CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 3rd August
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Universal close Sanctuary acquisition
- R Kelly trial date set
- Jack White says journalists are lazy
- Gwen: not popular in Malaysia
- Pop Idol movie!
- Alex Turner's side-project
- More V tickets on sale
- Reading Festival will overcome the floods
- But Fflam festival sinks
- Ryan Adams, Razorlight and Beck deface books
- Ryan Adams plays with cowboy junkies
- Dolly Parton goes it alone
- AT&T & Samsung announce promotional tour
- Japanese content owners step up anti-YouTube bid
- Update on Usher's wedding cancellation
- Marilyn Manson squanders money

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OOOOPS
Yeah, it's been all a bit late this week - for all kinds of technical reasons - fingers crossed normal service will be resumed Monday.

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UNIVERSAL CLOSE SANCTUARY ACQUISITION
Following the news earlier this week that private equity firm Terra Firma had secured the required 90% of shares to enable their EMI takeover to go ahead, the Universal Music Group yesterday announced that they had now secured commitments to buy 90% of the shares in the Sanctuary Music Group, news which means two of London's biggest music firms will now fall back into private hands.

Centenary, the Universal division actually taking over Sanctuary, announced at close of play yesterday that they have secured commitments for 89.8% of the company's shares, and that they had purchased a further block of shares representing 0.2% of the issued share capital, taking the total to the required 90%.

Universal Music International chief Lucian Grainge told reporters: "[Universal Music Group CEO] Doug Morris and I are delighted that we now hold over 90% of Sanctuary Group shares. Following UMG's acquisition of BMG Music Publishing earlier this year this deal represents another important step in the diversification of our business and in providing even more integrated services to our artists and songwriters".

Of course, Universal's takeover closes a tumultuous chapter in the history of cross-sector music group Sanctuary, which nosedived financially after over expansion and accusations of financial misreporting. Although Sanctuary owns a considerable catalogue of recordings, Universal's primary interest in the firm is its management and merchandising divisions, sectors where the major does not currently operate.

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R KELLY TRIAL DATE SET
Ah, this is exciting, should the Phil Spector trail reach completion this month (more on that on Monday, by the way) we've got the R Kelly court case to look forward to. Yes, a court date has finally been set for R Kelly to face those long long running allegations of child pornography. Following a meeting between the judge, defence and prosecution teams this week, a court date of 17 Sep has been set.

As much previously reported, numerous underage sex and child porn charges were made against the RnB star, though many of them were subsequently dropped for various technical reasons. However some still stand and it is those he will face in court next month. The singer maintains he is innocent of all charges, despite allegations of video taped evidence against him.

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JACK WHITE SAYS JOURNALISTS ARE LAZY
Jack White has branded the whole journalistic profession as lazy, which is an outrageous allegation I'm pretty sure he's made before, but frankly I can't be bothered to look back and check. But this is his latest comment on the matter: "Journalists are inherently the laziest people on earth. Even in the age of Google, they don't do any work to check what they're writing about".

To prove his point White says that he and his publicists have started including lies in their press releases to show that journalists just write what the releases say without checking out the facts. He continues: "I'd say 90% of what they get is from the press release. We have fun putting things in there- like in the press release for 'Elephant', somebody inserted a joke about how none of our studio equipment was made after 1963". That, he says, led to magazines and newspapers printing articles and reviews that commented on the band's refusal to use any equipment less than 60 years old, something that those in the know found hilarious.

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GWEN: NOT POPULAR IN MALAYSIA
Gwen Stefani has had Malaysia's more conservative residents in a flutter over her supposedly raunchy live act where she exposes a bit too much leg for their liking. Hilmi Ramli, President of the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students, is leading the campaign against Gwen, commenting that: "We want organisers to cancel the concert, failing that we will ask authorities to intervene". You might think that Stefani might not be too affected by such warnings, but no, she's apparently hired a team of ex-SAS soldiers to make sure that no one tries to slip any extra clothing on her leg mid-show.

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POP IDOL MOVIE!
Following all the excitement surrounding the Spice Girls reunion and Celine Dion's plans to record an urban album, here comes another round of top news for you. Simon Cowell looks set to produce a movie that will be based on a behind the scenes look at Pop Idol and X Factor.

The film, working title 'Star Struck', is set to use the competition format to find lead actors. The movie itself will follow ten characters trying to, erm, become stars, via a reality TV show. Or something like that. No word about whether they'll be creative consultancy from Shayne Ward, but Gareth Gates may as well confirm his involvement. I mean, he's doesn't exactly seem a busy man right now.

