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Top Stories
Oasis banned from China
Winehouse back in the UK
Mongrel debut to get Independent release
In The Pop Courts
Prosecution want them in jail: Pirate Bay trial update
In The Studio
Muse on new material
Juliette Lewis album news
Iggy does Jazz
Release News
U2 forget quantity/quality rule
Prince on Target for physical release
Maximo Park announce new album title
Passion Pit announce debut album
New York Dolls album news
Gigs N Tours News
Neil Young announces UK shows
Album review: Favours For Sailors - Furious Sons (Tough Love Records)
The Music Business
MTV's Rock Star game not boycotting Warner Music, they're just not using their music
Universal financials - profits down, but diversification delivering
Terra Firma chiefs shun bonus as EMI slashes the value of their portfolio
Live Nation - financials, global division rejig
Zavvi brand to stay online
PRS to sponsor BME
Sheridans expand employment team
Sound Advice recruit new accountant
The Digital Business
Slicethepie and Bebo hook up
Nokia considering DRM-free version of Comes With Music
mSpot launch direct-to-consumer make your own ringtone service
The Media Business
BBC arts and music commissioner steps down
UKRD chairman buys TLRC stake
National Library archiving fanzines
Absolute use their U2 obsession to test new kind of radio ad
TOTP discs for sale
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Phoenix not mental, says publicist

Jackson stockpiling songs for posthumous release

CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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Female duo We Rock Like Girls Don't have quite a self explanatory name, which is handy. Glaswegian guitarist/vocalist Ros Cairney recruited Greek drummer Vas Antoniadou through Loot, and after a period of what one might call 'musical differences', the pair are firmly together in their current incarnation, wowing all the right people. The girls are now ready to unleash their debut album 'How Did It Get To This' - available to download right now, and physically released on 6 Apr - on their own label, Distort. Here are Ros Cairney's answers to our Same Six Questions.


Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started piano lessons at six years old and violin lessons at school when I was seven years old. Unfortunately, the violin teacher seemed very old with a red face, and he had hair coming out his nostrils and told me I had lovely eyelashes. I first played live in the school orchestra and remember turning the violin on its side like a guitar and playing riffs. After I heard The Beatles I knew I had to have a guitar. My parents bought a Spanish guitar to share with my brother who was having guitar lessons (to my great annoyance) and we both immediately started writing songs and playing them to each other. I saved up my school dinner money and bought a white Les Paul copy for £75. We discovered Boss Metalizer pedals, The Pixies and a love affair with distortion began. I formed a band with my brother and his school friends. Vas wasn't allowed to play guitar by her Greek dad but rebelled and bought a drum kit with her grant money when she went to Uni and promptly joined about five bands to make up for lost time.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Our debut album is inspired by each other and our desire to leave a record of our songs and the great energy we always generate when we play music. It says "We Was Here!" It is also very much a reflection of our frustration, our fights as we turned on each other and our determination not to be defeated by circumstances. Our bassist left to reform a band with her brother, our original sessions were deleted by the first studio we recorded in, my JCM 800 Marshall Head amp was stolen from my flat. We traced it through eBay to a music shop in Islington, staked out the shop then grabbed it as the owner screamed he was getting the police and we screamed that we needed it to finish the album! Some bastard had nicked it and sold it cheap to get money for drugs. We have financed everything by credit cards, jobseekers allowance, private guitar tuition, and family donations. The album will be released on our own label. This is our resistance, our "little bit of creation" to quote the last song 'Violence Is In The Air'. In a wider context it is how it felt to be living in London in 2007.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
I write songs at home on guitar and work on them further with Vas, we gig them and then four track our ideas in her attic. This album was recorded over the last two years as money allowed in Glasgow, London and Devon. We were keen to get live, raw recordings and the last sessions we did at the end of 2007 with Mark Freegard in his Glasgow studio were very organic. He is very quick to capture our drum, guitar and vocal sounds and that meant we didn't overwork anything in the studio. Vas and I recorded the bass on much of the album ourselves after we had played live guitar and drum takes. We have half of our second album written and hope someone will give us a publishing deal to help us.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
PJ Harvey's early albums, The Breeders' 'Pod' album, The Pixies' 'Surfer Rosa' album, Elastica live when they were a sleazy rock n roll band, John Lennon Plastic Ono Band. John Lennon's direct words, grinding rhythm guitar playing and minimal melody with riff type songs (eg 'Cold Turkey', 'I Found Out') are a big influence.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Thanks for listening to us, hope the music makes you feel alive and powerful. That's how it makes us feel.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Our ambition, now that we are finally releasing our debut album, is to play live every night for weeks like a mean rock n roll machine, to give up jobs which waste our time and to improve with the next album!



