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Top Stories
BRIT nominations announced
Isle Of Man seeks blanket download license
Kelly Osbourne arrested over assault
In The Pop Courts
Suspect pleads not guilty to Hudson charges
RIAA filesharing case delayed
Pop Politics
Aretha, Obama, Beyonce
In The Studio
David Bowie recording in Berlin
Films N Shows News
Serkis confirms Ian Dury biopic
Books News
Rob Da Bank to release festival memoirs
Britney to write autobiography, possibly
Gigs N Tours News
Noisettes tour
Doherty announces solo tour
Oasis cancellation, Gallagher/Cruise confrontation
Festivals News
Prodigy to headline Isle Of Wight
Glasto close to selling out and booking extra headliner
Hoon welcome at Latitude, despite runway plans
Album review: Frida Hyvönen - Silence is Wild (Secretly Canadian)
Brands N Stuff
Warner and Coke to release all-star ad track
The Music Business
EMI launch global priority teams
Dome go to Proper
Rough Trade distribution has MBO
Nuclear Blast renew distribution deal with [PIAS]
Frukt rejig and recruit
The Digital Business
Spotify to stream U2 single before release
Deezer sign deal with finetunes
Warpmart and Bleep merge
The Media Business
OfCom publish PSB report, smile on C4/Five/BBC Worldwide deals
Clear Channel cut jobs
Chart Of The Day
MTV2/MySpace chart
And finally...
Amy's dad criticises her cavorting
Gary Barlow on solo leprosy
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
Advertise with CMU
Having gained a residency at Manchester's legendary, erm, Legend nightclub in the 1980s, Greg Wilson is considered a pioneer of the early dance scene with his mix of electro-funk, FX and primitive reel-to-reel splicing - Mr Scruff, for example, deems him the 'electro grandaddy'. So it's good news that Wilson is being recognised for his pivotal role in shaping the genre at the Bulliet Bourbon Originals event at The Caves, Edinburgh on 30 Jan. Wilson himself will DJ, plus there'll be a set from Jazzanova and a performance by soul-singer Marlena Shaw. Ahead of all that, Greg has answered our incredible Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I originally wanted to get into remixing back in 83, but the people at the UK record companies kept telling me that British DJs don't remix - it was very much seen as an American thing back then. In frustration I hooked up with a couple of musicians in Manchester; drummer, Martin Jackson, who'd been in the band Magazine, and Andy Connell, then the keyboard player with A Certain Ratio. We started recoding experimental dance tracks, six of which appeared on Street Sounds' 'UK Electro' compilation, which reached number 60 in the chart in '84 (there was only one track on the album that wasn't ours). Things fell apart soon after though, and Andy and Martin went on to form the band Swing Out Sister.

Q2 What inspired your recent work?
Nearly all the stuff I've done recently has been either edits or remixes. I just haven't been able to find time to start producing/songwriting again, given how busy I've been from the DJing side of things. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy this in 2009 - drawing inspiration from what I've experienced in the clubs since my DJ return five years ago.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It's never one way with me, I tend to come into things at different angles. Sometimes simplicity is best, whilst at other times my approach can be fairly complex. I don't have a standard template, but try to go off and feel around as much as I can, within the obvious structural requirements.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Again, there aren't specific influences, although when I remix nowadays I try to bear in mind the circumstance that led to some of those great early 80s mixes by people like Tee Scott, Larry Levan, Shep Pettibone, Francois Kevorkian etc, who would have had a finite amount of studio time to get the job done, probably just a day. Given these time limitations, feel was all-important, as once the session was over, that was the mix - it wasn't as though they could do it again without the record company incurring extra expense. There was a budget, and time was of the essence, whereas nowadays, with people able to put together mixes on their home computers, there's the danger of spending far too much time tinkering around with something that would be better served by giving it a sustained burst of energy within a shorter time frame.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Only that I hope they enjoy it. Music is obviously a subjective pleasure. So, although you hope that people like what you do, not everyone will - we all vibrate differently. From a personal perspective, I don't like it when music goes all the same way, I like a wide spectrum.

