CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 17th April
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Gatfield goes to EMI, Island execs rise up
- MCR frontman speaks out against Mexican emo violence
- R Kelly on (allegedly) dodgy promoter
- French anger at English Eurovision song
- Lutfi's Britney restraining order to be reviewed by court
- Soul Train Music Awards no more
- Label threatens to shelve Winehouse album
- Leona Lewis makes US chart history
- Bez delared bankrupt
- McCartney concert only just finalised
- Razorlight man to play solo show
- Outkast ballet opens in America
- The Last Shadow Puppets play first show
- Cavalera Conspiracy to play London show
- Leonard Cohen is playing Benicassim, alright?
- Jay-Z to headline Roskilde
- Chinese festival gets OK for 30 international acts
- Rimes charmed by Snoop at country awards
- Sub Pop celebrate 20 years
- OnesToWatch escape great
- Album Review: Christian Silva - Onward!
- O2 cut cost of basic iPhone
- Citigroup keep EMI loan
- Tommy Hilfiger launches web portal
- Global and C4 discuss possible DAB collaborations
- Madonna, Celine Dion and Camilla are related
- Lily Allen is a perfectly good judge of books
- Widdecombe welcomes Doherty incarceration

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TOP BIT
Hello everybody, and welcome to a Top Bit plugging the fact we plug things. Yeah, process that one. As you know, we have a thing here at CMU called CMU Recommended, where we recommend events and club nights and all that kind of jazz. And even some jazz sometimes. You'll possibly remember us recommending Twisted Licks and the Remix All-Nighter and the Insomniacs Ball, and all those kind of things.

Well, we are in the process of expanding the Recommended thing, and will be recommending something more or less every week from the summer. Now, we should add that we don't just recommend any old thing, and only apply the Recommended tag to nights and bands and the like that we really, really rate.

But we're sure there's lots of stuff that deserves to be Recommended out there - especially outside the M25. So, if you promote a regular night that showcases the best there is to offer in one area of music or another, get in touch and let's see if we can add it to the Recommended thing. All we ask in return is a CMU logo on your publicity.

If you're up for this, email your details to cmu@unlimitedmedia.co.uk. And look out for lots more Recommends coming soon.

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JOBS N STUFF

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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SNAP OF THE DAY: CHIPMUNK
With over a million plays of his songs on MySpace, a single already in the shops (through indie Alwayz records) and some major label A&R types bouncing with excitement at his potential, it's safe to say that Chipmunk is already the biggest hope for grime in 2008. Mentored by fellow Londoner and eski beat king MC Wiley, the 17-year-old is making all the right moves, roping in Maniac (who had production credits on Wiley's 'Playtime Is Over' album) for new single, 'Mohammed Ali'. The result is brilliant, with Maniac's pestering orchestral hook and skipping beats set off to Chipmunk's lyrical bravado; pivotal line "I'm Mohammed Ali the MC" is the primary boast, though with his sharp delivery, growing fanbase and the continued support of media heavyweights like Tim Westwood (with whom he has an open invitation to return to his show), he might yet find someway to fulfill that claim. Find him at the link below.

http://www.myspace.com/chipmunkartist

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GATFIELD GOES TO EMI, ISLAND EXECS RISE UP
So, as expected, EMI yesterday confirmed it has recruited former Universal/Island Records boss Nick Gatfield to the grand sounding job of President Of A&R Labels, North America and UK, which I'm sure you'll agree, just rolls off the tongue.

Confirming the appointment, EMI top bloke Guy Hands told reporters: "As well as developing some of today's most popular artists and music around the world, Nick has also demonstrated his talents for embracing and delivering change. At Universal Island he has led a complete turnaround of the label in both creative and financial terms and built it into the most successful domestic repertoire label in the UK. I am delighted that Nick is joining EMI and I believe the combination of Nick Gatfield and [former Google exec and recently appointed EMI digital chief] Douglas Merrill working together will enable EMI to reposition itself in new music".

