CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 14th December
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In today's CMU Daily:
- European Advocate general recommends dismissing SonyBMG's merger appeal
- Cargo halt Elvis album after SonyBMG infringement claims
- RBD promoters sued over cancelled Colombian gigs
- Fat! Records chief begins treatment for Leukemia
- Minnelli collapses at Swedish gig
- Mel Cheren dies
- Hip hoppers pay tribute to Pimp C
- Creed man charges dropped
- US Hall Of Fame inductees announced
- Smashing Pumpkins back in studio
- GLC release new festive track for free
- Plant solo tour halts some Led Zepp rumours
- The Police top tour chart
- Music Week people changes
- Microsoft to drop Plays For Sure tag
- More major cuts
- Indie labels not impressed with Rolling Stone Camel ads next to indie cartoons
- Heart announce four new recruits
- U2 defend Dublin tower project
- Kylie and Jason to appear on X Factor
- Catholic group not impressed by Britney to play Mary rumours


I'm pretty sure someone described these two guys to me as being "like an electro version of The White Stripes" at the start of the year. I didn't bring that up when I spoke to drummer Nate Smith earlier this week for fear that [a] labelling a guitar/drums duo such is a bit of a cliché, [b] he might think I was saying he, as the drummer, was a bit of a girl and [c] there's a possibility I've made that description up myself. But, actually, there are worse ways to describe Shy Child to the uninitiated, though that description would have to come with two qualifications - firstly Nate's bandmate Pete plays the 'keytar', and secondly, while I have mixed opinions about the White Stripes' output, I've loved pretty much everything these guys have so far released. Shy Child have been making, releasing and performing music together for some time in their home town of New York, but it was this year that they came to our attention, via their UK record deal with the wonderful Wall Of Sound. And the arrival of Nate and Pete in the UK has been as exciting for them as us, because they've found a bigger appetite for their bleepy brand of darkish synthy pop tunes over here than in their home country, possibly because they've been able to jump on the whole indie-rave, nu-rave, rock-electro crossover bandwagon launched by all the hype that surrounded Klaxons at the start of the year. Lots of live dates have followed their arrival in the UK - both supporting those Klaxons and in their own right - and, given the exciting nature of their live shows, that has further enabled them to develop their fanbase. All of this meant that this brilliant album, 'Noise Won't Stop', was released here in the UK first. And what a brilliant album. The hype continues to grow around Shy Child as we go into 2008, and let's hope that the release of this long player in the US and touring elsewhere in the world makes them even bigger news. Meantime, we declare 'Noise Won't Stop' another CMU album of the year.



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Yes, it's December everybody. Which means it is time for the CMU Track Of The Year thingimy thing - where the great and good that are the CMU Daily readership have the opportunity to big up the tracks that got them most excited in 2007.

If you haven't voted yet, there is still chance to get your votes in - you can pick a single, album track, b-side, bootleg, remix, demo, anything that first surfaced this year. You should email the name of your fave track and a couple of sentences on why it's great to

Meanwhile, here's some votes already received...

Supervinyls - Transmission Control
"Best track of the year is 'Transmission Control' by Supervinyls. I stumbled across it at Aime Street and to quote one of the band's fans 'Spanking bass, super-wah guitars and heavy, heavy beats make for another funk-tastical package from the Supervinyls'".
Simon Dyson, Informa

Biffy Clyro - Machines
"Because it's an awesomely haunting tune, soulful lyrics and an unusually chilling end to an album. People say they've sold out with the fourth album, 'Puzzle', but I think they are as good as when I heard them for the first time in 2002. And even if they have, a great band that's sold out is still a great band!"
Simon Hilliard, Racepoint Group UK

Vote for your track of the year - email the name of your fave track and a couple of sentences on why it's great to



VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: La Bomba's Xmas Party at the Ministry of Sound.
The Ministry tonight presents London's Latin party fiesta, which is now in its fourth incarnation. These parties have featured many of reggaeton's biggest stars in the past, including DJ's Buddha, Mesta, Metro and Nelson from Flow Music in Puerto Rico. Tonight in the main room Buddha flies in from the US to headline again, with support from London's top Latin DJs: Jose Luis, El Moreno, Sami Sanchez (from Black Market Records) and Loco, the latter of whom will no doubt mix reggaeton and dancehall with hip hop and upfront R&B. The bar will be rocked by the sounds of salsa, merengue and bachata, with Julian, Mr M & Ramiro Zapata, all DJ's from the highly regarded Latino Sway night. Lift-Ya-Leg-Up-Inna-Chrissmas-Cheer-Stylee. Mash Up.

