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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
More Pirate Bay stuff
Rafferty "in hiding", say sources
Kid Cudi discusses Reebok altercation
INXS reality winner homeless and unemployed
Have your say on Portishead's future
Reznor grooms Jane's to take up NIN's mantle
Folds discusses fake album
In The Pop Courts
Santigold could still be sued over old stage name
Awards & Contests
AR Rahman on MIA at Oscars
Charts, Stats & Polls
Music more important than sex - when it's free (or cheap)
Reunions & Splits
New Bad Seed announced
The White Stripes to get back on stage this week
Release News
NME to give away Cure covers album
Black Sabbath re-release
New Freeland upcoming
Gigs N Tours News
Trail Of Dead announce UK tour dates
Brown and Biel in London tonight
Festival News
Kasabian to play Eden, Great Escape this summer
Lovebox announce line up
Reviews
Album review: Milton Jackson - Crash (Freerange Records)
The Music Business
New secondary ticketing review planned
Woolworths will return to the high street, albeit with a different name
Streamlined EMI Music move to High Street Ken offices
Universal France have a rejig
CR2 get distribution through Prime Direct
The Digital Business
Spotify add classical recordings
The Media Business
Sirius rescued by Liberty deal
Commercial Radio want local radio rule change in return for new DAB investment
UKRD buys into TLRC
Cooper promoted at Radio 1
Chart Of The Day
MTV2/MySpace chart
And finally...
Jackson auction to be held in April

Tory leader apologetic about being a Smiths fan

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WEDNESDAY 18TH FEBRUARY

THE PHANTOM BAND
Hailing from Glasgow and notable not least for their ability to play with their faces covered, The Phantom band released their debut album, 'Checkmate Savage', via Chemikal Underground last month. A masterclass in enjoyable oddness, the album has seen the band likened to The Beta Band, Super Furry Animals and Captain Beefheart, amongst others.

 

The band will be down in London town to play Twisted Licks at The Macbeth this Saturday (more info on that here). Ahead of that, we caught up with keyboard player Andrew Oxford to ask those Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I don't think any of us noticed starting. Personally, I got into it mostly through DJing - doing various club and pub nights and being surrounded by music. I'd collected records from a young age and I have a kind of underlying hatred of music - because I feel slightly dependent on it. It never quite does what I want it to do - very few records hit the mark, so I have to gather more. Gradually, I started wanting to alter the records I had. The first piece of music I was ever involved in was when I was about 10 or 11 - a tape recording which had the instrumental version of King B's 'Back By Dope Demand' played at 45rpm instead of 33rpm, with me playing the drum sounds off a kid's keyboard over the top, Dave (now in Django Django) strumming a guitar he didn't know how to tune and our friend James playing recorder. We somehow managed to play the tape backwards and re-record the whole thing with it in the background. I think we gave up on that project, after deciding it was destined to be a hit with a capital 'S', but later on I started making electronic music, using samples and synths etc. I released electro-ish stuff under a few guises before joining this band. I always wanted to be Angus Young as a kid, so naturally synths were an obvious choice for me to play.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
Our most recent single was 'Folk Song Oblivion'. The others might disagree, but I think it's a song rooted somehow in Romanticism. A connection to the Scottish landscape is something I think we all have in common in the band and we wanted to get into the lyrics the feeling of the isolation and depersonalisation experienced when faced with the truly awesome - an idea that this 'awesomeness', manifest at an ancient and savage level within the building blocks of what it is to be human, can eclipse concerns of the ego and our awareness of ourselves as individuals. The folk music tradition has elements of depersonalisation through non-hierarchy, but is something understood to co-exist with a hostile landscape, perhaps even as counterpoint. The lyrics on the chorus are supposed to suggest that politics of the individual are insignificant in such a landscape, so we wanted them to work as a kind of response to the group or 'mass' vocal on the verses. I think what I mean is that we wanted to tie some cosmic sounding lyrics (which when it comes down to it, were established as a collection of syllables which worked well rhythmically with the music) with the bombastic sounding guitar hooks, and we hope it worked okay.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
I'd like to say something that sounds more interesting, but generally speaking our tracks are all formed from us messing around in the studio, improvising for prolonged muckabouts, which can turn out quite transcendental at times. When we go into the studio to practice the tracks we have already recorded, we usually warm up by jamming for an hour or so and that's when riffs, hooks and lyrics start to emerge. We usually record our rehearsals so we take the recordings away and chop the good bits down into more manageable structures, depending on what arouses us when we listen back. We are aroused from six different angles; sexagon.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Neil Buchanan, Tony Hart (who is actually Gerry's uncle). We also like that guy who paints the football players.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Hiya.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Without it affecting the type of music we make, or our approach to writing music, we'd quite like 'Checkmate Savage' to allow us to start breaking even financially, and perhaps to dedicate a more solid chunk of time to working on the next one which, having worked on a few rough ideas in the studio, I think is going to be better. We'd certainly like 'Checkmate Savage' to open opportunities to do fun things - interesting shows, meet good people and travel to some interesting places - being able to leave our day jobs would be nice, but we're not so arrogant as to assume this will be possible. We don't have any grand and elaborate plans as yet.

