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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
More on Live Nation Ticketmaster merger talks
Plant and Krauss triumph at Grammys
Drug expert says e-popping no more dangerous than horse riding
Mick Jones launches his own British music collection
In The Pop Courts
Rihanna no show at Grammys due to some sort of altercation involving boyfriend Brown
Universal not allowed to sue shareholders in Veoh case
Obituaries
Buffalo Springfield man dies
Reunions & Splits
Axl Rose not keen on Slash
In The Studio
MGMT album two may have electro influences
Release News
Erasure goodies out today, and later this month
Goldie Lookin Chain album news
Gigs N Tours News
Just Jack live dates
Festival News
Franz Ferdinand to play Glasto
New touring rock fest confirmed
Reviews
Album Review: Jesse Rose - What Do You Do If You Don't? (Dubsided)
The Music Business
Former Zavvi chiefs may buy remaining stores
The Digital Business
Spotify sign deal with CD Baby
The Media Business
Classic FM and Sky partner
Chart Of The Day
Chart Update
And finally...
Peaches and Drummey split
Etta James says she was only joking
Jessica Simpson apologises for duff show
Bale apologises for rant

Welcome to Cheggers' Chip Week

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MONDAY 9TH FEBRUARY

DANIEL WARD-MURPHY
The first UK-based artist to release an album after receiving funding from the Sellaband website, Daniel Ward-Murphy's 'Until The Morning Light' hit stores last month. Recorded with producer Tony Platt, who has previously worked with the likes of Bob Marley and AC/DC, the album has been picking up some glowing praise, and Daniel plans to tour for the whole of 2009 to promote the album, and with his Sellaband investors coming from as far afield as Latvia and New Zealand, he's going to be racking up a lot of air miles in the process. He somehow found the time to answer our Same Six Questions, too.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
When I was 13, sitting in my parents dining room with a cheap guitar and a song in my head. I could only play a handful of chords but the vocal melodies just seemed to come to me. I played a couple of youth clubs, I started busking and then went on to play at university and beyond. As I went along, the songs became more and more important to me and once they were written I tried to give better and better performances of them on stage.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I have recently released my debut solo album, 'Until The Morning Light', and in truth, most songs on there are probably about three or four different things. I tend to write about beauty, nostalgia, people, stories I think should be told and some acts that shouldn't be forgotten. There is a lot of empathy in my lyrics - it is not all about me and my thoughts. I am not the stereotypical tortured soul who writes self-analytical lyrics for a cathartic reason, I am just someone who happens to write songs.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I normally write the vocal line in my head and I resist the urge to pick up the guitar until it is nearly fully formed. I play it through a few times, maybe wait a week or two until I come up with a third section I am happy with, then I introduce it to my band. They add ideas and we get it tighter and tighter.

With the songs on the album - after gigging them, we introduced them to the producer (Tony Platt) and chatted through the ways we had treated each section and any ideas for change.

At the moment I go through a process that I am comfortable with and write what comes naturally to me. I would like to try writing in different circumstances and with different people and push myself, but that is for the future...

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
So many! I grew up listening to early Billy Joel stuff, and he has probably had the biggest influence on me, but alongside that artists like Tori Amos, Jackson Browne, Counting Crows, Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne and Chatham County Line influence me. Add to that mix some timeless jazz, (good) pop and some British stuff like The Charlatans, Keane, Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny and you get most of my melting pot.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would just ask them to really listen to it. It took many years to come to fruition and I think I have created an emotive album with depth. I know how I feel when I listen to my favourite albums and it is nice when people feel the same way about mine. Hopefully many will think it deserves a second and third album to follow it up...

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single/album, and for the future?
My ambition is to write, record and play for a living and create material of worth. To be able to do that I need this album to be a success so I am concentrating on that for now. A few breaks in terms of radio play and really big gigs would definitely not go amiss and ultimately I would love to play to lots of festival crowds and in different countries. We are hit with so many stories of new artists and bands these days that it almost reaches saturation point, but I hope you can find the time to listen to my music and see if it is for you.