Q6 What are your ambitions for the future?
As I said, my aim is to find the time to once again start working on original material. I love doing the edits and mixes, but I definitely have unfinished business to deal with as a producer and songwriter.

MORE>> and

Criminally overlooked in many end of year polls, Hercules And Love Affair's debut LP was unquestionably one of the records of 2008, a 10 track magnum opus of vintage disco. Those in agreement will be pleased to hear that 2009 brings a new project from three members of the band,Deep Red, which notably includes HALA's main vocalist Nomi, as well as Andrew Raposo and Morgan Wiley. For current fans, lead track 'Fun Girl' retains vague disco influences, but runs closer to deep house with its sinister, funky proto industrial bass lines and Nomi's sultry, drawn-out vocals. It's a brilliant introduction, and with their debut live show tomorrow in New York here's to hoping that they can make as firm a mark on 2009 as HALA did last year.



So, the big story in the world yesterday, surely, was the launch of this year's Brit Awards, no? And it's Duffy and Coldplay that lead the way in this year's nomination lists, each up for four gongs at the UK record industry's big night out. Both Duffy and Coldplay are up for Best British Album and Best British Single, while Coldplay are also up for Best Live Act and Best British Group, and Duffy is also up for Best British Female and Best Breakthrough Act.

The latter category always seems to be filled with artists who you no longer think of as being all that new at all, partly because of the speed with which newcomers can become the big pop acts of the moment, and partly because releases from up to eighteen months previous are eligible for each year's awards.

In particular Scouting For Girls, also nominated for the Breakthrough prize, seem to have been around forever, and as they performed at the nominations party last night it was hard to believe they are still gigging that first album which I'm sure I first heard when I was about 12. Still, it is the Breakthrough award, not the Newcomer prize, and the launched-last-year Critics' Choice for brand new artists does ensure there's some fresh talent involved in the proceedings, and this year's winner of that prize, Flo and her machine, who also played the launch, were a welcome addition to last night's otherwise formulaic nominations show.

Scouting For Girls are up for three awards in total, as are Adele and Elbow, while The Ting Tings, Radiohead, Girls Aloud and Estelle each enjoy double nominations.

Personally I think the international categories are more interesting, partly because it's where the bands behind two of my favourite albums of 2008 appear - MGMT and Kings Of Leon - and partly because the wonderful Seasick Steve is up for Best International Male. Wouldn't it be wonderful if he beat Kanye and Jay-Z and Beck to win that award? He won't, but it would be great if he did.

Anyway, how about a quote from Brits Committee chair and Sony Music UK chief Ged Doherty, and then the full list of nominations? That, I reckon, is a storming proposal.

Ged Doherty: "The BRITs Academy has chosen a very wide ranging list of nominations this year. The list highlights the continued investment in British talent across the UK record industry and I wish all the nominees the best of luck".

Nominations in full...

MasterCard British Album: Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends; Duffy - Rockferry; Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid; Radiohead - In Rainbows; The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing.

British Group: Coldplay, Elbow, Girls Aloud, Radiohead, Take That.

British Single: Adele - Chasing Pavements; Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah; Coldplay - Viva La Vida; Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris and Chrome - Dance Wiv Me; Duffy - Mercy
Estelle ft Kanye West - American Boy; Girls Aloud - The Promise; Leona Lewis - Better in Time; Scouting for Girls - Heartbeat; The X Factor Finalists - Hero.

British Male Solo Artist: Ian Brown, James Morrison, Paul Weller, The Streets, Will Young.

British Female Solo Artist: Adele, Beth Rowley, Duffy, Estelle, MIA.

British Breakthrough Act: Adele, Duffy, The Last Shadow Puppets, Scouting For Girls, The Ting Tings.

British Live Act: Coldplay, Iron Maiden, Scouting For Girls, The Verve.

International Album: AC / DC - Black Ice; Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes; The Killers - Day & Age; Kings of Leon - Only By The Night; MGMT - Oracular Spectacular.

