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TODAY'S NEWS

EMI.com launches

Kiedis nearly suffered organ failure, say friends
Machine Head guitarist collapses on stage
Davy Graham dies
Kershaw receives suspended sentence
Dutch singer loses Nazi libel case
Elton John loses libel suit over spoof Guardian diary piece
Lil Wayne's lawyer asks for more time in sample lawsuit
Two Hallelujahs set to top Christmas chart
Slash deserves no credit for Sweet Child
Ronson prepares for a busy 2009
Rolo Tomassi launch singles club
Weezer Christmas collection available online
The Boy Least Likely To Christmas release
Beyonce confirms O2 dates
New Orleans jazz fest celebrates 40 years
Guitar Hero et al have peaked, but still have longevity
EMI may close Barnes studios
Equity Music closes
Smernicki becomes Polydor's chief digital man
Rubin may be side lined at Sony
GEMA considering joining ice partnership
ICMP announce scholarship programme
Chuck's Tupac story named error of the year
The View invite fan back stage after breaking his nose
Fall Out Boy play a capella
Noel Gallagher plans to love Chinese Democracy
Robbie reportedly considering post-EMI deals
Lily talks Womanizer
ON THE NETWORK...
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CMU Directory
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WEDNESDAY 17TH DECEMBER

RA RA RIOT
Formed in 2006, American indie-rockers Ra Ra Riot have been rising up through the ranks and have arrived in a pretty good place so far. From their early days of playing gigs around Syracuse University campus, their music has taken them on tours supporting Tokyo Police Club and Editors, as well as on two UK headline tours of their own.


 

The tragic loss of their original drummer, John Pike, in 2007 gave them a painful knock, but they decided to continue with their music. Having just finished a European tour with Vampire Weekend and Los Campesinos!, Ra Ra Riot will release their latest single 'Can You Tell' on 22 Dec.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
We formed at Syracuse University in the spring of 2006. Four out of the six of us were just a few months away from graduating, and the band was really just a 'last hoorah' before we had to go out into the real world and get jobs. We started out playing at house parties, and on-campus events, and then after a couple months we started to expand a little bit and we started playing in other cities. We never expected that the band was going to keep us busy past graduation and into the next year... and here we are, almost three years after we first played together.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
'Can You Tell' was a song that was introduced by Wes early on. We had been trying to get material together for our first ever paying gig, so Wes presented us with an earlier version of this song that was recorded with the help of Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend. At the time, we were simply trying to prepare as many songs as possible, we never expected that we'd be playing some of them three years later. 'Can You Tell' was one of the first songs that we ever recorded as a band, and has gone through a few different iterations, and has developed and changed along with us over the years.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Generally, an idea will be introduced - it might be a small little sketch of a song; a simple melodic line, a chord progression, a guitar part, or it might be a more fully fledged-out structure. Then everyone will work on it together, offering their own ideas, and coordinating with each other. We all have a chance to develop our parts and give each other feedback - it is a very communal and democratic process.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Everybody from classical composers such as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff to artists like Kate Bush, U2, and Talking Heads.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I hope that the listener is able to connect with the music, and/or lyrics in some way. I think we cover a lot of emotional ground and the music can be very moving if you allow yourself to be moved. I think the most memorable and satisfying moments of music are those visceral experiences that are sometimes unexplainable - when the music gives you goosebumps, when it makes you use your imagination, and when it makes you smile. I can only hope that someone who is experiencing our music for the first time can tune into that.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We went into the studio with the intention of creating a very dynamic album. We wanted to create a balance between loud and quite, melancholy and joy, huge and intimate, glossy and organic... We've always been interested in the balance of juxtaposing elements. I think in the future, we'd like to further develop those ideas and their execution in the studio.

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

 

VESSELS - WHITE FIELDS AND OPEN DEVICES
Post-rock is not the easiest genre to break into. Many have tried over the years, and most have stumbled at the first hurdle - failing to bring something new to the epic loud-quiet-louder formula laid down by the likes of Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. Some don't have the talent, others just don't have the imagination. Thankfully, Vessels have both in spades and, with their debut album, have not only managed to elbow their way in amongst the other bands in the genre, but have pushed straight past them and begun dictating new rules. With math-rock influences a plenty, complex song structures and regular time signature changes, they have recorded one of the most exciting albums to be released this year. From the thrilling heaviness of tracks like 'An Idle Brain & The Devil's Workshop', or the single, 'A Hundred Times In Every Direction', to the sublime, piano-led 'Yuki', this album is simply flawless. And as CMU Social regulars now, their bloody marvelous live too.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/vesselsband

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.

