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Top Stories
Butler, Eno and Harris honoured at first ever producer awards
Euro legal committee OKs copyright extension
Anyone fancy a pint of Marley?
Sony to release bush fire aid album
In The Pop Courts
No Chris Brown charges expected this week
Charts, Stats & Polls
Eminem single breaks download record
Reunions & Splits
Morrissey baffled by Smiths reunion talk
Artist Deals
No Jackson 360 deal with Live Nation
Release News
Yeah Yeah Yeahs album news
Sonic Youth reveal album details
Stone Roses debut re-release
Gigs N Tours News
Catherine AD to play anti-Valentine's gig
MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice back together for one night only
Festival News
Ozzfest off because of time, not money, right?
Doherty, Elbow, etc announced for T In The Park
Tom Jones would like to play Glasto again
Franklin cancels jazz fest appearance
Album review: Floored Memory... Fading Location (FatCat/130701)
The Music Business
AEG boss "concerned" about Live Master deal
Police close Polish piracy enterprise
Former EMI man joins production facility
The Digital Business
Apple considering streaming add-on for iTunes
The Media Business
Could Liberty Media come to XM's rescue
ABC round up
GMG chief to head up local radio review
And finally...
U2 take house band job
Alesha annoyed about Leona's lack of nods
Nudie Madonna pic bought for 37.5k
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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Manuel Alejandro Ruiz, aka Boy Wonder, was a pioneer of the rise in reggaeton sound, and remains a prominent figure in the scene today. He is best known as the head of the Chosen Few production company, which has seen him remix Shakira and produce Don Omar's 'Reggaeton Latino', which also featured Fat Joe, N.O.R.E and LDA. One of the genre's first big crossover hits, it spent 44 weeks in the Billboard charts in 2005 and the subsequent album was the first to break the top ten. This weekend he plays La Bomba at the SeOne club in London alongside DJ Hostile - and there's more about that in the Club Tip slot below. Ahead of that, the man himself answered our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I would say really I started making music by coming up with concepts in my head and also putting together a very tight production team. I was inspired by producers that were back home working with me, such as DJ Hostile and Tony Heath Cliff and Rebel production team. In my head, I am always visualising new concepts. That's my nature, to constantly be wondering what I can bring to life next. It's a God given gift to have a mind that never ceases.

Q2 What inspired your last album?
What inspired me musically for 'Chosen Few III: The Movie' was that I wanted to bring two worlds together the hip hop world and the Latin urban world. Naturally, this came with varying collaborations, such as Fuego with Rick Ross, Reychesta Secret Weapon collaborating with Twista, Ghetto's compilations with Cassidy, LDA joining with Jowell Ortiz, one of the artists of Jowell y Randy and a collaboration of Toby Love with Lumidee. I wanted to show the world music not only through audio but to also enable people to have the ultimate experience visually. People have to be able to hear it, feel it and see it.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
My process and development of when I have a concept or am creating a concept is I, more or less, develop the blueprint, which is the very first steps or insight to a project. The compilation and the mood of the song that I am creating must have a general concept or make sense having to do with the artist. I am a concept person and I do my best to develop the artists' concepts, ability and to be versatile with their talents.

