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TODAY'S NEWS

Madonna and Ritchie divorce deal done

Jackson will appear at Sheikh trial
Taco Bell to fight Fiddy lawsuit
Kraftwerk sampling case to be reconsidered
McCain to fight Jackson Browne lawsuit with Fair Use exemptions
Sid McCain promoted at EMI
Now there will be a TOTP Christmas special
Peter Ikin dies
Diamond Dogs artist dies
Single review: Clinic - Tomorrow (Domino)
Britney song not about Ghalib, okay?
Warner admit New Order collector editions have sound issues
Roots involved in bus crash
A Camp announce single and album
My Chem guitarist announces side project album
Bon Jovi top Live Earth India bill
Simple Minds announce 30th anniversary tour
Album review: Saturday Morning Pictures - It's Cool To Hate The Singer (Snapper Music)
Zune subscription to come with permanent tracks
MP brings copyright extension up in Commons
BBC Trust rejects local website plans
Robbie tops karaoke chart
Ringtone creation added to school curriculum
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FRIDAY 21ST NOVEMBER

HOUSTON CALLS
Houston Calls are a five-piece power pop-punk group from New Jersey. The band formed in 2003 and over time the line up was modified and now rests with a combination set to get ears excited on both sides of the pond.


 

Their debut album 'A Collection Of Short Stories' was released in 2005 through Rushmore Records receiving much acclaim in their native America. Since then, they have built up a great following, which has earned them supports alongside You Me At Six, Hellogoodbye and Plain White T's. Houston Calls' second album, 'The End Of An Error' is available now in Drive-Thru Records.

Here's there same six answers...

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I became interested in music when I first saw Mick Jagger and David Bowie's video for 'Dancing In The Street'. I first picked up a guitar at age 13 when I saw Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day playing.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Tons of stuff. A lot had to do with the constant internal struggles of being in a band and trying to lead a "normal" life as well. A lot deals with the trials and tribulations of attempting to make relationships outside of the music scene last.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
It starts out, obviously, with writing music. Writing songs with the band and without the band. We compile a ton of music and then when it's time to record we start trying to pick a producer to work with. When we find out that person is way over our budget we then go with other options hahaha. We got super lucky to work with Mark Weinberg though.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I love and always will love everything Green Day ever does. I take a lot from Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, Screeching Weasel, and a lot of older pop punk from the early 90s.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Isn't this sickkkk?!?!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I hope it's received well. We put a lot of hard work into it and we are very proud of it. Enjoy!

MORE>> www.houstoncalls.com and www.myspace.com/houstoncalls

 

Yes, Vigsy provides his weekly clubbing recommendations despite becoming a father for the first time this week and therefore being off the clubbing circuit for some time. Here's what he'll miss, and what you can enjoy. Many congrats to Vigsy and welcome to the world Vigsy Junior.

   

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Adventures In Success at East Village
The Adventures In Success duo, Gavin Fraser and Katie Barber, take over the bar formerly known as Medicine tonight, and they have secured one of the UK dance scenes seminal figures, Fabio, to play. Fabio, of course, started as a pirate radio jock in the mid 80s playing dub and rare groove before teaming up with Grooverider and becoming an early champion of jungle techno, and everything that went on to become what we now know and love as drum n bass. Tonight he will play a rare and exclusive funk and hip hop set. Downstairs, resident Soulsonic supremo Stuart Patterson will bat out current house grooves, and has Sunkissed feat. Diskjokke live. Olanski, Alex Sheridan and Henry Seligman are also on the bill. Also, looking down the listings, I see Saturday has Patterson again, roping in Detroit legend Carl Craig. East Village is truly buzzing hard.

Friday 21 Nov, 9pm-4am, East Village, 89 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A, £6 then £8 after 11pm, www.eastvillageclub.com, press info from Rosalia at Ferrara PR.

   

VIGSY'S OTHER CLUB TIP: Futureboogie presents Bonobo at the Westbury
Ninja Tune artist Bonobo graces us with his simian presence for one of The Westbury's stand out nights this month (and that's saying something, this venue has been going from strength to strength of late). His current album, 'Days To Come', achieved Gilles Peterson's Album Of The Year award following chipper praise from the press and radio bods. Having toured the world with his band, it's good to have him back in London Town with a DJ set. He joins Joe 90 of Futureboogie for an evening of off-kilter soulful music that spans everything from hip hop to afrobeat and beyond - joining the dots in this trendy County Kilburn boozer.

