CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 19th September
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Deadlock: Spector trial update
- The Automatic lose member
- Kanye wins chart battle hands down
- Warner to sell Blunt album via MySpace
- Reznor encourages illegal downloading
- Andy Kershaw pleads guilty
- Arctic Monkeys support Queens
- Pavarotti leaves 10 million to second wife
- Iggy honoured
- Shakira the student
- Alex James gets political
- Harry: break made Blondie legends
- New Franz material
- Take That: new material!
- Rage frontman solo release
- Sex Pistols reunite again
- More iPhone nonsense
- EMI publishing launch pan-European A&R forum
- 7Digital chief becomes deputy chairman of ERA
- Music union chief joins TUC general council
- ITC theme and speakers announced
- !K7 launch booking agency
- Grohl attacks Hilton


So, Warner Music are making the new James Blunt album available via his MySpace page in the US utilising the previously reported platform which enables the major to make the music available in an iPod compatible format, but with some DRM (sort of) and without requiring the user to go to iTunes, the place you'd normally have to visit for iPod compatible DRMed music. works by transferring music files directly to the iPod via the user's web browser, thus the files never actually land on the user's PC, thus they can't be shared illegally - that technicality is the DRM. So that the user can, if they wish, listen to the music on their PC, they'll get a CD copy through the post too.

It's a 'first of its kind' promotion but also, on another level, I think it's a 'last of its kind' promotion too. Because we are now in the final phase of the DRM period of the music industry. Restrictive DRM on purchased music will soon be a thing of the past. As will clever but ultimately futile attempts by major record companies to distribute music in a consumer friendly way without giving up on the DRM they, until recently, all held on to so dearly.

Warner could, of course, make James Blunt's album available via MySpace using the social networking platform's own music sell-through system, powered by Snocap, but that system is based around making music available as MP3 - ie no DRM. Warner did, of course, negotiate a deal with Snocap that allows them to use the MySpace system with DRM, but that involves selling music in a Windows format, that isn't compatible with the iPod, and which therefore no one wants.

The system is a clever trick which enables the major to make music available in an iPod compatible format, but with some DRM. Except, it's not really that clever. No one will want to just buy the music for their iPod, so Warner have to send the customer their CD copy for CD player or PC use. As soon as they have that CD the user can rip the music off it as MP3 files and share that music with whoever wherever as many times as they want, should they want to (and while the CD could be protected itself, we all know where copy protected CDs can take you). Warner have only 'protected' their music for the time period it takes to mail out a CD, the consumer now has to wait three days to be able to play their music anywhere but on their iPod, and Warner presumably have to pay some cash for the privilege of offering this substandard service.

If Warner would only follow EMI and Universal in dropping their DRM demands then the whole thing would be so much easier, so much cheaper and so much more consumer friendly. Both Warner and SonyBMG will drop the DRM sometime soon, they'll have to - the commercial case for DRM is so rubbish bosses of both majors will struggle to find anyone in the investment world who will take them seriously while they continue to piss their shareholders money away on unpopular, unproductive DRM technology. And once that has happened, clever but complicated promotions like the Blunt one will become a thing of the past.

And thank the Lord for that. We won't say we told you so, though we did. And, assuming my prediction is right and the whole DRM thing is now over, perhaps this will be the last ever Top Bit rant to obsess about the whole thing.



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After over four months of testimony, 28 hours of deliberation and eight billion column inches of coverage, the jury in the much previously reported Phil Spector murder trail said yesterday, "erm, well, yeah, we find the defendant, hmm, well, we don't really know".

Yes, the jury are split seven to five on whether or not, on the 3 Feb 2003, the legendary producer pointed his gun into the mouth of former actress Lana Clarkson, pulled the trigger in some kind of drink fuelled and not entirely uncharacteristic moment of loopiness, killing her dead. Or whether, as Spector and his defence team claim, a hugely depressed Clarkson went back to Spector's Beverly Hills mansion, slipped his gun into her own mouth, and committed suicide.

The foreman for the jury told the court room yesterday that he and his colleagues had failed to reach a unanimous decision on the case, adding that, with the evidence currently available, he couldn't see that position changing anytime soon. He said: "At this time I do not believe anything else can change the position of the jurors based on the facts in evidence". At Judge Larry Paul Fidler's request the foreman did not disclose what conclusion had been reached by the seven jurors, and what conclusion had been reached by the five.

