CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 7th November

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Prince sues his fans
- Festival Award winners
- Meat Loaf cancels European tour
- New lawsuit for Hawthorne Heights
- File sharing expert disputes Canadian report
- Cox responds to Venezuelan club shooting
- Rosanne Cash cancels tour for brain surgery
- Dodgy arm causes Dodgy reunion postponement
- Meg back in studio with Jack
- No charges of alleged Diddy fracas
- TI asks court for permission to hold Thanksgiving dinner
- Eagles top Billboard Chart thanks to rule change
- Ray Quinn dropped
- Raveonettes sign to Vice in US
- Secret Wolf gig with Fujifilm
- Cinematic update
- Ticketmaster parts from parent company
- Orchard expand services
- TuneTribe expand services
- UCJ confirm DRM-free launch
- SMG will still sell Virgin Radio
- Virgin drop three music channels
- Christian group calls on Fiddy to stick to his word
- Premiership music
- K-fed planning to go on Oprah
- Doherty drug vid questioned
- Courtney rants about Madonna

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TOP BIT
So internet research types ComScore said yesterday that they had been tracking Radiohead's 'pay what you want' promotion and according to their stats a massive 62% of the 1.2 million who downloaded new album 'In Rainbows' chose to pay nothing. Of those that did pay the average price paid was £3, somewhat less than the £7.99 it would cost if downloaded as an album on iTunes. All of which suggests that when you ask fans what they want to pay for new music the answer is "not much, if anything".

While Radiohead haven't commented on ComScore's claims, nor given an official statement on who paid what for the download, yesterday's stats have made many question whether or not the high percentage of non-payers means the whole pay what you want venture was a failure, and also ask what the stats mean for the record industry who are desperately seeking new distribution methods for their music.

Of course to call Radiohead's venture a "failure" would assume that the band ever thought they'd make lots of money by offering their music on a pay what you want basis. I suspect they didn't. The whole project was [a] a quirky experiment from a band known to be quirky experimenters, and [b] a great publicity stunt. The whole thing ensured Radiohead lots of media coverage, and still is - and much more than was garnered by The Charlatans, who revealed the same week as the Radiohead promotion was announced that they were going to give their next album away completely free (free not being as interesting as pay what you want). All the publicity will no doubt help boost Radiohead's other revenues (live, merchandise etc), plus may well boost the sale of the band's back catalogue and even the physical release of 'In Rainbows' when it comes out next year. Radiohead, me thinks, have done good.

But what about the wider record industry? Well, you could argue that the fact 38% of music fans chose to pay for the album when it was available for nothing was actually a big achievement. And of the 744,000 who didn't pay, many probably wouldn't have bought the album anyway, so that's not necessarily lost custom. But that said, publicity stunt value aside, the stats do throw some doubt on whether the pay what you want model is something record companies could rely on as a new sales method - though to be honest I'm not sure anyone really thought it was in the first place.

So what do we take from this? Well, first I'm not sure the pay what you want promotion should be completely ruled out - in the right circumstances for the right band it could still be a suitable combined publicity and revenue generator. But moreover, the future of the record industry is in the employment of numerous different distribution models, some on occasion (like this one), others on a regular basis. Many of those models are still to be discovered and established, which is why stunts by established bands like Radiohead and The Charlatans are as valuable as they are interesting.

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SNAP OF THE DAY: Oppenheimer
So still looking back at my favourite Bestival bands in the all new SNAP slot this week, and these guys were high up on my 'must check out' list back in September, having heard a little about them early on in the year but having never managed to discover them properly. Plus I always like checking out bands with electro dimensions to their songs (and especially sonifex voice effect) to find out how much they can re-create that live. These guys delivered them brilliantly. Their MySpace genre listing reads Indie / Pop / Electronica, always a good combination in my mind, and these guys definitely cover all three, making great songs that could be played by a standard indie guitar set up, but making those songs much much better buy layering ethereal electro sounds on top, something that makes them much more interesting musically but also more accessible in a pop beat kind of way. No idea what I'm talking about? Well, go check the four preview tracks here and then go see one of their December UK dates that are also listed. Damn good.