Saturday 22 Nov, The Westbury, 34 Kilburn High Road, London NW6, 8pm - 3am, £3.99 then £4.99 after 11pm, more info from www.westburybar.com, press info from Joe at Outpost (joe@outpostmedia.co.uk).

 

 



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.

 

 

Don't forget to vote for your track of the year. Just email us your favourite track released this year and a couple of sentences saying why you love it to 2008@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

 

 

NO. 2: THOM YORKE
Welcome back to our new occasional feature, 'Ringo Says Fuck Off', in which you tell us about the times pop stars have told you to fuck off. This week, we have a lovely story from a reader who tells us about the time Radiohead's Thom Yorke said those two little words to him.

He says: "I was on a ferry from France to England, coming back from a school trip to Berlin, and who should we find reading a book in the public lounge, but Thom Yorke. It was 1996, I think - around the time of 'Just' - and Radiohead were just becoming well known. I walked up to him and said, 'Sorry to disturb you, but would you mind if I could I have a very quick photograph with you?' 'Fuck Off', he replied... So my mate took the photo anyway".

Has a pop star told you to fuck off? Tell us your story by emailing peaceandlove@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 

MADONNA AND RITCHIE DIVORCE DEAL DONE
So, what we've learned this week is that if you want the respect or love of the British public you have to do one of two things - dance terribly on TV or divorce a multi-millionaire and ask for no pay out.

Because whatever you think about Guy Ritchie's frequently terrible films, you have to respect the man for not asking for a penny off soon-to-be-ex-wife Madonna, despite UK divorce laws in theory offering him anything up to half of Madge's estimated £300 million fortune. Of course Ritchie himself is reportedly worth about £30 million, so it's not like he needed the money, but still, resisting the temptation to use the divorce courts to double your wealth overnight is a good thing.

Billie Piper famously adopted the same attitude when she divorced Chris Evans of course, winning much public respect in the process, and leading to the expression that "Guy was doing a Billie Piper" being used by at least two legal experts yesterday.

We know Ritchie has requested a cash-less divorce from Madonna because negotiations between the couple's respective legal reps have been completed, a lot quicker than many expected, and the couple's decree nisi is expected to be posted at the London High Court today.

As previously reported, despite denials from the couple that their divorce was both a long-time coming and pretty acrimonious, and despite initial indications the divorce would go through without incident, as friends of Madonna and especially Ritchie started to diss whichever one of the couple they weren't friends with, some thought the divorce proceedings might prove to be much more bitchy and contentious than original thought.

That said, it was known from the start that the big issue was the children, the couple's son Rocco and adopted son David. Madonna is known to want to return to New York with her children, while Ritchie wanted them to stay with him in London. There were rumours Madge would try to get custody of the kids by offering Ritchie a generous financial package, but given money never seems to have been on his agenda, that plan was never going to work or, possibly, never actually existed.

Both sides hired legal help who were experts on custody battles, and it seems a deal was reached earlier this week as to how the two boys will split their time between London and New York.

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JACKSON WILL APPEAR AT SHEIKH TRIAL
Forget about the Ritchie divorce though, the exciting case in the High Court at the moment is surely the Sheikh v Jacko dispute. That case should get interested next week because Jackson will now appear in person.

As previously reported, Jacko's people had said that their client was too ill, certainly to travel to London to testify, and possibly too sick to testify at all (ie not even by video link). Laywers for Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa said they were dubious of Jackson's illness claims, while the judge hearing the case said he'd wait until the results of medical tests were available to decide whether he would insist Jacko take to the witness stand. In the end the singer's lawyer announced his client would now attend court have being given the okay by his doctors.

As previously reported, Bahrain-based Abdulla, who supported Jackson in the months after the singer's acquittal on those child abuse charges, set up a business with Jacko, which planned to release a new album and autobiography and stage a Jackson-based play. But despite lots of plans being made, and Abdulla financing Jackson's life while they were being made, the business relationship fell apart having produced nothing. Not even the promised charity single in aid of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Abdulla claims Jackson reneged on contractual obligations when he walked away from the joint venture, and that the singer is still to repay loans made to him. Jackson says no legitimate contract was ever signed, and that the payments were gifts.

