CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 20th November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- RHCP sue makers of Californication TV show
- Suge Knight may be named as defendant in Biggie murder lawsuit
- SonyBMG may be about to drop the DRM
- Legendary US rock publicist dies
- Led Zepp had secret rehearsal before confirming reunion
- Amy wants red roses sent to Blake
- West breaks down at Paris gig
- Akon doesn't think he deserves his AMA
- More Britney litigation
- The Levellers anniversary shows
- Foo Fighters announce Wembley intentions
- Bjork tour
- BSP tour
- Vote in the Festive Fifty
- Academy Music Group announce latest expansion
- Merlin launch website
- E-ticket widget developement
- Play.com play down importance of VAT loophole
- Capital / Virgin appointments
- GCap appointments
- Virgin close down the Groove
- Yorke chooses to pay nothing for own album

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TOP BIT - VOTE FOR YOUR TRACK OF THE YEAR!
Would it be cheeky of me to include another reminder that you should all be voting right now in the CMU Track Of The Year poll?

Here is how it works. We want you to email us the name of the track you most rated in 2007, and the artist behind it, plus some words on why you think it was so great. It can be any track that first surfaced this year - a single, album track, remix, mash up, TV theme tune - whatever. Email your votes, with your name, company and job title to 2007@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk. We will feature some of your votes and reasons here in the Daily during December, and will then release an overall top ten, on which you can then vote a second time so that we can select an overall track of the year. It's all very exciting. If a bit complicated.

So, to put this more simply, email us the name of your favourite track of 2007 to 2007@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk now. Well, unless you have a sneaky suspicion the best track of the year hasn't been released yet, in which case feel free to wait until mid-December to vote.

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SNAP OF THE DAY: Cat The Dog

Now, I don't want you to think that these are the extremes we expect you to go to in order to get a mention here in the Snap slot, though I must admit I was reminded that these guys have been on my 'must remember to tip' list for a while by the news that they had been involved in a near-fatal motor accident this weekend. The Brighton boys were on their way to a gig in Southampton when a car behind their van collided with them, causing the band's van to flip on its side. The band were not wearing seatbelts, but managed to escape the vehicle with only cuts and bruises, and were able to go on and play at their gig. Now we must stress, we do not approve of anyone out there driving around without their seat belts on, and this Snap mention doesn't mean we do. But we do approve of the show must go on ethos, and of these guys' rocky-indie-rock tunes, which you can preview here. If you like what you hear check out one of their upcoming live dates, listed here. One hopes they are taking the train to get there.

http://www.myspace.com/catthedog

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RHCP SUE MAKERS OF CALIFORNICATION TV SHOW
US TV company Showtime Networks have been sued by the Red Hot Chili Peppers over their recently launched David Duchovny vehicle which is airing in the US on Showtime and on Five here in the UK. The show is called 'Californication' so you can probably guess the basis for the legal claim from the RHCP camp.

Yep, the band claim the TV firm have breached their IP rights, 'Californication', of course, being the name of the band's landmark 1999 album and, prior to the TV show, a name very much associated with them. They are suing Showtime, the show's creator Tom Kapinos and two other production firms citing Federal trademark laws and Californian unfair competition laws. They want to force the show to change its name and for the TV firm to hand over any profits it has made from its 'Californication' franchise to date.

The band's Anthony Kiedis said in a statement yesterday: "Californication is the signature CD, video and song of the band's career. For some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right".

In the 1990s rock band Living Colour unsuccessfully sued the Fox Network in similar(ish) circumstances when the TV firm launched a show called 'In Living Colour'. Last year, meanwhile, a Californian band called Supernova successfully sued makers of the US pop talent TV show Rockstar Supernova, stopping the band created by the show (which featured Motley Crue's Tommy Lee, former Metallica bass player Jason Newsted, former Guns N Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and Lukas Rossim, the winner of the pop contest) from performing as Supernova, as originally intended. The TV show created group have since operated as 'Rockstar Supernova'.

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SUGE KNIGHT MAY BE NAMED AS DEFENDANT IN BIGGIE MURDER LAWSUIT
So, the long long long running investigation into the murder of rapper The Notorious BIG may take an interesting turn later this month with reports that the judge presiding over a civil case related to the killing may name the former cop often linked to the murder, Rafael Perez, and former Deathrow Records chief Suge Knight as defendants - formally implicating them in Biggie's shooting.

