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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
IFPI publish slightly depressing global record sale stats
Cuts at Sony Music USA
Death Row goes to Canadian company for eighteen million
Diddy talks about BIG film
Digital music is shit, says Animal Collective man
In The Pop Courts
Sharon Osbourne wins Sun libel case
In The Pop Hospital
Mutya begs for ambulance, Big Brother refuses
Aerosmith tour plans on hold
Pop Politics
Lennox responds to criticism from Jerusalem Post
Reunions & Splits
Beatles reunion a possibility
Ryan Adams quits music and blogging
Artist Deals
Jeff Beck appoints Goldsmith as manager
In The Studio
New Megadeth album nears completion
Release News
New Depeche Mode album stuff
Radiohead reissues
New Neil Young album
Reviews
Album review: Aniaetleprogrammeur - Die Kir(s)che Auf dem Kopf (Tatachristiane)
The Music Business
The all new BMG going well, thanks
Brixton's Fridge refits for reopening
The Digital Business
MySpace Music sign up more indie catalogue
Facebook back to music drawing board after Warner scuppers Total Music option
Nokia man to keynote at MidemNet tomorrow
The Media Business
C4 boss down on Four/Five merger idea
New owners would result in new editor at Standard
The Local Radio Company goes more local
Indie 103.1 goes off air
And finally...
Novoselic not cut out for Rock Band

Jonas Brothers increase security in attempt to retain pants

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CMU Directory
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FRIDAY 16TH JANUARY

WINTERSLEEP
In 2002, in the small town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia - which apparently averages 191 days of fog per year - Wintersleep formed and since then have been crafting themselves into a formidable yet delicate force to be reckoned with. Citing both 20th century authors as well as musicians as significant influences in their song-writing, the band's founder-member Paul Murphy writes songs from the soul. Inspired by their surroundings, they create intense melodies which have seen them earn legions of dedicated fans and a Juno award in 2008 for Best New Group. Their third album 'Welcome To The Night Sky' is released in the UK on 2 Feb and the band will also be on tour to support the release next month. The Same Six Questions are answered by band members Paul and Loel.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
A long time ago, in Canada, we started fumbling around with instruments in our parents' basements. Mike and Loel grew up together in Stellarton, Nova Scotia playing in bands since the age of 14. Tim and Paul same deal but in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Samuel was a bit of a straggler/drifter/romancer from the outskirts of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I would say the time between the last record and starting to record this one. We started touring a lot. Earth, water, fire, brimstone. That is a joke. Email jokes are lame and never come across. I guess a lot of things go into making a record. We take lots of inspiration from friends, family, the nice fresh air, each other, good books, pretty girls.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Well, this record we worked track by track, we were kind of rushed through the bed tracks when we made our first two records... This time it was all about getting a great backing track and building it up from there. Also, the more prepared you are live, the better it's gonna sound.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Don Delillo, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace... Lots of different writers and bands. Eric's Trip was one of the early bands. Led Zeppelin. I don't know. As many as possible I guess is the best answer.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
It's a grower.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
The record has been out for a while in Canada, we are glad to have it released in Europe. We are all keen on touring that territory and any other that presents itself as a touring possibility. Perhaps when we finish up touring we will be ready to start recording our follow up.

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

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Walking In Rhythm at Ronnie Scotts
With Ronnie Scotts celebrating its 50th birthday this year, let's tip this fine night that takes over upstairs at the legendary jazz club each Saturday night with the promise of an eclectic bunch of sounds, taking in funk, soul, jazz, latin, swing, rockabilly, reggae, ska, and 50s/60s R&B. The night belongs to Groove Sanctuary's Jim Robbins (aka DJ Raw Deal) and he will be spinning some of the tunes. But it's not just about Robbins and the regulars - guests appear, and this weekend it's William Fowler. Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts is very lounge like making this more like some secret house party than your normal central London club night - definitely one to check out, if not this week, sometime soon. Guests are listed on the MySpace.

