CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 9th May
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Not much happened yesterday: Spector trial update
- Busta Rhymes rejects plea deal
- George Michael pleads guilty
- Smashing Pumpkins artwork stolen
- More tickets available for Big Weekend
- Lloyd Webber to showcase Joseph at Diana gig
- Jordan and Peter cancel Diana appearance
- Kula Shaker tour dates
- Album review: Gary Numan - The Complete John Peel Sessions
- WEA axe retail staff
- Warner US launch TV production division
- Beggars negotiating to buy into Rough Trade
- eMusic boss calls for rethink on digital pricing
- 7Digital launch in Ireland
- Ticketmaster US announce more digital promotions
- YouTube faces more copyright litigation
- Clear Channel knocks back takeover bid
- BBC radio chief gets pop music role
- Xfm wins South Wales FM licence
- White says Stripes not over, yawn
- Brian May on talent contests
- Baron Cohen not to play Mercury
- Beverley Knight speaks over Murphy v Mel B

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TOP BIT>>
Woooooah - look at this - mega late CMU Daily today. There's a good reason why though. We were all ready to send out the Daily at lunchtime and then we got the news that Terry Hall from The Specials had been confirmed for the next Remix Night and we got so excited that the next time we looked at the clock it was 5pm. OK, that's not the reason, but there was a good reason, which I won't bore you with.

But Terry Hall has been confirmed for the May edition of the CMU Recommended Remix Night, that much is true, which means you really have to get 18 May in your diaries right now. He will be joining long term CMU and Remix favourites the Dub Pistols live on stage, which is always a good booking. But it's not the only good booking this time round - oh no - there's support from Alloy Mental and Border Crossing, the latter of whom will be launching their brand new album. Meanwhile, on the decks, will be Rhysmix, aka Tom Bellamy from The Cooper Temple Clause. This all takes place on 18 May at Cargo in East London - full info at http://www.leylinepromotions.com/theremix.

This, by the way, is all in addition to the previously reported Remix All Nighter which takes over the seOne club in London Bridge on 26 May, ie the next bank holiday weekend. We'll give you a Top Bit update on that in the next few days.

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JOBS & STUFF>>

CLUB PROMOTIONS ASSISTANT
We are a new club promotions company based in West London with releases this year from The Chemical Brothers, LCD Soundsystem, Digitalism, Maps, Remi Nicole, Alan Braxe & Kris Menace plus many more. We are looking for a young, hard working, organised assistant with a good knowledge of, and love for, the club scene. Experience not essential. Salary negotiable. Please email your CV plus covering letter to contact@your-army.com

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INTERNSHIPS & STUFF>>

BE A SPOONFED INTERN
Spoonfed.co.uk is a new live music and clubbing website. We need interns 3 to 5 days a week in our Hoxton office. Passion for music is essential as are good phone manners, tea making skills and attention to detail. You will research, write and publish the best music and events site on the net. CV and one paragraph on yourself please to contribute@spoonfed.co.uk, subject line 'CMU Changed My Life'.

GET INVOLVED IN UNIQUE MUSIC CHARITY PROJECT
Opportunity for a keen and enthusiastic self-starter who will be able to hit the ground running with this unique music industry charity project. Temporary work-experience role available at Docklands based music marketing company for the month of May, in the run up to a charity auction event. Any media/events/charity experience would be beneficial, but not essential. What is essential is a willingness to muck-in and get involved from the outset in this fast paced environment. The successful candidate will work on an exciting project which straddles the worlds of music, fashion and design. Please e-mail your CV and details of your availability to borntorock@bigtime.tv

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

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CMU AT THE BRIGHTON FESTIVAL

The Brighton Festival is now underway, with a fantastic three week programme of theatre, comedy, art, dance, talks, debate, cabaret and music, music music. CMU's sister publication, ThreeWeeks, is covering it all, and you can check the coverage at http://www.threeweeks.co.uk, with music reviews here each day in the CMU Daily. Look, here's some now.