Q4 What artists influence your work?
Besides my Chosen Few artists, such as LDA, Fuego, Reychesta Secret Weapon and Ghetto, who I work with in a more hands on, daily basis, I would have to say it would have to be Tempo. I have worked with a lot of artists, but these artists I guide and coach. As far as Tempo, that's why I got into music. I produced two of his songs. When we decided I would work with him it was an opportunity for me to create and grow. He motivated and showed me through his poetics and lyrics the impact of how powerful music truly is. Watch out for a free Tempo album coming soon.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
The beauty with the experience of my music is you get to visualise it. The Chosen Few are in fact a chosen few. They are artists whom I have chosen for production and to expose people to their music. That's why their music is the soundtrack. I try to be innovative and go with the times. If I see something's going to change or something's going to adapt I try to be the first one to bring it to life and take it to the next level. My ideas of taking music to the next level means; if a song is hot, it's a hit, I begin to think, "where else can we take it? What other beats, looks, sounds, concepts can we give it to make it unique and stand out from the previous songs, yet most importantly distinctive when it's being compared to other artists' work?" I look at records like 'Reggaeton Latino', when I did the Chosen Few remix with Cassandra, Nore, LDA and Fat Joe. I took it to the next level. Fuego's song 'Mi Alma Se Muere' was first a merengue song. Again, I pushed it to the next level by changing it to mambo. I didn't stop there; I remixed the song and made a music video adding on Omega and Pitbull. Each song has an experience. These experiences are designed with hopes to engage all different types of people no matter what their preferences may be. We want the Chosen Few movement to be universal and not have boundaries.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single/album and for the future?
Right now, my next singles are from LDA's album 'Revolucionando El Genero', the tracks 'Confesciones (feat. Fuego)' and 'Noche De Aventura'. This album is a different feel. For the first time, I am coming out with two different singles with two different versions both being urban and tropical. We are experimenting and we want to know how it feels, LDA are being a little bit different. We are hoping to take this project and carry it out worldwide. My ambitions for the future, as of right now, are to focus on Thinking about being above what the rest of the industry is doing. I am concentrating on what other projects to get into that will set us apart and be more visual.

MORE>> and

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: La Bomba at SeOne
Latin dance showcase La Bomba's back at SeOne again this Saturday night, after holding a post-Christmas bash at the Ministry Of Sound. Room one is all about the reggaeton - contemporary Latin music that mashes up reggae and dance hall into salsa and all things Latino, sometimes with a bit of hip hop and rap toasted in for good measure. The reggaeton room at La Bomba is headlined with a special UK debut from producer/remixer/MC legend Manuel Ruiz, aka Boy Wonder, who will host the party together with DJ Hostile, the official DJ from the Wonder's New York entertainment company, Chosen Few. Assisting them will be London's top urban Latin DJ Squad, Jose Luis, Sami Sanchez (Black Market Records) and DJ Loco. In the Salsa Room you can expect the salsa, merengue and bachata sounds to run wild with Julian Mr M, Edwin Salsa, Karlo Scarpelli and Luis Libres (Mr Bongo Salsa). Dress code is casual but stylish and ID is likely to be requested for those young-lookers. That said, the club's mantra is "all ethnicities bienvenido" - everyone's properly welcome.

Saturday 14 Feb, SeOne Club, Weston Street, London, 10pm-6am, £10 (adv), £15 (door), info line 0208 222 8106, press info Jo at Phuture Trax,,


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It was the inaugural Music Producers Guild Awards in London last night, a new annual event designed to celebrate all those unsung heroes who help make records good. The event also saw the presentation of the first Brit Award of 2009, because the new awards event shares its Producer Of The Year category with next week's Brits, which has resurrected its producer gong.

Bernard Butler took that prize, or, rather, those prizes. Having being handed his MPG trophy by BPI chair Tony Wadsworth, there to represent the Brit Awards, Duffy was wheeled on to present the former Suede guitarist with his Brit - he having produced a number of tracks on her debut album 'Rockferry'.

Butler beat the legend that is Brian Eno to that prize, though the somewhat inspirational former Roxy Music man didn't go away empty handed, him being awarded the Joe Meek Award For Innovation In Production. He used his acceptance speech to discuss the mystery behind the role of the music producer, observing that too few people appreciate the difference between performing music on stage and the art of the recording studio, and of the producer's role in the latter. Interesting food for thought, given part of the reason for the MPG Awards existing is to boost the profile of the producer community.

The other lifetime achievement type award went to the late Chris Blair, who won the MPG Special Award for his long career as a mastering engineer at the Abbey Road studios. In his 35 years at the London studio he worked with everyone from Queen and Pink Floyd to The Manic Street Preachers, Oasis and Radiohead, as well as mastering the majority of the Now compiation series. Blair died, aged 55, in 2005, and his award last night was collecting by his widow and son Catherine and Oliver.

But, I hear you ask, what about the CMU sponsored Best Remixer Award? Well, we're very pleased to say it went to CMU favourite Calvin Harris, and not because of any dodgy vote fixing on our part, but because his remixing skills most impressed the MPG members who voted, and rightly so.

Other featured artists getting nods from the MPG voters were Elbow, who won Best Single for 'One Day Like This' and Best Album for 'The Seldom Seen Kid', both produced by the band's keyboardist Craig Potter.

