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TODAY'S NEWS

Kanye West arrested

DMX legal woes latest
Dupri and Dillinger face lawsuit
Snoop granted Australian visa
OiNK man due in court this month
Estelle experiment throws doubt on merit of iTunes tinkering
Manson bandmate denied access to financial records
Nirvana manager speaks
Macca to marry again?
Noel Gallagher talks about attack
Korn to take time out
Single review: The Vines – He's A Rocker (Cooking Vinyl)
Elbow and Puppets to collaborate
Radiohead working on new album
Taio Cruz tour
Albarn and Hewlett's monkey show goes to London
Cocker announces UK tour
Album review: Land Of Talk - Some Are Lakes (One Little Indian)
Disney boss says "cut off those evil filesharers"
French record industry experiences another slump
Live Nation ticketing win SMG's business
Yahoo! to open up music site to rivals
New DRM-free classical download store launches
NBC return to iTunes, though whether pricing rules changed depends on who you talk to
MTV take creatives from around the world into the Engine Room
Danni tempted to pose for Playboy again
Prince publishes book of photos
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FRIDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER

WIN A TRIP TO TENNESSEE ...AND OTHER EXCITING CMU DEVELOPMENTS
It's September, in case you hadn't noticed. We like September. New school year, everyone's a little bit excitable, lots of great new music gets released. And it's normally the time of year when we get round to doing some new stuff. And that's exactly what we're doing. Right now in fact.

 

1. Announcing the all-new CMU Weekly

Later today CMU will arrive into your in-box for a second time. Why, you may ask. Well, because as of today we are providing you all with an extra free service, the CMU Weekly. This will arrive in your inbox each and every Friday afternoon, and will provide you with a little round up of the week in music, plus some recommended web-links that you might like to waste the latter part of Friday checking out. Not only that, but there'll be competitions. And this week, for the first ever CMU Weekly, it's a very special competition. We've teamed up with Jack Daniels to give you the chance to win an all expenses paid trip to Tennessee for a very exclusive gig as part of JD's traditional September-long birthday celebrations.

2. Announcing the all-new CMU Band List

Next week we will be launching the CMU Band List as part of the ever-expanding CMU Directory. This gives bands - and especially unsigned bands - the opportunity to provide key information about themselves and their music to everyone in the media and music industry, including press and agent contacts, and links to websites, MySpaces and downloads. Look out for full information of how to get listed on the CMU Band List in next week's CMU Daily.

3. Announcing the all-news CMU-Tube

Well, this isn't completely new, because we've been plugging it in the CMU Daily for a couple of weeks now. However, the CMU-Tube that is currently available on the CMU Music Network website is just the start. Already you can access videos from some of CMU's favourite artists - from latest signings, to recent favourites, to classic 80s and 90s bands. But, coming soon, you will also be able to access CMU-Tube artist interviews recorded back-stage at various festivals, conventions and the CMU Social, plus a series of interviews with leading players in the music business. Open up the CMU-Tube now at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk, and keep an eye on the Daily for news of new content going live in the coming weeks.

 

ANDY'S CLUB TIP: No Fiction at Powers
This brand new night launches in Kilburn this very evening and looks set to be a stormer, as it begins a weekend residency at Powers. One half of the No Fiction DJ team, who will be spinning an eclectic mix of indie, electro and classic tracks, will be one of our very own CMU:DJs, Rad!o Ed!t. So, CMU Social regulars will know exactly how great the music on offer will be. The organizers promise everything from Diplo to Dead 60s, Battles to Brodinski and Alphabeat to Zappa. And, what's more, entry is free. You have no excuse.

Fri 12 Sep. Powers, 332 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 2QN. 8pm-late, free, www.myspace.com/nofictionclub, press info from jamie.morris@vpmg.net

   

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Download This! at the Westbury
Download This! was the title of a New Sector Movements' album from 2001, which showcased the future boogie/West London Soul Sound. Keeping the same kinda vibe alive in this pub turned trendy bar in County Kilburn, the resident Alex Phountzi from Bugz In The Attic fame joins the mighty, mighty Liquid drum and bass funkateer, DJ Fabio, who will be spinning some other moves and grooves. Expect to hear beats and bass to dance to and, joining up the soul dots, busted beat ballistics to hip hop to jazzy house, rare groove and don't rule out a few Stevie Wonder soul nuggets...

