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Top Stories
A very long YouTube/PRS For Music report and commentary - you'll be wishing they blocked this
Rihanna will testify, if asked: Rihanna/Brown update
Winehouse's Coachella gig canned
Lots of drugs at Phish reunion
In The Pop Courts
C-Murder jailed over house arrest rules
Awards & Contests
AMP postponed because of Sound Relief
Reunions & Splits
Rowntree issues statement about future with Blur
Sugababes split rumour
Fortune less clear on INXS departure
Release News
Graham Coxon announces new solo album
New Fucked Up single
Gigs N Tours News
U2 dates
Rolo Tomassi announce tour & free live EP
Calvin Harris dates
Festival News
Beach Break Live announce line up
Festival line up update
Album review: Soap & Skin - Lovetune For Vacuum (PIAS)
The Music Business
Somerside becomes Columbia's GM
Edge announce new live investment scheme
MusicTank publish digital report
The Digital Business
City types more conservative on Apple predictions
The Media Business
Frank Skinner to present weekend show on Absolute
C4 bosses take pay cut, Sky say they're rubbish anyway
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Spears off-stage pussy remark heard by audience
Doherty digs Posh
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
Advertise with CMU
Israeli production duo MixMonster and Schoolmaster, aka Radio Trip, return with their second album, 'Music Heads', on 30 Mar. Released via Jalapeno Records, it features elements of turntablism, blues, jazzed-up breaks and funky beats. The pair will be in the UK this month to show off their impressive live show, too. We caught up with Schoolmaster to find out more.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We were both collecting vinyls from the age of 10 and met during our military service (nothing too serious). We were reunited a couple of years later as flatmates in Tel Aviv. Mixmonster was a sound engineering student and I had become a vinyl addict. Artists such as Portishead, DJ Shadow and the Ninja Tune label inspired us to express ourselves through bits and pieces of our record collections.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Twisted blues, bizarre jazz and swing, novelty tunes, eccentric artists and this whole weird world we had on vinyl.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
Listening to lots of record is our daily thing. When we do get the inspiration to do some actual work we play around until something fits or makes sense. We feel committed to our ears only and follow one ground rule: if it sounds goods to us, it works.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Contemporary cut n paste artists - Coldcut etc. All the artists featured on the 'Songs In The Key Of Z' book - Shaggs etc. Eccentrics - Moondog etc. And some early electronic experimentalists - Pierre Henry etc. And of course lots of comedy and novelty artists - Spike Jones etc (the 40s musician, not the film director).

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Roll one up and enjoy!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album/single, and for the future?
We begin next week a mini tour to promote our new release. We have a remix project that hopefully will be released soon as well. Gonna go back to the studio to work on new material with a vocalist. We want to use the fact we are touring as the apples to introduce people to Radio Trip. It's a different side of our musical makeup. We've had great support.


Ace, sultry, floating synths resonate all over Moon Unit's debut single, 'Connections', which was released last month via Death From Abroad and Supersoul Recs. Indeed, the musical backbone of Moon Unit are Supersoul head honchos Paul Mogg and Xaver Naudascher, with the enchanting chanteuse Rosalind on vocals. They've already been (somewhat oddly) tipped by The Times in their 'Ones To Watch For 2009' bit, as well as being played frequently by those reliable know it alls at Optimo. Add to that being mixed by producer extraordinaire Ewan Pearson, so you're on to a safe bet that taking a listen will considerably improve your day.

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So then, this is a big story, isn't it? YouTube yesterday announced it would be pulling all "premium music videos", which I think basically means any music video you'd want to watch, from its UK platform because of a dispute with the publishing royalty collecting body the Performing Right Society, or PRS For Music as they are known to their mates. The Google-owned video site said it would start blocking access to music videos to UK users as of last night, and that all affected vids should be blocked by the end of tomorrow. The announcement came as a bit of a shock to many, not least PRS For Music who say they are "outraged... shocked and disappointed" by YouTube's decision.

