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Top Stories
Irish ISPs ready to fight three-strike proposals
Six Organs man says music becoming nothing but information
In The Pop Courts
Restraining order against Britney's ex extended
Kanye West facing jail?
Pop Politics
Music people comment on changes in musician benefits
Awards & Contests
Two Tenors to appear at Classical Brits
Reunions & Splits
Charlotte Hatherley joins Bat For Lashes
Release News
NY Dolls confirm album release date
Madonna will record new tracks for hits package
Gigs N Tours News
Maximo Park to return with charity gig
Hot Chip, etc, to play 'hidden gigs'
Rumspringa announce debut UK shows
Festival News
Camp Bestival introduce instalment programme, Glasto committed to deposit system
Festival line up update
Single review: The Kills - Black Balloon (Domino)
The Music Business
Bronfman bonus criticised given Warner's multi-million dollar losses
Sherdian Square to close
MusicTank go green
The Digital Business
Will the growth of streaming services lead to new A&R priorities?
Harrison Junior on Beatles digital delays
The Media Business
Goody's family defend OK's premature tribute
Blogosphere channel anger at Express Dunblane teens "scoop"
The Sun hire axed TalkSport presenter to front online radio station
New French laws to force radio listeners digital
GMG oppose C4/BBC alliance proposals
Chart Of The Day
This week's playlist
And finally...
The sad tale of Doherty's frozen cat
Liam Gallagher launches clothes line

Bob Dylan gasses Malibu

Recent Ninja Tune signee King Cannibal (aka Dylan Richards aka Zilla) returns next week with his latest single 'Virgo'. Featuring vocals from French crew Face-A-Face it sees him exploring the darkest depths of electronic music yet further with his mouth-watering mix of dubstep, dancehall and drum n bass. As with each of his singles so far, it takes a sharp turn away from previous releases whilst still holding on to something that makes it instantly recognisable. And he's not just casting this magic on his own originals, any introduction to King Cannibal should include a blast of his stunning remix of The Qemists' collaboration with Wiley, 'Dem Na Like Me'. With his debut album out later this year, things are already looking very exciting indeed. We caught up with him to find out more.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I think I went down the same route that most people did really. A series of progressively less bad punk bands. After accidentally erasing the drums on a 4-track of demos we were putting together I started experimenting with samples and sounds to replace them. Looking back now I think that is when I first started getting really excited about making music on my own terms and doing something different instead of covering 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (come on... we've all done it!). From there I slowly got into DJing and then putting together mix CDs that got progressively more reliant on re-editing and cutting up tracks until they turned into full blown new productions.

Q2 What inspired your new single?
Some tracks are heavily inspired by certain events, places I've been to or movies I've seen. Though this really isn't the case with 'Virgo', the next single. I just wanted to make something fun for the dancefloor. I'm a huge fan of Modeselektor (which is something that'll be painfully obvious over the two tracks on the 12") and I wanted to try to make something a little easier on the ear with a lot of drive and a good time vibe to it. A friend of mine, Ebola of Wrong Music, knew I was looking for new female vocal acts to work with for my album, and he introduced me to Face-A-Face whom he had just remixed. 'Virgo' as it stood in instrumental form seemed like a perfect match for their vocal style. It's very very different to [previous single] 'Aragami Style' in every way, but the album (which I'm still working on) is looking like a real mix of genres, so it all works in terms of the LP. The flip of the 12", 'Murder Us (Feat. Jahcoozi)', has more of a story behind it, but maybe we'll save that one for next time, eh?

