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United We Cope
Top Stories
UK Music support PRS over "cynical and exploitative" Google
Government starts another bloody digital copyright review - this time it's the 'Rights Agency' consultation
Bono wants more done to stop filesharing
New Zealand tel co remains opposed to new three-strike law
Rihanna/Brown update
Sound Relief raises five million
Concord chief dies
Former Capitol president dies
Artist Deals
City Slang sign Cortney Tidwell
In The Studio
The Dream wants to collaborate on album with Kanye
Films N Shows News
Marianne Faithfull film in the pipeline
Gigs N Tours News
Fifty Jacko shows sell out
The Fighting Cocks on tour
Festival News
Big Chill confirm their zombie-filled cinematic offerings
Single review: Animal Collective - My Girls (Domino)
The Music Business
IFPI chief criticises Canada's record on combating piracy
HMV appoint C4 chief to their board
The Digital Business
Smiths launch mail-order website
Merlin do deal with Catch Media
The Media Business
Global hit back at OfCom criticism of its GWR Bristol output
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Cornell responds to Reznor's Scream Twitique
Noel wants Street cameo

Now it's claimed Pheonix fan fight was a hoax too

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead formed in 1994, although the band's main creative forces Conrad Keely and Jason Reece have known each other since childhood. Known for their epic indie rock sound, the band released two albums on independent labels before signing to Universal's Interscope in 2001. They parted company with the major label in 2007 and released their sixth album, 'The Century Of Self', via German label Superball Music last month. Ahead of UK tour dates next month, we spoke to Conrad Keely.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started the same way everyone does, I picked up an instrument and discovered I liked making noise. I don't remember, I was too young, but my mother says she bought me my first drum set when I was two. When I was eight we were poor and living on a gypsy camp outside Nuneaton, and I carved drumsticks out of pieces of firewood we had in our caravan. When you want to make music, you make it however you can.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I was inspired by the weather, especially winter, and the sound of sirens, kids screaming outside, loud conversations I had overheard in supermarkets. Inspiration is literally everywhere, if you're looking for it - shows on television, the news, recent atrocities perpetrated in the name of freedom, various comedies, a lot of wild life shows, some food shows. I was inspired by travelling, by meeting nice folks, by meeting crazy assholes.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Pain, lots of ongoing, miserable pain. Why do you think I look so terrible these days? Song writing is something I don't really enjoy, I don't know if you're supposed to enjoy it, but it's quite hard for me. I don't consider myself particularly talented at it, obviously there are some people for whom it is more effortless. I'm just very determined and obstinate, I suppose.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Every single one I hear. Even if they're bad, even if I say, "that music is horrible, turn it off", it's influenced me somehow, either in a positive or negative way. For that reason, I like to spend lots and lots of time not listening to music at all. Usually when I'm writing music, I only listen to the music in my head, and go for long periods deliberately avoiding listening to other peoples work. Some of the most negative inspiration I've ever had continues to be German hip hop, but mainstream British and American pop isn't far behind. I suppose you have to love it all.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would tell them to free their mind of expectations.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I am trying to approach this album free of expectations. My ambitions, on the other hand, remain lofty, some might say unachievable, but they've been telling me that all my life. You know, basically, to do a lot of really great things, and impress many people, but keep my real character hidden behind a charade of politeness.

MORE>> and

The former Polyphonic Spree member and Sufjan Stevens and Glenn Branca collaborator set herself loose with 2007's 'Marry Me', a record that at times captured the spirit of the fabled experimental acoustics of Kate Bush, it being awash with 'quirkiness' and eccentricities. Her new material sounds just as strong, as first snippet 'The Strangers' continues her foray in shape-shifting orchestration. Building slowly, the track rouses with loops of Parisian accordion (?) that gives way to explosive guitar, a trick she perfected on the previous album, showcasing her almost savant multi-instrumental abilities before kicking at the fuzz (here it starts around 2.30). If the rest of the record is this good then it's worthy of challenging Animal Collective for a foolishly premature 'album of the year' tag.


Highly motivated and creative person required to join fabric (a leading London-based club with affiliated record label and publishing company) to work on our growing roster of artists. Successful applicant must be able to put together a cohesive campaign strategy and implement from start to finish. Must have previous experience working in a marketing department. Salary commensurate with experience, private health care and other benefits.

Please send CV and covering letter to [email protected].