MORE>> www.danielwm.com and www.sellaband.com/danielwm

 

DESK SPACE
Leyline Promotions has two desk suites available in a well-appointed courtyard studio in Westbourne Studios, W10. Ideal for a small creative agency in a very friendly and professional environment. Rent includes: storage, broadband connections, business rates, insurance, 24 hr access, restaurant and bar, conference facilities, natural sunlight. 4 mins walk from Westbourne Park tube station. Call Adrian for more info on 07971 555 020 / adrian@leylinepromotions.com

 

 



MORE ON LIVE NATION TICKETMASTER MERGER TALKS
There was speculation this weekend that Ticketmaster and Live Nation will confirm their previously mooted merger later today. According to the New York Times, top execs from both companies were planning on meeting after last night's Grammy Awards to seal the deal, which I find hard to believe, surely they weren't planning on finalising contracts at a post-Grammys piss up? Or perhaps they were meeting to toast the deal.

Whatever, the Times also reported a load of gossip on the specifics of the merger. Firstly, the combined company will be called Live Nation Entertainment, so no need for the lovely LiveMaster logo Andy CMU so skillfully created to illustrate this story on theCMUwebsite.com last week. The merger will be 50/50 in formation, meaning no cash will change hands.

In terms of the two company's top execs, Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller will become Chairman of the new company, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff will become Executive Chairman, and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino will become CEO and President.

Quite where the role of Exec Chairman stops and the role of CEO/President begins is anyone's guess, though Azoff will keep the CEO role for Front Line Management, Ticketmaster's artist management division which Azoff founded in 2004. It was when Ticketmaster acquired the management firm last year that Azoff took the top job at the ticketing company.

The merger, of course, will require approval from US competition authorities. The deal will mean that rather than the ticketing market becoming more competitive - as had been expected after Live Nation decided to stop using Ticketmaster's services and set up its own rival ticketing agency - an even stronger dominant player will appear in the sector. And the combined Live Nation Ticketmaster will be dominant not just in ticketing, the merger will put a significant slice of the entire live music pie - venues, promoters, management, ticketing and, to an albeit lesser extent, fan mailing lists and merchandise - into the hands of one company. Add to that Live Nation's recent 360 degree deals which gave it interests in the recordings and publishing rights of major artists like Madonna, Jay-Z and Nickelback, and that's quite a powerful combination.

The timing of the inevitable US government investigation into the merger proposals is interesting too, because it will be one of the first major corporate transactions to be considered by Obama's executive. Some will interpret their ruling on these merger proposals as a sign of the new regime's attitude towards the country's anti-trust laws.

Assuming the two companies do reach a commercial agreement on the merger, there is sure to be some vocal opposition to the proposals once they enter the political stage of the process. New Jersey Democrat House Of Reps man Bill Pascrell Jr has already spoken out. Linking the merger proposals to Bruce Springsteen's previously reported complaints last week that his fans were being forwarded to Ticketmaster's secondary ticket-tout website TicketsNow when its main website was unable to cope with demand for ticket's to The Boss' concerts, he told reporters: "There is an incredible potential for abuse when one company controls the primary and secondary market for concert tickets. That potential will surely be magnified exponentially should one company be able to control every aspect of recording, record sales, licensing, venue ownership and ticket sales".

It remains to be seen just how much opposition is mounted against the proposed merger. The two companies may well point to the diversification of the wider music industry as a justification for the deal - ie as the major record companies start to dabble in touring, merchandise, management and, perhaps most important given Live Nation's tendency to fund tours and festivals through big bucks sponsorship deals, into brand partnerships, the various strands of the music business are becoming one. A combined Live Nation Ticketmaster, they may argue, might have been overly dominant in the old live music business, but is on level pegging with the Universals and Sony Musics of this world when it comes to the wider music industry.

It could be an interesting few months.

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PLANT AND KRAUSS TRIUMPH AT GRAMMYS
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss led the list of this year's Grammy winners, taking five gongs at the awards ceremony, which took place in LA last night. The duo won the event's Album Of The Year award for their LP 'Raising Sand', and were also victorious in the Best Contemporary Folk/American Album, the Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, and the Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals categories. Their single 'Please Read The Letter', meanwhile, won Record Of The Year. Plant told the audience: "I'd like to say I'm bewildered. In the old days we would have called this selling out. But it's a good way to spend a Sunday".

