CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 12th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- All sorts of GCap nonsense, no more DAB, Xfm for sale
- BBC and Channel 4 talk up DAB following GCap's withdrawal
- Yahoo! reject Microsoft offer
- The Game jailed over basketball game run in
- Macca Mills divorce goes to court - we all know nothing
- Yoko sues Lennon for being called Lennon
- Amy's mum on Grammys and recovery
- Malawian minister supports Madonna's adoption bid
- Kravitz in hospital
- Godspeed not split up, in fact
- Lavigne cashing in
- Lou Reed, Blonde Redhead on spoken word album
- Sonic Youth plan new album
- EMI to release Radiohead hits?
- Sony/ATV sign Kasirye
- Timbaland to make mobile only album
- Doherty to play Albert Hall
- REM play Albert Hall too
- Wonky pop tour
- Frank Black gig stopped by police
- Super Furrys perform five second song
- New live music streaming service to launch
- Omnifone launch handset
- EMI join Ricall to boost synch income
- LDA and AIM to offer new digital support to indie types
- Bauer announce digital expansion
- Lily Allen denies boring claims
- Jones: My chest hair's not insured
- Hilton and Lohan clash at Grammy party


So, the Times is reporting that the government is currently putting together a green paper which could put the music and movie industries' proposals that internet service providers have to take a more proactive role in policing the unlicensed distribution of content onto the statute book. The proposals even include the 'three strikes then you're out' system proposed by some in the record industry where persistent file sharers get their internet connections cut off.

Record label trade body the BPI used the reports to again state its position on this issue - that while it would rather reach a voluntary agreement with the ISPs regarding increasing their role in policing file sharing, long running attempts to reach that agreement have been unsuccessful, so perhaps statutory measures are the only solution. Basically repeating comments they made following U2 manager Paul McGuinness' loud calls for more action on the part of the ISPs at MIDEM last month, the BPI said this morning: "For years, ISPs have built a business on other people's music. Yet they have paid nothing to the creators of that music, and done little or nothing to address illegal downloading via their networks. This costs the music business hundreds of millions of pounds a year and will have serious consequences for investment in British culture in the long-term if it is allowed to continue".

They add: "For well over a year, the BPI has been trying to encourage ISPs to introduce reasonable measures that could remove the need to bring legal action against the 6-million British broadband customers that regularly use peer-to-peer networks to download music unlawfully. This is the number one issue for the creative industries in the digital age, and the government's willingness to tackle it should be applauded. Now is not the time for ISPs to hide behind bogus privacy arguments, or claim the problem is too complicated or difficult to tackle. It is time they started showing some corporate responsibility and partner with us to allow our digital creative economy to grow".

All of which seems to make now as good a time as any to have the previously promised Top Bit ponder on the next stage of the music industry's P2P war - the ISP stage.

The conspiracy theory with regard to all this is that the ISPs have generally resisted calls to monitor and stop illegal file sharing because, for years, illegal file sharing services were the main motivating factor for consumers to upgrade to broadband internet, and therefore the ISPs had a commercial interest in turning a blind eye to copyright infringement undertaken by their consumers on their servers. But as the number of licensed rich media services increases - with things like the BBC iPlayer and's music preview service and YouTube (which is at least partly licenced) - presumably the existence (and therefore toleration) of illegal services become less important in selling broadband services.

But ISPs continue to resist taking a more proactive role in monitoring and stopping file sharing. Of course they'd deny the conspiracy theory was ever true and say their reasoning for not monitoring file sharing remains consistent - primarily privacy issues, perhaps coupled with concerns of the practicality (and may be cost) of introducing monitoring systems. The privacy issues are very debatable, and depend very much on your interpretation of both national and European laws. As that BPI statement clearly shows, the music industry believes the privacy excuse is just that, a lame excuse.

Are the BPI right to call on the ISPs to take this more proactive role and should government force the ISPs to do so if they won't do it voluntarily?

Of course, CMU has been very critical of the record industry's handling of P2P over the years, mainly because a lot of that anti-P2P strategy has been stupid.

But then again, that's not to say we've ever disagreed with the concept of rights owners - whether they be record labels or music publishers or artists - from trying to protect their rights. You either have a society where the law recognises copyrights, and the rights of creative people and creative companies to profit from those copyrights, or you don't. But it's a bit screwy to have a society where you recognise copyrights, but then do not provide the legal tools for the rights owners to protect those copyrights.

