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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
French Assembly vote oui to three-strike
Rihanna good, says father
McCartney and Starr perform together
Students protest at Soulja Boy's 'degrading' lyrics
Producer Tony D dies
In The Pop Courts
Spector deliberations on hold due to ill juror
Diddy label sued over table dance
Money's too tight to mention
Bon Jovi sends cease and desist to all-girl tribute act
Coolio pleads not guilty over drugs and assault charges
Awards & Contests
Run DMC don't perform at Hall Of Fame induction
Charts, Stats & Polls
Obama makes 'most hip hop' list
Release News
Gallows proud to be British
Festival News
thelondonpaper launch Soho music fest
Festival line up update
Reviews
Single review: The Big Pink - Velvet (4AD)
The Music Business
Industry reps positive after minister meeting over visa concerns
Ticketmaster to hand over personal info of TicketsNow sellers
CD Baby confirm artists pay outs pass $100 million
Plastic Head to distribute for transcend
The Digital Business
Swedish net traffic slumps as IPRED law introduced
EMI launch new market research community
Argos launch CD mail order site
The Media Business
OfCom can only fine BBC over Sachsgate
Two south London FM stations go off air
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Barker unfaithful, says Moakler

Removal man chucks Courtney's art work

 

MONDAY 6TH APRIL

THE MONKS
Formed in 1964 by five American GIs stationed in Germany, The Monks differed from other bands of the time in many ways. In 1965 they changed their name from The 5 Torquays, shaved the tops of their heads and began wearing cassocks with nooses as neckties.

 

But what really got them noticed was their music. Adopting a sound that relied more on rhythm than melody, the band featured a full time banjo player amongst their line-up and are widely credited as being the first band to use feedback as a musical tool, rather than an unwanted accident. Legend has it that Jimi Hendrix was inspired to start using feedback in his sound after seeing The Monks play live. In November 1965, they released the best album to be released in the 60s (fact), 'Black Monk Time', which went on to influence the likes of The Velvet Underground, Beastie Boys, The Dead Kennedys, and The Fall.

'Black Monk Time' and a compilation of early recordings, 'The Early Years 1964-65', will be re-issued in remastered form by Light In The Attic on 13 Apr. We spoke to the band's bassist, Eddie Shaw, about the past, the present, and the future.

Eddie was quite chatty, so to read his answers in full, go here.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Being in the army, many GIs with musical ability or interest went to the service club where they could check out instruments to play in practice rooms. It was a way to get away from the pressures of being a soldier. I was the drummer in a country band. When I heard three GIs - Gary Burger, Dave Day, and Larry Clark - playing in the service club, they did not have a bass player. Since I did not like playing country music, I decided that rock n roll would at least be a bit more interesting. I bought a bass guitar, learned the three chord progression that most rock music was comprised of, went to the service club and told these guys that I could be their bass player.

Q2 What inspired 'Black Monk Time'?
For the first year and a half, we played seven nights a week, six hours on stage. In practice, because we played so loud, we discovered we could do something with feedback. We mostly used it to play pranks on the audience or the club owner. One quiet night in Stuttgart, two men heard us and suggested that we could be the wave of the future if only we developed this sound. From there we began to experiment with the sound, finding how many ways we could use it, eventually coming to the conclusion that all the instruments were rhythm instruments.

Q3 What process did you go through in creating the album?
We were an unlikely group. In other circumstances, being home, or in a different place, we would have never picked each other to play with. Our musical backgrounds and experiences were very different. To get to The Monks' music we first took a song written by Gary and Dave, 'Boys Are Boys', taking it from its normal rock and roll sound, deconstructed it, and reassembling it in a cut down version of what it was. It had a different feel and sound. Taking a cue from that we began to construct songs from bass and drum rhythms, adding parts to increase tension. Although the music sounds simple, it was not simple to play because of the odd bars, or lengths of passages. The sound was a hybrid and it was ours.

Q4 Which artists influenced your work?
Since I was influenced by Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Coltrane and other jazz musicians, the influence of rock n roll was minimal. In rock, I guess it would have to be someone like Chuck Berry - three chords over and over. More appropriate might be the development that was taking place with the advance of technology and the recording techniques that were evolving. The Beatles' 'Revolver' and 'Rubber Soul' albums certainly were an influence.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
You're either going to love it - or you're going to hate it. There is no middle ground. It was sometimes painful to watch the audience in their confusion, and it was sometimes funny, especially when our image would make them react as if we were religious monks.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest re-issues, and for the future?
I'm very happy to move on to other things. I have three published books and I'm working with a bunch of independent musicians on a new double CD. The group is called 'The Hydraulic Pigeons'. A musician never stops being a musician. All is well.

