CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 6th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Feist tops the Shortlist
- Snoop says UK visa block lifted
- Winehouse questioned over crack video
- Britney family claim Lutfi destroying Britney
- Beatles guru dies
- Watson on health troubles
- Avril's people cancel auditions after dancer rate dispute
- Canadian radio host sues over White Stripes sample
- ISC announces finalists
- Kitsune mini-mix
- Eels ad plans were pulled due to sensible-ness
- Guitarist returns to POD
- Album Review : Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
- Thriller to screen in cinemas for anniversary
- Latest Camp Bestival news
- Kiss, Offspring, Lostprophets headline Download
- Kanye West, Metallica for Bonnaroo
- Public Enemy for Don't Look Back
- Single Review: Jacob Golden - Out Come The Wolves/Zero Integrity
- More on the Death Row sale
- Chrysalis bid deadline passes
- More digital copyright discussions in US
- Electronica indies announce coalition and [PIAS] deal
- Om digital catalogue remastered
- MSN announce partnerships for new video service
- Big Life man fronts new music investment fund
- Commercial radio plan week of Brit programmes
- Virgin Media boss not planning ITV bid
- Mellencamp tells McCain to quit using his songs
- Minogue denies reunion with Martinez
- Robbie Williams cans sessions with Chambers
- Fat Joe not scared of Fiddy, official

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TOP BIT RECOMMENDED
Hey everyone, another reminder of the upcoming CMU recommended Remix All-Nighter, which will be taking over the seOne Club at London Bridge next month for a brilliant pre-Easter party.

There'll be three rooms of fun. In the Remix room you'll get live sets from The Whip and Vitalic, plus Eddy on the decks and VJ Fay Buzzard doing visual stuff. Next up will be a room hosted by Orbital co-founder and general dance music pioneer Phil Hartnoll, named for and showcasing his new venture Long Range. And then, to top off all that, there will be a whole room of all things Ninja Tune, featuring no less than DJ Food & DK, Coldcut (Jon Moore DJ Set), Bonobo, Daedelus, The Qemists and VJ Mox.

It all takes place on 20 Mar. Look out for more details on how you can get tix, and of another great discount offer for CMU's student readership, later in the week. In the meantime, get more info from http://www.myspace.com/theremix

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JOBS N STUFF

JUNIOR PRODUCT MANAGER - BAUER MUSIC (FORMERLY EMAP)
We are looking for an enthusiastic music fan to work in Bauer's music department, overseeing commercial music projects across our extensive portfolio of brands and platforms, which include Kiss, Magic, The Hits, Q, Mojo and Kerrang! As Junior Product Manager, you will be responsible the product cycle of a record release or music project, overseeing a product's creation and delivery, developing marketing campaigns, and will hold responsibility for the project's financial accounting. You will have strong communication and time-management skills, a love of music and an understanding of the broadcasting and publishing environments. You will be able to adapt easily from working with programme directors and magazine editors, to looking after routine administrative tasks, and will be exceptionally organised, with the ability to deliver a project on time and within budget.

Please send a CV and covering letter to: helen.pendlebury@emap.com

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EVENTS N STUFF

FREE CV WORKSHOPS
unicornjobs.com, the new graduate careers website run by the team behind CMU, is launching a programme of free careers seminars for students and recent graduates. The first is an interactive CV workshop led by Financial Times columnist Mrs Moneypenny. The workshops will be held at the unicornjobs.com HQ in Shoreditch on Wednesdays 13 and 27 Feb. This free 2-hour workshop will help anyone embarking on their career to compile the best possible CV. Places are limited. To come, email your name, a contact phone number and details of which date you want to attend, to events@unicornjobs.com.

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SNAP OF THE DAY: NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
Nick Cave! He's back! After a break with side-project Grinderman the moustachioed multi-talent returns with band The Bad Seeds for a hypnotic foot stomper of a new single in 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!', which is out on Mute on 18 Feb. Apparently an elegy to Lazarus, Harry Houdini and "the New York City of the 70s" it also manages, in the chorus, to be the closest to a football chant than Cave has got yet, though in this case that's a positive comment. The video, meanwhile - which is hidden within the blog part of his Myspace page - features a captivating performance from Cave as he struts in front of various (mainly) black and white images, imbued with an almost clerical sentiment, solemnly preaching while also seemingly poking fun at his own sincerity.

http://www.myspace.com/nickcaveandthebadseeds

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FEIST TOPS THE SHORTLIST
Feist won the US's Shortlist Music Prize on Monday for her album 'The Reminder'.