Other British acts (well, Plant is British, even if Krauss isn't) recognised at the event included Coldplay, who picked up three honours, including the Song Of The Year prize for 'Viva La Vida', and Adele, who got Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Performance for 'Chasing Pavement'. Fellow newcomer contender Duffy won the pop vocal album prize. Radiohead were also in winning mode, taking Best Alternative Album for 'In Rainbows'.

Elsewhere, Lil Wayne, who, as previously reported, led the nominations with a total of eight, garnered four of those, whilst Jennifer Hudson, more recently in the news because of the tragic murders of her mother, brother and nephew, won the award for Best R&B Album. Accepting the gong, she said: "I don't really know what to say. I'm just in awe right now. I would like to thank my family in heaven and those that are here today. I just don't know where to start. Everybody, thank you all".

Performers on the night included Paul McCartney, U2, Coldplay, Radiohead and MIA, who was there as promised, despite being due to give birth. Rihanna and her partner Chris Brown were supposed to appear but didn't. More on that later.

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DRUG EXPERT SAYS E-POPPING NO MORE DANGEROUS THAN HORSE RIDING
Now, I'm not sure why we're counting drugs news as music news, how can the two be possibly connected? But I noticed the NME reported on this over the weekend, so presumably they think the average music fan is an e-popping cokehead, and this is an interesting story, so let's run with it.

The BBC reports that the Advisory Council On The Misuse Of Drugs may recommend that good old methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ecstasy to your mother, be downgraded from a Class A drug to a Class B one, with the expert who chairs the Council observing that, based on annual death toll, taking the drug is no more dangerous than horse riding. No word on whether it will be suggested horse riding be upgraded to a Class B substance in the same proposals.

The BBC report is based on an article written by ACMD chair Professor David Nutt in the Journal Of Psychopharmacology. In it he observes that about a hundred people die each year from horse riding accidents, a figure which, he says, should put into perspective the number of people who die as a result of taking ecstasy. He writes: "Drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse-riding and ecstasy. This attitude raises the critical question of why society tolerates - indeed encourages - certain forms of potentially harmful behaviour but not others such as drug use".

It should be noted that the ACMD have said Nutt's article is written in his capacity as an independent academic and not as chair of the Council, so does not necessarily represent the viewpoint of the Council, or indicate what it plans to recommend to government. And anyway, even if they did propose ecstasy be downgraded, it is unlikely the government would do so, especially not with a General Election now on the horizon. Particularly as, ever since it became synonymous with the rave culture of the late eighties/early nineties, ecstasy is an emotive drug that has been the subject of many column inches in newspapers like the Daily Mail, possibly because at the time it was the so called hard drug the average Mail readers' teenage children were most likely to be exposed to. Any moves to declassify the drug would be met with opposition in such newspapers.

David Raynes from the National Drug Prevention Alliance has already criticised Nutt's comments, adding that the chair of the ACMD should not express such opinions, telling the Daily Telegraph: "He is entitled to his personal opinion, but if his personal view conflicts so very strongly with his public duties, it would be honourable to consider his position. If he does not, the Home Secretary should do it for him".

In that context, no change in the law is really likely, but still, it's an interesting viewpoint for an influential academic to express. Whether he, like Lily Allen, will be forced to backtrack and remind us that all drugs are bad remains to be seen. She, of course, made similarly sensible comments on the over-reaction of the tabloid media to recreational drug taking, and the impact that overreaction has on young peoples' opinion of possibly wise anti-drugs propaganda, but was forced to retract after some mild tabloid outrage. Nutt has the advantage of not needing said newspapers to plug his new album of course.

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MICK JONES LAUNCHES HIS OWN BRITISH MUSIC COLLECTION
Mick Jones, he of The Clash and other musical enterprises, is planning on countering the previously reported British Music Experience, due to open at the Dome next month, with a more modest though possibly much more fascinating rock n roll exhibition all of his own.

As previously reported, the BME will open in The O2 in Greenwich next month and aim to be a permanent exhibition championing British pop music, with costumes and instruments and video displays and what not - it's set to be a right glitzy affair. But real fans of the London music scene may be more interested in Jones' exhibition of what can be best described as "stuff" - music related books, videos, toys, games, flyers, tickets, posters, photos etc etc - which will be put on show on the West side of the capital, at the Chelsea Space, from 18 Mar-18 Apr. Some of the stuff relates to Jones' own bands, though the rest is a random assortment of rock related stuff he's acquired over the years.

