CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 8th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Amy fails to get US visa for Grammy visit
- Britney update
- DOJ ask questions about major labels' download proposals
- Macca Mills divorce goes to court
- Weiland back in rehab
- Diddy is now an actor
- Turner and Knowles set for Grammy duet
- SMD release new EP
- Weller works with Coxon and Gallagher
- Robyn remixes Snoop
- Album review: Chris Joss - Teraphonic Overdubs
- Big Chill co-founder quits festival company
- Fatboy's Brighton beach party on again
- Cher signs up to Vegas
- Monkey makes surprise appearance at NME awards show
- NERD announce London show
- Fightstar single and show
- Morrissey fan ads done
- IMPALA present more sales awards
- Single review: Art Brut - Pump Up The Volume
- Cohen says no JV talks between Warner and Jay-Z
- Napster losses down
- Last.fm announce PPL deal
- Live Nation promote Vickers
- MAMA announce renewal of See Tickets deal
- NME launch new online store
- MTV president steps down
- GCap considering ridding itself of digital only assets
- Ofcom rule on local programming and digital quality
- Pete plays at fans' houses again
- Girls Aloud track disses Hoxtonites and suchlike
- Bedingfield track on Sims game
- Beck says his lyrics are nonsense

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TOP BIT
One last reminder on this. As mentioned earlier in the week, we are doing another one of those big overhauls of the directory on the CMU Music Network website, so if you're already listed expect a phone call checking your information sometime this week.

If you are a record label or PR company not currently listed (you can check the current directory at http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/directory) then send all the information we need (company name, address, phone number, website, email contacts) to listings@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk. If you have emailed stuff to that address in the last couple of months then it will already be on our system and we'll be making the relevant changes and additions in the next week also.

This time round we will also be adding a retail section featuring record shops and download stores, so if you are one of them send us your name, address, contact name, number and email, web address, and details of what you do to listings@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk and we'll get you listed too.

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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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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Mr Scruff at Koko.
Andy Carthy - Stockport's finest jazz-hop-funk-soul type man - takes on the old Camden Palace. I've seen him rock the Forum before, and think it's fair to say Scruffikins always delivers the goods when he takes to the wheels of steel. Koko is his new home in the big smoke, and this six hour set - yes, from opening to close, no warm up support here - is his third appearance since taking the residency. Expect to hear him drop soul, hip hop, disco, jazz, reggae, house, dubstep, latin, afro-funk flavas to name but a few. And don't forget to have a cup of Scruff's own brand of fairtrade tea at the tea stall.

Saturday 9 Feb, Koko, 1a Camden High St, London NW1 7JE. 9pm-3am, £15 adv (only 100 left as I type), details at http://www.koko.uk.com, http://www.mrscruff.com

CHRIS' CLUB TIP: DRUM & BASS ARENA ALLSTARS @ NEW CORONET
It's very lazy of me to just type out the line up for this night, but it really does speak for itself, and it's all in the rather fine New Coronet venue down there in Elephant And Castle too. In Room 1 you get DJ Rap's first set in the UK for five years, plus 90 minutes of Andy C and the joys of DJ Hype, Friction and a big bunch of MCs, including Eksman, GQ, Evil B, Fearless, Rhymes, Fun, Trigga, Herbzie and Bassman. In Room 2 you get Marcus Intalex, Artificial Intelligence and Heist, Room 3 has Kode 9, Heny G and Dubway, while in Room 4 there will be old skool hip hop from the Grass Roots Family. A definite stand out of a night for all d&b heads.

Friday 8 Feb, New Coronet Theatre, Elephant & Castle, doors 9pm, £20, more at http://www.breakbeat.co.uk

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AMY FAILS TO GET US VISA FOR GRAMMY VISIT
Well, when we reported yesterday that Amy Winehouse was due to find out today, Friday, whether US officials would grant her a visa to go to the US to perform at this weekend's Grammys, and that commentators reckoned she would get it, we were all kinds of wrong. In fact she found out yesterday, and she didn't get it.

