CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 30th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Sanctuary announce US record label restructure
- Spears and K-Fed reportedly reach divorce settlement
- Jackson child woman files new claim
- The Youngbloodz sue SonyBMG
- Latin music chain boycott Lopez
- Bono gets his honorary knighthood
- Quincy Jones to create new CD series
- Patti Smith covers album news
- More Diddy Snoop talk
- RHCP announce replacement dates
- The Spitz celebrates 11 years with jazz fusion extravaganza
- Doherty to play acoustic set at Glasto
- Creamfields line up announced
- More Get Loaded bands announced
- Evolution line ups announced
- New gay fest announced
- Eden session line up news
- Album Review: Timbaland - Shock Value (Universal/Polydor)
- SonyBMG launch new A&R blogs for demo submission
- BPI people changes
- Tesco move online music operation to Switzerland to keep tax benefits
- Apple announce complete an album service on iTunes
- eMusic announce new expanded subscription packages
- Bertelsmann may have paid a 100 million for EMI settlement
- Votefortheworst website impacts on American Idol
- Radiohead speak re Starbucks rumours

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TOP BIT>>
iTunes are launching a new service which will mean that if you buy an album via the download platform, but you've already bought some of the tracks off it as single track downloads, you'll get a discount so that you're not paying for the same tracks twice, if that makes sense (I possibly explain it better in the story below). Apple say the new service makes things much fairer - which is true - but also admit that they hope it will encourage more iTunes users to buy albums, based on the theory that many users who have bought single tracks as and when they have started being played on the radio are then resisting later buying the full album because they resent paying for the same tracks twice (because if you buy a physical single and then the physical album it is from, at least you're getting different packaging and probably additional b-sides or remixes, when you download a single track it is often identical to the track you get with the album download).

The new system has been welcomed by some industry types who have noticed that single tracks are bought much more than albums in the digital domain. Though, as I'm sure we've said before, such measures to maintain the album model are possibly counter-productive in the long term. In much the same way that labels are going to have to accept, live with and find new ways to survive despite file sharing and online piracy, it may well be that labels, and their artists, will have to eventually accept that the concept of the eight to twelve track album released every couple of years - something that was, after all, designed for logistical and marketing reasons, rather than creative reasons - may become a thing of the past in the musical future.

For label bosses trained to think in terms of major album releases and three month big marketing pushes, and artists used to six week intense studio sessions every couple of years, that idea may be as unwelcome as the 'accepting piracy' thing. But, as I'm sure I've pondering previously, I do wonder if creatively artists and music fans alike might not benefit if the album format falls out of use - and labels may benefit commercially also.

There are exceptions obviously, but often albums aren't really the cohesive collection of songs that naturally belong together that many artists would claim they are. And many albums from even quality artists often include the filler tracks - because the six weeks in the studio just didn't create a full albums worth of perfect songs. If artists produce fewer songs but on a more regular basis, releasing more frequent EPs rather than occasional album's, those artists may find that over their career they produce a better more vibrant collection of music, and fans benefit accordingly. Meanwhile, on the commercial side, labels could find that building ongoing relationships with their artists' fans through regular low cost digital releases of two or three new tracks are a good way of developing new maybe lower but more sustainable revenue streams from the talent they sign.

So, while Apple's new service should be welcomed, let's hope it's not another sign of the music industry resisting change even though commercial and creative logic suggest that change is what is required.

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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 décor 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: The Bays All Dayer at Koko.
The Bays, after the success of their stint at the helm at the Blue Pavillion, take over Camden's Koko for an April Fool's Day extravaganza of musical diversity, offering everything from electronica to classically tinged instrumental ambience to good old-fashioned proper house music. Three rooms of entertainment will include live sets from The Bays (obviously), Global Comms' Tom Middleton's AMBA project, Digitonal and Jon Hopkins, while DJs will include The Bays own Jimpster (J Odell) and Palmskin back-to-back plus Mixmaster Morris, Max Sedgley, Nick Luscombe and Plaid playing their All-Time Top 100 tunes. And that's not everything either - there'll be more DJs, live acts and all other manner of shite squeezed in between 2.30pm till Midders! Can't wait.

