CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 15th April
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Lupe Fiasco tired with music making
- Oasis slate O2 and Glastonbury
- Blood Red Shoes back Jay-Z
- DJ Froggy dies
- Britney's boyfriend stabbed
- Blunt breaks finger after stage dive
- Sambora may face child endangerment charges over DUI incident
- Courtney Love, terrorist smoker
- Kiss man happy in band for the time being
- Portishead to stream new album prior to release
- Last Shadow Puppets post acoustic videos
- Wolf Parade announce new album
- Bill Cosby to pen and produce hip hop project
- Williams happy with free download approach
- Weezer sort of confirm album details
- Metronomy album news
- Pendulum album news
- Winehouse cut from charity event
- You can't afford to book Prince
- Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong single and tour
- Album review: Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip - Angles
- Ronson forms Allido alliance with Interscope
- YouTorrent goes legit in bid to attract buyers
- IBM research aims to boost MP3 player storage capacity
- eMusic make new European appointments
- Merlin negotiating indie rights with MySpace
- ITN launch music news service on YouTube
- Channel 4 goes free to air on satellite
- Kangaroo gets BBC man as CEO
- Muse to become England's RATM
- Brian May enrolled as university chancellor
- Wentz denies rumours of impending fatherhood
- Dale too old for Kylie gig

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TOP BIT - CMU SOCIAL MAY
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, members of the jury, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the second edition of the CMU Social, the new monthly night for all you CMU Daily readers out there, will take place on Tuesday 6 May at 229 next to Great Portland Street tube station in London.

As you all surely remember, the CMU Social is the night where we encourage everyone working in music (well, those within strolling, bussing or tubing distance of 229) to join us, catch up with Team CMU, and to meet, greet, chat, cheer, network, socialise and all sorts of other fun sounding verbs.

And while you're there, you get to enjoy some music from the artists Team CMU rate most highly. And this month we have a band we rate very very highly. And you might say "but CMU, you highly rate everything signed to Mark Jones' Wall Of Sound label", and while that is a not entirely false statement (he just keeps signing loads of our favourite artists), we are especially excited about these WoS singings.

In fact, we've been excited about A.Human ever since we first stumbled across them last year, and have been getting increasingly excitable since we saw the release of their debut album 'Third Hand Prophecy' arrive on the release schedule for 5 May. Someone called these guys' music 'shock n roll', which isn't a term I'd normally condone, but in this case I'll let it pass. If you like things synthy and bassy and a little bit mad, then this is an album to track down, and this is a CMU Social set you just have to see.

The Social, of course, is free to CMU Daily readers. To come you need to send an email with your name and the names of any guests you plan to bring to social@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk - do it now! And keep an eye on the Top Bit where we will be announcing all sorts of other CMU Social goodies in the coming weeks, including the chance to prove your superior pop knowledge.

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SNAP OF THE DAY: PETTER AND THE PIX
Jeez, yet another Swedish folk-pop act day today with Petter And The Pix, a six-piece from Stockholm, up for your consideration. Featuring members of both Gus Gus and Mum, though sounding little like either, they flit between the saccharine offerings of fellow Swedes Peter, Bjorn And John and the oddities of Super Furry Animals on the first track, 'Weak'. 'Nevermind', a recent single, throws some Massive Attack into the mix with its rousing string sections and pulsing bassline, while 'Let The Rain' is a more sullen number, still utilising the orchestral moments but with a persistent, nagging beat underneath what sounds like an air raid siren and the yearning, Sting-esque vocals of Petter. These and more at the MySpace link below.

http://www.myspace.com/petterandthepix

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LUPE FIASCO TIRED WITH MUSIC MAKING
US rapper Lupe Fiasco has told MTV that he's lost his passion for the music industry, and as a result his next album, the follow up to last year's 'The Cool', will most likely be his last. Though he seems to be blaming the exhausting nature of a music career for his increasing disinterest in the whole thing, rather than any particular dislike for the industry and how it works.

Saying recent health problems, which stopped him from attending this year's Grammy Awards, were a result of him "running so hard doing music", he told MTV: "When I got to the pivotal moment where you get the accolades for it [ie his Grammy nominations], I found myself in the hospital and the doctor telling me I can't even go. I had a long conversation with the doctor, and he doesn't know me from Adam. He just came in and said, 'This is your life. This is how hard you're going. What happens when there's nothing there, and you drop down again?'"

