CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 19th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Fifield pulls out of EMI takeover race
- Blunt song credit dispute to go to court
- Farnham manager jailed over tax avoidance
- More blood spatters: Spector trial update
- Stefani sues fashion chain over design similarities
- Hip hop birthplace gets landmark recognition
- Bat For Lashes gets licensing deal with Parlophone
- New Kasabian EP announced
- Annie Lennox song features host of female stars
- Athlete announce tracklisting
- Hootie delay summer tour again
- Winehouse makes live return
- McManus goes into musicals
- wins credit card court case
- Prince, Macca, coffee - when music met brands
- MCPS launch new mechanical licence for amateurs
- Yahoo! profits fall
- Rockworld gets a Joost boost
- BBC in damage limitation mode after cock-ups revealed
- Morgan says Osborne is ferocious
- Fall Out Boy/Simpson engagement rumours
- Aguilera speaks out for Spears
- Shakira demanding pre nup from hubby-to-be
- Hilton "determined" to record another album
- Prince demands popcorn


Gotta let you know about this one more time, because, well, I just do. The July edition of the CMU Recommended Remix Night is this coming Friday, and it's gonna be a goodun.

Remixer in chief Eddy TM won't be there unfortunately (I think I said he was on holiday, but actually he's busy launching his other night, Dance Rocks, over in Ibiza this weekend), but I'm sure he won't mind me saying that it will be a very fine night, despite his absence, in part because he is leaving his recent collaborator and former The Cooper Temple Clause member Rhysmix in charge as the host with the most. On the bill live set wise are Ben Westbeech and Shameless, while joining the aforementioned Rhysmix on the decks will be Eclectic Method, who are storming DJs, let me tell you. Slim Jim will also be spinning some tunes.

It all takes place this Friday, 20 Jul at Cargo in East London from 9pm to 3am. Tickets are a tenner.



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One of those often (sometimes) helpful PRs pointed out to me yesterday that we haven't been doing much about covering the recent UK release of the Silent League's new album 'Of Stars And Other Somebodies' which is one of those very (very) rare CMU oversights. In fact, I'm feeling a bit foolish about it. The Silent League are brilliant. Other journalist types have used more sophisticated adjectives - many of which are listed here on the MySpace - but I'm sticking with "brilliant". Because that's what they are. In the Flaming-Lips-ish sense of the word "brilliant", if you insist on some kind of clarification. Three tracks from the long player are streaming here, in case you want to assign your own adjective, plus there's one track from 2005 long player 'The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused', in case you feel each album deserves an adjective of its own. Oh, and if you would like to adjectivise their live show, there's still some dates of the current UK tour to go, and they're listed here also. So, go see. Oh, and I think I'm going to get their MySpace strapline - "Soft rock is not a guilty pleasure" - printed on a t-shirt. Brilliant.


The chances of private equity outfit Terra Firma acquiring London based major EMI increased yesterday after another potential counter-bidder bowed out of the race.

As much previously reported, Terra Firma received approval from the EMI board for their takeover proposal back in May, but have been struggling to get commitment from many of the major's large institutional shareholders to sell at their 265p per share offer. The consensus was that those shareholders were waiting to see if two potential counterbids - from Warner Music and a consortium led by former EMI chief Jim Fifield - would be launched, on the basis that those counterbids would force up the asking price.

After Terra Firma extended the deadline on their offer for a second time the UK Takeovers Board, a non-statutory body that monitors mergers and acquisitions, called on both Warner and Fifield to clarify their position regarding possible EMI bids. As also previously reported, Warner Music confirmed they would not bid at this time on Tuesday, while yesterday a statement was issued to the London Stock Exchange by Fifield and his partners Bidco formally withdrawing their interest in the major.

The statement, from Fifield, his business partner Sam Glover and the Bidco management team, said to include a number of unnamed former EMI execs, said: "Regrettably Jim Fifield and Bidco announce that, as a result of this timetable constraint, Bidco will not be able to make an offer for EMI".

With Warner and Fifield out of the race the EMI board sent out an email to its shareholders urging them to now accept the Terra Firma offer.


