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Top Stories
Iggy's insurance not available to pop people hit back at claims they handed user data to RIAA
Independent adjudicator proposed to make New Zealand three strike system work
Brown showers Rihanna with gifts
Seemingly new version of Beatles' Revolution surfaces online
In The Pop Courts
Ingenious refute claims of the Trinity Two
Lutfi restraining order extended
Rapper arrested at Miami restaurant
Reunions & Splits
INXS say they didn't fire Fortune
Artist Deals
Southern sign Tartufi
Release News
Datarock return
Gigs N Tours News
Doves play in trees
School Of Seven Bells announce headline shows
Festival News
The Boss takes control of Glastonbury
Headliners announced for Summer Sundae
Album review: Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
The Music Business
Ticketmaster change TicketsNow links policy post-Springsteen
Hands buys three investors out of his Terra Firma fund
!K7 get their distribution from Red
Alchemy launch new digital division
The Digital Business
Now Eircom agree to block The Pirate Bay
We7 to provide streams to
The Media Business
Former Hollyoaks stars to front new 4music show
MTV partner with Camden Crawl
GTN's acquisition of UBC's news services approved
ITV might sell its Freeview multiplex
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Mel C gives birth
Cowell to be frozen after death
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
Advertise with CMU
Formed in 2007 at university over their shared love of military history, London four piece Official Secrets Act are whipping up a bit of a storm right now. Their jerky, pop-rock, mixed with intriguing lyrics, sets them aside from your typical indie brats. Having just finished touring with The Rakes, OSA will be heading out on their own tour across the UK and Europe throughout March and April, plus their single 'Girl From The BBC' is out on 16 Mar on One Little Indian, followed by their debut album 'Understanding Electricity' on 30 Mar. Here are the band's answers to our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We'd all known each other from studying and playing music in Leeds, but in the summer of 2007 we decided to quit everything we were doing and the four of us moved lock stock and barrel (almost literally) into a squat above a bar on Manchester's Deansgate, where we wrote songs and played music 15 hours a day. We set up a big old vinyl player and listened to old Clash 7"s and watched The Beatles Anthology from start to finish. We wrote half of our debut album and then when the summer ended, crawled our sleepless bodies back to London to start gigging as OSA for proper.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The sounds that old keyboards make when they die. The closed doors that seem to surround us. The capacity for things to be bought and sold without any reference to their true value. Falling in love. Travelling by rail. Europe. Jacques Brel. The innocence of the first flushes of a new romance. Europe. The Ocean. New Order. Nights turning into morning. The promise of warm cut grass sometime in the not to distant future. The rain on the top of a car driving from London to Glasgow.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
The fact that we spend so much of our time together as a band and as friends means that we're always bouncing ideas around each other. Giving each other books to read, films to watch, things to think about. This translates, I hope, into our songs which we then thrash around and turn inside out in each others presence. This is the hardest and most exciting bit of being in a band. Then we go and work with someone we trust. In this case it was Liam Howe, who threw our songs through his amazing synth-wired brain, but still treated them with the love and care that only a real human brain can nurture. Then we just went to a lovely big room in North London and recorded it all, pushing our ideas around some more, and hopefully making something people can fall in love to, and in love with.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I know it's a wee bit boring to just list bands but there are a few people who we all generally love and take a lot of heart from: Bowie in his various different guises, The Clash and The Beatles. Talking Heads, IRS-era REM, John Martyn and Nick Drake, Sam Cooke, Mystery Jets, Late Of The Pier, Ike and Tina Turner, Buddy Holly, everything on Motown ever (including Adam Ant who signed to them in the states. Genius!).

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Enjoy it, question it, take it into your arms and give it a big hug, but then treat it bad, treat it mean and keep it keen, then dance with it all around your room.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Our ambition for the album we have just finished is to take it around Britain, Europe, and if we're lucky, the world to play it for people. We try to make every gig a celebration of some kind, and if people take something from these songs in the way we hope then that will have made us very happy. The fan base we have built up are some of the coolest people we've had the pleasure to meet. To play for people like them and get them dancing and thinking about things on a nightly basis. Then to write more and more amazing songs and play more and more amazing gigs.