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Anxiety, excitement, excitement, excitement, worry, excitement, frustration, relief. In that order. I get the most inspired to make music after listening to other people's music, be it in clubs or just at home browsing the internet. I have a pretty hefty amount of samples, so I sit down at Logic and try out processing a bass line until something clicks and I get something good going. Then I'll add a kick and start layering drums on there or a synth and map that out for a few minutes. Next I usually start getting to work on small bassline edits, some dramatic drop outs and the intro. Next comes finding a good counter melody - I always have trouble with this bit! When I've got the track finished I'll try and play it out a few times, start a new track and get a bit of distance between myself and the track. When I've got to the end of the new track I've made I'll then go back with some fresh ears on the previous song and see what it needs and where it could be improved. Then I send it off to Ninja Tune and hope they don't tell me it stinks or send me back a paragraph of things that could be done to improve it.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I've already said Modeselektor - I really like how they can put an album together containing tracks over so many different genres, yet they are still all instantly recognisable as Modeselektor works. Older drum n bass producers like Nico, Optical, Matrix, Photek and Boymerang - it's amazing how some of these tracks are over 10 years old now but still sound not only fresh but futuristic. The clean mean sounds of dubstep acts like Peverlist, Appleblim, Scuba , 2562 and Martyn. The raw, dirty and deep techno of Rhythm & Sound. A lot of current drum n bass, Current Value, Raiden, Limewax, Dylan, Donny, Technical Itch, Seba, Fanu and Instra:Mental. I should add Timbaland and The Neptunes on there too, but they come as standard, of course.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Ideally, not a whole lot. I'd like the music to explain itself and for them to enter the listening experience without prejudice. Of course I'd be happy to answer any questions that people have after they've listened.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your new single/album, and for the future?
I want the album to really work well as a whole, as there are very very few albums I can listen to from start to finish (Fugazi - 'Repeater', Showbiz & AG - 'Runaway Slave' and Beastie Boys - 'Paul's Boutique' being the small amount that initially spring to mind). Every track I sit down to make at the moment comes out completely different so it will be a big mixture of genres but all with the King Cannibal DNA embedded within. I really enjoyed working with Wiley's vocals on my remix of The Qemists' - 'Dem Na Like Me', so I'd like to get the opportunity to work with some bigger names in the future and to expand my sound even further. I think the first album is about establishing the King Cannibal approach to music and getting my identity out there - the next album will be me fucking with things and expanding on the acorns planted in the first LP. I'm very ambitious and driven, but I never set my goals more then one step ahead of what I'm doing, so all I can do for now is to make the best album I possibly can... and maybe, just maybe, I think I'm doing that.

MORE>> and

Shugo Tokumaru had critics flustering over his last album, 'Exit', which Metacritic has tagged under 'Universal Acclaim', a nice enough plaudit. Not one to diversify sound-wise, 'Exit' continued his foray into twinkling 60s influenced folk music, plush with wooden flutes, brushed acoustic guitars and a variety of percussive instruments. Tracks like 'Parachute' have a homely warmth, being familiar yet fresh enough to still excite, and with all the chirpiness of Swedish serotonin abusers Peter, Bjorn and John, who Shugo has helpfully covered in a rather brilliant way at the 'Little Radio' link below.


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].


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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Bright double bedroom with adjoining bijous living room and bathroom to let in a very large three bedroom luxury townhouse in Brondesbury Park NW6. The house has a large and spacious modern kitchen, large living and dining areas and a southwest facing garden with barbeque areas. There is free access to an onsite fitness complex with gym, full size heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna! The townhouse is situated in a beautiful private development with gated access and comes with a free off road parking space and visitor parking. Queens Park village is just a five minute stroll with lively pubs, deli's and eateries, a Sunday farmer's market and the park itself. Queens Park Station (Bakerloo) and Willesden Green (Jubilee) are both a five minute walk. The space is ideal for a professional single/couple. Rent: £795 pcm - includes internet/service charge. Call Adrian on 07971 555020 or email [email protected]


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


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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The Irish internet industry is lining up to oppose record industry proposals that they introduce the infamous three-strike system which would see persistent illegal file sharers lose their internet access if they failed to heed two warnings that their sharing of unlicensed content online amounts to copyright infringement.

As much previously reported, the three-strike system has been much touted as one way internet service providers could do their bit in policing online copyright theft. It was first formally raised in France, where the government adopted the system as policy and have since been busy pushing it through the country's parliament - the upper house has already passed it, debate in the lower house is ongoing.

While French politicians went through the legislative processes, the New Zealand government swiftly got its variation of the three-strike proposal passed into law, though with seemingly little consideration as to how exactly the disconnection system will work, ie who will decide who is sufficiently guilty of file sharing to warrant being cut off and what, if any, will be that web user's right of appeal. Not to mention who will pay for any administrative or quasi-judicial procedures that are required. The country's net firms and content owners are currently trying to hammer out a system both sides can agree to, though the internet providers, who opposed the laws, are in no real rush to agree such a system, because the new three-strike law kind of sits in limbo while the talks are ongoing.

In Ireland the record industry is trying to introduce the three-strike system through coercion rather than legislation. The Irish Recorded Music Association successfully persuaded the country's biggest telecoms company Eircom to introduce the three-strike rule as part of an out of court settlement relating to a wider copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the record companies. The labels were pushing for the ISP to introduce content monitoring software to track the unlicensed distribution of copyrighted material. The net firm figured signing up to the three-strike system was preferable to being possibly forced by the courts to introduce monitoring software that could be a drain on their bandwidth and maybe even breach their own privacy rules.

As part of its deal with Eircom, IRMA pledged to lobby the net firm's rivals regarding them also introducing the three-strike system - which arguably only works as a deterrent if its applied industry-wide - and to pursue any ISPs who wouldn't comply through the courts. But it looks like doing so is going to require quite a bit of litigation on the record companies' part because pretty much all of Eircom's competitors have publicly dissed the three-strike proposals, relying on the thing often quoted by net firms keen to not have to cut off their fee-paying but file-sharing customers, European privacy laws.

