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TODAY'S NEWS

Elbow scoop Mercury Music Prize

Prince sues toddler
50 Cent custody battle heads to court
Oasis cancel Canadian show after attack
Hector Zazou dies
Catholic priests launch singing career
Cliff doesn't like downloads
Single review: White Lies - Death (Fiction)
Scottish Arts Council encourages bands to apply for SXSW
Sonic Youth sign to Matador
Mariah Carey fires manager
Beyonce announces new solo album
Tennent's Mutual announce first gigs
Tenebrous Liar album & tour
Sam Isaac EP & tour
Mcfly tour - extra date added
Album review: Various Artists - Louie Vega: House Masters (Defected/ITH Records)
German digital aggregator may sue Last.fm
Oasis to give away sheet music with NME
Steve Jobs announces new iPods
Sony Ericsson phones may also come with music
PIAS does deal with We7
Get inside Michael Jackson's pants
Mills planning Macca novel
Wentz says it's going to be a boy
Kylie has not ruled out lesbianics
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WEDNESDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER

CMU SOCIAL DEBRIEF
So, last night was yet another exciting instalment of the ongoing CMU Social series and we're all still shaking with excitement.

Unfortunately, Josh Weller was forced to pull out of the Social at the last minute because he's really quite ill at the moment. This meant we only had one band to play for us. But what a band.

 

The Deer Tracks flew in all the way from Sweden to showcase their recently-released debut album, 'Aurora' and, I think I am safe in saying, left everyone in attendance in a state of awe. The duo, Elin Lindfors and David Lehnberg, were joined by a group of highly talented musicians to bring the album's blend of epic electronica and glacial cool to life. Much instrument swapping and pitch perfect vocals were the order of the evening, and we reckon we'll be seeing much, much more of these guys over the coming months. In fact, you can see them this very evening at Metro on Oxford Street. If you weren't able to get down last night, we urge you to see them tonight. You'll have to pay this time, but it's definitely worth it.

Meanwhile, point your internet-style browsers at www.myspace.com/thedeertracks to hear more music and learn more stuff. Oh, and why not go to www.myspace.com/joshweller, too. We still like him lots, too.

"But what of the Pop Quiz?" I hear you cry. Well, it was very close this month. Very close, indeed. And while we have a huge number of entries taking joint second place, we did have one clear winner, the Glastonbury/Olswang team, who become kings of the CMU Pop Quiz with their second win. Don't let this happen again! Come down next month and beat them down.

Results:

1. Glastonbury/Olswang (18/20)
2. The Big Chill (16/20)
2. I Blame The Parents Records (16/20)
2. Michael Simkins LLP
2. Sarah Frances/Ele Wakerly (16/20)
2. CMU:DJs (16/20)
3. Yahoo! (14/20)

NEXT MONTH: OK, if you missed it this time, well you missed out, but the good news is we'll be back on 14 Oct for more of the same. As well as all our regular attractions, we have live performances from two absolutely brilliant acts...

Gillan Edgar: Hailing from Manchester, Gillan is getting noticed in all the right places at the moment, including the CMU office, where it was quickly decided that he's exactly the kind of guy we want playing for us. His music recalls The Beatles, Ryan Adams and Elliott Smith with great lyrics and hooks so large they probably shouldn't be allowed.
www.myspace.com/gillanedgar

Plans & Apologies: Also from out of town, Midlands-based Plans & Apologies are long-standing favourites of ours and we can't wait to hear the new songs they've been working on for their second album. Like Gillan Edgar, Plans & Apologies play incendiary pop music with plenty of hooks and great lyrics. In fact, David Williams should be ranked as one of the greatest lyricists of all time. We hope to go some way to making that happen.
www.myspace.com/plansandapologies

Tuesday 14 Oct 2008, 229, Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN. 7pm-11pm.
Tickets £5, Free for CMU Daily readers who register to social@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk

 

MOGWAI
CMU's appreciation for most of Wall Of Sound's releases can only be compounded by Monday's release of Mogwai's new 'Batcat EP', which is coming out on the West London label. The title track already has an eerie woodland video streaming MySpace, and sounds like another sonic headache of post rock brilliance, with plenty of rousing guitars, crashing cymbals and, well, plenty of other crashing noises too. And if your anticipation for the forthcoming album, 'The Hawk is Howling', is anything like ours, you'll definitely be hitting the link below.

www.myspace.com/mogwai



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Don't forget you can now check out CMU favourites old and new on CMU-Tube, our online music video service powered by MUZU.

