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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Brown charged with thuggery and nastiness
Release date set for Beatles pretend to play game
Morrissey questioned by US immigration
In The Pop Courts
Braxton may sue gig promoters
In The Pop Hospital
Monkee treated for tongue cancer
Pop Politics
PETA names Madonna worst dressed
Obituaries
Radio presenter Stewart dies
Charts, Stats & Polls
U2 album - impressive chart positions, but what about unit stats?
Reunions & Splits
Burrows quits Razorlight
Doherty: Libertines reunion will happen
Artist Deals
A Place To Bury Strangers sign to Mute
Alphabeat sign to Polydor
Extreme sign Darkchild
Release News
Release date set for new Eminem
New Kasabian album title leaked
Pre announce second album
Gigs N Tours News
Guns N Roses set for world tour?
Festival News
Festival line up update
Reviews
Album review: The Boy Least Likely To - The Law Of The Playground (Too Young To Die)
Brands N Stuff
More from Levi's OnesToWatch
Jagermeister partner with Orange amps
The Music Business
AEG boss: Live Master not good for the industry
Fnac to close its primary music store in Paris
Mexican authorities raid massive piracy operation
New label manager for Fiction
The Digital Business
Amazon sell digital tracks for 29p
Spotify admit to security breach
The Media Business
BBC ban stars from taking exec producer roles on their own shows
Five to lose a quarter of its workforce
ABC to review how newspaper bulk-sales are counted
And finally...
Arcade Fire and Flaming Lips battle it out

Michael Jackson reveals very little

THE CMU WEBSITE...
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
Advertise with CMU
 

FRIDAY 6TH MARCH

PURE REASON REVOLUTION
Formed at Westminster University in 2003 over a shared love of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Nirvana, Pure Reason Revolution fuse lashings of prog rock, grunge, electro and a little bit of folk to create music which hits you like a tonne of bricks and verges on the apocalyptic. Their 2006 album 'The Dark Third' received much acclaim, and saw them earn support slots alongside the likes of Mew, Secret Machines and Hope Of The States. Now the band are set to return with their second album 'Amor Vincit Omnia' on 9 Mar, and will play across the UK in March and April. The band managed to squeeze in time to answer our Same Six Questions.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I saw Nirvana on the MTV VMA awards in 1992 (at the age of 12) and I was simply stunned. I was mesmerised. I knew then that I had to make music - the crowd surfers that came on stage during the performance, Kurt's razor vocals, the freshness of the sound, smashing up of the gear, the energy. I then became infatuated with the grunge scene - my first "obsession". I learned how to play my idols' songs and then I began to compose myself. It was an obvious progression to form a band, though I think forming a band actually happened before I or any of my friends could play! My taste then developed, I went through a phase of listening to artists like Beastie Boys, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, a little bit of Britpop (what a horrendous era for music!), some punk, Ramones etc. I was constantly absorbing, writing and recording on my lil' tape 4-track. I then got into music from previous decades after my old man played me 'Dark Side Of The Moon' (on first listen I thought it was crap, actually but something clicked later on) and 'Pet Sounds'. This opened up even more avenues I HAD to explore, all the while writing and performing and recording on my primitive equipment. I suppose that was the very beginning...

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
'Amor Vincit Omnia' - "love conquers all". I wanted it to convey the euphoria of love, coupled with the inevitable bitter endings and sadness of lost love, the melancholia, then new love, and to represent the volatile human conditions along the way. It's a bunch of depraved love songs really - grief, despair, delirium, bitterness, juxtaposed with ecstasy, bliss, elation. The failings of love and its triumphs, entanglement, confusion, discomfort paralleled with a quest to show unity and a form that defines love to others ...all that in a convulsing abstracted mashup!

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I'm constantly writing down lyrics and writing music in snippets. I'll, say, write a verse and chorus on guitar/piano that I'll demo very primitively. I then go back a few days or weeks later and if I think it's good I'll work on it more and begin a proper production/the magnum opus. While I'm chipping away at the music I'll be fervently scribbling more lyrics as the music inspires, lyrics and music feed each other. I'll put an early guide vocal on, cause melody is king really. But it kinda changes everytime - there's no rule! You never know when or where inspirations gonna hit and ultimately take you! The studio is like a hi-fi quagmire. You got a guitar riff, try it on a synth, try some strings, try it on the Wurlitzer, record some drums, chop 'em up, programme some drums, pulverise them! It's trial and error until the sonics mesh and sound how you envisioned. You do the best work when you make a gamble, experiment, then it's not contrived.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Beach Boys, Depeche Mode, Fleetwood Mac, ELO, Joakim, Billy Corgan, Human League, KLF, Yes, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Ed Banger, Brian Eno, King Crimson, Phil Collins' drum sounds, Roxy Music, Air, DJ Shadow, Led Zep, Nirvana, Sebastian Tellier, Soulwax, Pink Floyd... blah blah...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I don't want to tell them anything, that would give them preconceived ideas about what to expect. It needs to hit punch you in face fresh, or be like an unexpected morning kiss! We're simply a contemporary rock band...

