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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Copyright extension plans stumble
7Digital and Spotify announce partnership
Madonna in Malawi
Daltry asks Noel and Kelly to take over charity gigs
Eno on the "exciting mess" of the music industry
Elvis poem sells for $20k
In The Pop Courts
TI sentenced to a year in the klink
Spears Senior orders fan site shutdown
Jackson auction will go ahead, despite Jacko's objections
Designer sues Love over all round bitchiness
In The Pop Hospital
T Pain suffers tee pain
Awards & Contests
Nickelback triumph at Junos
Reunions & Splits
Williams definitely to reunite with Take That, says Mirror
Artist Deals
Wall Of Sound to collaborate with EMI on Mpho
Release News
Lemonheads to release covers album
Films N Shows News
Doherty to write TV drama
Festival News
Fatboy pulls out of Snowbombing Festival
Reviews
Album review: Wildbirds And Peacedrums - The Snake (The Leaf Label)
The Music Business
Budd returns to band management
The Digital Business
Mixtape.me getting good response, enjoy now before the cease and desists arrive
Pirate Bay to help file sharers hide
German retailer buys control of 24-7 downloads
The Media Business
Awards presented at Radio Academy forum
Parfitt on the future of TOTP, and an aging Radio 1
UKRD make bit for TLRC
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Gallagher says Street View man aint him
More music people criticise Lady GaGa
Nutini on Jackson and Cowell

Fiddy doesn't do his own tweets

 

MONDAY 30TH MARCH

METRIC
Formed in New York City way back in 1998, Metric first began to make their mark on the world with their second album, 'Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?' in 2003. Having re-located to Toronto by this point, frontwoman Emily Haines and guitarist James Shaw had also joined the Canadian music breeding ground that is Broken Social Scene, appearing on the collective's 2002 album 'You Forgot It In People'.

 

Not ones to take time off, the band not only toured intensively to promote 'Old World Underground...' and its 2007 follow-up 'Let It Out', but also found time to work on numerous other projects. Emily Haynes released a solo album in 2006, and provided guest vocals for various other bands including MSTRKRFT, Stars, KC Accidental and The Stills, while Shaw built a studio with former Death From Above 1979 man Sebastien Grainger, and the band's rhythm section, Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott-Key formed their own band, Bang Lime.

Now Metric are back with their fourth album, 'Fantasties', which is due for release on their own label, Metric Music International, on 20 Apr. We caught up with Emily Haines to find out more.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
When I was growing up my brother only listened to The Sex Pistols and my dad only listened to Albert Ayler. I starting playing the piano to drown them out.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
A psychedelic experience.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It usually starts with Jimmy dreaming up a sound. I'll write something on piano or guitar and bring it to the band with Jimmy's vision in mind. Then we put the songs through all kinds of contortions to test their elasticity. If a song survives this process without breaking into pieces it is ready to be road tested. If we can play it live every night and enjoy it, then it makes the cut!

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We are more influenced by film makers than other bands. At the moment it's all about Stanley Kubrick's 'The Killing' and 'Inland Empire' by David Lynch.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Be open minded. Every word has three meanings.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We put a lot of love into making 'Fantasies', I want people to feel it and enjoy it. My life with Metric is an adventure that has taken me places I could never have planned or predicted. I'm just excited to see what's going to happen next!

MORE>> www.ilovemetric.com and www.myspace.com/metricband

 

SENIOR PR ROLE - www.spring-pr.com
This is a dream role in a small and exciting PR agency. We specialise in music, events and youth PR with clients ranging from corporate brands to underground recording artists, festivals and alternative art projects. We're looking for a senior member of staff to work across all areas of the business and as such we can only consider applications from people who have a proven track record in handling brand PR in a multi-agency setting. With an eye for detail and top-notch organisational skills, you'll be enthusiastic about working in a small team environment. You'll have 6 years of music and corporate PR experience, strong client servicing skills, and the highest communication skills. This is a full time role with a competitive salary and is based in our easily accessed central London offices. To apply, please email your CV and a covering letter to rhiannon@spring-pr.com

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ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

 

INTRODUCING LEYLINE PUBLICITY
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: nick@leylinepromotions.com or adrian@leylinepromotions.com t: 020 7575 3285

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PUBLIC RELATIONS CAREER COACHING
Have you been made redundant? Are you entering the PR jobs market? Do you need help getting your CV in tip-top condition? Do you need to brush up on your networking or interviewing skills?

PR recruiter Unicorn Jobs is holding a day of PR specific careers coaching on Wednesday 15th April. It will include a morning of workshops on: how to write an effective PR CV, answering job ads and writing covering letters, and networking and interviewing skills. Plus each participant will receive a 45 minute one-to-one session with a PR recruiter to discuss their CV and get personalised career development advice.