The official statement for the exhibition says that, for Jones "this will represent a first attempt to unpack, look at, and think about a small proportion of the mass of material he has accumulated and decide what to do next. He envisages this collection one day becoming a freely available resource - a Rock & Roll Public Library".

Press info about the Chelsea exhibition from Coalition.

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RIHANNA NO SHOW AT GRAMMYS DUE TO SOME SORT OF ALTERCATION INVOLVING BOYFRIEND BROWN
There was much media speculation last night after it was announced Rihanna was pulling out of her Grammy appearance at the last minute, mainly because it came at the same time as reports her boyfriend, Chris Brown, would also not be attending the big awards show because he was being questioned by police over allegations he assaulted a woman. Information is somewhat vague, but a police statement reportedly confirmed Grammy nominated Brown had been accused of hitting an unidentified woman during a fight in the Hancock Park neighbourhood of LA. There was some speculation, given Rihanna's no-show at the Grammys, that it may have been Rihanna who Brown was accused of hitting, though it may be that the singer was simply too distressed to perform because of the allegations against her other half. Grammy organisers confirmed both artists would not be present at the awards show, but gave no reason for their absence.

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UNIVERSAL NOT ALLOWED TO SUE SHAREHOLDERS IN VEOH CASE
More from the ongoing lawsuit between the Universal Music Group and YouTube competitor Veoh.

As previously reported, the major is suing the video-sharing site over allegations that it is guilty of copyright infringement for not doing enough to stop content owned by the record company from appearing on its website. Some see the case as a pre-cursor to the big Viacom v YouTube case, because some of the issues - ie what measures a video sharing service should take to stop unlicensed content from appearing on its website - are the same. The majors are not suing YouTube, of course, because they reached lucrative licensing deals with the video sharing major before any major legal action got under way.

Anyway, as also previously reported, things are arguably not looking good for Universal in this case, and therefore Viacom in the YouTube case, because an earlier dispute between a porn company and Veoh went the video sharing site's way. The courts ruled that, because Veoh has a policy of removing unlicensed content as soon as they are alerted to its presence by content owners (as does YouTube), they are fulfilling their obligations under US copyright law.

Of course a court may be more willing to side with a major entertainment firm than a porn maker, so Universal is proceeding with its case. However, it is not proceeding with its case against Veoh's investors, though not out of choice. A judge ruled last week that the music firm couldn't name Veoh's financial backers in its infringement lawsuit.

Universal's attempts to sue Veoh's investors is similar to the majors' back-in-the-day litigation against those who invested in the original Napster, and is an attempt to [a] ensure the defendant doesn't just go into liquidation if it loses the case and [b] to put money people off investing in future infringing online ventures. Of course in the case of the Napster lawsuit, that meant the majors sued one of their counterparts - Bertelsmann's BMG - who had invested in the original file sharing phenomenon. Bertelsmann denied liability, though subsequently settled out of court with most plaintiffs, meaning the issue of shareholder liability was never really discussed in court.

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BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD MAN DIES
Dewey Martin, the drummer for Buffalo Springfield, has died in California at the age of 68 from unknown causes. The band, which kick started the careers of Stephen Stills and Neil Young, of course, had its short heyday in the mid-sixties, breaking up in 1968.

A native of Canada, Martin was born in Chesterville, Ontario, and began drumming at the age of thirteen. He moved to Nashville in the early sixties following a brief stint in the US army, where he worked with a number of notable artists, including Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline and The Everley Brothers.

He subsequently moved to LA, and worked with bands like The Standells and The Dillards before joining Buffalo Springfield in 1966. Following the break up of the band, Martin attempted to revive another version of the group, dubbed New Buffalo Springfield, but Stills and Young took legal action over the use of the name, and Martin was forced to move on. He retired from music in 1971, becoming a mechanic, though he returned to drumming in later years.

Rolling Stone report that Martin sang backup on the Buffalo Springfield hit 'For What It's Worth', and that he also gave Stephen Stills the LSD that allegedly inspired him to write the track.