 

 

EMI.COM LAUNCHES
EMI today beta launch their new website EMI.com, which is part of the major record company's attempts to forge closer connections directly with consumers. The site aims to be much more content rich than your average record label website, providing access to full track previews, videos, photos, biographies and whatnot from artists from across the EMI empire. There's also a music recommendation service which recommends artists based on your music preferences - and will make recommendations based on liking artists not signed to EMI as well as those on the label.

Although in some ways just an enhanced version of the kind of group-wide major label sites operated by Sony and Universal (and EMI, for that matter, whose now defunct The Raft website was always more content rich than most label sites), for EMI the EMI.com project is much bigger than that. Signing up and engaging consumers on a regular basis is much more part of the mix, presumably with a view to building relationships with music fans so they can sell recordings and other music-based products directly to them, circumventing, to a point, other retailers and download stores. Better direct customer relations will also strengthen EMI's offer to new artists, because they have a ready made network of profiled music fans they can promote new singings to.

Commenting on EMI.com, the major's VP of Digital Special Projects, Alex Haar, told CMU: "EMI.com is designed to be a learning lab. It will help us gain even more knowledge about consumers' preferences and choices. Those insights will be invaluable to our artists, helping them respond to fans in a more relevant way. This is the beginning of a longer term experiment. In the coming months, we will continue to add content and features to the site".

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KIEDIS NEARLY SUFFERED ORGAN FAILURE, SAY FRIENDS
According to reports, Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis narrowly avoided organ failure earlier this year, while receiving treatment for kidney disease.

A 'close friend' told NY Daily News: "Anthony's health was pretty bleak. Organ failure was a possibility. There was talk of how to get him on a transplant list, to cover all the bases, but that opened up a whole new can of worms because people with histories of drug and alcohol abuse are less likely to receive the organs they need".

Kiedis apparently denied that he was being treated for a kidney problem when contacted.

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MACHINE HEAD GUITARIST COLLAPSES ON STAGE
Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel is reportedly recovering fine after collapsing on stage at a show at the Sheffield Arena last Friday night. The incident happened during the penultimate song of the band's set, and was caused by Cardiogenic Syncope, a sudden failure of the heart's pumping mechanism.

After Demmel was taken for medical treatment, the band's frontman Robb Flynn returned to the stage to reassure the crowd. ''Phil has passed out,'' he said. ''Fans of the band know that this has happened before and unfortunately it has happened again".

In a subsequent statement, Flynn said: "[Phil]'s doing much better now and taking it easy. As [he] has mentioned before, the doctors say he suffers from episodes of Cardiogenic Syncope and has for the last 17 years or so. We're all a little worried here in our camp, but Phil genuinely wants to carry on. It is a bit unclear to us as to why these keep happening, but at Phil's request, we will finish out all these dates through to Metallica in LA".

He continued: "Machine Head wish to extend our gratitude to the good people of Sheffield for their support and for being so understanding at the end of our show".

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DAVY GRAHAM DIES
Veteran folk musician Davy Graham has died at the age of 68, after a short battle with cancer. His manager/collaborator Mark Pavey confirmed to The Guardian: "He was diagnosed with lung cancer only weeks ago and suffered a seizure at his home at around 3.30pm yesterday".

Graham was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire, to a Guyanese mother and a Scottish father, and began playing the guitar when he was 12. Often credited with a pivotal role in the growth of the sixties folk revival, he influenced the likes of Paul Simon and Bert Jansch, but was not genre-bound to the folk movement; jazz and blues also informed his work, as well as the various kinds of world music that he's credited with exposing to a wider audience. His most famous track, 'Angi', which appeared on his 1962 debut EP, was covered by myriad artists, including Simon and Garfunkle who released a version on their 1966 album 'Sound of Silence'.

Graham will be interred at a private funeral this week, but a public memorial service is being planned for next month.

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KERSHAW RECEIVES SUSPENDED SENTENCE
Former Radio 1 DJ Andy Kershaw has been given another six month suspended sentence, suspended for two years, after breaching that restraining order barring him from contacting his former partner, Juliette Banner. He was arrested on Monday, when he returned to the Isle Of Man, where the couple lived.

As previously reported, Kershaw was jailed for three months for breaching the same order in January this year. He served 44 days of his sentence and was arrested again three days after his release, at which point he was given his first six month suspended sentence and advised to leave the Isle Of Man. He returned to Rochdale to live with his mother, but went on the run after a further breach resulted in a warrant for his arrest being issued in September.