Having quietly got to number one with their new album this week, while everyone was looking at U2 prance about, The Prodigy have proved once and for all that they're here to stay, following the lukewarm reception to the massively underrated 2004 album 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned'. The key to the band's resurgence has been Liam Howlett ignoring what people expect of him and just getting on with it. This lead to the ditching of Keith Flint and Maxim Reality for 'Always Outnumbered...' and their subsequent return for live shows and the new album. With the trio back in full force, the results shine through on the singles 'Omen' and the album's title track, 'Invaders Must Die', the videos for which can be viewed on the band's YouTube channel, along with handy guidelines for the posting of unofficial videos.


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Oasis have been banned from performing in China and have had two planned shows there cancelled after ever sensitive officials discovered that Noel Gallagher played at a benefit concert for Tibet in 1997.

A statement issued by Oasis revealed that the Chinese government revoked licenses for the two shows in Beijing and Shanghai from their promoters, Emma Entertainment and Ticketmaster China. The statement adds that despite the fact that the band had already been granted permission to play in the country, "officials within the Chinese Ministry Of Culture only recently discovered that Noel Gallagher appeared at a Free Tibet Benefit Concert on Randall's Island in New York in 1997, and have now deemed that the band are consequently unsuitable to perform to their fans in the Chinese Republic".

The band are said to be "extremely disappointed" not to be able to play the shows, but will continue the rest of their South East Asia tour, including a show in Hong Kong, as planned.

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Amy Winehouse has returned to the UK following her two month holiday in the Caribbean. In fact, she was already back in Britain when I confidently declared in yesterday's Daily that she was still in St Lucia. She arrived back in the country on Sunday, after an apparently slightly eventful flight during which the singer was allegedly involved in an altercation with a fellow passenger whom Winehouse believed was looking at her strangely. That's all there is to say about this, really, unless you're interested in how her hair looked. She's said to have been back in a beehive after sporting a short curly do for the duration of her foreign trip. Oh, and she's apparently quit her recently robbed flat in Camden and has taken a townhouse in Barnet.

As previously reported, the mother of Winehouse's husband Blake Fielder Civil, Georgette, was quoted in The People this weekend as saying that her son was planning to file for divorce as a result of Amy's alleged holiday fling.

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Sort of super-group Mongrel are going to give away their debut album via The Independent this coming weekend. I think it's the first time a band has given away their debut album as a covermount (their press release reckons so), which would figure, because only really a 'super-group' would have enough existing appeal to merit the newspaper's investment.

As much previously reported, Mongrel includes Reverend And The Makers' Jon McClure and Joe Moskow, Babyshambles' Drew McConnell, rapper Lowkey and former Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson. Current Arctic Monkey Matt Helders also drums on the album.

Confirming his new band's decision to give away the album with the newspaper, McClure told CMU: "This move gives the widest possible platform to artists whose voices could otherwise be ignored and gets the music onto CD players across the land. It also calls into question the values of the recorded music industry. It is a pleasure to do this with The Independent, we are a truly independent band rather than one that just adopts indie values, so it is fitting we are doing this with this newspaper".

Indy deputy editor Ian Birrell said this: "We are delighted to promote such a fine record by such an original, bold and passionate band, one that clearly shares our commitment to innovation".

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The Swedish prosecutor leading the case against The Pirate Bay Four has called on the defendants to not only be found guilty, but to be sent to the deepest darkest jail in the land, and to be left to rot there for all eternity. Well, for a year.

According to Swedish paper The Local, while summing up for the prosecution in the case against Pirate Bay creators Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij, and funder Carl Lundstrom, legal man Haakan Roswall told the Stockholm court: "I believe that the correct punishment should be one year in prison and that is what I am requesting that the district court hand down in this case".

Responding to the claims that, because The Pirate Bay's servers don't actually host any infringing content, and are not actually involved in the actual transfer of any files, they cannot be guilty of infringement, Roswall said: "A person who is holding someone's coat while they assault someone else is complicit in the crime".