Asked if his next album would definitely be his finale, he continued: "I don't want to say I'm 100 percent sure, like, 'Yeah, this is it'. But 85 percent. That 15 percent is the X factor [no, he doesn't mean the TV show]. That could be bills. Like, 'Lupe, you got to pay the bills'. 'Oh, man, I got to put out another album'".

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OASIS SLATE O2 AND GLASTONBURY
Don't believe everything you read in the paper. Especially if that paper is the Sunday Mirror and they're telling you that Oasis are going to be taking up residency at The O2 in the autumn. Because they aren't, right? Oasis will never play the O2. And I mean never. Well, that's what Noel says.

Asked by BBC News if his band were planning an O2 residency, Noel Gallagher said yesterday: "We'll never play The O2. We went there to see Led Zeppelin and, to be honest, the gig was fantastic, but it was the most soul-destroying venue I've ever been to". So, a pretty definitive answer to a simple question, I reckon.

Though that's not the only thing he wanted to get off his chest while BBC journalists were on the phone. Wading into the debate over Glastonbury's decision to book Jay-Z (which has, some say, played a role in the less positive response to the festival this year) Gallagher said: "Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go 'Kylie Minogue?' I don't know about it. But I'm not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong".

Quite right. Hip hop at Glastonbury? They'll be having circus acts next.

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BLOOD RED SHOES BACK JAY-Z
In the interests of balance, and you know how much we like balance at CMU, providing the other view on this debate is Blood Red Shoes drummer Steve Ansell who has spoken out in support of Glastonbury's decision to book Jay-Z to headline this year's festival.

Speaking to BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat, he said: "To be honest, I would rather watch Jay-Z than The Verve. Jay-Z is going to go up there and he's going to be the smoothest dude that ever walked the stage. It's going to be great".

Speaking about his own band's performance at this year's Glastonbury, he said: "Glastonbury is the one that I want to go to loads. When we did Reading last year, that was Laura [Carter, guitarist/vocalist] ticking a box; like a teenage dream come true, and Glastonbury is the one for me".

Blood Red Shoes' debut album 'Box Of Secrets' is out this week.

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DJ FROGGY DIES
Pioneering British club deejay DJ Froggy (real name Steven Howlett) has died of a brain haemorrhage aged 58. A successful DJ throughout the 70s, he picked up the theory behind mixing at various New York clubs in 1979. He then returned to the UK, modified his own sound system and mastered cross fading. His innovative use of mixing decks and tape recorders transformed the British club scene and paved the way for late 80s rave culture, seeing him DJ in front of more than 15,000 people at Knebworth just months after his New York trip. Married three times, he is survived by two daughters and a son.

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BRITNEY'S BOYFRIEND STABBED
Britney Spears' on/off boyfriend snapper Adnan Ghalib has been stabbed. According to US website JFXonline.com, the 35 year old photographer was attacked on Saturday night and received a stab wound to the arm, lacerations to the face and a black eye. Which isn't very nice. Specifics of the attack are a bit hazy, but he is apparently recovering well after receiving medical treatment.

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BLUNT BREAKS FINGER AFTER STAGE DIVE
Yeah, you did read that right. James Blunt has broken his little finger after stage-diving at a gig in the US. He told a reporter for The Independent: "Sorry I can't shake your hand, I broke my little finger. I somehow managed to do it whilst I was jumping off stage during a gig in America". Blunt. Stage diving. Little fingers. Is it OK if you insert your own gag here?

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SAMBORA MAY FACE CHILD ENDANGERMENT CHARGES OVER DUI INCIDENT
California police are recommending that Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora be charged with child endangerment, because when he was pulled over for drink driving last month his ten year old daughter Ava and one of her friends were in the car. A police spokesman told E! News yesterday: "We did ask for a misdemeanor child endangerment charge to be filed against him. We also recommended they charge him with misdemeanor DUI". It is now up to Orange County District Attorney's Office to decide what charges to press against the rocker. As previously reported, Sambora was done for DUI late last month after being pulled over by police after they saw him driving "erratically".

