CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 23rd March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- US publishers sue XM over music storage service
- Spector may call ex as defence witness
- Florida judge issues warrant for Foxy Brown
- Iron Maiden drummer banned from driving
- Britney secures injunction to halt publication of rehab rumours
- Mean Fiddler on Reading/Leeds tickets thing
- Reznor on new NIN album
- The Darkness confirm relaunch upcoming
- Winehouse goes top ten in the US
- Madonna would support Gore candidacy
- Live review: Nneka at ULU on 17 Mar
- Status Quo and The Damned headline Bulldog Bash
- V Fest US headliners announced
- More Rolling Stones tour news
- Justin Timberlake adds UK date
- Chili Peppers postpone dates
- Incubus postpone tour
- Albarn's Monkey show to open Manchester fest
- Cribs single, tour
- Kosheen releases and tours
- Single review: Envelopes - Smoke In The Desert, Eating The Sand, Hide In The Grass/Party
- UK collecting society announces record revenues
- Mobile mixer company launches youth initiative
- Tower.com sale confirmed
- BBC commission themed TOTP2 editions
- Mark Ronson on Rudebox
- Calvin Harris has a pop at Bloc Party
- Mel C: one off Spice reunion is possible

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TOP BIT>>
There was an interesting update on the looming record industry v Limewire court battle on Digital Music News this week (http://www.digitalmusicnews.com), with insiders at the P2P maker apparently spinning their confidence in taking on the record companies despite the fact that, post the landmark MGM v Grokster ruling in the US Supreme Court, few in the world of P2P have successfully been able to sidestep liability for the copyright infringement their technology enables.

Limewire, of course, is still the P2P application of choice for many many file sharers - certainly all the file sharers I know (not that I know any, obviously I immediately disassociate myself from anyone who admits to participating in such a nasty thing). They are also almost unique in the P2P market place in choosing to fight the Recording Industry Association Of America despite the Grokster ruling.

Before Grokster, of course, every P2P pleaded the Betamax defence - that technology firms couldn't be held liable if their technology enabled copyright infringement providing it also had legitimate uses - and quite a few defended themselves that way quite successfully. Not so post Grokster. The majority have caved and settled out of court, presumably because their lawyers shake their heads and start talking about large fees and great risks whenever they discuss fighting legal action from the record labels. But that, of course, means the Grokster ruling hasn't really been tested in the courts, and presumably that is why Limewire are willing to buck the trend and fight the litigation the RIAA launched against them last year, because it's not a 100% foregone conclusion they'll lose.

Whether their lawyers are actually nodding their heads and talking about easy wins I'm not sure (I doubt it, it is still very risky to fight the RIAA on this one), but DMN say that Limewire CEO Mark Gorton has been preparing for this big legal fight for years, and that he and his advisors reckon they have a good defence.

Key to that defence is the company's intentions. Grokster lost its long drawn out legal fight because the Supreme Court ruled that the P2P firm was liable for copyright violation because it had implied to its customers that its software could and should be used to illegally share copyright content. If a company can prove it never did that, the Betamax plea may still stand.

Word has it Livewire are confident that there is no evidence, from outward advertising and PR to internal memos and emails, to suggest Limewire ever suggested, implied or sneakily hoped that individuals would use their software primarily for the illegal distribution of copyright content. Which means they might be able to distinguish their case from that of Grokster, and most of their rivals.

Of course the RIAA will presumably argue that passively not encouraging illegal file sharing is not enough to sidestep liability - and that Limewire's failure to even try to introduce functionality to block copyright content from being shared is enough to be guilty of copyright violation. Though, as I understand it, the Grokster ruling does not specifically say that.

All of which means that this court case could prove to be very interesting. Firstly because DMN reckon it could get "dirty". Secondly because this could lead be another landmark ruling - and depending on what that ruling is, this may or may not be the big last battle of the long long running P2P war.

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring catalogue and merging with Record labels. If you are thinking of selling, or are interested in a merger with a long term capital partner, please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - http://www.musicgain.com

DESKSPACE IN SUNNY CENTRAL SOHO OFFICES
We are a young, fun creative agency based slap bang in the middle of Soho with 4 spare desks in a spacious, dedicated office. Fabulous location, £75 per week per desk all in, including insurance, rates, 24/7 access, superfast internet, and the added bonus of working alongside other lovely and stimulating people. Email Giles on sohodeskspace@gmail.com for more info.