The Shortlist Music Prize, of course, is similar to the UK's Mercury Music Prize, though only albums which have sold less than 500,000 units in the US at the time the initial 'long list' of contenders is chosen are eligible. 515,000 copies of 'The Reminder' have now actually been sold in the US, and with four nominations at this weekend's Grammys coupled with the Shortlist win it could well shift many more in the coming weeks.

The other difference between the Shortlist and Mercury Music Prize is that the latter is only open to artists signed in the UK and Ireland, whereas the former is not restricted to US artists, as you may have noticed given Canadian Feist's victory.

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SNOOP SAYS UK VISA BLOCK LIFTED
Snoop Dogg has told the 'Larry King Live' show that the visa ban preventing him from entering the UK has been lifted because a British judge "found me to be innocent and now I'm able to go back there". As you may remember, Snoop was cautioned following a fracas at Heathrow Airport in 2006, and as a result was refused entrance into the country last year, which led to the cancellation of the UK dates on a Snoop/Diddy co-headline tour. The hip hopper added: "So everybody in the UK, big Snoop Dogg will be back to come give you all what you want". Official confirmation on the visa situation hasn't been given by the Home Office who say they can't comment on individual cases.

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WINEHOUSE QUESTIONED OVER CRACK VIDEO
Amy Winehouse has, as expected, been questioned by the police regarding that damaging video recently obtained by The Sun of the star taking drugs, the exposure of which led to her current stint in rehab. A spokesman for Scotland Yard confirmed that officers from Tower Hamlets had interviewed a 24 year old woman. As you all surely know by now, the video in question, filmed at the singer's east London home, appeared to show Winehouse smoking crack, and snorting ecstasy and cocaine. She is currently still installed at the Capio Nightingale clinic, and it's still not clear whether she'll make that Grammy appearance.

Here's some good news for Amy, though: Boris Johnson still believes in her. The London Mayoral candidate is hoping she'll back his campaign, because he'd expected support from Elton John, who has in fact thrown his weight behind Lib Dem rival Brian Paddick. Commenting on this apparent betrayal, Johnson told LBC: "I'm very disappointed by this, by the way, because Elton and David Furnish send us a Christmas card every year. I couldn't believe it when he suddenly announced that he was backing ex-commander Paddick. I couldn't believe it. Anyway, there you go. Elton and I are going to have to see what's going on". Asked who he might woo as an alternative celebrity supporter, he continued: "I'd love to get Amy Winehouse. I think she'd be fantastic".

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BRITNEY FAMILY CLAIM LUTFI DESTROYING BRITNEY
Yesterday we pondered, albeit for only a brief moment, as to what Britney's friend and occasional manager Sam Lutfi had done to deserve the restraining order that had been issued against him, stopping him from approaching the sectioned popstress, or dealing in her affairs. Well, according to Britney's mum, he's done rather a lot.

US reports say the restraining order was issued after a lengthy declaration given by Lynne Spears in which she claims Lutfi has totally taken over her daughter's life, cutting off her family and friends. Mrs Spears also claims Lutfi has drugged Britney, implying that that is how he has managed to exert such control over her despite the fact they only met last October. Some might also allege that supposed drugging has been the cause of Brit's most recent mental breakdown.

In the declaration, mother Spears says that after he met her daughter last October "Mr Lutfi has essentially moved into Britney's home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances. [He] drugged Britney, he has cut Britney's home phone lines and removed her mobile phone chargers. He yells at her. He claims to control everything".

Other allegations made by Lynne Spears include that Lutfi is in collusion with the paparazzi, who she alleges almost report to him, and that he drove Britney into her nervous breakdown through both the drugs and verbal abuse. She claims: "Sam had told Britney she was an unfit mother, a piece of trash and a whore, that she cares more about Adnan, her current boyfriend, than she cares about her kids and that she does not deserve her kids".

