CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 4th October
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- IMPALA hit out at SonyBMG ruling
- Procol Harum case back in court
- Gucci angers independent
- Duran Duran drop Iraq song
- Green River reunite
- Jay Z: Gangster
- Arcade Fire get mysterious
- Lennon photo discovered
- Bloc Party new single
- Kitty, Daisy & Lewis rock. And roll
- Macca starts YouTube craze
- Jagger: no to Glasto
- Big Day Out!
- Pendulum tour
- McGee confirms end of Poptones partnership
- Viagogo, Live Nation clarification
- Bourne sue over Family Guy song
- Grime and hip hop pioneers unite to promote all new Walkman
- British Academy Award some gold badges
- Radiohead keep relationship with Warner/Chappell
- Lily Allen acts too


So, IMPALA have responded unfavourably to the EC's decision that the SonyBMG merger was, in fact, all fine thank you very much. As much much previously reported, the European Commission was forced to reinvestigate the merger of Sony and BMG's record labels, which they originally approved in 2004, after IMPALA secured a ruling from the EU courts that the original investigation was not thorough enough. The EC subsequently undertook a more thorough investigation, but reached the same conclusion that the SonyBMG merger was not damaging to the wider music business, or to consumer access to creativity across Europe. IMPALA are now calling for an investigation into the EC's investigation.

IMPALA's original court win against the EC was in many ways important, in that it showed the EC that it has to take the potential negative ramifications of mergers in the music industry, and elsewhere, very seriously, even if the smaller companies negatively affected by the merger cannot afford the scale of lobbying efforts undertaken by the big boys. But is it now worth the independent sector putting too much more time and effort into further pursuing this particular case? Has the existence of SonyBMG been that damaging to the indie sector, and would its break up really help anyone in the record industry? Was indie label owner Mike Batt right when, at Popkomm recently, he urged majors and indies to work together, rather than against each other, and to fight against common threats to all record companies that come not from within the record label sector, but from outside - in the form of ISPs, technology firms, non-music content providers, content pirates and law makers not willing to consider copyright term extensions.

Or are IMPALA right, if nothing else, to argue that if major music firms are to merge then it is only fair to force those merging entities to make concessions - like Universal did in order to buy BMG Publishing, or like Warner said they would do in order to merge with EMI - that ensure one or two major players do not become too dominant? And surely they are right, if nothing else, to force the EC to justify their latest decision, and to address concerns expressed elsewhere about the merger.

There are strong arguments on both sides here, and I'm not sure we at CMU are ready just yet to form an opinion one way or the other. Though Batt's arguments at Popkomm were especially convincing, and in the same way we've always criticised the majors for too often obsessing about DRM and P2P when they should be considering other threats and opportunities over which they have more control, part of me thinks the indie sector should really consider hard whether fighting this fight is the best use of their limited time in the long term.


Well, needless to say, pan-European trade body IMPALA are not impressed that the SonyBMG merger has been approved for a second time. As previously reported, the European Commission yesterday announced it was giving the all clear to the merger of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann's recorded music businesses that took place in 2004. The Commission was re-reviewing the merger proposals three years on after the European courts - who reviewed the original merger approval at IMPALA's request - said the Commissioners were guilty of procedural errors back in 2004 when they originally approved the merger. But after a much more in depth investigation into the implications of a merger of Sony and BMG's record labels the Commissioners reached the same decision - the merger was sound.

Responding to the second round of approval, IMPALA yesterday called for a formal inquiry into the latest EC investigation. The trade body told reporters yesterday: "The independents take the view that this is indefensible. The Commission has ignored major findings of the European Court in favour of IMPALA last summer. The independents will ask the European Ombudsman to investigate potential maladministration. IMPALA will examine the decision in detail when the non-confidential version becomes available. As well as a formal enquiry, there is the option of appealing, and a clear case for claiming damages against the EC".

IMPALA are also asking why when BMG's music publishing operation was bought by Universal earlier this year, Universal were forced to agree to conditions in order to gain EC approval of the takeover (ie selling some bits off), while the SonyBMG merger has been given unconditional approval.

