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TODAY'S NEWS

Madonna will give Ritchie cash in divorce settlement

Chinese Democracy leaker formally pleads guilty
Axl Rose blames file-sharers for disappointing record sales
Obama can change hip hop, says Common
Ill-advised reformation no. 4982: The Stone Roses
Ill-advised reformation no. 2487: The Sex Pistols
Marr does more rumour denying
Madness sign deal with Power Amp Music
AC/DC's Johnson gets room named after him
Postal Service may or may not release another album
Manson collaborates with Ne-Yo
Depeche Mode album finished
Tilbrook to release new album
Live Here Now announce two releases
Abba museum to tour
Zavvi respond to media speculation
Shellshock form alliance with SRD
MMF chair to stand down
WPP man takes top job at EMI Classics
Warner's eastern European CFO promoted
Live Nation festivals chief becomes Music COO
SanDisk lay off staff
Confusion over new work-permit system could block artist entry
Edge announce another fundraising round
Tuborg becomes Academy Group's official lager
Virgin announce 50mb broadband
Global Radio appoint another newspaper man
Exec shift at Bauer
X Factor judges think X Factor runners up will be big
Elton John hates X Factor
Motherly lullabies turn rock
Ebay has no soul
ON THE NETWORK...
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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TUESDAY 16TH DECEMBER

DEAD PIXELS
Hailing from exotic lands such as Egypt, Denmark and France, as well as the UK, Dead Pixels are a five-piece who have grabbed electro-pop by the horns and given it a right good shake. The band began life back in late 2005 as a trio and one month later they released EP 'Left For Dead' which allowed them to start stamping their mark all over music land.


 

Over time they have been working hard at honing their art and the addition of two new members has landed them at a point where the buzz around them is electric.

Their edgy, infectious sound can be found in full effect on their new single, 'Words Are Poison/So You Say', which was released last week.

Here are what the band have to say through the power of the Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
The girls all fancied guys who played guitar... Simple really.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
We are a bunch of moody buggers, believe it or not. Lone's quite a demanding girl sometimes and I think that shows in our songs. She don't like being messed about! Do so at your peril...

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It's either a very quick easy process where the track kinda writes itself, or it's a nightmare few weeks bashing it out trying to make it work.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Me personally, from a production point of view, I love early Neptunes stuff and N*E*R*D's first album. Prince, Paul Epworth (I liked his production style on The Rakes' first album), Lasse's drumming energy was also a cornerstone of inspiration to me making beats, and we were lucky enough to have him in the band for six months, which was nice. We were also lucky enough to find another great drummer in Dennis to replace him.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
We don't make cool music for cool kids, it's just good music... I think "cool" and "good" are seldom together these days.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
To open doors and bring us to media eyes... That's the first important step for us - to get people listening without any pre-meditated ideas.

MORE>> www.dead-pixels.co.uk and www.myspace.com/deadpixelsmusic

 

THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS - THE AGE OF THE UNDERSTATEMENT
Okay, I'll admit that, when the side project of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane from The Rascals was announced, I completely failed to get excited. Even the subsequent hype wasn't enough to enthuse me - largely because I set my musical radar to 'ignore' for most of it. One thing that did get through, though, was their love of Scott Walker. I also love Scott Walker, which was enough to convince me to give the CD a go when it arrived in the CMU Office. And that, dear readers, is where a new love affair began. Yes, they owe a lot to Scott, but they owe a lot to the 60s in general, sound-wise. But what shows out more as they remove themselves from their normal context is what great songwriters these two are. Oh sure, Owen Pallett's orchestral arrangements add a great deal to the album, but if you stripped all that away, you'd still be left with 12 really good songs. And if that's not reason enough for 'The Age Of The Understatement' to be one of our albums of the year, I don't know what is.

MORE>> MySpace

Losing track? You can keep up with the CMU team's top ten albums of the year on the CMU website here.

 

 



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.