A trade group called the Irish Service Providers In Ireland, which counts BT Ireland, O2, Verizon Ireland, Vodafone, Clearwire, Google Ireland, UPC Ireland, and, for that matter, Eircom as members, has issued an open letter confirming its members have received correspondence from the major record companies threatening legal action if they do not adopt similar measures to Eircom. But they argue that threats of legal action are "spurious" because "there is no evidence of wrong-doing by the ISPs". More over, they say, introducing the three-strike measures the labels propose would impact on Irish and European privacy laws.

The body says: "Privacy of user communications is protected in European and Irish legislation. ISPs can not be expected to ignore these merely because it does not suit another private party".

The record companies are yet to respond to the letter. It is not clear what happens to Eircom's commitment to introduce three-strike if the other net firms successfully block efforts to make them do so too - ie whether the IRMA/Eircom agreement requires the labels body to just try and get the other ISP to comply, or whether Eircom have any get out on their commitment if no other net company will play ball.

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Indie psy-rock guitar man Ben Chasny, perhaps best know for his output as Six Organs Of Admittance, has warned that music is losing its value as an art form and becoming nothing more than data to be collected and filed away, as people become "addicted" to information. For many, he says, the act of sharing the experience of listening to music and enjoying that interaction has been all but lost.

Chasny told The Quietus: "The other day I came across the first Sun City Girls LP on a blog. It's absolutely out of print, no way I will probably ever see it in a store or on eBay for a sum I could afford, so that left me with a clear conscience about downloading it for free. But I realized, how much pleasure would I get from it anyway? Why do that? Just to say I have it, that I have heard it? I decided not to download it because it would be much more enjoyable to at least share the experience with someone else. Maybe someone will play it for me one day. Until then, it's just information".

He continued: "I do believe we are becoming addicted to information. You only need to look at those people who have hard drives filled with songs that they have never even listened to. They are not even collecting music. They are collecting information. And the more people become addicted to information and the faster they can obtain that information, the less they will be able to contemplate that information, and it is the contemplation of the information which makes it art".

Intelligent bloke that Chasny. To read the interview in full, go to this URL:

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According to reports, Britney Spears' ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib has again had the restraining order against him extended. Us Weekly magazine say that an LA judge has ruled that the previously reported order, a temporary measure taken against the paparazzo in January 2008 when he was accused of attempting to undermine Jamie Spears' control of his daughter's affairs, should now remain permanent until 2012. Ghalib is reportedly also facing deportation after being charged with assault in relation to that previously reported hit and run incident.

The order against fellow-restrainee Sam Lutfi was, as also previously reported, extended until 1 Apr, when a further hearing will be held to decide if it should be extended some more.

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Kanye West is reportedly facing a two and a half year jail sentence in relation to that previously reported incident in which he is accused of attacking a photographer and breaking their camera. West, you may remember, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport back in September after the altercation, which was caught on film by celebrity gossip site TMZ, and which showed the star breaking the flash of the camera, and his manager breaking the camera itself. He has subsequently been charged with misdemeanour battery, grand theft and vandalism, which, as aforementioned, could carry a prison sentence. He is, however, Kanye West, and no doubt has great lawyers who will organise a plea deal that will involve their client feeling really sorry about it all and getting away with it, or something. Though, I could be wrong...

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From October, the government's New Deal For Musicians scheme, which provides funding for unemployed musicians, will be replaced, along with a number of other New Deal schemes, by a new system called Flexible New Deal.

The New Deal For Musicians was launched in 1999, with the support of Paul McCartney, and offers funding to musicians who had been out of work for more than a year. In exchange for an extra £15.38 a week on their dole money, they have to spend 30 hours a week improving their skills through various approved routes. Musicians who have benefited from it include James Morrison and Jem.

Employment Minister, Tony McNulty, insists similar opportunities will be available under the new system, though some music types aren't so sure. McNulty: "The Flexible New Deal will be tailored to each person's employment and skills needs. This could include support for a specific talent in music so long as it does not limit someone's job search".

Alan McGee, who got his start in the industry from the Conservative-launched Enterprise Allowance Scheme, is among those who are pessimistic about the way the change in the benefits system will affect young people looking to enter the music industry. The government should be doing more, he argues, to encourage musicians and, in particular, music entrepreneurs like him, into the industry. He told BBC 6music: "I think it's a terrible time to be a new band, because record companies are falling to bits. I don't think there is a business model right now. I know a lot of kids who are great entrepreneurs and they would have done well in the eighties and nineties. I came along at a time when it was good to be a music entrepreneur. I would think it's very difficult to be successful at that in this climate. [Though] that's not to say that people won't do it".