International Group: AC / DC, Fleet Foxes, The Killers, Kings of Leon, MGMT.

International Male Solo Artist: Beck, Neil Diamond, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Seasick Steve.

International Female Solo Artist: Beyonce, Gabriella Cilmi, Katy Perry, Pink, Santogold.

British Producer of the Year: Bernard Butler, Brian Eno, Steve Mac.

Outstanding Contribution To Music: Pet Shop Boys

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The Isle Of Man's government has revealed that it is in talks with all four major labels to introduce a blanket licensing system for online music - whereby net users on the island would be able to access all music through any means, so that includes file-sharing, with content owners compensated through a levy charged on all internet service provider bills.

Ron Berry, Inward Investment Minister in the Manx government said at MidemNet last weekend: "At the end of the day, we are not going to stop piracy, so let's embrace it". I think he means let's embrace the file-sharing activity that is currently considered piracy, rather than embracing the concept of piracy in general.

While some were dubious about whether any of the majors would agree to such a scheme, Berry told the NME: "We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think we would get support from the record industry. That is essential. We've had a lot of help so far".

Of course some reckon a blanket licensing system like those proposed by the Isle Of Man is the where online music consumption will ultimately end up, and for such a system (which has its problems) to pilot in a small place like the Isle Of Man might be useful for both the music and net industries. Which is probably why BPI Chief Exec, Geoff Taylor leapt to the approval of the Isle Of Man's proposals, saying: "If ISPs take the position advocated in the Isle of Man, we'd be in an enormously better position".

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Kelly Osbourne has been arrested by appointment in relation to the incident back in August last year in which she is accused of slapping show business columnist Zoe Griffin.

Griffin says the altercation occurred because she had written a piece mocking Osbourne's boyfriend, model Luke Worrall, in which she claimed that he had had to ask how an earthquake was caused (which, had he wanted a complete geological explanation, isn't that stupid a question really, but anyway).

Writing in later article last summer, Griffin claimed that Osbourne had approached her in a nightclub and told her: "I have an issue with you. My boyfriend knows what an earthquake is and everyone has been laughing at him and he's upset". Griffin added in her article: "That's when I felt a hard slap to my right cheekbone".

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said: "I can confirm that a 24-year-old woman attended a central London police station by appointment at 3pm on January 2. She was arrested for common assault relating to an alleged incident in Soho in the early hours of 29th August 2008. She was bailed to attend a central London police station on a date in March".

No comment from the House of Osbourne.

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The man suspected of killing singer Jennifer's Hudson's mother, brother and nephew yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree murder and home invasion. The estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia, William Balfour, is accused of shooting the three family members in a jealous rage because his wife had begun dating another man.

As previously reported, the bodies of Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson and brother Jason Hudson were found at their home on Chicago's south side on 24 Oct, whilst the singer's nephew Julian King was reported missing. A search was launched for the seven year old boy and a reward offered for his safe return, but sadly, his body was discovered a few days later on 27 Oct, several blocks away from the site of the original incident, in an abandoned SUV. He, like his uncle and grandmother, was the victim of multiple gunshot wounds. Balfour's defence attorney's claim that there is no forensic evidence to prove the case. He remains in custody without bail, and is due back in court on 27 Jan.

Jennifer Hudson is to make her first appearance since the killings at Super Bowl Sunday, and will follow that with a performance at the Grammy's MusiCares event. She's been nominated for a number of Grammy awards, included Best R&B Album, and Best R&B Vocal Performance.

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The previously reported court case to hear the Recording Industry Association Of America's lawsuit against accused file sharer Joel Tenenbaum is likely to be delayed because of the judge's decision to stream the case on the net, and the RIAA's decision to appeal that decision. Judge Nancy Gertner needs time to consider the RIAA's appeal and also the logistics of webcasting the court case, meaning the hearing is now unlikely to kick off until late February.

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As anyone who has watched or heard the news in the last 24 hours will surely know, it was Barack Obama's inauguration as Commander In Chief yesterday, and a number of music stars were involved in it all.

