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TODAY'S NEWS
Is Cohl about to depart Live Nation?
DJ arrested for auctioning off promo CDs
Bertelsmann could sell SonyBMG stake within weeks
Fielder-Civil's attempted Doherty hit
Madonna denies divorce
Timberlake denies rumours
Brett Anderson announces solo
Infadels announce free things day
Album review: Hybrid - Soundsystem 01
Martha And The Muffins reissue
Reznor plans Year Zero TV show
Pearl Jam expand live recordings service
Buraka Som Sistema play London to launch new single
Franz Ferdinand album delayed
George Michael retires from touring
Various Duran Duran news
San Miguel Hidden Depths hosts announced
Lounge On The Farm release mix tape
Unheard BBC recordings to be released
Universal expands merchandising assets
More Flom gossip
Woolworths Digital sell new Coldplay album for under a fiver
New Canadian copyright legislation to be revealed
Cliq canned
Commercial radio award shortlists
Heart re-sign Theakston
Album review: Thomas White – I Dream Of Black
Boy George to play gig for sanitation staff
Timbaland weds baby mother
Zuton says fight with Amy led to Valerie cover
ON THE NETWORK...
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THURSDAY 12TH JUNE

I have a feeling I said I "quite like" the new Coldplay album on the Today programme this morning, which is quite a seismic shift in editorial policy for us here at CMU. I really should have consulted my co-Editor before going out on such a limb. Still, there you go EMI, have that quote on me, "I quite like it", Chris Cooke, CMU.

In case you think the Today programme has dumbed down quite a bit in the last few weeks and is now carrying pop reviews, I should stress I was on the Radio 4 show discussing Coldplay's new album 'Viva La Vida', out today everybody, in the context of how important this long player's success is for EMI and the major's boss Guy Hands.

Of course, no one album is going to make or break a major record company – and EMI's biggest album of the year could as yet come from a new signing we've not heard of – but any one major always relies on a handful of the hundreds of artists on its roster to bring in a disproportionately high portion of their overall revenues. And as each of those bankable artists will only release a new album once every two to three years (and, in the main, of course, it is only an artist's album sales that make the label any money, because they don't get a cut of live or merchandising revenue), there will only be two or three of these major revenue generating albums for any one major record company in any one year, so their success is important. Coldplay are undoubtedly one of EMI's most bankable bands at the moment, so they do need 'Viva La Vida' to do well.

That said, EMI isn't going to go out of business if Chris Martin et al's new offering bombs. But, aside from the actual impact the success of albums like these have on bottom line profits, there's always that other dimension – it's important for a major record company to be seen to be in good health, especially among the financial community, and the success of a major, especially one in private hands, is often measured on the success of these big album releases. And, of course, all eyes, in both the music business and the investment community, have been on EMI since Guy Hands bought it last year and made bold statements about completely reinventing the firm for the digital era, with promises to simplify its structure, downsize its workforce, separate its A&R and marketing functions to encourage better focus, and to better serve and, in return, make higher demands of their artists.

Coldplay's new album is the first major release from EMI since that restructuring began, which is why city types are taking an interest in it. Of course it's possibly too early to be putting Hands' new look EMI to the test – his restructuring is only half complete, meaning that if 'Viva La Vida' is a big hit he'll probably claim that's down to his revamp, but if its sales disappoint he'll claim that that's because his new system isn't properly in place yet. And, let us not forget, the best sales and marketing teams and systems in the world can't make a 'bad' record sell, and whether or not a record is good is out of the marketers' hands (and, even out of the artists' hands in some ways, depending on your definition of 'bad' – an artist can make a creatively good album that, for some reason, doesn't gel with their fans or the mainstream music buyer, meaning commercially it doesn't succeed). But despite these flaws in judging the viability of EMI in terms of one Coldplay album, many commentators probably will.

So, will 'Viva La Vida' perform for EMI? Well, despite Martin saying he thinks the new album is very different, and despite a 'rawer' sound on some tracks, and glimpses of Brian Eno being in the studio in others, it is definitely a Coldplay album, and should, I reckon, appeal to those masses who, for reasons I've never quite fathomed, flock to this band's releases. Of course it's really in the US – where EMI has a miserable 8% market share at the moment, and where Coldplay do a lot better than many of their British indie band contemporaries, and where Martin's Hollywood wife helps get the band air time – where the major could really do with shifting big units on this one. Universal's Lil Wayne is the big release there this week, so Coldplay's long player will be unleashed there next week. Remains to be seen how it does.

Of course, the fact that the Today programme is discussing all this offers some useful extra publicity for the new Coldplay long player – with its weird Thursday release – and I've never dedicated a whole editorial to one of their albums before. So by asking whether the Coldplay album will be successful enough to give Guy Hands' EMI the 'PR push' in confidence it needs, we may just be helping it to be so. If Hands' office want to thank me for my efforts by all means do. Though not with a free copy of 'Viva La Vida' – it's quite good, but not that good.

What do you think? About the Coldplay album or good old EMI. Comment on the blog here.

