CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 26th September
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Amazon launch MP3 platform
- Vivendi bosses criticises iTunes pricing
- More Brown estate shenanigans
- Hip hop debate goes to Congress
- Lil Wayne faces second lawsuit over college gig stunt
- Covermount news
- Fiddy supreme in Europe
- Gabrielle track gets iPod remix
- Free British Sea Power
- Free Hot Chip
- Killers rarities galore
- Metallica man signs up to amp partnership
- Madonna celebrates 50th with tour
- Xtaster buy Motion
- Chrysalis group exec changes
- Clear Channel sold
- X-Factor girl group squabble
- S Club reunion?
- Meg isn't in sex tape, OK
- Justin too hungover to sing


Just one more reminder of that brilliant special offer we announced on Monday regarding this weekend's Insomniacs Ball. CMU has teamed up with our good friends Leyline to offer a brilliant special offer to students in London - the opportunity to experience 11 bands and 10 DJs for just five pounds. Yep, just five pounds.

This weekend is the latest edition of the CMU recommended Insomniacs Ball, the all night mini-festival that takes over the seOne club underneath London Bridge station. There will be three vaults worth of CMU favourites, with the latest line up as follows...

ROOM 1: Pull Tiger Tail, These New Puritans, Ox Eagle Lion Man, The Changes, Ratty Rat Rat; DJs
Matty White Heat, Lego Lego.

ROOM 2: Uffie & Feadz, We Smoke Fags, Dead Disco, Man Like Me, Goldie Locks, Nic Nell; DJs eLPlate
Mac 3000, The Cleft Palettes.

DJ ROOM: Sebastian, Nightmoves, Punks Jump Up, People Are Germs, Fresh Out Of Death Soundsystem, No Pain In Pop.

Tickets for this all-night fest are ten pounds in advance, which is a good deal in itself, except we've got an even better deal. We have arranged it so any student who arrives at the seOne club before 11pm with their freshly laminated NUS card (or student ID card) can get in for just a fiver - making this simply the best value way to celebrate the new academic year, and to party all night before the lectures kick in.

It all takes place this Saturday, 29 Sep. The seOne Club is on Weston Street, doors open at 9.30pm and the Ball goes on to 6am. Spread the word - nowhere else can you get into such a great night for just five pounds.

More info on the Ball at



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Advertise your internships here for £80 a week - email to book.


Amazon US yesterday launched a beta version of its much anticipated digital music offering, which will be called Amazon MP3 and which is offering over 2 million DRM-free songs for download.

Early indications suggest that the Amazon guys might have just got everything right with their late in the day arrival into the download space. Their service is almost entirely browser based, meaning it can be accessed through a user's web browser without the need to install any proprietary software. And because the download service works through the web browser it is fully integrated with the rest of Amazon's etail operations, meaning users can buy MP3s, CDs and other goods all in the same purchase.

Amazon do, however, offer free software which automatically saves tracks bought via their service into either iTunes or Windows Media Player, helping less PC-savvy customers store their music in the right place so to play on the music player of their choice (and ensuring tracks are syncable to a customer's portable device).

As much previously reported, Amazon have been much touted as the one company who can take on Apple's iTunes in the digital music market, partly because of their existing sizable customer base online, and partly because, by waiting until now to launch, they can offer content in the popular iPod compatible MP3 format from two of the four major record companies - EMI and Universal both having now dropped DRM from their catalogues.

Some reckon Universal agreed to drop their DRM demands specifically to give Amazon a headstart over iTunes, with Universal bosses known to consider Apple as far too dominant and demanding a player in the download market. To that end they have, of course, prevented Apple from having access to their DRM free catalogue, in the short term at least.

Amazon should win support in the major record companies not just because they have the potential to end Apple's overall dominance in the download space, but also because they are offering labels variable pricing and the option to only sell full albums, both things that some labels and artists have been demanding but which Apple have so far resisted.

It is not known how long Amazon intend to operate the beta service before a full launch.


