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TODAY'S NEWS

Top Stories

More Zavvi stores close
Sony Corp could post losses of a billion
Speculation about the future of Zune
Zutons dropped
Lil Kim doesn't like Biggie film
Global recession linked to David Bowie
Beyonce track could cause economic collapse
Reunions & Splits
Hoppus dithers over Blink 182 reunion
Morrissey to quit music
Artist Deals
Sixx signs publishing deal with Downtown
In The Studio
Sonic Youth album set for this summer
Prodigy discuss Grohl's guest drumming
Albarn to play Gorillaz demos tonight
Release News
Doherty announces solo album details
Gigs N Tours News
U2, Springsteen etc, to perform at presidential celebration
Gallows announce tour dates
Reviews
Album review: Emmy The Great - First Love (Close Harbour)
The Music Business
Times Square Megastore to close in April
Really Useful man goes to Epic
Smiths bassist joins Musebox as A&R Director
Quite Great launch roots division
Snapper do deal with Proper
Koch sign up new labels
The Digital Business
YouTube muting uncleared music in user-generated videos
MUZU add EMI videos into the mix
Music videogame sales down
The Media Business
OC man to showcase music through new web TV project
Global cut online staff
Chart Of The Day
MTV2/MySpace Chart
And finally...
Perry split talk not related to split
GaGa says Burke is wannabe
Fiddy better than Lil Wayne, says Fiddy

Cliff thought of singing songs first, back off Rod

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WEDNESDAY 14TH JANUARY

ACOUSTIC LADYLAND
Born out of the London-based F-IRE Collective, jazz-punkers Acoustic Ladyland formed in 2001, releasing their debut album, 'Camouflage', inspired by various Jimi Hendrix songs, in 2004. However, it was their second album, 'Last Chance Disco', which made their name, leading them to win the BBC Jazz Award for Best Band in 2005.

 

They gained further notoriety when the debut album by another F-IRE band, Polar Bear, which also featured three members of Acoustic Ladyland, was nominated for the Mercury Music Award in 2005. And if that wasn't enough, drummer Seb Rochford was Babyshambles' original drummer.

Famed for their incendiary live performances, Acoustic Ladyland headline The Borderline in London on 17 Jan, with support from Deathray Trebuchay - more info on that here.

The band recently recorded their fourth album, which is planned for release this spring. We caught up with band leader and main composer Pete Wareham to get the lowdown on the band via the medium of our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
My parents organised flute lessons for me at school when I was six.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Our latest music was inspired by everything we've done before, with a healthy smattering of hip hop and grime.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I write all the music and then we take it apart and rebuild it in the rehearsal studio - with the other band members writing and arranging bits - before gigging as much as possible and adapting the songs as we go.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I'm influenced by anything that's original, colourful and exciting, but for me it has to be substantial too.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Let me know what you think!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I'm releasing our new album on my own label, so I'm looking forward to creating a look and general vibe for the music and label which will reflect how we sound and feel.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/acousticladylandmusic

 

CMU'S TIPS FOR 2009: THE DEER TRACKS
Firm CMU Social favourites from last year, Sweden's Deer Tracks, are the seventh band we're tipping to create blindingly good music in 2009, a task that shouldn't be too beyond their talents given their already excellent repertoire. Indeed, comparisons for the boy/girl duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors have already been ranging from the sonically challenging landscapes of Sigur Ros and noisy shoe gazers My Bloody Valentine to folky types like Adem, which are all complimentary references in my book. Heart stirring live, particularly on stand-out track 'Slow Collision', be sure to say hello on their second UK visit in February.

www.myspace.com/thedeertracks

 

OFFICE SPACE
EMMS Publicity's spacious office boasting loads of natural light has one lovely desk available to rent, for £60 a week. It's a bright and airy corner office in Aberdeen House, a converted factory in Highbury. Shared facilities include WI-FI, Fridge, Water cooler, Microwave, Kettle, Toilets, Bike storage, 24/7 secure access to building. There's a cafe on site. Electricity and water included. Phone, printer, franking machine and photocopier negotiable. Contact Steve Rose 020 7226 0990 steve@emmspublicity.com

ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

 

 

MORE ZAVVI STORES CLOSE
Ernst & Young have just announced that another 18 Zavvi shops are to close. That will leave 74 operating. This new closures are in addition to the 22 announced last week.

