take That's fourteenth week in the charts, and they've risen again, presumably thanks to the airplay the aforementioned 'Shine' has been receiving).

New entry albums run thus: Hayley Westenra with 'Treasure' at 9, ELO with 'Out Of The Blue' at 18, Dr Hook with 'Hits And History' at 19, Omarion with '21' at 24.


As counted down on Total Rock over the weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers -Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros)
2. Evanescence - The Open Door (SonyBMG)
3. Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High (Universal/Island)
4. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (Warner Bros)
5. Nickelback All - The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
6. The Used - Berth (Warner Bros)
7. Muse Black - Holes & Revelations (Warner Bros)
8. Incubus - Light Grenades (SonyBMG)
9. Queen - Greatest Hits 1,2,3 (EMI)
10. Hinder - Extreme Behavior (Republic)
11. Billy Talent - Billy Talent II (Warner/Atlantic)
12. Razorlight - Razorlight (Universal/Mercury)
13. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May (Warner/Roadrunner)
14. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
15. Saliva - Blood Stained Love Song (Universal/Island)
16. Rise Against - The Sufferer & The Witness (Universal/Geffen)
17. 30 Seconds To Mars - A Beautiful Life (EMI/Virgin)
18. Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies (Warner/Roadrunner)
19. Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists (Giant)*
20. Audioslave - Revelations (SonyBMG/Epic)*


The most played tracks on student radio last week. Info on all things Student Radio Chart from Al-B -

1. [1] Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
2. [3] Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control
3. [7] Bloc Party - The Prayer
4. [2] The Killers - Read My Mind
5. [17] Maximo Park - Our Velocity
6. [4] Mika - Grace Kelly
7. [6] Little Fray - How to Save a Life
8. [12] Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
9. [9] Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
10. [NE] The Bees - Who Cares What the Question Is
11. [5] Klaxons - Golden Skans
12. [29] Joss Stone - Tell Me Bout It
13. [19] Willy Mason - Save Myself
14. [NE] The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli
15. [RE] The Twang - Wide Awake
16. [18] Just Jack - Starz in their Eyes
17. [10] Fall Out Boy - This Aint A Scene, It's An Arms Race
18. [8] The Long Blondes - Giddy Stratospheres
19. [20] Noisettes - Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit)
20. [14] Lily Allen - Alfie
21. [NE] The Shins - Australia
22. [23] CSS - Of the Hook
23. [26] Biffy Clyro - Saturday Superhouse
24. [15] LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
25. [22] Get Cape.Wear Cape. Fly - I Spy
26. [11] The Rakes - We Danced Together
27. [13] Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes
28. [28] New Young Pony Club - The Bomb
29. [NE] The Magic Numbers - This is a Song
30. [NE] Modest Mouse - Dashboard


The videos appearing on the SUBtv network of screens in students union bars this week. New entries marked with a *.

Biffy Clyro - Saturday Superhouse (Warner/14th Floor)
Camille Jones vs Fedde Le Grand - The Creeps (Ministry/Data)
CSS - Off The Hook (Warner)
Enter Shikari - Anything Can Happen (Ambush Reality)
The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli (Universal/Fallout)
The Fray - How To Save A Life (SonyBMG/RCA)
Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control (Back Yard)
Idlewild - No Emotion (Sequel)
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby (B-Unique)
Kelis feat. Cee-Lo - Lil Star (EMI/Virgin)
Lily Allen - Alfie (EMI/Parlophone)
Maximo Park - Our Velocity (Warp)
Paolo Nutini - New Shoes (Warner/Atlantic)*
The Rumble Strips - Alarm Clock (Universal/Fallout)
The Twang - Wide Awake (B-Unique)*

Air Traffic - Charlotte (EMI)*
Alex Gaudino feat Crystal Waters - Destination Calabria (Data)
The Bees - Who Cares What The Question Is? (EMI/Virgin)
Drive By Argument - Sega Method (Lizard King)*
Fear Of Flying - Three's A Crowd (Young & Lost)*
Houzecrushers - Touch Me (Nebula)
Jamelia - No More (EMI/Parlophone)*
The Little Flames - Isobella (Deltasonic)
Madina Lake - House of Cards (Warner/Roadrunner)*
Madness feat Sway & Baby Blue - Sorry (Lucky Seven)
Nathan - Do Without My Love (Mona)*
New Young Pony Club - The Bomb (Modular)
Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position (Universal/Polydor)*
The Pigeon Detectives - Romantic Type (Dance To The Radio)
The Rakes - We Danced Together (V2)*


Bobby Brown has responded to rumours that he and estranged wife Whitney Houston are getting back together. As previously reported, the pair spent an evening having dinner together recently, prompting the speculation, but, says Brown, they simply want to stay friends and make sure they remain amicable for the sake of each other and their daughter.

Here's what he says: "We're trying to work everything out so the divorce goes right - not like a Hollywood divorce. We're friends. I'm really looking forward to her doing her thing, and me doing my thing. And that's raising a child. It's beautiful. Our child is beautiful. We just appreciate each other now that we know the direction that we both want to go".


Peter Doherty has reportedly told reporters that he can't marry Kate Moss because the police are holding on to his passport because of all of those various drugs (and other) charges, and they'll only let him out of the country for work commitments. Seemingly no one's told him he can get married in this country. Oh, it may be that he wants to do it somewhere where it wouldn't become a media circus. Which is admirable I suppose. Though possibly pretty ambitious. Pentonville Prison might be able to assure some privacy for a behind bars ceremony - and Peter wouldn't need to do too much to get access to the prison chapel, I'm sure. Though I'm not sure that's what he has in mind.

Here's what the News Of The World quote him as saying: "We can't get married thanks to the police fuckers. We want to do it away, a special wedding somewhere miles from anywhere and everyone. But the fucking police have taken away my passport. It fucking sucks. I'm stuck here. We want a special wedding and we don't want to do it here, there's too much shit here. Somewhere small and out the way would be cool. We can't wait, it'll be beautiful".

I'm calling him 'Peter', because the Hackney Empire have just announced they will be staging An Evening With Peter Doherty on 11 and 12 Apr, which implies he's choosing to go by his full name these days. Though that is going to be an arty night of poetry, readings and acoustic songs, so perhaps that's why he's going for 'Peter'. I know I always insist on be called Christopher while I'm writing about more worthy arty events. Tickets for the Hackney Empire shows go on sale on Wednesday, price £17.50.

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