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TODAY'S NEWS

R Kelly chats about teen sex

BT Digital Music Award nominations announced
Nothing criminal about Levert's death, says coroner
Norman Whitfield dies
Foo Fighters take "long break"
Metallica are too bloody loud
Lloyd Webber to judge for Eurovision
Single review: I Concur - Oblige (Brew Records)
Pumpkins announce anniversary DVD
New Peaches album next year
More Electric Prom acts announced
Mr Scruff announces tour
Live review: Saint Etienne at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
150 to go as result of EMI's South-East Asian retreat
AEG live team up with avatar-based chat community
MAMA announce Picture House general manager
ERA appoint new chairman
Woolies makes rather large loss
Vivendi boss optimistic about record industry
Ofcom give more support to removing ITV and Five’s public service obligations
DJs fake control
Linkin Park man on the VMAs
Noel reckons he’s written a potential Bond theme
No Monkeys pub
Robbie swaps girlfriend for album
John Lydon gets buttery
BT Digital Music Award nominations in full
ON THE NETWORK...
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
Advertise with CMU
 

THURSDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER

HK119
Heidi Kilpelainen, aka HK119, is a Finnish writer, performer, producer, artist and, according to Björk, "the perfect blonde woman". Her second album, 'Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control' is released on 29 Sep via One Little Indian and features the production talents of Dean Honer and Jarrod Gosling of I Monster/All Seeing I and Stephen Duffy. You can catch her live when she plays in-store at Rough Trade East in London on 19 Sep, which is also known as 'tomorrow'.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
By borrowing an ex-boyfriend's 4 track machine and having a go. Before that I'd been singing into a hairbrush as a kid and played keyboards in a band in my early teens.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Life in general, news, weather, advances in science and technology, memories and moments of self discovery.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Starting with a vibe... beat... synths... then concept - ie what I am singing about. Sometimes this works the other way round, too - lyrics might come first.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
No one in particular anymore. Having said that, I've been thinking of Nomi recently, though, and his visual operatic approach to pop. But I have artists that have stayed under my skin because they once 'changed me'. Bands like Kraftwerk, Iggy with and without The Stooges, Japan, Siouxie & The Banshees, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Bowie, Kate Bush, etc etc... Actually, I've been listening to Kate Bush again with passion... she might influence the third album! And then there's Oscar Schlemmer and the school of Bauhaus, his dance and theatre work has really influenced my visual/performative side.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Weheey!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To work towards my dream show. So, lets get that budget together!

MORE>> www.hk119.co.uk and www.myspace.com/hk119


 

SNAP OF THE DAY: GHOST FLEET
Ghost Fleet first came to our attention nearly a year and a half ago with a track on a Dance To The Radio compilation. Since then, we’ve been hankering after more, but all we’ve had is one 7” single, which isn’t enough. Someone reading this please sign them up so that we can have an album, please. The duo’s dark pop sound manages mix Joy Division and Hot Chip together in perfect harmony. Just check out ‘Preen’ and ‘For What It’s Worth’ at the MySpace link below. You can catch them live at The Fenton in Leeds with Pale Man Made and Lake Me on 17 Oct.

www.myspace.com/ghostfleeting

 

 

 



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

Set up your own MUZU channel, select tracks from the MUZU catalogue, and embed your own MUZU Player on your own website or blog - simple. Sign up here.

 

 


FIND OUT HOW TO ADVERTISE HERE
 

 

COMMERCIAL MANAGER AT DILETTANTE MUSIC
Dilettante Music (www.dilettantemusic.com), an online classical music company, is seeking a commercial manager to drive and implement its commercial strategy. Working with the Finance Director, the successful candidate will:

- identify and develop all revenue streams.
- create advertising packages that meet the needs of advertisers and the commercial objectives of Dilettante.
- forge relationships with advertisers and potential advertisers to sustain buy-in to the Dilettante proposition and the benefits of sponsorship and direct advertising on the site.
- identify and develop relationships with content partners.

Candidates should have a minimum of 5 years' experience developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies. Experience in the digital music environment is also very helpful. Some appreciation of classical music is ideal. This part-time position is based in central London and requires availability 20-25 hours per week. Salary upon application.

To apply please forward CV to: Juliana Farha - juliana@dilettantemusic.com

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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.