Sat 13 Sep. The Westbury, 34 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 3UA. 9pm-3am, £3 then £5 after 11pm. More info from www.westburybar.com, 020 7625 7500, press info from Clare Woodcock at Love Publicity.

 

 



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.
 

 


FIND OUT HOW TO ADVERTISE HERE
 

 

ESPIONAGE TALENT MANAGEMENT IS EXPANDING
Our clients include: Beardyman, Crazy P, Ashley Beedle, Cosmo/Wild Rumpus, Trojan Sound System, Mrs Jones and more. We only deal with vibrance, ambition, creativity and dedication - qualities which we also expect from our staff. Does that sound like you? We are looking to recruit sprightly, experienced, hard-working and tenacious individuals to join the team on our journey. A high level of organisation is required along with cultural understanding and music knowledge. An understanding of music law would be advantageous. Please email ad@thinkespionage.com with your covering letter, CV and with 'TLC JOB' as the subject header.

 

 

KANYE WEST ARRESTED
Kanye West and his bodyguard were arrested at LAX Airport on vandalism charges yesterday after attacking a photographer and breaking his camera.

According to TMZ, West spotted the photographer and tried to grab his camera. In the ensuing scuffle the camera was thrown to the ground and smashed. Another cameraman, who videoed the event also had his camera broken. West and his body guard then attempted to check in for their flight but were arrested. When police asked the video cameraman if he had taped the incident, West reportedly lunged at him, shouting, "Give me the fucking videotape".

Presumably he wasn't handed the fucking videotape, because you can now watch it here.

Airport spokesman Albert Rodriguez told BBC 1Xtra: "West and the other man are currently in custody with airport police. They're expected to be transported to Los Angeles Police Department's specific division where they will be booked".

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DMX LEGAL WOES LATEST
The one man challenge to US law enforcement that is DMX, aka Earl Simmons, has been extradited from a jail in Miami, Florida to a jail in Phoenix, Arizona, to face felony theft charges.

He was, of course, detained in Florida after being arrested for failing to appear at a pretrial conference relating to Arizona drugs charges, but this extradition relates to the aforementioned theft charges, which pertain to that previously reported incident in which he gave a false name to a medical clinic to avoid paying their fees. Or at least I think it does - DMX's huge number of run-ins with the law can get pretty confusing at times. And the animal cruelty charges are still pending somewhere I think.

With all these charges pending, the rapper is reportedly filming a reality show entitled 'DMX: This Life Of Mine' which will follow the rapper through this maze of legal troubles. Which sends out a brilliant message to any kids hoping for a TV career.

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DUPRI AND DILLINGER FACE LAWSUIT
More legal stuff now. So So Def honcho Jermaine Dupri is facing a defamation lawsuit because of a recording of a private phone-call that appeared on Daz Dillinger album 'So So Gangsta' back in 2006. A woman called Aika Kendrick claims that the Dupri and Dillinger recorded a personal conversation with her and then used it as a background to the song 'The One', which is about an emotionally abusive relationship; the conversation ends with Dillinger launching a tirade of abuse at Kendrick.

Kendrick says that as soon as she was aware that the call had been recorded she sent a cease-and-desist to Dupri's label, but they ignored it, and adds that her inclusion on the album track has made her "the subject of embarrassment, humiliation, and degradation". She's seeking $250,000 in damages on the grounds of negligence, copyright infringement, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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SNOOP GRANTED AUSTRALIAN VISA
The Australian immigration department have said that they've now given Snoop Dogg a visa to enter the country for an upcoming tour.

At an earlier time they had expressed concerns over the rapper's criminal record but have decided on the basis of his good behaviour when previously in the country that it's okay to let him in. The department said in a statement: "In making this decision, the department weighed his criminal convictions against his previous behavior while in Australia, recent conduct - including charity work - and any likely risk to the Australian community.We took into account all relevant factors and, on balance, the department decided to grant the visa".

Snoop Dogg visited Australia in 1998, 2006 and early 2007 and didn't cause any trouble whilst he was there.

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OINK MAN DUE IN COURT THIS MONTH
The legal case against the people behind that OiNK BitTorrent tracker service should finally come to court this month. As you'll remember, OiNK was a community of file-sharers providing links to all kinds of unlicensed movie and music content, often prior to official release. Responding to objections from content owners, the UK police took action and closed the site down, seizing the operation's servers and arresting key people involved.