The shops to go in the latest cuts are in Basingstoke, Belfast (Castlecourt), Cambridge, the Cheshire Oaks outlet village in Ellesmere Port, Crawley, Londonderry, Edinburgh (Gyle), Gateshead, Glasgow (Argyle St), Grimsby, Hull, London (Piccadilly Circus) Newry, Newtonabbey, Romford, Stevenage, Watford, and Woking. Probably the most significant closure is the branch on Piccadilly Circus. Although this was never the main Virgin Megastore in the capital, the site is pretty historic, it having being the London home of Tower Records for many years.

A statement from administrators E&Y reads thus: "The Joint Administrators continue to work closely with the Insolvency Service's Redundancy Payment Office and Job Centre Plus to provide support and advice to all employees made redundant, including a fast track process for paying redundancy entitlements".

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SONY CORP COULD POST LOSSES OF A BILLION
I lost a ten pound note the other week and found the whole experience quite stressful, so imagine what it must feel like to lose $1.1 billion. Well, that's the losses Sony Corp might post for the current financial year, ending 31 Mar, according to sources cited by Billboard.

Although some analysts reckon the mainstream entertainment industry will probably be hit less than most by the recession (despite the current turmoil in music retail) as consumers turn to relatively cheap music, film, games and telly to cheer themselves up (instead of more expensive luxury goods or premium pursuits) the economic downturn is already having a big negative impact on those who make and sell consumer electronics, as consumers put off buying that new TV or camcorder amid fears of mounting job insecurity. For an entertainment conglom like Sony, whose electronics business is key, this is not good news.

Although officially Sony, who will publish their third quarter financial report later this month, say talk of a billion dollar loss is idle speculation, Billboard's source seems certain the entertainment firm is looking at considerable losses instead of the $2 billion profit initially predicted for the current financial year.

The rumours have already had a negative impact on Sony's share price, and that of their main rivals in the consumer electronics sector too, coming, as they do, alongside other reports of mounting stock piles of TVs etc as production starts to considerably exceed demand in the marketplace. Such stock piles, and the cost cutting which will be required to shift them, means the coming year could be just as difficult for Sony and their competitors.

All of which means city types are likely to start demanding Sony Corp consider more radical downsizing and restructuring than that already proposed. 8000 full-time Sony employees are already expected to go, in addition to cutbacks likely to affect another 8000 casual workers and contractors. But some now think Sony will have to consider bigger cuts, and maybe the offloading of some of its business, to satisfy investors in the tricky financial year to come.

It's not clear what of any of this means for Sony Music, though it does seem to be the conglom's electronics business that is struggling most, and therefore it will be that division that sees the biggest cutbacks. Sony Corp recently expanded its interests in recorded music, of course, by buying Bertelsmann out of the SonyBMG joint venture. Whether that deal will help or hinder its ability to overcome current economic woes remains to be seen.

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SPECULATION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ZUNE
Talking of difficult times in the consumer electronics space, there is some speculation about Microsoft's commitment to its dabblings in music hardware. Some are speculating that the IT giant is considering quietly discontinuing its iPod rival the Zune player, which has never really taken off as a serious rival to Apple's market leader digital music player.

The speculation seems to be based on comments made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an interview with the Financial Times. According to Digital Music News, the paper says Ballmer "seemed all but ready to throw in the towel on the Zune device", partly because he feels the future of digital media devices is very much in the mobile phone space - ie it's the iPhone, a more consumer-focused Blackberry and mobile-come-music players from Nokia and Ericsson that will dominate. And Ballmer, the FT reckon, isn't keen about moving into the mobile phone hardware space.

But, it should be noted that Zune's main marketing chief has responded to the speculation by saying that Microsoft remained "deeply committed" to its music device. He said that too much had been read into comments made by his CEO that the Zune content experience would, in the future, be accessible via platforms other than the player. Speaking to Wired, marketing man Adam Sohn said: "Steve said that we think the Zune device is not the only place you will access the Zune experience. That is spot on with our strategy. But a lot of people jumped to an 'either/or' when in fact it's a 'both/and' situation".

No word from either Ballmer or Sohn on whether Microsoft ever plan to release the Zune player outside the US market.