Friday 14th December, Ministry of Sound, 103 Gaunt Street, London SE1, 10pm-5am, £10 in advance and £15 at the door, info at, press info Jo at Phuture Trax


So, the European Court Of First Instance was right to say that the European Commission should never have given the go ahead to the merger of Sony Music and BMG back in 2004. And don't you go saying otherwise, OK? Cos if you do, I'm going to set that Juliane Kokott on you, and you don't want that. Who knows what power European court officials now have given the EU Treaty Gordon signed last night.

Anyway, Kokott, who is Advocate General of the European Court Of Justice, yesterday said that the appeal launched by Sony Corp and Bertelsmann in relation to the Court Of First Instance's decision last year should be dismissed. As much previously reported, after European competition officials gave the two entertainment congloms permission to merge their recorded music businesses - creating SonyBMG - the pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA went to the European courts to have the decisions overturned.

And they succeeded. Last year the European courts ruled that European Commission officials should not have given the merger the green light based on the amount of investigation they had done at that time regarding the impact a combined SonyBMG would have on the wider music industry. Sony and BMG appealed that court decision, and their appeal has been the subject of various court hearings recently. Kokott has reviewed those hearings and yesterday said the appeal should be dismissed, and that Sony and BMG should cover their own legal costs, and 75% of IMPALA's legal costs, in relation to the appeal. Those proposals will now be considered by judges in the European Court.

Apart from the distribution of burden relating to legal fees, Kokott's conclusion will not have any real immediate effect on SonyBMG because, as also previously reported, the European Commission undertook a second more indepth review of the SonyBMG merger proposals after last year's court ruling (even though the merged SonyBMG had been in existence for over two years by that time) and reached the same conclusion - that the merger was sound.

That said, IMPALA welcomed Kokott's conclusions, saying it set an important precedent - that there should not be any presumption in favour of major mergers when they are presented to European competition regulators.

IMPALA President Patrick Zelnik told CMU: "This is very encouraging. I trust the Court will follow the advice of the Advocate General and find in favour of thousands of small and medium sized record companies and artists across Europe".

IMPALA chair Martin Mills added: "The original SonyBMG merger approval was annulled with good reason. It was a landmark result for the independent community, notwithstanding events since, and for the main Court to recommend that the original judgement should be upheld on its merits is a further vindication of our position on the mergers issue".


Independent music distributor Cargo Records has stopped distributing an Elvis album after it received a legal letter from SonyBMG who, of course, own the Elvis catalogue.

The album 'New York: RCA Studio 1: The Complete Sessions' is released by independent label Memphis Recording Service and features mid-fifties Elvis sessions. They, of course, are now out of copyright in the UK and are therefore in the public domain, meaning anyone can release them providing they get a publishing licence for any songs featured. SonyBMG's legal threat is based on allegations parts of the album come from recordings made after 1957 which are, therefore, still owned by them (as owners of RCA). Not wishing to get caught up in any copyright infringement litigation, Cargo has seemingly put sales of the disputed album on hold.

But Memphis Recording Service Director Joseph Pirzada has told Billboard that SonyBMG's claims about the dates of the content on the album are unfounded. Pirzada: "I told SonyBMG they were wrong, and that the outtakes on the CD were recorded before the June 1, 1957. Which means it is in the public domain". While admitting that Cargo's decision to not distribute the album was problematic, he stressed that this company continues to sell the release, and regarding SonyBMG's legal threats he said: "I'm not worried and I haven't been worried".

Numerous famous Elvis songs are, of course, about to come out of copyright because recordings only enjoy a fifty year copyright term in the UK and the rest of Europe (compared to 95 years in the US), which is why SonyBMG have been so busy re-releasing every bit of Elvis they can find in recent years.


A Colombian concert promoter is suing Mexican pop stars RBD and their California based concert promoters Roptus Inc over four cancelled concerts, which had been due to take place in Medellin, Manizales, Bogota and Barranquilla last August.