 

 

INTERNSHIP AT LEYLINE PROMOTIONS
Leyline Promotions are seeking an enthusiastic, web-savvy intern for their PR and Events Management departments. Internships last up to 3 months for 3-5 days per week, depending on the candidate. A contribution towards travel will be provided. Candidates must have a keen interest in indie, alternative, rock, electro and dance music. Email Tamsin with a CV and cover letter - tamsin@leylinepromotions.com

INTERNSHIP AT UNLIMITED MEDIA
UnLimited Media is seeking and intern to begin working with us in the new year. The successful candidate 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.

 

 

OK, so it's stage two of the CMU Track Of The Year poll. Below are the ten most-voted-for tracks in stage one. Now all you have to do is email the name of your favourite from this lot to 2008@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

The Final Ten:
Alphabeat - Fascination
Elbow - One Day Like This
Foals - Cassius
Florence & The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
Glasvegas - Geraldine
Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor
Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
MGMT - Time To Pretend
Sam Sparro - Black & Gold
Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes

Go on, it's easy, just email the name of your favourite track from this list to 2008@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk - and look out for the announcement of the overall winner in next Monday's CMU Daily, the CMU Review Of The Music Year. Happy voting.

 

 

MADONNA WILL GIVE RITCHIE CASH IN DIVORCE SETTLEMENT
I'm confused because I thought we were told no money would change hands as part of the Madonna/Guy Ritchie divorce settlement. We must have been told that because we asked a question to that effect in the most recent CMU Pop Quiz at last week's CMU Social. And people were saying Ritchie had done a "Billie Piper" in refusing to take any money off his ex-wife. The legal wrangling that took place prior to the divorce being granted, we were told, was all about the custody of the couple's children.

But whatever, Madonna's US spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg has now told reporters Ritchie will receive approximately £50 million from the singer as part of the couple's divorce settlement, though that does include the value of their Devon home. Rosenberg confirmed the financial settlement to both the BBC and the Associated Press, seemingly responding to reports elsewhere in the media yesterday to the effect that Ritchie would receive $60-$70 from his ex (which is, actually, a bit less than £50 million). Rosenberg reportedly admitted that the £50 million was probably "one of the largest payouts ever in a divorce".

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CHINESE DEMOCRACY LEAKER FORMALLY PLEADS GUILTY
The blogger who leaked tracks from Guns N Roses album 'Chinese Democracy' months before its release formally pleaded guilty to the criminal copyright charges against him yesterday. As previously reported, Kevin Cogill, who had previously pleaded not-guilty to the infringement charges despite admitting uploading tracks from the album, changed his plea last month. He formally pleaded guilty in an LA court yesterday. It's thought prosecutors will recommend probation rather than a custodial sentence in relation to the violation in return for Cogill pleading guilty.

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AXL ROSE BLAMES FILE SHARERS FOR DISAPPOINTING RECORD SALES
Talking of illegal Guns N Roses downloads, Axl Rose, who has got rather chatty in the last week after keeping a low profile around the release of long awaited new album 'Chinese Democracy', has blamed the long player's relatively disappointing sales figures on illegal downloading. Of course, Axl is only having to come to terms with the digital revolution now, his last album having been released long before Napster and all that followed.

Writing, almost in English, on the forum at chinesedemocracy.com, Rose says pesky illegal downloading was "basically devastating across the board. And when u have such a majority openly justifying their actions and throwing out nonsense such as it's not actually stealing as the original is still with whomever it's unbelievably insane. It [file sharing culture] exists because of the greed of the record industry, the greed of large scale pirating, the ease and common nature now of the act itself and personal motivations such as popularity among certain groups, possible momentary media recognition etc. And it's too rampant and widespread. It's simply too huge a mess for the courts to deal with and in that with those #'s and the expense and manpower involved necessary at this time to curtail it... obviously there are more serious crimes for society to focus on".

As previously reported, some industry insiders blamed GnR's poor record sales not on the downloading phenomenon but on Axl's unwillingness to do any promotion around the long, long awaited album release - the star having gone all but AWOL when the record arrived in the shops.

That said, perhaps it's just as well Axl wasn't too active on the promotion trail. Prior to blogging on the Chinese Democracy website, Rose went online to answer fans' questions via gnrevolution.com. When one fan questioned whether it was really Axl on the other end of the ether connection, the singer responded: "You're a little cunt and since you've been posting you've pretty much always been a little cunt. Blind accusations and insults by an anonymous coward and whiny shit stirrer aren't impressive or needed by anyone. Everyone else...talk with your administrator. Who wants to chat?!!" Great PR man that Axl Rose.