As also previously reported, Jackson's people have being trying to play down the singer's business skills, in a bid to show that any chat between the plaintiff and defendant about possible joint venture companies couldn't have been binding, because Jacko wouldn't be in a position to make such commitments without business advice.

The Sheikh himself took to the witness stand yesterday. He admitted that Jackson was an "emotionally vulnerable" person, but added: "I regarded him in the same way as other businessmen. He is a person who is very switched on, a fantastic businessman and fantastic intellectual". On the money he gave Jackson, Abdulla told the court the loans "were sent to help Michael, and many times he confirmed to me he would pay me back".

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TACO BELL TO FIGHT FIDDY LAWSUIT
Lots happening in the pop courts today. Next, lawyers for US fast food chain Taco Bell have said they will fight 50 Cent's lawsuit against them.

As previously reported, the fast food company approached 50 Cent about him changing his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent as part of a possible marketing partnership to promote their value menu, where foods cost those amounts. Although Fiddy knocked them back, the proposal was leaked to the press getting Taco Bell quite a bit of media coverage.

Fiddy is suing the company, claiming that they leaked the letter before he had chance to respond because they knew doing so would get them media coverage. In that way, he argues, they used his trademark name for marketing purposes without his permission - so he's suing for trademark infringement.

But Taco Bell this week denied that was so, and told reporters that Fiddy's lawsuit "distorted beyond all recognition a bona fide, good faith offer". They say they think the rapper is proceeding with legal action against them simply to "burnish his gangsta rapper persona".

So, it doesn't look like Taco Bell are keen to settle out of court. Could make for an interesting court case. Tacos all round.

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KRAFTWERK SAMPLING CASE TO BE RECONSIDERED
More pop legalities, and Germany's highest civil court has made an interesting ruling on sampling - ruling that sampling musical notes does not, in principle, violate copyright.

This is of interest to Kraftwerk, who had previously won a lawsuit in the Hamburg court against German rap producer Moses Pelham who used an uncleared two-second sample from their 1977 track 'Metal On Metal' in the rhythm sequence of the 1997 Sabrina Setlur song 'Nur Mir'.

The key to the German higher court ruling is that sampling a melody does constitute infringement, but a couple of notes taken from a previous recording used in such a way as the original melody is not identifiable - which was arguably the case in 'Nur Mir' - does not. The higher court decision means the Hamburg court will now have to reconsider the Kraftwerk case anew.

The ruling is good news for French electro duo Justice, one half of which, Xavier De Rosnay, recently admitted there were a number of uncleared but unrecognisable samples of their debut album, including notes from Slipknot, Queen and 50 Cent tracks. If ever Roadrunner, Parlophone or Interscope tried to sue, De Rosnay should try and fight the lawsuit in the German courts.

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MCCAIN TO FIGHT JACKSON BROWNE LAWSUIT WITH FAIR USE EXEMPTIONS
More pop legalities, and lawyers representing the John McCain presidential campaign in the US are planning on fighting a lawsuit launched by singer songwriter Jackson Browne over the use of one of his songs in a McCain campaign ad.

A number of artists objected to their songs being used at Republican rallies in the run up to America's big vote, though the Republicans correctly pointed out that recorded music played at events - even political events - is covered by blanket licences, and providing the venue is licenced any song can be used.

Browne's 1978 song 'Running On Empty', however, was used in an advert, so this case is a bit different. However, with only a few words used from the song, McCain's people are claiming that - while they didn't clear the use of the track with Browne - it is covered by the fair use exemptions in US copyright law. His defence cites four fair use exemptions - that fact the song was used for non-commercial purposes, the fact the words that were used from the song (it's title line) are an acknowledged cliché, that only a tiny portion of the song was used, and that its use won't have damaged Browne commercially (in fact, they argue, it probably added a boost to sales of the song).

They also reject claims the use of the song breaches US "false association or endorsement" laws because, they argue, those laws only cover commercial rather than political association. On top of that, they have filed an anti-SLAPP motion, which is used when a defendant believes a plaintiff is using a lawsuit in a bid to stop free speech. If such a motion is successful the plaintiff can find themselves having to pay the defendant's legal costs and maybe even damages.