Commenting on the first ever MPG awards, the body's chair Mike Howlett told reporters: "We hope this event will become an integral part of the music industry calendar for many years to come. Audio professionals are positioned at the very heart of the music industry - we make the content that is the industry's product - and it is important that we are acknowledged as vital and key contributors".

The full list of winners is as follows...

Producer of The Year: Bernard Butler
Recording Engineer of The Year: James Towler
Best Mix Engineer: Cenzo Townshend
Best Mastering Engineer: Ray Staff
Best International Producer of the Year: Danger Mouse
Best Live Album of The Year: Girls Aloud - Tangled Up
UK Album of The Year: Elbow - Seldom Seen Kid
UK Single of The Year: Elbow - One Day Like This
The Joe Meek Award for Innovation In Production: Brian Eno
Best Re-mixer: Calvin Harris
Best Newcomer: Paul Epworth
Best Studio: British Grove Studios
Unsung Hero: Andy McBride
Music Producers Guild Special Recognition Award: Chris Blair

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Moves at a European level to extend the recording copyright term from fifty to 95 years took another step forward yesterday as the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee gave its backing to the proposals.

As much, much, much previously reported, the UK record industry and recording artist community has been lobbying for sometime to have the copyright on recordings extended to bring it in line with the US, where the recording copyright term is already 95 years. The argument is that it is unfair that songwriters and their publishers (as well as the artist who designs the record sleeve and the writer who writes the sleeve notes) enjoy a copyright term of life plus seventy years, while record labels and their artists and session musicians enjoy only a fifty year term, meaning many musicians who recorded seminal works in their early twenties lose royalty revenues in their early seventies. It's a pressing issue because a number of lucrative early rock n roll recordings are about to come out of copyright.

The campaign for extension was set back when, despite some support among MPs, the government's 2006 Gowers Report said there was no case for more than fifty years of copyright on recordings. But extension campaigners then got a boost when the EU's Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy tabled proposals for a Europe-wide extension. Governments across the EU have subsequently been discussing McCreevy's proposals at length, and the UK government late last year confirmed that, despite Gowers' conclusion, they did now back an extension in principle, though not necessarily to as much as 95 years.

The latest draft of McCreevy's proposals went before the influential Legal Affairs Committee yesterday, where they were given the nod. As previously reported, key to McCreevy's proposal is that it is recording artists, and session musicians in particular, who benefit most from any extension in the term.

It's widely known that many even successful artists earn modest sums from their early recordings, with their labels taking the lion's share of monies generated through record sales, broadcast royalties and licensing deals. Meanwhile, session musicians are unlikely to be due, by contract, any cut of revenues, though all artists involved in a recording are automatically due a share of broadcast royalties, oblivious of their contracts with the record company who released the recording.

It's as a result of the latter often overlooked copyright law that ageing musicians could still be earning albeit modest royalties from fifty year old recordings. McCreevy wants those musicians to benefit most from an extension in the recording copyright term, by increasing the automatic share of monies they receive after the fifty year cut off - ie so the extension isn't just about boosting the profits of large record companies.

And while giving the proposals their approval yesterday, the Legal Affairs committee also stressed that it too wanted musicians not record companies to be the biggest beneficiaries of the extension. To that end they added an amendment to ensure musicians couldn't lose the new royalties they would receive as a result of an extension because of previous contractual agreements with the labels they'd worked with. The committee also focused in on the proposed fund for session musicians, which would get 20% of revenues generated as a result of the extension.

The vote of confidence in the proposals from the Legal Affairs Committee is the first of three steps to getting the extension proposals into European law. Next the European Parliament will vote on the proposals next month, and then they will go before the Council Of Ministers, where representatives from the governments of each country in the EU will have to approve the proposals.

While most people seem to think the proposals will now be passed by both the Parliament and the Council, there could be delays at the latter stage. Because of the various measures to ensure performers over labels benefit from the copyright extension, the proposals are much more complicated than just reaching a compromise on the actual length of the term. UK IP Minister David Lammy said at a recent meeting at the Houses Of Parliament that while he and his colleagues had now accepted the case for extension, that "opinions on this vary across Europe - so there needs to be some canny footwork to make this happen".