Brighton Festival Youth Choir, with Glen Capra piano
Brighton Festival Youth Choir
A highly enjoyable performance from a collection of superb singers was offered by the group of talented young people that make up the Brighton Festival Youth Choir. The witty choice of music ranged from Purcell to Sister Act, making use of some fine soloists and entertaining ideas throughout. A surprised and delighted audience chuckled with pleasure at a finger-clicking rendition of 'Lollipop', whilst the choir's take on 'Blue Moon' proved to be a fun and cleverly constructed version of the popular song. Juliette Pochin conducted with a light but expert touch and the choir shone under her guidance, spanning the genres of folk, jazz and classical over several centuries. The vocals were impressive and the piano accompaniment added warmth and character. Mixing the traditional and the modern, this was up to date and youthful fun for all tastes and ages.
Pavilion Theatre, Brighton Dome, 7 May, 1:00pm, £7.50, festival pp14.
tw rating 4/5
[er]

Saidi Kanda - Percussion Sounds of Africa
Brighton Festival (Company)
Saidi Kanda brought the exotic sounds of Tanzania to Brighton in this thoroughly entertaining and likeable show. Ensuring that the audience received the full Tanzanian experience, Kanda strolled on to the stage accompanied by two other band members, all dressed in eye catching African clothes and amulets before launching into a rhythmic tune with traditional instruments. Switching from conventional laid-back guitar sounds to more unusual instruments - including a nifty little device called a 'finger piano' - the band clearly enjoyed themselves, and their infectious enthusiasm rubbed off on the audience who were persuaded to join in a sing-along in stuttering African. This colourful show felt genuinely uplifting, an hour in the company of a charismatic and talented band.
Pavillion Theatre, Brighton Dome, 5 May, 1:00pm, £7.50, festival pp14.
tw rating 5/5
[sh]

ThreeWeeks in Brighton is only possible because of the kind support of Latest 7 - check it out at http://www.latest7.co.uk - plus tune into the Latest 7 radio show, every afternoon on Radio Reverb, listen online via http://www.latest7.co.uk/radio

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NOT MUCH HAPPENED YESTERDAY: SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
So, the Phil Spector murder trial is due to resume anytime now after another day off yesterday caused by a previously arranged and unavoidable commitment on the part of one of their jurors (I think they were washing their hair). Following the testimony of talent booker Dianne Ogden-Halder on Monday, in which the former friend of the legendary producer claimed Spector once attempted to rape her at gunpoint, the prosecution are today expected to call a female freelance photographer who alleges she too was once threatened at gunpoint by Spector. These testimonies are, as previously reported, all part of a bid by the prosecution to show that Spector has a long history of being abusive to women, normally while wielding a gun, so to conclude that it is entirely possible that he shot dead actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverley Hills home back in 2003.

Although the formal trial did not continue yesterday, there were more meetings at the court house to discuss the previously reported allegations, made by the prosecution, that the defence took evidence from the scene of the crime, and have failed to share it with them. As previously reported, the evidence claimed to have been thieved includes a bit of nail and a bit of tooth. At the hearing called to discuss the prosecution's allegations, a forensic specialist called Lynne Herold clarified once and for all just how important that bit of nail could be to the trial, should it exist, by telling the court: "From my position, this item has potential value or no value, depending on what it is". Thank heavens for specialist witnesses.

The case, as they say, continues.

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BUSTA RHYMES REJECTS PLEA DEAL
Busta Rhymes has rejected a plea deal that would effectively clear all of the numerous charges brought against him in the last few months. It's perhaps understandable that he's not interested though, as under the terms of the bargain Rhymes, real name Kevin Smith, would have to serve a year in prison to make the charges arising from all the incidents go away, and one must presume the rap star thinks his lawyers can help him avoid the possibility of a custodial sentence altogether.

As previously reported, Rhymes has been arrested four times in under a year, and incurred various charges, including allegations of DUI and assault. The plea deal would have seen him paying a $1500 fine and taking part in an anti drunk driving programme as well as serving 12 months inside. Confirming the news of the hip hopper's rejection of the plea deal, a spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Edison Alban, added that Rhymes is due back in court on 10 Jul. No comment has been forthcoming from the Rhymes camp.

