CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 18th December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Robbie management not planning to renew with EMI
- BPI cuts costs
- Anger rises of X-Factor phone voting
- Bon Jovi guitarist expresses sympathy for fan left disabled after gig crowd scuffle
- Country star accused of punching a fan's boyfriend
- Winehouse news
- NME declare Manics godlike geniuses
- Cold War Kids make EP available for freebie
- Jack Johnson waffles about new album
- Eddie Murphy signs hip hop video star to his new label
- Travis tour
- Universal reaches deal with XM over storage device
- IE form sync alliance with London Calling
- Government report shows grass roots music events down
- Government to work with Mayor to safeguard London venues
- Sugar launch social networking thing
- Music Week publisher reports "particularly positive" financials
- Century stations return to original names
- Galaxy criticised for accidental broadcast
- Baker pulls Wippit podcasts
- Led Zepp ticket stubs sell
- Rihanna on Hartnett rumours


Given that everyone in the music press fills their end of the year issues with 'best of the year' retrospectives, you'd be forgiven for thinking these list features are easy, and that music journalists are doing them because it saves them from having to do any real work, meaning they can knock of early and get in some pre-Christmas drinking instead. But actually these things are quite hard, because I find that even when you're writing about great music all year round when you're asked to list your ten favourite albums of the year in early December your mind suddenly goes blank. And albums that came out earlier this year feel like they first surfaced a decade ago, while albums that were released two years back seem very recent. Those that were released very early in the year probably suffer most from short memories in music reviewer land, especially if promo copies were doing the rounds at the end of the previous year. This album very nearly slipped through the net this year for that very reason. The London album launch party in the cramped basement of the St Moritz bar in Soho seems a very very distant memory. But shortly after finalising the final ten albums due to appear in the CMU Albums Of The Year feature the brilliant 'Pin That Badge' came on my iTunes and this brilliant second album from the funky indie outfit that is Little Barrie came rushing back into my musical memory. All of which meant some last minute rejigging was required to ensure 'Stand Your Ground' was one of our final ten. I won't tell you who we dropped to make space. This is a brilliantly uplifting, incredibly infectious record including numerous catchy songs that always put a smile on your face when they appear on your stereo. Especially when they arrive just in time to make sure remember to name 'Stand Your Ground' as one of CMU's albums of 2007. Hurrah.



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OK, we've done the counting, and here ladies and gentlemen are the final ten in the CMU Track Of The Year poll - the ten most voted for tracks to date, and what a wonderful bunch. The next bit works like this, you now have until midnight tomorrow night to vote for which of these ten you like best. Just email the name of the one you are voting for to Simple as that. Look out for the final top ten in order of preference, plus the overall Track Of The Year, in our Review Of The Year edition on Thursday.

Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
Biffy Clyro - Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies
Bloc Party - Flux
Cajun Dance Party - Amylase
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill
Feist - 1 2 3 4
Foals - Hummer
Late Of The Pier - Bathroom Gurgle
Reverend And The Makers - Heavyweight Champion of the World
The Wombats - Let's Dance To Joy Division

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 Do it now!



So it's that festive time of year again and I guess we should start mentioning the dreaded (dreadful?) Christmas number one spot, which as ever is tipped to be taken by recent 'X Factor' victor Leon with his bland (even by 'X Factor' standards) cover of Mariah Carey's 'When You Believe'. However, us having ears, we'd much rather munch through our seasonal mince pies to Malcolm Middleton's 'We're All Going to Die', which was released yesterday. Rather than give the usual blurb about how much we admire Mr Middleton for taking on said reality TV show winner, we'll leave him to convince you to buy his record in his own words: "It's about saving our children's future. It's about not ruining Colin's [Radio One DJ Murray, who has thrown his support behind the release] Christmas. It's about wiping the smiles off of faces that smile all year round anyway, and putting those smiles on all of our faces that don't. If you already have the song then buy one of the remixes, they sound great and count towards the chart too. And then let's never mention this again, except in winks and smiles".