 

 

LEYLINE INTERNSHIPS
Leyline Promotions are looking for a creative, enthusiastic, web-savvy intern to work full time at their office in Westbourne Park. The position will focus on developing online marketing strategies (myspaces/blogging/forums) but will also give insight into the broader workings of a music events company. Applicants must be prepared to work occasional weekend nights and have an interest and knowledge of indie and dance music. To apply, please send a CV and cover letter to tamsin@leylinepromotions.com

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UNLIMITED INTERNSHIPS
UnLimited Media has a number of full time internship opportunities available, from two to ten weeks. Interns will work primarily on CMU projects, helping process and manage review CDs, update databases, expand the CMU Directory and assist on upcoming marketing programmes. These are unpaid positions, but interns will get an unrivalled introduction to the music and media businesses, editorial, administration and marketing experience, and the opportunity to make great contacts. To apply send a CV and a short note telling us what you'd like to get out of an internship to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

 

 

R KELLY CHATS ABOUT TEEN SEX
R Kelly has been sort of talking about those much, much reported charges he previously faced of having sex with an underage girl on film; charges which rumbled on for years after a tape allegedly featuring the R&B star and a young teenage girl first surfaced. It finally went to court this year, of course, and Kelly was found not guilty of all charges after the prosecution failed to convince the jury it was either Kelly or the alleged girl in the video.

BET subtly brought the trail up by asking Kelly about rumours that he prefers his sexual partners to be teenage girls. He replied: "When you say teenage, how old do you mean? I have some 19-year-old friends, but I don't like anyone illegal if that's what we are talking about, underage".

Referencing the past charges, he continued: "It's time for me to move on. I can't keep answering these questions. If you were charged with something and found innocent, then you can't be found guilty for being found innocent. If it has had any impact, I would hope it would be a positive impact and I can move on with my life. I hope people can give me my life back. I'm not going to let this affect my gift. I've done vintage R Kelly songs during the trial because I said no matter what, I'm not going to let this make me run under a rock and not do my job. Some people fall off and I chose not to do that".

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BT DIGITAL MUSIC AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
The nominations have been revealed for this year's BT Digital Music Awards, which celebrate musical things which are in some way digital. The clue's in the name really. And well done in particular to Kylie Minogue and Bloc Party, whose digital endeavours have earned them three nominations each - the former for her previously reported Kylie Konnect service, the latter for the online promotion of their album 'Intimacy' and for their online fan community Bloc Party Marshals.

The shortlists were selected by a team of esteemed, knowledgeable, and, frankly, lovely industry professionals - yeah, OK, I helped judge one of the categories - but the overall winners for about half of the categories will be selected via a public vote (well, via some complicated combination of panel and public votes). Whether those members of the public will be esteemed, knowledgeable or lovely I don't know. You know what the public are like. The other half of the categories will be completely selected based on the judging panel's votes.

Anyway, a full nominations list for the BT Digital Music Awards is at the bottom of today's CMU Daily. But before that, I know you're eager to hear what BT Consumer Marketing Director Matthew Dearden has to say, I know I am. OK, brace yourselves. Here it is. BT Consumer Marketing Director Matthew Dearden told reporters: "Digital has established itself as a force to be reckoned within the music industry and the BT Digital Music Awards are reflecting this with one of our strongest, most exciting line up of nominees yet".

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NOTHING CRIMINAL ABOUT LEVERT'S DEATH, SAYS CORONER
A coroner has ruled that it was not criminal conduct that led to the death of 39 year old R&B singer Sean Levert, who, as previously reported, died from complications related to an inflammatory lung disease whilst in prison. His widow Angela Lowe filed a wrongful death lawsuit back in June, claiming that his death could have been avoided if he had been given his medication, which he had brought with him to the Cuyahoga County Jail, but which was seemingly ignored.

In the latest development, prosecutor Bill Mason has ruled, following an internal investigation by the Sheriff's department, that there had been no criminal wrongdoing prior to Levert's death. However, Lowe's lawyer Dennis Niermann says he isn't surprised by the conclusion, and adds that the ruling has no impact on his client's wrongful death lawsuit. He told reporters: "It is a finding of no criminal wrongdoing and the lawsuit we have filed focuses on civil wrongdoings ... one has absolutely nothing to do with another". Lowe's civil suit will therefore proceed, contending, as it does, that Levert was not given adequate nursing or mental health assessment, and that the Sheriff's department failed to notify the prison's pharmacy of Levert's need for his medication.

It may turn out, though, that predetermined procedures rather than any individual's incompetence led to Levert's death. Investigators have reportedly interviewed the jail's Health Care Services Manager Christine Dubber, who told them that inmates are not allowed to take the drug in question, Xanax, until they've been evaluated by a prison psychiatrist, and that Levert wasn't due to be evaluated until 8 Apr, fifteen days after entering the jail on 24 Mar. Dubber added: "Due to the volume of inmates and the level of severity, the schedule is based on need".

