CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 15th November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Robertson responds to EMI lawsuit
- Prince about to sue The Pirate Bay
- Macca reckons Beatles downloads will come next year
- Amyshambles
- MCR lose another member
- Idlewild not splitting, OK?
- Mrs West's plastic surgeon's TV show taken off air
- Art Brut man aiming for Christmas number one
- Chart celebrates 55th birthday
- ROTD awards next week
- Student Radio Awards tonight
- De Montfort Uni launches new studios
- Hertfordshire Uni launches new studios
- New Lemonheads next year
- Jacko in talks with New York label execs
- Linkin park add extra London date
- Boyzone reform
- Camden Crawl tix go on sale
- EMI win cyber squatting case
- Vivendi profits down
- ITV launch music section to website
- Lee joins Virgin Radio
- Eavis gets CBE
- QOTSA play very short set for rehabbers

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TOP BIT RECOMMENDED
Another CMU Recommend for you, taking place over at the 229 venue next to Great Portland Street station tomorrow night, 16 Nov. It's Night People, a brand new night from our friends Leyline plus Mish Mash and Comeshakethewhole, and it's a must go event for anyone wanting to experience the best live dance and alternative indie music from across Europe, with France, Belgium and Germany represented in the form of live sets from Autokratz, Das Pop and Snax respectively. This month also presents the very best sounds of underground Zurich, with Headman, Danny Freakazoid and Zwicker all harking from the Swiss city and all taking to the stage - plus there'll be video installations by Zurich based Francois Chalet. Add to that DJ sets from Rob Mello, Stan Fontan, Rev Milo and It's Bigger Than, and you have one very packed night. It all kicks off at 8pm, and entrance is free for the first hour, with tix just £6 before 10pm and then £10 after. Students are £7. Oh, and you can get a pint for £1.50 ahead of 10pm too. Storming. More at http://www.myspace.com/nightpeopleclub

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SNAP OF THE DAY: Electrelane
When news arrived at CMU HQ last week of Brighton band Electrelane's announcement that they would be going on "indefinite hiatus" after the completion of their current tour, more than one CMUer shed a tear or two. Well, one did. Everyone else is either very good at hiding their emotions or just a bit heartless. Anyway, even the heartless surely have to admit that following the near universal critical acclaim of recent album 'No Shouts, No Calls' it's a shame that a follow-up is now looking unlikely, particularly given that the first single from that record - 'To The East' - a tender ode to a loved one that has moved away - should have easily broken them out of niche indiedom. One influential fan, Mercury Music Prize judge Jude Rogers, even wrote in the Guardian about how she was "still angry with myself for forgetting about Electrelane" after this year's shortlist was announced, while fellow Brighton band Brakes penned lyrics mentioning them on their debut album. To pay your respects before their (hopefully short) retirement begins, visit the MySpace and leave them a nice message. Maybe if they get enough they'll reconsider their decision.

http://www.myspace.com/electrelane

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ROBERTSON RESPONDS TO EMI LAWSUIT
MP3.com founder Michael Robertson has responded at length to the news that EMI is suing his current company MP3Tunes.com over allegations its 'Music Locker' and 'Sideload' services infringe their copyrights.

The MP3Tunes.com Music Locker service was launched in 2005, though was based on a similar service made available by the original MP3.com in 2000. It is basically a digital storage service - in return for a subscription fee users can upload music they legitimately own (ie they bought on CD or via a legit download platform) to a central server, and then access them from any PC. The idea is that music fans can enjoy their music collection wherever they are through any browser on any computer.

The original MP3.com locker service proved controversial because technically speaking it is illegal for music fans to rip music from CDs to their PC - even though everyone does - and the locker service not only encourages such ripping, but profits from it. A barrage of record label litigation followed, leading to a $200 million settlement that all but crippled MP3.com, eventually forcing the company's owners to sell the service to Vivendi Universal, ironically the parent company of the major record company who had most vehemently pursued that legal action.

The new Locker service has proved less controversial, though when he launched it in 2005 Robertson admitted "last time I launched a locker system called my.mp3 it triggered a hailstorm of lawsuits. Hopefully we can avoid them this time, but you just can never tell with the music industry".

Sideload is basically a search engine that provides links to free sources of music on the internet, though unlike the various BitTorrent trackers that have been causing increasing amounts of outrage among the labels of late, Sideload links to many legal sources of music - ie content being given away with the approval of its owner.