According to a posting at OiNK.cd, which used to be the home of the file sharing service, the operation's administrator, Alan Ellis, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and will face the charges at a Magistrates Court on 24 Sep. The case will then proceed to the Crown Court on a to be determined date.

Reports also suggest that individuals who uploaded large amounts of unlicensed content and provided links to that content via the OiNK network also face similar charges, though there is no confirmation as to how many such people have been charged, or when they will go to court.

Ellis will presumably argue that he did not personally host any illegal content on his servers, rather he simply provided links to other people's illegal content. This defence has had limited success in courts elsewhere in the world, but I don't think it has been properly tested in the British courts as yet.

But there is certainly precedent in other jurisdictions where the administrators of BitTorrent trackers have been found guilty of widespread infringement. In the US earlier this year Daniel Dove, the administrator of the long defunct EliteTorrents tracker, was found guilty of criminal copyright infringement and earlier this month was sentenced to 18 months in jail and a $20,000 fine, though some legal experts say he got off lightly, given he could have got up to ten years in jail and a $150,000 fine. It remains to be seen was English judges make of the BitTorrent tracker phenomenon.

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ESTELLE EXPERIMENT THROWS DOUBT ON MERIT OF ITUNE TINKERING
Following all that chatter about the merit of mainstream artists withdrawing their tracks from iTunes in order to drive full album sales, Estelle, one of the artists participating in the informal experiment, is back on the Apple download store proper, with the consensus being that the temporary withdrawal from the digital music service cost her label money.

As previously reported, Kid Rock recently made a big deal about how well his recent album did despite his refusal to sell his music via iTunes. His chattering coincided with a Wall Street Journal article that pointed out that those classic artists whose music is still not available via iTunes - namely the Beatles and ACDC - scored much higher back catalogue album sales than similar artists who were, such as the Rolling Stones.

It's assumed that key to this trend is the fact that iTunes insists that consumers are able to buy albums on a track-by-track basis. It seems that when faced with that option, many consumers will buy two or three tracks off an album - maybe the big single releases - rather than the whole album.

A number of artists have criticised this rule because in their minds their albums are complete pieces of work not to be split up. Meanwhile, aside from the artistic dimension, there is a simple commercial quandary here - when people spend three dollars on the three tracks they want off an album, they aren't spending seven dollars buying the complete album, with all the tracks they don't want.

It was with that in mind that Warner Music completely withdrew Estelle's album 'Shine' off iTunes, possibly having noticed how much better signature track 'American Boy' was selling than the whole album. The aim, it seems, was to force consumers to buy the full album - either physically or from download stores that allow labels to only make albums available as complete packages - rather than just that one track.

Billboard reckon the experiment back-fired, because the uplift in album sales was negligible, and in the meantime the label saw a slump in single track sales. Here is Billboard's maths...

"At best, Atlantic could say it picked up 1600 units in album sales and at worst, you could say that all three weeks were consistent with its sale history of the last two months. Meanwhile, if the sales trends are any indication, 'American Boy' would have sold an additional 225,000 [single track] downloads during the period when the track wasn't for sale. So if you multiply 225,000 by the wholesale cost of 70 cents, it totals $157,5000, while the album sales at a $7 wholesale cost brings in $11,200. With this in mind, revenues fell by an estimated $146,300, or nearly $50,000 a week".

Presumably no label would choose to lose $50K a week, so one would assume Warner's Estelle experiment throws doubt on the idea that withdrawing an album from iTunes can be good for overall sales.

Of course the fact Warner even thought about this experiment shows that many record companies are still driven by the desire to maximise short-term album sales. With single track sales in the digital domain not the expensive loss-leaders they became in the CD world, and with those single tracks now available forever and not just during a six week CD single campaign, it's possible that, rather than agonising over iTunes refusal to budge on its single track policy, labels should be thinking about their business in a different way - measuring success in long term single track sales. In much the same way artists may have to stop thinking about their creative output in neat sets of ten tracks.

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MANSON BANDMATE DENIED ACCESS TO FINANCIAL RECORDS
Marilyn Manson's former keyboardist, Madonna Wayne Gacy - these days known as Stephen Bier - has been denied access to Manson's financial records in an ongoing legal battle between the two musicians.