A spokesman for Manx police told the BBC: "On Monday a 49 year old man from Peel was arrested in relation to a breach of a restraining order. He was remanded in police custody overnight. On Tuesday 16 Dec 2008 the same male appeared before the High Bailiffs Court, Douglas and was found guilty of the offence. He received a suspended prison sentence and a supervisory order".

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DUTCH SINGER LOSES NAZI LIBEL CASE
Dutch entertainer Johannes Heesters has lost a libel lawsuit addressing claims by German author Volker Kuehn that the singer performed for Nazi guards at the Dachau concentration camp during the course of the second world war. Heesters admits that he visited Dachau, and even that he performed for Adolf Hitler, but was seeking a retraction of the claim that he had performed at the aforementioned camp.

The judge in the case, Michael Mauck, ruled in court in Berlin yesterday that there were "certain indications of a performance" but that sixty years later it was "no longer possible to clarify whether a performance took place". He added, however, that Volker Kuehn had the right to make the claims.

Heesters, now 105, began his career in Amsterdam, but moved to Germany in the mid thirties, and enjoyed much success. He was never accused of being a Nazi propagandist, and continued to perform after the war, although he was booed off-stage at a comeback gig in Amsterdam in the sixties. He has continued to perform in Germany and Austria, and now lives in Munich. He's believed to be the world's oldest performing singer and actor.

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ELTON JOHN LOSES LIBEL SUIT OVER SPOOF GUARDIAN DIARY PIECE
The Guardian has successfully defended itself in a libel lawsuit launched by Elton John who took offence at a spoof dairy piece featured in the paper's Weekend magazine. The spoof article, presented as a diary entry from John (but pretty obviously a spoof), included an extract that implied the singer's famous annual charitable White Tie & Tiara Ball was more about partying than fundraising.

As if written by Elton, the piece called the event "preposterously lavish" and read: "Once we've subtracted all these costs, the leftovers go to my foundation. I call this care-o-nomics".

John said he accepted the piece was "an attempt at humour", but said it gave the reader the impression that he "hosts the White Tie & Tiara Ball knowing that once the costs of the ball have been covered only the small proportion of the money raised which is left over is available for Elton John Aids Foundation to distribute to good causes". This, John points out, is untrue - over its history the event has raised £38m for charity.

But Mr Justice Tugendhat did not agree there was a case for libel because, he ruled, it was obvious the piece wasn't really written by John, and that it was a joke article. He told the court "no reasonable reader could understand [the piece] as being written by the claimant".

If the paper were really making claims regarding the motives for the Ball, the judge ruled, "a reasonable reader would expect so serious an allegation to be made without humour, and explicitly, in a part of the newspaper devoted to news".

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LIL WAYNE'S LAWYER ASKS FOR MORE TIME IN SAMPLE LAWSUIT
Lawyers for Lil Wayne have asked for more time before turning over documents relating to a lawsuit which accuses the rapper and his record label Cash Money of knowingly sampling a song by Karma-Ann Swanepoel without permission.

Wayne sampled her song 'Once' in his 2007 track 'I Feel Like Dying'. Publishers of 'Once' say the label approached them about clearing the sample but had failed to reach an agreement before making the Wayne track available on the net.

Lawyers for the publishers had demanded access to certain documents from Cash Money relating to the sample and the deadline for handing over said documents was this Friday. But the label's lawyers asked the court for more time yesterday.

I'm not sure what their excuse was for the later delivery of the documents, nor whether the judge gave them a deadline extension. I'll try and find out.

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TWO HALLELUJAHS SET TO TOP CHRISTMAS CHART
So, Leonard Cohen could be the first songwriter ever to have two versions of one of his songs in the top two positions in the UK singles chart at the same time this weekend, albeit neither of them his version.

'X Factor' winner Alexandra Burke's version of Cohen's song 'Hallelujah' is already number one in the early-week chart based on massive download sales of the track. The physical CD is out today and Burke is almost assured the Christmas number one spot this weekend. No surprise there then.

But, thanks to that online campaign encouraging people to buy Jeff Buckley's famously haunting version of the song instead of the new 'X-Factor' version, that version is currently sitting at number 3 in the midweeks, and could move up to position two, especially given all the media reports on the 'battle of the Hallelujahs', like this one.

