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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
HMV, snaps up 14 Zavvi stores, moves into live music with the help of MAMA
Dupri hits out at LA Reid over his Island departure
London Astoria closes today
Oasis busker promotion profiled in MySpace documentary
In The Pop Courts
Call for C-Murder to be jailed before trial
RIAA music fan litigation to be webcast
Obituaries
Gary Kurfurst dies
Awards & Contests
Choice Music shortlist announced
New Hall Of Fame inductions confirmed
In The Studio
Borrell song unlikely to make Florence album
Release News
The Prodigy bring forward album release
Free Lady GaGa download
Gigs N Tours News
Usher, Cyrus family to appear at military gig
Morrissey to record gig for Radio 2
Festivals News
City Showcase announced
SXSW line up takes shape
Reviews
Album review: Various Artists - Need2Soul V.02: Benji B & Glenn Underground (Need2Soul)
Brands N Stuff
Duffy signs up to Coke ad
The Music Business
Boosey & Hawkes take over sync for EMI's Blue Note
Pinnacle administrators correspond over returning stock
Koch label downsizes
The Digital Business
Apple boss takes leave of absence for hormone treatment
Lukewarm response to new Yahoo! boss
Spiralfrog on its last legs?
The Media Business
Russian billionaire to buy Evening Standard
Max and OB get Rock FM show
Chart Of The Day
This week's Sub.tv playlist
And finally...
Doherty is scumbag magnet, says Coxon
Kanye West on gay style tips
The Osbournes return

Blue's Duncan aims to be as cool as Keane

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THURSDAY 15TH JANUARY

DÄLEK
New Jersey industrial hip hop duo Dälek, comprising MC Dälek and producer Oktopus, have been getting music types all hot and bothered for some time now. Dälek started out DJing in the late 80s, and moved into making original tracks in the 90s, when he teamed up Oktopus. Embracing jazz, metal and noisecore in amongst their hippety hop, the pair have remained "resolutely underground" for many years. However, with the release of their fourth album 'Gutter Tactics', due on 26 Jan, they are planning to come up to the surface to bask in the glory they have earned. Dälek himself imparts some exciting nuggets of knowledge via the Same Six.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I grew up watching my older cousins who were DJs. They were like my older brothers. I wanted to be like them when I grew up. I started DJing at age 13, rhyming at 14, and producing tracks at 17. I just knew that music was what I wanted to do.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Life. Each album is a collection of who we are, and our reflections on the world around us at that time. So 'Gutter Tactics' is us right now. I think it's also a product of not giving a fuck. What I mean by that is that you get to a point where you are comfortable in your own skin. I think that as a group we are at that point. It's a very good feeling.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Each track is different, there is no formula. However, I am constantly working on tracks. These tracks I bounce off of Oktopus, he adds more, arranges them, overdubs, etc. [Guitarist] Joshua Booth laces them with overdubs as well. I get them back and write the lyrics to them. It's a fluid way of working. We both just trust that we are each going to get the songs to the best possible place. No real egos involved in work. We just want to create the best records possible.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Good music in general. This list could go on forever... My Bloody Valentine, Faust, Velvet Underground, BDP, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, King Tubby, Milton Babbit, and GangStarr, for starters.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Trust us. If you don't hear it the first time, you will after a few listens. It will all make sense.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Well platinum sales probably won't happen hahahahaha. But good sales would be nice. More exposure. More touring. Better albums.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/dalek

 

CMU'S TIPS FOR 2009: THREE TRAPPED TIGERS
Three Trapped Tigers, who released their debut EP in November, were one of the most exciting new bands we heard last year. Their sound splices together Hella, Squarepusher and The Bad Plus and then sucks some of the jazz out to make room for punky energy and some smart musical innovations of their own. All five tracks on the EP, all handily untitled, are instrumental, save for a few lyric-less vocalizations, and are based on some solid grooves that hook you in and hold you close, nose to nose for the duration. Check out the first track on their MySpace page for their most immediate work, which mixes a full-on spazz out with cool, limb-twitching electronics, ambient keys and some fantastic drum work. After that, the rest of the tracks seem more restrained, but are no less impressive. With gigs galore lined up, and journalists and DJs alike getting steamed up over them, expect to hear a lot about these guys in 2009.

www.myspace.com/threetrappedtigers

 

OFFICE SPACE
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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.