The declaration also tells of Lynne's attempts to visit her daughter at her home, claiming Lutfi tried to stop the family from gaining access to the property, then sent Britney off with a pap to try and hide her from her mother, and that when she finally did get to see her daughter she was "very agitated and could not stop moving. She cleaned the house. She changed her clothes many times. She also changed her three dogs' clothes many times. Britney spoke to me in a tone and a level of understanding of a very young girl. Britney then picked up a bottle of pills and read the label and asked us, 'What does insomnia mean?'"

As previously reported, when Britney was sectioned last week Lutfi initially claimed she had entrusted all of her affairs to him, and that she did not want her estranged father to get involved. But the court has ignored the singer's manager, instead giving Mr Spears complete control over his daughters affairs and issued the restraining order against Lutfi.

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BEATLES GURU DIES
We're in the realms of tenuous in reporting the death of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as music news, though he came to Western attention through his associations with the Beatles in the late sixties, so, look, there is a link. Yogi was born Mahesh Prasad Varma in India at some point in the 1910s (his exact birth date doesn't seem to be known) and is known for developing the Transcendental Meditation technique, and for promoting its use the world over through various education centres. Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones took part in TM sessions in the late sixties, boosting public interest in both Yogi and meditation in the West, though in reality the rock n roll lifestyle of both bands flew in the face of much of Maharishi's teachings. A spokesman for his Transcendental Meditation organisation told the Associated Press: "he died peacefully at about 7pm". He reportedly had announced his retirement last month remarking: "My work is done".

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WATSON ON HEALTH TROUBLES
Opera star Russell Watson has recently completed a five week course of radiotherapy at Christie's hospital in Manchester in an attempt to clear up that recurrent brain tumour. According to his manager, the treatment is finished but the singer doesn't yet know if he's in the clear.

Watson wrote on his website: "It's been no walk in the park; I've had my moments under that machine where I just wanted to stop the bloody thing and walk away" adding that it was the thought of his children that kept him going.

He continued: "I'm not out of the woods yet. I dearly wanted to keep the side-effects to a minimum and I've been keeping myself fit and healthy as I can, but I'm afraid they've caught up with me, and I don't mind admitting I've not been myself. I'm just so lucky I've had friends, family, and of course my fans to help me through; I really don't think I could do this without the support I've had".

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AVRIL'S PEOPLE CANCEL AUDITIONS AFTER DANCER RATE DISPUTE
The entertainment unions in the US seem to be getting very proactive of late. With the Writers' Guild seemingly about to win the scriptwriting community some online concessions in Hollywood, now the US Dancers' Alliance has scored a mini-win. Avril Lavigne's people have been forced to reconsider the rates they pay dancers involved in the pop star's live shows after the Alliance accused them of paying below industry standard rates and called on the LA based dance community to boycott an audition. Lavigne's management cancelled the audition in response and are now talking to the Alliance about what realistic rates they will accept. A post on the Dancers' Alliance MySpace says: "As of February 4th, 10:30pm Avril's management has cancelled the audition tomorrow and has opened up a new conversation with the agencies. Thanks for everyone's support on this issue".

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CANADIAN RADIO HOST SUES OVER WHITE STRIPES SAMPLE
The White Stripes are being sued for $70,000 over a sample on the track 'Jumble Jumble', which appeared on their pre-worldwide success second album 'De Stijl'.

Canadian radio presenter Dominique Payette says the song includes a ten second sample from her radio show, which was used without her permission. The clip is of an interview in French between her and a young girl. The girl is discussing doing something for the first time. Because the clip is cut short and taken out of context Payette says the listener could infer a sexual connotation in the conversation, which wasn't part of the original interview.

In her late in the day lawsuit, against Third Man Records, BMG Music Publishing and the band, Payette is suing under Quebec privacy laws rather than copyright laws, possibly because the copyright on the radio interview would be owned by the radio station not her.

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ISC ANNOUNCES FINALISTS
The International Songwriting Competition has announced its finalists for the year 2007 and voting for the People's Award is now open to the public. To see the list of finalists see here: http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners.htm. To see she shortlist, and vote, see here: http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/PVWelcome2007.htm

The ISC judging panel will also select their winner shortly, both results to be announced in April. Meanwhile, they're accepting entries for the 2008 competition, details on the website.

