CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 6th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Perry sues over Blunt royalties
- eBay introduce charity levy on benefit gig tickets
- Lots of Lily
- James Spears keeps control of Britney
- Weiland pleads not guilty
- House of Lords won't hear Springer appeal
- Lock up the druggy pop stars
- Look after your ears, ok?
- DJ cancels Syrian gig after death threats
- Richie and Miller to get ASCAP gong
- Phish to get lifetime jam award
- Gnarls Barkley video pulled
- Cajun Dance Party albums
- Truck Festival confirmations
- Road to V open
- A Day To Remember tour
- Marley film gets green light
- Rapper to play Biggie
- Buckley's Hallelujah gets Idol boost
- Single review: We Are Scientists - After Hours
- MusicMakesFriends confirms three majors on board
- Shazam announce Orange man appointment
- Grade defends ITV
- GCap board considering Global offer
- DAB advocates hold crisis talks
- Tiscali TV aiming for 50% UK coverage
- Presenters return to daytime on Xfm
- Rihanna bans umbrellas from gigs
- Simpson denies being drunk on radio

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TOP BIT RECOMMENDED
The next edition of the CMU Recommended MusicTank Think Tank series will be tackling that tricky topic of secondary ticketing, which is an issue I'm of two minds on, so I'd really like to be at this debate, though I'll unfortunately be in St Andrews at the time, so won't make it. So, perhaps you could all go and let me know what's said?

Anyway, you know the story so far - the growth of online ticket touting, resentment among the artist management and tour promotion community that punters are making money by reselling their artists/gigs tickets, concern among political types that consumers are losing out, outrage in all sorts of circles when punters profit from reselling tickets to charity gigs (more on that in today's Daily) and resistance among the companies that are making money by providing the auction facilities to pass a cut of the profits back to the artist community.

There'll be lots to talk about, and among those doing the talking will be Marc Marot of the Resale Rights Society, that artist management founded body that is proposing giving auction websites legitimacy in return for them paying a levy back to music types.

Said auction sites aren't so keen on those proposals, so it will be interesting to hear from the boss of one of them - Viagogo's Eric Baker - who will also be talking. The tour promoters themselves have been pretty non-committal on the RSS proposals, so it will be interesting to see what Carl Leighton-Pope has to say. And I also don't know whether political types think the whole RSS thing is a good idea, but I'm sure John Whittingdale MP, chair of the cultural select committee, will be able to tell us. All in all, a very interesting line up.

This all takes place at the PRS-MCPS offices in London on Tuesday 18 Mar - info at http://www.musictank.co.uk/

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JOBS N STUFF

JUNIOR PUBLISHING ASSISTANT VACANCY - FABRIC PUBLISHING
Fabric Publishing, Fabric's music publishing business, is looking for a young, enthusiastic, hard working person with excellent administration and organisational skills to fill a junior publishing assistant vacancy. The job will require the successful candidate to maintain and manage the extensive publishing database, compile monthly royalty tracking reports, liaise with sub publishers, deal with MCPS/PRS song registration, liaise with writers/artists, manage the music library and provide general help with day to day running of publishing company. The successful candidate must have experience in using excel, filemaker pro and have general data basing skills. Please note this is a purely admin role and an in depth knowledge of electronic and alternative music is not required. Please state salary expectations on application.

Please email CV to pearl@fabriclondon.com. Closing date: Friday 14th March 2008.
http://www.fabricpublishing.com - http://www.fabriclondon.com

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BOSTER GROUP - PA AND OFFICE MANAGER - £20K (London, W1)
Do you have a passion for arts, culture and luxury brands? Boster Group is a unique strategic arts consultancy with a blue chip client list. We are looking for a PA to work with our Managing Director. You will enjoy real variety and be responsible for diary management and drafting correspondence, along with managing the office and assisting with events. You must be bright, articulate and well presented with excellent attention to detail, a real interest in the arts and a positive attitude. Previous administration experience would be an advantage. To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to jobs@unicornjobs.com quoting ref: SS13

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LIVE EVENTS - PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
We are an innovative events and marketing company who identify and broker music and cultural partnerships, and develop and deliver experiential brand programmes. We have two high profile retail theatre productions currently in development, in partnership with major brands and are pursuing other exciting opportunities in this growing market.