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ZUTONS DROPPED
The Zutons have reportedly been dropped by their label, Sony affiliates Deltasonic. Teletext's Planet Sound reports the relationship came to an end over Christmas.

Although the band's third album, released last year, peaked at number six in the album charts, the first single, 'Always Right Behind You', only reached number 26, while the follow-up 'What's Your Problem?' failed to chart. The band were also slightly blighted by the fact that the most popular version of any of their songs is Amy Winehouse's cover of 'Valerie', which was so successful that most people who saw The Zutons play it thought they were making a bad job of playing an Amy Winehouse song.

The Zutons have refused to comment on the split.

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LIL KIM DOESN'T LIKE BIGGIE FILM
Lil Kim doesn't like the way she's been portrayed in the new Biggie Smalls biopic 'Notorious', so much so that she's released a statement protesting about the producers' depiction of her.

The rapper claims: "The film studio and producers involved were more concerned about painting me as a 'character' to create a more interesting story line instead of a person with talent, self-respect and who was able to achieve her own career success through hard work. Even though my relationship with Big was at times very difficult and complicated (as with most relationships we have all experienced at one time or another), it was also genuine and built on great admiration and love for each other".

She continues: "Regardless of the many lies in the movie and false portrayal of me to help carry a story line through, I will still continue to carry his legacy through my hard work and music."

Responding unsympathetically to Kim's feelings on the matter, Biggie's mother Voletta Wallace said: "This is not a Lil' Kim movie. This is a Christopher Wallace movie. It has nothing to do with Lil' Kim. If she's disappointed and upset, that is her problem".

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GLOBAL RECESSION LINKED TO DAVID BOWIE
David Bowie has been accused of causing the current recession by being one of the first to adopt a means of borrowing known as 'securitisation'.

Okay, stick with me here. As previously reported, back in 1997 Bowie realised that he was missing out on a whole load of money that was rightfully his - all the money he hadn't made yet. So, he came up with the idea of "Bowie Bonds", which saw the singer sell off the projected royalties from his first 25 albums for $55 million to the Prudential Insurance Company. So far, so good. Bowie has a big stack of cash, which he used to buy the publishing rights to his entire catalogue, and The Pru has a steady income from now until the end of time (or until sales of recorded music start to tail off, but that'll probably never happen, right?).

So successful was the idea, that artists including James Brown and The Isley Brothers followed suit. As did banks. Although the banks weren't selling on future revenues from songs they recorded, they were selling on future revenues from mortgages, which is all well and good until large amounts of people start defaulting on those loans, leaving the new owners of the loans suddenly out of pocket in a big way. As we have now seen, this leads to what is now known as a credit crunch, where people realise all of that pretend money they bought isn't actually worth anything.

So, if you're feeling the squeeze at the moment, you know who to blame. Bloody David Bowie. If it weren't for him, banks would be the ethical institutions we always knew them to be. They're just easily led astray, is all. Although, I should probably point out, it was a banker who originally suggested the bonds idea to Bowie.

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BEYONCE TRACK COULD CAUSE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE
Well, Bowie may have started it, but Beyonce's not helping apparently. According to reports, scientists say that her song 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)' could lead to economic collapse, because if its low beat variance.

Yes, it's true. A study carried out at a New York University has discovered that the release of songs with more regular beats coincide with periods of economic volatility in the US. Professor of finance and risk engineering Phil Mayim says that low beat variance songs had an "inverse correlation with market turbulence". Explaining what a low beat variance song is, he told PRI Radio: "If it's a steady beat, the same beat, no matter if it's fast or slow, that's a low beat variance song. If it starts off slow and becomes fast and comes back down, that's a high beat variance".

He says that the last market crash coincided with the popularity of A-Ha's 'Take On Me', which had a steady beat. So it's all their fault, too.

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HOPPUS DITHERS OVER BLINK 182 REUNION
Mark Hoppus has been talking to MTV.com about a possible Blink 182 reunion, but won't commit himself to it unless he and his colleagues are sure they can deliver something special. As previously reported, the trio split back in 2005 after Tom Delonge walked out on Hoppus, and third bandmate Travis Barker. Hoppus and Delonge have recently made friends again, but they're not in any rush to restart things.