Responding to EMI's latest lawsuit, which Robertson claims has been orchestrated by the major's new owners Terra Firma, the MP3Tunes.com man says that the claimant's objections to the Locker service goes against the aims of former EMI boss Eric Nicoli's decision to make his firm's music available in a DRM-free format. Nicoli said, Robertson argues, that his aim was to enable EMI's consumers who bought their music legitimately to enjoy it on any device or player they chose. The locker, Robertson says, helps the major achieve that aim.

Defending the Music Locker service, he continues: "Our goal at MP3tunes is to provide a system that will let you access your personal music on any device you own. Our implementation is responsible, with password protection required for each Music Locker. You can't listen to or download any songs from my Locker or anyone else's - it's password protected and utilises the same security provisions used by most online services such as online banking. If it's good enough for your money, I think it's good enough for your music. Of course, there are services online that people use to swap music - they typically allow anyone to copy anything they like with no user names or password requirements. These are very different from MP3tunes. By attacking the Music Locker, EMI is attacking the right to personal ownership of digital property. I believe people should be able to listen to their music anywhere they want, and on any device that suits them - this is why we buy it".

On the Sideload issue, Robertson argues his search engine is no different to more generic services in the search sector, ie Google, and that if EMI were to succeed in its action against the service - they are seeking damages for past infringement as well as the removal of offending links - then it would set a legal precedent that could damage every search engine business.

The EMI/Sideload dispute began in September when EMI's lawyers sent a list of links it wanted to have removed from the search service. Robertson says: "I promptly called EMI's attorney and said we would remove the songs, but I reminded him that Sideload was simply a Google-like search engine, and had no actual files -- just links to song files hosted other places. I added that I admired EMI's progressiveness in selling MP3 files. I also offered to work to make sure that Sideload helped meet EMI's business goals. The attorney didn't want to discuss that, and instead quickly demanded a 'substantial sum for past infringement' be paid to EMI, insisting our company had violated copyright law. We definitely didn't see things that way and felt we were forced to file a lawsuit in San Diego asking the courts to declare our service legal. We sent a courtesy copy to EMI's legal representation". EMI's lawsuit against MP3Tunes followed soon after.

Setting out the standard search engine defence, Robertson continues: "Sideload is an audio search engine. It has links to audio files and shows you where those files are on the net. Sideload does not host any files. There are many, many such search engines. Many people simply use Google, which is likely the biggest audio search engine in the world. Any complaint against Sideload could be leveled against Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask since they all have links to song files".

Robertson concludes that the EMI lawsuit is the latest in a long line of foolish litigation instigated by major record companies being advised by lawyers keen to justify their own existence. "The problem with suing every new technology and/or company" he adds, "is the opportunity to use that new technology in a positive manner is lost. For example the Recording Industry Association Of America sued the first portable MP3 players. The RIAA lost - not just the lawsuits, but the chance to leverage an exciting new technology (MP3 players). It also lost the ability to partner with innovative companies for increased sales and revenues. By suing every new technology, the music industry is missing the opportunity to use innovation to dramatically grow its business in exciting new ways".

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PRINCE ABOUT TO SUE THE PIRATE BAY
More lawsuits, though this time against a slightly dodgier outfit. And another lawsuit from the Prince camp, though this time not quite so foolish as the legal threats the singer and his people were making against those fansites last week.

According to C-Net, Prince is about to launch litigation against infamous BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. Reports suggest the singer will launch concurrent lawsuits against the illegal file sharing resource in the US, France and The Pirate Bay's home country of Sweden. The singer will also target companies who have advertised with The Pirate Bay, presumably in a bid to scare future advertisers and hit The Pirate Bay's revenues.

Of course The Pirate Bay are old hands at music industry litigation now, and normally respond by publishing vitriolic denouncements of the evil money grabbing record industry, and then carrying on regardless (even when industry associations and authorities seize their servers - they're pretty persistent at The Pirate Bay). Whether Prince will succeed where others have failed in taking on The Pirate Bay remains to be seen.

The action is part of Prince's wider legal bid to stop the illegal distribution of his IP assets on the internet. He forced YouTube to remove 1000+ clips recorded by fans at recent live dates, and last week sent out cease and desist letters to fansites which had posted lyrics and photos owned by the singer and his associates. Futher action against eBay and YouTube are also expected.