MORE>> www.the-monks.com, www.theCMUwebsite.com/ssq/themonks.html

 

YEAH YEAH YEAHS
I wasn't sure what to think about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new album, 'It’s Blitz!', at first, but repeated listens has gnawed away any consternation, revealing an exciting diversification of sound that is showered in the experience of a band confident in their ideas, from concept to execution. The disco laced 'Heads Will Roll' and 'Dragon Queen' are both excellent, with the latter recalling a softer, less bonkers Tom Tom Club. Meanwhile 'Hysteric' fulfils the transparently emotive role that 'Maps' played on their first record, even managing to make the saccharine lyrics sound passable, notably "Hang heavy, you suddenly complete me". Throwaway single 'Zero' aside, it’s an excellent comeback; shifting around enough to be exciting, yet still utterly familiar. The whole thing is streaming at the site below.

3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/luisterpaal/41737723

 

 

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.

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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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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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FRENCH ASSEMBLY VOTE OUI TO THREE-STRIKE
France moved one step closer to the three-strike system last week when the French National Assembly, the lower house of the country's parliament, passed the central clause of the proposed 'Creation & Internet Law', which is the bit that would set up an agency able to order internet service providers to cut off persistent illegal file-sharers if they failed to heed the warning of two letters.

Each clause of the controversial new legislation is being considered in turn before the Assembly votes on the news law as a whole later this month. Another clause, which would have seen cut off customers continue to be charged for their lost internet access, presumably for the duration of their ISP contract, was voted down. But the basic principle of three-strikes, despite some opposition in the house, was voted through.

As previously reported, New Zealand is the only other country to have already voted the three-strike system into law, though there, little thought seems to have been given at the legislative stage as to how exactly the system would work, and what rights of appeal those accused of illegally sharing unlicensed content on the net - and therefore at risk of losing their internet connection - would have. As a result, while in theory now law, the actual introduction of the three-strike rule has been delayed so that politicians, content owners and net firms can hammer out the detail.

The French proposals, while controversial, do seem better thought out. Having already been passed by the French parliament's upper house, and with the three-strike provision getting the green light last week in the Assembly, the new rules could be passed into law in France this month, meaning it could be there that the first disconnections of persistent file-sharers takes place.

As previously reported, although touted as a solution to the illegal file sharing problem over here, the ISPs are very against the proposals, and IP Minister David Lammy has questioned the viability of such a system, which means it's unlikely to be adopted here anytime soon. That said, if it does become the norm in France and it can be shown that concerns hundreds of falsely-accused net users will be unfairly disconnected are unfounded, then there will probably be a stronger argument for introducing three-strike elsewhere.

Whether it will actually combat file-sharing is another matter entirely of course. Some point out persistent file-sharers will use special software which hides their file-sharing from standard detection technology, and that even uber-detection systems won't be able to detect offline file-sharing which is sure to grow as high capacity hard-drives become cheaper and smaller. But while both those things are undeniably true, it is also likely that a few high profile disconnections, or even short-term suspensions, will make causal file sharers think twice, especially as the number of user-friendly legit music services, and the catalogues of those services, continue to grow.

While some political types and consumer groups continue to oppose the French three-strike proposals, the music industry predictably welcomed last week's vote.

International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry boss John Kennedy told reporters: "The French government has taken a decisive step to protect artists and creators, setting an example to the rest of the world. The great thing about this French initiative is that it will result in very sensible and achievable actions by ISPs to reduce piracy in a way that is overwhelmingly preventative and not punitive".

Speaking for Europe's independent labels, the Exec Chair of IMPALA, Helen Smith, added: "We see this as a great breakthrough. Independents produce 80% of all new releases and as a result suffer particularly from illegal downloading. We feel that this text reaches an excellent compromise between the interests of the fans, the music companies and the ISPs".

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RIHANNA GOOD, SAYS FATHER
Rihanna's dad Ronald Fenty has said that his daughter is recovering after the presumably difficult period following the incident with former boyfriend Chris Brown in which she was allegedly badly assaulted.

Fenty said of the singer, who apparently returned home to Barbados for her grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary: "Of course, I'm happy to have her home. Things are good with her. She is doing really, really well. She's back to herself again".

Brown, meanwhile, is due in court today in Los Angeles to answer charges of felony assault and making criminal threats in relation to the above incident.

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MCCARTNEY AND STARR PERFORM TOGETHER
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr played together at a charity show in New York at the weekend. As previously reported, there was some speculation that the pair would team up for a performance at the concert in aid of The David Lynch Foundation, though all that really confirmed previously was that both of the former Beatles were on the bill, not that theirs would be a joint appearance. As previously reported, the foundation promotes transcendental meditation in schools.