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INTERNSHIPS N STUFF>>

CMU INTERNSHIP
Unlimited Media/CMU is looking for a summer computer science intern, preferably London based, to concentrate on the functionality of new projects. Working closely with our Product Manager, you will be taking ownership of the initial development and spec an exciting new "web 2.0" channel. Alongside real coding and some design, there'll be the opportunity to develop new editorial ideas, and demonstrate your understanding of web technologies to communicate ideas effectively. You'll have good knowledge of Python - or the ability to pick it up fast - will be extremely confident with HTML and CSS, and will be thoroughly at home with databases, including postgreSQL, and server admin. The projects you work on during your internship will both develop your project management and problem solving skills and form the basis of several live sites, giving you some great CV material. Contact web@unlimitedmedia.co.uk with a one page CV outlining your skills, and contact details, including email and mobile.

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CMU RECOMMENDS>>

INSOMNIACS BALL
The third Insomniacs Ball will take over London's seOne Club on 5 Apr, with another storming line up of bands and DJs and, this time, ballroom decor and fancy dress. Already on the bill are The Twang, Brakes, Blood Red Shoes, Fear of Flying, The Officers, Goose, These New Puritans, The Longcut, Dandy Wind, Bolt Action Five, Headland, Black Daniel, AHuman, Shakes, Shy Child and Reverend And The Makers all live, plus on the old decks the Artrocker DJs, Marsha (Xfm), Mark Beaumont (NME), Eddy Temple Morris (Xfm), No Pain In Pop, Gavin Nugent, Mekon, Riotous Rockers, Alvin C and the wonderful wonderful Infadels. Tickets are a mere £21.50, with a limited number of student tickets available for NUS card holders at just £15. VIP golden tickets which offer access to an exclusive VIP area are also available for sixty quid. Ticket type stuff can be found at http://www.ticketweb.co.uk, line up info will appear over the coming weeks at http://www.insomniacsball.co.uk, and for press info you need to drop an email to laura@scruffybird.com.

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: La Bomba at the Ministry of Sound.
The Ministry puts on London's explosivo Latin party fiesta, which is gaining momentum fast. Room one is all bout reggaeton, that species of contemporary Latin music that mashes reggae and dance hall into salsa and all things Latiny, sometimes with a bit of hip hop thrown in for good measure, and the reggaton room at La Bomba will be headlined by the main man of reggaeton himself - DJ Budda - who has flown in from New York especially... this should be a proper grind ya batty. There's a salsa room too, with Julian Mr M, Ramiro Zapata and Lubi J, while in the Baby Box room you'll have Slip'N'Slide presenting Klubb Latino, the label's popular Latin house compilation series with Soulshaker & Christian Larssen.

Friday 23rd Mar, Ministry of Sound, 103 Gaunt Street, London SE1, 10pm-5am, £10 in advance and £15 at the door, info at http://www.reggaeton.co.uk, press info Jo at Phuture Trax

VIGSY'S SECOND CLUB TIP: Domu Presents Pete Simpson at Cargo.
Papa Records, working out of East London, have been championing the best in UK soulful house music for six years now, with the likes DJ Spinna, Yam Who? and the rather svelte Reel People finding a home there. Tonight under the arches at Cargo, the present their newest project - Domu (Bedfordite Dominic Stanton) and the voice that is Pete Simpson will be launching their new album 'Look A Little Further'. With Bugz In The Attic's own Paul Dolby aka Seiji getting on the decks and the founder of Papa Records, Oli Lazarus, also getting in on the wheels of steel, you can expect lots of broken-beat and soulful house, and a very nice time.

Friday 23 Mar, 8pm - 3am, Free b4 9, £10 after, Cargo, 83 Rivington St, Shoreditch, London EC2A, more info at http://www.cargo-london.com

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US PUBLISHERS SUE XM OVER MUSIC STORAGE SERVICE
The US's National Music Publishers Association yesterday launched litigation against American satellite broadcaster XM in the ongoing dispute about satellite radio services that allow users to store music and listen back to it on demand. The lawsuit from the publishers follows months of negotiations between the broadcaster and the publishing sector regarding the service, and also mirrors similar action against the same service by the recorded music industry.

As previously reported, the issue is the facility certain XM radio receivers offer whereby users can store tracks off the satellite service's stations, and listen back to them on demand at anytime providing their XM subscription is valid. The music industry argues that the broadcast licences XM has from collecting societies like ASCAP and BMI do not cover that service, which is more in the domain of Napster style subscription based download platforms - which are covered by entirely different licensing agreements.