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OBAMA CAN CHANGE HIP HOP, SAYS COMMON
As if expectations of Barack Obama weren't already unrealistically high, now rapper Common has said that he thinks the new US Prez is the man who can convince rappers to choose more positive subject matters for their tracks.

Common told CNN: "I really do believe we as hip-hop artists pick up what's going on in the world. I think hip hop artists will have no choice but to talk about different things and more positive things. Try to bring a brighter side to that because, even before Barack, I think people had been tired of hearing the same thing".

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ILL-ADVISED REFORMATION NO. 4982: THE STONE ROSES
Okay, maybe I've been a bit wishy washy on this before. Let me just put it in the plainest terms I can manage: No band should ever reform, ever. Oh yeah, I know that once in a while you get a good one, but for every band that improves and expands on past work, there are 50 who just destroy everything they ever did and ruin it for everyone. So, with that in mind, Ian Brown, please dig your heels in hard.

Yes, this outburst comes in the wake of news that Ian Brown is the only thing standing in the way of a Stone Roses reunion. Though that's a pretty big hurdle if you think about it. But bassist Mani told Channelbee he's definitely up for it, saying: "Next year is the 20th anniversary of the first album - it's an ideal time to do it. It's something I would love to do before we are all fat and bald".

He also urged fans to "start the campaign". Don't. Just... don't.

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ILL-ADVISED REFORMATION NO. 2487: THE SEX PISTOLS
The Sex Pistols have hinted that they might record a new album. Urgh.

Glen Matlock told The Quietus: "We've done our bit this year, we'll meet again in the new year and see what we want to do. We were not recording a new album - I think that journalists are making it up, but you can never say never. We all got ideas between us. It's a double-edged sword [though] - if you do it not as good as the original [people will be critical], but if you don't do it people want to know why. [But] it's up to us. We are the masters of our own destiny".

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MARR DOES MORE RUMOUR DENYING
Following the news that Johnny Marr hadn't given much thought to the possibility of a Smiths reunion, as reported yesterday, comes the revelation that he's evidently now had a think about it, because he has released a statement denying those rumours that the band will reform. As previously reported, new rumours of a Smiths reunion had surfaced following reports Morrissey and Marr were on better terms.

But Marr told NME: "The stories circulating about a Smiths reunion are, as usual, untrue. I'm currently very excited about writing and recording with The Cribs for a new album to be released next summer and we're playing shows in February, so going back in time isn't in my plans".

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MADNESS SIGN DEAL WITH POWER AMP MUSIC
Madness have signed a deal with Power Amp Music to enable the self-release of a new album, 'The Liberty of Norton Folgate', via the band's own label Lucky 7 Records. The new long player will be released next year, which is also the group's thirtieth anniversary.

Power Amp Music launched earlier this year to help established artists and their managers raise funding to self-release albums (using something called Enterprise Initiative Scheme (EIS) investments). Power Amp also provide services traditionally handled by an artist's label, including recording services, marketing and promotion, sales and distribution. They also look to work with artists in other domains such as touring, merchandising, sponsorship and publishing. As I remember it, key to the whole operation is that artists retain full ownership of any recordings.

Explaining the way his company works, Power Amp's Tom Bywater told CMU: "The music industry landscape has shifted dramatically in recent times and artists have been empowered by this shift. We recognise that established artists are now demanding more innovative and efficient financing solutions and we have built a robust, flexible and cost-effective platform to provide such solutions. When Power Amp Music invests in an artist, the artist retains control of their rights and enjoys total transparency on their finances. We offer a genuine win-win opportunity for our artists and our investors alike."

Confirming their deal with Power Amp, Madness co-manager Garry Blackburn of Anglo Management added: "Power Amp Music offers a band like Madness a new platform from which to operate in the contemporary music industry. Their flexible and visionary business model has enabled Lucky 7 Records to build a bespoke team around the band and has helped us retain a clear overview of all marketing and promotional activity".

