CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 24th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Warner Music sue MP3 search engine
- Last.fm launch music preview jukebox
- Majors will watermark DRM-free MP3s
- Lil Wayne arrested
- Busta Rhymes avoids jail through plea deal
- Winehouse investigated
- Britney not in court
- Former EMI MOR head dies
- Yazoo reform for tour
- Dirty Pretty chat
- Recording studio with history, for sale
- Welcome to Warmsley's TV show
- Bragg joins Nash on stage in Sydney
- Gatecrasher announce Summer Soundsystem line up
- Big Chill cultural partners and pre-fest showcases
- Art Brut tour
- Trash Fashion tour
- Merz tour kicks off tonight
- Guillemots album news
- Dashboard Confessional double a side and tour
- We Are Scientists tour
- Coachella people plan new event
- Original means original with the Oscars
- eMusic sign up classical and jazz labels
- Yahoo! reportedly working on DRM-free service
- O2 iPhone sales pretty average
- MTV Flux TV channel to go
- Mel B scares parents with dodgy comments

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TOP BIT
OK, this really is the last mention of this, because I'm going through applications tomorrow. As previously mentioned this is the time of year that we recruit another batch of CMU college correspondents.

This is a great chance for anyone out there in college press or college radio land to build their skills on all things music journalism, and to make connections in the wider music business. College correspondent positions are voluntary, but you will receive coaching on music review skills and have access to all kinds of releases, events and music business contacts.

To apply to become a CMU college correspondent just download the form at the URL below and email it to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk before the end of the month.

http://www.collegemedianetwork.co.uk/cmu/cmuappform.doc

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JOBS N STUFF

SPRING PR - SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
An excellent opportunity is now available for a Senior Account Executive with a colourful boutique PR agency in London who specialise in music, art and youth lifestyle. The successful candidate will be dynamic, enthusiastic, creative and dedicated with great organisational skills. They will be able to work to deadlines, be passionate about music, have excellent communication skills and at least 2 years PR experience preferably within music media. This vacancy will be as part of our account team looking after high profile clients in music, festivals and lifestyle brands. The successful candidate would be responsible for reporting to clients, liaising with media, attending gigs/festivals, admin support and assisting with both strategy development and implementation. The position would also involve some international and national travel so a valid passport would also be required. Please email your CV with a covering letter to Liana@spring-pr.com no later than Wednesday 13th February.

PART-TIME MUSIC VACANCY
We are looking for a dynamic, self motivated individual with previous sales experience to generate advertising sales on our music website www.3barfire.com.Relevant experience is essential and you will need to have a proven track record. You must also have an excellent and confident telephone manner. This is an ideal job for that sparkly individual who loves new media and / or music. A large part of the role is developing relationships with brand managers and media buyers to develop advertising business. The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate a successful track record with knowledge of our key target sectors. This is a part time vacancy. Salary dependent on experience with generous commission. Think you fit the bill? Then email advertising@3barfire.com and tell us why we should take you on!

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CMU CLASSIFIEDS

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Or email ben@maisonjardinmer.com

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SNAP OF THE DAY: THE SPORT
Ah, God bless Stoke-on-Trent! Not content with bringing the world the original oatcake, Stanley Matthews and the musical delights of Robbie Williams, Slash, Lemmy and, erm, Jonathan Wilkes, the famous Potteries is now bursting aplenty with fresh talent, including the band brought to you today, The Sport. I won't paint them with the saviours of Stoke tag yet, however, as that's something previously applied to their previous band (minus the new bassist), Agent Blue, who just a few years back were up-and-coming hotshots signed to Island and then, following some acrimonious circumstances, Fierce Panda, through which they released just one album, 'A Stolen Honda Vision'. Moving on from that, the new project sounds promising, skittering close to the anthemic indie of Doves at times, but perkier, more ramshackle and with lots of indie disco potential (a 'yawn' comparison, I know). Standout track 'Holiday' is already the finished article and A&R types should definitely be venturing north of the Watford Gap to reacquaint themselves before the five piece start bothering the London circuit.

http://www.myspace.com/thesportuk

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WARNER MUSIC SUE MP3 SEARCH ENGINE
Ah, vicarious infringement. That's my favourite kind of infringement. Actually, I just like the word vicarious. I really ought to look up what it means one day. Anyway, the Warner Music Group has accused a US based search engine called Seeqpod of "direct, contributory and vicarious" copyright infringement.