We need an enthusiastic, organised and conscientious manager to join our team to:
- coordinate the production and logistics of our up coming events
- to identify and capitalise on additional commercial opportunities presented by these activities
- to identify and pursue new partnership and event opportunities

The right candidate will have experience in planning and managing large scale music and/or event projects, and will be brimming with both commercial and creative ideas. Some new business or business development experience will be an advantage, as will language skills, especially French. It may suit someone who has worked in recorded music looking to branch into the live arena, or someone working in the live sector interested in the potential of creating and delivering spectacular Live Brand Experiences with and for prestigious brand partners.

If you are interested email a CV to delphine@bigtime.tv

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CMU CLASSIFIEDS

DESK SPACE IN CAMDEN
Backstreet International Merchandise have desk space available for creative/music/media types looking for affordable workspace in central Camden. For enquiries please contact Steve Faye on 0207 428 1107 or email steve.faye@bsimerch.com

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GO ONLINE WITH CMU...

Panama Kings on the inspiration for their latest single 'Young Blood': "It is basically words of advice to young people starting out in bands, encouraging them to stick to what they believe in and set their standards high. The music industry shouldn't define your creativity so we want other bands to understand that writing killer music and having a good time is the most important thing".

Panama Kings answers CMU's Same Six Questions online this week - www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk

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CMU RECOMMENDED

REMIX ALL-NIGHTER - PLUS SPECIAL OFFER FOR STUDENTS
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: http://www.myspace.com/theremix

SPREAD THE WORD! SPECIAL STUDENT DISCOUNT FROM CMU
CMU and Remix All-nighter promoters have teamed up to offer students a special price for the night of just £7. To get the discount you need a special code for when you order your tickets, and you can get the code by emailing your name and university name to remixallnighter@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk. But do it quick - there are a limited number of discounted tickets available.

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PERRY SUES OVER BLUNT ROYALTIES
Singer, songwriter, record producer and former 4 Non Blonde Linda Perry, the lady at least partly responsible for the success story that is James Blunt, has begun legal action against the Warner Music Group claiming it owes her millions of dollars in royalties stemming from her protege's debut album 'Back To Bedlam'.

Perry started working with Blunt via her company Custard after being put in touch with the then wannabe singer songwriter via his publishing company EMI. She worked with him on the debut long player, and then basically took the Blunt package more or less ready to go to Warner Music. If I remember rightly she originally got him a deal with the major's US division Elektra but, after Elektra was all but closed down following Edgar Bronfman Jr's takeover, she had to sell him to the label again - getting a second deal with Atlantic UK.

The legal dispute seems to be over that Atlantic deal. Perry claims the original distribution deal with the major saw her company getting a basic royalty of 20% on all Blunt sales, of which she was contracted to pay 13% to Blunt himself, meaning Custard would see 7% of the monies. As he rose to worldwide superstardom Blunt's management renegotiated his deal with Warner, and the major agreed to pay him a higher royalty, but allegedly paid for that by cutting Custard's cut, something Perry argues it wasn't legally entitled to do. Hence the lawsuit. She is suing for lost royalties plus $5 million in punitive damages.

In the lawsuit she claims that it was only because of her passion for Blunt's music that Warner ever got to enjoy a share of his success, given that the major originally all but dropped him before the debut album was even released. Claiming that the major then screwed her indie firm by altering the royalty arrangements post-success, the lawsuit says: "Atlantic's wrongdoing follows the far too familiar scenario involving a large multinational corporate record company which takes advantage of a small, independent production company after the production company presents the major label with a promising new artist".

A spokesman for the major wouldn't elaborate on the lawsuit, but said that the music firm valued its relationship with Perry, adding: "Custard has always been and will continue to be compensated in accordance with the terms of its contractual arrangement with Atlantic".

Both Perry and Warner stress neither side have any grievances with Blunt himself in relation to this dispute. So, that's a relief.

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EBAY INTRODUCE CHARITY LEVY ON BENEFIT GIG TICKETS
eBay UK has introduced a new rule that means that sellers who auction off tickets for charity concerts at profit will have to donate 20% of the sale price back to the charity the gig is set up to support. Which is great news. Especially for the seller who gets to keep the 80%. The rule change will also see a ban on the resale of tickets to free events.