The lawsuit seems to centre on disputes regarding what payments were due when in relation to the four shows. According to the plaintiffs, Bogota based Shows Business And Entertainment, their agreement with Roptus said that the band and their LA promoters would receive 85% of profits from ticket sales, but with a $1 million guarantee. SBE claim they were due to pay $500,000 of that guarantee on 9 Aug, before the shows began, and the same again on 21 Aug, after the shows.

They say that on 6 Aug they transferred $400,000 to the LA firm, but that before they could pay the difference for what was due on 9 Aug they were suddenly told by Roptus that another $500,000 would now be required by 10 Aug, ie before the shows. SBE say they considered that demand to be in breach of contract, and refused to make any more payments until the smatter was resolved. Roptus said that decision was in breach of contact, and pulled the shows.

SBE claim that they had spent $700,000 promoting and preparing for the shows by the time they were cancelled. They also accuse Roptus boss Guillermo Rosas of being in breach of the confidentiality clause in the two companies' contract by going on Colombian radio and blaming SBE for the cancelling of the gigs, alleging they had failed to make payments on time, and that the band were concerned about the way the SBE shows were being produced.

SBE launched its legal proceedings last month. Roptus are yet to respond.


This is somewhat distressing news. The chief of one of favourite breaks labels, Fat! Records boss and all round top guy Paul Arnold, has been diagnosed with Leukemia. The good news is he has a treatable version of the disease, and is undergoing treatment as we speak.

A statement issued by the label yesterday reads thus: "As far as cancer of the blood goes, Paul is very fortunate that he has the treatable version and he is already proving resilient to strong drugs (no surprises there!). Paul has been admitted to Kings College Hospital for a course of chemotherapy, where he will probably remain for the next few months to recover and beat his cancer, which of course he shall. This comes as a tragic shock to everyone who knows him, but in true Paul style, it is not getting him down. Paul faces a very serious illness, but does so with the same grin, charm and optimism that he does with every challenge he ever faced. With his friends and colleagues behind him, he remains unbeatable. He wants you to know he is looking forward to getting well and being back amongst us soon".

Needless to say, Team CMU is putting all its energies into willing Paul to have a full and speedy recovery. Meantime, it is business as usual at Fat! Records and the label's breaks night Chew The Fat! - with the Fat! team asking for label enquires to go to and live enquiries to


Liza Minnelli has returned to the US from a European tour after collapsing on stage during a show in Sweden. According to Reuters, a crew member caught the singer as she fell off the stage after passing out, reducing the injuries she suffered. However, concerns remain for her health and she will undergo a medical examination as soon as she returns to the US.

Concert spokesman Zlatko Nedanovski told the Associated Press that Minnelli passed out as she walked off stage, and was rushed back to her hotel by her manager, where she was seen by a doctor. "They decided together with her management that it's best for Liza to go to the US right away".


Mel Cheren, the founder of legendary New York disco label West End Records and the influential NYC nightclub Paradise Garage, has died, aged 74, after suffering complications from AIDS.

Cheren's mid-seventies disco ventures were attributed with shaping many aspects of dance music and DJ culture. The Paradise Garage was one of the first clubs to put the DJ at the centre of the show, while his label was one of the first to release 12" singles and to make instrumentals available so DJs could extend the length of tracks if they wished. When a documentary was made about Cheren last year it was titled 'The Godfather Of Disco'.


Various hip hop types paid tribute to the late Chad 'Pimp C' Butler yesterday as thousands of family members, friends and fans gathered in his home town of Port Arthur, Texas for a memorial service to pay tribute to the UGK rapper, who was found dead in an LA hotel room earlier this month.

The boss of Texas based Rap-A-Lot Records, J Prince, told reporters: "I tell everybody, Pimp was Tupac to the South. We probably loved him even more than the West Coast loved Pac. Everybody that's rapping today is imitating Pimp".

Texas born rapper Chamillionaire said: "You hear so many Southern artists and hear their styles and the influence that Pimp C and Bun B had on the whole culture. We're created off of them. It's a very, very big loss to the hip-hop community and you are going to see the impact globally".

Jive Records chief Jeff Sledge, who spoke at the funeral service, added: "He never let anyone forget that he was a Texas boy. It was all about PA [Port Arthur]. He was going to carry this city on his back. I'd never heard of this place before I met him".