As much previously reported, there have been various claims over the years that corrupt LAPD police officers, possibly with links to Suge Knight (who hired moonlighting cops for his own security team), were responsible both for the murder of Biggie, real name Christopher Wallace, and for ensuring the subsequent investigation into the killing was bungled so to protect those involved.

In a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Biggie's family against the city of Los Angeles, the Wallaces claim that Knight and a former LAPD officer called Reggie Wright conspired to have the rapper murdered, and that they involved Perez and David Mack, another former LA cop often linked to the killing, in their conspiracy.

According to the LA Daily News, US District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, who is overseeing the wrongful death lawsuit, last week ruled that the plaintiffs have presented sufficient evidence to have Knight and Perez added as defendants. The evidence against Perez seems to be that he was on duty on the night of the murder and may have been at the scene of the crime in an official capacity. This, it is alleged, would have given Perez an early opportunity to mount a cover up so that Wallace's killer could not be found.

An attorney represented the Wallace family, Robert J Frank, told reporters this week: "Through his police contacts, Knight knew where Wallace was and sent Mack to take care of him".

But a legal representative of the city said the 'new' evidence was "old wine, new bottles".

As previously reported, the Wallace family's case against the LAPD was recently dealt a blow when a witness who claimed David Mack had admitted to him involvement in the rapper's murder said he had actually lied when giving evidence, and that Mack had never said any such thing. The witness claimed he had been persuaded to make the claims by the Wallaces in return for a cut of the damages the rapper's family stand to win if successful in their lawsuit - claims that have been denied by the family's legal team.

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SONYBMG MAY BE ABOUT TO DROP THE DRM
The consensus seems to be that SonyBMG are about to announce that they will follow EMI and Universal in dropping that pesky DRM nonsense off their catalogue once and for all. The decision would mean that only Warner Music would still insist that downloads of their music be only sold with digital rights management protection included. Makes them seem "very 2003".

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LEGENDARY US ROCK PUBLICIST DIES
One of the US music industry's most legendary publicists, Paul Wasserman, has died in an LA hospital aged 73. Wasserman represented numerous top rock bands and movie stars over the years, most notably the Rolling Stones, U2 and Jack Nicholson. He was one of the first publicists to recognise the rise of rock music in the sixties, and quickly began to work with some of the real stars of the era. He enjoyed a long career in the industry, until in 2000 he shocked many by admitting he had been swindling money out of up to twenty people for years by persuading them to invest in phoney business ventures which he falsely claimed had the backing of some of his more famous clients. He blamed the scams on his battle with alcoholism, and served six months in jail for his crimes. Nevertheless, he retained many of his friendships within industry, even with some of those he had swindled, many of whom chose not to press charges against him.

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LED ZEPP HAD SECRET REHEARSAL BEFORE CONFIRMING REUNION
Led Zepp guitarist Jimmy Page has told the BBC how the band had a secret rehearsal before announcing their much hyped reunion concert, just to check they could still play. The band were keen to ensure that this reunion went better than their famously lacklustre reunion set at the original Live Aid.

Page: "We wanted to see how well we'd be playing together and once we played it was without doubt we wanted to do it. The hardest thing of having anything to do with Led Zeppelin is getting together and rehearsing without anybody finding out about it".

Page also spoke about that Live Aid performance which, as previously reported, the band were so disappointed with they refused to allow it to appear on the Live Aid 20th anniversary DVD back in 2005. On that he told the Beeb: "Live Aid was pretty shambolic. We came together and rehearsed with a drummer we'd never met before and then we were joined by Phil Collins who we'd never played with before on this great Live Aid stage. We went there with the spirit of it but actually was pretty shambolic".

As much previously reported, Led Zepp will play at a tribute concert to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun at London's The O2. The event will now take place on 10 Dec after being postponed because Page hurt his finger.