The decision comes as YouTube and PRS renegotiate the former's licence from the latter, which is required if the video site wants to legally feature any songs written by songwriters and owned or administrated by publishers represented by the Society, which is most of them. PRS, it's claimed, is using the renegotiations to try to push up the royalty fees it receives from the video service. YouTube, though, aren't keen on that idea, and say that the collecting society is being unreasonable, and that is why they have decided to stop showing music videos in the UK.

Confirming their somewhat radical video-pulling plan, YouTube said in a statement yesterday: "We value the creativity of musicians and songwriters and have worked hard with rightsholders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright. But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before. The costs are simply prohibitive for us - under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback".

PRS have hit back at both YouTube's decision to pull music videos from their website, and at the video service's comments. They say that they had no warning that the video pull was coming, and that the decision has come in the middle of ongoing negotiations between the two parties. With regards the allegations they are being unreasonable in their negotiations with the Google and YouTube, they argue that the sticking point is that web company want to pay less for their members' songs, not that they are demanding more.

What is most unusual about this whole thing, other than the fact that YouTube's decision to pull all premium music videos with immediate affect is a pretty severe measure, is that the content is disappearing off the Google video site at the web company's whim, rather than because of any demands by PRS or the music publishers they represent. Normally it's the content owners not the web platforms that instigate content removal.

Unless YouTube really believe that PRS's demands are so unreasonable that they will never reach a deal, or that any deal will be so cost-prohibitive that just keeping the service going while negotiations continue is too costly, then Google's decision is presumably designed to pressure the collecting society into agreeing to a more favourable deal (more favourable for YouTube, that is). I'm not sure whether that pressure is meant to come from the public or the rest of the music industry. Will PRS For Music be perceived as the aggressor by the man on the street in this dispute, and if so will the collecting society - which recently rebranded seemingly in a bid to boost its public profile - collapse at the negotiating table in a bid to avoid becoming the pariah figure of online music fans.

Or do YouTube hope their move will persuade the music industry at large to pile on the pressure so that PRS accepts their licencing offer. If so, where will that pressure come from? Possibly the songwriters and publishers PRS represents. Perhaps YouTube believe that the actual creators and owners of the songs they feature consider a YouTube presence much more vital than bosses at the collecting society, and that this radical move will rally said song owners into demanding PRS chiefs take a less hardline position at the negotiating table.

PRS, presumably, would argue that they are acting in the interest of the songwriters and publishers they represent by not giving in to YouTube's royalty demands. They might add that those in the songwriting/publishing community - for whom YouTube style royalties are arguably more important than any record sales a YouTube presence may lead to - would rather not be on YouTube at all than be underpaid for their work.

If pressure won't come from the songwriters and publishers where else? Well, perhaps the record companies, who are, after all, co-owners of the music videos that are about to be pulled off YouTube UK (most music videos having at least four copyrights in them - soundtrack, video, music, lyrics - which will, normally, be owned or administrated by two companies, artist/label and songwriter/publisher).

For many record companies (though not Warner, who are also in dispute over royalties), YouTube is both an important tool and an increasingly important revenue stream. How many official artist and label web pages are about to lose their video feeds because they stream their own content via YouTube on their own websites? And how much money will Sony, Universal and EMI lose if UK music fans are not able to access their videos via YouTube, most people's first port of call for music video content?

Will bosses at those three majors, and the many indies who will also be affected, be on the phone to PRS today telling them to do whatever is needed to get their content back on YouTube? And if PRS won't listen, will execs at the Sony, Universal and EMI record companies start badgering their counterparts at the Sony, Universal and EMI music publishing companies who do, presumably, have quite a bit of influence over the publishing royalty society. Perhaps that is what YouTube are hoping for. Though if they are, they shouldn't underestimate the willingness of record and publishing companies owned by the same major music firms to have very different opinions when it comes to royalty issues.

Whatever, it will be interesting to see just how many videos are blocked by YouTube today, and how long either side in this debate will let the pop promo blockade to continue. Neither side win really. There are many other video websites with music video content - some licensed, some not. If YouTube goes too long without any music videos, or with sizable gaps in its catalogue, web users may start to discover those other services, some of which actually offer a better user experience anyway. PRS may not care about that, though if the sites web users are heading to are illegal sites that pay no royalties to anyone, then they're probably bigger losers than Google from any mass YouTube exodus.

