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Top Stories
US ISPs sending out file-sharing warning letters, but no more, OK?
Claims of chaos at EMI
Fox man not impressed with Brown's special treatment
Police shoot-out at Luciano's Jamaican home
In The Pop Courts
EMI drop litigation against Project Playlist - do deal instead
Simmons leads protest against drugs laws
Motown drummer dies
Reunions & Splits
Farrell says Jane's reunion is "awkward"
Release News
Green Day announce album
Kasabian announce free download
Rose Elinor Dougall announces new single
St Vincent new single, new album and gig
Tom Middleton compilation set for release
Films N Shows News
Fiddy not Expendable
Gigs N Tours News
Spandau Ballet tour confirmed, tickets snapped up
William Elliott Whitmore announces UK gigs
Festival News
Festival line up update
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
London Guitar Show line up announced
Single review: Art Brut - Alcoholics Unanimous (Cooking Vinyl)
The Music Business
Burnham tells Nash: This year is key
Copyright debates and receptions
Lots of Ticketmaster news: Credit ratings, secondary hassles, and mis-sold Phish tickets
The Digital Business cut off streams to third party apps
The Media Business
As C4 cuts back on original and US programmes, is an ITV or Five merger now inevitable?
Chart Of The Day
This week's playlist
And finally...
Groban not dating Perry
PETA worried about Jacko's O2 residency
Steve Van Zandt slams Bobby Gillespie
Royals dismiss Cowell's dissing claims

Liam Gallagher might have been to a pub

Things have been blowing up for The Qemists lately, thanks partly to their recent collaborations with Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and UK hip hop's hottest property, Wiley. They released their debut album, 'Join The Q', earlier this month through Ninja Tune, and the latest single from it, 'One The Run', is out next week. Featuring Jenna G on vocals, the new single is part of a trilogy of tracks on the new album, but we'll let them tell you about that. They're busy chaps, but we managed to pin them down for long enough to answer our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
When we were at school many years ago we wanted to be a band, so we kind of decided between us who would play what, and started playing. Over the years we built up our studio to record demos, and that eventually led to drum n bass style production.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
'On The Run' is actually the sequel to 'S.W.A.G', another track on the album. We thought it would be cool write a track about some massive crime committed by a girl. In 'S.W.A.G' she (Zoe Devlin Love from Alabama 3) escapes the law and in 'On The Run' the girl is, well, on the run (vocals and storyline courtesy of Jenna G). The track has a kind of "south of the border" vibe to it, like Jenna is somewhere nice in Mexico chilling, but with a paranoid edge. 'Play With Fire', which appears on the B-Side of the single, is the aftermath of being caught ("if you play with fire then you're gonna get burnt").

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It usually starts with one of us writing some sort of song or beat, although that in turn is usually constructed from recordings or synth patches we have made previously. If the track is good enough for the other two Qemists to instantly get the vibe and like it, then it soon gets developed. It's a bit of a free-for-all after that! We always work on tracks with all three of us for the bulk of the writing and mixing though.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
So many. All forms of music from hardcore rock to avant-garde classical. Generally we all like stuff with high production values, lots of energy and lots of emotion, but it's all sorts. We often notice parallels between music and other art forms too, like visual art and martial arts, these influence us too. There is something about having good technique but being able to throw that away if you feel like it.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I think it's a bad sign when someone has to explain their music and why they did what they did. I don't think we would say anything to someone who was listening to our music, not 'til they had finished listening at least!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
The live show is taking us to extremes at the moment, we've just got back from Japan and that was off the hook. One guy was crowd-surfing so fast he landed on the drum kit! We are going back there this summer and also supporting Enter Shikari on their European tour, which will be sick! So we want to do a lot more of that and let everyone see what we can do on stage. We have also been tinkering in the studio on some new tracks, and are very pleased with what we have done so far, so some new tracks are not far round the corner...

MORE>> and

Plushgun are a trio from Brooklyn, who have managed to come up with a sound that sits resolutely at the half-way point between Blink 182 and the Pet Shop Boys. After a few years of demos and EPs, they've just released their debut album, 'Pins & Panzers', which seems to be going down pretty well back in the USA. It's unavoidably and unashamedly American, recalling moments from high school that you never personally experienced but that you still know intimately thanks to Hollywood. On their MySpace profile they've got a list of press quotes that refer to them as "infectious", but this isn't infectious like an unpleasant skin condition, it's more infectious like an unrequited crush on the cutest girl in class. They're streaming four songs from their album, but the best place to start is probably 'How We Roll'. Pause whatever you're doing and go take a listen right now.

Leyline Promotions - better known as one of the capital’s leading independent promoters (The Remix, Kill All Hippies, Insomniacs Ball, Twisted Licks, Breaking Ground) - have created a new publicity department headed up by Nick Bateson and Adrian Leigh. The pair have worked on major campaigns including a-ha, Glade Festival, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Standon Calling Festival and Hervé amongst others.