Still, yesterday's decision is still an important step for the pro-extension lobby. Responding to the news, Feargal Sharkey's UK Music told reporters: "In recommending that the current term of copyright protection for sound recordings is extended to 95 years, the Committee has recognised the value of music and the importance of the work of artists, musicians and entrepreneurs, both now and in the future, and that parity with other creators is fair and just".

Globally focused trade body the IFPI added: "Europe is a source of some of the most exciting and innovative music in the world and this initiative will end the discrimination in the term of protection for sound recordings in EU member states compared to many other countries around the world".

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Prepare yourself for a wave of Bob Marley-related merchandise, from drinks to snowboards, following a new licensing deal signed by the late reggae star's family.

Bob Marley lager and coffee will be among the first products to hit the market, followed by headphones, shoes, musical instruments, electronics and, yep, snowboards. Other products currently being considered apparently include luggage, stationery, videogames and hotels. And there are plans to open a global chain of One Love cafes where people "come, eat good Jamaican food, talk about the music, listen to the music, live bands".

Speaking about the new deal with private equity firm Hilco, who will develop and manage merchandise in partnership with Marley's father, his daughter Cedella said: "We're open to licensing just about anything. [But] if it is not right, we will not do it. [The One Love cafes] are something that we've always wanted to explore. We're talking [about] all over the world - one in London, one in Asia, one in Amsterdam".

She added that the deal was not simply about cashing in on her father's name, but a bid to curb the $600m bootleg industry that has built up around Marley. She said: "This is a big business for bootleggers. We want to stop some of the nonsense, and make sure the great stuff upholds our standards. We're in control".

They should definitely do doughnuts - wi' jam in (sorry).

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Sony Music has announced that it will release an album in aid of victims of the recent bush fires in Australia next week. 'Bushfire Aid: Artists for the Bushfire Appeal' features contributions from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Bill Withers, Westlife, as well as tracks by a host of Australian artists. All money raised by the release of the collection will go to the Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal, which aims to help the thousands of people left homeless by the fires. As you may be already aware, more than 180 people have died in the blazes.

The tracklisting is as follows:

Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
Shannon Noll & Natalie Bassingthwaighte - Don't Give Up
Billy Joel - Honesty
Beyonce - Halo
Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream
Midnight Oil - One Country
Lee Kernaghan - Spirit Of The Bush
Vanessa Amorosi - Shine
Hoodoo Gurus - Castles In The Air
John Butler Trio - Better Than
Jessica Mauboy - Time After Time
Justin Timberlake - Losing My Way
Eurythmics - Miracle Of Love
John Williamson - True Blue
Hunters & Collectors - Holy Grail
Wes Carr - You
Bill Withers - Lean On Me
Icehouse - Great Southern Land

The Living End - White Noise
Jimmy Barnes - Working Class Man
Powderfinger - These Days
Rose Tattoo - We Can't Be Beaten
Pete Murray - Saving Grace
John Farnham - You're The Voice
Men At Work - Down Under
Kasey Chambers - This Flower
Paul Kelly - Leaps & Bounds
Delta Goodrem - Believe Again
Anthony Callea - The Prayer
Whitney Houston - The Greatest Love Of All
Dido - Here With Me
Westlife - You Raise Me Up
Jennifer Rush - The Power Of Love
Newton Faulkner - Dream Catch Me
Noiseworks - Touch

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Prosecutors in the much-reported Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic violence case do not expect any charges to be brought this week, they have revealed.

As previously reported, earlier this week the LA County District Attorney's Office requested that police provide more information about the incident, but a spokeswoman for the DA office said yesterday that they are not expecting detectives to return to present their case until later this month.

Police are allowed several weeks to build their case and a court date for 5 Mar has been scheduled. Although that, of course, only applies if Brown is charged with a crime.

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Eminem's comeback single 'Crack A Bottle', featuring Dr Dre, has topped the US singles chart and broken a download record in the process, selling 418,000 copies online, the most ever in a first week of release. The previous record holder was TI, who sold 335,000 downloads of his track 'Live Your Life' in its first week on sale back in October. 'Crack A Bottle' is also third best selling US download single ever behind Lady GaGa's 'Just Dance', with 419,000 and Flo Rida's 'Low' with 467,000.