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GEORGE MICHAEL PLEADS GUILTY
George Michael has pleaded guilty to the offence of being unfit to drive through drugs, in relation to that previously reported incident in Cricklewood in October last year in which police were called by fellow travellers after the singer's car obstructed a set of traffic lights. A second charge of being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drugs was dropped.

Appearing at Brent Magistrates' Court, Michael blamed a combination of "tiredness and prescribed drugs" for his condition on the occasion of the offence. The singer told District Judge Katherine Marshall: "I'm not used to defending myself in a position where I am ashamed of something. I really have been very distressed by this whole thing. I am perfectly aware that I did something very wrong and got into my car when I was unfit to drive. I was not in my normal physical state and I'm perfectly prepared to accept the correct punishment for that".

Sentencing was adjourned until 30 May, to enable blood tests to be carried out, apparently, with related court sessions also reportedly planned for 31 May and 8 Jun. Michael is due to play Wembley shortly after, on 9 Jun, of course.

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SMASHING PUMPKINS ARTWORK STOLEN
Two people are in prison following the theft from Smashing Pumpkins' rehearsal studio in Chicago of artwork expected to be on the cover of the newly reformed band's comeback album 'Zeitgeist', out this summer. According to reports, the thieves did not take any of the valuable recording equipment in the studio, but purloined the images, which subsequently appeared on a Smashing Pumpkins website.

A statement reads: "Management for the Smashing Pumpkins confirms that the band's rehearsal studio in Chicago was burglarised last week. The two people who are now in jail illegally gained access to the band's private space and stole various items belonging to them over the course of several hours while the band had left for the evening".

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MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR BIG WEEKEND
An extra 5000 tickets have been made available for Radio 1's Big Weekend, but it seems that you already have to have registered for the chance to get in to the free event, which takes place, as previously reported, in Moor Park, Preston from 19-20 May. Which is quite soon. Apparently they've started constructing the stages and stuff already.

Anyway, registration for these tickets closed on Monday, and applicants were being notified today of whether their bid to be at the event was successful. The majority, apparently, are to be distributed to Preston locals, and you only get a ticket for one day, not both days. Radio 1's live events editor Jason Carter yesterday explained that the site had been made bigger to accommodate the extra numbers, adding: "Listeners will still be incredibly lucky to win one of our golden tickets and they'll find out tomorrow if they have been successful or not".

The event, set to feature appearances from the likes of Razorlight, The Fratellis and Kasabian, will be broadcast on Radio 1, BBC2 and 3 and online.

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BECKS AND ICA TO TAKE ARTY COLLABORATIONS ON THE ROAD
This is one of those stories I've been meaning to run for a few days now, but I've been suffering from the 'too much music news syndrome'. Beck's and the ICA in London have announced details of a new arty initiative that will take place on Trafalgar Square (which is just around the corner from the ICA, of course) and at three other "iconic locations" this coming September. The Beck's Fusions programme will see arty and musicy and filmy types collaborating on a number of performance and installation art type projects, all based around a new portable pod type construction, which will be set up in each of the host cities (other than London, it's Dublin, Manchester and Glasgow). The London event will be headlined by a collaboration between The Chemical Brothers and United Visual Artists.

Confirming the venture, Beck's marketing chief Richard Ingram told CMU: "Beck's Fusions will be bringing something truly unique to the UK art and music scene this year. For the past twenty years Beck's has championed emerging visual arts talent through projects such as Beck's Futures, and in this multimedia age we're beginning to see artists experiment with other genres. We're celebrating this by bringing together big names from both the art and music worlds in a series of four pioneering events".

The ICA's Ekow Eshun added: "The ICA has enjoyed a rich history of partnership with Beck's, not least through Beck's Futures, the highly successful contemporary arts prize and exhibition established at the ICA in 2000. Beck's Fusions continues that relationship. It's a significant new event featuring original fusions between artists and musicians and the commissioning of great new visual work. We hope the result will be music as you've never heard - or seen it - before".

Tickets to the various Beck's Fusions events can be won via http://www.becksfusions.com. Info of the press kind can be obtained from Slice.