The move is an attempt to address some of the concerns expressed by those who dislike the growth of online ticket touting. Those who oppose the so called secondary ticketing market get particularly vocal when it is tickets for charity events being flogged via auction sites, and obviously it is harder for the companies who offer these auction services to justify the reselling if it is seen to be depriving charities of income.

The new rule will only apply to gigs where more than 50% of proceeds go to charity. Sellers who do not obey the rule risk having their auctions and eBay accounts closed.

eBay's action in this domain is probably partly related to the government's select committee report on secondary ticketing published earlier this year that said the resale sector needed to introduce better self regulation to avoid laws being put in place regarding online touting. That said, eBay will presumably point out that they piloted the 'pass a bit back to the charity' scheme with auctions of tickets for last year's Live Earth concerts, and that, therefore, the plan has been in the pipeline since before the government report.

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LOTS OF LILY
Organisers of the Isle Of Wight Festival have hit out at Lily Allen after she pulled out of their 2008 event. Allen's people reportedly informed IOW bosses this week that the singer will no longer be able to play at the festival in June. The official reason for her pulling out, apparently, is that work on the singer's second album is behind schedule. Presumably Allen wants to have new material in place before returning to the stage in a singer capacity. But the festival's boss says that that excuse is "not acceptable".

Speaking to 6Music, IOW Promoter John Giddings told BBC 6 Music that he wouldn't be getting legal about Allen's pulling out, but that he thought her reason for not performing was not good enough, adding "I didn't book a record, I booked an artist". He also questioned whether the official reason for Allen's decision to pull out was the truth, observing: "I read in the tabloids a load of different reasons".

He concluded: "Unfortunately this country has developed some great new girl singer songwriters, but they seem to be having a few problems don't they?" Which I'm not sure is totally fair - Allen's reason for pulling out of the IOW Festival is possibly a bit rubbish, but given that Allen's recent personal problems, as far as I can see, amount to a miscarriage leading to the break down of her relationship with Chemical Brother Ed Simons, I'm not sure its fair to compare her situation to the tabloid exploits of other singer songwriters, but whatever.

Obviously Giddings will save some cash from not having Allen on his bill, and he says he plans to use that to make his event more eco-friendly, a move seemingly inspired by Radiohead's recent announcement that they'll only play festivals that fulfil certain environmental criteria. Giddings: "If you read what Radiohead say, that they're only going to play events in future that are properly ecologically sound, then I'd rather use the money to do that and make the audience experience better, than just book another group. I want to make our festival ahead of the game in all of this, making it carbon neutral, and with the Isle of Wight bringing in their Eco Island policy, this would dovetail perfectly into that".

Which is all lovely. But back to Allen's personal problems now, and reports today that the singer is being treated for depression at a top London clinic as she comes to terms with the aforementioned miscarriage and relationship breakdown. The Sun says she has begun treatment after "sinking into despair". They cite a source thus: "The last couple of months have been really hard for Lily. She was so happy to be pregnant and was willing to give up her showbiz life to settle down and have a family. Her miscarriage was a huge blow and she hasn't really recovered. She has tried to put on a brave face but she found she needed to get some professional help". Assuming that's all true we can probably deduce that [a] Giddings is right to say the official reason for Allen's departure from the IOW bill isn't 100% true, and [b] he probably shouldn't be making light of her personal situation.

Last bit of Lily for now, and some words from the singer herself. She's ranted on her MySpace about the good old paparazzi after claiming one of them smashed a window on her car. The window of her new BMW was reportedly smashed while she partied at the Groucho Club in London on Monday night (presumably they let her out of the treatment clinic for that - or the clinic story is nonsense), and while some of the papers said her car was attacked by unspecified vandals, she seems adamant it was a snapper what done it.

She writes: "If you see photos in the press or online of my car window being 'smashed by vandals', I just want you to know that it was one of the many paparazzi who were following us who did it. There were so many of them hassling us that it is difficult to say which one of them did it but I had to leap in a taxi to get away from them. My friend Emily had to get into the car which was covered in broken glass and drive it away. It was a scary situation and I want people to know that it was totally their fault and that the whole situation has angered and upset me. Emily got cut from sitting on the broken glass and we are both horrified that people could behave in this way and get away with it".