More bad press for EMI generated by the artist community. Following negative comments about the London based major from former EMI signed artists Radiohead and Paul McCartney, now the manager of one of their biggest current artists - Robbie Williams - has indicated they may look to end their relationship with the record company once their current contractual commitments are done and dusted. And that should be pretty soon because the fourth album of Williams' current four album deal with the major - a second swing album aimed to appeal to the mainstream Robbie fan who was perhaps not so keen on last album 'Rudebox' - is due out in February. A greatest hits album will then follow, before the singer's recording commitments to the major are done.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the co-boss of the company that manages Williams, ie:music's Tim Clark, said: "I would be very wary about signing him to any major label at the moment". Confirming that "all options" were open once their current deal with EMI was complete, Clark added "The internet offers artists opportunities without the need for record labels. What we really don't want is the dead hand of multinational [record companies] throttling these brilliant opportunities".

It's pretty unprecedented for three high profile artists to lay into their record company quite so soon one after the other, though it would be unfair to conclude that the comments made by Radiohead, McCartney and now Williams (albeit him by proxy) are a sign of an artist rebellion against new EMI owners Terra Firma.

True, Radiohead's recent criticism of EMI seems to be aimed very much at the major's new owners. However McCartney was criticising practices at the major pre the arrival of the new top guard, while Clark's recent comments on the artist/label relationship are consistent with what he has been saying for years - and indeed was saying even at the time Williams' last EMI deal was signed. That is that as digital distribution of music becomes the norm artists rely less on the global CD distribution networks that major record companies offer, and therefore become a less integral partner in global recording ventures - especially for those major artists who can secure initial funding from other sources like brand sponsors or venture capital types.

All the recent comments from Radiohead, McCartney and Williams/Clark really stem not from Terra Firma's arrival at EMI but from the power shift currently going on in the music industry between record labels and artists/management. To be fair to Terra Firma chief Guy Hands, his comments since arriving at EMI seem to suggest he recognises that shift more than most and is determined to introduce radical changes at the company to cope with it. Whether those changes will be successful, of course, remains to be seen.


The Council of record label trade body the BPI last week backed a 2008 budget which sees a number of cuts that will in turn enable "substantial reductions" in the subscription fees paid by the major record companies. The cuts follow those previously reported comments made by the aforementioned Guy Hands, who said he was shocked at how much the record industry spent on trade associations. However, the BPI says that moves to cut costs at the UK trade body had been in the pipeline since the summer, and were not a response to Hands' comments. Music Week quote BPI boss Geoff Taylor thus: "We're very conscious of the market situation that our member companies are facing and, in light of that, began in the summer a detailed review of the BPI budget. We have prepared a 2008 budget that includes substantial reductions in subscriptions whilst maintaining - and sometimes increasing - resources in particular areas". The subscription fees paid by indie labels will not change.


Ah, wouldn't it be a perfect ending to the year if ITV bosses were forced to admit another phone in fuck up had altered the outcome of one of their biggest phone in vote shows. We should stress ITV maintain that there were no major problems with the voting system for this weekend's 'X-Factor' final, but media regulator OfCom has announced it is looking into complaints from viewers who claim they were unable to vote for runner up Rhydian Roberts, who had been the favourite to win the contest.

About 80 people have complained to the regulator, saying their repeated attempts to make phone votes for Roberts were unsuccessful because they always got an engaged tone when they called. One viewer in the Welsh town of Llandrindod Wells told the BBC: "If you ring ten times you expect to get through - I was very cross. A lot of other people in this area said they couldn't get through. It seems to be very unfair".

Of course, it's inevitable that phone systems will struggle to cope with high demand votes, and TV bosses have pointed out that while some viewers may have got engaged tones, that problem was likely to have equally affected those voting for all contestants, so it wouldn't have actually skewed the vote. Though with Saturday's vote so close, and with the general public so aware of the all the dodgy phone ins that have gone on in recent years, especially at ITV, such arguments from TV execs won't necessarily convince aggrieved Rhydian fans.

