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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Guilty: Spector trial update
A surprise no to three-strike proposals in French parliament
Brown denies dating ex
In The Pop Courts
Kanye pap attack hearing postponed
Obituaries
Delfonic Randy Cain dies
Awards & Contests
George Harrison gets Walk Of Fame star
Charts, Stats & Polls
Disputed Procol Harum song tops most-played track poll
Reunions & Splits
22 year old Bow Wow retires again
No Robbie reunion says Barlow
Artist Deals
Domino sign The Fall
Gigs N Tours News
Spears apologises for one hour gap at Vancouver show
Reviews
Single review: Patrick Wolf - Vulture (Bandstocks)
Brands N Stuff
TLC Chilli to promote Coke water
The Music Business
Analyst more upbeat about record industry, Warner share price rises
IPO launch Copyright Tribunal consultation
British music grows in North America
The Digital Business
MySpace Music add ons
The Media Business
UKRD's TLRC purchase blocked
TLRC complete Jazz FM sale
Cowell will take cut in ITV fees
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Moby on meditation
Cheryl should stay Geordie, says prof

West takes South Park portrayal in good humour

 

TUESDAY 14TH APRIL

THURSDAY
Formed in 1997, New Jersey post-hardcore sextet Thursday released their fifth studio album, 'Common Existence', back in February via Epitaph to widespread acclaim. This weekend, the band return to the UK to play two shows in Manchester and London as part of this year's Give It A Name Festival, alongside Taking Back Sunday, Underoath and The King Blues. We caught up with frontman Geoff Rickly to find out more about the band and their latest album.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
We started out just putting a band together so that we could play the local shows that were going on in the late nineties. Tom [Keeley, guitar] and I got together and started throwing around ideas. We convinced some friends to join us.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Living in a world that's constantly changing. Interacting with other people and finding out about all of their hopes and dreams. Finding inspiration in the arts and sciences, particularly physics, and all the strange and fantastic ideas that come out of theoretical physics. I've tried to approach this record as an observer, or reporter, rather than as a kid writing in his diary.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
We start with the music. We try to build something powerful and different. We steer towards new ideas and try and find surprises in the songs that make the endings powerful and exciting. Then I listen to the track and try to figure out what kind of a story it's telling. Whether it's a fast story with a bunch of characters or a lonely story that dissolves into nothingness. Then I try and match that up with things that I've seen happen in my own life and write about it that way.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Artists from a wide range of disciplines and genres interest and influence us. Musically we range from Fugazi and Jawbreaker to Joy Division, The Cure into less structured work by Sonic Youth, John Zorn or Philip Glass. Lyrically, I'm inspired by Don Delillo, Dennis Johnson, David Foster Wallace, William T Vollman and George Saunders. Many of the people in my band are greatly influenced by painters and other visual artists.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
It takes a while to get used to. Give it some time and repeated listens... We're not an instant gratification type of band.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We want our latest record to be fuel for us to tour for a long time. We wanted these songs to feel energetic and exciting for live performance. Everything that happens from here forward is a gift for us. It has been a fantastic 10+ years for us and we feel very lucky.

MORE>> www.thursday.net and www.myspace.com/thursday

 

VILLAINS
This LA duo have been remixing noteworthy tracks for some time, and were behind a remix of Hot Chip’s ‘Ready For The Floor’ that picked up some buzz on the Hype Machine radar last year. Recently they seem to have kicked it up a gear, though, getting involved with pop heavyweights like Britney Spears (‘Circus’) and being commissioned for their second Bloc Party rerub (‘Ares’). Of course, like every other bugger with even a vague gap in their schedule, they were also in cahoots with the NASA project recently. Specialising in ‘massive’ electro anthems of the obvious-where-this-one-is-going variety, they’re comfortably filed next to the likes of Erol Alkan, Boys Noize and co, and perfectly suited to soundtracking the entire party sequence in the next episode of Skins. And I mean that entirely complimentarily.