Talking of Universal not especially liking Apple and iTunes, the boss of Universal Music's owners Vivendi has furthered tensions between the two companies by publicly criticising iTunes, and in particular that continued resistance towards the variable pricing model favoured by the record companies.

According to Reuters, Vivendi chief Jean-Barnard Levy told reporters: "The [revenue] split between Apple and producers is indecent. Our contracts give too good a share to Apple".

Of course Apple and major-label-haters everywhere would presumably take issue with that statement, given that the major labels currently receive about 70% of any download sale via iTunes which, even though a percentage of that is then passed on to the song's publisher, is actually quite a lot, especially considering Apple swallow the transaction costs, such as the percentage paid to the credit card firm.

Levy didn't discuss what percentage split he would consider "decent", though it seems that it is, in fact, the old dispute - ie the lack of variable pricing on iTunes - that really bothers the Vivendi chief, who added: "We should have a differentiated price system".

Universal currently has a month to month contract with Apple meaning it could back out of iTunes at short notice. Neither Universal nor its parent company have ever actually suggested they would stop supplying the market leading download platform altogether, though Levy kept his options open, concluding: "We are in a phase during which many different actors are talking to each other. We are trying to put in place several projects to ensure that music is better remunerated. We are not just talking to Apple".


More controversy surrounding the estate of the late James Brown, following the news that administrators appointed to look into the handling of Brown's will have told a US judge that a former trustee may have misappropriated up to $7 million of the late singer's money, which is quite a lot.

The accused trustee is David Cannon, who has now resigned his position. The court yesterday ordered him to repay $370,000 to the estate, on top of $350,000 he had already repaid last month in relation to accusations of mishandling funds. By my math that doesn't add up to seven million, so I'm not entirely sure how the judge reached that conclusion.

Cannon was one of three trustees on the estate. One lawyer representing several of Brown's children and grandchildren has said that the other two, while not directly involved in the alleged misappropriation, should take responsibility for the dodgy money management, presumably on the basis they had a responsibility to ensure their fellow trustees acted appropriately. Attorney Louis Levenson said: "You can't turn your back on your responsibility and say it's his fault, and then point your finger at Mr Cannon".


So, the much previously reported debate on sexist and racist language in music - and mainly hip hop - went to US Congress yesterday with that previously reported session of the House Energy And Commerce Sub-Committee dedicated to the debate.

As previously reported, the debate over the use of sexist and racist words in hip hop has been reignited after the decidedly un-hip hop Don Imus was sacked from his radio show for making sexist, racist remarks about a female basketball team. The fallout of Imus' sacking led to the media spotlight being focused on the use of similar remarks by key artists in the black community.

Much of the anger over sexist and racist language in hip hop has so far been aimed at record label execs rather than artists, presumably because they are easier targets in PR terms. Yesterday those execs met with political types and rappers to discuss the issues - though all seemed keen to sidestep responsibility for the problem (if, in deed, there is a problem), though everyone agreed government censorship was not the answer - in the words of rapper and producer David Banner: "If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed".

Keen to lay the blame with the suits, E Faye Williams of the National Congress Of Black Women told the hearing: "We have allowed greedy corporate executives - especially those in the entertainment industry - to lead many of our young people to believe that it is OK to entertain themselves by destroying the culture of our people".

Speaking for the labels, Edgar Bronfman Jnr from Warner Music argued that there is a long history of people taking offence at the pop music of the day - from Elvis to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones - and that those involved in the debate should bear that fact in mind. Philippe Dauman of MTV owner Viacom, meanwhile, said his networks had a long history of protecting young viewers from swearing or violent imagery in music videos, though that they had to do so in a way that doesn't affect the artistic freedom of those making the music - "it is not our role to censor the creative expression of artists" he concluded.

So there you go. Not sure anyone really had any solutions as to how you better manage the language and subject matter of hip hop without actually censoring the genre's artists.


Promoters of a Lil Wayne gig that took place at Morgan State Unviersity last year are facing a second lawsuit after a money-based stunt as part of the show caused unrest in the audience.