Fidler must now decide what to tell the jury to do. He has admitted that he may ask them to consider the charge of manslaughter rather than the current charge of second degree murder. That would amount to a u-turn by the judge, who previously said a manslaughter conviction was not an option, a ruling supported by the prosecution and defence. If found guilty of manslaughter Spector would face two to four years in jail, with maybe additional years for fire arms offences, but certainly not the jail term he faces if found guilty of murder, which would basically see him in prison for the rest of his life.

Neither prosecution nor defence have commented on the jury deadlock. The defence would probably prefer for the deadlock to continue rather than for other charges to be considered. Ultimately the deadlock would result in a mistrial which would force the prosecution to decide whether they want to go through the hassle and expense of pursuing the case for a second time, or try to reach a plea bargain with the accused, or just drop the case completely. That situation could well go in the defence's favour.

Certainly the LA Times yesterday declared that the deadlock was bad news for the prosecution because it ultimately meant there was significant doubt in the jury room regarding their case against Spector, which prosecutors hoped was pretty clear cut. The Times quotes USC law professor, Jean Rosenbluth, as saying the latest developments would be "a huge, devastating surprise to the prosecution".


The Automatic have announced that their keyboardist and backing vocalist, Alex Pennie, you know, the slightly hyperactive one, has left the group. The diminutive screamer released a statement that revealed his reasons for quitting the band, saying that he "left due to finding the last year increasingly unenjoyable" (or "less enjoyable", perhaps) adding that he had been "growing apart from the rest of the band". The remaining members will continue to release and tour under The Automatic moniker however, and are set to begin recording the follow-up to their successful debut 'Not Accepted Anywhere' in America soon. Whether they recruit a new member to jump at the back a bit irritatingly is yet to be confirmed.


Ah, come on Billboard, let poor Fiddy down gently. Fancy headlining your chart update "Kanye Crushes 50 Cent In Huge Album Sales Week". But yes, that's how our US trade mag friends have announced the news that Kanye West has trounced, pulverised and frankly put to shame 50 Cent in the much hyped, slightly manufactured Kanye/Fiddy chart battle over there in the States.

Actually, Fiddy did well, shifting around about 691,000 units of new album 'Curtis' in week one, but that's no where near enough to beat chart topping Kanye, who has sold an estimated 957,000 copies of 'Graduation'.

Kenny Chesney, who complained when all the media attention was on the hip hop chart battle, claiming that his new album, also out this week, was also a contender to win the fight, was wrong to complain. 387,000 units of 'Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates' were sold in week one which is admirable but, frankly, not on a Fiddy level, let alone a Kanye level.

Either way, three such big releases in one week will provide a welcome boost to the record industry. Well, mainly Universal, who have both Kanye West and 50 Cent on their rosters.


Warner Music is selling James Blunt's new album, 'All The Lost Souls', via the singer's MySpace page, albeit to US customers only. It's a decision that places complete faith in the album's quality (or lack of, depending on your opinion) because fans will also be able to listen to the entire album via the MySpace before deciding to buy it. Let's hope it's up to scratch, for the sake of those poor little Warner Music shareholders - Blunt being one of the major's bankrollers.

The MySpace sell through is powered by, that new and previously reported digital music venture that downloads music direct to the iPod, rather than via a PC, meaning that there is some DRM protection even though it's not an iTunes sale (iTunes being the only platform that can sell fully DRMed music that works on an iPod). So that users can listen to their music on their PC too, anyone buying the album via the MySpace thingimy will also receive a copy of the CD in the post.

Blunt's second album was released in the UK on Monday, and in the US yesterday. And, you'll note, there's been no Blunt bashing here all week, thank-you very much. That's so last year. Though perhaps its time to start the backlash to the backlash to the backlash.


Now we all know that downloading music illegally in wrong, and I'm sure Nine Inch Nails' frontman Trent Reznor does too, which is why he's being ever so naughty in telling a large crowd of Australian fans to do just that. Well, actually, he told them to "steal it", which could be seen to be condoning shop lifting too but, whatever the anti-piracy people say, shop lifting still seems even more naughty than downloading via P2P, so let's assume that's what he meant.