Seeqpod is a search engine which specifically seeks out music files, so if I run a search on Robbie Williams (which I just did) rather than linking me to official websites and Wikipedia biogs, it only provides links to sources of Robbie music online. Mainly illegal sources, naturally. Not only that, but there is a nifty player on the Seeqpod website which will then enable you to play those music files through the browser without downloading the actual music file. The result is an extensive on demand jukebox which is really rather good but really rather illegal.

Well, I say that, Seeqpod claim they are operating within US copyright laws, hence the WMG lawsuit. The issue of search engines which specifically provide links to illegal sources of music has been bubbling away for a while now, of course, most notably in China where MP3 search facilities provide by Baidu.com and Yahoo! China have been challenged by the record companies.

In America search engines like Seeqpod claim that their services are covered by the so called 'fair use' provisions in the Digital Millennial Copyright Act because they only link to sources of illegal content, they themselves to not host files. If they are liable for enabling infringement, they argue, so are generic search engines like Google which, while not tuned to specifically search for MP3 files, will invariably provide links to illegal sources of music files if you search for an artist name, albeit normally listed several search result pages down.

As far as I remember, it's not been tested in the US courts as yet as to whether search engines that specifically search for music files, and predominantly link to illegal sources of music, can use the 'fair use' defence available in the DMCA. The litigation against Seeqpod, should it reach court, might lead to a ruling on that matter, though said lawsuit would possibly centre more on the search engine's player, which really does set the service apart from the Googles of this world.

Seeqpod claim that songs played through their player are streamed, so they are not providing a download of the track, and that the original source of the songs are on other people's servers. But in order to stream an MP3 through their in-browser player Seeqpod is surely making a mechanical copy of the track somewhere along the line, even if the copy is immediately deleted after being played, and, of course, you need a licence to make such copies. So even if Seeqpod can successfully use the 'fair use' defence to avoid infringement claims regarding the search facility, I find it hard to see how they could justify the player bit, which is what really sets their service apart.

Of course when record companies issue lawsuits against services like Seeqpod it's actually more common for the defendant to go offline, or reach some kind of out of court settlement or licencing deal with the record company, rather than for the case to go to court. But it would be interesting if this one did reach the courtroom, because we might get some clarification regarding just how much fair use can be used to protect websites that direct users to illegal content sources.

Meantime, I'm about to go listen to Robbie's greatest hits through my Seeqpod player - there's a huge selection of tracks from those established providers of digital music like rezofb.free.fr and uktotty.co.uk.

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LAST.FM LAUNCH MUSIC PREVIEW JUKEBOX
More on demand music jukeboxes, though this one is of the licensed legal kind, which is no fun really. Music tracking social networking thingy Last.fm, now owned by CBS, of course, have announced they have deals in place with all four majors and a stack of indies to offer a free ad-funded music preview service.

Some 3.5 million tracks will be available via the service, which will enable users to listen to tracks three times on demand for free, after which they will be offered the chance to buy the track. The listening post service is designed to be used in tandem with download platforms like iTunes and Amazon, and is in essence is a more user-friendly alternative to the thirty second clip preview facilities offered by services like the iTunes Music Store.

The Last.fm jukebox will run through the browser so won't require any software download, and users won't be required to register. Users will also be able to create customised internet radio stations a la Pandora and Launchcast, and the music recommendation facility at the heart of Last.fm will remain. Unsigned bands will be able to upload their music to the jukebox and potentially benefit from an 'artist royalty' programme.

Announcing the new service in New York yesterday, Last.fm co-founder Martin Stiksel said the 3.5 million song catalogue was just the start, and that "the mission is to have every track available".