 

 

HMV, SNAPS UP 14 ZAVVI STORES, MOVES INTO LIVE MUSIC WITH THE HELP OF MAMA
So not one but two rather interesting announcements from His Master's Voice yesterday.

First confirmation that the entertainment retailer is buying 14 stores off its collapsing rival Zavvi in a move that will bring the HMV brand to various towns or shopping centres where it hasn't previously had a presence. Five of the fourteen are in Ireland - the Irish version of Zavvi having also gone into administration a week after its UK counterpart. That part of the deal will see HMV arrive in Dundalk, Dundrum, Limerick, Newbridge and at Dublin's Liffey Valley shopping centre. In the UK, HMV will takeover Zavvi stores in Bournemouth, Crewe, Glasgow (x2), Peterborough, Plymouth, Salisbury, Southend and Stockton-on-Tees. The deal should save about 269 Zavvi jobs.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, HMV announced it was forming a new joint venture with the ever-growing music enterprise the MAMA Group which will see the retailer move into the live music sector. The two firms will become joint owners of a new company that will take the Mean Fiddler name (a name MAMA gained the rights to when it bought most of the Mean Fiddler venue network). That new company will in turn take ownership of 11 venues in the existing MAMA Group empire, namely The Hammersmith Apollo, The Forum, The Garage, Heaven, G-A-Y Bar, G-A-Y Late, The Borderline and the Jazz Café in London, plus The Edinburgh Picture House, The Birmingham Institute, and Aberdeen's Moshulu. Some of those venues will incorporate the HMV brand into their names.

The deal will see HMV pay MAMA Group around about £18.25 million (the exact figure will depend on the new company's financial performance in 2009). The two business partners will have a 50% stake each in the new company, which will be primarily run day to day by MAMA, though both parties will be involved into looking at possible new venue acquisitions to expand the empire.

Confirming the deal, MAMA chiefs Adam Driscoll and Dean James told CMU: "We are delighted to be entering this joint venture arrangement with HMV, the UK's leading music retailer. This is a landmark deal that alters the face of the live venue business in the UK. The engagement of artist and fan is the key driver of the music industry. That engagement is at its most evident at live events. Our venues are already key destinations for artists, promoters and fans. This new partnership between MAMA and HMV enables that live experience to be augmented by enabling us to offer the artist and fans a range of other opportunities to interact".

HMV CEO Simon Fox added: "Music is very much part of our DNA, and by extending the HMV brand into the growing live music and entertainment market, our customers will be able as never before to access and experience music in all of its forms via HMV. Our joint venture with MAMA Group to own and operate key venues in the UK uniquely positions HMV to offer our customers full access to live music. We have also today announced the development of HMV tickets which will enable us to offer our customers tickets to events at our Mean Fiddler Group venues as well as a range of other events. In addition, HMV will now be able offer to our existing and new live customers exciting bundled product offers, comprised of music CDs, DVDs, MP3 downloads, games, and related merchandise".

For those of you wondering how HMV can afford to buy 14 Zavvi stores and half of a major new live music company, well, they are planning an equity placement, which basically means they will sell some new shares in the company. Fox says they could have afforded to fund the two acquisitions using their overdraft facility but have decided creating and selling some new shares (which will equate to up to 5% of the business) is a better route. The CEO adds that the move has the support of the retailer's bigger existing shareholders.

Back to Zavvi world, and with the HMV deal done the former Virgin Megastore chain now has 65 stores left in the UK and 6 in Ireland. Administrators Ernst & Young are apparently still confident they can sell some of that remaining network off as a going concern.

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DUPRI HITS OUT AT LA REID OVER HIS ISLAND DEPARTURE
Jermaine Dupri has finally spoken about his abrupt departure from the role of president of Universal's Island Records Urban label in the US. Rumours that the producer and label chief was leaving the major, less than two years after moving there from EMI's Virgin US, began circulating earlier this month and were seemingly true. His departure seems to have been the result of conflict between him and LA Reid, the boss of Universal's Island Def Jam division.

Dupri has told US magazine Essence that his position at Universal became untenable after Reid essentially froze him out. Reid, you see, was jealous of Dupri. Or, at least, that's what Dupri reckons. Claiming he hadn't spoken to Reid in three months, despite technically speaking reporting to him, Dupri said: "I saw a side of him [Reid] that I had never seen before and that to me was a jealous side. I don't know if I should be around people who are jealous of me".