Places are £115 per person. To book your place please call 020 3051 1525 or email prcoaching@unicornjobs.com

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ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

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FABULOUS TOWN HOUSE TO SHARE IN BRONDESBURY PARK NW6 
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 adrian@leylinepromotions.com

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

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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 ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

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COPYRIGHT EXTENSION PLANS STUMBLE
So, the British music industry's attempts to extend the recording copyright from the current 50 years, possibly to as much as 95 years, were dealt what Music Week have called a "savage blow" on Friday, which is quite a strong adjective, but there you go. I think they were trying to communicate the UK record industry's anger that the British contingent in Europe, who had promised to push the copyright extension proposals through, were the very people who caused things to stumble last week.

The devil, as always, is in the detail. While, as previously reported, the British government has now said it supports extending the copyright term enjoyed by sound recordings, albeit to 70 rather than the industry-preferred 95 years, it says its motivation to do so is the financial welfare of ageing musicians and not the companies who have a vested interest in recording copyrights, ie record companies.

EU Minister Charlie McCreevy, who put the original extension proposals forward at a European level, included provisions to ensure that musicians in particular benefited from the extension, mainly by increasing the royalties that are automatically paid to artists and session musicians oblivious of contractual arrangements once the initial fifty year term is up (currently in the UK, the only royalties musicians have an automatic right to is a share of broadcast royalties collected by PPL). McCreevy proposes a 'session fund' into which a cut of fifty-year plus royalty revenues are paid, which are then distributed to musicians involved in those recordings.

This is all very admirable, but it does mean that the political debate around the extension proposals are more complicated than just agreeing a term length that's somewhere between 50 and 95 years. And as the UK's IP Minister David Lammy has made it clear that it is the musicians who he cares about, getting that fund system right is, in his mind, crucial to letting the extension be voted through at all.

Friday's debate among the so called EU Committee Of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER to its French friends, who need to agree on the proposals before they can go to the decision-making Council Of Ministers, centred on the Session Fund.

According to Music Week, one big issue in that regard is whether the session fund will only apply to existing recordings, or all future recordings too - ie will musicians always get a preferential cut of royalties after fifty years on both existing and all future recordings, or does that extra benefit only apply to those recordings which already exist when the new law passes. Under the latter system any new recordings would enjoy a 70-95 year term without any provision to force record companies to pay a share of royalties into any fund when the initial fifty years are up in 2060.

The UK want the session fund to be permanent but most other European countries, for reasons I'm not entirely sure about, want the fund to be "transitional" and therefore to only apply to existing recordings. Disagreements on that particular issue meant no agreement was reached in COREPER, which means the proposals cannot now proceed, as originally planned, to the Council Of Ministers. In theory it's just a delay - the proposals haven't been dropped - but there is a deadline here, because if this matter isn't resolved before the next round of European elections in June the whole matter will be pushed back months, maybe years (and there is another longer term deadline - the early Beatles and Stones catalogues will start to come out of copyright in 2013/2014). To reach that June deadline, every day counts.

Responding to the news that, by dissenting on the fund issue the UK government had stopped the proposals going forward, a joint statement from the Musicians Union, royalty collecting society PPL, and record label trade bodies BPI and AIM, said: "The British music sector is very disappointed by the absence of agreement on an extension for performers and sound recording rights at the COREPER meeting today, and particularly that our own government, despite its recent positive statements, did not vote in favour of the proposal at this meeting".

They continued: "The UK music sector has lived up to its commitments by reaching an agreement, as demanded by ministers, that will deliver real benefits to musicians in an extended term. In continuing to hold out for further changes, the government has not heeded the repeated pleas of the very musicians it claims to support, who strongly encouraged it to vote for the proposal today. We call on the government to work with us urgently to match its supportive rhetoric with concrete action, by moving heaven and earth to reach an agreement under this EU Presidency that will deliver an improved term of copyright for performers and music companies".

Responding, the UK's Innovation Minister John Denham stressed Friday's vote hadn't "killed off the proposals to extend copyright term", and added that the issue just needed more Europe-wide consideration and debate. He told reporters: "Member States need more time to consider the details of the proposal and reach an agreement. The vote against the proposal today will not end the process. I've always been clear that the UK would support an extension to copyright term to deliver real, lasting benefits to performers. We are nearly there. I am personally disappointed that we could not get agreement to go straight to a deal with the [European] Parliament but I remain confident that we can get there. The UK will do all it can".

It should be noted that the UK's vote on the permanence, or not, of the session fund was not the only hindrance to the copyright extension proposals last week. While British ministers caused things to stumble in its debate about the fund, several other EU nations - enough to be considered a "blocking minority" - confirmed they would vote against the proposal altogether. These included: Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania.

Again that doesn't necessarily stop the proposals from proceeding completely, though it is likely to result in another delay and as I said - tick tock tick tock - it's looking less and less likely the term extension proposals will be passed this session.

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7DIGITAL AND SPOTIFY ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP
You know that phrase 'iPod killer' used every time someone launches a new digital music device or download service? Well, it's normally applied to devices/services/partnerships that have no hope of really providing any serious competition to the Apple-owned digital music player and download store, but this one, well, who knows? It won't damage iPod sales, because it's an iPod-compatible service, but it could steal some traffic away from market-leading download store iTunes.