Outrage is biggest in Wales, where Roberts harks from. So much so one Welsh radio company has announced it will boycott the debut single from the TV's show actual winner - Leon Jackson - despite it being set to be Christmas number one, because of their belief their man Roberts should have been releasing the X-Factor winner single this year. The Town & Country Broadcasting Group, who are staging the boycott, run various Welsh stations, including Bridgend's Bridge FM, Swansea Bay Radio, Radio Carmarthenshire and Radio Pembrokeshire.

TV bosses have admitted that customers calling from the Virgin Media phone network will have experienced particular problems getting through to the X-Factor vote lines. A spokeswoman told reporters yesterday: "Phone lines were monitored throughout the night and there were no issues on voting lines. Some Virgin Media customers did experience problems getting through because of high call volumes, but there were no other reported faults on the lines".

A spokesperson for Virgin Media added: "We are currently looking into the X Factor matter but so far have not found anything unusual. However, we do know that the large volume of calls meant that some viewers had to keep redialling in order to get through. This is not unusual, for any of the telephone networks, for this type of mass voting event".


Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora last week told reporters he was shocked and "really, really sorry" to hear that a fan had been paralysed after being caught up in a pushing incident in the crowd at one of the band's gigs in Canada back in July.

The incident was in the news again last week because the fan, one Dennis Schulz, has launched a lawsuit against four fellow gig goers, the gig's promoter and the venue's owner, though not the band. Schulz suffered a dislocated spinal chord and was left a quadriplegic after a man fell on him after being pushed by people involved in a fight two rows away.

Sambora was asked about the incident when the lawsuit was filed, and said he knew nothing of it until the reporter called. He told the CanWest News Service: "Our concerts have been notoriously safe throughout the years and our record is very, very good, so this is news to me". Asked if he had anything to say to Schulz, Sambora added: "Oh God, we're really, really sorry. Obviously, our record fortunately in our career has been that we've gone without incident like that, so that's a real shocker to me. Oh, man, I'm really, really sorry about that".


Country singer Chris Cagle has been accused of misdemeanor assault after he allegedly punched a fan's boyfriend in the face. The alleged assault reportedly occurred after a charity show last week when the fan got angry after Cagle refused to give her an autograph. Seemingly the fan's boyfriend got involved and that led to the alleged assault. A police spokesman has confirmed there was an incident with a fan, saying the fan "called him [Cagle] every name in the book" after being refused an autograph, adding that an unspecified "additional incident" occurred as "bouncers were escorting [the fan] and her boyfriend out of the bar". Cagle's people have confirmed an "altercation" occurred at the nightclub but say that "the situation was resolved at the venue".


Amy Winehouse's dad Mitch don't seem too impressed with his daughter's decision to hang out with that "scumbag" Pete Dohety. His description I should add. Speaking to Grazia magazine about Amy's decision to hang out with Pete since her other half Blake Fielder Civil was jailed, he said: "I do worry about people like Pete Doherty. He's a scumbag. I flipped when I saw him sitting with Amy backstage at her Brixton gig. That night I went crazy. My wife thought I was going to have a heart attack, I was apoplectic".

Commenting on the current Amy/Blake situation, he continued: "I know the real problem is she's depressed about Blake being in prison. I wasn't in favour of the marriage, but they are married and I will support them, and he's shown while he's been in prison a level of maturity that he didn't have before. I haven't seen him, but Amy says he's put on two stone and he's asking for her help to improve in a number of ways, and that's good to hear".

Elsewhere in Winehouse news, word has it the police may question the singer over her husband's alleged attempts to pervert the course of justice, mainly because he allegedly bribed a witness in an assault case he was involved in, and some wonder if Amy may have been funding that bribe, knowingly or otherwise. Gossipers are wondering if that means the singer could be implicated in some of the charges faced by Blake. A source from Scotland Yard has been quoted as saying: "We do want to talk to her about matters, particularly financial ones, which may be important in this case. It seems that in her marriage she has been the breadwinner and has kept her husband in pocket money. We have looked at their financial affairs and there are questions we'd like to ask her".