Levert, the son of O'Jay Eddie Levert and star of R&B eighties trio LeVert, was just beginning a 22 month sentence for failing to pay child support when he died.

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NORMAN WHITFIELD DIES
Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield has died at the age of 65. He had been suffering from a number of illnesses, including diabetes, and had been receiving treatment at LA's Cedars-Sinai hospital for some months. He had recently fallen into a coma, and passed away on 16 Sep.

Credited with being one of those instrumental in creating the Motown sound, Whitfield was The Temptations' primary producer from 1966 until 1974, and over the years produced classic tracks such as 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine', 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' and 'Car Wash'. During the course of his career he also wrote songs for the likes of Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, and also began his own record label, Whitfield Records.

Motown legend Smokey Robinson said in a statement that Whitfield was "one of the most prolific songwriters and record producers of our time. He will live forever through his great music".

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FOO FIGHTERS TAKE "LONG BREAK"
Dave Grohl has indicated that Foo Fighters are on hiatus, following the release of their new live DVD, which immortalises their Wembley shows earlier this year, which featured a guest appearance from Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.

Speaking to Chris Moyles on Radio 1, Grohl said: "We've never really taken a long break, I think it's time. After doing Wembley we shouldn't come back there for 10 years because we've played to everybody. It's a funny place being in the band now because we've been a band for about 14 years. We've gone from playing the Astoria, to playing Earls Court to playing Wembley. That wasn't really the goal but hey, we'll take it. We're over in the UK every year, every summer so I think it's time to take a break and come back over when people really miss us".

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METALLICA ARE TOO BLOODY LOUD
Complaints that music is too loud on CDs are not uncommon these days, because at the mixing or mastering stage of an album the music is all too often compressed hard and pushed into the red in order to get the hardest hitting noise possible, which in turn drowns out many of the subtleties and nuances in the recordings. Audiophiles often point this out, normally citing it as a key reason for continuing to buy vinyl, which has to be mastered at quieter levels.

But it's not comparisons to any vinyl release that have got people complaining about the sound quality of Metallica's new CD. It's the 'Guitar Hero' version of the album that is making fans realise the weaknesses of the CD version. As previously reported, Metallica released their new album, 'Death Magnetic', on the popular video game on the same day as the more traditional release. And now people are saying that the 'Guitar Hero' version sounds way better.

One fan even went so far as to write to Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, who mastered the album, to complain. Jensen replied, saying: "I'm certainly sympathetic to your reaction, I get to slam my head against that brick wall every day. In this case the mixes were already brick walled before they arrived at my place. Suffice it to say I would never be pushed to overdrive things as far as they are here. Believe me I'm not proud to be associated with this one, and we can only hope that some good will come from this in some form of backlash against volume above all else".

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LLOYD WEBBER TO JUDGE FOR EUROVISION
According to reports, Andrew Lloyd Webber is to get involved with the selection of a UK song for next year's Eurovision.

It sounds to me like they're going to make the song selection programme a bit more like 'X-Factor'. The Sun quote one of these 'insiders' as saying: "Millions of Brits watch the Eurovision but always leave disappointed that we've done so badly. So next year we're going all out. Graham [Norton] has been drafted in to host and Lord Andrew will give his important input, possibly as part of a panel or as a mentor. There is likely to be a public voting element to it as well. Next year really could be the year Britain comes out on top".

Why that should make Britain come out top I don't know. The previously reported news that Eurovision bosses will reintroduce juries into the voting process next year in an effort to compensate for any political bias in the public vote is more likely to have an effect I reckon.

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SINGLE REVIEW: I Concur - Oblige (Brew Records)
There's a really good band hidden in here somewhere. Around three minutes in, when this song finally decides to get going, you can see that here are musicians capable of sending out post rock epics that match anything that someone like Explosions In The Sky could come up with. The problem is they only give this song the freedom it evidently needs for a measly minute and a half. Before this, the band get clogged down in more traditional indie songwriting, and it does not serve them well. Tim Hann's voice doesn't have enough to stand out from the crowd and the slow burning guitar loop doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. If I Concur could just believe in themselves a bit more, and give in to their grandiose post-rock desires, then they would be something to get a lot more excited about. ME
Release Date: 6 Oct
Press Contact: Brew Records IH [all]

Buy from iTunes

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PUMPKINS ANNOUNCE ANNIVERSARY DVD
Smashing Pumpkins are to release their first live DVD to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary. The double disc package, 'If All Goes Wrong', is due out in the US on 11 Nov and features footage of the band's eleven night residency at the Filmore Auditorium in San Francisco last summer, as well a full length documentary.

