CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 30th October
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Pirate Bay launch BOiNK
- V2 is no more, essentially
- New York politician calls on state to withdraw Universal investment
- Cliff launches his own innovative online purchase promotion
- Mercury promote new signing via Sun promotion
- Porter Wagoner dies
- Russell Watson recovering well
- Roisin Murphy recovering after onstage eye accident
- Nirvana track appears in ad, film and video game
- Jive drop Kelis
- Bon Jovi announce world tour
- Aqua may reform, hurrah
- Humperdink not in Basingstoke
- Live review: Shychild at ULU, London
- Terra Firma refinances to spread EMI risk
- AIM stage new meet the media thing
- Warner appoint new Innovation Director
- Atlantic appoint artist management type to MD role
- Napster mobile due to arrive in Europe soon
- Donovan to open meditation college

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TOP BIT RECOMMENDED
Rumour has it I typed in the MySpace address for Twisted Licks wrong the other day. I don't believe it myself, but on the off chance there's some truth in that rumour, let's do this Recommend thing again shall we.?

As you may recall, Twisted Licks is the new night from the Kill All Hippies gang and Year Zero posse, which comes with the CMU Recommended seal of approval. It's back this Friday, 2 Nov, and is looking brill. South Central will be headlining, who, take it from me, are well worth your time checking out. They will be doing a live laptop and keys set, plus a special mash up DJ set with Twisted Licks resident Mark Beaumont. Also doing the live thing will be Paris Trading and Haunts, plus on the decks will be Slim Jim and more tbc.

This all takes place at 229 Great Portland Street (right next to Great Portland Street tube) on 2 Nov from 8pm till very late. Tickets are just £6 before 10pm and £8 after. You'll find more of that info stuff at this correctly entered MySpace address - http://www.myspace.com/twistedlicks, with press info from the Leyline team.

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PIRATE BAY LAUNCH BOINK
Ah, The Pirate Bay, you have to love em, no? Following the closure last week of notorious BitTorrent tracker OiNK by the UK authorities in a raid orchestrated by the record industry, The Pirate Bay - itself a BitTorrent tracker once "closed down" by the authorities - has announced it will launch a brand new tracker service called BOiNK, and it is encouraging former OiNK users, now with nowhere to share all their illegal music and movies, to provide links to their content via the new tracking community.

In reality BOiNK won't be a relaunched version of OiNK itself, which was lost when police in the UK and Holland seized the servers on which it was hosted, but will be a basic BitTorrent tracker service akin to The Pirate Bay. And it will rely on former OiNK users to manually re-upload links to actually provide the kind of access to content the now defunct tracker offered. But The Pirate Bay's aim, presumably, is to show a sign of mass resilience from the file sharing community after all the positive coverage enjoyed by the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry and the BPI following last week's raid.

A post about BOiNK on the TorrentFreak website reads: "The most important thing about BOiNK is perhaps the message it sends out to the IFPI and the BPI. It shows that that if you stop one tracker, others will pop up days after. It is a hydra. Call it a slap in the face if you want".

The new service is reportedly due to launch at http://www.boink.cd, which was registered by a company in The Pirate Bay's home town of Stockholm on Friday, though there isn't currently anything to see at that domain. In fact if you Google 'boink' you're most likely to get a magazine made by students at Boston University - the world's only "sex magazine made by students from students", or "college sex by the people having it", to use their slogan. Which is a whole new kind of college media as far as I'm aware, but nothing to do with illegally sharing music against the copyright owners wishes.

Meanwhile, one last bit of OiNK related amusement for you. As previously reported, torrent tracking services like OiNK and The Pirate Bay are communities that provide links to BitTorrent sources of copyright material - music, movies and TV shows, mainly - which are in turn hosted by community members. The tracker services themselves don't host any of the content, which makes this something of a grey area legally speaking. The people who run the services argue they are in essence search engines like Google, and that because they don't host any illegal content on their servers they themselves cannot be held guilty of copyright infringement.

On one level they have a point, though on another level these services are clearly set up to simplify the acquisition of illegal content and, as the fact one is called The Pirate Bay illustrates, they are generally quite blatant about their reason for existing - ie to enable and support illegal filesharing. To that end the courts - criminal or civil - are likely to view what they do as copyright infringement, even though the services themselves never actually distribute any content. Though it should be said that current copyright law isn't especially specific in this domain, and things are not as clear cut as the IFPI and BPI often claim in their PR spin.