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Tour and tour and tour - leave the crowd palpable for more! Then more recording, a bunch of festivals come the summer! Plus the launch of the ThePureReasonMigratoryFashionShow - coming to a city near you! We've still along way to go, there's much more to explore!

MORE>> www.myspace.com/purereasonrevolution

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Westbury's 2nd Birthday at the Westbury
The Westbury has hosted quite a few magnificent line ups in its two year history, so its second birthday is definitely worth celebrating. And it's going to be quite a birthday bash, with Sunday Best honcho and Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank and beatster A Skillz both on the decks, alongside Frankmusik, Mr Thing and DJ Khalil. Expect this little lot to spin some cool nuggets to get the party vibe going at this trendy County Kilburn boozer. Well worth a look if you are on the (North)Westside.

Saturday 7 Mar, The Westbury, 34 Kilburn High Road, NW6 3UA, 8pm-4am, £5, more info from www.westburybar.com, press info from Outpost

   

ACCOUNT MANAGER, DIGITAL
Espionage, the branded content and talent management agency, is looking for a talented, ambitious online specialist to help deliver music-led projects for a major global brand.

The successful candidate will have 3-5 years' experience of delivering creative digital projects in an agency or in-house in an organisation with a strong digital focus, and be: highly motivated; extremely organised; a fluent, confident communicator, in person and in writing; obsessed with all forms of digital media, both at work and at play; versatile; and passionate about music.

Salary and package will be dependent on experience.

Contact: Graham Hodge: graham@thinkespionage.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.

 

 

BROWN CHARGED WITH THUGGERY AND NASTINESS
So, turns out that yesterday's Chris Brown court hearing was to officially charge the R&B star with some crimes. The crime of 'assault likely to cause great bodily harm', to be precise, which has been added to Brown's charge list alongside the existing charge of making criminal threats.

As much previously reported, Brown was arrested in LA on 8 Feb after allegedly attacking his girlfriend, Rihanna, in the street as they travelled home from a pre-Grammy party. During the attack he reportedly told the singer he would kill her and then fled the scene, leaving her unconscious on the pavement. He is currently free on $50,000 bail.

Court papers detailing the charges list Brown's victim only as "Robyn F", although Rihanna's real name is Robyn Fenty, so it's fairly safe to assume they do mean her. Spokespeople have refused to comment on the charges on behalf of either party.

The charges come hot on the heels of rumours that the couple are now back together, and possibly married, and that Rihanna is now refusing to testify against Brown. How much, if any, of that is true remains to be seen.

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RELEASE DATE SET FOR BEATLES PRETEND TO PLAY GAME
'Rock Band' makers MTV Games and Harmonic yesterday announced that the previously reported Beatles edition of their pretend-to-play game would hit the streets on 9 Sep.

'The Beatles: Rock Band' is only really big news because, of course, it's the first time the Fab Four's music will be officially available through a digital platform, long term squabbling between EMI and Beatles company Apple Corps having prevented the band's music from appearing on iTunes or any other download service.

The game will be released simultaneously for the Xbox, PlayStation and Wii worldwide, and the release will coincide with the launch of a range of new Rock Band 'instruments' modelled on those played by Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr, though the game will work on traditional Rock Band kit too.

There's been no confirmation of what tracks will appear in the game, nor whether additional tracks will subsequently appear on the Rock Band download platform, though in a recent interview Paul McCartney told Entertainment Weekly that "it will feature different periods of the band - you get early days, Liverpool, then psychedelic, and on from there. It's very cool. And I like the idea that the game introduces kids to music, you know?"

We also know that Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin, who co-produced the recent-ish Beatles 'LOVE' project, is Music Producer on the game, and that some exclusive Beatles goodies will be made available ahead of the 9 Sep release to those who pre-order the game.

More info at www.thebeatlesrockband.com.

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MORRISSEY QUESTIONED BY US IMMIGRATION
Morrissey has reported via his MySpace blog that he was questioned by immigration on his recent arrival in Atlanta, where his US tour begins today following the cancellation of his original first dates, because of illness, last week.