Take the next step in your career by joining the dynamic music PR team at Get In! We're looking for a confident PR Account Manager with at least two years experience to join our expanding company. Naturally, a passion and understanding of Electronic Dance Music is vital, as well as a flair for creative and interesting writing. Knowledge of Ibiza and current dance music trends, coupled with a determination and willingness to succeed, will put you in pole position.

Get In! - a London-based company that works the global market - is the leader in providing creative PR for the dance music industry. Our expanding roster is testament to our skills and commitment to providing the best PR service. Find more info about us at We're looking to fill this position immediately. Salary negotiable depending on experience.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE APPLYING: To apply, send an email with your CV, recent picture and exactly 135 words telling us why you're perfect for the job to [email protected]


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 [email protected] for information or to book.

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Amazing duplex loft-style 3-bedroom house in converted school. Gated development in East Peckham/Old Kent Road with secure parking. 16' high ceilings throughout. Large reception room with beautiful exposed brickwork and oak floors, measuring 20’x11’ widening to 20’ with a mezzazine of 10’x10’ above. Dining kitchen (15’4” x 10’3”) with dishwasher, washer/drier, fridge freezer, double oven & gas hob; exposed glazed brickwork & parquet flooring. 3 Bedrooms (13’x10’ (+ ensuite), 20×10’ and 14’9) all with original period sash windows, original wooden floors and 16’ ceilings. Bathroom with shower over bath; downstairs cloakroom. Secure gated covered parking. Freshly decorated and floors newly sanded. Private garden and shared communal grounds. 10 minutes to Queens Road train, lots of buses on Old Kent Road. £1760 pcm on 12 month AST, four people max occupancy. Please email [email protected] for further details, photos or viewings, or click here for photos


Bright and airy top-floor two bedroom flat in large detached period house on Camden/Kentish Town Border (corner of Camden Road / Camden Park Road). Very well appointed, clean and well maintained, with superb sitting room including open fire and working shutters, modern kitchen with washer/dryer & full size fridge freezer, and modern bathroom with bath & great power shower. Large double bedroom (9'x15') with built in wardrobes, second double bedroom (7'6 x 11'). Plenty of storage space including large loft space. 10 minutes walk to Camden Town and Kentish Town tubes, 253, 29 and 390 buses are 30 seconds walk. Secure cycle storage in building. Secluded shared garden for use. Ideal for young professional couple/sharers. Unfurnished. Available 1st April. £1275 pcm. For more information or to arrange viewing, please email [email protected]


NEW TO CMU - advertise any flats or rooms you are looking to rent out, or flats or rooms wanted, for just £25 a week. Call 020 7099 9050 or email [email protected] for information or to book.

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Does nothing in your life feel like it's under control? United We Cope.

Team CMU has joined a new online community designed to help us all COPE with modern life.

Each week a different 'modern dilemma' will be posed.

Suggest how you would COPE, and get some free advice from your fellow COPErs.

Tips may be practical, or wise, or just a bit silly. Either way, United We Cope.

This week: I want to buy Fair Trade, but I love a bargain, how do I cope?

Some suggestions already received...
Andy from CMU
"Look for discounts on products other than coffee and bananas".
Stephen Grant
"Haggle. People in 3rd world countries expect it, and will ultimately respect you for it, even if it does mean not affording fresh water supplies for 6 months".
Dean Muhsin from Bearweasel
"Find the cheapest thing in your supermarket, exchange a low amount of money for said inferior product – voila, fair trade".
Read more and make your own suggestions - click on 'dilemmas' at

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It took a few days for the video blockade to noticeably kick in, but if you search for music videos by most major artists on YouTube in the UK this morning you'll invariably get the "not available in your country" line as the Google-owned video service's dispute with British publishing royalties body PRS For Music starts to bite.

As much previously reported, Google last week decided to block access to all premium music videos on YouTube in the UK, even though it has licensing deals in place with three of the four major record companies, because its licence renewal talks with PRS For Music - who represent the songwriters and publishers, the owners of two of the four copyrights that exist in most pop promos (the music and the lyrics) - have been faltering. PRS say they were happy for YouTube to continue to stream music videos while talks continued, but Google bosses decided to pull them anyway, presumably in a bid to strong arm the royalties body into agreeing to a less favourable deal, and maybe to secure public support in their bid to persuade the collecting society to play ball.