That dispute over the origins of six songs on James Blunt's debut album 'Back To Bedlam' is likely to go to court.

As previously reported, the dispute is between Blunt, the credited songwriter on the disputed songs, and LA producer Lukas Burton, who claims he coached Blunt in the art of songwriting, and that while doing so co-wrote 'Goodbye My Lover', 'No Bravery', 'Cry', 'I Don't Believe', 'I Really Want You' and 'Don't Lose Yourself'.

The producer says there was an understanding between him and Blunt regarding his role in creating those songs, but that he was cut out of the equation once the singer signed to Warner Music. Blunt denies the allegations, arguing he wrote the songs alone in the nineties, at his parents' home, his flat in Bristol or while serving as an officer in the British Army.

Royalty payments on the disputed songs have been halted since the dispute began earlier this year. With little progress made in reaching any settlement between Blunt and Burton a spokesman for the former this week confirmed that he and his publishing company EMI have now asked the London High Court to settle the dispute.


Aussie music manager Glenn Wheatley, best know for managing John Farnham and Delta Goodrem, has been jailed for 30 months over those previously reported tax evasion charges. Wheatley admitted that his business affairs had been run through a Swiss company, avoiding Australian taxes, but he insisted that he had been told by his financial advisors that while the Swiss operation amounted to tax avoidance it was not actually tax evasion. He said he was guilty simply of "acting on bad advice". Commentators hadn't expected such a harsh sentence - which includes a compulsory minimum term of fifteen months - given that he had pleaded guilty to the tax avoidance and had co-operated with tax officials as they investigated his business affairs. According to Aussie music website Undercover, a famous movie star and famous sports star are also likely to be investigated as part of the Operation Wickenby crack down by Australian tax officials which led to Wheatley's prosecution.


Once again, a lot of the action at the ongoing Phil Spector trial yesterday took place away from the jury.

First, the previously reported Hollywood madam and potential defence witness Jody 'Babydol' Gibson was in attendance, even though Judge Larry Fidler has said she is not allowed to testify about her allegations that Lana Clarkson, the woman Spector is accused of killing, once worked for her as a prostitute. Fidler wanted Gibson to come to court so he could formally tell her that, while she is unlikely to be called to testify, she still can't talk to the media about her Clarkson allegations until the trial is over. Through her attorney, Gibson said that she needed to talk to the media in order to promote her book 'Secrets Of A Hollywood Super Madam'. To which Fidler clarified: "You may promote your book, but you may not mention Lana Clarkson in any shape, fashion or form. I am ordering you not do that". Gibson, who has allegedly been quite of source of Clarkson tidbits since the trial began, said she would respect the court's order. She also denied allegations made by the prosecution that she had doctored her 'trick book' to insert Clarkson's name in order to get publicity out of the Spector trial, saying: "the allegations are really insulting".

Elsewhere in the courthouse, the prosecution produced a three inch thick document full of reasons why Fidler should refuse permission for another proposed defence witness to testify. As previously reported, the defence want to call one Raul Julia Levy, a former boyfriend of Clarkson's, to the stand. He is expected to confirm the former actress' depression and drug dependency in the months before her death - all part of the defence's attempts to show that the deceased was suicidal at the time of her death. The prosecution claim Julia Levy, apparently the son of late actor Raul Julia (I say 'apparently', because Julia's widow reportedly claims the potential witness is an imposter), is an unreliable witness, that he has a "long and varied history of run-ins with law enforcement", and that he has a history of making false statements to the police. Fidler is undecided on whether to let Levy testify, and will now have to plough his way through the aforementioned three inches of evidence before making a decision.

Back into the actual courtroom, and much of the discussion yesterday was on blood spatter, so perhaps it's just as well the bulk of our report centres on events outside the court room - I'm rather squeamish, remember. The discussion returned to just how far blood would spatter when the bullet went through Lana Clarkson's head, and whether the fact that Spector's jacket had blood on it meant he was right next to the actress as the gun went off (ie close enough to be holding the gun). Blood spatter experts for the prosecution earlier claimed the blood spatter on Spector's clothes meant he was within three feet of Clarkson. But the defence's blood spatter expert of choice, James Pex, said otherwise. Well, he said that the distance the blood spatter would go would depend on the circumstances. He admitted under cross examination that the evidence was consistent with the suggestion the blood would only have spattered three feet, but he said you couldn't be 100% sure that was the case, adding that he thought the police's forensics experts had not inspected the crime scene correctly after the shooting, making it hard to say what blood get where, how and when.