www.myspace.com/wearevillains

 

 
 

 

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

--

DESK SPACE
Leyline Promotions has two desk suites available in a well-appointed courtyard studio in Westbourne Studios, W10. Ideal for a small creative agency in a very friendly and professional environment. Rent includes: storage, broadband connections, business rates, insurance, 24 hr access, restaurant and bar, conference facilities, natural sunlight. 4 mins walk from Westbourne Park tube station. Call Adrian for more info on 07971 555 020 / adrian@leylinepromotions.com

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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GUILTY: SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
So, in the eyes of the American judicial system, in the early hours of February 3rd 2003 iconic music producer Phil Spector pushed a gun inside the mouth of former b-movie actress Lana Clarkson and shot her dead. He then walked outside his Beverly Hills mansion, taking the blood dripping gun with him, where he told his chauffeur, sitting in a car on the driveway, "I think I killed someone".

While its not known whether he intended to kill Clarkson when he pulled the trigger that night or not, his recklessness was sufficient to convict Spector of second degree murder.

This is all a slightly over dramatic way of telling you that yesterday the second jury to consider the murder allegations against Phil Spector reached a verdict, and convicted the legendary producer of murder. He was remanded in custody, and now awaits sentencing on 29 May, when he will be given between fifteen years and life in prison which, given Spector is now 68, could amount to the same thing anyway.

As much previously reported, Spector maintains that Clarkson shot herself after accompanying him back to his LA home after the pair met at the West Hollywood branch of the House of Blues, where the former actress worked. Two sets of defence lawyers argued that forensic evidence proved Spector's claims, while they presented various documents and witnesses that suggested Clarkson was very depressed and maybe suicidal before going home with Spector that night in 2003, and was therefore capable of ending it all in a moment of depression-fuelled madness.

As for the chauffeur's testimony that his boss had said "I think I killed someone" minutes after Clarkson had died, the defence argued the Brazlian driver, a non-native English speaker, just misheard as the producer spoke over the noisy fountain in the driveway.

But the prosecution's case - based in the main on a string of former Spector girlfriends who each had stories of times when the producer had pulled guns on them in a threatening manner - seemed to be more convincing as far as the jurors were concerned. Nevertheless, in Spector's first trial two jurors dissented and insisted they couldn't say, beyond reasonable doubt, that the producer was holding the gun that killed Clarkson, resulting in a mistrial overall. The second jury, however, and despite being offered the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter, returned a verdict of second degree murder after thirty hours of deliberations.

A frail looking Spector, dressed in a black suit and bright red tie, reportedly made no obvious response as the guilty verdict was delivered, though his wife since 2006, Rachelle, sobbed beside him.

The producer's lawyer, Doron Weinberg, said the jury had behaved with "complete integrity and complete honesty", but then promptly picked holes in their judgement. He said the prosecution had "flooded" the trial with "improper and prejudicial evidence" which had prevented jurors from reaching a "fair conclusion". He added that he was "very very certain" that under what he called "the proper legal standard" his client had not been proven guilty. That meant, Weinberg predicted, the verdict would likely be set aside on appeal. Spector's intentions regarding appeal are not yet known, though he is expected to do so.

However, one of the jurors, in one of those strangely American post-verdict jury press conferences, argued the jury had got the "complete picture" of what happened that night a Spector's home from the evidence presented, and that she and her fellow jurors had "gone through all the information and that's what the conclusion was".

Weinberg requested that his client remain free until sentencing on 29 May, but Judge Larry Fidler refused, putting the producer straight into custody. The severity of Spector's sentence, and the time scale for his appeal, remain to be seen.

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A SURPRISE NO TO THREE-STRIKE PROPOSALS IN FRENCH PARLIAMENT
The music industry really must try and ensure that key votes in the French parliament that affect the protection of its copyrights don't take place just before big holidays when most MPs are already sunning it up on the Riviera. Just before Christmas 2005 a low turn out in the French legislature led to the passing of a proposal that P2P file sharing of unlicensed content be made legal. The country's government never let that actually become law, but for a time it gave a boost to the pro-P2P lobby.