Though, of course, logistics dictate that rights owners will always only be able to protect their copyrights to a certain point, and the big question is always at what point should rights owners give up protecting their rights - ie, when is it just not commercially viable to bother? I'd argue that once you're in the realm of suing thousands of individual music fans on a weekly basis - ie the realm the US record industry operates in - then you have passed that viability point. I think there is an argument, however, that making the ISPs put some checks in place, is on the right side of the commercial viability border line.

That said, there is still the ISPs other argument against file sharing monitoring - is the technology really available that could do this job? Of course there is lots of monitoring technology out there, like that already used by the record labels to track file sharing, and by those trying to establish licenced P2P networks, and by the ISPs when monitoring online crime. Would it work? Realistically, probably not - the file sharing community will quickly develop ways to share content that isn't picked up by the monitoring systems (my techie friends tell me they already have) and anyone who is really keen on their file sharing will be able to sidestep the filters. But it might make file sharing slightly more tricky, or slightly less attractive, and that, the record companies may argue, may be enough, to stop the growth of P2P if nothing else.

As the rather excessive length of this Top Bit suggests, I'm in two minds on this one. I think there is an argument for forcing the ISPs to do some monitoring of file sharing. Though whether it will really make any major impact on the core file sharing community, or provide a boost to the growth of legit music services, well, I'm not so convinced.

Anyway, enough of this over long Top Bit, let's get on with an overlong report on GCap.


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: [email protected]

Supporting Ninja Tune, Big Dada & Counter Records marketing team. Organising marketing activities and materials inc merchandise, adverts, events, appropriate brand hook-ups etc etc. Chasing publicity people and compiling weekly reports, writing sales notes. Tenacious, intelligent, likeable. Starting salary £18,000. Contact [email protected]



We have desk and office space available at our spacious, newly refurbished base in London's Docklands. You'd be sharing with a company operating in the creative, cultural and marketing space, and the facility would best suit individuals or SMEs operating in those sectors. We are just minutes from South Quay DLR station, and ten minutes walk from the main Canary Wharf complex and Jubilee Line station. Rent includes broadband internet access and meeting room facilities. Spaces available immediately. For more information contact [email protected]



The next CMU recommended Remix All-Nighter takes 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 Remix chief Eddy TM 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. Oh, and they've just added Busy P (Ed Banger) to the bill too. This night is going to be storming.

It all takes place on 20 Mar. Full info from:


A pleasing amalgamation of Gruff Rhys, The Postal Service and Nick Drake, James Yuill's new single, 'No Surprise', is the perfect 9am track with its folk-ish mix of xylophone, soothing, almost celestial vocals and synth beats that would probably work well round an electro-Scout's campfire (for there is such a thing). It's atmospheric stuff, and though not exactly a revelation lyrically, Yuill's music remains endearing irrespective of the lacking wordy prowess, and may even be all the better for it as he assures his listener to "Slow it down, take it easy", which is great advice for any anti-morning types. Released yesterday (11 Feb) via Chess Club records, 'No Surprise' is a limited 7" job (and, I believe, download) so those after the physical format will have to be quick, but if you miss out take solace that you can still stream it from his MySpace page, which we've graciously provided a link to below.


Some in the radio world have for a while questioned the long term future of so called 'digital audio broadcasting', expressing the opinion that that 'kind' of digital radio (ie through the air to digital radio sets) may well be superseded as the consumer's main choice for radio listening by internet radio services long before it has ever really taken off in a commercial sense. New GCap boss Fru Hazlitt is seemingly one of those people, and her opinion is more important than most given she is the chief of one of the biggest investors in DAB to date. But before we get to GCap pulling out of DAB, what's this about Xfm?

Yes, as expected, Hazlitt yesterday announced her plans for turning round the fortunes of London based radio group GCap, the primary aim being to convince the City the company has a future as an independent concern, and that its shareholders shouldn't just sell out to any potential buyers, in particular the acquisition hungry Global Radio.