On there right now you will find music from Atomic Hooligan, Frightened Rabbit, Kraak & Smaak, IAMX, G Love & Special Sauce and The Robocop Kraus, plus old favourites from Ben Folds, Scouting For Girls, Coldcut, Leftfield and Fiona Apple and live performances from MGMT, The Futureheads and Glasvegas. Listen to videos on demand, or just let the channel play. Check it all out at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk. For details of how to put your new releases forward for inclusion on the CMU-Tube email cmutube@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on the CMU Daily for details of new services available on the CMU-Tube, plus details of how you can get involved in the MUZU TV / CMU College Network. More details on which right now...

 
BECOME A CMU/MUZU COLLEGE CORRESPONDENT
MUZU TV has joined up with CMU and the College Media Network to set up a team of College Correspondents at universities across the UK and Ireland. We are looking for students interested in gaining skills and experience in music and media to work with the CMU team to help manage their local MUZU TV college channel. Correspondents will get to network with local music and media people, and influence the music played and artists featured on their local channel. They will also get loads of free training, and make lots of great contacts for a future career in the media or music industries. For more details and an application form go to www.collegemedianetwork.co.uk/muzu.
 

 


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ELBOW SCOOP MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE
Elbow scooped the Mercury Music Prize last night with their forth album, 'The Seldom Seen Kid', seeing off competition from the likes of Radiohead, British Sea Power and Burial to grab the £20,000 cheque.

Receiving the award, frontman Guy Garvey said: "I know I'm supposed to be cool and say something coy, but it's literally the best thing that's ever happened to us". And for a band that formed in 1990, that's quite a statement. This album is already the band's most successful, having entered the chart at number five when it was released back in March. And this win is likely to send it back into the top ten again.

This is the second time Elbow have been nominated for the award; their debut album, 'Asleep At The Back' lost out to PJ Harvey's 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea' in 2001.

The win was not without controversy, though. A large last minute bet placed on the band sent bookmakers into fits of paranoia that some insider information had leaked and stopped taking bets on the band. However, Garvey later revealed that it had been the work of an overexcited friend. He told the BBC: "The book's been closed on Elbow. My friend Saul got far too overexcited and tried to put five grand on us winning, which I told him not to do repeatedly. The bookies got nervous and now you can't get odds on us at all".

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PRINCE SUES TODDLER
In his ongoing mission to remove all unauthorised streams of his music from the internet, and to prove once and for all that he's really lost it, Prince is now suing a toddler. Or rather, the mother of a toddler.

Stephanie Lenz uploaded a 29 second video of her child dancing to Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' onto YouTube in February 2007, but it was taken down after Universal Music Publishing claimed it infringed copyright. But then Lenz successfully applied to have the video reinstated, saying that she had posted it for friends and family.

The case was then taken to court by Prince's publishers, where it continues to roll on.

Lenz, backed by by digital rights lobby group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argues that the video was covered by "fair use" provisions in copyright law. But Universal Music Publishing argues that it was entitled to send the original takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Despite this position, the publishing company subsequently moved to have the case dismissed, but US District Judge Jeremy Fogel has rejected this move on the grounds that Lenz has already incurred costs fighting the action, and deserves to see the case through to completion because she may be able to claim those costs from the major should she win.

Of course the publicity surrounding the case means Universal's plans to stop people hearing a poor quality clip of a Prince song have failed, given that everyone is going online to check the video clip. It's now been seen over 670,000 times.