Apache Beat's 'Tropics' is a really fantastic single, made good in the main by the restrained tribal ferocity of the percussion and Ilirjana Alushaj's captivating, swoon-some vocals. Tempting to classify as the portmanteau of krautpop, there's a pure loudness to their tracks - particularly live - that doesn't exist on the records of their New York contemporaries. They're more rock than dance, more pop than rock and somewhere in the middle have their own place to box their way out of.
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This is without doubt my favourite news story so far this year. It's materialised that Swiftcover, the car insurance company with that slightly scary Iggy Pop fronted TV ad campaign, won't insure musicians, because if they are injured in an accident their loss of future earnings claim might be too high.

Which means that Iggy, who tells the viewing audience how much better his life is thanks to the convenience of a Swiftcover insurance policy, wouldn't actually get an insurance policy from the company if he actually used one of their convenient (or 'swift if you like') methods of application.

The inconsistency between the ads and real life was discovered by one Tim Soong, a musician whose loss of injury claim, in the case of an accident, would presumably be for a lot less than Iggy's. He's the bass player in a newish band called Roguetune who are possibly most notable to date for their musical ode to Heathrow Terminal 5.

He told the Evening Standard: "The customer services operator told me that they don't insure musicians. When I mentioned Iggy Pop, she said his case was different because he is American. I'm reporting Swiftcover to the Advertising Standards Authority".

Part time music producer Felix Wright had the same problem, and told the paper: "When I asked what Iggy Pop did for a living if I was being rejected as a musician, they said they did not know his personal life and he was not one of their policyholders".

I trust the next Iggy ad for the company will see him being swiftly rejected after applying for a policy. I pity the customer service rep who has to say "I'm afraid you don't qualify, Mr Pop", that could be even scarier than the ads themselves.

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LAST.FM HIT BACK AT CLAIMS THEY HANDED USER DATA TO RIAA has come out fighting after an article was posted on techie website TechCrunch on Friday night accusing the music service of handing over a load of user data to US music industry trade body the Recording Industry Association Of America.

Said data, which tracks the music being listened to by subscribers, could be used by the RIAA to see who had been listening to pre-release music that is only currently available from non-legit sources on the internet. The TechCrunch article suggested the trade body were interested in who had been listening to leaks of the new U2 album, which has been doing the rounds on the net for a couple of weeks now even though it's not actually released until next week (though there are legit streams of it available via MySpace and Spotify).

CBS-owned quickly issued an official denial of the story, and shortly afterwards one of the founders of the service, Richard Jones, posted a short rant online, writing: "I'm rather pissed off this article was published, except to say that this is utter nonsense and totally untrue. As far as I can tell, the author of this article got a 'tip' from one person and decided to make a story out of it. TechCrunch is full of shit, film at 11".

With Jones and his colleagues, obviously aware of the damage the story could do to their company's reputation, posting other rebuttals on both TechCrunch's message boards and their own blogs, another, Russ Garrett, wrote on the service's own forum: "I'd like to issue a full and categorical denial of this. We've never had any request for such data by anyone, and if we did we wouldn't consent to it. Of course we work with the major labels and provide them with broad statistics, as we would with any other label, but we'd never personally identify our users to a third party - that goes against everything we stand for. As far as I'm concerned Techcrunch have made this whole story up".

Given that the RIAA has now come out and confirmed it never even asked for user data, it seems that Techcrunch did get it wrong on this one. As previously reported, one of the reasons U2's new album is available in so many illegal places on the net is because the Australian branch of their record company, Universal, put it live on a legit download platform by mistake last week.

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Content owners and internet service providers in New Zealand are close to agreeing how new laws in the country that introduce the infamous three-strike rule to combat P2P file sharing might actually work on a day-to-day basis; though it remains to be seen if the moves satisfy those who have been staging an online campaign against the new laws. I suspect not.