Anyway, headliner McCartney played a number of his Beatles and solo tracks before Starr joined him on stage for a rendition of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'. Starr had already been on stage earlier in the evening to perform his own songs. Introducing his former bandmate, McCartney said: "At this point we would like to introduce somebody to you who you know, you've heard his name. He's going to come out here and play you a little song this joyful night. Ladies and gentlemen: Billy Shears".

During the course of the evening McCartney also paid an apparently tearful tribute to late bandmate John Lennon, and dedicated a track to new US president Barack Obama.

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STUDENTS PROTEST AT SOULJA BOY'S 'DEGRADING' LYRICS
Students have held a peaceful protest outside a Soulja Boy gig at the University of Minnesota Duluth, claiming that the rapper's lyrics are "degrading". The surprised star wrote on Twitter "WTF I'm in minesota its a group of mafuckaz prtoesting my show this sh*t on all the news!!"

The protest was organised by student Arielle Schnur, who told the Duluth News Tribune, "This isn't OK for this to happen. To bring in an artist that degrades half the student body as sex objects and the other half as sexual assault perpetrators; that form of degradation is not acceptable. The issue with the Soulja Boy concert is that it's happening at UMD and UMD is an institution of higher learning. His lyrics are not conducive to an atmosphere of enlightenment and education".

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PRODUCER TONY D DIES
Hip hop producer Tony D, aka Anthony Depula, was killed in a car accident in his home town of Hamilton, New Jersey, on 4 Apr. He is thought to have been 42 years old.

Police say that Depula lost control of his Jeep when it struck the fence of a local cemetery, and the car was turned over onto its passenger side. The producer, who had not been wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at local facility Capital Health Systems, having suffered a severe injury to the neck.

Depula was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and over the course of his career worked with acts such as Poor Righteous Teachers, The Outsidaz, Young Zee, King Sun, Pace Won and DJ Muggs.

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SPECTOR DELIBERATIONS ON HOLD DUE TO ILL JUROR
In case you wondered what is going on with the Phil Spector murder trial, given jurors have been in their little room for over a week now, well, they haven't. One juror was taken ill last Wednesday, and so deliberations were put on hold. The jury are expected to reconvene later today.

As much previously reported, this is the second jury to consider allegations that legendary music producer Spector shot dead actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverly Hills mansion in February 2003. He claims she shot herself. The first jury were unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding his guilt or innocence.

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DIDDY LABEL SUED OVER TABLE DANCE
P Diddy Seany Bad Boy Combs, or whatever you prefer to call him, has been accused of copyright infringement by a little known R&B artist over a track released by the hip hop mogul's music company Bad Boy Entertainment.

According to Allhiphop.com, the dispute is over the track 'Table Dance', which appeared on the 2007 Bad Boy released album 'Back Up N Da Chevy' by Boyz N Da Hood. Singer Rhythum, real name Troy Hicks, claims the track sampled his song 'Private Dancer' without permission.

It's Diddy's Bad Boy company that is named in the lawsuit, filed in Dallas last week, along with Boyz In Da Hood themselves, Block Entertainment, the indie label who originally created the hip hop combo, and Warner's Atlantic Records, who distribute Bad Boy releases. None of the defendants have, as yet, commented.

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MONEY'S TOO TIGHT TO MENTION
Yeah, every band should have to record a song with a name that can be used as a headline when the inevitable financial disputes kick in. Simply Red are suing EMI over record sales money caught up in the collapse of Woolworths' owned music distributor eUK.

The dispute relates to the band's greatest hits album that was released last September by the band themselves, and distributed by EMI. According to the legal papers, EMI paid Mick Hucknall et al £750,000 upfront, with a commitment to pay a share of net sales once that payment had been recouped.

It seems that 50,000 copies of the album were shipped to Woolies' eUK division just before they spiralled into bankruptcy. EMI, presumably, is yet to be paid for those units. However, Simply Red's lawsuit claims that, under their contract with the major, such incidents are irrelevant and that EMI is liable to cover any losses caused by the collapse of third-party distributors or retailers.

As far as I can see, the major is delaying paying the band its cut of net sales while it goes through the motions of claiming back money off eUK's liquidators, but the band claim because EMI is liable for that money anyway they should pay now rather than later.

Responding to the lawsuit, an EMI spokesperson told reporters: "We are doing everything we can to recover the money that Entertainment UK owes us in connection with Simply Red and are fully committed to sharing the proceeds with them. Simply Red management is well aware of that commitment, which we made some time ago".

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BON JOVI SENDS CEASE AND DESIST TO ALL-GIRL TRIBUTE ACT
An all-girl Bon Jovi tribute band, called Blonde Jovi, are having to change their name after receiving a cease and desist order accusing them of having too similar a name and logo to the actual band and therefore confusing fans.