MORE>> www.phantomband.co.uk and www.myspace.com/thephantombandpage

 

AMANDA APPLEWOOD
Today's SNAP is the lovely Amanda Applewood, who you might also know as the keyboard player of twee-core popsters The Boy Least Likely To. It's not a million miles away from her day job, but infuses a wonderful sense of nostalgia that her other band lacks. Everything is tinged slightly with Enid Blyton-esque sepia and vague memories of childhood. Absolutely captivating. Her debut single is called "The Amanda Applewood EP", and it's coming out on Too Young To Die records very soon.

www.myspace.com/amandaapplewood

 

 

MORE PIRATE BAY STUFF
So, as we said yesterday, the big story on day two of the Pirate Bay trial was the prosecution back peddling and dropping half their charges against the three men who founded the infamous BitTorrent tracker, and the fourth man who has provided it with substantial funding.

Before the second day of the prosecution's case against Hans Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström had even begun, lawyers representing prosecutors and the music and movie industries announced they were no longer accusing the four men of being actually involved in the illegal copying of music and movies themselves, or of "complicity in the unlicensed production of copyrighted material" to speak like a lawyer for a moment. To be honest I'm not entirely sure why such allegations were part of the case to begin with, because the whole point of a BitTorrent tracker is that no music or movie files are ever stored or transferred through the central hub - so The Pirate Bay itself is not involved in any actual copying - rather it provides links to BitTorrent sources of content to which users then connect directly. The Pirate Bay and its creators aren't involved in any actual illegal copying, they simply make it easier for everyone else to illegally share content files.

Of course the 'simply making it easier for everyone else' is, arguably, in itself a kind of 'authorising infringement', and the charges relating to that activity - to the "assisting making available copyrighted content" - remain and will now form the core of the prosecution's case against The Pirate Bay four.

Prosecutors played down the significance of the sudden change in emphasis of their case, stressing that the "assisting making available" charges were just as serious, and that the record company and movie studios' compensation claims would be unaffected by the dropping of the actual illegal copying charges. They had dropped those charges, they added, to simplify their case (though presumably the fact those charges were rather weak and could scupper the whole case played a role as well).

Whether or not the charge dropping decision has any big impact on the outcome or implications of this case remains to be seen, though it certainly gave The Pirate Bay a PR boost yesterday morning. Their lawyer called the development "sensational", adding: "It is very rare to win half the target in just one and a half days".

After the dramatic start to the day, the trial itself returned to more tedious talk on the technicalities regarding how BitTorrent filesharing works, and the role of tracker websites in the whole phenomenon, proceedings which led to one of the defendants, Peter Sunde, posting a Twitter message which read "this is so boring... it's sleepy".

The case continues, and is expected to run for up to three weeks.

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RAFFERTY "IN HIDING", SAY SOURCES
Gerry Rafferty, who, as previously reported, was recently revealed to have gone missing from St Thomas' Hospital in London while being treated for liver failure six months ago, is living in hiding somewhere in the south of England, according to sources.

Sources have now told The Guardian that the singer is still alive and being cared for by a friend. Sightings have placed him in the Bournemouth area.

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KID CUDI DISCUSSES REEBOK ALTERCATION
Rapper Kid Cudi has attempted to clear up a few details about that previously reported altercation at a Reebok party in Phoenix during the NBA All-Star game on Saturday, where he was meant to be performing. Cudi confirmed that he had been zapped with a taser gun during the scuffle, but denied that he had been arrested, or that the row erupted because he turned up wearing a pair of Nike trainers.

He wrote: "I was tasered (shit hurt like a muthafucka), I was not arrested. I didn't put my hands on anyone; the muthafucka I was trying to touch, I couldn't reach his fuckin' collar to grab him. It wasn't over me wearing [Nike made] Jordans. I arrived at the event in the most 'fugliest' Reeboks ever".

He added that this taste of being in the public eye for the wrong reasons had made him more determined to keep his head down and let his music do the talking. He concluded: "This shit really makes me want to fall back on this music shit yo, shit is getting out of hand. I'm just a dude who wants to make ill music to help people on their day to day grind, help them get thru it to accomplish whatever goals they have in life".