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Morrissey has said that he finds all the speculation about a Smiths reunion baffling. He told Radio 2: "People always ask me about reunions and I can't imagine why. It baffles me. The past seems like a distant place and I'm pleased with that. I feel very much of now". The singer is promoting his new album 'Years Of Refusal', out Monday.

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Following her split from Universal's Island Def Jam last year, there has been speculation that Janet Jackson was on the verge of signing a 360 deal with Live Nation, as Madonna, Jay-Z, Nickelback and Shakira have done.

Given that Live Nation always said that they would only do four of these deals initially, and none of those deals have yet gone into full effect (on account of the artists still being under recording contracts with other companies), it didn't seem that likely that they were about to bring Jackson on board too.

Now the company has confirmed this to be the case. Senior VP Of Communications at Live Nation, John Vlautin told reporters: "We have not signed a deal with Janet, nor are we currently in discussions with the artist".

Jackson's deal with Island Def Jam came to an end after just over a year after her debut album for the label, 'Discipline', performed disappointingly. The singer expressed disappointment at the label's promotion of the album shortly before the split.

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Release dates have been announced for Yeah Yeah Yeah's previously reported new album 'It's Blitz!'. The record will be out on 13 Apr, preceded by a single, 'Zero' on 6 Apr.

The tracklisting is as follows:

Heads Will Roll
Soft Shock
Dull Life
Shame And Fortune
Dragon Queen
Little Shadow

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Sonic Youth have revealed full details of their previously announced 16th studio album, which will be released via Matador on 8 Jun. Entitled 'The Enternal', it was produced by John Agnello in November and December last year at the band's Echo Canyon West studio in Hoboken, New Jersey. It is also the first recording with former Pavement bassist Mark Ibold, who has been a member of the live band for a number of years.

Of 'The Eternal', Matador's Gerard Cosloy says: "We've not had a record in our recent history that's been the subject of nearly as much speculation and anticipation. Suffice to say we're pretty amazed at the way the band delivered something this neoteric while still sounding like, well, themselves. Less of a reinvention and perhaps more to do with a particularly awesome dozen songs".

Sacred Trickster
Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)
What We Know
Calming The Snake
Poison Arrow
Malibu Gas Station
Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
No Way
Walkin Blue
Massage The History

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Sony have announced that they are planning to release a deluxe collector's box set of The Stone Roses' eponymous debut in celebration of the LP's twentieth anniversary. The record, first released in 1989, got a two disc tenth anniversary release in 1999 (as you might expect, really...). More details about the new version, which has been remastered by original producer John Leckie, will be announced soon.

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To mark the release of her rather bloody excellent EP, 'Carry Your Heart', Catherine AD will play an anti-Valentine's gig at the Notting Hill Arts Club for all you haters of all things soppy. Catherine will be joined by My Vitriol's Som Wardner, Jeremy Warmsley, Holy Samanas, Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man's Frederick Blood-Royal and some other special guests, who will all be reinterpreting your favourite 80s power ballads. Entry is free, drinks will be selling at "unhappy hour" prices (I think that means "normal", I'm not sure) and it all takes place between 4pm and 8pm, which means there's plenty of time to get to your Valentine's Day date afterwards.

'Carry Your Heart' is released Monday 16 Feb via Outsiderhood and will be limited to 500 ribbon-wrapped copies and includes a guide to making an origami peace dove.

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According to reports, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice are to unite for a one night only event in Utah on 27 Feb. The show, entitled Hammer Pants And Ice, will take place at the McKay Events Center in Orem on 27 February.

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Ozzfest has been cancelled this year. Not because of poor ticket sales or money problems though. No, those things might cause problems for other festivals, but not this one. It's just that Ozzy Osbourne has just realised that he's recording a new album at the moment and won't have time to do the day-to-day admin on the event.

A statement published on the festival's website reads: "Ozzy Osbourne is currently in the studio in Los Angeles co-producing his 10th studio album with Kevin Churko. ... The two-time Grammy Award winner has decided that he will not be touring until he has a new album in-stores (currently projected to be Thanksgiving 2009). Thus, Ozzy has decided to put his namesake festival Ozzfest on hold this year".