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AMY WANTS RED ROSES SENT TO BLAKE
Amy Winehouse has asked her fans to send her husband Blake Fielder-Civil red roses to show their support for the alleged course-of-justice-perverting drug-addled thug. The singer sent a bouquet of roses to her jailed other half at the weekend to mark their six month wedding anniversary, and asked fans at her previously reported Glasgow gigs this weekend to do the same. She told her audience: "I'm going to send him a bouquet of flowers. And I want everyone here to send Blake a red rose". For those wishing to do so she then provided the address of London's Pentonville Prison. As previously reported, Fielder-Civil is in jail over allegations he tried to bribe a man he is accused of beating up to drop the GBH claims he has made against him.

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WEST BREAKSDOWN AT PARIS GIG
Poor old Kanye West had to leave the stage at a gig in Paris at the weekend after getting upset about the previously reported sudden death of his mother Dr Donda West. The hip hop star went ahead with his Paris show, but broke down after introducing the song 'Hey Mama'. Le Parisien journalist Meddy Magloire who was at the gig told reporters: "He said the word, 'Mother' and just couldn't go any further. A back-up singer, the DJ and a guitar player came over to console him. It looked like he might collapse. He just couldn't continue. He just stood there in a spotlight, crying while the band continued playing". He temporarily left the stage, but returned to complete the gig.

Mrs West's funeral is due to take place in Oklahoma City today. Shortly after it the surgeon who operated on West the day before her death, surgery that may have brought about her premature death, will give his first proper interview on the Larry King TV show.

In related news, Usher paid tribute to West at the previously reported American Music Awards this weekend, asking the audience to remember Kanye. He told the audience: "I'd like to take a moment to recognise the loss of Kanye West's mother. My heart, my prayers and all of our prayers go out to you Kanye, for the strength in this recovery".

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AKON DOESN'T THINK HE DESERVES HIS AMA
Talking of the American Music Awards, Akon, who won the Favourite RnB Male Artist award, seemed to think that fellow nominee and frequent collaborator T-Pain should have won that prize (though T-Pain is signed to Akon's label, so he would have sort of won either way). He called up T-Pain to collect the prize with him and admitted he was the better candidate, remarking "If you knew the work this kid puts in..." But T-Pain didn't seem too bothered to have lost out, claiming he was planning on nicking the award anyway. He joked: "He don't have no more room on the top of his TV, so I'm gonna go ahead and let him walk off the stage with it and I'm gonna take it home".

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MORE BRITNEY LITIGATION
Oh dear, more Britney. Today Spears is being sued by an estate agent called Amir E Zagross who claims the singer trashed a flat in California which she rented off him in August last year. Life & Style Magazine quote him thus: "I met Britney at the condo myself with her mother, brother, sons and her bodyguards. They assured me they were immaculate, nice people who would take care of the property. But the damage was significant". Zagross says the damage was such that he has been unable to rent the apartment since.

Elsewhere in Spears litigation, a Paris court has ruled in favour of luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton who objected to the video to 2005 Britney single 'Do Something', though this lawsuit was targeting Spears' label SonyBMG rather than the poor poptress herself. They objected to the decoration of the dashboard of the pink Hummer featured in the pop promo with something that looked very like Vuitton's famous 'cherry blossoms' design. They said the inclusion of their design in the video, without their permission, violated French anti-counterfeiting laws, and the Paris courts agreed with them. SonyBMG, and MTV Online, who showed the video, have both been fined $117,000 and ordered to stop distributing the promo. That said, the video was still available on various French websites yesterday, though it had been removed from some. It's not clear if the ruling will have any ramifications outside France.

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THE LEVELLERS ANNIVERSARY SHOWS
The Levellers will celebrate their 20th anniversary next March by playing three big gigs under the banner Beautiful Nights - a play on their popular music festival Beautiful Days. The three nights are as follows...

6 Mar: Wolverhampton Civic Hall
7 Mar: Manchester Apollo
8 Mar: London Brixton Academy

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FOO FIGHTERS ANNOUNCE WEMBLEY INTENTIONS
Foo Fighters, who played two O2 Arena shows this weekend, have announced they will return to the UK next summer to play a Wembley Stadium show. So don't go saying we didn't tell you.

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BJORK TOUR
Bjork has announced a UK tour for next April, dates as follows...

11 Apr: Manchester Apollo
14+17 Apr:London Hammersmith Apollo
22 Apr:Plymouth Pavilion
25 Apr:Wolverhampton Civic Hall
28 Apr:Belfast Waterfront
1 May: Blackpool Empress Ballroom
4 May: Sheffield City Hall

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BSP TOUR
And elsewhere in tour news, those British Sea Power boys, who play the all new Amersham Arms in New Cross tomorrow, have also announced a UK tour, dates as follows...