Responding to rumours that Universal had become less keen on their mega-bucks relationship with Dupri because of disappointing sales of the albums he worked on, not least the most recent release by his good lady Janet Jackson, the producer added: "Island is going to say what makes them look good. They are not going to tell the truth".

Expanding on his disdain for the Universal Music top guard, he explained Reid was one of the "old guys" trying to run a changing record industry by the old rules. Dupri: "The music business thrives on young music, young ideas, newness and freshness. We have a bunch of old guys running all the record companies and they get in these meetings and argue with these young people like myself about what we know and try to make us believe that what we're doing won't work. I don't see them beating the streets to find any of the artists... I never see these people out anywhere because they are still living off the old times".

It's still not clear what Dupri's departure means for the distribution deal between Universal and his label So So Def, nor what it means for the TAG Records venture - a JV between the major and the makers of the US-based TAG body spray brand, which Dupri headed up.

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LONDON ASTORIA CLOSES TODAY
So, London's Astoria, the most central of all the capital's venues, officially closes today following that final big bash staged by Get Cape Wear Cape Fly there last night. As much previously reported, the popular gig venue is to be demolished to allow construction work on a new station as part of the new Crossrail project. To mark the occasion the BBC have posted a nice and, if you're the sort of person who gets sentimental about this kind of thing, slightly touching narrated slide-show type thing about the venue, featuring the comments of Festival Republic's Ivor Wilkins, who has been involved in running the venue for the best part of three decades. Go see...

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7828222.stm

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OASIS BUSKER PROMOTION PROFILED IN MYSPACE DOCUMENTARY
One of the bands mentioned in that Astoria feature is Oasis, who are also mentioned here. It's as though we give the order in which stories appear some kind of consideration. Anyway, an eighteen minute documentary on that rather interesting project from last year when Oasis promoted their new album 'Dig Out Your Soul' by getting New York buskers to sing songs off it has been posted online. The doc, the first high-definition film to debut on MySpace, apparently, shows Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Andy Bell going to New York to participate in the project. Go to www.myspace.com/oasis to watch it.

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CALL FOR C-MURDER TO BE JAILED BEFORE TRIAL
Prosecutors in C-Murder's upcoming retrial for murder have called for the rapper to be jailed after he violated the rules of his house arrest, nipping out for 30 minutes on two separate occasions.

As previously reported, C-Murder, who these days goes by his real name of C Miller, was found guilty and jailed in 2003 for the shooting of 16 year old fan Steve Thomas outside the Platinum Club in Harvey, Louisiana, after several witnesses came forward to identify Miller as the shooter. The rapper appealed the verdict, and at a subsequent hearing in 2006 a woman testified that she had witnessed another man, known as Calliope Slim, brandishing a firearm moments before the shooting, information which she claims she told investigating officers before the original case came to court, but which was never mentioned during the trial. It was also revealed that detectives had cleared parking tickets and a felony theft arrest warrant in exchange for another testimony against Miller.

In light of this new evidence a retrial was ordered and Miller was released from jail and placed under house arrest, while awaiting a new court date. Unfortunately for him, that trial has been some time coming, but a date is now set for 20 Apr.

At a hearing this week, Judge Hans Lijeberg agreed with prosecutors that Miller should be jailed in the run up to the trial for violating his house arrest but then changed his mind 10 minutes later, instead warning the rapper to "conduct himself accordingly" while he waits to go to court. There's no word on whether or not Miller warned the judge not to be so indecisive. Maybe that wouldn't be such a clever move.

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RIAA MUSIC FAN LITIGATION TO BE WEBCAST
Those previously reported attempts by Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson to force the court proceedings from what could be one of the last Recording Industry Association Of America lawsuits against an individual music fan to be webcast have been successful. Judge Nancy Gertner of the Massachusetts District Court has agreed to let the proceedings from RIAA v Joel Tenenbaum to be webcast online via the Courtroom View Network.

Explaining her decision, Gertner told reporters: "In many ways, this case is about the so-called 'Internet Generation' - the generation that has grown up with computer technology in general, and the internet in particular, as commonplace. It is reportedly a generation that does not read newspapers or watch the evening news, but gets its information largely, if not almost exclusively, over the internet".