Late yesterday afternoon an official statement was issued on Winehouse's behalf, reading: "Unfortunately, Amy's application for a visa to enter the United States of America has been rejected at this time by the American Embassy in London. Amy has been progressing well since entering a rehabilitation clinic two weeks ago and although disappointed with the decision has accepted the ruling and will be concentrating on her recovery. Amy has been treated well and fairly by the Embassy staff and thanks everyone for their support in trying to make this happen. There will of course be other opportunities and she very much looks forward to visiting America in the near future".

You might think that statement would bring to an end the 'will she play the Grammys' speculation, but you'd be wrong. Obviously Amy can't be at the LA awards bash, where she's nominated in six categories, in person, but now the Associated Press is quoting a Grammy insider as saying Winehouse will supply a performance by satellite, presumably from somewhere in London. Whether there is any truth in that, I guess we'll find out on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Winehouse news, Daniel Craig has denied rumours that the bosses of the James Bond franchise were seriously considering approaching Amy regarding recording the theme tune to new Bond film in the making 'Quantum Of Solace'. The tabs have reported that Bond bosses want Amy, but are worried about any bad PR that could come their way if the singer had any more drug issues around the release of the film. But Craig says all the talk is nonsense, because the movie's producers won't be anywhere near thinking about the soundtrack to the new movie as yet.

He told MTV: "Why is everybody ramming [the name] Amy Winehouse out? It's just way, way off that. Everyone's speculating about it but we've got other things to deal with - there's no point in writing the song for a movie when we haven't got a movie". Of course there was much speculation when last Bond flick 'Casino Royale' was in early production that Winehouse would be asked to record the theme tune for that too, but those rumours turned out to be untrue.

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BRITNEY UPDATE
More court proceedings in the life of Britney Spears as a hearing called by her father, James, and his lawyer Andrew Wallet has taken place behind closed doors.

The nature of the motion that they brought has not been revealed, but given that Wallet and Spears senior were, as previously reported, recently awarded joint conservatorship of Britney's estate and welfare, one can only assume they were going to court to ensure that the order holds, given the singer's sudden release from the psychiatric unit at the UCLA medical centre. James Spears released a statement following that release, of course, saying that he didn't believe his daughter was well enough to be let out so it would make sense that he wants to preserve his control over her affairs.

Anyway, this unspecified motion was brought before Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz, who authorised the original conservatorship, and court spokesman Allan Parachini would say only that the motion was unopposed, adding that "everything about this matter is sealed". A court appointed lawyer appeared on behalf of Britney.

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DOJ ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT MAJOR LABELS' DOWNLOAD PROPOSALS
According to Billboard, the US's Department Of Justice has requested information from both the Universal Music Group and SonyBMG about their plans to launch their own digital music service.

As previously reported, SonyBMG have reportedly backed plans coming out of Universal for the major record companies to launch their own download service, a proposal seemingly primarily motivated by the majors', and especially Universal Music boss Doug Morris', dislike of Apple being so dominant in the digital music marketplace. The new venture, working title Total Music, could give the majors the chance to reassert their authority in the digital music sector.

Why the Justice Department is interested in the proposal isn't known, but it may be because of concerns that if all four majors collaborated on a download platform they could use their own collective dominance in the recorded music space to win dominance in the digital music space.

Back in the very early days of digital music the majors, who at that time were each involved in one of two ultimately unsuccessful attempts to launch label owned download platforms, were accused of refusing to negotiate with companies like the original Napster, who were trying to find a way of legalising their P2P operation, because Napster et al would be competitors to the major's own download ambitions.

Those accusations were never proven, despite DoJ investigations, though they rumbled on past that investigation because they were brought up in the long running legal battle between the majors and the original Napster's financial backers.

Anyway, Billboard's unnamed source didn't provide much insight other than that both Universal and SonyBMG had received DoJ letters requesting information about Total Music. Neither major has commented on the report.

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MACCA MILLS DIVORCE GOES TO COURT
The long running divorce dispute between Paul McCartney and everyone's favourite whiner Heather Mills finally reaches court next week, and could well result in the biggest divorce settlement ever, given Macca's estimated £825 million fortune.