Bier claims that Manson told him that the band was not making much money, cutting off his salary, credit card access and refusing to pay his medical bills for work-related problems, before embarking on a two year spending spree between 2004 and 2006, buying items including a $2 million house, coat hangers used by Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun's handbag, African masks made of human skin, the full skeleton of a four-year-old Chinese girl, the full skeleton of a 17th Century male in a wheelchair, a $450,000 engagement ring for burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, drugs and drug treatment. It's also claimed Manson used money from the band's coffers to fund the production of his upcoming film, 'Phantasmagoria: The Visions Of Lewis Carroll'.

Manson, who fired Bier from the band in 2007, countersued last December, saying that Bier had breached his contract by not participating fully in recording, performing live or selling band merchandise. Manson also claims that the partnership between the original band members, of which Biers is one, was dissolved in 1996. But Biers maintains that he is entitled to a share of the group's revenues and is seeking over $20 million in damages.

As part of the ongoing dispute, Bier's lawyer asked for Manson to be forced to provide his tax records in order to provide evidence of his earnings. However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern refused this request on Wednesday.

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NIRVANA MANAGER SPEAKS
Former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg is set to break his silence on his time spent working with the band in a new book, 'Bumping Into Geniuses', which is set for release on 18 Sep.

Goldberg, of course, has had a long and varied career in the music industry, including stints as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros Records, President of Atlantic and numerous high-profile artist management jobs, but it is his insights on Nirvana that are drawing most interest.

In the book, he describes candidly the affect that Courtney Love had on Kurt Cobain and the band. Describing a phone call from Love demanding $5000 so that she and Kurt could go shopping, he writes: "I felt pretty uncomfortable as I delivered the package of $100 bills to her at the hotel. Abruptly, the dark cloud of drug excess had entered the band's life. I was confronted by the baroque facade of lies and the awful glassy-eyed deadness that regular heroin use provides".

Courtney Love is yet to respond to any of this. At least, I think she is. She did post a lengthy MySpace blog yesterday, but I couldn't work out what it said.

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MACCA TO MARRY AGAIN?
You'd think after being married to a woman as lovely as Heather Mills it would be hard to find a love so strong again. Apparently not. According to reports, Paul McCartney will announce his engagement to new girlfriend Nancy Shevell at some point in the next few days.

The couple have been together officially since the end of the Mills/McCartney divorce battle. Before any marriage, Shevell would have to finalise her separation from businessman Bruce Blakeman, who she broke up with nine months ago.

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NOEL GALLAGHER TALKS ABOUT ATTACK
Noel Gallagher has spoken out about his recent attack on-stage at the Virgin Festival in Toronto. As previously reported, Oasis were forced to cancel a gig in Ontario two days later due to injuries Gallagher sustained when he fell onto a monitor after being pushed over by a man who managed to get past security and onto the stage.

Writing on his blog, Gallagher said: "I knew something was going to happen last night. I said I had a bad feeling, didn't I!? Someone, who can only be described as a 'Canadian', was able to get onstage, somehow managed to evade our crack security team (Trotters Independent Security Service) and assaulted my mid-riff. Can't say much more than that as the 'perpetrator's' gonna get the book thrown at him. Repeatedly. It was all going so well up until that point'n'all. Feel like I've had a sparring session with Ricky Hatton. Still, we'll probably get an extra couple of days in NYC. Every cloud, eh?"

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KORN TO TAKE TIME OUT
Oh my god, Korn have been going for fifteen years. Suddenly I feel very old. And so, too, do they, it seems. Speaking at the MTV VMAs, frontman Jonathan Davies tolf The Pulse Of Radio that the quartet need a rest.

He said: "It's not like a hiatus or anything, we're still all good, it's just when everybody's ready, we'll go back together and go do it. We just need to recharge our batteries and get hungry again".