As previously reported, the three-strike rule will mean net users who continue to access illegal sources of content online despite receiving two (or in New Zealand's case, I think, three) warnings that what they are doing is against the law will have their internet connections cut off. And in theory cut off infringers will not be able to buy the services of a rival ISP.

The system is being introduced in France, and has been discussed elsewhere, including here in the UK, though it is not part of our government's current proposals regarding policing online piracy, and IP Minister David Lammy has gone on record as saying he doesn't see such a system working. But the New Zealand government has sneaked the measure passed its parliament, and the new laws that introduce the three-strike system are due to go into effect next month.

Unlike in France, where a new government agency will police the three-strike system, it seems that in New Zealand it's been left to the ISPs to sort out how it will all work. Their trade body has put together a draft code for their members to follow in order for them to be in line with the new laws.

The big issue is what happens if and when those accused of file sharing deny they have, in fact, accessed illegal sources of content. In reality, when record labels have in the past targeted individuals over their file sharing, the vast majority fess up straight away, though the process for monitoring file sharing is not an exact science and mistakes have occurred. Plus there's the grey area of what happens when the file sharing isn't actually done by the owner of an internet connection (ie it's done by a family member, flat mate or someone stealing their WiFi connection).

Those who oppose the new laws in New Zealand argue that because the three strike system in theory allows disconnection without an individual's case actually going to court (the whole point of the system, of course, is to provide copyright owners protection without them having to go to court), users could lose their internet connection without having the opportunity to properly dispute the allegations made against them - ie it's a system which potentially assumes guilt rather than innocence by default.

Of course the scale of that problem depends on how those who receive warning letters are able to dispute file sharing allegations made against them. In the original draft of their code, the NZ Telecommunication Carriers Forum, possibly in a bid to placate the aforementioned protestors, though more likely keen to create a system which results in minimum disconnections, recommended that disconnection notices would only be issued after "three undisputed warnings" had been issued.

But the content companies weren't happy with that proposal, because they said it completely watered down the power of the new laws, because all someone has to do to avoid disconnection is deny they file share. Assuming the average file sharer is willing to lie, no one would be disconnected.

To that end, it looks like the TCF will now propose the creation of an independent mediation service which will get involved whenever an accused filesharer denies the allegations made against them. Said mediation service will then make a decision as to whether the filesharer is or is not guilty of file sharing and therefore whether they deserve disconnection. It seems likely the content companies, including the record labels and music publishers, will back those proposals.

Whether those campaigning against the new laws will be placated by the introduction of an independent third party to police the three-strike system remains to be seen. I'm not sure who will fund the independent body, but if the net firms and record companies (reluctantly, probably) agree to fund it, some campaigners are sure to question its independence. Though the existence of such a body - which would presumably be similar to the government body that will police the system in France - should, in theory, reduce the risk of innocent web users falsely accused of file sharing from being cut off without being given a fair hearing.

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According to reports, Chris Brown has been showering Rihanna with birthday gifts, including diamonds and iPods, in an attempt to get back into her good books. You might think getting back in those good books would be pretty tough, after he allegedly beat the crap out of her on 8 Feb, but it sounds like he might, incredibly, be in with a chance. The New York Daily News quote a source as saying "Chris called Rihanna to wish her a happy birthday. He's absolutely trying to get back into her good graces. He knows he's very much in the doghouse right now, and is doing everything he can to show her how sorry he is".

Amazingly, the source adds that she: "so wanted Chris with her on her big day, but obviously realises why they can't be together right now. But it's becoming more and more clear that she can't be without him". Of course, we still don't know, because no-one is commenting on it, exactly what happened. A statement released by Rihanna's spokesperson over the weekend explained that the police had asked her not to talk about the incident, saying: "At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown".

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What appears to be previously unreleased material by the Beatles has appeared online.

The track, which has appeared on YouTube among other places, is called 'Revolution 1 Take 20', and is seemingly another alternative version of the Fab Four's 1968 track 'Revolution', which originally appeared on the b-side to 'Hey Jude', and two alternative versions of which - 'Revolution 1' and 'Revolution 9' - appeared on 'The White Album'.