Not everyone in the industry agrees though. Rifles frontman Joel Stoker points out that government funding schemes have never been a major route into the industry, adding that he never managed to ge his band onto one. He said: "They said 'you need to be signing on for over a year' - or something stupid like that - 'before you're entitled to that' [extra help]. The government are saying they're helping people and basically you've got to scrounge off them for at least a year before you're even going to get anywhere near that New Deals thing. They turned around and said that if, for instance, you'd been in prison you might be given special treatment. What's that all about? It's a load of rubbish".

Concluding, he said he didn't think any government benefits schemes were that important in the wider scheme of things, saying: "You can always sit indoors and write a song. I'm sure they did that in the 60's. I doubt they had New Deal schemes then and they wrote some of the best music ever".

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Two of the famous Three Tenors will appear at this year's Classical Brit Awards, it's been announced. The third of the three, Luciano Pavarotti, died in 2007, of course, but Jose Carreras will be in attendance to collect a lifetime achievement award, and it's thought that he will be presented with the honour by fellow tenor Placido Domingo. They won't, however, perform at the event. The list of those who will perform includes Kathryn Jenkins and thirteen year old singer Faryl Smith, whose first LP has become the UK's fastest-selling classical debut following her discovery via ITV show 'Britain's Got Talent'. The ceremony will be hosted for a second time by Myleene Klass, and nominations for this year's gongs will be announced on 20 Apr.

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Okay, this is neither a reunion, nor a split, but former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley has announced that she will be playing as part of Bat For Lashes' live band between April and September.

Writing on her website, Hatherley said: "I have been moonlighting with the delectable Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes. I will be touring with Bat For Lashes until September. ... I'm happy as Larry because the music is so ACE and I not only get to play heavily chorused guitar a la The Cure, but get to play throbbingly fuzzed up bass, keyboards and twinkly bells".

Somewhere in the midst of all that, she will also be preparing for the release of her third solo album, 'Cinnabar City', which is due for release in September after her Bat For Lashes commitments come to an end. She explained: "[The first single from the album] 'White' is due for release over the summer, and the album will be out in September".

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The New York Dolls have confirmed a UK release date for their previously reported new album 'Cause I Sez So'. The record, which sees the band reunited with Todd Rundgren, producer of their 1973 debut, will be out on 4 May. It's released the following day in the US, as you might expect.

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Madonna will fulfil her recording obligations to Warner Music by releasing another greatest hits album later this year, probably in September. The release will bring to an end Madonna's 27-year relationship with Warner, allowing her to fully embrace her new deal with live music conglom Live Nation which, of course, also includes recordings. Although her last album for the major will be a hits collection, Madge's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg told People magazine: "Madonna does have plans to go into the studio to record a few new songs for this album".

As for which catalogue tracks appear on the album, Madonna's manager Guy Oseary reportedly took to Twitter yesterday to ask fans what tracks they'd like to see appear. According to Rolling Stone Oseary (assuming it really was him) tweeted: "Thank you to everyone that gave me there [sic] pick of song ideas for Madonna's greatest hits. I will pass along all your thoughts".

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Maximo Park are set to release their third album this year and plan to celebrate their return with a free charity show at the Newcastle College Performance Academy on 24 Mar. Wristbands giving fans access to the event will be available on the day and will be given away one per person on a first-come, first-served basis.

At this point, you may be wondering how this is a charity event, if no-one's paying any money to get in. That's what I was wondering. Well, there's this: The band will be signing 250 7" singles at the event, which fans may purchase for a minimum of £3 (or more, if they're feeling generous) with proceeds to go to the band's chosen charity, No Surrender.

This is a charity that was set up, as previously reported, by late music industry accountant Jason Boas, who died from pancreatic cancer last year at the age of 33, and aims to support cancer sufferers via an online social network. It's not the first time the band have raised money for the cause, having organised a show with Mystery Jets, Blood Red Shoes and Pete and the Pirates last year, with proceeds going to the charity.

The 7"s to be signed at the event are of the single 'Wraithlike', the first release from the band's aforementioned new LP 'Quicken The Heart'. It's currently available as a free download on the band's official website,, and I believe it will still be available for a few more days.

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The likes of Hot Chip, The Bluetones, The Pipettes, Dodgy and Bombay Bicycle Club are amongst those set to play at a number of 'hidden gigs' in London in aid of homeless charity Crisis. Tickets are on sale for the events, which take place in May, but venue details will be withheld until the last minute, apparently to help highlight the homelessness issue.

Al Doyle of Hot Chip said: "Whether they would like to admit it or not, most people have an image in their head of a 'homeless person', the old-fashioned and unhelpful figure of the down-and-out, who in fact is entirely unrepresentative of the majority of homeless people in the UK. These are the hidden homeless, who for a variety of often very complex reasons have no regular accommodation. We hope our gig for Crisis will raise awareness of their plight and are very happy to help the cause".