17 Jan: Belfast Spring And Airbrake
18 Jan: Dublin Whelan's
20 Jan: Norwich Waterfront
21 Jan: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
22 Jan: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
23 Jan: Leeds Irish Centre
24 Jan: Kendal Brewery
26 Jan: Glasgow The Arches
27 Jan: Manchester Academy 2
28 Jan: Oxford Academy
29 Jan: Brighton Komedia
31 Jan: London Koko

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VOTE IN THE FESTIVE FIFTY
John Peel inspired internet radio station Dandelion Radio will again compile a Festive Fifty this year. As previously reported, the net radio station took over the annual eclectic music poll that used to be part of Peel's radio show last year after Radio 1 decided they themselves would not continue it (initially a Festive Fifty was complied by listeners of the OneMusic slot that initially replaced Peel's show). Music fans are encouraged to vote for their favourite three tracks of the year, and from those votes the Fifty will be compiled, which will be broadcast on Dandelion Radio on Christmas day and throughout January. All voters will also be entered into a draw to win a copy of Mark Whitby's book 'The Festive Fifty' and Ken Garner's new book 'The Peel Sessions: A Story of Teenage Dreams And One Man's Love of New Music'. To vote just go on over to http://www.dandelionradio.com and click on the vote button.

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ACADEMY MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCE LATEST EXPANSION
The Academy Music Group has announced further expansion with deals to open new 'Academy' venues in Leeds and Sheffield, in addition to their previously announced development in Brighton.

The live music firm, partly owned by promoters Metropolis and SJM, and the partnership between Irish firm Gaiety and live music conglom Live Nation, has announced it will relaunch Leeds' Town And Country Club and Sheffield's former Roxy nightclub as Academy venues. As previously reported, Brighton's Hippodrome is already being redeveloped to become part of the Academy network.

The company's CEO, John Northcote, told Billboard this week: "It's just a progression of my vision for the company, that every major location in the UK would have an Academy Music venue. Brighton, Sheffield and Leeds are three major UK towns and cities which don't have a quality mid-range, live music venue".

Metropolis boss Bob Angus added: "Historically, we tend to find where there is a need and get in there and open a venue. And once in, you build the live circuit in the area as you go. It helps with the growth of the [sector]".

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MERLIN LAUNCH WEBSITE
The new global body that aims to represent the digital rights of independent labels around the world, Merlin, has launched its website, which aims to provide indies with a clear statement of the body's aims, structure and operations. The website, at http://www.merlinnetwork.org, will be available in English, French and Spanish at launch, with a German and Portuguese versions due to follow.

Commenting on the importance of the website, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas told reporters yesterday: "The formation of a body than can properly and effectively represent a global constituency has been a complex and challenging enterprise. We have succeeded though, and the launch of our multilingual website, which will be a key tool for our global communications, is another major step towards the imminent commencement of our full operation".

On its website Merlin states is objectives as follows: "Merlin exists because the independents need their own body to ensure their interests are properly represented by an organisation focused wholly on their sector. Independents work in a incredibly competitive environment, ruled by shrinking physical sales, a digital market that is not replacing the fall in revenues, and where independent's ability to compete is being eroded by the major corporations that dominate the market, from both the supply and retail side".

The body says that the website launch precedes an announcement regarding exactly what Merlin will offer labels who appoint it as their global digital rights representatives.

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E-TICKET WIDGET DEVELOPEMENT
Independent promoters FeedMe Music have announced they will start to sell e-tickets for their gigs via a desktop widget - a first for a gig ticket selling service, or so they say. The development means that customers will be able to pay for entry to FeedMe promoted gigs (at venues including London's 93 Feet East and Dingwalls) by submitting their order via a bespoke tool on their computer's desktop and receiving a text or pdf for use as a ticket. Furthermore, the widget can be integrated into a user's Myspace, Facebook profile or personal blog, and can be used to sell MP3s, ringtones and other digital content from featured artists. MD of FeedMe, Dave Grenfel, seemed pretty chuffed with it, telling CMU: "This widget is amazing! So easy to use and implement, providing both bands and us as promoters with an instant and powerful viral marketing tool".