As previously reported, while questioning the very concept of copyright in the internet age outside the court, the four men behind the Pirate Bay have generally relied on more conventional defences in court - claiming ignorance of the infringement the site enables, stressing the aforementioned 'but we don't host any files' defence, and touching on elements of the good old Betamax defence ("the site has legitimate uses, so we can't be held responsible for illegitimate use").

Despite screwing things up a bit by dropping a bunch of charges right at the start of the trial, the prosecution do seem to have had the upper hand in court for much of the trial. It remains to be seen if the defence's summing up, due today, turns that around. A ruling isn't expected until next week.

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Muse frontman Matt Bellamy has been talking about his band's latest material and says it's brill. He does, look: "There's some really brilliant songs coming out, some of our best material I think".

Talking to 6Music, he added that the band's new album will have something of the classical about it, saying: "There's definitely a few things on the album which are segueing into each other and it's all very orchestral - that could take over the album, so it could actually be kind of classical, and move away from rock all together. We'll be knocking on Classic FM's door!"

Those who prefer their Muse to rock, well, don't worry just yet, it seems this new album could go a number of ways yet. Continuing to chatter about the band's new material, he admitted: "We're creating a lot of material now and a lot of it's going off in all sorts of directions. Over the next couple of months I think we're gonna have to start narrowing it down and start saying, 'Right, what are we going to do here?' Because at the moment we're just enjoying totally exploring everything that we've got to offer really, but I think it's going very well".

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Juliette Lewis been talking about her new album, which is to be called 'Terra Incognita'. The actress turned singer will release her next LP backed by a new band, The New Romantiques, who replace her old band, The Licks.

Lewis explained the reasons for the change in a statement: "Because this album is so sonically different than anything I've done before and captures many flavors of my emotional life and voice, [the band] needed an entirely new name. 'Terra Incognita' means unknown territory - and that's where I wanted to go musically. The guitars are more wild and atmospheric. The groove is dark and deep and allow for a lot of sonic contrasts. It took me five years to really cut my teeth both as a performer and as a songwriter and I wanted to break all the habits I'd gotten used to and let songs develop out of a groove or simple piano notes and melody".

Juliette Lewis and her New Romantiques will appear at South by Southwest later this month. A release date for the new LP and more tour dates are yet to be announced.

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Iggy Pop has said that he's recorded a jazz LP inspired by Michel Houellebecq's novel 'La Possibilité D'une Ile'.

In a video interview posted on, he said of the album, which is called 'Preliminaires': "It's a quieter album with some jazz overtones. That's because at one point I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars, banging out crappy music. And I was starting to listen to a lot of New Orleans-era Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton type of jazz".

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Not content with inflicting themselves on us once this year, U2 will be back with another album before 2009 is finished. The band claim the second album is a "companion" to 'No Line On The Horizon', rather than just a collection of studio out-takes that should really have been discarded.

That second LP, and future U2 albums, seem likely to come out via traditional record labels, because the band don't seem too keen on those new fangled self-releasing methods employed by some other artists. Asked about that kind of thing by The New York Times, The Edge said: "My instinct is to stick with the record [label] guys. They have to sell your records or sell the downloads, whatever it ends up being. To do that, first of all you've got to love and understand the music, and right now I'm not seeing any group that rivals the record labels on that front".

Bono added nonsensically: "I'm interested in commerce. The excuse for bigness is that songs demand to be heard if they're any good. And without the kind of momentum of being in a big rock n roll band, you won't get your songs heard".

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Prince has reportedly done an exclusivity deal with US retailer Target for the physical release in America of a new triple CD set which will, I think, include two of the three new albums the artist formerly known as the artist has promised us this year plus the debut album from his current protégé Bria Valente. The digital version will be sold by Prince's own website. While WalMart and Best Buy have scored most of the big music exclusivity deals in the US of late, Target was the exclusive seller of a recent Christina Aguilera hits package.

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Maximo Park have announced that their third album will be called 'Quicken The Heart'. How lovely. It will be released in May.

The band will also be playing live around the UK in May to coincide with the release of the album, but all shows are sold out, so I'm not going to tell you any more about them.