7Digital have announced a deal with Spotify which will allow users of the insanely popular streaming music service in the UK, France, Spain and Germany to opt to buy 320kps MP3 versions of their favourite tracks via the London-based download store at the click of a button. As 7Digital sell MP3s from all majors and most indies, that will mean most tracks on Spotify will be available via the sell-through function, and the plan is to offer some in the super high quality FLAC format too.

It's not clear just how the integration of 7Digital into Spotify will work, but the process will reportedly start with a simple right lick on tracks users want to buy. Some sort of 'buy-a-playlist' function will also be added in due course.

The tie up is good for 7Digital because it enables them to offer a much more engaging preview-then-buy service that iTunes offers with its 30 second clips. The service will presumably be used by those who want to play tracks offline, or on the move, or those who have the sneaky feeling Spotify - like many other streaming services - will eventually bite the dust once venture capital is spent and the labels/publishers push for bigger royalty fees, so it's still wise to keep a back up of your favourite tunes actually on your PC.

Spotify has previously said it will announce three retail partnerships in the coming weeks - it's not clear if the other partnerships are with 7Digital's rivals, or with ticket and/or merchandise sellers.

Confirming the deal, Spotify boss Daniel Ek said this: "Spotify is a great way to listen to and discover music and, through integration with 7digital.com, our users can now take their digital music with them wherever they go. We're committed to developing the world's largest streaming music catalogue and 7digital.com's huge catalogue of high quality MP3 downloads makes them an ideal partner for us".

7Digital top man Ben Drury added: "The collaboration with Spotify is exactly what we were aiming to achieve when we opened our API to outside developers. This is the first stage of a partnership that will create a more integrated download experience for 7digital and Spotify customers. We're already looking to build on the existing integration and, ultimately, allow users to listen and buy MP3s securely with one or two clicks".

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MADONNA IN MALAWI
According to reports, Madonna has, as expected, arrived in Malawi to start the process of adopting a second child from the country.

The singer, who has been seen walking through the village of Chinkhota with her daughter Lourdes, apparently wants to adopt a three (or perhaps four - accounts differ) year old girl called Mercy James, whose eighteen year old unmarried mother died a few months after her birth. The child is presently in the charge of the same orphanage that Madonna and Guy Ritchie took little David Banda from back in 2006. According to Malawian officials, the star will sign adoption papers in the country's capital, Lilongwe, in the coming week.

Madonna's latest adoption has come in for criticism, though, as you might expect. David Nutt of Save The Children has said that he thinks the star should reconsider: "We don't want to pick on one individual - any time, any set of circumstances can change. But the problem is, very often this is the wrong thing to do, and Madonna tends to make it seem like it's the answer to everything and all problems, and it just isn't".

However, Steven Whitehead, spokesman from Oasis, a charity which supports families who adopt from abroad, has defended her decision, saying: "There are a number of children for whom inter-country adoption represents their only chance of having a family, and the human convention on the right of the child gives every child the right to a family. And it's much better for them be in a family, wherever it may happen to be, than be in institutional care. The damaging effect of institutional care on children is so well recognised that, you know, it's just not an issue of debate".

There's been no comment on the matter from Madonna's reps, but as previously reported, Madonna recently admitted to the fact that she was considering finding a Malawian sibling for her adopted son David.

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DALTRY ASKS NOEL AND KELLY TO TAKE OVER CHARITY GIGS
According to Kelly Jones, Roger Daltrey has suggested that both he and Noel Gallagher might consider one day taking over the organisation of the Teenage Cancer Trust Charity gigs, one of which Stereophonics headlined last week.

The Who frontman, who launched the annual series of events back in 2000 and which he plans to expand to other countries, has previously admitted that it's getting tiring persuading big bands to take part, telling 6Music: "I would love to find someone from a younger generation to take over from me. It does take an awful lot of energy. I call it my 'yearly breakdown'".

While talking about his involvement in last week's fundraising gigs, Jones revealed: "He's asked me and Noel a couple of times to our faces. If you're in a band and you can help people who are worse off, it's not really much to ask for. It's a big job and we're like, 'Come on Roger, you'd do it a lot better than us', and he carries on doing it".

Asked whether he would really consider taking it on at some point, he continued: "It depends how much time it involves. I think it's an important thing for somebody to do. I've never really given it as much thought as answering it with a serious tone. We'll see. You see what happens in life".

Jones adds that it's a difficult job for Daltrey, saying: "I think he does get a bit embarrassed - that might not be the right word - but I think he does know that he's pestering people all the time to do it, but good on him. I think somebody does need to pester people to do stuff like this, and if he's the one doing it then good on him".