He continued: "Through this agreement the band feel they have much more control over their commercial activities than they have ever had before and stand to receive a much fairer share of the revenue they generate. Madness has signed this deal because Power Amp has consistently sought an alignment of interests between the band and the company. Tom Bywater has created an amazing opportunity to build a new music company around the bands interests, and the timing couldn't be better".

Elsewhere in Madness news, the band have signed a long term deal with Union Square Music regarding to release and marketing of their back catalogue. This will include physical and digital re-releases to coincide with the aforementioned thirtieth anniversary. Peter Stack, MD of Union Square Music, told CMU: "USM are thrilled to be representing the Madness catalogue. Madness are one of the most successful UK chart acts of all time. They are an iconic band, a national treasure, and outstanding live performers. The Madness team are a great bunch, and we look forward to a creative, imaginative, successful and fun partnership".

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AC/DC'S JOHNSON GETS ROOM NAMED AFTER HIM
A music therapy room at a hospital in Florida is to be named the Brian Johnson Music Therapy Room in recognition of the AC/DC man's fundraising efforts for the John Entwistle Foundation.

The not for profit organisation, named after the late The Who bassist of course, helps provide music education for 'under-served' children, including those in hospital.

Johnson is expected to attend the opening event at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital next week.

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POSTAL SERVICE MAY OR MAY NOT RELEASE ANOTHER ALBUM
Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard has said that his Postal Service side project may never release a second album. The duo's debut, 'Give Up', was released in 2003 to wide acclaim. A follow-up has never appeared but rumours of one being in production, and the desire for there to be one, has elevated the non-existent album to almost mythical status.

Gibbard told Rolling Stone: "It's the record that never seems to want to come out. It's also just never been a priority... There never really was a plan to do a second album. I don't know about it being the indie-rock 'Chinese Democracy', but now that 'Chinese Democracy' has come out, I guess it just becomes the second Postal Service record that will never come out. We work from time to time together but we have other things that take up all of our time".

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MANSON COLLABORATES WITH NE-YO
Sounds like an April fool, but who knows, together they could make beautiful music. Marilyn Manson is, reports claim, working with R&B type Ne-Yo on material for his next album.

Ne-Yo, who has of course written songs for Britney Spears and Celine Dion, insists that he's happy to work with the goth shock rocker. He's quoted as saying: "I'm sitting down next with Marilyn Manson so we can write songs for his new album. I don't have preconceived notions about what he is musically, the clothes he wears, none of it".

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DEPECHE MODE ALBUM FINISHED
Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan has confirmed that his band have finished work on their new album. It's not got a title yet, but it's expected to be released next year. The frontman told Pop And Hiss: "We've completed the record. There might be a couple of bits and pieces we've got to clean up, but I feel really good about the fact that we're finished".

Talking about the LP's content, he added: "I feel like [the record] is [about] looking outside and a yearning for somehow coming together. The world is changing. Watching Obama getting elected was great. We watched it on TV in Santa Barbara and I get goosebumps thinking about that still It's going to take a long time, but I think some of that same feeling, that sentiment [of hope] is in the work".

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TILBROOK TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM
And talking of new albums, former Squeeze man Glenn Tilbrook and his band The Fluffers are set to release one, 'Pandemonium Ensues', via Quixotic Records on 16 Feb, preceded by a single, 'Still', on 2 Feb. The record is Tilbrook's first in five years, and features guest appearances from actor Johnny Depp, and his wife Vanessa Paradis.

Here's the tracklisting for the album:

Best of Times
Through The Net
Product
Slaughtered Artist
Still
Relentless Pursuit
Interest & Love
Melancholy Emotion
Beachland Ballroom
Happy Disposition
Black Sheep
Little Ships
She Makes Me
Too Close To The Sun

Tilbrook is also heading out on tour, dates as follows:

5 May: Southampton The Brook
6 May: Aldershot West End Centre
7 May: Exeter Phoenix
8 May: Penzance Acorn Arts
12 May: Bristol Thekla
13 May: Pontardarwe Arts Centre
14 May: Bilston The Robin
16 May: Runcorn Brindley Arts Centre
17 May: Holmfirth Picture Dome
18 May: Chester Telford's Warehouse
20 May: Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
22 May: Norwich Arts Centre
23 May: Milton Keynes The Stables
24 May: Dartford Mick Jagger Centre

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LIVE HERE NOW ANNOUNCE TWO RELEASES
Mute's Live Here Now live music imprint has announced the first two titles in a new ongoing programme of archive live album releases - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at the Royal Albert hall in May 1997 and Mick Harvey live at Bush Hall in May 2007.