As previously reported, ahead of a track called 'Money On The Mind' at his Morgan State gig, the rapper threw real cash into the University crowd. The stunt caused gig goers to rush forward to try and grab the money, causing several audience members to be knocked down and injured.

Two of those injured are now suing. Last month Morgan State student Tyrique Layne sued for damages relating to injuries incurred during the gig, while yesterday another student, Carlisa Dixon, filed legal papers claiming she was "impaled" by a metal pole during the chaos that follows the money throwing. The injury required surgery and, the plaintiff claims, resulted in "the embarrassment of scarring and disfigurement".

Neither organisers of the event nor Lil' Wayne, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuits, have commented on the legal action. The college has also declined to comment on the lawsuits, though they did tell local newspaper the Maryland Daily Record that the money thrown into the crowd was mainly one dollar bills and organisers therefore did not expect a rush by audience members to grab it, though the college's spokesman admitted: "When he threw the money, the students were likely not able to determine what denominations they were. They just saw bills".


Covermount news, and Travis are the latest band to distribute their tunes via that long term champion of new music, the Mail On Sunday. Fran Healy and co will give their new single, 'My Eyes', away on a covermounted CD that will also include a collection of greatest hits. Aside from the quick pay off for the back catalogue hits, presumably the band also hope the promotion will help boost sales of their most recent album 'The Boy With No Name', from which 'My Eyes' is taken.

The Travis CD is the first major music promotion in the Mail On Sunday since its controversial Prince album giveaway. Those who prefer their covermounts to include some Prince should buy The Observer instead of the Mail, because they are giving away copies of his 1987 concert video 'Sign O' The Times', the first of a number of music DVD giveaways planned by the broadsheet.


As we briefly mentioned last week, while Kanye West was victorious in the Kanye/50 Cent chart battle in the UK and US, elsewhere in Europe it is Fiddy's album that is topping the chart. Across mainland Europe Fiddy's 'Curtis' is top, with West's 'Graduation' coming in third behind Manu Chao's 'La Radiolina'. Whether that technicality is enough to mean that Fiddy doesn't have to now quit music, as he promised to do if he lost the chart battle, remains to be seen. I'll have to check the rules for 'flippant promises made during manufactured chart battles'.


One for all you techie types. Gabrielle's latest single has a special mix that has been engineered specifically for playing on MP3 players. Put together by producers The Boilerhouse Boys, the 'poduction' mix (ha ha) is designed to overcome the fact digital music files contain less data than a CD recording which inevitably reduces the sound quality of the recording.

The story behind it all is rather interesting (well, I think so). Boilerhouse Boy Ben Wolff told the BBC how he has always been obsessed with the superior quality of sound recordings released by Motown, explaining how he discovered the quality was down to the men with "lab coats" at the label who always advised studio engineers there on how they could make recordings sound louder and better. He borrowed some of their techniques when working with Gabrielle on her 1996 hit single 'Give Me A Little More Time'.

He continued: "Usually, when I'm about to start writing and producing, I turn off the radio and go away for a week with a bunch of cassettes and see how I get inspired. This time, though, I had an iPod. I put together a playlist of the 50 greatest songs of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine. Almost without exception, each of those tracks had incredibly satisfying stereo. It was thrilling. I started talking to my nieces and nephews about music, and I was really surprised at how much 'old stuff' - as they call it - they have. They loved that they could hear exactly what was going on in those recordings. One of them said you could hear the music as you would see it, and I thought that was kind of inspired. So our "poduction idea" puts all of those ideas into practice. In a way, it's a remix for the 21st century".

On the finished product he explained "I don't think the average [iPod using] fan will necessarily be able to tell the difference [between the mixes] - but you'll know which one you like more, even if you don't know why".

Garbrielle's new single 'Why' is out this week.


