CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 2nd October
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Britney loses custody
- Doherty free (for now)
- RIAA prepare for jury trial over P2P
- Nails split
- Mos Def's campaign
- Led Zeppelin re-release
- Spice Girls comeback sells out
- Mandela AIDS gig
- New ELP live dates
- Do you like rock music?
- Pipettes cancel tour
- Video-C launch new DRM-free video download service
- One Little Indian acquire some SPINArt
- Brits 2008 to be screened live
- BPI appoint new indie chief
- Goldsmith to talk at In The City
- The Days promote via Bebo drama
- AOL launch new music widgets
- EMAP buyers line up
- Barlow fears US


So, all this giving away music thing is interesting. Radiohead and The Charlatans, as we reported yesterday, are giving away their new albums. Well, Radiohead will be selling it via their website on a 'pay want you want' basis - which could mean you buy the album for a penny. The Charlatans are giving their new long player away completely via a promotion with Xfm. They follow Prince's lead who, of course, gave away his new album with the Mail On Sunday although, presumably, neither Radiohead or The Charlatans are receiving the humongous fee that Prince got for his MoS collaboration.

Of course a cynic might argue that there is something a little hypocritical about major artists giving away their recordings. For years the artist and management community have criticised the record companies for giving away music through covermount CDs and what-not - arguing it devalues music. Now artists (well, three artists) are giving it away themselves, on the basis it cuts out the evil record label who just get in the way of an artist busy involving themselves in the creative process.

But then again, once a successful artist has fulfilled their obligations to the record company that invested in them, why shouldn't they give away their music via low cost digital channels, or high profile media partnerships, if they feel that best enables them to do what they want to do, or provides the best deal for their fans? We all know recordings will cease to be the primary revenue stream for the wider music business, and perhaps Charlatans manager Alan Mcgee is right in saying this kind of activity is the future of the music industry.

But if more and more established bands out of contract are going to start doing this kind of thing, and fans increasingly expect new music for free, then the record companies need to sort out their new business models quickly, and I believe it is in the wider industry's interest to help them do that, however evil you may consider the labels to be.

While established bands can afford to give away their music utilising cheap digital distribution and established fan bases, new bands still need old school investment so they can give up their day jobs, develop their sound, put their music down on record and reach and engage a new audience. While that arguably costs less now that in the past, it still costs a not insignificant sum of money. Someone needs to make that investment, and they will need a revenue stream (or streams) to recoup and profit from that investment. If recordings are not that revenue stream, then new models need to be developed, otherwise money people - record labels or otherwise - will stop investing in new talent, and the wider music world will suffer.

Mcgee is certainly right that artists and record labels will operate very differently in the future - but if there is no joined up thinking between different sectors within the industry, and artists make free recordings the norm before the labels have found new ways to recoup on investments, then I'm not sure anyone wins long term.


Well, it's been a few days since the last Britney update, so today a big story from the Spears' camp with the news that she has temporarily lost custody of her two children, one-year-old Jayden James and two-year-old Sean Preston, as her long running custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline continues.

Judge Scott Gordon has ordered the singer to put Federline in charge of the rugrats from Wednesday, ie tomorrow, a move that is perhaps unsurprising given the ongoing loopiness of Britney's life. As previously reported, the judge had already ordered the pop star to take random drug and alcohol tests after her high profile drink-fuelled partying and allegations of drug taking at home were presented as reasons why Federline should get the kids. That said, it was more likely her driving offences - charges for driving away after hitting a parked car, and accusations she has been driving without a licence for some time - that tipped the custody battle in Federline's favour. How Britney will cope with even temporary loss of custody remains to be seen, some insiders have said in the past that such an eventuality would send Britney on an even worse downward spiral.

Some might say that Britney's problems aren't helped by the paparazzi that follow her all the time, though new reports yesterday accused the pop star of actually following the photographers as part of an obsession to get in the tabloids. A journalist in the Chicago Sun Times alleges that "sources at both the Four Seasons and Beverly Wilshire [hotels] told me the singer often calls the hotels herself, asking 'What press junkets are going on today?' to determine if stars will be present, to guarantee the paparazzi will be lurking outside". A girl can - apparently - never have too many appearances in Heat magazine.

Meanwhile, more pictures of Britney, and news of a new art exhibition in LA that is entirely focused on the estranged singer. 'Just Britney' collects over 50 pieces of art, all exposing the nature of celebrity in the 21st century. Co-curator Steven Corfe explains: "She personifies our obsession with celebrity culture, and it's an obsession that won't die down no matter how far she goes off the rails".