Saturday 17 Jan, Ronnie Scotts, Frith Street, London, 9pm, £5 b4 11pm, £8 after, more at www.myspace.com/walkinginrhythm

 

 

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT ROLE AT LONDON PR AGENCY, £35K
Join this growing PR agency with an enviable list of big-brand clients. You will be responsible for providing an efficient and professional support service for the company, including the role of assistant to one of the directors. In addition to this, there is a real opportunity to take ownership of building the agency's brand, and this job would therefore suit someone who has an eye for design and attention to detail; coupled with first rate organisational skills. This is a young company, with aggressive growth plans, and the role has real scope to grow in line with the company's expansion. You will be the first point of contact for clients, set up and maintain filing systems, manage supplier accounts, oversee the company's book keeper, keep personnel records and manage the Director's diary. You will also take ownership of the website and manage marketing events. Strong office experience is required, preferably in fast paced marketing communications agency environment. You must have advanced PowerPoint skills, a proactive approach and be able to work independently. This role will suit a self-starter with a creative approach to solving problems.

To apply for this role send your CV and covering letter to jobs@unicornjobs.com quoting reference SS54

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

NO. 8: DANE BOWERS
And so, once again we enter the unseemly world of artists telling their public to "fuck off", or something similar. So far we've had tales of run-ins with Avril Lavigne, Brian Wilson, members of Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson, and, of course, Ringo Starr. And this week we have an equally famous and talented musician. A former Another Level member, Jordan lover and Victoria Beckham collaborator, yes, he's out of his mind... it's Dane Bowers!

A reader writes: "Back about three years ago I was enjoying a pleasant evening out with a small group of friends in the bustling music scene that is Watford. We moved on to a club, and were astounded to hear that the guest DJ for the evening would be the international superstar Dane Bowers. This went down very well with the clientele of the venue (I was unimpressed). A number of bouncers moved through the crowd clearing the way for Dane, who was approaching me rapidly. I was moved sideways to allow Dane (+ ego) through to the stage, at which point he planted his foot firmly on top of mine. I wasn't happy - murmuring 'idiot' as he shuffled past. He turned to me, completely straight faced, told me to 'fuck off', and then continued on his merry way to what was quite a shambolic DJ set. Come to think of it, it probably was quite hard for him to see where he was putting his feet, but I think I was more annoyed that he had gained a little weight since his better days, meaning it was actually quite painful (plus, he was wearing shades and he looked like a tosspot!)".

Have you been told to fuck off by a pop star? We want to know about it. Send your stories to peaceandlove@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 


IFPI PUBLISH SLIGHTLY DEPRESSING GLOBAL RECORD SALE STATS
95% of all music downloaded from the internet is done so illegally, or at least that's what is claimed in the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry's latest world stats report. The global record label trade body says online piracy remains one of their biggest challenges.

Although seemingly only accounting for 5% of overall downloading, legal download sales were up 20% last year, and digital sales now account for a fifth of overall record sales. That increase, however, is not fully compensating for the decline in CD sales. The IFPI reckon that, as a result, the global music industry shrank by 7% last year.

All of this, specific stats aside, we already knew of course. IFPI boss John Kennedy, however, hopes the latest stats will further persuade governments around the world that, like their counterparts in the UK and France, they need to pressure internet service providers to start playing a more proactive role in policing online piracy.

Kennedy: "There is a momentous debate going on about the environment on which our business, and all the people working in it, depends. Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over 'free content' and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content".

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CUTS AT SONY MUSIC USA
Following news earlier in the week of rumours that Sony Corp will post a billion dollar loss for this financial year, news today that Sony Music US have started cutting staff. These cuts are, though, I think, part of Sony Corp's previously reported cutbacks, and not a response to the mega-loss reports. As previously reported, analysts reckon that if Sony Corp do make losses in the region of a billion dollars, shareholders will push for more radical downsizing across the entertainment and electronics conglom.

Cuts within Sony's US record label operations this week hit its two distribution companies, including independent label distribution arm RED, and the Columbia label. Billboard reports that at least thirty people have been made redundant, including senior sales execs Colin Willis, Laurel Polson and John Hawn in distribution, and urban music top man Kyambo Joshua and urban marketing exec Al Branch at Columbia.

No official word from Sony Music on the cuts as yet, nor on what impact this round of downsizing will have on Sony offices outside the US.

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DEATH ROW GOES TO CANADIAN COMPANY FOR EIGHTEEN MILLION
So, I'd only set aside seventeen million dollars for my bid for legendary hip hop label Death Row Records, so damn those Canadians at WIDEawake Entertainment Group who secured ownership of Suge Knight's former business empire for $18 million.

As much previously reported, Death Row was put up for sale after the aforementioned Knight declared himself bankrupt. The bankruptcy was caused by a bitter legal battle between him and one of the label's co-founders, Lydia Harris, who had sued for the millions she reckoned she was owed by the record company in return for her and her ex-husband's original investment. The courts awarded Harris a $107 million pay out, sending Knight into bankruptcy.