Hoppus is quoted as saying: "The future is wide open. Blink-182 wasn't manufactured by a label, and we weren't making music to make money or for fame. We were three friends in a band, writing music that we loved. That's where it began and ended. Before there's reunion talk, we need to get back to that point again. Actually, we would need to get beyond that point, to a place where you can say to someone, 'Hey, man, I'm not really feeling this', and be able to argue constructively about the music. Because that's where the best of Blink-182 came into being".

He continued: "In short, we would need to get back to where we're all close enough friends and artists to be able to tell each other, respectfully, 'Suck it'. My final thought is this: If - and this is a big if - Blink-182 were ever to re-form, it would have to be the most amazing, ridiculous, mind-blowing show and tour ever. I feel like, as bitter as our break-up was, we stepped back at the top of our game, and we'd have to come back even stronger and better than before".

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MORRISSEY TO QUIT MUSIC
Morrissey, whose new album 'Years Of Refusal' is out next month, has said that he expects to quit music quite soon, for various reasons. He told Filter: "I don't want to go on much longer, really. I think that would suggest a lack of imagination. A certain lack of dignity also. There has to reach a point where you've said enough, I think".

Amen to that.

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SIXX SIGNS PUBLISHING DEAL WITH DOWNTOWN
Motley Crue co-founder Nikki Sixx has signed a worldwide publishing deal with US-based indie music publisher Downtown Music Publishing. The publisher will administrate rights on all of Sixx's songs, including Motley Crue hits like 'Shout At The Devil' and 'Girls Girls Girls', plus manage sync rights on Motley Crue recordings, and the recordings of artists signed to Sixx's label Eleven Seven Music, which includes Trapt and Drowning Pool.

Downtown boss Justin Kalifowitz said this: "We are extremely honoured to represent the songs of Nikki Sixx, one of the greatest rock songwriters of our generation. Through this innovative partnership, Nikki's publishing copyrights and Motley's master recordings will now be marketed and promoted in lock-step. Combined with Eleven Seven's premier roster, we can now offer the licensing community a destination for the best in both iconic and contemporary rock music".

Sixx added: "In a time of industry consolidation, signing with a boutique publisher who can focus on thousands of songs instead of millions is just smart business".

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SONIC YOUTH ALBUM SET FOR THIS SUMMER
Sonic Youth have said that their new album, currently entitled 'The Eternal', will be out in June if all goes to plan. The band are still recording the LP, their first with Matador Records, and singer Thurston Moore has told Uncut that the record will contain "juicy supersonic songs". So now you know.

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PRODIGY DISCUSS GROHL'S GUEST DRUMMING
The Prodigy have been talking about the previously reported fact that the ever-prolific-guest-appearance-genie that is Dave Grohl is set to appear on The Prodigy's new album 'Invaders Must Die', out 2 Mar. Grohl drums on a track called 'Running With The Wolves'.

Speaking after filling in for Zane Lowe as part of his takeover thing on Radio 1 (where music c'lebs fill in on his show while he's on holiday), singer Keith Flint said of the collaboration: "We didn't do it to be us and Dave our rock buddy collaboration, but just as a friend of ours who does wicked drums that did a track with us".

Bandmate Liam Howlett added: "We've known Dave for quite a few years. We haven't just phoned him up and said, 'Dave can you get on the record?' He just emailed to say he's finished his touring, he really loves drumming and wants to get back into [it]. He sent me some drums on a hard-drive with hope that it might inspire me to write a song - sure enough when I got the hard-drive it was really inspirational. It's good to hear him play the drums without any other instruments - people don't hear that. Within the first ten seconds of it being on I was like 'Yeah this is a song' - the track was born 'Run With The Wolves'".

Speaking of the new album, their fifth, and the first release all three original members have appeared on since 1997, Howlett continued: "We're not officially back until it comes out but it feels good we're really behind our record. We hope people dig it, we're really proud of it".

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ALBARN TO PLAY GORILLAZ DEMOS TONIGHT
Another one filling in for Zane Lowe this week is Damon Albarn, who is on duty tonight and will reportedly play a number of new Gorillaz demos destined for the group's upcoming album during his one night tenure.

A statement on the band's website says this: "The band has graciously given Damon the go-ahead to premiere some demos from the new record on air. The evening will also feature a replay of highlights from Blur and John Peels 'Peelacres' show".

