CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 4th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Fopp make staff redundant
- IFPI confirm record sales slide
- Van Halen reunion might be back on
- Boots Randolph dies
- Stewart junior pleads not guilty to assault
- Doherty ordered to rehab
- Cutler fits Spector defence around TV commitments
- Meat Puppets comeback album out soon
- Morrissey cancels US gigs
- The Go! Team added to Big Chill
- Clash Lovebox line up
- Call for entries for Leeds fest unsigned stage
- Paramore live news
- New IMPALA board
- More mobile music services launch
- BBC should be more "ambitious and innovative"
- US web radio dispute rumbles on
- Park goes to Global
- Capital add an hour to breakfast
- Alan Johnston freed
- Fiddy and Timberlake united by porn
- Timbaland says he's too good for this world

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TOP BIT >>
Well, more doom and gloom record industry stats again today, this time from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry's big book of record sales stats 2007, which has just been published. Apparently, according to the IFPI, the slide in the record industry's fortunes is still all the fault of online piracy. And not the fault of unimaginative record company execs clinging on to their 90s business model, that ceased to be viable five years ago, employing their legal teams to litigate against their customers, rather than asking them to redraft the standard artist contract, enabling their companies to secure their investment via the multitude of new revenue streams available in the digital age. A word to any major label shareholders out there. Any senior exec who tells you the slide in profits is the fault of online piracy aint gonna do anything to your share price - find a new exec who isn't still living in 1994.

But enough of that, change the record (or integrated user-selected digital channel) I hear you say, there's too much dissing of the record industry going on in these parts. You're right. Let's diss the weather instead. Though not simply as a means of changing the subject, because this dreadful summer we're having is interesting to this biz of music also. For the last few years there has been a definite trend in all things music business - the record industry is in terminal decline while the live sector seems to just keep on leaping from strength to strength. I mean, how many flippin music festivals are there these days? Every weekend there are now numerous big music festival style events taking place all over the country, and for the last few years numerous new festivals have launched all of which have managed to find a big enough audience to make things viable. And yes, a handful have disappeared from the calendar, but many more have launched, making the music festival year busier than ever.

All of which is good news. But with all the doom and gloom in the recorded music sector, how about some pessimistic thinking in the live sector? Well, let's get back to the weather. The recent rise in the music festival has coincided with a run of relatively good summers in the UK, especially during June and July. There have been exceptions, of course, but British festival goers have started to become used to soaking in some rays at the festivals they attend - and as that research published by Freeview recently revealed, many festival goers rate the drinking in the sunshine as highly as any of the bands they see. This year, of course, has been a different matter. Few of the music festivals of the last few months have got away without any rain, many have been subject to torrential rainfall, and with an ever rising water table most festival sites are something of a mud bath before many of the ticket holders have even got there. Now, for Glastonbury and the likes the weather, the rain and the mud really doesn't matter - it is and always has been part of the Glasto experience. But for some of the newer festivals, who rely on a less traditional festival crowd, this year's summer weather, or lack of it, might have an impact come 2008. How many of 2007's festival-goers will have to tolerate so much rain, wind and mud that they'll think twice before buying early bird tickets for 2008 - even though next year we might get another heatwave.

I'm being overly pessimistic, of course, and the average festival-goer might be made of hardier stuff. But with so many wash outs in this year's festival calendar it will be interesting to see if the 2007 weather has any impact on 2008's festival ticket sales. Should there be a slump, I trust the top brass of the live sector will invest in better drainage, shelter and flooring rather than sue God. Or Mother Nature. Or Michael Fish.

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: LEVELLERS

One of CMU's most longstanding of favourites, Levellers, are reissuing five whole albums this month, and the remastered re-release of single 'What A Beautiful Day' is out now. Combined with a host of Europe-wide festival appearances for this summer, and the recent announcement of three new UK dates, all of these factors come together to represent one very good reason why we should finally get around to nominating the veteran band for MySpace Of The Day. The page is a crazy busy one, and looks less like a normal MySpace page than anything I've ever seen. Entirely forgivable, as Levellers are a) great and b) celebrate their twentieth anniversary in 2008 and will release a brand new album to celebrate. Go listen, read, absorb, digest, and remember. This isn't a band resting on its laurels, or dwelling on its past glories, it's still, for my money, one of the best live bands ever, and continues to produce the goods. Don't forget about them, just because they've been around for a while. Respect, now more than ever, is due.

http://www.myspace.com/levellers

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FOPP MAKE STAFF REDUNDANT
Fopp's administrators (of the depressing 'company going under' kind, not the people who order the paper clips) yesterday announced that they were making the company's 700 plus workforce redundant following that announcement last week that the popular independent record retailer was closing its doors. As previously reported, staff at the chain's 105 stores, which included the Music Zone stores Fopp acquired earlier this year, were told last week that the company was going into administration following two weeks of speculation regarding the firm's future after it put all book orders on hold and then staged an impromptu stock take at the insistence of its bank.