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SINGLE REVIEW: The Vines - He's A Rocker (Cooking Vinyl)
I, for one, am glad to see the return of The Vines, a band for whom the future looked uncertain when singer Craig Nicholls was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome a few years ago. Happily, the Australian band have sorted themselves out and are releasing 'He's A Rocker' from their fourth album, 'Melodia'. Like the other garage rock-influenced bands who emerged at the same time - The Strokes, The Hives, et al - The Vines subscribe to the 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' philosophy of life. They basically haven't changed their sound one jot. Loud, raw sounding guitars and a catchy tune are again the order of the day here. At two minutes and four seconds it's also very short. But this is a tasty appetiser for the upcoming album and a welcome reminder of one of the most exciting bands around, both live and on record. JW
Release Date: 29 Sep
Press Contact: Cooking Vinyl IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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ELBOW AND PUPPETS TO COLLABORATE
Mercury Music Prize winners, Elbow are set to collaborate with Mercury Music Prize losers, The Last Shadow Puppets.

Elbow frontman Guy Garvey told The Daily Star: "There is something on the cards for me and Craig [Potter, Elbow keyboardist] to work with Miles and Alex. They're top blokes and you have to enjoy the creative process".

Miles Kane added that he had another collaboration in mind for him and Garvey. He said: "I'm writing the second Rascals album at the moment. I was thinking of doing it with Guy because I love his band".

Backs duly patted, everyone went back to bed.

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RADIOHEAD WORKING ON NEW ALBUM
Having lost out on the Mercury Prize this week, Radiohead are heading back into the studio to make something better. The band have revealed to BBC 6music that they are working on their next album, the follow-up to 'In Rainbows'.

Colin Greenwood said: "We've finished the main bulk of it and we're off to Japan in a couple of weeks to finish it off".

Ed O'Brien added: "We're still talking about doing some stuff and we're really excited about it. First we came off tour to do some writing and we wanted to just carry on doing it because it was so brilliant".

Speaking about the Mercury, Greenwood said that he was glad to see Elbow win: "We've been on tour in America so we're culturally a bit out of it but you come here and you realise that actually it's a bit deal. When you hear Guy Garvey go this means everything to us you go, er, yeah, you're right. It beats the hell out of the Brits and the other ones. We've been on tour with Elbow we've played festivals with them and they're lovely people. They've made a brilliant record with 'The Seldom Seen Kid'. It really couldn't have happened to more deserving people, but most of the shortlist was great this year".

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TAIO CRUZ TOUR
Taio Cruz has announced a series of tour dates. Here they are:

10 Nov: Brighton Concorde 2
11 Nov: Bristol Bierkeller
12 Nov: London Empire
14 Nov: Norwich Waterfront
15 Nov: Leeds Cockpit
19 Nov: Birmingham Barfly
16 Nov: Manchester Academy 2
20 Nov: Nottingham Rescue Rooms

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ALBARN AND HEWLETT'S MONKEY SHOW GOES TO LONDON
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's previously reported stage show 'Monkey: Journey To The West' is to be staged at a specially-designed arena next to the O2, following a brief run at the Royal Opera House. The show will run from 8 Nov to 5 Dec, tickets go on sale today.

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COCKER ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
Jarvis Cocker has announced that he will embark on a UK tour later this year as part of Rough Trade Records' 30th anniversary celebrations. The tour, dubbed 'Looking Rough At 30' will also mark 30 years as a musician for Cocker.

Jarvis said of the gigs: "I know there's an awful lot of anniversary culture out there but this is one that's actually worth celebrating. Rough Trade has always been about discovering the new, exploring the unknown and giving a voice to those who would otherwise remain unheard. And they're still doing it 30 years on".

Tour dates:

25 Nov: Sheffield, Academy
26 Nov: London, Shepherd's Bush Empire
28 Nov: Edinburgh, Picture House
30 Nov: Manchester, Academy
2 Dec: Birmingham, Academy