The decision could provide some PR stresses for the RIAA, even though the US trade body has in the main decided to stop suing music fans directly over the illegal file sharing of music, instead following their UK counterparts the BPI in lobbying the internet service providers to take a more proactive role in policing online piracy.

Although US copyright law has, in the main, favoured the record companies when it comes to the unlicensed distribution of their content on the net, when cases have gone to court various legal and especially evidential technicalities have caused some embarrassment for the plaintiffs. Those who oppose the record companies and their previously litigious approach to music on the internet will be hoping such embarrassing technicalities arise aplenty if this particular case is available for all to enjoy online.

Of course it will most probably turn out to be either an open and shut case, or an incredibly tedious discussion of US copyright law.

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GARY KURFURST DIES
Music manager Gary Kurfirst, whose clients included acts such as The Ramones, Eurythmics, Talking Heads and Jane's Addiction, died earlier this week at the age of 60.

From his youth, Kurfirst was involved with the music scene in New York, opening the Village Theater in 1967, later known as the Fillmore East, and facilitating Big Apple debuts of the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin and The Who, all of whom appeared at the New York Rock Festival he staged in 1968 when he was just 20 years old. It was at this point that he went into management, and over the course of the next four decades was involved in record sales of more than 100 million units worldwide. During his career he also produced a number of music related films.

Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, who signed both The Ramones and Talking Heads of course, has paid tribute to Kurfirst, saying: "Gary was brilliant in his ability to spot changes in music ahead of most people and had the courage to act on his instincts. Gary was tough, but not cut-throat in business. He could fight hard, but fair and never held grudges. Gary had great style".

Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads said in a statement: "Gary Kurfirst has been our manager since 1977. He never failed to take care of business for us. He protected us. He allowed Talking Heads to be Talking Heads while he took the blows that the music business dealt us. Gary truly was the fifth Talking Head. We were very close friends and we will miss him terribly".

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CHOICE MUSIC SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED
The short list for the Choice Music Prize - the Irish Mercury-style award judged by a panel of media professionals - has been announced. The judges will meet and select the winning act at the Choice Music Prize's live event to be held in Dublin on 4 Mar.

The short list for the 2008 prize is as follows:

Fight Like Apes - Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion (Model Citizen)
Mick Flannery - White Lies (EMI)
Halfset - Another Way of Being There (Casino Gravity Records)
Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew (Own label)
David Holmes - The Holy Pictures (Canderblinks)
Jape - Ritual (Co-Op)
Messiah J & The Expert - From The Word Go (Inaudible)
Oppenheimer - 'Take The Whole Mid-Range And Boost It' (Fantastic Plastic)
R.S.A.G. - Organic Sampler (Psychonavigation)
The Script - The Script (Sony Music)

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NEW HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS CONFIRMED
Metallica, Run-DMC, Jeff Beck, Little Anthony and the Imperials and Bobby Womack are to be inducted into the US's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on 4 Apr this year.

For Jeff Beck it's actually his second induction, as he was previously admitted in his capacity as one of The Yardbirds, but the new nomination is in recognition of his solo work. Run-DMC is only the second hip hop act to gain access to the hall, Grandmaster Flash having paved the way back in 2006, of course. The duo will perform at the induction for the first time since the murder of their third member Jam Master Jay, back in 2002.

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich says he surprised to be nominated, not least because he thinks it's about time The Stooges, who were shortlisted again this year but ultimately not chosen for induction, were in there. "It surprised me," he's quoted as saying. "I thought The Stooges would be a shoe in. Hopefully another year".

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BORRELL SONG UNLIKELY TO MAKE FLORENCE ALBUM
It seems Florence & The Machine may yet survive Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell's attempts to scupper their career before it gets going. Last year Borrell revealed that he and Florence Welch had worked on a song together, but it seems the song will not make it to the group's debut album.

A source told The NME: "They worked together 18 months ago and Florence really enjoyed the experience. However, nothing really came of it. So it's very unlikely that the track will make the album".

Welch herself told Xfm: "I did that [song] with Johnny quite a while ago. If you know people who are more experienced than you in the music industry and they're interested in what you're doing it's really fun. It doesn't matter whether you're an established artist or someone who is just starting, musicians should play together. It's about having fun and making music together".