Speaking about the San Francisco gigs, frontman Billy Corgan said: "We went into the residencies hopeful to play some new music, with the idea I would write during the day and we could maybe even play new songs that same night. What I didn't anticipate is how much the process would inspire me, positively and negatively, to report what I was seeing and feeling from the shows. The documentary shows that process in an interesting way that reveals the link between the band and our audience".

Here's the tracklisting for y'all.

Disc 1

If All Goes Wrong (documentary)
Voices Of The Ghost Children (featurette)
Interview with The Who guitarist Pete Townshend

Disc 2

The Rose March
Peace + Love
99 Floors
Superchrist
Lucky 13
Starla
Death From Above
The Crying Tree Of Mercury
Winterlong
Heavy Metal Machine
Untitled
No Surrender
Gossamer
Zeitgeist

Bonus tracks:
99 Floors
Peace + Love
No Surrender
Mama
Promise Me

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NEW PEACHES ALBUM NEXT YEAR
Peaches will release a new album in March next year, and The Lipster have been talking to electro's resident scary bloke Drums Of Death about it.

Drums Of Death told the website: "I've been working with Peaches on her new stuff, doing a little half-hour mix for her label, as a little hype for her new record. I spent a week with her last week and she's amazing. She's the nicest person in the world - accommodating, an absolute gem of a human being. Her album's gonna be great, it's been produced by Simian Mobile Disco, who've gone for this whole Cali-Disco thing, it's killer! Peaches is singing, like, proper vocals. It's beautiful, just great. Chilly Gonzales, one of my heroes, he's produced a track. And this album should blow away her old fans and bring her 10 times more, I really hope it does that for her. I've heard three or four tracks fully mixed and mastered - well, fully mixed anyway, and they're brilliant. It's just killer. It's really good. It's killer".

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MORE ELECTRIC PROM ACTS ANNOUNCED
More line up for this year's Electric Proms has been announced, and it now features the likes of Goldfrapp, Burt Bacharach, The Streets, Nitin Sawhney, Keane, and Kitty Daisy & Lewis. As previously reported, this year's Electric Proms will take place in both London and Liverpool. The line-up so far is as follows:

22 Oct: Burt Bacharach (Roundhouse)
22 Oct: XX Teens + Wild Beasts (Roundhouse Studio)
22 Oct: Chaka Khan (Dingwalls)
22 Oct: Goldfrapp (Cecil Sharp House)
22 Oct: Tony Christie (Royal Daffodil Ferry Liverpool)
23 Oct: The Streets (Roundhouse)
23 Oct: Keane (Koko)
23 Oct: Maddy Prior (Cecil Sharp House)
23 Oct: Milanese + Rolo Tomassi (BBC Merseyside)
24 Oct: Nitin Sawhney (Roundhouse)
24 Oct: The Last Shadow Puppets (Liverpool Philarmonic Hall)
25 Oct: Red Light Company + Micachu (London Barfly)
25 Oct: Razorlight (Liverpool Philarmonic Hall)
25 Oct: Kitty Daisy & Lewis (Liverpool Barfly)
26 Oct: The Wave Machines (BBC Merseyside)

See www.bbc.co.uk/electricproms for more info.

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MR SCRUFF ANNOUNCES TOUR
Mr Scruff has announced some tour dates to promote his new single, 'Music Takes Me Up'. During his trademark all-night DJ sets, you can expect plenty of new tracks from his forthcoming new album, too, which will be released on his own Ninja Tune subsidiary, Ninja Tuna.

Tour dates:

19 Sep: Belfast, Stiff Kitten
20 Sep: Derry, Nerve Centre
10 Oct: Leeds, Victoria Works
11 Oct: Birmingham, Custard Factory Space 2
12 Oct: Newcastle, Digital
1 Nov: Manchester, Music Box
6 Nov: Swansea, Sin City
7 Nov: London, Matter (album launch party)
8 Nov: Bristol, Academy
13 Nov: Leamington, Assembly
14 Nov: Sheffield, University
15 Nov: Cambridge, Junction
20 Nov: Edinburgh, Liquid Rooms
21 Nov: Glasgow, The Arches
22 Nov: Dundee, Okupa
5 Dec: Brighton, Concorde 2
11 Dec: Cardiff, Solus
12 Dec: Nottingham, Stealth

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LIVE REVIEW: Saint Etienne at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Heavenly Records is 18 years old and, being a label that always loved any opportunity for a party, they took over the South Bank for three nights of live performances from their acts past and present to celebrate. So, for the last night of a weekend that has also seen the likes of Doves, The Manics and Ed Harcourt play gigs, Saint Etienne headline for the label they regard as their "spiritual home", with convenient timing too, given the imminent new 'Greatest Hits' from the group.