Anyway, while onstage in Sydney Reznor asked the crowd if CD prices had come down since his last visit to Australia (he having made much about how expensive CDs were there on a previous Aussie tour), a question which was greeted with a large number of "no" votes from the crowd. This led Trent to advise: "Well, you know, what that means: steal it. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealing, because one way or another these motherfuckers [his record company, presumably, Universal Music] are going to get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that's not right". So you hear him guys. Though Reznor admitted that by giving such advice he was "probably not gonna make too many friends".

Watch Trent's rant here:


BBC Radio 3 DJ Andy Kershaw yesterday pleaded guilty to charges of drink driving and breaching a restraining order filed against him by an ex-girlfriend in the latest stage of a story which we've so far ignored, but which saw Kershaw jailed for a week last month. Police took in Kershaw last month after he approached the lady in question, Juliette Banner - who is also the mother of his two children - despite having been under the order since 1 Aug. The order prevents him from entering the family home, amongst other areas, and was handed out following claims of harassment from Banner. The case continues in courts on the Isle of Man, where Kershaw and his ex now live.


Arctic Monkeys played a stand-in support slot for Queens Of The Stone Age on Monday, opening for the band in Texas after their regular support bands, Howlin' Blue and Dax Riggs, were unable to play. The Sheffield band played for just over an hour and clearly left an impression on QOTSA leadman Josh Homme, who said: "Watching them was the highlight of the whole night. They're a really great live band - they're like a tight little spring, you know? I didn't even get tipsy because I was too busy watching them play". Meanwhile, Alex Turner seemed equally ebullient, telling "I thoroughly enjoyed it! It would be terrific to do a proper tour with them".


Pavarotti has left around £10 million in a trust fund for his second wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, the Italian press are reporting. This is despite earlier claims that Pavarotti had become exasperated with his wife in the latter months of his life, and that he'd written her out of his will.

Press reports say that three lawyers representing Mantovani have opened a final will that was written five weeks prior to the tenor's death on 6 Sep, which provided information of the trust. The opera star's previous will, which shared his estate between his three elder daughters from his previous marriage, remains valid, but the estate will not include those assets included in the trust for Mantovani.

A spokesman for the three daughters confirmed they were aware of the trust revelation, telling reporters: "We were going by the previous will date June 13 that gave my clients the share provided for by law and that named Nicoletta Mantovani as the executor. Now the affair has taken a new turn. We want to verify the date of the trust, and then we will ask for a valuation of the estate. If it appears that there has been a serious prejudice, we will think about the means to secure the rights of the three daughters, but without controversy and not right away".

While the new revelation may contradict the claims that Pavarotti and Mantovani's marriage was on the rocks, some may say that it confirms other claims that Mantovani was making her dieing husband sign legal papers he didn't understand in his last few weeks. Lawyers for the late tenor's daughters continue to downplay any conflict within the family, though some reckon there could still be some squabbles once all the legal papers are considered and the final figures are added up.


Iggy Pop will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the second annual Vodafone Live Music Awards in London tonight.

The event, set to be hosted by Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, will present Mr Pop with the Freddie Mercury Lifetime Achievement gong (to give it its full title) in the ceremony at Earl's Court, where the Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers and Calvin Harris will perform. The Stooges star follows The Who as the second winner of the title and said: "I want to thank the fans that put me up on the stage for so long".

Other acts up for Vodafone awards include Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs.


Chart-topping mega popstar type Shakira is back at university in Columbia, after putting her music career on hold to study Ancient History. The real shock in this story is that apparently no one recognizes her when she's on campus, which perhaps means she isn't quite the mega popstar I thought she was.

Indeed, her lecturer has claimed that he was shocked to discover that one of his latest students was a (moderately popular?) singer, saying: "She just looked like an ordinary student. She didn't act like a big celebrity or anything. I was really impressed with how intelligent she was".


Following Ian Brown's political ramblings in a Guardian interview, we can now expect more pop politics nonsense, this time from Alex James, following the news that the Blur bassist has been given a regular column in The Spectator magazine. The magazine's Editor, Matthew D'Ancona, describes James as someone who: "writes of worlds with wit, charm and wonderful observation".

James already produces two 'columns', of sorts, with national newspapers, writing a column called 'The Great Escape' about his life in the country in The Independent every Wednesday and releasing vodcasts called 'The Cheese Diaries', where he runs through the cheese-making process in passionate detail, with The Guardian and iTunes.

Add to that the expected Blur reunion and Mr James should be pretty busy in the coming months.