Of course, coming less than three months after Warner Music pulled its content from YouTube after their royalty renegotiations faltered, the latest development also poses some questions about the future of licensed on-demand music services.

There is some disagreement among record companies and music publishers as to just how important such services are in the overall digital equation. Some say YouTube alone is bringing in substantial new revenues to record companies to help compensate for the decline in record sales income. Others say YouTube benefits more than the content owners from carrying music videos - and that the existence of on-demand video services are, anyway, contributing to the decline in record sales in the first place.

But if royalties from online music services are an important part of the revenue mix for the music companies of the future, which I think they are, and if music is one of the best ways for websites to attract and engage users, which I think it is, then both web firms and music companies need to find a system that works for both parties. And, in the meantime, need to find a way around what I suspect will become an regular problem: web firm runs out of start up capital and realises original ad revenue projections were rather ambitious just as music owners return to the negotiating table, of the opinion they were overly generous first time round to help web firm get off the ground, and now looking for pay back.

PS: The good news is, of course, that our music video service, the CMU-Tube, is powered by good old MUZU ( and not YouTube, so none of this affects us. Go enjoy some vids on us -

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Having confirmed last week that his client will testify if asked to do so in the case against her girlfriend-beating boyfriend Chris Brown (mainly because she has to by law), Rihanna's lawyer Donald Etra has been talking some more to MTV News. He says the singer is hoping for a speedy resolution to the case because "she wants to get along with her life and career". He added that while the singer had, as previously reported, not asked for any kind of restraining order against Brown, that she would report any instances of him breaking the court order that was put in place by the judge - that he not "annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against" her or anyone else. What all that means re the rumours Rihanna and Brown are back together is anyone's guess.

Brown is also seemingly seeking a speedy resolution in order to get on with his life. Of course, in his case getting on with his life means not going to prison for four years. According to TMZ, he is trying to make a plea bargain with prosecutors to have his charges bumped down from felony charges to misdemeanours. His lawyers argue that Rihanna's alleged "aggressiveness" in the couple's altercation (some reports claim she struck first) take the case out of the felony category. However, others argue those photographs of Rihanna's injuries show proof of Brown's "superior strength", which would bump the charge right back up to a felony again.

TMZ also report that Brown sent a text message to Rihanna's assistant following the attack apologising for what he had done and saying that he was getting help. That text would be admissible in court and could be "extremely damaging" to Brown's case as it would amount to an admission of guilt. Brown has not yet entered a plea.

Meanwhile, Rihanna is apparently taking her mind off the events of recent weeks by recording new material. Producer Adonis Shropshire has told Hip Hollywood that he is working with her on the follow-up to her 2007 album 'Good Girl Gone Bad'. He said: "[We have not been doing lots] because she's really just easing back into it. Just a couple of ideas here and there over the last couple of weeks but it's all coming out really good. She's really going in kind of the same direction, just an evolution of what she is - a super pop diva. She's doing okay. I guess her refuge is her music, as it should be".

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Amy Winehouse will not perform at this year's Coachella Festival as planned, according to her spokesman, Chris Goodman, who has confirmed that "legal issues" are at the root of the problem. The singer was charged with assault last week, which has affected her application for a US visa to attend the event, which takes place next month.

You may remember Winehouse was previously declined a US visa to attend last year's Grammys, and though she was eventually granted one, it was not in time for her to make the show.

Elsewhere in Amy news, it has been confirmed that she will perform in May as part of the celebrations for Island Records' fiftieth anniversary, taking place at Shepherd's Bush Empire (there's a website for that anniversary by the way -

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A hell of a lot of illegal drugs were seized at the weekend in Hampton, Virginia, as 75,000 fans attended those previously reported Phish gigs. According to reports, $1.2 million of illegal drugs were seized, and 194 people were arrested over the course of the three days that saw the band play three consecutive nights. Crikey.