This time the pre-Easter low turnout did the opposite - leading to the blocking of new laws that the music business want to see passed, the much previously reported 'Creation & Internet' law that contains the infamous three-strike system that will see persistent illegal file-sharers in France lose their internet connections.

While the French parliament's upper house, the Senate, had already passed the new laws, and the Assembly had previously approved its most controversial provision - the aforementioned three-strikes - when the Assembly was asked to vote on the new act as a whole on Thursday those MPs who had bothered to show up voted 21 to 15 against.

As previously reported, there is still much vocal opposition to the new laws, and especially the three-strike system, and some reckon that those political types who oppose the proposals made an extra effort to attend on Thursday, aware that the government's supporters would be few and far between ahead of the holiday, giving them a chance to hinder the new stricter copyright rules.

It is more of a hindrance than anything else, because the French government have already said they will reintroduce their proposals to parliament almost straight away, and that they remain committed to making the three-strike system law. Nevertheless, music business groups in France have been critical of the government for letting their supporters in parliament drift away ahead of such a crucial vote on an issue where opposition within the Assembly was widely known.

It is not clear what the new timetable for pushing this legislation through will now be, though I think it will have to go back to the Senate as well as the Assembly, so it will mean a delay of at least months in making the new anti-piracy measures law. Given that the music industry hopes to use the momentum of France's new copyright laws, and the three-strike system, to persuade governments elsewhere to introduce similar measures, the delay is extra frustrating.

Recalling the sneaky pre-holiday vote on P2P in 2005, French songwriters society Sacem said on Friday: "Unfortunately, lessons from the past have been useless, which is a great frustration for creators who are each day more penalised and despoiled". They and other industry bodies called on the government to get the 'Creation & Internet' proposals back on the parliamentary agenda asap.

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BROWN DENIES DATING EX
Chris Brown has denied reports he has rekindled a romance with an ex-girlfriend since the whole beating up Rihanna incident.

There were reports last week that the disgraced R&B star had been seen leaving a tattoo parlour with Erica Jackson, who he dated prior to Rihanna. But a spokesman for Brown told the New York Daily News this weekend: "He did go to a tattoo parlour with someone from the [recording] studio named Dean. There was a woman there who was a friend of Dean... Chris does not know the woman nor does he know the name of the woman".

As previously reported, there have been conflicting reports regarding whether or not Rihanna and Brown have resumed their relationship since the couple's somewhat violent altercation back in February. We still don't really know what's going on.

We do know, however, that Rihanna hasn't been crying her heart out to fellow US pop star Katy Perry. She's told MTV that while she does count Rihanna as a friend, she hasn't, despite what some reports have said, been busy trying to proactively cheer up her fellow pop star since the beating by Brown.

Perry: "We've hung out a couple times... Of course I consider her a friend, but it's not like 'I'm there', making a big deal of it, because I feel weird about that type of stuff. You know, we're just buddies. We've had dinner, and that's about it. We're both kind of on this crazy rollercoaster, and... it's nice to have good girlfriends. I pride myself on having cool chicks in my life, and she's a cool chick".

Brown is due back in court to face the charges relating to his fight with Rihanna on 29 Apr.

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KANYE PAP ATTACK HEARING POSTPONED
Kanye West's arraignment in relation to the charges stemming from that paparazzo altercation at LA International airport last September has been delayed. West's lawyer told a judge yesterday that she had only just received a copy of the police report in relation to the charges, and was still awaiting further documentation from the prosecution. West will now formally face the charges relating to the camera rage incident sometime next month.

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DELFONIC RANDY CAIN DIES
Randy Cain, who was one of the founding members of The Delfonics, has died at his home in Maple Shade, New Jersey, at the age of 63. The cause of death hasn't been confirmed by the local medical examiner's office.