According to Undercover, the letter from Bon Jovi's legal people read: "It has recently come to our attention that your band is using the mark and name BLONDE JOVI in connection with live musical performances; more specifically, a Bon Jovi tribute band. Our investigation also uncovered that you are using Bon Jovi Production's 'Heart and Dagger' logo trademark prominently on your website. Unfortunately, and despite the fact that our client appreciates the reverence that your band pays tribute to Bon Jovi, as a tribute band, our client nevertheless is charged with the duty of enforcing its trademark rights".

It continues: "In this regard, BJP cannot allow your band to use the mark and name BLONDE JOVI (or any other BJP trademarks), as such use creates a likelihood of confusion with our client, and capitalises on the goodwill and reputation of its well-known marks. In view of the above, we demand, on behalf of our client, that you and your band immediately (i) cease and desist any and all further use of the mark and name BLONDE JOVI, or any other mark or name similar to our client's BON JOVI mark, in any manner". They concede: "We have no objection to your use of the word BLONDE as long as it is not used in combination with JOVI".

The tribute group have temporarily changed their name to Blonde Jersey while they try to come up with something better. With a 'current mood' of "pissed off", they've written on their MySpace: "Due to threatened legal action by Jon Bon Jovi's attorneys, we will no longer be using the name BLONDE JOVI. We are temporarily calling ourselves BLONDE JERSEY, until we come up with a new name. If you have any name suggestions, please email us! Nothing containing JOVI, or anything similar to JOVI may be used so BLONDE GIOVI, BLONDE JOE V, BLONDE JOVIE, are not options. Thanks for your support! Too bad we didn't go with our original name idea of BOOB JOVI!".

While I know some tribute bands are guilty of marketing themselves in such a way that there can be confusion with the original outfits, especially with those Motown-type bands where the public know the songs better than the individuals in the group, I can't help thinking this is a case of Jon Bon Jovi's legal people seeing an opportunity to make a few quid. I bet they hoped the girl band would fight their legal action enabling them to bill much more fees.

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COOLIO PLEADS NOT GUILTY OVER DRUGS AND ASSAULT CHARGES
Coolio appeared in court in LA on Friday and pleaded not guilty to a felony drugs charge and misdemeanour counts of battery and possession of a crack-pipe. The charges relate to that incident on 6 Mar, when the rapper, aka Artis Ivey Jr, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after the aforementioned drugs and pipe were found in his luggage. Ivey is presently free on $10,000 bail, and is to appear in court again on 20 Apr.

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RUN DMC WON'T PERFORM AT HALL OF FAME INDUCTION
Run-DMC members Joseph 'Rev Run' Simmons and Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels said they chose not to perform at this weekend's Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame induction show, where the hip hop outfit were inducted, out of respect for late bandmate Jam Master Jay, aka Jason Mizell, who was, of course, shot dead in a New York studio back in 2002.

McDaniels told MTV: "For me, I tell people, 'Do you want to see me and Run running around without Jay?' They tell me I could get Grandmaster Flash [to fill in]. But I can get any DJ in the world if I want. It wouldn't be right. I can't replace my drummer".

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OBAMA MAKES 'MOST HIP HOP' LIST
Barack Obama has made it into a Radio 1/1Xtra poll of the thirty "most hip hop" people of all time.

The American president charts at number 19 on the list, which also features the likes of Eminen, Kanye West, Jay Z, Tupac, The Notorious BIG and Dr Dre, and which was put together as part of a weekend of programming to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of Sugarhill Gang's 'Rappers Delight'. It was compiled using votes from UK and US hip hop artists, industry types, DJs and journalists.

The results of the poll will be covered in a Radio 1/1Xtra simulcast (I still can't believe that's actually a word) which starts at 7pm tonight, presented by Zane Lowe and Tim Westwood. Westwood says of the countdown broadcast: "To be most hip hop...to me that is the ultimate honour that you can achieve in life...it's going to be an exciting show".

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GALLOWS PROUD TO BE BRITISH
Gallows have said that they are proud to be British, despite calling their upcoming album 'Grey Britain', and being a bit negative about the state the place is in.

Guitarist Steph Carter says of the LP, out 2 May: "This record has a lot to do with what's going on in the world today, so everyone on a global basis can listen to our record and it can affect them in the same way it affects us. With the way the country is at the minute - the economic downturn, the recession our country seems to be falling into... a lot of people are being taught to go on the dole, being taught to not work hard for a living cos you get more money in benefits. It kind of just fits all the themes we were going for on the record, they are very sullen and grey, very down, very dark, but still pointing towards Britain at the moment".

He continued: "England is not a great place anymore. It is a grey place now, we just figured what better title to have for our second album, we're the most proud British band on the planet. Gallows have never been a band who can provide anyone with a solution, we are just really good at pointing out the problems".