Other people set to take over Lowe's slot in the next week or so include Lily Allen, Razorlight and The Wombats.

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DOHERTY ANNOUNCES SOLO ALBUM DETAILS
Pete Doherty has announced that he will release his as-yet-untitled debut album on 9 Mar. It will be preceded by a single, 'Last Of The English Roses'.

Recorded with producer Stephen Street, is features Blur guitarist Graham Coxon on all but one track, as well as guest appearances from Dot Allison and Babyshambles members Adam Ficek, Drew McConnell and Mick Whitnall. The album also features a cover of The Crocketts' song '1939 Returning'.

Tracklist:
Arcadie
Last Of The English Roses
1939 Returning
A Little Death Around The Eyes
Salome
Through The Looking Glass
Sweet By And By
Palace Of Bone
Sheepskin Tearaway
Broken Love Song
New Love Grows On Trees
Lady, Don't Fall Backwards

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U2, SPRINGSTEEN ETC, TO PERFORM AT PRESIDENTIAL CELEBRATION
A host of big stars are to appear at a celebration of the inauguration of US president-elect Barack Obama. Amongst those set to perform at the event, set to take place on 18 Jan at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, are U2, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Sheryl Crow and Mary J Blige. Obama is expected to attend the show, ahead of his inauguration on 20 Jan. Artists will perform songs suited to the occasion, rather than playing their own songs, and the music will be interspersed with readings and suchlike.

Executive producer George Stevens Jr has said that all the acts were extremely keen to perform at the event, once he'd been given the go ahead by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He told the Associated Press: "On that first day, we asked Springsteen, Bono and Garth Brooks within a period of 45 minutes and got three `yeses'. The list of stars is impressive, but this is not a showbiz, glitzy occasion. It's going to be rooted in history, remembering the great president [Lincoln] who led us through difficult times".

Elsewhere in inauguration celebration news, Sting and Elvis Costello are to appear at a charity concert marking the event on 20 Jan at Washington's Harman Center of the Arts.

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GALLOWS ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
Gallows will be back with the follow-up to their 2006 debut album 'Orchestra Of Wolves' this year, and have announced UK tour dates in May to whet your appetite. Tickets went on exclusive pre-sale to subscribers of the official Gallows mailing list this morning, and will go on general sale on Friday.

For a sneak preview of what to expect from the new album, look here.

Tour dates:
9 May: Newcastle, O2 Academy
12 May: Nottingham, Rock City
18 May: Bristol, O2 Academy
19 May: Portsmouth, Pyramids Centre
21 May: London, The Forum
25 May: Belfast, The Limelight
26 May: Glasgow, O2 Academy

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ALBUM REVIEW: Emmy The Great - First Love (Close Harbour)
It was only on listening to this album that I remembered the part in Emmy The Great's live show at The Green Man where she played the title track, 'First Love', with its line about "'Hallelujah', the original Leonard Cohen version". This also reminded me that at least two other bands that we saw that weekend actually played 'Hallelujah', yet I hadn't been reminded of that by the two versions that were recently top of the charts. I'm not sure what this says about either my memory or the relevance of the hit parade, but I do wonder whether all this Hallelujah-ing of late is the musical world rallying around after hearing about Leonard's money problems (you know, which led to his tour last year). Probably not. Anyway, I digress, and that is unfair because this album is a lovely piece of work, reminiscent of last year's Laura Marling debut, a folkified sing song without cockney stylings. Emmy has performed with the likes of Lightspeed Champion and supported Martha Wainwright in the last year but this record has been self-produced, self-funded and self-released and deserves a look. From the choral opening of 'Absentee' to the rising plucked march of 'Bad Things Coming' there are some great songs on here. Though, as sweet as they sound on first listen, they do usually have some sex and death in there - and the title of the album is apparently from Samuel Beckett's novella about a lover who leaves the woman he impregnates after they meet on a park bench. Anyway, I'm expecting this album to grow on me steadily throughout the year to come and hopefully success will go hand in hand. IM
Release Date: 2 Feb
Press Contact: Freeman PR [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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TIMES SQUARE MEGASTORE TO CLOSE IN APRIL
As expected, New York's primary Virgin Megastore, in Times Square, will close down this Spring. There's no word on the future of the Union Square Megastore, though last year when the closures were first rumoured it was said it would also be closed down.