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INXS REALITY WINNER HOMELESS AND UNEMPLOYED
JD Fortune, the chap that won TV reality show Rock Star: INXS to become the band's new singer, has told Entertainment Tonight that he was sacked by the band and now lives homeless in his car. "I don't know where I am going from sofa to sofa, from night to night", he said. "I am trying to get through my life".

On how his time with the band came to a sudden stop, Fortune explained: "I was in an airport at Hong Kong and literally got a handshake. They said, 'Thank you very much'. I found myself really alone because I had travelled with these guys for 23 months. Some of the audiences we played for were upwards of 80,000 people". He adds that he didn't tell anyone, including family and friends, what had happened, and that fans continue to ask for his autograph. "Every time I sign my name it becomes in my heart worth less" he added. "I'm very confused because when you do something like that it should be a moment of pride".

He admits that he became a cocaine user during his time with the band, which presumably might be the reason he was ditched. Speaking about his excessive use of the drug during his period on tour, he said: "It got as bad as it needed to be for me to numb out the fact that I knew this was going to come to a screeching halt".

Fortune is now planning a comeback and is set to release a solo album shortly, via Universal Canada.

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HAVE YOUR SAY ON PORTISHEAD'S FUTURE
Now free from a record deal, having parted ways with Universal's Island Records, Portishead have been wracking their brains trying to come up with ways to head into the future. They didn't come up with any ideas, so now they're asking fans to shape their new business plan. Rule number one, don't suggest they give away their music for free.

In a post on their MySpace, the band's Geoff Barlow said: "We spent the day discussing the future of the P as we are free. Well, free of a deal and free of commitment... for now! With the world being the way it is there are lots of options open but if you lot have any bright ideas of how we should sell our music in the future let us know, why not! I don't think that were into giving out music away for free to be honest - it fuckin' takes ages to write and we have to heat our swimming pools!"

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REZNOR GROOMS JANE'S TO TAKE UP NIN'S MANTLE
Last time Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails toured together, it was on the first Lollapalooza tour, by the end of which Nine Inch Nails had stamped their mark as a major force in music and Jane's Addiction had completely fallen apart. But now it seems Trent Reznor is trying to rebalance that. A new message posted on the official Nine Inch Nails website, while a little vague in places, seems to say that the two bands will be heading out on tour together again later this year, after which, if all goes to plan, Jane's Addiction will be restored to their early 90s level of fame and NIN will "disappear for a while". He also hints, I think, that he is producing a new Jane's album.

Speaking about the 1991 Lollapalooza tour, Reznor said: "These performances essentially created and defined the term 'alternative' rock in the US, created an ongoing festival franchise that is still thriving, set the stage for Nirvana to shift popular taste a few months later, and were really fucking FUN to play and attend - truly the best times I've had".

He continues: "Fast forward to the present. Corporate rock STILL sucks. A friend tells me they saw the original Jane's lineup play a tiny show in LA that was unbelievable. I break out my Jane's records and am amazed by how vital they sound. These guys were the real deal and in this current climate mostly dominated by poseurs and pussies it was refreshing to hear something that sounded dangerous, volatile, beautiful and SINCERE".

Inspired by this burst of nostalgia, Reznor arranged to have dinner with Jane's Addiction and "the next thing I know we're in the studio experimenting. We laugh, we get to know each other, we cry, we yell, we almost quit, we record LOTS of guitar solos, we discuss, we actually begin to all communicate, we yell some more, we become FRIENDS, we laugh again and we do some great things".

So, how does this all relate to the disappearance of Nine Inch Nails? Well, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Nine Inch Nail's debut album, 'Pretty Hate Machine', and with this milestone fast approaching, Reznor says that he has "been thinking for some time now it's time to make NIN disappear for a while".

Following the spectacle of last year's reputedly rather amazing 'Lights In The Sky' tour, Nine Inch Nails are now planning to play a last run of more back-to-basics shows before going on hiatus. Says Reznor: "The approach to these shows is quite different from last year - much more raw, spontaneous and less scripted. Fun for us and a different way for you to see us and wave goodbye. I reached out to Jane's to see if they'd want to join us across the US and we all felt it could be a great thing. Will it work? Will it resonate in the marketplace? Who knows. Are there big record label marketing dollars to convince you to attend? Nope. Does it feel right to us and does it seem like it will be fun for us and you? Yes it does. Look for tour dates soon and I hope to see you out there".

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FOLDS DISCUSSES FAKE ALBUM
Ben Folds has been discussing that 'fake' version of his most recent album, 'Way To Normal', which he leaked onto the internet last year in a bid to confuse fans. Pretty much recorded in one day in Dublin, the fake album featured new spoof songs using the same titles as the proper album.

He told Sun Media: "It was basically a really good excuse to go in and make music quickly. I was interested to see if you could go through that process with any kind of result in two or three days rather than months. So we did it, we wrote bogus bullshit lyrics to the titles of the songs on the album. We made up the music, recorded it and mixed it that day in Dublin, Ireland while on tour".