Confirming his organisation was now taking the dispute to court, NMPA's CEO David Israelite told reporters this week: "We've read that XM paid Oprah $55 million to develop content. Yet they haven't paid one penny to creators of music for copies on these devices".

Legal action by the record industry on the same dispute is ongoing, with the record labels winning an initial victory in January when XM failed to have the case dismissed. There is a chance the record and publishing industry's action could now be merged into one court case.

XM maintain that they are not violating any copyrights because all the services they offer are covered by their broadcast licences. Responding to the NMPA's lawsuit, a spokesman for the broadcaster said this week: "The lawsuit filed by the NMPA is a negotiating tactic to gain an advantage in our ongoing business discussions. XM pays royalties to writers and composers who are also compensated by our device manufacturers. We are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and that we will prevail".

XM's rivals and potential merger partners Sirius have reached a deal with the record labels about their store and listen on demand service, though the NMPA has confirmed their talks with Sirius are also ongoing.

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SPECTOR MAY CALL EX AS DEFENCE WITNESS
More on the Phil Spector trial. Latest reports suggest that the legendary producer may call his ex-wife, Ronnettes star Ronnie Spector, as a defence witness. Spector's lawyer Bruce Cutler is yet to announce who he intends to call to testify as part of the defence case, but reports suggest Ronnie is on the list.

It's not clear, however, what the defence team would hope to get out of questioning the producer's ex-wife. Although she has, in past comments, said she doubted her ex-husband would actually be capable of killing someone, she has spoken on numerous occasions about the producer's split personality, and his very very dark side.

On hearing about the shooting she wrote: "I lived with him for 10 years and I knew two Phil Spectors. There was the charming Phil who makes great records and gets everyone laughing, the man I loved. But I've seen the dark rage that can suddenly rise out of nowhere in the dead of night when the gates to the mansion are closed and locked tight, and that Phil Spector is terrifying. I knew this guy who had imprisoned me in his home for years during our marriage to try and control me was capable of real crazy behaviour. But cold-blooded murder? To actually pull the trigger on someone?"

More recently, on hearing that Spector had once written to the organisers of the Hall Of Fame arguing that the Ronnettes should not be inducted into the music institution, Ronnie commented: "He's an angry and unhappy man, and he hasn't been successful since I left".

As previously reported, jury selection in the Spector case is ongoing.

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FLORIDA JUDGE ISSUES WARRANT FOR FOXY BROWN
According to the Miami Herald, Florida judge Joel Lazurus has issued a warrant for Foxy Brown after she failed to appear in court yesterday to face charges relating to that previously reported beauty store incident back in February. As you will remember, it's alleged that the rap star, real name Inga Marchand, attacked the manager of the beauty shop in Broward County after she was asked to leave the store's bathroom, where she was fixing her hair, as it was closing time. She is also alleged to have physically resisted arrest.

Brown has since held a press conference in New York, pleading her innocence in the affair. She did, however, plead guilty to violating her probation by being in Florida without permission, when she appeared in court on 1 Mar.

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IRON MAIDEN DRUMMER BANNED FROM DRIVING
Iron Maiden drummer Michael McBrain, aka Nicko, has been banned from driving for six months after being caught driving at a speed of 116mph on the M74 near Lockerbie. He was also fined £500 at the Dumfries Sheriff Court hearing, which McBrain was not able to attend due to tour commitments - he pleaded guilty to the offence via a letter. I think he should have been banned forever.

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BRITNEY SECURES INJUNCTION TO HALT PUBLICATION OF REHAB RUMOURS
Lawyers representing Britney Spears have got themselves an emergency injunction from the High Court in London to stop an unknown person who seems to have access to confidential information about the singer's recent stint in rehab from selling those stories to the press or, to be precise, to stop the press from publishing those stories.

The order was granted by Mr Justice Gray who said he recognised the need to prevent "further disclosures invading her privacy". A subsequent statement from legal firm Schillings, who secured the injunction, said: "We can confirm that an emergency injunction was obtained in London's High Court this afternoon as ordered by Mr Justice Gray on behalf of Britney Spears to restrain the person or persons, known as 'John Doe', who has/have been leaking information about Ms Spears' time in a rehabilitation clinic from further disclosures invading her privacy. This injunction will now be served on the UK media so as to assist them in not making the mistake of carrying such further disclosures if approached by this person or his/her agent".