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COURTNEY LOVE, TERRORIST SMOKER
Courtney Love has complained of being treated like a criminal when she lit up a cigarette at Los Angeles airport last week. The singer ended up barred from a Virgin Airlines flight from LAX to London, on which Love was due to travel with her daughter Frances Bean Cobain.

Love told Virgin Radio: "I had a fag in the first class lounge, like two hits, and they wouldn't let me on the plane with my daughter. They made some big thing like I'm a fucking terrorist or something. It was embarrassing".

Well, she ought to know by now that smoking isn't good for you.

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KISS MAN HAPPY IN BAND FOR THE TIME BEING
Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley who, as previously reported, recently said he expected to leave his band one day but that they should probably continue without him, has stressed that his departure from the band won't happen anytime soon, because he's as happy being in the band now as ever. He told reporters recently: "The band has never been better. The fact is, we did do a farewell tour and by the end of the tour I realised that the only thing I wanted to say farewell to was a couple of members and the band should continue. The only ones who question that are the ones who don't want us to continue, and they're so insignificant in numbers that they do not even warrant an answer".

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PORTISHEAD TO STREAM NEW ALBUM PRIOR TO RELEASE
Portishead have announced that they will make their new album, 'Third', available to stream in full a week prior to its official release via Last.fm. The 11 track album will be available on the website from 21 Apr.

Last.fm's Christian Ward said: "There is a certain group who are downloading in less than legal ways. If people can get hold of an album early on, it might not stop that kind of behaviour, but it does have more of an impact".

Portishead guitarist Adam Utley recently spoke to Billboard about the new album, saying: "It sounds nothing like 'Dummy' or 'Portishead', but it's definitely its older brother or sister. It's the same mindset we've always had, only further down the road".

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LAST SHADOW PUPPETS POST ACOUSTIC VIDEOS
The Last Shadow Puppets (you know, that Alex Turner side project thing) have posted four acoustic performances of songs from their upcoming album 'The Age Of The Understatement' on their official website.

Recorded live at New York's Avatar Studios last month, you can view the videos at http://www.theageoftheunderstatement.com

'The Age Of The Understatement' is released on 21 Apr.

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WOLF PARADE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Canadian indie types Wolf Parade have announced details of their second album. Entitled 'Kissing The Beehive', it will be released in the US via Sub Pop on 17 Jun. No word on the UK release date yet. It has a tracklist though. Wanna see? Here you go:

Soldier's Grin
Call it a Ritual
Language City
Bang Your Drum
California Dreamer
The Grey Estates
Fine Young Cannibals
As Animal in Your Care
Kissing the Beehive

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BILL COSBY TO PEN AND PRODUCE HIP HOP PROJECT
So, this will be, erm, interesting. A Bill Cosby hip hop album is upcoming. Yes, that's right. Though the former 'Cosby Show' star isn't going to doing any cheesy rapping. Well, I don't think he is. This is a project designed to complement Cosby's 2007 book 'Come On People: On The Path From Victims To Victors' and, according to Billboard, will "weave hip-hop, jazz, pop, funk and other genres around frank, positive messages drawn from Cosby's lyrics, stories and musical ideas". There are plenty of collaborators involved, including Cosby's longtime musical collaborator Bill 'Spaceman' Patterson and his partner Ced-Gee, who is one quarter of the pioneering hip hop outfit Ultramagnetic MCs (along with one Kool Keith). Other MCs involved in the project include SupaNova Slom, Jace The Great and Brother Hahz. Commenting on the album, which will be called 'Cosby Narratives Vol. 1: State of Emergency', Billboard quote Cosby rep David Brokaw as saying "[this is an] unflinching look at life in the 21st century but without the profanity, misogyny, violence and braggadocio". The album is expected to be released in the coming month, though label and distributor info is tbc.

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WILLIAMS HAPPY WITH FREE DOWNLOAD APPROACH
Saul Williams has been talking to the Chicago Tribune about his decision to make his last album, 'The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of Niggy Tardust', available exclusively via his website, with one version available for free and another - at a better sound quality - available for five dollars.

As previously reported, that system was proposed to Williams by Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor who had produced the album, and who has subsequently released his own new album via a similar (if slightly more complicated) online promotion.

Recalling when Reznor first suggested the self-managed free download promotion, Williams told the Tribune: "At first I was like, 'What?' But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense".

