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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Eminem producer lawsuit could have big ramifications
BBC denies plugging U2 album
Snow Patrol frontman discusses Leona cover
Mystery Jets cause riot in Mexico
In The Pop Courts
Tenenbaum case delayed as webcast debate continues
Gun admitted as evidence in Lil Wayne trial
Reunions & Splits
Page leaves Barenaked Ladies
Faith No More reunion is on, apparently
Release News
Depeche Mode give fans extra content via iTunes
Josh Freese offers haircut with new album
New Black Lips
Gigs N Tours News
Annie Mac Presents tour returns
Festival News
Additions to T line up
Oasis set to Melt!
Orbital headline Get Loaded
The View added to Snowbombing line up
More acts confirmed for Field Day
Reviews
Live review: The Deer Tracks
The Music Business
Senate committee considers Live Master deal
Traditional music retail continues to decline, though Blockbuster helps keep CDs on the high street
Play.com top customer satisfaction survey
ERA support Scottish industry night
The Digital Business
Physical releases not wanted, says Spotify
The Media Business
MTV further enhance UK website
Elbow session breaks a BBC record
OfCom relax local radio format rules
Time Out editor resigns
Dave Plus One changes name
Chart Of The Day
MTV2/MySpace chart
And finally...
Lily wants her Chemical Brother back

Is Dannii leaving X Factor or what?

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WEDNESDAY 25TH FEBRUARY

FILTHY DUKES
Synth-pop trio Filthy Dukes started out promoting club nights and DJing before they formed as a band in 2005. They've supported music-masters such as Mylo, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, and they are hailed as rising stars of the electro-pop world, filling dancefloors with their 80's-tinged synth-drenched beats. Single 'Tupac Robot Club Rock' was received extremely well upon its release late in 2008, and the follow-up 'This Rhythm' is due out on 9 Mar, and features Samuel Dust from fellow darlings of the electro world, Late Of The Pier. It is sure to make the same impact. The band's debut album, 'Nonsense In The Dark' will follow on 16 Mar through Fiction. The Olly Dixon third of the group has answered our Same Six Questions.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
It started with our club, Kill Em All. Tim and I met at The Lock Tavern in Camden, where we both worked and just started playing records together. Kill Em All was a night inspired by the music we loved, everything from the emerging DFA label from New York and Output stuff in the UK to old bands like Roxy Music, Can and Bowie. Kill Em All became quite successful so we moved it to Fabric and started DJing at loads of other parties. We got asked to do a remix for The Rakes and we didn't really know what we were doing so hooked up with my friend Mark who was a producer. Something just worked between us so we started working on more stuff together and the three of us became Filthy Dukes. We did a remix for The Maccabees and their label, Fiction, loved it, and offered us some development money to work on some original material and after a year or so in the studio we are signed to Fiction and have a finished album.

Q2 What inspired your latest single, 'This Rhythm'?
Nights out, acid house, David Bowie, Roxy Music, vodka, Late Of The Pier, the ARP 2600.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Our album has nine different vocalists on it, so every track was created slightly differently. All started with us making the basic track and then, if we felt it needed vocals, we would send it off to a band or artist that we knew, or who had played Kill Em All, who we thought would fit the track. Generally artists record a demo vocal and send it back to us, we then make some suggestions before they come into the studio to spend a day recording it with us. Then we work on the track again for a few weeks or sometimes months. It's been a long process making the album, but that's what has allowed it to be so good, I think. Nothing was rushed. The other big factor in the album's sound came from all the music being played on analogue synths, ARP 2600, Juno 60, Moog Voyager and Roland 101. Plus, we recorded it all through a mixing desk that was built and used by the Krautrock producer Connie Plank. I think there is a definite krautrock feel to a lot of the tracks. We use a lot of live drums mixed with electronic, live bass and guitars and other bits of percussion and strings so the album has a live sound.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Bands who have influenced us range from Can to LCD Sound System, Roxy Music to Daft Punk, Kraftwerk to Soulwax, Pink Floyd to Chemical Brothers.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I think our music is fairly self-explanatory, it is a very varied album, but nothing needs an explanation

Q6 What are your ambitions for your album, and for the future?
I'm not sure what our ambitions are for the album. We hope it sells well because we love it and have worked very hard on it. I think now as a live band, and as DJs and producers we want to carry on creating music, playing music and putting on great parties. We always have tons of ideas of what we want to do next and how we want to move things on, so as long as we can do that we will be happy. We are starting Kill Em All as a record label so that's the next thing for us to get our teeth into.