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PRINCE TO PLAY 21 CONCERTS IN LONDON
Prince is set to play 21 concerts in London this summer. Why so many, you ask? It might have something to do with the title of his last album - you remember - '3121'. Anyway, the pintsized popster will do a week at the O2 Arena (the dome, dullards), and wait for it... the tickets will be priced at £31.21. See, no mistaking what they did there.

He will also play at a number of much smaller venues, as he apparently wants to make his tour dates "affordable for everybody". Reports suggest that he'll be joined at the gigs by Amy Winehouse, of whom he is a fan.

He also says he loves London and is looking to buy a house here. Hope he doesn't bring any of that purple rain with him, the acid stuff's bad enough as it is. God I'm funny. Tickets for the O2 gigs, which start on 1 Aug, go on sale this Friday at 9am.

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LLOYD WEBBER TO SHOWCASE JOSEPH AT DIANA GIG
Andrew Lloyd Webber has defended plans to showcase his new production of Joseph at the upcoming Diana memorial gig by staging a performance of 'Any Dream Will Do' (to be performed by the winner of that Joseph TV show) on the basis that it was apparently one of the late princess's favourite songs. The musicals maestro has been accused of using the occasion to advertise his new show, when naturally we should all be beating our breasts and weeping over the queen of all our hearts.

Lloyd Webber told Radio Five Live: "Everybody who's on it is going to be advertising something on there - it doesn't matter who you are. That's what's performers and artists do. If I'm doing 20 minutes and it was her favourite song, who else would you do it with? You might as well do it with your Joseph who's about to open in London".

As previously reported, the event will mark what would have been Diana's 46th birthday, and the tenth anniversary of her death, and takes place at Wembley on 1 Jul.

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JORDAN AND PETER CANCEL DIANA APPEARANCE
And speaking of which, Jordan and Peter Andre have pulled out of the Diana memorial concert, apparently due to Andre's recent bout of viral meningitis. I don't understand why it's going to take so bloody long to recover from something that is kinda like the flu, but they feel they must take precautions and cancel everything just in case he's still feeling a mite fragile. That criticism aside, I must confess that I'm now more likely to watch the Diana gig on the telly.

Anyway, here's what a source told The People: "Jordan let the secret slip as she explained about their cancelled commitments. She said the worst was not being able to do the Diana concert. They were really excited but are now devastated".

A spokesperson said: "We have cancelled everything to do with Peter for the foreseeable future. We can't gauge how quickly he will recover, it's very early".

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KULA SHAKER TOUR DATES
Kula Shaker have confirmed that they're back proper by announcing a series of summer tour dates. They're apparently just finishing their new album. Tickets on sale this Friday at 9.30am

12 Jun: Manchester Academy 3
13 Jun: London Hoxton Bar & Grill
15 Jun: London Bush Hall
16 Jun: Bristol Thekla
17 Jun: Nottingham Rescue Rooms

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ALBUM REVIEW: Gary Numan - The Complete John Peel Sessions (Cooking Vinyl)
The strict reviewing rules of CMU forbid me from describing anyone as a genius but if I were to use such an extravagant claim, I would reserve it for Mr Numan. By his own admission he was far from being the first person to make electronic music but he was certainly one of the first pop stars to achieve huge success with the synthesiser. He scored massive hits in the late 70s/80s and ushered in the New Romantic movement, as well as having an enormous impact in the US. Since then, several generations of musicians have acknowledged their debt to him, from Afrika Bambaataa to Beck to Pulp to Marilyn Mansun. This album puts together the three sessions Numan did for Peel. The first of these was recorded in 1979, several months before the album 'Replicas', and the single it spawned 'Are "Friends" Electric?', both shot to number one (although oddly that particular track is absent here). Numan's earlier incarnation as a punk rocker is hinted at on opening track 'Me I Disconnect From You', which is much rougher sounding than the eventual album version and features jabbing guitar along with the keyboards. The music sounds like robots are on the rampage and this fits in with the rich lyrical themes of a bleak dystopian future. One of Numan's finest tracks is 'Down In the Park'; synthesisers have surely never sounded so atmospheric and ominous, but also sparkling and beautiful too. The dreamy 'I Nearly Married A Human' has added mumbled vocals which were left off the instrumental album version. The second session was also recorded in 1979, prior to the release of the album 'The Pleasure Principle'. The key track here is 'Cars' which sounds as polished, smooth, and brilliant as it does on the single version which reached number one (and subsequently became a hit four more times). The mood of these songs is icy cool and this is reflected in the clinical sound. The third session was recorded much later in 2001 and features songs from the 'Pure' album as well as some re-workings of old favourites from the earlier albums. By this time Numan's music has changed drastically from electro pop to industrial goth. While the likes of Nine Inch Nails have clearly been much influenced by Numan, here he returns the favour. The songs are angry and aggressive dominated by menacing guitars. On the track 'Pure' impassioned vocals rise above the raging guitars while a sweet keyboard melody plays gently in the background. Numan deserves kudos not only for his role as a musical pioneer but also for sustaining and reinventing his career. All in all, superb. JW
Release date: 7 May
Press contact: Cooking Vinyl IH [all]