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ENO ON THE "EXCITING MESS" OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Brian Eno, who's currently on tour with David Byrne, has been talking to The Guardian about the ever changing music business, admitting he is enjoying experimenting with new ways of releasing his music, even if it is all a bit unpredictable commercially speaking. He told the paper: "When I finish something I want it out that day. Pop music is like the daily paper. It's got to be there then, not six months later. So [David and I] decided to release on our websites first, then put it on the commercial websites, then as a CD, then with different packaging. It's just trying to see what works. The business is an exciting mess at the moment".

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ELVIS POEM SELLS FOR $20K
A short poem written by Elvis Presley has sold at auction for $20,000. When I first heard that it was about a dead bird, I thought that it might be some kind of sweetly sad reflection on the poor robin's demise. But it's a bit nastier than that. The verse, written on his own stationery, reads:

As I awoke this morning when all sweet things are born
A robin perched on my window sill to greet the coming dawn.
He sang his sweet song so sweetly and paused for a moment's lull
I gently raised the window and crushed his fucking skull.

Nice. It was sold as part of an online sale of Elvis memorabilia alongside other items such as a jumpsuit he wore at a concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, which sold for $212,588.40, and the typed lyrics for his song 'Young and Beautiful', which raised $1,155.60.

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TI SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN THE KLINK
US hip hopper TI has been sentenced to a year and a day in jail after pleading guilty to those previously reported 2007 charges of possessing illegal weapons. The rapper, real name Clifford Harris, has a month or two to report to prison. I am still confused about why he (and many other music celebrities in the US) doesn't have to go straight to jail.

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SPEARS SENIOR ORDERS FAN SITE SHUTDOWN
Taking a leaf out of Prince's book, Jamie 'father of Britney' Spears has ordered the closure of one of his daughter's fan sites on the grounds of copyright infringement.

Spears Senior who, of course, is currently managing his daughter's affairs as part of the 'conservatorship' that was put in place after her loopy period early last year, has told the owner of BreatheHeavy.com that "you are an uber fan who's gone a little too far". Spears apparently objects to the posting of unauthorised photos, lyrics and videos on the fan site.

In a message posted on the website, its owner, Jordan Miller, writes: "I have been battling the conservatorship Britney is currently placed under for months now. When I did not conform to the requests and demands Britney's management and father, Jamie Spears, recently put upon BreatheHeavy to stay quiet, they in turn became angry and malicious, launching, what I feel is an unjust attack, against me and my website. This conservatorship Britney is placed under, which controls every aspect of her life, is now clenching the future of her biggest fansite".

Miller is asking users of his site to donate money to help him hire lawyers to fight Spears' infringement claims. As previously reported, Prince last year issues similar orders against some of his fan sites, ordering pictures and lyrics and the like be removed. Such action does seem somewhat counter-productive, even if infringement claims are legitimate, given that fans sites invariably provide tonnes of free publicity for an artist and their commercial exploits. There is also a fear artists might use infringement claims against fan sites which sometimes carry negative coverage about them.

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JACKSON AUCTION WILL GO AHEAD, DESPITE JACKO'S OBJECTIONS
That Michael Jackson memorabilia auction that seemingly had the singer's approval, but then didn't all of a sudden, will still go ahead, the auction house running it has said, despite Jacko launching legal proceedings to try and stop it.

As previously reported, Jackson is trying to stop Julien's Auction House in LA from staging the auction, claiming that the auctioneers had not fulfilled their commitment to let him approve what goods would be sold before announcing the sale. But the company's owner, Darren Julien, claims Jacko had been in the loop throughout the planning stages of the auction, and had even signed off a press release, and that he is therefore "really puzzled and disappointed" about the singer's subsequent legal action.

Confirming the auction would go ahead on 21 Apr, Julien told reporters: "We're really puzzled and disappointed that he's trying to stop this sale because the last eight months he's known about the auction. In December he and his manager approved a release that went out, announcing that we're conducting an auction of Neverland and Michael Jackson".

On the planned sale, he continued: "We're going to keep our commitment to him and really make sure that it's really something his fans and the world can be proud of. I mean Michael Jackson is an amazing pop icon - the history, and what he means to pop culture, and Neverland, is part of pop culture history. So we want this to be something that's fun, that's exciting, so we hope we get past all these issues with him and he'll enjoy the process like he did originally when he was putting the sale together for us".

Many of the goods for sale seemingly come from Jackon's own collection - they include the wrought iron gates from his Neverland Ranch and a white glove he wore in his 1983 Billie Jean video - so I'm not quite sure how that works given the singer's subsequent withdrawal from the sale, though presumably the auction house has some legal right to sell them.