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MACCA RECKONS BEATLES DOWNLOADS WILL COME NEXT YEAR
Paul McCartney has predicted that the Beatles catalogue will finally arrived online legitimately next year. While speaking to Billbaord about his new DVD and the expanded version of his most recent album 'Memory Almost Full', McCartney said: "It's all happening soon. Most of us are all sort of ready. The whole thing is primed, ready to go - there's just maybe one little sticking point left, and I think it's being cleared up as we speak, so it shouldn't be too long. It's down to fine-tuning, but I'm pretty sure it'll be happening next year, 2008".

Asked about the long delays in getting the Beatles catalogue onto legitimate download platforms, McCartney admitted there had been contractual issues between the various copyright owners, but added that a desire to get the online launch of the Fab Four right also played a part. He continued: "You've got to get these things right. You don't want to do something that's as cool as that and in three years time you think, 'Oh God, why did we do that?!"

The new McCartney DVD is a three disc set featuring videos and concert footage from across Macca's solo career. The expanded version of 'Memory Almost Full' includes three bonus tracks, the videos for singles 'Dance Tonight' and 'Ever Present Past' and a DVD of his previously reported gig at London's Electric Ballroom back in June.

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AMYSHAMBLES
I think the expression we'd be looking for is "mixed response". CMU's man at the gig sent in this report: "Little more than a drunken pub singer. Real car crash stuff and so very sad...necking back the drinks, totally pissed, incoherent most of the time, dropped the mic, tears, real vacant moments. Too painful to watch in the end". Yeah, mixed.

Amy Winehouse was booed last night at the first night of her UK tour in Birmingham. She delivered a pretty shambolic set by all accounts, and garnered some boos when dedicating a song to her slightly dodgy husband Blake Fielder-Civil (some reports suggest she changed quite a few lyrics in order to name check 'Blakey' too). Later on she responded to further booing by telling the crowd: "To them people booing, wait 'til my husband gets out of incarceration. And I mean that". During an encore she stopped singing midway through a song and walked off stage.

Winehouse, of course, cancelled a number of gigs earlier in the year because of "ill health". Some friends have expressed new concern for the singer after husband Fielder-Civil was arrested and jailed last week amid perverting the course of justice charges.

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MCR LOSE ANOTHER MEMBER
My Chemical Romance have lost another member from their current world tour, which is currently taking place here in the UK.

As previously reported, drummer Bob Bryar is sitting out of current live shows because a chronic wrist complaint has got worse. Now guitarist Frank Iero has also dropped out after learning of an illness in his family. He will be replaced by guitar tech Matt Cortez, who played at the band's live shows earlier in the year when Mikey Way took time out to go get married. With Bryar and Iero not playing, it means only three fifths of the band are now appearing at MCR gigs - the Way brothers Gerard and Mikey and lead guitarist Ray Toro.

But Gerard Way has assured the NME that MCR fans will still get a good show for their pound, saying: "We've been through a lot of stuff on this record, dealt with life situations and stuff. Ultimately it's gonna be a little different and look a little different, but we're ready for this".

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IDLEWILD NOT SPLITTING, OK?
Idlewild have denied gossiping that they are planning to split at the end of their current tour. Singer Roddy Woomble has written on the band's MySpace: "There's been some talk and worry amongst Idlewild fans about us calling it a day after this 'best of' album and tour. The reality is that there's nothing the five of us like doing more than writing songs together and performing them. Our records might not sell as many copies as they used to (although they do sell well still) but I don't think that's because they aren't as good. I'm of the opinion that we're getting better at describing ourselves, and writing more interesting songs the longer we go on. So no, we're not 'splitting up', the opposite in fact, we're playing Edinburgh's Hogmanay in December then getting to work on our seventh album".

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MRS WEST'S PLASTIC SURGEON'S TV SHOW TAKEN OFF AIR
The US's Discovery Health TV channel has pulled reruns of a top rated show called 'Plastic Surgery: Before And After' because it features surgeon Dr Jan Adams, who operated on Kanye West's mother Dr Donda West shortly before she died last weekend. The surgeon has also been completely removed from the TV channel's website.

Reports claim Mrs West died because of complications during the cosmetic surgery, or possibly because of the combination of the anaesthetic and an existing heart condition, though an official coroner's report won't reach a conclusion on the actual cause of death until the results of toxicology tests are known.