First up is Dot Allison though, playing tracks from her lush debut 'Afterglow', mixed with offerings from her forthcoming new album (and bypassing her electroclash period altogether). Whilst the songs are performed with verve and the song-writing behind them is polished and affecting, it's still a disappointment to see her omit singles like 'Mo Pop', 'Message Personnel' and 'Close Your Eyes' from her brief set.

Next up are The Little Ones, who are perfectly respectable as young men with guitars go, but not actually as exciting as checking out Tim Burgess DJing or looking at the Edwyn Collins sleeve art exhibition in the foyer.

When Sarah Cracknell and co do take the stage, they open with 'This Is Tomorrow', a relatively unknown new track but imbued with all the classic Etienne hallmarks - nostalgia for the past whilst looking to the future, choruses to die for and movingly prescient lyrics.

For the first few songs of their set, the atmosphere is slightly muted, polite even. Then something unexpected happens - a couple of people move to the front to dance, are told off by the security guard, who in turn is admonished by Cracknell, which acts as the endorsement for everyone to stand up and dance. From then on, the night is as celebratory as it was intended, with the group playing hit after hit (yes, these tracks may have barely scratched the Top 40, but they're still number ones in a parallel pop universe where the kids were right). So we get everything from the dubbed out ('Only Love Can Break Your Heart'), to the tranced up ('Sylvie') and a whole host of other songs that are both dewy-eyed indie with a love of classic 60s pop and euphoric Balearic anthems in their own right. Encoring with a long lost b-side ('Sushi Rider') is a nice touch, whilst the final track of a set that should have been much longer is a riotous 'He's On The Phone'. By this point the crowd are putty in the band's hands, but sadly with no further encores, we all head off into the London night, albeit still believing in magic. MS

Buy Saint Etienne music from iTunes
Buy Saint Etienne music from Amazon

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150 TO GO AS RESULT OF EMI'S SOUTH-EAST ASIAN RETREAT
As many as 150 EMI employees are facing redundancy, which is interesting, I didn't know there were still 150 people left working for EMI. The good news for any EMIer outside of Southeast Asia is that all these job cuts will take place in, well, Southeast Asia. Which is bad news for those in Southeast Asia, though presumably not a surprise, given the redundancies follow the previously reported announcement that EMI was withdrawing from various Southeast Asian markets and handing over the distribution of its global catalogue in those territories to the Warner Music Group.

It's Billboard who have come up with the figure of 150 EMI staffers being hit by the restructure in the region. Though they do quote the boss of Warner Music Asia Pacific, Lachie Rutherford, as saying that they may take on some of those EMIers as they expand their operations in the region to cope with the extra work their EMI deal will create. He told the trade magazine "in some instances we're taking the opportunity to bring some talented people [from EMI] into the organisation", though he wouldn't comment on just how many former EMI employees may be absorbed.

Though Billboard cite local sources as saying Warner will only look to take on a handful of the EMI workforce - mainly those with digital or marketing roles. They say EMI Music Malaysia staffers have already been told that only six people, including Sales & Marketing Director Herman Cheng, will be kept on.

Elsewhere in EMI news, rumour has it Pink Floyd may follow the Rolling Stones and move their catalogue away from the London-based major. I'm not entirely sure what the deal is between EMI and the Floyd regarding ownership of their catalogue - one of the Western world's best selling recording catalogues, and the third biggest selling catalogue in the US after the Beatles and AC/DC - but the consensus is reps for the band are in talks with other possible partners to handle some or all of it moving forward.

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AEG LIVE TEAM UP WITH AVATAR-BASED CHAT COMMUNITY
3D-ish avatar-based social networking whatnot Meez.com has teamed up with live music conglom AEG Live US to create a virtual mansion including rooms dedicated to various artists the tour promoter works with, including Panic At The Disco, Dashboard Confessional, Plain White T's and the Cab. Music fans can navigate their own unique avatar into the AEG zone of the Meez Nation virtual world and watch YouTube videos, stream songs, dress their avatar in relevant virtual clothing and, of course, buy lots of tickets.

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MAMA ANNOUNCE PICTURE HOUSE GENERAL MANAGER
The MAMA Group has announced the appointment of John Stout to the role of General Manager at its newest live venue, The Picture House in Edinburgh. Stout was previously Contemporary Music Manager at the classy Usher Hall just up the road from the revamped Picture House, and previously worked for various of Edinburgh's festivals.