 

SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM
Less of an underground tip and more of a 'if you haven't heard this yet then get listening right now' because you'll be woefully un-hip if you don't (which means us CMU-ers simply won't be able to associate ourselves with you anymore). You need to do the work now to ensure you, like the other cool kids, are the first one jabbing your finger towards the DJ booth when Sneak Sound System's new single, 'Pictures', starts doing heavy rotation on UK dance floors. An electro-disco tune that's at the extreme pop end of the spectrum – ie more Scissor Sisters than Justice – it's already helped their album go platinum in Australia, where, as there MySpace helpfully indicates, they're also picking up award nominations by the truck load. See what we're fussing about at their Myspace below.

www.myspace.com/sneakysoundsystem

 
 

INTERN OPPORTUNITY AT LEYLINE
Leyline Promotions are currently looking for a web-savvy intern to join their team in west London. Main duties include managing online communities and liaising with agents, artists and press during the build up to events. Applicants must have an interest in indie and electro and be available to work some nights. Leyline's events include: The Remix, Twisted Licks, The Insomniacs Ball, The (wonderful) CMU Social and they also look after the PR for the Glade, 229 the venue and seOne.
More info: tamsin@leylinepromotions.com


IS COHL ABOUT TO DEPART LIVE NATION?
There is much speculation of tensions in the Live Nation boardroom where Michael Cohl, the live music conglom's biggest shareholder, chairman of the board and top executive officer of the firm's newish Live Nation Artists division, is reportedly at odds with CEO Michael Rapino.

Cohl, who has had a place on the Live Nation board ever since the live music major bought his company CPI in 2006, was put in charge of Live Nation Artists (briefly called Artist Nation) at its inception last year. The division is responsible for managing the multi-million dollar 360-degree deals Live Nation has done with the likes of Madonna and Jay-Z. Cohl, an accomplished world tour promoter, was a seemingly wise choice for that role because, while his background is primarily in touring, he has had a reputation for finding and exploiting new and different revenue streams around the artists he works with, which is kind of the point of Live Nation Artists. He's also used to working with some of the world's biggest artists (and egos).

But given Cohl's reputation, influence and power in the Live Nation boardroom, there was always potential for tensions between him and Rapino who is, after all, Cohl's line manager in his Live Nation Artists job. Word has it the two disagree on what further Madonna-style deals should be done, on what artists the company should look to work with, and on how artist relationships should be developed. Gossipers say tensions between the two are now making their working relationship untenable, with some predicting Cohl will walk sometime soon.

What that would mean for Live Nation shareholder Cohl, who, according to Billboard, is stuck to a non-compete agreement stemming from the CPI purchase, and which still has eight years to run, and, equally, what it would mean for CEO Rapino, well, only time will tell. Nevertheless, negotiations between the live music conglom and some of the world's biggest artists with a view to Live Nation buying a stake in those artists' recording, merchandising, endorsement and possibly publishing activities, as well as a long term involvement in their touring, reportedly continue – with Shakira reportedly the favourite to be next to confirm a wide-ranging Live Nation deal.

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DJ ARRESTED FOR AUCTIONING OFF PROMO CDS
Hey, this is an interesting one for all you promo-receiving DJs, journalists and reviewers out there in CMU land. A London based DJ and music reviewer has been arrested – yes, arrested – for selling promo CDs sent to him by record labels for reviewing or club playing purposes ahead of their release date via eBay.

Although this unnamed DJ seems to have been pretty prolific in his eBay selling of promo CDs – Music Week say he had flogged at least 150 – the selling on of CDs sent to reviewers and DJs, traditionally to second hand record shops and more recently via eBay type websites, isn't especially uncommon, especially among freelancers who often receive next to nothing for their reviewing or DJing and who see the resale of promo CDs as a useful extra source of income. Not that I would ever do it, of course – in fact until this story appeared on the newswire it had never even occurred to me that promo CDs could be sold. Never. Not once. But I think it's fair to say that those that do so on a regular basis, while perhaps not surprised if they were to receive an occasional cease and desist from a record label if their reselling was discovered, probably wouldn't expect to be arrested.

The DJ in question was arrested on suspicion of theft and money laundering in relation to his promo-CD selling, which reportedly included the resale of CDs from artists like Foals, Delays, Grand National and Kelly Rowland. It is the fact he was auctioning these CDs off before their release date that has seemingly pissed of the record labels, who assisted police in their investigation via trade bodies the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry and the BPI.

As previously reported, record labels have been getting increasingly tetchy about people making music available before its official release – and often prioritise their action against those who illegally share music online on those who upload albums ahead of their official release date. I'm not sure it's really worth getting that stressed about myself, in the whole scheme of things, though presumably the point is that people are more likely to go for unofficial sources of music if albums are available there that are not available at all via official sources - ie impatient people who would pay for an album if they could, opt for the free route because music is not currently available via licensed platforms. Of course those who bought any of the 150 CDs this guy auctioned off did pay, and, unlike an upload, said music only went to one individual rather than potentially millions. But presumably it's the principle – labels don't want albums in the public domain before release, and want to ensure those who get privileged access to new material don't abuse their privilege and deliberately let them out there. And, I suppose, those who profit from the illegal distribution of music will always be targets.