The Nick Cave one features twelve tracks, including a rare version of 'Where The Wild Roses Grow' with Blixa Bargeld in the Kylie-seat, whilst Three Sisters is a sixteen track recording of Mick Harvey's London leg of his Two Of Diamonds European tour.

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ABBA MUSEUM TO TOUR
Abba The Museum, which was supposed to open in Stockholm next year, but has been delayed, is set to embark on a world tour in 2009 instead. Produced by Touring Exhibitions (TX) of Stockholm, and backed by Parks & Resorts Scandinavia, Polar Music, UMG and Live Nation, the exhibition will feature music, costumes, history and more than 750 items of memorabilia, many supplied by the band's four members themselves.

Magnus Danielsson, President of Touring Exhibitions, said: "ABBA the Museum puts the visitor right into the middle of the ABBA experience, from past to present! It's perfect for the whole family, with so much to see, hear, feel, touch and experience, thanks to state-of-the-art technology. The museum will even enable you virtually to sing and perform ABBA's hits in front of a 'live' sell-out crowd at stadiums where ABBA performed back in the day".

The producers are currently deciding which countries and cities to visit.

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ZAVVI RESPOND TO MEDIA SPECULATION
As expected, Zavvi released an official statement on Friday following the news that its main supplier of CDs and DVDs, eUK, was going into liquidation. As possibly not expected, I completely forgot to report on it yesterday.

The retailer's statement also dealt with those previously reported rumours that they too are experiencing financial difficulties, and that the added stress of eUK's collapse, which forced them to suspend their online operations during the busy Christmas period, could force them into administration also.

The statement followed media reports on Friday that Ernst & Young, who have been advising the retailer on how to navigate all the current turbulence in the music retail sector, had been forced upon them by eUK's administrators Deloitte because of the size of the retailer's debts with the distributor. However, Zavvi's statement denied that was the case.

Anyway, slightly delayed I know, here is Zavvi's statement: "Zavvi Entertainment Group is disappointed to hear that the administrators for the Woolworth Group Plc have been unable to find a buyer for Entertainment UK - our thoughts go out to all the employees at eUK who have been affected by today's decision".

They continued: "Contrary to speculation, Zavvi can confirm that its creditors have not appointed Ernst & Young, however Ernst & Young have been providing invaluable advice and expertise to the group over the past few weeks since Entertainment UK (Zavvi's main supplier) was placed in administration".

And concluded: "Zavvi would like to reassure customers that it is dealing direct with suppliers to ensure that the right product is available in its 125 stores for Christmas. Zavvi is currently reviewing its distribution strategy and will announce plans in the near future".

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SHELLSHOCK FORM ALLIANCE WITH SRD
Following the collapse of Pinnacle, smaller indie distributor Shellshock, who previously outsourced the so called 'pick & pack' bit of their operation to Pinnacle, have announced a new partnership with Southern Records Distribution, or SRD. The deal means SRD will looking after the shipping bit of Shellshock's distribution offer.

Confirming the deal, Shellshock MD Garreth Ryan told CMU: "Uppermost in our mind was to find a financially sound shipping partner; one who is independent, reliable, and understands our labels' and customers' needs. We are now very pleased to have an excellent and we believe much improved distribution system in place".

SRD's owner John Knight adds: "We are delighted to be working with Garreth and everyone at Shellshock. Their label roster is highly regarded throughout the music industry in the UK. It's a good match for the labels we distribute so we were both able to see the mutual benefits, and the ethos of both companies are perfectly aligned".

Among the labels distributed by Shellshock are Sub Pop, Glitterhouse, Holy Roar, Elefant, Arts & Crafts, Mint, Magic Bullet, Sub Rosa, Tapete, Minus, Undergroove and Acid Jazz.