That, I think, is enough blood for now. The trial resumes on Monday. Spector, of course, is accused of shooting dead Lana Clarkson at his Beverley Hills home in 2003. He says she committed suicide.


Gwen Stefani is suing US fashion chain Forever 21 over allegations they infringed trademarks owned by her Harajuku Lovers fashion line. The lawsuit, filed at the LA Federal Court, says Forever 21 is promoting and selling goods featuring a design "virtually indistinguishable" from Harajuku's signature heart/box logo. The only difference, the legal papers claim, are that the designs say 'Forever Love' rather than 'Harajuku Lovers' but that, they argue, is such a small change it wouldn't be noticeable to most customers. The fashion chain is yet to respond.


1520 Sedgwick Avenue, considered by some as the birthplace of hip hop, is to be recognised as a landmark of historical significance by the New York State Office Of Parks, Recreation And Historic
Preservation. report that the Office will formally confirm the new status of the Bronx building next week.

1520 Sedgwick Avenue, described by the New York Times while acknowledging its cultural significance as "an otherwise unremarkable high-rise just north of the Cross Bronx Expressway and hard along the Major Deegan Expressway" was the building where the legend that is DJ Kool Herc first staged parties in a communal room where what became New York's early hip hop community first met and performed, including the likes of Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa. Herc himself described the building to as "the Bethlehem of hip hop culture".

The building is still set aside as housing for low income families, although its owners are reportedly planning on selling it to one of those shady private equity types, leading to fears house prices in the area will rocket, leading to a housing crisis for lower income locals.


Indie label Echo have struck a deal allowing EMI/Parlophone to license the work of Brighton based CMU favourite Bat For Lashes, aka Nastasha Kha. EMI and Capitol will oversee forthcoming international releases and Astralwerks will issue her Mercury nominated debut album 'Fur And Gold' in the US on 31 Jul.

Parlophone MD Miles Leonard told Billboard: "We've had tremendous feedback from Europe, Australia and North America. She's an exciting artist".


Kasabian have announced that they're planning to release a new EP this summer. A limited edition, vinyl-only collection, 'Fast Fuse' will be out on 3 Sep, ahead of the release of a brand new album, scheduled for release in 2008.

Speaking about the new material on the EP, songwriter Sergio Pizzorno says: "This was done in my house in a little room downstairs. Just in front of a computer, I produced it all myself. I'm in a really, really rich vein of form as far as songwriting goes. I'm in a really good patch where everyday something happens. There was no point in saving it you know, because we've got equally good songs for the album. So this marks this summer and what we're doing at the moment".


Annie Lennox's upcoming 'Songs Of Mass Destruction' album will feature guest appearances from a host of female singing stars - and they're all appearing on the one track. 'Sing' will feature vocal contributions from the likes of Madonna, Celine Dion, Fergie, Faith Hill, Gladys Knight, Shakira, Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Pink, Dido and Melissa Etheridge. The track was the result of Lennox's involvement with Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign, which helps to raise funds for education and healthcare for those affected by HIV and Aids.

On the album, her fourth solo outing, Lennox says: "I feel closer to my own cutting edge than before and my voice seems to be in its prime". It's out on 2 Oct.


Athlete have announced the tracklisting for their new album, which is called 'Beyond The Neighbourhood' and will be released on 10 Sep. Here it is.

