CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 15th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Brits nominations announced
- Hands delivers his vision
- Galbraith announces new live music venture
- Pepsi confirm details of US MP3 giveaway
- ERA welcome DRM-free era (and urge fast UK expansion)
- Fantasma founder dies
- Britney denied access to kids some more
- Mary J Blige denies steroid allegations
- Love loves Scarlett
- Fall Out Boy dig Oasis
- More Jackson live rumours
- Outkast to tackle ballet
- New Ting Tings single
- Album Review: Grand National - A Drink And A Quick Decision
- Mama announce Forum plans
- Universal cut Canadian team
- Canadian courts overturn iPod tax, CPCC may appeal
- GCap / Global Radio merger still a story
- Forces radio added to digital network
- OfCom ticks off BBC
- Allen's baby bitterness
- Brits nominations in full


So, 2000 jobs are to go at EMI, labels will be restructured, and sales and marketing will be merged into one uber-department. It seems there is very little in Guy Hand's vision speech to his staff, delivered first thing this morning, that wasn't circulating on the grapevine yesterday afternoon. But what does this mean - except that it's not a good morning to be an EMI staffer or niche artist?

Well, it's hard to say. Hands says he wants to make EMI "the world's most innovative, artist friendly and consumer-focused music company". But it's not clear if the clear out proposed this morning is his entire plan for achieving that, or whether it is the starting point of a grander plan.

Since taking control at EMI, Hands has correctly identified most of the problems that exist in the record industry, and the weaknesses with the traditional record company business model in the digital age. And he has alluded at the need for the major to better utilise its artist relationships and catalogue of recordings over and above the traditional CD release model (and its digital equivalent). On all those points Hands has been right, and, in deed, has invariably echoed concerns raised by various people within the wider music industry for sometime now.

But how to overcome those problems and address those weaknesses? Yes, there is duplication of work in any major record company. Yes, the workforce and roster can be streamlined to deliver short term savings. But that strategy is neither new (every major has done it at somepoint, if not quite so drastically), nor the long term solution to the record industry's problems. And such a severe cull has risks - you could lose the people who have those artist relationships, or who understand the catalogue, or the currently under-performing artists who are about to record the biggest album of the year.

That said, EMI does need to change to survive, to diversify, and expand its internal skills set. And, as horrible as it may be, that generally means cutting back on those with old school record label skills, and bringing in other talent from outside. Is this stage one of Hands' plan for diversification, for reinventing the record company model? Or is it an attempt to boost profitability in the short term in order to enable a swift sale at profit in four years time? I wasn't there for Hands' vision speech, of course, but from what I can see all of that is still a bit of an unknown.

Will Hands succeed in boosting EMI's short term profitability? Probably. Will he mastermind the future business model of the record industry? Jury's out. Things are still very interesting at EMI today, though you have to feel sorry for the people who work there.



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As yesterday's Sebastian Tellier SNAP suggested that, on the basis of his new single, 'Sexual Sportswear', the French DJ could have one of the electronic albums of the year in the pipeline here's another blast of hyperbole for you, with a tip that Bullet For My Valentine could well be running away with the commercial metal (or 'metal core' if you care for the press release) album of the year already. Yep, I'm laying my head on the line early for their second album, 'Scream Aim Fire', which, unlike Tellier's, I've actually heard, which is always a plus. It's a ball-busting affair, laden with power chords, the ubiquitous shouty bits and then some more tender songs, though they include the shouty bits too. The first single, also called 'Scream Aim Fire', is already running its course so it must only be weeks before they release standout track 'Hearts Burst Into Fire', a song that should put them up there with the Metallicas of this world. Or something like that. Go get updated on all things BFMV here.


So, let's start with the fun stuff shall we? The nominations for the 2008 Brit Awards were announced at a bash at the Roundhouse over there in Camden last night, with Kelly Osbourne and that Reggie Yates fella leading the proceedings.

Nominations wise, and perhaps no surprise that it was a good night for Mika and Leona Lewis, and also for old timers Take That. Each get four nominations a piece - Mika for Best Male, Best Breakthrough, Best Album for 'Life In Cartoon Motion' and Best Single for 'Grace Kelly'; Leona Lewis for Best Female, Best Breakthrough, Best Album for 'Spirit' and Best Single for 'Bleeding Love'; and the Take That guys for Best Group, Best Live Act, Best Album for 'Beautiful World' and Best Single for 'Shine'.