Confirming his new job at the soon-to-open venue, Stout told reporters: "Having had no mid-size venue for well over a decade, Edinburgh has suffered in terms of attracting top live acts. The opening of The Picture House will be a huge step towards redressing this and I'm looking forward to playing my part in putting Edinburgh firmly back on the live music map in the UK".

The Picture House will open on 25 Sep with a Travis gig, with artists like Walter Trout, Dirty Pretty Things, The Charlatans, Martha Wainwright, Todd Rundgren, Tangerine Dream and Jarvis Cocker already booked to play in the coming months.

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ERA APPOINT NEW CHAIRMAN
That there Entertainment Retailers Association has elected the MD of zavvi, Simon Douglas, to be its Chairman for the next year. Ben Drury from 7Digital will be the Deputy Chair.

Despite the continued decline in record sales on the high street, and all that credit crunch malarkey, on accepting the Chairman role Douglas seemed optimistic about the entertainment retail sector. Given that his own company just this week announced a 10% increase in sales in the last year he's probably right to be optimistic, though as we all know, it's by transforming themselves from being record sellers (represented by the British Association Of Record Dealers, as they were known) to wider entertainment product sellers (represented by the Entertainment Retailers Association, their name since 2006) that such optimism is now justified.

Anyway, here's what Douglas said regarding the entertainment retail sector's current challenge: "Entertainment retailers operate in some of the fastest-moving consumer goods markets around. They are used to moving quickly and decisively in response to consumer demand. Our challenge is to apply that same decisiveness we apply to product to our own businesses."

And on the role of ERA, he continued: "There are more entertainment products on the market than ever before and consumer demand for entertainment products is greater than ever before. This means that the need for trusted intermediaries who sit between the producers of entertainment and those who want to buy it is greater than ever. In a world of near infinite choice retailers are the recommenders and navigators who help consumers make sense of what's out there. The key to our future lies in our ability to communicate product to the consumer and in turn to represent the consumer back to music, film and games companies".

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WOOLIES MAKES RATHER LARGE LOSS
All that said, optimists in the entertainment retail sector may have to ignore the latest financial report from Woolworths. Woolies yesterday posted a loss of £99.7 million for the six months up to the start of August. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company announced its entertainment distribution and DVD publishing companies had done OK during the half year, the latter seeing sales increase by 13.2%, but the firm's high street stores had not done very well at all.

Group chairman Richard North told reporters: "For the first half of the year EUK and 2 entertain are performing ahead of our expectations, while Woolworths Retail manifestly is not. However, the Board believes that the strength of our entertainment businesses provides a solid platform of profitability from which the turnaround of the retail business can be based".

Charged with leading that turnaround is newly appointed Woolies CEO Steve Johnson, who added: "Right now, this business does not require lots of new strategic initiatives, it requires a good dose of basic shop keeping and attention to the detail of retailing. Everyone in Woolworths is clear that our first priority - in all parts of the Group - is delivering a successful Christmas for our customers".

Obviously Woolies generally does better in the second half of the year - ie around Christmas - anyway, so they will be hoping that they can overcome some of those losses during that period. In the meantime, Woolworths shareholders will have to do without a dividend. Perhaps they could get a free bag of pick n mix to compensate.

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VIVENDI BOSS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RECORD INDUSTRY
More optimism for you now, and the boss of Universal Music parent company Vivendi says he reckons his group's recordings division will start to impress investors in the near future as major digital deals start to bring in serious new revenue streams to compensate for the well known decline in CD sales.

Talking to the Finanical Times, and citing deals with Nokia, Apple and MySpace, Jean Bernard Levy said: "The next surprise for our investors is, I think, [in] the music business, [where] there is a strong likelihood that we are getting close to the lowest part of the cycle and we are extremely active in developing new business models, new sources of revenues. We are working with all the big names in the field of internet, in the field of telecom equipment companies, big media companies and this is a big opportunity".

Levy said that Universal Music had retained its market leader position during the downturn in the record industry's fortunes, and would now lead the sector into a new period of growth. He concluded: "I really believe we are at the turning point for the music industry and I didn't say that two years ago".

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OFCOM GIVE MORE SUPPORT TO REMOVING ITV AND FIVE'S PUBLIC SERVICE OBLIGATIONS
The boss of OfCom, Ed Richards, has said that the media regulator may remove ITV and Channel Five's public service obligations by 2014. As previously reported, both commercial broadcasters have said of late that the public service commitments in their analogue licences - which include compulsory quotas on things like news and children's programmes, and, for ITV, local programming - make it hard for them to properly compete against the plethora of newer digital broadcasters, who have no such obligations.