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KITSUNE MINI-MIX
The lovely Kitsune people, you know, who have been first to bring us tracks from many of our favourite artists of the moment, especially of the electro-indie dance-rock crossover kind, have a brand new edition of their Kitsune Maison albums out this week, and there is a Gimmick Machine mix featuring bits from every track on it available for free download from this here URL.

http://kitsune.fr/~kitsune/Gimmick Machine - KitsuneMaison 5 minimix.zip

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EELS AD PLANS WERE PULLED DUE TO SENSIBLE-NESS
Eels plans to broadcast the shortest advert in Superbowl half time history, a one second clip promoting their 'Meet The Eels' collection, were prevented by common sense.

Frontman Mark Everett says: "In the end we were told that the NFL would have to find 29 other advertisers to buy 1 second spots to fill a standard 30 second advertising slot and that they do not sell advertising time by the second".

He added that it had been noted that: "A rapid fire 30 second segment of thirty 1 second commercials could cause people with certain medical conditions to have seizures and that it was against network regulations".

Eh, tha never sez.

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GUITARIST RETURNS TO POD
POD co-founder Marcos Curiel, who left the band four years ago over 'business differences' has rejoined the nu-metal band, and features on the group's new album, 'When Angels & Serpents Dance'.

He told Billboard.com, "I'm excited to be back, and they're definitely excited to have me back".

Explaining that his rekindled friendship with drummer Wuv Bernardo led to the reconciliation, Curiel says: "Next thing I know, he tells me the guitar player who replaced me was bowing out and maybe we should start jamming".

He adds that the reunion felt like "an old shoe. It fits perfect and it just works. It was as if I hadn't even left".

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ALBUM REVIEW : Hot Chip - Made In The Dark (EMI)
It's not often that a group can break the top thirty with a song about a monkey with a miniature cymbal, but then Hot Chip aren't really your average band. They inhabit that electro-indie world alongside the likes of Klaxons and The Go! Team, but they aren't really like either of those bands. This skittering album of bleeps, blips, beats and repetitious melody will burrow itself into your consciousness, in a good way. Single 'Ready For The Floor' is the most immediate track, with a killer hook line and a straightforward rhythm, while at the other end of the scale 'Bendable Poseable' jumps back and forward in tempo, underpinned throughout by hand claps and tom toms. This is pop then, but don't expect it to be simple, these guys seem to have so many ideas going on in their tunes the result is a fascinating soundscape. The album has a schizophrenic side, balancing the up tempo numbers with slower chilled tunes, 'We're Looking For A Lot Of Love' is a beautiful ballad while title track 'Made In The Dark' is stripped back, piano driven and heartbreaking. Time for Hot Chip to hit the big time then, although, despite a Jonathan Ross appearance, this lot are never going to be willfully mainstream. IM
Release Date: 4 Feb
Press Contact: EMI IH [all]

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THRILLER TO SCREEN IN CINEMAS FOR ANNIVERSARY
It's been announced that legendary Michael Jackson promo 'Thriller' will mark its 25th anniversary with screenings in a number of UK cinemas. The fourteen minute video will be played at Odeon cinemas in Guildford, Hatfield, Kingston-upon-Thames, Leicester, London Covent Garden, Manchester and Southampton this weekend. Entry is free, but ticketed. Tickets available from the selected cinemas as of now, I believe.

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LATEST CAMP BESTIVAL NEWS
Woooo, Camp Bestival news. And the sun has just started to shine through my window too. It's showing up the cobwebs, but it's gladdening my heart. Just like Sunday Best do. So let's get back to Camp Bestival, which, as you probably know, takes place from 18-20 Jul at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, and which has just announced more additions to its line-up. Live acts include folk supergroup The Imagined Village, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jongs, Eliza Carthy, Eliza Doolittle, Ebony Bones, Black Kids, Cock N Bull Kid, and Kitty Daisy and Lewis, whilst newly added DJs include DJ Krust, The Shellac Collective and the massive Gilles Peterson. Oh, it's going to be so great, all the usual Bestival-type attention to fun and games with The Worlds Largest Marching Band, science demos and experiments with Physics In The Field, scones and jam with the Dorset Cream Tea Appreciation Society, evening campfire sessions, and of course, fancy dress. Lovely.

See http://www.campbestival.net

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KISS, OFFSPRING, LOSTPROPHETS HEADLINE DOWNLOAD
Organisers have announced that this year's Download Festival will be headlined by Kiss, The Offspring and Lostprophets, and have confirmed that Judas Priest, Motorhead, HIM and Rise Against will also appear. As you're probably aware, the event takes place at Donington Park in Leicestershire from 13 - 15 Jun.