The lawyers added that despite the injunction to stop future publication of rehab gossip, Spears' people still intend to take legal action against media who have published 'false allegations' in recent weeks. Their statement said: "Ms Spears reserves the right and intends to challenge false allegations which have already been published about her time in rehabilitation and which are the subject of ongoing legal complaint".

Spears people are also seemingly keen to know the identity of the person or people who have been feeding Britney rehab stories to the British press, and may return to court to try and force papers who have printed such stories to reveal their sources. Schillings: "Applications are pending in London's High Court to seek an order requiring certain UK media organisations to disclose their respective sources so that John Doe can be identified and action can be taken against him/her".

It's not clear which of the many many Britney rehab rumours that have been circulating both online and in the press the singer's lawyers are concerned with - all of them possibly. Presumably editors will be treading more carefully before they print such stories in the coming weeks while the injunction is in play.

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MEAN FIDDLER ON READING/LEEDS TICKETS THING
Yeah, OK, Mean Fiddler have clarified two things about the Reading/Leeds ticket problem that was reported yesterday.

As previously reported, some 3000 ticket buyers who experienced problems with their credit card bookings (insufficient funds or they typed in the wrong numbers somehow) were under the impression they had successfully booked tickets, because the problem with their credit card payment wasn't discovered until after the fact. By the time the problem was discovered all weekend tickets had sold out (festival tickets frequently selling out in the space of hours these days, of course). Once the problem was discovered those affected were given priority access to the festivals' coach tickets, which bundled a weekend ticket with a coach ride to the festival site, of which some were still available.

The key words in that there paragraph were said customers were 'under the impression'. Reports yesterday suggested the Reading/Leeds ticketing system actually told users that they had successfully booked tickets despite the fact their credit card booking was still to be processed and, therefore, the problem with the payment yet to be identified. It seems that wasn't the case - according to Mean Fiddler what said users were told by the ticketing site was that their order was "being processed", with the clarification that: "please note, this is not proof of booking - confirmation will be sent via email. In the event that we are unable to secure the funds we will cancel your ticket and confirm this by email". So the problem wasn't a fuck up in the system, but consumer confusion of how the system works (and, presumably, the tendency of people to not read what's in front of them when making web purchases).

All of which means that the fact Leeds/Reading Festival organisers Mean Fiddler proceeded to give affected consumers priority access to the coach package tickets and, apparently, without any requirement that they buy the coach bit of said package (that's the second clarification) makes them lovely lovely people. Which is basically what we said yesterday, isn't it? Well, something like that.

So turns out the big story here is that there are an awful lot of music fans out there incapable of reading a web page and with maxed out credit cards. Though, I don't suppose that's much of a surprise.

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REZNOR ON NEW NIN ALBUM
Trent Reznor has spoken to Gigwise about the new Nine Inch Nails album 'Year Zero', due 16 Apr, and told them how it was put together so quickly.

Reznor, currently on a European tour, explained: "I think for the first time I've found out how to write music on tour, so for most of the With Teeth tour I was sitting on the back of buses, backstage, playing around with beats and stuff on my laptop and at the end of the tour last summer I had a good collection of things that past the test, that felt musically solid and cohesive to me. I felt inspired and didn't take any time off and moved out to the woods for a few months, rented a place and came up with the idea for 'Year Zero'".

Speaking about his addiction battles in the nineties, and its effect on his music, Reznor continued: "I can see now with pretty much crystal clear clarity that that aspect had governed my life. I had made writing out to be a terrifying prospect filled with pain and failure and some things that I dreaded doing because I've always lacked self-confidence and every other thing. By the end of my run with drugs I'd also realised that my brain wasn't functioning right and I'd lost the power to really concentrate - it really made my art suffer, which made me feel worse, which made me want to get high and you know, that cycle starts up."

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THE DARKNESS CONFIRM RELAUNCH UPCOMING
The remaining members of The Darkness have again confirmed they will be relaunching under a new name very soon. The band's Richie Edwards has posted another message on the old The Darkness website after an up to date picture of the band, featuring the new line up, was posted on the site leading to some to assume the band was continuing under The Darkness moniker after all.

Richie writes: "There seems to be some confusion over the fact that a picture of the new band has appeared on The Darkness' official website. I can understand this confusion, since we haven't announced a new band name yet and a picture of us appears on The Darkness' home page under the heading 'The Darkness', shit, that is confusing! I can absolutely confirm here and now that we will NOT be carrying on under the name 'The Darkness'. We are literally days away from announcing our new name, when this is done we will be launching our new website and we sincerely hope that you guys will be paying it a visit! We just thought that, after the press had picked up on our Myspace pages, we had to add some stuff to our "old" webpage, so that you fans out there knew that we are alive and kicking".