Anyway, commenting on the arrest, IFPI chair John Kennedy told reporters: "Pre-release piracy causes serious damage to the performers, creators and producers of music. People who have access to pre-release music by virtue of their job, and who sell or distribute it illegally, should note that record companies, large and small, are taking a zero tolerance approach to such activity. We will notify the police of their actions and we expect the police will take such a crime very seriously. The police have invested significant resources into this investigation, which I welcome. The time and effort they have put in shows that they recognise that pre-release piracy is anything but a victimless crime".

So, take note everyone. Anyone want to buy my copy of 'Viva La Vida'? Don't worry, it's out today, it's all fine.

Oh, by the way, you can comment on this too on the blog here.

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BERTELSMANN COULD SELL SONYBMG STAKE WITHIN WEEKS
More Bertelsmann about to sell SonyBMG rumours for you. As previously reported, there has been growing speculation in recent months that the German media firm, which owns half of SonyBMG, is looking to sell its way out of recorded music. Of course, those rumours have been around ever since Bertelsmann and Sony Corp merged their record companies in 2004, but this time everyone seems more certain it's going to happen. Some reckon within weeks. According to Financial Times Deutschland, Sony Corp is currently in talks with their business partners regarding taking complete control of SonyBMG, with reports suggesting the Germans are asking for up to $1.5 billion of their Japanese comrades. Sony has first dibs on Bertelsmann's half of SonyBMG until next summer under the 2004 merger agreement, and although some private equity types are said to be interested in getting a stake in the record company, most have always seen a Sony buy out as the most likely conclusion of the joint venture. Time will tell I guess. 

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FIELDER-CIVIL'S ATTEMPTED DOHERTY HIT
That Blake Fielder-Civil just can't keep his money in his pocket (or his wife's money, depending on who you speak to), if reports are to be believed. According to The Sun, Mr Amy Winehouse offered a then soon-to-be-released fellow inmate at Pentonville Prison, Richard Lyttle, £20,000 to beat up Pete Doherty, after he became convinced the Babyshambles frontman was having an affair with his wife.

Lyttle says he refused the money and reported Fielder-Civil to the police after he was released. He told The Sun: "We were sitting in my cell and he said, 'If you get Doherty for me I'll give you £20,000. Amy's obviously sleeping with him'. He knew I used to be a doorman and knew some tough people. He said he wanted him smashed to pieces".

As previously reported, Blake Fielder-Civil and four other men are being tried for giving a man who Fielder-Civil and a friend attacked £200,000 to leave the country and not testify in the case.

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MADONNA DENIES DIVORCE
Madonna has denied those rumours that she has hired Heather Mills' divorce lawyer. Or any divorce lawyer, for that matter. A spokesperson for Madonna told The London Paper that the reports were "completely untrue".

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TIMBERLAKE DENIES RUMOURS
Got any Justin Timberlake rumours? They're not true, okay? Well, three of them aren't anyway. Contact Music quote him as saying: "I am not engaged. I'm not married. I'm not pregnant". I'm not convinced, his tummy's definitely been looking a bit bigger of late.

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BRETT ANDERSON ANNOUNCES SOLO ALBUM
Ex-Suede frontman Brett Anderson has announced that he will release his debut solo album at some point later this year. For those of you who simply can't wait for some non-specific time in the future, if you buy yourself a ticket for Anderson's show at the Mermaid Theatre in London on 7 Jul, you'll get a copy of the album on a USB stick.

The album, entitled 'Wilderness', features Anderson on piano, guitar and vocals, with cellist Amy Langley. Emmanuelle Seigner also provides guest vocals on one song, and both collaborators will appear on stage with Anderson at the 7 Jul show.

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INFADELS ANNOUNCE FREE THINGS DAY
CMU favourites Infadels have announced a 'Free Things Day' on 16 Jun to promote the release of their new single, 'Free Things For Poor People'.

From 12pm to 5pm the band will be travelling up and down Oxford Street on a free Routemaster bus, where they will be doing some reverse busking - ie playing songs and then paying the audience (or, at least, giving them chances to win cash prizes). There will also be guest bus conductors, tombolas, raffles, music and free prizes, and the day will culminate in a very special secret event (no, it's not another CMU Social gig, sorry).