The new service will be available in the US, UK and Germany with further global expansion planned.

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MAJORS WILL WATERMARK DRM-FREE MP3S
More digital music nonsense, and SonyBMG and Universal Music have both admitted to Digital Music News that they will include 'watermarks' on the MP3s they plan to sell via the Amazon download platform, though they insist the watermark will only contain information on where a track was sold, and not the identity of the purchaser of the track.

Watermarks embed data into the music file and when Apple's DRM-free iTunes Plus launched last year with the EMI catalogue it was revealed the DRM-free AAC files sold would include information about the customer who had bought them, seemingly to discourage users from sharing their DRM-free files on P2P networks. Some IT types expressed concern that hackers could extract that personal information from the unprotected AAC files.

However, SonyBMG and Universal say the watermarks on their MP3s will only carry information on which retailer sold it, presumably so they can track if new legit DRM-free sources of music become active sources of music on P2P networks. DMM quote Universal's Peter Lofrumento thus: "Our watermarks simply identify the retailers offering the tracks. They are not transactional watermarks, which contain the identities of downloaders".

EMI have said they won't be putting any watermarks on their MP3s though. Warner are yet to comment on the matter.

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LIL WAYNE ARRESTED
That naughty rapper Lil Wayne has been arrested again over more drugs related charges. You'll remember, because we reported on it, that he was apprehended in Idaho back in October for the same reasons. This time the cops caught up with the hip-hopper, real name Dwayne Carter Jr, in Arizona, and arrested him for possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of narcotics. The incident occurred when the tour bus he was traveling on was pulled over. He's currently being held by the Yuma County Sheriff's department.

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BUSTA RHYMES AVOIDS JAIL THROUGH PLEA DEAL
Busta Rhymes has accepted a plea deal which means he will avoid jail time by pleading guilty to those two outstanding assault charges - stemming from a run in with a former driver and another with a fan, both in 2006. The plea bargain also includes separate charges relating to driving without licence and DUI allegations.

Under the deal the rapper will pay a $750 fine, do ten days community service, enrol on a drunk-driving programme and lose his driving licence for six months. He will also be on probation for three years, and must stay away from his assault victims.

Rhymes' attorney, Scott Leemon, told AllHipHop.com: "Busta is glad to finally put this behind him. The last year and a half was rough on his family. He is looking forward to the future and not the past. He's also looking forward to getting back to doing what everybody loves and knows him for, entertaining".

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WINEHOUSE INVESTIGATED
Police are investigating Amy Winehouse because of Tuesday's video expose by The Sun, in which they published footage of the singer snorting ecstasy and smoking crack. The Metropolitan Police have seized the video evidence and are to examine it before proceeding further. A spokesman said: "Now we have received the information we will be viewing the footage to ascertain whether any action needs to be taken".

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BRITNEY NOT IN COURT
Britney Spears was supposed to be in court again yesterday to attempt to fight that order handed down by Superior Court commissioner Scott Gordon suspending her right to visit her two sons Jayden James and Sean Preston, who are currently in the custody of ex-husband Kevin Federline, of course. Bizarrely, she made it to the courthouse, but seemingly failed to make it to the actual court room, and left the building half an hour after she arrived. It's not the first time Britney has made it to the courthouse but not the court room. Spears' lawyer, Anne Kiley, gave no explanation for her client's non-appearance, nor why the hearing had been called - I was under the impression the next hearing on the matter wasn't until next month, though it is possible Britney's people called the session in a bid to get the matter reviewed sooner. Either way, a short closed-door hearing was held in which the existing order was upheld.

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FORMER EMI MOR HEAD DIES
A former EMI division chief, described by Music Week as "one of the record industry's most colourful characters", has died. Vic Lanza headed up EMI Records' MOR music division for nearly two decades in the seventies and early eighties, scoring numerous successes during that time. He died after a long illness. His funeral will take place in West London today.