Commenting on the latest EC decision, IMPALA President Patrick Zelnik told CMU: "The EC has ignored the simple fact that four companies control 95% of the music most citizens hear on the radio throughout the world. What kind of a message does this send to European citizens? That the EU's prioritisation of cultural diversity, creative SMEs and pluralism is purely rhetoric?"

The association's Chairman, Martin Mills, added: "The Commission has simply repeated its previous mistakes. It has ignored the independents' evidence on anti-competitive behaviour in retail, radio and television, press and of course, the vital on-line market. It is a lost opportunity for Europe's artists and entrepreneurs. How can the EC demand remedies in UniversalBMG and not in SonyBMG? This just doesn't make sense".


That million pound legal battle over the Procol Harum song 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' returned to court yesterday as the band's founder and frontman Gary Booker appeals the ruling against him made in the London High Court last year regarding the famous organ components of the track.

As previously reported, the UK courts last year ruled that organist Matthew Fisher had created the organ part of the song, and therefore should receive a cut of the publishing royalties. Since its release in 1967 the song has, instead, been credited to Booker and lyricist Keith Reid, and they have received the royalty payments generated by the track. Booker claimed Fisher had simply played music he, Booker, had written, and that Fisher had had no real involvement in its creation, but the courts disagreed.

Because it took Fisher such a long time to make his claim for co-ownership of the track the courts only gave him rights to royalties since the date when he made his claim, in 2005. However he was awarded 40% of the royalties which, given the iconic status of the song, will prove valuable moving forward.

But Booker's legal team, who launched their appeal almost as soon as the original ruling was made, argue that Fisher's claim came too long after the song's creation for there to be a fair court hearing regarding its creation, because several key witnesses are no longer alive. In court this week, Booker's counsel John Baldwin argued it was unprecedented for a dispute relating to song's ownership to come to court four decades after its creation, saying: "This delay of almost four decades is plainly very long. Indeed, so far as the appellants are aware, it is unprecedented in a case of this or any other comparable kind".

The appeal hearing will only last two days, after which a written judgement will be published.


There's controversy surrounding the new album by rapper Gucci Mane, due soon on Warner's Atlantic Records, though this has nothing to do with profane lyrics or uncleared samples. Rather the story is a dispute between Mane, his new label Atlantic, and Mane's old label Big Cat Records. Big Cat are also about to release an album of music by Mane, recorded while he was signed to them, which is annoying Mane and Atlantic because it might affect their sales. Meanwhile Big Cat are annoyed about Atlantic's plans to release single 'Freaky Gurl' because they claim doing so breaks the conditions of the major's buyout agreement on the rapper.

Commenting on their Mane release, 'Trap-A-Thon', Big Cat chief Marlon Rowe recently claimed: "People are saying the 'Trap-A-Thon' album is Gucci Mane's best so far and we agree. Even though our issues with his new label have become public, we still feel that Gucci Mane is one of the best in the game. His work on 'Trap-A-Thon', recorded last year after he was exonerated and released, is as street as it gets".

Meanwhile, on the whole 'Freaky Gurl' dispute, he told the New York Times: "They're trying to hijack my record. They have the resources and the money to create their own hits. They can work with any producer they want in the world. We're just a small independent out of Atlanta. It's not fair".


As previously reported, Duran Duran have a new album out soon, called 'Red Carpet Massacre'. Despite its politicised title, that makes reference to celebrity culture, the most political song on the long player - a song about the Iraq war - has been dropped from the final version of the album.

Keyboardist Nick Rhodes spoke about the decision to leave 'Criminal In The Capital' off the final copy, saying: "We've always reflected what's around us but we always tried to pick the more uplifting subjects. There was so much doom and gloom around that this record was becoming angry and political."

As also previously reported, the new record, out in November, features collaborations with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, plus Timberlake's first solo production credit on first single 'Falling Down', which he also co-wrote.