MORE>> www.filthydukes.com and www.myspace.com/filthydukes

 

CHATEAU MARMONT
Easily knocked aside as a Francophone Kraftwerk, Chateau Marmont already have a history in remixing up-and-coming commercial electronica, from Midnight Juggernaughts to a recent twist of La Roux's 'Quicksand', through Kitsune. Now releasing their own EP, the lead track 'Solar Apex' should secure them some blogosphere buzz, being an 80s synth pastiche - think 'Magic Fly' by Space and OMD's 'Electricity' for reference. Released through Institubes on 9 Mar, it'll be well worth picking up a copy.

www.myspace.com/chateaumarmont

   

OFFICE SPACE
EMMS Publicity's spacious office boasting loads of natural light has one lovely desk available to rent, for £60 a week. It's a bright and airy corner office in Aberdeen House, a converted factory in Highbury. Shared facilities include WI-FI, Fridge, Water cooler, Microwave, Kettle, Toilets, Bike storage, 24/7 secure access to building. There's a cafe on site. Electricity and water included. Phone, printer, franking machine and photocopier negotiable. Contact Steve Rose 020 7226 0990 steve@emmspublicity.com

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

ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

 

 
 

 

EMINEM PRODUCER LAWSUIT COULD HAVE BIG RAMIFICATIONS
A long running and previously reported lawsuit between the production company who oversaw the early career of Eminem and the superstar rapper's record company, Universal Music's Aftermath, has finally reached the court room, and some big names are expected to be called to testify, including the boss of Universal's Interscope division (under which Aftermath sits) Jimmy Iovine and maybe even Apple chief Steve Jobs. Eminem, who, despite what has been widely reported on the internet in the last 24 hours, is not directly involved in this lawsuit, is unlikely to appear.

FBT Productions is the company of production duo Marky and Jeff Bass, and it was they who arguably discovered the young Slim Shady at the start of his career, who negotiated his original deal with Dr Dre's Aftermath label, and who actually produced many of the tracks that appear on the rapper's first three albums. As early managers, deal brokers and producers for Eminem, the Bass brothers are due various royalty cuts on the rapper's early catalogue, and the lawsuit is over allegations that Universal are not paying them their full share.

Royalty disputes between managers and producers involved in the early careers of superstar artists and said stars' subsequent managers and labels are not uncommon, though this one possibly has wider ramifications, and could be more of a landmark case that we initially realised when the legal papers were originally filed. We knew the case centred on FBT's claims that Aftermath was deducting 'costs' from their royalties which they argued they should not have to pay. It seems the disputed costs relate to Eminem's digital sales - downloads and ringtones - which is why Apple representatives may be asked to testify, and why the case could have wider implications.

FBT seemingly claim that Universal is wrong to treat a digital sale like a CD sale, arguing that labels don't distribute digital tracks to download stores like they distribute CDs to a record shop, rather they licence tracks to the download platform like they licence tracks to broadcasters and the like. The distinction is crucial, because more deductions are made by the label from distribution royalties (in theory because of the label's costs) than from licensing royalties. If the label 'licences' rather than 'distributes' downloads, then artists and, in this case, FBT Productions would be due a bigger slice of the digital pie. The case is similar to that being pursued against Sony Music by the Allman Brothers Band and Cheap Trick, who make similar claims regarding digital royalties (that case, I think, is ongoing).

Obviously, if a court finds in FBT's favour then the principle could be extended to many other artists (especially those whose recording contracts precede the internet age) who might, arguably, be due a considerably bigger slice of digital revenues than they currently receive. For record companies who are increasingly reliant on their digital revenues to make the books balance, having to hand millions more of those revenues over to their artists could be devastating.

Universal Music are reportedly telling reports they are confident they will win this lawsuit, though given the possible ramifications of losing, that might be wishful thinking as much as confidence.

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BBC DENIES PLUGGING U2 ALBUM
The BBC has denied accusations that it is giving far too much free promotion to U2's new album, 'No Line On The Horizon', despite a string of shows about the band in the run up to the album's release, a regularly-aired advert and a section of the BBC website dedicated to the band.