Folds said he wasn't concerned that fans would prefer the fake version to the genuine product, and would actually be quite pleased if they did. He said: "If they did then good, that means I made music that they enjoyed. Also part of me rebels against the official releases of things because it's gotten so big. It's all out of whack and I wanted to do something about it".

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SANTIGOLD COULD STILL BE SUED OVER OLD STAGE NAME
Santogold could still be sued over her name, despite her recently changing it to Santigold. As previously reported, the 'LES Artistes' singer recently announced she was changing her stage name to Santigold, which actually makes it more like her real name Santi White. She gave no reason for the change at the time, but it was assumed the decision was related to legal action taken by actor Santo Rigatuso, who has used the stage name Santo Gold since the early eighties. Despite the singing Santogold changing her performing name, legal reps for the acting Santo Gold have said that their litigation against the singer is still "ongoing". Lawyer Jill L Abitol told reporters yesterday that the name change had not been the result of any negotiations between the singer and the actor so changed nothing, adding that the fact White had decided to change her name now implied she had been previously infringing Rigatuso's name.

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AR RAHMAN ON MIA AT OSCARS
AR Rahman, who composed the soundtrack to 'Slumdog Millionaire', and who is co-nominated with MIA in the Best Song category as this week's Academy Awards for their joint effort 'Oh Saya', has said that MIA is keen to play at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, despite having just given birth to her baby son. As previously reported, the singer appeared at the Grammys despite it being her due date.

Asked if MIA would make it to the Oscars, Rahman replied: "That's the million dollar question. She wants to. In fact, she said she'll do it with a hologram. She has all these ideas. I don't know how it's going to be possible, though. Having a baby is such an important thing in your life - more important than winning an Oscar".

He adds that one of his next projects will see him working with Kylie Minogue on a track for a new film. "We're doing a song together which she'll perform in the movie", he said. "The film is called 'Blue' and is being shot in Hawaii and a lot of other places".

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MUSIC MORE IMPORTANT THAN SEX - WHEN IT'S FREE (OR CHEAP)
Good news for the music business. Young people would rather give up sex than music. The bad news, though, is they don't want to pay for it. The music that is, not the sex. Though presumably they're not planning on paying for that either.

A new survey of 1000 15-24 years olds commissioned by London indie label Marrakesh Records and conducted by Human Capital, which is in some way linked to the Ingenious music investment firm, has found that while 60% of young people would rather give up sex than music, 70% don't feel guilty accessing music via unlicensed websites and file sharing networks, and 61% feel they shouldn't have to pay for it. Respondents also admitted that only about a half of the music they owned had been paid for, though that's actually a lot more than I'd have guessed - perhaps downloading hundreds of illegal music files every week just because you can is going out of fashion.

When asked what they thought would be a fair price for music, other than free, respondents settled on an average price for a CD album of £6.58, while they said £3.91 and 39p seemed fair for a digital album and single respectively, which is again more than I'd have expected, though obviously that's quite a bit less than standard a-la-carte download prices, especially in terms of single track downloads.

Away from nicking music, the survey also questioned respondents on how they discover new artists, and in that section there was good news for the old school, which radio coming out top - 67% rely on radio shows to discover new artists, while 63% went by recommendations from friends and 49% by music TV channels. Newspapers scored 21%, music magazines 17% and blogs just 14%. For sampling tracks from new artists, YouTube was the favourite among 38%, more than double both MySpace and official band websites.

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NEW BAD SEED ANNOUNCED
Ed Keupper has been announced as the new guitarist for the Bad Seeds. He replaces Mick Harvey who, as previously reported, recently quit the band "for a variety of personal and professional reasons".

Keupper is going to have his work cut out for him, he has just performed a series of shows with his former band, The Saints, and has announced a reunion show for another former band, jazz punkers The Laughing Clowns, at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival in April, before heading out for festival dates with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in June and July.

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THE WHITE STRIPES TO GET BACK ON STAGE THIS WEEK
Not that they ever really split, but The White Stripes, whose 2007 tour was, as you may remember, cancelled because Meg White was suffering from "acute anxiety problems", are set to return to the stage this week with a performance on NBC talk show 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' on Friday night. Jack White has, of course, been busier more recently with his other band The Raconteurs.

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NME TO GIVE AWAY CURE COVERS ALBUM
NME are to give away a free album with their 25 Feb issue, a CD featuring tracks by The Cure covered by the likes of Art Brut, Dinosaur Jr, Mystery Jets and The Dandy Warhols. It comes out the same day as the NME Awards event, at which The Cure are to receive the magazine's Godlike Genius honour.