As also previously reported, Google argue that PRS For Music is now asking for too much money for the rights to stream music by the songwriters they represent, and that their demands make the whole YouTube business model unviable because advertising revenues would never cover the costs of hosting the content. PRS For Music argue that the rates they are proposing are based on those set by the UK's Copyright Tribunal in a previous dispute between the collecting society's and various streaming music services, and that Google is just trying to build their business and boost their profits without paying a fair price for the music that is essential to that business.

Although the Music Publishers Association issued a statement that sort of supported PRS shortly after YouTube announced the video blockade last week, it was generally left to the artist community to criticise Google in the media, mainly because they were conveniently doing the rounds of the TV studios anyway to promote the official launch of their Featured Artist Coalition. The music business at large, including the record companies, who will potentially lose revenue when access to their videos is blocked by YouTube, made little comment.

Until Friday that is, when UK Music, the newish trade body that in theory speaks for the record companies, music publishers and artist managers, issued a statement very much backing the PRS, calling Google "cynical and exploitative", and accusing them of using "counter-productive negotiation tactics" in a bid to force the songwriting community to accept a deal which essentially sees them subsidising a multi-billion dollar company.

The statement from the Feargal Sharkey headed UK Music read: "Great music attracts an audience. This has always been true, and it is true now, more so than ever. Internet start-ups have quickly learned that they can build huge user-numbers by offering access to our members' music. Creativity is the lifeblood of the digital economy. Such popularity is also proof of music's huge intrinsic value. Without this high quality raw material - generated by the endeavours and creativity of our songwriters, composers, artists and musicians and all those who invest in them - sites such as YouTube would be somewhat less compelling. However, whether online or offline, demands that our creative talent should subsidise someone else's business model is as unreasonable as it is inappropriate".

It continued: "Licensing embryonic start-ups has brought significant challenges to all creative businesses. There still are challenges - for both sides - although they can and will be overcome. A huge diversity of licensed digital music services are already active in the UK, and as an industry we remain committed to growing the future of our business. Google, however, qualifies as neither embryonic nor a start-up. In 2008 alone, the internet search giant recorded profits of over £3bn. By comparison, PRS For Music is a not-for-profit organisation, run by its members for its members. In this light, it is difficult but to interpret Google's actions this week as anything other than cynical and exploitative. Such unheralded and counter-productive negotiation tactics are not only detrimental to music fans, but also to the UK's songwriters and composers".

With the video blockade only now really coming into effect, and with tough talking like this suggesting there won't be a quick resolution to this dispute, it will be interesting to see what impact the removal of videos from YouTube has on all parties. We all know music videos are among the most popular kind of content on YouTube, and more savvy web users will quickly find other sources of pop promo content, possibly on unlicensed streaming sites or file-sharing networks where record companies and music publishers receive zero for their content.

That said, there are other music video services, including the increasingly expansive MUZU TV, who last week criticised their rivals over their squabble with PRS and added that their own business model accommodated the collecting society's standard rates. And, of course, there is Spotify, the on-demand audio streaming service with an ever growing catalogue which, although not quite as all-encompassing as YouTube, is pretty damn big. True, it's audio not video, though given that until recently there were no expansive, truly on-demand, free and legal audio streaming services, I think there's a very high chance people were attracted to music videos on YouTube more because of the easy-access to songs rather than the visuals of the videos.

That is to say, if the YouTube/PRS stand off proves to be long term, it will be interesting to see who loses out - everybody, or primarily Google. If the latter, that's gotta effect the video services' power at the negotiating table with labels and publishers all over the world.

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With the deadline now passed for feedback from content owners and digital service providers to Lord Carter's previously reported 'Digital Britain' report on the future of internet access, TV, radio and online content services in the UK, the government's Intellectual Property Office has asked for more specific feedback on the proposals within Carter's report that were arguably of most interest to the music industry - the creation of a Rights Agency to monitor and possibly police online piracy.

With the specific proposals in Carter's report regarding fighting illegal filesharing, and on the internet service provider's duty to assist in that fight, somewhat lacking as far as the music industry was concerned, the Lord's other proposal to launch a Rights Agency might be a way for the record companies etc to push the government on its past informal promises to force the ISPs to take more draconian measures against those who file share, maybe even cutting them off.

That said, IP Minister David Lammy has called for more cross-industry discussions to take place before considering new laws to force the ISPs to act, still preferring the idea that record companies and internet firms should adopt a voluntary code regarding policing online piracy, presumably because he'd rather not be seen as the politician responsible for laws that could lead to kids losing their internet connection.