While Buckley's version is unlikely to outsell Burke's, further download sales of it could mean it reaches number 2 by the weekend, which would give Cohen a songwriting first in the UK charts. It would also be great news for Sony, who own both recordings. Cohen's own version of the song is currently at 34 in the early week charts.

There are, of course, a plethora of other versions of this song - more than 170 according to some reports. The John Cale version remains my favourite. You can hear some others in this little 'Hallelujah' quiz prepared by the BBC, which is rather fun if you're looking for some pre-Christmas work avoidance.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7783704.stm

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SLASH DESERVES NO CREDIT FOR SWEET CHILD
Former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash says he deserves no credit for the success of one of the band's biggest hits, 'Sweet Child O' Mine', even though it's his opening riff that people remember most from the sing.

He told Rolling Stone: "There was not a lot of forethought to 'Sweet Child O' Mine', that riff. It was just something I was messing around, and stumbled across this interesting pattern. I've got to give credit to Axl Rose and the other guys in the band for really turning it into a song".

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RONSON PREPARES FOR A BUSY 2009
He's not exactly been short of work in 2008, but Mark Ronson's 2009 is shaping up to be exceptionally busy, with new albums with Elton John, Amy Winehouse and Daniel Merriweather, The Rumble Strips, US rapper Wale, as well as a follow-up to his own 'Versions' album in the pipeline. Though not all of those projects are for certain just yet.

Ronson told BBC Newsbeat: "Elton John is just somebody that I'm a huge fan of. It's just insane how many of his songs are in the pop canon. I was really flattered that he asked to work together so hopefully we will be able to work together. But I hate to talk about anything that premature 'cause, you know, it's not definite".

Speaking about the new Amy Winehouse album, he said: "I'm not sure where it is [at]. I haven't spoken to Amy in a few weeks, and I haven't heard anything [saying] that she's making a record or not. I'm sure she's writing songs. I think hopefully when she has ten songs or she's ready to make a record she'll call me and we'll go and start how we did last time".

On the subject of his own album, he said: "I'm supposed to start my next record sometime next year. But, you know, I have to just see when inspiration comes. Really my day job is being a producer so I would like to produce a couple more records and work with a few more inspiring people probably, before I'm ready to do my next thing".

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ROLO TOMASSI LAUNCH SINGLES CLUB
So, what will CMU favourites Rolo Tomassi be doing in 2009, I hear you ask. Well, of course, they'll be heading out on the Shred Yr Face 2 tour with The Bronx and Fucked Up. And they'll also be launching a singles club, which is nice.

The Rolo Tomassi Subs Club will see the band release four 7" singles, one every three months, through Hassle Records, each featuring an exclusive track. B-sides will comes as a mixture of remixes, covers and splits with other bands.

To subscribe, like I just have, to receive the singles, go here.

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WEEZER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION AVAILABLE ONLINE
That previously reported six track collection of Christmas songs, recorded by Weezer for release via the iPhone, is so go on general digital sale because of high demand.

'Tap Tap Revenge Christmas With Weezer' features 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas', 'Silent Night', 'O Holy Night', 'First Noel', 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing' and 'O Come, All Ye Faithful', as well as two bonus tracks.

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THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO CHRISTMAS RELEASE
The Boy Least Likely To's previously reported Christmas single 'The First Snowflake' is out via download this week and if you'd like to see the video, it's here.

Here's something the band say about it: "Our new album will be released in March next year, but for now [there's] 'The First Snowflake', a little pop song about feeling lost and alone at Christmas. I hope it makes you happy in the way that all the best sad songs should, and I hope you have as much fun listening to it as we did recording it for you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. With love from, The Boy Least Likely To".

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BEYONCE CONFIRMS O2 DATES
Beyonce has confirmed that she'll play two shows at London's O2 Arena in May next year. It's all part of her promotional tour of Europe for latest album 'I Am... Sasha Fierce', released last month. The UK/Ireland dates are as follows:

23 May: Birmingham NIA
25+26 May: London O2 Arena
27 May: Manchester MEN
29 May: Dublin O2 Arena
31 May: Belfast Odyssey Arena

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NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FEST CELEBRATES 40 YEARS
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year with performances from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Ben Harper, Tony Bennett, and Earth, Wind & Fire, organisers announced yesterday. The event, which has had a significant impact on the city's economy in the last couple of years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, will take place over the course of two weekends, 24 - 26 April and 30 Apr - 3 May.