"Turning round fortunes" normally means cost cutting, and Hazlitt's plans include plenty of that. The pulling out of DAB is probably the big story of all this, though it was the new GCap chief's plans for Xfm that made Team CMU gasp. She says she intends to sell off the Xfm outposts in Scotland, Manchester and South Wales, the latter of which has only recently gone on air. That decision essentially brings to an end ambitions within Xfm to transform the alternative station from being a London local to being the national home of indie radio, something in which the Xfm team have invested much energy in recent years, especially to win the FM licences in Manchester and South Wales.

It's not clear whether the three Xfm local stations will be sold as a mini-network or individually, nor whether any buyer will buy the right to use the Xfm name. Even if they do, with GCap continuing to operate Xfm in London it is probably inevitable any new owner of the regional stations will eventually want to give them a separate identity. It's also not clear what the move will mean for Xfm London - which currently broadcasts nationally on DAB, satellite, cable and the net. Given Hazlitt's newly stated opinion on DAB, the station may be withdrawn from DAB services as soon as contracts allow. While it will continue to have national reach elsewhere, contracts relating to the sale of the regional stations may limit the promotion of those services outside the capital. That might give the new national NME radio station being planned by IPC, and being spearheaded by one of Xfm's original founders, Sammy Jacob, an opportunity to grab the national indie station crown.

The other cuts in analogue radio will most likely come from GCap's Gold network, which was created by the merger of the Classic Gold and Capital Gold networks last year. In her strategy outline yesterday Hazlitt said she would reduce investment in the classic hits brand to "an appropriate level". Given she doesn't seem to see much of a future for AM radio services (coming from Virgin Radio, she knows all about the limitations of music services on AM), and given that Classic Gold is primarily an AM based radio service, that "appropriate level" of investment could be very low.

But, as we said, the big story in Hazlitt's announcement was really her intentions in the DAB space, though those intentions weren't a surprise, having been much rumoured last week. Basically, GCap, one of the early big investors in digital audio broadcasting, is completely moving out of the space. It will sell its 63% stake in the original national DAB multiplex, Digital One, to its partner in the venture Arqiva. The simulcast of GCap services on DAB will become a low priority, and will probably cease as contracts with local multiplex owners allow - as part of the agreement with Arqiva all GCap stations but Classic FM will disappear from the Digital One network. The move also sees GCap close down its remaining digital only stations - that's Planet Rock and theJazz.

Outlining her new dislike of all things DAB, Hazlitt said: "The majority of people who are listening through DAB receivers are listening to stations that are simulcasting on FM. The majority of DAB receivers out there are FM-enabled too. If you put that against a background of the cost structure of DAB, it cannot be an economically viable platform. It is about here and now, and what we believe is right for the future of the new GCap. DAB with its current cost structure and slow consumer response is not an economically viable platform for the group".

Hazlitt says GCap's new priorities will be FM radio, in the short term, and broadband internet services in the long term. With that in mind Hazlitt's new strategy also requires GCap to change its political position on the future of radio. Previous GCap chief Ralph Bernard was a fan of DAB and was encouraging the government to set a timetable for turning off FM radio, in a bid to persuade more consumers to upgrade to digital. The all new GCap will want FM radio to last as long as possible, certainly until internet radio services are in a position to take over. All of which means Hazlitt's GCap will be lobbying in a different direction on the issue.

Of course before we start assuming all of Hazlitt's plans are a given, we now have to wait and see how her shareholders respond to her proposals. Global Radio are keen to take over GCap, and although their original offer to buy the firm was knocked back, they may now make another offer. As previously reported, Global Radio have committed to the City's Takeover Panel that if they are going to make another offer they will do so by 5 Mar. If they do buy GCap, Hazlitt will almost certainly be out of a job - how much of her strategy would be adopted by Global Radio chief Charles Allen we know not. So, I think it's fair to say everything remains in the air until a new Global offer or 5 Mar, whichever comes first.


Needless to say, Hazlitt's announcement yesterday, basically that in her eyes digital audio broadcasting is dead in the water, had ramifications across the radio industry, especially among those ploughing forward with their own DAB strategies. So much so, both the BBC and Channel 4 were compelled to make their own announcements bigging up the medium.