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THE PRODIGY BRING FORWARD ALBUM RELEASE
The Prodigy are so excited about their new album, 'Invaders Must Die', that they're brought forward its release by a whole week to 23 Feb. The first collaboration between all three band members, Liam Howlett, Maxim and Keith Flint since 1997's 'The Fat Of The Land', the album features guest drums from that Dave Grohl on one track.

While we're here, why don't we take a look at the full tracklist:

Invaders Must Die
Omen
Thunder
Colours
Take Me To The Hospital
Warrior's Dance
Run With The Wolves
Omen Reprise
World's On Fire
Piranha
Stand Up

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FREE LADY GAGA DOWNLOAD
Lady GaGa, she's quite popular, isn't she? I bet you'd like to listen to the title track from her debut album, 'The Fame', which is out this week, wouldn't you? Well, this is your lucky day then, because you can download it for nothing from www.u-download.co.uk/ladygaga.

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USHER, CYRUS FAMILY TO APPEAR AT MILITARY GIG
A concert for children to honour US military families is set to take place in Washington on the eve of president elect Barack Obama's inauguration on 20 Jan, and will be headlined by Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers. The event, hosted by Michelle Obama and vice-president elect Joe Biden's wife Jill, will also feature performances from Miley's dad Billy Ray, Usher and Bow Wow.

As previously reported, there are loads of concerts happening in the run up to the inauguration, with Jay-Z, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, Sting and Elvis Costello all participating.

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MORRISSEY TO RECORD GIG FOR RADIO 2
Morrissey is to play songs from new album 'Years Of Refusal', out 16 Feb, at the BBC Radio Theatre next month. The gig will be broadcast on Radio 2 on 11 Feb at 9pm. Fans wishing to attend the gig have until 10pm this evening to register for tickets from the BBC website. Those who fail to get tickets will have to make do with watching a video of the event, which will be available to watch for one week from 12 Feb.

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CITY SHOWCASE ANNOUNCED
London's City Showcase has announced that it will be back this year, taking place from 7-9 May. The event, as you may be aware, showcases new artists, and has in the past featured the likes of Keane, Razorlight, Amy Winehouse, Hot Chip, Lady Sovereign, and Ray LaMontagne. As well as live events, the festival provides advice and mentoring for new acts, and will host a series of workshops at Regent Street's Apple Store.

Event organiser Nanette Rigg says this: "We are more excited by this year's event than ever before. We believe that often in hard times the best music is written and this year we are more optimistic than ever about sourcing some amazing new talent. We have also expanded our creative team further and recruited seasoned music industry entrepreneur Seven Webster from 7pm management to assist in our quest for finding the best new talent. Having launched over 40 top 40 artists careers from Sasha and Digweed to Dido, McQueen and Mason and managing across the spectrum of music we are pleased to have added someone to our team that is genuinely excited by new talent as we are."

Artists that want to showcase their work need to send a CD demo with a MySpace or weblink and brief biog and photo to City Showcase, PO Box 2212, RH20 2XJ, clearly marking the envelope as a City Showcase application.

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SXSW LINE UP TAKES SHAPE
You remember just how flippin huge SxSW is when you hear that 1153 artists have just been added to the bill. Crowded House's Tim Finn, The Faces' Ian McLagen, Eskimo Joe, Starsailor, Sandi Thom and Laura Marling are among the thousand plus bands who will appear. The full line up is so long I really can't face the thought of formatting it. If you're interested, go see the full list on the official website. South By Southwest takes place in Austin, of course, from 18-22 Mar.