The band appeared on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show on Monday evening, followed by Radio 4's 'Front Row' and BBC 2's 'The Culture Show' last night, and will join Jonathan Ross's BBC 1 and Radio 2 shows later this week. Then there's that previously reported Live Lounge date on Radio 1 on Friday.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Nigel Evans MP criticised the Beeb, saying it was providing "the sort of publicity money can't buy", adding: "Why should licence fee-payers shoulder the cost of U2's publicity?"

A spokesperson for the BBC has denied their U2 coverage is OTT, saying: "We take extreme care in making fair decision about how we make popular artists accessible to our audiences, especially when the timing is around the release of a new album, book or film. U2 are one of the world's most popular bands who have a diverse fanbase and we are reflecting this in our content".

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SNOW PATROL FRONTMAN DISCUSSES LEONA COVER
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has revealed that he didn't know that Leona Lewis was planning to cover the band's song 'Run' until he saw her singing it on TV. He also said that the cover may have been the reason why they rearranged their own version of it.

He told The Daily Star: "Someone told me to turn over the TV to the 'X Factor' when it was on. It was very odd. She's got a beautiful voice, and she carries herself with much more dignity than almost any of those type of pop stars who I can think of, so more power to her. It was so successful, which is a great testament to the song itself".

Explaining that it's not unusual to not know about an upcoming cover of one of your songs, Lightbody continued: "Anybody can cover any song without anybody's permission. It's open season on people covering that song, though they can't put it on an advert [or similar] without asking. We're still playing 'Run', but in a different way. Maybe Leona's version was the catalyst for us changing it but we've been playing it for such a long time. It came out in 2003 but I wrote it in 2000".

He added that Lewis' cover isn't bringing him in as much money as people think: "She did more with one of our songs that we ever did. She had a number one single. In a strange, vicarious way we had a number one. But we didn't really. And I won't be retiring from Leona's sales".

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MYSTERY JETS CAUSE RIOT IN MEXICO
Mystery Jets have said that they caused a riot in Mexico on their first visit to the country last week. Well, I don't think they meant a literal, actual riot with people throwing things, or anything. But they were certainly surprised by the size and dedication of the fan base they've built up there.

Frontman Blaine Harrison told NME.com: "We didn't know what to expect because none of us had ever been there, but we had a really good turn out for our shows. We also played a live radio station gig in Mexico City that turned into a bit of a riot. People had scanned our photos from the internet and put them on their T-shirts. They're quite obsessive down there".

He added that when the band performed at the country's MX Beat Festival, they had no idea until their arrival on site that they were in fact the headliners. "We turned up and it turned out we were headlining above Cat Power!" Harrison said. "We freaked out and we were like, wooh, there are too many people. But people knew all the lyrics, and they've invited us back to do two more festivals in Mexico in mid-March".

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TENENBAUM CASE DELAYED AS WEBCAST DEBATE CONTINUES
The debate as to whether to allow an upcoming P2P court case in the US to be webcast continues.

As previously reported, there are plans to webcast the proceedings of the case Sony Music v Tenenbaum, what will probably be one of the last cases pursued by the Recording Industry Association Of America against an individual file sharer (they having changed their policy in that domain), but the RIAA are opposing those plans.

Presumably the trade body are aware that what should be straightforward infringement lawsuits against individual filesharers can falter on various technicalities when they go to court, and they'd rather any difficulties they face in making their case against student Tenenbaum stick not be aired to the internet at large.

The webcast was suggested by Charles Nesson, the Harvard law professor who is advising Tenenbaum, and US District Judge Nancy Gertner quickly agreed to his proposal, though in doing so opened up a whole new dimension to the case as the RIAA formally opposed the webcast, and other groups filed motions supporting it.

As a result of the webcast debate, the actual trial has now been pushed back to 30 Apr, so that there is time to consider the arguments about the webcast and rule on that matter.

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GUN ADMITTED AS EVIDENCE IN LIL WAYNE TRIAL
A New York judge has ruled that a gun found on board Lil Wayne's tour bus may be admitted in the rapper's trial on charges of gun possession. The hip hopper was, as previously reported, arrested back in 2007 when an officer claiming to be able to smell marijuana boarded the vehicle and discovered Wayne, aka Dwayne Carter, in the act of trying to conceal a handgun. Carter has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his attorney claims that the officer in question fabricated the marijuana allegations just so she could enter the bus. A trial is set to commence on 20 Apr.