The tracklisting for 'Pictures Of You' will be:

Robert Smith spoken word intro
Mystery Jets and Esser - In Between Days
Lostprophets - Boys Don't Cry
Marmaduke Duke - Friday I'm In Love
Dinosaur Jnr - Just Like Heaven
The Big Pink - Love Song
Editors - Lullaby
British Sea Power - A Forest
The Dandy Warhols - Primary
The Get Up Kids - Close To Me
The Futureheads - The Lovecats
Art Brut - Catch
Metronomy - Fascination Street
Alkaline Trio - Cut Here
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly - In Between Days

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BLACK SABBATH RE-RELEASE
Black Sabbath's second album 'Paranoid', originally released in 1970, is to be re-released as a three disc set in April. The original has been remastered, and comes with a disc of previously unheard outtakes, demos and instrumental tracks taken from original studio sessions. The third disc features a rare 1974 Quadraphonic mix of the album. Also included are booklets with rare and unseen images as well as sleeve notes.

Here's the tracklisting:

Disc 1 (Original Album):
1. War Pigs
2. Paranoid
3. Planet Caravan
4. Iron Man
5. Electric Funeral
6. Hand Of Doom
7. Rat Salad
8. Fairies Wear Boots

Disc 2 (1974 Quadrophonic Mix):
1. War Pigs
2. Paranoid
3. Planet Caravan
4. Iron Man
5. Electric Funeral
6. Hand Of Doom
7. Rat Salad
8. Fairies Wear Boots

Disc 3
(Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks):
1. War Pigs (instrumental)
2. Paranoid (alternative lyrical version)
3. Planet Caravan (alternative lyrical version)
4. Iron Man (instrumental)
5. Electric Funeral (instrumental)
6. Hand Of Doom (instrumental)
7. Rat Salad (instrumental)
8. Fairies Wear Boots (instrumental)

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NEW FREELAND UPCOMING
Freeland, the nothing less than brilliant artist project from producer/DJ Adam Freeland, will return later this year with a brand new album called 'Cope', and the first single off it, 'Under Control', will be released on 30 Mar, via Freeland's own label Marine Parade.

The track will also introduce some of the musical talent who are involved in the latest Freeland project, including Spinnerette/Distillers guitarist Tony Bevilacqua, NIN/Marilyn Manson cohort and bass player Twiggy Ramirez, and Kurt Baumann, who will front the Freeland band on its upcoming tour, on vocals. Oh, and DEVO legend Jerry Casal is on backing vocals.

We've heard some of the album and it's marvellous, and 'Under Control' is a great introduction to it. Go check at www.myspace.com/adamfreelandmusic

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TRAIL OF DEAD ANNOUNCE UK TOUR DATES
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead return with their sixth album, 'The Century Of Self', their first for German label Superball Music, on Monday. To promote it, the band have just announced a string of UK tour dates.

Speaking about the album, and the move to an independent label, following their split from Universal/Interscope in 2007, the band's Conrad Keely told CMU: "We finally have the artistic freedom we've wanted, with no pressure to create radio music, no legal department to OK our artwork, and no A&R people breathing down our necks. The new songs are very personal. Some of them are autobiographical. We're building on everything we've ever done, looking back on our whole career and taking a lot inspiration from our early music. We continue to evolve the concept and try to incorporate new ideas. And there was no point on the record where we were trying to write songs you'd hear on commercial radio. We know that singles are driving the market, and we don't care".

Tour dates:

14 Apr: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
15 Apr: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
16 Apr: Manchester, Academy 3
17 Apr: Glasgow, Oran Mor
19 Apr: Newcastle, Academy
20 Apr: Birmingham, Academy
22 Apr: Bristol, Thekla
23 Apr: London, Electric Ballroom
24 Apr: Oxford, Academy

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BROWN AND BIEL IN LONDON TONIGHT
If you're in London tonight looking for something a whole load more real than the glitzy Brit Awards over there in Earls Court, may we suggest this little gig? Our Edinburgh Festival newspaper ThreeWeeks once handed a Rosie Brown gig five stars, calling her "seductive, sublime, sensuous", and I've been told good things about Julia Biel too. Both play Café Koha on St Martin's Court tonight from 7.30pm, and it's £5 on the door. MySpace will provide some previews if they're required.

www.myspace.com/rosiebrown1
www.myspace.com/juliabiel

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KASABIAN TO PLAY EDEN, GREAT ESCAPE THIS SUMMER
Kasabian have been confirmed for this year's Eden Sessions, now in their eighth year. The band will play at the Eden Project on 4 Jul, ahead of Oasis, who are to play a rescheduled gig there on 14 Jul, after they were forced to cancel a September gig at the venue after the band's Noel Gallagher was, as previously reported, injured by an onstage attacker at a show in Toronto.