The NME has announced that those Manic Street Preachers will be presented with the Godlike Genius Award at next year's NME Awards. The band's Nicky Wire told NME: "Well I've got to say, when our manager told us about it I just genuinely felt humbled and excited. We've won four BRIT Awards, Ivor Novellos, but it's vindication. It feels like the best one because the NME is what I grew up with and for all its faults it still means a lot to me. It's so fucking brilliant, honestly. It's really made me feel fantastic".


Cold War Kids are making one of their old EPs available for free for download, which seems awfully nice of them. The six track 'Mulberry Street' EP is available via

Here's what the band's Nathan Willett has to say about the EP: "Cold War Kids recorded three, six-song EPs before releasing 'Robbers & Cowards'. The first of the three EPs is called 'Mulberry Street'. It was recorded in a day in M Wignall's garage/studio for some design job favours from [bassist Matt] Maust and sixty bucks. In between takes, Wignall would play an album over the speakers, like Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life' or Neil Young's 'After The Gold Rush', and go on long rants, pointing out sounds and talking about how good these musicians were and how we would be lucky if in ten years we could play a song anywhere near this good. We thought 'Who cares! We just want to record our songs for us!' Then he showed us how to record vocals while he went to mow the lawn".


Jack Johnson has been talking about some of the themes explored on his forthcoming album 'Sleep Through The Static', and babies seem to be a key theme. In a posting on the album, he wrote: "I also have a couple of kids. My wife popped them out, but I helped. Some of the songs on this album are about making babies. Some of the songs are about raising them. Some of the songs are about the world that these children will grow up in; a world of war and love, and hate, and time and space. Some of the songs are about saying goodbye to people I love and will miss". So there you go. The album is due out in February.


That Eddie Murphy bloke has launched a record label and his first signing is Karrine Steffans, aka Superhead, who has appeared in numerous hip hop videos, dabbled in the porn industry, and is perhaps best know for her reveal all autobiography about her liaisons with various hip hop stars. Apparently Steffans recently started rapping and her album is set to be released by Murphy Entertainment in March.


Travis have announced a bunch of gig dates for next February, after which they promise to return to the studio to start work on a sixth studio album. Here are the gig dates...

7 Feb: Brighton Concorde 2
8 Feb: Portsmouth Wedgwood Rooms
10 Feb: Cambridge Junction
11 Feb: Bristol Trinity
12 Feb: Nottingham Rescue Rooms


The Universal Music Group has resolved its legal spat with US satellite radio firm XM over its Pioneer Inno receiver.

As previously reported, the major record companies weren't too happy with the Inno device because it enables listeners to XM's music services to store tracks that have been played on the radio service in the device, and play them back on demand like an MP3 player. The labels argued that such a facility meant XM was in essence providing a download service, which wasn't covered by their broadcast licence. XM initially tried to have the case against them dismissed, arguing their service was protected under the 1992 US Audio Home Recording Act, but the courts disagreed and let the litigation continue. The legal wrangling has thus continued for much of the year.

The specifics of the deal between Universal and XM are not known, though it is known the deal relates not just to the Inno device, but to any device that offers a similar track storage system. XM remains in talks with the other major record companies and says it hopes to reach similar deals with them in the near future.


More ie:music news, and the London based management firm has announce a deal with London Calling, a newish sync rights agency (not to be confused with London Calling the music industry convention, or London Calling the flyer distribution company, or 'London Calling' the Clash album, or 'London Calling' the documentary about the World Service that was on BBC 2 last night).

London Calling has been set up for Tracie London-Rowell, former Director Of Film & TV at Universal Music, and aims to represent artists, managers, labels and publishers looking for opportunities in the mad bad world of TV, film and advertising music synchronisation. The deal with ie means London-Rowell will represent all of their artists in that space.

ie:music chief Tim Clark told CMU: "We are delighted to be working with Tracie and her new venture. She is someone we have always admired and as we are employing her expertise in the sync field on a non-exclusive basis her work will perfectly augment and compliment that of our artist's existing music publishers".