Given that talks between music and net companies regarding such a voluntary code have been ongoing for sometime, without much agreement on anything really, other than the need to keep on talking, it seems unlikely a voluntary code that all sides can agree on will ever be drafted, and therefore any Rights Agency - whether an independent body or department of media regulator OfCom - will have to put some noses out by either turning a blind eye to internet piracy, or introducing draconian new rules that won't be popular with ISPs or net users. That said, and given all that, it seems unlikely any of this will be resolved before the 2010 General Election, meaning it probably won't be Lammy who opens the new Agency - in whatever form it takes - anyway.

Still, it was him that announced the new consultation with content and net companies regarding what form the Agency should take and what powers it should weald. He said on Friday: "A properly worked out rights agency could be a real step forward. We can't have a system where even net-surfing 12-year-olds have to understand copyright in order to keep themselves and their parents safe within the law. The real prize here is a rights agency that sorts out the complexities that keep consumers on the right side of the law, and ensure artists get properly paid. We need to make it easier for consumers to do the right thing. The internet has become an integral part of daily life. You shouldn't need to be an underwriter to take out an insurance policy, and you shouldn't need legal training to surf the web".

Lord Carter, Minister For Metaphor, added: "In the new digital age, copyright infringement has become easier and more socially acceptable, so it's clear we need some form of legislative backstop for the protection of rights as well as new and innovative ways to access legal content. Today we have published proposals in the form of a Straw Man on digital rights. That Straw Man could be torched, tolerated or a touchstone for the start point of constructive debate and design. I for one hope it is the latter".

As well as discussing what powers the new Rights Body should have, other topics for discussion will include how it is funded, how it connects to government and/or OfCom, and how it can get involved in education initiatives to teach the masses the ins and outs of copyright.

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Talking of filesharing, that Bono fella has been talking about the whole issue in America, presumably as he does the media circuit to promote new album 'No Line On The Horizon'. And he says that while millionaire pop stars like him don't need any more money, the music community at large has a duty to ensure less wealthy artists and songwriters are fairly paid for their work, and should lobby political types to do something to combat online piracy. Not that he expects politicians to act though, although he says they probably will once the film studios and TV companies really start to suffer from file sharing. And do you know, quite of few of those points are spot on.

The U2 man told USA Today: "People think people like me are overpaid and over-nourished, and they're not wrong. What they're missing is, how does a songwriter get paid? It's not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money, but somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it's a sacred thing, so I'm a little offended [by illegal downloading]. The music business has been thrown to the dogs legislatively. That will change when filesharing of TV shows and movies becomes as easy as songs. Somebody is going to call the cops".

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And talking of the three-strike system, which we weren't explicitly, but we were pretty close to mentioning it at one point, those slightly controversial plans to introduce the anti-piracy rule in New Zealand have stumbled slightly because the country's second biggest telecommunications company have refused to introduce a disconnection policy.

As previously reported, the three-strike system would mean that illegal file-sharers who ignore two or maybe three warnings from their ISP that their file-sharing amounts to copyright infringement would be cut off from the internet completely, and banned from switching to another net provider. The system, which is being introduced in France and New Zealand, and has been touted elsewhere, including in the UK, is not popular among the ISPs, and has been much criticised by consumer rights groups and web users, especially in the two countries where the system is likely to become a reality.

In theory the system is already a reality in New Zealand where the country's government successfully got its three-strike proposals through its parliament. However, a globally supported internet campaign against the new laws, coupled with genuine concerns about who exactly will police them - unlike in France, there is no new government backed agency to oversee the disconnections - have led to the new measures being delayed. The content owners who lobbied for the three-strike laws are busy talking to tel cos about how the system could work, but comments last week by one of those tel cos - TelstraClear - suggest that the net providers aren't in a hurry to comply with the new rules.

A spokesman for the phone company told reporters: "We have had an unprecedented large reaction from customers who knew it could force them to disconnect the internet with no proof they did anything wrong. We cannot do this to our customers".

As in the UK it remains to be seen if a voluntary code can be agreed upon by the content and net companies, even though there the threat of new laws has already been fulfilled.

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OK, despite producer Polow da Don seemingly confirming to the world last week that rumours that Rihanna and Chris Brown were back in the studio working together were true, a source has now said the former power couple of American R&B pop have not been collaborating since the bust up that left Rihanna unconscious and Brown facing jail.