The singer wrote: "I have survived the interrogation of Atlanta's Immigration officials and Myrtle Beach shall have me tomorrow nite (Friday), and the world from then onwards ... if the world can take it. One of the many penalties of being human is that tours often take a military push to start, well, all of our answers will be in our songs tomorrow night. The bloodbath starts at 7.30. Life is testing you out. Be ready for anything".

The lengthy tour is, of course, in support of Morrissey's new album 'Years Of Refusal'.

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BRAXTON MAY SUE GIG PROMOTERS
R&B type Toni Braxton may sue concert promoters in South America after they apparently led gig-goers to believe they were attending an event featuring the singer herself, when in fact the star of the show was a tribute act.

According to reports, when fans at the Suriname venue realised that it was impersonator Trina Johnson on stage and not Braxton, the crowd turned violent and began rioting, throwing bottles at the stage and looting the bar. Johnson, who had to be rescued by security guards, insists that she was hired as an imitation act, and that she was unaware that her audience had been misled.

Authorities have reportedly launched a criminal investigation, but the event's promoter, Angel Ventura, and his assistant have fled, leaving local organisations and personnel unpaid. Braxton, meanwhile, is consulting with lawyers. A rep is quoted as saying: "Toni Braxton is aware of what happened and is obviously displeased. She regrets that both she and her fans have been victimized by this hoax. Ms Braxton's attorneys are exploring the legal ramifications".

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MONKEE TREATED FOR TONGUE CANCER
The Monkees' Peter Tork has undergone surgery to remove a tumour, caused by a rare form of cancer known as Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, from his tongue.

Tork told reporters: "It's a bad news, good news situation. It's so rare a combination [cancer and the tongue] that there isn't a lot of experience among the medical community about this particular combination. On the other hand, the type of cancer it is, never mind the location, is somewhat well known, and the prognosis, I'm told, is good".

He added that he's confident that he'll be well enough to play planned shows with this current band, Shoe Suede Blues, this summer: "Barring any complications, I fully expect to honour a performance date I have this June with Shoe Suede Blues. We're appearing in Manchester, Connecticut and I'm looking forward to that and all our tour dates".

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PETA NAMES MADONNA WORST DRESSED
PETA have named Madonna the worst dressed celebrity of 2009, on account of her fur-wearing ways. Referencing the fact that she's been dating young Brazilian model Jesus Luz, the animal rights action group say: "When you see Madonna in fur, you realize why nobody has copied her style since 1984. We know that she's on the prowl for a young cub, but someone needs to tell Madge that wearing fur doesn't make you a cougar".

Kanye West also comes in for some stick, as PETA say that he "rants about not winning Album Of The Year at the Grammy Awards, but what he really deserves is a 'lifetime bereavement award' for all the corpses in his closet. Kanye, we love the quirky suits, but you can't claim to be 'the voice of this generation' while flaunting fur, which is old-school and cruel".

Elsewhere on the list are the likes of Mary J Blige, Kate Moss and Elizabeth Hurley.

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RADIO PRESENTER STEWART DIES
Tim Stewart, former Invicta FM, Capital Gold and KMFM presenter, has died at the age of 52 as a result of pancreatitis. Stewart began his career at Margate's Hospital Broadcasting Service in 1975, and subsequently worked at a number of different stations before spending ten years at Kent station Invicta.

Stewart's colleague Tony Simon has written a message on his website: "This will be a great shock to those in the industry who knew him, given the great fighter he was in times of crisis. Our deepest condolences are with Tim's widow Anna, Son Dylan, Brother Paul and the rest of his family and friends".

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U2 ALBUM - IMPRESSIVE CHART POSITIONS, BUT WHAT ABOUT UNIT STATS?
U2 have the big album of the week on their hands, that's for certain, and they are sure to top the UK charts this weekend and the Billboard charts in the US next week. And 'No Line On The Horizon' is currently at number one and two in the US iTunes charts on account of their being both a standard version and a deluxe version available. But, despite the media hype and the chart dominance, insiders say that overall sales of the album, when compared to 2004's 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb', could be a bit disappointing.

Certainly it's looking that way in the all important US market where, according to Digital Music News, industry types are predicting first week sales of 400,000-500,000, which is pretty good going by most band's standards, but some way behind the 800,000+ sold in the first week of 'Dismantle's release.