In Between 2 States
Airport Disco
It's Not Your Fault
The Outsiders
Flying Over Bus-Stops
Second Hand Stores
In The Library
Best Not To Think About
This Is What I Sound Like

And have we mentioned that they will follow that release with a series of tour dates? Well, here they are now:

2 Oct: Nottingham, Rock City
3 Oct: Leeds, University
4 Oct: Birmingham, Academy
6 Oct: Glasgow, Barrowlands
7 Oct: Newcastle, Academy
8 Oct: Bristol, Academy
10 Oct: Southampton, Guildhall
11 Oct: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
12 Oct: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
14 Oct: Manchester, Academy
15 Oct: Liverpool, Academy
17 Oct: Norwich, UEA
18 Oct: Lincoln, Engine Shed


Hootie & The Blowfish have been forced to delay the start of their US summer tour for a second time due to the fact that frontman Darius Rucker has an infection in his left knee. The singer has had surgery three times in an attempt to clear the infection, according to a statement released earlier this week. The tour was due to start on 29 Jun, but will now begin on 10 Aug on Hilton Head Island.


Amy Winehouse made a return to the stage following her recent series of gig cancellations when she played a concert as part of the Eden Project's annual summer Eden Sessions. So all those people who thought it would be good idea to place bets on her being a no-show, ha.

Anyway, the singer seems to have recovered from the exhaustion that prevented her appearance at, amongst other things, the Summer Pops series in Liverpool. She's due to perform again at Somerset House on Friday.


Former Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus is to appear in a new musical set to debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next month. She will take the role of the Virgin Mary in the show, 'Discotivity', which will tell the story of the nativity against a backdrop of disco tunes. It'll be on from 1 - 27 Aug at the festival's Gilded Balloon venue, before transferring to London's Arts Theatre for a timely Crimbo run starting 4 Dec.

The singer says: "People may be surprised that I've chosen to play this role but I loved the script. I felt this was a great challenge and would be a lot of fun as well".


Rogue Russian download platform, which closed down earlier this month but which has seemingly relaunched as MP3Sparks, secured a court victory in Moscow this week regarding the decision made by credit card companies to not accept transactions on their behalf, essentially cutting off access to the service to a significant portion of their customers.

As much previously reported, caused controversy by selling major label music in non-DRMed MP3 formats at cheap prices. The format won it customers all over the world, but the record labels said the site was operating illegally, even though the company who owned it claimed they were operating within Russian copyright laws. Record labels in the US and Europe began lobbying politicians to call on the Russian authorities to take action, and the whole issue got tied in to discussions regarding Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation.

But in the end's demise was secured without the Russian authorities when Visa and Mastercard announced it would no longer take transactions on the download platform's behalf, cutting off many of its customers' access to the service. Music fans could still buy vouchers from various regional agents or via eBay, but this was a less popular payment method, and when the UK record label trade body the BPI took legal action against one of the voucher sellers even that route became less easy to access. owners Media Services argued that Rosbank Visa had no right to withdraw its credit card facilities just because the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry had accused their company of copyright violation. And this week the Moscow courts agreed, saying that it was for a court and not a credit card company or record industry trade body to decide whether was, in fact, guilty of copyright violation. As no court case had taken place could not be deemed to be operating illegally, and therefore the credit card company was obligated to provide transaction services to them.

It is unclear what the ruling will mean for the recently launched MP3Sparks, which is reportedly now accepting credit card payments in certain territories, though it is unclear if that is because of the court ruling or because 'MP3Sparks' is officially a new service. Whether a Russian court would be deemed to set a precedent elsewhere isn't certain, but it could be argued this ruling has taken a powerful weapon against rogue music services away from the likes of the IFPI, who can no longer lobby credit card firms to cut off those services' income streams.


The boss of Starbucks' recently stepped up music operation Hear Music told Music Week's MusicMeetsBrands conference yesterday that he had been in discussions with Prince about them releasing the singer's new album 'Planet Earth' before he signed a global deal with SonyBMG and that controversial UK deal with the Mail On Sunday. According to Music Week, Ken Lombard said Prince was just the sort of artist his coffee-shop-chain aided music operation would look to work with in the future - before adding that his company's next big artist deal would be announced in the next few weeks. On the Mail On Sunday cover-mount, still a big talking point among record industry types, Lombard said he thought Prince's decision to release his album that way in the UK was "unfortunate", adding: "I think it really shows that there's a lot of challenges going on in the industry. However, there really needs to be a balance between something that's fair to the artists but fair to the label as well".