In addition to their wealth of experience in the live arena, Leyline Publicity now specialise in bespoke PR services including online and offline music and lifestyle press, radio plugging, brand development, digital marketing and blogging. For further information please contact: [email protected] or [email protected] t: 020 7575 3285


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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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Two US internet service providers have outlined their efforts to help the music industry combat online piracy, though they have denied reports that those efforts amount to a major change in policy, nor that they have made any commitments to anyone about introducing a three-strike disconnection system.

The Record Industry Association Of America announced late last year that it was planning to end its ultimately pointless programme of litigation against individual file sharers after thousands of generally successful lawsuits against those who accessed illegal sources of music did little to stem the growth of file sharing in the US.

The RIAA said that instead of its litigation programme, it would follow the lead of their counterparts in the UK - the BPI - and maximise their efforts in persuading the internet service providers that they have both a duty to and an interest in taking a more proactive role to combat piracy committed by their customers via their servers. The BPI, of course, has been pursuing that strategy for some time, especially since it reached a Memorandum Of Understanding with six British ISPs last year. Though that said, the net firms remain resistant to getting too involved in the fight against piracy, and have so far committed to little other than sending out warning letters to those customers suspected of file sharing.

It is that kind of letter that both US net providers AT&T and Comcast have confirmed they have been sending out to customers accused of illegally accessing or sharing unlicensed content. Reps from both net firms confirmed that activity at a music business conference in Nashville this week, comments which led to speculation that the two companies had entered into new agreements with the RIAA, and that the three-strike system was looming - ie if customers ignored two or three such warning letters they could have their net connection cut off.

But a spokesperson for Comcast subsequently clarified their point, stressing that their activity consisted of just sending out letters, no more, and that that activity was not new. The spokesman said: "Comcast, like other major ISPs, forwards notices of alleged infringement that we receive from music, movie, videogame, and other content owners to our customers. This is the same process we've had in place for years - nothing has changed. While we have always supported copyright holders in their efforts to reduce piracy under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and continue to do so, we have no plans to test a so-called 'three-strikes-and-you're-out' policy".

A spokesman for AT&T, meanwhile, admitted that they are looking into new ways to boost awareness of copyright laws among their customers, but also stressed that the three-strike system was not on their agenda. Speaking to Digital Music News, a spokesman said: "We are trialing an effort that's about customer education and deterrence. Since this effort is about customer education and deterrence, we are not suspending or terminating our customers' service. We do refer customers to our Acceptable Use Policy, which governs use of our service, but we are not issuing 'takedown notices', nor are we participating in a 'three-strikes' plan".

AT&T's Michael Balmoris added that he thought, perhaps somewhat optimistically, that a programme of warning letters was, in itself, an ample measure to combat file sharing. He told DMN: "Our experience has been that the majority of our customers stop the questionable behavior [after receiving a letter], and some have even contacted us to thank us for the notifications because they were unaware of the illegal downloading".

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Fox News gossip man Roger Friedman, in the US, has alleged that equity firm Terra Firma and its top man Guy Hands have all but lost hope in their chances of turning round the fortunes of London-based major record company EMI, and have left the company in chaos. The previously reported departure of former Google chief Douglas Merrill is a result of and adds to that chaos, he implies.

Freidman makes the allegations in a piece about Dhani 'son of George' Harrison's recent and previously reported comments about the continued efforts to get the Beatles catalogue officially available online. As previously reported, Harrison Jr last week said that Beatles company Apple Corps knew that it was counter-productive not having the Fab Four's music available via legit music services like iTunes, but said the right deal to put the band's music online had yet to come along.

Whereas Paul McCartney previously suggested the issue was the usual squabbles between EMI and Apple Corps over the Beatles catalogue, Harrison suggested that the bigger issue was their belief the Fab Four's music was worth more than 99 cents (or 79 pence) per track but that Apple iTunes, still the biggest player in the legit download space of course, wouldn't budge on per-track price point (actually Apple have just confirmed that their previously promised variable pricing system will go live next month, but ignore that for the time being). He suggested that EMI and Apple Corps were now considering setting up their own download store where they can have more control over things like price.

Friedman says that one plan was to set up a Beatles store on, the major's current efforts to have its own digital hub, which launched last year in a sort of beta mode, and which could become the record company's own streaming and a-la-carte download service. The problem, Friedman says, is that was one of Hands/Terra Firma/Merrill's grand plans, and has therefore gone on the back burner as those parties cut off their direct involvement with the major.

Which is how he gets on to making these claims about EMI. He writes: "EMI is in turmoil. Guy Hands, who bought the company with his Terra Firma firm, has pretty much bailed on the deal and is gone from running the company. Terra Firma has written off its investment in EMI and, not knowing what to do or particularly caring, has left the former music giant in a muddle. The result is chaos, sources say, within the EMI hierarchy. Just recently, Douglas Merrill, the head of EMI Digital, left his post after less than a year".

Hands and Terra Firma would presumably point out that they took more of a backseat role in the running of EMI once they had a CEO in place in its recordings division - Elio Leoni-Sceti - and that they are now letting his management team, much of it new recruits, get on with the business of fixing the major record company. Still, Hands' recent move into an 'investor placator' role at Terra Firma following the substantial negative impact of the EMI purchase on the value of the equity firm's portfolio, and Merrill's somewhat sudden departure for the major, will only fuel gossip that all is not well at the all new EMI.