Aretha Franklin sang US anthem 'Let Freedom Ring' in front of the Capitol Building to an audience of millions who had all gathered to see the swearing in of the new president. She was followed by the swearing in of vice-president Joe Biden, then the performance of a piece of music by John Williams.

Elsewhere, Beyonce performed at the evening celebration of the event. After an intro from Denzel Washington, Obama made a short informal speech (beginning "First of all, how good looking is my wife?") then he and his first lady danced alone on stage as Beyonce sang Etta James song 'At Last', and apparently reduced herself to tears in the process.

Presumably they were tears of happiness or whatever, but they might have been tears of frustration, as on the previous day when she reportedly refused to walk four blocks in high heels ahead of the inauguration evening concert at Washington's Warner Theatre, meaning the Secret Service had to intervene to allow her car to return to the hotel where she and husband Jay-Z were staying, presumably to get some trainers or something. You see, people are calling her a diva for that behaviour, but I'm not a diva, and I've owned shoes that I couldn't walk four blocks in. Blame the men, it's usually them who design them.

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David Bowie is in Berlin working on new material. We know this because he said in a Twitter message: "Cheers from a snowy Berlin! Working on some new material!".

We're assuming it really is him Twittering - I'm not sure if head of c'leb Twitter verification, Jonathan Ross, has confirmed that yet. Perhaps we'll send a Tweet to ask.

For Bowie, it's a return to the city that inspired three of his earlier albums. You may or may not know that Bowie LPs 'Low' (1977), 'Heroes' (1977) and 'Lodger' (1979) are referred to as the 'Berlin Trilogy', because they were in part recorded in Berlin, and were influenced by contemporary German music.

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Actor Andy Serkis has confirmed that he is to play Ian Dury in a new film based on the singer's life, which is due to begin filming in April.

Serkis, who is best known for playing Gollum in the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy, told Cinema Blend: "I'm actually doing a film about the life of Ian Dury ... He's an amazing character, a real poet ... And he was a polio sufferer, so he basically didn't have much use of his left leg or his left arm. He was one of the first disabled punk rockers ever. I'm really looking forward to that".

Dury, who died in March 2000 aged 57, recorded 12 studio albums in his career, including five with his band, The Blockheads. He is best known, of course, for his hits 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll', 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' and 'Sweet Gene Vincent', and for generally being ace. A musical based on his life, entitled 'Hit Me: The Life And Rhymes Of Ian Dury', is currently running in London.

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Rob da Bank has announced that he will publish a book celebrating the world of music festivals, 'Rob da Bank's A-Z Of Festivals: My Festival Life In 26 Letters', on 1 May via Boxtree. In the book, the Bestival organiser and Radio 1 DJ will talk about festivals from around the world, with illustrations by his wife, Josie da Bank.

Rob da Bank told CMU: "I spend approximately 12 hours a day 365 days a year thinking about festivals - when I wake up, while I'm changing nappies, if I'm watching the box and before I go to bed. It's got beyond a joke but I can't leave the blasted things alone. I haven't been to anywhere near enough of them around the world but I do know a lot about them so I decided to write a book with some beautifully eccentric illustrations from my wife Josie".

Editorial Director at Boxtree, Ingrid Connell added: "We are hugely excited to be publishing this really lovely book by Rob, a key and respected expert in his field (please excuse the pun!). It's going to be a beautiful package and great fun to promote to all those thousands and thousands of festival-goers the world over".

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Now that Britney Spears has clearly completely recovered from her much-publicised mental health problems, and with the troubled year she had way back in 2008 long behind her, it's probably about time she relived it all again. Which would explain why she's just agreed to write her autobiography.

A 'source' told The Daily Mirror: "There have been numerous unofficial biographies printed about Britney, but she's never agreed to pen her own tome - until now. Britney will talk frankly about growing up and how she went off the rails. It'll be a gripping read".

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Noisettes have announced a series of tour dates for this spring, in support of new album 'Wild Young Hearts', which is out on 30 Mar, preceded on 23 Mar by a single, 'Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)'.