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PAGE LEAVES BARENAKED LADIES
Steven Page has left The Barenaked Ladies to concentrate on solo projects, and according to the band, who announced the news in conjunction with Page via the band's website, it's "by mutual agreement", the band's Ed Robertson explaining: "It's the start of a new chapter for all of us".

Drummer Tyler Stewart, contacted by Sun Media, responded: "The band is happy to be moving forward and can't wait to get into the studio to record new material. That's all I can really say". Page, meanwhile has written on his website: "These guys are my brothers. We've grown up together over the past 20 years. I love them and wish them all the best in the future".

As previously reported, Page was charged with drug possession in New York state last summer, and subsequently agreed to a deal which saw the felony charge dropped as long as he stayed out of trouble for six months. This wasn't the only incident to affect the band in 2008. Shortly after Page's arrest, Ed Robertson crashed his float plane in Ontario, but he and three passengers walked away unhurt. The band recently won a Juno nomination for their children's album, 'Snacktime'.

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FAITH NO MORE REUNION IS ON, APPARENTLY
Is it on, is it not? Well, apparently it is. Faith No More frontman Mike Patton's publicist has revealed that the band will be reuniting later this year. A press release announcing Patton's score for upcoming film 'Crank 2: High Voltage' closed with a mention that he would be involved with "the highly anticipated reunion tour with Faith No More in Europe this summer".

According to Billboard, Patton's spokesperson Monica Seide subsequently revealed that the band would play a number of European festival dates this summer, although she did not reveal which other members of the band would be involved. Rumours hint that original guitarist Jim Martin is not on board and, as previously reported, bassist Billy Gould denied all knowledge of a reunion when asked about it by Kerrang! in January.

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DEPECHE MODE GIVE FANS EXTRA CONTENT VIA ITUNES
Depeche Mode have become the first band to use the new iTunes Pass system when releasing an album. Going live in the US yesterday, a payment of $18.99 gets fans the band's new single, 'Wrong', and the Black Light Odyssey dub remix of new track 'Oh Well', as well as the new album when it's released on 21 Apr and all manner of other exclusive tracks and videos over the next 15 weeks, all downloaded automatically into their iTunes libraries as they become available.

Says Ronn Werre, President of Music Services for EMI Music, parent company of Depeche Mode's label, Mute: "As we work to better understand music consumers and help create stronger connections between fans and artists, we are pleased to work with Apple and Depeche Mode to kick off iTunes Pass. We think it's a great new platform that will change the way artists engage with their audiences and also a powerful new way for us to build value for our artists' music. And with iTunes Pass, Depeche Mode are once again demonstrating that they are true trailblazers and innovators when it comes to creating amazing music and connecting with their fans".

Eddy Cue, Apple's Vice President of Internet Services added: "iTunes Pass is a great way for artists to give exclusive music and video, on their own schedule, directly to their fans. iTunes customers are going to love getting additional content directly from their favourite artists right when they make it available".

Then the band's manager, Jonathan Kessler chipped in, saying: "The relationship between Depeche Mode and their fans has always been our top priority. We are thrilled to be the first to participate with Apple in giving fans the kind of deep musical experience they expect from Depeche Mode".

UK fans can pre-order a deluxe version of the album (here), which comes with five bonus tracks and two videos. But at the moment the full iTunes Pass experience is unavailable over here.

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JOSH FREESE OFFERS HAIRCUT WITH NEW ALBUM
Former Vandals, A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails drummer Josh Freese has taken the idea of variable pricing and really run with it. A number of artists have offered bonuses with their albums for a little extra cash, from simple signed CDs to living room gigs. Josh, however, is offering to wash your car, cut your hair, write a song about you, show you around his first apartment, join your band for a month or numerous other bizarre acts should you decide to pre-order his new album, 'Since 1972', which is out in March.

Obviously there has been much speculation about whether or not these offers are serious. Says Josh: "There's been a lot of talk on the ol' internet about what I'm doing and 'if it's real' or if I'm 'joking'. It is very much real and I am surely not joking. Buy one and see for yourself".