If all of this gets to court, it could be an interesting case. Many artists (including UK artists, the situation is the same over here) are already pissed off that blanket licencing arrangements allow politicians to use their music at rallies and conventions - fearing that by having their music featured at a political party's event the public may assume they somehow endorse said party. If, under fair use exemptions, politicians can legitimately use bits of recognisable music without an artist's permission in adverts, and if said artists risk being accused of being anti-free speech if they sue, that could cause quite a bit of outrage among more politically motivated pop stars.

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SID MCCAIN PROMOTED AT EMI
It's a shame 'Running On Empty' wasn't released or published by EMI (it was released by Warner Music owner Asylum, and published by Alfred Publishing Co), because John McCain's daughter Sidney (yes, Sidney, it's her father's middle name) works for the major record company and could presumably pull some strings regarding the lawsuit. Formerly an exec at EMI Canada, McCain has just been promoted to the role of VP of Label Services for North America, reporting to Dominic Pandiscia, GM of Label Services. In her new role, McCain Junior will take particular responsibility for offering 'label services' to indie labels distributed by the major's Caroline division. Perhaps she could also try and find an artist that would be happy to have their music used by her father's political party in future electioneering.

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NOW THERE WILL BE A TOTP CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
When the BBC said there would be no Top Of The Pops Christmas special this year what they really meant, obviously, was that there will be a Top Of The Pops Christmas Special this year. And a New Year special too.

As previously reported, despite TOTP's demise as a weekly pop show in 2006, the BBC has continued to broadcast a Christmas Day edition. However, they recently announced not even that would air this year - leading to much online chatter about how much TOTP is missed and how the Beeb should never have axed it to start with. And also to Simon Cowell telling reporters that if the BBC wouldn't do a TOTP Christmas show they should be forced to hand the brand over to ITV, where he'd do one instead.

With all that chatter going on, the BBC yesterday announced it would, after all, air a TOTP Christmas Special on BBC 1 - and not only that but a New Year's Eve Special too. Though just to remind us all why we had grown to hate the show so much in the years before its axing, Fearne Cotton will return as presenter for both special editions.

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PETER IKIN DIES
Former Warner Music International exec Peter Ikin, who had a particular role in building the major's Australian business, has died aged 62 - it's thought he had a heart attack.

Ikin was a popular record company man who worked his way up the Warner hierarchy after joining the major in 1975. As well as playing a key role in establishing Warner Music Australasia, he also spent some time working for EMI Australia, and prior to his retirement in 2000 worked in international marketing for Warner Music International in London.

Warner Music Australasia top man Ed St John told Billboard: "He had a role in the way the company was set up, who worked here and how the office looked. From the moment he arrived here in 1975, he set an agenda for a marketing-driven company focused on blockbuster hits and peerless artist relations. The 70s and 80s were a time of massive artist egos - Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Rod Stewart - and Peter Ikin gained a reputation for handling superstars that was beyond compare".

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DIAMOND DOGS ARTIST DIES
Belgium born artist Guy Peellaert, possibly best known for his album artwork, has died after suffering from cancer aged 74.

Although Peellaert had a varied career, and created artwork for several films, including 'Taxi Driver' and 'Short Cuts', it is probably his seminal album covers that many will remember him for.

Stand outs included the cover to The Rolling Stones' 1974 album 'It's Only Rock N Roll', and the slightly controversial (at the time) cover to David Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs' album, also released in 1974, original uncensored copies of which are said to be worth several thousand dollars (the painting of Bowie as a half-man, half-dog character offended some, mainly because the hybrid creature's genitals were clearly shown).