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Talking of Fox's Roger Friedman, he led yesterday with a little rant about Chris Brown and what the handling of the Rihanna-beating case tells us about celebrity justice in LA. The gossip man reckons it's shocking that six weeks after the alleged beating the R&B star has yet to be arraigned - ie placed before a judge to plead on the charges against him - and also that Brown has been free to get on with his life ever since, despite the nature of the allegations against him.

He writes: " Only in Hollywood, California, could this happen: a guy beats his girlfriend to a pulp, spends no time in jail, and is still not arraigned six weeks after the episode. If Chris Brown had not been a celebrity, he would have been in a Los Angeles jail all this time. Instead, he's been photographed at various vacation spots around the country, in Miami, and now more recently, in Virginia. The good thing about being a celebrity in Hollywood is that you don't actually go to jail, and while you await your plea bargain, you're free to leave your jurisdiction".

Make of that what you will. Meanwhile Roger went onto rant about Phil Spector and the fact it's taken six years to assess his guilt or otherwise regarding the death of Lana Clarkson at his home in 2003. Actually, as far as Friedman is concerned, it's taken six years to assess the legendary producer's guilt, as I think we can see from this remark: "For six years, Clarkson's family has waited patiently for justice. Spector, famous for brandishing guns, has never spent a day in jail. Spector's attorneys are still insisting that Clarkson - beautiful, happy, well adjusted - went with the producer to his house and then, for no apparent reason, killed herself".

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Grammy-nominated reggae star Luciano was caught up in a bit of crime-style drama yesterday when a fugitive in Jamaica locked himself up in the singer's Kingston home leading to a one hour stand-off between the murder suspect and local police and then a dramatic shoot-out that left three police officers injured, two in a critical condition. It's not clear if Luciano has any connections with the accused man, Andrew Senior, or if he was actually at his house when the stand-off began, though police have said the singer is not accused of deliberately harbouring the fugitive and, although questioned in relation to the shoot out, will not be charged.

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EMI has bailed out of litigation against a social network and music recommendation service called Project Playlist after reaching a licensing deal with the company behind it.

EMI joined Warner and Universal in suing the online service last April. Project Playlist is a social network music recommendation thing that lets you find and tag music on the net, create playlists of music you find, play that playlist through your browser or mobile, and share your playlist with others via your blog or website or social network profiles. All of which is well and good, though a lot of the music the service links to is unlicensed, which is why the three majors got a little hot under the collar, and got their legal men on the case.

Sony, who were not part of that action, entered into a licensing deal with Project Playlist, and EMI have now followed suit, and left the litigation as a result. EMI Music Services man Ronn Werre told reporters: "Making our music available on a fan favorite like Project Playlist is part of EMI Music's mission to connect artists and fans and to give fans more ways to discover new artists. Project Playlist is becoming a fan favourite. Our artists also know that word-of-mouth among friends is a powerful part of music discovery".

Warner and Universal will proceed with their lawsuit, though, for the time being at lest. As a result the service is still blocked by both MySpace and Facebook.

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Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons led a protest in Manhattan yesterday in a bid to bring about the end of the controversial Rockefeller Drug Laws. The laws were reformed a little back in 2004, but Simmons is campaigning for Governor David Paterson and the New York Senate to support a new bill which will allow judges to use their discretion in sentencing on drug crimes rather than abiding by a fixed set of rules on the issue.

The draconian legislation, enacted back in 1973, put in place mandatory sentences of between fifteen years and life in prison for selling 56 grams or more of narcotics, including marijuana. It has, not surprisingly, attracted some criticism over the years for focussing on minor offenders who ended up spending a long time in jail for possessing relatively small amounts of narcotics. Ninety percent of those incarcerated are from African-American or Latino backgrounds, which makes the issue doubly political.

Simmons, who was joined by local organisations such as New York Civil Liberties Union and the Correctional Association of New York, told "We are at the pivotal point where our hard work pays off. But we can't let up now. The fact is the Governor and State Senator both fought for the changes that the assembly has proposed to them. But both the Governor Patterson and the State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith need to hear your voices. They are being pushed by forces that are not interested in changing this horrible law which has devastated black and brown communities for two generations. Call or write Governor Paterson or State Senate Majority Leader Smith and push them to be true to the communities that made them. Tell them now that they are in power they can make the difference".

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Drummer Uriel Jones, who worked with the likes of The Temptations, Four Tops and Smokey Robinson, has died at the age of 74 after suffering a heart attack. A member of Funk Brothers, Motown Records' house band, he played on myriad hits, including 'Signed Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours' by Stevie Wonder, 'What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted' by Jimmy Ruffin, and 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye.

According to Paul Riser, a Motown arranger and musician, Jones often played with his fellow surviving Funk Brothers. The band were the subject of an acclaimed 2002 documentary, 'Standing In The Shadows Of Motown', a film that brought the group's members a degree of recognition denied them during Motown's sixties heyday.

Jones is survived by his wife and three children.

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The fact that none of the members of Jane's Addiction really like each other is apparently threatening their previously reported reunion.