As previously reported, this has nothing to do with the high street doom and gloom that is impacting on retailers around the world, including former UK Megastore business Zavvi, but is the conclusion of the original plan held by the US Megastore chain's owners.

As also previously reported, when the Virgin Group moved out of the music retail business in 2007 they sold their US stores to a joint venture between two real estate companies - the Related Cos and Vornado. It wasn't really any secret that their interest in the US Megastores was the prime retail sites they occupied rather than the business that went on in the shops. While the US Virgin Megastore business was doing pretty well by all accounts - the New York stores in particular - Related and Vornado could make more, and have more financial security, by leasing the sites out to other retailers.

With that in mind, the flagship Times Square Megastore will close in April. The company's shop on Union Square will continue to trade as normal for the time being - and will be repositioned as the Megastore's primary base - though it's thought discussions are underway regarding leasing out that site to another retailer also.

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REALLY USEFUL MAN GOES TO EPIC
Sony Music has announced the appointment of Tris Penna, most recently MD for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Records, as A&R Director for its Epic UK division. He'll report to Epic UK boss Nick Raphael, and work alongside the label's existing A&R head Jo Charrington. Prior to working for Really Useful, Penna spent a decade at EMI, and prior to that worked for Polygram and publishers Chappell Music.

Confirming the appointment, Nick Raphael told CMU: "We are delighted to have hired a creative executive whose career includes working with artists as diverse as Blur, Pet Shop Boys, Marc Almond, Dusty Springfield, Vanessa Mae and Andrew Lloyd Webber. His skills across all areas of music built up over the last 30 years working for publishers, record companies, and most recently, The Really Useful Group will be a great new asset for Epic and Sony Music".

Lloyd Webber also had some nice things to say about his departing MD, something along the lines of: "Tris Penna has been a wonderful friend and loyal colleague at the Really Useful Group where we have enjoyed many successes together. We shall all miss him but we wish him the very best in his new role (and hope we can still take part in his fabulous pop quizzes)".

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SMITHS BASSIST JOINS MUSEBOX AS A&R DIRECTOR
Smiths bassist Andy Rourke has been made Director Of A&R at US music marketing firm The Musebox.

Says Rourke: "The MuseBox is an amazingly focused, driven and effective marketing firm. They are in this business purely for the love of music, and that alone makes this a great fit for me. I look forward to working with the team in finding and nurturing some talented newbies, taking them up level by level and helping them achieve their full potential as artists and professionals".

God knows how he's going to have time for all that when The Smiths get back together and go on a world tour*.

*The Smiths will never, ever reform.

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QUITE GREAT LAUNCH ROOTS DIVISION
PR firm Quite Great has announced a new subsidiary dedicated to country, blues, Americana and roots acts called Quite Great Roots. The new division's first client is Nashville-based indie label Compass Records.

Confirming the new division, Quite Great MD Pete Bassett said this: "Over the past 12 years, we've worked with a number of country and roots artists, from big names such as Tim Mcgraw and Eileen Rose to smaller up and coming acts. The deal with Compass is an exciting move allowing us to further expand our activity in this area and we look forward to seeing what the year ahead brings".

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SNAPPER DO DEAL WITH PROPER
Another former Pinnacle client has entered into a distribution deal with Proper Music, this time Snapper Music. As part of the deal Proper will hire Andrew Geddes, who previously managed the Snapper Music account at Pinnacle.

Confirming the deal, Snapper MD Fred Jude told reporters: "During the short interval following the demise of Pinnacle it was flattering to have been courted by such a number of significant distributors, however we are happy to announce Proper Distribution as Snapper's new UK partner".

Proper top man Malcolm Mills added: "I've known some of the guys at Snapper for over 30 years and am delighted to be working with them. I'm particularly pleased that one of the key reasons in their decision to choose Proper was the enthusiastic recommendation that retail gave us".

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KOCH SIGN UP NEW LABELS
More distribution news, though this time from the US. The distribution division of Koch have announced deals with five indie labels who they will represent exclusively in the North American market. The labels are IMG International/404 Music Network, Tenacity Records, Unruly Records, Greenstreets Entertainment and Doc Music Group.

