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TODAY'S NEWS

Escort sets out Boy George assault and handcuffing allegations

Richey Manic declared dead
Fielder Civil loses appeal
Penk taken ill with kidney stones
Kenny Maclean dies
Richard Hickox dies
Chris Brown scores triple win at the American Music Awards
Chinese Democracy causes anger in China
Dr Pepper extend Chinese Democracy offer to meet demand
Dr Dre still locked in Eminem's basement
Single review: The Dandy Warhols - Mis Amigos (Beat The World Records)
City Reverb debut album and CMU Social gig
Idlewild offer bonus-heavy pre-release album to fans
Noah And The Whale cancel US tour
Coldplay tour dates
No Doubt album, tour
Album review: Kromestar - My Sound (Dubstar)
RED(WIRE) to launch next week
Beatles won't be on iTunes for a while - and it's all EMI's fault
Zavvi downloads to launch next month
Buzznet cut staff
Blender publisher could be sold
Two Touch stations may close
The Student Radio Chart
Madonna's schedule keeps her from dwelling on divorce
Gerard Way to be a dad
The Rifles appeal for return of hat
Jason Donovan on drugs and Kylie
ON THE NETWORK...
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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TUESDAY 25TH NOVEMBER

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE
Florence Mary Leontine Welch dropped out of art college in Camberwell and quite rightly has pursued a career as an indie-soul star instead. The Machine is whoever happens to be standing nearby playing instruments for her, and she has been known to enlist Dev Hynes, aka Lightspeed Champion, as a backing vocalist.


 

Her Americana-tinged sound is an exciting wake up call for all the girly poplets, with her biography claiming that "she makes the kind of music Lily or Kate would if they'd grown up locked in a cage full of snakes in the basement of a Louisiana funeral home".

She's on tour as we speak, and single 'Dog Days Are Over' was released yesterday through Moshi Moshi. Florence kindly took a moment to answer the six questions we ask everybody.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Singing in choirs and at funerals. My first band was called The Toxic Cockroaches, and we only had a drummer.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
A rainbow sign on the Southbank Centre that said "The dog days are over", by the artist Ugo Rondine.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
A lot of banging - of walls, drums, piano, my head against the wall - until it comes crashing out.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Tom Waits, Kate Bush, Lil Mama, Arcade Fire.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Listen to it somewhere you can see the sky.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your single, and for the future?
I want to learn how to crochet.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/florenceandthemachinemusic

 

IT'S CMU'S UNSIGNED MONTH
We here at CMU have teamed up with our good friends at MUZU TV to discover and champion some of the best unsigned and self-releasing artists in the UK and Ireland. Each day this month we will be tipping another unsigned band which has truly impressed the CMU team. For more info and to check out all the bands we've tipped so far, go to www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/unsigned

SNAP OF THE DAY: AKIRA
I would like to point out right now that CMU is in no way open to bribes. That said, the lollipops that Akira brought round to our office were very nice. That said, anyone thinking of doing the same should be aware that such gifts cause me to judge bands more harshly. I will eat your sweets while I pick holes in your songs and discard them along with the soggy paper sticks if I don't like what I hear. So, it's lucky for Akira that the music they make is so fresh and exciting. The two videos on their MUZU page show off perfectly the range of influences they use to inject something new into indie rock - Arcade Fire-style multi-part vocals, punk ferocity, metal tension-building and techno basslines all find their way into the mix somewhere. The band released their debut EP, 'Japanese Frequencies', via small but eagle-eyed indie label Filthy Little Angels earlier this year. However, now they are living under the umbrella of the unsigned band. How or why this is, I can't work out. Sign this band now.

Check www.muzu.tv/akira or in the Unsigned Month playlist on the CMU-Tube at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/tube

 

 



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.

 

 

ESCORT SETS OUT BOY GEORGE ASSAULT AND HANDCUFFING ALLEGATIONS
Boy George handcuffed male escort Audun Carlsen to his bedroom wall and beat him with a metal chain, angry, it seems, because he believed the escort was somehow involved in the hacking of his laptop. Or at least that's what the prosecution claimed as the former Culture Club frontman began his fight against assault and false imprisonment charges at London's fashionable Snaresbrook Crown Court yesterday.