As previously reported, Paul McCartney will get the lifetime's achievement gong this time round, so no surprises he is booked to play at the actual awards on 20 Feb. Also on the bill will be Kaiser Chiefs, Kylie Minogue, Mark Ronson, Leona Lewis, Mika and that Rihanna chick.

Ahead of the official nominations being released, SonyBMG top man Ged Doherty, though wearing his hat as Chairman of the BRITs Committee, told CMU: "One of the best ways in which the British music industry will meet the challenges it currently faces is with the continued development of great new British acts. The 2008 BRITs nominee list is certainly proof it is delivering these acts - there is some amazing talent here".

Meanwhile Geoff Taylor of the UK record label trade body the BPI, who are behind the annual award's bash, of course, said: "To receive a BRIT nomination means that the BRIT Academy, more than 1000 experts from across the breadth of the media and music business, have recognised you as one of the best artists of the last year. Nominees recognise this as a huge accolade. Creatively, British music is in a rich vein of form as reflected in these nominations. Because of the outstanding talent in each category, I think people will be hard-pressed to pick who will win a BRIT on the night. All we can guarantee is that it will be a must-watch show on the 20th of February".

The official nominations bash was preceded by a gathering of members of the Brits Academy - the people that vote. That soiree was an attempt to show the range of people who actually vote in the British record industry's annual awards bash, ie that it's not just a carve up by top record label bosses, and the majority of the voters come from other parts of the music business and the media, rather than the record labels who stand to win.

The full list of nominees is at the bottom's of today's CMU Daily. You'll get press info, should you need it, from LD Publicity, or Scream Promotions if you're one of those TV/radio types. Anything else I should mention? Oh yes, the Brits is sponsored by Mastercard and raises money for the British Record Industry Trust. Wouldn't want Guy Hands thinking this is another cash guzzling extravagance bank rolled by the record companies.


And so back to Guy Hands, and EMI, and the pending roster/label/jobs cull.

According to Music Week, the EMI boss has confirmed that the much reported rumour that 2000 jobs will go at the major is true. He has also confirmed reports that sales, marketing and distribution will be merged into a single division, while A&R teams can also expect to be integrated. Hands says that the changes will be introduced over a three month period, that many of them have come from internal proposals, and that the all new EMI will be "the world's most innovative, artist friendly and consumer-focused music company".

Music Week quote the EMI chief thus: "We have spent a long time looking intensely at EMI and the problems faced by its recorded music division which, like the rest of the music industry, has been struggling to respond to the challenges posed by a digital environment. We believe we have devised a new revolutionary structure for the group that will improve every area of the business. In short it will make EMI's music more valuable for the company and its artists alike. The changes we are announcing today will ensure that this iconic company will be creating wonderful music in a way that is profitable and sustainable".

PS: Some in the financial press are speculating that Hands has opted for more severe cuts than originally planned because he is under pressure to pay back the £2 billion he borrowed from Citygroup to help finance his EMI acquisition. Citigroup themselves are going through tricky times, and are reportedly about to announce their own job cuts, which could surpass 20,000. Still, they're bankers, so, probably had it coming.


The former boss of Live Nation UK, Staurt Galbraith, yesterday announced his new business venture, a new live music and festival promotions firm to be called Kilimanjaro Live. As expected, the new venture is a JV with Live Nation's primary competitors AEG Live, though it will operate independently from the AEG conglom.

Commenting on the new company, Galbraith told CMU: "It's a 'best of both worlds' situation. We are a boutique promoter, we can be nimble and flexible. But the main investor is AEG and we can call on a global resource if we need to. We will have all the expertise and depth of resources of the big players but we can react quickly, concentrating on a select group of artists, both large and small, and really maximising their potential".

He continued: "I'm glad I'm in the live industry, the market is so strong and I'm really pleased to be an independent rather than continuing to work within the constraints of a large public company. For the first time in my career, I now have the opportunity to build a promoting company that can really focus on delivering a highly personalised service for both our artists and customers".

Kilimanjaro, which I'm really going to have to learn how to spell without checking if these guys are going to be as proactive as they indicate, will have three main areas of business - festivals, large scale tours and new talent.