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SINGLE REVIEW: Clinic - Tomorrow (Domino)
Liverpool mentalists Clinic are back with another mind-messing track that sounds like something Kasabian would use to serenade Lou Reed with: sharp, utterly abstract and jarring in the best possible ways. Filled with echoing, surreal vocals and a harsh, grating foundation of acoustic guitars and constant, vintage-esque drum rolls that sound like bones rattling, 'Tomorrow' has a true Raveonettes-ish feel to it, but otherwise sounds like nothing else out there. Released to coincide with the band's collaboration with animator Clemens Habicht, who will be providing an animated multimedia experience for their upcoming lives shows this month, 'Tomorrow' is another fine offering. TW
Release Date: 24 Nov
Press Contact: Hermana [RP] Domino IH [CP, CR, RR, NP, NR]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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BRITNEY SONG NOT ABOUT GHALIB, OKAY?
One of Britney Spears' songwriter partners has denied she said a track on new album 'Circus' is about the singer's much documented fling with paparazzo Adnan Ghalib. He, of course, was a central player in Britney's life for a short time during her much documented breakdown, and Us Weekly magazine quoted Spears collaborator Nicole Morier as saying (or at least implying) new track 'Mmm Papi' is based on the singer and photographer's relationship. The mag also quoted a 'source' as saying of the track: "It's a gift to him [Ghalib]. She is crazy for him".

But lyricist Morier has denied she ever linked the song to Ghalib. She's told Perez Hilton: "I never said that to Us Weekly! The song is definitely not about Adnan and in the whole time I worked with her last spring and summer I never once saw that guy. We strictly wrote the song for fun. The 'Mmm Papi' part came out of 'Mmm Papa Luv U' and I came up with it because the track was a fun up beat track and we wanted to do something crazy like 'mmmpapamowow'".

Morier adds that she doesn't want the press implying Spears still has some attachment to Ghalib and that whole mad time in her life, saying: "Please be kind to Britney and I and post this correction. She was oh so sweet and professional to work with, and I believe she's really gotten her life together".

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WARNER ADMIT NEW ORDER COLLECTOR EDITIONS HAVE SOUND ISSUES
Warner's Rhino division has had to apologise for recent collector edition re-releases of various New Order albums after fans complained of various (some say up to 300) sound errors on the disks of bonus material that came with the releases.

Following much online chatter about poor sound quality on some tracks, a statement has been issued thus: "Warner Bros UK, Rhino and New Order regret that the initial pressings of the Collector Editions of 'Movement', 'Power, Corruption & Lies', 'Low-Life', 'Brotherhood' and 'Technique' contain some minor audio problems on the bonus discs. We are now in the process of correcting the problems, but it should be noted that due to the age and condition of some of the original source tapes, the sound quality may vary. A further statement will be issued once the corrected product is available. At that time, the procedure for exchanging CDs will be announced. Thank you for your patience while we resolve this situation".

The band's Peter Hook has commented on the problems on his MySpace, blaming the label for the sound issues, saying the sound problems weren't fixed before release because [a] the majors cut corners on these things these days and [b] the band didn't get to hear the final masters before the CDs were pressed.

Hookie: "This is a very difficult one, we are aware of the problems and because we did not have finished product to listen to it has, shall we say... slipped through the net? My great friend [and New Order biographer] Claude Flowers has taken it on himself to sort this mess out personally. I have said before how difficult it is compiling this stuff, the masters Steve [Morris] and I listened to, were all basically from people's collections, so it was then left to someone in the library department to compile, as much as possible from original masters. This is where it seems to have gone wrong. Unfortunately, it is industry standard these days to not have production masters of the CDs or the sleeves, much to [artwork man] Pete Saville's amazement, but that's just the way it is. Hopefully they might resurrect the process after this. Here's hoping".

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ROOTS INVOLVED IN BUS CRASH
Live hip hop combo The Roots were involved in a dramatic bus crash on Wednesday night, while en route to Paris, where they were due to play a show with Kanye West. But, although the double decker tour bus managed to spin 360 degrees and crush another van, it seems everyone involved escaped with nothing more than cuts and bruises.

In an email to his online hip hop community Okayplayer, the band's drummer Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson said: "In reality the crash was all of about seven seconds, but to do a 360 on the highway and end up ramped up (the van that crashed into ours was UNDER our double decker bus) in the air... [and all survive] is... well... a frigging miracle".

He continued: "My drum tech, D was the first to make sure I was okay and since the panic mode was setting in, the way he was asking me was rather... panicky. And, based on the fact that he was walking on the ceiling, indeed let me know that this was no fender bender I was in".

Confirming that all were okay, he finished: "We are soooo alive right now. And, yes, we went through all that shit people go through when they go through accidents; dazed, amazed, grateful, laughing. ... Some of us have cuts and neck braces on. ... [I] just wanna let everyone know that we are happy to be alive. And not in that TV cliché way. But man, that was divine intervention. We are so grateful for this outcome".