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KANYE WEST, METALLICA FOR BONNAROO
More festival announcements, and Tennessee's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has revealed its 2008 line-up, which in the music arena boasts the likes of Kanye West, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Death Cab For Cutie and The Raconteurs. The event takes place from 12-15 Jun, featuring more than 100 bands and 20 comedians performing on 13 different stages, tickets on sale exclusively via http://www.bonnaroo.com from 16 Feb.

Jonathan Mayers, president of organisers Superfly, says: "I actually feel like it's one of our strongest lineups to date and it strengthens our diversity within our programming. I know we still have a lot more to add, too, so I'm excited about it and feel like we're going to have a very successful year".

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PUBLIC ENEMY FOR DON'T LOOK BACK
Public Enemy are to take part in this year's 'Don't Look Back' season, and are set to play their 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back' album in full at three live dates later this year. The gigs take place on 23 May at Brixton Academy, 26 May at Manchester Academy, and 27 May at Glasgow's ABC1. More info from http://www.dontlookbackconcerts.com.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Jacob Golden - Out Come The Wolves/Zero Integrity (Echo)
Jacob Golden is an LA-based singer songwriter who released a wonderful album ('Hallelujah World') and eponymous EP on Rough Trade in 2002, which were both ignored by basically everyone apart from, well, me. (Which probably explains why, reviewing his new 'Revenge Songs' album, from which this is taken, The Sunday Times referred to it as his debut album). Anyway, this is sparse but wonderfully affecting stuff. Golden has a soaring voice redolent of the Buckleys and Thom Yorke (managing to alternate effortlessly between soaring and fragile), and a way with enigmatic evocative lyrics that suggest someone inhabiting a very strange world indeed. 'Out Come The Wolves' sounds angry, bitter and broken but utterly beautiful with it too, whilst 'Zero Integrity' is a pretty bluesy acoustic number. Simple but devastatingly effective. Don't ignore him this time round. MS
Release date: 25 Feb
Press release: Upshot [CP, CR] Savage PR [RP, NP] Chapple Davies [RR, NR]

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MORE ON THE DEATH ROW SALE
So, Warner Music definitely aren't the only bidders for the Death Row catalogue which, as previously reported, is up for grabs following the bankruptcy of the legendary hip hop outfit's founder Suge Knight. Following the news yesterday that the Warner Music Group had made a $25 million bid for the label's assets, Billboard has reported that the two companies linked to a Death Row purchase late last year - EverGreen Copyrights and Koch Music - are both still interested, with the former having confirmed they will put in a counterbid to Warner's offer.

EverGreen already own the publishing rights to some Tupac Shakur songs and it seems that they see the early Tupac recordings in the Death Row collection, some of which have never been released, as being where the real value of the former hip hop indie lies. As previously reported, Tupac Shakur's mother, Afeni, has disputed Death Row's legal ownership of those recordings and, as far as I'm aware, her legal action regarding the matter is ongoing. How that will impact on the bidding war for Death Row I'm not sure - but if all the buyers see the Shakur catalogue as being the primary reason for acquiring the hip hop label then presumably they'd want that matter resolved before completing a purchase.

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CHRYSALIS BID DEADLINE PASSES
Elsewhere in takeover news, more on the bids to acquire music publishing company Chrysalis. As previously reported, having sold off their radio business last year, Chrysalis Group has invited takeover offers for its music operations, and the deadline for those offers was yesterday. EMI Group are known to have made an offer to buy Chrysalis, presumably to merge it with their market leader publishing division, though their rivals in the major music publishing Warner/Chappell and Sony/ATV are both understood to have also made bids. And all three are facing counterbids from private equity concerns, including one consortium of equity types being led by former BMG Music Publishing chairman Nick Firth. Despite all the interest, it remains to be seen if anyone will offer the right kind of money for Chrysalis. The company's founder and Chairman, Chris Wright, isn't thought to be rushing to sell, and will only do so if the right price is on the table.

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MORE DIGITAL COPYRIGHT DISCUSSIONS IN US
The debate regarding the various online royalties that should be paid by digital music services to the record labels, music publishers and their royalty collecting societies is ongoing in the US, with the Copyright Royalty Board considering various royalty issues in this domain as we speak.