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JAMES SPEARS KEEPS CONTROL OF BRITNEY
Britney Spears' father James has had his period as conservator of Britney Spears' welfare and estate extended by a whole five months. According to LA superior court spokesman Alan Parachini, commissioner Reva Goetz has granted Spears senior continued control until 31 Jul. His authority over her affairs had been due to expire on 10 Mar.

Elsewhere in Britney news, but sort of related, the singer is said to be settling into what's described as a "quiet routine", apparently under the influence of her dad, and part of that routine, reportedly, is giving dance classes to little ones. Spears is said to have become an instructor at the Millennium Dance Complex in Hollywood in the past month. One five year old, Elissa Bouganim, is quoted by People.com as saying: "I like Britney. Britney is nice. I want to dance with her all the time because it's so much fun".

Elissa's mother, Pam, added: "It's just amazing to watch Britney with the kids. Elissa won't stop dancing now, that's all she wants to do. Britney has really inspired her".

So that's nice. But onto something less nice. According to the gossips, the singer is refusing to attend her sister Jamie Lynn's wedding, apparently because Britney only discovered that her younger sibling was pregnant and intending to marry the father of the baby, Casey Aldridge, when she read about it in a magazine. It's said that Jamie Lynn has asked Britney to be her maid of honour, but the pop superstar's just not interested. Metro quotes a source as saying: "Although Britney had it out with her sister at the time, she's been simmering with resentment ever since. She believes that Jamie Lynn's broken the close bond the two have always shared and is using Britney's fame to make money. When Jamie Lynn asked her, Britney laughed sarcastically down the phone. She told her that hell would freeze over before she'd stand as her maid of honour then hung up on her".

Ah well, in times of trouble, it's always good to know that James Blunt is on your side. And he is on Britney's side, kind of. He says she's a "phenomenal artist" but says that it's time the media stopped bothering with all the papp-ing and concentrated on serious issues, like war, and the environment. He told the New York Daily News: "I think when you put the emphasis on her knickers and not on her talent, you lose perspective. It really detracts, as a whole, from things that are really important, like global warming and war. Sending paparazzi to investigate things like this is useless. We're better than that; we have the power to teach and educate. Let's spend our time on that".

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WEILAND PLEADS NOT GUILTY
Scott Weiland has pleaded not guilty to his charge of driving under the influence of drugs. As previously reported, the Velvet Revolver man was stopped on a California freeway in November and arrested after he showed "signs of impairment" and subsequently failed sobriety tests. Weiland, currently free on $40k bail, did not actually appear in court yesterday, his defence attorney entering the plea on his behalf, but he will presumably show up for the pre-trial hearing on 4 Apr.

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HOUSE OF LORDS WON'T HEAR SPRINGER APPEAL
The House Of Lords has refused to hear a petition of appeal brought by Christian types Christian Voice regarding their long running campaign against the BBC for screening 'Jerry Springer - The Opera'. The lobbying group was seeking to overturn that High Court ruling that prevented it from pursuing its legal case against the Beeb under blasphemy laws. But the Law Lords said that the group's petition did not "raise an arguable point of law of general public importance", while adding that they'd spoken to God about the whole thing and that he hadn't seem too bothered - apparently he'd just mumbled something about "turning the other cheek".

But Christian Voice didn't seem too convinced, calling the Law Lords decision an "ignoble move". Their National Director, Stephen Green, added: "It brings down the judgement of God on us all. I love my neighbour and I do not want that to happen".

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LOCK UP THE DRUGGY POP STARS
Doherty and Winehouse and the judges who don't lock them up for their naughty drug taking shenanigans are responsible for a slack attitude towards illegal narcotics among the world's youth.

I'm paraphrasing slightly, but that's basically the conclusion of the boss of the United Nation's International Narcotics Control Board, Philip Emafo, who said that when drug taking c'lebs were seen to be treated lightly by the criminal justice system it sent out the wrong message to young people.

He said: "Celebrities are often involved in illicit drug trafficking or in illicit drug use and this is glamorised. If, indeed, they have committed offences they should be dealt with".

Another INCB member, Professor Hamid Ghodse, told the Press Association: "They [c'lebs] get more lenient responses by the judiciary and law enforcement, and that is regrettable. There should not be any difference between a celebrity who is breaking the law and non-celebrities. Not only does it give the wrong messages to young people, who are quite impressionable, but the wider public becomes cynical about the responses to drug offenders".