More info: www.freethingsforpoorpeople.com

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ALBUM REVIEW: Hybrid - Soundsystem 01 (Hope Records)
Hybrid are busy bees - following last year's impressive double album 'Hybrid Remixed', comes another two-CD compilation, the first CD a downtempo affair filled with moody soundtrack pieces (including tracks from the films 'Kingdom Of Heaven' and 'Man On Fire', both of which Hybrid scored for alongside Harry Gregson Williams). It's more minimalist than you might expect – it's more an exercise in subtle ambience than string-drenched beats (there aren't any of those until about halfway through, though when they kick in, we're in territory which will be familiar to anyone with a love of Hybrid's more serene moments). The second CD is the upbeat one, featuring tracks from the likes of Sasha, Quivver and Hybrid themselves, including the duo's awesome remix of Long Range's 'Just One More'. A couple of tracks are absolute killers - Soliquid's progressive monster 'Lonesfield' and Lank's unrelenting 'Confrontation' - but the track selection is consistently excellent. As you'd expect from Hybrid, 'Soundsystem 01' doesn't put a foot wrong, showcasing all that's great about the progressive duo from start to end. MS
Release Date: 14 Jul
Press Contact: Trailer Media [all]

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MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS REISSUE
Martha And The Muffins' fourth album 'Danseparc' is to be reissued, twenty five years after its original vinyl release back in 1983. The digitally re-mastered long player, produced by U2 and Peter Gabriel collaborator Daniel Lanois, will be out for the first time on CD on 4 Aug via Cherry Red. A brand new studio album is also slated for release in 2008.  Press info on this from Noble PR

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REZNOR PLANS YEAR ZERO TV SHOW
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is planning to turn his 2007 concept album 'Year Zero' into a TV series with director Quentin Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender, according to The New York Times. The story behind the album and the prospective TV show is set in a dystopian future with the world on the brink of environmental and political collapse. Sounds cheery.

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PEARL JAM EXPAND LIVE RECORDINGS SERVICE
Pearl Jam have announced that the will expand their "bootleg programme" (one of those official live recordings available straight after the gig things) for their current tour, which kicked off in West Palm Beach last night. In addition to making available high quality MP3 and FLAC downloads of shows for two weeks after each performance, fans will also be able to buy made-to-order CDs, which will ship within three weeks of each performance, and access three live tracks from each show released through V Cast mobile phones (in the US) and through www.pearljamconcerts.com.

Tim Bierman, manager of Pearl Jam's fan club, Ten Club, said: "Pearl Jam continues to explore new and innovative ways to get their music to their fans. As we have learned from our younger fans, more and more listeners are accessing their music through their mobile phones. With our proven track record of delivering high quality bootleg downloads and CDs, we feel this new approach will not only benefit our fans, but provide an exciting opportunity to share Pearl Jam's music in a more interactive setting".

Pearl Jam's official bootleg CD programme initially launched on the band's 2000 world tour in an effort to provide fans with high-quality, affordable recordings of their live shows. Since the programme's inception, over 3.5 million such recordings have been sold.

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BURAKA SOM SISTEMA PLAY LONDON TO LAUNCH NEW SINGLE
Buraka Som Sistema, yesterday's SNAP Of The Day band, are currently in final talks with "some very fine labels" to release their album in September. I tell you this because yesterday we said they'd signed an album deal with Modular, who released a 12" single from the band last month. Well, that turns out not to be true. In fact, the 'kuduro' outfit will next month release a new single, 'Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)', via Berlin-London indie Greco-Roman, a new label founded by Hot Chip's Joe Goddard and former !K7 exec Alexander Waldron. We'll let you know more about the album once we know more ourselves – meanwhile you can check the band out at a Greco-Roman night at Jacks in London SE1 this Saturday alongside Hot Chip, Ross Allen and Drums Of Death, info at this URL:

www.myspace.com/grecoromanmusic

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FRANZ FERDINAND ALBUM DELAYED
Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos has told 6Music that his band's third album won't be released this year as expected, and is more likely to make an appearance in the new year. The singer told the station: "We've still got quite a bit of mixing to do but because we don't really know how long it's going to take, we're going to put the release date back a bit. I can't see it coming out this year. I think it's more likely to come out in January or something like that".

Kapranos also discussed the name of the album, saying that the group had been going to call it 'Bite Hard', but were put off by the name because of what our American cousins might think of it. "[Bite Hard is] quite suggestive" he said, "but apparently in the States if you say something 'bites' it means it sucks, so if something bites hard, it sucks really badly. So we thought, 'No we'll choose another title'".

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GEORGE MICHAEL RETIRES FROM TOURING
George Michael has announced that he will retire from touring following two shows at Earls Court in August, which have just been added to his two year '25 Live' tour.

Michael told the BBC: "Mainly the reason is because I'm 45 and I think pop music should be about youth culture. It shouldn't be an endurance test". He also added: "If I can just live further from the spotlight I think that'll be better for all, really".

The Earl's Court shows, billed 'The Final Two', will take place on 24 and 25 Aug.

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VARIOUS DURAN DURAN NEWS
Duran Duran have been forced to cancel a show which was due to take place in Nice tonight, due, sadly, to the sudden death of band member Nick Rhodes' father. In a statement to French fans the group said: "The band members are extremely sorry to disappoint fans, but hope that everyone will understand that only such tragic circumstances would keep them from a performance. Unfortunately, due to the band's European tour schedule and the availability of the venue there is no possibility to move the band's South of France date - but they hope to be able to return on their next Continental run".