In the former domain, Kilimanjaro has gained a controlling interest in North Wales music festival Wakestock and will launch a sister festival at Blenheim palace this summer. In the major artist area, an Eagles O2 residency and KD Lang tour have just been announced, and a Simply Red tour will follow. Details of the new talent are tbc, with promoters expected to be recruited with particular skills in that domain.

Concluding, Galbraith adds: "I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in October. It took 12 days, this company has taken 23 years to get started [the time Galbraith has been operating in the live sector, mainly for Live Nation and its forerunners]! The name sounded like a good idea at the time but it does represent the challenges in the live music industry. The relationships forged in the next 18 months will shape how the live industry operates for the next decade. There are huge and exciting challenges ahead from dealing with the secondary ticketing market to harnessing the huge popularity of live music and festivals. With Kilimanjaro, we are in the best position to face these issues head on and make the difference for our artists".

As previously reported, Galbraith departed from Live Nation somewhat abruptly last year, seemingly after management their found out about his JV discussions with rivals AEG.


Pepsi and Amazon have officially announced their major US MP3 giveaway promotion which will launch during the Super Bowl next month.

The promotion, to be called Pepsi Stuff, will appear on four billion Pepsi bottles and multi-packs, and will allow drinkers to collect points that will give them free downloads via Amazon's previously reported DRM-free digital music service. Although designed to launch Amazon's download offer, the points will also be redeemable on other goods sold by the e-commerce site. In terms of downloads, users will be choose from music from EMI, Warner and SonyBMG, and a load of independents. As previously reported, although Universal are signed up to Amazon's DRM-free music service, they have chosen not to participate in the Pepsi promotion.

The promotion, which will be launched with an advertising campaign featuring Justin Timberlake, echoes a similar promotion undertaken by the drinks brand with Apple's iTunes four years ago. Amazon are keen, of course, to position themselves as a serious rival to the market leader download store, their offer benefiting from [a] being able to offer DRM-free music from all four majors (Universal, in particular, have not offered DRM-free to Apple as yet) and [b] offering DRM free music in the more popular and totally device agnostic MP3 rather than Apple's AAC which, while arguably a better sound format, is not as adaptable as MP3.


Talking of DRM-free music, the UK's Entertainment Retailers Association has welcomed the announcement last week that SonyBMG was signing up to the DRM-free revolution, meaning all record companies are now making their digital catalogues available without digital rights management technology.

ERA became a vocal advocate of DRM-free music last year, believing that the unpopularity of DRM and the issues regarding device interoperability attached to DRM were holding back the growth of the digital music market (not the mention stopping their online members from competing with market leader Apple, who have the monopoly when it comes to selling DRMed music compatible with the dominant iPod).

Commenting on the recent industry-wide embracing of DRM-free music, ERA Director General Kim Bayley told CMU: "SonyBMG's decision to back MP3 is great news for music fans and the music market. DRM has clearly hampered the growth of the download market. The success of the compact disc was based on the fact that every CD played in every CD player. It has been clear that downloads could never reach their true potential until they were available on a universally-compatible open format. We welcome SonyBMG's recognition of this fact".

Of course recent announcements by SonyBMG and Warner that they were signing up to Amazon's MP3 platform were restricted to the US - Amazon's digital music service currently being only available in North America. With that in mind, Bayley called on the majors to go DRM-free in the UK as soon as possible, adding: "Now that the principle has been established that MP3 is the way forward, it is vital that UK music fans do not get left behind. We are on the verge of a great boom in download sales, but this can only happen if the music is available".


US concert promoter Jon Stoll has died after a period of health problems in a Florida hospital, aged 54. Stoll had a long career in live music, first staging concerts in his teens. He founded Fantasma Productions, which became and remains a significant independent promoter in the US live business, staging concerts across the country, and especially in Southern US cities, working with artists like Harry Connick Jr, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. He was a vocal member of the wider live industry, and a former president of the US' National Association Of Concert Promoters.

Paying tribute to the Stoll, another US independent promoter, Arny Granat of Jam Productions in Chicago, told Billboard: "Jon Stoll was a believer. He was a man of conviction, vision and integrity. He had personality. He had soul".


More Britney everybody. As expected, the LA courts yesterday reconsidered the custody arrangement regarding the children of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, after that emergency decision to give the latter total custody after the former's slightly loopy episode earlier this month where she refused to hand over her sons after one of her thrice weekly sessions with them.