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The very buzzy Passion Pit have announced that they will release their debut album, 'Manners', in the UK on 18 May via Sony imprint Frenchkiss. Gigs to coincide with the release will be announced soon. In the meantime, take a look at this tracklist:

Make Light
Little Secrets
Moth's Wings
The Reeling
Eyes As Candles
Swimming In The Flood
Folds In Your Hands
To Kingdom Come
Let Your Love Grow Tall
Seaweed Song

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The New York Dolls have released a tracklisting for their new album, 'Cause I Sez So', which is out in the US on 5 May, don't know when it's out here. It's produced by Todd Rundgren, who also produced the band's 1973 debut. Frontman David Johansen said in a statement: "It was amazing working with Todd again, and I think we were able to evoke the special sound of our first album and drag it by the hair into the present".

They are also planning to appear at SXSW. In the meantime, here's that tracklisting:

Cause I Sez So
Muddy Bones
Better Than
Lonely So Long
My World
Temptation To Exist
Making Rain
Nobody Got No Bizness
Exorcism Of Despair

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Neil Young will release his new album, 'Fork In The Road', on 6 Apr, with the first single from it out on 23 Mar. He will also be heading over to the UK to play some shows in June. Hmm, doesn't something else happen in June? Oh yeah, Glastonbury. I wonder if the dates Neil's announced are directly before Glastonbury, which, of course, he is rumoured to be headlining (clue: they are).

Tour dates:

23 Jun: Nottingham, Trent FM Arena
24 Jun:Aberdeen, AECC

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ALBUM REVIEW: Favours For Sailors - Furious Sons (Tough Love Records)
Specially hand-picked by Scottish fight-pop-mentalists Dananananaykroyd for their latest tour of the UK, you might be under the impression that London-based Favours For Sailors are equally as crazy. You wouldn't precisely be mistaken - a quick gander at their chosen MySpace genres (powerpop/surf/new wave, to be precise) may leave you scratching your head in wonder and, I hope, interest, but on closer inspection, the actual music reveals something much more put-together than expected. Debut mini-album, 'Furious Sons', recorded with ex-Test Icicles man Rory Brattwell, is a six-track collection of energetic, polished pop of the power, Cars-esque variety, and is a fast and hard suckerpunch of fun, bright melodies and honest lyricism. "Bonnie, nothing's as it seems, get the fuck out of my dreams"; 'I Dreamt That You Dreamt That You Loved Me In Your Dreams', channels that honesty, brandishing frontman Jon's derisive in tone but merry in tune vocals. The album may leave some listeners unsatisfied due to its length - it's exactly what it claims to be: mini, a taste of what is sure to be many great things to come. TW
Release Date: 9 Mar
Press Contact: Scruffy Bird [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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MTV Games has denied claims made by Wired magazine that it is boycotting Warner Music with regard to sourcing music for its 'Rock Band' pretend-to-play game. That said, it has stopped asking the major for permission to use their music in the gaming franchise because it knows they won't agree to their terms or price offer, so you can see where Wired's claims came from.

All this follows comments made by Warner chief Edgar Bronfman Jr last year when he said that the record companies weren't getting their fair share from the then booming 'Guitar Hero' and 'Rock Star' franchises. He said that his company would be asking for high licence fees from the gaming companies moving forward.

According to Billboard, MTV Games has so far refused to pay those higher licence fees. Because Warner won't except the old rates offered, various approaches by the 'Rock Band' makers to the major have been knocked back, so much so the gaming company has decided to stop asking until some kind of general deal can be reached between the two companies regarding rates. Some Warner artists have been available to download via the 'Rock Star' platform quite recently, but they all stem from deals reached before Bronfman's ruling last August.

Insiders say Warner is happy to not participate in 'Rock Star' until a more favourable licensing deal can be done, in much the same way its catalogue is still not on YouTube following its demands for more money off them. That said, some wonder if that strategy will work with MTV Games - while YouTube's claims to be the world's biggest video jukebox are hindered by a lack of Warner content, the Rock Star download service is by no means comprehensive, so the lack of Warner artists will probably go unnoticed by most. MTV, that is to say, probably have less to lose on this one that Warner.

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2008 financials for Universal Music were revealed yesterday as part of the latest revenues report from their parent company Vivendi. Revenues at the world's biggest music company were down 7.8% at 1.5 billion euros (when you take in to account currency fluctuations), while earnings were down 6.6% to 278 million euros.