Here are the dates:

10 Mar: Brighton, Komedia
11 Mar: London, Scala
14 Mar: Manchester, Ruby Lounge
15 Mar: Birmingham, Bar Academy
16 Mar: Bristol, Cooler
18 Mar: Glasgow, ABC2

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Pete Doherty has announced details of a UK tour in support of his debut solo album, 'Grace/Wastelands', which will be released on 16 Mar.

Tour dates:

13 Mar: Cardiff, University Great Hall
15 Mar: Southampton, Guildhall
16 Mar: Norwich, UEA
17 Mar: Lincoln, Engine Shed
18 Mar: Nottingham, Rock City
19 Mar: Brighton, Dome
20 Mar: Folkestone, Lees Cliff Hall
23 Mar: Leeds, O2 Academy
24 Mar: Grimsby, Auditorium
25 Mar: Birmingham, O2 Academy
26 Mar: Newcastle, O2 Academy
27 Mar: Edinburgh, Picture House

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Oasis have been forced to cancel a show in Dusseldorf and reschedule it for 4 Feb. It's all because singer Liam Gallagher has fluid on his vocal chords (whatever that means) and was advised to rest for 48 hours. Tickets will be valid for the new date or can be refunded at the point of purchase, and the change to the schedule won't affect any subsequent dates.

Gallagher has had more than throat trouble in Germany recently. According to reports, he recently ran into Tom Cruise, of whom he is heard saying during the course of 2007 rock documentary 'Lord Don't Slow Me Down': "I hate Tom Cruise. I can't stand that small bastard - him and Michael Owen". Cruise, it seems, is aware of the comments.

Speaking about the meeting, a source says: "For the first time in his life, Liam was lost for words. Tom did a double-take as they passed each other and went back to say hello. And without losing the smile from his face, he reminded Liam about the cheeky comments he'd made. They made polite conversation and Liam made a hasty departure".

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The Isle Of Wight Festival have announced the first of their headliners. The Prodigy, who release their new album 'Invaders Must Die' next month, will headline the event's main stage on 12 Jun. Other confirmed acts include Pendulum, The Ting Tings and Basement Jaxx. It all takes place, as you are no doubt aware, at Seaclose Park, Newport, this year from 12-14 Jun.

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Remember the days when festivals used to be able to sell out months in advance without any official confirmation of line-up? Of course you do, those days are now, my friend. Michael Eavis has revealed that 90% of this year's 137,500 Glastonbury tickets have already been sold. He also revealed that this year's festival could end up in the strange situation of having to put on four headline acts in only three days.

Speaking at MIDEM, Eavis said: "You'll be amazed when you hear the headliners we've got coming this year, and we've already sold 90% of the tickets for this year already. We've got four headliners at the moment. If they all confirm, then I've got two headliners for Saturday".

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Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has not been banned from this year's Latitude festival, contrary to reports in the press. It had been claimed that Melvin Benn, head of Latitude organisers Festival Republic, had banned Hoon from the festival (which he attends every year) due to his stance on the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The claims stem from an interview with Benn, which appeared in The Guardian earlier this week. In it, he said: "Every year since we started Latitude, Geoff Hoon has been seen striding across the fields in his shorts to the puzzled amazement of our slightly younger crowd. But as we get a reputation as one of the greenest festivals on the circuit, it would be a bit strange to sell a ticket to a chap who's just authorised a climate-wrecking new runway at Heathrow and who apparently thinks climate change is 'tree-hugging hoolah', whatever that is. Of course, if he reverses on the runway and starts implementing low carbon transport solutions he'll get a ticket for life".

However, Benn yesterday told the East Anglian Daily Times that Hoon was still welcome at the festival, but it would be a bit weird if he did turn up. He said: "He hasn't been banned. Latitude is gaining a name as a very green festival and it is very much core to what we are doing. Certainly there's a strong argument to suggest that a third runway at Heathrow isn't a great idea, and what I did say is that it would be rather strange him being at such a green festival. It is probably an ambitious hope to persuade him that if I gave a lifetime ticket to him and his family then he would see it as sufficient reward not to go ahead with the third runway".