OfCom have aired caution about just dropping the analogue networks' public service commitments overnight, while some industry experts point out that public service programming - while maybe not so profitable in terms of direct advertising and sponsorship - enhances the overall brand reputation of the broadcasters. But OfCom do recognise the increasingly competitive market ITV and Five operate in, and have committed to reviewing the public service components of their licences.

In a speech at the Royal Television Society, Richards gave something of a timeline for that review. He said: "Between now and 2014, ITV1 and Five should retain important public service broadcasting roles but focused on UK origination and news, and the nations and regions. [After 2014] the arguments for retaining their public service benefits and obligations are more evenly balanced - the costs of providing public service content will [eventually] outweigh the value of [broadcasting on] the analogue spectrum - and well before switchover [from analogue to digital] is complete and in some cases imminently".

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DJS FAKE CONTROL
Activision-owned FreeStyleGames are reportedly hard at work on a sister game to their popular 'Guitar Hero' series. 'DJ Hero' will allow gamers to scratch up their favourite tracks with a special turntable-style controller. Now two years into production, with numerous re-designs of that controller apparently holding things up more than anything else, the game is pencilled in for release next summer.

Obviously, 'Guitar Hero' has been successful partly due to the sheer number of classic rock tracks it allows you to 'play'. In an attempt to induce similar excitement amongst consumers, the makers of 'DJ Hero' have apparently added a soundtrack consisting entirely of mash-ups, which will surely either breathe new life into the flagging mash-up scene or just kill it off altogether. That plan, of course, assumes that any record companies will grant FreeStyleGames permission to use tracks in that form; though given the success and revenue 'Guitar Hero' has delivered various rock bands, record companies might be a little more willing to legitimise mash-ups as an art form this time. Which will probably definitely kill off the scene.

Still, diversifying the 'Guitar Hero' brand would seem like a good idea - especially given the increasingly competitive nature of the pretend-to-play-music gaming space. Electronic Arts' 'Rock Band' has taken a fair share of the market, of course, and Konami, who pretty much invented the whole 'rhythmic game' genre with the 'Guitar Freaks', Drum Mania' and 'Dance Dance Revolution' arcade games, are launching their own console-based title, 'Rock Revolution', next week.

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LINKIN PARK MAN ON THE VMAS
The confusing thing is this - is Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington a fan of the MTV VMAs or not. It's not at all clear from this interview with Entertainment Weekly. See what you think. Chester: "Where were Foo Fighters and Nickelback? Or even a band like Three Days Grace, who had a pretty big year? There was no Vampire Weekend or Daughtry. It was very one-sided. The VMAs are consistently clusterfucks, and this year set a new standard. You had people who were invited sitting out in the streets. Plus, everybody was texting, no one was watching the show. I got super bummed out. I think the VMAs have completely lost touch with a broad scope of music. It was very bubblegum and Disney, which is why bands like Foo Fighters and everybody else in my group weren't there".

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NOEL RECKONS HE'S WRITTEN A POTENTIAL BOND THEME
Laid up in bed recovering from that on-stage attack in Canada, and with his US tour on hold, Noel Gallagher seems to be spending his time thinking of what other projects he could occupy himself with. Having yesterday said he's thinking of writing a sitcom with Russell Brand, now he's apparently told the NME he'd like to write the next Bond theme. Oh no, hang on, he says he's got some spare songs from his work on new album 'Dig Out Your Soul', and he'd like one of them to be the next James Bond theme. Which seems a bit lazy. He should spend less time sick-bed-blogging, and more time writing new material.

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NO MONKEYS PUB
Contrary to rumours circulating recently (possibly even round here), Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helder and the band's original bassist Andy Nicholson have not bought The Bowery pub in their hometown of Sheffield. However, Helder does have all sorts of ideas on how a pub should be run, which he has been telling The Quietus about.

He said: "I've got a name for a pub actually it's a good one... I don't know if I wanna give it away. I'll just copyright it. I want to call a pub The Cautious Horse. That'd be a great name for a pub. I don't know where [it would be] as in location, but I'd want it to be underground, so it didn't look like a pub really. It'd just be a door with The Cautious Horse and you'd go downstairs... you'd probably have to know about it, I'd say".

Find out more about this fictional pub, including its music and employment policies, here.

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ROBBIE SWAPS GIRLFRIEND FOR ALBUM
Robbie Williams has reportedly split from his girlfriend Ayda Field in order to concentrate on recording his new album. Which is pretty good going on his part, because she reportedly split up with him in June. Hmm, I'm beginning to doubt that everything I read in tabloids is true.