As I understand it, because divorce proceedings take place behind closed doors in the Family Division of the High Court, there won't be an official announcement on what settlement is reached, and the settlement will only come under public scrutiny if either side appeals. We won't know much at all about the hearing itself, which is a shame because it could be an amusing affair given that Mills will reportedly represent herself after falling out with her lawyers, who are themselves reportedly suing her over unpaid bills.

Experts reckon Mills could get up to £60 million, considerably more than the £48 million businessman John Charman was ordered to pay his ex-wife last year - a record divorce settlement. Mills claims that she helped McCartney get his life back together after the death of first wife Linda McCartney, and that that was crucial in enabling his subsequent career revival, may be crucial in deciding what Heather is due over and above maintenance payments to support her and the couple's daughter Beatrice. Macca's lawyers will be keen to point out much of the singer's fortune comes from his career pre his marriage to Mills.

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WEILAND BACK IN REHAB
According to Mary here at CMU everyone's in rehab at the moment, it's just that with all the media attention being dedicated to Britney and Amy no one has noticed. Well, we know for certain that Velvet Revolver's Scott Weiland is back in rehab, because the band's people issued a statement yesterday saying: "Following Velvet Revolver's performance last night [Wednesday] in Los Angeles, lead singer Scott Weiland voluntarily entered a rehab facility. Tonight's San Diego show at the House of Blues has been postponed. Velvet Revolver deeply apologize to their fans and thank them for sticking by the group". We are assuming it will only be a short stay in the rehab facility this time, because Aussie music website Undercover report that the promoter of the upcoming Velvet Revolver Australian tour, due to kick off in Brisbane on 15 Feb, says that, as far as he is aware, that tour is still going ahead.

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DIDDY IS NOW AN ACTOR
Puff Daddy P Diddy Doo Doddy Combs (or should that be Sean John?) has said that he's giving up recording and becoming an actor fulltime. He's currently promoting his role in the US TV movie 'A Raisin In The Sun', an adaptation of a Lorraine Hansberry play in which Combs made his Broadway debut in 2004.

Not sure which name he'll be using for this leg of his career, but here's what he says: "Right now I'm transitioning from a recording artist to acting. Having an opportunity to play this role, it really changed my life. I had an opportunity to open up as an artist, and I learned so much. Every role I get, I feel I'm getting better".

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TURNER AND KNOWLES SET FOR GRAMMY DUET
According to reports, Tina Turner and Beyonce Knowles are to perform a duet at this weekend's Grammys. No idea what they're going to perform, sorry. Organisers have, however, admitted that Rihanna, Feist, Alicia Keys and Aretha Franklin will also be performing and that awards will be presented by, amongst others, Prince, Akon, Tony Bennett, Cher, Nelly Furtado, Quincy Jones, Ringo Starr, Dave Stewart and Stevie Wonder. It all takes place on Sunday at LA's Staples Center of course.

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SMD RELEASE NEW EP
Simian Mobile Disco have released a new EP, 'Live From SoHo', available via US iTunes. It's eight tracks long and features material recorded during a live set the duo played at the Apple Store in New York in Oct, plus their remix of The Go! Team's 'Ladyflash'.

Here's what's on it:

Sleep Deprivation
Hustler
It's the Beat
Animal House
Tits & Acid
System
Scott
Ladyflash remix

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WELLER WORKS WITH COXON AND GALLAGHER
According to reports, Graham Coxon and Noel Gallagher have given Paul Weller a hand on his new album. Of course, last year, Coxon and Weller recorded a single 'This Old Town' together, but now it looks like they've joined up for more than just that one-off release.

On the Gallagher involvement, a 'source' told The Sun: "Noel and Oasis's Gem Archer have spent time at Weller's studio. Most sessions end in serious alcohol fuelled tear-ups. But the music has been brilliant".