DMN reckons that U2's album sales will be hit by the lack of a brilliant first single release, which is still needed to persuade the more casual music fan to part with their cash, even for a band as big as U2. 'Get On Your Boots' is not, DMN reckons, that single. They quote BigChampagne stats regarding the file sharing activity that has surrounded the band's lead single, noting that it peaked at just number 540 in the file-sharing chart.

While Universal don't measure their success on how widely their music has been stolen on the internet, DMN reckon that the levels of disinterest among the file sharing community - despite the level of news media coverage of the release - is a sign that, while the new U2 album will top the charts, the actual units shifted worldwide will be a bit disappointing.

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BURROWS QUITS RAZORLIGHT
Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows has quit the band, after five years on the job. He told NME: "The past five years in Razorlight have been an amazing experience. I am very proud of everything that myself, Johnny [Borrell], Carl [Dalemo] and Bjorn [Agren] have achieved together, but for personal reasons I have decided to leave the band. I will be pursuing other musical ventures".

Frontman Johnny Borrell said: "Over the last two albums and five years Andy has been an integral part of Razorlight and we will miss him. From the day he walked into our rehearsal studio it was obvious that he was an amazing drummer and he's contributed on many levels beyond that. He's been a great player and a great friend and I think we'll both always be proud of the music we've made together".

Presumably Borrell will also miss Burrows' ability to write hits like 'America'. David Sullivan-Kaplan will reportedly replace Burrows on the band's tour.

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DOHERTY: LIBERTINES REUNION WILL HAPPEN
Pete Doherty has said that a Libertines reunion will definitely go ahead. But I'm never sure whether a promise from Pete Doherty is one that you can trust. The singer told NME Radio: "Well, it's going to happen. Its unfinished business, isn't it?"

In the same interview, he discusses plans to get Graham Coxon to play at on his solo tour, and reveals that he's fallen out with old mucka Wolfman, which can only be a good thing.

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A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS SIGN TO MUTE
New York shoegaze-y types A Place To Bury Strangers have signed to EMI's Mute. The label will release the band's second album, which they are working on right now.

The band's frontman Oliver Ackermann told reporters: "[Mute] have put out some of our favourite records over the years. I can't think of a label that better fosters experimentally creative music".

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ALPHABEAT SIGN TO POLYDOR
Universal's Polydor UK have signed Alphabeat who, according to this press release, Popjustice once boldly declared as "the best band in the world ever". What, better than fellow Danes Aqua?

The London-based Danish six piece are currently working on a follow up to last year's 'This Is Alphabeat', which was released by Copenhagen Records in their home country, and by EMI's Charisma label over here. The new album will still be released by Copenhagen in Denmark, but by Universal divisions cross the rest of the world thanks to their new deal with Polydor UK.

Polydor top man Ferdy Unger-Hamilton told CMU: "Alphabeat write pop songs with style, wit and intelligence, grown-up pop with genuine global appeal. They arrived in the UK like a breath of fresh air last year and I'm delighted they are joining us at Polydor".

The band's manager, Iain Watt of Machine Management, added: "We are thrilled to be signing to one of the UK's most successful record companies and looking forward to achieving even more success with the band and Polydor in the coming years".

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EXTREME SIGN DARKCHILD
Sony/ATV's Extreme Music production division has signed Grammy winning songwriter and producer Rodney 'Darkchild' Jenkins, who will work as an executive producer for the publisher on nine albums.

Confirming his new deal, Jenkins told reporters: "It's an honour to be grouped in with such a prestigious list of composers as [other Extreme-signed producers] Quincy [Jones], and Hans Zimmer. Extreme Music has become a juggernaut in its field and I am very excited to be a part of its family".

Extreme co-CEO Russell Emanuel added: "It's common knowledge throughout the industry that Rodney is blessed with golden ears. His pedigree speaks for itself and the hit-maker gene runs deep in his DNA. His genius continues to wreak havoc on the music charts and we can't wait for it to do the same for Extreme".

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RELEASE DATE SET FOR NEW EMINEM
Universal have confirmed that Eminem's new album 'Relapse' will be out in May, and as if that wasn't enough to be getting on with another long player called 'Relapse 2' will be released later this year. Given 50 Cent's claims his new album is being delayed because producer Dr Dre is too busy finishing off Slim Shady's new material to get to his, I hope the second Eminem release doesn't delay poor Fiddy even further.

As previously reported, it was originally thought Eminem's first album since 2004 would be out last year, put then it kept getting pushed back. Responding to that fact, Eminem said this week: "A lot of people were expecting 'Relapse' to drop last year. I was one of them. Then Dre and I went back in the studio in September for a few days, and that turned into six months. We were on such a roll; we wound up with a ton of new music produced by Dre. Putting out 'Relapse 2' will let everyone get all of the best stuff".