Anyway, a source told The Mirror: "He thought Ayda was his soulmate, and the most beautiful woman he has ever met, so he was desperate for it to work. Unfortunately, the timing was not right for them, and after being on-off for a while they've finally decided to call it quits. They are still very good friends though and she was the only girlfriend his close-knit circle in LA actually accepted and genuinely liked".

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JOHN LYDON GETS BUTTERY
John Lydon is to become the new face of Country Life butter in the new TV ad campaign. Yes, really. No, I promise, it's true. Really. It is. Honest.

A spokesperson for Dairy Crest told Mad.co.uk: "We can confirm that John Lydon is the new face of the Country Life TV advertising campaign". See?

They added: "We don't think enough people know Country Life is the only major British butter brand and John gets the message through loud and clear. He is seen as a great British icon. His independent views are part of his consumer appeal and his tongue-in-cheek sense of humour shines through in our TV advertising".

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BT DIGITAL MUSIC AWARD NOMINATIONS IN FULL

These are now up for public vote...

Best Pop Artist: Alphabeat (www.thisisalphabeat.com), Kylie (www.kylie.com), Sam Beeton (www.sambeeton.com), The Hoosiers (www.thehoosiers.com), The Ting Tings (www.thetingtings.com).

Best Rock/Indie Artist: Bloc Party (www.blocparty.com), Coldplay (www.coldplay.com), Ida Maria (www.idamariamusic.co.uk), Radiohead (www.radiohead.com), The Futureheads (www.thefutureheads.com).

Best Urban Artist: Akala (www.akalamusic.com), Beardyman (www.myspace.com/beardyman), M.I.A. (www.miauk.com), Roots Manuva (www.rootsmanuva.co.uk), Wiley (www.myspace.com/eskiboywiley).

Best Electronic Artist or DJ: Basshunter (www.hard2beat.com), Bjork (www.bjork.com), Hadouken! (www.hadouken.co.uk), Pendulum (www.pendulum.com), Sam Sparro (www.samsparro.com).

Best Podcast: Audio podcasts, Book Slam, Clash Podcast, Fabric Podcast, Hospital Records Podcast, Tune Up.

Video podcasts: Flyposter, Philharmonic Orchestra Video Podcasts, Rockstar Tutorial Now Play It, The Zutons Podcast, Tune Up.

Best Radio Station: BBC 6 Music (www.bbc.co.uk/6music/), BBC Asian Network (www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork), Gaydar Radio (www.gaydarradio.com), Passion for the Planet (www.passionfortheplanet.com), Planet Rock (www.planetrock.com).

Best Music Store: 7 Digital (www.7digital.com), eMusic (www.emusic.com), iTunes (www.Apple.com/uk), Music Station (www.omnifone.com), Napster (www.napster.co.uk).

Best Music Magazine: Clash Music (www.clashmusic.com), Drowned in Sound (www.drownedinsound.com), I Like Music (www.ilikemusic.com), NME.COM (www.nme.com), Resident Advisor (www.residentadvisor.net).

Best Music Community: Bloc Party Marshals (www.blocparty.com), Download Festival Community (www.downloadfestival.co.uk), Drowned in Sound (www.drownedinsound.com), Get Closer (www.getcloser.com), NUMU (www.numu.org.uk).

These will be selected based on judges votes only...

Best Artist Promotion: Bloc Party: Intimacy album release, Dylan Messenger - Bob Dylan album promotion, Michael Jackson Dance - King of Pop album viral dance game, Foals/Last.fm/7digital remix competition, Thriller 25: Dance on the Tube - Michael Jackson album promotion.

Best Digital Service in association with BT Total Broadband: 7digital (www.7digital.com), eMusic (www.emusic.com), Sellaband (www.sellaband.com), Shazam iPhone Application (www.shazam.com), We7 (www.we7.com).

Best Mobile Campaign: Def Jam Handset, Jonas Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Red Stripe Camden Crawl, Royal Artist Club.

Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Basshunter (www.basshunter.se), Hadouken! (www.hadouken.co.uk), The Hoosiers (www.thehoosiers.com), The Script (www.thescriptmusic.com), Vampire Weekend (www.vampireweekend.com).

Artist of the Year: British Sea Power (www.britishseapower.co.uk), Coldplay (www.coldplay.com), Kylie (www.kylie.com), Leona Lewis (www.leonalewismusic.com), Radiohead (www.radiohead.com).

Best Innovation: Kylie Konnect (kyliekonnect.com), MusicStation (www.omnifone.com), People's Music Store (peoplesmusicstore.com), Sellaband (sellaband.com), U-myx (www.u-myx.com).

Best Music Hardware: Gibson 'robot' guitar, Motorola ROKR E8, Ripserver.

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