It had been thought this may be an open session, but the media were asked to leave before the proceedings began. Britney herself also wasn't in attendance, she being seen around the court house and at one point in the court house, but never actually taking part in the hearing. It's not clear why that was.

Either way, it was not a great day for Britney. After hearing testimonies from two of the police officers called to the mini-siege at Britney's house when she refused to give up the children, as well as the thoughts of the court-appointed official monitoring the situation and a parent coach who has been working with both Spears and the Fed, Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon decided to refuse Spears any access to her sons until at least 19 Feb.

Federline's lawyers welcomed the ruling, telling reporters: "The word victory is not something Mr Federline or his counsel would ascribe to this. There is no joy. This is a grave situation for all". He added that he thought Gordon had reached the right decision regarding custody, but added that his client's "goal, his hope for the future, is at some point he will be able to parent the children with the participation of their mother".


It's not often music reporting centres on the taking of performance enhancing drugs of the steroid kind, but a number of musicians are facing allegations of using possibly illegal steroids this weekend following a report in a US newspaper.

The Times Union of Albany made various allegations regarding the taking (or, at least, acquiring) of steroids in the music world. The report stemmed from an investigation by Albany District Attorney P David Soares into the sale and distribution of illegal steroids in the US. Although the investigation is primarily concerned with those who supply the drugs, sources told The Times Union that among the famous names alleged to have bought them were Mary J Blige, 50 Cent, Timbaland and Wyclef Jean.

It's not clear if those artists would be guilty of any crimes if they had, indeed, taken the steroids, and Soares' department has not commented on the newspaper report. Few of those named in it have commented either, though a spokesman for Blige denied the allegations yesterday.

The paper alleged Blige had ordered the human growth hormone Jentropin and Oxandrolone, an anabolic steroid, and that they were delivered to her at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But her spokeswoman, Karynne Tencer, told reporters: "Mary J Blige has never taken any performance enhancing illegal steroids, or any anti-aging steroids".

Steroids are, of course, a much bigger issue in the sports industry, and in the US the most recent scandal centred on the baseball sector, after former Senator George Mitchell released a report about the supply of performance-enhancing drugs at the New York Mets.


Former Hole leading lady Courtney Love has apparently already handpicked the actors she wants to play her and Kurt Cobain in a film adaptation of the Nirvana story, which is being based on Charles Cross's 'Heavier Than Heaven' biography. Unsurprisingly, Love has gone straight to the top of the Hollywood tree in choosing her ideal stars for the roles, earmarking Scarlett Johannson to play her and Ryan Gosling in the role of Kurt. Daily Mirror 'sources' told the paper that the film would cost around £30 million and would be "explosive", though we're not sure whether that was a joke made in bad taste or not yet.


Now, here's something I hasn't previously predicted: a Fall Out Boy album that sounds like Oasis. Of course we haven't heard it yet, so it may turn out to sound nothing like the Gallaghers, but it seems if FOB bassist Pete Wentz has his way with his bandmates then we could be hearing the first radical shift from emo rock (see tight jeans, make-up and 'The Goonies') to lad rock (see head-butting, Fred Perry's and 'Trainspotting').

Speaking to MTV News, Wentz said: "I think the one aspect we're bringing to the record is something Oasis did a lot, where they play these really distorted, awesome riffs, and they'd have an acoustic guitar over the entire song. It kind of brings this great sense of melody and softness to a song that would otherwise just totally be a rock song. And I want to go in a completely different direction with the lyrics, but we'll see if that happens".


Something of an ongoing story, this one, with yet more hints that Michael Jackson will engage on some live music shenanigans to pay off spiraling debts, said to be around £150 million. Reports, of course, have been suggesting for a while now that the King Of Pop could return for a selection of live dates - wildly rumoured to include a month-long residency at London's O2 - around the time of the 25th anniversary re-release of his classic album 'Thriller', a special edition of which includes a number of re-workings of tracks by artists like Kanye West and who, incidentally, is apparently working with Jacko on new material. Should he sign up for the O2 deal then it's estimated he would stand to make around £15 million, which isn't bad for a month's work at all. Though only a drop in that £150 million ocean.


I've always said that "you never know what Outkast will do next, they might even try ballet", and whadda-you-know but they've only gone and done just that with Big Boi revealing that he will be contributing to a ballet production in his home city of Atlanta called 'Big'.