On the future, he continued: "Since the news about Justin's exit first came out we have been genuinely touched by the support we have received from you all and knowing that you lot are there for us has spurred us on more than you can imagine. We will be announcing our new name and launching our new website soon and we hope that you will be there with us when we do. I wrote in one of my Myspace blogs that a band is only as good as its fans, well with you lot on board we can't go wrong. I can't wait for this album to be finished and for you all to hear it, it'll knock your fuckin' socks off!"

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WINEHOUSE GOES TOP TEN IN THE US
After a week of playing to excitable American crowds and appearing on all the important TV shows stateside, Amy Winehouse's second album 'Back To Black', a CMU album of the year last year you'll remember, has gone straight in at number 7 on the US Billboard chart, having shifted 50,000 copies in its first week of sale, which is all kind of groovy. And her decision to cancel a gig in LA at the last minute earlier this week, officially because of illness but reportedly because she was too upset because of a recent split from her boyfriend, doesn't seem to have had any detrimental effect on Winehouse's growing popularity Stateside.

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MADONNA WOULD SUPPORT GORE CANDIDACY
Madonna says she'd support Al Gore, if he would only run to be the next president of the United States. Just in case any of you are not aware of this, democratic candidate Al Gore 'lost' to George W Bush in the 2000 US election, but rumour has it he's considering re-running in the next presidential race. Since the 2000 election, of course, Gore has garnered worldwide attention for his Oscar win this year for climate change documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth' - and it seems that it's the stand on environmental issues that has impressed the queen of pop. The singer told Die Zeit she had "deep respect for [presidential candidate] Hillary Clinton as a woman," but said of Gore: "I would publicly support him if he joins the race".

Lot's of people would like Gore to run this year, actually - it's possibly because he always comes across as a reasonable, intelligent sort of a man - and according to reports, the former US vice-president hasn't ruled it out.

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LIVE REVIEW: Nneka at ULU on 17 Mar
The first thing you notice about Nneka, when she works on the stage, is that she's significantly shorter than her CD sleeve suggests, which makes it all the more remarkable the power that resonates through her singing. And her sound is as unique as it is remarkable - so much so it's tricky to describe her through comparison. My post-gig hour-long conversation with the friend I went to this gig with went something like this - "Lauren Hill eat your heart out"; "No I would say Aretha"; "Well if you're going to say Aretha - what about Sean Paul?"; "Na, as far as rapping goes she is closer to Eminem"; "Well she is too honest for all of those, you know who she really reminds me of? Bob Marley!" As you can see - frustrating, but also exciting - exciting because it has been a long time since I have genuinely had trouble making an immediate comparison between new discoveries and similar established artists. But what was evident was that she possesses a charisma and sincerity that you only see with those artists that are now legends - Hendrix sang through his guitar; Marley bled every word he sang - there is a certain look that those artists have and this young, rather short girl has it also. I can not say what it is but she has it. I am a natural born skeptic, as are many British music fans, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone, even in a room full of Brits, that did not leave that hall with a smile on their lips and a swagger in their hips. Whatever I saw in the ULU - I would gladly pay to see again. 10 out of 10, 5 stars, two thumbs up and any other cliched sign of approval you can think of. BS.

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STATUS QUO AND THE DAMNED HEADLINE BULLDOG BASH
Status Quo and The Damned are set to headline the 21st annual Bulldog Bash, set to take place as usual at the Shakespeare County Raceway, Long Marston, near Stratford On Avon, this year from 9-12 Aug.

Rick Parfitt says of the Quo's appearance at the Biker-fest: "The whole band are looking forward to the Bulldog Bash at Long Marston. Hopefully we'll have a nice hot August day and we can really get the place rocking. I'm going to find some time to have a look at all the bikes and gear too".

The Damned's Captain Sensible offers this very long comment on their appearance, their history and the state of modern pop music: "It's the first time we've been on the same bill as Quo and I'm very much looking forward to it. Whenever they played the Croydon Greyhound in the mid 70s I was there... and it was refreshing to see a band in the bar having a drink with their fans - which the Damned have also been known to do occasionally. In this day and age of X-Factor, Simon Cowell and all these plastic celebrity karaoke shows on TV we have seen our audience figures swelling, which we reckon is a reaction to the lack of decent live bands these days. You just can't beat it - a thrashing drum kit... a cranked up guitar... the front man going beserk blurting out some anti establishment lyric or other. Great stuff indeed - and the UK punk movement as led by the Pistols, the Clash, the Stranglers and ourselves was a pretty wild time when the UK was at the forefront of global musical trends... whether Mike Read or Phil Collins liked it or not! I reckon The Damned deserve medals for our services over the years but I'll settle for the fact that we're still out there having fun onstage up and down the country in 2007 after a wonderful career lasting 30 years so far. And I wouldn't have predicted THAT in 1977... otherwise I might have chosen a better stage name than Captain Sensible I can tell you!"