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MMF CHAIR TO STAND DOWN
Veteran artist manager Jazz Summers is stepping down as chairman of the Music Managers Forum, the trade body for the management community, after four years overseeing the organisation.

According to Music Week, Summers says now is a good time to step down, with the MMF-supported Featured Artist Coalition now established, the management trade body now more integrated with the rest of the industry via its affiliation with UK Music, and with a number a good candidates for the top role at the MMF circulating in the management community. He says he hopes to dedicate more of his spare time, when not running management firm Big Life, supporting the music-business-focused environmental charity Julie's Bicycle.

Summers' successor will be announced at the trade body's board meeting on 13 Jan. Courtyard Management's Brian Message is a favourite to take over the job.

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WPP MAN TAKES TOP JOB AT EMI CLASSICS
Yes, it's another senior EMI appointment from outside the music business, this time to the top job at EMI Classics. The major yesterday announced Eric Dingman, previously of advertising conglom WPP, would become President of the division.

Confirming the appointment, the boss of EMI's catalogue division, to whom Dingman will report, Ernesto Schmitt, told reporters: "I'm delighted that Eric will be taking up the leadership of EMI Classics. The company has an incredible roster of artists and heritage. With his great passion for music and culture and his deep understanding of consumer behaviour, Eric is the ideal person to drive EMI Classics forward at this time of unparalleled change and opportunity".

Dingman himself added: "I'm thrilled to be joining EMI Classics and it is very exciting to do so when there is a renewed focus on growth. EMI Classics is a fantastic company with an unrivalled catalogue and partnerships with so many of the world's leading recording artists - from established greats like Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker to exciting up and coming musicians such as Quatuor Ebène and David Fray. There is so much we can do to open up EMI's fine classical repertoire in more relevant and accessible ways thereby enhancing fan interest in the classical genre".

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WARNER'S EASTERN EUROPEAN CFO PROMOTED
Over at Warner an internal appointment, as the CFO of the major's central and eastern European operations, Andreas Klöpfel, takes on a second role, as COO in the region.

Confirming the promotion, the CEO of Warner Music Central/Eastern Europe, Bernd Dopp, told reporters: "Andreas has been key to the successful integration of our Central and Eastern European operations. He also continues to play a major role in the development of additional revenue streams such as live, merchandising and direct-to-consumer platforms. I look forward to working with him as we build on our achievements and drive the ongoing diversification of our business".

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LIVE NATION FESTIVALS CHIEF BECOMES MUSIC COO
Another promotion to a COO role now, this time in the live sector. Live Nation UK has announced that John Probyn, previously the live music major's UK Festival Director, has been promoted to the role of COO for their UK Music division. He will continue to oversee the company's flagship festivals, Hard Rock Calling, Wireless and Download, but also take over responsibility for all UK promotions, marketing, PR, hospitality and productions, which sounds like rather a large remit.

Confirming the appointment, Paul Latham, President of UK Music and Venues for Live Nation, told CMU: "John's past achievements speak for itself and I look forward to working with him on strengthening our portfolio. John is an integral part of our organisation and I congratulate him on his appointment".

Probyn himself added: "I am delighted with my new appointment and look forward to the challenges ahead".

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SANDISK LAY OFF STAFF
More recession-type lay offs, though this time on the periphery of the music industry. SanDisk, the flash memory firm who have enjoyed some success in the flash-based MP3 player market, have reportedly laid off about 10% of their staff worldwide, which means about 300 people losing their jobs. According to Digital Music News some of those redundancies have already taken place. Despite claiming second place in the MP3 player market in some territories, companies like SanDisk still face stiff competition from market leader Apple, not to mention increased competition from the mobile phone makers who want people to use their mobile handsets as their primary digital media player.

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CONFUSION OVER NEW WORK-PERMIT SYSTEM COULD BLOCK ARTIST ENTRY
A new work-permit system being operated by the UK Border Agency will potentially cause problems for artists seeking permission to enter Britain to perform.

According to Music Week, the new system, which went into operation at the end of last month, is causing confusion among both those applying for work permits for artists, and at government agencies which process applications. Said confusion is reportedly causing delays in processing applications which could result in artists not getting work-permits in time to fulfil touring commitments.