The idea is that he'll score original tracks amongst Outkast hits and other material for the show, which begins a six-week run in April this year. Rumours suggest that in addition to his musical involvement, the rapper will also be performing onstage with another dancer called Little Big. And if all this sounds like we're making it up, here's a quote from the big man himself: "I've dated a couple of ballerinas. But I was like, 'That sounds kind of dope - let's crank it up'".


BBC Sound Of 2008 hotly-tipped types The Ting Tings have announced the release of a new single, titled 'Great DJ', for 3 Mar. The Manchester duo already have one release to their name, of course, the irrepressibly catchy 'You Know My Name', and will precede the second single release by appearing on the annual indie jaunt that is the NME Awards Tour.

That tour, as we've surely already told you, this year also features The Cribs, Babyshambles' touring partners Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong and Does it Offend You, Yeah? - which must make it the most ridiculous looking line-up (by band name anyway) since, well, ever.

Catch The Ting Tings at the dates below and get a free download of 'Great DJ' for a limited time from 26 Jan by following this link:

29 Jan: Belfast Mandela Hall
30 Jan: Dublin Ambassador Theatre
1 Feb: Glasgow Barrowland
2 Feb: Manchester Academy
3 Feb: Newcastle Carling Academy
4 Feb: Lincoln Engine Shed
6 Feb: Birmingham Carling Academy
7 Feb: Liverpool University
8 Feb: Leeds University
9 Feb: Leeds University
11 Feb: Sheffield Octagon
12 Feb: Nottingham Rock City
13 Feb: Norwich UEA
15 Feb: Cambridge Corn Exchange
16 Feb: Leicester University
17 Feb: Oxford Carling Academy
19 Feb: Bristol Carling Academy
20 Feb: Cardiff University
21 Feb: Portsmouth Pyramid
22 Feb: London Brixton Academy


ALBUM REVIEW: Grand National - A Drink And A Quick Decision (Sunday Best)
They're funny buggers, Grand National. Too many synths to be indie, too many guitars to be electro-pop. Too upbeat to be downtempo, but too mellow to dance to. Still, the pigeonholer's loss is our gain, as GN's typically eclectic second (or 'sophomore', for our American readers) album is no real giant leap forward from their debut (and a CMU favourite) 'Kicking The National Habit', more a consolidation of a sound and vibe that worked very well on their debut, thank you very much. (And just like the first album, there's a pair of ladies legs dominating the front cover. What's all that about eh lads?) The songwriting is still impeccable for the most part, with the likes of 'Animal Sounds' and 'Cut By The Brakes' being nigh on perfect blissful sunset pop, whilst the rest is very much a winning combination of chiming pianos, fierce synths, shuffling beats, new wavey guitars and laidback vocals. They even indulge their Calypso/ska/reggae side now and then too (see: 'Going To Switch The Lights On'), although mange to sound resoundingly British while doing so. There's a myriad of skewed influences at hand (New Order? The Police?), but Grand National don't really sound like anyone else, and remain one of the few bands in hoc to the early 80s who actually still sound fresh and exciting. Another fine effort, then. MS
Release date: 18 Feb
Press contact: Trailer


The MAMA Group yesterday announced its plans for revamping London's The Forum venue, which it acquired from Mean Fiddler last year. It made its plans public after gaining planning permission for the rework.

In a statement, MAMA told reporters: "The aim of this ambitious project is to increase the maximum capacity to 2350 for live events and introduce a fully seated format. All of this takes place against the backdrop of a complete refurbishment of both the customer and artists facilities. The project will take place in two phases and is scheduled for completion in March".

Meanwhile Steve Forster of VMS Live, who are overseeing the project, told CMU: "We look forward to welcoming audiences and artists back to The Forum in February and we are sure they will have an all together more positive experience at the venue. The venue was, not too long ago, the first pencil on any artist's London itinerary, but in recent years this has not been the case. In preparing our plans for The Forum we have tried to look at every aspect of the operation, from both the client and customer perspective, delivering improvements at every opportunity. What we will deliver at the end of this process is a 21st century facility that will rightly takes its place as London's premier 2000+ capacity venue, as well as offering a fully seated format and diversifying the range of events that we can stage".