The celebrity remarks came as the INCB published its annual report, which also called for tougher action against the biggest drug dealers, and expressed concern on the huge rise of heroin production in opium rich Afghanistan.

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LOOK AFTER YOUR EARS, OK?
More warnings from the Royal National Institute For Deaf People regarding the effect loud music is having on all our hearing, as the charity launched a competition to encourage design students to come up with a way of making ear plugs more attractive.

The charity says that young people who regularly go to venues playing overly loud music risk damaging their hearing long term. They want more people to wear ear plugs, which can reduce the harmful effect of loud music without necessarily affecting the enjoyment of a gig, but admit that many people resist using plugs because they look a bit stupid. They hope the competition can find a way of making the plugs more attractive to use.

The RNID's Donna Tipping said that that 'buzzing' and 'dullness' you get when you go to loud gigs can be the first sign of hearing damage. She says: "They will go away after a little while, but if you keep exposing yourself to loud music repeatedly you will cause damage to your hearing over time".

Giving more background on the noise issue, the BBC quote audiologist Angela King thus: "If you are in the sort of noise level that you get in a busy street, where you have to raise your voice to talk to somebody, you would have to be in that sort of noise for a long time, most of the working week on a regular basis, for it to be a real risk to hearing. But in clubs you can get noise levels over 100 decibels, and you can only safely be in that sort of noise level for less than two hours a week".

21 year old musician Christopher Woods, meanwhile, tells the Beeb how his hearing is already suffering because of his exposure to loud music. He says: "The damage is permanent. I have been told my hearing will never improve. Many people who have been working in the industry for a long time have a sustained level of hearing loss, and it is too late".

So take note people. Imagine a life where you couldn't listen to any music, and then look after your hearing. Here ends today's CMU preach.

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DJ CANCELS SYRIAN GIG AFTER DEATH THREATS
Dutch tech trance DJ Marco V last week confirmed he was pulling out of a potentially groundbreaking gig in Syria after receiving death threats. Marco would have been the first international DJ to play the Syrian capital of Damascus, where the kids are presumably keen to get down to some proper tech trance nonsense, but some groups in the city were less keen and sent the DJ, his management and his website various threatening messages. Having consulting Dutch and Syrian authorities Marco decided it wasn't safe to DJ there.

DJ Mag quote Marco thus: "Obviously we get all kinds of comments on the message boards, mostly positive, some not so good, but never anything like the death threats we received this week. I am very upset that I won't be able to make it; it would have been a first for me, and a first for Syria. At the end of the day we had to consider what's happened and take what is sensible advice. Hopefully one day the situation in Syria will allow international DJs such as myself to come and play as we do in every other part of the world".

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RICHIE AND MILLER TO GET ASCAP GONG
US collecting society ASCAP has announced it will honour Lionel Richie and Steve Miller at its 25th Annual Pop Music Awards in LA next month. The awards bash gives out awards to the songwriters and publishers of the biggest pop songs of the last year, but Richie and Miller will get the Golden Note Award which is more of a lifetime achievement gong.

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PHISH TO GET LIFETIME JAM AWARD
More American music awards, and the Jammy Awards, which are presented to artists who are known for their, well, jamming, will present a Lifetime Achievement gong to Phish next week. And hurrah to that. Now I feel like some toast and jam.

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GNARLS BARKLEY VIDEO PULLED
The video for new Gnarls Barkley track 'Run' has been pulled due to the fact that it might cause epileptic seizures. It has apparently failed something called the Harding Test, which you've probably all heard of, which basically gauges how likely strobe effects are to cause a reaction in epilepsy sufferers.

Duo member Danger Mouse says of the promo, which features a cameo from Justin Timberlake: "I don't know exactly what's going on, but we're having issues. I think (the video) is cool. It works for me. But I'm not necessarily that easily seasick. We can't predict how people are going to interpret it".

The new Gnarls Barkley album, 'The Odd Couple', is out on 8 Apr.

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CAJUN DANCE PARTY ALBUMS
North London sixth form band Cajun Dance Party have announced the release of not one, but two albums for 2008. Their debut album 'The Colourful Life' will be out on 28 Apr via CD, 12" and download, preceded by the release of a single 'The Race', on 21 Apr. Work on a second album has already begun, however and the band expect to release it in October, once the band members have a) spent the summer touring and festival-ing and b) finished school...