See what all the fuss is about here

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50 CENT CUSTODY BATTLE HEADS TO COURT
The ongoing custody battle between 50 Cent and former partner Shaniqua Tompkins is set to go to court next month. Judge David Freundlich set a court date of 22 Oct and granted the rapper access to his son every other weekend until the trial.

As previously reported, the couple have been locked in a bitter dispute over their 11 year old son, Marquise. Tompkins accuses Fiddy of being responsible for a fire in May at the mansion she and Marquise were living in, which left them and four other people in need of treatment for smoke inhalation. Fiddy denies this and launched legal action against her, accusing her of defamation, which in turn led to a judge issuing a protection order against the rapper, barring any contact with Tompkins.

Outside the court, 50 Cent told reporters: "I'm happy I get a chance to see [my son]". However, Tompkins added: "My son doesn't want every other weekend".

Due to the court order disallowing contact between Fiddy and Tompkins, Marquise will be dropped off at a police station in New York on Friday evenings and then collected by the rapper's driver.

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OASIS CANCEL CANADIAN SHOW AFTER ATTACK
Oasis were forced to cancel a planned show in Ontario last night, due to those injuries sustained by Noel Gallagher when he was attacked on stage on Sunday night.

As previously reported, Noel was pushed over by a man who managed to get on stage at the Virgin Festival in Toronto, causing the guitarist to fall awkwardly onto a monitor. Although the band completed the show after a brief break in proceedings, Gallagher suffered bruising and has been ordered by doctors to rest. The attacker, Daniel Sullivan, appeared in court yesterday charged with assault. He was released on bail but will be back in court again on 24 Oct.

A statement posted on the band's website yesterday said: "Following an incident during Oasis' performance at the Virgin Festival in Toronto, when Noel was attacked by a stage invader Oasis are regrettably being forced to announce that tonight's show in London, Ontario cannot go ahead as planned. Noel fell heavily on to his monitor speakers when he was pushed suddenly from behind by his attacker and suffered bruising to his ribs and hip. He was examined in a local hospital after the band's performance and has been advised to rest. Unfortunately, despite resting up yesterday, the extent of his injuries mean he will not be able to perform tonight. The band are very keen to complete their Canadian tour and options for rescheduling the final London, Ontario show are currently being looked into. Ticket holders are asked to retain their tickets until a further announcement is made in a few days".

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HECTOR ZAZOU DIES
Composer and producer Hector Zazou has died in hospital after he became seriously ill earlier this year. He was sixty years old.

Born Pierre Job in Algeria in 1948, the French musician was renowned for his fusions of avant garde electronica and classical music, and during his career collaborated with the likes of Bjork, Brian Eno, Peter Buck, Suzanne Vega and Siouxsie Sioux.

During the course of a prolific recording career, beginning in 1976, Zazou released or appeared on more than thirty albums. His most recently completed work 'In The House Of Mirrors' is still to be released by his label, Crammed Discs.

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CATHOLIC PRIESTS LAUNCH SINGING CAREER
That trio of Catholic priests who, as previously reported, were recently signed by SonyBMG imprint Epic in a multi-million pound deal, have launched their career with a concert at a Northern Ireland cathedral. The group, whose first album is due out in November, performed religiously themed music such as 'Ave Maria' at the event, which was attended by representatives of all denomination. The concert, which took place in Armagh, was broadcast across the US.

Ensemble member Father Eugene O'Hagan said that the concert "was one of the most moving of my life. It was just fantastic to receive such a reception from a wonderfully appreciative audience," whilst his, erm, bandmate, Fr Martin, added "If we can truly reach out to the world through the music then we feel we will have accomplished another piece of our mission both by bringing pleasure to people and by making sure that charities benefit from any profits made".

The third member of the trio, Father David Delargy is apparently a fan of Tina Turner and Sting, and told reporters: "What is happening to us since we were signed up by SonyBMG is just beyond the wildest dreams of any of us. We all feel we are on an extraordinary journey."