The main problem seems to be the relationship between frontman Perry Farrell and bassist Eric Avery. Although the band have reformed before, for their not very good 2001 album, 'Strays', Avery played no part in that reunion, instead being replaced by Porno For Pyros' Martin LeNoble and The Panic Channel's Chris Chaney.

Avery was only welcomed back into the fold last year when the band received a lifetime achievement award and performed at the first NME Awards USA. Subsequently the band decided to begin working together again, resulting in that co-headline tour with Nine Inch Nails this summer and recording sessions with NIN's Trent Reznor.

However, Farrell says that thing are still a little tense and could hinder any long-term reunion plans. He told Rolling Stone: "It's very awkward. I have seen Eric maybe two times in 18 years very briefly, one time we almost got into a fist fight. We're all getting to know each other now to see if we've all changed for the better, if we can like each other and find common ground and ways to do things that will be successful together".

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Green Day have announced the global release date for their previously reported upcoming new studio album '21st Century Breakdown'. Drum-roll, please...

...the new Green Day album will be out on 15 May.

A first single, 'Know Your Enemy', will be released in April.

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Kasabian will be giving away their new single, 'Vlad The Impaler', as a free download on their website from 31 Mar. The single is taken from and precedes the band's third album, 'The West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum', which is set for release on 8 Jun.

The band's Serge Pizzorno says of the track: "'Vlad...' is a total chaos tune. It's a call out to all our people, the ones who are tuned into our radio station".

The video for the single has been directed by 'IT Crowd' star Richard Ayoade, and stars The Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding.

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Former Pipette and headliner at our Christmas party back in, er, December, Rose Elinor Dougall has announced the release of her second solo single, 'Start/Stop/Synchro'. The single will be released on limited, coloured vinyl by Elefant Recordings on 8 Jun ahead of her debut solo album, 'Without Why'.

You can hear the single right now on Rose's MySpace page:

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Recent SNAP Of The Day, St Vincent, aka Annie Clark, will release her second album, 'Actor', on 4 May. Ahead of that, on 20 Apr, will come the first single from it, 'Actor Out Of Work'.

You can catch her live at Hoxton Bar & Grill in London on 21 Apr.

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Tom Middleton is to release a new compilation album with a new concept - a collection of end-of-the-night tracks used by DJs to get everyone on the dance floor for one last jump around.

'One More Tune' features fourteen tracks, remixed or edited by Middleton, then packaged as a two disc collection, the second disc in DJ-friendly unmixed format. It's released by Renaissance on 27 Apr.

Here's what Middleton says about it all: "The concept is simple. It's a celebration of hand-picked past, present and future end of the night anthems. Some familiar, others more underground, yet all truly memorable, rich in harmony and emotion. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to re-define a handful of personal favourites. Sequencing a compilation of unsubtle anthems isn't an easy process, so be prepared for more than a few euphoric hands in the air moments! Most importantly, each track represents an unforgettable club or festival moment during the last two decades."

And here is the tracklisting:

Disc One - Mixed

Tom Middleton - One More Tune (Intro Acapella)
Last Rhythm - Last Rhythm (Tom Middleton Remodel)
Tom Middleton - One More Tune ('91 Mix)
Budai & Vic - All Night Long
Humate - Love Stimulation (Tom Middleton Remodel)
Mustafa Feat. Elisangela - Bom Demais (Audiowhores Remix)
Agora Rhythm - Circles (Tom Middleton Edit)
Blu Mar Ten Feat. Ernesto - All Over Again (Tom Middleton Remix)
Little Big Bee - K.G.O. (Tom Middleton Remodel)
Akabu - Phuturebound (Shur-i-kan Remix)
The Orange Lights - A Few Good Days (Tom Middleton Deep Dub)
Derrick May - Strings Of Life (Tom Middleton Remodel)
Tom Middleton - One More Tune (Encore Acapella)
The Horn - Villager (Tom Middleton Promised Land Remodel)
Joe Smooth - Promised Land (Tom Middleton Edit)

Disc Two - Unmixed

Last Rhythm - Last Rhythm (Tom Middleton Remodel)
Tom Middleton - One More Tune ('91 Mix)
Humate - Love Stimulation (Tom Middleton Remodel)
Agora Rhythm - Circles (Tom Middleton Edit)
Blu Mar Ten Feat. Ernesto - All Over Again (Tom Middleton Remix)
Little Big Bee - K.G.O. (Tom Middleton Remodel)
The Orange Lights - A Few Good Days (Tom Middleton Deep Dub)
Derrick May - Strings Of Life (Tom Middleton Remodel)
The Horn - Villager (Tom Middleton Promised Land Remodel)

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50 Cent has not, as had been rumoured, been dropped from the cast of Sylvester Stallone's new film, 'The Expendables', he was never in it in the first place. Just to confirm, the news here is that 50 Cent is not in a film.

A statement issued on behalf of the rapper says: "50 Cent was offered the role of Hale Caesar in 'The Expendables'. However as he is currently in the process of completing his forthcoming album 'Before I Self Destruct' with Dr Dre and Eminem, he was unfortunately not able to commit to the project".