The BBC, who have been the other big DAB supporter since day one, said that in their opinion that bit of digital radio had been a "success story". BBC radio chief Jenny Abramsky told reporters: "It is important not to confuse GCap's current strategy with success or failure of DAB. DAB is a success story - 2 million sets were sold in 2007 - and is part of the digital future of radio. More than 22% of UK adults now claim to have DAB at home and it makes up 10% of all radio listening. Recent RAJAR listening figures show that nearly 5.6 million people tune into BBC Radio via DAB each week and the BBC's digital-only networks continue to grow, with two networks - 6 Music and BBC 7 - recently posting record listening figures".

Stressing the advantages of DAB over other kinds of digital radio - including the kinds of internet radio services that are now available - she said DAB services were "easy to use and portable while giving listeners more choice and a range of additional features such as programme related information and storage".

Channel 4, of course, don't want anyone to be saying that DAB is dead, given that they are only just about to launch their DAB network. The Guardian quote Nathalie Schwarz, the chair of 4Digital, thus: "Media convergence is a reality. By 2012, analogue television in the UK will be switched off and every home will be digitally-enabled. Radio has lots of advantages in a digital landscape and the industry can choose either to invest in that future and flourish, or be left behind. Consumers are comfortable with radio and digital radio enhances rather than undermines a very familiar medium which can be enjoyed throughout the home and on the move. The latest Rajar figures show that listening to digital radio is growing rapidly in the UK and DAB accounts for the vast majority of that listening. Other distribution platforms for digital radio are very small in comparison and we are convinced that DAB represents the cornerstone of radio going digital".

So there you have it. DAB isn't dead. Unless you work in Leicester Square, in which case, remind me what DAB was again?


Back to the internet everybody, and Yahoo! Inc has formally rejected that much reported unsolicited takeover offer from Microsoft. As previously reported, Microsoft offered over $40 billion for the web firm, part of its efforts to reassert itself in a Google/Apple dominated internet. Microsoft is now expected to make a fresh bid with a higher offer price. In his internal memo confirming he was rejecting Microsoft's original takeover offer, Yahoo! Inc boss Jerry Yang said: "We believe Microsoft's proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo!", though he didn't indicate what he considered to be a fair price. Of course, Microsoft could go straight to Yahoo!'s bigger investors and attempt a hostile takeover or rethink its ambitions to acquire the firm - though those who know about these things seem to think an increased offer to the Yahoo! board is the most likely next step. The Yahoo! Chief has let it be known he is considering various options for safeguarding his company's future - an alliance with Google is thought to be one, while the Times has reported that some sort of deal with AOL may be another.


Into the pop courts, and rap type The Game is in prison after pleading no contest to a felony firearm charge in relation to that much previously reported incident in which the hip hopper pulled a gun on a man after an argument about a basketball game.

The incident took place last February and was all the more serious because it took place in a 'school zone' where illegal gun possession is considered even more serious. The rapper originally pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the fracas, but reached a plea bargain with prosecutors in a bid to avoid the five year jail sentence he could have faced if he'd been found guilty of all the original charges.

By pleading no contest to the one firearm charge he will spend 60 days in jail, will be on probation for three years, and will serve 150 hours of community service. Some reports in the US of a four month jail term were incorrect.


The problem with closed doors divorce hearings is that no one in the media knows what's happening, so we reporters have to rely on dubious gossip and idle speculation. So, with day one of the Paul McCartney and Heather Mills divorce proceedings held behind closed doors yesterday, let's get down to the dubious gossip and idle speculation shall we?

As previously reported, Macca has no problem committing to making maintenance payments to his ex to support their daughter Beatrice - payments which some reckon could be as much as £2.5 million a year - but the issue of contention is what pay off Mills should get personally for the failed marriage.

There were reports yesterday of an out of court settlement having been proposed of £10 million - though some reports said that the proposal had been made by Macca and turned down by Mills, while others said Mills had proposed the figure and McCartney had said no.

Given McCartney is worth an estimated £825 million, and is rumoured to have spent £5 million alone on lawyers in relation to the divorce, and that legal types are expecting a final settlement in excess of £50 million, it seems unlikely Mills would be proposing or accepting a £10 million deal, though her friends do continue to insist that for her the divorce deal "isn't about the money".

What it is all about I'm not sure, and we may never know. As I say, we know very little about this closed doors case - although everyone seems to think that neither side is especially keen to placate the other, and that the week long hearing is likely to be gruelling for all concerned.