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Corey Miller, formerly known as C-Murder, is reportedly back in prison in Louisiana after he apparently broke the house-arrest rules he is being detained under whilst awaiting trial over the previously reported killing of a sixteen year old boy during a brawl at a New Orleans nightclub back in 2002. The rapper, who was previously convicted of the crime, but has been granted a second chance to defend himself against the charges in court, is restricted to staying in his grand home in Kenner. According to Deputy Chief Chuck Whitmer of the Gretna Police Department, an electronic monitor has indicated that Miller was out of range for about 10 minutes on Monday.

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The Australian Music Prize, sort of an Aussie Mercury Music Prize, will now be presented on 20 Mar, and not this Friday as originally planned, so as not to clash with the Sound Relief concerts, two big fundraisers taking place in Sydney and Melbourne this weekend to raise money for the victims of the Victoria bushfire and Queensland flood victims.

As we may or may not have previously reported, the shortlist for this year's prize is as follows...

The Presets - Apocalypso
Beaches - Beaches
The Drones - Havilah
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
CW Stoneking - Jungle Blues
Jack Ladder - Love Is Gone
Tom Cooney - Presque Vu
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colours
Ross McLennan - Sympathy For the New World

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Dave Rowntree is not planning to quit Blur after their initial reunion shows if the rest of the band decide to continue working together, as was suggested in an article written by The Independent last week.

In a statement issued to the forum on Blur's official website, Rowntree said: "I want to set the record straight following the bizarre and inaccurate piece in The Independent today. As anyone who follows the band will know, we all have interests outside Blur. I am currently at law school, about to sit the exams for the first part of my training as a solicitor. I am fitting my studies around our preparation for the shows in the summer. I have one more year of academic training to complete, but if we decide to do more as Blur, I will obviously continue to fit my studies around the band and not the other way round. Whatever else I do, first and foremost I am a musician".

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Sugababes will split up after one final tour, the News Of The World has claimed. The paper cites the poor sales of their last album, 'Catfights And Spotlights', for the decision.

A source told the paper: "They haven't ruled out getting back together in a year but they're officially on an indefinite extended break".

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JD Fortune has revised his version of events regarding his firing from INXS.

As previously reported, Canadian Fortune, who won the frontman role in the Aussie band via that 'Rock Star INXS' TV show, said in a recent interview that he was fired from the group during a conversation with his bandmates at an airport in Hong Kong. The band denied the claims, saying that they had planned to get back in touch with Fortune about future projects, even though the contract that he won on the TV show was only for one album and one tour.

In a new interview with Sun Media in Canada, Fortune says: "That was sort of a misquote [on my part]. It was the proverbial handshake. Nobody really said, 'Thanks a lot, kid'. I thought we were going to see each other again. It was kind of like, 'Hey, hey, I'll catch up with you later'". So, make of that what you will. Fortune is, of course, trying to launch is solo career at the moment. Whether he'll get any more work with INXS after his recent comments remains to be seen - their rep recently suggested not.

INXS, by the way, have just announced they have extended their publishing deal with Warner Chappell UK, who will represent most of the band's catalogue worldwide.

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Some might say Graham Coxon has got his hands full at the moment, what with playing with Pete Doherty and that upcoming Blur reunion. That's no reason not to release a new solo album, though, surely? Recorded last spring, the album, entitled 'The Spinning Top' and produced by Stephen Street, will be released by Coxon's own label, Transgressive Records, on 18 May.

The album will be preceded by a limited edition single on etched vinyl, 'In The Morning', on 18 Apr, and then followed by a second single, 'Sorrow's Army', on 25 May. A solo tour is also being planned for later this year.

Graham says: "The album is mainly an acoustic journey although there is, of course, some explosive electric guitar action. I wanted to show how exciting acoustic instruments can be, how dynamic and rich and heart-thumpingly raw they can sound at a time when acoustic music seems either too cute or too soppy. Obvious influences here are the amazing Martin Carthy, the late, great Davey Graham and the late, great John Martyn".