Debbie Harry has revealed that she has absolutely no regrets about splitting Blondie at the peak of their popularity, claiming that it led to the band achieving their "legendary" status. Speaking about the group's break in 1982, she said: "In a way it was very providential - it went in out favour because people were copying us and there was nothing I could do about it, and then when we came back we had taken on this status as being something legendary, or some ridiculous thing. By then I just felt flattered by it. It's interesting to see what becomes style and what become acceptable".


New Franz Ferdinand material is on the way - well, one new song at least. The Scottish band have been revealed as one of the collaborators on a new album that gets artists to put music to lyrics penned by the artist David Shrigley. Also signed-up to the project are Hot Chip, David Byrne, Deerhoof and TV On The Radio. The compilation, called 'Worried Noodles', is out on 23 Oct. Some of the acts on the release have also agreed to play a special charity gig at London's Scala venue the week before, on 14 Oct.


It's not just Franz rockin' out the new material this week, as pop band Take That have also released details of their new song, which is apparently an 'Oscar favourite', according to Yahoo Music. The song is called 'Rule The World' and will feature in a forthcoming movie called 'Stardust' (hence the Oscar talk). Eager fans can see the first performance at the inaugural National Movie Awards on 28 Sep at the Royal Festival Hall in London, something the band are apparently very excited about because: "they've never played in front of an audience like that before".


Despite the recent Rage Against The Machine reunion, frontman Zach De La Rocha has decided to release a solo album anyway, with reporting that the currently untitled project has been an on-off work since Rage split. Sources close to the singer claim that it sounds like a hybrid of "Led Zeppelin and Dr Dre. Some of it has the power you'd expect from him in Rage". Currently unsigned, they also noted that De La Rocha is presently considering the best method to distribute the songs.


The reunion bandwagon just keeps on rolling (and the money keeps on rolling in) as the Sex Pistols announce a commemorative gig at London's Brixton Academy on 8 Nov. The one-off will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of their album 'Never Mind The Bollocks', which will be accordingly re-released around the date as well. Furthermore, the band will re-release all the singles from the album as well, with NME having already begun a campaign to get 'God Save The Queen' to the top of the charts (the first release, as you may remember, only got to number two, leading to all kinds of conspiracy theories about chart bosses rigging the chart to stop the song going top in the week of the Queen's jubilee). Tickets for the gig cost £37.50 and go on sale this Friday (Sept 21) at 9am.


More on the iPhone which, as reported yesterday, will arrive in the UK via O2 on 9 Nov. The O2 device, which will hold 8GB of content, will be available via Apple and O2's retail outlets, as well as The Carphone Warehouse, and will sell for £269, or $540, considerably more than the $399 which the iPhone now retails for in the US (no surprise there then).

As reported yesterday, the UK launch of the iPhone was announced by the respective chiefs of Apple and O2 at the main Apple Store in London. The former, Steve Jobs, told reporters: "We're thrilled to be partnering with O2 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers. US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can't wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it".

O2 CEO Matthew Key added: "Our strategy at O2 is to bring our customers the best products and experiences. The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we're thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK".

Similar launches are now expected to be announced in France and Germany later this week, with Orange and T Mobile expected to be the exclusive network providers in those respective territories.

Much of the techy talk about the UK iPhone has centred on the fact the device will not be 3G enabled, despite being a phone designed to download content off the net. The device will use O2's EDGE, or Enhanced GPRS technology, which is faster than normal mobile connections, but not proper 3G. The iPhone will also work via WiFi in any The Cloud hot spots, but many are critical of the decision not to go 3G with the iPhone in Europe, where 3G is much more prevalent than in the US, which is still someway behind us when it comes to all things mobile.

Commenting on the lack of 3G, Jobs said it was all down to battery life. The Telegraph quote him thus: "The 3G chipsets work well apart from power. They're real power hogs. Most phones now have battery lives of two to three hours. Our phone has eight hours of talktime life. That's really important when you start to use the internet and want to use the phone to listen to music. We've got to see the battery lives for 3G get back up into the five-plus hour range. Hopefully we'll see that late next year".

Despite Jobs' estimate that a 3G iPhone won't be a reality before late 2008 at the earliest, some techy sites are now citing Apple insiders as saying it could come much sooner than that, as early as next January. I'm not convinced myself, but we'll see I guess.