Cain founded The Delfonics with William and Wilbert Hart whilst all three were attending Overbrook High School in Philadelphia during the sixties, but other members were soon recruited and the line-up has changed significantly over time. The band's first LP met with immediate success, spawning smash hit single 'La La (Means I Love You)', and in 1970 they won a grammy for their track 'Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time'. Cain left the group in 1971, and was instrumental in the formation of another R&B group, Blue Magic. Meanwhile, The Delfonics were splintering into different groups, many performing as The Delfonics, and Cain returned to one of those in 1980.

Former bandmate Wilbert Hart told The Philadelphia Daily News that he last saw Cain four or five months ago, adding: "I'm gonna miss him. We grew up together since 1968".

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GEORGE HARRISON GETS WALK OF FAME STAR
The late great George Harrison is to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I am shocked that he wasn't there already. He's the 2,382nd celebrity to be honoured in this way, and his wife Olivia and son Dhani are accepting it today. Incidentally, Martin Scorsese is currently working on a documentary about Harrison's life, and I'd quite like to see that, actually.

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DISPUTED PROCOL HARUM SONG TOPS MOST-PLAYED TRACK POLL
You can see why Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher would like a slice of the royalties from the song 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'.

As previously reported, Fisher claims he wrote the most famous bit of the song, the distinctive organ melody, but had never been credited for it because of an informal in-studio agreement with the band's lead singer and main composer Gary Brooker. But Brooker denied Fisher had any songwriting role in relation to 'A Whiter Shade'. Fisher wanted a credit and half the song's royalties.

A court considering the dispute initially sided with Fisher and awarded him of 40% of royalties since 2005, but appeal judges subsequently ruled that, while Fisher probably did write the organ music, he'd left it too late to make his claim to royalties from the 1967 hit. Fisher is currently appealing that ruling through the House Of Lords.

So, why persist with the fight? Well, given that Radio 2 has just announced that 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' is the most publicly played song in the UK from the last 75 years, those are presumably royalties well worth having a cut of. The chart of songs most played in public was complied by PPL and presented on a Radio 2 show presented by Rob Brydon.

In addition to the Procul Harum track, the other top ten most played songs were as follows...

1. Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
2. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream
4. Wet Wet Wet - Love Is All Around
5. Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
6. Robbie Williams - Angels
7. Elvis Presley - All Shook Up
8. Abba - Dancing Queen
9. Perry Como - Magic Moments
10. Bing Crosby - White Christmas

Commenting on his song topping the most played chart, Brooker told the BBC: "This is a great and unsought honour. It isn't something I could have remotely imagined when I wrote the song and then made that legendary recording with Procol Harum all those years ago. Every musician and singer hopes to reach out and communicate to the audience so it means a great deal that the record has such an indefinable popularity and lasting appeal".

No one seems to have asked Fisher for a quote. Perhaps he was too busy fuming about all those lost royalties to say anything.

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22 YEAR OLD BOW WOW RETIRES AGAIN
US rapper Bow Wow has announced he is retiring from music, though that may mean "retiring" in the Jay-Z sense of the word. Expect a new album next Spring then.

Speaking about his recently released sixth solo studio album 'New Jack City II', he has told a US website: "This is my last album because for me, there's no more that needs to be done on the music side, I've done everything. And the scary thing is I'm 22 years old and I'm young. I'm still a baby, so it's kinda like on the music side, I've been doing it since five. That's 17 years of non-stop music, music, music. There's nothing more to accomplish that I haven't seen yet... I feel like now it's time to endure a new challenge... Close the chapter on the Bow Wow legacy".

AllHipHop.com point out this isn't the first time that Bow Wow has announced he will retire, while also wondering whether the latest decision to quit music has anything to do with the somewhat lacklustre performance of 'New Jack City II', which they say has sold just 30,900 units in the US so far. To back up the theory that poor record sales have led to a change in plan for Bow Wow, they quote a previous interview with People Magazine last year where the rapper declared "After the eighth album, I'm done". The new long player is his sixth, or seventh if you count his 2007 collaboration with Omarion.