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YAZOO REFORM FOR TOUR
Yay, I love it when eighties pop duos reform after a twenty five year gap. It is admittedly rare. But Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet have confirmed that they are to tour as Yazoo this summer, playing five UK gigs in June. As you'll no doubt all remember (well, perhaps not our younger readers), the group lasted only two albums, but not because they were rubbish. They were great. But then Clarke, late of Depeche Mode, went off to form another eighties pop duo, Erasure, and Moyet went solo.

The Reconnected Tour will see Yazoo performing tracks that have never been performed live before, from their second album 'You And Me Both'. Moyet says: "Playing this material live is not about revision for me. It is about finishing something we started - writing, recording, performing. Three parts of a whole. A salmon cycle. It's like going home".

Clarke adds: "It's been really good going back to these songs after such a long while. Many of them have never been played live. I'm looking forward to performing them with Alison for all the fans who've enjoyed our music through the years but never had a chance to see Yazoo in concert".

A four disc box set 'In Your Room', featuring both albums and bonus material, is set for release ahead of the Reconnected tour, the dates for which are as follows:

4 Jun: Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
7 Jun: Manchester Apollo
12 Jun: Wolverhampton Civic
15 Jun: Brighton Centre
18 Jun: London Hammersmith Apollo

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DIRTY PRETTY CHAT
Carl Barat has told NME.com that he'd like to do what Radiohead did and give an album away but that band manager Alan McGee wouldn't let him. "I wanted to give the album away on the internet like Radiohead did," he said. "I saw what they did and said, 'Oh, that's great, let's do that too'. But Alan told me straight off that it wasn't going to occur. Ah, well". (That despite McGee engineering it for another of his bands, The Charlatans, to giveaway their album via Xfm).

On the production process surrounding Dirty Pretty Things' second album, set for release in the Spring, Barat continued: "We didn't record live - it's the first time I've ever recorded like that. It was a bit unnerving - the three albums I'd done before [two Libertines albums and 'Waterloo To Anywhere'] had all been recorded live. But there's a lot of melody in these songs, and you risk losing that if you just thrash around".

Speaking about the new material, he added: "It's a bit easier on the ear. I don't mean easy listening by any means, but we got a bit 'Black Flag' on the last one. This one's a lot more considered, but the passion and intent is the same".

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RECORDING STUDIO WITH HISTORY, FOR SALE
Wheeler End Studio, which was on a long term let to Noel Gallagher, and had been used by the likes of George Harrison, Robbie Williams, Paul Weller and Ian Brown, is up for sale, if you fancy buying it. You'll need £3.9million to spare, however. Owner Suzanne Lee, former wife of guitarist Alvin Lee, says: "After 27 years of running the studio, I am incredibly attached to Wheeler End, so selling it hasn't been the easiest of decisions to make. But the time has come to move on. What I want more than anything else is to see it sold to someone who intends to carry on using it as a recording studio and to preserve its amazing heritage and atmosphere"

So come on, get your cheque-books out.

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WELCOME TO WARMSLEY'S TV SHOW
CMU favourite Jeremy Warmsley is busy busy working on a new album, but is also involved in a new web TV show, the first edition of which is now online for viewing. Called 'Welcome To Our TV Show', the first edition features chatter and performances from Mystery Jets, Laura Marling, Noah & The Whale and Warmsley himself. He also co-presents and co-produces the show with Fay Buzzard of Seabuzzard productions. You can check out the first edition at the URLs below.

http://www.myspace.com/welcometoourtvshow
http://www.youtube.com/welcometoourtvshow.

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BRAGG JOINS NASH ON STAGE IN SYDNEY
According to NME.com, singer Kate Nash was joined on stage by the one and only Billy Bragg at her gig in Sydney this week. She told the indie-mag: "Billy Bragg came on stage and we all played 'A New England'. We were like hanging out and he was like 'Do you want to get together and do something at the Big Day Out?' and I was like 'Yeah!' - it was amazing".

She added that she would love to work with Bragg proper: "It would be a privilege to do something on record. It would be amazing. I would be absolutely up for it".