Responding to Benn's comments, Hoon told the NME: "I enjoy going to Latitude. It has an excellent mixture of music, film, theatre and comedy. I've always admired the efforts to attract an audience of all ages and its commitment to the environment. I have been able to play my part by cycling there".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Frida Hyvönen - Silence is Wild (Secretly Canadian)
It's a good time to be a Swedish chanteuse. The girls have exited through the fjords to share a smorgasbord of their aural delights with the wider world. Like Frida and Agnetha before them, the Scandinavian ladies have long proved how capable they are as part of an ensemble. Marie Fredriksson has been ripping it up with Roxette since the eighties and Jenny Berrgren is taking to the road again this year with her siblings, aka nineties pop sensations Ace Of Base. Nina Perssons performs front-person duties for A Camp while The Cardigans take a breather and Karin Dreijer Andersson's Nordic vocal squall humanises The Knife's brand of synth-laden electroclash. The Swedes can do it on their own in the global market too with the success of solo artists like Stina Nordstam, Robyn and, recently, Lykke Li. Similarly, Frida Hyvönen has left behind the comforts of her native land to wantonly tinkle a great many ivories throughout Europe, the US and China since 2004, in the company of Jose Gonzales and Jens Lekman. Hyvönen's second long player doesn't exactly take up from where her debut, 'Until Death Comes', left off. It's a different beast entirely, having fleshed out her usually somewhat sparse arrangements with strings, choirs and synths, resulting in a much meatier, substantial sound. This suits Hyvönen's direct style of personal retrospection, a theme that remains a constant in her lyrics. Her vocal style is wonderful. The soft but firm whirl of her voice hints at a rich wisdom, akin to that of Marianne Faithful or Martha Wainwright, but at times, she is not averse to the percussive staccato like that of Regina Spektor. She is a contemporary Swede who deserves international appreciation. MB
Release Date: 2 Feb
Press Contact: Triad Publicity [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Warner Music will release a new all-star song created by Coke which will feature contributions from Fallout Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Panic At the Disco, Cee Lo and Janelle Monae. I hear it's awful, but I've not heard it myself. The new song, called 'Open Happiness' (see, it sounds awful already, doesn't it?), is part of the drinks brand's Happiness Factor Three ad campaign, and will coincide with a global promotion publicising the participating artists on some 20 billion cans of Coke.

Launching the song at MIDEM, Coke's Global Marketing manager Umut Ozaydini said the song was designed to represent the optimism of his fizzy drink brand, explaining: "We wanted to use music as a key factor of this programme and push our message of uplift and optimism. The record industry seems like it needs an uplift".

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God, I'm getting bored of all these executive appointments at EMI. For a firm that's meant to be cutting back on the excessive structure and bureaucracy of a typical major record company, they seem to be building a lot of new structure and introducing a lot of new bureaucracy.

The latest addition to the major's growing structure are three 'global priority teams' - two will focus on major international releases from new artists (one team in London, one team in New York), while the other will focus on major international catalogue releases.

The first two teams will be headed up existing EMIers, both senior VPs in the major's international marketing department - Pietro Paravella and Matthew Tilley - who will head up London and New York respectively. Details of who will run the catalogue global priority team is tbc.

The global teams will be supported by three regional marketing units, headed up by Bart Cools (Europe including the UK), Howard Handler (North America and Mexico) and Adrian Cheesley (everywhere else). They will also work with the existing global promotions department, headed up by Carole MacDonald.

I think the main difference that will result from the establishment of 'global priority teams' is that marketing for major artist releases will be coordinated by the global team, and then worked by the regional teams in their respective territories, rather than being coordinated by the national team in a band's home territory, and then worked by the international departments in other territories. But don't quote me on that.

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Indie distributor Proper Music have certainly done well out of the collapse of Pinnacle - another of the defunct distributor's clients have now signed a deal with Proper, this time soul and R&B label Dome Records. Proper MD Steve Kersley confirmed the deal yesterday, saying: "We are delighted to welcome the UK's pre-eminent black music label to the Proper family, as we expand our breadth of catalogue across all genres of music".