Elsewhere in Duran Duran news, on Tuesday of this week the band became the first ever group to play at Paris's Louvre museum, in the famous pyramid bit. The gig was held as a benefit concert as part of fundraising efforts to complete a restoration project for the 18th century Decorative Arts Gallery of the museum. Frontman Simon LeBon said: "It's a great honour for us to be asked to perform at this prestigious occasion and we're looking forward to stepping onto a stage in what is undoubtedly one of the world's most significant buildings. We are all great lovers of the arts and have visited the museum's works many times. Helping to raise funds for this incredible institution is a tremendous privilege. Hopefully it will put a smile on the Mona Lisa's face!"

Which is all quite impressive. Still, they haven't yet played Glastonbury, and they really want to, according to the Daily Star. Bassist John Taylor told the tabloid: "I'd love to do Glastonbury one day. But we'll probably be in our 60s when Michael Eavis gets around to inviting us. The earth will be frazzled and there'll be dust storms on the Pilton farm by then, probably."

Taylor also handed out some praise for Mark Ronson, and none for Madonna. On Duran Duran's upcoming live collaboration with Mark Ronson in Paris he said "I've known Mark for years and he deserves his success. He's gonna mash up our biggest hits for a 30-minute mega-mix and then we're gonna try and play them live along with him. It should be fun". He was less complimentary about the aforementioned Mrs Ritchie, saying that she copied them by getting Timbaland and Justin Timberlake to produce her new album (the pair worked on 2007 LP 'Red Carpet Massacre'). "It wouldn't be the first time Madonna's copied us. She's been doing it for years", he said.

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SAN MIGUEL HIDDEN DEPTHS HOSTS ANNOUNCED
The San Miguel Hidden Depths series, launched last year, has announced that it will return in 2008 with five one-off music and media events in London and Manchester. Each one is curated by a different host, but full details of who will appear won't be announced until the night.

The host line up is as follows:

26 Jun: Mark Jones and Wall of Sound, Soho Revue Bar, London
10 Jul: The Glimmers, Joshua Brookes, Manchester
31 Jul: Secretsundaze, T-Bar, London
21 Aug: Chromeo, The End / AKA, London
18 Sep: It's Pop It's Art / Fred Deakin, The Amersham Arms

San Miguel Brand Manager Elena Iborra says: "Aimed at people who like to look a little bit further, San Miguel Hidden Depths is a series of unique collaborations between San Miguel and the guests invited to curate. As these hosts choose their own line up, there are sure to be plenty of surprises on the night!" See www.sanmiguel.co.uk to register to win tickets and for more info.

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LOUNGE ON THE FARM RELEASE MIX TAPE
The Lounge On The Farm festival have announced that they're releasing a free mix-tape. The collection, available to download from the website, will feature tracks by artists appearing at the event, which takes place at Merton Farm in Kent from 11 – 13 Jul, and is intended to give festival-goers a taste of what they can expect to hear next month.

The tracklisting is as follows:

The Shortwave Set – Sun Machine (Replica Sun Machine LP / Wall Of Sound)
Wild Billy Childish & The MBE – Again and Again (Thatcher's Children LP / Damaged Goods)
Sargasso Trio – Heels On Fire (Burnin' Burnin' Burnin' LP / Boy Scout Recordings)
Pete Greenwood – Negotiations And Last Words (Sirens LP / Red Bricks)
The Suggestions – Fashion Monkey
J*Star – Hot Sleng Dubplate
Toddla T ft. Micachu & Miss Bienek – Backchatter (Do You Know / 1965)
The Onlookers – Reverse The Widow
Black Kids – I'm Lonely [And I Love It] (Solid Gold)
Cats In Paris – And Ugly (Akoustik Anarkhy)
Raphael Mead – This Time
Pete Molinari - Adelaine (A Virtual Landslide LP / Damaged Goods)
Syd Arthur – Earthbound
Midfield General – Love Thyself (Generalisation LP)
Hotrods n Dragsters – Spitfire Romance

To download, or for more info, see www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk.

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UNHEARD BBC RECORDINGS TO BE RELEASED
Actually, it's possibly this kind of deal, rather than new Coldplay songs, that will secure EMI's long term future. The major has announced a new deal with BBC Worldwide, which will see the two London based content owners collaborate on various projects, including making available to the public a load of little heard BBC recordings from legendary artists.

The arrangement will allow EMI to release music from their artists that is in the BBC's extensive radio and TV archive, in return for EMI allowing the BBC to use their artists' performances to create new programming, which the corporation can then sell to international broadcasters and consumers. BBC Worldwide has also acquired the rights to distribute the content direct to consumers via any of their own future digital services.

The list of EMI artists with unreleased material in the BBC archives include Kylie Minogue, The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Lily Allen and Pink Floyd. Some recordings already uncovered include live radio performances from Pink Floyd, including a session from 1967 featuring tracks from their first album 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'; Coldplay performing a stripped down version of their first hit 'Shiver'; and a David Bowie Omnibus special entitled 'Cracked Actor' from 1975.