Epic say they're pretty confident The Priests can become an internationally successful act, despite the fact that none of them are planning to give up their day jobs. The group's contract with the label contains a clause releasing them from recording commitments if they need to attend to their neighbouring Northern Ireland parishes.

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CLIFF DOESN'T LIKE DOWNLOADS
Talking of God-botherers, Cliff Richard has said that he doesn't like downloads, mainly because he thinks you can't beat the quality of a CD. Him saying this came about because he was talking about being in the charts at the moment, and how it was all different back in the day, and all that sort of stuff.

His single 'Thanks You For A Lifetime' is at number three and, asked if he felt confident that he could knock Katy Perry's five week chart topper 'I Kissed A Girl' off the top spot by Sunday, he said: "I can't say I'm confident because how can you be confident about anything any more? It'd be nice to be number one but nobody's going to catch me now. I've had number ones in five decades. Who's going to do that? First of all, they've got to be around for five decades. Many of them barely make five years".

Adding that getting a number one now doesn't "have the same cachet" as it did back in in his heyday, the singer continued: "In those days, when you released a single, it was potentially a million-seller. That's completely out of the question now, because people just don't buy singles. I suppose it's feasible they might have a million downloads, but as for me, I'm never going to go to downloads".

Explaining why he'll never do downloads, he went on: "I like putting six CDs in the machine and playing them for two or three days. The 12" vinyl album was the best because you could read [the sleeve] without getting a magnifying glass. I like the human aspect of music. It's all getting a little bit too technical now, too easy; you don't do anything now".

Yeah, all this easyness, opening up the music industry to talent out there who haven't managed to break into the club. Rubbish, isn't it?

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SINGLE REVIEW: White Lies - Death (Universal/Fiction)
White Lies' sickeningly fast ascent is no doubt confirmation that the old adage 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' stands true. Having formed out of the ashes of the moderately well known Fear Of Flying, they subsequently played their first gig in February and are now hotly tipped for success. 'Death', a song about the universal fascination with mortality, is an epic pop song in the vain of The Killers or Editors. Driven by a pounding 4/4 bass drum at its heart, it's a song smothered in sweet echo and reverb that sounds like a true stadium anthem. It wouldn't be to hard to imagine Brandon Flowers screaming this out to 50,000 people, and in the near future it may well be lead singer Harry McVeigh's turn. SJS
Release Date: 22 Sep
Press Contact: Polydor IH [all]

Buy from Amazon

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SCOTTISH ARTS COUNCIL ENCOURAGES BANDS TO APPLY FOR SXSW
I think we've said before how cool we think it is that the Scottish Arts Council has a department that supports new music, and that they send a showcase of new bands over to South By Southwest each year, but I might say it again. We think it's cool. We're telling you know because the SAC have just announced they will be doing it again next year - and are encouraging Scottish bands who think they have what it takes to play at the one of the music business' favourite new music conventions to apply by 24 Oct, which is the closing date for putting yourself forward for SxSW 2009.

SAC's Head Of Music Ian Smith told CMU: "We are delighted to announce our continued support for Scottish bands performing at the South by South West festival. Not only does a Scottish presence at this event have an impact on the career paths of the artists involved but in the year that Glasgow was awarded the prestigious City Of Music status by UNESCO it also helps to re-affirm Scotland as a country whose artists, managers, record labels and promoters can comfortably perform at the highest international level".

The Council's Music Officer Stuart Thomas, meanwhile, observes: "Whilst it is an amazing event it is absolutely massive and highly competitive. Bands need to be realistic as they will be competing for the attention of absolutely key players in the commercial music industry. You need to be very good, you need to be serious and you need to be organised. The significant opportunities arising from showcasing at SXSW will only be fully realised by artists who are ready and commercially able to exploit such an international market and only such artists should seriously consider applying to SXSW for 2009".

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SONIC YOUTH SIGN TO MATADOR
After two decades at Universal's Geffen label, Sonic Youth have signed a new deal with indie Matador for all territories, except Japan. The band's debut album for the label is due next year.