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WEA AXE RETAIL STAFF
Warner Music division WEA US has announced it will axe 70 employees working in traditional retail liaison roles in the coming months, as the major refocuses its attention on the growing digital music market place. The cuts in the record company's traditional retail division will most likely be accompanied by new appointments in its digital division.

Confirming the changes, WEA US President John Esposito told reporters that the major was "cleaning the slate and starting all over to see what is needed to superserve the market", adding that: "The retail landscape has changed dramatically and we have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the right size this organisation needs to be to serve both a physical and digital account base".

The confirmation of the WEA restructure comes amid those previously reported rumours that similar job cuts are planned across the wider Warner Music Group, with reports up to 400 jobs could go worldwide as the major moves its efforts away from traditional retail into digital.

It also followed the latest financial update from Warner, in which it was revealed the major made a net loss of $27 million in the last quarter, compared with a $7 million loss in the same quarter a year earlier. I'd go into all that in more detail, but I'm increasingly suspecting you all ignore my in depth and frankly expertly researched items on the financial reports issued by major record companies, so I don't think I'll bother. Which is good news for me. I have a gut feeling that financial report was going to be especially tedious.

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WARNER US LAUNCH TV PRODUCTION DIVISION
Talking of tedium... no, sorry, talking of Warner, yeah, that's it, talking of Warner US, the major has also announced this week the creation of a new LA based TV production division that will exist to "develop and produce original programming for network, cable, DVD, broadband and mobile platforms". I lose track of which majors already have launched TV production divisions - I have it in my head that Warner UK already have one, but don't quote me on that - I do know for a fact none of the existing major label owned production divisions has a name as ridiculous as Den Of Thieves though. Heading up the Den will be music and TV industry veterans Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager, with the top execs at Warner's US recorded music division - ie Lyor Cohen, Craig Kallman, Julie Greenwald and Tom Whalley - taking an 'overseeing' role in the new venture.

Announcing the launch of the new division, Cohen told reporters: "As we continue our evolution as a music-based content company, it is essential to bring in-house the expertise to create the highest quality music-based original programming. With Jesse and Evan, we've got some of the brightest talent in the business aggressively developing new creative content and creating new revenue streams that will greatly benefit our world-class roster of artists".

Ignjatovic added: "We [he and Prager, I assume] are thrilled to be working with such an incredibly forward-thinking company as WMG and its labels. Den Of Thieves will think outside of the box to create and develop unique opportunities that will expand the reach and creativity of WMG's recording artists". Which is great news for all us fans of thinking out of the box.

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BEGGARS NEGOTIATING TO BUY INTO ROUGH TRADE
Music Week is reporting that the Beggars Group is looking into in acquiring the Sanctuary Group's stake in Rough Trade, which would be interesting. Of course, it would necessitate me rewriting the 'About UK Indies' page of the CMU website, so it would be a bit irritating too, but it would, nevertheless, be interesting. Sanctuary own 49% of the legendary London based indie, but have made it known for a while now that it is considering selling its stake as part of its much reported attempts to stabilise its own business affairs. More on that when we get it.