The new version is quite a bit longer than anything that has gone before and could be seen, musically speaking, as the missing link between the rather disparate 'Revolution 1' and 'Revolution 9'.

That said, it's hard to know if the new version is a before now unheard 'take 20' of the song unearthed from the Abbey Road studios, or an elaborate rework made by a modern day producer. Still, it's worth checking out either way really...

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Music investment firm Ingenious Media have refuted those previously reported allegations made by David Robson and Andy Murray in relation to the collapse of music marketing and e-commerce firm Trinity Street.

As previously reported, Robson and Murray, who acquired Trinity Street back in 2004 and who formed an alliance with Ingenious in 2007, were fired from the company and pushed off its board at the end of last year. They announced last month that they planned to sue the e-commerce firm's parent company, Trinity Universal Holdings, claiming they were unlawfully removed as directors in what they describe as a "boardroom coup".

When it became clear last week that that board planned to put Trinity Street into administration, Robson and Murray issued another statement saying they were expanding their litigation to name Ingenious as defendants, adding that the demise of their former company was caused because the new management installed by Ingenious "failed to secure new business and allowed loyal, long-term clients to take their business elsewhere".

Ingenious insiders, though, claim Trinity Street's demise began long before Robson and Murray were kicked out, adding that the two directors' removal was a result of the company's disappointing performance. Calling the plaintiffs' version of events a "grotesque distortion", one insider told CMU that after the "boardroom coup" an investigation found the company was in an even worse state than originally believed - there are rumours the company's debts topped £5 million, the majority of which would have been owed to the investment firm - and that that discovery led to the decision to close the company down.

It remains to be seen if Robson and Murray's lawsuit proceeds to court, though Ingenious seem certain to fight it if it does.

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A judge in LA has extended the temporary restraining order brought against Britney Spears former manager Sam Lutfi last year. Aviva K Bobb ruled yesterday that, until she hears further arguments in the case against Lutfi, he must stay away from the singer. Spears' father Jamie and his attorneys are seeking to prolong the restraining order, presumably indefinitely, on the grounds that Lutfi tried to sabotage the previously reported conservatorship awarded to Spears senior, which gives him control of his daughter's personal and financial affairs. Spears' family has also accused Lutfi of drugging the singer in the past, in order to keep her under his control.

Elsewhere in Britney news, it's been revealed that Mel Gibson saved her career. Father Jamie reckons she owes her comeback to him, but Gibson, who invited the singer around for dinner in March last year, thinks it's Jamie who put her back on track. "She pulled herself out, and her dad... he's the real hero. She's a nice kid, y'know", he told reporters. "She was just going through a rough patch. You see kids that you know in the industry... I just felt like this poor kid is lining up to be stoned. I just thought, 'I wonder if anyone is reaching out to her,' so I just called her and she's doing great now."

Gosh. He turned her around with just a phonecall and dinner? He must be a god or something. Bono should get him on the case re: world poverty and all that.

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US rapper NORE has been arrested at a burger restaurant in Miami Beach, after a fight with a fellow customer. The hip hopper, also known as Noreaga, real name Victor Santiago, was apprehended early on Sunday after shouting at another diner at the Fatburger outlet, ripping up a bouquet of flowers and throwing a drink at a customer. He reportedly also punched a man in the face, and shouted "Do you know who I am?"

Santiago was charged with misdemeanour battery and disorderly conduct and taken to the Miami-Dade county jail. He was released soon after. No comment from the rapper's management, who reportedly claimed not to know about the incident.

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Well, this is interesting. The former manager of INXS has denied the band sacked frontman JD Fortune.

As previously reported, Fortune, who won his place at the front of the Aussie rock band via the 'Rock Star' TV show, claimed on Canadian TV last week that he has been dropped from the band during a brief conversation at Hong Kong airport. He added that he was currently broke and homeless, and had so far kept his axing from the band a secret from even close friends and family, but that he hoped to get his life back on track with a new solo album project.

But the band's former manager, Chris Murphy, has denied Fortune was dropped from the band. And he should know because, while he no longer manages the band, he recently signed them to his new record label venture Petrol Records. He says that, having taken a break after touring, the band were planning to regroup - with Fortune - to begin work on a new album. But Fortune's TV outburst has seemingly lost him that opportunity.