In a statement, the label said: "For Matador, the opportunity to work in partnership with a group who've made such an profound impact on our roster/hometown/collective consciousness was one to jump at".

The band's last album, 'Rather Ripped' was released in 2006 by Geffen, after which the band's contract with the label went up for renewal. Asked if the band would continue to work with Geffen at the time, bassist Kim Gordon told Billboard: "I don't really think they want us to stay. They fired a few key people working on ['Rather Ripped'] a week before it came out. Our A&R person - he worked on our last record with us - and that was the first time we had an A&R person in five years, but we liked him".

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MARIAH CAREY FIRES MANAGER
Mariah Carey has reportedly fired her manager Benny Medina after discovering that he was attempting to re-sign his former client, and Carey's arch enemy, Jennifer Lopez. The New York Post reports that Medina got the boot on Friday, but he denies this, saying: "I just had lunch with Mariah today. We're restructuring her company and streamlining it. That's all". However, if the rumours are true, things won't be looking good for Medina, who has already lost Tyra Banks and Usher from his books this year.

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BEYONCE ANNOUNCES NEW SOLO ALBUM
Beyonce has announced details of her third album, which is set for release in November. The as-yet-untitled album will feature a collaboration with Justin Timberlake - so stick that in your ear, Britney fans, he does have time to do such things when he really wants to.

The album will be preceded by two singles, 'If I Were A Boy' and 'Single Ladies', and is apparently "her most personal, reflective and revelatory collection to-date".

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TENNENT'S MUTUAL ANNOUNCE FIRST GIGS
Tennent's Mutual has announced its first season of gigs, which will take place across Scotland from 18 Oct to 12 Nov.

As previously reported, the lager manufacturer has invested £150,000 in the project, which allows registered music fans to have a say in how that money is spent, creating The Tennent's Mutual live programme. Members selected the artists, venues and called the shots on ticket prices by interacting as a community and voting for their preferences online.

The line-up for Tennent's Mutual: Season One includes shows from LCD Soundsystem, Glasvegas, Hot Chip, Teeenage Fanclub, Los Campesinos!, Malcolm Midleton, King Creosote, Sons & Daughters, Laura Marling, Frightened Rabbit, and Belle & Sebastian's Chris Geddes, amongst others.

Full details available from www.tennantsmutual.com

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TENEBROUS LIAR ALBUM & TOUR
Tenebrous Liar, one of various monikers used by photographer Steve Gullick's band Tenebrous, have announced details of their latest album, 'Last Stand', which will be released on 6 Oct. The dour Scottish lo-fi rockers will also be bringing their special brand of destruction to venues around the UK (well, mainly London) the same month.

Hear tracks from the album, here

Tour dates:

3 Oct: Coventry, Taylor Johns House
5 Oct: London, Brixton Windmill
6 Oct: London, 12 Bar Club
9 Oct: London, Metro
12 Oct: London, The Luminaire

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SAM ISAAC EP & TOUR
Hotly tipped indie sing-songwriter Sam Isaac has announced that he will release a new EP, 'Sticker, Star & Tape', on 22 Sep via Big Scary Monsters/Alcopop. His debut album, 'Bears' is due to follow next year. To promote the EP, Isaac will be heading out around the UK later this month and into October.

Tour dates:

3 Sep: London, Water Rats
14 Sep: Tuborg Hometown Festival
19 Sep: London Airwaves
20 Sep: White Air Extreme Sports Festival
2 Oct: Manchester, Roadhouse
3 Oct: Sheffield, Fusion
4 Oct: Leeds, Cockpit
5 Oct: Glasgow, King Tuts
7 Oct: Northampton, Roadmender
8 Oct: Oxford, Jericho Tavern
9 Oct: Gloucester, Guildhall
10 Oct: Tunbridge Wells, The Forum
11 Oct: London, The Borderline
12 Oct: Hereford, The Jailhouse
13 Oct: Winchester, The Vault
14 Oct: Southampton, Joiners
23 Oct: Kingston, Banquet Records In-store
23 Oct: Kingston, McKlusty's
24 Oct: Worcester, Marr's Bar