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One of CMU's tips for 2009, Rumspringa, have announced their first ever UK shows. The LA duo will also be showcasing their collision of blues, country, hip hop and funk (which, despite what you might be thinking, is completely awesome) on a free four track EP, which will be released by Dirty Boots Records on 2 Apr.

Here are the tour dates:

30 Mar: London, Dingwalls (supporting Jonathan Richman) (sold out)
31 Mar: London, Borderline (supporting Jonathan Richman) (sold out)
1 Apr: Southampton, Hamptons
2 Apr: London, Puregroove Records (in-store)
2 Apr: London, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes (single launch)
3 Apr: London, Fly Bar
4 Apr: London, Proud Galleries (supporting Silversun Pickups)

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The Bestival team yesterday announced a new scheme that lets cash-strapped music fans who are planning to go to this year's Camp Bestival festival to pay for their tickets in three instalments - a third now and the rest in two further instalments.

Team Bestival said in a statement yesterday: "As festival goers ourselves we know times are tough at the moment and especially for families, so we've devised a cunning plan so you can buy Camp Bestival tickets via a unique staggered payment system that gives you the chance to spread the cost of buying tickets across three equal payments. We're proud to say this is a UK festival first that we've developed with our ticket partners Ticketline - one of the leading and most trusted companies for event ticketing in the UK".

Confirming the scheme, Ticketline MD Paul Betesh told CMU: "Ticketline are delighted to be a part of this innovative scheme pioneered by the creative geniuses at Camp Bestival. In true Camp Bestival spirit they have shown themselves again to be ahead of the game, always thinking about how to make any aspect of the festival, including ticket buying, better and more flexible for their festival goers. As with all other aspects of our operation, we have implemented this scheme in a totally secure manner so that card holders can make payments over three instalments a UK festival industry first".

In related news, Michael Eavis has said that he will definitely re-run his deposit system for tickets to the 2010 Glastonbury Festival. As previously reported, following last year's slow ticket sales Glasto bosses put tickets for this year's event on sale much earlier - in October - but gave festival-goers the option to just pay a £50 deposit back then, before paying an additional £125 in January. By February the whole festival was sold out and Eavis reckons the earlier ticket availability and deposit system helped with that.

Revealing that 90% of ticket buyers took advantage of the deposit system, Eavis told Billboard: "It's been a huge success. The deposit makes it easier because the price is £175 and that's a lot of money to find all at once. We did figure out that during the Christmas period, parents and grandparents can pay the balance for them [deposit holders]. That's what happened funnily enough. We sold thousands of tickets just before Christmas".



ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, 12-14 Jun: Paolo Nutini, Maximo Park, The Zombies, Ultravox, The Rifles and The View all added.

GUILFEST, Stoke Park, Guilford, 10-12 Jul: Brian Wilson confirmed as Saturday headliner, and Motorhead due to play on the Friday.

LOUNGE ON THE FARM, Merton Farm, Canterbury, 10-12 Jul: Joe Gideon And The Shark, Flamboyant Bella, Onlookers, 6 Day Riot, Jeremy Warmsley, Wild Beasts, Gong, James Taylor Quartet, Steve Hillage Band, DJ Format, The Invisible, The Wave Pictures and recently appointed CMU favourites Baddies all added to the bill.

CAMP BESTIVAL, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, 24-26 Jul: Mumford & Sons, Kid Carpet, Phoenix, Will Young, Tinchy Stryder and not quite as recently as just now appointed CMU favourites Baddies all added to the bill.

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SINGLE REVIEW: The Kills - Black Balloon (Domino)
I've always filed The Kills next to The Thrills, adopting a CD filing system based on rhyme. Not that these two bands have anything in common, but with The Thrills currently out of record contact, I think The Kills are my favourite 'ill band' of the moment, despite the lack of wispy whimsy in anything from the minds of Alison Mosshart and that bloke dating Kate Moss. 'Black Balloon' is no different, it's a menacing song of naked darkness, stripped to its essentials and therefore forcing every note and every beat and every 'aah' to be noticed. There may be handclaps, but they're not the sort of joyous celebration claps you might get with The Shins, this is the ominous beat of the playground as the kids call for a fight. Something bad is about to happen. Though with Mosshart bringing the angels to hell with her vocals, while this is a record free of positivity, it's simmering in beauty. Frankly, listening to it is a thrill. TM
Release Date: 23 Mar
Press Contact: Domino IH [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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While we here in the UK are all still getting angry about that Fred Goodwin numpty getting a nice multi-million pound pension, primarily at the tax-payer's expense, in return for taking the term "fuck-up" to a whole new level, the US press have been bothering themselves about the bonuses being awarded to execs at loss-making American companies, questioning why performance-related bonuses are still being paid to those suits whose performances have mainly involved overseeing record breaking losses.