http://www.myspace.com/oppenheimer

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PRINCE SUES HIS FANS
Yeah, I think Prince is going a bit loopy. It's what happens when you work with the Mail On Sunday of course. Mr Prince has reportedly issued cease-and-desist letters against three fansites dedicated to him demanding they remove various images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to his likeness the presence of which, he claims, infringe his copyrights. Yeah, that's right Prince, sue your most dedicated fans why don't you. I mean, who needs them when you can get large cheques off British tabloids for doing nothing?

The owners of three Prince fan communities affected - princefams.com, housequake.com and prince.org - claim the singer isn't actually concerned about copyright infringement but rather is trying to use the infringement allegations to close the web communities down because, while they are generally supportive of the singer, they also do host fan posts that are critical of him. They have joined forces to launch Prince Fans United (http://www.princefansunited.com) and plan to fight the legal letter. And good on them.

On their joint site the web community owners write: "In an extraordinary, but not unfamiliar move, the rock legend Prince is using an army of lawyers to launch attacks on his own fans. Several of the largest web communities dedicated to the artist have received notices to cease and desist all use of photographs, images, lyrics, album covers and anything linked to Prince's likeness. It is our belief that these threats are not made in an attempt to enforce valid copyright as Prince alleges in his threats, rather we believe they are attempts to stifle all critical commentary about Prince. We strongly believe that such actions are in violation of the freedom of speech and should not be allowed".

They continue: "Prince claims that fansites are not allowed to present any artwork with Prince's likeness, to the extreme that he has demanded removal of fan's own photographs of their Prince inspired tattoos and their vehicles displaying Prince inspired license plates. Prince's representatives have requested that the fansites provide them with 'substantive details of the means by which you [the fansites] propose to compensate our clients [Paisley Park Enterprises, NPG Records and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)] for damages...'"

On their response to the legal papers, they say: "We have come together to fight back to what amounts to an injustice to the fansites and the very fans who have supported Prince's career, many since the very beginning nearly thirty years ago. It is their hope that Prince will reconsider his position and allow these fansites to continue their existence without constant threats from Prince and his attorneys. Should this not be possible, the fansites are fully prepared to defend their position in the proper court of law, as well as fully prosecute any claims to which they are justly entitled. [We] acknowledge that, while Prince is entitled to control of his copyrights, it should be within the law. The law clearly provides for displaying of images of a celebrity's likeness for newsworthy events or matters which are considered to be public interest. All three websites feel that the photographs and/or likeness displayed on their websites clearly fall within the public interest category. Additionally, the use of photographs is legal based on the fair use doctrine, ie the displaying of album cover art, or the collage headers created by website members using a variety of different photographs".

No response as yet from Prince to the formation of Prince Fans United. He's probably too busy being a bit loopy somewhere.

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FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS
Hurrah for Bestival winning Best Medium Festival for three years running, a record in Festival Award terms. Hurrah for The Levellers getting the Festival Feel Good gong. Hurrah for Blissfields getting the Best Small Festival prize. Oh, oh, and hurrah for McFly winning Best Festival Pop Act, which they are. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the winners of the UK Festival Awards, which were announce at a bash at Koko last night. Hurrah.

Best Headline Act: The Killers
Innovation Award: Glastonbury Festival (for their new anti-tout ticketing system)
Grass Roots Festival Award: Wickerman Festival
Family Festival Award: Solfest
Best Line Up: V Festival
Best Toilets: The Big Chill
Festival Rock Act: The Killers
Best Dance Act: Faithless
Fan Friendly Festival Award: Latitude
Festival Pop Act: Mcfly
The Greener Festival Award: The Big Session
Anthem Of The Summer: Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent
Most Memorable Moment: Snow Patrol (for Gary Lightbody coaxing down someone dress as 'Spiderman' who climed a 30 foot speaker tower during their headline set at T In The Park)
Best Party Arena: Bacardi B-Live
Best European Festival: Exit Festival
Festival Feel-Good: The Levellers
Best Newcomer Award: The Enemy
Best New Festival: John Lennon Northern Lights Festival
Best Small Festival: Blissfields
Best Medium Festival: Bestival
Best Major Festival: Isle Of Wight Festival
Outstanding Contribution Award: John Giddings