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ROBYN REMIXES SNOOP
Robyn has done a remix of Snoop Dogg's adult version of 'Sensual Seduction', which, you'll remember, glories in the subtle title of 'Sexual Eruption'. No release date has been announced, but we'll let you know if we hear of it.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Chris Joss - Teraphonic Overdubs (Eighteenth Street Lounge Music)
'Teraphonic Overdubs' is Chris Joss' fourth album, and there's a definite confidence running throughout, with a distinctive style resonating, despite quite an eclectic mix of songs. A couple of tracks are light and bouncy, and while the organ and vibrating bass do provide a funky feel of sorts, they aren't thick or dirty enough to give them real substance. But the hefty bass lines of 'I Want Freedom' and 'Fatality Strikes' make up for it, meaning any 'camp pop' labels that might be attached to the likes of 'Magic Tubes' wouldn't apply to the bulk of what's here. 'Count The Daisies' demonstrates Joss' darker drum and bass potential, and the warbley sitar part is so naturally layered over the top you see why this guy gets critical acclaim. As I say, there's an eclectic mix here, Joss quite easily dips in and out of pop, funk, salsa and rock. Where some tracks could quite naturally sit over TV adverts for Sony or Orange, others wouldn't be out of place on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. Penultimate track, 'Surgelator Action', reintroduces the listener to Joss' love of funk and spoken samples before rounding up with 'Granted', a more "traditional" funk track. The album could be accused of being overly produced but, when your have all these musical abilities, I suppose you can't blame him for wanting to show them off. AW
Release Date: 11 Feb
Press Contact: Trailer Media [all]

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BIG CHILL CO-FOUNDER QUITS FESTIVAL COMPANY
Peter Lawrence, the co-founder of The Big Chill enterprise, has resigned as a director and shareholder of the company after fourteen years involvement.

In a posting on his own website, Lawrence writes: "For a variety of reasons, and with some considerable regret, I feel that the time is right to step back and let The Big Chill take its own course. For fourteen years I feel as if I've been on a mission to create something personally fulfilling, but it is the wider cultural context which interests me even more. There is no greater reward than seeing how peoples' lives have been affected due to chance meetings at Big Chill events, and one of our most important roles has been as a platform and catalyst for that. At this time, I need to put myself first for once and do things I have not been able to do since the early 90s, like reading books, hanging out and having quality time with my children as they grow up fast, and concentrating on my own music and writing with less time constraints".

He continues: "I have a restless spirit and I want to remain at the cutting edge, coming up with original concepts and fresh directions, and I have lots of new ideas. Who knows what exciting opportunities might bubble up to the surface. I won't be severing my Big Chill links altogether however as I will be stepping into a consultant role. After fourteen years it feels almost like a child growing up and leaving home - a real conflict of emotions, and not easy to let go of. [But] I'm leaving behind a great team and look forward to seeing them at future events".

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FATBOY'S BRIGHTON BEACH PARTY ON AGAIN
Plans for a fourth Big Beach Boutique party headlined by Fatboy Slim have been approved by members of the policy and resources committee of Brighton & Hove City Council. The event, organised by promoters Loudsound Events, will take place over two days on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 Sep from 5pm - 9.30pm on Madeira Drive (a wide road next to the beach often used for car rallies and suchlike), and will admit up to 22,000 people each night. As previously, those with a Brighton postcode will be offered first dib on tickets.

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CHER SIGNS UP TO VEGAS
Cher is the latest star to sign up for a Las Vegas run, committing to perform around 200 shows over the next three years. The singer will play the Colosseum, the venue built for Celine Dion, which Bette Midler, as previously reported, will also appear in on a regular basis during the course of the next few years. Cher says in a statement: "I started in Vegas at Caesars, so I've come full circle. I'm back and I plan to give my fans the best experience yet. I think everybody knows I only do things in a big way".

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MONKEY MAKES SURPRISE APPEARANCE AT NME AWARDS SHOW
Arctic Monkey Alex Turner made a surprise appearance at the Shockwaves NME Awards show in London last night, joining newcomers The Rascals for a rendition of their track 'Is It Too Late'. Rascals frontman Miles Kane announced: "I want to introduce my mate Alex. He is going to help us out with this one", before Turner played guitar and did a bit of singing to the delight of the assembled crowd. Kane and Turner are, of course, set to release a joint album in April.