For more info see http://www.thebizmo.com/feedmemusic. Press info from Zest PR

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PLAY.COM PLAY DOWN IMPORTANCE OF VAT LOOPHOLE
The owners of etailer Play.com have played down the significance that the much previously reported Channel Island VAT loophole has in the success of their business.

As much previously reported, the VAT loophole comes about because the company has a base on the channel island of Jersey, where companies can sell products under £18 - ie most CDs - to UK customers without paying VAT. The loophole, used by Play.com and many of their mainstream competitors in the CD mail order sector, has come under increasing criticism from independent retailers who say it gives major players an unfair advantage. Both Jersey and UK authorities have indicated they may close the loophole, though, it has to be said, they ain't done much about it.

Asked if the closing of the loophole would have a big impact on their operations, Play.com owners Richard Goulding and Simon Peree told the Sunday Times that the sale of products under £18 only accounted for a portion of their overall opertations, so it wouldn't have so big an impact. Goulding: "There's a lot of misinterpretation about that. We pay VAT on the vast majority of our goods. We have moved on [from CDs and DVDs] to sell a lot of products that cost over £18. It would not be particularly damaging to the business at all [if the loophole was closed]. It might mean we put 50p on the price of a [CD or] DVD or something. It affects a minority of our products. Our fastest-growing categories are electronics, PCs and mobile phones; the growth in these is vastly outstripping CDs and DVDs. It wouldn't worry us".

In the same interview, the two Play.com men revealed that they plan to relaunch their site next year, and to expand into continental Europe. The all new Play.com will come with various new features, including the almost compulsory social networking element.

They were also asked about rumours they were considering floating their company. But the duo said they would only go that route if large amounts of funding were required for expansion, telling the broadsheet: "We don't need to float but it's always one of those questions. If we wanted to expand into three European countries at once, for example, then we might look at it".

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CAPITAL / VIRGIN APPOINTMENTS
Capital FM has announced it has recruited Virgin Radio presenter and (apparently) stand up comedian Greg Burns to host its morning show from January. Burns currently presents overnights on Virgin. The move will see him rejoining former Virgin Radio chief Paul Jackson, who recently took on a management role at Capital.

Meanwhile, over at Virgin, new PD David Lloyd has announced his own new appointment. He has recruited JK & Joel, the once rising stars of music radio whose careers were somewhat sidelining when they were signed up to Radio 1 who proceeded to hand them a series of no hope slots. They will present weekend mornings for Virgin.

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GCAP APPOINTMENTS
Behind the scenes at Capital owners GCap, Xfm Network PD Ande Macpherson has also been appointed to the role of MD for Xfm Manchester which will see him take on a wider management brief at Xfm's North West outpost.

Elsewhere at GCap, Dominic Barker, previously Regional Sales Director for GCap Manchester has been named Head Of GCap Solutions in London. This will see him take responsibility for driving revenues across Capital 95.8, Xfm, Choice, the One Network, and the Gold network.

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VIRGIN CLOSE DOWN THE GROOVE
Oh, and elsewhere in Virgin Radio news, the commercial broadcaster has announced it is closing down one of its three digital spin off stations - Virgin Radio Groove - and also pulling out of the Channel 4 national digital radio venture, for which it was planning on providing a station aimed at 15-29 year old women. Virgin Radio chief Richard Huntingford justified those decisions thus: "I think we are doing the sensible thing. We are making sure we focus our digital investment on the areas that are really core to our radio proposition. Like everybody else in the business we have to make sure we can see the right return on our investment. We are moving towards that critical mass where we will start moving into profitability [on our digital stations] but we are not quite there yet".

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YORKE CHOOSES TO PAY NOTHING FOR OWN ALBUM
Thom Yorke has admitted that he chose to pay nothing when he downloaded his band's new album 'In Rainbows' from their own website during the much hyped 'pay what you want' promotion. Though as he points out: "There wasn't any point [paying]. I'd just move some money from one pocket to the other".

He was talking to Steve Lamacq on 6Music. With him was the band's Ed O'Brien, who admitted that the band were all sworn to secrecy about the promotion before its official announcement. He said: "We had to literally tell no-one. I didn't tell my wife we were going to release it like this".

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