Although profits are going down, down, down, mainly as a result of the industry wide slump in record sales, Vivendi boasted that it was countering physical CD sale declines not only with growing digital music revenues, but also through its expanding publishing, management and merchandising divisions.

That is Vivendi's way of saying that Universal execs did the right thing in boosting its music publishing catalogue by buying BMG Music Publishing in 2007, and by acquiring Sanctuary Music's management and merchandising businesses the same year. Survival through diversification through acquisition, and all that.

Aside from the boasting, Vivendi admitted to spending 53 million euros on restructuring last year, which included its "rationalisation of the recorded music division", ie the subtle but significant downsizing of its record company workforce.

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With the media busy looking for new bonus-grabbing city types to beat around the head, metaphorically mainly, for continuing to take bonus payments despite their companies or investment portfolios being in freefall, Guy Hands, the boss of Terra Firma, the private equity enterprise which owns EMI, has made a good if expensive PR move by announcing he and his colleagues will waive "performance fees" worth £70 million because the value of the company's assets has slumped.

That slump has been mainly caused by Terra Firma's 2007 purchase of EMI. Despite efforts to cut costs and reinvent the music company, Hands has had to admit that EMI is realistically currently worth half the value it was once pegged at - so 1.3 billion euros instead of 2.6 billion. That means that even though other Terra Firma owned companies may have increased in value, the total value of the investment fund's assets is down considerably. Because of that fact Terra Firma's top partners will waive the £70 million they would otherwise have been due in bonuses.

It's thought at least half of that amount would have gone to Hands himself, so his decision not to pay out the bonus is a little bit admirable. Though I'm sure he won't starve. You'd think someone who can afford to not take a £35 million bonus could afford a decent haircut wouldn't you?

In the company's annual report, Hands wrote this: "Terra Firma will in March distribute back to investors the carried interest that had previously been earned ... and which would have formed the bulk of the reward for Terra Firma's senior team's hard work since 2004. This is absolutely right; our investors have suffered and therefore our rewards should suffer at the same time".

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More financials, and live music conglom Live Nation has announced a fourth quarter loss of $337.5 million, much of which has been blamed on a "goodwill impairment charge related to decreased market capitalisation during the period". So, that's all clear then, obviously.

Meanwhile, the live music giant has announced a rejig of its Global Music Division, which oversees their worldwide tours and venue networks (and the US based House Of Blues division, for reasons I don't totally understand). The rejig includes the appointment of four new execs, as follows: Brian Yost will be Onsite Products President, John Rostas will be Global Venues President, Seth Matlins will be Global Chief Marketing Officer and Robert Peters will be Chief Strategic Officer.

All four will be based in LA and report to the Global Music Division's CEO Jason Garner, who said these words in this order to Billboard: "Our job is to build a second-to-none team to connect artists to their fans in the most efficient way possible. These executives have all been highly successful in key positions at world class companies like GE and Disney. They bring a new level of experience and unique skill sets to bolster our great local teams in our mission of driving more fans to our concerts, reducing operational expenses, improving onsite revenue per fan, and building new global marketing partnerships for artists".

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Following the recent news that the Woolworths brand will live on in the virtual world, news today that so will the Zavvi brand, despite it being a silly name best known for being one of the big victims of the credit crunch. has been bought by online retailer The Hut, who will use it as a new front for its existing etail operations, which include selling Zavvi staples like CDs, DVDs and video games, but also other products like perfume and lingerie. The acquisition of the Zavvi website will mean The Hut will have to hire 100 new people, apparently, most of whom will be based in their premises in lovely Northwich. Which is nice. For the 100 people who get new jobs.

The Hut boss Matthew Moulding says this: "Zavvi is a major player in entertainment retail, both in the UK and Ireland. Our aim is to capitalise on this well recognised high street brand and transform the business into a leading class online retailer, not only in entertainment, but also across lifestyle products. The new discounted price points, supported by significant future investment in customer driven functionality improvements, should enable us to create an exciting online retailer. The team is excited about the opportunities this acquisition presents and the growth plans across The Group will be supported by our continuing drive to add talented new members to the team across most disciplines".

In sort of related news, the owners of the Virgin Megastore chain in the US, Related Cos, who have been slowly closing the record shops down so they can make more money leasing out their buildings to other retailers, have announced that all remaining Megastores in America will be shut down by the summer. There are six Megastores still in operation, though the New York Times Square shop is in the process of closing as we speak, and Related announced last week plans to shut the other New York megastore and one in San Francisco in May. That leaves three, which, reports say, will also all go by the summer.