Pete Duckworth, Senior Vice President, Catalogue, EMI Music UK & Ireland said: "We are very excited about this agreement. In the BBC vaults there is a wealth of unreleased and high quality material from EMI artists that we will now be able to bring to fans. At the same time, we can offer new revenue opportunities to our artists that simply weren't there before". Duckworth added that all release proposals will be cleared with the relevant artist.

Paul Dempsey, Director of Audio & Music, BBC Worldwide, added: "We're delighted to be working with EMI and we see this as a terrific partnership. This deal is a prime example of the commercial opportunities available to artists, their labels and BBC Worldwide when we work together to release this incredibly rich archive of content. It's also great news for music fans who are always hungry for more content from their favourite artist or band".

It's a good partnership you know. I like it. Thinking about it, if EMI are going to quote me on anything, I'd rather they put a sticker on that deal than Coldplay's new album.

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UNIVERSAL EXPANDS MERCHANDISING ASSETS
Of course, another area major music firms like EMI should be moving into is merchandising, and EMI et al need to move quickly in that domain otherwise Universal is going to sew up the market.

Having bought out the struggling Sanctuary Music Group last year mainly in a bid to get control of its management and merchandising businesses, the major has just announced it has bought Atmosphere Apparel, a UK based company that holds international merchandising rights for artists like Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Rage Against The Machine and Lostprophets, among others. Atmosphere Apparel will, Universal say, continue to operate as an autonomous concern, and will still be MDed by its founder, Mark Stredwick.

Universal Music International boss Lucian Grainge says this: "Atmosphere is a dynamic, innovative player in music and entertainment merchandising, and we're very pleased to be in this new partnership with Mark.  With plans for investment and growth, Universal Music Group's deepening commitment to merchandising in both the touring and retail sectors is good news for all artists, brands and entertainers signed to it".

While Stredwick added: "The acquisition of Atmosphere by a company of the stature of UMG is extremely exciting, and the deal allows us to maintain our reputation as a truly artist-friendly merchandise company, whilst benefiting from the global expertise of UMG's distribution network".

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MORE FLOM GOSSIP
Back to EMI and one bit more gossip regarding Jason Flom, the chairman of the major's Capitol US division. With former Island UK chief Nick Gatfield being shipped in to head up all A&R labels in the UK and North America there has been much speculation as to Flom's future at the major, he being unlikely to respond well to a new guy being put in above him in the hierarchy.

There were rumours EMI would try to keep hold of Flom, a well respected US A&R, by offering him his own imprint to run, he having enjoyed the freedom of having his own label before in the form of Lava, subsequently absorbed by Warner Music. But some insiders say that Flom is unlikely to want such an imprint if it sits within Gatfield's empire, and the whole point of bringing the former Island man in is to streamline the complicated, senior exec heavy label structure within EMI Music.

Anyway, most people now seem to think Flom, like Capitol President Lee Trink, will be out the door pretty soon now, but the latest rumour via the Wall Street Journal is that his departure will be expensive for EMI and its Terra Firma owners because his contract forbid a new layer of management being put in place above him – which is what is happening with Gatfield – and as a result he'll be able to demand a large cash sum in return for stepping down and leaving quietly by the back door.

Given Flom's reputation he's likely to walk straight into another fine job in the industry having back pocketed said settlement, meaning the EMI restructure and Gatfield's appointment might work out well for the Capitol boss, who only joined the major back in 2005. 

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WOOLWORTHS DIGITAL SELL NEW COLDPLAY ALBUM FOR UNDER A FIVER
And more EMI/Coldplay related nonsense. Woolies will sell the new Coldplay album for under a fiver via its recently relaunched download store, albeit to the first 5000 people to download it.

According to Music Week, the high street retailer, which is hoping to gain a bigger share of the download market having decided to stop stocking CD singles in its stores, has admitted its decision to sell 'Viva La Vida' for £4.97 to the first 5000 downloaders could start a price war – that price point is £2 less than most other download stores. They quote Woolies Music Trading Manager Alan Hunt thus: "£4.97 is a stunning price for any new release album, let alone the hottest release of the year. Value is extremely important to Woolies customers and this is an example of us driving down prices as much as possible for our digital customers as well as our online and in-store customers".

Personally I'm not sure the download sector is ready for a price war, but speaking as someone who gets most of his music as free promo CDs, I'm probably not much of a champion for the consumer who probably likes the idea of digital albums coming down in price. Personally I want to keep download prices high – that way the value of the promo CDs I resell on eBay stays high too. No, only joking. No, really I am. You can't arrest me, I'm a respectable music reporter who goes on the 'Today' programme, not one of those dodgy promo reselling down and out DJs.