Confirming his new role, Gatfield said: "A&R has always been at the heart of EMI and its labels and the company has an incredibly strong track record in signing and developing some of the most innovative artists in the world. It is also a company that is leading the most ambitious transformation of the music industry. My goal is to nurture that culture of creativity and change, working in true partnership with the talented artists and A&R people at EMI. In addition I am extremely excited about EMI's determination to embrace a new way of working with artists that recognises both the importance of the history of the labels but also the importance of new technologies".

As also expected (there were few surprises in the hours after yesterday's CMU Daily was published), Island's A&R and marketing chiefs (respectively) Darcus Beese and Ted Cockle have been promoted to be co-Presidents of the Universal division. They will report to recently promoted Universal Music UK President David Joseph, who said of the duo's promotion yesterday: "Island is one of the world's most admired record labels and Ted and Darcus personify the unique vision and passion which has made it so successful. Darcus signed 2007's most popular artist in the world, Amy Winehouse, and Ted delivered the campaign which broke the year's most exciting new talent, Mika. They are the new generation of record executives and both recognise it is original artistry that matters. I know they will be even more successful as the leaders of an amazing record company in an exciting and fast-changing business".

So that's all lovely.

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MCR FRONTMAN SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MEXICAN EMO VIOLENCE
My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has spoken out against that previously reported anti-emo related violence in Mexico, which has escalated in recent months. As previously reported, tensions between competing groups of young people in Mexico have seemingly become structured around music genres, with emo fans becoming particular targets.

Addressing the audience at Zero Fest in Mexico City last Saturday, Way said: "I want to say something today before we continue. Recently we've been hearing a lot of stuff about some violence here in your country having to do with kids who want to wear black t-shirts... or some kind of bullshit stuff like that. We don't want to see any fucking violence. We came here for one reason, and that's to be at the fucking rock show".

The severity of the violence first came to the world's attention when hundreds of youths attacked others with "an emo look" in the city of Queretaro. Since then, violence has apparently also spread to Chile.

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R KELLY ON (ALLEGEDLY) DODGY PROMOTER
R Kelly has issued a statement regarding various stories that have been building up about the promotion of his recent US tour, and the guy who promoted it, one Leonard Rowe.

Rowe has been sued by one Milton Kenneth Peacock of Maryland who claims Rowe sold him non-existent shares in three of the dates on the Kelly tour. He says that shareholders were promised a cut of the profits from the shows they invested in, but after the event were told the shows had made a loss so there was no money to be had. This is despite reports ticket sales for the shows had been good and the tour profitable - in his lawsuit Peacock accuses Rowe of false accounting.

Kelly is also named in Peacock's lawsuit but, as concerns grow other fooled and disgruntled investors in the tour may be out there (two other lawsuits against Rowe in relation to the tour have been reported), Kelly this week moved to distance himself from the promoter, adding that he himself had been misled by Rowe, and that he is also pursuing legal action against him. Kelly adds that the promoter disappeared completely in the latter leg of the tour, but that he decided to continue with the shows even though it was increasingly unlikely he would be paid to do so.

Kelly told reporters: "I agreed to let Leonard Rowe promote my tour because he convinced me he was an underdog who deserved a chance to prove himself. Like the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. I have complete sympathy for all of the good people who were swindled by Rowe and I will do everything I can to help them get their money back from him".

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FRENCH ANGER AT ENGLISH EUROVISION SONG
French MPs have said that they are outraged that their country's entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest contains lyrics sung in English. The song, by Sebastien Tellier, entitled 'Divine', mixes French and English lyrics.

UMP Party Jacques Myradmember said (in English): "The French language is the tool of a huge industry in terms of cultural influence and if we French give up our language, what do you think the others will say? I think that even in a song, especially in this Euro contest, we have to sing in French".

Fellow UMP MP François-Michel Gonnot said: "Our fellow citizens don't understand why France is giving up defending its language in front of hundreds of millions of television viewers around the world".