So we're clear, 50 Cent isn't in this film. You might want to write that down.

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So, Spandau Ballet officially announced their reunion tour yesterday on board the HMS Belfast in the Thames, a nod to their infamous gig on the boat in 1980 which saw thousands of fans show up - some in rowing boats - to be part of the party, leading to a bit of unplanned debauchery in the direction of the historic naval vessel. Things were more civilized yesterday as Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp and Steve Norman confirmed they were back on speaking terms and ready to tour the world, with eight UK and Ireland dates announced for October.

Tickets went on sale on the band's official website at 2.30pm yesterday, and Digital Stores, who manage the Ballet's online etail operations, have reported unprecedented demand for tix. The company's Product Director, Simon Coates, told CMU: "We sold out of our initial allocation for Spandau Ballet's O2 show almost straight away. The response has been phenomenal, although we knew the world would be blown away by the band getting back together. We've been secretly planning this comeback with the band for months behind closed doors, and all the good work is paying off".

Yesterday was a busy day for Digital Stores, because they also power The Prodigy's own ticket store, and tickets for their upcoming Brixton Academy show went on sale yesterday morning, with the official store's allocation sold out in five minutes.

Spandau Ballet tickets, by the way, go on general release on Saturday. UK and Ireland dates as follows:

13 Oct: The O2 Dublin
14 Oct: Odyssey Arena, Belfast
16 Oct: Sheffield Arena
17 Oct: Glasgow SECC
20 Oct: London O2 Arena
24 Oct: Birmingham
26 Oct: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
28 Oct: Manchester MEN Arena

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The really very good country singer William Elliott Whitmore is in the UK for a few weeks to promote his latest album, 'Animals In The Dark', which was released in February. He plays Glasgow tonight before heading down to London. Check him out.

Tour dates:

26 Mar: Glasgow ABC2
30 Mar: London St Giles
13 Apr: London Windmill
15 Apr: London Borderline

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ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle Of Wight, 12-14 Jun: The Human League to headline The Big Top stage on Thursday night, before the festival proper begins. They will be preceded by Stone Rose tribute band, The Complete Stone Roses.

ROSKILDE, Roskilde, Denmark, 2-5 Jul: Kanye West, Eagles Of Death Metal, Oh No Ono and Peter Sommer join an eclectic line-up.

T IN THE PARK, Balado, Kinross-shire, 10-12 Jul: Passion Pit, You Me At Six and Go:Audio all join the bill.

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The line up for the 2009 London Guitar Show, which takes place from 11 Jun at the ExCel centre in East London, has been announced.

Amongst those appearing at the event are headliner Steve Vai, who will present his Alien Guitar Secrets three hour master-class, British guitar legend Albert Lee, and Swans In Flight, whose debut album, launched in spring 2008, was recorded exclusively using acoustic guitars. Another UK guitar great, Phil Hilborne, will be there with his band, plus the show will feature the final of Guitar Idol, the previously reported worldwide online talent contest. See if you are interested in more info on that.

New to this year's show is the chance for those attending to claim a free guitar lesson in association with the Institute For Contemporary Music Performance. Organisers will announce a schedule of seminars, workshops and c'leb appearances at a later date, but they've already confirmed that editors from the UK's top selling guitar magazines will be there.

The Guitar Show is part of The London International Music show, which includes Drummer Live, Unplugged and Sound Recording And Technology Show. For more info and tickets see

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SINGLE REVIEW: Art Brut - Alcoholics Unanimous (Cooking Vinyl)
'Alcoholics Unanimous' precedes Art Brut's third studio album which will be available for your listening pleasure in the UK on 20 Apr. Judging from this teaser, the highly anticipated Frank Black assisted LP, entitled 'Art Brut Vs Satan', will see the band continue on from 'It's A Bit Complicated' in the style that we have become accustomed to - loud, brash and as stylish as hell. Akin to indie disco floor fillers like 'Direct Hit', this track employs call and answer tactics from the rest of the London/Bournemouth quintet that bounce off Eddie Argos' spoken narrative. Thematically, the band stick to what they do best - lyrical commentary on the trials and tribulations of modern life, like raging hangovers, comfort eating and such. Previously written off as little more than a tribute band to Mark E. Smith and co, 'Art Brut vs Satan' should be a slap in the faces for all those naysayers. MB
Release Date: 6 Apr
Press Contact: Cooking Vinyl IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Culture Minister Andy Burnham, who's schmoozing with the music business last year has led to a partial government policy shift on the recording copyright extension, but few developments in forcing internet service providers to crack down on piracy, has told Kate Nash that this year is key for putting the music business on a "sustainable footing". It's certainly key as far as he's concerned. With a tough General Election battle due in 2010 there'll be little time in political circles for doing anything other than pandering to a broke tetchy electorate, and after that Burhham almost certainly won't be in the culture minister job, even if his party do get to form the next government, which is far from a foregone conclusion as far as I can see.