George and Carlsen originally met via the website Gaydar. According to Carlsen, the first time he met George, at the singer's Shoreditch flat, they discussed staging a pornographic photo shoot, took cocaine together, and then the singer performed a sex act on him. Despite the general good humour of the meeting, George allegedly claimed his computer had been tampered with while Carlsen had been at the flat, and accused the escort of trying to hack his laptop. However, George seemingly calmed down and the two men parted on good terms, with George paying Carlsen £300 of the £400 they had agreed prior to the session.

George stayed in touch with Carlsen via Gaydar after that encounter. He seemingly continued to fret about his computer having been hacked, and sent a couple of angry and slightly bizarre emails to the escort about it, at one point claiming "a fixated lesbian" had cloned his PC and was operating it remotely from the United States.

Despite the angry and bizarre emails, Carlsen agreed to meet George for a second time, seemingly after the singer apologised for his earlier anger. It was during this meeting that the alleged assault and false imprisoning took place.

Carlsen says George lured him into his bedroom where he and a second man wrestled him to the floor and began to attack him. Carlsen told the court: "As soon as I saw the other guy they were both jumping on me. They held me down and beat me. I could not move. They pulled me down on to the floor and they were sitting on top of me. The other man didn't beat me he just helped George to hold me down. George was slapping me and beating me and punching me and screaming things".

During the struggle George allegedly dragged Carlsen towards a wall where he handcuffed the escort's right hand to a hook in the wall. George and his friend then seemingly left Carlsen on his own, giving him the opportunity to break free from his restraints. George, though, was still in the flat as Carlsen fled. He continues: "I managed to get loose and I started running. He tried to stop me but I ran for the front door. I took a bit of time getting the door open and he had a metal chain that he was hitting me with".

The escort fled the Shoreditch flat, in just his boxer shorts and trainers, and with the handcuff still locked to his right wrist. He ran to a local newsagents shop where the shopkeeper called the police, who in turn called the fire brigade to cut off the cuffs. Police photographed Carlsen's injuries, in particular the welts on his arms where the handcuffs had been.

Asked about the allegations that Carlsen had been involved in a sex game with the singer and his friend, and that that had led to the handcuffing and other injuries, the escort said that was not the case, adding that he'd never agree to be chained up.

George denies the charges against him. The case continues.

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RICHEY MANIC DECLARED DEAD
Former Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards has finally been legally declared dead, after nearly fourteen years on the missing list.

The guitarist's family resisted the move for a number of years - a missing person can be officially declared dead after being missing for seven years - but have now obtained a court order to change his legal status. The family's lawyer told Walesonline.co.uk that the decision was due more to "an acceptance that his affairs have got to be sorted", and that it's "not the same as an acceptance that he is dead".

Edwards left no will, so his parents have been given control of his estate, which is reportedly presently worth £445,990, though death duties will bring that total down to £377,548. He has continued to receive his share of Manics royalties down the years.

As you will no doubt be aware, Edwards went missing in 1995, when his car was found near the Severn Bridge, leading to the assumption that he'd taken his own life. That hasn't stopped myriad reported sightings throughout the globe, however. As previously reported, Manic Street Preachers recently announced that their next album will use only lyrics written by Edwards prior to his disappearance.

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FIELDER CIVIL LOSES APPEAL
Blake Fielder-Civil's appeal against his conviction for assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice was rejected by London's Court Of Appeal yesterday.

Mr Amy Winehouse (who may not be that for long, if reports that Ms W is planning a divorce are correct) was, of course, jailed for 27 months back in July, but negotiated an early release and left prison on 5 Nov on condition that he went straight to rehab.

Mr Justice Pitchford dismissed the appeal, but encouraged Fielder-Civil to continue with the progress he has made since his release. The celebrity husband, who was present in court on Monday, is quoted as saying: "I am disappointed but not really surprised".

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PENK TAKEN ILL WITH KIDNEY STONES
Former Key 103 and Capital Radio DJ, and one time terrible TV presenter Steve Penk was taken ill at the end of last week and has since been diagnosed as suffering from kidney stones.

As previously reported, Penk recently bought Oldham radio station The Revolution, which had, since 2004, adopted a more alternative and indie playlist, and then somewhat controversially relaunched it as a more middle of the road pop station. It was just before he was due to present the breakfast show on the station on Friday morning that the presenter fell ill with violent stomach pains. Tests at the Royal Oldham hospital diagnosed the kidney stones.

Penk confirmed his condition yesterday, telling reporters: "I'd like to thank everyone at the Royal Oldham for looking after me so well. I've never known pain like that and it was such a relief to find out what was causing it".