But the French culture minister Christine Albanel defended the song, telling Agence France Presse: "Sebastien Tellier has great talent, he has a real international dimension". But she admitted: "I do think it is a shame that it isn't a French song".

Tellier himself said: "To explain the vision of French people, of sexuality and of life and so, to be understood, I need to sing in English".

Eurovision commentator Terry Wogan, speaking to BBC 6Music, added that the French are "very very proud of their language. It's the thin end of the wedge here because the French insist that the Eurovision Song Contest is always conducted in three languages, [they] always insist that it be announced in French as well so they're going to be very hurt about this".

So, there you go. There's nothing quite like Eurovision for breaking down borders and bringing people together. Meanwhile, go see Mr Tellier's Eurovision song and video, we kind of like it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz58Hw9hldw

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LUTFI'S BRITNEY RESTRAINING ORDER TO BE REVIEWED BY COURT
An LA court commissioner has transferred an upcoming hearing regarding the restraining order against Britney Spears' friend and self appointed manager Osama 'Sam' Lutfi to a Superior Court judge.

As previously reported, Lutfi recently issued a request to the court saying that if Spears' family wanted to renew the restraining order against him, which was originally put in place following Spears' high profile mental breakdown earlier this year, and after the family accused Lutfi of having a role in causing that breakdown, then he wanted the matter to be considered properly in court rather than by court commissioner Reva Goetz, who has ruled on the restraining order to date. Legally speaking Lutfi is not obliged to abide by orders put in place by a court commissioner, and the recent submission made by his legal people said: "Please take notice that Osama 'Sam' Lutfi will not stipulate to the above-referenced case being heard by Reva Goetz, commissioner presiding, to whom the above-entitled case has been assigned".

Responding to that submission this week, Goetz announced he was transferring the case to Supervisory Judge Aviva K Bobb. A hearing on the restraining order is expected for later this month.

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SOUL TRAIN MUSIC AWARDS NO MORE
The crowded music awards calendar is ever so slightly less crowded today, in the US anyway, with the announcement that the Soul Train Music Awards, which celebrated the best of black music and entertainment in the US, will not happen this year. Why the awards event, which has been celebrating black music for over two decades, will not take place in 2008 isn't entirely clear, though it had suffered in recent years when the US TV show it span off from - Soul Train - essentially stopped airing, and after many of the big stars up for awards - including Beyonce Knowles, Mary J Blige, John Legend and Gnarls Barkley - failed to attend the Soul Train ceremony last year.

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LABEL THREATENS TO SHELVE WINEHOUSE ALBUM
I'm not sure I believe this, but, according to The Sun, Universal Music have threatened to shelve Amy Winehouse's third album if she doesn't kick the drugs. It seems her drugginess is getting in the way of the recording process.

The story goes that Winehouse has been issued an ultimatum by her record label after she allegedly cancelled a recording session in the Bahamas - a story also originally reported by The Sun. One of those pesky sources told the tabloid: "Amy has been reminded of her responsibilities. Unless she is clean she will not be allowed to release another album. They would never release her from her deal, they would just not put an album out. She has been warned about her behaviour and needs to keep the standards up".

Elsewhere in Winehouse news, a spokesman for the singer has denied reports that she is working on a song for the new Bond film. He said: "Amy has been in the studio working on songs for her new album with Mark Ronson. Recording for anything else is pure speculation".

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LEONA LEWIS MAKES US CHART HISTORY
Boy, Ms Lewis is doing well, isn't she? Must be the X factor. Leona Lewis' album 'Spirit' has become the first ever debut by a British solo artist to go straight in at number one in the US album chart. The news comes just three weeks after she became the first British solo artist to top the US singles charts for 21 years with 'Bleeding Love'.