For full details of what's on offer and what they cost (they range from $7 to $75,000) go to www.joshfreese.com

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NEW BLACK LIPS
The next single from those Black Lips is, as we've possibly mentioned before, 'Short Fuse'. It comes out on 9 Mar, exactly one week ahead of new album '200 Million Thousand'. The video for the single is on the Vice website - www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=13709539001

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ANNIE MAC PRESENTS TOUR RETURNS
Annie Mac will be heading out on the road with another round of tour dates under the 'Annie Mac Presents' banner next month. Joining her this time will be Calvin Harris, Friendly Fires, Little Boots, Chase & Status, A Trak, DJ Mehdi, Crookers, Andy C, Hervé, Fake Blood, Toddla T, Rusko and more. Sounds flippin' brilliant.

Annie also has a new mix available, which features some of those artists. Download it at www.anniemacpresents.com/blog.php?blogID=19

Tour dates:

20 Mar: Oxford, Academy - Annie Mac, Hervé, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
21 Mar: Glasgow, The Arches - Annie Mac, Mystery Jets (DJ set), Optimo, Frankmusic
18 Apr: Liverpool, Barfly - Annie Mac, A Trak, Andy C, Toddla T, London Elektricity, Brookes Brothers
23 Apr: Dublin, Twisted Pepper - Annie Mac, plus more TBC
25 Apr: Leeds, Stylus - Annie Mac, DJ Mehdi, Rusko, Doorly, Plastician
30 Apr: London, Koko - Annie Mac, Little Boots, Chase & Status (feat. Takura, Rage & Plan B, The Count & Sinden), Mujava (feat. MC Mzura), Toddla T, Rachel Barton
2 May: Derry, The Nerve Centre - Annie Mac, Rusko, Toddla T
3 May: Birmingham, The Custard Factory - Calvin Harris, Friendly Fires, Annie Mac, Boys Noize, Rachel Barton, Steve Angello, Scratch Perverts, Chase & Status, Fabio (Radio 1), Mary Anne Hobbs (Radio 1)

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ADDITIONS TO T LINE UP
The latest additions to T In The Park's line up have been announced, and amongst the acts confirmed are the likes of Manic Street Preachers, The Specials, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, and Simian Mobile Disco. The event takes place from 10 - 12 Jul near Kinross.

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OASIS SET TO MELT!
I wish. In fact, Oasis are to headline Germany's Melt! Festival this summer, which takes place from 17 - 19 July at open air industrial museum Ferropolis near Dessau. Other acts appearing at that event include Klaxons, Bloc Party and Foals.

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ORBITAL HEADLINE GET LOADED
Orbital are to headline the Get Loaded In The Park festival, which takes place on Clapham Common on 30 Aug. The newly reformed duo are said to be "really excited" about the performance, the band's Paul Hartnoll saying: "It's brilliant to be playing a big outdoor show in London".

Tickets go on general sale tomorrow at 9am.

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THE VIEW ADDED TO SNOWBOMBING LINE UP
The organisers of Snowbombing have announced that they've added The View to their 2009 line up. The snow-and-music event, which takes place in Mayrhofen, Austria, from 29 Mar - 4 April, is also set to feature performances from the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Fatboy Slim and Biffy Clyro. More info from www.snowbombing.com.

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MORE ACTS CONFIRMED FOR FIELD DAY
More acts have been confirmed for Field Day 2009 and they include Erol Alkan, First Aid Kit and Toumani Diabate. More acts are expected to be announced soon for the event, which will take place on 1 Aug in London's Victoria Park. More info from www.fielddayfestivals.com.

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LIVE REVIEW: The Deer Tracks at Sonic Cathedral at The Old Blue Last and The Social in London on 22 & 23 Feb
The Deer Tracks have been quietly building momentum and it's particularly rewarding for us at CMU to see, since we can genuinely say that we recognised their magic early on, having given them their first UK gig at the CMU Social last September, as well as being (to my knowledge) the first people in the UK to review their alluring debut album, 'Aurora', last August. It's hard to encapsulate what makes them so entrancing but from the moment the first glitches of electronica ooze out, the group (Elin Lindfors and David Lehnberg augmented by a number of other musicians) prove a mesmerising live act. The band's passion for their art and almost childlike fascination with the variety of instruments that they effortlessly switch between all night (melodica, guitar, synths, brass and woodwind and all manner of cutesy percussion) makes them as captivating live as 'Aurora' is to listen to. Meanwhile, moody visuals projected onto a screen add colour and intrigue and are indicative of the group's attention to detail. The Deer Tracks take the glitchtronica and subtle beats of Björk's 'Vespertine' and The Postal Service, and ally these to elfin vocals and icy soundscapes redolent of Múm, Mew and Sigur Rós. It's all defined by a sense of uniquely Scandinavian melancholy that means clichés like glacial and frosty inevitably get bandied about, but then 'Aurora' was made in the shadow of the northern lights. If there is a highlight from a consistently wonderful set, it's 'Yes, This Is My Broken Shield', which undulates slowly on a bed of glistening instrumentation before a flurry of lava-hot guitars dramatically spew forth like a geyser erupting through a landscape of endless ice. It's simultaneously exhilarating and heartbreaking and crystalises much of what makes the band special. Epically immense yet intimate and affecting, The Deer Tracks really are a truly enchanting band and one to cherish. MS