The Daily Telegraph quote Murphy thus: "Not only are we shocked by the claims, even the place the supposed incident was to have taken place is a mystery to the band. The band has a new recording deal with my label and Fortune was about to be called. I guess I have no reason to call him now".

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Southern Records have signed San Franciso based experimental indie duo Tartufi, and will release their next album 'Nests Of Waves And Wire'.

Confirming their new record deal, the band issued this statement: "After months of searching for just the right home for their new album, Lynne [Angel] and Brian [Gorman] saw a light on in the far off cabin at Southern Records. A kind maiden at Southern welcomed them in, sat them beside the hearth, and fed them delicious English soup and beer. Well worn from their travels the two musicians listened intently as the label maiden told them tales of battles fought, won, and lost in the kingdom of Indierocklandia. Her eyes were true and her words sure. Their amulet - the one the wizard of the glenn gave them to reveal trickery - confirmed that she was pure of heart. She invited them to stay. They accepted and and together Lynne and Brian placed the only copy of 'Nests Of Waves And Wire' on the great oak table. This is where our story begins... Tartufi is thrilled to announce that they have just signed to Southern Records".

Make of that what you will. You can check out the band at

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Norwegian dance-punk types Datarock have announced that their second album 'Red' will be released in May this year, and that a single called 'Give It Up' will be released on 6 Apr. Before all that the band will play at SxSW next month.

Commenting on the new material, Datarock's Fredrik Saroea told CMU: "We've dug ourselves into the data about the rock of the late seventies and early eighties: the art, the music, the films, the subversive and popular culture, the new theory, the new technology and all that new equipment. The years between 76 and 83 are in all ways the peak of cultural evolution. The zenith, the rise and the fall". With that in mind, 'Red' was apparently made using only equipment that was around in 1983. Apart from the CD pressing machine, presumably.

If you want to know what all that sounds like, you can download the Kissy Sell Out remix of 'Give It Up' at this here URL:

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Doves have announced that they will play a one-off show later this year, as part of the Forestry Commission's annual series of gigs. The show in Delamere Forest in Cheshire will take place on 13 Jun and tickets will go on sale this Friday at 9am.

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With their excellent debut album, 'Alpinisms', out this week via Full Time Hobby, School Of Seven Bells have announced a handful of headline dates, which will bookend support slots with White Lies and Bat For Lashes (well, the February dates have been known for a while, the May dates are new).

Headline tour dates:

23 Feb: Dublin, Whelens
24 Feb: Glasgow, Captain's Rest
25 Feb: Leeds, Cockpit
26 Feb: London, Cargo (SOLD OUT)
27 Feb: Manchester, Night & Day
28 Feb: Bristol, Start The Bus
1 Mar: Brighton, Audio
12 May: Norwich Arts Centre
13 May: Sheffield, Harley
14 May: London, ULU

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Bruce Springsteen has been announced at this year's Saturday headliner at Glastonbury, taking over the slot filled last year by Jay-Z. A less controversial option, you might think, but my mum isn't convinced he's such a great choice. My mum doesn't programme the festival though, Michael Eavis does. And Michael Eavis says: "He's one of the all-time rock legends and I'm confident that this will be one of our best shows ever".

Eavis' daughter and co-organiser Emily added: "I'm knocked out that we've managed to get Bruce to play. It's the icing on the cake of this year's bill, which I'm sure will take everyone's breath away when we announce the full details".