X-Factor chief Simon Cowell, whose Syco label Lewis is signed to (or co-signed to, in the US - there her recordings are released by Cowell's Syco and Clive Davis' J Records, though they're both SonyBMG divisions, so that's possibly irrelevant), said: "What Leona has achieved is simply incredible. This is the hardest market to crack and for her debut album to go in at Number One is unbelievable".

As previously reported, Lewis is no stranger to breaking records - 'Spirit' was the fastest selling debut album of all time in the UK, selling more than two million copies within weeks.

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BEZ DELARED BANKRUPT
Happy Mondays dancer and maraca shaker Bez has been declared bankrupt for the second time. The 43 year old was originally made bankrupt in August 2004 and took part in Celebrity Big Brother a few months later in an attempt to clear his debts. Despite receiving £50,000 after winning the show, he was declared bankrupt again on 31 Mar.

Happy Mondays released their latest album 'Uncle Dysfunctional' last year. Despite some positive reviews it was not a commercial success.

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MCCARTNEY CONCERT ONLY JUST FINALISED
A Paul McCartney concert at Liverpool FC's home Anfield, a flagship event in the Merseyside city's Capital Of Culture programme, was only finalised this week, even though it is due to happen in seven weeks time and all tickets have already sold out.

According to the BBC, a deal with McCartney Productions Ltd was only agreed this week, and cynics argue that the fact the deal hadn't been done before tickets were sold for the event gave the McCartney company too strong a hand at the negotiating table, because if a deal couldn't be reached the event would have been cancelled. That said, neither McCartney nor Liverpool Football Club will make a fee from the event, though it will still cost a reported £1.7 million to stage, money to be paid by the Liverpool City Council. The Council will also cover any budget overspend. It is unclear how much of that budget will be covered by ticket sales to date - though licence permitting it is expected an extra 11,000 tickets will now be made available in a bid to raise extra revenues.

Telly man Phil Redmond, who is Creative Director of the Liverpool Culture Company that is coordinating the city's Capital Of Culture activity, told BBC Radio Merseyside about the drawn out negotiations with the McCartney company: "This is what his [McCartney's] men are paid for. They are paid to get the best deal and protect him. He's not taking a fee for it but everything around it still has to be paid".

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RAZORLIGHT MAN TO PLAY SOLO SHOW
More Razorlight solo news. Joy! The band's drummer Andy Burrows will play his debut solo show on 28 May at Union Chapel in London, where he will apparently be joined by a host of special guests. As previously reported, Burrows' debut solo album 'The Colour Of My Dreams' will be released on 2 May, with all proceeds going to Winchester children's home Naomi House.

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OUTKAST BALLET OPENS IN AMERICA
As previously reported, Outkast's Antwan 'Big Boi' Patton is collaborating with America's oldest ballet company, Atlanta Ballet. The show, 'Big', which features a mix of new and old Outkast material performed live by Patton, opened in Atlanta, Georgia last week and has been receiving rave reviews. Plans to bring the show to the UK are apparently already in motion.

Atlanta Ballet's artistic director, John McFall said: "Hip hop is a defining element of Atlanta. It only makes sense that the two art forms would come together at some point".

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THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS PLAY FIRST SHOW
Alex Turner and Miles Kane, collectively known, as you all know by now, as The Last Shadow Puppets, performed live with a full band for the first time ever on Tuesday night, on BBC2's 'Later... With Jools Holland'.

They were joined by 12 members of the London Metropolitan Orchestra, Arcade Fire member Owen Pallett, who conducted the orchestra, producer James Ford on drums and singer-songwriter Stephen Fretwell on bass. Which was rather excessive. Esepcially given that previously Turner and Kane have only performed acoustically as a duo. It was also the first time the pair had played with an orchestral backing, the string parts on their forthcoming album having been recorded separately.

The group performed 'My Mistakes Were Made For You', 'In My Room' and recently released single 'The Age Of The Understatement', all of which will be broadcast on the 'Later...' extended repeat on BBC2 on Friday night at 11:35pm.