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DESIGNER SUES LOVE OVER ALL ROUND BITCHINESS
A fashion designer is reportedly suing Courtney Love over remarks published on the former Hole singer's infamous blog. Dawn Simorangkir claims Love has embarked on "an obsessive and delusional crusade to terrorize and destroy" her career by making outlandish allegations on her website, including suggesting the designer was a cocaine user and dealer, a prostitute, a "horrible lying bitch" and "an asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief". Which is nice. According to TMZ.com, the designer is reportedly suing for emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

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T-PAIN SUFFERS TEE PAIN
Singer/producer/rapper/song-writer T-Pain was involved in a freak golf cart incident on Friday, in which he apparently lost four teeth and suffered from a number of cuts and abrasions to the face. Well, it's a shame, but you know, if you will play golf, these things will happen. Anyway, he was as a result forced to cancel two high profile gigs over the weekend, with Lil Wayne and Lil Kim. Kim has said that he was also unable to take part in the scheduled filming of her new video, stating: "He's gonna be in the video, but we have to wait until he heals and gets better. So, to my boy T-Peezy, 'Get better baby. We can't wait to see you'".

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NICKELBACK TRIUMPH AT JUNOS
Rockers Nickelback dominated Canada's Juno awards at the weekend, opening the show with a performance of their single 'Something In Your Mouth', and collecting three awards at the ceremony, for Group Of The Year, Album Of The Year for 'Dark Horse' and the Juno Fan Choice Award.

Accepting the first award frontman Chad Kroeger said this: "Wow, wow, we have been doing this for awhile now - since '96 - and to win this - Group Of The Year - is just absolutely amazing. Thanks to the fans and everybody here in Vancouver, thank you so much".

Other winners on the night included Montreal rocker Sam Roberts, who took Artist Of The Year, Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall who won in the Rap Recording category, and Alexisonfire man Dallas Green, who got Songwriter Of The Year. Coldplay took International Album of The Year for 'Viva La Vida', Alanis Morrissette received Best Pop Album for 'Flavors Of Entanglement', and Barenaked Ladies were awarded the gong for Best Children's Album.

And talking of Barenaked Ladies, the show's host Russell Peters had a pop at former band member Steven Page, who was, as previously reported, charged with possessing cocaine last summer. "Speaking of snow, Steven Page left the Barenaked Ladies", he told the audience, "apparently to sniff out some other work".

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WILLIAMS DEFINITELY TO REUNITE WITH TAKE THAT, SAYS MIRROR
The Mirror claims that Robbie Williams is definitely going to make some live appearances with Take That, and that their reunion will begin with a London residency. The singer previously revealed, apparently, that he felt ready for a return to the group and expected to "have a laugh" if it went ahead.

Anyway, the tabloid claims that the group's management are looking for an appropriate London venue, possibly The O2 or Wembley, for either June or November 2010. They quote a 'source' as saying: "It's definitely on - don't believe the denials. It will be the most sensational comeback ever. But everything is under wraps as it's over a year away and the orders from the top are to keep it quiet".

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WALL OF SOUND TO COLLABORATE WITH EMI ON MPHO
London-based independent Wall Of Sound has announced a global licensing deal with EMI's Parlophone division in relation to the indie's latest development aritist, broken beat singer and Bugz In The Attic collaborator Mpho. The five album deal will see EMI work with the indie to launch Mpho's solo career.

Explaining their reason for partnering with the major, the first time Wall Of Sound has done so to this extent, WoS top man Mark Jones told CMU: "This is the first time in Wall of Sound's fifteen year history that we've teamed up with a UK major label worldwide on an artist. Mpho's album has enormous global crossover pop potential. The honest commitment and passion of the Parlophone UK label team gave me no doubts whatsover that this set up can give Mpho and her music the best available platform. Added to that the interest and involvement of [Parlophone chief] Miles Leonard, [EMI A&R President] Nick Gatfield and Steve Melrose [at EMI's Capitol division in the US] were another big influence on my belief that this can really work. I've known and respected all of the individuals concerned for some considerable time but we've never actually worked together before. Most importantly I'm so pleased for Mpho. It couldn't happen to a more talented artist".

Leonard himself added: "Mpho makes great pop music, Wall of Sound make great records, it's what we like to work with".

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LEMONHEADS TO RELEASE COVERS ALBUM
The Lemonheads are to release an album of cover versions in the US on 23 Jun. The collection, entitled 'Varshons', will feature the band's take on tracks originally performed by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons and Christina Aguilera. There are a couple of guest appearances on the LP, which has been produced by Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes, from Kate Moss and actress Liv Tyler.

Not sure about a UK release date but here's the tracklisting, with the original artist in brackets:

I Just Can't Take It Anymore (Gram Parsons)
Fragile (Wire)
Layin' Up With Linda (G.G. Allin)
Waiting Around To Die (Townes Van Zandt)
Green Fuz (Randy Alvey & Green Fuz)
Yesterlove (Sam Gopal)
Dirty Robot feat. Kate Moss (Arling & Cameron)
New Mexico (FuckEmos)
Dandelion Seeds (July)
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye feat. Liv Tyler (Leonard Cohen)
Beautiful (Christina Aguilera)

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DOHERTY TO WRITE TV DRAMA
According to reports, Pete Doherty is to write a TV drama series for the BBC.