And it's not just JT showing the 80s stars love though, as actress Drew Barrymore has also revealed her love for the band, claiming that she once believed she was destined to marry one of them. She gushed: "Oh, God - Duran Duran. I was convinced, if any member of that band would meet me, they would understand I was supposed to be their wife. I was absolutely in love with them. I loved Boy George, too, and Cyndi Lauper. But Duran Duran were the ones".


You guessed it, even more reunion news. This time it's not Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd though, but cult supergroup Green River who have announced that they will be reuniting next summer for a show to celebrate 20 year's of Sub Pop records. The band famously consisted of Mark Arm and Steve Turner of grunge icons Mudhoney, and Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, though Turner was later replaced. Whether the performance will be a one-off or lead to a longer period of work together has not been revealed.


Jay Z has leaked more details regarding the release of his new album, 'American Gangster', which is due out on 5 Nov. As previously reported, the whole project was inspired by the Ridley Scott movie of the same name, though it is not an official soundtrack to the film. As ever with huge hip hop stars, the album features a whole host of collaborations including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Nas. For fans of tracklistings, here are the track titles...

Blue Magic
Alright, Alright
You Don't Know
And the Winner Is
American Gangster
Ignorant Shit
The Demise
I Get Money (remix)


Mystery is clearly the in thing in indie. After that fake cryptic Radiohead website that duped fans most of last week with its apparent claims a new Radiohead album would be released on Saturday (despite being reportedly fake, they weren't far wrong, it should be added), it's now up to Arcade Fire to get all confusing and cryptic on us, with their 'Neon Bible' site hosting an image of a closed eye that, when opened, reveals a message saying: "Be online B October 6th". Click on the message and you're taken to, which is equally confusing, featuring a picture of closed eyes and "October 6th" flashing on the screen. Mysterious.


Kind of the 'cat being stuck up a tree story' of the John Lennon world this. A photo of the teenage Beatle has been discovered in a cupboard, over 50 years since it first went missing. The picture shows 17 year old Lennon with friend Nigel Walley, who was manager of Beatles-forerunners The Quarrymen. Walley says he remembers the photo well, and that he gave it to his brother not long after it was taken, but then it disappeared - Walley's brother said it had been stolen at school. It was unearthed as part of a BBC TV show that set out to find previously unseen photos of Lennon (for reasons I am not sure of).

Having seen the photo again, Walley told the BBC show: "Goodness knows where it got to since then. It's very emotional for me seeing this photo again after all these years. John was a very good friend of mine. One thing I know John would have loved was seeing this photograph. It's something I'll always treasure now".


Bloc Party certainly haven't been slacking, with new single 'Flux' out on 12 Nov, a completely new song that you won't find on recent album 'A Weekend In The City', which was only released back in February. The song will be premiered tonight (4 Oct) on Late Night With Conan O' Brien in the US, while UK ears will get to hear it on Zane Lowe's Radio One show, also tonight. Lots of formats for you to choose from:

2.Remix (tbc)
3.Emma Kate's Accident

B.The Once And Future King

A.Flux (extended version)
B.Flux (extended instrumental)
C.Flux (MSTRKRFT Remix Instrumental)

Talking of Bloc Party, they won the Best Video Podcast award at the Digital Music Awards this week - something we missed off our DMA winners list yesterday for reasons I'm not sure of.


Oh, I don't think we've mentioned this, and we should have done, so we'll do it now. The latest in Sunday Best's A-Z series is out, and it's the A-Z of recent SB signings Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, who have picked 26 of their favourite early rock n roll tracks, mainly from the 50s and earlier. It's dubbed 'The Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll', it's out now and it's fab. Track listing as follows...