Colin Dempster from joint administrator Ernst and Young said in a statement yesterday: "It is unfortunate that we have had to make these redundancies but we are not in a position to re-open the stores until we have the agreement of suppliers who control the licenses to sell stock".

Administrators are still open to offers to acquire the chain, but despite reports Virgin Megastore had shown some interest in the firm, it seems administrators are not currently in serious negotiations with any potential buyers. Dempster added in his statement yesterday: "We would urge anyone with a genuine interest in taking on stores as going concerns to contact us immediately. In the meantime, we wanted to ensure that employees have the opportunity to claim their statutory entitlements through the Redundancy Fund as soon as possible".

The chain's store managers will be retained in the short term to assist in the administrator's bid to assess the possibility of re-opening some of the Fopp stores.

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IFPI CONFIRM RECORD SALES SLIDE
I'm sure some report or another on declining record sales is published every week at the moment. The latest is the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry's 'Recording Industry In Numbers 2007', and it says that the global recorded music market slipped by about 5% year on year between 2005 and 2006. Combined physical and digital music revenues in 2006 were $19.6 billion, down from £20.7 billion in 2005. The value of physical CDs alone slipped by 11%, to $17.5 billion.

Explaining the math, IFPI chief John Kennedy said that the overall decline was because whilst digital music sales were rising as expected, CD sales were falling more dramatically than anticipated. In his introduction to the report, 'Recording Industry In Numbers 2007', Kennedy wrote: "We hoped that the decline in physical sales would be offset by the increase in digital sales - giving us the 'Holy Grail'. But while digital sales have grown as expected physical sales have fallen by more than expected. Unfortunately this trend has continued in 2007. Physical sales continue to drop at a faster pace than we had hoped for, particularly in the US (down 7.3%) and now also in the UK (down 6.7%) - a market that had shown incredible resilience".

Needless to say, Kennedy said that a large part of the blame for the downturn in the record industry's fortunes lay with piracy. On piracy he said some achievements had been made - claiming the record industry's high profile litigation against file sharers and led to a "levelling out" of online piracy. Though, he admitted that with an estimated 20 billion music files illegally downloaded last year, compared to about 795 million music files being legally downloaded, the level of illegal file sharing remained "unsustainably high".

On the up side, revenues from mobile services, legal download platforms and performance royalties rose considerable in 2006, perhaps offering some potential for future overall sector growth.

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VAN HALEN REUNION MIGHT BE BACK ON
So, the previously reported recently proposed Van Halen reunion tour, which would see David Lee Roth front the band once more, may be back on. As previously reported, there was some talk earlier in the year of Roth joining Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and Eddie's teenage son Wolfgang, on a Van Halen tour. But, just as it looked like that might actually happen, Eddie checked himself into rehab putting all the plans on hold. But Billboard reports that a number of US arena dates have now been penciled in for the tour, so they seem to think it could still happen this year, requoting Roth who last year told the industry mag about the prospect of a reunion: "I see it absolutely as an inevitability. To me, it's not rocket surgery. It's very simple to put together. And as far as hurt feelings and water under the dam, like what's-her-name says to what's-her-name at the end of the movie 'Chicago' - 'So what? It's showbiz!'"

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BOOTS RANDOLPH DIES
Legendary saxophonist Boots Randolph has died at the age of 80 after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage last week. The musician, born Homer Louis Randolph III, is most remembered for his 1963 hit 'Yakety Sax', a track later used as the theme to the Benny Hill show, but his performances also feature on the likes of Roy Orbison's 'Pretty Woman', Jerry Lee Lewis's 'Turn On Your Lovelight' and Brenda Lee's 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree'. He also recorded a number of projects with Elvis Presley, including on eight film soundtracks.

He is survived by his wife, two children, four grand-children and four great-grand-children.

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STEWART JUNIOR PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO ASSAULT
Rod Stewart's 26 year old son Sean Stewart, one of the two children he had with his first wife Alana Hamilton, has appeared in court in Los Angeles this week and pleaded not guilty to charges of assault. Stewart stands accused of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, plus one count of throwing a substance at a vehicle and one of vandalism.