'Relapse 1' will be out on 18 May, with an as yet unconfirmed single release to precede it on 7 Apr.

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NEW KASABIAN ALBUM TITLE LEAKED
The new Kasabian album will reportedly be called 'West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum', apparently named after a Yorkshire nineteenth century mental institution. I don't think a release date has been announced, though HMV.co.uk have it pencilled in for 8 Jun.

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PRE ANNOUNCE SECOND ALBUM
CMU favourites Pre have announced details of their Steve Albini-produced second album, which will be released by Skin Graft later this year.

The band said via their MySpace blog: "The second Pre record, 'Hope Freaks', is being pressed as I type this. We are SUPER happy with it. Easily the best thing we're done. Thanks Steve Albini and Weasel Walter for recording/mastering. It'll be out in a couple of months".

Here's the tracklist:

Gang Of Wire
Haircut Tacos
The Junk
Why Be Wives
Teenage Lakes
Not Necessary
Love Crunch
Cold
Hope Freaks
New Prints
Sleep Weak

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GUNS N ROSES SET FOR WORLD TOUR?
Guns N Roses could be set to follow-up the, er, moderate success of last year's comeback album, 'Chinese Democracy', with a worldwide stadium tour this summer, according the Rolling Stone.

The claims comes via 'industry insiders', though the only official word is that there are "exciting things" planned for this year. The band's manager Irving Azoff said: "Axl has been basically quiet, keeping out of the limelight for almost 15 years. People think they know him but they only really only know what has been said about him by questionable people. He is a good guy and often misunderstood - he is a professional who has worked very hard to build and maintain a high creative standard for Guns n' Roses, which I support. We have some exciting things in the works this year for GNR, I'm looking forward to it".

Asked about touring by Billboard last month, Axl Rose told Billboard: "No plans, but there's talk. Management and our promoters are really excited with the offers coming in both here and worldwide".

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FESTIVAL LINE UP UPDATE

ESCAPE INTO THE PARK, Singleton Park, Swansea, 13 Jun: Eric Prydz to headline, plus Norman Jay, Andy C, Judges Jules, Lisa Lashes, Tidy Boys, Scratch Perverts, Andy Styles and Showtek all confirmed. www.escapefestival.com

BEAUTIFUL DAYS FESTIVAL, Ottery St Mary, Devon 21-23 Aug: The Pogues, Hawkwind, The Saw Doctors, Gong, Lamb, Dreadzone, Dub Pistols, Pendulum DJ's, Kris Drever, Chris T-T, Jay Jay Pistolet and, of course, festival founders Levellers all confirmed. www.beautifuldays.org

BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 11-13 Sep: Soulwax/2ManyDJs added to the already mighty fine line up, hurrah. www.bestival.net

OXEGEN, Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, Ireland, 10-12 Jul: Jane's Addiction, Pet Shops Boys, Eagles Of Death Metal, Glasvegas, Doves, Gary Go and even The Saturdays have been added to the bill, apparently. www.oxegen.ie

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Boy Least Likely To - The Law Of The Playground (Too Young To Die)
Often compared to the likes of Dexy's Midnight Runners and Belle & Sebastian (is that really a good mix?), Wendover's The Boy Least Likely To have "twee standard" stamped all over them like a bad case of the chicken pox. Twee is good when it's subtle, earnest and used sparingly at the appropriate moments - not when it's forced and sweeter than pink candyfloss. Unfortunately, The Boy Least Likely To's recent effort, sophomore album 'The Law Of The Playground', suffers from the latter - yes, it's sweet, and yes, it's twee, but there comes a point when childlike charm is pushed too far and you do, in fact, begin to imagine small infants and fluffy bunnies playing the music rather than a pair of strapping young men. The result is an album that - while pleasant at times with the likes of the toe-tapping 'When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade' (shudder shudder, what a title!) - is far too samey. Three songs into 'The Law Of The Playground' and I feel like I've listened to it all already. The boy least likely to what? Make a record that will keep me awake? TW
Release Date: 9 Mar
Press Contact: The Darling Department [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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MORE FROM LEVI'S ONESTOWATCH
Levi's have announced details of the next stage of their OnesToWatch music programme, which will have a London bias this year with a series of gigs this month at three venues in the capital, The Macbeth, Barfly and The Fly.