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YOUTUBE MUTING UNCLEARED MUSIC IN USER-GENERATED VIDEOS
It seems YouTube has started muting user-generated videos that use unlicensed music. A writer on Mashable has found a number of such vidoes that have the YouTube disclaimer "This video contains an audio track that has not been authorised by all copyright holders. The audio has been disabled". It mainly seems to affect user generated content that samples music owned by Warner Music who, as previously reported, are currently in dispute with the video service over licensing arrangements. This presumably means YouTubers are no longer able to upload videos containing music not available in its original form elsewhere on the site (technically speaking I'm not sure they were ever meant to). When all four majors are signed up to YouTube that won't effect so many user-generated videos - but once a catalogue the size of Warner Music/Warner Chappell is removed it will impact on many user-generators.

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MUZU ADD EMI VIDEOS INTO THE MIX
Music video website and home to the CMU-Tube, MUZU TV, has announced a new licensing deal with EMI which will see over 5000 videos from the major's catalogue appear on the service. The EMI content will be added to videos from existing major label partner Sony Music and indies like Ministry Of Sound, Skint and Ninja Tune. The EMI deal comes as the video service opens up its doors to users outside the UK and Ireland.

Confirming the new deal with EMI, MUZU's Ciaran Bollard told CMU: "It is an exciting time for us at MUZU TV, opening the site globally, and adding some of the world's biggest artists to the music video catalogue through the agreement with EMI Music. These key milestones further demonstrate that MUZU TV is well on its way to becoming the de facto source for fans accessing music video while generating money for labels and bands when their video is accessed on or off the MUZU TV service. This deal also includes: behind the scenes, tour diaries, live and interview footage bringing fans closer to their favourite artists".

EMI's VP digital biz development Ian Whitfield, meanwhile, added: "EMI Music's mission is to bring artists and fans together and create value wherever music is experienced. MUZU TV have shown that they are creating a destination that is appealing to fans and will drive a new revenue stream in the UK and Ireland for our artists and their great video content".

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MUSIC VIDEOGAME SALES DOWN
How about some doom and gloom, now? There's more research from the US that suggests music videogames in 2008 were down on 2007 and that the whole genre of pretend-to-play may have peaked. This is bad news for all those in the industry who were hoping that the licensing of music in these games would, at least in part, cover some of the losses from flagging record sales.

Although the genre remains the most popular type of videogame currently, sales were reportedly down between 6-12% in 2008. The releases of 'Guitar Hero: World Tour' and 'Rock Band 2' were surrounded by much hype and while the former has shifted an impressive 1.5 million units in the US, this is actually down 55% on sales of the previous version, 'Guitar Hero III'. 'Rock Band 2', meanwhile, has sold 809,000 copies in the States. Competitors to those kings of music games, Disney's 'Ultimate Band', Konami's 'Rock Revolution' and Nintendo's really quite awful-looking 'Wii Music' fared even worse, suffering really rather poor sales, according to Variety.

Analyst at Electronic Entertainment Design And Research, Jesse Divnich, wrote recently: "I do believe the music and rhythm category is definitely here to stay, and it will always have a large and loyal market base. I believe, however, we may have seen a peak in sales from the category".

However, on a more upbeat note, some within the industry are saying that sales of tracks through games such as these are becoming a significant revenue stream and continue to grow. So, even if sales of the actual games levels off, the growth of in-game track sales could indeed become the money spinner many are hoping for. And with a Metallica edition of 'Guitar Hero' and Beatles edition of 'Rock Band' due for release this year, it remains to be seen how this story will turn out - with such big artists involved 2009 sales could be up on 2008.

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OC MAN TO SHOWCASE MUSIC THROUGH NEW WEB TV PROJECT
The man behind good-for-a-while US teen TV show 'The OC' has confirmed music will be very much part of his new venture - even though each episode of his new project will only last four minutes.

Josh Schwartz, whose last TV venture helped launch a number of indie bands to a wider teen audience through its impressively eclectic soundtrack, is working on a new web-TV project for Warner Bros TV. Called 'Rockville', the show will be set in a music club, and feature regular cameos from new bands. As a web-TV show each episode of 'Rockville' will only run for a few minutes, meaning the average band will be on screen for fifteen seconds. However, the plan is to record full song performances from featured bands, and to make those performances available alongside the main programme.