When the bankruptcy courts originally put Death Row up for sale there were at least three interested buyers, including Warner Music and Koch, but both of those companies eventually withdrew their offers because Knight's shambolic paperwork made it very difficult to say who really owned some of the more valuable recordings, like the early works of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre. In the end a consortium called Global Music bought the label for $25 million. But it was revealed earlier this month some of the key investors behind that deal had got cold feet and as a result Global wasn't able to raise the twenty-five mil required.

With the Global deal dead in the water, the hip hop catalogue went back on sale at auction yesterday, with WIDEawake the successful bidder. The difference between the $25 million bid by Global and the $18 million to be paid by WIDEawake is significant. It's thought that after ever-mounting legal and administrative fees relating to Knight's bankruptcy and the sale of the label have been paid, and the always first in the queue tax man has taken the money he's owed, there won't be much left from the eighteen million, meaning Harris and the label's other creditors are unlikely to see anything.

Harris, needless to say, isn't very happy. She's told Billboard: "This was all a scam from the beginning. Everyone wanted me to bring judgment down, and so I brought on the case. But now I'm not getting paid because I'm an unsecured creditor? Yet, administrators are getting paid and Suge [Knight]'s bills are still getting paid? If it wasn't for me no one would be getting money. They made sure it happened this way because I was the biggest creditor. There must be some internal thing going on and I'm obviously not in on it".

Harris added that another company called Conquest Media also bid for the label but their offer was overruled because it missed the court-set deadline. It's not clear what sum they bid, though the implication is that it may have been higher than WIDEawake's bid.

Toronto-based WIDEawake is run by lawyer, songwriter and entrepreneur Lara Lavi. She distributes releases through Universal in Canada, but doesn't currently have a US deal in place, so will be looking for a distribution partner to help capitalise on the Death Row catalogue in the American market. Commenting on her plans for the Death Row recordings, she told Billboard: "We're very respectful of Death Row's legacy and when the time is right we'll announce [our plans]".

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DIDDY TALKS ABOUT BIG FILM
Sean diddy daddy Combs has told fans via YouTube how watching the new biopic of the late Notorious BIG made him confront his feelings about the death of his friend, shot dead in Los Angeles back in 1997.

Combs says: "Anybody that's experienced a great loss of a friend, a family member... The thing that I realised, because I did it, and you may have realised it, you figure out ways to repress the feelings and not deal with it. You just don't deal with it. Until one day, out of nowhere, a song or a picture or something makes you deal with it. Watching the movie, there was no running, there was no hiding from it. ... I changed".

Biopic 'Notorious' goes on general release in the US and UK in February. Set to precede it is the soundtrack, 'Notorious: Music From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture', which is out on 26 Jan in the UK. I think it might already be out in the US. The LP features Kanye West-produced single, 'Brooklyn Go Hard', by Jay-Z featuring Santogold, as well as Notorious BIG tracks like 'Juicy' and 'Hypnotize'. Previously unreleased demos and new tracks also appear.

Here's the tracklisting
Notorious Thugs (ft. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)
Hypnotize
Notorious
Juicy
Party & Bullshit
Warning
One More Chance Remix (ft. Faith Evans)
Brooklyn Go Hard (Jay-Z f.Santogold)
Letter to BIG (Jadakiss f.Faith Evans)
Kick in the Door"
What's Beef
World Is Filled
One More Chance(f.CJ)
The Notorious Theme (composed by Danny Elfman)
Microphone Murderer (previously unreleased demo)
Guaranteed Raw (previously unreleased demo)
Love No Ho (previously unreleased demo)

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DIGITAL MUSIC IS SHIT, SAYS ANIMAL COLLECTIVE MAN
Animal Collective's Geologist (that's his name, I don't mean they have their own geologist) has said that music is consumed all wrong these days. In an interview with Drowned In Sound he says that hearing music for the first time via poor quality MP3s and online streams is not the best way to get the most from the experience.

Most musos would agree, of course. Trent Reznor once remarked, when tracks from Nine Inch Nails' 'With Teeth' album leaked, that it's a shame when fans have a sneaky preview listen to new music online because that first listen is better when it's in a top quality format and in the context of a whole album. And once you've used up that first listen, you can't unhear it. He possibly has a point. Or perhaps he doesn't. Does anyone really take in an album the first time? What's wrong with hearing something before you buy it? Remember the days when you wouldn't know if you liked something until after you'd bought it? Those days were rubbish.