Revolution's Penk-appointed Station Manager John Evington said Steve had been complaining of pains for several days adding that: "When Steve failed to appear on air on Friday morning we were inundated with enquiries from listeners, and when we mentioned that he was in hospital the phones went crazy with messages of goodwill".

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KENNY MACLEAN DIES
According to reports, former Platinum Blonde bassist Kenny McLean has been found dead in his Toronto appartment. Few details surrounding the demise of the Scottish-Canadian musician have been released by police, but it's been suggested that his death may have been the result of a drugs overdose.

McLean's body was reportedly found on Monday morning by his sister, and it's thought he died at some time over the weekend, but it's not clear just when. On Friday he had attended a launch party for his third solo album 'Completely' at the Mod Club, the venue founded by former Platinum Blonde bandmate Mark Holmes. A local musician was quoted by news sources as saying: "Kenny had his party at the Mod Club on Friday and he was really excited. We don't know if he died right after the party or later. I'm in shock. I've known Kenny for 15 years".

Considered by many to be 'Canada's Duran Duran', Platinum Blonde released their first album 'Standing In The Dark' back in 1983, a record which spawned four hit singles, two of which were Juno award nominated. McLean did not join the band until the release of their second album, 'Alien Shores', which went quintuple platinum. Two further studio albums appeared; the last one, 'Yeah Yeah Yeah', released in 1990, was considered a failure and the band moved on to solo projects. McLean went on to write tracks for TV and television, as well as releasing solo work and running a studio and music academy from his Toronto apartment.

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RICHARD HICKOX DIES
British conductor Richard Hickox has died at the age of 60 following a suspected heart attack.

Hickox was born in Buckinghamshire to a musical family, and studied at London's Royal Academy of Music before becoming an organ scholar at Queen's College, Cambridge. The musical director of Opera Australia, and a frequent conductor of many major UK orchestras, Hickox was also founder and musical director of The City Of London Sinfonia and an associate guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. In a prolific career, Hickox conducted on more than 300 recordings, and won a number of awards, receiving his fifth Grammy Award in 2006. He was appointed CBE in 2002.

Hickox's agent, Stephen Lumsden, said: "The shock of Richard Hickox's sudden and unexpected death will resonate right around the globe and has robbed the music world of one of its most popular and respected musicians. Literally thousands of musicians who were touched by his talent, energy and that remarkable generosity of spirit of his will feel that loss as well".

Roger Wright, controller of Radio 3 and director of BBC Proms said: "The classical music world has lost a major figure whose musicianship and enthusiasm endeared him to audiences in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world".

He is survived by his wife, mezzo-soprano Pamela Helen Stephen, and three children.

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CHRIS BROWN SCORES TRIPLE WIN AT THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS
It was the American Music Awards in, well, America, on Sunday night, and the viewer-voted awards bash was dominated by Chris Brown who won three prizes - Artist Of The Year, and Favourite Male in both the Pop/Rock and Soul/R&B categories. Other multiple winners at the awards show included Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Rihanna, who each took home two gongs.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Artist of the Year: Chris Brown
Honorary Award: Mariah Carey
Award of Merit: Annie Lennox
Breakthrough Artist Award: Jonas Brothers

Pop/Rock
Favorite Male: Chris Brown
Favorite Female: Rihanna
Favorite Band: Daughtry
Favorite Album: Alicia Keys - As I Am

Soul/R&B
Favorite Male: Chris Brown
Favorite Female: Rihanna
Favorite Album: Alicia Keys - As I Am

Country
Favorite Male: Brad Paisley
Favorite Female: Taylor Swift
Favorite Band: Rascal Flatts
Favorite Album: Carrie Underwood - Carnival Ride

Rap/Hip Hop
Favorite Male: Kanye West
Favorite Band: Three 6 Mafia
Favorite Album: Kanye West - Graduation

Favorite Latin Artist: Enrique Iglesias
Favorite Alternative Artist: Linkin Park
Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist: Jordin Sparks
Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist: Third Day

Favourite Soundtrack: Alvin and The Chipmunks

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CHINESE DEMOCRACY CAUSES ANGER IN CHINA
Well, we used to joke that there'd be democracy in China before we had 'Chinese Democracy' in our record shops, but as that play on words is not longer true, we'll have to make do with this: it seems there's very little 'Chinese Democracy' in China.