This is relevant here because one of the bonus-grabbing execs picked on is Warner Music top man Edgar Bronfman Jr. In fact American website The Huffington Post leads its slide show of bonus-taking loss-making business chiefs with the Warner boss, observing: "Edgar Bronfman Jr received a $3 million bonus in 2008 even though his company, Warner Music Group, lost $56 million and the stock dropped 25%. According to the Wall Street Journal, the board awarded him the bonus because he did a 'good job in a tough environment'".

You can read about the American corporate world's other bonus-grabbing losers at this URL:


So, reports that, despite hedge fund DB Zwirn's sneaky acquisition of Sheridan Square, it was business as usual at the American music independent, were about as wrong as you get. The latest word is that the company will close as soon as the ink is dry on Zwirn's takeover paperwork. And Zwirn's lawyers will be blowing on that ink to make sure that happens as soon as possible.

As previously reported, Zwirn was Sheridan Square's main money lender. They called in their $30 million plus loan earlier this month, seemingly in a bid to force the music firm's shareholders to sell the company to them for the bargain basement price of $5 million.

It's known Zwirn intend to sell the firm, which owns the catalogues of former indies Artemis and V2 America among other things, but it was originally thought they may sell it as a going concern and therefore keep things ticking over under label head Mike Olsen in the short term. However, new reports say he and his 18 staff will be out as soon as the takeover is complete, suggesting the money firm plan to sell the Sheridan Square catalogue rather than its operations, probably to a bigger music company.

Zwirn's takeover involved some complicated restructuring of the music firm which separates the company's assets from its liabilities. Some wonder whether that means retailers sitting on Sherdian stock will be left carrying some of the can for the company's debts.


This should be interesting, the next edition of the MusicTank Think Tank programme will have a green theme. Staged in association with Julie's Bicycle, the organisation set up to try and encourage the music business to be more eco-friendly, it will look at the commercial realities of music companies pursuing more planet-friendly policies, given that those policies normally come with a price. BPI boss Tony Wadsworth, who has been spearheading a campaign to make CD packaging more eco-efficient, Music Manger's Forum chief Jon Webster, science expert Catherine Bottrill, and Andrew Haworth, Environmental Manager at Live Nation, will all join in the debate. It all takes place on 30 Mar in the basement of the PRS For Music HQ in London. More info at

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C-net blogger Matt Rosoff has made some interesting points about the impact the growth of streaming services like Spotify will have on the way music companies work - and not on how they go about licensing and pricing their music (though arguably there are still some changes to be made in that domain), but on how they go about signing new talent.

Prompted by a conversation with Tim Quirk, the VP of Music Programming at Real Networks' US music service Rhapsody - for whom streaming is a key part of their offer - Rosoff writes that in the streaming service age, where labels earn from every listen rather than one off CD or download purchases, "it won't make sense to sign cute, disposable artists and prop them up with hired-gun songwriters and producers in hopes of selling a couple million units over a single summer. Rather, the real money-makers will be bands whose fans absolutely can't live without their music, and who listen to songs over and over again, for years. That requires finding artists who already have sizable fan bases and then cultivating them over the years".

He continues: "Terrestrial radio might become even less important - there's no reason to saturate the airwaves with a single song in hopes of selling as many copies as possible before the buzz moves to the next thing; instead, you'll want word to grow more organically, creating lifelong fans along the way".

All of which sounds lovely, though he admits for that A&R approach to become the norm not only are new skills needed at the labels, but companies like Rhapsody and Spotify and the labels and publishers who licence them their content, need to find business models - ad funded or subscription based - that stack up long term. The current PRS/Google stand off is a sign that finding a mutually-beneficial mutually-acceptable business model may not be as easy as some hoped.

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The son of late Beatle George Harrison has suggested that the Fab Four, one of the last bands not officially available for download, may launch their own digital music store rather than doing a deal with other download platforms. He also indicated that one delay in getting the Beatles online - other than the usual squabbles between Beatles company Apple Corps and the band's label EMI - is that the most obvious partner, iTunes, won't budge on the 99 cents/79 pence per track system. The Beatles company, it seems, thinks their content is worth more than that.

In an interview with Blender magazine, Dhani Harrison admits Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and his father are "losing money every day" because their music is not officially available online, but adds: "So what do you do? You have to have your own delivery system, or you have to do a good deal with [Apple boss] Steve Jobs. [Jobs] says that a download is worth 99 cents, and we disagree".

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Not really music media news, but an interesting c'leb media story anyway.