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NEW CANADIAN COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION TO BE REVEALED
Those of you losing sleep over the sorry state of Canadian copyright law – fear no more – new copyright legislation will be put forward today. As previously reported, attempts by the record industry to sue people who distribute unlicensed music online in Canada have been hindered because the courts there have generally said current Canadian copyright law is so behind the times it is impossible to interpret it in such a way as to stop P2P-ers from sharing tunes. The industry there has been lobbying hard for new laws to fix that problem, and the bill to be revealed today is expected to do that – to a point. Remains to be seen if the legislation satisfies the content owners and, if it does, how big a backlash there is from those consumer rights groups who tend to object to any tightening of copyright rules.

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CLIQ CANNED
UBC Media is canning its radio-based download service before anyone has really got round to using it, which seems like a pretty bold move. As previously reported, UBC's Cliq service was meant to let you buy a download of a track as you heard it on the radio, ultimately downloading it over the air to a special DAB digital radio set. But with said radio sets not yet on the market, at launch the service worked on mobile phones that had digital radio sets in built – which were mainly available via Virgin Mobile if I remember rightly. That offer was a bit complicated, and failed to take off. Despite still bigging up the Cliq service just a few weeks back, UBC has said it will now close down its consumer facing proposition, and provide over the air download services to other parties on a B2B basis instead.

UBC CEO Simon Cole said yesterday: "I remain convinced that transactional revenues [ie selling goods to listeners over the air – like the downloads] will be an important part of the radio industry in the future. For a variety of reasons, including the delay by manufacturers in bringing DAB connected devices to market, we have tried to lead this process in the interim on the JAVA mobile phone platform and have not succeeded. However, the technology, intellectual property and pending patents that we have developed during this process remain within the business. We believe we can exploit these without the need for the high risk, high cost exposure to a consumer service".

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COMMERCIAL RADIO AWARD SHORTLISTS
The nominations are out for the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards, the annual awards bash preferred by commercial radio types because none of those pesky better funded BBC types can sweep in and take all the plum prizes. I'll just get on to the nominations rather than boring you with any analysis, though I have my fingers crossed for  Goldie Lookin Chain types Rhys and Eggsy winning the Best Newcomer prize – I love it when radio stations that have just been closed down win awards. Their show, of course, was on the all new Xfm South Wales, which has just been sold and turned into a completely different radio station, Nation, which properly launches on Monday, though whether GLC will still be there I don't know. Here are your shortlists.

Marketing Award: Stuart Robinson – Citybeat, Julie Halford, Melanie Wills and Riah Matthews - Heart 106, Gavin Bruce and Jay Crawford - Real Radio Scotland

National Sales Team of the Year: Bauer Advertising, talkSPORT, Virgin Radio

Local Sales Team of the Year: Central FM, GWR Wiltshire, Orchard FM

Station of the Year < 300,000 TSA: Northsound 1, Star Radio Cambridge, 97.2 Stray FM

Station of the Year 300,000 - 1 million TSA: Beacon Radio (West Midlands), GWR Bristol, Lincs FM

Station of the Year > 1 million TSA: Classic FM, Magic 105.4, Xfm Manchester

Programmer of the Year: Paul Andrew - GWR Bristol, Andy Roberts - Kiss 100, Matt Whyatt - Xfm
Manchester

Radio Presentation Newcomer(s) of the Year: Chris Wise – 107.4 The Quay, Hywel Evans and Jamie Atherton - 97.4 Rock FM, Rhys and Eggsy - Xfm South Wales

Presenter(s) of the Year: Boogie and Jill - 97.3 Forth One, Emma B - Heart 106.2, Jo and Twiggy - Trent FM

Radio Station Sound Award: James Stodd, Arden Hanley and Dan Riedo - Capital 95.8, Matt Robinson and GMG Group Imaging Team, talkSPORT Creative

News Award: Nomia Iqbal and Katie Collins - 107.6 Juice FM, 97.4 Rock FM News Team, Virgin Radio News Team

Programme or Feature of the Year: 'Gun Crime' - Century Radio 105.4, 'The Rehab' - Kiss Network, 'V Festival 2007' - Virgin Radio

Creative Award: Andrew Fraser, Jessica Smith and Mark Aldred - Kiss 105-108, Tom Turner and Sharon Dennis - Metro Radio, Andy Griffiths and Mike Doyle - 102.1 Swansea Bay Radio

Technical Innovation Award: myclassicfm - Classic FM, 100.7 Heart fm Multimedia – 100.7 Heart fm, Juicetube - 107.6 Juice FM

Digital Station of the Year: GaydarRadio, Heat Radio, The Hits

Social Action Initiative Award: Bauer Radio - For the Kids Day, CFM - Robbie's Runners, Severn Sound - The Floods 2007

Schools Radio Award (in association with Vision Charity): Maxine Bradley - King Edward VI School, Morpeth, Ringwood School in Hampshire, Becky Hardesty - Royal National College for the Blind

The awards are organised by commercial radio body RadioCentre, the boss of which, Andrew Harrison, said this: "Commercial radio offers a huge breadth of programming including news and current affairs, sport, community and local issues and a vast range of music. The Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards are a great opportunity for the stations to highlight the programming they make; output that is loved by the 31 million listeners who tune in each week".