Anyway, back to Animal Collective. Geologist told DiS that he doesn't like it when his songs leak online before being properly released, even though he knows he can't do anything about it. He explains: "I have a lot of strong personal feelings about how people consume music these days, even myself. That's why I have these feelings; because I can see how my own listening habits have degraded over the years with the advent of the internet. People ask, 'why do you give a shit about a leak, it's going to leak anyway, it's such an outdated, antiquated way of approaching music' and I guess that's true, but I'm unapologetic about it, in a way, growing up in a time when the internet wasn't around".

On the subject of legitimately listening to streams of albums via MySpace and other such sites, he added: "Even streaming it before it's released, that goes against my views on how music should be listened to. Doing that or putting it on iTunes first, it's giving people another option from which they can hear your music for the first time".

Animal Collective's new album, 'Merriweather Post Pavilion', is out now via all good download stores.

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SHARON OSBOURNE WINS SUN LIBEL CASE
Ozzy Osbourne is not overworked by his manager (and wife) Sharon Osbourne. Ask The Sun, they'll tell you.

Sharon took the paper to the High Court in October 2007 after it claimed that she was "driving her frail husband Ozzy Osbourne to destruction". The Sun has now agreed to pay Osbourne undisclosed damages and her legal costs, and has also apologised for the error.

Osbourne's lawyer John Kelly told reporters that the allegations had been "extremely distressing, hurtful and damaging" for the star, while The Sun's lawyer, Patrick Callaghan, said that they paper apologised for all that and accepted that its claims were not true.

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MUTYA BEGS FOR AMBULANCE, BIG BROTHER REFUSES
Mutya Buena was refused paramedic treatment by 'Celebrity Big Brother' bosses after she took a sleeping pill and failed to go to sleep on Tuesday. Instead, she was seen by a doctor, who examined her for 90 minutes before deeming her okay to stay in the house.

Buena reportedly said: "I've had a stronger tablet, and it seems to be working the opposite".

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AEROSMITH TOUR PLANS ON HOLD
Aerosmith have put any possible touring plans on hold for a while after guitarist Joe Perry injured his knee in an accident that apparently took place in Boston and resulted in emergency surgery. He's now due to receive 3-4 months of treatment, and that will hinder any touring plans in that period. The first affected gig is likely to be one due to take place in Venezuela on 1 Feb. It's not clear whether the injury will affect work on the band's new album, which they recently announced is in development. It's their first studio album since 2001.

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LENNOX RESPONDS TO CRITICISM FROM JERUSALEM POST
Annie Lennox, who, as previously reported, recently took part in anti-war demonstrations in London, has responded to an open letter published in the Jerusalem Post which accuses her of slandering Israel and only counting the cost of the war on the Palestinian side.

In her reply, published on her MySpace page, Lennox says she feels despair that the "war in Gaza is being used to divide the rest of the world between "pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian" instead of "pro-peace or pro-war". In my mind, the only distinction that matters right now, as Palestinian and Israeli lives are being lost and endangered by this violent conflict, is whether you support war or peace".

She continues: "From my perspective, peace and security comes with dialogue, not bullets and bombs, and therefore I make no apology for being a leading member of the voice of reason, in opposition to this senseless war. I have taken this position as a humanitarian and as a mother. I cannot stand seeing children killed. I cannot stand seeing families shattered. I want this to end, and only a permanent ceasefire will achieve this".

Responding to the implication that she is anti-Israel, she adds: "I am not alone in my views, and my position is supported by a cross spectrum of communities in Britain including my Jewish and Israeli friends. Mr Dori, for your information, I too have friends and family in Israel, and want to see them safe and secure, in the same way that I want human rights protection for the citizens of Gaza".

You can read the letter to Annie Lennox here

and her response on her MySpace page here

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BEATLES REUNION A POSSIBILITY
Now, obviously this wouldn't be a full Beatles reunion, what with John Lennon and George Harrison being quite dead. However, Paul McCartney has said that he would like to get together with Ringo Starr again at some point. The pair last worked together adding overdubs to home recordings by Lennon with Harrison in 1994.

McCartney said on US chat show The View: "Yeah I would love to [work with Ringo]. We do things from time to time together, but it doesn't always come up. Sometimes he'll be on tour when I'm not. But we don't rule it out, it'd be great. He's a great drummer and we're used to each other. Let's hear it for Ringo!"