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THELONDONPAPER LAUNCH SOHO MUSIC FEST
Hey people, how about another festival for your diaries? Freesheet thelondonpaper last week announced plans to launch a two day music fest in central London on 16 and 17 Sep in association with MAMA Group's Mean Fiddler division.

The event, to be called HEADLINERS (yep, the paper with no capital letters in its name is staging a festival all in uppercase), will take over various venues and other spaces in and around Soho, and stage gigs featuring over fifty bands in total. Like the Camden Crawl, one wristband will get you into all events. Music wise, they're promising indie, pop, serious singer songwriters and some other nonsense too. Sounds like fun.

Confirming the new venture, thelondonpaper's Head Of Marketing Nicole Refson told reporters: "thelondonpaper HEADLINERS is an exciting development of our daily weekday interaction with our readers. It's the first event of this kind in the heart of the capital, featuring big names and the opportunity to engage our readers across the city as we celebrate its musical heritage and create a festival atmosphere as they leave their offices".

Updates will be posted at thelondonpaper.com/headliners

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FESTIVAL LINE UP UPDATE

LATITUDE, Southwold, Suffolk, 16-19 Jul: Magazine, Spiritualized and Newton Faulkner have all been confirmed, joining headliners Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. www.latitudefestival.co.uk

CREAMFIELDS, Daresbury Estate, Cheshire, 29-30 Aug: Tiesto and Basement Jaxx have been announced as headliners, adding to a line-up that includes Dizzee Rascal, 2 Many DJs, Mylo and Paul Van Dyke. www.creamfields.com

BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Newport, Isle Of Wight, 11-13 September: Elbow have been confirmed as Sunday night headliners, joining Massive Attack and Kraftwerk who will headline the previous nights. Doves, The Horrors, Casiokids, XO-Man and The Ghosts have also been confirmed. www.bestival.net

OXEGEN, Punchestown Racecourse, Country Kildare, 10-12 Jul: 2 Many DJs, James Morrison, Regina Spektor and Ocean Colour Scene have all been confirmed to play, as have La Roux, Maximo Park, The Hours, You Me AT Six, Crystal Castles, M83 and Republic Of Loose. www.oxegen.ie

BENICASSIM FESTIVAL, Benicassim, Spain, 16-19 Jul: Elbow, Maximo Park, The Horrors and Peaches are the latest to be announced for this year's legendary Spanish bash. The Walkmen, Lykke Li, The Mighty Stef and Steve Aoki have also been confirmed, adding to the previously announced headliners Oasis, Kings Of Leon, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. www.benicassimfestival.co.uk

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SINGLE REVIEW: The Big Pink - Velvet (Beggars/4AD)
They've been hyped by everyone it seems, and were included in a very electro-centric BBC Sound Of 2009 list at the start of the year. Given their particular brand of electro sound, 2009 is as good a year as any for The Big Pink to be unleashed, but are they a worthy peer of the other acts making moves in this domain, I'm thinking Empire Of The Sun and La Roux? Well, there's the similarly high vocals and throbbing, fun pop distortion of Empire Of The Sun, but there's more here too. There are some fiesty elements for starters, akin to the likes of Passion Pit, and even a bit of My Bloody Valentine style dissonance. In fact I'd say these boys are taking electro-pop into epic shoe-gaze territory, with empowering tones and gorgeous vocal melodies - bringing the early 90s to 2009 if you like. And brilliantly so. So yes, worthy peers and then some. TM
Release Date: 20 Apr
Press Contact: 4AD IH [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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INDUSTRY REPS POSITIVE AFTER MINISTER MEETING OVER VISA CONCERNS
Reps from both the music industry and the wider entertainment sector say they have had "very positive response" from government with regards their concerns about the impact the UK's new visa rules will have on artists looking to work in this country.

As previously reported, those who bring international artists (ie those from outside the European Economic Area) to work in the UK have been getting their heads around a new 'points system' which came into effect last November, and which they must negotiate in order to secure artists a 12 month visa.

Those involved in the visa process say the new system is not flexible enough, not least because of a difficult new IT system that was introduced to administrate it, and that as a result artists who would previously have worked over here may now be refused a visa. They also add that officials at many British embassies around the world haven't themselves got their heads around the new rules, meaning they are giving artists incorrect advice.

A delegate led by the National Campaign For The Arts, and including Concert Promoters Association representative Paul Fenn, co-founder of the Asgard agency, met with Minister For Borders & Immigration, Phil Woolas MP, to air their concerns last week. Fenn told CMU: "There are some simple measures the Home Office could take to improve the IT systems and thus the experiences of arts organisations and promoters when using the system. If it worked properly it would be a good system for us. We are delighted that the minister and his officials have said that they will deal with these as a priority".