It sounds a bit improbable, I know, but here's what a 'source' says on the matter: "Pete was meeting creative chiefs. They've commissioned him to write a 'Skins'-style show on the dark side of the music industry. They want a pilot episode written in the next six weeks which will become a series, if he can come up with the goods. Beeb bosses think Pete has a creative streak that will produce some gritty TV. He's seen it all as a hellraising rock star, so they want his experiences written in".

Whether he would be able to buckle down and get it done in time would be the question, I think. But good luck to him.

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FATBOY PULLS OUT OF SNOWBOMBING FESTIVAL
Fatboy Slim has pulled out of this week's Snowbombing Festival, which kicked off in Mayrhofen, Austria yesterday, because of his continued fight against alcohol addiction.

According to the Sun, Norman Cook's treatment, which began when he entered rehab earlier this month, will take longer than expected. They quote Cook as follows: "I'm choked to be missing out on it but I hope Snowbombing will have me back for another crack at it next year. Sorry to let you down, folks".

On their website this morning Snowbombing have announced that 2 Many DJs will now headline the event, "replacing Fatboy Slim due to health reasons".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Wildbirds And Peacedrums - The Snake (The Leaf Label)
And now for something completely different, again. Swedish husband and wife, Mariam Walletin and Andreas Werlin, return with the follow-up to their acclaimed debut 'Heartcore'. They've pretty much stuck to the same gloriously simple formula of Mariam's acrobatic vocals accompanied by genius percussion, but this time, by adding a smattering of piano, xylophone and marimba here and there, the duo have gifted upon us something very powerful indeed. 'Snake' creeps eerily to life with a stunningly uninhibited a capella performance of 'Island', showcasing an ethereal quality that sets a precedent for the rest of the album, which is pure aural escapism. Sometimes it lets out beautiful soundscapes that evoke the isolation and emptiness of frozen landscapes and hazy fogs floating on glaciers. The duo say that they never strive for perfection and like knots in wood, it's the little flaws and chinks that make their music so spectacular. Deep down bluesy numbers like 'Places' exhibit the pairs ability to create grooves as deep as ravines. The intoxication of their unique blend of stripped down, organic soulful blues proves a heady brew but it's Mariam's feral vocals that stand out as the real spine tingling element on this album. Her unconstrained passion-fuelled primal screams are the exceptional element of this contemporary jazz-infused folk. Throughout, simplicity remains the key here. By stripping down the arrangements and eliminating distractions from Mariam's impassioned vocals, the pair have managed to produce music containing such a cranked up intensity that even orchestra's would struggle to emulate. MB
Release Date: 13 Apr
Press Contact: The Leaf Label IH [all]

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BUDD RETURNS TO BAND MANAGEMENT
Stephen Budd, who co-founded artist management agency SuperVision, but who more recently has concentrated on managing the careers of music producers through his own Stephen Budd Management company, has announced he will be dabbling once again in band management by taking on responsibility for both Gang Of Four and The Magic Numbers, which sounds pretty damn exciting if you ask me. He will co-manage Gang Of Four with SuperVision's Nigel Templeman and Dave Cronen, and The Magic Numbers with Dan Moore.

Budd, who previously managed Heaven 19, Tanita Tikaram and Big Sound Authority, in addition to his wide-ranging producer management experience, told CMU: "Alongside managing the producers, I'm delighted to be returning to my primary discipline of working hands-on with artists. I've been close to both bands personally for a long time and they are simply some of the best musicians I'm privileged to know. Both acts are making stunning new albums, so when I was approached by each within a couple of weeks, of course I was honoured and it was a no-brainer for me to say yes. Over the last few years as a part of Channelfly, and now MAMA, we've grown [our management] businesses considerably and now have amazing resources that we can bring to bear to work with these artists. We'll start running hard at it now".

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MIXTAPE.ME GETTING GOOD RESPONSE, ENJOY NOW BEFORE THE CEASE AND DESISTS ARRIVE
Much chatter in the blogosphere last week about MixTape.me, a new easy to use digital music player which taps into numerous sources of online music - including blogs, label and artist pages, and what not - and lets you play and playlist those tracks through an iTunes-style interface. Of course many of tracks it sources are probably unlicensed - it certainly utilises the Seeqpod search system which Warner and EMI are currently suing - and there are many similarities between it and the original version of Muxtape, which was closed down by the Recording Industry Association Of America last year. But for the time being, we hear that, infringement aside, it's a good service and, of course, by accessing illegal as well as legal sources of music it has a hugely expansive and diverse catalogue at its disposal.

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PIRATE BAY TO HELP FILE SHARERS HIDE
Another bit of new technology getting much coverage in blog land last week was IPREDator, a new system being offered by the good old Pirate Bay that gives file-sharers more anonymity by using so called virtual private network, or VPN, software.

The technology is designed to make it harder for content owners to identify who is sharing unlicensed music online, and so to make it harder for them to launch legal proceedings against those individuals or - should such a system become real law in any territory - order disconnection under the controversial three-strike system.