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MEAT LOAF CANCELS EUROPEAN TOUR
Meat Loaf yesterday cancelled the rest of his European tour after it was diagnosed he had a cyst on his vocal cords. The news follows the cancellation of two gigs this week after the singer walked off stage midway through a gig in Newcastle last week declaring "I can no longer continue".

In a statement yesterday the singer told reporters: "I was really looking forward to capping off a great year and celebrating the start of the holidays with the fans. But I have to do what the doctors tell me so I can look forward to healing and coming back strong in 2008. It really breaks my heart not to be able to perform these shows".

Comments Meat Loaf made as he left the stage in Newcastle led to speculation that he was thinking of quitting performing, but he yesterday denied he had any plans to retire, saying: "Let me dispel any rumours before they start - I will be back."

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NEW LAWSUIT FOR HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS
Emo types Hawthorne Heights are facing another lawsuit while their ongoing and much previously reported legal dispute with Victory Records continues.

The new legal run in is with Wild Justice Records who are suing for breach of verbal contract. They claim that in January they reached a verbal agreement to manage the band - and that the band agreed to pay a 16.5% commission on any revenues the company generated for them.

That agreement, Wild Justice claim, was put into a written contract which was given to the band, who, they say, didn't object to any clauses but who never returned a signed copy. However, Wild Justice began working in a management role nevertheless, and the company and the band operated under the terms of the agreement until May when the band changed their mind and, the plaintiffs argue, "improperly terminated" the arrangement.

The management firm are now seeking $138,000 in damages plus a percentage of revenue from booked concerts, merchandise sold during those concerts and a Mountain Dew sponsorship, as well as "fees" for band instruments acquired and an $800 loan to the band. The band are yet to comment.

Hawthorne Heights have been in a long running dispute with Victory Records who claim the emo-ers breached their recording contract with the indie by entering into a new relationship with Virgin US.

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FILE SHARING EXPERT DISPUTES CANADIAN REPORT
A Texas University professor and "file sharing expert" has disputed that report published by the Canadian government yesterday which claimed there was no discernable link between the rise of P2P file sharing and the decline in CD sales.

Stan Liebowitz, an active participant in the P2P debate, wrote on his website: "To believe the results of [this new study] you must accept that sales have dropped by half in six years, due to some factor that no one can identify. Does this seem even remotely plausible? This would be such a steep decline in such a short period of time that it would seem impossible to not have a clearly identified cause. And [the report's] results rule out the possibility of other entertainment activities siphoning off record listeners. This result is so counterintuitive that I think it fails the laugh test".

Liebowitz also questions the survey on which the new report is based because in it people surveyed said they had bought an average of 8.3 albums each in 2005, when in fact official figures suggest the average Canadian only bought 2.2 albums each that year.

The new report from the Canadian government was published ahead of a review of the country's copyright laws which the music industry claims are currently unable to cope with the threat of P2P file sharing.

PS: Yesterday we said the Canadian government's report had been done by two academics from the University Of Western Ontario. Actually Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz are UK based, working at the University Of London's Birkbeck College. We assumed that when we heard the Canadian government had hired the services of two "London academics" that that most likely meant they were from London, Ontario rather than London, United Kingdom. But we assumed wrong - sorry.

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COX RESPONDS TO VENEZUELAN CLUB SHOOTING
DJ Carl Cox has issued a statement after a shootout at a club in Venezuela where he was DJing last weekend. Four people died and nine more were injured in the shooting, which occurred when gunmen stormed the La Rinconada Terrace venue in Venezuelan capital Caracas midway through Cox's set.