For EMI UK chief Tony Wadsworth, of course, Lombard's HearMusic is probably a bigger threat than the Mail On Sunday. EMI, after all, did its own deal with MoS with the cover-mount release of 'Tubular Bells', while HearMusic stole away Paul McCartney from the major's Parlophone division. He also gave a talk at MusicMeetsBrands, and while he acknowledged the success Starbucks had had with the recent McCartney release, he questioned the long term value the coffee giant could offer artists. According to Music Week, Wadsworth said: "The experience that he's [Macca] had there was probably a good one. It was a much-talked-about album. My question would be, will the same sort of fanfare that was attracted from being the first be attracted the next time?"


Those crazy MCPS types have announced details of a new easy to buy licence for schools, churches, amateur dramatics groups and amateur film makers (eg wedding video makers) who want to legitimately use music in small scale audio or video recordings - and they'll be able to get one online. The new Limited Manufacture Licence allows those people to legitimately use over 10 million pieces of music on their recordings for any project limited to 1000 pressings (that's legitimately use the musical score, of course, they'd need the permission of the label to use released recordings of that music). The new licence will be available for a flat fee ranging from £4.99 to £250 depending on use. MCPS Exec Director Jeremy Fabinyi told CMU: "This is the first of a raft of new online licensing facilities which we will be launching. We want to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for people to use music in their business, product or project".


Yahoo! has seen its profits fall in the last twelve months because of an increasingly competitive market place, and delays in implementing the company's new next-gen search engine Panama. Announcing its quarterly results yesterday, the web firm said its net income for the quarter up to 30 Jun was £78 million, down from £80 million in the same period last year. Gross revenues were actually up (from £546 million to £605 million) but so were costs, hence the overall profits decline. The company said in a shareholder presentation that future fortunes were dependent on the success of "the company's new search advertising system" and its "ability to compete with new or existing competitors", most notably Google.


London based rock channel Rockworld.TV has announced a deal that will see the station, currently broadcasting via Sky and its own website, available via the previously reported web TV platform Joost.

Here's what Rockworld co-CEO Peter Hadfield has to say: "We are always looking for new ways in which to enhance our broadcast offering and Joost provides a unique platform through which we can extend our reach and enhance the visibility of the Rockworld.TV brand. We have already achieved real impact online through our own web activities and we see Joost as the perfect way to augment that progress."

Joost's Exec VP Of Content Strategy And Acquisition, Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, added: "We are delighted to partner with Rockworld.TV and look forward to offering our viewers a channel devoted to some of the best music programming. This deal provides further evidence that we are creating a unique, communal television experience for viewers where content owners can distribute professionally-produced programming with the quality and security they need".


So, it turns out that everyone working at the BBC is an incompetent fool. Every single one. Well, apart from those BBC employees who subscribe to the CMU Daily. They are the efficient ones. I know this because I just checked. Frankly, if it wasn't for the CMU Daily reading BBC execs the whole Corporation would be filled with fabricated phone ins and misleadingly-edited Royal-family-misrepresenting nonsense.

Yes, the Beeb is trying its best to limit the damage done to its reputation by a string of publicly exposed cock-ups, including the previously reported phone in scam on Blue Peter, and that unfortunate incident at a recent press launch where BBC 1 controller Peter Fincham said that a clip from a forthcoming documentary about the Queen showed her maj storming out of a photo shoot in a huff when, in fact, it showed no such thing (it had been edited to look that way by the show's makers RDF). Things are hotting up because more fake phone ins have now been exposed - ie incidents when viewers were encouraged to phone in on premium phone rates for competitions that had actually closed, or where contestants were actually chosen from other sources. No one is suggesting any actual corruption in relation to any of these incidents - but that means the BBC has to admit instead to incompetence, which is possibly worse.