It's named after the IPRED, or the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, a bit of European legislation designed to make infringement lawsuits quicker and easier for content owners to pursue in all EU jurisdictions, and especially those who have been less generous to content owners in online piracy cases, like Italy and Spain.

The Pirate Bay chiefs still waiting for a Swedish judge to rule on whether they are guilty of authorising/contributory infringement charges are presumably launching IPRED simply as a technical innovation and not to help file-sharers to evade copyright litigation, given that, according to their statements in court, they are completely unaware that any of their other services might be used by people trying to distribute or access pirated content.

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GERMAN RETAILER BUYS CONTROL OF 24-7 DOWNLOADS
German consumer electronics giant Media-Saturn last week bought a controlling interest in 24-7 Entertainment, a back-end provider of digital music services which powers the online and mobile download and ringtone services of numerous European retailers and tel cos, including Media-Saturn's two main retail brands Media Markt and Saturn. Despite the deal, 24-7 will continue to be run by its founders, Frank Taubert and Carl Nielsen, as an independent unit within the retail firm.

Confirming the deal, Taubert told reporters: "We are very pleased that such a major player as Media-Saturn understands the growth potential of the 24-7 Entertainment digital distribution platform. Being part of a major consumer electronics entity will afford us many opportunities for expansion including the convergence of digital entertainment services to the home and portable environment, which we believe will be greatly beneficial to all of our loyal customers".

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AWARDS PRESENTED AT RADIO ACADEMY FORUM
The Radio Academy last week staged its first Radio & Music Forum, designed to bring together the great and good of both the radio and music sectors so to assess whose industry was in the biggest mess. Do you know, I think I'd say radio.

No, that wasn't the real reason for meeting, it was a chance for radio and music types to explore how they can better work together, to meet their respective challenges in this here digital age. It was also an opportunity to dish out some awards - some existing gongs, and some new ones - to those music business types who support or work with radio, and vice versa.

The Scott Piering Award, an established prize that acknowledges collaboration between the music and radio industries, went to BPI chief and former EMI UK boss Tony Wadsworth, while two plugging awards, presenting in association with Record Of The Day, went to Neil Adams of, well, Neil Adams PR, and Charlie Lycett of Lucid PR.

There were also awards for music business types. There were two new gongs for live music broadcasting, which went to the BBC Electric Proms and the Xfm Session. And then there was the PPL sponsored Lifetime Achievement Award which went to the legend that is Trevor Horn.

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PARFITT ON THE FUTURE OF TOTP, AND AN AGING RADIO 1
Talking of the Radio Academy Forum, among the speakers there was the BBC's Chief Of Pop Andy Parfitt (that's his new job title I think) and he was asked, as he must be at every music industry event he attends these days, about whether 'Top Of The Pops' will return to our TV screens at any point in the near future. His answer: Well, no. Probably not.

He said that while recent special editions of the show - Christmas, New Year, Comic Relief - had been well received, there were no plans for the legendary pop show to return to a weekly time slot on the BBC TV network because, you see, the kids just don't want it. Which you can't blame them for really, given the Beeb's insistence that 'Top Of The Pops' always be fronted by talent vacuum that is Fearne Cotton.

According to Music Week, Parfitt told the Forum: "[Top Of The Pops] has got a mythical status ... but I don't think we should get hung up on that one programme. We are a long way from [BBC1 controller] Jay Hunt recommissioning 'Top Of The Pops' in its old-school form on BBC1. Younger music consumers expect more interactivity - the days are gone when we can make a programme and just put it out there".

Parfitt also took the opportunity to defend accusations that Radio 1 - which is still in his domain at the Beeb - is increasingly failing to reach its target demographic of 15-24 year olds, not least because of its increasingly aging presenter roster, which includes 34 year old Scott Mills, 35 year old Chris Moyles, 43 year olds Jo Whiley and Steve Lamaq, 48 year old Pete Tong and 51 year old Tim Westwood.

Parfitt insisted that Radio 1 remains a "hot young station" and argued that while it is true more 35 plus year olds are tuning in than in the past, that says more about 35 plus year olds than the nation's favourite's output. He said older listeners still tuned in because "they want to remain younger longer. You can't make them go away".

It is a tricky challenge for Parfitt, because Radio 1 arguably needs a Matthew Bannister style total revamp of its presenter line up (like former R1 controller Bannister controversially instigated in the early nineties) to avoid increasing allegations that the very well licence-fee funded station is crossing too much into the territory of commercial pop stations, and not fulfilling its remit of specifically providing youth with great new music. But to be fair, Radio 1's ageing presenters are among the station's best and/or most popular.

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UKRD MAKE BIT FOR TLRC
Local radio firm UKRD has made an offer to buy The Local Radio Company. The offer follows UKRD's previously reported acquisition of a 13.5% stake in its struggling rival. The merger would combine UKRD's six local radio stations with TLRC's network of 21.