More acts are expected to be announced shortly. Info and tickets from http://www.bulldogbash.com, press from Word Hard PR.

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V FEST US HEADLINERS ANNOUNCED
What with the real lack of festival news this week (just 21 stories, frankly I'm embarrassed) let's report on another US festival, just to keep the numbers up. The headliners have been announced for the US edition of the V Festival, which will take place in August this year, 4-5 Aug, to be precise, which puts it directly up against the Lollapalooza festival. Taking place in Baltimore, headliners will be The Police, Beastie Boys and Smashing Pumpkins.

The festival's producer, Seth Hurwitz, says the decision to move from September to August was to enable the Police booking - because they had to fit in with the band's much hyped tour. Admitting the clash with Lollapalooza was "not ideal" he added: "Given the choice of booking the Police or not we had to go for it. If anything it's probably helped us because we were able to book some bands that were out already for Lolla. Hopefully both festivals will be strong enough that it doesn't matter".

The V Festival franchise has been expanding internationally for a year or so - though actually in North America it's called the Virgin Festival. The first US edition was staged last September, also in Baltimore.

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MORE ROLLING STONES TOUR NEWS
Further to their Isle Of White Festival confirmation and those Slane Castle rumours, The Rolling Stones have revealed a bunch of European dates as part of their 'A Bigger Bang' tour. The band are set to perform at the 02 Arena on 10 Jun - that's the Millennium Dome, remember - and will play more than twenty dates across the continent, visiting Serbia and Ukraine for the first time ever.

Tour director Michael Cohl says: "The Rolling Stones define and redefine the rock spectacular every time out, and it's great that they're coming back to Europe - as promised - to do it again."

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JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE ADDS UK DATE
Justin Timberlake has added a new UK gig to his spring/summer European dates. The singer will appear in Nottingham on 19 May as part of his 'FutureSex/LoveShow' tour. His full line up of UK dates are now as follows:

27 Apr: Sheffield Hallam FM Arena
30 Apr: Newcastle Metro Arena
3 May: Glasgow SECC
8 May: Birmingham NIA
9 May: Birmingham NIA
14 May: Manchester MEN
15 May: Manchester MEN
19 May: Nottingham Arena
4 Jul: London O2 Arena
5 Jul: London O2 Arena
7 Jul: London O2 Arena

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CHILI PEPPERS POSTPONE DATES
Red Hot Chili Peppers have been forced to cancel a number of their Japanese tour dates because singer Anthony Kiedis was struck by a bout of bronchial pneumonia. Ewww. Anyway, my horror of lung-y infections aside, the band had to postpone shows in Osaka on 19 Mar, and in Tokyo last night and tonight.

The Japanese company promoting the tour say: "Rescheduling of the performances will be announced as soon as possible once scheduling of the world tour can be confirmed."

Meanwhile, speaking about the band's upcoming Australasian tour, promoters Michael Coppel Presents say: "It is confidently anticipated that Anthony Kiedis will be fully recovered and able to travel as scheduled in April to commence the Australian tour. Therefore there is no suggestion that the Australian or New Zealand shows are in any doubt of proceeding as scheduled".

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INCUBUS POSTPONE TOUR
Yes, more postponed tour dates. It's very sad. But Incubus have been forced to cancel their current UK tour because if an injury to guitarist Mike Einziger's hand which will require surgery. Fans are advised to keep hold of tickets as they will be valid for rescheduled dates, which are expected to take place in September. Details of the new dates will be announced next week.

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ALBARN'S MONKEY SHOW TO OPEN MANCHESTER FEST
That previously reported opera thingy 'Monkey: Journey To The West' that Damon Albarn was working on is set to open the Manchester International Festival this summer. Commissioned by the festival, the work involves Shaolin Monks and a Chinese circus in depicted the legend of Monkey - as seen on UK TV in the seventies.