To be fair to da Don, if you read his quote from last week, he never explicitly said they had been in the studio together recently. And now a 'source' has told "Contrary to published reports, Chris Brown and Rihanna did not record a duet after the incident". They added that although the two stars did record vocals for a da Don song, it was done last year and was only ever intended as a demo. So, there you go.

Elsewhere in Rihanna news, reports that Revlon has hired a market research company to assess whether the singer's recent altercation with boyfriend Brown has had an impact on her desirability as a brand ambassador. Or something like that. It should be added that Rihanna is currently fronting a marketing campaign for Revlon's rivals Covergirl, so it's not that the cosmetics firm is reviewing its own relationship with the star with a view to dropping her for having the audacity to be beaten up by her boyfriend.

That said, some wonder if Revlon is trying to gain some marketing advantage over its rival because of their association with a tarnished star, though given the general outpouring of public sympathy for Rihanna worldwide, that would seem like a dangerous strategy. It could be that the company is interested to know, on an academic level more than anything else, whether stars being involved in scandals, even as the innocent player, affects their value as a brand-fronting star. And, on an academic level, it would be interesting to know if it does.

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While British comedians, tedious telly stars and minor c'lebs were busy breaking fundraising records on the Comic Relief telethon on Friday, on Saturday it was the rock stars that were doing their bit for charidee, with the previously reported Sound Relief concerts in Australia raising funds for the victims of the country's recent bushfires and floods. A quick speech from Princes William and Harry, a rare performance from Barry Gibb and Coldplay becoming John Farnham's back band were among the novelty turns at the two benefit shows, which took place in Sydney and Melbourne, while Midnight Oil, Split Endz, Kings Of Leon and The Presets all did their bit delivering star turns at the events, which also broke records in terms of benefit gigs in the country, raising a cool $5 million. Well done to all Comic and Sound reliefers.

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The chairman and co-owner of US independent Concord Music Group, Hal Gaba, has died after losing his fight with cancer, aged 63.

Gaba's background was business, having a degree in finance from Berkeley, and starting his career as city firm William O'Neill & Co, but he moved into the entertainments industry by joining Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin's Tandem Productions, a successful American television business. Forming long-standing business relationships with Yorkin and, in particular, Lear, by 1990 Gaba was CEO of media and entertainment group ACT III Communications.

That company, though, did not own any music assets, something that Gaba had always wanted to do, hence his pleasure in acquiring, with Lear, the jazz and easy listening focused Concord Music Group in the late nineties. Heading up the label, Gaba got to work with and release music from many greats, including Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Sergio Mendes, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

Gaba's Concord, of course, grabbed the headlines in more recent years by forging an alliance with Starbucks, including co-owning the coffee chain's short lived label venture Hear Music, perhaps most remembered for releasing Paul McCartney's first post-EMI solo album.

Gaba is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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Former Capitol Records boss Alan Livingston, perhaps most remembered as the man who gave the Beatles there first US record contract, has died aged 91.

Livingstone began his career as a writer and producer of children's albums for Capitol, and in doing so created Bozo The Clown, a popular kids icon in fifties America. He moved into other domains at the US major, at one point signing Frank Sinatra, then at a career low, and helping to relaunch the crooner, partly by partnering him with arranger Nelson Riddle. After a few years away from music working in TV, producing Western series 'Bonanza' among other things, he returned to Capitol to sign the Beach Boy and Steve Miller And The Band, and to spearhead the launch of the Fab Four in the US, despite the fact other execs at the label had previously turned the British band down, despite them being signed to EMI, a sister label, in the UK.

After departing Capitol for the second time Livingstone set up his own TV and music company, helping launch Don McLean among other things, before selling out and taking on a job at Twentieth Century Fox.

Paying tribute to the former Capitol boss, Neil Portnow, the president and CEO of the National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences, told reporters this weekend: "He had great taste and judgment, as far as musical talent, and as an executive, he was always very mentoring, very supportive".

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German indie City Slang has signed Nashville-based singer songwriter Cortney Tidwell, who will release the follow-up to her acclaimed debut 'Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up' via the label. Although details and time scales for that new album are very much tbc, new material is expected to feature when she plays the Slaughtered Lamb in London in a few weeks time. She opens for Beth Orton at the London pub venue on 29 Mar, and plays there herself on 6 Apr. She will also appear supporting Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird at the following May gigs...