More Beatles related litigation, and Yoko Ono has suddenly taken offence at US singer Lennon Murphy performing under the name Lennon.

Ms Murphy was named after Yoko's late husband, and has performed under just her first name for some eight years, in 2003 successfully registering it as a trademark. Murphy claims her people consulted Yoko early on in her career about performing under the name even though, given it's her legal name, she probably didn't need to. Ono seemingly made no objection at the time, but, according to, is now claiming Murphy's use of the name is a "tarnishment" of John Lennon's name and that Murphy "fraudulently" registered the name as a trademark. Ono has reportedly issued legal papers in relation to the matter.

In a posting on her MySpace called 'Getting Sued By Yoko', Murphy writes: "In 2000 [her former label] Arista Records addressed the issue of Yoko Ono potentially having a problem with our use of the name. My product manager at Arista was ironically the son of the lawyer who actually represents Yoko. So he approached Yoko, to make her aware of the use, evidently giving her blessing as Arista proceeded forward with the album release and at the same time filing for the trademark".

"Eight long hard years pass and no one says a word. Just two days before the statue of limitations was up this very same lawyer we went to in 2000 filed their complaint accusing me of falsely representing myself and causing confusion in the market place that has damaged to the John Lennon name. I'm not sure what confusion I could be causing since I don't have the $50,000 to hire a lawyer and fight this. If people were confusing me with John Lennon and accidentally buying my records I should have more than enough money to live my life and hire a lawyer? I wish that was the case".

No word yet from the Ono camp on the lawsuit, though word has it Julian Lennon, John's son by his first marriage, has said he doesn't see a problem with Murphy using the Lennon name.


Amy Winehouse's mum Janis has been on GMTV talking about her daughter, obviously, her Grammy success and her hopes for the singer's recovery from addiction. Commenting on her improved condition, she said: "Well, as you saw, she looks good and it's a case of she's on the road, and that's what it's about, she's on the road to recovery".

She added, however, that she thought it was a good thing that Amy didn't make it to the Grammys in person, saying: "I think it would have been too much for her because all of the travelling and flying there, I mean seeing what the Grammys was like ... we could see it live from there and I thought if Amy were there, she'd be lost in it, she'd be a little girl lost in it".

Asked about Amy's feelings about the fact that husband Blake Fielder-Civil was unable to join the awards celebrations, Janis refused to comment, saying: "Mmm yes, yes, I'll leave that one".

Then she said this, which is a bit of a ramble, but I just about understand what she's getting at, so I expect you will too: "You know, I was helpless because there was nothing I could do because Amy had to do it for Amy and that's the way it is. So you know it's a case of life is a weird, weird thing. Things are thrown in that are good, but there's a bad there and there's a good there and you've always got to have a balance, definitely".


Malawi's Information Minister Patricia Kaliati has said that she thinks it would be wrong for Malawian courts to block Madonna's adoption of David Banda. You will remember that Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie brought the little boy back from the African country to the UK back in 2006, dogged by claims that their adoption of baby Banda was not legal, and that the couple had effectively dodged the country's official adoption process. If you don't remember that, then I'd congratulate you on your own ability to dodge exposure to this country's media outlets.

Anyway, this information lady says: "this country owes her so much. Very few famous people would take their time off to rally other celebrities to raise money for a poor country like Malawi, which very few people know about. It will be wrong for Malawi to even dare deny this wonderful woman all the rights to be a parent of David and many more Malawian children".

Madonna recently co-hosted a charity party in New York for her own Raising Malawi orphan care initiative and the United Nations Children's fund, and raised £1.85m.


Lenny Kravitz was admitted to the Mount Sinai hospital in Miami on Monday suffering from severe bronchitis. According to reports he had been suffering from flu since mid-January, and had subsequently developed a respiratory tract infection. The singer, who released his new album 'It Is Time For A Revolution' just last week was supposed to be promoting the release in Europe this week; presumably all that'll have to be postponed or cancelled.


Following yesterday's reports (yes, including ours) that Godspeed You! Black Emperor have split up, band member Efrim Menuck, who it was that gave us the impression that that was the case, has denied that the Canadian avant garde collective have called it a day, despite the five year indefinite hiatus.