Yes, the new long awaited Guns N Roses album has reportedly been banned in China, where its title is causing offence. I'm not sure the government there have officially banned the album from being sold, but it seems the Chinese media have hit out at Axl Rose's choice of album title, with some accusing the whole album as being anti-Chinese propaganda, and as a result no shops want to be seen to be selling it.

Among the anti-Axl coverage, is an article in The Global Times headlined "American band releases album venomously attacking China", while one unidentified Chinese source is being quoted as saying the new Guns N Roses album is part of plot by the Western world to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn".

Fans of Guns N Roses (or democracy) in China can, though, listen to the album via the band's MySpace, which continues to stream the album and which, we hear, is accessible via Chinese internet providers. I suspect the album is also available via all the usual black market routes in China too, so the only people who will be blocked from buying it are the 12 people in China who buy music from legitimate sources.

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DR PEPPER EXTEND CHINESE DEMOCRACY OFFER TO MEET DEMAND
More 'Chinese Democracy', and Dr Pepper have had to extend their offer for a free can of their fizzy drink after their website couldn't cope with demand.

I seem to remember saying, when the drinks firm first announced that fizzy drink drinkers wanting to apply for their free can of Dr Pepper would have to register online on the day of release of 'Chinese Democracy', that the company's servers were going to struggle to keep up. And that turned out to be true. They should hire me as a 'stating obvious IT facts' consultant.

As previously reported, Dr Pepper had promised to give every American a free can of their drink if Guns N Roses released 'Chinese Democracy' this year. With the album out in the US on Sunday, Americans had just 24 hours to register online for their free drink coupon. But high demand sent the company's website into crash central, making it difficult for many to register.

Presumably keen to not be seen to be reneging on their promise, Dr Pepper announced yesterday morning they were extending the offer up until yesterday evening, giving their servers more time to cope with free drink hunters. They said they had extended the capacity of their servers, and had also set up a toll free phone number that people could call instead.

As also previously reported, the band distanced themselves from the promotion, but nevertheless encouraged fans to collect their free can of the drink. Dr Pepper had previously said every American bar former GnR members Slash and Buckethead were eligible to apply for a can.

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DR DRE STILL LOCKED IN EMINEM'S BASEMENT
Dr Dre's long-awaited (although not by Guns N Roses standards) new album 'Detox', will not now be released this year, as originally expected, because he is just too busy working on Eminem's new album, 'Relapse', to finish his own new long player.

Relapse? Detox? Is this some kind of joke? Or perhaps it's a comment on the nature of celebrity culture in the 21st century. Or maybe they're just words they liked.

Anyway, Dre apparently abandoned work on 'Detox' in order to produce Eminem's album, and, as previously reported, work on the new Slim Shady album has dragged on longer than expected pushing the release of that record back into 2009 too.

But, according to Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine, Dre will be back in the studio working on his own material in January. Iovine told Billboard: "He'll be finished with Eminem by then, and he'll finish his album. Eminem was always coming next year. But what happened was, I lost Dr. Dre to Eminem. Dre had to stop making his album to finish Eminem's album. Eminem hit a streak, and when a guy like Eminem gets on fire, you stop everything. That's how we lost Dre".

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SINGLE REVIEW: The Dandy Warhols - Mis Amigos (Beat The World Records)
Perhaps a little more credit is due to this four-piece garage rock outfit - they've been around for fifteen years now and are probably best known (in the UK, anyway) for "that song on the mobile phone advert". They are no strangers to having their tunes used in just about every American tween TV drama and, let's not forget, have even been featured in their very own "crazy" documentary - like, totally rock and roll, man. All friendly jesting aside though, The Dandy Warhols have popped out some banging tunes over the past decade and a half - and you can bet your bottom dollar that this is one of them. Frantic and fuzzy, 'Mis Amigos' is a wicked concoction of sexy Courtney Taylor-Taylor's signature rumbling vocals (did I mention sexy?) and shaky-shaky sounds borrowed from what feels like a classic Spaghetti Western. 'Mis Amigos' has fan favourite written all over it. Mmm, yes please. TW
Release Date: 8 Dec
Press Contact: Freeman PR [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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CITY REVERB DEBUT ALBUM AND CMU SOCIAL GIG
City Reverb, the band formed by producer and former Radio 1 DJ Chris Coco and longtime collaborator Micky Buccheri, have announced details of their debut album, which will be released on 2 Feb via Dumb Angel. The album will be preceded by the single, 'Central Heating' on 26 Jan.