London-Rowell adds: "With a line up including Craig Armstrong, Robbie Williams, Passenger and Sia to name but a few, I am very excited about working with ie and am confident that this will be a hugely successful partnership. I couldn't have wished for a more perfect roster to start working with than ie".


A government commissioned report on grass roots live music in the UK has found that the number of small venues staging music performances is down 5% since the introduction of previously reported new licensing rules that stemmed from the 2003 Licensing Act.

The catchily titled 'Survey Of Live Music In England And Wales In 2007' found that 42% of so called 'secondary music venues' (where live performance is an add on rather than a core part of the business, eg pubs and cafes) had staged music events in the last year, compared to 47% in a similar survey in 2004, before the new rules came into effect. 15% of those venues regularly staged music events this year, compared to 19% in 2004.

This confirms conclusions already held by many in the grass roots music community regarding the impact of the new rules, but contradicts earlier government reports which suggested that the 2003 Licensing Act had had no effect, or a positive effect, on grass roots live music. That said, the report argues that the decline in gigs at secondary venues is actually down to commercial factors - possibly the growth of competition from the primary music venues - rather than venue owners rejecting live music because of the extra bureaucracy introduced by the new licensing rules. The report's authors say anecdotal evidence from venues who staged less music this year suggests that is so.

Nevertheless, Don Foster of the Liberal Democrats, a regular critic of the new licensing arrangement, told CMU: "This survey provides the clearest indication yet that the explosion in live music promised by the Government clearly has not happened. The Liberal Democrats repeatedly warned that the Licensing Act was a missed opportunity for live music. While a range of factors have contributed to this decrease, there is no doubt that the Licensing Act has dealt a serious blow to the growth of live music in this country".

Despite the official line re the decline of music at secondary venues, Culture Minister James Purnell admitted he was disappointed the grass roots music sector seemed to be declining rather than growing, telling reporters: "The live music industry is clearly booming but there hasn't yet been the increase in live music in small venues such as restaurants that we had hoped for. I want to do everything we can to support live music. To help ensure that, we will explore exemptions for some venues. Clearly we'd only be looking at exemptions for events that don't cause public nuisance or compromise public safety, [bit] nurturing young bands and artists and making sure they have a place to play is absolutely essential".


Elsewhere in James Purnell trying to rescue live music news, the Culture Minister's department has said it will work with the Major Of London's office to try and ensure upcoming closures of music venues in the capital do not have too negative an impact on the city's live music scene.

The Department Of Culture, Media & Sport was responding to concerns expressed by some that London is set to lose some of its key mid-size music venues. The Hammersmith Palais closed earlier this year; the future of the Astoria remains uncertain because of the redevelopment of the Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street junction to accommodate a new Crossrail railway station; and the Electric Ballroom could be under threat because of redevelopment around Camden Town station.

A spokesman for the DCMS said this week that it would work with the Mayor's office "to see what can be done to ensure key music venues are not closed down in London and, if they are, to explore how suitable replacements can be provided".


Publishing firm Hachette Filipacchi has launched a new social networking service, which includes a social bookmarking tool, whatever that is, to go alongside its teen magazine Sugar. They plan to release widgets that integrate the Sugar networking service with MySpace and Bebo.

Confirming the launch of, Hachette Filipacchi UK Digital Director, Dave Killeen told Press Gazette: "Sugar readers use the web extensively. We're making the most of that by letting our readers tell each other what they find most interesting online. The end result will be a social sushi-belt of pointers to and comments on the most popular content from around the web". Hmm, a social sushi-belt, interesting.

On the decision to integrate the service with other social networking platforms, Killeen continued: "It's very much about slicing and dicing your brand and putting it in various places across the web rather than just building one destination site. With this audience in particular, we really have to be everywhere and anywhere, really. So we're building various web apps that don't just sit on Sugarscape, but right around the web".