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HEART RE-SIGN THEAKSTON
Talking of commercial radio, Heart 106.2 has re-signed Jamie Theakston to another three year deal fronting the London station's breakfast show alongside that Harriet Scott. Parent company Global Radio has also entered into a new three year deal with another of its breakfast show heavyweights, LBC's Nick Ferrari.

Global Radio acting CEO Richard Park (acting because Global's top execs have had to quit so they can take the top jobs at rival firm GCap as they go through the process of buying it) said this: "Quality talent is the lifeblood of our business, and we are pleased to have signed long-term contracts with two of the most consistent and popular presenters in the commercial radio industry".

Once the Global/GCap deal is done, and assuming there aren't any conditions put in place by the competition authorities, the radio firm will own two of the big three music stations in London meaning that the Jamie Theakston and Johnny Vaughan breakfast shows – that have long competed for the title of biggest morning show in London – will be owned by the same company. Will be interesting to see if that has any effect on the direction of the two shows.

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NME.COM GETS NEW DEPUTY EDITOR
Luke Lewis, formerly an Associate Editor at Q, has just become Deputy Editor on NME.com. Don't believe me? Look, here's what NME.com editor David Moynihan has just told us: "I'm delighted to have Luke join us at NME.com. His editorial expertise and digital experience and vision are the perfect addition to the NME brand as it grows in strength across print, web, mobile, radio and TV".

Lewis will have a particular role in expanding the online music news service in the US, and in developing a new bloggy zone featuring ramblings from music commentators and bands. Confirming his new role, Lewis says this: "It's really exciting to be joining NME.com at a time when the site is enjoying strong growth in UK and US. The team have already made me feel really welcome - I can't wait to get started".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Thomas White – I Dream of Black (Drift Records)
As if Thomas White didn't have enough going on with Electric Soft Parade, Brakes, Restlesslist and the rest of the Brighton scene, he has now joined the Devon-based Drift Collective and is set to release this, his debut solo album. Recorded at home on a four track tape machine, with White playing all the instruments himself, this is a lo-fi record described by the man himself as an idea of what ESP's demos might sound like. 'I Dream Of Black' contains several snippets, slightly unformed songs which befit the scratchy home recording style of the whole. It's rewarding in parts, not least the incendiary, swirling My Bloody Valentine-esque 'The Runaround', which is possibly the most impressive and innovative thing on offer and makes you wonder how White would get on with the kind of time and money Kevin Shields had to record 'Loveless'. As it is we can enjoy another album from a prolific artist showing an admirable do-it-yourself ethos. IM
Release Date: 14 Jul
Press Contact: Freeman PR [all]

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BOY GEORGE TO PLAY GIG FOR SANITATION STAFF
As you'll no doubt remember, because we reported on it quite a lot, Boy George spent a week cleaning up the streets of New York a couple of years ago when ordered to complete community service as part of a plea deal in relation to all that nonsense when he falsely reported a burglary/got caught with drugs in his house. Anyway, now he's released a statement saying that he's going to perform a free show for his former fellow workers at the sanitation department's Family Day on 17 Aug. It's funny, isn't it, how celebrities, even ones who aren't much celebrated any more, think that doing a free show is the best gift they can offer? I mean, why not just donate a huge cake, or something?

Well, perhaps they asked him to do it, you never know. Anyway, here's what the singer says: "The people I worked alongside showed great kindness to me at a very difficult time, and I wanted to thank them all in a way that would show my appreciation".  Yeah, like I said. Cake. Or a crate of beer. You know what though, I'm just cynical. And you know what? Keith Mellis, Sanitation spokesman, said his department remembered him as a hard worker, and are looking forward to seeing him again. Yeah, because they think he's bringing cake and beer, I bet.

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TIMBALAND WEDS BABY MOTHER
Timbaland has got married, according to American gossip mag Us Weekly, to the mother of his young daughter and longtime girlfriend, music executive Monique Idlett.  The pair apparently got hitched in Virginia at a very informal sounding ceremony, whilst dressed in sweat suits. Hope they weren't actually sweating. Anyway, apparently they're going to do the ceremony again properly on 22 Jun in Aruba. Which sort of makes you wonder why they bothered with the first one.

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ZUTON SAYS FIGHT WITH AMY LED TO VALERIE COVER
Zutons frontman Dave McCabe says that it was an altercation that led to Amy Winehouse covering their song 'Valerie' (and arguably making it more famous in the process).

He explained that he had a spat with the singer in London, which ended with Winehouse telling him to "fuck off", but that they made up later in the year.  "She didn't know I was in a band and the next time we saw each other we said sorry", he said. "She told me on Jools Holland's Hootenanny [2006] that she really liked 'Valerie' and when we played it, I remember her looking at me and smiling. Since then she covered the song. And I don't know if she would have done that if we hadn't had that argument".

Interesting how he says "She didn't know I was in a band". Do you think she'd have stood by that "fuck off" if he wasn't?

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