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This year's Summer Sundae festival will be headlined by The Streets and The Charlatans. Bon Iver, The Zutons and First Aid Kit will also play. This may or may not be a good line-up, I can't quite make my mind up. Find out for yourself by going to the event, which takes place between 14-16 Aug at De Montford Hall in Leicester.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
Sitting in Southern Records' Fortress Studios I was among a select few allowed to hear Sunn O)))'s new album, the fantastically named 'Monoliths & Dimensions', ahead of its release in May. A work much in the same vein as their previous albums, there's no shape-shifting turn to techno or similar; it's yet more sloth-paced drone metal, but with an expanded team of instrumentalists and vocalists, most notably a Viennese women's choir. Never for the faint-hearted or fans of traditional pop structuralism, if you didn't like Sunn O))) before this is unlikely to radically change your opinion. In fact, the monolith of its title could be taken as an extended metaphor for their music - a mountainous block that often takes a few blows to crack. The opening track, 'Aghartha', certainly feels that way, with the monotony of droning guitars that welcomes the listener acting as a warning beacon to newcomers and non-believers. But if you can make it past that initial barrier there's a wondrous array of sounds - creaking wood, running streams, feral guitar sounds - behind gloomy spoken lyrics. Track two, 'Big Church', a vast soundscape that sounds like it was recorded in a cavernous cathedral, is perhaps the most musically fascinating, featuring that Viennese choir on an oddly soothing, hymnal track that includes tubular bells and viola amongst its instrumentation, and sounds utterly perfect. The third segment, 'Hunting & Gathering', meanwhile, is a more electronic-sounding experiment, like a John Carpenter soundtrack played backwards at times. It's percussively exciting too, with the resonance of a booming concert bass drum sticking out after the first two pieces. By final track, 'Alice', I'd become sufficiently engaged to forsake note-taking or actually remember much about it at all, but a lingering memory recalls the liquefied, elongated siren of the English Horn looping throughout, and sonorously ending the album.
Release Date: 15 May
Press Contact: Southern IH [All]

Buy on iTunes
Buy on Amazon

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Springsteen spoke, and the world changed.

As previously reported, Ticketmaster has come under increased criticism in North America in recent weeks for directing customers who visit its main primary ticket selling website to TicketsNow - the secondary ticketing re-sale site which Ticketmaster acquired last year - when it is unable, for one reason or another, to sell tickets to an event via its primary ticketing service.

Tickets are sold on TicketsNow by touts who buy tickets for in-demand events with the aim of selling them on for profit. While the tout makes most of the profit, Ticketmaster gets a commission on each sale. The business logic, presumably, is that it they can't make any money on a primary ticket sale, it's better to make a lesser commission on a secondary sale than make nothing at all. Plus there's always the chance they can make a commission on the same ticket twice.

But some consumer rights groups have expressed concerns at the close ties between Ticketmaster's primary and secondary ticketing services, saying that many Ticketmaster customers directed to TicketsNow won't realise the latter site is not an official suppler of tickets, and that the tickets there may be sold at vastly hiked up prices.

As previously reported, when the Consumers' Association Of Canada said Ticketmaster's promotion of its resale website was "a conflict, a monopoly, unconscionable" and that "while it may not be illegal, it sure is immoral and unethical", a spokesman for the ticketing giant said that by linking to TicketsNow they were simply providing "an added value service" for their customers, explaining: "we're trying to bring a much higher level of consumer protection to the whole resale space".

But then Bruce Springsteen found out his fans were being redirected from his official tickets page on the Ticketmaster website to TicketsNow. He ranted about it a little on his website, and the Chief Executive of the ticketing giant, Irving Azoff, quickly issued a full apology and announced a review of the promotion of TicketsNow via Ticketmaster.

The whole matter then went legal when the New Jersey Attorney General stepped in to object about the promotional links. Presumably keen not to rock any boats as its proposals to merge with Live Nation go before US regulators, Ticketmaster quickly began negotiations with the AG and a settlement was announced yesterday which will see co-promotions between the two websites essentially cease.

According to the settlement, Ticketmaster will stop linking to TicketsNow for at least a year, and even then not without the AG's permission. It will ensure secondary tickets (or the promise of) do not go on sale on TicketsNow before primary tickets are on sale via the main Ticketmaster site. It will also commit to not use any clever search engine tricks so that a Google search for Ticketmaster takes punters to TicketsNow. There's also a one off deal to the benefit of those Springsteen fans who lost out by being directed to TicketsNow from Ticketmaster.