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MCFLY TOUR - EXTRA DATE ADDED
Did we ever run the dates for the upcoming McFly tour? I'm not sure we did. Well, they've just added an extra date, at Plymouth Pavilions on 16 Nov, so even if we did, I reckon we can justify running them again. The tour will follow the special edition release of their rather good new album 'Radio:ACTIVE' which is out on 22 Sep and which is, of course, a deluxe version of the album given away with the Mail On Sunday earlier this year (my copy of which I've lost, if any one in the McFly camp fancies sending me a replacement).

Here is the full list of tour dates:

7 Nov: Sheffield Arena
8 Nov: Newcastle Arena
14 Nov: Birmingham NEC
15 Nov: Bournemouth Intl Centre
16 Nov: Plymouth Pavilions
18 Nov: Brighton Centre
19 Nov: Cardiff Arena
21 Nov: Nottingham Arena
22 Nov: Manchester EN Arena
24 Nov: Aberdeen AECC
25 Nov: Glasgow SECC Hall 4
27 Nov: London Wembley Arena
29 Nov: Liverpool Arena

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Louie Vega: House Masters (Defected/ITH Records)
One half of Masters At Work, Little Louie Vega steps up with the first outing from the In The House label, which showcases 20 of his unmixed productions on a double CD. Containing some absolute classics, the first disc opens with MAW 's archetypal Nuyorican soul gem 'To Be in Love' with Vega's first wife India on vocals, and then offers a subtle re-jig of Kings Of Tomorrow's beautiful 'Finally'. Barbara Tucker's 'I Get Lifted' rolls smoothly gospel style, while her 'Beautiful People' vocals also appear on Hardrive's intense thumper 'Deep Inside', which is a highlight. River Ocean's 'Love And Happiness' is truly majestic, India again shows her Latin vocal dynamism supremely. 'Never Forget', also by Hardrive, is excellent, while Vega's remix of Mr V's 'Da Bump' is good to boot. Disc two would be hard pressed to be as good, and it isn't. Ultra Nate's 'Divine Love' is pretty average, as is Lil Mo Ying Yang's 'Reach'. DJ Gregory's 'Elle' gets tribal in Vega's Elements Of Life remix, but 'Carnival 95' by Club Ultimate doesn't cut it, and Lou2's 'Freaky' is not absorbing. Things do liven up, though, with 'Curious' by Sun Sun Sun, while the reworks of Sole Fusion's 'Basstone' and Erick Morillo's 'Dancin' come up trumps, while Hardrive's 'No Cure' sums up early 90's house well and Sole Fusion's 'We Can Make It' is definitely cool. To anyone who is partial to a bit of quality Latin-inspired house, you really cant go astray here, and what awesome reference material for a budding house DJ. Vega is a huge talent - here he simply lets the tunes do the talking. Despite some less good tracks, he has nevertheless created a solid compo. PV
Release Date: 22 Sep
Press Contact: Defected IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
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GERMAN DIGITAL AGGREGATOR MAY SUE LAST.FM
A German digital music aggregator called Finetunes has said it is considering legal action against Last.fm over allegations the music recommendation service is streaming music they control in the digital domain without a licence. To get things going, a cease and desist letter has already been posted.

Finetunes is demanding Last.fm remove any of tracks owned by labels it represents, that they provide an account of how many times their tracks have been previously streamed, and that they reveal where they got the recordings from in the first place. Finetunes have a catalogue of 200,000 tracks from various German independents - it's not clear how many have been streaming via the last.fm website.

Finetunes CEO Oke Gottlich, who claims past attempts to speak to Last.fm have been unsuccessful, told reporters: "Finetunes supports the growth of the digital-music market with innovative business models such as Last.fm. But it is not acceptable that the artists' music is just taken away from them, and used extensively without any compensation".