Sunday 1 Apr, Koko, 1a Camden High St, London NW1, 2.30pm-12.00am, £20, info at http://www.koko.uk.com or http://www.thebays.com, Koko box office: 08701 451115.

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SANCTUARY ANNOUNCE US RECORD LABEL RESTRUCTURE
That there Sanctuary Group yesterday announced it was "making good progress" with its programme of "strategic disposals" designed to turn around the fortunes of the flagging cross-sector music company. The announcement, made ahead of the company's AGM in London, followed that previously reported confirmation last November that the company was planning to sell off a number of its businesses in order to secure the long term future of the wider group.

The new statement made special reference to plans to restructure the company's recorded music business in the US, which will no doubt see the group's American record labels downsized considerably. Confirming that restructure is a particular priority, the group's statement said: "In response to the significant changes currently underway in the US music market, to which our US operations have not been immune, the board has approved a proposal to restructure the recorded product division's US operations", adding that the restructure would prioritise "growing higher margin digital and licensing businesses while continuing to exploit our catalogue rights".

Changes at the group's US recorded music business follow the departure of that division's CEO, Merck Mercuriadis, late last year. And, as much previously reported, the wider restructuring and asset selling follows radical changes at the top of the independent music company in the last two years, including the departure of founders Andy Taylor and Rod Smallwood from the board, all of which happened after the firm slipped into financial free fall after a period of radical expansion.

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SPEARS AND K-FED REPORTEDLY REACH DIVORCE SETTLEMENT
Well, reports suggest that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have reached a settlement in their divorce negotiations, and a spokesman for Fed-Ex's lawyer Michael Sands has seemingly confirmed that is the case, so we probably have reason to believe the reports this time. That spokesman says the settlement was reached after a five hour meeting yesterday and that it covers both child custody and financial matters. More info than that is not as yet forthcoming - and Spears' attorney, Laura Wasser, has so far declined to comment at all on the divorce proceedings. The latest divorce talks follow Spears departure from the Promises rehab centre where, of course, she went to, well, rehabilitate I suppose, after a period of seemingly ever stranger behaviour following her separation from the Fed.

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JACKSON CHILD WOMAN FILES NEW CLAIM
Lola Jackson, a woman who claims that she, and not Deborah Rowe, is the biological mother of Michael Jackson's three children, has filed a suit against the pop star for the third time, submitting papers to the Los Angeles Superior Court this week to request visitation rights and child support. The British woman also asks to be given Jacko's Neverland Ranch and another of his properties, in exchange for which he would retain full custody of the kids. Which all seems very ambitious.

Jackson insists that it was she that gave birth to all three of Jackson's children, despite the fact that the aforementioned Rowe is named on the birth certificates of two of them, whilst the identity of the mother of the youngest child, Prince Michael II, aka Blanket, has never been revealed. Lola says: "Debbie's hospital records will prove that my kids are not hers because of DNA".

The court has dismissed two previous attempts to file a motion, most recently last month when LA Superior Court judge Robert Schnider decided that proper notification of the proposed action had not been given to Jackson or Rowe, and that the suit lacked credible evidence that she is the mother of children.

Hearings on the issue are set to take place in May.

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THE YOUNGBLOODZ SUE SONYBMG
US Rap duo The Youngbloodz have filed a $50 million lawsuit against SonyBMG claiming the major has failed to pay them royalties they are due. The duo signed to the major via the Arista imprint La Face, and have released three original albums and a greatest hits collection with the major. The disputed royalties seem to stem primarily from digital sales of their music. SonyBMG is yet to comment on the litigation.

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LATIN MUSIC CHAIN BOYCOTT LOPEZ
Talking of disputes involving SonyBMG, a US Latin music retail chain has taken music from SonyBMG artist Jennifer Lopez off its shelves in a dispute over the promotion of her new and previously reported Spanish language album 'Como Ama Una Mujer'.