As part of those considerations the issue was raised as to whether interactive music streams - ie music services where you can listen to music on demand, but do not get a download of it to keep - should be covered by the same kind of compulsory mechanical licences as radio broadcasts. It would be good for the digital music providers if they were, because the owners of those mechanical copyrights - ie the music publishers - would have to licence them to the digital outfits at a set rate.

The Digital Media Association requested that the Copyright Royalty Board ask for clarification on that matter from the Register Of Copyrights, a move which could have speeded things up in that regard. Only "could have", because Marybeth Peters of the Register said US copyright law said nothing about interactive services, so it wasn't for the Register to comment one way or another on whether compulsory licensing extended to them. Unless political types re-write the law to be more specific, then it will be up to the judges in the copyright court to decide whether radio style licensing can be extended to these online music platforms.

Their deliberations on the matter continue.

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ELECTRONICA INDIES ANNOUNCE COALITION AND [PIAS] DEAL
Five electronica labels who used to use the distribution services of the recently defunct Amato Distribution have announced they have formed a coalition to strengthen their collective marketing and distribution positions, and that they have entered into an agreement with [PIAS] UK (the new name for Vital Distribution, of course) regarding physical and digital distribution. The labels are Freerange, Urbantorque, secretsundaze, Rekids and 2020Vision.

2020Vision's Ralph Lawson told CMU: "The Amato disaster hit independent electronic labels particularly hard, but it takes crisis situations to act as catalysts for change. We are living through a revolution for music in every shape and form. Independent companies have always lead the way when it comes to innovation, and we have now gathered the very best independent labels from the world of electronic music at [PIAS] UK to further push the boundaries. The talent that is now all under one roof is truly ground-breaking and world-class. These will be the movers and shakers of the future".

[PIAS] UK's Ian Dutt adds: "Our aim has always been to provide a platform for passionate and driven independent labels of any genre. Collectively they bring a wealth of experience, success and most importantly incredibly exciting music. We are delighted to be working with every one of these labels and we look forward to providing them with the service that they warrant".

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OM CATALOGUE DIGITAL CATALOGUE REMASTERED
Talking of electronica indies, US label Om Records has announced it is making its catalogue available as high quality re-mastered DRM-free MP3s. The tracks will be available via the label's own Om Digital Store (http://digital.om-records.com), and will include a range of rarities including live, rare, unreleased and b-side tracks.

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MSN ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIPS FOR NEW VIDEO SERVICE
Microsoft UK yesterday announced more details about its new free on-demand video service, MSN Video, which will provide "the best content and community-connecting technologies", whatever that means. The IT giant also confirmed partnerships with both MTV and SonyBMG in relation to the service

Here's what MSN UK Portal Business Manager Rob Crossen says: "Online video has exploded in the last year and we're seeing growing competition for consumer's eyeballs as traditional media companies and new players enter the game. As advertisers follow these eyeballs, online video advertising is expected to be the fastest growing ad category on the web for the foreseeable future. Our vision for MSN UK is to provide what we coin the social portal, combining content that informs and entertains with social networking via Windows Live services for our audience. Video is a key element of that social portal, with our goal being to offer our audiences the best content around".

So, there you have it. Bring on the social portals I say.

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BIG LIFE MAN FRONTS NEW MUSIC INVESTMENT FUND
Big Life Management boss Jazz Summers will front a new artist investment outfit which will look to invest in 20-30 artists, some new, some classic. The Power Amp Music Fund is looking to raise £10 million to invest in music talent - investors will have an interest in the recording, publishing, touring and merchandising activities of participating artists. The aim seems to be to give artists as much control over their music and careers as possible while protecting investors' interests.

The specifics of how the whole operation will work are unclear, and may well vary from artist to artist. Whether the Fund will cut traditional record labels and music publishers out of the equation completely isn't entirely clear, though with solid investment behind them any artists supported by the Fund would presumably look for more advantageous relationships with the majors if they did enter into deals - one of the key aims of Power Amp seemingly to ensure artists keep control of their copyrights.

Commenting on the new investment operation, Summers told reporters: "This venture could not have launched at a better time - the UK music scene is booming and the industry has been waiting for an egalitarian but profitable music enterprise".