10 May: Bristol Thekla
11 May: London Shepherds Bush Empire
13 May: Manchester Academy 3
14 May: Glasgow Oran Mor

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Grammy winning R&B star Terius Nash, or The Dream to his fans, has said he wants to collaborate on a full album with Kanye West after the hip hopper guested on his latest single 'Walking On The Moon'.

Responding to speculation about future collaborations between the two stars, Nash told MTV: "Everybody is trying to talk us into it. It was first thought of by me. I was in Miami at the time, and I gave Kanye a call and said, 'The best thing would be for me and you to do an album'. I feel he's at a certain place in hip-hop, I'm at a certain place in R&B, and lyrically, I'm just in a certain place in my lifetime".

He adds: "Let's take the best of both worlds and put it on a CD and try to make something we can sell to the consumers. He says he's with it. We're gonna try to make it happen. I told him, 'Let me lift my profile up a little bit'".

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The life story of legendary singer and sixties party chick Marianne Faithfull is to be turned into a movie. No timescales have been confirmed as yet, but Faithful herself has confirmed plans are in development, adding that she reckons her lifestory will make for a great film.

She told the BBC that her life had been "a great story", adding of the film: "It won't happen right away but we have found a director who I trust who wants to make the film".

While she will approve the movie, she won't be directly involved in its production. She added: "I'm not getting involved. I'll read the script, when it's ready, which isn't for a long time, and then I'll leave it to the director and the actress he chooses. I don't want to have much to do with it. I want to read the script and like the script and then I'm going to let go of it and let them do what they want. That's the way to do it".

Faithfull was presumably being interviewed because she's busy promoting new album 'Easy Come Easy Go'. There's a copy here on my desk that I keep meaning to listen to.

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So, tickets for the fifty Jacko shows that have been confirmed as taking place at London's The O2 later this year (and into next year) have now all sold out. After pre-sales to registered fans earlier last week, tickets went on proper sale on Friday and were all gone in a few hours. That means 750,000 tickets have been sold overall, which is rather a lot. I wonder how many people are going out of freakish curiosity?

Confirming the sell out, the boss of promoters AEG Live Randy Phillips told reporters: "The last week has been the most astonishing I have seen in my career in the entertainment business".

Phillips has also confirmed that AEG have sort of fallen out with secondary ticketing firm Viagogo. With tickets for the Jacko shows up for grabs via various ticketing auction sites before they'd even gone on sale, AEG appointed Viagogo as its official resale service. But there were rumours that AEG/Viagogo's relationship had quickly soured after the secondary ticketing firm allegedly offered the premium ticket packages it was also selling to other agents and touts in London. Phillips told reporters his secondary ticketing partner "did something really bad" and added that his company was taking action to ensure only tickets bought according to their agreement with Viagogo were valid.

While AEG are busy falling out with their secondary ticketing partners, they are presumably busy sucking up to their insurance company. While the original ten date O2 residency has been reportedly insured to the tune of £80 million, rumour has it no insurance company is willing to insure the full fifty date run, nervous it'll all going to go horribly horribly wrong - not least because of Jacko's state of health - and that they may be faced with paying out the £300 million that cancelling the full residency would probably cost. That said, Phillips insists Jackson is in good health, and says talks with AEG's insurers are ongoing. He told reporters: "The insurance brokers sent doctors and they spend five hours with him, taking blood tests. He's a vegetarian, he's in great shape. The insurance cover, we are working on that now".

Finally in Jacko news, HMV has reported a four-fold increase in sales of Jacko's hits album 'King Of Pop' following all the hype that was created by the announcement of the singer's O2 residency. Sales of 'Thriller', meanwhile, are up 80%.

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CMU favourites The Fighting Cocks will be touring the UK starting this week. Although dubbed 'The Roadside Shrine Tour', they will actually be playing in proper venues and everything.

Tour dates:

19 Mar: Northampton, The King Billy
20 Mar: Nottingham, Seven
21 Mar: TBC, possibly shopping in Sheffield
22 Mar: Leicester, The Shed
24 Mar: Chelmsford, The Fleece
25 Mar: Colchester, The Twist
26 Mar: Streatham, The Bedford Park
27 Mar: Birmingham, The Barfly
28 Mar: Hastings, The Tubman
29 Mar: Brighton, The Hope

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Organisers of the Big Chill festival have announced details of some of the non-music entertainments that will be on offer at this year's event, though it does include a live performance of British Sea Power's rescoring of the classic movie 'Man Of Aran', so that bit does include music too. But there will be lots of other film type entertainment as well, with Film4, the BFI and the ICA all doing some rather interesting visual things from conventional movie screenings to interesting clips form the BFI's archives to a night of Bollywood type shenanigans, including Bollywood dancing lessons.