www.sxsw.com/music/shows/bands/

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Need2Soul V.02: Benji B & Glenn Underground (Need2Soul)
This two disc affair features track selections from two top class DJs from either side of the Atlantic, 1Xtra DJ Benji B and Chicago-based deep house producer Glenn Underground. Disc one is taken by Benji B, who seemed to ascend using Gilles Petersen's coat tails a good few years ago, and who here collects a diverse range of tunes. There are gospel chants with the Celestial Choir, nu-soul from Phlash, quality tech from Ame with 'Hydraulic Dog', a Carl Craig acidic rework of Cesarioa Evora's 'Angola' and some Latin house from Louie Vega. But the highlight is Deetron's 'I Cling', after which it fails to reach the same heights again. It's diverse with a few nice touches but a little disjointed at times. Glenn Underground's disc takes us more housewards, kicking off with the sublime 'A Swell Session' by Swell Session (aka talented Swede Andreas Saag) from 2000, which sucked me right in. From the tribal chants of Nahawa Doumbia, it gets overly sweet with Vega's EOL remix of 'Stars' by Jiva, and Blvd East's 'Luv 4 Money' sounds far too like that Mr V with Miss Patty track. Luckily, Glenn pulls it back, with some proper Latin house on Misia's 'Melody', featuring MAW on the remix, and our Phlash's awesome remix of Fini Dolo's 'Blow. Elsewhere, Allen Hoist' gospel-tinted 'With Love' is solid, KDJ's 'J.A.N' is abstract and menacing, and it's all rounded off with Brett Dancer's nice cut, 'Dreamin', which oddly only runs for 90 seconds. All in all this is not your run of the mill compo and will appeal to those looking enrich their musical palate. There are a few hits and a few misses, and some will find it a little too far left of centre, but on the whole I quite enjoyed it. PV
Press Contact: Outpost [all]
Release date: 19 Jan

Buy from Amazon

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DUFFY SIGNS UP TO COKE AD
Duffy will star in a new Europe-wide Diet Coke ad campaign, a fact on which I can think of absolutely nothing to say. So let's cut straight to the customary quotes.

Duffy: "I love the attitude of this new Diet Coke ad. I drink so much of the stuff, they were either going to give me shares in the company or put me in the advert".

Coke Marketing Director Cathryn Sleight: "We have a strong heritage in creating entertaining and memorable advertising for 'diet Coke' that is loved by our female fans. Our campaigns are well known for tapping into a powerful social and cultural zeitgeist and Duffy is a great embodiment of today's modern female attitudes. She has a strong appeal with our core female audience and we're confident that this campaign will become just as iconic as previous 'diet Coke' advertising campaigns".

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BOOSEY & HAWKES TAKE OVER SYNC FOR EMI'S BLUE NOTE
Classical music publisher Boosey & Hawkes has further expanded its cross-genre sync rights business by entering into a deal with EMI's jazz imprint Blue Note Records. The deal will see B&H represent Blue Note's impressive catalogue, which includes recordings by the likes of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis, in the sync rights domain.

EMI Exec VP Of Brand Partnerships Cynthia Sexton says this: "We knew Blue Note's 70th anniversary this year represented a unique opportunity for synchronization of the label's legendary recordings. Boosey & Hawkes has a great track record and unique specialization in the jazz genre for synch, and we are pleased to have them give the Blue Note repertoire a full-court press approach".

B&H Head Of Consultancy, Natasha Baldwin, added: "This is an amazing coup for Boosey & Hawkes. Blue Note Records is a legendary label that has been instrumental in charting the course of jazz history and, alongside our existing classical roster, and the fact that we are continuing to strengthen our contemporary music offering, we are now able to provide an extremely diverse and compelling service to our many synch clients".

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PINNACLE ADMINISTRATORS CORRESPOND OVER RETURNING STOCK
The administrators winding up defunct music distributor Pinnacle have set a deadline of 28 Jan for labels to advise on how they wish their stock to be dealt with. As much previously reported, hundreds of labels have CDs sitting in Pinnacle warehouses and have been getting increasingly frustrated about the delays in getting said stock back. In a letter, administrators BDO Stoy Hayward have said all labels must let them know by 28 Jan what they want done with any CDs in Pinnacle's sheds, otherwise said CDs will be sold or destroyed. The letter also sets out a procedure for getting their CDs back including, presumably, the fact the labels have to pay 6p for each CD returned to them.

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KOCH LABEL DOWNSIZES
Despite news yesterday that its distribution arm had taken on US contracts for five indie labels, Koch Entertainment is downsizing. About ten people are expected to go from Koch's own record label, one of the biggest indie labels in America. The label's New York office will also move in with the company's distribution department at a Long Island based facility.

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APPLE BOSS TAKES LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR HORMONE TREATMENT
Apple boss Steve Jobs has announced he is taking a medical leave of absence because "during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought". It's thought Jobs will step down from the day-to-day running of Apple until at least July, with COO Tim Cook taking over.