Bow Wow has previously let it be known he aspires to follow Will Smith's lead and go from a youthful hip hop career into some serious acting work, so his latest retirement announcement may mean he will be looking for more film and TV projects. He's already got some credentials in that domain, of course, and will appear in a Hurricane Katrina themed basketball movie later this year, which sounds terrible, but he might have some good movie projects lined up too.

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NO ROBBIE REUNION SAYS BARLOW
Despite recent rumours that a Robbie/Take That reunion is now properly in the pipeline, Gary Barlow has again stressed there are no plans for all five original members of the boy band to take to the stage together. Speaking on that 'Chris Moyles's Quiz Night' TV show, he said: "People constantly ask if Robbie will rejoin us but nothing has changed. We're a happy band right now. Robbie won't be joining".

So, there you go. In slightly related news, Mark Owen is reportedly hoping to release another solo album, possibly hoping to cash in on the profile boost he's been getting from the seemingly unstoppable Take That revival, not that the profile boost he previously got from winning 'Celeb Big Brother' did much to shift Owen's actually not that bad solo work.

On Owen's latest solo album plans, a source has told the Sun: "Mark has loved the Take That reunion, every second of it. But he still has a huge desire to be on stage with his own band regardless of all the money, huge crowds and success he has been used to with Take That".

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DOMINO SIGN THE FALL
Domino Records have signed up The Fall and hope to release a new album from the band later this year. Mark E Smith and whoever else it is that is still in The Fall these days are reportedly about to go into a studio in North England to start work on new material "imminently".

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SPEARS APOLOGISES FOR ONE HOUR GAP AT VANCOUVER SHOW
Britney Spears has apologised after dramatically storming off stage for an hour during a gig in Vancouver last Wednesday. She left the stage having performed just three songs. It seems the popstress objected to the amount of smoke in the stage area.

Some reports suggested this was because a high number of her audience were smoking during the show, smoking both normal cigarettes and dope.

There was also a report that an announcement was made in the venue 20 minutes after Britney left the stage urging audience members to stop smoking "marijuana and cigarettes" because they were making the venue "unsafe" for Spears to perform in. And at the end of the show, Spears reportedly signed off her show: "Thanks Vancouver. You were wonderful. Drive safe. Don't smoke weed!"

But a spokesman for the singer, apologising for the interruption at the Vancouver show, said that the problem was with the ventilation system above the stage. It's not clear though if it was audience or special effects created smoke that the ventilation system was failing to clear.

Spears spokesman said this: "We want to apologise to all the fans who attended our Vancouver show tonight for the brief pause in Britney's set. Crew members above the stage became ill due to a ventilation issue".

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SINGLE REVIEW: Patrick Wolf - Vulture (Bandstocks)
Ditching the rainbow-coloured sparkles and red hair, Patrick Wolf revisits his platinum-blond roots and returns, suitably back on form, with 'Vulture'. Dark and hypnotic from the very first artificial beat, 'Vulture' is at once a restoration of old, 'Lycanthropy'-era times, and an inculcation of throbbing, avant-garde robotic noise as supplied ever so kindly by Atari Teenage Riot alumn Alec Empire. The song is not just good - it's bloody good. It is very fucking good. It's ballsy, non-apologetic, and a straight up 'fuck you' to anyone who has questioned Wolf's artistry. And that is, exactly, what 'Vulture' and any of Wolf's material released before it, sets out to prove - that Patrick is, and always has been, an artist of the highest and most unique prominence in a world where everything else seems bland in comparison. Stripped down, raw, and laid out in black and white, 'Vulture' is a promise of an album that will yet again breathe life and soul into the world of music. Bravo, my darling. TW
Release Date: 20 Apr
Press Contact: Big Machine Media [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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TLC CHILLI TO PROMOTE COKE WATER
Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas, the 'C' of TLC, of course, will front a new ad campaign for Dasani, the Coke made bottled water brand which was pulled after a disastrous launch over here, but which continues to be sold in North America. The singer will appear in radio, print and online ads declaring that "the simple moments are most refreshing".