Addressing reporters at a press conference, fest founder George Wein joked that the crowd he was talking to was bigger than that which attended the first event, at which performances from Duke Ellington and Mahlia Jackson were witnessed by no more than 300 people. These days, somewhere in the region of 400,000 people are expected to attend. Producer Quint Davis said: "We've got a great party. We want the world to come".

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GUITAR HERO ET AL HAVE PEAKED, BUT STILL HAVE LONGEVITY
'Guitar Hero' and 'Rock Band' and all those other cheap imitations have been something of a success story in the last 18 months, of course, and the record companies have been busy, possibly a little late in the day, seeing how they can turn the public's passion for pretending to play music into a revenue stream by making music available to download for the game.

Which is all lovely, but we can't be having too much good news can we? So, thank God for reports that stats from research firm NPD Group show interest in the music game franchises has peaked, and that sales of the actual games is in decline.

NPD's report on November sales is yet to be published, but according to Wired one of the company's analysts has said there has been a 50% series-by-series decline in the last twelve months, which suggests falling demand in addition to any other economic factors.

NPD analyst Jesse Divnich told reporters: "Currently, we expect unit sales to decline by more than 50 percent series-over-series for November. This is coming off the October month where series-over-series units declined by more than 60 percent".

That said, while interest may not be quite what it was earlier in the year, Divnich isn't predicting the end of music-based gaming just yet, saying the market will be profitable for at least a decade, and therefore it is certainly still worth the record companies trying to get a piece of the action.

Divnich: "We expect 'Guitar Hero' and 'Rock Band' releases for the next 10 years as they will always have a large and loyal market base, just as [late nineties dance game 'Dance Dance Revolution'] is still today a very profitable franchise for Konami, even though that series reached its peak a long time ago".

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EMI MAY CLOSE BARNES STUDIOS
EMI is reportedly considering closing down one of its London recording studios, the Olympic Studios in Barnes, which over the years have been used by artists like The Rolling Stones, Oasis, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. The Evening Standard reports that staff at the studio complex have been warned closure is a possibility, with one source telling the paper: "The fact is the studios are not profitable, like many British studios. You can't get as much business as you used to in the past. And there's no sign of that situation improving".

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EQUITY MUSIC CLOSES
Nashville-based independent country label Equity Music, founded and run by country star Clint Black in 2003, is ceasing its operations.

The label's president, Tim Wipperman, told reporters yesterday: "Our investors tried to find a way to keep the doors open at Equity, but with a struggling industry, an overall decline in discretionary spending by consumers and a freeze on credit markets, the board of directors have been forced to make this difficult decision. We want to wish our wonderful staff and artists all the best in all their future endeavors".

Equity was an early 360 degree label in that it said it would allow artists to retain ownership of their recordings and earn from them from day one, in return for securing a cut of an artist's other revenue streams, such as live, publishing and merchandise. The success of the label, and investor confidence in it, was effected when one of their biggest artists, platinum selling Little Big Town, defected for a more traditional record deal with EMI's Capitol Nashville.

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SMERNICKI BECOMES POLYDOR'S CHIEF DIGITAL MAN
Universal have announced the promotion of Paul Smernicki to the job of Director Of Digital and D2C (that's 'direct to consumer', in case you wondered) for its Polydor division.

Confirming the appointment, Polydor's GM of Marketing Karen Simmonds told reporters: "Paul's progression from press officer, to one third of the original Fiction triumvirate, to head of digital and now director is testimony to his dedication and energetic approach to all things Polydor".

Smernicki is one of a number of new appointments at the Universal division. John Leahy, previously GM for Domino Records, will join the major as Marketing Director for Polydor Associated Labels, while existing Polydor staffers Liz Goodwin, Kelly Ridgway and Sam Seager have become Marketing Manager, Product Manager and Marketing Co-ordinator respectively.

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RUBIN MAY BE SIDE LINED AT SONY
According to the Fox website in the US, executive shenanigans at the Sony bit of SonyBMG will result in producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin being pushed out of his exec role at the Columbia label, though he is likely to be given his own imprint to compensate. Word has it some Sony execs are a little annoyed that in his producer guise Rubin has been working on big albums for other majors. Following the recent departure of the President of Sony's Epic US division, Charlie Walk, Rubin's side-lining will further increase the control Rob Stringer and Steve Barnett have over the Sony US operation.