Despite these claims, it's not a secret that Ozzfest has struggled a little in recent years. Formerly a travelling festival that wound its way around the US (and occasionally the UK, although not since 2002) over several months, it gave away free tickets via sponsors and pre-orders of Ozzy's 'Black Rain' album in 2007, and was scaled back to a one-day event last year.

In recent years, bands such as Iron Maiden and Queens Of The Stone Age have complained about their treatment on the tour (Sharon Osbourne responded by calling Bruce Dickinson a dick and saying that she hoped Josh Homme got syphilis) and problems with the free ticketing system left some fans unable to gain entry to the 2007 shows.

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The latest additions for this year's T In The Park have been announced, and include the likes of Pete Doherty, Elbow, Razorlight, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pendulum. Previously announced acts for the event, which takes place from 10-12 Jul near Kinross, include Blur and Kings Of Leon.

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Tom Jones has said that he's love to appear at Glastonbury again. Not sure whether he's begging for a slot at this year's event specifically or not, but here's what he's reportedly said about the matter: "I'd love to perform there again and if the timing was right, I'd be there. I last appeared at Glastonbury in the early 90s and it was fantastic. Even the weather was good. The sun was shining and I had a ball. I remember two guys in the crowd had this big banner up on a pole and it just said, 'Tom fucking Jones'. I thought it would make a great T-shirt".

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Aretha Franklin has cancelled a scheduled appearance at The New Orleans Jazz Festival, apparently because she has decided to take a break from performing. The event's Quint Davis told reporters that the singer had schedule and travel issues, and had "decided not to do any more work for a while", but implied that Franklin would be back to perform another year, adding: "She's made it clear that New Orleans and the festival are important and that she would like to be a part of this and raising the spirit of New Orleans."

The festival, now in its fortieth year, also announced that Neil Young will make his first appearance at the 2009 event, joining other first time acts such as Bon Jovi and Kings Of Leon.

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ALBUM REVIEW - Floored Memory... Fading Location (FatCat/130701)
Released via FatCat's 130701 imprint, 'Floored Memory... Fading Location' comprises of eleven songs, one from each of the imprint's previous releases, and three previously unreleased tracks. It takes in the works of the four artists on the roster, who share an aesthetic desire that eliminates the need for vocal manipulation of emotion, save for the odd spoken word, instead letting the instrumentation craft the emotion. It is gracefully done, with a delicacy and brittleness that is warranted by the choice of instruments. Set Fire To Flames, a collective of Montreal musicians, including members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, have only two songs on the compilation. Opener 'Steal Compass/Drive North/Disappear' sets the scene wonderfully; being such a brooding and emotional calculating piece it plays to the central theme behind 'Floored Memory... Fading Location', that of loss and decay. Max Richter's delicate compositions progress the autumnal theme, bringing with it the gravitas that comes with traditional classical instruments and style. Sylvia Chauveau's articulation of loss and decay is simply a sparse, mournful piano and is surely the darkest thing on the record. Conversely Hauschka, a composer based in Düsseldorf, throws in lighter sounds and a broken, rustling form of percussion. Hauschka is freer, and his styling more varied and wistful yet still conveys the power and emotive edge that is common within the 130701 roster. If 'Floored Memory... Fading Location' is an attempt to capture in a sentimental and soulful way the transience of life then it has certainly succeeded. SJS
Release Date: 23 Feb
Press Contact: FatCat IH [all]

Buy from Amazon

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I think it's important to note that the boss of live music major AEG isn't concerned by the proposed merger of its main competitor Live Nation and ticketing giant Ticketmaster because of the impact it might have on his company. No, he is "very concerned about the proposed Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger" because of the impact it might have "on the fans, the consumer, the artists and the industry".

Speaking to Billboard about the big live music merger announced earlier this week, AEG boss Tim Leiweke confirmed his legal people will be looking into the two merging firms' proposals very closely. Asked by the trade mag if he thought there were any regulatory pitfalls that could scupper the merger, he said: "I'm not a lawyer, I'll let the lawyers figure that one out. But I can tell you that as we look at it we have deep concern on whether or not this is in the best interest of the consumer".