NCA director, Louise De Winter, added: "The potential threat to our cultural life is not exaggerated. The Minister was very receptive to our concerns and gave us a sympathetic hearing. He was keen to stress that he wanted to remove problematic hurdles and that he wanted to be flexible and responsive".

The Royal Opera House's Ruth Jarratt, who was also part of the delegation, concluded: "We have specific issues regarding the ability to substitute artists at very short notice if someone falls sick. The new visa requirements make it extremely hard to ensure we can put a replacement artist on the stage, running the risk of cancelling a performance and losing approximately £250,000 into the bargain. We were seeking the minister's assurances that these issues would be dealt with swiftly and sympathetically on the very few occasions they arise".

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TICKETMASTER TO HAND OVER PERSONAL INFO OF TICKETSNOW SELLERS
So, an interesting development in the old Ticketmaster TicketsNow debacle.

As previously reported, the ticketing giant has come under much criticism of late for the way it has promoted TicketsNow, a ticket touting website which it acquired last year, on its main Ticketmaster.com website. Various artists (in particular Bruce Spingsteen), consumer groups and political types claim that Ticketmaster plugged their secondary ticketing service without properly explaining that tickets sold there are normally marked up from their face value.

As the ticketing firm finds itself at the receiving end of various lawsuits and investigations regarding TicketsNow, they emailed those who sell tickets via the service last week to tell them that they may be forced to pass over the sellers' personal info and transaction records to the authorities.

The email, published by Billboard, says: "As you are aware, recent events have resulted in a heightened level of interest in Ticketmaster's and TicketsNow's businesses. One by-product of this heightened interest is that we have received a number of subpoenas and demands for sworn information about TicketsNow and its broker clients. These include formal requests for information and/or subpoenas from, among others, the United States Department of Justice, the New Jersey Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau".

It continues: "The purpose of this letter is to inform you that we are now required to hand over certain information about TicketsNow's broker clients and their sales activities. In particular, we are required to identify: (i) information regarding any seller of tickets on TicketsNow for the May 21 and May 23, 2009 Bruce Springsteen concerts at the IZOD Center in New Jersey; (ii) the names and contact information of all ticket brokers with whom TicketsNow does business; and (iii) copies of TicketsNow broker contracts".

It concludes: "We are taking steps to protect the confidentiality of these materials once produced but feel we are required to provide these materials in response to lawful demands. Therefore, please be advised that we will respond to these subpoenas and demands for information one week from today. We appreciate your understanding in this matter. Any questions should be directed to legalinquiries@ticketmaster.com. Ticketmaster Legal Department".

Ticketmaster have made no official comment on the email to the press.

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CD BABY CONFIRM ARTISTS PAY OUTS PASS $100 MILLION
One of CMU's favourite physical and digital distributors, CD Baby, has announced its artist payouts have now passed the $100 million landmark after 2008 saw not only the digital sales of its clients' music boom, but even CD sales rise, by 2%.

CD Baby is particularly popular with tiny indie labels and self-releasing artists, and has played an important role in helping a number of individuals who have pursued a music career via the internet without a record label. Few have enjoyed big success this way yet, of course, but a handful have.

Digital Music News quote one such CD Baby using self-releasing artist, folk singer Joe Purdy, who says he's earned over $640,000 selling his music direct to fans via the grass roots distributor. He says: "There are very few musicians that can actually make a living off their music. I have been one of the fortunate few whose passion translates into a career and CD Baby played a huge role in that".

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PLASTIC HEAD TO DISTRIBUTE FOR TRANSCEND
Recently formed (well, last year) metal indie Transcend Records has announced a European distribution deal with Plastic Head Music, who will oversee the distribution of upcoming releases from Fields Of Nephilim and the label's new signings Warrior Soul, Cinders Fall and Idiom.

Confirming the distribution deal, Plastic Head's MD Steve Beatty told CMU: "Having watched how Rob has built up Transcend from a standing start we are very excited to be able to play our part in taking them to the next level. Rob is an experienced music industry professional and I have no doubt that Transcend Records is set to become a real player in their field".

Ferguson added: "Plastic Head is the natural home for Transcend and fits perfectly with the direction of the label. I have the greatest respect for Steve and the team and am pleased to be part of the family".

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SWEDISH NET TRAFFIC SLUMPS AS IPRED LAW INTRODUCED
Internet traffic fell by a third in Sweden the day that previously reported IPRED law came into effect, suggesting an awful lot of Swedes online are accessing illegal content.

The previously reported Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive is a bit of European legislation that forces EU countries to make it easier for content owners to get the contact information of suspected file-sharers. Tracking technology used to detect file-sharing only provides content owners with a file-sharer's IP address, but that's enough to tell them with internet service provider the file-sharer uses. Currently the content owner must then go to court to force the ISP to hand over the details of the customer based at that IP address, before they can take legal action against the customer.