Kane told NME.com "The ending was one of the best endings ever of a gig. How did we get Alex along? Him and me have been doing press for three days [for the new album] so I just said come and do this, and he did".

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NERD ANNOUNCE LONDON SHOW
NERD have announced that they'll play a one off set at Brixton Academy on 14 Jun, ahead of the release of their new album. Tickets, priced at thirty of your earth pounds, are available as of today.

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FIGHTSTAR SINGLE AND SHOW
Fightstar have a new single coming out, and they've teamed up with Oxjam and Lowlife to celebrate its release with a one-off show at Madame JoJo's in Soho on 3 Mar. The event will launch Lowlife's new SS08 clothing range as well as the single, 'Floods', out the same day, and all proceeds from the event will go to Oxjam. Two other acts will join Fightstar on the bill for the evening, plus one unsigned band, the winner of a competition run by Kerrang! and Lowlife. Tickets for the event, a very limited number including admission to an aftershow party, will go on sale on 8 Feb.

Get press info from Mercenary Publicity.

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MORRISSEY FAN ADS DONE
Following that previously reported call for Morrissey fans to submit images demonstrating their devotion to Mozza, a load have been picked to appear in one of two ads promoting the singer's upcoming greatest hits album. The first, a Morrissey tattoo heavy ad, is online on YouTube now...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1YcEbFPqnBs

Another will appear on Morrissey's MySpace sometime soon. The hits album is out Monday.

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IMPALA PRESENT MORE SALES AWARDS
Pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA has announced another batch of its Sales Awards, certificates designed to recognise the sales success of indie signed artists across Europe. The bigger (250,000 units+) awards this time were as follows...

Double Platinum (million+)
Katie Melua - Pictures (Dramatico)

Platinum (500,000+)
Manu Chao - La Radiolina (Because)
Radiohead - In Rainbows (XL)

Diamond (250,000+)
Amadou & Mariam - Dimcahe a Bamako (Because)
Carla Bruni - No Promises (Naïve/Teorema)
Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5:55 (Because)
Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun (PIAS/Fat Cat)

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SINGLE REVIEW: Art Brut - Pump Up The Volume (EMI/Mute)
Indie Rockers Art Brut ask the question "Is it so wrong to break from your kiss to turn up a pop song?" in this infectious new single taken from last year's 'It's A Bit Complicated' album. Maybe this can be where the knowingly intelligent lyrics and barbed guitars launch the band into the big time. 'Emily Kane', from their last long player, was the highest charting Fierce Panda single ever (missing the top 40 by two sales) but with the support of a major behind them this time, we can only hope, that the critical success turns into commercial. All together - "I know I shouldn't..." IM
Release Date: 11 Feb
Press Contact: Jon Kell EMI IH

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COHEN SAYS NO JV TALKS BETWEEN WARNER AND JAY-Z
Warner Music top man Lyor Cohen has denied reports in the New York Daily News that he is in discussions with Jay-Z about a new JV. Jay, of course, stepped down as President of Universal's Def Jam in December. There had been rumours he was in talks with Apple about launching some music venture, but the Daily News this week said talks were ongoing with Cohen, who originally signed Mr Z when he was running Def Jam back in the late nineties. But Cohen has said that, while he'd love to work with Jay-Z again, no talks are underway.

The Daily News' original source said this: "The reason Jay left Def Jam was less about money than about freedom. He didn't want to come to the office every day. And he had so many outside projects - his chain of 40/40 clubs and the hotel he's building in Chelsea (New York). But he wouldn't mind having a small label for the talent he discovers. He might just put out three or four records a year. He'd let somebody else do the heavy lifting".

But Cohen has responded thus: "I would be honoured and privileged to work with him again. Bringing Jay-Z to the Warner Music Group would be a privilege and a coup. I'd do it in a heartbeat. [But] Jay never does anything small or part-time".

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NAPSTER LOSSES DOWN
Napster have released their latest financials, and while they are still making a loss, the loss for the third quarter was $2.8 million, down from $9.5 million in the same quarter the previous year. The performance was better than many investment types expected, mainly because of a better than expected revenue rise.