Buy from iTunes
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SENATE COMMITTEE CONSIDERS LIVE MASTER DEAL
The bosses of Live Nation and Ticketmaster were questioned by the snappily titled US Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee On Antitrust, Competition Policy And Consumer Rights yesterday with regards their proposal that the two live entertainment firms merge.

The Subcommittee concerned itself with the impact the merger may have on ticket prices and on new players entering the ticketing market, and on the possibility of Live Nation having access to sensitive data regarding how well events promoted by its rivals are selling, because they sell tickets via Ticketmaster (the merging firms deny Live Nation promoters would have access to such data).

As well as Live Nation topman Michael Rapino and Ticketmaster chief Irving Azoff, the heads of a number of smaller US tour promotion firms, including JAM Productions and IMP Productions, were also there to say what a bad idea they thought the merger proposal was.

According to Billboard, JAM Chairman Jerry Mickelson told the hearing: "This is vertical integration on steroids. If this merger is allowed to proceed, the combined entity will have the ability to suppress or eliminate competition in many segments of the music industry, including rival concert promoters, primary and secondary ticketing companies, artist management firms, talent agencies, venue management companies, record companies, artist merchandise, music apparel and licensing companies, and sponsorship companies".

But Azoff countered that the merger proposals were a response to changes in the music industry, and that they would allow artists to maximise non-traditional revenue streams, and in doing so help them pass on savings to consumers on things like recordings and tickets. He told the hearing: "Artists don't sit around and say, 'Let's raise prices'. If we're successful in doing this, I for sure think we'll be able to show that ticket prices will go down, because it will create a bigger pot of money for artists from other avenues in their careers".

Other experts were less convinced that the merger would result in cheaper ticket prices, arguing that only commercial competition would force prices down, and there'd be less of that around if Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged. But Azoff countered that he expected some of Ticketmaster's bigger clients - ie the bigger tour promoters - to look elsewhere once his company was merged with their rival Live Nation, and that that [a] provided opportunities for the company's competitors, and [b] would motivate the merged Live Master to be more competitive.

One of the senators on the subcommittee also questioned Azoff about his company's secondary ticketing firm TicketsNow, referencing recent concerns that Ticketmaster was redirecting customers to from its primary tickets service to its resale site without properly communicating the implications of buying tickets from the latter - ie that they are sold by unofficial touts, and often at marked up prices. Ticketmaster has already promised to review the promotion of TicketsNows via its primary site, but the committee wanted to know if Azoff was considering selling the resale service on if the merger went through. Azoff responded that he "wouldn't have bought it" if he'd been planning to just sell it on, though added: "If you'd like to make an offer, senator, we'd love to hear it".

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TRADITIONAL MUSIC RETAIL CONTINUES TO DECLINE, THOUGH BLOCKBUSTER HELPS KEEP CDS ON THE HIGH STREET
So, this is a bit depressing. A new report prepared by research firm Millward Brown for the Entertainment Retailers Association, the results of which are published in Music Week this week, reveals that over a quarter of the UK's independent music stores went out of business last year, taking the number of indie record shops down from 408 to just 300. There were 1064 ten years ago.

That gloomy figure appears in a Music Week feature on the future of music retail on the high street. Zavvi and Woolies are now gone of course, while smaller chains like MVC, Music Zone and Fopp have all disappeared in the last three years too; add the decline in truly independent stores to that, and you'd be forgiven for wondering if music retail has a long term home of the high street at all as the world becomes increasingly digitally minded when it comes to home entertainment.

On the up side, HMV have, of course, expanded, buying up albeit a small number of stores from both the defunct Fopp and Zavvi chains, and former execs at both Zavvi and Woolies are planning on re-opening a handful of stores that they have bought from the two chain's respective administrators, both on a similar model to their former employers, but with new names.