Frontman Daniel Blumberg says: "We're very proud of our debut album. It's taken a long time but now it's done, we just want people to hear these songs as soon as possible. We will only ever release music we're fiercely proud of but we do not want it to grow stagnant to ourselves. We understand a band has to do certain things to get music to as many as people as possible, but right now we're finishing school and are well underway with the second record. The recording sessions went really well and we've got a whole batch of new songs which we want to start playing and recording too - the thought of waiting till we've finished school to get this debut out would have stalled the creative process. That's the last thing we want to do".

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TRUCK FESTIVAL CONFIRMATIONS
The Truck Festival has announced its first confirmed acts for this year's event, and the line-up includes These New Puritans, Camera Obscura, Robots In Disguise and Emmy The Great. Headliners yet to be confirmed, but it all takes place at Hill Farm, Oxfordshire from 19-20 Jul.

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ROAD TO V OPEN
Following the news yesterday that the line up for the V festival was out, news today about this year's Road To V competition which, as you may well remember, gives an unsigned band the chance to have a slot at the festival. Bands wanting to enter need to register before 6 Apr at http://www.roadtov.com. 14 bands will be picked for the live bit of the competition which will involve a set at a Carling Academy venue and an appearance on Channel 4, and from those 14 one band will be picked to play V.

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A DAY TO REMEMBER TOUR
US post-hardcore types A Day To Remember have announced a series of tour dates, set to take place ahead of their Download appearance in June. To celebrate, they're running a contest for fans to design a poster for the tour, dubbed 'The Road To Download Tour', details on that from http://www.myspace.com/adtruk. Here are the dates:

5 Jun: London @ Barfly
6 Jun: Colchester @ Arts Centre
7 Jun: Stoke @ Sugar Mill
8 Jun: Birmingham @ Barfy
9 Jun: Cardiff @ Barfly
10 Jun: Manchester @ Academy 3
11 Jun: York @ Fiddlers
12 Jun: Glasgow @ King Tuts

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MARLEY FILM GETS GREEN LIGHT
A biopic about Bob Marley, based on the autobiography of his widow, is set to go into production, according to Variety. Rita Marley published 'No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley' back in 2004, and will also now act as an executive producer on the planned movie. She says: "This is about a girl from the ghetto and a boy from the rural areas. It's more than being a superstar - we have trod the rocky roads. It's more than just a story, it's a reality".

She added that she would love to see Fugee Lauryn Hill play her in the film saying "Lauryn would be ideal. She sees my life as her life". Hill has a family connection, of course - she's in a long term relationship with and has four children by Bob's son Rohan Marley.

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RAPPER TO PLAY BIGGIE
More movie news now, and New York rapper Jamal 'Gravy' Woolard has reportedly been cast as late hip hop star Biggie Smalls in forthcoming biopic 'Notorious', beating hundreds of hopefuls to the role. Filming starts later this month on the movie, which chronicles the career, rise to fame and untimely killing of the Notorious BIG, aka Christopher Wallace. According to Variety, other actors set to appear in the film include 'What's Love Got To Do With It' star Angela Basset, who plays Biggie's mother Voletta Wallace and Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur. The film is due for release in January.

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BUCKLEY'S HALLELUJAH GETS IDOL BOOST
Jeff Buckley's slightly haunting version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' has speeded up to number four in the US iTunes chart after the song was covered by a contestant on 'American Idol', showing the power TV can still have on the music charts. The song wasn't even in the iTunes Top 100 previously, and Apple say it's one of the biggest overnight chart shifts in the download store's history, certainly since the final episode of 'Sopranos' sent everyone to the net to download Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin'. Buckley's 'Hallelujah' is, of course, a great song, though I actually prefer the John Cale version which, if I'm not mistaken, was used in an episode of 'Scrubs'. Must go and see if that's on iTunes.