More from the pop courts, and Pete Doherty once again. He's been keeping himself on the down low recently as far as the pop courts are concerned, though nothing could prevent the paps turning up for his routine court appearance this week, which saw the frontman get his case - relating to one drug charge or another - adjourned yet again. The Babyshambler's management were keen to point out that Doherty, whose band's new album is out this week, was doing much better these days, with one spokesman saying: "He's the best I've seen him in five years". However, some reckon he still faces some prison time when this ongoing drugs case goes back to court on 26 Oct - though some more optimistic types reckon he'll get community service.


The Recording Industry Association Of America's litigation campaign against individuals who share music via P2P is about to enter into a new phase with the first jury trial relating to file sharing about to begin in the US.

As previously reported, the RIAA's whole litigation campaign has been structured to make it much easier for those accused of file sharing to accept liability and pay a fine than fight allegations against them. That, combined with the fact the majority of people targeted are probably genuinely guilty of file sharing, means most alleged file sharers have quickly settled out of court.

But a handful of those targeted have defended themselves through the courts, often successfully. A number of those cases have been quite high profile, especially in the States, and some expect the jury trial case involving one Jammie Thomas to be especially so.

She is accused illegally swapping 1702 songs via Kazaa, but claims she did no such thing. She has decided to defend herself despite the risk that losing the case could cost up to an estimated $4 million. The case will rest on the reliability of the RIAA's evidence against Thomas - something that could set legal precedents about the way the industry body can or cannot prove file sharing has taken place.

The case begins today.

PS: The case is called Virgin v Thomas, because these cases are normally named for one of the record companies the RIAA represents. Should it all get nasty, it will be interesting to see what the Virgin Group think about EMI's Virgin Records pursuing a tricky case using their name.


The current Nine Inch Nails line up will split up after the release of their forthcoming album, though presumably Trent Reznor will soon have a new team of collaborators to work with him under the moniker. But guitarist Aaron North, bassist Jeordie White, keyboardist Alessandro Cortini, drummer Josh Freese and, of course, Reznor himself will call time on their career together at the end of the current release schedule, with the dictatorial lead man saying: "At this point, I want to switch things around a bit. I see other ways I can present Nine Inch Nails' material in concert. Something more challenging, something new. I don't want it to go stale. The idea of five guys making music for two hours, while it's the culmination of fine-tuning over a lot of years, has got to change. I want to whittle things down".


Rapper Mos Def yesterday achieved moderate success with his National Student Walkout, a protest in support of the previously mentioned Jena 6, six black teenagers who were allegedly unfairly treated by the Louisiana courts after being accused of beating up a white teenager after growing racial tensions in the US town of Jena.

Def's rallying cry saw students protesting in a number of locations, including Washington and Colorado, joining rappers Common, M1, Cynthia Mckinney, as well as organisations like Malcolm X Grassroots, the National Hip Hop Political Convention and The Hip Hop Association, who also took part.

Speaking before the walk-out, Def said: "This is the time for black people to support the Jena 6, and call attention to the unequal treatment the criminal Justice system is dishing out not only in Jena Louisiana but across this nation. We all live in Jena".

The protests are aimed at forcing the authorities to reconsider the case, more details on which are at


They claim that their reunion at the Ertegun tribute concert is just a one-off, but already Led Zeppelin have announced their first steps to cashing in on reunion fever with the re-release of their live DVD 'The Song Remains The Same'. Set for release in November it will have the usual re-jig, re-mastering and a handy surround sound feature for those that like to be completely enveloped by their rock. Zep guitarist Jimmy Page said: "We have re-visited 'The Song Remains The Same' and can now offer the complete set as played at Madison Square Garden. This differs substantially from the original soundtrack released in 1976, and highlights the technical prowess of Kevin Shirley, who worked with us on 'How The West Was Won'. When it comes to The Song Remains The Same, the expansion of the DVD and soundtrack are as good as it gets on the Led Zeppelin wish list". Not quite as high on most fan's wish list as a pair of tickets to the reunion show though, Jimmy.


Talking of reunions, and despite that research last week that said they were the group most people wanted to see split up, the recently reunited Spice Girls have sold out their O2 arena date in just 38 minutes.