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EMUSIC BOSS CALLS FOR RETHINK ON DIGITAL PRICING
The boss of independent MP3 download platform eMusic, David Pakman, has been sharing his thoughts on pricing models in the digital music domain, arguing that his rivals, and the major record companies, are wrong to assume the 99 cents per track model set up by Apple is the only model, or the right model.

Writing on his blog, he says that consumers resent paying 99 cents per track, especially for unknown songs and artists, and that the download sector and labels should be willing to charge less for certain parts of their catalogue. A more flexible pricing system, he argues, would most likely lead to consumers actually spending more on music overall.

He writes: "The customer now decides which music is successful and how much they're willing to pay for it. And, the truth is, our customers tell us that 99 cents a song is not the right price for most music - particularly for music that they haven't heard of before".

Pakman's comments follow those reports that certain independent labels originally signed up to eMusic have pulled out of the download platform because a recent revamp of subscription rates reduced the revenues labels earn from tracks sold via the service (the most vocal departure was Victory, if I remember rightly).

On those labels' decision to stop supplying music to eMusic, Pakman continues: "Sure, on occasion, a few labels will come and go. And we wish them well. We love their music and wish they would work with us. Our model may not work for everyone. But one thing is for sure - if the model doesn't work for customers, it doesn't matter what the industry thinks".

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7DIGITAL LAUNCH IN IRELAND
More digital music news, and 7Digital has formally launched a bespoke download platform for Ireland - at http://www.7digital.ie, obviously. Announcing the launch of the Irish service, 7Digital MD Ben Drury told CMU: "The Irish music download market is booming, particularly since IRMA announced that downloads are eligible for the Irish singles chart. We are very pleased to launch Ireland's first dedicated download service and with exclusive pricing on Universal's extensive back catalogue of albums, we will ensure we offer Irish music lovers greater choice, quality and variety than ever before".

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TICKETMASTER ANNOUNCE MORE DIGITAL PROMOTIONS
Ticketmaster US has announced another digital music promotion which will make free downloads available to music fans buying concert tickets via the ticketing agency's online operation. Every online ticket buyer will have access to a ten-track sampler of music from emerging artists, while buyers of summer concert tickets will also get access to a free iTunes download.

The new initiative is part of the wider partnership between Ticketmaster and iTunes, launched earlier this year, which in turn followed early initiatives that bundled together ticket and download purchases, in particular around the release of Bob Dylan's 'Modern Times'. The two companies also sell bundled Ticketmaster+iTunes download cards.

Commenting on his company's latest digital music promotion, Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty told reporters: "Ticketmaster's concert programme gets digital and live music directly to the fans, enabling them to experience new and undiscovered music".

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YOUTUBE FACES MORE COPYRIGHT LITIGATION
YouTube, by the way, is facing new lawsuits over allegations that it is committing copyright violations by allowing users to upload unauthorised content onto their video sharing platform.

As previously reported, MTV owners Viacom have been most proactive in going legal against YouTube (early talk of litigation from the major record companies ended when, with the exception of EMI, they all reached licensing deals with the video platform), but music publisher Bourne Co and the Football Association Premier League have now both confirmed they are launching their own lawsuits against YouTube and its owners Google.

YouTube, for their part, continue to deny that they are guilty of any kind of copyright violation because they say they satisfy all the obligations put on them by the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act - ie they remove copyrighted content off their platform if the content's owners ask them to. The content owners continue to dispute that such a removals policy is sufficient to sidestep liability (ie they argue that DMCA says YouTube and their ilk are responsible for stopping copyright content ever going live, not just removing it after the fact). Both sides seem incredibly adamant they are right, but in reality it's kind of untested water and it will be interesting to see which way judges go if and when one of these lawsuits goes to court.

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CLEAR CHANNEL KNOCKS BACK TAKEOVER BID
Oh, by the way, you know how we reported that an investment consortium led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners was hoping to buy out US radio major Clear Channel (now, remember, very much a separate company from Live Nation, the live music firm also once called Clear Channel), but that some key shareholders in the company were resisting their offer, forcing the investment types to make a better offer, but that said shareholders were resisting that too? Well, such resistance was successful, because the company has formally rejected the acquisition bid. So, there you have it.