EMI Music Publishing Continental Europe has established a new pan-region A&R forum with the aim of encouraging co-operation between artists and songwriters signed to the major from across Europe, as well as enabling more coordinated promotion of new talent in different countries. A&R representatives from EMI publishing divisions across the continent will participate in the Forum, which will be chaired by EMI Music Publishing Continental Europe President and CEO Peter Ende.

Confirming the new initiative, Ende told reporters: "More music is being used than ever before, and we must work with our incredible songwriters to take full advantage of the opportunities that are available both creatively and commercially. The establishment of our A&R Forum will bring together some of the best music executives in Europe to make the most the company's combined creative talents, and once again demonstrates our commitment to the development of local writers and artists both in this region and, indeed, worldwide".


The UK's Entertainment Retailers Association has announced the appointment of its new Council for the forthcoming year following their latest Annual General Meeting.

Independent record store owner Paul Quirk is returned to the role of Chairman, while Ben Drury, MD of London based independent download store 7Digital, was appointed Deputy Chairman. Graham Lambdon of EUK remains treasurer.

Speaking at the AGM, Quirk told his members: "Little more than a year ago we were known as the British Association Of Record Dealers and were wrongly characterised as being anti-technology. Today we are the Entertainment Retailers Association - reflecting the breadth of our members' activities - and we have a pure-play digital retailer as Deputy Chairman".

Drury, who was the first digital only retailer to sit on the ERA Council at all, commented on his new role: "In the last three years, digital retail has come from nowhere to be a major part of the entertainment retail landscape and it's great that ERA has recognised this. I am honoured and privileged to be asked to serve as Deputy Chairman and I look forward to doing my best to represent the interests of all entertainment retail regardless of format".


One for fans of the union movement. Anyone? Well, John Smith, General Secretary of the Musician's Union, has been elected to the General Council of the TUC. Music Week quote Smith thus: "The result was not just a good one for me personally but showed the high regard that the Musicians' Union is held in by colleagues in other Unions. I will take the opportunity to make the case for workers in the entertainment industry and on behalf of MU members engage with other trade union leaders in formulating TUC policy on the important issues of the day".


Organisers of In The City have revealed more details about this year's convention which will, of course, be held in honour of its co-founder, Tony Wilson, who died last month.

The convention will have the overall title of 'A Brand New Dance (But I Don't Know Its Name)', on which ITC Director and co-founder Yvette Livesey says: "Our headline slogan for 2007 is 'A Brand New Dance (But I Don't Know Its Name)' which, of course, is borrowed from the opening line of 'Fashion' by David Bowie. We are living through a fascinating time for our industry - on the one hand we have some very stiff challenges to overcome but clearly there are also major opportunities out there for those individuals and companies who are willing to embrace new ideas and ways of working. We have taken 'inspiration' and 'education' as our main tenets this year and our programme will reflect those two themes".

Organisers also confirmed Xfm and Cokemusic as partners on this year's event, which takes place in Manchester from 20-22 Oct. Mute founder Daniel Miller, ie Music chiefs David Enthoven and Tim Clark, and Sub-Pop Records co-founder Jonathan Poneman are among those set to speak.


More diversification, and Berlin based independent record company !K7 has announced it has launched its own booking agency, which will be headed up by Paul Fowler, formerly of the Littlebig Agency and Theremin Management. Artists represented by the fledgling agency will include: Michael Fakesch (ex-Funkstorung), Swayzak, Cassetteboy, Vex'd, Milanese and Neil Landstrumm.

Confirming the launch of the new agency, Fowler told CMU: "It's my aim to build a diverse roster of acts with musical styles ranging from soul, funk and jazz to techno, house, electronica and the UK's burgeoning dubstep scene".

!K7 chief Horst Weidenmueller added: "We are excited about developing this new department and giving our artists an even wider service than we already do within the K7 label group".


Dave Grohl seems to be slowly tarnishing his image as the 'nice man of rock' after a sudden spate of outbursts against blonde haired women. Following his recent comments about Courtney Love, someone he's long been known to disrespect, now he's had a go at Paris Hilton, who he describes as a: "lazy party slut". He continued: "Paris is fucking lame, she's more offensive to me than anything". So there we have it. I wonder why the need to tell us that now? The Foos new album, by the way, is out on Monday (24 Sep).

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