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CAVALERA CONSPIRACY TO PLAY LONDON SHOW
Cavalera Conspiracy, the new band fronted by reunited Brazilian metal brothers Max and Iggor Cavalera (formerly of Sepultura), are set to play a one-off show at London's Astoria on 17 Jun. This will be the first time the pair have shared a stage in London since Sepultura played Brixton Academy in 1996. Max, of course, parted company with Sepultura that year, after his bandmates sacked his wife as their manager.

Cavalera Conspiracy recently released their debut album 'Inflikted', and Max's other band Soulfly will release their sixth album in July.

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LEONARD COHEN IS PLAYING BENICASSIM, ALRIGHT?
Despite a statement on Leonard Cohen's website that would suggest otherwise, the singer has not cancelled his appearance at this year's Benicassim Festival in Spain. That's what the festival's organisers say, anyway. "If his management tell us he cancels his performance at Benicàssim, you can be sure we will announce it ASAP, but for the moment he hasn't", a spokeswoman for the festival said.

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JAY-Z TO HEADLINE ROSKILDE
Hurrah! Jay-Z is headlining another European festival! Presumably due to popular demand. This time it's Denmark's Roskilde, alongside Neil Young and Radiohead. This follows the rapper's previously reported headline slots at Glastonbury, the O2 Wireless Festival and Norway's Hove Festival.

Other artists set to appear at Roskilde are Slayer, The Cult, The Chemical Brothers, My Bloody Valentine, Gnarls Barkley and Swedish band The Hellacopters, who will perform their last ever show at the event, which takes place between 3-6 Jul.

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CHINESE FESTIVAL GETS OK FOR 30 INTERNATIONAL ACTS
China's longest-running outdoor rock fest, the Midi Modern Music Festival, has got the go ahead to stage performances from thirty international bands this year.

Such events in China, of course, require "go ahead" from government officials, and on artistic as well as logistical criteria. While China has been letting in more artists from abroad in recent years, they can still be cautious - especially when you get singers like Bjork using gigs in Shangai to air, albeit very fleetingly, her support for the people of Tibet. And, while the Beijing festival has been given the go ahead to expand this year, plans to stage a second edition of it in Shangai have been blocked, possibly because officials there have become stricter post-Bjork.

The Beijing festival will run from 1-4 May under the headline '100 Days To Go', because on day one there'll be 100 days to go until the Beijing Olympics. 100 Chinese bands are also expected to appear at the four day fest.

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RIMES CHARMED BY SNOOP AT COUNTRY AWARDS
US country star LeAnn Rimes is reportedly keen to collaborate with hip hop star Snoop Dogg after being charmed by the rapper at the US's Country Music Television Awards, which took place on Monday night. Snoop was a guest presenter at the awards bash, and claimed to be bowled over by the country star's beauty, comparing her to Marilyn Monroe. Which is quite charming. Rimes told People.com: "Snoop is really a gentleman and I loved meeting him. He made me feel like the most beautiful woman there with all of his flattering comments. You never know, there could be a Snoop and LeAnn duet sometime soon! I never rule anything out!"

Billy Ray Cyrus and his famous-thanks-to-Hannah-Montana daughter Miley hosted the country awards show (the country equivalent of the MTV Video Music Awards), where the big winner of the night was former 'American Idol' contestant Kellie Pickler, who won three awards, for her song 'I Wonder', for the 'breakthrough' video to 'Tearjerker', and for Performance Of The Year. Taylor Swift won two awards, for Video Of The Year and Best Female Video, both for the promo to 'Our Song'. Other winners included Trace Adkins, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, and the aforementioned Rimes, who won for her collaboration with Jon Bon Jovi.

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SUB POP CELEBRATE 20 YEARS
The legendary US indie label Sub Pop - possibly most legendary as the original home of Nirvana - will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a two day festival in home city Seattle on 12 and 13 Jul. Foals, Mudhoney, Fleet Foxes, Wolf Parade, Beachwood Sparks, Green River, Pissed Jeans, Iron & Wine, Low and musical comedy types Flight Of The Conchords are all set to perform. Proceeds from the event will go to charities selected by participating artists.