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RYAN ADAMS QUITS MUSIC AND BLOGGING
In a lengthy, and now deleted post on The Cardinals website, Ryan Adams has announced that the band he fronts will play their final gig in Atlanta, Georgia before splitting. On top of that, Adams revealed that he plans to bow out of music altogether for the foreseeable future, and stop blogging, while he works on two books, attempts to recover from some inner ear problems and rediscover what it was that excited him about music in his youth. Except he took a lot longer to say all that.

Adams revealed that he suffers from Meniere's disease, which combines symptoms of tinnitus and vertigo to make for one unpleasant time. This, he said, was the cause of apparently drunken behaviour at recent gigs and has left him dizzy and nauseous on regular occasions.

He wrote: "I am ready for quieter times as I think it is very evident I am struggling with some balance and hearing issues. ... I won't be blogging here anymore - but not for effect - it just is not being kind to myself - I need a life that is mine - I need to grow up and grow into who I have subtly been working back towards".

He may be off blogging, but will still continue writing, promising two more books, in addition to his previously reported anthology of poetry and short stories, 'Infinity Blues', which will also be published this year.

Although he seemed fairly committed to finding new outlets for his creativity, Adams did not rule out a return to music in the future. He said: "Maybe I will work my way back into some kind of music situation but this is the time for me to step back now ... My dream was to try and tap into [the] energy I saw watching Minutemen VCR tapes ... of Mike Watt's crazy shaking leg and his electric fingers - or how Sonic Youth droned into beautiful clouds those guitars shaking, Kim and Steve rattling the pulsing lines into feverish thudding imaginary subway cars racing through my heart".

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JEFF BECK APPOINTS GOLDSMITH AS MANAGER
Jeff Beck who, as reported yesterday, is about to be inducted into the US Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame for the second time (this time for his solo work rather than as one of The Yardbirds), has announced he has appointed music industry veteran Harvey Goldsmith as his new manager. Goldsmith will oversee the next phase of Beck's career, including the release of a live DVD in March and a new album later in the year.

Confirming his new business relationship with Goldsmith, Beck told reporters: "I have known Harvey for a long time and we met again at the Classic Rock Awards at the end of last year. Soon after I decided I wanted a change in my career so I approached Harvey in December. It's a great team and we have big plans, including new material and more performances".

Goldsmith added: "I'm very excited about working with Jeff, it will be a great partnership. He is raring to go and his band are incredible, just brilliant".

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NEW MEGADETH ALBUM NEARS COMPLETION
Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick has revealed that work on the band's latest album is continuing satisfactorily, which means that they should have everything done and dusted in time for the UK tour in February. The band are currently holed up in frontman Dave Mustaine's studio, 'Vic's Garage', with legendary British metal producer Andy Sneap.

Writing on the band's MySpace blog, Broderick, who joined the band last year, wrote: "I am getting ready to head down to Vic's and wanted to check in. Shawn [Drover] is finishing up the last few songs with drums and all next week I will be starting on rhythm guitars. This is very cool stuff, learning Dave's rhythmic style can be a challenge but is one that I look forward to".

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NEW DEPECHE MODE ALBUM STUFF
The new Depeche Mode album 'Sounds Of The Universe' is to be released on 20 Apr. As previously reported, Dave Gahan has said that he thinks his band have made a "great record". A European tour is also planned for this year.

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RADIOHEAD REISSUES
Following the news of those Radiohead single re-releases, now EMI have said they will reissue their former signing's first three studio albums too - so that's 'Pablo Honey', 'The Bends' and 'OK Computer' - as new double-CD editions, each including the original record plus b-sides and live material. They're also planning a collector's edition of each one, which will include bonus DVD footage, in particular a 1994 performance at the London Astoria split over the first two albums, so these collectors will have to buy both editions to get the full thing. I bet the band will be really pleased about all this.

All three albums are out on 24 Mar.

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NEW NEIL YOUNG ALBUM
Neil Young is to release a new album called 'Fork In The Road' in the spring, and has uploaded the title track to his website. The new release apparently means that a long-awaited collection focussing on the musician's early career, 'Archives Vol 1', will have its release put back indefinitely, despite the fact that it's all ready to go, and had been scheduled to be out in February.