It remains to be seen what impact the announcement is going to have on Apple's share price today. As previously reported, investors who see Jobs as key to Apple's success have become increasingly nervous as rumours of the CEO's health have rumbled on for months. Jobs, a survivor of pancreatic cancer, admitted last week that he was receiving treatment for a hormonal imbalance that had caused weight loss.

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LUKEWARM RESPONSE TO NEW YAHOO! BOSS
Yahoo! yesterday announced it had recruited a new CEO, Carol Bartz, currently Chairman of software firm Autodesk Inc. Despite Bartz's long and successful career in IT, the appointment was met with some disappointment on Wall Street, where city types had hoped for a new chief with experience in negotiating high profile media and technology deals.

As previously reported, Yahoo! has been looking for a new top man since Jerry Yang, a co-founder of the web firm, agreed to stand down last year after a difficult year for the company. Yang had annoyed Yahoo! shareholders by failing to pursue Microsoft's takeover offer - an offer Yang was known to dislike, but which was popular with some key shareholders.

Shares in Yahoo! fell 3.6% after Bartz's appointment was announced.

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SPIRALFROG ON ITS LAST LEGS?
Spiralfrog, the ad-funded free download service that, for about fourteen minutes, was dubbed the future of the music industry, may close this year according to some sources apparently close to the company. After a number of false starts Spiralfrog went live in the US in September 2007, but, despite offering music for free, does so using Microsoft's original digital rights management system, a system so rubbish even Microsoft stopped using it, and a system that looks even more outdated since the arrival of so many DRM-free download stores. That fact has impacted on consumer uptake, while the gloomy state of the advertising market has seemingly affected brand interest in participating in the venture. According to Digital Music News, the service is running out of both money and options, and some reckon the service could be quietly closed within months.

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RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE TO BUY EVENING STANDARD
A former KGB agent who became a billionaire after the collapse of communism in Russia is set to buy a controlling stake in the London Evening Standard, according to the Media Guardian. Alexander Lebedev will buy 76% of the paper, with current owners Associated Newspapers retaining the other 26%, after 12 months of negotiations between the two parties. According to the Guardian, Lebedev's son Evgeny is due to sign a deal today.

It is not clear what affect the acquisition would have on the capital's only news-stand evening title. Lebedev has said he has no interest in controlling the editorial position of the paper - and even if he did it is unlikely that would mean any bias towards the increasingly controversial Russian government, as Lebedev is widely regarded as a "semi-opposition" figure in his home country. He also has a stake in Novaya Gazeta, one of the few Russian newspapers that is critical of the country's political leaders. However, it is thought the new ownership could see the Standard move away from the political influence of sister title the Daily Mail, and become less right wing. Though it is likely to continue to be supportive of Tory London mayor Boris Johnson.

Commercially speaking the deal could give the Standard just the boost it needs in an increasingly competitive market. The Standard has been hurt by the growth of the internet - which gives office workers an alternative source of daytime news - and the free newspapers available to evening commuters. Associated, of course, have their own free evening title in the capital, London Lite, launched in response to rivals News International entering the freesheet market with The London Paper in 2006. The relationship between sister titles London Lite and The Standard has always been interesting because it means Associated is competing with itself in what is already a difficult market in terms of ad revenues.

Assuming Lebedev is sitting on as much cash as is thought, and he is willing to throw a bucket of it at the Standard (and it looks like he is, he's quoted as saying "as far as I'm concerned this has nothing to do with making money, there are lots of other ways... this is a good way to waste money"), the new owners could try and drive the London Paper out of business. It's not clear if Lebedev gets London Lite as part of his Standard deal - though an obvious tactic to take on the London Paper is to merger Lite and Standard and make the more weighty evening paper a freesheet.

Whatever, if this deal goes ahead there's some interesting times ahead in the London newspaper market.

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MAX AND OB GET ROCK FM SHOW
Former Hollyoaks stars Matt Littler and Darren Jeffries - you know, Max and OB - have been given a regular weekend show on Bauer Radio's Rock FM in Lancashire after filling in on a slot on sister station Radio City in Liverpool last month. The duo will be on air on Saturday mornings on the Preston based radio station.