The bosses of record chain Ritmo Latino are seemingly pissed off that Lopez isn't planning to do any instore promotion for the new album in any record stores that specialise in Latin music - and even more so that a much hyped "Lopez returns to her roots" promotion that took place in the Bronx this week was staged at a Transworld owned FYE store - a mainstream music chain.

Having taken Lopez's music off their shelves and refused to stock the new album, Ritmo Latino are distributing leaflets in store that say: "Jennifer Lopez does not support the Latin community, that is why we have decided not to promote her new CD and have withdrawn her prior material from sale".

And the company's president, David Massry, told Billboard: "She did a Latin record, she should go to a Latin music store. It doesn't have to be mine".

But SonyBMG say that they are not deliberately avoiding Latin music stores, it is just that Lopez has very limited time available for promotion and it has just turned out that the limited number of promotional events possible have not included an event at a specialist Latin record shop. Kevin Lawrie, President of SonyBMG Latin America, told reporters: "We [the label] felt that it was important that Jennifer do her instore in the Bronx, NY, where she is from and where there is substantial cultural diversity. Unfortunately, Ritmo Latino has no outlets in the Bronx".

It's not the first time Ritmo Latino has staged this kind of protest. In 2005 they boycotted Shakira's 'Fijacion Oral Vol. 1' album until the singer agreed to an in-store event at one of their shops.

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BONO GETS HIS HONORARY KNIGHTHOOD
Saviour of the world Bono received his honorary knighthood yesterday at a ceremony in Dublin. The singer was presented with the honour by British Ambassador David Reddaway at his official residence in the city, in the presence of a small gathering that included Mrs Bono, the little Bonos and U2 bandmates The Edge and Adam Clayton. A letter from Tony Blair was read out at the event, in which the British Prime Minister described the singer as an inspiration, and gushed: "I'll leave it to others far more knowledgeable than me to talk about U2's music - all I'll say is that, along with millions of others right across the world, I'm a huge fan".

Bono explained that his new title - that of KBE (technically speaking he shouldn't be called 'sir' because he's not British, though that doesn't stop everyone calling Bob Geldof Sir Bob) - will help him to better continue his work bending the ears of statesmen and politicians around the world, saying "An award like this actually really helps me get through a few doors I wouldn't get through and that's the truth, that's the way the world is".

He added: "It has been a great year for this award to happen in, and it does feel like this country and Great Britain are closer than they have ever been". The singer also told reporters, "you have permission to call me anything you want except Sir", jokingly suggesting an alternative: "Lord of lords, your demi-godness".

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QUINCY JONES TO CREATE NEW CD SERIES
Quincy Jones has signed a deal with Extreme Music, a company owned by Famous Music Publishing, which will see the legendary producer create and produce a multi-CD collection called The Q Series which will involve collaborations with numerous composers, instrumentalists and engineers and take in various genres, including jazz, hip hop, gospel and funk. The first three CDs of the series are expected in early Summer - we'll let you know when we hear more.

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PATTI SMITH COVERS ALBUM NEWS
Details have been released regarding Patti Smith's new covers album. 'Twelve', a collection of songs by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Tears For Fears and Jimi Hendrix covered by Smith and her band, is out on 16 Apr, and features guest appearances from Chili Pepper Flea and Black Crowe Rich Robinson.

Here's the tracklisting:

Are You Experienced?
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Helpless
Gimme Shelter
Within You Without You
White Rabbit
Changing Of The Guards
The Boy In The Bubble
Soul Kitchen
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Midnight Rider
Pastime Paradise

And here are Smith's upcoming tour dates:

10 May: Kendal Arts Centre
11 May: Ulverston Coronation Hall
13 May: Dublin Vicar Street
17 May: London Roundhouse
19 May: Minehead - All Tomorrow's Parties
20 May: Liverpool Carling Academy
22 May: Glasgow ABC
23 May: Gateshead Sage
24 May: Sheffield The Plug

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MORE DIDDY SNOOP TALK
Diddy has been talking some more about the fact that his joint tour with Snoop Dogg got cancelled because Snoop couldn't get a visa. He insists that neither he nor Snoop blame the UK authorities, but admitted that Mr Dogg was in fact "really sad and upset".