Young is rumoured to be appearing at Glastonbury this year, but this hasn't been confirmed.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Aniaetleprogrammeur - Die Kir(s)che Auf dem Kopf (Tatachristiane)
Aniaetleprogrammeur are hotly tipped for success in 2009. Their visceral, dirty electro rock, reminiscent at times of the darker side of Late Of The Pier means these guys are currently the nom du jour to drop in electro circles. They mix the big electro sounds that Berlin is renowned for with the melodic overtones of the Parisian Kitsune sound. It settles nicely as a mish-mash of hard styles, from techno to ambient, always with an inflection of programmable synths and noises integrating itself within the harsh vocal style and big drums. Ostensibly likened to Crystal Castles due to the similarities in both sound and presentation (one boy, one girl), it is however their European flavour which has captured the critics attention. 'I Am Not From London' has all the bite of Justice; pounding drums follow pounding drums, occasionally breaking into a monstrous dance beat whilst Hanri pours his caustic vocals on top. It's quite thrilling to listen to and the album rarely lets up. They show their ambient side in 'J'ai Decoupe Dans Un Journal', a terrifically odd number that ends in spoken English. Language is variously employed to great effect within the album, switching between their two native tongues (French and German) and English, all used to convey different meanings and feelings. The pair have a good chance of stealing Crystal Castles' crown as the premiere electro duo, but I will reserve such judgement until we see which single they choose off this fine album. SJS
Release Date: 26 Jan
Press Contact: Tatachristiane IH [all]

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THE ALL NEW BMG GOING WELL, THANKS
German media company Bertelsmann says the first three months of the all new BMG have gone very well thank you very much. As previously reported, after selling their half of the SonyBMG joint venture to Sony Corp, Bertelsmann announced it was launching a new company under the BMG name which specialises in 'music rights management' - managing the publishing and recording rights of songwriters and artists in the broadcasting and sync rights sectors, but not actually releasing those recordings themselves (though they may manage relationships between artists and labels).

The company began with the recording catalogues of about 200 artists from SonyBMG which will continue to be released by Sony Music, but which will be managed by the new BMG Rights Management agency.

According to Music Week, the company's MD, Hartwig Masuch, has reported the new company has already secured exclusive Europe-wide rights management relationships (some publishing, some recordings, some both) with a number of artists and songwriters, mainly from Germany, including Peter Fox, 2Raumwohnung, Die Prinzen, Laith Al-Deen, Yvonne Catterfeld, Westbam and good old Nene, but also from other countries too - including Christina Stürmer from Austria, Toby Gad from the US and Andrew Roachford (you know, "because my only joy, is a cuddly toy") from the UK.

Although based primarily in Berlin, Masuch also reports the company now has representative offices in Paris, London, Milan, Madrid and Amsterdam.

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BRIXTON'S FRIDGE REFITS FOR REOPENING
Owners of Brixton venue The Fridge, Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington, have confirmed they will be managing the venue on a day-to-day basis once again after a four-year break from such duties.

The former cinema, opened as a music venue by Czezowski and Carrington in 1981, has been through a mini-refit to coincide with the return of its owners to the management role, with new wiring, a big clean and a brand new PA and lighting system installed.

The Fridge duo say a wide range of gigs and club nights are now being lined up for the months that follow the venue's reopening on 31 Jan.

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MYSPACE MUSIC SIGN UP MORE INDIE CATALOGUE
MySpace has added more indie labels to its MySpace Music proposition thanks to deals with Terry McBride's Nettwerk Music Group and three indie distributors, INgrooves, IRIS Distribution and RoyaltyShare. They will also get access to music from New York based indie Wind-Up Records as a result of them handing their digital distribution over to Sony Music's distribution division earlier this week. The big indie negotiator - ie Merlin - remains unconvinced of MySpace's offer though.

As much previously reported, when MySpace made its new much expanded music streaming service available in the US last year it did so without the vast majority of independent record labels on board. They, and in particular those affiliated to rights body Merlin, objected to the fact the four majors had been given an equity stake in the MySpace Music company set up to operate the new streaming service in order to secure their involvement. No such deal was offered to the indies, individually or collectively. Merlin argued that this was especially unfair because it was the indie sector that initially embraced the MySpace artist profile service, helping the social networking company establish its music platform, one of the few aspects of MySpace to still dominate the web market.

MySpace did have access to some indie music - those distributed digitally by one of the four majors' indie label distribution arms, or via digital aggregators The Orchard and IODA, who did sign up. MySpace say the new deals confirmed yesterday will give them access to "several hundred thousand" more tracks.