Not sure it will make anyone at EMI feel any better, but the London based major isn't the only record company with job cuts still on the agenda. Universal Music Canada lost nineteen of its staff on Friday, as the major adapts to cope with declining CD sales in the country. The cuts were primarily in admin, though two senior VPs, Sarah Norris and Steve Cranwell, were also axed.


Staying in Canada, and Canadian collecting society Canadian Private Copying Collective has said it may appeal a court ruling made last week that blocked the introduction of the so called iPod tax in the country - ie to extend the copyright levy that exists in Canada on the sale of blank cassettes and CDRs to digital music players.

As previously reported, such a copyright levy does not exist in the UK, where the private copying of recordings that the levy legitimises is technically speaking illegal. Moves are afoot to change UK copyright law so that making personal copies of music is no longer illegal (mainly because everyone makes such copies anyway), leading to some who favour the levy system to suggest it should be introduced here at the same time. But copyright levies are even more controversial than ever, because cassette and CDR sales are in decline, leading to suggestions, as in Canada, that the levy should be added to digital music players as well. But the iPod tax has many critics, not least the influential electronics manufacturers and retailers who make and sell the digital music players, who argue it isn't as certain as with CDRs and cassettes that an MP3 player will be used for making personal private copies of CDs.

The CPCC has been a strong advocate of an iPod tax in Canada, and last July persuaded the Canadian Copyright Board that it should be introduced. But the matter went to the Court Of Appeal at the bequest of key retailers, and that court ruled last week that the Copyright Board had "erred in law when it concluded that it has the legal authority to certify the tariff".

Responding to that ruling, CPCC spokesman David Basskin told reporters: "The CPCC sought a levy on iPods and other MP3 players because they are used extensively for the purpose of copying recorded music and because the vast majority of the copying is not authorized. In the absence of a levy, no one who is involved in the creation of the music receives any remuneration when their music is copied without their approval. The CPCC is understandably disappointed with the Federal Court of Appeal's decision and will be considering its options".

It should be noted that the Canadian Recording Industry Association does not back the levy proposals.


Interesting developments in radio land where there are reports that some of GCap's shareholders are angry that the radio firm knocked back a takeover approach from Global Radio.

As previously reported, GCap's management said that their young rival's offer for the company was simply not high enough, and that shareholders should allow recently appointed CEO Fru Hazlitt to put her strategy for developing the company in place before accepting any takeover approaches; Hazlitt's changes, they reckon, will increase the value of the firm.

However, some of the group's shareholders are said to feel a merger of GCap and Global is a desirable option; possibly of the opinion that there is no point wasting time on a GCap restructure when a merger of some sort is, arguably, inevitable, and will be followed by yet another restructure. Whether they will go behind their board's back to engineer such a merger, and whether Global would contemplate that kind of manoeuvre, remains to be seen.


BFBS Radio, one of the radio services operated by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, will be added to the Digital One national commercial digital radio multiplex on a trial basis. The music based service is aimed at both service personnel and their families, and the idea of having it on the national digital radio network is that many of those people are actually UK based.

Station controller Charles Foster told reporters: "Our overseas programmes remain a priority for BFBS Radio. But the majority of servicemen and women now have their home base in the United Kingdom, even if they are on regular deployment to operational areas. Our new DAB digital radio service means they'll always be able to keep in touch with family and friends back in the UK wherever they are in the world".

Digital One chief executive Quentin Howard added: "We are delighted to be helping to connect British Forces personnel, their families and other listeners across the country who may share past and present links with the Forces. If this trial proves popular and successful we would hope to be able to make the service permanent".

It is not clear how long the trial is expected to last.


More competition-related naughtiness from the BBC has been revealed with the announcement that broadcasting watchdog OfCom has rapped the broadcaster over a competition involving CMU favourites Mcfly.

Regional news show 'North West Tonight' announced the prize of the pop band performing at a school anywhere in the North West as part of a Comic Relief contest last February, only to find out at a later date that the band were only able to visit a school in the Greater Manchester area as a result of a packed schedule. Unfortunately having realised the misunderstanding, BBC staff decided that instead of coming clean about the issue they would instead secretly prevent any school from the other areas winning the prize, removing all such votes from the running.