Leiweke also referenced Bruce Springsteen's recent public moan about Ticketmaster linking his fans through to their secondary ticketing website TicketsNow when they couldn't sell them primary tickets. As previously reported, Springsteen complained about the fact his fans were being directed by his official ticket seller to a resale website where ticket prices are often hiked up. An increasing number of artists reckon Ticketmaster trading in both the primary and secondary ticketing market already amounts to a conflict of interest, and that's before they join forces with Live Nation. Leiweke: "I would completely agree with Bruce Springsteen. I think he has it 100% right. We're very supportive and we appreciate him stepping out there and taking a leadership role. We share his concerns".

As previously reported, the consensus is that the Live Nation Ticketmaster deal will get the go ahead from US competition regulators, but not before much public dissing of the two companies.

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Police in Poland have shut down one of the biggest piracy operations in Europe, which is nice. For the record industry. Not nice for the pirates I'm guessing. The authorities think the piracy gang they shut down distributed some nine million pirated CDs, and were behind the Masterbox series, a series of pirated DVD collections which included MP3s from over 40 albums. Four people were detained for questioning, and a whole load of pirated product and kit was seized from three locations,

Confirming the raids, the head of the enforcement unit at global record label trade body the IFPI, Len Hynds, told reporters: "This was a lucrative criminal enterprise that was based in Poland but exported pirate music and film to other EU countries. The decisive action shown by Polish police shows the country is no safe haven for such criminal enterprises. Organised criminal gangs often regard counterfeit entertainment products as a low-risk revenue stream. These raids send a clear message that such a calculation is a serious mistake".

In other anti-piracy news, a team of nine have been arrested in Glasgow in connection to a pirated DVD operation. Thousands of DVDs and hundreds of DVD burners were seized by local police.

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Phil Armorgie, formerly a promotions and artist development exec at EMI, has become Business Development Manager for London-based Music 4, a West End post-production facility utilised by a number of the majors.

Confirming his new role, Music Week quote Armorgie thus: "What I am most looking forward to is developing a truly unique business and resource for the music industry. I was instantly impressed at both the range and the quality of the services offered here. Although the company already has an impressive list of clients, it is still one of the best kept secrets in the business. This is something we intend to change and I am ready for the challenge to help them grow their business".

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Apple are rumoured to be launching a new streaming service via iTunes which would let users stream any tracks they've bought via the iTunes Music Store on any net-connected Apple device, saving them from having to transfer their AAC files over. Such an add-on would make their download offer more portable, though as many people mix a relatively small collection of tracks downloaded from the iTunes store with tracks ripped from CD I'm not sure it would be that attractive a facility, given the user could just install Spotify on all their net devices (Apple made or otherwise) and stream millions of tracks for free anyway. It's not clear what the licensing deal would be between Apple and the labels in order to provide the new streaming functionality, and assuming they'd have to pay extra royalties how they would fund that. Such royalty issues could scupper the whole add-on even if it's technically possible.

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US satellite radio firm Sirius XM which, as previously reported, is preparing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has reportedly been approached by QVC owners Liberty Media's DirecTV satellite TV company about a deal to rescue the faltering broadcaster, which is facing heavy debt repayments.

Sirius chief Mel Karmazin is reportedly in favour of some kind of Liberty deal, mainly because it would scupper attempts by another satellite company, EchoStar, to claim ownership of the company. EchoStar has been buying up Sirius' debts since its takeover approach was knocked back last year, presumably in a bid to force the radio firm into some kind of takeover deal when it defaults on its loan repayments. Some reckon Karmazin is applying for Chapter 11 protection to stop EchoStar pursuing its hostile takeover, mainly by providing him with the time to negotiate a deal with Liberty.

Meanwhile Howard Stern, Sirius' biggest and most expensive star, has dismissed the radio firm's financial problems as "growing pains" telling reporters he still believes the satellite radio enterprise can be a success. Speaking on his show on the network, he said: "Everybody's wondering about this whole bankruptcy thing with Sirius. I'm not concerned. I think satellite radio is great and will be a successful business and it will survive".

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So, it was ABC day yesterday, which means we get a round up of how well the music magazines were selling in the latter half of 2008. And I don't want to be a doom and gloom merchant or anything, but there were a lot more minus figures in the 'year on year' column than positives.