MySpace Music boss Courtney Holt told reporters: "These important new partnerships will allow the MySpace Music community to access even more of their favorite independent music while enabling monetization opportunities for the newly licensed artists. We are thrilled to have our new partners on board and will continue our aggressive content acquisition efforts".

Perhaps Holt should try being less aggressive and a bit more giving in his attempts to sign up Merlin, who represent the digital catalogues of some 12,000 indie labels. Or perhaps the former Universal exec doesn't really care.

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FACEBOOK BACK TO MUSIC DRAWING BOARD AFTER WARNER SCUPPERS TOTAL MUSIC OPTION
Talking of social networking websites and their musical ambitions, there is an interesting report in the Washington Post about ongoing plans by MySpace rival Facebook to launch a serious music offer. A somewhat lacklustre move into the artist profile domain and reluctance to set up its own music division means that while Facebook remains the social network of choice for many (and actually seems to be having a bit of a resurgence of late), MySpace still dominates when it comes to artist-based social networking.

While Facebook has played down its music ambitions in the past, the Post confirms that the social networking firm has approached a number of digital music service providers, including Buzznet, iLike, Imeem, LaLa, Last.fm and Rhapsody, about them providing an official Facebook music service that would basically do pretty much everything the all new MySpace Music does (millions of tracks available for free unlimited streaming, sell through to iTunes and others). Facebook is in theory willing to share user data with any provider, though only in return for reducing its costs in licensing the music required for the service.

Perhaps more interesting than all that, though, is the Post's revelation that the reason Facebook only got round to approaching Buzznet et al towards the end of 2008 is because it had spent much of the year negotiating with Total Music, the previously reported digital music service being developed by Universal and Sony. The intent for Total Music is that it will provide a MySpace Music style service, with music from all four majors, not direct to consumers but via other media partners. Facebook would be a perfect partner.

The costs of Total Music for Facebook would not be huge, though the labels would want complete control of user data and 100% of ad revenues generated by the music service. It's thought Facebook weren't too keen on either of those two demands, though were giving the lowcost option serious consideration.

The real problem, the Post claims, is that while Universal and Sony have persuaded EMI to participate in Total Music, Warner are not keen, mainly because they see it as competing with the previously reported Lala.com subscription based streaming service they've been heavily investing in. Without Warner's catalogue the Total Music option didn't work for Facebook, sending the social networking back to the drawing board, meaning that if and when it does launch a serious music offer it may well have missed the boat.

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NOKIA MAN TO KEYNOTE AT MIDEMNET TOMORROW
Nokia's Exec VP Entertainment & Communities Tero Ojanpera will give a keynote speech at the digital bit of Midem in Cannes tomorrow, and is expected to big up his company's slightly flawed DRM-heavy Comes With Music service, suggesting the innovative new business model is an example of how the technology sector can help the music industry find new ways to engage consumers and make money.

Ojanpera will compare his message with the big speech of Midem 2008 where U2 manager Paul McGuinness hit out at the internet service providers for not doing enough to combat illegal file sharing. The Nokia man is reportedly to show how the tech sector can be the good guys, and may possibly suggest the music industry should be doing more to support those good guys.

The Nokia VP told Billboard: "I shall be addressing some of the issues Paul McGuinness raised last year, such as how to make sure rights holders get paid, as well as how to buy and share music legally with friend. We've already paid [for the content], so customers can share the music freely. That approach will help monetize music, encourage the creation of new services, and have an impact on the way consumers can enjoy music".

MidemNet takes place this weekend, while Midem proper kicks off on Sunday.

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C4 BOSS DOWN ON FOUR/FIVE MERGER IDEA
Channel 4 boss Andy Duncan has hit out at the suggestion his company should merge with rival Five in a bid to tackle the financial challenges it faces as the advertising market both slumps and becomes more competitive.

As previously reported, the government is currently considering the future of commercial public service broadcasting given the changes in the advertising space. Channel 4 favour it receiving a cut of the licence fee to support its flagging advertising revenues. The BBC, eager to hold on to all its licence income, does not favour that proposal, and management there have been busy suggesting all sorts of other ways C4 could cope with its financial woes. It was with that in mind that BBC boss Mark Thompson said this week the Four/Five merger, mooted by others, was worth giving some serious consideration.