Other problems relate to the IT framework behind the new system, with some companies who manage artist applications yet to properly register with the new database, and others who are registered finding the system is temperamental and prone to crashing.

Music Week quote Steve Richard of work-permit specialist T&S Immigration Services thus: "The British Consulate in Los Angeles doesn't know the rules and has been telling acts that they still need Entry Visas, which is not the case. So we're waiting to hear about the first act to be refused entry. When that happens, we'll hear all about it, because the airline they come in on will be forced to take them back".

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EDGE ANNOUNCE ANOTHER FUNDRAISING ROUND
Live music investment fund Edge Performance has announced another round of fundraising. The firm is looking to raise £10 million through a so called 'E Share issue', which I'd explain to you if I had any idea what that meant.

Edge Director Alasdair George told reporters: "The live music and events sector continues to attract strong demand with world class individual performers and groups selling out within minutes of tickets becoming available. As the industry leader we anticipate good deal flow and that we will continue to have a pick of first class investment opportunities. Since the establishment of Edge our performance has outstripped those targets set out by the Board by some considerable margin".

Addressing the issue of the recession and its possible impact on Edge's investments, the fund's founder David Glick added: "No sector is recession-proof, but we believe the impact of the current downturn on live music will be a flight to value. Acts who set ticket prices at the appropriate level will continue to do well. We believe our market-leading position as an investor, our unrivalled team of executive talent and our established relationships with market-leading promoters will stand us in good stead".

Among the artists Edge has invested in during the last year are Bon Jovi, Primal Scream and Kanye West, while Edge is also an investor in Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's 'Monkey - Journey to the West' stage show which is currently running at London's O2.

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TUBORG BECOMES ACADEMY GROUP'S OFFICIAL LAGER
Lager brand Tuborg continues in its bid to become the new Carling in terms of music association by becoming the official beer for the O2 Academy music venues.

As previously reported, venues in the Academy Music Group recently ended their long standing partnership with Carling, with phone firm O2 stepping in as headline sponsor. Given O2 don't, as yet, make alcoholic drinks, this meant the venue network was able to negotiate a separate deal with a lager brand, and that deal, a five year partnership with Tuborg, was announced yesterday.

Gareth Roberts, Head Of Sponsorship And Media Relations at Carlsberg UK, told CMU: "Tuborg is very excited about this deal with Live Nation/Academy Music Group. These are the best music venues in the country delivering the best music acts around. This will give Tuborg drinkers an incredible line up to choose from and our customers a great opportunity to promote music within their outlets and stores. This partnership firmly establishes Tuborg as the beer of music and clearly positions the brand as the number one product for any music venue".

John Northcote of Academy Music Group, meanwhile, told us: "Tuborg and music go hand in hand. This partnership sees a continued effort between two well respected brands, to provide their customers with the best live music experience possible. We are delighted that Tuborg will be the official beer at all our venues and look forward to developing a strong relationship with them in 2009".

Tuborg is increasingly active in the music space, with an ongoing partnership with one of the Academy Group's parent companies, Live Nation, in particular in relation to the festivals produced by the live music conglom and its subsidiary Festival Republic.

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VIRGIN ANNOUNCE 50MB BROADBAND
Virgin Media has said that its new 50MB broadband service will enable users to download whole films in just minutes, and a TV show in 60 seconds. They are presumably referring to downloads via legitimate video download platforms, and not the mad bad world of BitTorrent file sharing, though such high internet speeds being on offer to mainstream consumers will make film and TV executives already stressed about the growth of online video piracy even more nervous. The super-fast broadband service will be available to consumers connected to the ISPs own cable network for £46 a month, including phone line.

Announcing the new service, Virgin boss Neil Berkett told reporters: "Today marks a historic moment, for both Virgin Media and the UK. As the first internet service provider to roll out next-generation broadband access, our 50Mb service represents the dawning of a new era of high-speed services in the UK and is just the beginning of what we hope to offer our customers over the coming years. This service will transform the way people interact and entertain themselves online and will provide a broadband experience that is truly world class".

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GLOBAL RADIO APPOINT ANOTHER NEWSPAPER MAN
Another former newspaper exec has taken a top job at Global Radio, the commercial radio company much expanded since its acquisition of GCap.