Anyway, to illustrate the tracker owners' usual defence - that they are no different to Google (a defence the founder of OiNK used last week) - someone has pointed the oink.cd domain to The Pirate Bay's servers who are in turn providing a link to a Google search which lists numerous blog entries recommending to OiNK users alternative BitTorrent trackers they might want to use. The point, presumably, is that Google can also guide people to illegal sources of music in the same was as OiNK and The Pirate Bay, if only they know what to search for.

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V2 IS NO MORE, ESSENTIALLY
So, as we mentioned yesterday, the vast majority of the UK workforce at former indie label V2 have been made redundant. Some or all of the redundancy letters were reportedly distributed on Friday, with affected employees clearing their desks at the indie's Fulham offices on Wednesday.

Just five of V2's 45ish employees will definitely stay with the label when it becomes an imprint of Universal's Mercury division. According to Music Week, CEO Tony Harlow and Head Of New Media & Business Development Beth Appleton are among the five. MD David Steele is not.

It is unclear if those five will form a V2 team at Mercury, or whether they will simply take roles within the Universal empire with V2 essentially becoming a badge that goes on the back of Mercury-released Stereophonics albums.

From what David Steele has told Music Week it seems the latter is most likely the case. He says V2 execs had hoped Universal might use the former indie as an 'incubator label' to sign and develop new acts that may then be promoted up to one of the major's bigger labels. But that is seemingly not Universal's intent.

Some say the major is more interested in using V2's various alliances with smaller independents through the Co-operative Music venture for finding and developing new talent, while absorbing the more profitable parts of V2's roster and catalogue into Mercury. That will mean that V2 will cease to exist as a live entity, while the vast majority of its current roster will be quietly dropped in the coming months. Maybe even tomorrow. We'll see I guess.

Given that V2 US had already been closed down by its new owners Sheridan Square, and with the consensus being that the indie's other European outposts, part of the Universal deal, will also be swallowed up by the major, it seems that after ten years Richard Branson's dream of creating a second Virgin Records is now well and truly over - and, unlike with V1, his creation won't live on under new ownership, except perhaps as a badge on certain Mercury releases. For those of us who have followed V2 from the first ever Stereophonics press conference, it's the end of an era.

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NEW YORK POLITICIAN CALLS ON STATE TO WITHDRAW UNIVERAL INVESTMENT
A New York politician is calling on the Comptroller (or controller if you prefer) of the New York state pension fund, which invests some of its money in Universal Music, or, rather, its parent company Vivendi, to withdraw that investment forthwith in protest at plans by Nas, who is signed to Universal's Def Jam imprint, to release an album called 'Nigger'.

As previously reported, Nas plans to use the 'N word' as the title of his next long player, despite the recent heightening of opposition to the use of racist words in hip hop. Brooklyn assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries says Nas and the major record company are bad, bad people for proposing 'Nigger' as an album title, telling Rolling Stone: "[Universal are] profiting from a racial slur that has been used to dehumanize people of colour for centuries. It is time for Nas and other hip-hop artists to clean up their act and stop flooding the airwaves with the N-word".

New York's Comptroller is yet to respond to Jeffries' comments. But Nas has again defended his choice of album title, saying he hopes it will help force America to address what he sees as a recent rise in racial tensions in the country. He told Rolling Stone: "It's like talking to your child about sex. It's hard, but it's important. It's probably going to make people uncomfortable. Hopefully, people can open their minds up and lose some of their fear and deal with it".

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CLIFF LAUNCHES HIS OWN INNOVATIVE ONLINE PURCHASE PROMOTION
So, we've had giving it away with a Sunday newspaper, we've had giving it away with a radio station, and we've had letting people pay what they want, now this. The latest experiment in finding new ways to distribute music in this here digital age comes from that constant musical innovator, Mr Cliff Richard. Fans are being encouraged to pre-order a digital version of his forthcoming album, 'Love, The Album', from the singer's website. It currently costs £7.99, but using the bulk buy principle the cost will go down as more people order it - with every one who pre-orders benefiting from the reduced price. Fans have twelve days to register, and organisers say that if enough copies are ordered in that time the cost of the album could fall as low as £3.99. Bargain.