Last.fm have said they have "no comment to make at this stage" regarding Finetunes' claims, not even to confirm or deny the receipt of the cease and desist.

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OASIS TO GIVE AWAY SHEET MUSIC WITH NME
Wow, first I'm saying the Scottish Arts Council are doing something cool, now were about to say the Arts Council Of England are doing something groovy. I'm pretty sure I used to be of the opinion arts councils, in the main, just took tax payers' money and wasted it on nonsense.

Anyway, the ACE scheme I think is rather groovy sees the government-funded body teaming up with Oasis and the NME to give away the sheet music to three tracks off the Gallagher's new album 'Dig Out Your Soul', the plan being to encourage the Guitar Hero generation to do something crazy and pick up a real instrument and learn to play it. To ensure there is a little bit of the digital world to this promotion, readers are encouraged to film themselves playing one of the songs and to upload them to Oasis' website. The person or people behind the best rendition will get free tickets to an Oasis gig.

The free sheet music will be given away with the 17 Sep edition of the NME. Confirming their involvement in the programme, Emma Greengrass, the GM of Oasis' label Big Brother Recordings, said this: "We have always been a bit skeptical of covermount opportunities in the past. Oasis are not keen on giving away their music, but this is a great idea that offers a lot more and allows the band to interact with their fans while giving them something really exclusive and engaging".

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STEVE JOBS ANNOUNCES NEW IPODS
As expected, Apple's Steve Jobs announced the latest range of iPods in San Francisco yesterday, with the whole range spruced up a bit. All new iPods are on sale now from Apple's online store and should be in physical Apple stores over the coming days.

The biggest changes have been made to the iPod Nano, which not only becomes the thinnest iPod ever made by the company, but has also been given a larger, curved screen, which can be viewed portrait or landscape, simply by turning it upright or on its side. Also, to shuffle tracks, all you need to do now is give it a shake, which is rather cool. If possibly a bit irritating after a while.

The iPod Classic has also been made slimmer and lighter, with a speaker and a transmitter for the Nike+iPod system built in. The iPod Touch is updated to give it potential for gaming.

As well as upgrades to the iPod family, Jobs announced iTunes 8, which will include a new smart playlist creator called 'Genius', which can select tracks from a user's library and match them with others of similar styles - basically another Last.fm style recommendation thingy, a bit like what the new version of Microsoft's Zune player is also offering. The new iTunes software can be downloaded for free now.

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SONY ERICSSON PHONES MAY ALSO COME WITH MUSIC
Word has it Sony Ericsson is planning on copying its rivals Nokia and releasing a phone that comes with free access to music downloads.

As previously reported, Nokia will soon launch a new phone in the UK market which gives owners a year's access to a bespoke download store featuring thousands of tracks from Universal and SonyBMG. Tracks can be downloaded via either phone or PC and, once downloaded, can be kept permanently, even after the year's subscription expires. The specifics behind the deals Nokia have done with the two majors are unknown, though the music publishers are making noises to the effect they are yet to sign any deal even though the service is about the launch.

According to the FT, Sony Ericsson are now in talks with all four majors, including sister company SonyBMG, about offering a similar free music package. That said, a spokeswoman for the phone firm said: "This is based on industry rumour and speculation, which we don't comment on".

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PIAS DOES DEAL WITH WE7
Independent distributor [PIAS] Digital has announced it has reached an agreement with the much talked about ad-funded music service We7 which will see music from the labels [PIAS] represent added to the We7 service. Music will be available via ad-funded streams and as a la carte downloads.

It's unclear if [PIAS] will make its music available for We7's ad-funded free download service, where users can actually download a track for free, but it comes with an ad. An ad-free version of the track can be later downloaded once it's thought the user has listened to the advert enough times. This is probably the most interesting part of the We7 proposition, but most labels, and certainly SonyBMG, have only made their music available for free streaming and paid for downloading so far.