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SINGLE REVIEW: We Are Scientists - After Hours (EMI/Virgin)
We Are Scientists are perhaps a little too clever for their own good. Indeed their geeky, bespectacled appearance is the origin of the band's name. Legend has it that they were asked by a haulage guy if they were scientists and although they replied to the contrary they afterwards wished they had replied affirmatively. The former trio and now duo scooped positive reviews with their likeable hits 'The Great Escape' and 'Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt'. The new single from the upcoming album 'Brain Thrust Mastery' continues in the same vein of punchy, jaunty pop and sounds like another hit. JW
Release date: 3 Mar
Press contact: EMI IH [all]

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MUSICMAKESFRIENDS CONFIRMS THREE MAJORS ON BOARD
Three of the majors have signed up to MusicMakesFriends.com, the pan-European music service which lets people set up their own streaming radio stations and make said streams accessible to other people. The owners of the Luxemburg based service say Universal, SonyBMG and EMI plus a plethora of indies are now on board, meaning they can offer 80% of all music currently available in Europe to their users. They confirmed the expansive catalogue as they announced a new subscription package to complement their ad-funded free to use service.

MusicMakesFriends.com CEO Bruno Chauvat told reporters: "These agreements with Universal, SonyBMG, EMI and independent labels are convincing proof that we are on the right track with our strategy of offering a completely legal service. We will continue to move in the direction of licensing legally released catalogues in order to provide a feature-rich service that offers new ways of listening to music".

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SHAZAM ANNOUNCE ORANGE MAN APPOINTMENT
Shazam, the mobile music company (they do that 'play it a song and it tells you the title' service, amongst other things), has announced the appointment of Dominic Pride, a former Orange mobile music exec, to the role of Director Of Product Marketing.

Shazam top man Andrew Fisher says this: "Dominic has unrivalled experience in driving the international expansion of the digital music business across multiple countries. His vision and leadership will be instrumental as Shazam continues to expand".

Pride says this: "The future for mobile and digital music will be driven by providing music lovers with a richer, more engaging music experience. We're in a new phase of the market where tools for music discovery will be valued by customers. Shazam is already a leader in this space and has a very exciting role to play as the market continues to rapidly develop".

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GRADE DEFENDS ITV
ITV boss Michael Grade has been defending the commercial broadcaster after the company admitted its profits were down 35%.

Investment types, who generally welcomed Grade's appointment to the ITV top job in 2006, are starting to become critical of the TV firm's performance under his leadership, mainly focusing on the broadcaster's failure to launch any major new ratings hits on flagship channel ITV1 - the kind of thing that can generate serious advertising and sponsorship revenue. Recent programming innovations like The Palace, Moving Wallpaper and the all new News At Ten, none of which have performed well in the ratings, have all come under criticism.

But Grade said at a press conference yesterday: "Take a view of the performance of ITV at the end of the year. To sit here and pick one time period on one night and characterise the performance of the schedule on the basis of the delivery of one or two shows is not the game we're in at all".

Defending the performance of the TV firm during his leadership, he argued that across all its channels ITV's audience share had actually gone up in 2007, for the first time since the early nineties, and that its share was still going up now. Grade: "As we have seen in the full numbers, we are enjoying our best start to a year that anyone can remember - but not all shows have worked. BBC1 had a new show the other night with 2.3 million viewers - do you say BBC1's schedule is falling apart? No, it's very hard to launch new shows today. Is ITV looking more different today than it has for many years? You bet it is ... Is the creative community responding and wanting to work for us? You bet they do. For many years we were the last shop in town for anybody wanting to work for us".

So there you go. ITV is doing fine thank you very much. They just need to make some money now, and they'll be sorted.

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GCAP BOARD CONSIDERING GLOBAL OFFER
GCap bosses have said they will "work together" with the board at Global Radio to further explore the latter's latest offer to buy the former. As previously reported, Global put forward a much more generous offer - valuing GCap's radio operations at £371 million - on Tuesday, a day before the deadline put in place by the City's Takeover Panel. One major GCap shareholder - Standard Life - urged the company's board to consider the offer, and that's what they've said they'll do. With both sides now expressing a willingness to talk, the Takeover Panel have pushed back the deadline for a deal to be done until 26 Mar.

Global CEO Ashley Tabor told reporters yesterday: "We are delighted that the GCap board has made it possible for Global to work towards finalising an offer that will create substantial value for GCap's shareholders. Global Radio strongly believes that a combination of its brands with those of GCap will create a strong and vibrant company that will be able to breathe new life into Britain's commercial radio sector. We look forward to working with GCap in the coming days".