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AXL ROSE NOT KEEN ON SLASH
Axl Rose has made it pretty clear that he is none too keen on former bandmate Slash. The Guns n Roses man has said that someone will have to die before a reunion of the group's classic line up could take place.

Speaking to Billboard, presumably in the same interview we reported on last week, Rose rambles thus: "In regards to Slash. I read a desperate fan's message about, 'What if one of us were to die, and looking back I had the possibility of a reunion now'. My thoughts are, 'Yeah, and while you're at the show your baby accidentally kicks a candle and burns your house down, killing himself and the rest of your family.' Give me a fucking break. What's clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is".

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MGMT ALBUM TWO MAY HAVE ELECTRO INFLUENCES
CMU favourites MGMT have said their second album could be more electro influenced than their 2008 debut. Speaking to Rolling Stone, one half of the duo, Andrew VanWyngarden, said: "We've been listening to a lot of old eighties stuff. Some of that early Kraftwerk stuff is great. We are huge fans of those guys and the other early German electronic stuff. I think more of that stuff is going to find its way into our music". Those comments follow the news last year that the duo plan to work with the Chemical Brothers on album number two, though at the time they told the NME that didn't mean they'd be making dance music.

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ERASURE GOODIES OUT TODAY, AND LATER THIS MONTH
Just to update you, the Erasure retrospective box set that we reported on last week, and which is being released by Warner's Rhino division in the US, is being released here even sooner via EMI, which makes sense, them being signed to EMI's Mute and all. The box set, called 'Total Pop!', will be released on 23 Feb. And preceding that, a special EP of Erasure remixes, called 'Pop! Remixed EP' is out today. Hurrah. CMU Weekly readers should dig out last week's edition, where you'll find a rather fine Erasure giveaway to celebrate all these releases.

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GOLDIE LOOKIN CHAIN ALBUM NEWS
Goldie Lookin Chain have confirmed that they'll release their new album 'Asbo4Life' on 6 Apr, preceded by the release of the single 'By Any Means Necessary' on 16 March. Hurray.

Here's what the group's Eggsy says: "Not so long ago, you used to be able to go into Woolies with a tenner and come out with a stereo and 12 bags of pick n mix. Nowadays a tenner won't even get you a bus into town and back. And when you get there, there's not even a bloody Woolies to go to. People don't want to go out to pubs, and culturally, everyone's gone into hibernation. Asbo4Life is our remedy to the general malaise. Chuck it on, have your mates round, and tear your kitchen up. GLC is bringing the house party back, and leaving everything else behind. Who needs to worry about tomorrow, if you can get Asbo4Life today".

And here's the tracklisting:

Mr Fahrenheit
Everybody is a DJ
Disguise
By Any Means Necessary
Welcome to Germany
Apathy
7. 3D
Nothing Ever Happens
Space Police
Rollin
Strobe Lights
Unemployed and Overdrawn
Garlic Bread
New Day

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JUST JACK LIVE DATES
Just Jack has announced three UK live dates for next month, ahead of the release of new single, 'Embers', on 30 Mar, and new album 'All Night Cinema' on 6 Apr.

The dates are as follows:

9 Mar: Manchester Night & Day
10 Mar: London Cargo
11 Mar: Brighton Audio

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FRANZ FERDINAND TO PLAY GLASTO
Franz Ferdinand have said that they'll be appearing at the Glastonbury Festival this summer, following their surprise set at the event last year. As previously reported, this year's festival is already sold out.

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NEW TOURING ROCK FEST CONFIRMED
As expected, it's been confirmed Metallica and Linkin Park will headline a new festival at Knebworth this year, and that that festival will also tour around Europe.

Called SONISPSHERE (seemingly in capitals, just like I wrote it there), the new festival has been created by the people who originally set up the Monsters Of Rock and Download Festivals. The Knebworth dates will take place on 1 and 2 Aug, and will come at the end of a European tour that takes in Holland, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Finland.

Confirming the new festival, one of the promoters behind it, K2's John Jackson, told CMU: "I am delighted that my vision of a truly global touring festival has become a reality. To launch at Knebworth, where I attended the first show there in 1974 headlined by US legends The Allman Brothers Band, is a dream come true. SONISPHERE has arrived and is coming soon to your world".