The new directive wants to give content owners automatic rights to the contact details of suspected file-sharers without the need for the first stage of legal action (a system which was in place in the US for a short time based on one court's subsequently overturned interpretation of the country's Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Such a system was proposed in Lord Carter's recent 'Digital Britain' report, and became law in Sweden last month.

According to Swedish net measurement company Netnod, internet traffic slumped by 33% the day the new laws came into effect. While the new laws and the traffic slump are presumably linked, the Vice-Chairman of lobbying group Swedish Pirate Party, Christian Engstrom, told the BBC the fall in net usage and, presumably, in illegal file-sharing will be temporary. He said: "Today, there is a very drastic reduction in internet traffic. But experience from other countries suggests that while file-sharing drops on the day a law is passed, it starts climbing again. One of the reasons is that it takes people a few weeks to figure out how to change their security settings so that they can share files anonymously".

And of course, aside from the fact there are ways to hide your file-sharing from detection (The Pirate Bay launched a bit of software to help in that regard to coincide with the new laws in Sweden), the new rules will only have a real effect if record companies or other content owners take legal action against file-sharers. While such action is now easier in places where the IPRED has been actioned, it comes as such legal action falls out of fashion with the content owners, even in countries where record company litigation against individual file-sharers has been prolific. Which is why the UK record industry weren't too positive about the IPRED-inspired proposals in 'Digital Britain'.

If IPRED rules do little to stop online piracy in Sweden, what about some good old fashioned arrests? According to Swedish newspaper The Local, authorities in the country have arrested two men who are accused of uploading large numbers of films onto the internet illegally. A spokesman for Swedish anti-piracy group Antipiratbyran is quoted as saying: "The suspects are at the inner core of organized pirates within the so-called Scene, which systematically steals films and distributes them on the internet".

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EMI LAUNCH NEW MARKET RESEARCH COMMUNITY
EMI have launched "an exclusive online research community of people with a passion for music" called Your SoundCheck, which will seemingly give users access to pre-release music via the major's EMI.com website in order to get their opinions. Opinions which will, the label's website says, "go straight to the heart of one of the world's leading music companies, helping to shape tomorrow's music". Some existing registered users at EMI.com have been invited to participate, though I think anyone can join via the major's website, should giving opinions about pre-release music be your thing.

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ARGOS LAUNCH CD MAIL ORDER SITE
Argos are launching a new online retail operation called Argosentertainment.co.uk which will operate separately from the catalogue shop's existing website and will sell, among other things, CDs and DVDs.

It will be run by etailer The Hut, who are also running the previously reported new WH Smith CD/DVD mail order website, and who, as previously reported, are keeping the Zavvi name alive by badging a version of their etail website with the now defunct high street band.

Argos Marketing Director Karen Bray told Retail Week: "Online shopping has become part of everyday life for many of our customers and the entertainment site will offer our customers an increased product choice at a competitive price".

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OFCOM CAN ONLY FINE BBC OVER SACHSGATE
It does seem a bit stupid for media regulator OfCom to fine the BBC £150,000, however terrible the whole Sachsgate routine may have been, given that we the licence-fee payer end up paying for it. It's a bit like anti-capitalism protesters smashing up a branch of the Royal Bank Of Scotland, a bank whose biggest shareholder is now the British tax payer.

That, of course, is why a number of people - most notably Communities Secretary Hazel Blears - responded to the news that OfCom had indeed fined the Beeb that figure over the Sachsgate debacle by suggesting that Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand be forced to pay the fine personally.

But OfCom have said that the laws which enable it to fine the Beeb over serious code breaches only allow it to fine the Corporation itself and not any BBC personnel or third party producers directly. The spokesman said: "Parliament decided for very serious breaches of our broadcasting rules the BBC would be subject to a maximum fine of £250,000. These powers only allow for fines to be levied against the BBC and not individuals, to do so would require a change in the law".

I'm not sure whether that stops the BBC forcing its personnel to pay its fines out of their pay packets, but as that's never going to happen I don't suppose there's any point pondering the point. If I was multi-millionaire Ross I'd take a £150K pay cut, just for the good PR it would deliver.

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TWO SOUTH LONDON FM STATIONS GO OFF AIR
Two south London radio stations, South 107.3 and Time 106.8 in Lewisham and Greenwich respectively, have gone off air this weekend after a new buyer couldn't afford to run them.

As previously reported, Litt Corporation announced it was selling the two local radio stations on their own websites last October. They were sold to an individual in February, but he reportedly told staff almost immediately he couldn't afford to fund the stations, and that one would have to be sold to fund the other. He also told staff that he couldn't afford to pay them until that sale was secured.