From Monday, the band will be giving away free downloads of remixes of every track on the album via their MySpace page at www.myspace.com/cityreverb

You can catch the band in full live glory at next month's CMU Social, which takes place at 229 on Great Portland Street on 9 Dec. They will perform alongside former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougal.

CMU Social is free to CMU Daily subscribers (like you). To get your name (and anyone else you'd like to bring) on the guestlist, just email social@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk. More info from www.cmusocial.co.uk.

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IDLEWILD OFFER BONUS-HEAVY PRE-RELEASE ALBUM TO FANS
Idlewild are offering fans the chance to get their hands on the band's new album ahead of its release and with a whole host of added extras attached. It's all part of a pre-order offer which is presumably designed to raise some capital (without the support of a label) so to fund the recording of the album, which is due to take place early next year.

Despite the new album not having been recorded yet, fans can already pre-order it via the band's website. Fans who take advantage of this offer will get the album ahead of its official release date. This pre-release version will also feature at least one bonus track, the names of pre-orderers in the CD booklet (and on the website), access to a members-only section of the band's website, entry into draws for special competitions and access to 15 free tracks from the band's 'Album By Album' shows at King Tuts in Glasgow, which take place next month.

The band told CMU: "After 11 years of recording and releasing records within the constraints of the record industry we now feel that the time is right and the technology exists for us to deal more quickly and directly with the fans".

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to www.idlewildmusic.com now.

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NOAH AND THE WHALE CANCEL US TOUR
Noah And The Whale have cancelled their planned upcoming tour of the US, having decided to use the time to record their second album instead.

The band wrote on their MySpace page: "It is with no little remorse and disappointment that we are compelled to cancel these dates. These words are being typed in the studio as we make progress on the next Noah And The Whale album. Between commitments in hereto-neglected Europe, we have made the sad but important decision to take time to develop these recordings over the winter months".

They go on to say that they'll be in North America by the spring, though, saying: "With new songs to disseminate and even more America-famished, we will cross the pond to tour across the continent from March 2009. This is a promise, a published, globally-viewable promise".

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COLDPLAY TOUR DATES
Coldplay have confirmed three stadium shows for 2009. Jay-Z will support at all dates, which is just the sort of cross-fertilisation I approve of, even if I don't approve of Coldplay. Anyway, the band will play Manchester's Old Trafford Cricket Ground on 12 Sep, Glasgow's Hampden Park on 16 Sep and Wembley Stadium on 19 Sep. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 9.30am.

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NO DOUBT ALBUM, TOUR
No Doubt, presently finishing up their first album in seven years, have revealed plans for a 2009 tour during a live chat on their website. The band haven't played live since 2004.

Guitarist Tom Dumont said: "I have cabin fever. Maybe we should play some shows or something", to which Stefani responded: "I think we should go out now. I don't think we should wait. Pack up the babies and get a bunch of nannies".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Kromestar - My Sound (Dubstar)
Kromestar has created a rather easy way into dubstep with this album. It does not really live up to the central protagonists and innovators of the genre, but will appeal to the casual fan or serious gormandiser, in the sense that it is accessible whilst also being a passable album. Nevertheless, 'My Sound' is not something to get excited about. It is so laid back it is practically perpendicular to the ground, avoiding the sense of fear and bowl crunching bass that Digital Mystiks or Kode 9 thrust into your ears. Although, he shares those outfits' approach to spelling, 'My Sound' is most definitely background music. A couple of tracks stand out from the album though. The title track is a pleasant mix of the past and future of dub. Weird wobbly dubstep bass on a late 1970s dub backbeat, over vocals that could have been sampled from a soundclash ready cut. 'The Truth' is also quite nice with real (as opposed to synthesised - yes musicologists that is a contested distinction, calm down) instruments, rubbing up with radar bleeps, organ buzz and what sounds like a world-weary Jamaican guy periodically intoning 'the truth' hopeful/ominously. It ebbs and rattles along quite nicely. Yeah, pretty standard, I hear you say. However, at no point did this album piss me off. It has an interesting array of textures that interplay subtly together and would go well after a big night out at about four in the morning. Just don't expect it to grab you by the throat. PG
Release: 1 Dec
Press Contact: Dispersion PR [all]

Buy from iTunes
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RED(WIRE) TO LAUNCH NEXT WEEK
U2, Coldplay, The Killers, The Dixie Chicks, John Legend, REM and Bob Dylan are among the artists due to participate in RED(WIRE), that new digital music venture in aid of Bono's (RED) charity, which aims to support HIV-infected people in Africa. The new venture kicks off next week to coincide with World AIDS Day.