Talking to the Television Critics Association about the future of youth telly, and whether 'Rockville' type projects were the future, Schwartz said: "I don't know this is the final result, that we're [always] going to make five-minute episodes of things. But that's what makes this exciting".

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GLOBAL CUT ONLINE STAFF
Global Radio will axe about a third of its online and interactive employees - ie people who do web things. The job cuts, which will affect about forty people, follow a recent review of operations by new Global CEO Stephen Miron. To be honest, following last year's job cuts, I'm surprised there are more than 40 people left in the company's online division.

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MTV2/MYSPACE CHART
It's the MTV2/MySpace chart, based on votes by MTV2 viewers on MySpace. The top ten this week is as follows...

1. [4] Oasis - I'm Outta Time
2. [10] Eagles Of Death Metal - Wanna Be In LA
3. [NE] The Airbourne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight
4. [1] Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody
5. [NE] Frank Turner - Reasons Not To Be An Idiot
6. [2] Paramore - Decode
7. [9] Archangel - How To Loose Your Best Friend
8. [6] The Killers - Human
9. [NE] The Joy Formidable - Cradle
10. [NE] White Lies - To Lose My Life

Meanwhile, added to list for viewer voting this week are...

Fall Out Boy - America's Suitehearts
Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses
Marmaduke Duke - Kid Gloves
Metronomy - A Thing For Me
Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris

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PERRY SPLIT TALK NOT RELATED TO SPLIT
According to reports, Katy Perry has been getting her feelings about her recent split from Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy off her chest on stage. Whilst most acknowledge that she refuses to answer any questions on the subject, she apparently spoke frankly on the subject at an acoustic show in LA, saying: "It hurts right now. When you break up with someone, you move on. You don't really want to move on ... but you have to because they don't give you any choice. But I'm over it!"

However, says Perry, this was not an outpouring of emotion about her current state of mind, rather an explanation of the song she was about to sing. She wrote on her blog: "I don't give statements about my personal life. The stories read about the things I say introducing some of my songs are merely to explain the forthcoming song. I enjoy being myself on stage and that's what you expect of me. I have made many of the same introductions before... just lately everyone's dissecting my every word. Understandable. When I wanna share something with the world, the world will know... otherwise, stop looking for a story, or an explanation".

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GAGA SAYS BURKE IS WANNABE
Lady GaGa has said that X-Factor star Alexandra Burke is just a "talent show wannabe", whilst she worked hard to get where she is today, thanks very much.

GaGa says: "I did this the way you are supposed to. I played every club in New York and found myself as an artist. I learned how to survive as an artist and how to fail and then figure out who I was as a singer and performer. And I worked hard".

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FIDDY BETTER THAN LIL WAYNE, SAYS FIDDY
On to pissing contests in the world of rap, now, and 50 Cent says he's better than fellow hip-hopper Lil Wayne because he is "more consistent".

The comment came after it emerged he has a dig at his rival in 'Play This On The Radio', a track from his forthcoming album. Reports claim that lyrics include this: "I'm on your heels, Mr Carter. I heard you. You want me to 'die ugly?' OK. Don't end up on the list, nigga. Be a missing person like Cam'ron, like Ja, like Joe. Who wants some?" Fiddy says that the verbal attack is a response to a Lil Wayne rap directed at him which went "I hope you die ugly, and tonight will be gorgeous".

50 Cent says that if Lil Wayne responds, he will "drop the bomb on his ass". He told Sirius Radio: "It's gonna be hard for me to get off him. He's a talented artist, but if you put him in a space when we're in direct competition, my consistency will break his neck".

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CLIFF THOUGHT OF SINGING SONGS FIRST, BACK OFF ROD
Cliff Richard has poked fun at Rod Stewart for being behind the times. It turns out the songs on Stewart's 'Great American Songbook' albums were actually written ages ago.

The series of albums, recorded by Stewart, features classic American songs from the 1930s and 40s, but Cliff says he sang them all in 1962, so there's really no need for anyone to sing them again. Except him, obviously, because he heard them all first.

Cliff told The Sun: "I chose all the big songs for the upcoming [Shadows] tour and for a couple I want to tell the public, 'Did you realise I sang those songs before Rod Stewart did?' ... I suddenly realised that in 1962 I had done similar kind of material with the Norrie Paramor Orchestra. Sorry Rod!"

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