Menuck was quoted by Drowned In Sound as saying words to the effect that the group wouldn't be getting back together due to some sort of existential angst related to the Iraq war, but now he's denied that he said it. He told Pitchfork: "The Drowned in Sound thing is a misquote. It's true, Godspeed hasn't existed for years, we've been on permanent hiatus since 2002. If and when we do call it quits permanently, it won't be because of the Iraq war".

So what he's actually sort of saying there is that, given they're still in this hiatus, the band doesn't actually exist at the present time, and therefore there's nothing to split up. Ach, time will tell.


Like so many of her peers, Avril Lavigne has plans to launch her own fragrance and clothing line. She follows the likes of Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and P Diddy Puff Daddy in thinking she needs to be even richer than she is already from music sales and wanting people to go round smelling of and stamped with her own special quality. The singer has told reporters this week that she has trademarked her name so that she can use it to market the fashion line and scent.

Lavigne: "The clothing line I've wanted to do for about three years, and a lot of times what people do is a licensing deal and I didn't want to do that. I wanted to own a company and really be able to be a designer, be creative, and I finally have found someone to partner up with".

The singer, who sets of on a North American and European tour shortly, is also quoted as saying she was looking forward to Canadian music awards the Junos, which she is planning to attend between tour commitments. "I'm very excited to go and I'm very thankful that I've been nominated for five Junos since I didn't get any Grammy nominations", she says. "It's nice to feel the support from Canada, so I'm so happy I get to make it and that we left time open on my tour so that I could attend. I always love going back home".


Lou Reed and Blonde Redhead singer Kazu Makino are among artists to feature on a new spoken world album to be released in the Spring. The project, entitled 'Recitement' features different literary texts by the likes of Thomas Hardy, Paul Theroux and, er, Yoko Ono, recited by the likes of the aforementioned Reed and Makino, as well as other actors and writers, set to a background of original music.

The album has been put together by avant-garde composer Stephen Emmer and the seventeen tracks performed in seven different languages have been mixed by respected producer Tony Visconti. The LP is out on 7 Apr, and I'd very much like a copy.


Sonic Youth say they have plans for a new album in the pipeline, with a view to release in early 2009. Speaking after an appearance in New York on Friday, the band's Thurston Moore confirmed that work on a follow up to 2006's 'Rather Ripped' would commence soon, saying: "We haven't gotten together in about four months, we've been taking a nice sort of break, which is good. I've been actually able to escape into the basement. We're going to Australia next week for about two weeks then we'll come back and start writing".


Reports suggest that EMI are planning to release a Radiohead greatest hits album to coincide with the band's upcoming world tour, which is probably going to be a bit annoying for them (Radiohead) given their decision not to re-sign with the major. Ho hum. Apparently guitarist Ed O'Brien told Canadian TV: "They're planning to do a greatest hits for April, May to coincide with our tour. That's an interesting one. We won't be doing any promotion for that, obviously". Phil Selway added: "It's well within their rights to do it. So we'll have to see".


Publishing types Sony/ATV have signed a publishing deal with Alan Kasirye, a hotly tipped songwriter and producer who has worked with the likes of Lemar, Cee-Lo Green and new hotly tipped Wall Of Sound signing Mpho Skeef.

Confirming the deal, Sony/ATV MD Rakesh Sanghvi told CMU: "We have really high hopes for Alan, a huge talent who has developed a really good reputation in a relatively short space of time. With a great management team behind him and our full backing we believe that he is poised to become of the biggest names in modern songwriting and production".

Alan himself added: "I am really looking forward to a long a successful career with Sony and am excited to have such an enthusiastic global team working behind me".


Now, this is very modern. Timbaland is set to release a mobile phone only album as part of a new deal with US mobile network Verizon. The producer will work on a bunch of new songs which will only be available - initially at least - via Verizon's V Cast service. The hip hopper says this: "Everybody has a mobile phone, but producing a mobile album has never been done. I'm the first to ever do it".


Yikes. Pete Doherty is to play a solo date at the Royal Albert Hall - meaning that a huge 5,500 capacity crowd could be disappointed if he fails to show up. It's his biggest solo show yet, and takes place at the London venue on 16 Apr. Tickets go on sale at 9am on Saturday.