Domestic battery charges against Creed frontman Scott Stapp have been dropped after he completed terms of an agreement with prosecutors which included him participating in an anger management course.

As previously reported, Stapp was charged after an altercation with his wife Jaclyn Nesheiwat at their Florida home which saw the rocker throw an Orangina bottle at his other half.

He initially faced felony charges, but those were quickly reduced to misdemeanour charges, and those have now been dropped after he agreed to substance abuse evaluation and to not possess any weapons, and he completed a 12 hour anger management programme.


The votes are in, and it has been announced who will be inducted into the US Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame next year - Madonna, John Mellencamp, The Ventures, Leonard Cohen and The Dave Clark Five. The five artists will be formally inducted next month.


Smashing Pumpkins are already back in the studio after a busy reunion year, and the band's Jimmy Chamberlain seems to imply we might get to hear some of the new material very soon. In a posting on the band's website he writes: "The tour was a rock rampage and now we are back in the studio recording some songs for a possible release worldwide. Look for these around the first of the year. Busy Bees! I wish all a Happy Holiday and a productive 08!"


The Goldie Lookin Chain boys will be making a new Christmas record available for free via The Sun's music website, and their own website. The special track will be available for download from The Sun's music site from 19 Dec to Chritmas Eve, and then via the GLC's own website,, on Christmas day. The group's Eggsy explains: "Why not do yourself a favour and realise that wasting cash on plastic helicopters and socks for relatives who you hate really, is a bit pointless, so do something positive with your money - and remember a GLC free download is for life, not just for Christmas". While the download will be free, fans are encouraged to make donations to Shelter or Save The Children in return for the new track.


Robert Plant has possibly dashed hopes among Led Zepplin fans that a big reunion tour was now in the pipeline by confirming a solo tour with country star Alison Krauss for next summer. That Plant had plans to tour with Krauss in 2008 weren't a secret, but some in the Led Zepp fan community seemingly hoped those plans would be put on hold to allow a reunion tour. Despite Plant's other commitments, rumour remain that a New York residency and a festival set or two - possibly Glastonbury - could be in the pipeline for the reformed Led Zepp.


The Police's reunion has proved to be the biggest tour of the year, according to the Billboard Boxscore tour score thingimy whatnot. That comes as no surprise really, especially since the band had already won the Top Grossing Tour prize at the recent Billboard Live Awards. The band's reunion has grossed $212 million so far, which is rather a lot.

Genesis' reunion tour was another big hit, coming in second in the Boxscore list having grossed $129 million. Doing his bit to prove the younger generation can compete, Justin Timberlake came in third, with his FutureSex LoveShow tour bringing in $126.8 million.

The other big tours came from Kenny Chesney ($71.2 million), Rod Stewart ($70 million), Cirque Du Soleil's Delirium ($59.4 million), Roger Waters ($53.2 million), Tim McGraw/Faith Hill ($52.3 million), Christina Aguilera ($48.1 million) and Rascal Flatts ($41.6 million).

Prince's 21 night sold-out residency at London's The O2 was the highest grossing live show that didn't require the artist to move his ass, while New York's Madison Square Gardens was named top grossing arena in the world (though that is possibly because the Billboard Boxscore end of year stats go from mid-November to mid-November - as reported earlier this week, The O2 is actually set to outsell Madison Square Gardens by year end even though it only opened at the start of the summer).

Overall the US live music business saw its revenues and attendances fall considerably this year compared to last year, mainly because some of the really big earners like the Rolling Stones, U2 and Madonna weren't on the road this year. Revenues were down 10.2% and attendance figures were down 19.2%.

On that trend, AEG Live US chief Randy Phillips told Billboard: "A 19.2% decrease in attendance is very disturbing, since it reflects that the consumers are not really supporting breaking and mid-level talent. If this trend continues, who will be the headliners of tomorrow?" But Live Nation US's Jason Garner were less pessimistic, saying that 2007 "was a lighter touring year than 2006" adding that: "We saw fewer artists on the road, especially in our global touring unit. We had some great artists out; there were just less of them than past years".