Unlike most of the other recent experiments in music distribution, this one involves a record label. The new Cliff album is being released by EMI, and they are organising the price-fall promotion. The major seem especially enthusiastic about the promotion because they recognise that Cliff's fanbase are not traditional downloaders, and they hope this promotion will turn some of those, how can I put this, OLD music fans onto the wacky world of digital music.

Cliff himself says this of the whole promotion: "Who'd have thought I'd get a buzz from creative marketing?. As artists we face a stark choice. We either keep one step ahead of the technology which is changing our industry so radically - or we throw up our hands and quit. Personally I'm not for quitting".

Steve Davis of EMI Catalogue says this: "Because Cliff's audience has not previously been big on downloading we feel this initiative will not only encourage them to download the album but also encourage their friends and peers to do the same because the more they do, the cheaper it becomes".

Presumably you're all now shouting at your Daily "but quick, tell us where we can pre-order this exciting new album, I need to get my order in now". Well, the URL you need is http://www.lovecliffrichard.com.

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MERCURY PROMOTE NEW SIGNING VIA SUN PROMOTION
Most of these experiments in new ways to distribute music involve established artists, of course, but this one does not. Mercury have teamed up with The Sun to give away new signing David Jordan's debut single as a free download via the tabloid's website. The promotion will see The Sun plug the new artist throughout the week, which tracks off his debut album also available to preview via streams at http://www.thesun.co.uk. Tickets to the singer's upcoming live performances will also be given away.

Confirming the promotion, Mercury General Manager Niamh Byrne told CMU: "We're delighted to team up with The Sun to bring David's music to a wider audience. He is a remarkable talent and hats off to The Sun for their innovative approach".

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PORTER WAGONER DIES
Country And Western star Porter Wagoner has died, aged 80, after losing a fight with lung cancer. His publicist confirmed the singer died at a Nashville hospice this weekend.

Wagoner was perhaps best known for his American TV show, which ran from 1960 to 1981 and featured a variety of singers, musicians and comics. It was through his TV show that Wagoner brought one Dolly Parton to the world, and in Parton's early career she became predominantly known for her duets with Wagoner - they won Duo Of The Year at the US Country Music Association's annual awards in 1970 and 1971.

As Parton's solo career blossomed the relationship between the two became somewhat strained, leading to a messy legal dispute in 1980 which was ultimately settled out of court. Despite that, the pair remained on/off friends, with Parton calling Wagoner "one of my best friends today" at an event honouring her former collaborator earlier this year.

Country folklore has it that one of Parton's most famous songs, 'I Will Always Love You', was written for Wagoner. Whether that is true or not I don't know, though it was one of the first songs she wrote after Wagoner suggested she try writing a love song rather than a more traditional story based country song.

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RUSSELL WATSON RECOVERING WELL
Pop opera star Russell Watson is reportedly "progressing well" following his previously reported brain surgery last week. Although still under constant supervision, he is out of intensive care, and a spokesman for the hospital treating him told reporters: "Russell Watson had a comfortable weekend and is progressing well. He has been moved out of our intensive care suite and is now in a private room, but is still under constant supervision. It is too early to say when he will be discharged or what the recovery period will involve. For now he will continue to be monitored very closely. Once again on behalf of Russell we would like to thank fans for the overwhelming support and constant stream of gifts and messages".

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ROISIN MURPHY RECOVERNG AFTER ONSTAGE EYE ACCIDENT
Roisin Murphy is in hospital after a slightly gruesome onstage injury that is making me feel a bit queasy just thinking about it. The former Moloko frontwoman reportedly hit her eye on a chair during a show in Moscow causing blood loss and severe damage to her eye socket. Ouch. The good news is she is expected to make a full recovery. Hence the slightly flippant tone of this story.

A statement from her record label explains: "She left the stage immediately and was raced straight to a Russian hospital for emergency treatment and was then flown back to the UK early on Sunday morning. Last night she had an operation under general anaesthetic to repair the damage to her eye socket and eyebrow. Fortunately, despite serious concussion and losing a lot of blood, her vision is unimpaired".