As also previously reported, Reznor himself initially expressed some disappointment as to how many people opted for the five dollar better quality download compared to how many people took the freebie option. But Williams is less downbeat, saying that 225,000 people downloaded the album and 60,000 paid for it, meaning twice the number of people bought this album than Williams' last long player. And many times more got to experience his music who otherwise may be ignorant of his work.

He continued: "I know that a lot of people who spent time with the album were like, 'I gotta get this dude some money'. They came back and paid. We got a slew of people who were starting to feel guilty about the amount of time they were spending dancing to the album and looked back and gave their $5. So I feel like it's been wonderful, a marvellous result for me. And at the end of the day, it's been about the exposure. Not only the exposure to me and my music, but for me, who always falls in the category of being a 'message writer', there are a lot of people being exposed to perhaps a new way of thinking, some new ideas, and that really excites me".

Ironically, given the grass roots DIY anti-corporate approach of his most recent album release, Williams' digital venture has been helped more recently by the use of a track off his second album in a US Nike commercial. Although 'List Of Demands', the track in the ad, isn't included in the free/five dollar download promotion, the exposure it has given to Williams generally has helped give the new album a new boost. Asked about the Nike partnership by the Tribune, Williams says: "It's weird, but their ads give attention to the music. You walk away thinking, 'That's a cool song', not 'I've gotta get those shoes'".

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WEEZER SORT OF CONFIRM ALBUM DETAILS
Details of Weezer's forthcoming seventh album are coming in via Weezer's official website. However, the website's webmaster, Karl Koch, seems unwilling to 100% commit to any of the facts he's published, so we can't be too sure of any of this. I can tell you with some certainly that the first single from the album will be 'Pork And Beans' and will be released on 22 Apr in the US. The rest of the info, however, is qualified with 'likelihood ratings' from Koch.

The album will be eponymously titled ("very likely"). The album will be released in the US on 17 Jun ("very likely"). This album's colour theme (following on from the blue and green themes of the band's two previous eponymously titled LPs) will be red ("a strong possibility"). As well as 'Pork And Beans', the following songs will be on the album: 'Everybody Get Dangerous', 'Automatic', 'Ms. Sweeney', '?', 'I'm the Greatest Man That Ever Lived' and 'Daydreamer' ("All are real Weezer songs but none are 100% confirmed as actually being on the album").

Songs on the album have been culled from three separate recording sessions: the first with Rick Rubin in spring 2007; the second in Malibu in summer/autumn 2007 with the band producing themselves; and the third in Santa Monica early this year with Jacknife Lee. Rick Costey has applied his mixing magic to all the tracks.

In other Weezer news, frontman Rivers Cuomo has been writing a song with the help of fans through videos posted on YouTube. The song isn't finished yet. So, if you want to have some input, get yourself over to...

http://www.youtube.com/user/RiversCuomoAlone.

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METRONOMY ALBUM NEWS
Metronomy have announced that they are to release their second album 'Nights Out' via Because Music on 30 Jun, preceded by a single, 'Heartbreaker', out 9 Jun. The tracklisting for the album is as follows:

Nights Out Intro
The End of You Too
Radio Ladio
My Heart Rate Rapid
Heartbreaker
On The Motorway
Side 2
Holiday
I've Got A Thing For You
Back On The Motorway
On Dancefloors
Nights Outro

June live dates and festival appearances are to be confirmed soon, in the meantime see http://www.myspace.com/metronomy or http://www.metronomy.co.uk.

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PENDULUM ALBUM NEWS
More album release news now, and more excitement in CMU HQ, because Pendulum have announced that their second album, 'In Silico', will be released on 12 May via Warner Bros / Ear Storm, featuring recent singles 'Propane Nightmares' and 'Granite'.

They've also announced a series of tour dates to complement their busy schedule of festival appearances - at Reading and Leeds, T in the Park, Download, Bestival, Oxegen, Glade, Gatecrasher, Creamfields, NASS, Forgotten Valley, Wakestock and Wild In The Country - here are the dates:

1 May: Cardiff, University
2 May: Liverpool, University
3 May: Glasgow, Carling Academy
4 May: Newcastle, Carling Academy
6 May: Bristol, Carling Academy
7 May: Southampton, Guildhall
9 May: Manchester, Academy
10 May: Leeds, Millennium Square
13 May: Nottingham, Rock City
14 May: Exeter, University, Great Hall
16 May: Birmingham, Custard Factory
17 May: London, Brixton Carling Academy

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WINEHOUSE CUT FROM CHARITY EVENT
A planned performance by Amy Winehouse has been dropped from a charity event to be held at New York's Metropolitan Museum Of Art. Organisers of the annual Costume Institute Gala have not given a reason for their change of heart.