Oh, and Film 4 and Warp Films will be inviting festival-goers to dress up as zombies and be filmed for a special Big Chill zombie flick which will be made available online shortly after the event and which could just break the record for most zombies to ever be caught on camera at the same time.

The non-music stuff will also kick off on Thursday, ie before the main part of the festival programme, meaning there will be extra entertainments for those who arrive early.

Commenting on this year's movie related stuff, Big Chill's Katrina Larkin told CMU: "Last year over half the chillers arrived for the festival on the Thursday, a day before the main music entertainment. So this year, to our excitement, and following an approach from the BFI, the British Sea Power project fitted into place for Thursday. The Big Screen activities will be a lot of fun, and something a bit different. One thing is for sure - normally people look like zombies at the end of festivals, not the start!"

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SINGLE REVIEW: Animal Collective - My Girls (Domino)
Here's a phrase I've heard many times before: "I don't get Animal Collective. They're just noise". A while ago, during the band's 'Feels' days, I would've agreed with at least half of that statement - the Collective make grating, continuous, and sometimes monotonous noise, but at its very core, their sound is inventive and, for fleeting, wonderful moments, beautiful. 'My Girls', the first single to be taken from their latest album, 'Merriweather Post Pavilion', is five and a half minutes of that extraordinary infusion of beauty. The opening, which sounds like a drawn out snippet of 'You Got The Love' sent into outer space, unfolds the song over a vast plain of chanting vocals and erratic, invigorating percussion and hand-clapping. Organic and mournful but ultimately exhilarating, 'My Girls' is 2009's first massive torch song. TW
Release Date: 23 Mar
Press Contact: Domino IH [all]

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As much previously reported, Canada has not been kind to the music industry in its fight against online piracy, with judges there frequently declaring that the country's current copyright law can't be used to sue those who download unlicensed music, while politicians procrastinate big time about changing the law so that it has more bite in internet related infringement cases.

With that in mind, the boss of the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, John Kennedy, has told the Canadian Music Week conference in Toronto that the country's ability to launch and develop global music stars is in jeopardy because "sky-high piracy rates" are crippling Canada's native music industry.

According to Billboard, Kennedy argued that "the lack of interest in intellectual property by the Canadian government is truly astonishing", and added "this is becoming a problem because you are losing your best acts".

But, he said, all is not lost, adding that with the right political will Canada could catch up, perhaps by adopting measures similar to those being considered in the UK and France - ie those that involve more collaboration between the music companies and the internet service providers. He concluded: "I think [Canada] can make up ground given the high level of digital high speed broadband penetration. But businesses have to see a decline in piracy so they can make a return on their investments".

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Not sure if they read Sky TV's recent submission to the government's Digital Britain review which claimed Channel 4's current financial woes are basically down to massive incompetence on the part of management there, but HMV has recruited Channel 4 chief Andy Duncan as a non-executive director. Perhaps they are also going to ask for a cut of the licence fee to prop up their business.

Confirming his appointment to the HMV board, Duncan told reporters: "I am very pleased to be joining the HMV group board. CEO Simon Fox and his team are executing a clear plan to improve and grow the business in changing markets, and I very much look forward to contributing to the board as the next steps in the group's transformation are charted".

Still, following their recent move into the live music space, the recruitment of a media man into the boardroom could be an indication that HMV is planning further diversification, which would be sensible.

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Proving they're never more than ten years behind everyone else, WH Smith have launched a mail order website selling CDs, DVDs and games - so an Amazon clone basically. The genius of the high street retailer's new online venture, though, is its name. Rolls off the tongue don't you think?

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The globally-focused indie label digital rights whatnot Merlin has announced a deal with Catch Media making music from the labels it represents available via the Play Anywhere system, which is a new subscription-based digital thingy that works through mobiles, PCs, set-top boxes and in-car systems, and which expects to launch in the US in the next few months.

Confirming the deal, Merlin top man Charles Caldas told CMU: "The Play Anywhere system is an exciting new development. Not only does it provides consumers with a convenient, safe and practical way to access their collections, but it generates new revenue for our labels that simply did not exist before. We are delighted to have the world's most important independent repertoire that we represent included in this groundbreaking initiative".