Dean O'Brien, Rock FM's acting programme director, says this: "We're really excited about Matt and Darren's arrival - they will be a fantastic addition to our line up. They've sounded great on Radio City and we are really confident that the Lancashire listeners will love them".

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THIS WEEK'S SUB.TV PLAYLIST
These, in case you wondered, are the videos being played on the Sub.tv network of screens in students' unions around the UK this week. New entries marked with a *. More info from DavidLloyd@sub.tv.

A-List
The Airborne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight*
Beyoncé - Single Ladies
Coldplay - Lovers In Japan
David Guetta - Everytime We Touch*
DMT - Touch Me
Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses*
The Fray - You Found Me*
Keane - Perfect Symmetry
Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne - Let It Rock*
Kid Cudi vs Crookers - Day 'N' Nite
Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody
Lady Gaga - Just Dance
Lily Allen - The Fear
Snow Patrol - Crack The Shutters
Timmy Vegas feat. Bad Lay-Dee - Another Dimension
White Lies - To Lose My Life

B-List
Bloc Party - One Month Off*
Eagles Of Death Metal - Wanna Be In L.A.*
Frank Turner - Reasons Not To Be An Idiot*
Ida Maria - Oh My God*
Iglu and Hartly - Violent and Young
Innerpartysystem - Don't Stop*
Jordin Sparks - One Step At A Time*
Kanye West - Heartless
The King Blues - Save The World, Get The Girl*
La Roux - Quicksand*
Ne-Yo - Mad
Pink - Sober
Sway feat. Akon - Silver & Gold*
Tinchy Stryder feat. Taio Cruz - Take Me Back
Tommy Sparks - I'm A Rope
The View - Shock Horror

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DOHERTY IS SCUMBAG MAGNET, SAYS COXON
Graham Coxon has said some very kind things about Pete Doherty, after collaborating with him on his upcoming solo album, implying that he attracts the wrong sort who lead him astray.

Writing on Blur's message forum, he said: "I actually like Pete as a person a lot. He is very funny, warm and charming. He has rough press and not surprisingly so. He is also very impressionable, quite vulnerable, rather too trusting and needlessly gets himself into some difficulties - basically and unfortunately for him, he is a scumbag magnet".

He admitted having his own frustrations about Doherty, however, saying: "I really do think it's easy to think Pete is a waster. I also have been more than a little angry with him at times for pissing his talent up the wall on too many occasions. But I think when he sees through the murk at what opportunities are there for him he can really come up with the goods... Well, I think he did with these songs anyway".

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KANYE WEST ON GAY STYLE TIPS
Kanye West has revealed that he looks to the gay community for style inspiration, whilst making it clear that he is absolutely, definitely not gay. He's quoted as saying: "Gays know how to dress but you got to peep at them really quick because if they see you looking at them they might think you're looking at them in another way, so you have to keep looking away. If they catch you staring it's like, 'No dog, I'm looking at the gear!' "People always try to discredit gays altogether but they really know how to dress. They dress good".

But just in case you thought only gays can be stylish, West set the record straight, continuing: "Because you can dress good don't make you gay".

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THE OSBOURNES RETURN
You don't really see The Osbournes about anymore, do you? Wouldn't it be great to find out what they're all doing now? Don't answer that question, because whether you like it or not, they're back with more madcap antics in a brand new series of their fly-on-the-wall documentary/sitcom series.

Moving from MTV to Fox TV, Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly will return with 'The Osbournes Reloaded' later this year, and have reportedly already filmed six episodes, with guests including Pamela Anderson and a pair of impersonators.

Fox TV's Mike Darnell said: "We are letting them go as far as they can. They are raunchy and funny and also a warm, real family. It is family viewing. We might have a few old age pensioners being kissed, and stripping grandmas, but it is all good clean fun. There is nothing mean spirited about it".

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BLUE'S DUNCAN AIMS TO BE AS COOL AS KEANE
Poor old Keane, despite their recent makeover and finally recording a song that hipper music fans could nod their heads to, they're still not the kind of band you'd want to say you liked out loud in a crowded place. And Duncan James isn't helping matters, either.

The former Blue singer told The Sun that he'd much rather have been in a "cool" band like Keane than in a boyband. He said: "I've experienced life in a boyband, so I'd love to know what it's like to be in a cool band like Keane. That would be wicked. I love Keane and their music".

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