The singer has been told by doctors that she must rest for at least a week, but is expected to fit in time for her UK tour next month.

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NIRVANA TRACK APPEARS IN AD, FILM AND VIDEO GAME
Nirvana track 'Breed' has become the first song by the band to ever be licensed for commercial purposes. The legendary grunge band's move into the sync rights domain follows Courtney Love's decision to sell 25% of her stake in the Nirvana catalogue to Primary Wave Music Publishing for a reported $50 million last year. They are very big in the whole sync rights domain and, according to finance site Portfolio, they have now licenced 'Breed' for use in an Austrian TelCo advert, in movie 'Shoot Em Up' and in videogame 'Major League Baseball 2K7'. Quite what the telephone company are trying to say by advertising their services with song about a woman being landed with an unwanted baby I'm not sure, but I'm sure they know what they're doing.

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JIVE DROP KELIS
SonyBMG's Jive has reportedly dropped Kelis after her second album for the label, last year's 'Kelis Was Here', failed to peform as well as 2003's 'Tasty', which included hit 'Milkshake' of course. Kelis' manager has reportedly told Entertainment Weekly that she is now working on an independent dance album with Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo and that she has a pop project in the pipeline with one time Robbie Williams collaborator Guy Chambers. It is not clear if there are any talks with record labels regarding releasing those projects.

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BON JOVI ANNOUNCE WORLD TOUR
Bon Jovi reportedly turned down a megabucks deal to play a ten-night residency at New York's Madison Square Garden so they could support a new venue near their home town in Newark, New Jersey, which is where the rockers launched their latest US tour this week. They apparently wanted to support the new Prudential Centre venue because it has brought new jobs to the area, even though the gig wasn't as profitable as kicking things off in New York. Still, the band are sure to cash in big time with the world tour they have just announced which promoters AEG say will take in Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Holland, Austria, the UK and numerous other countries over the next year.

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AQUA MAY REFORM, HURRAH
But who cares about a Bon Jovi tour? Let's get things into perspective here. It's just been reported that 'Barbie Girl' stars Aqua are about to reform and announce a new European tour ahead of a new greatest hits album. Now, this is good news. Needless to say, we have a CMU correspondent on call ready to get the lowdown as soon as anything official is announced. Watch this space.

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HUMPERDINK NOT IN BASINGSTOKE
There was bad news for Basingstoke residents last week when Engelbert Humperdinck cancelled his appearance at their Anvil venue. The highlight of the town's year, ticket holders were understandably distraught at the announcement, though Engelbert's apology at least brought some hope. He told the town: "I'm terribly sorry that I'm not able to make this show, but hope to re-schedule next year." Well that's alright then.

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LIVE REVIEW: Shy Child at ULU, London on 24 Oct
Shy Child sure make a lot noise for a band consisting of just a keytarist and a drummer, but thankfully it's all pretty good noise. Plying a musical route that's part idiot savant Battles and part Hoxton fuzz, tickets for the ULU gig must've sold quickly after the hype surrounding these guys' recent 'Fashion Rocks' appearance, though there they seemed slightly out of place, with Stella McCartney models playing musical chairs onstage to recent single 'Noise Won't Stop'. At ULU they seemed entirely at home, with frontman Pete Cafarella's permanent smile a slightly unnerving fixture as they ran through an up tempo 'Noise Won't Stop' and lacklustre 'Drop The Phone'. However, the singles in general were overshadowed by bubbling performances of album tracks taken from their third long player, also called 'Noise Won't Stop'. And still smiling, Pete even found time for some crowd banter, quipping "London is the coolest city" someway through, and predictably pleasing an already excitable crowd. Then, just to round off the gig, they incited a raucous crowd invasion which led to a bundle of kids getting furious looks from the security team. Even more so when one fan stepped into the role of renegade technician, attempting to unplug the duo's equipment, albeit unsuccessfully. Which was kind of fun. And certainly something that ain't going to happen at any Fashion Rocks show.