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More indie distribution news for you, and Netherlands-based Rough Trade Distribution, linked back in the day to the London based record shop and label but long since a separate entity, has been bought out by its management.

The indie distributor was most recently owned by Bertelsmann's logistics business Arvato (who used to own Pinnacle before its management buyout this time last year), but the company's mangers, Kees van Weijen and Paul Davies, yesterday announced at MIDEM that they have bought the distributor of its parent company. They will continue to work with Arvato, though, with the bigger company providing actual physical distribution services.

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Even more distribution news, and indie metal label Nuclear Blast has announced it has signed a two year distribution deal with [PIAS] covering France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. [PIAS] have been the label's distributor since 2005.

Confirming the renewal of their relationship with Nuclear Blast at MIDEM this week, [PIAS] chief Kenny Gates said this: "Nuclear Blast are one the best labels in the world and yet still somewhat unknown in the music media. It's a pleasure to work with them and we're delighted they have renewed their trust in our distribution network".

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London based music consultancy FRUKT has announced a rejig of its executive line up, seemingly in preparation for both UK and global expansion.

First up, Anthony Ackenhoff, co-founder and previously MD, will take on the new title of CEO and a particular role looking at growing the firm's international business. Jeremy Paterson, currently Director Of Activation, will become MD and coordinate UK operations on a day to day basis. In addition to all that, the company has hired Oli Trethewey, previously for OMD Fuse, to the role of Business Development Director.

Ackenhoff told CMU: "Our structure now better reflects our on-going growth, as well as allowing us to look to new clients seeking expertise in forming creative and relevant ways to engage with consumers through music. We believe that as the economy enters a period of growing scrutiny for marketing budgets that music can, and will, play an increasingly integral and cost-effective part in consumer engagement and retention strategies".

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Digital download service of the moment, Spotify, has announced it will be streaming U2's new single, 'Get On Your Boots', before its release in mid-February. The ad-funded streaming service, which provides access to its wide catalogue of music in an iTunes style player, has been gaining a growing fanbase since its launch last year. An increasing amount of pre-release content could further that growth.

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Another on-demand streaming service, French based Deezer, has announced a licensing deal with indie digital distributor finetunes, making, among other things, music from labels like Record Makers, Cocoon Recordings and Honest Jon's available to the digital platform.

Confirming the deal, finetunes' Head of Legal And Business Affairs Tom Guenther told reporters: "We are very happy to have signed an agreement with Deezer, which represents not only one of the coolest but crucially a fully legal streaming service, which is not a matter of course these days".

Deezer founders Jonathan Benassaya and Daniel Marhely said this: "We are delighted to announce this agreement. finetunes is a pre-eminent distribution partner for music platforms like ours. finetunes' know-how, and the diversity and quality of its catalogue, especially in the electronic genre, enables Deezer to improve its offer".

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Warp Records has announced that it is merging its online store Warpmart and download store to become one massive e-store offering music in digital and physical forms, artist merchandise, DVDs, books, tickets and more. Basically, it's a bit like an Amazon for leftfield music. has been running as a download store for the last five years, and was one of the first to offer music in the DRM-free, higher quality 320kps MP3 format. Now both stores will be brought under the banner to offer a broader catalogue in one place because, the company themselves put it, "good music is good music - regardless of format".

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Media regulator OfCom has rejected proposals that Channel 4 receive a share of the licence fee to help it continue to fulfil its public service remit.

As much previously reported, OfCom has been reviewing the public service obligations of commercial terrestrial broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Five as those companies argue it is becoming harder to fund public service programming given increased competition for advertising and sponsorship monies from digital broadcasters and the internet.

ITV just want its public service obligations to be reduced, but state-owned C4, for whom public service is at the heart of its reason for being, want the government to give it new non-commercial revenue streams to support advertising and sponsorship revenues. The most obvious source of such income is the licence fee, but, needless to say, the BBC has strongly fought any suggestion it share its income with anyone else.