The new online service will co-exist with the teen mag's existing editorial led website at


Music Week publisher CMP Information has reported "particularly positive" trading results for the second half of the year, according to the Press Gazette. Hopefully that will compensate for sister company CMP Medica, which publishes journals for the medical and pharmaceutical professions, and which has seen like-for-like revenues and profits fall this year. Commenting on the financial performance of the various CMP companies, the Deputy Financial Officer of their parent company UBM, Andrew Crow, was upbeat, adding that a major restructuring programme was already underway that should have a positive impact on those parts of its publishing businesses that were currently performing less well.


The Century FM stations, acquired by the Guardian's radio firm GMG Radio off GCap last year, will rebrand as Century Radio at the start of the New Year. That might not sound like much of a rebrand - and radio anoraks will point out that Century Radio was the stations' original name anyway - but at the same time the station's logo and on air branding will be rejigged so to fall in line with GMG Radio's Real Radio network, essentially making the Century stations North West and North East outposts of that network. The closer alliance of the Century and Real Radio brands shouldn't have any great impact on output though, given that both were originally created by GMG Radio chief John Myers to a similar mold.


Global Radio's Galaxy station in Manchester has been found to have been in breach of media regulator OfCom's rules when it accidentally broadcast a conversation between two unknown staff members, one of whom could be heard saying "...I reckon every spacker in Manchester could go to Toys R Us, meanwhile I'm having to walk fucking miles with me kids in the rain".

The conversation somehow got on to the tape of pre-recorded edition of the station's Rob Ellis show, and was aired during Saturday afternoon. An apology was made the following week but OfCom argued that was too little too late. It said the comments broadcast would be "very offensive to most people", and that the apology should have been more specific as to what was being apologised for, and should have been aired as soon as possible after the offending conversation was broadcast.

Galaxy bosses, while accepting the remarks should never have been broadcast, argued that it was hard to issue immediate apologies on pre-recorded shows, but OfCom said that trained staff should be onsite when pre-recorded programmes are being aired who can interrupt said programmes if required and "ensure full compliance with [Ofcom's broadcasting] code".


Danny Baker has pulled the podcast radio show service he launched earlier this year after falling out with download firm Wippit, who distributed the show. Baker offered an 'All Day Breakfast Show' and football based programme via podcast - initially it was a free service but was commercialised earlier this year so that listeners paid a £2 weekly fee. Baker said he was pulling the service because of an "irreversible and utter breakdown" between his team and Wippit management. A spokesman for the presenter said that he was now in talks with other web firms about relaunching the service.

Wippit chief Paul Myers says the dispute was over the download firm's exclusive rights to distribute the show. He told reporters: "Unfortunately the 'All Day Breakfast Show' has ceased to be due to a breakdown in contract negotiations between our company and Danny Baker. Mr Baker did not wish to meet his agreed obligations regarding exclusivity and the new terms proposed by his agent were not acceptable to Wippit. Last week Wippit offered Mr Baker 100% of 'ADBS' revenues and declared no further interest in the podcast, but this offer was rejected by Baker's agent. With the exception of 'ADBS' and Baker and Kelly [the football podcast] none of the other seven podcasts produced by Wippit are affected".


One from the "idiots" file now. Led Zeppelin fans are reportedly paying up to £125 for souvenir ticket stubs from the band's recent reunion gig at The O2. The now redundant pieces of paper are apparently being sold on eBay for the same price as the actual ticket itself. One fan posting about the resale of the ticket stubs, Tony McLearie, has said he saw touts paying £20 for used tickets and wristbands from the gig, presumably predicting their value on the auction sites. He writes: "It was bizarre - now I know why. But there's no way I'd sell [mine], no matter how much I was offered".


Rihanna has denied rumours she has hooked up with actor Josh Hartnett. The chart topper has told Allure magazine: "This is what really happened. He and my management, they have each other's contact information. I went to [the New York club] Pink Elephant, and he came by. All of a sudden, the next day, I'm seeing that we were kissing and hugging up each other. You can't even go out with a friend who's a celebrity and have a good time without people making shit up". Though she admits there are worse made up rumours to be going around about you, adding: "Well, at least he's good-looking, right?"

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