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GATECRASHER ANNOUNCE SUMMER SOUNDSYSTEM LINE UP
More festivals news for you, and the line up for Gatecrasher's Summer Soundsystem has been announced, and it's rather good. Headlining are The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, plus also on the bill for the two day dance fest are Dizzee Rascal, CSS, Soulwax Nite Versions, Simian Mobile Disco, Digitalism, Paul Van Dyk, Pete Tong, Tiga, Audio Bullys, New Young Pony Club, The Whip, Axwell & Ingrosso (Swedish House Mafia),
Bloc Party (DJ set), Roni Size Represent, DJ Yoda, DJ Marky, and the rather fine Zane Lowe and the also damn fine Eddy TM. Hurrah. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. The fest takes place at Turweston Aerodrome in Northamptonshire from 24-25 May, which I'm told is the end of May bank holiday weekend. Press info from Get Involved.

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BIG CHILL CUTURAL PARTNERS AND PRE-FEST SHOWCASES
Talking of festivals, and the biggest oversight in the CMU Daily so far this year - the fact the Big Chill people last week announced a load of quirky cultural nonsense that will be appearing at their big bash this year, and we forgot to report on it. And you know how much we love quirky cultural nonsense here at CMU.

The Big Chill takes place this year from 1-3 Aug, and the ICA, Roundhouse and Underbelly have all been announced as content partners, who between them will be bringing art, film, comedy, live entertainment and youth workshops to the annual fest. ICA and Roundhouse you London types will know - Underbelly we know because they are one of the big players at the Edinburgh and Brighton fringe festivals (which we cover in our ThreeWeeks guise, of course) - and they also programmed the comedy tent at last year's Bestival. The full line up for the Big Chill 2008, including all the quirky stuff, will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile there'll be a number of pre-festival showcase nights at the Big Chill House in Kings Cross this Spring, the first one on 7 Feb with secret special guest headliners plus, courtesy of the aforementioned Underbelly, those French pop superstars of sorts, Priorite a Gauche. Press info on that from Idea Generation.

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ART BRUT TOUR
Woo, CMU favourites Art Brut have announced a UK tour. About time too. Plus, they're hinting that new material is on its way... here are the dates:

25 Jan: Chatham, Tap n Tin
26 Jan: London, Amersham Arms
28 Jan: Cambridge, Graduate
29 Jan: Birmingham, Barfly
31 Jan: Gloucester, Guildhall
1 Feb: Feb: Bristol, Trinity
2 Feb: Exeter, Phoenix
3 Feb: Brighton, Concorde
5 Feb: London, ULU (with a string section)
6 Feb: London, ULU (with a brass section)
7 Feb: Oxford, Academy
8 Feb: Northampton, Soundhaus
9 Feb: Hartlepool, Escobar
11 Feb: Edinburgh, Hive
12 Feb: Aberdeen, Tunnels
13 Feb: Dundee, Fat Sams
14 Feb: Sheffield, Fuzz Club
16 Feb: Bradford, St Georges Hall
17 Feb: York, Fibbers
18 Feb: Hull, The Welly
19 Feb: Stoke, Sugarmill

Press info from Darling.

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TRASH FASHION TOUR
More on those previously noted noisy boys Trash Fashion who seem to be constantly touring. They've just announced another UK tour, which will sort of coincide with the 10 Mar release of their 'Why Can't We Be Friends' EP, which will definitely coincide with a SxSW appearance. Dates of the tour are as follows - press info from The Incubator.

20 Feb: Barfly, Brighton
21 Feb: Barfly 16+, Cambridge
22 Feb: The Priory 14+, Doncaster
23 Feb: The Palace 14+, Tamworth
28 Feb: 53 Degrees, Preston
29 Feb: Oakford Social Club, Reading
1 Mar: Barfly 16+, London
2 Mar: Funktion Rooms Eastbourne
5 Mar: Barfly, Cardiff
6 Mar; Club Kerrang! @ Unit 22, Southampton
7 Mar: Moles, Bath
8 Mar: Cavern Club, Exeter
18 Mar: King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
19 Mar: Doghouse 16+, Dundee
20 Mar: Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
21 Mar: Korova, Liverpool
31 Mar: Cluny, Newcastle

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MERZ TOUR KICKS OFF TONIGHT
That Merz fella kicks off his UK tour tonight. The dates have changed a little since the last time we published them, so here is the very latest info...