TLRC need to raise new funds to tackle a recent financial year loss of £6.9 million, and rumour has it UKRD will use its shareholding to block any other attempts to raise said funds in order to force through its takeover.

UKRD chairman Trevor Smallwood told reporters: "We believe the offer represents an attractive premium over recent trading levels and is in the best interests of [LRC shareholders] as a whole".

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CHART UPDATE
Lady GaGa is still number one in the singles chart. Let's not even talk about that.

Let's talk about Noisettes, who are at number two, because that's actually quite exciting. After years of slogging it out, winning people over with their storming live show, and releasing their much underrated debut album, 'What's The Time, Mr Wolf?', things finally seem to be paying off. Of course, it helps that the single that's doing it for them, 'Don't Upset The Rhythm', is a great pop song that sticks in your head without being annoying (for an example of the opposite, see the aforementioned Lady GaGa).

Also up in the top ten this week, after a couple of weeks of loitering at the lower end of the chart, are Metro Station with 'Shake It'. Apparently it is possible to reconcile the combination of punk rock tattoos and very mainstream pop, though I can't look at the video for that particular single without entering some kind of stylistic feedback loop in my head.

Moving down the singles chart, other new entries come from Steve Angello and Laidback Luke at 12, Lily Allen, with 'Not Fair', at 16, the quite stunning badly named Head, Shoulders, Kneez & Toez, who move from 41 last week into the chart proper at 18, White Lies, who are up from 84 to 34 with 'Farewell To The Fairground', and Jennifer Hudson, who moves from 54 to 37 with 'If This Isn't Love'.

Over in the album chart, the Pet Shop Boys, as predicted, suffered from having their album released three days early on iTunes and only made it to number four with 'Yes', despite being well ahead in the early midweeks. Which means that Ronan Keating's tribute album to his mum remains in the top spot for a second week, while Kings Of Leon go up one place to number two, and Lady GaGa goes up to three from seven.

In terms of new entries, aside from the Pet Shop Boys, the album chart is a little bottom heavy this week. Röyksopp go in at 21 with 'Junior', Pearl jam's remixed and remastered edition of their debut album, 'Ten', goes in at 29, Ladyhawke's really very good debut album re-enters the chart at 32, matching its previous highest position, and Mastodon's new album, 'Crack The Skye', is in just below at 34.

The charts are compiled by The Official Charts Company. The clue is in the name.

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GALLAGHER SAYS STREET VIEW MAN AINT HIM
Liam Gallagher has said that the chap on that previously reported Google Street View picture of The Queens pub in London, widely thought to be the Oasis singer, isn't him. Gallagher mocked the individual's fashion sense via Twitter thus: "By the way, just saw Google Earth apparently that's meant to be me, who the fuck wears legwarmers with Reeboks?? Not this kid!! LG".

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MORE MUSIC PEOPLE CRITICISE LADY GAGA
Following Aussie singer Gabriella Cilmi's previously reported comments about Lady GaGa, to the effect that she ought to put on more clothes, some other music types have criticised the pop singer.

The Rakes frontman Alex Donohoe has said that he prefers Leona Lewis's cleaner approach to pop, telling The Daily Star: "I can't stand Lady GaGa. She is basically selling crap to kids. I think she's terrible and really ugly. I hate her. Leona Lewis seems dull but nice. She has standards, nice skin and can sing. Whereas Lady GaGa is trash and dresses like a prostitute."

Just Jack, meanwhile has said that she and lots of her fellow pop stars are all a bit rubbish because of vocal tweaking technology Auto-tune: "A lot of modern songs rely on Auto-Tune too much. Not as a tool for tuning, but for giving vocals that weird brittle effect. It makes people like Rihanna, Lady GaGa and Katy Perry all the fucking same. I like organic elements in music. I like a vocal that sounds like it came out of someone's mouth rather than a weird singing robot".

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NUTINI ON JACKSON AND COWELL
That Paolo Nutini chap has said that former 'X-Factor' winner Leon Jackson, dropped by Simon Cowell fifteen months after his reality show victory, should have probably expected things to pan out that way. Nutini told Scotland's Daily Record: "A lot of people on these shows are lucky to get a second album out. I don't know much about Leon Jackson, but I wish him all the best. But he must have known the nature of that TV show when he walked into the audition".

He added: "Simon Cowell is not someone I would trust with my career because, to him, you are just a little fish in a big bowl. I have never met him, but 'The X Factor' is about being in it to win it. I'd see it as a hindrance to have the expectation that comes with winning".

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FIDDY DOESN'T DO HIS OWN TWEETS
Shocking revelation this: 50 Cent doesn't do his own Twitter updates. They are written by his internet business manager Chris Romero. Romero told The New York Times he takes quotes from interviews Fiddy has given and uses them for the site, and seems to think that it's all okay. "He doesn't actually use Twitter", he's quoted as saying. "But the energy of it is all him". Well I, for one, am shocked, saddened and disappointed. And I'll be telling my PA to add an update to my Twitter page to that effect forthwith.

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