Festival director Alex Poots says: "Damon's taking the Monkey King story from China and turning it into a circus opera with a 45-piece circus troupe from China and Shaolin Monks and martial arts experts".

Sounds good. The Manchester International Festival takes place from 28 Jun - 15 Jul, and will also feature performances from the likes of Lou Reed, Smokey Robinson, Kayne West and Happy Mondays.

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CRIBS SINGLE, TOUR
The Cribs have announced that their new single 'Man's Needs' will be released on 14 May via download, CD and two 7" singles. They are also touring in May, here are the dates:

21 May: Keele University
23 May: Newcastle University
24 May: Glasgow Barrowlands
25 May: Liverpool Carling Academy
27 May: Nottingham Rock City
28 May: Manchester Ritz
29 May: London Astoria
5 Jun: Bristol Carling Academy
6 Jun: Portsmouth Pyramid
7 Jun: Wolverhampton Wulfrun
9 Jun: Leeds University

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KOSHEEN RELEASES AND TOURS
Kosheen have launched a new look website - http://www.kosheen.com - to coincide with the Europe release of new single 'Overkill (Is It Over Now?), which comes from the outfit's forthcoming new album 'Damage'. They have also announced the following UK gigs for May...

5 May: Anson Rooms, Bristol
6 May: Nottingham Trent University
7 May: Manchester Academy 3
9 May: Birmingham Academy 2
10 May: Carling Academy Islington
11 May: Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

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SINGLE REVIEW: Envelopes - Smoke In The Desert, Eating The Sand, Hide In The Grass/Party (Brille)
This is the first single from Envelopes' forthcoming yet-to-be-titled album - I nearly said their 'debut' album, though it turns out it's their second, them having released a home-recorded album called 'Demon' a couple of years ago. 'Smoke In The Desert' is not particularly radio friendly, but is an interesting listen nonetheless. Singer Henrik Orrling has great vocals that howl over a pounding bass line that really drives the song, while towards the end of the track it's almost as though the band have been let loose on some guitars with mean peddles. Flipside 'Party' is wonderful poppy track with that special kind of feel that only English-as-a-second-language artists can provide. The track has a similar sound to trademark Jimmy Eat World but avoids that sound-alike effect. And there is also a fantastic reference to Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' but with swear words. AW
Release Date: 9 Apr
Press Contact: Scruffy Bird [all]

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UK COLLECTING SOCIETY ANNOUNCES RECORD REVENUES
Those MCPS-PRS Alliance chaps - who collect both mechanical and performing royalties for the songwriters and publishers they represent, just in case you always wondered what it was they did - recorded record revenues in 2006, in excess of £545m.

Revenues from public performance and broadcast royalties were up 7% to £335 million, while PRS, the part of the organisation managing those interests, reported that operating costs were down 4% on the previous year (not including the legal costs of its dispute with the record labels and main digital music platforms over the digital royalty for songwriters) meaning of the £335 million, over £290 million was paid out to the society's members.

Mechanical revenues, ie publishing royalties from the sale of recorded music, were unchanged on 2005, though given the continued hardships in the recorded sector that is arguably quite an achievement, which was seemingly aided by the development of new revenue streams by the society's MCPS division, including the AVP licensing scheme for non-music products (which brought in over £10m) and a new scheme for music-based quiz games. Overall, mechanicals brought in £213m - and again MCPS reported its operating costs were down so that more could be passed onto the songwriters and publishers.

Commenting on the figures, MCPS-PRS Alliance MD Steve Porter told reporters: "These excellent financial results demonstrate the continuing strong demand for music. Our revenues were the best ever, enabling us to distribute more than £500m in royalties to our composer, songwriter and publisher members. Cost control remains strong and we continue to make significant progress in speeding the money through the system. The Alliance continues to forge ahead with its strategic pan-European licensing initiative and is playing a lead role in transforming the digital rights marketplace in Europe".

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MOBILE MIXER COMPANY LAUNCHES YOUTH INITIATIVE
Toa Group have announced they are planning to promote their mobile phone music mixing application miniMIXA though an initiative with the Creative Academy and the Slough Young People's Centre. The tech company will supply phones with their software installed to young people undertaking specific courses at the SYPC who will be encouraged to create their own music, mixes and ring tones using the technology. The results of the workshops will be hosted on a special MySpace page.

Commenting on the venture, SYPC's Tina Palmer told CMU: "Until now there has been a severe shortage of pocket sized and affordable new technology available to create new music. miniMIXA has proved very popular because it is so accessible. Users don't have to buy decks or an instrument or have access to an expensive studio. Young people already own mobile phones as an indispensable part of their lifestyle".