24 Jan: Huddersfield Bar 122
25 Jan: London Roundhouse Studio
27 Jan: Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
28 Jan: Manchester Night & Day
29 Jan: Leeds Brudenell Social Club
30 Jan: Nottingham Bodega
1 Feb: Northampton Soundhaus
3 Feb: Portsmouth Cellars
4 Feb: Exeter Phoenix
5 Feb: Bristol Louisiana

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GUILLEMOTS ALBUM NEWS
Guillemots have announced the release of their second album, 'Red', which is out on 24 Mar via Polydor, preceded by a single 'Get Over It' on 17 Mar. They've got a few live dates planned ahead of those releases, as follows:

9 Mar: Ritz, Manchester
10 Mar: Academy, Oxford
11 Mar: Shepherds Bush Empire, London

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DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL DOUBLE A SIDE AND TOUR
Dashboard Confessional are, as the headline suggests, preparing to digitally release a double A side single, featuring 'Thick As Thieves' from recent album 'The Shade Of Poison Trees', and Weezer cover 'El Scorcho' on 14 Apr via Vagrant.

The band will also play the following UK live dates.

2 Apr: London KCLSU
3 Apr: St James Piccadilly
4 Apr: Cardiff Solus
5 Apr: Sheffield Leadmill
7 Apr: Glasgow ABC1
8 Apr: Liverpool Academy
9 Apr: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
11 Apr: Oxford Zodiac

Press info from Mercenary Publicity.

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WE ARE SCIENTISTS TOUR
I seem to remember liking We Are Scientists but I can't quite remember why because it's been a hundred years since I listened to any music by them. But I have impeccable taste, so no doubt I liked them for a reason, so here is their long list of upcoming tour dates, tickets on sale now, I believe.

12 Apr: Glasgow Barrowlands
13 Apr: Aberdeen Music Hall
14 Apr: Newcastle Northumbria University
15 Apr: Manchester Academy
17 Apr: Sheffield Octagon
18 Apr: Birmingham Carling Academy
19 Apr: Nottingham Rock City
20 Apr: Norwich UEA
22 Apr: Southampton Guildhall
23 Apr: Bristol Carling Academy
24 Apr: London Shepherds Bush Empire
25 Apr: London Shepherds Bush Empire

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COACHELLA PEOPLE PLAN NEW EVENT
The Coachella people are co-organising a new festival, All Points West, set to take place in Liberty State Park, which is on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, but with views of New York. Which is probably why The Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival are working with the New Jersey based Liberty Event Management and the Highline Ballroom in New York. It's expected to take place from 8 - 10 Aug, and reports suggest that Radiohead and Jack Johnson might be on the bill.

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ORIGINAL MEANS ORIGINAL WITH THE OSCARS
Talking of which, any Radiohead obsessives disappointed that the band's Johnny Greenwood didn't get an Oscar nomination for his soundtrack to the movie 'There Will Be Blood', well, the Oscar people have explained to the press that he wasn't actually eligible for the 'Original Soundtrack' award because his soundtrack wasn't original - ie completely created for the movie.

The soundtrack included bits Greenwood had actually created for a BBC project, plus some stuff from an Estonian composer called Arvo Part and others from a Brahms violin concerto. Asked about the omission of Greenwood's well received soundtrack from the nominations list, Charles Bernstein of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences told reporters: "The Oscar is given for the best original score - 'original' meaning written for the picture - and the majority of the music in 'There Will Be Blood' was not eligible because it was not written for the picture".

The song 'Falling Slowly' written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, which was shortlisted in the Best Original Song category even though it had appeared of the duo's 'Swell Season' album, made it to the nomination list because it was created specifically for the movie in which it also appeared, 'Once', and the film's director John Carney wrote a letter stressing that fact to the Academy ahead of nominations.