Many staff continued to work hoping a buyer could be found, but things looked ominous when the stations switched to back to back music on Tuesday last week. They went off air this weekend. A spokesperson for the stations told RadioToday.co.uk: "We wish to thank to every single listener throughout our years of broadcasting and every single person who was involved with the stations past and present whom without would have made South, South-East London & North West Kent a much quieter place on the radio dial".

Time 106.7 began life as a community radio station in 1990, originally known as Radio Thamesmead, while South 107.3 FM was previously urban station First Love Radio. It's the second time in a year that a UK radio station has been bought by a non-traditional radio owner, only to close soon afterwards - as previously reported, Merseyside's KCR went off air last week after being bought by a company called Polaris Media last year - though that ultimately went off air at the order of media regulator OfCom for initially suspending the service and then relaunching with a new format without getting permission.

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CHART UPDATE
Okay, so I refused to talk about Lady GaGa last week, but she's number one in both the single and album charts this week, so I guess I'm going to have to. For everything worth saying about Lady GaGa, see the previous sentence.

Elsewhere in the singles chart, there's very little going on. It's not until we get to number 17 that there's a new entry - it being 'Embers', the first single from Just Jack's forthcoming new album, which is due out in June. The next is another Jack - Jack Penate - at 23 with 'Tonight's Today'. Then at 28 it's Doves with 'Kingdom Of Rust'. Down at the bottom end, Pink steps into the top 40 from 56 with 'Please Don't Leave Me', Flo Rida gets another song in the chart, 'Sugar (feat. Wynter), at 35, and Lady Sovereign enters at 38 with 'So Human'.

Over in the album chart there's similarly very little going on. Flo Rida's second album, 'R.O.O.T.S' is a new entry at five, then the next comes from Leonard Cohen with 'Live In London' at 19. Lionel Richie and The Commodores' 'Definitive Collection' goes in at 23, while PJ Harvey and John Parish's second collaborative album, 'A Woman A Man Walked By', is in at 25, and down at 35, Metro Station make their entrance to the album chart. On the Re-entry front, Pink's 'Funhouse' is back in at 33, White Lies' 'To Lose My Life' bobs back up to 37, and Nickelback's 'Dark Horse' is in at 40.

The most interesting chart position this week is that of the Pet Shop Boys' new album, 'Yes'. Last week there was talk of them missing out on getting the number one position because the album was released three days early on iTunes, meaning that the first rush of sales did not count towards its official first week on sale. It seemed like a ropey excuse for not selling enough records to me, and any hope that the duo might sustain sales high enough to see them rise up to the top now seem dashed, as this week they've slipped all the way down to number 21. Maybe some sort of collaboration with Lady GaGa would help them to appeal to a wider audience. Oh wait, didn't they...

The chart is compiled, even on weeks when its completely boring, by The Official Charts Company.

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BARKER UNFAITHFUL, SAYS MOAKLER
Shanna Moakler has said that she and ex-husband Travis Barker were back together last year following their 2006 divorce, but that whilst the Blink 182 star was recovering from his involvement in that much previously reported Lear Jet crash she discovered that he was seeing a number of other women. Moakler was defending herself against allegations that it was she who caused the latest split, after it was claimed that she had had an affair whilst Barker was in hospital.

Writing on her MySpace.com page, she says: "Travis and I were very much together in September when the horrific crash happened, not only did I fly to Georgia I stayed by his side the entire stay and also for the bus ride home to LA. After arriving in LA and getting settled in the new hospital, I came across numerous romantic emails with MANY other woman, some famous, some I personally knew, all heart breaking. and the woman involved you know who you are and should be ashamed of yourself".

She continues: "As anyone can imagine, I was devastated, this is when I stopped going to the LA hospital, I knew and made sure even after what I learned he had a strong support system in place with friends and family, and I made it clear to them why I would be dismissing myself, at that point with the new information revealed to me I considered myself SINGLE and though in my heart hoped we would remain friends and good parents had no intentions of getting back together. 'No Comment' just wasn't sufficient this time when people continue to lie and distort the truth".

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REMOVAL MAN CHUCKS COURTNEY'S ART WORK
Courtney Love is pissed off because a removal man threw out a piece of art by accident. The £8k piece of work, by Polly Morgan, was a dead bird and a matchbox atop a plinth, so it's easy to see how the chap in question might have made the mistake. According to The Daily Mail, during the course of the move, the stuffed bird was removed from its plinth and left on a sideboard, and that's how it came to be removed. A personal assistant charged with helping her move has allegedly been fired over the incident.

Anyway, here's what one of those sources says on the matter: "Courtney has a ton of stuff, everything from a huge vintage clothing collection to a massive doll's house collection. She also has art everywhere, a lot of it modern. She's blazing mad and throwing a complete hissy fit because one of the removal men mistook her Polly Morgan for rubbish and threw it out with the trash."

Ah well. I expect one day she'll see the funny side. Maybe.

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