The charges relate to that previously reported incident which took place in April this year, in which Stewart allegedly hurled a brick at a couple as they were sitting in their car, after he and his friends were denied access to a party. He's presently free on $60,000 bail, but will be back in court on 6 Aug, when a new hearing will decided whether there's enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

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DOHERTY ORDERED TO REHAB
Pete Doherty was told that he must attend rehab or go to prison when he appeared at West London Magistrates' Court yesterday. As previously reported, Doherty was due at the hearing to face charges relating to that incident on 5 May when he was stopped in his car by officers on Kensington High Street.

The judge, Davinder Lachhar, was surprisingly kind under the circumstances - Doherty showed up two hours late at the court, by which time a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The singer pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the possession of crack cocaine, heroin, ketamine and cannabis, plus two driving offences. It rather makes me think that the trust and praise of Judge Jane McIvor over at Thames Magistrates' has been a little misplaced.

Anyway, the West London judge was not quite so understanding, but did, as aforementioned, defer sentencing to allow Doherty the opportunity to complete a course of rehab. Lachhar told him: "If you go to this place to have detox and take advantage of it then we will see what sentence is appropriate when you next come. But if you do not I can tell you now that you will go into custody".

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CUTLER FITS SPECTOR DEFENCE AROUND TV COMMITMENTS
If you wondered why Phil Spector's chief lawyer Bruce Cutler hasn't been leading the defence's questioning since his opening address at the start of the trial, well it seems he's been too busy filming his new courtroom TV show 'Jury Duty', in which he appears with a jury of three celebrities to deliberate on viewers' disputes.

Though, according to the Associated Press, who have been reporting on the reason for Cutler's absence from many of the Spector proceedings, the defence attorney still plans to deliver his side's closing arguments, assuring the AP that he has been watching the trial on TV so is fully up to speed with what has been discussed in court. He told the news agency: "I'm not doing it [the TV show] to deprecate the significance of the case. I don't need to be there every day".

The AP interviewed a law professor from Loyola University, Professor Laurie Levenson, about Cutler's decision to take on TV commitments while also representing a client in a trial as high profile as the Spector murder trial. And the prof reckons that while taking on the TV work in this way isn't necessarily unethical, it is "certainly unorthodox". Levenson: The ethical question is 'Can he [Cutler] still reach the level of competence needed to represent a client on a murder charge? If he's super lawyer and he can do it, he won't be violating ethics, but he certainly will raise some eyebrows".

As previously reported, the Spector trial is now in recess until 9 Jul after the defence began presenting their evidence last week. Spector, of course, is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverly Hills home back in 2003. He claims she committed suicide.

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MEAT PUPPETS COMEBACK ALBUM OUT SOON
US rockers Meat Puppets are set to release a new studio album, 'Rise To Your Knees', following their 2006 reunion. The LP is out on 23 Jul via Anodyne Records, and the tracklisting, my friends, is as follows:

Fly Like the Wind
On the Rise
Radio Moth
Tiny Kingdom
Enemy Love Song
Spit
Island
Vultures
Stone Eyes
This Song
New Leaf
Disappear
Ship
Ice
Light the Fire

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MORRISSEY CANCELS US GIGS
Morrissey has been forced to cancel more US tour dates due to that throat infection. He was originally set to play gigs in Baltimore, Atlantic City and Holmdel in New Jersey this week, but those concerts will now not go ahead. As previously reported, the singer has already rescheduled several gigs due to his throat trouble, including a date at Madison Square Garden, and a show in Boston which he began, but was forced to end early.

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THE GO! TEAM ADDED TO BIG CHILL
CMU favourites The Go! Team are amongst the latest acts to be added to the line-up for The Big Chill, which also now includes the likes of New Young Pony Club, Guillemots, Coldcut and Patrick Watson. They join previously confirmed acts such as Isaac Hayes, Mika, The Bays, Chris Coco and the massive Gilles Peterson on the bill for the event, which, as previously reported, takes place at Eastnor Castle Deer Park in Herefordshire from 3 - 5 Aug.

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CLASH LOVEBOX LINE UP
Clash Magazine will be hosting a stage at the Saturday bit of London's Lovebox festival later this month, and we have the line up. Look, here it is: The Bees, New Young Pony Club, Fujiya and Miyagi, Whomadewho, Blood Red Shoes, Pull Tiger Tail, Friendly Fires, Man Like Me and Stateless. The Clash Tent will be open on the Saturday from 1pm to 9pm at the festival which takes place in London's Victoria Park on 21 and 22 Jul.