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GEMA CONSIDERING JOINING ICE PARTNERSHIP
German publishing collecting society GEMA has said it is looking into joining MCPS-PRS and Swedish collecting society STIM's ICE alliance. ICE is a shared admin centre utilised by both the UK and Swedish royalty bodies. GEMA say they have been monitoring how ICE works and the benefits it delivers to MCPS-PRS and STIM for the last six months, and its CEO, Harald Heker, has told Music Week: "We believe that a potential participation in ICE, alongside the Alliance and STIM, could provide an important strategic alliance to enable a leap forward in business quality, efficiency and effectiveness".

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ICMP ANNOUNCE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME
London's Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance has announced thirty grand's worth of scholarships to enable aspiring musicians to study its one year Institute Higher Diploma course from October 2009. A number of media partners have also got involved to promote the course and the scholarship programme to young musicians. Applications for the scholarship programme need to be in by 6 Mar - more info at www.icmp.co.uk.

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CHUCK'S TUPAC STORY NAMED ERROR OF THE YEAR
That Tupac story by Pulitzer Prize-winning former LA Times journalist Chuck Philips has been named Error Of The Year by Regret The Error, a website that reports on mistakes in the media. As previously reported, the respected journalist wrote a sensationalist story that claimed to reveal new evidence regarding the involvement of Sean 'Diddy' Combs and others in the unsolved murder of Tupac Shakur, claims which were based in part on what were proven to be forged FBI documents, The LA Times issued a formal apology and retraction in relation to the story in late March and Philips subsequently left the paper.

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THE VIEW INVITE FAN BACK STAGE AFTER BREAKING HIS NOSE
The View frontman Kyle Falconer reportedly invited a fan backstage after he somehow managed to break said fan's nose during a stage dive. Falconer injured the fan after jumping onto his audience at a gig at Glasgow's Barrowland. According to the Daily Record, the band's sound engineer explained: "We found out Kyle broke a guy's nose on his crash landing into the pit. He obviously felt bad and they invited him backstage for a pint or two by way of apology. There's not really much to say beyond that except there was no malice involved and the band were very eager to make up for the accident".

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FALL OUT BOY PLAY A CAPELLA
Fall Out Boy set out to film an impromptu gig at Washington Square Park in New York on Monday, but were unable to play their instruments because the paperwork allowing them to do it hadn't been properly filled out, or processed, or something. Anyway, the result was that the band played a capella for the session.

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NOEL GALLAGHER PLANS TO LOVE CHINESE DEMOCRACY
Noel Gallagher has said that he expects that he'll love the finally released Guns N Roses album 'Chinese Democracy' once he gets around to listening to it. The Oasis man is quoted as saying: "I've read the reviews, and judging from the reviews I know I'm gonna fucking love it. I love preposterous records, and anything that took 17 years is obviously fucking ludicrous. I'm dying to hear it. I already know I'm going to like it". Given he's dying to hear the album, you'd have thought Noel would have got a copy by now.

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ROBBIE REPORTEDLY CONSIDERING POST-EMI DEALS
There are reports that Robbie Williams is already sounding out other labels regarding a new record deal once his current commitments to EMI run out - which will reportedly be after just one more album. Some are reporting Live Nation might snap Williams up to a multi-million pound 360 degree deal like the one they did with Madonna and Jay-Z, though that seems unlikely given the live music conglom has previously said it was only looking to do four such mega-deals for the time being, all four of which have been done.

A source nevertheless told the Sun: "He went into rehab and has spent time getting his head together. Word is getting out that his new album is sounding brilliant and the Take That reunion coverage has helped. Live Nation would be very keen. They have recently signed Madonna and U2 on massive deals. They could give Robbie a huge contract which would include his releases, live dates and all the extras that accompany that".

The cynic in me would say someone is trying to reinvent the Robbie story in the tabloids - the tabs (the Mirror in particular) having pretty much written off Williams as a solo artist since the lukewarm reception to last album 'Rudebox' and the corresponding rebirth of his former band Take That (despite 'Rudebox' still being one of the biggest selling albums by a British artist this decade).

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LILY TALKS WOMANIZER
Lily Allen has revealed that she's in trouble with her record label after Mark Ronson played her cover of Britney Spears' 'Womanizer' on his weekly radio show.

Writing on her MySpace blog, Allen said: "Now, some of you may be wondering why I covered 'Womanizer'. Simple really; I love Britney and I love the song. It wasn't my intention for it to have whizzed round the world like it has. Mark Ronson asked me for something no one had heard to play on his radio show and 'Womanizer' was the only song I had as an attachment on my Blackberry and I couldn't get home to send him anything else in time. I had asked him to talk all over it so it wouldn't get ripped, but he didn't - thanks Mark for getting me in serious trouble with my record company".

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