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Canadian hardcore types Fucked Up have released nearly 100 records since they formed in 2001. Do we need another one? Fuck yes. 'Year Of The Rat' is the third instalment of the band's series of singles based on the astrological cycle, featuring an epic 11 minute A-side. The single is released via Matador on 23 Mar.

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U2 confirmed the details of their upcoming world tour yesterday which, as previously reported, will be called the 360 Degree tour and will be presented in the round, as it were. Support acts over the tour will include Glasvegas, Elbow, Kaiser Chiefs, Snow Patrol and Black Eyed Peas. Dates as follows...

30 Jun: Barcelona, Nou Camp
7 Jul: Milan, San Siro
11 Jul: Paris, Stade de France
15 Jul: Nice, France, Parc Charles Ehrmann
18 Jul: Berlin, Olympic Stadium
20 Jul: Amsterdam, Arena
24 Jul: Dublin, Croke Park
31 Jul: Gothenburg, Sweden, Ullevi
6 Aug: Chorzom, PL, Slaski Stadium
10 Aug: Zagreb, HR, Maksimir Stadium
14 Aug: London, Wembley Stadium
18 Aug: Glasgow, UK, Hampden Park
20 Aug: Sheffield, UK, Don Valey Stadium
22 Aug: Cardiff, UK, Millennium Stadium
12 Sep: Chicago, Soldier Field
16 Sep: Toronto, The Rogers Center
20 Sep: Foxborough, Mass., Gillette Stadium
24 Sep: New York, Giants Stadium

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I'm not sure announcing a Rolo Tomassi tour as new is strictly true, given that they seem to be doing nothing but touring at the moment, but what the hell, they are the best live band in the UK at the moment. So, it pleases us greatly to announce their brand new tour, which will snake its way around the country under the banner 'The Northern Alliance' in April and May. Support on the tour comes from Grammatics and Pulled Apart By Horses, except in Ireland and Leeds.

There are no dates announced for the capital as yet, but the band say they will be announcing "a very special event in London" soon.

As a little extra bonus, the band are giving away a free live EP to anyone who pre-orders tickets through their MySpace page -

The tracklist for the EP is:

Oh, Hello Ghost
I Love Turbulance
Cirque Du Funk

Here are those tour dates:

14 Apr: Leicester, The Musician
15 Apr: Sheffield, The Plug
16 Apr: Wrexham, Central Station
17 Apr: Nottingham, Bodega Social
18 Apr: Manchester, Satan's Hollow
19 Apr: Leeds, The Faversham
20 Apr: Middlesborough, Uncle Albert's
21 Apr: Liverpool, Barfly
22 Apr: Glasgow, Stereo
23 Apr: Belfast, Auntie Annie's
24 Apr: Limerick, Dolans (Upstairs)
25 Apr: Dublin, Academy 2
26 Apr: Cork, Cyprus Avenue
28 Apr: Bristol, Croft
29 Apr: Cardiff, Barfly
30 Apr: Exeter, Cavern
1 May: Bournemouth, Gander
3 May: Southampton, Joiners
4 May: Oxford, Academy 3

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One of CMU's favourite musicians at the moment - thanks in part to his always entertaining Twitter feed, but mainly the new track EddyTM has been playing on The Remix on Xfm recently - Calvin Harris has announced some tour dates, which is nice. Look, here they are:

25 Apr: Thekla, Bristol
26 Apr: Concorde 2, Brighton
28 Apr: Oran Mor, Glasgow (sold out)
29 Apr: Digital, - Newcaslte
1 May: Kasbah, Coventry
2 May: 02 Academy 2, Manchester
3 May: Custard Factory, Birmingham
5 May: Scala, London (sold out)
6 May: Cockpit, Leeds
7 May: Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast
8 May: Trinity Ball, Dublin
11 May: Alhambra, - Paris
12 May: Melkweg, Amsterdam

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The UK music festival especially for students, Beach Break Live, has announced its line up for 2009, and it includes Dizzee Rascal, The Zutons, Mystery Jets, Friendly Fires and Ladyhawke, plus DJ type sets from the likes of Chase & Status, DJ Yoda and Krafty Kuts. Storming. The festival, which takes place from 16-19 Jun in Cornwall, will also include The Mighty Cornish Goblet, Strictly Come Raving and the infamous Moustache Bar, whatever they are. As always, many tickets will be sold by students who act as reps for the festival within universities around the UK. More info from - press info from [email protected].