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ONESTOWATCH ESCAPE GREAT
The Great Escape is getting ever closer - the three day music convention down there in Brighton. CMU is going to be there this year (well, we're in town anyway covering the wider Brighton Festival via our sister title ThreeWeeks, so it makes sense), and we'll tell you more about that next week. Also there this year is the Levi's OnesToWatch crowd, who will take over the city's Audio venue for each of the three nights of the convention. Line ups as follows...

15 May: Young Knives, Jonny Foreigner, Ida Maria, The Laurel Collective
16 May: Late of the Pier, Dead Kids, Cage the Elephant, Collapsing Cities
17 May: Friendly Fires, Team Waterpolo, Broken Records, The Displacements

For more info on OnesToWatch go to http://www.levi.co.uk/lotw. For more info on all things that escape greatly, go to http://www.escapegreat.com

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ALBUM REVIEW: Christian Silva - Onward!
Christian Hardy, the multi-instrumentalist main man of Christian Silva has been likened to everyone from Freddie Mercury to Thom Yorke via Mika and it is understandable given his soaring vocals and the glam rock pomp which underpins a lot of this album. I might chuck Julian Cope into the mix as I get the impression that Hardy is one of those eccentric English artists who will try pretty much anything to get a sound together. This album takes in everything from glockenspiel to banjo and certainly displays an impressive musicianship. Some of the songs are quite catchy as well, although the Mika comparison is a little unfair - this isn't that pop. The trouble I have with it is that I've been listening to it for the past week and it hasn't grabbed me hard yet. I've been waiting for the moment when all the madness comes together but so far the best I can do is compare it to other things and I'm not sure what that means. Give it a listen, see if you can add to the ever growing list of soundalikes. IM
Release Date: 14 Apr
Press Contact: Freeman PR [all]

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O2 CUT COST OF BASIC IPHONE
O2 has announced it is taking £100 off the cost of the basic 8GB iPhone - seemingly because everyone is anticipating a new iPhone to be released in the summer, possibly with 3G capabilities (ie faster net access), meaning some people are holding off buying an Apple phone-come-music-player until the newest model is available. O2, the exclusive sellers of the iPhone in the UK, will hope that by making the basic iPhone £169, instead of £269, more people will buy into the Apple mobile revolution now.

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CITIGROUP KEEP EMI LOAN
City news, and US bank Citigroup, who financed much of Terra Firma's purchase of EMI last year, are reportedly not now planning to sell the loan on to someone else. Speculation that Citigroup would look for someone else to take on the not insubstantial Terra Firma/EMI debt (over £2 billion) came about earlier in the year as the bank announced its own cut backs, what with that credit crunch and all. But Bloomberg have said Citigroup now don't think they'll get a decent deal regarding the EMI debt, given continued reservations in financial circles regarding the future of the London based major and the music biz in general. Music Week say that decision shouldn't affect EMI or Terra Firma, though some cynics reckon it will inevitably lead to further pressure being put on Terra Firma chief Guy Hands to get a return on the EMI investment sooner rather than later.

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TOMMY HILFIGER LAUNCHES WEB PORTAL
Fashion type Tommy Hilfiger was in London yesterday to launch a new web portal - TommyTV - which aims to provide a platform where bands and artists, new and established, can reach an international audience. I'm not 100% sure how it all works, or what it will be like, but the invites to the press launch (half a tree) were pretty damn impressive, and definitely worthy of note.

SonyBMG are the principal music partners on the venture, and they will have their own channel within TommyTV featuring performances and interviews with their acts. Other 'channels' will include a new artist strand, a strand built around the existing Hilfiger Sessions programme, and the MyTommyTV area, where users will be able to create playlists and sign up to news feeds and all that kind of nonsense.