Confirming the We7 deal, [PIAS] Director of Digital & Business Development Adrian Pope told reporters: "The We7 ad-funded model is very appealing to many of the labels and rights holders we represent, and with the additional benefit of having access to advertising inventory, [PIAS] will help them maintain control of the type of advertising attached to their repertoire and also assist with maximizing the promotional and revenue opportunities available to them via the We7 service".

We7 VP Clive Gardiner added: "PIAS is at the forefront of the vibrant independent music sector, and is committed to investigating new business models. We7 is delighted to welcome [PIAS] not only as a licensor of top-quality repertoire, but also as an advertiser. Together we plan to build some exciting promotions which can help expand the digital download market as well as build some incremental new revenues from advertising".

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GET INSIDE MICHAEL JACKSON'S PANTS
A pair of Michael Jackson's dirty underpants are to go up for auction on eBay today. So, if you have a 28 inch waist and at least $1 million (the reserve price on the auction), you could be in for some popstar pants fun.

According to the New York Post, the pants were confiscated from the singer as evidence in 2003, during the investigation into those charges of child molestation and are being sold by New Jersey businessman Henry Vacarro, who obtained them in a bankruptcy case. A note written by Jackson to explain why he wanted his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley annulled and a tube of skin bleaching cream are also up for grabs.

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MILLS PLANNING MACCA NOVEL
The Daily Mail claims that Heather Mills is planning to publish a novel about a model's marriage to a famous musician. Part of the divorce settlement included the agreement that Mills would not talk to the press about her story, but presumably she thinks she can get away with it by calling it fiction. Which is a really rude thing to do, if you ask me, as no-one will ever believe it's actually fiction, regardless of how much fiction is in there. Sigh.

Anyway, a source told the paper: "She will be marketing the book as a work of fiction. But it doesn't take a genius to realise what is really behind this book - the thing which infuriated her the most about the divorce was that she was gagged from ever telling her side of the marriage. She has incorporated all sorts of other characters. The rock star's first wife had passed away and his children can never get over that fact, so they gang up against the model, who they see as money-grabbing and an opportunist. Those characters will inevitably be seen to be based on McCartney's children Stella, Mary and James".

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WENTZ SAYS IT'S GOING TO BE A BOY
According to reports, Pete Wentz has revealed that his wife Ashlee Simpson will have a baby boy. He's quoted by Playboy as saying that the pair "know with 90% accuracy that it's a boy, and our due date is around Thanksgiving". Wentz continued: "We don't have any names yet. My friend Andrew said, 'Your kid has to have a name that would fit either a rock star or a senator".

He also talked about his past struggles with depression, but I think it's all too depressing to talk about. Oh, alright, here's a quote about what a rubbish time he's had: "I pulled a trigger on a gun aimed at myself. My friend and I did one pull each. We'd been drinking and had taken Ambien. I feel stupid even talking about it. It's one of the reasons I've never owned a gun - I'm too impulsive. I'd probably get mad and shoot someone over a part in a song or something".

He continues: "As a kid I always went to therapists; the first time was when my parents were separated on my sixth birthday, then on and off since then. I was diagnosed with ADD-see also: raised on sugary cereals and cartoons-and manic depression. So I was prescribed Ritalin for the ADD, and for the manic imbalances I was prescribed mostly benzodiazepines, which I loved, and antidepressants.The list of drugs I've been prescribed would read like a grocery list, everything from Klonopin to Prozac".

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KYLIE HAS NOT RULED OUT LESBIANICS
Kylie Minogue says that she can't find a boyfriend, and might therefore consider going gay, a statement which will no doubt endear her mightily to the lesbian population. Or not, possibly. Anyway, the singer says that since her split with love-rat Olivier wotzizname she's developed a crush on allegedly bisexual actress Tallulah Bankhead, which is sad for Kylie, as she died back in 1968. Nonetheless, Minogue says: "I'd go gay for her. She was a fascinating and exotic woman. There was so much to admire about her. She lived life to the full, maybe a little too fully. I can't get a man so maybe I should cross over".

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