Related Cos bought the Megastores off Richard Branson's Virgin Group in 2007, around about the same time the UK Megastore chain had the management buyout that created the short lived Zavvi chain.

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Royalties body PRS For Music has announced it will be a key sponsor of the previously reported pop museum opening at The O2 in London this month, the British Music Experience. The collecting society will be the exclusive industry sponsor of the BME, and will be particularly involved in the facility's education programme.

PRS For Music top man Steve Porter told CMU: "We've been at the heart of the UK music industry for several generations and without our work collecting royalties many of the musicians featured here would not have made it. The BME is a fantastic exhibition to be involved with and I'm delighted we're on board".

BME chair Harvey Goldsmith added: "It's fantastic that PRS For Music are supporting the British Music Experience. By coming on board they are recognising the importance of the exhibition within the industry and bringing their expertise to the BME's education programme".

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Entertainment lawyers Sheridans have announced a promotion and a new appointment on their 'employment team', who provide employment law and HR advice to media and entertainment companies (how to sack people without them crying, that sort of thing).

First up Neisha Glynternick has been promoted to become a partner within the team, while Daniela Cohen, previously with rival legal firm Mayer Brown, joins as an employment specialist. That means the employment team now has six members, three partners and three associates.

Confirming the appointments, Sheridans Managing Partner Howard Jones said this: "I am delighted both for Neisha in her promotion and the fact that Daniela has joined us. We are committed to building further upon the growth [our employment team] have already achieved and I anticipate further appointments in the near future".

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Music accountants Sound Advice (Financial) - and don't forget the brackets people - have recruited Alan Ritchie, who has most recently worked in-house at both SonyBMG and Warner Films but before that worked in the media and entertainment division at Ernst & Young. I know this because Sound Advice (Financial)'s Senior Partner Mike Skeet just said this: "Alan will be a great addition to our ever growing team with his mixture of both private practice and in-house experience. His skill set complements perfectly the skill sets of our existing partners and staff".

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Fan investment site Slicethepie has announced a new partnership with social networking whatnot Bebo which will see subscribers to the latter site encouraged to review and recommend bands on the former's platform, and to ultimately invest a few pounds in the bands they most like in return for a share of any profits said talent may or may not create.

Confriming the hook up, Slicethepie top man David Courtier-Dutton told CMU: "This unique partnership combines the passion and power of Bebo's massive fan and artist community with Slicethepie's proven filtering and financing platform to help artists get discovered in a faster and more equitable way than ever before. The combination of Slicethepie's proven financing model with Bebo's engaged community of music lovers gives these undiscovered artists a viable career path with unprecedented promotion and exposure on one of the most powerful social platforms in the world".

Bebo's music chief Hal Stokes added: "Bebo is all about letting people connect with everyone and everything they care about. The relationship between music fans and artists has always been a close, emotional one. Now, for the first time, fans can actually help break an act, help them record their first single and help them get discovered. With Slicethepie we can unearth the best 'undiscovered' talent on Bebo and fast track them to a sustainable career in music while strengthening their bond with their fans".

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Nokia has halted sales of the US version of its XpressMusic phone, which only went on sale last week, after various glitches were discovered, including problems connecting to AT&T's 3G network, and with the phone's ear pieces. The phone firm has reportedly shipped in the European version of the phone to sell to American consumers while they fix the problems with the US version of the device.

Talking of Nokia and music based products, word has it the phone maker is looking into launching a DRM-free version of its high profile though not especially well received Comes With Music service. As previously reported, Comes With Music is Nokia's much hyped download service through which owners of special handsets can download an unlimited number of permanent audio tracks from a big catalogue of music for free (well, the cost is bundled into the cost of the phone).

The only problem (other than the fact Nokia never sent us the sample phone they always promised, their PR team being a bit rubbish and all) is that, while in theory providing 'permanent downloads', the tracks come with digital rights management encoding which locks them to the phone or PC to which they are downloaded - meaning they become redundant once a user buys a new mobile or computer. Unfortunately for Nokia, their new service was launched just as DRM was finally cut from a-la-carte download stores, and the DRM-free MP3 became the format of choice for most consumers.