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A CAMP ANNOUNCE SINGLE AND ALBUM
A Camp have announced that their second album, 'Colonia', will be released on 2 Feb. The band, consisting of Cardigans frontwoman Nina Persson and Atomic Swing frontman Niclas Frisk, recorded the follow-up to their 2001 debut in New York last year with help from Persson's husband and soundtrack composer Nathan Larson, drummer Kevin March, Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Police Woman), Swedish singer-songwriter Nikolai Dunger, and former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha.

The album will be preceded by a single, 'Stronger Than Jesus', on 19 Jan.

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MY CHEM GUITARIST ANNOUNCES SIDE PROJECT ALBUM
My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Lero has announced details of his solo project Leathermouth's debut album, 'XO', which will be released on 26 Jan.

Writing on the band's official website, he said: "Damn it feels like its been a lifetime of waiting for this record to see the light of day, but it really is a dream come true. Every step of this journey has been a blast, from the first practice, to touring, and now seeing the artwork come to life. I apologise to everyone that has been waiting along with us but fuck man, I've been busy ...and we really wanted to make sure everything was right and now, finally, I truly feel it's coming out right".

As previously reported, My Chemical Romance are currently taking a break before beginning work on the follow-up to their 2006 album 'The Black Parade'.

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BON JOVI TOP LIVE EARTH INDIA BILL
Former US Vice President and self-appointed king of the planet Al Gore has announced details of a new Live Earth concert in India. The show will take place in Mumbai on 7 Dec and will feature performances from Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Money raised by the concert will be donated to Climate Project India, a charity which runs education programmes and renewable energy projects in the country, and TERI's Light A Billion Lives campaign, which provides solar lighting to homes without electricity.

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SIMPLE MINDS ANNOUNCE 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
Simple Minds will embark on a 30th anniversary tour this month, celebrating 30 years since they played their first gig, in 1978. The shows will see the band perform their 1982 album, 'New Gold Dream', in its entirety, as well as hits such as 'Alive And Kicking', 'Love Song', 'Waterfront' and 'Don't You (Forget About Me)'.

Tour dates:

27 Nov: Manchester, MEN Arena
28 Nov: Birmingham, NEC
29 Nov: London, Wembley Arena
1 Dec: Sheffield, Arena
2 Dec: Cardiff, International Arena
3 Dec: Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
4 Dec: Glasgow, SECC
6 Dec: Belfast, Odyssey Arena

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ALBUM REVIEW: Saturday Morning Pictures - It's Cool To Hate The Singer (Snapper Music)
It IS cool to hate the singer. Prancing around up there, the focus of all that attention and clearly revelling in it. Even in an innocent game of Rock Band, if one person repeatedly goes for the microphone, it's a pretty good indicator they fancy themselves a little too much. This particular singer should be quite easy to hate as recipients of scournful evaluations go, but for some reason I can't help but love the little tyke.

His nasal delivery commits that most heinous of crimes; sounding like he's from California when in reality he lives in that most rock n roll of places - Surrey. The tweeness of the songs should really aggravate such a bitter man as myself, but for some reason there's something alluring in this sickly sweet release.

Sounding like an emo Jamie Cullum who is more concerned with sunshine than suave, Saturday Morning Pictures are shamelessly pop. And not the annoying bubblegum kind either, the good kind that Take That are currently throwing back at the charts with surprising success. Indeed by the time most of these songs climax, complete with resplendent horn sections, I can't help but picture the end to their video 'Shine', or think the song should be accompanied by the Simpson's couch gag where the entire cast end up in a huge kick line.

There is no doubt as to the songwriting skills on display here; grandiose arrangements add sprinklings of brass and strings to good effect, whilst a walking jazz bassline keeps the whole thing swinging nicely. If, like me, you can't resist a bit of pop indulgence, you could definitely do worse than this to brighten up your wintry evenings. ME
Release Date: 8 Dec
Press Contact: Chris Hewlett PR [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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ZUNE SUBSCRIPTION TO COME WITH PERMANENT TRACKS
Microsoft's US-based music subscription service ZunePass has just revamped so to offer users a number of permanent downloads each month. Previously, ZunePass worked like Napster and other first-generation subscription download platforms where users get access to millions of songs for a monthly subscription ($15), but the access remains only for as long as a subscription is valid. Once their subscription expires a user loses access to the music.