Max Clifford has told reporters that the family of Jade Goody approved this week's special edition of terrible celeb mag OK which is a 'Jade Goody Official Tribute Issue' with the dates 1981-2009 splashed across its cover. While it's not uncommon for OK et al to cash in on tragic celebrity deaths, the protocol to date has been to wait for said celebrity to tragically die before going overboard with the tributes. Presumably keen to cash in on the media interest in Goody's recent wedding to other half Jack Tweed, OK have done away with protocol and beaten their competitors in the race to pay tribute to the Big Brother star.

As some media commentators hit out at OK's premature tribute edition, and with punters making complaints to the Press Complaints Commission (even though the PCC will only ever consider complaints by those actually involved in a story), the magazine's publishers issued a statement reading: "[Goody's] family have spoken to OK! today to reiterate that they understand the tribute issue and view it as being very kind to Jade. They would like to also state that they are extremely grateful for the support that OK! has provided during this distressing period".

A rep from Clifford's company, who are Goody's official spokespeople, backed up the OK publisher's claims, telling the BBC that all of the dying celebrity's family backed the pre-death tribute issue, though Clifford himself later admitted that Tweed's mother was "not happy" with it.

Some reckon that OK's Goody tribute special may not only be premature but also inaccurate. While Jade's cancer could cause her death any time now, she could also live for months, her disease being as unpredictable as it is horrific. If by some chance she lived into 2010 would OK republish the tribute special with her dates amended? If so, at least the reprint wouldn't have the unfortunate issue number of 666, which the one published this week does.

Still, if Jade herself is happy with the premature tribute, what harm does it do, and I think lots of us have a slightly morbid fascination with what would be said about us after we're gone. So, personally I don't have a problem with the OK special.

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I do have a problem, though, with the c'leb mags sister publication the Sunday Express which recently ran a front page 'scoop' in its Scottish edition which amounted to nothing more than an outrageous character assassination on the kids who survived the Dunblane massacre - now 18 - which involved an Express journalist raiding their personal Facebook/Bebo pages for photos and reports of them doing what every 18 year old does - drinking, partying etc etc - and then accusing them of disrespecting those who died in the schoolroom shooting.

It was pretty low journalism, even by the Express's standards, but the growing outraged response to the piece has had very little coverage outside the blogosphere, possibly because the Express's rivals are aware that they too are increasingly reliant on scandal and outrage based stories to boost their flagging circulations and that, with budgets slashed, and proper investigations into real scandals far too expensive to undertake, the hyping of such non-stories based almost exclusively on web research is becoming more common.

Still, few have stooped as low as this Express story. Key players in the blogosphere are mounting a campaign to demonstrate their disapproval of this kind of journalism, and comedy writer Graham Linehan outlines that campaign at this URL:

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The Sun, whose music podcast used to be surprisingly good (though I haven't heard it in a while), are expanding their audio operations by launching an online speech based radio station called Sun Talk to be headlined by a daily three hour talk show presented by Sun columnist and former TalkSport presenter Jon Gaunt. He's the guy who was fired by TalkSport after calling a member of Redbridge Council a "nazi" in an on air argument over whether smokers should be allowed to adopt.

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The French government is hoping to accelerate the move to digital radio in the country by introducing a law that says that, by 2013, all new radio receivers sold must be able to pick up digital radio broadcasts. In fact, under the proposed new laws, any radio receiver that can display multi-media content would have to receive digital signals by as soon as September 2010. All stand alone radio devices would have be digital by 2012, and all car stereo systems too by 2013.

Quentin Howard, President of the WorldDMB Forum, a body that promotes the fostering of digital radio systems in preference to analogue networks, supports the French proposals, telling reporters: "The bold position taken by the French government recognises the need to ensure universal availability of digital receivers and gives the radio industry a solid foundation and certainty with which to plan its digital future".

As previously reported, the UK's main digital radio system - digital audio broadcasting - has suffered some set backs of late, despite digital radio sets enjoying relatively healthy sales. The move to digital has not been fast enough for many commercial radio companies, who can't afford to run digital-only stations that cannot command substantial listening figures, and who dislike the added costs of having to make their existing stations available via both the analogue and digital systems.

Some in the commercial radio sector reckon internet radio will become dominant before DAB has a chance to really get off the ground, and that the digital system is therefore no long worth investing in. Though if the UK were to introduce laws like these French ones they might think otherwise.

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The Guardian Media Group has said it has "serious concerns" about the previously reported proposals that Channel 4 forge an alliance with BBC Worldwide.

As previously reported, Channel 4 have said that advertising revenues will not be enough to support its public service remit in years to come. They were really hoping for a cut of the licence fee, but neither the BBC nor OfCom nor the government favours that option. The government's recent Digital Britain report proposed Channel 4 forge a partnership with the BBC's commercial division, possible creating a new commercially funded public-service broadcasting company that would include C4's TV channels, the UKTV network (currently half-owned by BBC Worldwide) and all of the BBC's other commercial operations, many of which are based on exploiting the Beeb's licence-fee funded archives and brands.