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CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR LEEDS FEST UNSIGNED STAGE
The Topman Unsigned Stage will return to the Leeds Festival again this year, and any unsigned band wanting to appear should drop off a demo CD and, one assumes, some kind of contact information to one of the following Topman stores by 13 Jul. A top team of, well, top men I guess (maybe some top women too, maybe a top shop, who knows) will then pick bands to play by 24 Jul. The Leeds Festival, as you all surely know, takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend - 24-26 Aug. The stores accepting demos are as follows...

Dundee (Murraygate)
Glasgow (Argyle Street & Buchanan St)
Newcastle (Eldon Square)
Middlesbrough (Linthorpe Rd)
Leeds (Briggate & St Johns Centre)
Sheffield (Fargate & Meadowhall)
York (Coppergate)
Liverpool (Church Street)
Preston (Fishergate)
Manchester (Arndale)
Nottingham (Victoria Centre)
Birmingham (Bullring)

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PARAMORE LIVE NEWS
Talking of the Leeds Fest, US band Paramore have announced a clutch of headline tour dates to follow their appearances at Reading and Leeds on 25 and 26 Aug. Their new album 'Riot!' is out now, and doing quite well in the UK album chart, it's at number 24, in fact. Here are the dates.

1 Sep: Portsmouth, Pyramids
2 Sep: Wolverhampton, Wolfrun
3 Sep: Manchester, Academy 2
5 Sep: Cardiff, Cardiff University
6 Sep: London, Astoria

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NEW IMPALA BOARD
Pan-European indies trade body IMPALA have just announced who is on their new board. You're all dying to know who's on it, I know, so here's the full list:

Stéphan Bourdoiseau, Wagram
Larry Bringsjord, Fono
Johan Ekelund, SOM
Claudio Ferrante, PMI
Tony Harlow, V2
Emil Joergensen, DUP
Martin Goldschmidt, Cooking Vinyl
Eva Kiltz, VUT
Michel Lambot, PIAS
Martin Mills, Beggars Group
Yann Padron, UFI
Jérôme Roger, UPFI
Jonas Sjoström, Edel and Playground
Helen Smith, IMPALA Secretary General
Horst Weidenmueller, !K7
Alison Wenham, AIM
Hein van der Ree, Epitaph
Wally van Middendorp, CNR
Patrick Zelnik, Naïve

Patrick Zelnik and Martin Mills will continue as President and Chairman respectively until January 2008, with Hein van der Ree and Horst Weidenmuller as Vice Presidents. Helen Smith, as you probably saw in the list, was appointed Secretary General, taking over from Philippe Kern.

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MORE MOBILE MUSIC SERVICES LAUNCH
The UK branch of T-Mobile has launched its own mobile download service. Like those services operated by a number of its competitors, the T-Mobile Jukebox will enable people to download tracks via their phone - with a copy formatted for the mobile device and a second copy formatted for PC play being provided with each purchase. All four major record companies plus a string of independents are signed up to the new service, which boasts a launch catalogue in excess of 500,000 tracks.

Elsewhere in the always popular world of mobile, China Unicom, China's second biggest mobile network, has announced it has started testing its mobile download service, with 23 record companies signed up to the pilot. The company says it will trial the service until the end of September, before testing a refined version of the service in the Autumn.

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BBC SHOULD BE MORE "AMBITIOUS AND INNOVATIVE"
The BBC should be "more ambitious and innovative" in its programming. Not my words, I should stress, but the words of BBC viewers and listeners. Not all of them, but the 4500 surveyed by the BBC Trust, that newish committee that now oversees the running of the Corporation. The results of its audience research appear in the latest BBC annual report, the first one published since the Trust replaced the Board Of Governors. Summarising their research, BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons says: "The core message from our report is that the area where there is a significant and noteworthy gap between public value and their perceived performance is under the heading of innovation. People want to be constantly challenged by new and exciting programmes but this an area where there's a gap in perceived performance". So there you go, all you BBC types, be more "ambitious and innovative". Or you could just all fire yourself and bring in a load of new people who, probably by definition, would be innovative. That might work also.

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US WEB RADIO DISPUTE RUMBLES ON
US radio station KCRW has revealed some of the requirements demanded by American internet royalties body SoundExchange in return for concessions with regards the proposed royalties hike.

As previously reported, the US Copyright Royalties Board has proposed an increase in the royalties internet radio stations should pay record labels for the music they play. The webcasters claim that the proposed increases are unfair and unreasonable, and will put many smaller web radio stations out of business. The CRB has refused to review their decision, but after much political lobbying on the web radio sector's part, proposals (the Internet Radio Equality Act) are working their way through Congress to have the law changed so that webcasters would not pay royalties according to the rates set by the CRB, but will pay similar royalties to the satellite radio sector.