Launching the new venture, Tommy Hilfiger told reporters: "I have always been inspired by music and our company was one of the first to truly fuse fashion and music through a variety of initiatives. The launch of TommyTV takes our musical heritage to the next level by offering the exclusive Hilfiger Sessions performances to a wider audience. With SonyBMG as our partner, we are thrilled to be at the forefront of bringing music and fashion together with the latest technological and online innovations".

SonyBMG Europe top man Maarten Steinkamp added: "Great live music provides an audience with a truly unique shared experience, and the partnership of SonyBMG and Tommy Hilfiger, on TommyTV, allows an even wider audience to enjoy that excitement. In a digital age we are looking for innovative and engaging ways to bring our excellent content to our customers, TommyTV will give online exposure to a wide range of popular and established SonyBMG artists, as well as a vibrant mix of new and upcoming talent".

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GLOBAL AND C4 DISCUSS POSSIBLE DAB COLLABORATIONS
Global Radio and Channel 4 are reportedly discussing the possibility of combining the GCap and 4Digital national digital audio broadcasting ventures, which would be ironic, given that GCap tried to stop OfCom giving a licence for a second national DAB network to Channel 4 (or anyone, for that matter) when it was awarded last year. GCap had been told, when they invested in the first national network via their Digital One company, that there would only ever be one commercial national DAB network.

Global Radio will get control of Digital One if and when their GCap takeover bid is completed. Channel 4 are yet to launch their national digital radio network, amid rumours of growing concerns within the TV company of the commercial viability of the whole thing. According to the FT, talks about some kind of JV on national digital radio are very much in exploratory stages at the moment, but are seen as a possible way to alleviate growing concerns in investment circles about the future of DAB as a viable broadcasting medium after current (soon to be former, presumably) GCap CEO Fru Hazlitt declared its long term future as too insecure and proposed GCap get out of DAB completely.

Any deal to combine the two national DAB multiplexes would definitely need approval from media regulator OfCom who may or may not think it's a good idea.

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MADONNA, CELINE DION AND CAMILLA ARE RELATED
Pop stars Madonna and Celine Dion, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are all descended from the same French carpenter, according to a new study published by Ancestry.co.uk.

The website sifted through Canadian records spanning more than 300 years to find the link. A spokesman said: "The fact that Camilla and Madonna are related, however distantly, highlights the truly unpredictable and entertaining nature of family history research".

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LILY ALLEN IS A PERFECTLY GOOD JUDGE OF BOOKS
The organisers of the Orange Prize For Fiction have defended their decision to choose Lily Allen as a judge for this year's award, and insist that her departure from the panel was because "life got in the way".

Panel chairman Kirsty Lang has hit out at the critics who mocked Allen after her withdrawal from the panel, calling them "snobby and elitist" and insisting she has no regrets about the decision to bring the singer on board. "She reads, she writes her own songs, she's a wordsmith. Life got in the way" she said. "She lost a baby, her boyfriend left her and she was launching a new TV sho,w. She was under a hell of a lot of pressure. She found the pressure of judging a major book prize on top of everything else too much".

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WIDDECOMBE WELCOMES DOHERTY INCARCERATION
Just the other day I was thinking to myself, it's all very well us reporting on Pete Doherty's recent incaration, but what we really need is comment on the story by, erm, former Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe. Well, thank the Lord, she's delivered one. Asked about Dohety's well documented druggy ways and recent jailing for probation violations, the former Tory minister told reporters: "The fact that he got away with it for so long was sending out the wrong signals. This [the fourteen week jail sentence] is long overdue. When someone is in the public eye and sets the wrong example there should be a crackdown. Rehabilitation does not go far enough in Pete's case, because we need to send out a signal that what he was doing was illegal. It's good that an example has been made of him". So, that's that cleared up. Though I'm assuming Widdecombe didn't have tickets to the Doherty Albert Hall gig that has been cancelled as a result of the jailing. I bet she'd think otherwise if she did.

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