Tickets for the news gigs go on sale on 24 Feb at 6pm at a cost of £35 each. The Eden Project's creative director Peter Hampel says: "We've got our work cut out in 2009 to match last year's success, but Kasabian are without doubt, one of the world's top live acts and alongside Oasis, have given us the best possible start."

Kasabian are also amongst the latest acts confirmed The Great Escape in Brighton in May. Organisers of the event, which takes place from 14-16 May, have announced that the likes of Little Boots, Lightspeed Champion, Holy Fuck, Metronomy and Danananakroyd will also be appearing.

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LOVEBOX ANNOUNCE LINE UP
Lovebox have announced their first confirmed acts for this year's weekender, and the likes of Florence And The Machine, Ladyhawke, Simian Mobile Disco and Friendly Fires are all set to appear, as are festival founders Groove Armada, of course. The two day event, this year run in partnership with thelondonpaper, will be headlined by Duran Duran and NERD. It all takes place in London's Victoria Park on 18 and 19 Jul, and tickets are on sale now.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Milton Jackson - Crash (Freerange Records)
Milton Jackson is back with his second album, the follow-up to 2002's 'The Bionic Boy'. Over numerous single releases since that first album, he has been crafting a solid tech house sound that really comes into its own on this outing. Tracks like the opener, 'Ghosts In My Machine', are immediate. That track in particular is pure minimal tech dancefloor killer and has rightly gained him high acclaim amongst critics and DJs alike. But he really shows off his skills on slower tracks like the epic dance of the title track, 'Crash', the dubbed-out 'Another Fine Mess', which shares a few sensibilities with Bandulu, and the cool, abstract off-kilter funk of 'Snap Crackle', which leans towards the early work of Mark Pritchard's Mystic Institute. And those influences keep pouring in, with 'Orbit 3' sounding like a clone of Pepe Braddock's 'Deep Burnt', all anthemic and polished to a high sheen. Jackson then rounds it all off with some mellow downtempo on 'Outrosection', and we set sail into pastures chill. There's not a bad cut on here. It's a sturdy and album, and dare I say it so early, a possible contender for album of the year. PV
Release Date: 23 Feb
Press Contact: Freerange IH [all]

Buy on iTunes
Buy on Amazon

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NEW SECONDARY TICKETING REVIEW PLANNED
According to Music Week, the government might be about to start a consultation on the secondary ticketing market, which will be led by Minister For Sport Gerry Sutcliffe and which will look into all the various issues around the growth of ticket touting since the boom of online auction and resale websites.

Secondary ticketing has been the big controversy in the live music industry for a while now, of course, with many artist managers and gig promoters, and some consumer groups, hitting out at the increasing number of tickets for in-demand events that are sold for profit on websites like eBay, or ticket resale specific sites like Get Me In and Viagogo. The profits, of course, go to the reseller (with the resale website taking a commission) and not the artist or promoter.

It's not the first time the government has bothered itself about the growth of secondary ticketing. It initially told the live music sector to sort it out, threatening to introduce new laws governing ticket selling if they didn't. The live music sector promptly responded by saying that there was little it could do, while adding that it would welcome new laws to restrict touting. The government responding by doing very little, even when a Parliamentary Select Committee published a report making various recommendations about what should be done.

The government is possibly acting now because of those various incidents last year when punters lost money buying tickets off rogue websites that not only weren't official primary sellers but which hadn't actually got any tickets to resell on the secondary market either. With that in mind, the government's review is likely to concentrate more on how to protect the consumer in the resale market rather than the live industry's bigger gripe, that none of the profits of resales go to artists or promoters.

As previously reported, the artist management community once proposed a solution to address both issues - it proposed sites like Get Me In and Viagogo sign up to a music-industry-led code, and agree to pay a share of their profits to a fund for artists and promoters. In return the industry pledged to "officially sanction" participating sites, giving them more legitimacy.

The proposals were smiled upon by many in the live music sector, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, were not welcomed by the resale sites who weren't keen on sharing their profits, and who reckoned they could protect consumers and gain legitimacy through their own trade body, the Association Of Secondary Ticket Agents. The fact major primary ticketing companies like Ticketmaster have since entered the secondary ticketing sector, in the UK by buying Get Me In, also arguably gives the non-dodgy resellers more legitimacy.

Insiders say that, despite plans for a new review, the government still prefers a voluntary solution to protect consumers, rather than coming through on those threats/promises of legislation to control touting. With that in mind, while the review may provide some extra protection to consumers, it is unlikely to address many of the live sector's grievances.