Confirming the deal, New Jersey AG Anne Milgram told reporters: "This settlement swiftly and fairly resolves a significant issue for thousands of loyal Springsteen fans in the Garden State who believe that Ticketmaster tilted the playing field against their efforts to purchase tickets to the May concerts. Everyone deserves an equal chance to buy tickets on a primary ticket selling website and shouldn't be steered to a re-selling website where the prices can be substantially higher".

The agreement with Milgram will only apply in New Jersey, of course, though presumably the measures it is introducing there will be at least considered by Azoff's more general review of the Ticketmaster and TicketsNow relationship. You never know, they might even address some of the concerns expressed by the Consumers' Association Of Canada too.

It will also be interesting to see how Azoff's review impacts on Ticketmaster UK's relationship with its sister secondary ticketing website Get Me In. Those two websites are not currently integrated, though the info page on the latter promises "we also plan to create integrated systems across the two websites which will allow consumers to compare ticket pricing and availability in the primary and resale categories, offering them greater choice and flexibility when purchasing their tickets". Developments in the US and Canada might hinder those plans.

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Guy Hands, the boss of EMI owners Terra Firma, has bought three cash-strapped investors out of his private equity fund. The move means that Hands and his other key fund partners will have to cover 25 million euros of financial commitments previously made by the bought-out investors. It's thought Hands took the three investors' interests in the fund for a nominal price, so keen were they to get out. I've no idea what any of this means, but Reuters say it is an unusual transaction that "underlines worries about the group's indebted investments". I'm not sure I know what that means either.

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German independent label !K7 has announced a new deal with Sony Music's independent distribution division RED, which will see the company handle all of the indie's distribution needs. The deal will cover all the labels in the !K7 Group - so !K7, Gold Dust, STRUT and Rapster - as well as their partner labels like BBE and Get Physical.

Confirming the deal, !K7 top man Horst Weidenmuller told reporters: "Its refreshing to meet people like Alan Becker and Bob Morelli [from RED] who have such a fresh and open approach to our current music market. With their great team behind them we feel we have the knowledge and ability to be in a pole position for our exciting 2009 release schedule".

Becker added: "As someone who has followed the music of the !K7 Label Group both as a fan and in my role at RED, I am very pleased and excited as we begin work with Horst and the incredible team he has assembled. We all believe the next chapter in the evolution of this great and enduring company will be full of wonderful music and savvy marketing".

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London based music PR company Alchemy has announced the launch of a new business to be called Alchemy Content which will specialise in digital marketing and cover things like digital content, social networking and search engine optimisation. The new company is a JV between Alchemy PR's Matt Learmouth and former Managing Editor Tom Kihl.
Confirming the new business, Learmouth told CMU: "The push model doesn't work online - it is largely irrelevant. The digital world is about interacting and engaging fans and consumers. Clients are often daunted by this, and can find it hard to establish their voice. What we offer is professionalism and expertise, so they can be as excited about new technology as we are".

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Ireland's biggest internet service provider, Eircom, which, as previously reported, last month became one of the world's first net firms to voluntarily introduce the three-strike system that could lead to the disconnection of persistent file sharers, has now agreed to block access to The Pirate Bay.

It's part of a new deal between the Irish Recorded Music Association and the net firm under which Eircom has agreed to block access to any website that the record labels can prove is aiding illegal file sharing. As part of the deal, IRMA has agreed to try and force Eircom's rivals to also block offending websites through legal action. It's not clear what happens to the Eircom agreement if said legal action fails.

IRMA's decision to make The Pirate Bay the first site that is blocked is timely, of course, given the people behind the rogue BitTorrent tracker are currently facing criminal infringement charges in the Swedish courts.

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Ad-funded digital music service We7 has announced they will provide music streams to, which basically means that whenever an artist is mentioned on the NME website users will be able to listen to their tunes via the We7 streaming music widget.

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Former Hollyoaks stars and more recent radio presenting duo Matt Littler and Darren Jeffries, Max and OB to those who watched the shoddy soap, will front a new show on Channel 4's music channel 4Music which will see the pair fight it out on behalf of rival pop stars.