Anyway, Nash joined UK Music boss Feargal Sharkey at a recent meeting with Burnham, she being on the steering group for the much previously reported Feature Artists Coalition. And according to Music Week, he told the musical duo: "Rather than government saying 'oh it's all got to be like that' or the industry saying 'it's all got to be like this', we're going to have to find a way of making ideas come together that stick", an insightful statement which I think is just a definition of the political process, isn't it?

Anyway, he apparently continued: "So we really have to get ideas that really work, and put the music business on a sustainable footing because if we don't - if this year goes by and we [just] carry on as we've done for the last five years - then I really worry what will be left of our music industry in four or five years time". He added that part of that process was encouraging young people to opt for legal online music services over the illegal ones, a process which, he reckons, probably rightly, needs to likes of Nash's involvement to work. He concludes: "[Young consumers won't] listen to a boss of a record label standing up and saying it anymore than they would listen to me standing up and saying it - that is why Kate's voice is really important in this".

Nash also reportedly told Burnham that she thinks there needs to be "more space" for up and coming artists on TV and radio, which is probably true, though to be honest the TV and radio industry is currently in an even bigger mess than the music industry - there's a sector that really does need to do something this year to ensure it's still functioning in five year's time - so I suspect persuading any commercial broadcaster that now is the time to be putting minority-interest new music shows into primetime aint going to go down well.

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Talking of copyright law, which we weren't really, but we were in that territory, one of Andy Burnham's predecessors in the Culture Secretary role, Chris Smith, will chair a conference on 'copyright and enterprise' next month.

The event will, I think, ask whether the current copyright framework, most of which was created before the internet really existed, still stacks up in the 21st century. The event, to take place at the Royal Institute Of British Architects on 23 Apr, takes as its starting point the fact that it's the 300th anniversary of the Statute Of Anne, arguably the first major copyright act in the UK, albeit one very much concerned with book printing. The aforementioned Feargal Sharkey and best selling author Peter James will take part in the panel debate, which will be introduced by the boss of recording royalties society PPL, Fran Nevrkla.

In almost slightly related news, ie news stories tagged 'copyright' and 'PPL', the collecting society have announced they will host a reception in Brussels next week as the much previously discussed 'copyright term directive' reaches what they call "a critical stage in the political process". As previously reported, European political types are currently considering proposals to increase the recording copyright term from the current fifty years, possibly to as much as 95 years. It is thought the proposals will hit biggest hurdle when it gets to the EU Council Of Ministers, ie relevant reps from the governments of each member state.

The PPL reception will see a number of musicians meet with political types to further lobby for the extension. Dominic McGonigal, PPL's Director of Government Relations, who will speak at the event, says: "We are extremely grateful to the Parliament, the Presidency, the Council and the Commission who are addressing the unfairness in copyright term for performers and record companies. The musicians at our reception represent 38,000 from across Europe who have signed a petition asking the EU to take action".

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It seems someone at Ticketmaster slipped and pressed the button that made tickets for Phish's upcoming show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado available for purchase last week. Tickets for the show are due to go on sale today, so fans were obviously thrilled to be granted early access and understandably started buying them up. Phish weren't so pleased, though, and demanded that Ticketmaster cancel all the tickets and wait until the appropriate time to sell them. Ticketmaster have done that up, and given everyone who bought tickets a $50 gift voucher for the site by way of compensation.

A statement, published on Phish's official website, said: "Last night we learned Ticketmaster mistakenly put on sale a substantial number of four-day passes to Phish's concerts this summer at Red Rocks Amphitheater, giving some fans an unfair advantage to purchase tickets ahead of the 26 Mar publicly announced on sale date. Ticketmaster has fully acknowledged this significant error, and to make sure that all of our fans have the same, fair opportunity to purchase tickets to this event, they have cancelled all of these orders with all charges being refunded. ... We are putting pressure on the ticketing providers to improve their systems. We are focused on the ticket broker activity in our tickets and the inability of the existing ticket systems to stop this. We are actively seeking options to limit this".

In an email to all those who purchased the bad tickets, Ticketmaster president David Butler said: "The sale of these tickets prior to the scheduled onsale date was the result of an inadvertent error on the part of Ticketmaster. While we strive to be perfect, errors do occur, albeit rarely".

It's not been a great week for the ticketing giant, who have found themselves increasingly under the media spotlight since they began their merger with Live Nation, and as their dabbling into the secondary ticketing market come under increased criticism.

The previously reported financial statement from the ticketing firm, which admitted to an 81% decline in profits for the last quarter of 2008, and a considerable write down of the value of the company's assets, has led to a downgrading of the company's credit rating by influential New York analysts Standard & Poor. The analysts say that they think the ticketing firm will be impacted in the short term by a decline in ticket sales during the recession, and that the growth of its secondary ticketing business won't fully compensate for that decline. Still, if the Live Nation merger goes ahead all of this might be a bit irrelevant, given the combined Live Nation/Ticketmaster will be a very different company.

Meanwhile, criticism of Ticketmaster's dabblings in the secondary ticketing market continues. As previously reported, artists, music fans and political types have been critical of the way Ticketmaster promotes TicketsNow, the ticket resale site it acquired last year, via its primary ticketing website. The New Jersey District Attorney in the US forced a number of restrictions on that promotional activity after Bruce Springsteen claimed his fans had been ripped off by the ticketing giant, who had directed fans to TicketsNow - where touted tickets are normally marked up in price - when his official page on Ticketmaster website was too busy, and, as previously reported, similar moves are being considered by legislators in Canada.