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ALBUM REVIEW: Land Of Talk - Some Are Lakes (One Little Indian)
Oh Canada, land of maple syrup, moose, Alanis Morissette and now, it seems, Land Of Talk. I don't know if it's a result of all of that fresh mountain air they are lucky enough to enjoy up there in America's nicer and more wholesome neighbour, but in the past few years Canada has unleashed a plethora of decent indie bands upon the world. Having enriched the musical world with the likes Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire and Stars, I feared this hot bed of talent surely couldn't yield much more, but then came Land Of Talk to mess my theory right up. 'Some Are Lakes' is the eagerly anticipated follow up to the wonderfully titled 'Applause Cheer Boo Hiss', which saw the band stake a claim all of their own in the wider indie world. This ensemble appears to be mostly Elizabeth Powell's baby and sees her contributing lyrics, lead vocals and guitar along side Chris McCarron on bass and Andrew Barr on drums. They are helped along by Justin Vernon of Bon Ivor on production duties as well as harmonies, organs and guitars. He rounds off the group's unique ultra feminine Sonic-Youth-fired-by-the-power-of-the-Pixies sound. Powell's vocals evoke a less messed Cat Power while her lyrics have a blatant personal theme throughout, dealing with such delicate matters as families battling their way through cancer. This is mostly melodic bliss with a consistent melancholic lilt, to reinstate the often heart rending lyrics. With a market so utterly saturated with quality, with 'Some Are Lakes', Land Of Talk have proved their place in that world. MB
Release Date: 6 Oct
Press Contact: One Little Indian IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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DISNEY BOSS SAYS "CUT OFF THOSE EVIL FILESHARERS"
The boss of Walt Disney has weighed into the whole ISPs doing something about illegal file sharing debate by calling on the net firms to ban people who access illegal download content. His comments, at a media briefing in London, gives the campaign being pursued by the UK record companies global and entertainment-industry-wide support.

As much previously reported, the record companies stepped up their campaign to force internet service providers to take action against illegal file sharing earlier this year, buoyed by words of support from both the French and British governments. As a result of that campaigning, UK record label trade body the BPI announced in July an agreement with a number of UK net providers which has seen the ISPs send out warning letters to those customers which the music firms reckon are illegally uploading unlicensed music. Not net firm has, however, committed to the full proposal being made by the music industry - to cut off net users who ignore warnings and continue to share or access illegal content.

Disney CEO Bob Iger, whose company owns the US ABC TV network and hit TV shows like 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Lost', as well as all the Disney franchises, said this week that any licensing deal between content companies and ISPs (many of whom are keen to develop their own content distribution networks) should have taking action against file sharers as a prerequisite.

He said: "We are simply asking for people who are downloading illegal files to get a warning initially then to get their service cut off. That should be part of the agreement with these companies. We are not asking for information on who the customer is or to show up with law enforcement authorities. Most distribution businesses succeed because they have a distribution process in place. They also have product. We contribute to that mightily. It is a joint partnership. As part of that pact to give our product and make it available on their platform, we believe they should work with us to prevent people from stealing. It is in their best interests as well".

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FRENCH RECORD INDUSTRY EXPERIENCES ANOTHER SLUMP
More doom and some gloom for the French record industry, which saw its wholesale value slump 12.2% in the first half of this year when compared to last year. Given 2007's figures in the same period were 17% down on 2006, you could take some heart in the fact that the decline is slowing down, but its still down, down down.

As previously reported, while the UK industry has, in fact, faired quite well if compared to the global decline in record sales, record companies on mainland Europe have experienced a dramatic slump in record sale revenues, and 2008 figures show that continues.

The latest figures from French trade body Syndicat National de l'edition Phonographique show record sales of 278.7 million euros for the first half of 2008. SNEP President Christophe Lameignere, who is also the boss of SonyBMG France, was one of those who did take heart at the fact the decline had slowed a little, saying at a press conference in Paris: "These figures are not a surprise, and in fact we were more pessimistic in our forecasts".

On the up side digital and mobile revenues were up, though Lameignere said the big increase in digital revenues on 2007 was partly a result of golden handshake deals with major digital content platforms, who often pay the labels a big lump sum in order to secure an ongoing licensing deal. All four majors had received such a payment for signing up to Orange's Musique Max service, for example. That said, despite these discrepancies, there was much more to feel positive about in the digital domain.

However, Lameignere stressed, digital services could only help the French record industry recover from recent sales slumps if illegal downloading was combated. On that Lameignere also renewed calls for the internet service providers to take a more proactive role in discouraging illegal file sharing, and called on the French government to announce a timeline for pushing through parliament its commitment to force the net firms to act.

SNEP Director General Herve Rony backed those calls and, while recognising French President Sarkozy had other reforms to also push through, said action was needed sooner rather than later, adding: "We need to know the rules of the game".

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LIVE NATION TICKETING WIN SMG'S BUSINESS
Live Nation US has announced a deal that will provide a boost for its plans to enter the ticketing market. The live music conglom will become ticketing provider for another major US venue owner, SMG.

The news is another blow for Ticketmaster. They are already set to lose Live Nation's ticketing business when the live music firm takes its operations in house, meanwhile most of SMG's venues currently use Ticketmaster as a ticketing provider too.