He's quoted as saying: "Sometimes you don't get what you want but you don't throw a temper tantrum, you respect the decision. We're not angry with the British government, we want to keep this as a positive thing and tell kids, 'Put the guns and knives down'."

That last bit is, I think, in reference to the recent spate of knife killings amongst young people in South London, about which he adds: "If me and Snoop - East and West - can work together, you guys can work together".

I'm surprised Tony Blair hasn't sent him a letter, telling him he's an inspiration.

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RHCP ANNOUNCE REPLACEMENT DATES
Talking of cancelled tour dates, Red Hot Chili Peppers have announced rescheduled dates for those Japan gigs they were forced to postpone this month because of Anthony Kiedis' bout of bronchial pneumonia. They will now play on 5 and 6 Jun at the Tokyo Dome and 8 Jun at the Osaka Dome.

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THE SPITZ CELEBRATES 11 YEARS WITH JAZZ FUSION EXTRAVAGANZA
London venue The Spitz is having an 11th anniversary party this weekend - 1 Apr - and they are celebrating with a must go line up for anyone who likes a little eclectic jazztronica and drum n bass type fusing. On the bill are drum n bass pioneers Spring Heel Jack - aka John Coxon and Ashley Wales - as well as Spiritualized mainman Jason Pierce (aka J Spaceman, of course, and who released his debut solo album on Coxon and Wales' label last year) plus drummer Steve Noble and saxophonist Alan Wilkinson. Anything really will go. Kicks off at 7pm, tickets are a tenner on the door or £8 in advance from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/13201. Press info from The Spitz direct - rupert@spitz.co.uk.

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DOHERTY TO PLAY ACOUSTIC SET AT GLASTO
Into festivals news, and according to Emily Eavis, Pete Doherty is to play a solo acoustic set at Glastonbury this summer, and will be paid just one hundred pounds to do so. The singer will appear elsewhere at the festival with Babyshambles, of course.

Speaking about the booking and its cost, Eavis explained: "I'm talking about a one-off appearance from Pete Doherty. That's not what Babyshambles are getting for their festival appearance; this is a Pete Doherty acoustic set".

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CREAMFIELDS LINE UP ANNOUNCED
Creamfields has announced its 2007 line up, and acts on this year's bill include the likes of Groove Armada, The Chemical Brothers, Kelis, Simian Mobile Disco and Mark Ronson. Also set to appear are the likes of Erol Alkan, 2ManyDJs, Tiga, Miss Kittin, Pendulum and Cagedbaby.

As previously reported, it all takes place this year in Daresbury in Cheshire on 25 Aug.

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MORE GET LOADED BANDS ANNOUNCED
More line up news, and some more additions to the previously reported Get Loaded In The Park and Cardiff Calling festivals, which take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend as part of the Metro Weekenders, the former in London and the latter in, and presumably you'd have guessed this, Cardiff.

Following the news earlier in the week that The Streets will headline both events, confirmation yesterday that Super Furry Animals, The Automatic and Dizzee Rascal will also appear at the London festival, while Dirty Pretty Things, 2 Many DJs and, again, Dizzee Rascal will play at the Cardiff event. Which is all very exciting.

More info at http://www.getloadedinthepark.com and http://www.cardiffcalling.com - press info on both from stix@turnmills.co.uk.

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EVOLUTION LINE UPS ANNOUNCED
The full line up for Newcastle's Evolution Festival has been announced. In addition to the previously reported Maximo Park headlined free day long festival that takes place in the city on 28 May (which they called Freevolution, I now see), there are also a series of gigs in various venues in Newcastle and Gateshead in the week leading up to that - including Yourcodenameis:Milo, The Waterboys, Groove Armada and Nouvelle Vague. Full line ups of those gigs and the all-dayer are at this here URL http://www.evolutionfestival.co.uk.