A source 'close to the singer' said: "It will be a huge blow for her as it would have been a great platform to break America. They love her music over there but she has yet to do a tour".

Speaking of which, reports are also coming in that Amy has been granted a US visa allowing her to tour the country. But The Sun report that she's not up for travelling much at the moment, and recently pulled out of a recording session in the Bahamas.

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YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BOOK PRINCE
Prince will reportedly be paid $4.8 million for his headline performance at California's Coachella festival later this month, which ain't bad for a night's work.

As previously reported, Prince will headline the Saturday night of the event, which takes place in Indio, California between 25-27 Apr. He appears alongside other headliners Portishead and Kraftwerk, as well as acts such as The Verve, The Raconteurs, Goldfrapp, MIA, The Breeders and Roger Waters.

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JOE LEAN & THE JING JANG JONG SINGLE AND TOUR
Buzzily buzzing buzzers Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong have announced that they'll release their new single 'Where Do You Go?' on 19 May. Later this month they start a rather long tour, dates as follows:

21 Apr: Asylum Hull
22 Apr: Room1Loughborough
24 Apr: 3SIXTY Reading
25 Apr: The Marketplace Warwick SU
27 Apr: Old Fire Station Bournemouth
28 Apr: Rubix Surrey University, Guilford
1 May: Underground Stoke
3 May: Palace, Tamworth
5 May: Academy 2 Liverpool
6 May: Academy 2 Newcastle
8 May: Tunnels Aberdeen
9 May: The Arches Glasgow
10 May: Thekla Bristol
12 May: 53 Degrees Preston
13 May: Academy Oxford
14 May: Cockpit Leeds
15 May: Academy 3 Manchester
17 May: Leadmill Sheffield
18 May: Academy 2 Birmingham
19 May: Rescue Rooms Nottingham
20 May: Concorde 2 Brighton
22 May: Scala London
25 May: Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth
27 May: Waterfront Norwich

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ALBUM REVIEW: Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Angles (Sunday Best)
The long anticipated debut album from Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip (well I know I've been anticipating it for some time now) starts off with a sermon from Scroobius' pulpit. The sermon's possibly there to set the mood, though its hard to describe the 'mood' of what follows, because the dynamic duo present a diverse set of tracks for public consumption, creating a unique sound that eludes classification. Not every song is akin to last year's hit anthem 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'. In fact, 'Look For The Woman' is a bit of a surprise, with its singsong chorus and a structure closer to classic pop than anything the duo have previously released. But never fear: there are some things that will never change. Dan Le Sac still packs the musical punches accentuating Scroobius' impressive arsenal of lyrics, and this album, I am pleased to say, lives up to all that aforementioned anticipation. Indeed devoted followers will find themselves very much at ease because a number of tracks have already been heavily featured at Le Sac and Scroobius' live shows and/or are based on Scroobius' early solo work. Overall this is a very satisfying musical offering from two artists who rarely disappoint. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these two - in fact, I'm anticipating the next album already! EO
Release Date: 12 May
Press Contact: Get Involved Ltd [CP, RP] Freeman PR [NP] Seven Four Music [CR, RR] Alchemy [NR]

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RONSON FORMS ALLIDO ALLIANCE WITH INTERSCOPE
That Mark Ronson has formed a joint venture partnership with Universal's Interscope with regards his own label and production company Allido. Previously Ronson has worked with SonyBMG on his label projects, and past Allido signings Daniel Merriweather and Rhymefest will continue to be signed to SonyBMG US's RCA label. The first signing to the Allido/Interscope JV will be US rapper Wale.

Confirming the new JV with Ronson's company, Interscope man Jimmy Iovine says this: "One of the foundations of Interscope has been partnering with producers who can move the needle of popular culture. Mark has that rare ear for great songs and artists who will have extraordinary careers".