Speaking of the film, Cowell told the Hollywood Reporter that he wanted it to be something similar to 'Rocky', which presumably means Will Young trooping up and down the steps and pushing himself to the limits of physical and mental exertion. 'Fame' was also cited as an influence: "'Fame' was all about young people wanting to be famous, and in order to do that, they enrolled in a drama school. The difference 25 years later is that everyone who wants to be famous today signs up for American Idol. We always believed that a TV show like Idol would be successful. I have the same feeling about doing the movie".

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ALEX TURNER'S SIDE-PROJECT
Arctic Monkey Alex Turner is set to record an album with close friend and The Rascal's member, Miles Kane. The pair have been 'buddies' since Kane's last band, The Little Flames, supported the Monkeys' jaunt around the country just before they hit the big time, with Turner frequently being seen in a 'The Littles Flames' t-shirt since then. Furthermore, Kane played guitar on the Monkeys' recently released second album, 'Favourite Worst Nightmare, and often joins them when they play the song '505' live.

The pair are set to travel to France in the next few weeks for recording sessions, with Kane telling NME.com that: "We're there for two weeks and we're going to try to get the majority of it done. James Ford is producing it and is going to play drums, he's a really boss drummer. Me and Al will do all the bass and guitar and vocals, and try to the get the bulk of it done in two weeks. We're going to record it quite live to tape I think. Then whenever we've got weekends off at the same time we'd like to get some strings on it and probably do all that back home. That's the plan anyway".

As yet, there is no name for the project and the official release is not expected until at least early 2008. Until then, Turner will be concentrating on writing the next Arctic Monkeys' record, with Kane recording The Rascals' debut EP, due out in October.

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MORE V TICKETS ON SALE
As of yesterday, V Festival organisers announced that a limited number of tickets would be put up for sale, despite the weekend previously selling out entirely. The V Weekend is regularly one of the UK's biggest festivals despite being often derided by festival purists. As much previously reported, it takes place on sites in Staffordshire and Chelmsford, with a line-up that includes The Killers, Snow Patrol, The Kooks and Foo Fighters.

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READING FESTIVAL WILL OVERCOME THE FLOODS
With all those festivals having problems and in some cases cancellations as a result of all that damn rain, organisers of the mighty Reading Festival have vowed their event will go ahead, despite damage to parts of their site from all those recent floods.

Festival Chief Melvin Benn told NME: "I'd guess about 25 per cent of the campsite is under water and before long someone will say the festival in danger, so I just wanted to say that the festival will definitely take place. The water levels are going down but we've got loads of plans in place to move the campsites and parking if necessary".

This isn't the first time that the Reading Festival site has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, of course, with the prospective sale of the land by its owners also causing some dispute about the future of the Carling Weekend at the site. The Reading site will be coming up for sale soon, with speculators estimating that it could achieve a huge price at auction either for development or, as it currently is, land to be rented to the organisers, Mean Fiddler. Given the flood problems this year, Benn thus noted that the location might be something that they would want to reconsider in the future.

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BUT FFLAM FESTIVAL SINKS
Reading Festival's announcement followed news that the Welsh festival Fflam has been cancelled completely due to bad weather. Sustained heavy rainfall meant the Swansea event could not go ahead as planned from 13-15 Jul, although the original plan was to postpone the festival until the end of the summer to allow the festival site to recover. But organisers said in a statement today: "It is with great regret that we confirm the cancellation of the Fflam Festival for 2007. After the initial postponement due to torrential weather conditions, we have made every possible effort to try and secure a new date for the festival this summer. Unfortunately, we cannot find a date that suits all parties and due to artist availability, we are not in a position to deliver the brilliant line-up of bands we always intended if we go ahead". It remains to be seen what effect these kinds of costly cancellations have on the long term future of the independent festival sector.

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RYAN ADAMS, RAZORLIGHT AND BECK DEFACE BOOKS
Deface is a harsh word, but the headline is true unless you buy this as 'art'. Which I do, by the way. I'm very arty. Penguin Press has commissioned a number of musicians to re-design the covers of their favourite books. It is an exercise set to promote their new 'blank cover' releases that allow the reader to make their own cover art for their favourite literary text.

Johnny Borrell, perhaps stretching himself a little too far, 'designed' a new cover for F Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'- a betting slip with the word 'Gatsby' on it. He said: "I was running a book on the Grand National in Tokyo and I was writing out a betting slip for everyone, and decided that my bookie's name was going to be Gatsby. So the cover of this book is a betting slip". Thanks, Johnny.