Co-promoter Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live added: "There have been many successful rock festivals around the world, but this will be the first time that one will tour internationally. Metallica's involvement makes this THE event of 2009 and we can't wait to get started and welcome fans to SONISPHERE. This is just the beginning, from 2010, we will extend the dates from Europe to the globe. It is a truly unique festival".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jesse Rose - What Do You Do If You Don't? (Dubsided)
Jesse Rose's career so far has been electrifying to say the least. Being part of both the vanguard of house music and becoming a part of its revival, he has earned a special place within the scene. However, now he tries his hand, for the first time, at capturing the sound he has been peddling for years on one album. And the results are strong, showing a need to mix his classic 'fidget house' sound with melody and song craft. Hot Chip make two notable appearances, on the tracks 'Forget My Name', and 'Day Is Done'. Both seem to lead the album in terms of direction, and although they sound unequivocally Hot Chip-esque, mixed with Jesse Rose's frantic and itchy production style they seem to add a depth and personality to the album. Predictably the album is stuffed full of club hits and a number of the songs have already come through onto the dancefloor: 'You're All Over My Head' mixes a wonderfully brittle chorus with minimal techno/house beats. Conversely 'Touch My Horn' ditches the obvious melody, instead focusing primarily on the fidgety beats, only alleviated by an equally squirmy synth. Jesse Rose has hit upon a unique niche, blending melodious dance/pop crossover with all out club tunes and landing remarkably on something that doesn't lose it own sense of what it is. SJS
Release Date: 16 Feb
Press Contact: The Darling Deparment [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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FORMER ZAVVI CHIEFS MAY BUY REMAINING STORES
Zavvi's former CEO Simon Douglas and Commercial Director Mark Noonan are reportedly trying to get together a bid to buy some of the collapsing retailer's stores. It's not clear if they'd also try to buy the Zavvi name, though it's hardly worth much so I'm not sure I'd bother if I was them. According to Music Week, the duo have resigned their positions from the in-administration retail firm so to work with a third party on mounting a bid. Administrators Ernst & Young have not commented on the Douglas/Noonan plans, though it may be their bid that has stopped the accountants from closing down the whole Zavvi chain just yet - 31 stores remain open. Some wonder if, in the current economic climate, taking over part of the Zavvi chain would be a sensible move, especially given HMV have already bought what are considered the most viable Zavvi stores.

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SPOTIFY SIGN DEAL WITH CD BABY
Digital music service of the moment, Spotify, has signed a deal with indie music distributor CD Baby, which will see about a million tracks, many from tiny labels and self-releasing artists, added to the on-demand streaming service, something which will really boost the service's grass roots credentials.

Confirming the latest licensing deal, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek told reporters last week: "From day one we wanted to create a catalogue with the widest possible choice for our users. CD Baby gives us access to the world's most immersive independent music catalogue and brings us even closer to our dream of gathering all the world's music in one place. Welcome on board!"

Spotify already have all four majors plus indies represented by Merlin and The Orchard on board, though key albums from some of the major artists represented by those labels are not actually on there just yet - with some or all Radiohead, Oasis and Metallica albums absent for starters.

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CLASSIC FM AND SKY PARTNER
Classic FM has announced a deal with Sky which will see the telly firm sponsor the 'Howard Goodall On...' show on the national classical station. Sky will also get other exposure on both the station and in its spin off magazine. Classic FM, meanwhile, will get exposure on the classical music programmes on the Sky Arts channels.

Sky's Brand Marketing Director said this: "We are delighted to have formed this partnership with Classic FM and we look forward to working closely with Howard Goodall and the Classic FM team".

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CHART UPDATE
Okay, so here we go again with another update of the movements in the UK charts. Are you ready? Well tough, I'm doing it anyway. Lily Allen is still sitting atop the single chart, waving a big stick at Lady GaGa, who stays at number two. There are two new entries in the top ten this week, courtesy of Eminem and Daniel Merriweather.