Speaking at an event organised by the National Endowment for Science, Technology And The Arts, Duncan said such a proposal was "trying to fix the problems of the future with the solutions of the past", adding: "It makes no sense whatsoever to imagine that merging a not-for-profit publicly owned broadcast business with a for-profit, privately owned broadcaster is going to solve the fundamental structural problems we are all facing. Mixing oil and water doesn't work. It just makes a mess".

He added that the government needs to do, well, something, to ensure the future of British broadcasting and telly making. To be honest I'm not really sure what he's saying here, but it sounds important: "The scale and nature of change being brought about by digital technology is fundamental, it is global and it is irreversible. The established economic model is inevitably in decay. But, just as the door is progressively closing on the old linear model of one-to-many broadcasting, a new and much bigger door is opening on the global content market. If we seek to approach the challenges of the future with the solutions of the past, we commit Britain's creative and media industry to decline. If we understand and embrace change and create the right structures for the future, we open the way to major social, cultural and economic benefit for all in our country".

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NEW OWNERS WOULD RESULT IN NEW EDITOR AT STANDARD
If, as predicted by the Guardian, Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev gets a controlling stake in the London Evening Standard, it's thought current editor Veronica Wadley will be out of a job almost immediately because the media-mogul-in-the-making wants his new acquisition to be "fresher and younger, and possibly more progressive", and he doesn't think Wadley is the woman to deliver on that aim. Names being touted to take on the job include Tatler editor Geordie Greig, Independent MD Simon Kelner, or, if it was felt an appointment from within current owners Associated Newspapers would be better (they'll still own 24% after the deal), current Mail Online Editorial Director Martin Clarke. An announcement on the Standard deal is expected imminently, with a decision on a new editor to follow soon after.

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THE LOCAL RADIO COMPANY GOES MORE LOCAL
The Local Radio Company is planning on making its radio stations, well, more local, by axing networked shows and moving more back office operations into local offices. TLRC's network of local stations all currently share programming in the evenings, over night and at the weekend, but those networked shows will soon be canned and local off-peak programmes launched in their place. The move will see the company's Aylesbury based HQ closed down, with previously centralised back office functions put back into the stations on a local basis. 20 HQ staff will be made redundant, though new jobs are expected to be created in the regions.

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INDIE 103.1 GOES OFF AIR
LA's alternative rock radio station Indie 103.1 has announced it is to go off the air and become an online only radio service. The station says that commercial pressures have forced it to become more mainstream of late, and moving forward an even more mainstream playlist would be required. However, management reckon said pressures would be fewer if the station withdrew from the FM dial and became an online service.

A statement from the station, which airs shows fronted by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction, said: "Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge".

It continued: "Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option - to play the corporate radio game. We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great, Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course. This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative - simply put, only the best music".

The move to online only will, of course, result in budget cuts, and that, it's thought, will impact on shows like those presented by Jones and Navarro.

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NOVOSELIC NOT CUT OUT FOR ROCK BAND
Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has revealed that attempts to play one of his former band's songs on pretend-to-play videogame 'Rock Band' resulted in him being embarrassed by a passing child.

Novoselic told Xfm: "I know about 'Rock Band', because Nirvana has some songs on it. I had never tried the game before, so I gave it a go. I worked through the menu and found the song 'In Bloom'. I picked up the little guitar-shaped controller and hit the stage".

Initially confident that he would be on pretty safe ground with one of his own songs, he soon found himself on shaky ground. He continued: "I knew the bass line to the song, of course, but I couldn't quite master this new, different way of playing it. The game reminded me of Space Invaders. I tried to hit the notes cascading down the screen, but could barely keep up. Meanwhile, this kid was watching me fumble with the game. I became self-conscious and took the controller off. I handed it to him, and he proceeded to jam on the song and was really good! He had no idea that I was the musician he was emulating on the game, and I didn't tell him".

And how does one recover in such a situation? "[I] walked away to buy some paint supplies, groceries, and other items from the store".

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JONAS BROTHERS INCREASE SECURITY IN ATTEMPT TO RETAIN PANTS
Teen poppers The Jonas Brothers have increased their security, apparently, after fans made off with their pants. The trio reportedly started to notice that boxer shorts were mysteriously disappearing from their dressing rooms during their recent tour, but clearly thought it was a joke of some kind. They didn't hire more security staff until they found deeply threatening messages amongst their kit saying: "Your undies are safe with us... The Undie Snatchers!"

The National Enquirer claims that all guests must now be escorted to the dressing rooms by the additional security people. To be fair, I don't suppose I'd want people stealing my pants, either.

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