Called into to investigate the competition, those Ofcom types commented that the BBC "was unfair to those viewers who entered [from outside Greater Manchester]... on the basis that they had a fair and equal chance of winning it when, in fact, due to the location of their school, they had no chance of winning". The industry body continued: "Ofcom considers that the BBC should have made it clear to its viewers before the competition was closed that it was not going to be possible to honour the original terms and conditions of the competition".

On the plus side for the BBC, Ofcom did note that given the free nature of the competition only "limited harm" was done to viewers, presumably meaning it didn't leave them out of pocket like many of the other dodgy phone ins of recent times.

All the same, the BBC had this to say about the whole debacle: "'North West Tonight' launched this competition in good faith for all its viewers. We later discovered that McFly's schedule meant they could only visit a school within the Greater Manchester area. We should have told viewers that we had changed the rules, but we didn't. We would like to apologise to all our viewers for this error".


Proving sibling rivalry is well and truly alive in c'leb land, Alfie Allen has spilled the proverbial beans on Lily Allen's behaviour at home since announcing her pregnancy. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the acting hopeful said: "She's at home in bed and everyone is running around after her. Mind you, you have to look after Lily even if she isn't pregnant".



Jamie T (EMI/Virgin)
Mark Ronson (SonyBMG/Columbia)
Mika (Universal/Casablanca)
Newton Faulkner (SonyBMG/Ugly Truth)
Richard Hawley (EMI/Mute)

Bat For Lashes (EMI/Parolphone/Echo)
Kate Nash (Universal/Fiction)
Kt Tunstall (EMI/Relenteless)
Leona Lewis (SonyBMG/SyCo)
Pj Harvey (Universal/Island)

Arctic Monkeys (Domino Recordings)
Editors (SonyBMG/Kitchenware)
Girls Aloud (Universal/Polydor)
Kaiser Chiefs (Universal/Polydor/B-Unique)
Take That (Universal/Polydor)

Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino)
Leona Lewis - Spirit (SonyBMG/SyCo)
Mark Ronson - Version (SonyBMG/Columbia)
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion (Universal/Casablanca)
Take That - Beautiful World (Universal/Polydor)

(Top five selected by The Academy, winner chosen By Radio 1 Listeners)
Bat For Lashes (EMI/Parlophone/Echo)
Kate Nash (Universal/Fiction)
Klaxons (Universal/Rinse)
Leona Lewis (SonyBMG/SyCo)
Mika (Universal/Casablanca)

Nominees chosen by special panel, winner chosen by Radio 2 listeners.
Arctic Monkeys (Domino)
Kaiser Chiefs (Universal/Polydor/B-Unique)
Klaxons (Universal/Rinse)
Muse /Helium 3 (Warner)
Take That (Universal/Polydor)

Nominees voted for by commercial radio listeners and Sun readers, winner chosen by live vote on night.
Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love (SonyBMG/SyCo)
Mika - Grace Kelly (Universal/Casablanca)
Take That - Shine (Universal/Polydor)
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby (Universal/Polydor/B-Unique)
Sugababes - About You Now (Universal/Island)
Mark Ronson Ft Amy Winehouse - Valerie (SonyBMG/Columbia)
Kate Nash - Foundations /(Universal/Fiction)
The Hoosiers - Worried About Ray (SonyBMG/RCA)
James Blunt - 1973 (Warner/Custard)
Mutya Buena - Real Girl (Universal/Broadway)

Bruce Springsteen (SonyBMG/Columbia)
Kanye West (Universal/Roc-A-Fella)
Michael Buble (Warner/Reprise)
Rufus Wainwright (Universal/Geffen)
Timbaland (Universal/Interscope)

Alicia Keys (SonyBMG)
Bjork (One Little Indian)
Feist /(Universal/Polydor)
Kylie Minogue (EMI/Parlophone)
Rihanna (Universal/Def Jam)

Arcade Fire (Merge)
Eagles (Universal/Polydor)
Foo Fighters (SonyBMG/RCA)
Kings Of Leon (SonyBMG/Hand Me Down)
White Stripes (Beggars/XL)

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (Merge)
Eagles - Long Road Out Of Eden (Universal/Polydor)
Foo Fighters - Echoes Silence Patience & Grace (SonyBMG/RCA)
Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times (SonyBMG/Hand Me Down)
Kylie Minogue - X (EMI/Parlophone)

Adele (Beggars/XL)

Sir Paul Mccartney

** = Voted For By The Brits Academy

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