C4 is actually quite positive towards those proposals, and the BBC, preferring anything that doesn't involve giving up some of its licence fee money, are also open to considering an alliance. Word has it the two companies are currently considering an initial partnership around the UKTV network - ie Channel 4 buy Virgin Media out of the company and work with the BBC commercial enterprise on the Dave, Blighty, GOLD, Watch etc channels.

But other commercial broadcasters are not keen on a Channel 4 / BBC Worldwide alliance. Sky recently said Channel 4 was in a healthier position than it admits, that it would be in an even healthier position if it hadn't tried to excessively expand and diversify in recent years, and that rather than the BBC partnership they should strip back their operations and look for partnerships with other commercial media, like Sky.

It its response to the Digital Britain report, GMG also opposes the C4/BBC proposal, saying that such an alliance would increase the power of the Beeb which, it says, is already threatening commercial media firms in the online domain, including those commercial publishers who operate some public service media. They say: "We are concerned that, by focusing solely on maintaining Channel 4 as the primary counterbalance to the BBC, the government may be jeopardising the ability of the commercial sector to develop its own public service content. It is likely that commercial operators will try to avoid direct competition with the [new public service broadcaster] in the online world. The potential revenues available to commercial players will be reduced, as will their ability to invest in online development. Paradoxically, the creation of a second public service broadcaster may therefore actually deliver less, rather than more".

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These, in case you wondered, are the videos being played on the network of screens in students' unions around the UK this week. New entries marked with a *. More info from [email protected].

A List

Akon feat. Colby O'Donis & Kardinal Offishall - Beautiful
Beyonce - Halo*
Flo Rida feat Kesha - Right Round*
Just Jack - Embers*
Katy Perry - Thinking Of You
Lady Gaga - Poker Face
Metro Station - Shake It
Noisettes - Don't Upset The Rhythm
Oasis - Falling Down
Pink - Please Don't Leave Me*
Red Light Company - Arts & Crafts
The Script - Talk You Down
Snow Patrol - If There's A Rocket Tie Me To It
TI feat. Justin Timberlake - Dead And Gone
The Wombats - My Circuitboard City

B List
Asher Roth - I Love College
Dan Black - Alone
Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal*
Frankmusik - Better Off As Two
Goldie Lookin Chain - By Any Means Necessary
Groove Armada - Drop The Tough*
James Morrison - Please Don't Stop The Rain*
Jason Mraz - Make It Mine*
La Roux - In For The Kill
Nickelback - I'd Come For You
Peter, Bjorn & John - Nothing To Worry About
Steve Angello & Laidback Luke feat Robin S - Show Me Love
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero*
You Me At Six - Save It For The Bedroom*

Tip List
Animal Collective - My Girls
Dananananakroyd - Black Wax
Funeral For A Friend - Rules and Games
Hockey - Too Fake
Jazmine Sullivan - Dream Big
Official Secrets Act - The Girl From The BBC*
Operahouse - Genius Child
The Gaslight Anthem - Great Expectations*
Theory Of A Deadman - Hate My Life
The Virgins - Rich Girls
We Are The Ocean - God Damn Good*

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Pete Doherty has admitted that his plan to give his dead cat a watery burial went sadly awry recently because of freezing weather conditions. The singer, who reportedly has a number of pets at his countryside home, explained: "The cat got run over so I thought I'd give it a burial at sea - well, the pond. But it didn't sink, it floated and then froze over. So there was this dead cat under the ice looking up at me. It was terrible".

Yes, that's a horrible image. I can safely say I'll be haunted by it for the rest of the day.

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Liam Gallagher is the latest music celebrity to launch a clothing range. The line of limited edition fashion wear will be named 'Pretty Green' after The Jam's track of the same name, and will include footwear, hats and accessories as well as t-shirts, knitwear and what-have-you.

He says: "The reason I'm doing it cos I love clothes. We're going to do clothes I like, if people like it cool if they don't, they don't! If you're going to do it, you've got to get involved, haven't you? And I'm really looking forward to it, and I think it's going to be good. Clothes and music are my passion. I'm not here to rip anyone off and I'm not doing it for the money either. I'm doing it 'cos there's a lack of stuff out there of the things I would wear."

Pleased to hear he's not doing it for the money. Does that mean profits will go to charity?

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Bob Dylan has been trying to get that festival feeling all year round by leaving a stinking portaloo in the grounds of his Malibu home. And it seems to be working, because his neighbours are starting to complain. They say that the ocean breeze carries that smell across the surrounding area, and that the only way to combat it is to buy industrial fans to blow it right back.

Dylan has apparently refused to listen to the complaints, saying that if he didn't have the toilet, he'd have to let his security staff use an indoor loo, which would obviously never do. So, for now, the arse stink, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

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