More than 1 million people in the UK registered for tickets for the show on 15 Dec, which makes them only 19 million short of the Zeppelin reunion show's registration figures though, unlike Robert Plant and co, the Spices see the reunion as a more long term venture and have already announced three new London dates on the 16 and 18 Dec, and 2 Jan. Despite that fact, some twits are still paying upwards of £700 on eBay for tickets to the initial show.

Elsewhere - and I'm not sure how true this one is - the tabloids report that The Spice Girls are set to duet with U2, claiming that Bono has written a song for them. The new composition is apparently set to be rushed through for release with the Spices' upcoming greatest hits album because label bosses are worried that songwriting polemics like 'Wannabe', 'Two Become One' and 'Mama' just weren't enticing enough anymore. A 'source' for the story said: "Bono's involvement has lifted the whole camp, and he's delighted to have been ask to add this experience".


Nelson Mandela is to host another AIDS fundraising gig in Johannesburg, South Africa to raise awareness of the disease on 1 Dec, World AIDS Day, of course. The mercurial politician come figurehead said: "I am very delighted that we are engaging the youth in schools, communities and through the media breaking the silence and stigmas around HIV and AIDS and making them realize that the power to beat the pandemic lies in their own hands". Mandela's gigs have previously coerced the likes of Annie Lennox and U2 into playing, and have raised around £1.5 million in the process.


Hip hopper EL-P has just begun a UK tour, which is exciting news, trust us. The Independent described EL-P as "the only true heir to Public Enemy's Bomb Squad". Obviously we'd come up with a better description if we had the time, but let's just agree these gigs are going to be good. Dates as follows...

2 Oct: Manchester Roadhouse
3 Oct: Brighton Digital
4 Oct: London Scala
5 Oct: Glasgow King Tut's


No, we're not asking, it's the title of the ace British Sea Power's new album, out on 14 Jan next year on Rough Trade Records, which is far too long to wait in my opinion. The sartorially edgy band, famed for their fantastical stage decoration, will also release a single a week before on the 7 Jan, after finishing the record with a trio of renowned producers, including Howard Bilerman of Arcade Fire fame, Efrim Menuck (GY!BE) and Jarvis Cocker cohort Graham Sutton.

Speaking about the new album, guitarist Noble said: "Our first album was a bit wild and not to be listened to while riding a bike. The second you could play all the way through without falling off. This one is car or a tank - a wind-powered car or tank, but still faster than all the other cars or tanks".

BSP will also be previewing the new release on tour this month and next for those, like me, that just can't wait till January. Tour dates:

30 Oct: Thekla Social, Bristol
31 Oct: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
1 Nov: Fez, Reading
2 Nov: Whitecliffs Cafe, Saltdean, East Sussex
3 Nov: MV Royal Daffodil ferry, River Mersey
5 Nov: Barfly, Birmingham
6 Nov: Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness
7 Nov: Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
8 Nov: All Saints Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
9 Nov: Tan Hill Inn, Swaledale, Yorkshire
10 Nov: White Mischief - 'From The Earth To The Moon' Scala, London


More visa problems for British bands as Brighton doo-wop revivalists and CMU favourites The Pipettes have announced that they have been forced to cancel their forthcoming North American tour after trouble getting authorisation to enter the country from the authorities. However, the band did also reveal that they expected to make it over by 25 Oct to support the US release of their brilliant debut album, 'We Are The Pipettes', which is released today.


The Video-C people yesterday launched what they say is the first DRM-free music video retail store called, which makes me feel really guilty because I have a feeling I told them I'd give them my thoughts on their beta site which I completely failed to do. Still, I am sure it's still damn fine, even without my input. The new site is basically a DRM free video download service, with a large catalogue of vids from numerous indie labels plus EMI who were, of course, the first major to pursue a DRM free agenda. Giving their formal support to the new service, EMI's Head Of Digital Sales Graeme Rogan told reporters: "We were keen to partner with ilovevideo in order to extend the reach of our digital products to consumers, offering them DRM-free audiovisual as
well as audio content. It gives music fans greater access to our extensive music video catalogue and provides them with the freedom to play our videos across all available portable digital devices and online platforms".


According to Billboard, One Little Indian has acquired the rights to a chunk of the back catalogue of now defunct New York indie SPINArt, which includes music by the likes of Apples In Stereo and The Dears. One Little Indian plan to re-release the albums from the catalogue in the coming months.


Organisers of the BRITs have announced that next year's event will take place on 20 Feb, again at London's Earls Court.