As previously reported, as well as suggesting C4 could make use of some of its licence-fee funded resources and digital assets to reduce their running costs, the BBC also reluctantly agreed there could be some kind of deal that gave Channel 4 a share of the Beeb's profitable commercial division BBC Worldwide. As also previously reported, others have suggested a merger between Channel 4 and Five might help the former become more commercially viable - and while that wasn't a BBC proposal, BBC boss Mark Thompson did recently suggest it was something worth considering.

Anyway, OfCom have published their report on the future of public service broadcasting this morning, and it's quite clear that C4 won't be getting any share of the licence fee. Instead OfCom indicate support for both the BBC Worldwide alliance and the Five merger proposals.

They say a new commercial organisation with a strong public service broadcasting remit should be established, of which Channel 4 would be one part. The organisation would have other interests that would bring in new commercial revenues to help subsidise C4's public service programming. That might include a partnership with BBC Worldwide and/or Channel Five. If Channel 4 needed funds to establish this organisation, OfCom might make a one-off lump sum available, possibly from the licence fee monies that have been put aside to fund digital-switchover activity.

From what I can see these proposals are rather vague, meaning the only thing we really know for sure is that C4 won't be getting any licence fee money.

Elsewhere in its report, OfCom propose a new "independently funded consortia" to provide regional news. This is related to the widespread reduction in ITV's public service obligations, which will see the third channel's local news obligations cut.

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US radio giant Clear Channel has told its staff it will cut 1850 jobs across its network of radio stations and advertising companies - about 9% of its workforce - in a bid to deal with the recession.

In a memo, CEO Mark Mays said "everyone in our investor group, on the board, and in the executive leadership team remains bullish about the long-term growth prospects for Clear Channel", but added that this was: "an unprecedented time of distress".

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

1. [NE] Metronomy - A Thing For Me
2. [3] The Airbourne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight
3. [NE] Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
4. [2] Eagles Of Death Metal - Wanna Be In LA
5. [9] The Joy Formidable - Cradle
6. [1] Oasis - I'm Outta Time
7. [NE] Innerpartystem - Don't Stop
8. [6] Paramore - Decode
9. [5] Frank Turner - Reasons Not To Be An Idiot
10. [4] Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

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

Esser - Work It Out
Eugene McGuinness - Fonz
Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy
Little Comets - One Night In October
Starsailor - Tell Me It's Not Over

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Amy Winehouse's dad Mitch has criticised his daughter for cavorting with another man whilst still married to Blake Fielder Civil, despite the fact that he's never been a big fan of his son in law. As previously reported, the singer was pictured earlier in the month looking healthier than she has for ages in St Lucia, where she's been on an extended holiday, and has also been spending time with actor Josh Bowman. Bowman denies that there's been any romance despite the fact that the pictures make it look very much like they're involved.

Anyway, as also previously reported, the pictures provoked Fielder-Civil into instructing lawyers to begin divorce proceedings on the grounds of her adultery. Telling of his anger over it all in new documentary called 'Saving Amy', Mitch said: "I had to call Amy before she heard about it from someone else. She asked me, 'Daddy, why does he want to divorce me?' I said, 'You know I don't like him, but I have to admit that your behaviour with another man is not what marriage is all about'".

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Gary Barlow says that having an unsuccessful solo career was like having leprosy. As we all know, the singer, who was always the brains of the Take That outfit, began his solo career in 1996, and despite the success of his first album, the second failed to match that, and he was dropped by his record label in 1999. Recalling that period of his career, he told Metro: "Nobody wants anything to do with [you] whatsoever - it's like having leprosy. Nobody wants any connection with you whatsoever".

He went on to say that he's older and wiser now, and won't take it so hard the next time his star wanes. He continued: "I think this time, three of us have families and we've got lives outside of the band. Now it doesn't all hinge on Take That being successful forever".

Barlow and his partner had a third child, on 14 Jan, and gave her a normal name, Daisy.

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