Behind the scenes SoundExchange, who lobbied for the increases approved by the CRB, have been doing some negotiating in a bid to stop the whole thing going political. But Celia Hirschman of KCRW says those concessions have, so far, not been good enough for them, and that they come with requirements that the web radio stations are unwilling to commit to - in particular formally withdrawing their support from the Internet Radio Equality Act. The concessions being proposed by SoundExchange would also only run for the first 18 months, meaning new negotiations would have to begin at the end of 2008.

Hirschman concludes: "The CRB decision will have disastrous results on major music webcasters. Live 365 would face $10 million dollars in royalty fees. Yahoo, Real and Pandora collectively owe over a billion dollars in royalties. None of these organizations generate a fraction of income from streaming to possibly pay these fees".

In theory the CRB's new royalty rates kick in on 15 Jul. It will be interesting to see what happens on that date, and what action SoundExchange will take to secure their money.

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PARK GOES TO GLOBAL
That Richard Park fella is moving from his current job of Programme Director at London's Magic 105.4 to join Global Radio, the company that has just acquired Chrysalis' radio assets, including Heart, Galaxy and LBC. So, now you know.

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CAPITAL ADD AN HOUR TO BREAKFAST
GCap have announced that the Johnny Vaughan breakfast show on Capital Radio will be increasing from being a three hour show to being a four hour show, though Vaughan will still only actually present a three hour show. "How?" you might ask. Well, the live show, which currently airs from 6am to 9am, will move to a 7am to 10am slot. From 6am to 7am the station will air the "best bits" from the previous day's show, mixed in with music and live news and travel information. Which isn't a daft as it possibly sounds, because the thing about breakfast radio is that most people only listen to about 20-30 minutes of it each day, meaning that anyone listening between 6 and 7 is unlikely to have been listening between 7 and 10 the day before. Whether there'll be a whole hour's worth of "best" bits I don't know - though "best" is, of course, a relative word.

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ALAN JOHNSTON FREED
This isn't music news in the slightest, but its very very good news of the media kind, so I thought we ought to mention it. As you may have seen, BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released by his kidnappers in Gaza, bringing to an end four months of trauma for him, his family and his colleagues after he was abducted on 12 Mar by the Army of Islam, a "shadowy militant group" dominated by Gaza's powerful Dugmush clan.

Speaking at a press conference after his release, alongside representatives of the country's Hamas movement, who helped secure his release, Johnston told reporters: "The last 16 weeks have been the very worst of my life. I was in the hands of people who were dangerous and unpredictable. I literally dreamt many times of being free and always woke up back in that room".

Johnston's release follows a global campaign and petition to secure the freedom of the BBC journalist - a campaign he was aware of because he had been allowed to listen to BBC World Service broadcasts. His kidnappers had demanded the release of Muslim prisoners in the UK in return for Johnston's release, but a senior Hamas official called Mahmoud Zahar told reporters this morning that no deal had been done with the Army Of Islam. He also said that his organisation had not worked to secure Johnston's release in order to "receive favours from the British government", but that "we did this because of humanitarian concern, and to achieve a government aim to extend security to all without fear".

The BBC issued a statement this morning expressing relief and delight at its employee's release.

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FIDDY AND TIMBERLAKE UNITED BY PORN
According to a report in The Sun, the upcoming new collaboration from 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake is all about pornography. The track, recorded for Fiddy's previously reported new album 'Curtis', was provisionally entitled 'Ayo Technology' - but that's something of a euphemism, apparently. The song will apparently be re-titled 'She Wants It' and accompanied by a saucy video promo.

One of those so-called sources told the tabloid: "The track is an analogy for watching porn. The word 'technology' was put in as a way to replace what they really wanted to say - 'pornography'. It's all about being fed up with having to make do watching dirty movies and how desperate they are for stunning girls to be in front of them doing what they do in the movies".

Lovely.

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TIMBALAND SAYS HE'S TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD
The world of music, that is; he's not planning on suiciding any time soon. But Timbaland is apparently thinking of quitting music because he's too bored, and just too goddamn talented.

The producer is quoted by Gigwise as saying: "Music is boring right now. I'm too innovative for the world. I've been doing it so long, I'm about to throw in the towel. I'm about to de-crown myself and pass it over to one of the up-and-coming producers under me. They won't be able to be me - there's only one Timbaland - but there's a certain sound that I try to teach".

Oh god. What on earth will we do without him? Ahem.

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