Disc 1
1. Boogie Woogie Stomp - Albert Ammons
2. Bear Cat - Rufus Thomas
3. Oklahoma Stomp - Spade Cooley and His Orchestra
4. Hey Bartender - Floyd Dixon
5. The Hot Guitar - Eddie Hill
6. Jump Children - The Flamingos
7. Feelin' Good - Little Junior's Blue Flames
8. Hey Lolly Lolly - Oscar McLollie & The Honey Jumpers
9. It Ain't The Meat - Swallows
10. School Days - Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
11. Sag Drag & Fall - Sid King & The Five Strings
12. Louisiana Hop - Pete "Guitar" Lewis
13. Twist All Wrong - Miller-Olsen Combo

Disc 2
1. Baker Shop Boogie - Willie Nix
2. Ooo Wee - Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
3. Piano Man - Earl Hines and His Orchestra
4. Dig Them Squeaky Shoes - Andy Starr
5. Run Joe - Louis Jordan
6. Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette) - Tex Williams & His Western Caravan
7. You Ain't So Such a Much - Blanche Thomas
8. Grandma's Rockin' - Unknown
9. Voo-Vee-Ah-Bee - The Platters
10. Who Put The Turtle In Myrtle's Girdle - The Western Melody Makers
11. Hot Rock - Johnny Carroll and the Hot Rocks
12. Rock-a-Bye Baby - Roy Brown
13. Honky Tonk Train Blues - Bob Zurke _


More Beatles, and Paul McCartney news. Now, Macca isn't adverse to crazy publicity stunts, as seen in the previously reported investigation undertaken by his people into the possibility of hiring out the London Eye to promote his recent album. But now he's started an internet 'nodding craze' after encouraging fans to copy a video clip of himself and friends nodding along to a song off the new album. He's got some high profile friends to submit such a video - including fellow Beatle Ringo Starr and Jefferson Hack - and now lots of fans are reportedly joining in.


Mick Jagger is being a bit of a girl by the sound of things, after claiming that he doesn't want to headline Glastonbury because of the rain. The Rolling Stones' frontman said that after watching The Who perform there last year, he had decided that it didn't look that fun, adding: "I don't want to play Glastonbury on the Sunday night in the pouring rain, which is what The Who did this year. I was watching it on the telly, and my kids were there. I'm on the phone saying 'It's awful". Not that Jagger is likely to be offered the Sunday night slot - whatever the weather - given reports the Stones asked for a million to headline the festival, a request quickly knocked back by Glasto chief Michael Eavis.


More festivals, and Australia's Big Day Out has had its first acts for 2008 confirmed, including LCD Soundsystem, Bjork, Rage Against The Machine and the newly cryptic Arcade Fire. Starting out in Auckland, New Zealand, the festival kicks off in January before hitting Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and ending up in Perth. Not that I can afford to go, mind. But it's nice to think about it at least.


Oh, now this is exciting, and closer to home too (my home that is, Big Day Out is closer to theirs). Pendulum have announced a full UK tour to coincide with new single 'Granite'. A Pendulum live show is simply not to be missed, and with all these upcoming dates, you won't have to miss it.

1 Nov: Glasgow, The Arches
2 Nov: Edinburgh, University
3 Nov: Bristol, Carling Academy
6 Nov: Southampton, University
7 Nov: Brighton, Digital
8 Nov: Bournemouth, Opera House
9 Nov: London, Fabric
10 Nov: Manchester, The Warehouse Project
13 Nov: Sheffield, University
15 Nov: Hull, Welly Club
16 Nov: Newcastle, Carling Academy
17 Nov: Leeds, University
19 Nov: Nottingham, Rock City
20 Nov: Leicester, University
21 Nov: Swansea, University
22 Nov: Exeter, Lemon Grove
23 Nov: Plymouth, University
24 Nov: Cardiff, University
29 Nov: Hertfordshire, University
30 Nov: Birmingham, Custard Factory


Alan McGee has confirmed that he and business partner Stephen King are ending their business partnership, which was behind music firms Poptones and Creation Management. In a statement both McGee and King say that there "are no plans to continue with either company as a going concern at the present time". McGee will continue to manage The Dirty Pretty Things, The Charlatans, The Black Affair and Antony Langdon but via his new company Alan McGee Management.