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WOOLWORTHS WILL RETURN TO THE HIGH STREET, ALBEIT WITH A DIFFERENT NAME
Woolworths could return to the high street, though under another name. The former Commercial Director of the now defunct retail chain has reportedly raised £10 million in funding to buy 50 of the old chain's stores, and he and two former colleagues plan to launch a new retail company that carries on pretty much where the old Woolies left off.

The Sun quote Tony Page as saying "There's a big gap in the market where Woolworths was. We could have 300 sites in three years' time if things work out". He plans to make the new shops "as close to the original as possible", though it's not clear exactly what that means for their CD and DVD departments. We should know in May when the first of Page's new shops opens, probably in Camden or Notting Hill.

Page reportedly wanted to use the Woolworths name for his new stores, but was outbid for the rights to use the old brand by Shop Direct who, as previously reported, plan to launch a new etail operation using the Woolies name.

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STREAMLINED EMI MUSIC MOVE TO HIGH STREET KEN OFFICES
So, EMIers, like Sony Music staff before them, are having to a customise themselves to the more snug, more open plan settings of new offices in Kensington, though they won't have the up side of not having to work in Fulham any more to compensate.

Yes, the somewhat slim-lined EMI Music UK are in the process of moving their London HQ from their long standing home on Brook Green in Hammersmith up the road to High Street Ken, where they will join the rest of the EMI UK companies in their Wrights Lane offices. The lease on the Brook Green office has been given up, and everyone left there should have moved to the Kensington offices by the end of next month, some have already moved. The Crown House offices across the road from the old Brook Green HQ, home to the Virgin Records division, will be kept for the time being.

EMI's move of its record labels to High Street Ken means the UK HQs of Sony, Warner and EMI are now all within a few minutes walk from each other, while the Universal labels are based not so far down the road. You could practically take them all out with one bomb.

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UNIVERSAL FRANCE HAVE A REJIG
Universal Music have announced they are merging two of their French divisions, the French version of Mercury Records and the rock n roll titled Universal Licensing Music. Not sure what that means, though I do know the head of ULM will head up the new merged division. The major's French classical and jazz divisions are also merging, to create a French version of UK Universal label UCJ. Twenty people are likely to lose their jobs as a result of the rejig, including Mercury director Sebastien Saussez.

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CR2 GET DISTRIBUTION THROUGH PRIME DIRECT
Another post-Pinnacle distribution deal, and dance label CR2 Records, previously distributed by Pinnacle, have announced a new deal with Prime Direct Distribution. Prime Direct will distribute CR2's CD and vinyl releases, starting with the 'Live And Direct - Miami 2009' triple CD set, due out next month.

Prime Direct's Spencer Broughton told CMU: "We have worked very hard in developing our content over the past two years and have devised innovative ways to generate revenue for our labels. I believe that is the reason so many labels have retained a vinyl presence in a contracting market, and why we have the label roster we do. We are absolutely delighted to now include a label with the history and stature of CR2 to that list".

CR2's Mark Brown added: "This is a hugely important year for CR2, with our 100th release and our 5th Year Anniversary celebrations to look forward to. We have a full schedule and some enormous projects lined up and are really pleased to be working with Prime - I feel they really understand what CR2 are about".

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SPOTIFY ADD CLASSICAL RECORDINGS
Spotify has done a deal with German classical label Naxos which will add a whole load of classical recordings to the streaming music service of the moment. This is great news, I'm going to go try and find some right now. What d'you reckon, predictable Beethoven, Mozart and Handel or some Arnold, Bax, Dupre and Field?

Spotify top man Daniel Ek says this: "We are committed to developing the world's biggest music catalogue and our deal with Naxos reconfirms our intention to offer the most diverse".

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SIRIUS RESCUED BY LIBERTY DEAL
US satellite radio firm Sirius XM which, as previously reported, was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a bid to fight off a hostile takeover by another satellite company called EchoStar, has done a deal with QVC owners Liberty Media that should save the day.

As expected, Liberty Media will provide cash for the struggling satellite radio network in return for a minority stake in it. The deal means Mel Karmazin, who was especially opposed to the EchoStar takeover proposal, will stay as CEO.

The deal should mean co-promotion between the Sirius XM satellite radio offer and Liberty's satellite TV network DirectTV, though the two will not be merged.

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COMMERCIAL RADIO WANT LOCAL RADIO RULE CHANGE IN RETURN FOR NEW DAB INVESTMENT
A confidential report from commercial radio trade body RadioCentre submitted to media regulator OfCom says that commercial radio firms are willing to make new investment into the ailing Digital Audio Broadcasting network in return for a relaxation of rules governing local FM radio stations.

As previously reported, while the big commercial radio companies were initially enthusiastic partners in the roll out of DAB radio, the poor advertising revenues generated by digital only stations, and the high costs of simulcasting FM services on DAB compared to the modest extra audiences those simulcasts delivered, mean commercial radio chiefs have become less keen onu it all of late.