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YAHOO! TO OPEN UP MUSIC SITE TO RIVALS
Yahoo! has said it will open up its music site so to carry information about songs and artists carried by rival download providers like iTunes and Amazon. The move is part of a Yahoo-wide plan to allow other content owners and digital service providers to reach consumers via the Yahoo! platform, presumably in a bid to transform the Yahoo! network into a one-stop destination, which in turn would presumably help it maximise advertising revenues. The danger, of course, is that those other web providers use their exposure on the Yahoo! website to drive consumers towards their own one-stop destination sites, in much the same way web users who first stumbled across the Google search facility on Yahoo! then migrated to Google's own website. Yahoo!, presumably, are confident that won't happen this time.

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NEW DRM-FREE CLASSICAL DOWNLOAD STORE LAUNCHES
A new download store launched yesterday selling classical music without digital rights management. Music is available on Passionato from all four majors and many independents as both MP3s and higher quality FLAC files. The site also has one of those community sections where users are encouraged to recommend music to others.

Passionato founder and CEO James Glicker says this: "I'm an avid consumer of classical music myself and, having worked in the industry for twenty years, I am aware of how technology and the internet are becoming increasingly a part of how people access, consume and share knowledge about classical music".

He continued: "Passionato is delighted to have the cooperation of the largest majors and we will over the next six months and beyond be signing up even more labels - all with the ultimate goal of presenting people who love classical music with an easy and cost effective way of organising and expanding their music collections".

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NBC RETURN TO ITUNES, THOUGH WHETHER PRICING RULES CHANGED DEPENDS ON WHO YOU TALK TO
US TV network NBC has put its content back on iTunes, after previously withdrawing their TV shows from the Apple video download service over various licencing disputes.

One dispute was that old chestnut of variable pricing. Like the record companies, the TV studio wanted to be able to alter the prices of single-show downloads. In a statement confirmed their return to iTunes NBC implied Apple had, in order to secure their return, actually budged on this one.

Noting that standard shows were available for $1.99, HD shows for $2.99, and old shows for 99 cents, NBC's Head Of Digital JD Perrette told CNet: "To their credit, what [Apple] has realized is that having the best content and the widest breadth of content is more important than being too rigid".

But now Apple have denied they made any changes, claiming NBC are using an existing iTunes pricing structure which allowed a higher unit price for HD content, and the facility to discount older content. Their spokesman told reporters: "We're glad to have NBC back and they are participating under the same terms with all of the other content providers. We've never told anyone they can't lower prices".

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MTV TAKE CREATIVES FROM AROUND THE WORLD INTO THE ENGINE ROOM
MTV US has announced a new partnership with IT types HP which will "bring together 16 of the world's most creative young minds to unleash their artistic talent in the 'Engine Room', where state-of-the-art HP personal computer products inspire their vision as they master complex creative challenges". Make of that what you will.

You can see what the world's most creative young minds made of it when MTV airs the results on a programme called 'Engine Room' on its various channels, including MTV UK. The programme has a competition element, and the most creative of the creative young minds (the minds will be grouped into four regional teams, for Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia-Pacific) could win $400K plus control of MTV's HD screen in Times Square for the night.

Ross Martin of MTV US college network mtvU, who are behind 'Engine Room', says this: "MTV has always been a home for creative innovation. 'Engine Room' taps the power of HP technology to enable the next generation of digital artists to bring their vision to life on MTV platforms around the world".

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DANNI TEMPTED TO POSE FOR PLAYBOY AGAIN
Is Dannii Minogue trying to upstage her TV colleague Cheryl Cole? Possibly.

The 'X-Factor' judge says she'd consider posing naked for Playboy again - she first did it back in 1995 following her divorce from actor Julian McMahon. She told New! magazine "I did Playboy when it was cool and shocked myself and many others. But it was a liberating at the time. I would do it again. If the money was right, then sure. Who knows, it might happen this year too. I had just had a marriage break-up. Most women go to the hairdressers - I did Playboy".

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PRINCE PUBLISHES BOOK OF PHOTOS
Prince is to release a book of photographs taken during that 21-night residency at London's The O2. The photos were taken by fashion photographer and music video director Randee St Nicholas. I'm off to find a baby to hold up all the shots on YouTube.

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