Over in the album chart, Bruce Springsteen holds firm at number one, but his sparring partners last week, Franz Ferdinand, drop from number two all the way to number 21, which, if you weren't sure, is a pretty hefty drop. Meanwhile, Kings Of Leon take their place below The Boss and Fleet Foxes rise from 23 to number three, The View go straight in at number four with their new album 'Which Bitch?', and Elbow's 'The Seldom Seen Kid' rises from 17 to six.

Just outside the top ten, dead people are starting to congregate, with Buddy Holly's best of entering the chart at 13 (presumably helped by all the coverage of the anniversary of his death) and Luciano Pavarotti's 'The Duets' coming in at 15, while Luther Vandross's 'Lovesongs' is another newie at 27. Not everyone's dead, though. UB40 and James Taylor also have new entries in the album chart this week, at 19 and 23 respectively. Oh, and Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida' is a re-entry at 38, and despite our best efforts, they're not dead yet.

The charts are compiled and then kept a secret by The Official Charts Company.

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PEACHES AND DRUMMEY SPLIT
Despite relatively recent assertions that all was well, Peaches Geldof and Max Drummey, of US band Chester French, have announced that they are to divorce. The couple, as previously reported, married in August last year after having known each other for just a month.

A joint statement read: "After much soul-searching we have made the mutual decision to end our marriage and have agreed to go our separate ways. Our parting is amicable and both of us still respect and care about each other immensely. There were no other people involved in this decision and we both look forward to a future as good friends."

"There will be no further comment," a spokeswoman said. So you can all continue reading between the lines.

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ETTA JAMES SAYS SHE WAS ONLY JOKING
Etta James has said that those comments she made about Barack Obama and Beyonce Knowles at a recent gig in Seattle were just a joke.

As previously reported, Knowles performed a cover of James' 1961 track 'At Last' at Obama's presidential inauguration (she portraying James in the soon-to-be-released-here film 'Cadillac Records'), and Etta said at the gig last week that the fact Beyonce had been chosen pissed her off, adding "I can't stand Beyonce". She also mocked Obama's physical appearance.

Anyway, she wasn't being horrid, she now says, rather she was just having a joke, She told The New York Daily News: "I didn't really mean anything. Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude. ... That's probably what went into it. Nobody was getting mad at me in Seattle. They were all laughing, and it was funny".

She did, however, cough to having felt disappointed about the fact that she was not asked to perform her own track for the president, saying that she was "feeling left out of something that was basically mine, that I had done every time you look around." And I think that's fair enough, actually.

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JESSICA SIMPSON APOLOGISES FOR DUFF SHOW
Jessica Simpson has apologised for forgetting lyrics at a show in Michigan on Thursday night. The singer, who visibly fought back tears during the performance, had "an off night", according to her publicist. It's not the first time she's forgotten lyrics on stage - she messed up Dolly Parton's '9 To 5' during a tribute to the country legend back in 2006. But we're all human. Well, some of us are.

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BALE APOLOGISES FOR RANT
Not really music news, though Christian Bale's 'fuck' filled rant came to public attention mainly via that amusing remix track that circulated online last week, so I think it's only right we publish the actor's apology over the outburst, which, as previously reported, occurred on set on the filming of the new 'Terminator: Salvation' film, and was aimed at the film's Director Of Photography Shane Hurlbut, who apparently disturbed Bale's concentration while he was busy acting.

Speaking to LA radio station KROQ, Bale admitted that he "acted like a punk", adding: "I was out of order beyond belief. I make no excuses for it". He continued: "The thing that disturbs me so much is that I've heard a lot of people saying that I seem to think that I'm better than anybody else. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a very lucky and that is why I put so much into what I do, and why I care so much about it and why sometimes my enthusiasm just goes awry".

As you probably saw, almost more amusing than the Bale rant remix itself was the fact the BBC broadcast the opening line of it without the 'fuck' bleeped out during its Breakfast News programme last week, leading to much embarrassment among the show's presenters. It's a good job Bale didn't call Hurlbut a "gollywog", had that gone out unedited on Breakfast he'd have been banned from the Corporation for life.

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WELCOME TO CHEGGERS' CHIP WEEK
The only thing more bizarre than the fact that this week is officially National Chip Week is that Keith Chegwin has been hired to sing a special song about the brilliance of potatoes, and his love for its deep fried chipped form. I kid thee not - www.lovechips.co.uk.

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