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NEW GAY FEST ANNOUNCED
Details have been announced of a new festival called People's Party, which will be the UK's first residential festival aimed at the gay and lesbian community (though I don't think you'll have to take any kind of sexuality test before they let you in). Taking place from 13-15 Jul at Elton Hall, a stately home just south of Peterborough, on the live stage bill are Robert Owens Live Band, 2020 Soundsystem, Spektrum, No Bra, Dragonette, Joakim, Dani Siciliano and Alice Russell, while clubs hosting events will include Horse Meat Disco, Trailer Trash, Bootylicious, Crash London, Duckie and Club Motherfucker, and DJs on the decks will include: Mark Moore, Tom Stephan, Guy Williams, Readers Wives, James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Severino, Filthy Luka, Nikki Lucas, Jeffrey Hinton, Mikki Most, Hannah Holland, Jonty Skruff, Jerry Bouthier, Ian Robinson, Dj Rokk, Per Qx, Tallulah, Daughters Of The Kaos and Jon Sizzle. You'll find more of that info type stuff on the Peoples Party at http://www.peoplesparty.net

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EDEN SESSION LINE UP NEWS
The Eden Project people have announced their line-up for this year's Eden Sessions. And I'll tell you who's going to be playing. Amy Winehouse, that's who. And James Morrison, Lily Allen, Bright Eyes and Rufus Wainwright.

Here are those names again, this time in order of appearance, with dates:

2 Jul: James Morrison
10 Jul: Rufus Wainwright
17 Jul: Amy Winehouse
18 Jul: Lily Allen
21 Jul: Bright Eyes

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ALBUM REVIEW: Timbaland - Shock Value (Universal/Polydor)
First things first - and the small matter of this album's lead off single 'Give It To Me'. Featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, on paper this should be one of the killer tracks of the year. And on record (oh, you know, CD, MP3, 8 track cartridge etc) it is. It's an unstoppable, impeccably sexy pop song that effortlessly slinks and struts and shimmies its future alien funk. Total genius, in fact. If anyone tells you it's anything less than awesome, just punch them in the face. So. Impossibly good first single dispensed with, can the rest of the lengthy (19 tracks - phew) album hold up to the same standard? In a word, no. The production and beats are all as monumental as you'd expect from Timbaland, but the killer tunes are only occasionally in attendance. The eclectic cast list (featuring loads of hip hop artists I've never heard of, as well as the likes of Missy Elliot, 50 Cent, Elton John, the Hives and Fall Out Boy) does keep things interesting, although it's a shame there's nothing here from Timbaland's recent sessions with Björk. The two other tracks featuring yer man Timberlake are nothing to write home about, but elsewhere 'The Way I Are' and 'Fantasy' are both effective pieces of summery pop, whilst 'Time', featuring She Wants Revenge, has a kind of Interpol-esque P(unk)-funk vibe about it and is one of the most interesting things here. As an album 'Shock Value' is by no means poor (even if it is a little too long) but for the time being Timbaland will simply have to be satisfied with the by no means embarrassing feat of having released the single of the year thus far. MS
Release date: 2 Apr
Press contact: Polydor IH [CP, RP, NP, CR, RR, NR] Bang On [O]

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SONYBMG LAUNCH NEW A&R BLOGS FOR DEMO SUBMISSION
Following the lead of one or the other of the EMI labels, I forget which (I'd got into the archives and find out, but hey, it's Friday, life's too short etc etc), SonyBMG have announced two new websites through which unsigned bands can submit demos to and network with their A&R teams. Not only that, but the new blogging platforms will be the only way the major accepts demos from this point onwards (after all, receiving physical demos is much less fun in this CD age - you can't record over a CD).

Both the major's main record label divisions - Columbia and RCA - will have a blogging thingimy - at http://www.columbiademos.co.uk and http://www.rcademos.co.uk. The service is being set up in association with blog outfit Vox.com, and bands who sign up will not only be able to network with and expose their music to Columbia and RCA's A&R teams, but they will also benefit from a range of other facilities to help them promote their music and network with other artists.