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CAMDEN CRAWL, Camden, London, 24-25 Apr: Echo & The Bunnyman, Idlewild, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Mumford & Sons, The Von Bondies, The Whip and Wire added to Friday 24, and Billy Bragg, Golden Silvers, Ipso Facto, King Creosote, Little Boots and Toddla T added to Saturday 25.

GLASTONBURY, nr Pilton, Somerset, 26-28 Jun: Oh, so Neil Young is headlining after all, despite him also being booked for the IOW Festival. He joins Blur and Bruce Springsteen as headliners of course. Fleet Foxes also confirmed.

T IN THE PARK, Balado, Kinross-shire, 10-12 Jul: Nine Inch Nails and Janes Addiction confirmed, The View, Glasvegas and Pet Shop Boys to headline King Tut's Wah Wah Tent.

ROSKILDE FESTIVAL, nr Roskilde, Denmark, 2-5 Jul: Nine Inch Nails added to this one too. Join bill that includes Oasis, Coldplay, Slipknot, Madness, Amon Amarth, Cancer Bats, Darkane, Deichkind, Dungen, Get Well Soon, Katzenjammer, Klovner i Kamp, Satyricon, Skambankt, Yoga Fire, The Soft Pack, Down, Baddies, and Marnie Stern.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Soap & Skin - Lovetune For Vacuum (PIAS)
Anja Plaschg, aka Soap & Skin, is only 18 years old, but you'd be easily mistaken for thinking she had lived a long, long life full of misery and despair rather than growing up with her parents and siblings on a pig farm in Austria. Most of the tracks from 'Lovetune For Vacuum' focus around Anja's vocals and an accompanying piano part of broken chords and slow melodies. To counteract the cleanliness of the piano the album slowly introduces and builds on familiar sounds. Following the short introduction from 'Sleep', 'Cry Wolf' gives you a taster of things to come with Anja's vocals layered heavily to create a choral effect. She avoids traditional percussion and opts for camera shutter clicks and cash register clashes to provide a beat. 'Thantos' is a gothic track, creating emotional depth through key and production rather than instrumentation. 'Fall Foliage' is one that somehow takes the album to an even more depressing level with chromatic melodies and gradually builds in depth and volume bringing in electronic elements and pounding beats. 'DDMMYYYY' is the peak of Anja's electronic experimentation on this album with highly produced squeaks and beats following an awkward but rhythmic pattern and growing into a chilling song with shouts and cries creeping through the mix. The album wraps up with a lullaby, 'Brother Of Sleep'; a calm after the storm. Soap & Skin is probably too dark and quirky for the mainstream but will be a bit hit with those who like obscure talent. AW
Release Date: 16 Mar
Press Contact: Hermana PR [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Sony's Columbia division has appointed Angie Somerside as General Manager. Somerside previously did the same job for Sony's Red Ink and Epic UK units, though most recently headed up the UK operations of artist management company Q Prime who manage, among others, Universal-signed Snow Patrol

Confirming the appointment, Music Week quote Columbia MD Mike Smith thus: "We worked together while Angie was at Red Ink, and obviously the fact that she was general manager of Epic previously is perfect. For me it is great to have somebody coming in who has been working on the management, and understands what they are faced with, and also somebody that has been working with Universal so we can learn from how they are doing things, good and bad".

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Music investment outfit Edge has launched another investment fund, its third in just over a year, this one set to invest in live entertainment projects, which might include music, theatre, sport or festivals. It's an 'enterprise investment scheme', which apparently means there are tax benefits for those that sink cash into it before the end of the financial year.