Although official figures are not known, some say that the uptake of Comes With Music has not met Nokia's expectations, and bosses there recognise that the widespread criticism of the service's use of DRM is probably to blame (even though that's necessarily a fair criticism, given the low cost of the service, there's no reason why Nokia customers can't use Comes With Music for short-term enjoyment and new music discovery, while still being able to afford to pay to download truly permanent copies of the few tracks they want to keep long term from other services like iTunes).

Either way, Nokia's Director Of Global Digital Music Retail, former Sony Music man Adam Mirabella, is being quoted in the Asian media as saying a DRM-free version of the Comes With Music services is "on the roadmap". How that would work isn't clear, though the service Ericsson plans to launch to compete with Comes With Music doesn't make any claim that the DRMed downloads are permanent, but instead allows users to access MP3 copies of their most listened to tracks at the end of their subscription, which is arguably a good middle ground between the restricted unlimited play and a-la-carte download models.

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US based mobile music company mSpot, who provide the back-end to a number of network-provided mobile music services, has launched a new direct-to-consumer website that allows punters to make their own ringtones by downloading pop songs and selecting which bit they want to hear when their phone rings. Based at, it's a fully licensed service, with songs from Sony, Universal, Warner and some indie aggregators available. That said, there are net-based and phone-based apps that do the same thing for free, albeit without licence, and with mSpot charging $2.99 per self-made ringtone some wonder if consumers will buy into the legitimate service when it is so much more expensive that going the non-legit route.

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The BBC's In-house Commissioning Editor for arts, music and religion, Adam Kemp, who was involved in 'The Electric Proms', amongst other things, is to leave the Beeb as part of a restructure of the department in which he sits.

The BBC's 'Knowledge' department previously had two main units - those that commissioned programmes to be made in house like Kemp, and those that commissioned programmes from indies. Moving forward the department will be split into eight genre units, of which music and events will be one. The revamp will require existing BBC Knowledge execs to apply for the new posts.

Kemp has been with the Beeb since 1994, and has been in his current role since 2005. With quite a wide remit, his music commissions were more of the arty kind, like the musical based 'Manchester Passion' and 'Liverpool Nativity' projects, plus music documentaries like 'Seven Ages Of Rock', 'Pop Britannia' and 'Soul Britannia'.

Confirming his departure, Kemp told reporters: "It's been a privilege to work with some of the best television producers and talent in the industry while commissioning factual programmes at the BBC. Over the last four years I have worked across arts, music and religion - and the BBC has given me carte blanche to take risk, reinvent and reinvigorate these important arenas in public service TV. However, after 15 years I am ready for a new challenge and I'm genuinely excited about the possibilities that lie ahead".


The chairman of local radio company UKRD, Trevor Smallwood, has bought a 16 percent stake of rival local radio company The Local Radio Company. The share purchase is significant, because UKRD itself bought a 9% stake last month, meaning between UKRD and its chairman they now own a quarter of their rival.

As previously reported, 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. Confirming his personal share purchase, Smallwood told Radio Today: "I saw an opportunity for an ideal investment and took it".

It's not thought that UKRD and Smallwoods' investment in TLRC means there will be any formal hook up between the two radio companies. As previously reported, not only UKRD have been showing an interest in TLRC, and at one point it looked like Talk Sport owners UTV Radio may bid to buy it.


This is definitely to be commended. The National Library Of Scotland, which is currently drying out after a bit of a flood situation last week, is trying to track down and catalogue all the fanzines that have ever been published in the UK in the last seventy years, which is probably going to be a lot. The Library wants to archive what is becoming a dying phenomenon as bedroom writers find it quicker, cheaper and easier to wax lyrical on the net rather than producing hand written or hastily word processed printed zines, photocopied at the local library and sold via the school playground and local record shop.

The Library has recruited Chris Atton, a Professor of Media And Culture at Edinburgh's Napier University, who has written both for and about fanzines for almost 30 years to help with the archiving exercise. He told the BBC: "When people write the history of rock music, they inevitably turn to [mainstream] interviews with the musicians and taste makers of the day. What fanzines do is give us a way of accessing an audience from 30 or 50 years ago who were writing about music purely because of their love of that music. [Without them] the history of music will be written by the same select group of people - [relying on just mainstream music magazines] is the equivalent of the old history books that were full of stuff about kings and queens rather than looking at what the ordinary people were doing".

If you want to get all nostalgic about the fanzines of old, check the full BBC article on the Library's archiving below.