Obviously shocked by the incident, the DJ says: "I am deeply shocked and still stunned by the events of this Saturday. My condolences go out to victims that were caught up in this horrific act. I am informed that it was gang-related, and feel so sad that anybody would act in such a manner when the event was full of 7000 people having fun".

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ROSANNE CASH CANCELS TOUR FOR BRAIN SURGERY
Singer songwriter and the eldest of Johnny Cash's children, Rosanne Cash, has announced she is to undergo brain surgery to rectify a "rare but benign condition". Needless to say, that means she needs to cancel touring commitments for later this month, though she says she hopes to start performing again next Spring.

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DODGY ARM CAUSES DODGY REUNION POSTPONEMENT
Also cancelling upcoming live dates due to medical condition are Dodgy, though this isn't quite so serious in medical terms. Lead guitarist Andy Miller has fallen out of bed and broken his arm, which would make playing on his band's previously reported reunion tour a bit difficult. Miller has been told by doctors he should not play guitar for three weeks, forcing the reunion tour to be pushed back into the New Year.

The band said in a statement: "None of us can quite believe it. The day before our first show. I keep expecting Jeremy Beadle to pop out with a microphone. We all feel incredibly frustrated and despondent as the rehearsals last week were sounding absolutely amazing. The best we have ever sounded. We were all SO looking forward to these shows. Poor old Richard [Payne] came all the way from Australia to play with us so you can imagine how he feels. I'm not sure it's sunk in with him yet so if you see a tall angry keyboard player rampaging around Ruislip this weekend then you know who it is".

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MEG BACK IN STUDIO WITH JACK
Not ill is that Meg White chick, who is reportedly back in good health after being under the weather of late. You'll remember Meg was diagnosed with "acute anxiety" in September, prompting the cancellation of a series of shows across the globe. We're still not sure what "acute anxiety" is, but fear not, Meg is back on her feet and has been in the studio with Jack recording new White Stripes material. In a posting to their fan list a spokesman for the duo says: "The White Stripes have just filmed an exciting new video and recorded three never before heard original songs (with a special collaboration) and one unique new version of a song from their latest album 'Icky Thump'".

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NO CHARGES OF ALLEGED DIDDY FRACAS
P Diddy will not be charged over that incident at a New York nightclub where one Steven Acevado accused the hip hopper of hitting him twice after a squabble over a woman. Diddy's lawyer Benjamin Brafman told gossip site TMZ.com yesterday: "I've been informed by the Manhattan District Attorney's office that after a thorough investigation, they have made a decision not to authorise any arrests in connection with the incident involving [P Diddy] and Steven Acevado on October 13". So, there you go.

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TI ASKS COURT FOR PERMISSION TO HOLD THANKSGIVING DINNER
Rapper TI has asked a federal judge if he can host a dinner at his home on Thanksgiving. As previously reported, TI is essentially under house arrest pending trial over all those illegal weapon charges. A condition of his bail is that he's not allowed guests at his Atlanta home, but his lawyers yesterday asked the court if a list of family members could visit on the 22 Nov holiday. He's also asked for workers to be allowed into his home to clean and maintain his yard and pool (and perhaps clean all his guns, I don't know).

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EAGLES TOP BILLBOARD CHART THANKS TO RULE CHANGE
The Eagles have topped the US album chart as well as the UK album chart, even though 'Long Road Out Of Eden' is only available via Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in America. Previously albums exclusively available via one or two retailers were not eligible for inclusion in the Billboard 200 chart, but chart types have changed the rules allowing Eagles to take the number one spot.

These kind of exclusivity deals are not without controversy, with some retailers in the past boycotting artists who enter into an arrangement with one of their competitors which prevented them from stocking a latest release. But Billboard charts chief Geoff Mayfield said this week: "We know that some retailers will be uncomfortable with this policy, but it was inevitable that Billboard's charts would ultimately widen the parameters to reflect changes that are unfolding in music distribution. We would have preferred to make this decision earlier, but only became aware within the last 24 hours that Wal-Mart would be willing to share the data for this title with Nielsen SoundScan."