As previously reported, the charitable service will give subscribers access to a chunk of content each week, including a song from a major artist (including those listed above), one from a new artist, and some multi-media. A subscription is five dollars. Subscribers will be able to forward free 'issues' to friends, and will be rewarded if their friends then sign up.

U2's RED(WIRE) track is already in the bag, while The Killers' track will be the previously reported Christmas song being recorded with Elton John and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant.

There's more information, I'm told, at www.redwire.com.

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BEATLES WON'T BE ON ITUNES FOR A WHILE - AND IT'S ALL EMI'S FAULT
The Beatles won't be appearing on iTunes anytime soon. Or on any download platform for that matter. And it's all EMI's fault. Obviously.

Paul McCartney has been speaking about when the Fab Four, one of the few hang outs from legit download stores, would finally appear online. He confirmed that the hold up is in the negotiations between the band's former label EMI and Beatles company Apple Corps, whose original label-biased record deal wouldn't have mentioned anything as crazy as digital rights.

Macca was asked about The Beatles going digital at a media launch for his latest and previously reported Fireman album. According to Billboard, he told reporters: "[Making the Beatles catalogue digital] is constantly being talked of, we'd like to do it. What happens is, when something's as big as The Beatles, it's heavy negotiations. We are very for it, we've been pushing it. But there are a couple of sticking points, I understand. So the last word I got back was that it had stalled, the whole process. They [EMI] want something we're not prepared to give them. Hey, sounds like the music business. It's between EMI and The Beatles. What else is new".

Relations between EMI and Apple Corps have never been great, despite John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison releasing many of their solo albums via the major. It's long been assumed that wranglings between EMI and the Beatles' Apple company was the main reason behind the delay in getting the band's catalogue onto iTunes, rather than any disagreements between EMI/Apple and the other Apple - the two Apples having now settled their dispute over the use of the name in the music space. That said, this is the first time I can remember a former Beatle being quite so specific about EMI's role in the delay.

Commenting on Macca's remarks, an EMI spokesperson said yesterday: "We have been working very hard to secure an agreement with Apple Corps to make The Beatles' legendary recording catalogue available to fans in digital form. Unfortunately the various parties involved have so far been unable to reach agreement, but we really hope that everyone can make progress soon".

Having got into EMI-dissing mode, McCartney, who continues to work with the major on his classical projects but who chose to release his most recent pop album via the now defunct Starbucks record company, told reporters: "I think the majors at the moment - I'm not dissing them - but I don't think they really know what's going on. With the download culture, they are floundering a little bit".

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ZAVVI DOWNLOADS TO LAUNCH NEXT MONTH
Zavvi have announced they will launch a download store in December, selling music in the MP3 format, and fully integrated with their mail-order website, akin to Amazon in the US (and what HMV are also going for over here I think).

Zavvi's predecessor Virgin Megastore had an accompanying download service of course - Virgin Digital - though like HMV's original digital music offer this was a Microsoft powered system that came with its own iTunes-style player through which both a-la-carte downloads and a subscription service could be accessed. Because both stores could only be accessed via the bespoke player the service could not be integrated with the two retail chain's existing and established mail-order websites. The bespoke player concept killed both services - no one wanted to install the player, and its existence meant neither store could benefit from the obvious value of putting download options next to the buttons where customers already bought CDs.

Virgin closed down its short lived digital music venture around about the time of the Virgin Megastore buyout that created Zavvi, meaning that while the newly independent retailer took over the Megastore's online mail-order operation it wasn't saddled with its former parent company's useless download operation. Some kind of new Zavvi download offer has been expected ever since, and is now expected to launch next month.

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BUZZNET CUT STAFF
More from the digital files, and social networking whatnot Buzznet has announced it is to lose at least ten of its 89 employees. The US-based web firm offers a mix of social networking, blogging and video-sharing services. It has increasingly moved in the music space, having secured the Universal Music Group as an investor, and more recently having acquired music blogs Idolator and Stereogum. It's not clear what the downsize says about the company, though pessimists point out young digital firms like Buzznet, which rely on ad sales for income but which do not boast the mass reach of other social networking giants like MySpace and Facebook, could struggle as the expected advertising slump takes place. Certainly most expect its recent acquisition spree to stop.