It now remains to be seen if the GCap board will recommend a merger - something that would render much of recently appointed GCap CEO Fru Hazlitt's recently announced strategy for the radio firm redundant. Global still haven't ruled out a hostile takeover if they can't win approval from the GCap board, and with certain significant GCap shareholders reportedly actively considering the Global offer in isolation from their board, such a hostile bid could be successful.

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DAB ADVOCATES HOLD CRISIS TALKS
Talking of Hazlitt's plans for GCap, a meeting reportedly took place at the London offices of commercial radio trade group RadioCentre earlier this week to discuss the future of digital audio broadcasting - digital radio services accessed via DAB digital radio sets.

The meeting follows Hazlitt's announcement that GCap, historically one of DAB's biggest supporters, was going to stop providing DAB services, and rumours of growing concerns within Channel 4 about the viability of their still to launch national DAB stations.

According to the Financial Times, those who still advocate the DAB system (or who have invested so much in it to date, are desperate for it to succeed) think the industry needs to make some pretty big steps to ensure the format's continued growth. One of the things being considered is speeding up (a little) the analogue switch off of the BBC's national radio services, something which, it's thought, would lead to many more consumers buying a digital radio set.

The FT quote one industry source thus: "Without these kinds of measures, if you leave it to the market, then the switchover to digital radio is going to take a long time ... too long from a commercial radio point of view".

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TISCALI TV AIMING FOR 50% UK COVERAGE
Tiscali have told Digital Spy that by the summer 50% of UK homes will be able to receive their IPTV service which is trying to compete with Sky and Virgin in the multi-channel-with-on-demand-facilities digital TV domain. The internet firm have been busy installing new kit into phone exchanges around the country that is required for the Tiscali TV service to work.

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PRESENTERS RETURN TO DAYTIME ON XFM
Turns out people do like radio DJs after all. Xfm have announced that they will be reintroducing presenters to daytime after that whole 'presenter-free-listeners-pick-tunes-via-the-net' thing they've been having going on of late. Rick Shaw, who currently presents drive time, will be moving to the morning slot, while Dave Berry, who currently has a weekend show, will be moving to drivetime. I'm not sure who will do the early afternoon show. Though to be fair, that's because they've haven't announced that yet. Look, here's Xfm Programme Director Adam Uytman saying so: "This is a really positive signing for Xfm. We have had great feedback from our listeners about Dave's Saturday show and it will be great to have a London voice on the daytime schedule. We will shortly be announcing the host of the afternoon show and changes to the weekend schedule - so many more exciting changes ahead!"

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RIHANNA BANS UMBRELLAS FROM GIGS
Rihanna has banned people from bringing umbrellas to gigs on her current UK tour, because she's concerned they might cause injuries. The singer's set includes a rendition of 'Umbrella', featuring dancing with actual umbrellas, and it's thought that accidents might occur if fans try to copy it.

Aberdeen Exhibition Centre Security guard Andy McDonald is quoted as saying: "We don't normally ask people to leave an umbrella outside. But we were taking precautions over a potential accident. We were told that Rihanna's song features dancing with umbrellas on stage. We didn't want the crowd following her actions and someone getting their eye poked out".

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SIMPSON DENIES BEING DRUNK ON RADIO
Ashlee Simpson's people have denied accusations that the singer was drunk when she appeared on a breakfast time radio show earlier this week. The singer apparently stumbled over her words and was very giggly. Which sounds like fairly average behaviour for young blonde US clones these days, but what do I know?

Anyway, here's what she's quoted as saying when questioned about her new single, 'Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)', by Washington DC's Hot 99.5 morning show: "The best line in the song is uh... You know... The come over line... Uh... Um... It's pretty genius. It's um... I'm not over it so come over... Um... Pretty genius... The girl kind of thing... um... [laughs].".

Yeah, does sound a bit mental. But it also sounds like it was a dumb question. Anyway, here's what her people say in her defence: "Ashlee was absolutely not intoxicated this morning on Hot 99.5. She has been working extremely hard travelling across the country to promote her upcoming new album by performing at night and waking up very early the next day to do radio interviews in the morning. Like any of us would be, she was simply just tired."

So that's that, end of speculation. Okay?

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