Edge Investment Management Director Alasdair George told CMU: "The Edge Live Fund combines tax advantages for the investor with the opportunity to participate in the live events business. With much of the uncertainty over Enterprise Investment Schemes now removed [because Chancellor blokey Alastair Darling clarified some things, I think], we are optimistic about the growth prospects of this market and the uptake of the opportunity to invest in the Edge Live Protected EIS (No.3) Fund".

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MusicTank will today publish a new report called 'Let's Sell Recorded Music', which follows up those previously reported Think Tank debates held under than banner last Autumn.

The debates, involving representatives from the music industry, internet service providers and mobile networks, digital music service providers and government, looked at recent, current and future developments in digital music, at what digital services engage consumers while offering decent rewards to content owners, at how those services relate to and impact on each other, and at how legit licensed music services can compete - or not - with free illegal music services, with or without stepped up anti-piracy measures.

The new report will provide a summary of those panel discussions, and then state the case for more research into new digital music services and models, recommending more consumer testing and maybe even a government-set timeline to motivate more development investment and cross-industry collaboration in the digital music domain.

Collaboration is key, of course, and the report recommends the Memorandum Of Understanding reached between the record companies and ISPs last year be continued and developed to ensure workable ways to combat illegal file sharing are found, and that compelling new digital music services are developed. That said, relations between the labels and net firms are still rather tense, and with the government's recent Digital Britain report a lot less severe than expected with regards the ISPs duty to combat online piracy, it remains to be seen if the partnership created by the MoU achieves much in either the short or long term.

Announcing the new report, MusicTank Associate Director Sam Shemtob told CMU: "Music rights holders - the canaries in the mine of the creative industries - are now focused on working with ISPs to offer fans legitimate alternatives to file sharing. MusicTank believes that only by building on the dialogue fostered by the MoU process, encouraging increased collaboration and road-testing different models, will the foundations be laid for compelling alternatives to be built upon".

MusicTank Chair Keith Harris added: "MusicTank has become an important instrument for facilitating discussion on the music business issues of the day. This report will help focus the arguments between the main stakeholders on the key subject of solutions to the file sharing dilemma".

The report is available for free from this here link:

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Digital Music News reports that the recession gloom is even starting to grow around Apple Computers, a company that is no stranger to financial difficulties, but which may have forgotten how to deal with them having been on something of a high for several years now, aided in part by the huge success of the iPod and it spin offs.

As previously reported, the health of Apple boss Steve Jobs has been causing investment types some concern, so important is he to the company's success in many investors' eyes. But it's the recession which is reportedly making some analysts in the US downgrade their expectations regarding Apple profits.

Sales on the high street of the iPhone and other Apple devices continue to do well, but increasingly cautious city types, including analysts at JP Morgan and Thomas Weisel Partners, are being more conservative that normal regarding the potential of Apple stock in the coming year, presumably assuming that as the economic gloom bites consumers will stop being quite so gadget hungry. The result has been a 2.5% slip in the Apple share price.

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Absolute Radio has recruited Frank Skinner to present a new Saturday morning show, though he'll be in the breakfast slot meaning he won't go up against Jonathan Ross on Radio 2.

Skinner's new radio show will be produced by his management, Avalon, who also produced his long running BBC/ITV chat show. It will be the first independent production to air on the national rock station.

Confirming his new recruit, Absolute COO Clive Dickens called the comedian a "seasoned professional and a fantastic communicator who will be hugely popular with our audience", adding: "He is bloody funny and tells great stories and that is what you should expect from his Saturday show. I can see the enthusiasm with which he has approached it - radio is a medium that Frank very much wants to conquer".

On the choice of time slot, 8-10am, ie before Ross goes on air on their rivals, Dickens added: "I am very conscious that Jonathan does a great job on Radio 2 and I can understand why people might compare them but I see Frank and Jonathan doing two very different things".

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The boss of Channel 4 will take a voluntary pay cut of 35% as part of widespread cuts at the struggling state-owned commercial broadcaster, though he was one of the highest paid execs in British television, so I don't think he'll starve. Andy Duncan had had a pay packet said to be worth £895,000, but moving forward he'll earn less than £600,000. The network's Director Of Television, Kevin Lygo, will also take a cut, of about 25%. The voluntary pay cuts were announced as C4 confirmed it would have to fire a third of its staff and freeze the wages of those left in a bid to make the books balance as advertising revenues slump.