Prior to its takeover by Global Radio, GCap were talking about bailing out of DAB altogether, despite the two companies that merged to create GCap - GWR and Capital - having invested lots of cash into the digital medium over the years. Then Channel 4 dumped its plans to launch a second national DAB network, and the other commercial radio players involved in that venture shelved all their own digital only proposals. All of which left the BBC the only real DAB advocate.

But the RadioCentre report says the big commercial radio companies would invest in two new national digital only services - one speech based, one music based (so, a bit like the original Channel 4 proposals) - and become more proactive in promoting DAB, if in return OfCom relaxes the rules regarding how many hours of local programming must be carried by smaller local radio stations. A number of commercial radio firms have said existing rules governing small local stations are too strict, to the extent that they impact on the commercial viability of some services.

The RadioCentre report was seemingly based on interviews with various senior commercial radio players and was submitted to OfCom ahead of the regulator's own recent review of digital media, which included recommendations on the future of digital radio and proposed a more indepth review of the future of local radio.

Commenting on the report, an OfCom spokesman said they welcomed any new investment in DAB, but insisted that [a] the commercial sector was already committed to that and [b] the future of DAB is a separate issue to the rules governing local radio. Mr OfCom: "Ofcom would welcome the launch of more national stations that would cater for a number of tastes and interests. [Commercial DAB network] Digital One has an obligation to launch a further four national stations under the terms of its licence [anyway]. These plans are a step toward this but are a separate issue to localness. [Outgoing GMG radio chief] John Myers has recently been appointed by the government to consider the role of localness on commercial radio in a digital age".

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UKRD BUYS INTO TLRC
Local radio company UKRD has bought about 10% of one of its rivals, The Local Radio Company. It's not clear if the deal will mean the two radio firms will work more closely together.

UKRD own 13 stations in the South of England, including Surrey station County Sound and Cornwall's Pirate FM, while TLRC's 19 stations are more widely spread across the country.

There had been talk of Talk Sport owners UTV Radio, who also own 15 local stations, from buying TLRC, and it's not clear what UKRD's share acquisition means for that deal.

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COOPER PROMOTED AT RADIO 1
The BBC have announced that Radio 1's Head Of Programmes Ben Cooper will become Deputy Controller for both Radio 1 and sister digital station 1Xtra. The promotion follows the news that Andy Parfitt, who ultimately oversees the two national stations as well as the BBC's Asian Network and its youth strand BBC Switch, would get an even wider brief with the new title Controller, Popular Music. In his new role Cooper will take on a more strategic role at the two stations.

Announcing the appointment, Andy Parfitt told reporters: "Ben is a fantastic executive and has lead the Radio 1 team very effectively over the past few years - this is an opportunity for him to broaden his experience and to bring the Radio 1 and 1Xtra operations closer together".

Cooper himself added: "I'm delighted to work across both Radio 1 and 1Xtra. I'll be busy, but I love music radio, so it will be very rewarding. I especially want to build on the success of 1Xtra and look at strengthening their position on digital platforms, as well as continuing my challenge at Radio 1 of attracting young audiences to the BBC in new creative ways".

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

1. [4] In Case Of Fire - The Cleansing
2. [1] The Airborne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight
3. [NE] The Prodigy - Omen
4. [3] Little Comets - One Night In October
5. [NE] Funeral For A Friend - Rules and Games
6. [RE] Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
7. [6] Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses
8. [5] The All American Rejects - Gives You Hell
9. [2] Innerpartysystem - Don't Stop
10. [9] Fighting With Wire - Sugar

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

Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
White Lies - Farewell To The Fairground
The Ting Tings - We Walk
Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
Peter, Bjorn & John - Nothing To Worry About

More at www.myspace.com/mtvtwo

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JACKSON AUCTION TO BE HELD IN APRIL
A large auction of personal items belonging to Michael Jackson is to take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles in April. Jackson himself has helped organise the sale, at which more than 200 items will go under the hammer, and hopes to raise millions to help his financial situation. Amongst the items up for sale are a 1999 limousine valued at £112,000 and cruet sets worth a lot less.

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TORY LEADER APOLOGETIC ABOUT BEING A SMITHS FAN
Tory leader David Cameron has confirmed that he is a Smiths fan, but did so rather apologetically because he thinks that Morrissey wouldn't be pleased to hear it, and he's probably right. Speaking to the BBC's 'One Show' on which the former Smiths singer was appearing, Cameron said: "I'm sure when Morrissey finds that he's getting an endorsement from the leader of the Conservative Party, he will think 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now'. But I'm a big fan, I'm afraid. Sorry about that". Morrissey's response was surprisingly tight lipped: "It's difficult to make comment because you might hurt people's feelings".

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