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RAY QUINN DROPPED
With last year's X-Factor winner Leona Lewis atop the singles chart, runner up Ray Quinn has been dropped by SonyBMG, depite the fact his debut album topped the chart earlier this year. The teenage singer is now reportedly looking for other projects, with one of those sources telling the Mirror: "Ray is focusing on TV and West End stuff now. TV execs are even saying he could get his own chat show".

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RAVEONETTES SIGN TO VICE IN US
The Raveonettes, who are no longer signed to SonyBMG's Columbia, have just signed a new record deal in the US, with Vice Music. Vice will now release the duo's new album 'Lust Lust Lust' in the US next year. The album is being released over here next week by Fierce Panda, a release that will coincide with a UK tour that kicks off at Kings College London on 13 Nov.

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SECRET WOLF GIG WITH FUJIFILM
Patrick Wolf will perform a one off gig at a secret central London location on 19 Nov as part of an event staged by Fujifilm to promote their FinePix Z10fd camera. Tickets will be given away via a Facebook group.

More info is at http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/facebook

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CINEMATIC UPDATE
Oh, by the way, those of you trying to access the first part of the new film project from The Cinematic Orchestra that we reported on yesterday via the link we published, well, you can't I'm afraid. There's been a change of plan, which means the whole film will be released in one part via Ninja Tune next April. We'll let you know more nearer the time.

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TICKETMASTER PARTS FROM PARENT COMPANY
The parent company of Ticketmaster - IAC/InterActiveCorp - has announced it will split its divisions into five separate publicly traded companies. The new Ticketmaster company will incorporate the Echomusic, TicketService and TicketWeb companies.

IAC top bloke Barry Diller said in a statement this week: "Ticketmaster is entering the most dynamic era in its history, and its ability to participate fully (with its own currency) in shaping the live entertainment industry is critical".

Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty, meanwhile, told Billboard: "The live business is changing rapidly and so is Ticketmaster. IAC has been a fantastic owner and supporter of Ticketmaster for nearly a decade, and has put us in a great position to succeed as a public company".

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ORCHARD EXPAND SERVICES
Independent digital aggregators The Orchard have announced they are launching a "brand agency services group" which will offer labels, retailers and brands access to their data and mobile delivery technologies.

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TUNETRIBE EXPAND SERVICES
The B2B bit of indie download platform TuneTribe is also expanding, both into new European territories and into the film and TV sector where it will look to offer companies online promotion services. Ronnie Traynor, head of TuneTribe Digital Solutions, told CMU: "Over the last few months, the uptake on the service we offer has substantially increased. With more and more companies now wanting to incorporate digital strategies into their promotional plans, the next logical step for TT Digital Solutions is to continue to deliver our innovative, versatile service in a wider range of territories and to embrace a greater number of different formats, working with an even more diverse range of clients".

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UCJ CONFIRM DRM-FREE LAUNCH
Universal Music Classics & Jazz announced yesterday that it was making its catalogue available as MP3 without DRM, following the announcement earlier this year by parent Universal Music that it was trialling selling its music without digital rights management technology.

Among the classics due to made available legitimately as MP3 for the first time are Louis Armstrong's 'What A Wonderful World' and The Fron Choir's 'Voices Of The Valley', plus recordings of Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker' and Handel's 'Water Music'. The DRM free tracks will be available from the label's own website http://www.classicsandjazz.co.uk at the same price as DRMed WMA files.

UCJ MD Dickon Stainer told CMU: "The online music market is evolving quickly and we want to explore the way forward thoroughly and responsibly. By making our entire catalogue available in an open MP3 format we will have the opportunity to assess the level of demand, the effect on the wider music download market and of course whether we will have a problem with piracy".