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TERRA FIRMA REFINANCES TO SPREAD EMI RISK
Terra Firma chief Guy Hands is reportedly busy doing some refinancing to help spread the risk of his recent purchase of EMI. That means ring-fencing bits of EMI equity for other money types in return for them sharing the risk in the all new 'we're venture capitalists now, don't you know' record company. Times Online media analyst Amanda Andrews wrote earlier this week: "Mr Hands is looking to dilute Terra Firma's equity stake in EMI and has met representatives of a number of private equity firms and hedge funds". The move is quite normal for private equity types like Hands, and doesn't mean the Terra Firma chief is getting concerned about his recent investment now he has full access to the major. Just in case you wondered.

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AIM STAGE NEW MEET THE MEDIA THING
That Association Of Independent Music will hold one of those 'come and meet the media' events at Sound on Leicester Square on 14 Nov. Lots of media types will be there. George Ergatoudis from Radio 1 for one. Jeff Smith from Radio 2. Will Insman from The Fly. James Palmer from The Independent. Hey, Chris Cooke from CMU may even show up. Stranger things have happened. Once. It will take place between 6-10pm, and if you're a label type and you want to go you'll need to register via the events section at http://www.musicindie.com.

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WARNER APPOINT NEW INNOVATION DIRECTOR
Warner Music International have announced the appointment of Natasha Billing as a Product Innovation Director for the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Which is quite a big remit. Well, unless WMI aren't planning much innovation.

Here's what WMI VP Digital Business Eric Daugan, who Billing will report to, has to say: "We are very pleased to welcome on board such an experienced and talented product development executive. Natasha's extensive knowledge of the mobile, broadband and TV entertainment businesses makes her a key hire for us in our ongoing transformation. Furthermore, the creation of this position enhances our ability to aggressively pioneer new music experiences in the digital and physical worlds. I'm confident that Natasha's appointment will enable us to increase our focus on newer areas of revenue such as our digital direct-to-consumer business and the delivery of many types of entertainment content".

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ATLANTIC APPOINT ARTIST MANAGEMENT TYPE TO MD ROLE
Actually I am sure Warner would tell you they have lots of innovation planned, and that that is why they have just appointed Paul Craig, a co-founder of management firm SuperVision, to the role of General Manager of their Atlantic Records UK division, a move which sees Craig move into a record company after 24 years in management, and which shows that Warner see their future in working with artists on a wider range of projects that just recordings. Very innovative.

Atlantic President Max Lousada says this: "We are entering a changing landscape with masses of opportunity and we are going to have to create different skill sets within our label to take advantage of those opportunities. Paul shares with me an ambition and vision to develop and to start changing what people perceive a music company to be and through his experience he can truly understand the value of the additional rights we are acquiring. He also understands how you can create incremental increases through the synergy of those rights".

As previously reported, Atlantic recently signed buzzy buzzy buzzy Hadouken! to one of those 360 degree deals, meaning they will work with the band of more than just records. Craig's appointment no doubt means more of those deals will be done in Atlantic towers in the coming years.

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NAPSTER MOBILE DUE TO ARRIVE IN EUROPE SOON
Napster is expected to announce the arrival of their mobile music service in Europe any minute now. Well, not this minute. Nor the next minute. But sometime soon. Napster has already announced it will launch a mobile phone service similar to that it offers in the US in Ireland via a deal with O2. A wider European mobile partnership should be confirmed early next month, though it is not clear if that will also be with O2 or with one of its rivals.

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DONOVAN TO OPEN MEDITATION COLLEGE
Sixties pop type Donovan is planning on opening a university in Scotland that will concentrate on transcendental meditation. No really. Donovan says he was told to open such a university by slightly strange guru type Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in the sixties, but that it was only following a recent meeting with film director David Lynch (who funds transcendental meditation schemes in US schools) that he decided the time was right to open the institution.

He told the Associated Press: "I know it sounds like an airy-fairy hippie dream to go on about 60s peace and love but the world is ready for this now. I met David Lynch, who told me about the positive effects of TM in education. Although it's taken me 35 years, I will do what the Maharishi told me to do".

Lynch reportedly says: "For a country the size of Scotland it would take only 250 students meditating to protect Scotland from its enemies and to bring peace, to stop violence and drug abuse. That is just a byproduct of the students meditating together".

Yeah, not airy-fairy hippie nonsense in the slightest.

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