The Versus Chart will ask who's better, Britney or Christina, Girls Aloud or Sugababes, Eminem or Kanye, that kind of thing. Each edition will feature videos from the two competing artists complete with commentary from Littler and Jeffries.

The new show, one of a number of new programmes due to air on 4Music, will launch next month. Confirming the new programme, Dave Young of Box TV, the joint venture between C4 and Bauer Media, who will make the new show, told reporters: "4Music is all about taking a new perspective with music and using this to deliver fresh programming. Music is at the heart of everything we do and what better way to tap into that that to pit head to head some of the best and brightest pop artists that are out there? These artists each have a major following in their own right - and we wanted to find a way to bring this showcase to bear for our audiences".

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MTV UK has announced it will be the official broadcast partner of this year's Camden Crawl which kind of makes sense, them being based in Camden and all. The music TV network will stage and film a number of gigs at the Roundhouse during this year's Crawl festival, highlights of which will be shown across the MTV network.

Confirming their involvement in this year's Crawl, MTV Senior VP Richard Godfrey told CMU: "MTV is all about live music and we are thrilled to be the official TV broadcast partner of this year's Crawl. MTV has always championed both emerging and established musical talent and the debut gigs at the Roundhouse will bring some of the freshest acts to North London".

As previously reported, this year's Crawl takes place in various Camden venues on 24 and 25 Apr.

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The previously reported sale of UBC Media's Commercial Division, which provides travel and entertainment news services among other things, to Canadian company Global Traffic Network has been passed by the company's General Meeting. The GM also agreed that UBC's COO John Quinn will move with the Division, becoming a senior GTN exec. UBC's CEO Simon Cole will also sign a three year non-compete agreement.

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Following the recent news that ITV is planning to sell rubbish website Friends Reunited in a bid to help fill its growing budget hole, news today that the commercial broadcaster could also sell off its bit of the Freeview network.

That won't affect ITV's own channel presence on the terrestrial digital TV network, because ironically ITV's own channels don't air via the SDN Freeview multiplex that ITV owns. It could, though, raise up to £200 million, which would be a useful winfall. While, unlike Friends Reunited, SDN is in itself a profitable business, it is not central to ITV's ambitions so is an obvious asset to sell.

As previously reported, ITV chiefs are expected to slash programme budgets and axe more staff as well as selling off non-core assets in a bid to overcome the impact of the advertising slump. ITV top man Michael Grade is expected to announce his cost-saving plans next week. There is still speculation that might include cutting dividend payments to shareholders, something which has, needless to say, led to quite a wobble in the ITV share price.

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream (Sony/Columbia)
2. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
3. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony/Columbia)
4. Guns n Roses - Chinese Democracy (Universal/Geffen)
5. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
6. Bruce Springsteen - Greatest Hits (Sony/Columbia)
7. Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux (Universal/Island)
8. Kid Rock - Rock - N Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
9. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
10. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (Warner/Roadrunner)
11. Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight (Warner Bros)
12. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
14. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
15. Linkin Park - Road To Revolution (Warner Bros)
16. Paramore - Riot (Warner/Atlantic)
17. Hinder - Take It To The Limit (Universal)
18. Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague (Metal Blade)*
19. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
20. Led Zeppelin - Mothership (Warner/Atlantic)

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CMU's favourite former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm has given birth to a baby girl, her first child with long-term partner Thomas Starr. The new arrival, who was born weighing 8lb 3oz, has been named Scarlet. Interesting how we're all seemingly obsessed with the birth weight, isn't it?

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Simon Cowell has reportedly said that he plans to get himself frozen when he dies so that he can be brought back to life at a later time, no doubt in order to benefit a new generation of box-gogglers with an endless series of music reality shows.

It's claimed he told fellow guests at a dinner held by PM Gordon Brown: "I have decided to freeze myself when I die. You know, cryonics. You pay a lot of money and you get stuck in a deep freeze once you've been declared dead. Medical science is bound to work out a way of bringing us back to life in the next century or so, and I want to be available when they do. I would be doing the nation an invaluable service".

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