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SMG WILL STILL SELL VIRGIN RADIO
The boss of the Scottish Media Group has said he still plans to sell off Virgin Radio next year. SMG had planned to sell off the national radio station through a flotation this year, but the sudden departure of CEO Paul Jackson coupled with tricky times in the financial markets led to that plan being shelved. But SMG boss Rob Woodward told the Guardian this week: "We will keep a careful eye on the market, but we will be targeting the first half of next year [for a sale]".

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VIRGIN DROP THREE MUSIC CHANNELS
Virgin Media has taken the former Sky music channels Bliss, Flaunt and Scuzz off its cable TV network. The channels, now owned by Chart Show Channels Media Group, appeared on those parts of the Virgin cable network that were previously NTL. The two companies had been in discussions to add them to the rest of the network - ie that that was Telewest - but those discussions ended earlier this week without resolution, and Virgin have decided to remove the channels completely rather than have them on just part of their network. The cable firm hope their customers will be placated with the Virgin on demand music video service.

A statement from Virgin Media says this: "We are continuing to harmonise our Digital TV offering and the removal of these channels forms part of that process. All these channels were in our XL TV package and any XL customers can get unlimited access to Music Video On Demand for no extra cost. This service allows the viewer to choose from over 1000 music videos, and play them when they want".

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CHRISTIAN GROUP CALLS ON FIDDY TO STICK TO HIS WORD
A Christian group in the US has called on 50 Cent to retire because of that pledge the rapper made regarding his chart battle with Kanye West - ie if his album 'Curtis' didn't outsell West's 'Graduation' (which it didn't) that he'd quit making music. The boss of Resistance reckons Fiddy should stick to his word, observing that the world would be a better place without this "satanic piece of filth" making pop music.

Resistance top man Mark Dice told gossip site TMZ.com: "It is time for 50 Cent to be a man of his word, and retire. The world will be a better place when this satanic piece of filth retires and stops making music".

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PREMIERSHIP MUSIC
We've already had premiership footballers Anton Ferdinand and Nigel Reo Coker showing their moves on YouTube this week (as reported yesterday, they're on the vid site dancing to US RnB chart topper Soulja Boy's 'Crank That' single) and now we have more soccer stars moving into the music domain - with two Chelsea players doing some rapping in support of an anti-racism campaign. Now, obviously we support the political sentiments of this, and John Barnes' 'World In Motion' rap remains a CMU favourite, but we're not so sure about Chelsea stars Michael Essien and Didier Drogba's anti-racism single 'Skins', though if you want to check it for yourself you can see them perform it live at Madame Jo Jo's in Soho, London tonight. Playing live with hip hop outfit Wills And The Willing, the soccer duo will perform the rap to a media audience tonight ahead of a charity party.

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K-FED PLANNING TO GO ON OPRAH
Oh joy, Kevin Federline is to reveal all about ex-wife Britney Spears on Oprah Winfrey's TV show early next year. A source "close to Federline" told the News of the World: "He wants to give his side and show the world he is a good father and concerned ex-husband. It's a huge step but he could turn around the public's view that he was the reason behind Britney's meltdown".

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DOHERTY DRUG VID QUESTIONED
Gossipers are gossiping about a video of Pete Doherty shooting up which has appeared online. The video is claimed to have been shot after last week's MTV EMAs (he seems to be wearing what he wore at the event) - ie since the Babyshambler has claimed to have kicked the drugs. Though some are saying the video is actually older than that - pointing out Pete doesn't seem to have a tattoo he recently had done, nor the extra weight he has recently acquired. That would mean the vid came from before Doherty's latest attempts to kick his drug habit.

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COURTNEY RANTS ABOUT MADONNA
Go on Courtney Love, tell us what you really think of Madonna. "Madonna is a great business woman but come on, she's weak as an artist and we all know it. I like Madge but as a relevant musician it's a joke. She's singing from such a calculating thought out place all the time. It's never from her gut or heart of intuition, so maybe it sounds great and slick and you can hum it, [but] hard work and major discipline doesn't equal great art". Phew. Courtney's Madonna rant has appeared on her website.

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