More in Albert Hall news now, as REM are also to appear at the Albert Hall shortly, as part of 60th birthday celebrations for the ICA and of course to promote their new album 'Accelerate', out 31 Mar. The gig, featuring support from Foals, The Duke Spirit and Robyn Hitchcock takes place on 24 Mar, with tickets going on sale as of Friday. REM are expected to announce more UK live dates shortly.


This sounds good. The Wonky Pop Tour features four interesting sounding pop acts, some of which I've never heard of, but who sound pretty funky. According to the press release those acts are as follows: Alphabeat, "a twelve-legged, primal pop force from Denmark who are currently setting the nation's airwaves alight with their killer single 'Fascination'", Leon Jean-Marie, a "singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and purveyor of grade A pop nuggets", FRANKMUSIK, "a one man future hit factory whose electronic pop gems will be coming soon to a radio near you" and The Clik Clik, "four London teenagers whose fizzpop bombs are as colourful as a new rave hoodie". It's all happening in collaboration with Popjustice, and the tour calls at the following venues:

10 Apr: Leeds, Cockpit
11 Apr: Sheffield, Plug
12 Apr: Liverpool, Korova
13 Apr: Oxford, Bar Academy
15 Apr: Nottingham, Stealth (Club Night)
16 Apr: Stoke, Sugarmill
17 Apr: Cardiff, Barfly
18 Apr: Bristol, Start The Bus
19 Apr: Brighton, Audio
21 Apr: Northampton, Soudhaus
22 Apr: Birmingham, Bar Academy
24 Apr: Newcastle, Bar Academy
25 Apr: Edinburgh, The Hive
26 Apr: Glasgow, King Tuts
27 Apr: Manchester, Night & Day
29 Apr: Tunbridge Wells, Forum
30 Apr: Southampton, Joiners
1 May: London, Kings College

Press info from Darling.


An impromptu gig by Pixie Frank Black was stopped by police in Dublin on Saturday when authorities became concerned about overcrowding. More than 1000 people turned up at St Stephen's Green to see and hear Black play a mix of solo material and Pixies tracks, before officers stepped in and escorted him away.


Only the Super Furry Animals can get away with performing a five second song. Yes, Gruff Rhys et al performed their shortest ever song at a gig in LA last Friday. According to the NME, having performed a few songs while wearing a giant space-helmet, Rhys then asked his audience to put their hands over their heads and wiggle their fingers to "amplify the sound waves" of the mini-track, which lasted about five seconds and had just one lyric. Brilliant.


Warner, Beggars, MAMA Group and online video developers Perform Group are all reportedly involved in a new venture which will see the launch of a web-TV channel dedicated to webcasting live concerts - something the MAMA Group's Channelfly was originally set up to do way back in the early days of all this web type nonsense. The aim seems to be to capitalise on the good health of the live sector and the continued growth of user-friendly web based video services.

Billboard quote Perform Group MD Richard Cohen thus: "The major labels might be in trouble, but live music has never been healthier. And the second best thing after actually being at the concerts is to capture the event and stream it live".

The new service has a provisional name of the Lovelive Channel, and the plan seems to be to make the service ad-funded and free to access to consumers. Gigs will be filmed across the MAMA Group's ever expanding network of UK venues, with TV studio style kit being put into some of those venues as part of the company's refurbishment programme. Warner Music International's video division will support Perform with video know-how, while Beggars are expected to provide some of the artists who participate in the channel at launch.


Mobile music company Omnifone, who make their MusicStation service available via various networks around the world, including Vodafone here in the UK, have announced an alliance with LG Electronics who will be selling handsets specifically designed for use with its subscription based digital music service.

The new handsets, a definite attempt to take on Apple's iPhone, will come with the MusicStation Max service offering unlimited access to a big catalogue of music, which they will be able to organise into playlists and share with other users.

Confirming the LG partnership, Omnifone top man Rob Lewis said this: "The new MusicStation Max handsets will give consumers the ultimate music freedom: the ability to download, discover, play and share whatever music they want, wherever they are".

LG's MusicStation phones will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.


EMI has entered into a global deal with Ricall in a bid to boost its revenues from good old sync rights, the use of music in ads, films, telly programmes and the likes. Ricall operate an online platform used by people in those industries looking for music to licence, and the new deal means EMI's rather large catalogue of songs will be added to that platform.