Ronson himself said: "Jimmy Iovine is a dude. The plain fact that he started out as an engineer on 'Born To Run', went on to produce records for U2 and Patti Smith, and then formed one of the most influential labels in the history of American music encapsulates every reason why I would want to be in business with Interscope Records. I've always tried to balance discovering brilliant new talent and producing great records; and, along with [business partner] Rich Kleiman, then putting those records out through Allido Records. Interscope is the perfect place for us to do that. What a dude".

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YOUTORRENT GOES LEGIT IN BID TO ATTRACT BUYERS
A BitTorrent tracker called YouTorrent, which aggregates various searches for BitTorrent content, is going legit - ie it will only provide links to licensed content. They're doing it because they are trying to sell their company, and presumably think investment types will be more interested in acquiring a legitimate content search service which isn't so likely to incur the litigation wrath of the record companies. Though given that [a] the sorts of people that use BitTorrent trackers will cease to be interested once all the illegal but good free content goes and [b] new owners could still inherit legal liability for past copyright infringement, I'm not sure the idea is all that sound. But what do I know?

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IBM RESEARCH AIMS TO BOOST MP3 PLAYER STORAGE CAPACITY
The mobile phones and digital music players of the future will be able to hold over half a million songs. Quite why you'd ever want one to I'm not sure, but hey. Such high capacity might enable players to hold 3500 movies, which my be more useful, though I just tried to write down a list of all the movies I might want on my mobile, and struggled to get past 100. Anyway, this boost in storage capacity on portable digital devices may be possible because of a new kind of digital storage technology being developed by scientists at IT conglom IBM.

In a paper in the latest edition of Science magazine, the clever types at IBM's Californian research centre say the new technology they are working on would not only allow devices to hold much more content, but using it would also require much less power, meaning that a fully charged battery could keep going for weeks. The new technology would also make digital music players last longer - though those electronics companies whose budgets rely on people replacing their MP3 players every 18 months won't necessarily be too keen on that facility.

According to Fox News, this is all possible because of something called "racetrack" memory which uses the "spin" of an electron to store data. IBM researcher Stuart Parkin told reporters: "The promise of racetrack memory - for example, the ability to carry massive amounts of information in your pocket - could unleash creativity leading to devices and applications that nobody has imagined yet".

Though don't get too excited about all this yet. Parkin admits their work on "racetrack" memory is still at an "exploratory" stage, though he does say devices using it could be on the market within ten years. So, perhaps get a little bit excited. Especially if you've been struggling to decide which of the 500,000 tracks in your record collection to put on your iPod.

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EMUSIC MAKE NEW EUROPEAN APPOINTMENTS
Independent download types eMusic have announced the promotion of Madeline Milne, previously General Manager, to the new role of MD Europe. They have also recruited James Wheatley, previously of Muze Europe, to be Director Of Business Development Europe. Both appointments are part of a bid by the US based digital music firm to boost and expand its European operations.

Confirming Milne and Wheatley's appointments, eMusic CEO David Pakman told reporters: "Their marketing skills and industry knowledge coupled with strong management experience and drive will contribute to our growth in Europe where we expect to continue to be one of the largest and most successful digital entertainment retailers".

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MERLIN NEGOTIATING INDIE RIGHTS WITH MYSPACE
Independent digital music whatnot Merlin (I must find out how they like to be referred to) is reportedly in talks with MySpace regarding making the catalogues of all the indie labels they represent available to the social networking combo's much previously reported new download store. As previously reported, MySpace have already signed up Universal, SonyBMG and Warner to participate in its DRM-free MP3 download venture. When announcing that, though, MySpace bosses admitted they hadn't got any indies on board as yet, but obviously a deal with Merlin would give them access to a whole load of independent catalogues. Music Week reckon Merlin's talks with MySpace are something of a test case regarding Merlin's negotiating skills - and a test for this idea that collective bargaining delivers a better deal for all. And they might be right on that.

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ITN LAUNCH MUSIC NEWS SERVICE ON YOUTUBE
News company ITN have launched their first ever music news service, providing music news via a bespoke YouTube channel. The music specific service follows the launch of an entertainment news channel on YouTube last year.

YouTube's Director Of Partnerships, Patrick Walker, welcomed the new ITN service, saying it would "bring more quality news content to the YouTube community", while
adding that the video sharing platform gave news providers "instantaneous and global distribution of content when timing is of the essence".