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BLENDER PUBLISHER COULD BE SOLD
Gossip also about Alpha Media, the US media company who publish the American version of Maxim and US music monthly Blender. It too is reportedly struggling, and investors and creditors are seemingly nervous about the company's ability to survive an advertising slump. Gossipers say restructuring talks are under way which could see one or more of the firm's creditors acquire the company and its magazines. No official word on this though.

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TWO TOUCH STATIONS MAY CLOSE
There was a time when FM radio licences in the UK were much sought after - you'd never have seen companies return them to OfCom. But that does seem to be happening more and more these days. The owners of Touch Radio in Banbury and Coventry have said they will close the stations down if no buyer can be found by the end of the year. According to RadioToday, CN Group has warned staff the two stations face closure.

When CN let it be known the stations were up for sale it was thought Absolute Radio might buy the Banbury station in order to extend the reach of its Oxford station JACKfm. It was thought Bauer, Global or Lincs FM Group might buy the Coventry station. It's not clear if CN Group has issued its statement regarding closing the stations because it is pessimistic about the chances of any of those company's making bids, or because it wants to force possible buyers to make a bid sooner rather than later.

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THE STUDENT RADIO CHART
Yes, it's the Student Radio Chart. Complied by the Student Radio Association and based on the playlists of student radio stations across the UK, here are the biggest songs in student radio this week.

1. [4] Killers - Human
2. [2] Razorlight - Wire to Wire
3. [10] Kanye West - Love Lockdown
4. [18] Katy Perry - Hot N Cold
5. [16] Pink - So What
6. [1] Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire
7. [8] Cage The Elephant - In one Ear
8. [12] MGMT - Kids
9. [11] Fall Out Boy - I Don't Care
10. [20] Britney Spears - Womanizer
11. [3] Alphabeat - What Is Happening
12. [7] Ladyhawke - My Delirium
13. [6] Kaiser Chiefs - Never Miss A Beat
14. [9] Alicia Keys/Jack White - Another Way To Die
15. [11] Snow Patrol - Take Back The City
16. [NEW] Coldplay - Lost
17. [NEW] Ne-yo - Miss Independent
18. [NEW] Oasis - Shock Of The Lightining
19. [17] Neon Neon - Dream Cars
20. [14] The Streets - Heaven For Weather

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MADONNA'S SCHEDULE KEEPS HER FROM DWELLING ON DIVORCE
Madonna has said that keeping busy with her Sticky & Sweet tour and all that is helpful for keeping her mind off the sad subject of her divorce, which, as previously reported, was made final on Friday.

She told the Associated Press: "I'm sad about my personal life, but I feel very blessed and very lucky that I have the opportunity to do what I do in my professional life. It would be horrible if I was just thinking about getting a divorce and had nothing to do".

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GERARD WAY TO BE A DAD
My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way has announced that he and his wife, Mindless Self Indulgence bassist Lindsey Ballato, are expecting a first baby in the summer of 2009. The couple were married back in Sep 04, the ceremony taking place backstage at a gig in Denver.

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THE RIFLES APPEAL FOR RETURN OF HAT
The Rifles have appealed for the return of a hat belonging to guitarist Luke Crowther. The trilby was stolen at a gig in Glasgow on 7 Nov by a gig-goer who jumped on stage and ran off with the item. Crowther told NME.com: "Some crazy fan jumped on stage at the Glasgow Garage and nicked it off me. The bouncers chased after him, but he got away. I've had that hat since the band began".

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JASON DONOVAN ON DRUGS AND KYLIE
Kylie always makes it into Jason Donovan stories, doesn't she? I think she should back off and just appear in her own stories. It's not like she's short on them.

Though it was Donovan himself that got her involved in this story, by mentioning her in a Q interview in which he said that he felt his past career could have been extended if he'd reinvented himself the way Kylie did. He told the mag: "You pull your skirt up a little bit... and away you go. She's done an amazing job, she's unrecognisable from where she started".

He went on to recall how, as his star waned, he moved on to drugs and musicals (Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), saying this: "I kinda backed into a corner, wearing a loincloth and singing 'I close my eyes...' then going home and smok[ing] a big fat spliff and thinking, 'What the fuck happened to me?'".

I like Jason Donovan.

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