Confirming his pay cut, Duncan told reporters: "Executives volunteering to reduce their own pay is very unusual but these are exceptional times. Both Kevin and I are strongly committed to the future success of Channel 4 and believe this step demonstrates that commitment in a practical and meaningful way. Both of us believe this is the responsible course of action, as we enter discussions with our suppliers about extracting greater value from our programme investment".

That last point will mean Channel 4 will be looking to reduce the cost of its programmes, by persuading the production companies who make their shows, and the celebrities who front them, to charge lower fees.

Duncan and Lygo's pay cut announcement followed the release of BSkyB's response to the previously reported Digital Britain report published by the government which considered, among other things, the future of the British TV industry amid rising competition and declining ad revenues.

The future of Channel 4 was, of course, a big part of that review following the network's claims that it could not continue to provide its public service programming long term with just ad revenues as income - bosses there were angling for a cut of the TV licence fee, though that is an option not favoured by either the BBC nor Digital Britain report writer Lord Carter. The report proposes Channel 4 merge with a commercial rival, like Channel 5 or maybe even ITV, to become more profitable, or form an alliance with the commercial division of the Beeb, BBC Worldwide. C4 execs reportedly favour the latter proposal.

But the Rupert Murdoch-dominated Sky say that Channel 4 wasted millions on pointless new ventures outside its core remit - including the whole Channel 4 digital radio debacle, a costly new venture now scrapped - and that it therefore brought much of it current woes on itself. They seem to be suggesting that the government and broadcasting industry should be less forgiving, and that the government should not be pushing for - nor twisting competition rules to allow - any merger between C4 and BBC Worldwide or another terrestrial broadcaster.

They argue that, despite the slump in profits, Channel 4 is sitting on healthy cash reserves and could survive by slashing back its operations to its core activities, and then investing time and energy into developing new revenue streams other than advertising and state subsidy - possibly subscription-based services (though C4 did dabble with that before). They indicate Sky would be willing to form an alliance with Channel 4 to help them do just that, adding that they have suggested such an alliance previously but have been knocked back by C4 execs.

Sky's agenda re C4, unsurprisingly, seems to be driven by the aim of stopping the state owned TV firm from merging with another commercial terrestrial broadcaster, something that would create a formidable competitor for Sky. If there are going to be any alliances with other broadcasting companies, they'd prefer Channel 4 to work with them. And, if C4's new ventures mean they rely less on advertising revenues, and therefore compete less with Sky for advertising income, all the better.

Sky's response to Digital Britain is one of many responses from media, content and telecommunications companies expected to be submitted this week. The responses will be considered before Carter publishes a second final report later in the year.

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

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

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Britney Spears apparently shocked thousands of fans at a gig in Tampa, Florida when they heard her tell her stage crew "my pussy was hanging out" after performing her single 'I'm A Slave 4 U'. She reportedly shared her observation with crew members after being lowered down into a trap door without realising her mic was still live. I'm presuming that if audience members were only shocked by her remark (actually, I think they were more amused), her pussy wasn't really hanging out, because in all probability if it was that's what we'd be reporting. Spears kicked off her world tour last week, and has already been accused of miming for most of the show - some say she only performs one song live. Still, the pussy remark presumably proves her mic is live for some of the gig.

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Pete Doherty says he is inspired by Victoria Beckham's taste in fashion, which is interesting, I didn't realise she was behind the slightly-podgy dishevelled former junkie look. Doherty apparently told the Daily Star: "I think Victoria looks very sharp. She's a very stylish lady and I really like her military hats. I mean that". A source apparently added: "When he sees images [of Posh's costumes] he remembers similar styles he wore in The Libertines. He hopes Posh's style injects respectability into his image so his solo career is taken seriously". Doherty is sharing his fashion views, of course, because he's busy plugging new single 'Last Of The English Roses' from his debut solo album 'Gracelands/Wastelands'.

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