The lines ups are as follows:

12 Mar: The Macbeth, Shoreditch - Rogues + Special Guests
19 Mar: Barfly, Camden - Underground Railroad + Dead Kids + The Chapman Family + Rubella
26 Mar: The Fly, Soho - This City + Lo-Fi Culture Scene + Soft Toy Emergency

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JAGERMEISTER PARTNER WITH ORANGE AMPS
Drinks brand Jagermeister has announced a partnership with amplifier makers Orange which will see the amp company's kit used at Jagermeister organised music events. That will include the Jager Truck promotion, which will bring bands to towns all over the country this summer.

A statement from the two companies said this: "Both our brands have an enviable reputation of supporting signed and unsigned bands and together we will be working on a number of exciting projects across the UK", while regarding the Orange-powered Jager Truck tour, they added: "With a mind numbing sound system and Orange stacks, the monolithic metal beast will be featuring live performances from both signed and unsigned bands, dispensing super chilled drinks and giving away stacks of free merchandise".

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AEG BOSS: LIVE MASTER NOT GOOD FOR THE INDUSTRY
Despite recent rumours that Live Nation rivals AEG might be quietly smiling on their competitor's proposed merger with Ticketmaster, in the hope competition regulators may force Live Nation to sell some of its most prestigious venues in order to win their approval, the boss of the live music major was once again critical of the proposed deal, telling a Billboard conference in New York yesterday that the merger was "not good for the industry".

According to the trade magazine, AEG top man Tim Leiweke said "I find it ironic that some think this merger will fix the business", adding that combining Live Nation and Ticketmaster would not lead to cheaper ticket prices for consumers, if anything he reckons the opposite will be true. "This merger won't create a new idea on how to sell more tickets" he told the conference, "it's all about the bottom line".

Concluding he said: "I trust [the Justice Department] to do the right thing, we can't have one entity dominating the live music business".

As previously reported, some have questioned why AEG, while publicly opposing the merger, haven't been more proactive in voicing their opposition at US Congress hearings discussing the proposals, with some wondering if some at the live music firm quietly hope the deal will go through, but with Live Nation being forced to part with some of its venue network - providing possible valuable new property acquisitions for AEG.

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FNAC TO CLOSE ITS PRIMARY MUSIC STORE IN PARIS
French retailer Fnac has announced it is closing its Bastille Place store in Paris, which is significant because it is the only Fnac in the capital that specifically focuses on music over the other entertainment and consumer electronic goods the retail brand sells. That said, the company denies the closure is a sign that they are "getting out of music", rather, they say, it is part of a global cost-cutting programme, and music will continue to be part of the wider Fnac offer.

Elsewhere in Paris, the retailer is introducing a 'centre of excellence' system whereby the music departments of different stores around the capital each focus on one specific genre, so that those stores will offer a more expansive range of releases within that genre, matching to an extent the range that may have previously been found in the relevant section of the Bastille Place store.

The 60 staff at the Bastille Place shop will be offered jobs elsewhere in the Fnac chain when it actually closes down later this year. As part of its cost cutting programme, the retailer is looking to cut 400 jobs across its French network of stores, though given the firm's socialist roots they are hoping to achieve that through the natural turnover of staff rather by than forcing any redundancies.

The French music industry more than most has suffered from a significant slump in record sales in the last ten years.

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MEXICAN AUTHORITIES RAID MASSIVE PIRACY OPERATION
Mexican authorities, aided by military personnel apparently, have seized over 350,000 bootleg CDs plus thousands of DVDs and no less than 1800 CD burners from a piracy facility in Veracruz, according to the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry. It's thought the piracy operation was run by an organisation called Loz Zetas, which supports the country's notorious drug smuggling organisation the Gulf Cartel.

An IFPI statement goes as follows: "It seems that besides providing protection and security to the Gulf Cartel, these individuals are now reproducing pirate music and films in the various states throughout Mexico. The group controls distribution of the pirate products by threatening merchants that refuse [to] sell their branded products. According to authorities, the large number of burners seized in the operation will have an impact on the short term supply of pirate product in the Veracruz area".

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NEW LABEL MANAGER FOR FICTION
Polydor marketing man Steve Warby has been promoted to the job of Label Manager for the Universal division's Fiction imprint, where he will work with Head Of Fiction Jim Chancellor. He will, though, continue to work in a marketing capacity on non-Fiction artists Delphic and Dan Black.

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AMAZON SELL DIGITAL TRACKS FOR 29P
Amazon MP3 has announced it will be selling ten tracks from top selling artists for just 29 pennies each. The deal leads on from the Amazon download store's frequent 'new albums for three quid' deals, where the per-track cost for a typical ten track long player is, of course, 30p. The songs available for just 29p are as follows...