Announcing the new service, SonyBMG UK chief Ged Doherty told CMU: "Blogging is clearly one of the major trends in music, media and entertainment. 100,000 new blogs go online each day at the moment and the blogosphere is doubling every 230 days so it makes complete sense for the major labels to use the process in a creative way to encourage, discover and communicate with new artists. Hopefully this will go some way towards breaking down the barriers between new artists and music companies and make for more open, transparent dialogues between the two of us. New talent remains the core commitment for SonyBMG and we want to offer that talent innovative and efficient ways of presenting themselves and their music to us. The A&R Blogs are a great way of doing that. They offer the band a great platform to show themselves off to best advantage to anyone who might be interested in taking them on and furthering their career".

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BPI PEOPLE CHANGES
The BPI have announced that, following the departure of their Exec Chairman Peter Jamieson, the trade body's Director Of Communications & Development Steve Redmond is also moving on. Redmond, who has led the trade body's communication operations for four years as well as being involved in the development of the National Music Week schools programme and creating the British Music Week promotion in Berlin last year, told CMU: "Peter Jamieson and I worked very closely together over the past four years and his departure is a good point for me to move on to something new". Commenting on Redmond's departure, incoming BPI chairman Tony Wadsworth told us: "Steve has a done a great job at the BPI, and we wish him well".

Talking of senior appointments at the BPI, the trade body announced earlier this week the appointment of Dramatico Entertainment top man, Katie Melua discoverer and Wombles music master Mike Batt to the role of BPI Deputy Chairman. The Deputy Chairman role is new, and is part of the previously reported restructure that has come about following Jamieson's departure and which will see the BPI Council of record label bosses getting more proactively involved in the running of the association. Batt will work alongside the aforementioned new Chairman, EMI Music UK boss Wadsworth, and the trade body's new full time CEO Geoff Taylor. Commenting on Batt's appointment, Wadsworth said: "Mike's experience in so many areas of our business, as a performer, writer, producer, publisher and owner and director of a very successful record label, gives him a rare overview which will be invaluable to the BPI, particularly in its dealings with the rest of the industry. I welcome his support".

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TESCO MOVE ONLINE MUSIC OPERATION TO SWITZERLAND TO KEEP TAX BENEFITS
Those naughty tax dodging Tesco types have announced they have moved their online CD and DVD mail order business to Switzerland so that they can continue to enjoy a controversial VAT loophole.

As much previously reported, Tesco is one of a number of etailers who have in the past based their online CD sales operations on the Channel Island of Jersey. A base on the island was beneficial because, while geographically convenient for mail order services to the UK, Jersey is not in the EU and, because of the way European sales tax systems work, goods imported to the UK from there that cost less than £18 were not subject to VAT. Which meant Tesco, and others, could sell CDs at cheaper prices than high street or online operations based within the UK.

But the tax loop hole has proved controversial and, with proactive lobbying from independent retailer associations whose members struggle to compete when major mail order firms can sidestep taxes in this way, politicians on both Jersey and in the UK have slowly been making moves to close the loophole in relation to low cost products imported into Britain from the channel island.

While tangible measures to actually close the loophole have not come as fast as verbal commitments to do so, recent changes in Jersey law have made it harder for etailers to benefit from the tax avoidance system, hence Tesco's decision to move their online operations to another county geographically close to the UK but outside the EU - Switzerland.

The retailer confirmed this week: "Following changes in local legislation in Jersey and so that we can continue to offer these great prices to our customers the fulfilment operation of this business is now based in Switzerland". Because of course that's why huge retail congloms go out of the way to avoid paying taxes - to benefit the common man.

The move is sure to anger the UK's Forum Of Private Business who have been desperately trying to close the Jersey loophole, though whether they will be able to persuade the UK government to act at their end to stop such continued tax avoidance remains to be seen - some tax experts suspect not, despite politicians expressing verbal support for the independent retailers.

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APPLE ANNOUNCE COMPLETE AN ALBUM SERVICE ON ITUNES
Apple have introduced a new service within iTunes which some in the industry hope will boost the sale of albums in the digital music sector.

The move is a response to a definite trend in digital music where by consumers tend to buy more individual tracks than entire albums, picking and choosing from an album's tracklisting, rather than opting to buy the entire LP.