Catch Media chief Yaacov Ben-Yaacov added: "We are very excited to partner with such a forward thinking company like Merlin, which has not only rapidly grown to be one of the most commercially significant source of independent music, but is also at the forefront of revolutionising the licensing of digital music".

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Global Radio is facing up for a fight with media regulator OfCom after rejecting a warning about the output of its terrible Bristol-based FM station GWR.

OfCom says that GWR does not play enough contemporary music to satisfy the conditions of its FM licence. It gave the station a "yellow card ruling", adding that it had had complaints about similar failures to meet licence conditions about other Global stations, and that the radio giant should review all the output of all its mainstream pop stations.

But Global has hit back, calling OfCom's actions "extraordinary", and claiming that the regulator ruled against its Bristol service without considering the data evidence it had previously requested.

Global said in a statement: "GWR Bristol was asked to supply music logs to OfCom by today, Friday 13 March. The requested information was supplied by yesterday, 12 March. OfCom's decision was made without reference to either the station, or by talking to its owners, Global Radio. This is an extraordinary way for a regulator to behave by issuing a judgement before a deadline has passed. We do not accept these findings and are considering our position".

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You know how it is, you wait a couple of years for a Comic Relief single and then two come along at once. And it's lucky, too, because while The Saturdays' Depeche Mode cover failed to reach number one last week, Rob Bryden and Ruth Jones' cover of The Bee Gees' 'Islands In The Stream' has cracked it - with a little help from Tom Jones and Robin Gibb. It seems actually starring in a popular TV show, rather than having two former members of a spin-off of another band who had a popular TV series, is the way to go. If only because it's easier to type. The Saturdays are still at number three, though, so it's not perhaps as gloomy as I may have made out.

In other new entries on the singles chart news, Oasis are at number ten with 'Falling Down' and September is at 14 with 'Can't Get Over', while Katy Perry rises from 42 to 27 with 'Thinking Of You', Leona Lewis is back in the top 40 with her cover of Snow Patrol's 'Run' at 32, Metro Station step up from 54 to 37 with 'Shake It' and Annie Lennox brings yet another cover into this week's top 40, with her version of Ash's 'Shining Light' moving from 50 to 39.

Over in the album chart, U2 remain at number one, even though the single 'Get On Your Boots' has now crashed out of the charts. Meanwhile, things are a bit new entry-tastic below with, with Annie Lennox in at two, Kelly Clarkson at three, Taylor Swift at five, Faryl at six, Michael Ball at 11, The Dubliners at 16, The Everly Brothers at 23, Starsailor at 26 and Lee Mead at 39.

The charts are compiled by the Official Charts Company

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Former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has responded to Trent Reznor's previously reported Twitter rant about his new Timbaland-produced album 'Scream'.

As previously reported, Reznor said of 'Scream': "You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell's record? Jesus".

Cornell has responded thus: "What do you think Jesus would twitter? 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone' or 'Has anyone seen Judas? He was here a minute ago'".

Make of that what you will. Meanwhile, Reznor has had another more interesting rant about the whole secondary ticketing phenomenon. We'll round up his thoughts tomorrow, but you can read it right now at,548515

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Noel Gallagher has appealed to the bosses of 'Coronation Street' to let him guest star on the soap, admitting that he and his girlfriend are addicted to the show. Speaking to Radio 1, he suggested he could be wheeled in to punch the soap's recent bad boy character David Platt, before taking on his mother, the long term Street character and very slappable Gail Platt. Gallagher told Radio 1: "They are all brilliant. It's such an institution that programme, I love it. Why they've never asked me to be in it is really one of the scandals of our age". Reps for the show told the NME they were "thrilled" the Oasis man was a fan, but wouldn't comment on whether including the rocker in a storyline had ever been considered.

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As Joaquin Phoenix continues to deny his questionable move into hip hop is a hoax, sources claim a bust up between the former actor and an audience member at a gig last week was also a set up. The altercation, which was filmed and posted online, was, one source has told the New York Post, "completely staged". The source adds: "It was a fake fight. Nobody threw a punch. They were just holding onto each other". Pheonix's friend and brother in law Casey 'brother of Ben' Affleck, who has been documenting his friend's hip hop career, was filming the gig, and some claim the confrontation was staged for his camera.

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