LadyGaGa - Just Dance
Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You
The Killers - Human
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
The Prodigy - Omen
Eminem, Dr Dre and 50 Cent - Crack a Bottle
The King Blues - Save the World, Get the Girl
Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
The Saturdays - Issues

Amazon's Julian Monaghan told CMU: "Customers have told us how much they like our £3 album offers and we were keen to do something that was equally as appealing on individual tracks. We have worked hard to create a store that not only has great music at low prices but also benefits from ease-of-use and an ever-increasing selection. We believe that offering these ten chart-topping tracks for only 29p, we will encourage even more people to experience the Amazon MP3 store".

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SPOTIFY ADMIT TO SECURITY BREACH
Spotify have admitted that their data system was hacked earlier in the week and the personal details of some of the streaming service's subscribers had been accessed. An email sent to affected users said their email address, postcode, birth date and password may have been nabbed by the unknown hackers. Given that many people use the same email address and password for multiple web-services, they were advised to change their passwords on both Spotify and other web accounts. Those paying the subscription fee that makes the service ad free were assured their credit card information was not among the data stolen.

For reasons I'm not sure of, management consultants Deloitte have commented on the data breach. It may be because Music Week asked them for a comment. They told the trade magazine that the increasingly popular music service should "do a more comprehensive review of their application" to ensure such data thefts couldn't happen again.

The consultancy firm's Simon McCready told Music Week: "Spotify's reference to a bug suggests there was a flaw in the web application design. They may be too quick to jump to the conclusion that credit card Data is secure as often there is a degree of trust between the merchant site and the agent taking payment, it would suggest they need to do a more comprehensive review of their application. Whilst Spotify should mandate users to change their passwords to the new format on their next login, this needs to be done in a way to minimise the phishing risk".

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BBC BAN STARS FROM TAKING EXEC PRODUCER ROLES ON THEIR OWN SHOWS
The latest bit of new regulation at the good old BBC is that presenters and their agents will not be allowed to executive produce their own or their clients' shows.

The new rule is the latest to be introduced following the Sachsgate hoo haa. The Russell Brand Radio 2 show on which the comedian's infamous answer phone message routines with Jonathan Ross appeared was produced by his own company Vanity Projects. Brand's radio show had previously been an in-house BBC production, but had become an independent production in 2008, insiders say so that Brand could have more personal control over which producers worked on his show.

Some reckon that when shows are exec produced by the stars who front them, or their agents, then the executive producer is less likely to enforce the Corporation's rules regarding output, and less likely to properly consult higher management figures about segments that get close to the rule breaking line.

In a move that will no doubt piss off the Daily Mail, an exception to the new rule has been made for Jonthan Ross' agent Addison Cresswell, who will continue to have an executive producer credit on his client's Friday night TV show. Though the Beeb stressed that Cresswell will not have 'compliance' responsibility for the show, that will be handled by another exec producer not directly linked to Ross, Suzi Aplin.

Just like pop stars claiming a songwriting credit on a song for the five words they contributed to the lyrics, an increasing number of TV stars and their agents have insisted on exec producer credits in recent years, sometimes because they can demand an extra fee, sometimes because it gives them more artistic control over their work, sometimes for a simple ego-boost. When Ant & Dec's ITV shows, on which they are credited as Exec Producers, were among those found guilty of ripping off viewers with dodgy phone ins they were quick to stress that, despite the grand sounding title, they were not really all that involved in the production of their telly shows at all.

Confirming the new rules, George Entwistle, Controller Of Editorial Standards at BBC Vision, said this: "On-screen and on-air talent plays a vital role in BBC productions, both independent and in-house, and their creative input is very highly valued. But creative input must not be confused with responsibility for editorial standards and compliance. Artists and their agents need to be free to focus on the creative process while another senior member of the team takes responsibility for ensuring that compliance procedures are followed and editorial standards are met".

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FIVE TO LOSE A QUARTER OF ITS WORKFORCE
Channel Five is the latest broadcaster to announce some radical cost cutting. The telly firm says it will make about a quarter of its workforce redundant, which works out at 87 people being affected. The job cuts come as part of a restructure which will merge several existing departments in a bid to reduce the TV firm's top heavy hierarchy. Channel Five, like ITV and Channel 4, is busy trying to make their books balance while ad revenues slump.