Adams meanwhile, chose to cover Bran Stoker's 'Dracula', while Beck submitted a sketch for classic French novel 'Le Grand Meaulnes' by Alain Fournier.

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RYAN ADAMS PLAYS WITH COWBOY JUNKIES
In further Ryan Adams news, the singer has been confirmed to play as part of the Cowboy Junkies for their performance at The Royal Albert Hall on 10 Oct. The show is part of the 'Don't Look Back Festival', where artists perform their classic albums in their entirety. The Junkies will be performing theirs, 'The Trinity Session', as part of their national tour.

The tour will visit:
6 Oct: Edinburgh Queens Hall
8 Oct: Gateshead, The Sage
9 Oct: Manchester Academy 2

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DOLLY PARTON GOES IT ALONE
Country legend Dolly Parton has announced that her next album will be released on her own new record label, the aptly name Dolly Records. Her manager, Danny Nozell, said that the release will be "the first mainstream country record Dolly has done in 17 years", and that Dolly will be the only artist signed to the label, which seems a little bit selfish really. Commenting on the decision to go-it-alone, Nozell cited Dolly's strong financial situation, the poor deals offered to them by the majors and, presumably, the fact that they can potentially pocket huge profits that would otherwise have had to be shared. Dolly's new venture adds a number of businesses to her portfolio, most famously her own American theme park.

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AT&T & SAMSUNG ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONAL TOUR
AT&T and Samsung have announced they are staging a summer concert series in the US to promote the technology firm's range of music-centric mobile phones.

Among the artists due to appear on the tour are Queens Of The Stone Age, Ludacris, The Bravery, Kinky, Big & Rich, the All-American Rejects and Plain White T's. The tour will kick off in LA on 13 Aug and take in 1000-1500 capacity venues in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, New York and San Francisco. Some tickets will be given away through radio promotions and AT&T retail outlets.

Confirming the initiative, Samsung Director Of PR Kim Titus told Billboard: "For AT&T and Samsung, this [concert series] makes sense because of the music aspect of the products and the services we'll end up promoting. We're always looking at opportunities to expand our marketing reach and getting the word out to potential consumers".

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JAPANESE CONTENT OWNERS STEP UP ANTI-YOUTUBE BID
A consortium of Japanese content owners have stepped up the pressure on YouTube and its owners Google over their failure to introduce proactive copyright content filtering on their video sharing platform. Twenty-four organisations, including the Japanese Society for Rights Of Authors, Composers And Publishers, who have taken previous action against the video sharing service, have said that the company still needs to take more action to stop copyright content being posted on their site.

As previously reported, this whole issue is due to go to court in the US, where Viacom have sued over the unauthorised hosting of their copyright content on YouTube's servers. Although in the US YouTube argue that, by committing to remove copyright content as soon as they are made aware of it, they are working within US copyright law, in Japan the firm has made more concessions to their critics in the content lobby. Plus YouTube bosses have said this week that new technology they are developing to better filter out copyright content should be live later this year.

But the consortium of Japanese content owners are demanding more action sooner. One of those involved in the campaign, composer Hideki Matsutake, told a press conference: "There is no middle ground. We demand that all copyrighted material be removed immediately".

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UPDATE ON USHER'S WEDDING CANCELLATION
Usher's fiancé, Tameka Foster, has spoken publicly about the previously reported cancellation of their wedding last weekend. The RnB star was expected to marry Foster in a lavish ceremony in Long Island but it was called off with no statement from the couple explaining why. As ever, media speculation has been running rife since the event, with a number of rumours going around, including that Usher's mother objected to the marriage, that the food prepared was not up to Foster expectations and that Usher, in fact, wanted to wear the dress instead (it's possible we made one of those up). Tameka released the following statement, however, thus quashing the 'Usher likes wearing women's clothes rumour': "No one knows why we cancelled the wedding, but I can tell you that all of the reasons that everyone is speculating and writing about are completely untrue".

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MARILYN MANSON SQUANDERS MONEY
Not the most surprising story we've ever published, a multi-million dollar artist squandering millions of dollars on nonsense, but here goes anyway. Marilyn Manson's former keyboardist, Stephen Bier, who filed a lawsuit against him two days ago (1 Aug), claims that Manson failed to pay his band while racking up a huge collection of Nazi memorabilia, a huge house, and splurging cash on a flash engagement ring and lavish wedding in Iceland for that Dita Von Teese woman, now his ex of course. Bier's lawyers claim that Manson 'flinched' "millions of dollar" from his band members over the past ten years, preferring to spend it fruitfully on himself.

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