Toa hope to stage similar initiatives through similar youth programmes around the UK. Meantime, you can find out more at http://www.myspace.com/mobilemashup

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TOWER.COM SALE CONFIRMED
A bankruptcy judge in Delaware has given the go ahead for the acquisition of the Tower Records website, Tower.com.

The website of the once flagship US record store chain was one of the assets that was put up for sale when the company went into liquidation last year. A company called Norton LLC, who own that controversial Wolfgang's Vault rock memorabilia website, originally bid for the former retail chain's online operation, but they failed to finalise the purchase. The web brand will now go to Miami based music and books retailer Caiman.

Caiman already have their own online operation and resell products from Amazon, and it is not clear if the Tower.com brand will be used in tandem with those services, or whether their existing online operations will be rebranded under the name.

Although music retail is a struggling sector at the moment, some in the investment community say online sellers of physical CDs are more immune to the instability, for the time being at least, and therefore having such a legendary music brand in the online space could prove to be a good investment for Caiman, who will pay $4.2 million to acquire the web-based property and trademark.

You know, we reported on the collapse of Tower Records in quite some detail last year, but it's just occurred to me we never asked Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo what he thought about it all. Which is a major oversight. But never fear, because he's been speaking to Aussie website Undercover about that very thing. Phew. I should add, Cuomo worked at a Tower Records store for eighteen months before forming his own band, which is why he has a right to an opinion on these things. He thinks it's a real shame Tower Records is no more, adding: "Working there was my crash course in music. That's where I first heard Nirvana, The Pixies, Sonic Youth. Without having worked at Tower, I don't know how I would have moved beyond just listening to heavy metal, and Weezer definitely would have never existed, at least not in the form it exists". So, there you go, that's that covered.

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BBC COMMISSION THEMED TOTP2 EDITIONS
The BBC has commissioned six themed editions of Top Of The Pops 2 - which will include one dedicated to The Police (am I the only person not quite as excited about The Police reunion as everyone else - I mean, don't get me wrong, I like their music, but I'm just finding it hard to get excited about the fact they're reforming - only me? What, oh, it is, OK, I'll shut up and tune in). The other shows will be have more generic themes - Eurovision, summer hits, Hallowe'en, country music and Christmas.

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MARK RONSON ON RUDEBOX
Mark Ronson has been chatting about other artists again. Presumably he means to promote his own new album 'Versions', but then gets distracted. This time he's been commenting on Robbie Williams' not as successful as hoped recent LP 'Rudebox', for which Ronson produced three tracks.

Ronson told Gigwise: "The funny thing is that it got amazing reviews in magazines that had never ever taken him seriously up 'til then that applauded him for taking a chance. I think people might have felt that maybe it didn't' feel like Robbie's true voice. I think the people who really loved Robbie wanted to hear what he's singing, but I don't know. Maybe he'd been riding too high and people were ready to knock him down."

He continued: "'Lovelight', one of the records that I did, I know people who don't even know who Robbie Williams is, they hear that when it comes on in the club when I play it and they're like 'what the hell is that, that's amazing'. I do think that's a great song. Mos Def actually came up to me at one of Amy's first gigs in Joe's Pub in New York. He came up to me and was like, "did you do that Robbie Williams song 'Lovelight'? It's incredible I want to rap over that". Maybe not all the songs were terribly good, but I'm definitely into the stuff we did."

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CALVIN HARRIS HAS A POP AT BLOC PARTY
Newcomer Calvin Harris (recently working on stuff with Kylie Minogue, if I remember rightly) has said that he doesn't rate Bloc Party much.

Speaking to The Big Issue he said: "A lot of these people think they're changing the world with their music, but actually they're just boring the shit out of everyone. Like Bloc Party - they are rubbish. They make very tedious music. What kind of person is going to make all this music and not make one single tune? What's the point?"

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MEL C: ONE OFF SPICE REUNION IS POSSIBLE
As we reported recently, CMU's favourite former Spice Girl Mel C has insisted that there will be no band reunion, but that that was not just down to her unwillingness to do it. Remember?In response to suggestions that she's the one holding it up she said this: "There is no reunion. I'm painted as the villain who doesn't want us to reunite. But I'm not the only one".

However, she's now been quoted as saying that the band would in fact reunite, but only for a one-off, not a big tour. According to reports, she says: "I've spoken to all the girls and yes, we'll do a one-off reunion for a big enough occasion or cause".

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