Most recently, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty has confirmed he wants similar restrictions on the way Ticketmaster promote TicketsNow, and that he'll introduce laws to force such restrictions if the ticketing firm won't voluntarily sign up to them. He's told the Torono Star: "We're just asking the folks at Ticketmaster to be reasonable. It appears that we are going to have to introduce legislation, and that's what we're prepared to do".

Some are speculating that the whole TicketsNow thing is becoming too big a distraction - and PR nightmare - for Ticketmaster, who'd rather be concentrating on getting their Live Nation merger approved. So much so they may consider selling the ticket resale website off. That speculation, in turn, seemingly affected Standard & Poor's credit rating decision. Certainly Ticketmaster's secondary ticketing business wouldn't help overcome declines in primary ticket sales if said business was sold off (over and above the quick cash boost any sale created, of course).

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LAST.FM CUT OFF STREAMS TO THIRD PARTY APPS have made their second unpopular announcement in two days, which is pretty good going. On Tuesday, of course, they announced that users outside the UK, US or Germany would have to pay to listen to the site's radio services from the end of this month. Yesterday, they announced that they were restructuring the way those radio streams work, in order to restrict their use by third party applications.

One of the site's developers, Russ Garrett says that while they had "tolerated" third party apps using their streams in the past, there are licensing issues which had to be addressed - ie's licences from the record companies and publishers don't allow for the third-party streaming. So, in future, streaming via third party apps will only be available to paying subscribers, and streaming via mobile networks will be cut off altogether.

However, Garrett did say that exceptions maybe made for some outside developers - presumably any who are willing to foot the licensing costs of running the streams. Licenses for over-the-air content (ie mobile music services) often cost a great deal more than standard internet streaming, so this seems reasonable.

As with Tuesday's announcement about radio stream subscriptions, there has been a lot of angry shouting from some of the site's users, but in reality this will not affect many of the 30 million people on the site in any way at all. Radio via the official player will continue to work as normal, as will the official apps for the iPhone and Android phone.

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Channel 4's programming budget has been cut by £60 million as it, like most commercial broadcasters, comes to terms with the general slump in advertising revenues. As a result the channel will focus on prime time programming, and not commission new shows for the less lucrative late night slots. They will also cut back on expensive dramas and pricey American acquisitions.

But C4 programming boss Julian Bellamy said he was keen to ensure the network continued to fulfil its commitments to 'quality' and 'public service programming' despite the budget cuts, though I think he referenced 'Skins' as part of the network's commitment to 'quality' television, so you can decide for yourself what kind of quality he's talking about. Not that I've been watching series 3 of the OTT yoof drama, perhaps it's focusing more on the admittedly compelling if rather unrealistic storylines now, rather than inconsistent acting and film school style direction. And at least he didn't raise 'Hollyoaks' in the same breath as his commitment to quality.

The cut in drama spend may be good news for comedy, with sitcoms generally easier to make, and the network being rather happy with the fact three of the four nominations in the BAFTA Best Sitcom shortlist, announced earlier this week, are for its shows - 'Peep Show', 'The IT Crowd' and the see-yoof-telly-can-be-well-written-and-properly-funny 'The Inbetweeners'. What all this means for music telly I don't know, though that is even cheaper to make and rather sponsorable, so I suspect C4's many dabblings in music telly will stay. With the late night original programme budget cut, I suspect we can expect to see more music on late night C4, which is good news for the music industry if nothing else.

In related news, the BBC has questioned whether a closer tie-up or maybe even a merger between Channel 4 and its commercial division BBC Worldwide will really be a panacea when it comes to safeguarding the future of commercially-funded public service television.

As previously reported, some kind of C4/BBC Worldwide tie up has been proposed as a solution to Channel 4's long term money problems - ie to overcome the issue that as advertising revenues slump and more and more media compete for the advertiser's pound, ad money alone won't be enough to pay for expensive and often niche interest public service programming like that found on some of Channel 4's output. The BBC isn't necessarily against working more closely with C4 on commercial projects, but it says that that alliance alone won't fix the future problems. In their response to the government's Digital Britain review they seem to suggest some of the other proposals put forward for Channel 4 - in particular it merging with Five or ITV - should also be properly considered, even though C4 bosses are less keen on those proposals.

Those comments come as the majority owners of Channel Five, former SonyBMG co-owners Bertelsmann, also call for a merger between their terrestrial UK station and its commercial rivals, ITV or C4 or even both. They say that, given the advertising recession and increased competition in the TV and wider content market, it is now unsustainable to keep Five going as a stand alone concern. They want the government to change media ownership rules so to allow a merger between Five and one of its rivals - or maybe even the ITV-C4-Five powerhouse proposed in passing by ITV chief Michael Grade.