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BBC RADIO CHIEF GETS POP MUSIC ROLE
Radio 2 and 6Music Controller Lesley Douglas has had her remit expanded again, presumably because she was looking for an excuse to get some new business cards done. She will now also be Controller of BBC Popular Music. I have no idea what that means, presumably some kind of role in the running of Radio 1 and 1Xtra, alongside former Radio 1 chief Andy Parfitt who, as previously reported, now has a more wide ranging 'yoof' role within the Beeb.

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XFM WINS SOUTH WALES FM LICENCE
More radio news, and good news, methinks. Xfm has been handed the new FM licence for South Wales, meaning that GCap's alternative station will soon be broadcasting on FM to Cardiff, Swansea and all those lovely valleys like, erm, I don't know. My Welsh connections are in the North I'm afraid. I went to the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival once, that was in South Wales. The new Welsh service will, like the Xfm outposts in Manchester and Central Scotland, mainly carry its own locally produced programmes, though some London based specialist shows may be networked into the schedule.

Confirming the licence win, Xfm MD Nick Davidson told CMU: "We are over-the-moon with the announcement and can't wait to get moving on bringing everything great about Xfm to such a fantastic area with a strong musical heritage. We received so much support from the local people when we were putting the bid together and as a local myself I can't wait to be able to tune into a station that plays great new music".

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WHITE SAYS STRIPES NOT OVER, YAWN
Jack White has again said that White Stripes are far from over, despite continued speculation that his side project The Raconteurs will demand too much of his time, and that upcoming White Stripes album 'Icky Thump' will be the last.

White told NME: "We get asked all the time, 'How long do you guys think it's gonna last?' I'd venture to say that in 90 per cent of interviews, someone has asked us 'Is this the last record?' It's almost as if people want us to stop! Then The Raconteurs came along and people thought, obviously, we're done. But then with this new album people are saying The Raconteurs are done. That was a side project! So, next year, when the next Raconteurs album comes out..."

He added that coming back to White Stripes and his cohort Meg was really nice. Look: "Coming right off The Raconteurs, I just strapped on a guitar and it felt really comfortable, really good. There's something special about the band that is hard for me to put into words. We gel effortlessly. We're very fortunate to have that blessing on the music- it doesn't occur in every position. You can't buy that stuff. You just gotta be fortunate. We got lucky that way".

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BRIAN MAY ON TALENT CONTESTS
Brian May says TV talent contests suck. He says this in response to suggestions that the Queen musical should recruit a new lead via reality TV, a la 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?' and the Joseph and Grease programmes, whatever they're called. He says doing so would be "contrary to the spirit of our show".

On the subject of Idol-style shows, he added: "It's actually an appalling lowering of standards, this whole TV-dominated culture. I promise you will never find us on some panel bullying and ridiculing young performers. I personally detest that kind of thing, and I think it's a shame that the public puts up with it. The idea that you can just pull people in off the streets to audition in public, and cast your show from this process, is a huge insult to all those young men and women who have devoted their whole lives to developing their talents".

Yeah, so, think on. All of you.

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BARON COHEN NOT TO PLAY MERCURY
And whilst we're on Queen and Brian May, Sacha Baron Cohen will not, repeat, not, play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic of the late singer. Rumours that the Borat star was set for the role have been dismissed by the actor's publicist, who calls them "pure hokum". Reports suggest that in fact Johnny Depp is the one in negotiations to play Mercury - the aforementioned Brian May saying the actor "would be a worthy counterpart for Freddie on screen".

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BEVERLEY KNIGHT SPEAKS OVER MURPHY V MEL B
Beverly Knight has spoken out publicly against Eddie Murphy over his treatment of erstwhile lover Mel B. As previously reported, Mel B says her new daughter Angel Iris is Murphy's, but he dismissed the claim, and has reportedly refused to take that paternity test he seemed so keen on earlier this year.

Anyway, Ms Knight says: "I'm looking forward to the results of that test! I want to see him squirm, frankly. I've lost all respect for Eddie now".

So yeah, think on. Eddie.

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