Director General Mark Thompson has been talking tough about the serious "editorial breaches" that have been committed by his staff, though he has shied from sacking anyone over any of the fuck ups, though the Guardian is reporting that some Beeb execs may as yet be suspended in a bid to satisfy the press, BBC Trust and government broadcasting officials that the Corporation is taking the whole thing very seriously. (You might want to add viewers to that list of people the Beeb have to satisfy, though I'm not sure they really care). Meanwhile all BBC phone in and interactive features and competitions have been suspended while bosses investigate internal procedures - something ITV did ages ago, of course, when it was first revealed just how many viewers were being ripped off by the half assed way premium rate phone in features were being run by TV companies and their phone in service providers.

That said, ITV chief (and former BBC Chairman) Michael Grade did do his bit to take some pressure of his former colleague Thompson by admitting producers across the broadcasting industry were guilty of the kind of slap dash approach being so criticised within the Beeb. He told Newsnight: "It's partly to do with casualisation of the industry, people on short-term contracts under tremendous strain, tremendous pressure. Competitive pressure is enormous".

So, its official, all telly people everywhere are incompetent fools. Apart from, and I can't stress this enough, all the telly people who read CMU Daily. They're great.


Piers Morgan has told Heat magazine that Sharon Osbourne's a bit ferocious, which is hardly surprising, really. She's not known for being the shy retiring type. The former tabloid editor was speaking about his role on 'America's Got Talent', and an incident in which Osbourne stormed off the set.

Morgan, insisting that the walk-off wasn't staged, said: "No, that was very real. She really did want to quit. I wouldn't have minded because she drives me bonkers to be honest. I worked alongside Brandy (in the first season) who's very nice and sweet, and then I get this firebrand arriving, who just shouts at me and keeps walking off stage. Sharon's like her dog Minnie: small but dangerous! That dog bit me and they showed it on air recently. It's a ferocious little thing - and Minnie isn't much better!"


The gossips are all saying that Ashlee Simpson and Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz are engaged. And they're saying that Simpson's pregnant.

A US tabloid report claims that they "got engaged just before [Fall Out Boy] played at New York's Live Earth concert and are currently expecting a baby!" A 'source' is quoted as saying: "Ashlee wasn't expecting it at all, it was a total surprise... Pete whipped out a big engagement ring, dropped down on one knee and asked Ashlee to be his bride. Ashlee says it was romantic, sexy - and that she said yes right away."

The preggy rumours are based on the fact that she wasn't drinking and was rubbing her belly a bit. Conclusive, then.


Christina Aguilera has spoken out in defence of traditional pop rival Britney Spears, who has, of course, come under fire for her alleged lack of parenting skills.

Aguilera says: "Britney is a good person and a good mom. She's been under so much pressure since she was a child. I don't think any of us should judge her or jump to conclusions. She loves her boys and they're turning out great".


Shakira has reportedly asked her fiancé Antonio De La Rua to sign a pre-nuptial agreement ahead of their planned September wedding. I can't say I blame her. Argentinean newspaper Clarin says De La Rua will be asked to renounce any claim to the singer's fortune should they divorce. The paper says: "When you're very much in love you have plenty of people giving you advice, and none of them wants to see what happened to Paul McCartney happen to her".


We promised no more Paris Hilton in the CMU Daily, but we've heard the infamous air thief is determined to resurrect her, erm, pop career, which brings her back onto the CMU radar. Despite being dropped by Warner after her previous laughable attempt at pop, word has it the jail bird heiress is "determined" to record another album. Can't wait.

Meanwhile, also bringing Hilton into the music news domain are the Smashing Pumpkins, who have included pictures of her in the artwork to both new album 'Zeitgeist' and single 'Tarantula'. Speaking to MTV, SP's Billy Corgan said he had taken the photos himself. Corgan: "The original idea was we were gonna see if Lindsay [Lohan], Britney [Spears] and Paris would all shoot...[but] Paris I knew personally and hung out with her a few times, and so I asked her...and God bless her, she came, she showed up at 10am on a Sunday morning, sat in the chair, got made up and [I] shot her".

Ah, if only he had. Though Spector's keeping the CMU murder team very busy just now, so perhaps it's just as well he didn't.


According to reports, Prince demanded a popcorn machine in his rider for a Montreux Jazz Festival gig in Switzerland this week. It's believed that the singer was not only provided with one, but provided with an antique one from festival organiser Claude Nobs. Mental.

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