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CHANNEL 4 GOES FREE TO AIR ON SATELLITE
DigitalSpy reports that Channel 4 have started broadcasting unscrambled versions of three of their channels via the Astra 2D satellite. It means that those who know how to can access those channels via a satellite TV unit without actually being subscribed to Sky - previously Channel 4's satellite broadcasts were only available via the Sky system, which unscrambled the encrypted broadcasts.

The BBC have made their channels available via unscrambled satellite broadcasts since 2003 - though when they first did so it was rather controversial, if I remember rightly, [a] because it meant the Beeb stopped paying Sky a fee for managing the scrambling/unscrambling of their channels, which pissed the satellite broadcaster off rather a lot, and [b] because some (Sky mainly) argued that unscrambled satellite broadcasts could be accessed outside the UK (in Ireland, mainly) where the Beeb wasn't licensed to deliver imported shows.

Channel 4's move to making its channels available via unscrambled satellite broadcasts is probably a sign they plan to join the proposed Freesat service, the subscription-free satellite TV service being pursued by BBC and ITV which would make a Freeview style digital TV service available to those parts of the country where the Freeview signal is not available - and allow people in those areas to access mutli-channel digital TV without the need to buy Sky.

Freesat is expected to launch next month.

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KANGAROO GETS BBC MAN AS CEO
The people behind that previously reported cross-network telly-on-demand service, which has a working title of Kangaroo, have announced the appointment of Ashley Highfield, currently the BBC's Director Of Future Media And Technology, to become CEO of the new venture. Highfield was very involved in the development of the Beeb's iPlayer which, despite various false starts, has proved rather successful since its 'through the browser' launch at the end of last year.

Confirming his new role, Highfield told reporters: "This is a fantastic opportunity. Kangaroo is a historic partnership with a combination of innovative technology and terrific content and I'm looking forward to transforming the way audiences watch television".

Kangaroo has been set up by BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4. The boss of the former, John Smith, said of Highfield's appointment yesterday: "I'm delighted we've appointed Ashley as the CEO of Kangaroo. His knowledge in the digital media field is world class and he'll bring tremendous strategic and operational expertise to successfully take the venture forward".

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MUSE TO BECOME ENGLAND'S RATM
Muse frontman Matt Bellamy wants to form a British version of Rage Against The Machine with The Streets' Mike Skinner, which sounds like a bloody awful idea, if you ask me. Thankfully, he hasn't set any of this in motion yet. Speaking to BBC 6Music, he said: "We haven't asked [Mike Skinner] yet, but we would like to do England's answer to Rage Against The Machine. Like London rap-rock, just like a little one-off. It might be a laugh!"

No ... stick to what you know, Muse. I suggest you play a show at Marlay Park in Dublin on 13 Aug and then headline V Festival later that month. Oh, you are. Good.

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BRIAN MAY ENROLLED AS UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR
Brian May yesterday officially succeeded Cherie Blair as chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. The ceremony to appoint him was watched by over 500 people and comes just a year after the Queen guitarist completed the astrophysics PhD he abandoned in the 1970's when his band shot to fame. Dr May said that he was "proud" to be given the role and that he hoped his own personal experiences in academia would "act as an inspiration for others."

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WENTZ DENIES RUMOURS OF IMPENDING FATHERHOOD
Pete Wentz has denied tabloid inspired rumours that his fiancée Ashlee Simpson is pregnant with their first child. The Fall Out Boy bassist told MTV News: "There is a witch hunt for people to be pregnant whenever they get engaged in Hollywood. This is all news to me. I can't wait for the story about how I'm really in a gay relationship and this is all just a cover ... I mean really, this is crazy. ... I mean we're engaged, that's true, and happy about it".

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DALE TOO OLD FOR KYLIE GIG
Ex neighbours star Alan Dale - now possibly more famous for his roles in The OC, 24 and Ugly Betty - has said that while he's followed former cast-mate Kylie Minogue's pop career, he's not planning to attend any of her gigs.

The one-time Jim Robinson says: "I saw her in Cardiff, where she was filming Doctor Who, a few months ago and gave her a big cuddle. It was lovely to see her. I've been watching her career all these years and she's doing well. [Though] I wouldn't want to go and watch because I'm an old dude".

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