The first artist to be signed to the Fund are Mancini from Channel 4's MobileAct Unsigned TV show.

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COMMERCIAL RADIO PLAN WEEK OF BRIT PROGRAMMES
The commercial radio sector has announced its latest cross-sector programming initiative, which will be built around the upcoming BRIT Awards. 170 stations from various commercial radio groups will take part in 'BRITS Radio Week', which will also promote the public vote component of the Best Single award.

Confirming the project, Andrew Harrison of commercial radio body RadioCentre told reporters: "The BRIT Awards is the most prestigious event in the music industry calendar and we are delighted that we are partnering the music industry and that commercial radio is playing such a pivotal part this year. Our stations will without doubt get the nation in the BRITS mood and give our listeners the chance to have a direct influence on the event itself. This involvement reflects the critical contribution that Commercial Radio makes to the music industry reaching over 30 million listeners every week - and within that, reaching 69% of 15-44 year olds, the key market for music sales".

Welcoming the promotion, the boss of UK record label trade body and BRIT Award owners, the BPI, Geoff Taylor, added: "As well as being the leading British music event in the calendar and a spectacular TV show, The BRITs is evolving into an interactive platform for the best in British and international musical talent. Through BRITs Radio we've added further profile to the show, brand, and artists by partnering with UK commercial radio to reach their audience of millions of listeners. With Hit40UK choosing the shortlist, and the viewers picking the winner live on the night, British Single is one of the most exciting awards of the night".

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VIRGIN MEDIA BOSS NOT PLANNING ITV BID
With rumour rife that private equity types are considering attempting a takeover of ITV, some have been wondering if Virgin Media might also make a bid - given that they proposed a merger back in 2006 (albeit as NTL) - a move which cynics would say caused BSkyB to take their cheeky 17.9% stake in the commercial broadcaster, the controversial share purchase that competition authorities have now ordered be reversed.

But Virgin Media's acting CEO, Neil Berkett, has said they won't be mounting a new bid, calling the 2006 merger proposal a "moment in time" move that is unlikely to be repeated. According to the Guardian, he told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch: "The bid for ITV was a moment in time, which was [based on] a view of the apparent value of the asset, a view of what Virgin Media could do with that asset and a view of potentially monetising some of our tax position. The market is completely different today".

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MELLENCAMP TELLS MCCAIN TO QUIT USING HIS SONGS
John Mellencamp has told Republican presidential hopeful John McCain to stop using his songs in his campaign. The singer-songwriter, a confirmed democrat, is by all accounts pretty pissed off that McCain is using the tracks 'Pink Houses' and 'Our Country'. I know I would be.

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MINOGUE DENIES REUNION WITH MARTINEZ
Minogue has denied those previously reported rumours that she's back with ex-boyfriend Olivier Martinez. Speaking at the launch of her (also previously reported) new range of bed linen, the singer responded to questioning in a slightly exasperated manner, by the look of it, saying: "I had dinner with my ex-boyfriend and next thing I know there's a debate about whether we're having a family. We didn't even talk about that. As I've maintained, we're friends".

Speaking about the bed sheets, she added: "I have a creative spirit and I love new challenges. I thought it would be amazing. This exceeded my expectations. It was fantastic".

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ROBBIE WILLIAMS CANS SESSIONS WITH CHAMBERS
According to reports, Robbie Williams was recently set to work with former song-writing partner Guy Chambers, but cancelled planned LA sessions, allegedly because he was unhappy at Chambers' decision to work on the same project as Gary Barlow, ITV's 'Britannia High'. Of course, it's just gossip. Williams can't still be holding a grudge, can he...?

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FAT JOE NOT SCARED OF FIDDY, OFFICIAL
Fat Joe says he's not afraid of 50 Cent, despite the fact that his rap rival has rapped about leaving his "brains on the floor" in the track 'I'm Leaving'. Joe says that Fiddy never makes good on his threats, pointing out that the hip hop star has never actually taken on Ja Rule, despite dissing him via the medium of rap.

Jo says: "He's got shot at by people who he knows who they are, and he doesn't do nothing about it. He sees Ja Rule, little Ja Rule and he never even fought him one on one. And he's going to come fuck with Fat Joe? Are you serious? He still don't leave his house."

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