And Music Week make much of the fact Blockbuster, themselves having to deal with the looming decline in the video rental business as TV on demand services grow, are moving into the music retail space. They report that about 350 Blockbuster stores now sell CDs, while other outlets in the video shop's chain sell music at certain times of year. There's something ironic though also predictable that, while traditional music sellers have had to diversify into video and gaming to make ends meet, that a video retailer is having to add music to the mix to make things add up.

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PLAY.COM TOP CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY
Reminding us why music is disappearing from the high street, online entertainment seller Play.com has just come top in a customer satisfaction survey, coming ahead of both its online and high street rivals in a poll on the stores shoppers prefer.

Play.com scored 87 out of 100 in the CFI Group's UK Customer Satisfaction Index for the retail sector, ahead of both Amazon and iTunes who scored 85 and 82 respectively.

The survey, based on a methodology employed in the US retail sector, and utilising interviews with 6000 consumers in the latter part of 2008, didn't make great reading for anyone involved in high street retail (in fact, I don't think high street entertainment stores are specifically referenced in the survey, it's supermarket and department stores that are rated).

As a general rule online stores fared consistently better than their high street rivals with even John Lewis, renowned for its fine customer service, scoring 80, putting it behind Play.com, Amazon and iTunes. Though I suppose in the real world there are more opportunities to piss customers off - providing you have a more or less user-friendly website, your payment system is secure and Royal Mail deliver on time, less can go wrong in internet shopping.

Commenting on the survey, Play.com boss Stuart Rowe told reporters: "We are absolutely delighted to have achieved first place in the National Customer Satisfaction Index ahead of all other UK retailers. This is a truly superb achievement for Play.com, especially as customer service is at the heart of everything that we do. The fact that customers appreciate the focus we give to it is a real reflection that we have been successful in our efforts".

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ERA SUPPORT SCOTTISH INDUSTRY NIGHT
Talking of music retail, the Entertainment Retailers Association has announced it is backing Scottish music industry night Born To Be Wide, and in particular will sponsor a seminar and networking night which focuses in particular on music retail. The aim of the night will be to bring together Scottish music retailers with indie labels, artists and music business students. The event will take place on 5 Mar at Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms.

ERA Director General Kim Bayley told CMU: "We have had a clear demand from members to take ERA events into the nations and regions and we are delighted to be able to partner with Born To Be Wide in Edinburgh".

Born To Be Wide co-founder Olaf Furniss added: "Local record shops play an invaluable role in supporting the music scene and I am delighted to have the opportunity to highlight this contribution at Born To Be Wide. It is fantastic that ERA are participating in the seminar".

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PHYSICAL RELEASES NOT WANTED, SAYS SPOTIFY
Spotify's chief exec Daniel Elk has said that consumers no longer care about owning physical or even digital copies of their music, they just want to be able to access it whenever and wherever they want.

Elk told The Times: "We think that music has gone from being about ownership to being about access. They don't care so much any more about actually owning physical CDs, or even downloading, they care about being able to access whatever they want, whenever they want it, wherever they are".

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MTV FURTHER ENHANCE UK WEBSITE
MTV yesterday announced a second stage of development for their UK website, which includes a redesign, special artists and show 'hubs', new search functionality, and some social media hoo haa.

Philip O'Ferrall, the telly firm's Senior VP Digital Media, told CMU: "We are very excited about the next phase of www.mtv.co.uk. Building on the huge success of the site in 2008, we are now able to offer our audience the full package in terms of specific artist or show hubs. From Lady GaGa to The Hills' Whitney Port, we have created stand-alone content destinations for literally tens of thousands of artists, offering everything from news and picture galleries, social media links, ticketing and exclusive online sessions and TV clips. The new www.mtv.co.uk further extends the 360 degree, multi-platform experience, driving audiences from online to linear television and retaining the TV audience whilst a show is off air".

The new look MTV website will launch in beta form next week.

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ELBOW SESSION BREAKS A BBC RECORD
I'm not sure Elbow really need any new accolades following all the awards and acclaim that has come their way for Mercury Prize winning album 'The Seldom Seen Kid'. But if they are looking for something new to boast about, then we're told that the band's recent Radio 2 session with the BBC Concert Orchestra was the most viewed via the BBC's interactive platform (so online or via the red button) ever. There were over a million views of the session, which was available via the BBC website and digital TV interactive service for a week.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Programmes for Radio 2 and 6 Music, told CMU: "I'm delighted that so many Radio 2 listeners accessed one of the finest live performances we have ever recorded for Radio 2, the Elbow/BBC Concert Orchestra gig. The interactive element of Radio 2 is a crucial component of our output and I'd like to thank everyone involved".