The 2008 event will again be screened live by ITV. As previously reported, this year was the first BRITs to be televised live for 17 years, a move designed to overcome flagging audience figures for the annual music event. ITV seem committed to the reinvigorated awards show, signing up to screen it until 2010, what will be the 30th anniversary of the awards.

Confirming that commitment, ITV Controller Of Music And Events Guy Freeman told reporters: "The BRITs is the ultimate celebration of British and international musical talent and is one of the most important musical events of the year. At a time when British musical talent is thriving, we are delighted to be continuing our close relationship with the awards for the next three years".

SonyBMG UK chief Ged Doherty, who also heads up the BRITS Committee, added: "The BRITs is Europe's biggest and best musical showcase and 2008 promises to be bigger and better than ever. The return to live broadcast earlier this year saw an increase in TV audience and we want to build on that by taking next year's show live once again. With ITV committing to the BRITs until 2010, we now have a great opportunity to deliver an even better live and interactive experience for our audience through the ITV platforms and beyond. I am also working on some new ideas to see how we can take the BRITs celebrations beyond London to the regions, reinforce the crucial role played by the Academy in selecting nominees and award winners and give greater profile to the charities that the BRIT Trust supports".


Record label trade body the BPI has announced it has appointed former Sanctuary exec Julian Wall to the position of Director Of Independent Member Services, taking over from Jon Webster, who left the BPI to join artist management trade body MMF earlier in the year. Confirming his new appointment, Wall todl CMU: "Independence in 2007 is as much a state of mind as a way of doing business. In representing the concerns and articulating the benefits of a healthy, vibrant independent sector Webbo has done a fantastic job and I'm thrilled to be able to continue, develop and build on that progress. The BPI has a crucial role to play in helping its members navigate the choices and opportunities arising from new business models, and I'm delighted to join the organisation when there's so much to play for, particularly for independents, in a time of great change".

Wall's appointment comes as two new indie label chiefs join the BPI Council, following the departure of former indie reps Joe Cokell of Sanctuary and David Steele of V2 (with both those labels in the process of being absorbed by Universal). The new indie reps are Jeremy Elliot, Managing Director of Retrospective Recordings and Adrian Sear, Commercial Director at Demon Music Group.


Organisers of In The City have announced that "live music legend" Harvey Goldsmith will give a keynote address at the annual music convention, which takes place at The Midland Hotel in Manchester from 20-22 Oct. Goldsmith, who is promoting the upcoming Led Zepp reunion of course, joins Mute founder Daniel Miller and Sub-Pop Records co-founder Jonathan Poneman on the talky bit of the programme. Though FYI, ie:music chiefs David Enthoven and Tim Clark who had been due to speak have had to cancel due to other scheduling commitments.


Atlantic Records is teaming up with social networking types Bebo to promote The Days by including their music in the choose-your-own-adventure style web drama 'Kate Modern', which is only available via the networking service. The band will also perform in the show and band members will interact with lead characters.


AOL Music has launched two new widgets that are designed to give users access to music via the AOL platform but from other websites. One allows bloggers to post an 'AOL 100 most watched videos' service on their blogs, while the other is a 'favourite artists' tool for use on Facebook.


The Times has reported that private equity group Cinven is planning on making a bid for EMAPs business and consumer magazine divisions, both of which are now up for sale. The reports have surprised some in the city who didn't expect any one private equity firm to be able to afford even one of the EMAP divisions, let alone two - some were expected to make bids for units within the divisions, even though EMAP hasn't formally said it will sell its assets off in that way.

Elsewhere a consortium led by former Chrysalis CEO Phil Riley is bidding to buy EMAP's other big division, the radio business, which owns the Kiss, Magic and Kerrang! stations. Riley is likely to find himself bidding against Global Radio - who acquired Chrysalis' radio business earlier this year - to acquire EMAP's broadcast business.


Despite the chart topping, stadium filling success of his band's recent reunion, Take That's Gary Barlow has reportedly admitting that he's petrified that US stars could soon rule the British music industry. Well, he fears that non-UK talent will dominate at next year's BRITs anyway, with all the big hits coming from international talent.

An anxious Gary reportedly said: "I'm not sure what the BRITs is going to be like [next year] because there haven't been any massive British records. If you think about it, last year in the Best British Single category, there were loads of really strong pop records, but this year there haven't really been any. The biggest song has probably been Rihanna's 'Umbrella', but she's not British".

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