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LAST.FM ANNOUNCE PPL DEAL
Online social recommendation music preview thingy what not service Last.fm has announced it has reached a royalty agreement with recordings royalty society PPL which will cover its web radio streaming service in the UK.

Last.fm co-founder Martin Stiksel says this: "It's fantastic that we're able to work with PPL in the UK to ensure that artists and labels are paid when their music is streamed on Last.fm. The deal shows how committed we are to making Last.fm work for copyright holders as well as listeners".

PPL rights negotiations bloke Peter Leathem says this: "We are delighted that a deal with Last.fm to license its customised radio service in the UK has been agreed, and also that another online service has been licensed through PPL" he continued "This agreement is a further step in the right direction to ensure that record companies and performers will be paid for their music, as consumer choice expands through developing technology and an ever increasing number of media platforms".

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LIVE NATION PROMOTE VICKERS
Live Nation has confirmed it has appointed David Vickers to the role of Senior VP, International Venue Development. Vickers previously oversaw the live music conglom's UK venues and was involved in their expansion into the Chinese market.

Commenting on the new role he said this: "Having spent ten years working in various guises in venue management within Live Nation, the company's expansion into international territories proves another major challenge and one that I am looking forward to".

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MAMA ANNOUNCE RENEWAL OF SEE TICKETS DEAL
Despite its recent announcement of a partnership with Ticketmaster regarding much of its growing venue empire, the London based MAMA Group has announced that See Tickets have been retained as the preferred ticketing company for their Garage, Borderline and Jazz Café venues. As part of the renewal deal customer transaction fees charged by See Tickets will be reduced to 12%.

MAMA Group's Steve Forster said: "[I'm] pleased we have renegotiated the deal as See Tickets offers exceptional customer service. We are also keen to work with See to develop the use of new ticketing technology across the venues. We have been very aware that the previous Mean Fiddler/See deal [for these venues] was based on high booking fees which not only deterred customers but also potential hirers. Therefore this new arrangement with booking fees at 12% is a definite step in the right direction".

MAMA have also announced that they will have a full time box office facility available at their central London Borderline venue which will sell tickets to shows across the company's London venue network, with no commission charged on cash purchases. The box office will be open six days a week from 11am to 6pm.

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NME LAUNCH NEW ONLINE STORE
NME has partnered with those Trinity Street bods to launch a new online store to tie in with NME.com which will sell CDs, t-shirts and other music related gubbins, including the clothing brands that band types are wearing.

I know this because Trinity Street top geezer Andy Murray just said this: "At Trinity St we focus on generating revenue streams for artists while delivering the best fan experience on behalf of bands. The NME Store will allow fans to buy the brands that their favourite bands wear alongside albums, merchandise and tour t-shirts. This is a unique opportunity for bands to connect with their fans and generate revenue from merchandise and record sales through the most credible music magazine website in the UK".

NME Publishing Director Paul Cheal adds this: "The NME store is a great development for NME and IPC Ignite, representing a fantastic commercial opportunity for bands, labels and fashion brands, giving them access to the massive NME.COM audience, and at the same time offering our consumers what they want".

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MTV PRESIDENT STEPS DOWN
MTV President Christina Norman has announced she is leaving the music broadcaster "to take the time to explore something new". It's quite a big story because Norman has been with MTV for seventeen years and has headed up the company's US operations since 2005. No word on a replacement as yet.

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GCAP CONSIDERING RIDDING ITSELF OF DIGITAL ONLY ASSETS
GCap is considering selling off its majority stake in national DAB multiplex Digital One, according to reports.

As previously reported, recently appointed CEO Fru Hazlitte is expected to tell us all - well, her shareholders mainly - how she plans to turn round the radio company's fortunes next week. Gossipers are saying she will propose the company withdraw from the digital radio market, [a] by selling its stake in the loss making Digital One and [b] by closing down its remaining digital only stations, including Planet Rock and the not long ago launched theJazz.

It would be an end of an era because GCap, and its predecessors GWR and Capital Radio, were both key investors in the early days of digital radio - but they have yet to see a serious return on that investment. Hazlitt is expected to introduce a raft of cost cutting measures to make the company a better stand alone going concern - the main aim seemingly to make GCap healthy enough to fight off any hostile takeover from rivals Global Radio.