Following the appointment of former Mail On Sunday chief Stephen Miron to the job of CEO, and the appointment of former News International exec Mike Gordon to the position of Commercial Director, the radio firm yesterday announced it had recruited another man from Mail publisher Associated Newspapers. Their Head Of Strategy Stuart Mays will become Global's Director Of Commercial Strategy. He will join the firm in January, reporting to Gordon.

Confirming his appointment, Mays told reporters: "I'm delighted to be joining Global Radio as Director Of Commercial Strategy. This is an excellent opportunity to work with an incredible portfolio of brands and brand platforms - it's a fascinating time to be joining the industry".

Gordon added: "Stuart will bring a wealth of experience to Global Radio, having worked for both agency and media owners. There are tremendous opportunities for us to work more strategically across our client and business portfolio, and I am delighted he is joining us in the New Year".

It remains to be seen if experience garnered in the newspaper world puts you in a prime position to transform the fortunes of the UK's biggest radio firm.

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EXEC SHIFT AT BAUER
Bauer Radio have announced that their Group MD Dee Ford will take over responsibility for the company's Big City network of FM stations after that network's former chief, Travis Baxter, moves into the new role of MD of Radio. I'm not sure what that really means, except that Baxter will seemingly have a more strategic role in his new post.

In an internal memo, Ford explains: "So that we may respond effectively and create an environment in which our future plans can flourish, I have asked Travis Baxter to step out of his day to day responsibilities and to dedicate himself 100 per cent to strategy, business development and government/regulatory relations".

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X FACTOR JUDGES THINK X FACTOR RUNNERS UP WILL BE BIG
Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue have said they think the runners-up on X Factor, boyband JLS, are destined for big things.

Walsh told The Daily Star: "There's no question about it. These boys will have a career in the music industry. They are going to be without doubt the biggest band we have ever had on this show".

Minogue added: "They are simply amazing. I really love them. The hysteria that has been surrounding them over the last few weeks is very reminiscent of Take That's early days. I think there are loads of girls who are going to fall in love with them. I wish them all the luck in the world".

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ELTON JOHN HATES X FACTOR
Talking of the 'X Factor', Elton John left fans in no doubts as to his opinion of the show. He told crowds at his concert at the O2 Arena on Saturday night that he would rather have his "cock bitten off by an Alsatian" than watch the it. Didn't he appear on it once, though? Or was that 'Pop Idol'? It was definitely some pop reality thing, I'm sure.

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MOTHERLY LULLABIES TURN ROCK
A recent survey has revealed that mothers these days are rejecting old-fashioned lullabies in favour of modern pop songs when helping their babies to sleep. Take That's 'Patience' was a top choice, whilst Oasis' 'Wonderwall' and Guns n Roses' 'Sweet Child O' Mine' also get some mum-play.

The Baby Website said they found the results of their survey surprising. Spokeswoman Kathryn Crawford told the BBC: "We were really surprised to find that mums would rather sing modern pop tunes than traditional lullabies. I expect most mums put the radio on when at home with the baby and the catchy lyrics make it impossible to sing anything else at bedtime".

Apparently these mothers think that traditional lullabies are too old-fashioned. For what it's worth, my daughter lives in a house filled with the sounds of every genre imaginable, and seems to be showing a preference for disco/dance and hip hop at the moment, but I am pretty sure that if she could tell you what song she wanted to hear last thing at night, it'd be 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.

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EBAY HAS NO SOUL
In an act of extreme killjoyness, eBay has blocked a musician from selling his soul to raise funds for his band.

Dante Knoxx of experimental rock band Paradigm put his soul up for auction with the starting price of £25,000.50 and a "buy it now" price of £700,000. Despite having no bids, eBay cancelled the auction with just two hours to go.

Knoxx told The Independent: "You cannot sell anything that is not physical. That includes ghosts, souls and spirits which is funny. I have been refunded but I had 200 people watching it, I'm really disappointed by that. I had lots of emails asking if I was serious and religious groups telling me I couldn't do that, others wanted to talk about my soul. I had a lot of interest but no actual bidders which is a real shame".

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