The new service, called 'Complete My Album', will enable users who buy albums from iTunes to get a discount if they have already bought individual tracks off it via the download service (providing the two purchases come within 180 days of each other). So that if someone has bought a track off an album, and then they opt to buy the album itself, they get a 99 cents discount on the album price. The service hopes to encourage people who have bought single tracks to consider later buying the whole album. The theory goes that people are more likely to do that if they don't think they are having to pay for the same track twice.

Commenting on the new service, Apple's VP Of iTunes, Eddy Cue, told reporters: ''Once we [iTunes customers] bought a song, we wondered why we had to buy it again if we wanted the album. We hope this service helps us sell more songs ultimately, and from the customer point of the view, we think it's the right thing to do".

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EMUSIC ANNOUNCE NEW EXPANDED SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGES
Independent music download platform eMusic - you know, the digital music firm who make music available in the user friendly MP3 format - has announced a new three-tiered subscription programme which includes two new options which involve larger numbers of tracks than before. An eMusic subscription allows you to permanently download a set number of tracks per month. In the past that's been 90 tracks, but, due to popular demand seemingly, premium subscription packages with more downloads will now be available. I only have the US prices - but they give an indication - the new packages will cost $24.99 for 100 downloads, $49.99 for 200 and $74.99 for 300.

Commenting on the new packages, eMusic boss David Pakman told CMU: "At a time when the music industry is shrinking and major record labels are struggling to improve their bottom line with digital sales, eMusic's customers are ready to legally buy even more music. Our customers have told us that the 90 downloads a month in our highest plan are just not enough. They're passionate about discovering music, our subscription plans allow them to explore our vast catalogue of 2+ million tracks, and the MP3 format give them the freedom to play their music on every digital music device on the market. It's proof that when you make it easy for people to discover and buy new music, they want to buy more of it."

Elsewhere in eMusic news, HitsDailyDouble reports that both London based aggregator Vital:PIAS Digital and US independent Victory Records have recently pulled their catalogues from the indie music service - seemingly over pricing concerns, possibly in relation to these new subscription packages. They also say that previously reported gossiping that eMusic may be sold continues, with Google and Amazon both been named as possible buyers.

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BERTELSMANN MAY HAVE PAID A 100 MILLION FOR EMI SETTLEMENT
Although the specifics of that previously reported settlement between SonyBMG co-owners Bertelsmann and EMI with regards the former's financial support of the original Napster P2P company back in the day are still unknown, the Times has reported the German conglom will pay the London major $100 million, which is rather a lot and should help EMI reboost it's depleting cash reserves.

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VOTEFORTHEWORST WEBSITE IMPACTS ON AMERICAN IDOL
This is great - I think we should do this once the new X-Factor series kicks off. By far the worse finalist on the current series of American Idol, seventeen year old Sanjaya Malakar, was again saved this week by the public vote, seemingly because of campaign being run by a website called votefortheworst.com, which is also being supported by shock jock Howard Stern, and which encourages people to vote for the worse candidate on the reality show, mainly to piss off Simon Cowell, who will have to work with whoever wins the show. Despite coming bottom each week on the American Idol TV show Malakar keeps getting public support to stay on the show, even though (and possibly because) Cowell has threatened to quit the ratings topping talent show if Malakar wins the series. Which is a threat which makes me seriously consider moving to the US so I can join the campaign and call in my vote. It remains to be seen if those trying to bugger up the system can succeed once the really popular contestants come up for public vote against Malakar.

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RADIOHEAD SPEAK RE STARBUCKS RUMOURS
Radiohead have denied those rumours that they're about to sign a record deal with Starbucks' new record label, which should come as a surprise to approximately nobody.

A spokesman for the band has released a statement which read: "Radiohead are currently in the studio working on their next record. They are not negotiating a new record deal with anyone, and will not even consider how to release their new music until the album is finished. The rumour that they are about to sign with Starbucks is totally untrue".

I'm not sure why they bothered releasing a statement. It's not like anyone actually believed it.

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