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OFCOM RELAX LOCAL RADIO FORMAT RULES
Media regulator OfCom has announced it is lifting a rule which forces radio stations to stick to their original format for at least their first two years on air. The rule exists to stop radio companies bidding for new licences by promising the kind of programming they know goes down well with the regulator, and then changing it all two weeks in. Stations still have to get OfCom permission for format changes, but the new move means that the regulator will consider format change proposals from all stations, not just those who have been on air for more than two years.

The move means the following sixteen stations, still within their first two years, could all apply to have their formats changed: Original 106 (Bristol), Minster (Northallerton), KCFM (Hull), Jack FM (Oxford), Original (Aberdeen), Sunshine FM (Hereford and Monmouth), Nation Radio (South Wales), City Talk (Liverpool), Smooth Radio (North-East England), Exeter FM, Southend FM, Touch FM (Warwick), Andover Sound, Rock Radio (Manchester), Central FM (Preston) and Perth FM.

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TIME OUT EDITOR RESIGNS
Time Out's editor Gordon Thomson has announced he is leaving the London listings magazine after five years with the title. Thomson says he wants to pursue new projects, though his departure comes as the magazine's owners undergo a widespread review of the title as it faces new competition from free publications and the internet, coupled with the much talked about advertising recession. Former Heat editor Mark Frith has been brought it to help lead that review, and he is expected to be involved in finding a replacement for Thomson. As previously reported, it's been reported that Time Out's bosses are willing to consider drastic changes, including the possibility of relaunching the magazine as a slimmed down free title, and putting the majority of the listings content online.

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DAVE PLUS ONE CHANGES NAME
Well, this is fun. Stupid, but fun. Dave has rebranded its plus one channel, ie the version of it that runs an hour behind. It will now be known as, wait for it, Dave ja vu. See what they did there? Dave chief Steve North says this: "Renaming our +1 service Dave ja vu will help bolster the already successful Dave brand further while appealing to our target audience of 16-34 year old male viewers, who are sure to get the joke".

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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. [1] In Case Of Fire - The Cleansing
2. [NE] Oasis - Falling Down
3. [NE] The Ting Tings - We Walk
4. [NE] White Lies - Farewell to the Fairground
5. [5] Funeral For A Friend - Rules and Games
6. [NE] Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
7. [NE] The Killers - Spaceman
8. [RE] Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy
9. [3] The Prodigy - Omen
10. [8] The All American Rejects - Gives You Hell

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

Kids In Glass Houses - Dance All Night
Royksopp - Happy Up Here
Hockey - Too Fake
You Me At Six - Save it for the Bedroom
The Maccabees - No Kind Words

More at www.myspace.com/mtvtwo

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LILY WANTS HER CHEMICAL BROTHER BACK
Lily Allen has revealed that she hopes one day to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, Chemical Brother Ed Simons. The pair split up last year after Allen had a miscarriage. However, she says they have remained good friends since and still speak regularly.

She told Q: "We still speak two times a week. He texts me all the time, making sure I'm alright. We never were not friends, it just became... difficult. Because there was so much pain associated with everything that happened, for me I just needed to get away. We still love each other. And we talk all the time. And maybe one day we'll get back together".

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IS DANNII LEAVING X FACTOR OR WHAT?
Okay, this story is getting confusing now. I thought Dannii Minogue had already left 'X Factor'. Or had been sacked, or whatever. Victoria Beckham was being touted as a replacement recently, despite the tension between her and Cheryl Cole, who is definitely a judge on the show. Or is she? Maybe not. Not if Dannii is sacked anyway. Which she apparently hasn't been, even though we all thought she had. Are you following this? I know I'm not.

Anyway, a source told The Sun: "Cheryl told Simon straight - if it's not her and Dannii together, then he's looking for two new stars. There's no way he will let them both go. The show was a bigger success than ever and Simon knows a lot of that is down to Cheryl".

'X Factor' bosses have apparently denied many of the rumours surrounding the show and confirmed that they are currently in talks with Minogue about renewing her contract. Which means she is staying. Possibly.

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