Confirming the deal, EMI's VP Global Sales, Ronn Werre, told CMU: "EMI Music's goal is to create maximum exposure and value for our artists' music by embracing digital technologies and providing the best service to customers. Ricall's technology will help us deliver a seamless process to business clients wishing to access EMI's repertoire on a global basis. It is a great system that complements our existing search tools and is a very effective means of reaching new clients, giving our artists more opportunities to generate revenue through all kinds of established and emerging platforms".

Ricall founder and chief Richard Corbett added: "We are delighted to announce this deal with EMI which will see Ricall working closely with a second major music group to promote their entire global music catalogue for licensing via Ricall. Synch and premium licensing are a significant and rapidly growing source of revenue for the music industry. Ricall's unique platform enables copyright owners to take full advantage of this additional market by processing a much greater volume of music licensing more efficiently and cost effectively".


The London Development Agency and the Association Of Independent Music have announced a new service to offer artists, indie labels and other indie music companies with free and subsidised support and advice for their digital ventures. The LDA will put in £650,000 to fund the support service, which will be coordinated by AIM.

AIM's GM Remi Harris, who has co-developed the new programme, told CMU: "It was clear from our research that there is huge untapped potential in the exploitation of digital technologies for London's small music companies. I hope that this service is able to have a wide-reach into all aspects of the music industry in London, and at all levels of expertise. It's also very exciting for AIM be given the opportunity to bring this funding into the music industry".


As GCap announced it was axing its digital radio ventures, rivals Bauer Radio, the new name for EMAP Radio, of course, was busy announcing it was expanding theirs. They've even hired a consultant to help with that expansion - Ric Blaxhill - the former Top Of The Pops producer who knows quite a bit about digital radio, having been the programming chief of the BBC's digital only station 6Music until he was forced out amid all those dodgy phone in scandals last year. One of Blaxhill's first jobs will be working with Q magazine editor Paul Rees to launch an all new Q Radio service which has much closer links with the actual magazine than past EMAP print title radio station spin offs.

Confirming that project, Ric Blaxill told reporters: "It's good to look at the potential for translating strong magazine brands into strong radio formats. To translate Q magazine's reputation, content and credibility into an all new radio format would be very exciting not only for music fans but for digital radio. Working closely with Q Editor Paul Rees we are exploring how we could offer artists a multi-media platform to support their music with live programming, live performance, a new playlist, themed programming to support the magazine, specialist music strands and a mix of music and comedy".

Rees added: "These are exciting times for Q. One of our key aims for the future is transferring and expanding the Q ethos effectively and properly, cross-brand for the first time. All new Q Radio could be a major part of this effort and a number of clients are already interested. Having a man of Ric's vast experience on board to help us do so can only be of great benefit".

Bauer, of course, are in the process of deciding what to do with their new assets - EMAP's radio and consumer magazine businesses. On the latter, the company has already announced it is axing two titles, First and New Woman, a move that seems to have taken many at the former EMAP by surprise - while restructuring and downsizing always follows a change in ownership, few expected full axings quite so quickly. It remains to be seen if other titles face a similar fortune in the coming weeks.


A rep for Lily Allen has denied that a third of a studio audience watching the recording of her new TV show walked out because they were so bored. 'Lily And Friends' was being filmed at Pinewood Studios last week, and according to reports, all sorts of things went wrong, the worst thing being that Allen's autocue gave out, leaving her with handwritten cue-cards to rely on and her audience appalled and bored by her performance. However, a spokesman told the Daily Star "it's nonsense", so it must be


Tom Jones has put paid to the rumours that his chest hair is insured with Lloyds of London to the tune of £3.5million. The singer writes on his website: "No such policy exists or has ever been considered. We assume this is just a bit of fun".


According to reports, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan had a bit of a run-in at Timbaland's pre-Grammy party on Saturday. The Mirror says Lohan pointed at Hilton and exclaimed: "What the hell is that bitch doing here? I didn't know she was on the list", to which Hilton responded: "Fuck off, you bitch".

Not sure what any of this has to do with music. Oh, hang on, apparently, both Hilton and Lohan want to work with Timbaland in an effort to revive their rubbish music careers. "Both saw the party as an ideal way of getting him on side" said a source "but they didn't count on the other being there".

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