Music Week has confirmed that Paul Williams, who has been Acting Editor at the industry weekly since former editor Martin Talbot moved over to the Official Charts Company earlier this Autumn, will take over that role permanently. Chief Reporter Ben Cardrew, meanwhile, will become News Editor for the magazine and its website. Meanwhile the title's publisher, Ajax Scott, will leave the company. The publisher role will be taken over by Joe Hosken who already fulfils that role at other titles within the CMPi group.


Microsoft will stop using the PlaysForSure tag for its basic music DRM. PlaysForSure has been stuck on digital music players which work with the traditional Microsoft DRM system for about three years, aiming to communicate to consumers that the players are compatible with download services that use a Microsoft system - which is most of them bar iTunes and those that provide music in a DRM free MP3 format - oh, and Microsoft's own download platform the Zune Marketplace. Moving forward PlaysForSure compliant players will be marked "Certified For Windows Vista", which will be confusing for the majority of the population still running Windows XP.


More job cuts in US major record label land for you. Following the cuts at Universal's Island Def Jam last week, Billboard reports that 15 people have been axed this week from the major's Geffen and Interscope divisions. Though reports that Geffen may be closed down altogether, or reduced to a mere A&R outfit, are seemingly being denied. As previously reported, there has been job cuts at SonyBMG US this week also - mainly in the Columbia division.


US indie labels Kill Rock Stars and Touch & Go, among others, have criticised Rolling Stone magazine for a recent editorial feature which featured cartoons of indie bands under the banner Indie Rock Universe, because it was topped and tailed by advertising for Camel cigarettes and the labels fear readers may assume the cartoons section amounted to an advertorial feature funded by the tobacco brands with the endorsement of featured artists.

The labels have issued an open letter which reads: "We, the undersigned independent record labels wish to share our indignation regarding Rolling Stone's November 15th pull out editorial, which featured the names of our artists in conjunction with an ad for Camel cigarettes. Many of the bands named, and the labels that represent them, are very unhappy with the implication that they have any involvement with Camel cigarettes. We ask that Rolling Stone apologise for blurring the line between editorial and advertisement, and in doing so, implying that the bands named support the product being advertised".

Political types have also expressed concern about the ad/indie music cartoon combo, claiming it amounts to a cigarette brand using cartoons in its marketing, which breaches agreements entered into by the tobacco companies regarding not advertising their products to young consumers.

Rolling Stone reportedly insist that the fact the cigarette ads and cartoon feature came together in the magazine was a coincidence, that Camel was not involved in the indie cartoon section, and it never intended to communicate they were.


Heart 106.2 has announced it has recruited four new presenters - Matt Wilkinson from Nottingham's Trent FM who will present evenings, TV presenter Natalie Pinkham who will present Friday drive, and Natalie B and Abbie Eastwood who will both present weekend shows.


U2 have defended their involvement in the building of that big skyscraper in the heart of Dublin after the development project was criticised by environmental groups and the Irish version of the National Turst, An Taisce. The building project is in a development area of the city which it means it doesn't need planning permission, so those opposing it have been using the media in a bid to change the building plans.

U2 are among the backers of the project - leading to the new skyscraper being dubbed the U2 Tower - and if it goes ahead the band will have a studio complex at the top. Defending his band's involvement in the project, The Edge said this week: "It will have positive influence on the perspective of Dublin internationally and encourage further financial investment in the city centre. It is also the intention to build Europe's most sustainable hotel in the heart of Ireland's capital. The design is environmentally as well as architecturally progressive".


After his cameo on Kylie's recent ITV TV show, Jason Donovan is set to appear on TV with former girlfriend and 'Neighbours' co-star Minogue again this weekend. The duo will both appear on 'X-Factor, though they are each set to perform with a different finalist, so I'm not sure whether there'll be any dueting going on.


Leaders of a Catholic group in America are outraged at reports that Britney Spears is in talks to play the Virgin Mary in a new French film. Word has it she is in talks with film producers about a lead role in a film called 'Sweet Baby Jesus'. I don't think she'd actually play Jesus' mother in the movie, rather the role of a pregnant 19-year-old who goes into lab. our alone on Christmas Eve, but given the film's title some kind of analogy or metaphor is presumably intended. Spears' people have not commented on the rumours, but Bill Donohue of America's Catholic League has told the New York Daily News, "She is seriously miscast. She would be better suited to play the lead role in a flick called Monica [as in Lewinsky]. If she did, the Catholic League would be delighted to send her a box of cigars".

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