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OFCOM RULE ON LOCAL PROGRAMMING AND DIGITAL QUALITY
OfCom have rejected previously reported calls by some commercial radio types to allow further nationwide syndication of programmes on local radio stations.

As previously reported, some commercial radio firms want to be able to broadcast the same programmes across all their local stations in prime time, in the same way some stations already do in other time slots. The logic is that said firms would be able to command big celebrity presenters for such networked prime time shows, enabling them to compete against the national BBC stations.

But, having considered those proposals as part of its ongoing Future Of Radio review, OfCom has said that FM local stations will still have to broadcast at least 10 hours of locally made programmes each weekday, and that includes the breakfast slot. Some of the radio station owners had proposed just three hours a day.

OfCom also says it is not willing to give the radio groups a free rein on how they use their digital airwaves, fearing that they may reduce the sound quality of some of their output in order to launch new or data services. The radio firms had argued they should be able to manage their own airwaves unhindered, but OfCom said this week: "We do not accept that, left to itself, the market will necessarily reflect the interests of consumers. For example, the carriage of non-radio data services may prove more lucrative for multiplex operators than audio services, which may not be in the interests of listeners".

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PETE PLAYS AT FANS' HOUSES AGAIN
Pete Doherty has been playing round his fan's houses for a hundred quid again, though I'm not sure if this was because he's broke or if because he was just being a nice bloke.

Doherty was reportedly asked to play a fan's birthday party by the fan's father, who offered a hundred quid for the performance. Pete accepted, needless to say making the birthday girl's day.

The Sun quote a source thus: "The birthday girl's dad told him she was a huge fan and that he'd give him £100 to perform at her party. Pete was flattered and happy to oblige. He turned up and played his big hits. Everyone had a great time. Some partygoers asked him when he was going to start making dogs out of balloons. He took it in good humour. It made her day and now she's a very popular girl with her pals. Her dad told the local paper and Pete has been bombarded with requests to play since".

Back in the day Pete used to sell his party appearance services at a nominal rate in order to gain some quick drug money, but this one may well have been done for the more natural high of seeing a fan having a very very happy birthday.

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GIRLS ALOUD TRACK DISSES HOXTONITES AND SUCHLIKE
The b-side of Girls Aloud's new single 'Can't Speak French' is a track called 'Hoxton Heroes', which disses indie types and people who run with the Primrose Hill crowd, which I can almost approve of.

Lyrics along the lines of: "You're off your face like you're no one/How many tracks have sold hmm none/Walk round the place like you're number one/So why don't you write a tune that we can hum/Just cos your dad knew the Rolling Stones/ You've got the Primrose set in your cell phone/ Don't kid yourself you're an indie clone/We've seen it before...".

It's out on 17 Mar, but you can hear a snippet on the MySpace page. Which is here: http://www.myspace.com/girlsaloud

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BEDINGFIELD TRACK ON SIMS GAME
Natasha Bedingfield's track 'Pocket Full Of Sunshine' features on new video game 'The Sims 2 Free Time', and has been re-recorded by the singer in Simlish. Bedingfield comments: "It was such a fun and delightful challenge to learn how to sing in Simlish. The language of The Sims captures a wonderful sense of beauty, creativity and humor, so my song 'Pocketful of Sunshine' translated well!"

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BECK SAYS HIS LYRICS ARE NONSENSE
Beck says that many of his hit tracks feature lyrics that are nonsense, because he used 'scratch vocals' to temporarily fill in the blanks, but never got round to making up proper words. He admitted to Rolling Stone that many of the lyrics on 1996 album 'Odelay' were adlibbed in this way, explaining that "most of the vocals on the record were scratch vocals. We just grew attached to them".

The lyrics in question include the likes of this line from 'The New Pollution: "She's got cigarette on each arm/She's got the lily-white cavity crazes/She's got a carburettor tied to the moon/Pink eyes looking to the food of the ages".

I wonder how many Beck fans have wasted hours trying to make sense of that one...?

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