As previously reported, one of the solutions suggested for overcoming Channel 4's financial woes was for it to merge with Five, a proposal that Five owners RTL are reportedly keen to consider, while it was rumoured last week that ITV top man Michael Grade had suggested the merger of all three terrestrial commercial broadcasters to create one uber-telly firm that might be able to better take on the BBC in the ratings war, and media majors like Sky in the battle for advertisers and sponsors. Bosses at the state owned Channel 4, however, have been less enthusiastic about proposals it merge with its truly commercial rivals, preferring instead proposals they work more closely with the commercial division of the Beeb, BBC Worldwide.

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ABC TO REVIEW HOW NEWSPAPER BULK-SALES ARE COUNTED
The Audit Bureau Of Circulations, the independent agency which monitors the circulation of newspapers and magazines, providing crucial statistics for advertisers, has said it will hold a "forensic review" of so called 'bulk sales', the process whereby publishers give away their news-stand titles at airports, stations, hotels and restaurants in a bid to boost their overall circulation figures (and therefore the prices they charge for advertising).

According to the Guardian, the review follows the discovery that figures provided by one supplier in the bulk sales market, Dawson Media Direct, were somewhat inflated compared to the number of newspapers ABC themselves could find being distributed. It's not thought Dawson were deliberately misrepresenting the number of papers they distributed, but that administration systems were such that sizable errors could be made.

There's also concerns that bulk-sales distributors are not properly reporting how many issues are left at the end of each day, issues that should be deducted from the paper's circulation figures. Whereas newsagents have a vested interest in accounting for unsold copies (otherwise they'll be charged for them), it's thought distributors of free-to-the-public copies are sometimes less accurate. The Guardian quote one newspaper insider as saying: "You can see the bundles of unread copies stacked up every night. There is no proper accounting".

There seems to be a difference of an opinion as to what effect the apparent inconsistencies in bulk-sales reporting could have on overall circulation figures. Some say very little, others reckon it could have a big impact. The Mail and Telegraph have the highest figure of bulk sales - over 100,000 each - though the Independent relies on bulk sales the most in terms of what percentage of their overall circulation is made up of freebies - currently about 18.5%.

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ARCADE FIRE AND FLAMING LIPS BATTLE IT OUT
In this new age of Twitter, it has become far easier for artists to insult each other instantly and in front of all their fans. There are people out there still using old fashioned methods like magazine interviews and blogs, though. Sa-a-ad.

Two such bands are The Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire, who have entered a war of words ignited by the former's frontman Wayne Coyne in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Coyne told the magazine: "I'm a fan of [Arcade Fire] on one level, but on another level I get really tired of their pompousness. We've played some shows with them and they really treat people like shit. Whenever I've been around them, I've found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit. They treated everybody in their vicinity like shit. I thought, 'Who do they think they are?' I don't know why people put up with it. I wouldn't put up with it. I don't care if it's Arcade Fire or Brian Eno. If either of them walked into a room and treated people like shit I'd be like, 'Fuck you, get outta here'".

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler responded via his blog by saying: "Wow,I can't believe I am actually writing to defend my band's 'real' personality. ... The only time we have ever shared a stage with the Flaming Lips was our last show on the Funeral tour at a festival in Las Vegas (over three years ago) ... I was really nervous to meet [Coyne] and I felt a little weird that we were playing after them. We traded a little hello, but he was a hard guy to get a read on. ... I can't imagine a reason why we would have been pompous towards The Flaming Lips, a band we have always loved, on that particular night, all those years ago. Unless I was way more jet-lagged then I remember".

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MICHAEL JACKSON REVEALS VERY LITTLE
And finally, as expected, Michael Jackson took to the stage yesterday afternoon, almost two hours late, to tell a 2000-strong crowd, and presumably thousands more via the online video stream, pretty much what we knew already - that he will be playing some gigs in London in July. Though he did throw in the promise that these would be his last ever shows in London.

It took him about five minutes to deliver those two revelations. Given we'd already been sitting around for two hours by that point, fortunately he then shuffled off the stage and let Dermot O'Leary tell us all the specifics. Not that we really needed them - given that most of the details had already been announced, thanks to posters all over the tube network and comments made by the boss of promoter AEG at a Billboard conference in New York earlier in the day.

But just in case you missed it, Jackson will play ten shows at The O2 Arena in July, beginning on 8 Jul. Fans can register to buy pre-sale tickets now at www.michaeljacksonlive.com or by texting MJ to 81707. They will go on sale to the general public next Friday.

The shows are being promoted under the banner 'King Of Pop Michael Jackson - This Is It!' Not, of course, a reference to the fact that King Of Pop Michael Jackson is the only pop star you'll ever need to see, but that, as he put it: "This will be it, when I say this is it I really mean this is it".

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