Absolute Radio have been giving U2 quite a bit of airtime of late though at least, unlike the BBC, they are making some money out of it, and getting to test out a new kind of radio advertising in the process.

The former Virgin Radio has been piloting a new kind of advert which at least one person has called the "blipvert", it's a ten second sting which plays out immediately after U2's terrible single 'Get On Your Boots' encouraging listeners to go download the track from iTunes. With the revenues to be generated from traditional radio advertising in decline, and some in the commercial radio sector of the opinion that the length of ad breaks need to be cut in order to compete with new ad-lite online music services, the blipvert could become a mainstay of radio broadcasts.

They work best, though, when the ad is linked in someway to the editorial, or song, immediately before it, and it's the link between the U2 song and their blipvert on Absolute which is especially interesting (other UK stations have been dabbling with the short ad concept, but not linked to songs being played). Such a link, though, will obviously concern media regulator OfCom who like there to be a clear line between programming and advertising.

A spokesman for the regulator told the Guardian that they were aware of the U2 blipverts on Absolute, and that they had advised the radio station that they must ensure listeners are in no doubt that those ten seconds are ad time not editorial recommendation. Another concern presumably would be that radio stations selling blipverts to record companies that follow an artists record aren't tempted to increase the airplay of said record in order to air more ads and earn more money - what would basically constitute payola.

But Absolute Radio boss Clive Dickens is confident they have overcome both those concerns with their U2 promotion. He told the Guardian: "The song was already in the highest rotation it could have on Absolute Radio - 27 to 30 times a week - so they [the regulator] were confident any commercial relationship between us and [U2's record label] Universal was not influencing the number of times we play it. And they wanted to be confident that the consumer would know when they were being advertised to. We felt we came up with a creative that made it clear this was an advert. U2 typically don't market their stuff on the radio, and we sold it at a significant premium over normal spot advertising".


One for you old people out there now, like me. Two of the records that appeared in the 'Top Of The Pop's opening credits between 1981 and 1986 - as seen in the YouTube link below - are being sold off by a graphic designer who used to work for the BBC. The records were thrown around quite a bit to create the opening sequence, so one of them is a little chipped, but given their history and age they are actually in quite good condition. The discs will be sold by Chiswick Auctions. As far as we know, the old BBC globe, Jimmy Saville and Kajagoogoo are not for sale.

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend -

1. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream (Sony/Columbia)
2. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
3. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony/Columbia)
4. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
5. Guns n Roses - Chinese Democracy (Universal/Geffen)
6. Kid Rock - Rock - N Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
7. Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux (Universal/Island)
8. Bruce Springsteen - Greatest Hits (Sony/Columbia)
9. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
10. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (Warner/Roadrunner)
11. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
12. Paramore - Riot (Warner/Atlantic)
13. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
14. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
15. Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague (Metal Blade)
16. Linkin Park - Road To Revolution (Warner Bros)
17. Hinder - Take It To The Limit (Universal)
18. Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight (Warner Bros)
19. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
20. Status Quo - Pictures: 40 Years Of Hits (Universal)

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Susan Patricola, actor-turned-rapper Joaquin Phoenix's publicist, has denounced Chicago psychiatrist Paul Dobransky for making what she calls "astonishingly inappropriate" claims about the state of her client's mental health. As much previously reported, Phoenix claims to have turned his back on his acting to pursue a new career in hip hop, and has got a bit of flack, not least from Ben Stiller, who mocked him publicly at The Oscars.

Dobransky made the comments in an article in the LA Times last week, saying that Pheonix had behaved in a "socially inappropriate" way when he made an appearance on 'The Late Show' recently, and also criticising Stiller's mockery of him. "There is something wrong" he said "And it's beyond drug abuse. I was pretty offended by that skit at the Oscars. It struck me as potentially beating down on the mentally ill".

As you may remember, Phoenix's behaviour has led to speculation that his new career is in fact a hoax, but the star has insisted that his decision to change direction is for real.

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Michael Jackson is taking a leaf out of Tupac's book and recording songs in order for them to be released after his death, according to a new biography on the singer, 'Unmasked: The Michael Jackson'.

Author Ian Halperin says: "I was astonished by the number of songs which have been held back. I was told that he will not let them come out now but wants to leave them for his kids, a very personal legacy to them".

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