Bertelsmann's CFO Thomas Rabe told the Financial Times: "We don't think Five in its current form is sustainable and that a transformation of the business or consolidation is necessary. Everybody agrees that there will be further consolidation in the UK TV market and we are deeply convinced we will be part of it. There is no doubt that in that consolidation, Channel Five will have a value".

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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
A.R. Rahman & Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)*
Asher Roth - I Love College
Beyoncé - Halo
Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone*
Flo Rida feat. Kesha - Right Round
Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls*
Just Jack - Embers
Lady Gaga - Poker Face
Metro Station - Shake It
Noisettes - Don't Upset The Rhythm
Peter, Bjorn & John - Nothing To Worry About
Pink - Please Don't Leave Me
The Script - Talk You Down
T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake - Dead And Gone
White Lies - Farewell To The Fairground*

B List
Dananananakroyd - Black Wax
Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
The Enemy - No Time For Tears*
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
Frankmusik - Better Off As Two
Groove Armada - Drop The Tough
James Morrison - Please Don't Stop The Rain
Jason Mraz - Make It Mine
La Roux - In For The Kill
Steve Angello & Laidback Luke feat Robin S - Show Me Love
Theory Of A Deadman - Hate My Life
The View - Temptation Dice*
The Virgins - Rich Girls
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
You Me At Six - Save It For The Bedroom

Tip List
Animal Collective - My Girls
Funeral For A Friend - Rules and Games
The Gaslight Anthem - Great Expectations
Jazmine Sullivan - Dream Big
The Maccabees - No Kind Words*
Master Shortie - Dance Like A White Boy*
Official Secrets Act - The Girl From The BBC
Operahouse - Genius Child
Steve Appleton - Dirty Funk*
We Are The Ocean - God Damn Good
White Belt Yellow Tag - You're Not Invincible*

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Singer-songwriter Josh Groban is not dating popstrel Katy Perry, according to Groban's rep, Luke Burland, who has denied claims by celeb blogger Perez Hilton, who is apparently mates with Perry, that the pair were trying to keep their romance quiet.

Burland told "Josh and Katy are very close friends and hang out, but they are not a couple".

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Animal rights group PETA have expressed their concern about the content of Michael Jackson's upcoming series of live shows at the O2, after the Daily Mirror claimed that the singer had asked organisers if he could ride on stage on the back of an elephant. It would reportedly be part of a larger jungle-themed section of the show, which would feature a panther, three monkeys, and 100 Masai warriors.

Don't know whether it's true or not, but PETA have leapt on the news and released as statement reminding everyone about what happened to his Neverland Ranch menagerie. The organisation say this: "Michael Jackson gave away his chimpanzee, and left giraffes, elephants and other animals in appalling, cramped conditions when he vacated the Neverland Ranch. These exotic animals belong in Africa, not the O2 Arena among screaming fans, bright lights and stage explosions. These wild animals are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them when they are forced to perform under stressful conditions. Michael needs to learn to leave exotic animals alone."

I agree. Though no-one is speaking out about cruelty to Masai warriors, I note.

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Steve Van Zandt has criticised Primal Scream, and in particular Bobby Gillespie, for allowing a dependence on drugs to be career-limiting. The E-Street man says that he tried to get them to play in the US but they wouldn't commit because they didn't have the stamina.

Van Zandt: "I tried to get Primal Scream to come over to America several times. I thought their album before this last one was one of the greatest records in 10 years. I begged them to come over. I had a whole tour for them. Their agent talked me out of it. He said: 'They can't do 20 shows.' I'm like, 'Come on, man. We do 20 shows a month'".

He continued: "Primal Scream could be the biggest band in the world. They are fantastic when they make rock records - once every 10 years. But they can't tour because of drug problems, or whatever. I don't have patience for it. I'm like, all right, you want to be a drug addict, go be a drug addict. Don't waste my time".

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The Royal Family have denied claims by Simon Cowell that he was ill-treated by the Queen and The Duke Of Edinburgh. Cowell appeared on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' and explained to his host that the snub had occurred in December 2007.

Cowell said: "It was actually embarrassing. It is called the 'Royal Variety Show', so she is in the audience. At the end, if you are involved in it, you have to stand around for hours and then say 'hello'. She ignored me and her husband called me a sponger. I think he was trying to be rude. So I just mumbled something and he walked off".

A Palace spokesman has responded to the claim, telling the Daily Mail: "The Duke of Edinburgh categorically did not call Mr Cowell a sponger. He has no reason to. He has said he does not know enough about Mr Cowell to make any sort of comment about him. Mr Cowell may have misheard the Duke, he has a very soft voice. The Queen doesn't ignore people. She has many people to meet after such a show".

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It's not really clear if Google Street View will actually have a proper use that will justify the massive amount of money spent on creating it once everyone's given up looking at their houses and trying to find weird stuff.

Surely the biggest revelation to come out of it so far is that a man who might or might not be Liam Gallagher can be seen sitting outside The Queens pub in Primrose Hill. His face is blurred out, obviously, and the man appears quite small in the picture, but it could be him. In fact, a spokesman for Gallagher said that it was "very possible" that it is him in the picture on account of it being a pub he sometimes goes to.

It's thrilling stuff.

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