However, Adams has been heavily criticised in the US press nevertheless. Another plastic surgeon revealed he had refused to operate on West until she had a medical check up to confirm she was fit enough to undergo the procedure. Meanwhile previous malpractice lawsuits and DUI charges against Adams have been reported on by the US media.

Discovery are yet to formally comment on their decision to take Adams off their schedules.

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ART BRUT MAN AIMING FOR CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE
Art Brut's Eddie Argos has teamed up with Black Box Recorder to create The Black Arts, and they will release their first single together on 3 Dec. It's called 'Christmas Number One' and, you guessed it, Argos is hoping the single may live up to its title. Though I suspect that ambition may go the same way of his dream to appear on Top Of The Pops "eight weeks in a row". In that he won't achieve it, not that they'll axe the Christmas Number One. Though with Fearne Cotton now hosting Radio 1's chart show, it wouldn't surprise me if the whole chart thing wasn't axed before the end of the year. Cotton does have that effect on things you know, her being the most useless irritating presenter in the history of British broadcasting and all.

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CHART CELEBRATES 55TH BIRTHDAY
If they did close down the singles hart next month it would have had a good innings. Because yesterday was officially the chart's 55th birthday - the first ever chart appearing in the NME on 14 Nov 1952. So, many happy returns to the UK singles chart. Commenting on the anniversary, Official Charts Company Marketing Manager Darren Hayes told reporters: "This is a significant landmark. It acknowledges our culture and heritage in a musical format. While there is an element of reflection, this is also a time for the Official Charts to look toward the future. Seven weeks before the end of the year and as a nation, we've already bought more singles than any other year of the 2000s".

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ROTD AWARDS NEXT WEEK
The annual Record Of The Day Awards take place in London next week, next Tuesday, at PUNK on Soho Street. This, of course, is the annual awards recognising excellence in music journalism and music PR, of which there is lots, honest. As well as the practitoner voted awards there will be three outstanding contribution awards, which will go to Mark Ellen and David Hepworth of Word magazine for Contribution To Music Journalism, Roger Sargent for Contribution To Music Photography and Bernard Doherty of LD Publicity for Contribution To Music PR.

Commenting on the awards, ROTD MD Paul Scaife told CMU: "The main aim of the Record of the Day Awards is simple: to celebrate great music writers, great music magazines, and also give a deserved pat on the back to the music PR's and label staff that we journalists rely on day-in-day-out".

Tickets for the event are £70 and to check availability email paul@recordoftheday.com

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STUDENT RADIO AWARDS TONIGHT
Talking of awards, it is the Student Radio Association's annual Student Radio Awards tonight, celebrating the best in college radio in the UK. It all takes place at the new Connaught Rooms in central London - we'll have the list of winners tomorrow.

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DE MONTFORT UNI LAUNCHES NEW STUDIOS
More college music type news, and Leicester's De Montfort University will open a new £3.7 million 'Creative Technology Studio' today, featuring some of the most impressive recording and broadcast studio facilities in any UK university. Or so we're told. Including video, audio and radio production suites, recording studios and labs with broadcast and audio analysis equipment, the development promises to offer students studying media at the University with a realistic experience of a 'real life' studio environment.

Set to be officially opened by Aziz Rashid, Head of Regional and Local Programmes at BBC Midlands, the studios should strengthen DMU's reputation in this field, with Adrian Hopgood, Dean of the Faculty of Computing Sciences and Engineering, telling CMU: "The level and quality of the technology available in these studios is second to none and will ensure graduates from this University are truly equipped for careers in the broadcast and broader creative technologies sectors. Significantly, the studios offer more than the very latest, leading edge technology. They provide students with a very real world experience of how things are done in the work place. This is incredibly valuable as it is not just technology alone which drives the end result".

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HERTFORDSHIRE UNI LAUNCHES NEW STUDIOS
In similar news, the University Of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, which runs its own record label as part of its music education programme, has launched a new music production facility. Called Infuse, the facility will give students studying music experience in all aspects of music production including recording, editing and designing.

Professor Howard Burrell, who heads up the university's label, said: "This is a great opportunity for students as the music industry is highly competitive. Infuse will showcase the best student talent from performers to those involved behind the scenes - not just from the university but throughout the UK".

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NEW LEMONHEADS NEXT YEAR
Hurrah for this - Billboard has reported that Evan Dando will head back into the studio in January to work on a new Lemonheads album. The new long player will follow last year's 'The Lemonheads' which was released after the band reformed in 2005 after a seven year hiatus.