Let's get those out of the way first shall we?

Bauer's music division saw all three of its titles lose readers. Q was down 9% from the previous set of ABCs last summer, and down 21.5% from this time last year, with an average circulation of 103,017. Mojo's fall was more modest, 5.3% on this time last year at 100,507. Kerrang!, though, topped the poll in terms of music mag sales declines, down 13.3% on last summer and a massive 32% on this time last year, to 52,272.

If it's any consolation, rivals IPC didn't fair much better. Well, OK, they faired a bit better, but both NME and Uncut were down year on year. NME's sales were down 13.9% on last summer and 24.3% year on year, while Uncut was down 4.3% year on year, though was up by a fraction of a percent compared to last August.

Elsewhere free title The Fly was up 2.1% to 105,212, and fellow freebie RWD was up a massive 145.9% to 77,050. Another indie title, Word mag, was also up, with its circulation rising 3.2% year on year to 34,280. Not all indies were up though, Word's sister title Mixmag was down 11.5% compared to last summer, while Rocksound fell 11.2% over six months, and 13% year on year.

Both IPC and Bauer will tell you that, while the sales of their print music mags are down, their music brands are now multi-dimensional and enjoying new successes off the news-stand, and therefore there is reason to be happy despite the disappointing ABCs. They're probably right. But it was Future Publishing who had the right to be happiest yesterday, with both their music mags, Metal Hammer and Classic Rock, seeing their ABCs rise. Metal Hammer was up 3.6% from last summer and 9.7% from last February, while Classic Rock was up 5.3% from last August, or 4.1% from this time last year. So, well done them.

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John Myers, departing CEO of GMG Radio, will head up a the more detailed investigation into the future of local radio that was promised in the previously reported Digital Britain report on the future of the UK media and content industries in the digital era. Myers, who leaves GMG in April, will lead an advisory group to look at the role of radio in delivering local content in the digital age, at how local radio can be most effectively provided, and at the rules that currently govern just how local local radio should be.

Confirming his involvement in the review, Myers told reporters: "We know that consumers value local content, particularly on local radio, and that successive governments and regulators have sought to secure this through localness rules. It is only right that as we move towards a predominantly digital landscape for radio we consider the appropriateness of the current rules and how local content should be preserved in the future".

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In these times of global recession, it can be hard to make ends meet. Even for U2. With only weeks to go before the release of their new album, the band have been forced to take up a house band job to make ends meet.

No, just kidding, U2 are minted. However, they will perform as the house band on David Letterman's 'Late Show' on US TV network CBS for a full week to promote their new album, 'No Line On The Horizon'. They will perform every night on the show from 2-6 Mar - the same week that the album is released.

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Alesha Dixon is cross that Leona Lewis isn't up for Best Solo Female at this year's Brit Awards. Former 'X-Factor' contestant Lewis is nominated for Best British Single because it's based on sales and airplay, but has failed to garner nods in any other category, despite her success on both sides of the pond, and despite the fact that she's actually quite good, despite being the product of a talent contest.

Dixon said: "Well, I'm a bit annoyed by that actually, that Leona's not in there. I don't understand why Leona Lewis is not in the Best Solo Female. She's probably sold, no I'm not going to say... No I was going to say something quite controversial. She's sold a lot of records, put it that way, and she's broken America".

Elswhere in Brit-chat, Adele has predicted that Duffy will beat her in the Best Female Artist category, and also says that Leona Lewis has a chance of winning Best Female, despite not even being nominated for it. Adele told the BBC: "I think Duffy will win Best Female. I'd like to win Best Breakthrough. That would be nice. But then it might be Leona wins Best Female, Duffy wins Best Breakthrough. Or maybe The Ting Tings and Scouting For Girls will win them. But I think I've got as good a chance as anyone else. I'd like to think I do".

One thing's for sure; she's got a better chance than Leona Lewis.

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That previously reported full frontal nude photo of Madonna, aged 20, has sold at auction for $37,500 at Christie's in New York auction. It's apparently a record amount for a picture of the singer, and this particular image had only been expected to raise £15k. The photograph was one of a series of six taken by photographer Lee Friedlander that appeared in Playboy in 1985. The other five were sold together in 2003 for just $7,170.

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