So that's that cleared up. Phew, I can sleep tonight now.

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EMUSIC SIGN UP CLASSICAL AND JAZZ LABELS
Independent download types eMusic have signed deals with UK based labels Chandos Records, Telarc and Harmonia Mundi which will bring a load of great classical and jazz music to the download platform. To promote their deal, Harmonia Mundi will reportedly make available an exclusive free sampler via eMusic featuring some baroque and classical tunes plus some American folk songs and spirituals.

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YAHOO! REPORTEDLY WORKING ON DRM-FREE SERVICE
Yahoo!, whose US HQ this week admitted a big round of layoffs is upcoming, are reportedly looking to launch a DRM free download platform later this year, in the US at least.

Music chiefs at Yahoo! were some of the most vocal regarding the stupidity of DRM back in the bad old days when the majors wouldn't listen to the DRM-free-is-good argument, and are presumably keen to capitalise on the move away from DRM being made by the major labels to revitalise their own music offer.

It is unclear whether Yahoo!'s DRM-free download service would be a simple etail operation like Amazon, or whether it would be integrated into the company's other existing music services. There is talk of some kind of ad funded aspect.

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O2 IPHONE SALES PRETTY AVERAGE
The FT has reported that O2 has sold 190,000 iPhones since its launch in the UK last November - O2 being the exclusive seller of iPhones in this country, of course.

There is mixed opinion as to whether that's a good stat or a bad stat (and O2 haven't commented one way or another as to whether it's an accurate stat). Some say the phone firm had relatively conservative estimates re iPhone sales, and that while they were slightly higher than the 190K figure, they weren't much higher. Those people might also point out that over those two months UK iPhone sales have accounted for 5% of overall iPhone sales - which are reportedly at 4 million. And O2, in a short statement, have said the Apple music phone is its fastest selling device "by a significant margin".

However, others are saying European sales of the iPhone have been disappointing, and are below expectations, arguing Apple has failed to provide the kind of boost to mobile music that it caused in the online digital music domain, meaning the mobile music market - which many experts still believe will boom in the next few years - is still open to new competitors.

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MTV FLUX TV CHANNEL TO GO
MTV is closing down its user-generated content channel MTV Flux, which has been on air since summer 2006. The Flux channel tied in with the music network's social networking website, and was launched when competitor MySpace Music was on the rise - the thought was that MTV's social networking whatnot would have competitive advantage if it was accompanied by a TV station.

The Flux online community will remain, with Flux related features due to be launched on other MTV channels like Hits, Dance, Base and MTV 2. The channel currently used by Flux will be used for one of those 'plus-one' time shifting channels for MTV's flagship UK channel, which is now called MTV One of course (the one with the youth entertainment programming, not to be confused with MTV-R, which is the one with, erm, the youth entertainment programming).

A spokesman for MTV said this: "MTV One has been incredibly successful since its relaunch last summer and launching a time shifted version will maximise the opportunity for our audience to enjoy the channel's content. [With MTV Flux] we have learned a great deal about how our audience interact with the channel and one of the key discoveries was that they wanted very specific control in terms of the music they enjoy and that as a channel the Flux offering was to broad. We are therefore evolving MTV Flux. The Flux community will continue and we are also introducing a series of Flux elements across all our music channels. This will give the audience direct control over specific music that they enjoy and want to see more of".

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MEL B SCARES PARENTS WITH DODGY COMMENTS
Mel B reportedly shocked parents who were in the audience with their children at a recent Spice Girls gig by making "crude and sexual" remarks. Firstly, after giving Emma Bunton a birthday cake, Mel B told her to "give it a blow job", and then, when the Girls discussed what they had been doing too much of lately - before singing 'Too Much' - she said she'd been doing too much "tossing the salad" of late, a reference, it is assumed, to something that isn't tossing lettuce and cucumber in a dish. One parent told reporters: "It crossed the line. I know the Spice Girls are supposed to be a bit controversial but this is a family show. It should come with a warning if that sort of language is going to be used. I wanted to walk out but that would have upset my kids".

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