One for all you fans of free music now. British Sea Power are making a track available for free for download. The new track is called 'Atom' and can be downloaded for free from the band's website, The freebie precedes the digital release of a new EP on 8 Oct, which will be followed up by a new album, 'Do You Like Rock Music?', in January.


And another one for all you fans of free music. Hot Chip have also made a track available to download for gratis - their freebie track is called 'I Became A Volunteer', and you can download it from the URL below, providing you hand over some contact information. The track comes from the band's next album, which is set for release next February.


Following the news yesterday about their Christmas song plans, The Killers have announced more details about their planned rarities album, which will be called 'Sawdust', and which will include a load of unreleased tracks, b-sides and movie soundtrack contributions. Among the tracks on there will be their cover version of Joy Division's 'Shadowplay', a cover of Mel Tillis' 'Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town', and their recent collaboration with Lou Reed, 'Tranquilize'.


Amp makers Randall Amplifiers have announced a partnership with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett which will see him design a line of signature products including amps, heads, combos and preamp modules. Confirming the partnership, Hammett told reporters: "Old-school tones and new-school technology attracted me to the potential
that Randall amps have to offer".


Madonna is reported to be planning another world tour for next year, designed to celebrate both the release of her new album and her 50th birthday. Word has it the tour will be called 'Madonna At 50'. Whether that landmark birthday means she's now too old for mock crucifixions remains to be seen.


Street marketing specialists Xtaster has bought online PR types Motion PR. Look, here's what Xtaster founder Nick Dryden told Music Week: "At a time when music consumers are increasingly utilising online media the importance of online PR is paramount. Bringing Motion on board is about us being able to cover all levels of online engagement under one roof. We intend to announce other initiatives to complement the new team within the coming months".


Jeremy Lascelles has been appointed CEO of the Chrysalis Group - taking over from Richard Huntingford, who has resigned from the role. Lascelles was CEO of the company's Music Division, though since Chrysalis sold its radio business there only really is the music division now. Lascelles will run the company alongside the company's founder Chris Wright. Chrysalis Music's Finance Director Andy Mollett will also rise up to take on the equivalent group level role.


After long drawn out negotiations, US radio firm Clear Channel has been bought by a consortium of equity types, including Warner Music co-owners Thomas H Lee Partners. The original offer was made last November, but some key Clear Channel shareholders had been resisting the sales offer. The company has also announced it will sell off its TV business and smaller radio stations.


OK, here it is, the first CMU report from the current series of X Factor. You lucky people. Apparently Simon Cowell has persuaded six solo entrants to form a girl band called Hope and to enter the groups section instead. But tensions are already rising in the fledgling girl group, leading to some to speculate that's while Cowell suggested they join forces in the first place, ie to create great telly. Daily Star Sunday quote a source as saying: "There were constant rows between the different group members. People even began to say that was why they were chosen. It seemed as though Cowell and the show's producers had deliberately gone for big personalities so that it made good TV".


Yeah, this reunion thing is getting out of control - please, someone stop it. The latest word is that S Club 7 are about to reform, despite all the erm, solo success enjoyed by the seven. Well, I say that's the latest word, I think the rumours stem from comments made by Rachel Stevens a last week's Vodaphone Live Music Awards when she told reporters: "Pardon the pun...but bring it all back. We're all still in touch".


A spokesman for XL Recordings has said that a sex tape leaked online that some claimed featured Meg White is a fake - that is to say, while the girl in it looks a little like Meg, it ain'\t her (actually, from what I've heard its obviously not her, but we're far too busy here at CMU to be checking out sex tapes for authenticity). A spokesman from The White Stripes' UK label said yesterday: "We as a label believe some people have a very twisted sense of humour and this prank is in particularly bad taste._The tape circulating on the internet as featuring Meg White is fake. It's definitely not Meg". So that's that settled.


Justin Timberlake has admitted the reason he cancelled two recent gigs in California was because he was hungover. No official reason was given for the cancellations at the time, but the singer said at a rescheduled gig in San Jose this week: "Certain bloggers said I cancelled because I was hungover and they were right... I was".

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