However, with newer subscription services offering a service more akin to eMusic's subscription model, whereby users get to keep songs they acquire via their subscription, Zune are adding some permanent download to their offer.

However, unlike the Orange permanent download subscription system in France and the recently launched here in the UK Nokia Comes With Music, which allow subscribers to download permanent copies of an unlimited number of tracks, the new look ZunePass system will combine the Napster and eMusic models, so that users have unlimited access to music while their subscription is valid, and in addition to that can download permanent copies of ten tracks a month.

I think I'm right in saying that the permanent tracks will be provided in DRM-free MP3 formats. All four majors and indie aggregators The Orchard and IODA are signed up to the new deal.

The a la carte bit of the Microsoft download service, still only available in the US, is also moving over to DRM-free MP3, and hopes to soon have about 90% of its catalogue available in that format.

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MP BRINGS COPYRIGHT EXTENSION UP IN COMMONS
Labour MP Ian Cawsey raised the issue of the recorded copyright term in the House Of Commons yesterday, asking the government to issue a statement on its intent regarding extending, or not, the copyright term enjoyed by labels and performing artists.

As much much much previously reported, record labels and recording artists want the government to extend the copyright term on recordings from fifty years, probably to 95 years, which would bring it in line with the US (though songwriters and composers enjoy a life plus 70 years copyright term). Though there is some parliamentary support for such an extension, and moves are afoot at a European level to extend the term, the UK government is still officially aligned to the 2006 Gowers Review of copyright law, which said there was no real case for extension.

Earlier this week the performer members of recording royalty collecting society PPL, ie recording artists, signed a letter to Gordon Brown demanding a government rethink on the issue. Presumably Cawsey's bringing up the issue in the House Of Commons this week was prompted by said letter.

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BBC TRUST REJECTS LOCAL WEBSITE PLANS
The BBC Trust has rejected proposals by Beeb managers to launch a network of local news websites based around locally produced video content and funded with £68 million of licence fee money. The proposals have been much criticised by regional newspapers who argue the BBC is using its unique funding and resources to unfairly compete on their territory - just when they are trying to overcome declines in readership and advertising revenues on their print titles by expanding their online efforts. Daily Mail Editor In Chief Paul Dacre, whose parent company owns a number of regional newspapers, recently spoke out against the proposals.

The plans needed approval of BBC regulator the BBC Trust to go ahead, and they announced this morning no such approval would be given. Trust chair Michael Lyons said in a statement that while licence fee payers wanted better regional and local services from the BBC, the website proposal was "unlikely to achieve what they want". He added: "We also recognise the negative impact that the local video proposition could have on commercial media services which are valued by the public and are already under pressure".

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ROBBIE TOPS KARAOKE CHART
OK, here it is, the all important "most murdered" song list - the songs most often performed at karaoke parties. And it's full of old favourites, though The Zutons' 'Valerie' is second, albeit because of Amy Winehouse's more famous cover. And look at good old Alannah Myles there at number seven, I had no idea so many people still enjoyed that song. Needless to say, Robbie's 'Angels' is still top, while Abba and Elvis enjoy double entries.

1. Robbie Williams - Angels
2. The Zutons/Amy Winehouse - Valerie
3. Abba - Dancing Queen
4. Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
5. UB40 - Kingston Town
6. Elvis Presley - The Wonder of You
7. Alannah Myles - Black Velvet
8. Frank Sinatra - My Way
9. Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds
10. Abba - Waterloo

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RINGTONE CREATION ADDED TO SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Presumably this is being done just to piss off Daily Mail readers, yes? The Ministry Of Sound is backing a new scheme that will see ringtone creation put onto the school curriculum. The ringtone lessons are part of a programme being proposed to schools by premium phone line regulator PhonepayPlus, which hopes to educate people about the ins and outs of premium-rate phone services. More the music ones than the adult ones, I assume. Ministry will provide free downloads and lesson plans to help the kids develop their own ringtones. One teacher, Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Business Academy in Bexley, Dominic Evans, told the Register: "The kids are really engaged and love using the technology to create their own personal ringtones. We have to drag them away when the bell rings".

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