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JACKO IN TALKS WITH NEW YORK LABEL EXECS
Michael Jackson and his lawyer have reportedly been spotted meeting with various music execs at Mr K's New York restaurant presumably about the possibility of them releasing his previously reported new album, which has been in developmet for much of the year. Fox's Roger Friedman also reports that Jacko has expressed an interest in releasing an album via Starbucks' Hear Music, with Friedman citing a source thus: "[Jackson] said, 'My friend Paul McCartney did that'". Which is a big story in itself - the consensus is that Macca hasn't liked Jacko ever since he outbid him to get the Beatles' publishing catalogue back in the day.

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LINKIN PARK ADD EXTRA LONDON DATE
Linkin Park have been "forced" to add an extra London date to their upcoming tour. I'm not sure who was doing the forcing, but that's what the press release says. The second show at London's O2 Arena, on 29 Jan, was added after tickets for the first O2 date on 28 Jan sold out in just a few hours.

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BOYZONE REFORM
I'm all for helping children in need and all that, but you have to question the merits of being charitable when as a result we all get lumbered with a Boyzone reunion. Yes, following that one-off reunion for the BBC's Children In Need appeal, the definition of pop mediocrity that is Boyzone have announced a new tour for next May with all five members participating, including Dullboy Keating. Look, here's what he has to say: "We've been talking about getting back together for some time now. I can't wait to be back on the road and all the guys feel the same. Our live shows were always great fun but this time it will definitely be the best night out ever". I am assuming Westlife will now have to split up. Surely there's some kind of European convention on how many mediocre Irish covers bands can be performing at any one time?

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CAMDEN CRAWL TIX GO ON SALE
Some info for all you Camden Crawl fans out there, with news that the 2008 edition of the North London new music fest is set to feature 130 artists at 25 venues over 2 days, the 18 and 19 Apr. Presumably they hope that by changing the dates from weekdays (as it was last year) to the weekend will lead to a further increase in popularity, not they really need that, given they've sold it out the last three years. I suspect this means you should all go get your tix quick. They go on sale today with an early bird discount offered where they'll knock 15% off the £48 two-day ticket price for the first 1000 sold. Aside from the gig excitement expect an exciting hot pot of DJ talent, secret special guests and a free double CD programme, which all sounds very enticing. Initial line-up will be announced in January.

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EMI WIN CYBER SQUATTING CASE
The EMI Group has won a cyber squatting case against an Argentina outfit that operated one of those advertising based sites at emi-musicgroup.info. The company tired to justify their ownership of the domain by calling their company E MI Musicgroup, which you have to admit is a damn good effort at twisting the rules. But alas the World Intellectual Property Organisation ruled that it wasn't a good enough effort and have ordered the domain be handed over to the real EMI Group. MySpace, meanwhile, won the rights to the myspacetv.org domain.

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VIVENDI PROFITS DOWN
Universal Music parent company Vivendi has reported its first profit decline in seven quarters. The conglom has put the fall down to a slide in CD sales at Universal Music, the weakness of the dollar and the fact that last year's figures were artificially high because of the income generated by a sale of Vivendi's share in Veolia Environment. Profits in Universal Music fell 17%.

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ITV LAUNCH MUSIC SECTION TO WEBSITE
ITV have launched a new music section on their ITV.com website which will include a download service powered by 7Digital plus content linking together ITV music shows. Oh, and music news. Not that anyone's interested in music news. I know I'm not.

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LEE JOINS VIRGIN RADIO
Virgin Radio has hired former 1'1 O'Clock Show' presenter Iain Lee to host its Sunday night show. Since his brief stint as the face of Channel 4, Lee has spent more time in the radio domain, presenting shows for Xfm and most recently LBC.

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EAVIS GETS CBE
Glasto man Michael Eavis picked up his CBE from the Queen this week, and she reportedly asked him about the festival site's famously muddy fields. Eavis told reporters: "I said it's a very lovely farm and was looking splendid now. She said 'Good'".

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QOTSA PLAY VERY SHORT SET FOR REHABBERS
Queens Of The Stone Age were removed from a Californian rehab facility where they were playing an intimate set for patients last week after they opened their set with 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer', a song which features the line "Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol... c-c-c-c-c-cocaine", something that didn't go down well with staff at the facility who promptly pulled the plug on the band's amps and ushered them off the premises.

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