Yesterday we reported that secondary ticket sales website Viagogo has entered into a deal with Live Nation in the Netherlands where they will provide official resale services for the live music major in that territory. That is all true. But we said the service would also be offered to Live Nation UK customers. That is wrong - sorry! There will be a link to the service from Viagogo's UK website, but Live Nation UK itself is not involved. So, consider that clarified.

In related news, former Live Nation UK chief Stuart Galbraith was due to brief press types on his new venture yesterday, but postponed the briefings at the last minute (well, the day before). Music Week says that the postponement was due to that ongoing legal dispute between Galbraith and his former employer, which he is busy trying to resolve this week. Though there's been no official comment on any of that.


Independent music publisher Bourne Co has sued Twentieth Century Fox over allegations that an edition of Fox's 'Family Guy' TV show featured an unauthorised reworking of one of their songs - 'When You Wish Upon a Star' from the Walt Disney film 'Pinocchio' - which contained anti-Semitic lyrics.

The episode of the show in question was called 'When You Wish Upon A Weinstein', and according to the lawsuit it is based around main character Peter Griffin's inability to manage his family finances, and his belief he needs to hire a Jewish person to take care of his money. The story features a song sung by Griffin called 'I Need A Jew' which Bourne claim is a "thinly-veiled copy" of their song, but with "new anti-Semitic lyrics". The publisher's suit claims the song both infringes it rights in and has harmed the value of the original song.

Bourne also claim they approached Fox about the alleged infringement but that their approaches were rebuffed. Fox have so far refused to comment on the lawsuit, saying they are yet to see the legal papers in the case.


Dizzee Rascal will be collaborating with legendary hip hop group Sugar Hill Gang later this month at a junket designed to promote the release of the latest Walkman digital music players - the catchily titled NWZ-A810 and NWZ-S510 - which will, in line with Sony's new strategy post the demise of the Connect download service, play music bought from Windows based download services. The event will take place in London on 17 Oct.

Confirming the launch, Sony Consumer Electronics Product Manager Will Currie says: "As the pioneer of portable music players, we are delighted to introduce the next generation of Sony digital media players. The products are serious competitors to our rivals and will help us achieve an even stronger position in the digital music market. The Sugar Hill Gang and Dizzee Rascal have perfect synergy with our new range of products, as both artists have both pushed the boundaries of music and are synonymous with creativity and innovation".


It was the British Academy's Gold Badge Awards yesterday, where songwriter types pay tribute to those working behind the scenes (or on stage, sometimes) in the music industry. And here are the people being tributed this year...

Danny Betesh
Tim Blackmore
Jamie Cullum
Michael Eavis
Dame Evelyn Glennie
Carrie and David Grant
Andy Heath
Gavin Henderson
Mike Moran
Maurice Murphy
Steve Price
Debbie Wiseman

So, well done all them.


Music publishing types Warner/Chappell have confirmed they are still working with Radiohead, even though the band are giving away their new albums on a 'pay what you want' basis, which could mean very little publishing royalties are generated. As previously reported, new Radiohead album 'In Rainbows' will be digitally released via the band's own website and fans will be able to pay whatever they want to download it. Though, as also previously reported, the consensus is that there will most likely be a traditional CD release of the album in addition to the almost free download (plus a £40 box set is being sold in addition to the download album).

In a statement this week, Warner/Chappell said they were "delighted to be working with the band once again on the groundbreaking release of 'In Rainbows'", and that they "fully support Radiohead in their desire to find new ways to present their music to their fans and to the wider world. These new ways are iconoclastic in nature; they acknowledge the realities of a digital society and they challenge existing commercial assumptions. It is in this spirit that band and publisher are working together".


Not content with her role as a mere singer anymore, Lily Allen is set to follow dad Keith and make a spoof movie of 'Pride And Prejudice' with, erm, Russell Brand. Allen is set to play Lydia Bennet, while Stephen Fry is also involved as Lydia's father, with Carrie Fisher standing in as Mrs Bennett. But don't worry. The £2.5 million movie will be shot in London, meaning the tabs should still be full of Allen stumbling out of club pics for some time yet. I know you Daily readers get worried about missing out on such things.

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