The campaign is seemingly designed to persuade African-American mothers to buy over-priced tap water in resource-draining plastic bottles in order to, in the words of the firm's ironically named VP African-American Marketing, Yolanda White, " increase [the brand's] household penetration and frequency".

White says that the former TLCer, as a 38 year old single mother, "embodies the struggles and the balance we see in our target audience. She gives reassurance to moms that you can still be a great mom, take care of yourself and look beautiful".

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ANALYST MORE UPBEAT ABOUT RECORD INDUSTRY, WARNER SHARE PRICE RISES
Shares in Warner Music boomed 13% yesterday after investment bank Goldman Sachs upgraded the major label's stock from 'sell' to 'neutral'. I'm not sure an investment banker thinking your company is doing OK means much these days, but Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung said that the long-term decline in the record industry is slowing down, while adding that she was increasingly impressed with management decisions at the record company, the only major to directly trade on a stock exchange.

Interestingly she also had positive things to say about the introduction of variable pricing at market leader download store iTunes. As previously reported, whereas Apple have always previously insisted that all tracks sold on their download platform retail at 99 cents each, the majors have now persuaded them to have a variable pricing system where tracks can vary in price from 69 cents to $1.29. That gives the record companies the option to [a] influence sales in any one week (by discounting) to boost chart position and [b] the chance to subtly raise the costs of the average download over a period of time, rather than putting everything up over night. A similar system is expected to be introduced at most other download stores.

The response to the new pricing model in the blogosphere has been mainly negative, but Chung says the development was a "longer-term positive" for the record labels, adding that it could "drive higher volume and higher average revenue per track".

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IPO LAUNCH COPYRIGHT TRIBUNAL CONSULTATION
The Intellectual Property Office is asking music business trade associations whether they think the UK's Copyright Tribunal is now operating efficiently.

The Tribunal exists to rule on various copyright disputes, in particular on royalty disputes in relation to licences music owners are forced to make available under law.

Various new measures have been introduced in recent years to make the Tribunal better equipped to deal with modern copyright issues, and now the IPO is asking the likes of PRS, PPL and UK Music whether they feel those measures have worked. The trade bodies need to submit their views by July.

In sort of related news, record label trade body the BPI last week said it strongly opposed proposals that the new Digital Rights Agency proposed in the recent 'Digital Britain' report have a role in setting royalty rates, in theory taking some responsibility away from the Tribunal. In its submission to another government consultation, they said they "strongly opposed" such an Agency having price setting powers.

As previously reported, the BPI isn't that keen on the idea of a Digital Rights Agency at all, fearing the establishment of such a body would be used to delay introducing new rules to combat online piracy.

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BRITISH MUSIC GROWS IN NORTH AMERICA
British music accounted for a tenth of US album sales last year, a rise from 8.5% in 2007. In Canada, British artists accounted for 15% of album sales, up from 12.5% the previous year. Albums from the likes of Coldplay, Radiohead, Duffy, Leona Lewis, Estelle and The Ting Tings in the North American market all helped with that growth.

Those stats come from record label trade body the BPI, whose Chairman Tony Wadsworth, told CMU: "Britain's creative industries consistently excel on the world stage - with British music chief amongst them. After the US, we are the biggest exporter of repertoire, and in the US itself the UK is the second largest source of repertoire after US home grown artists. The increase in our North American market share reflects the UK's enduring ability to create world-class artists".

He continues: "One of the great things about the music business, is that the success of these artists will help other new acts break through. Revenues generated from sales abroad are crucially important for new acts, with UK labels reinvesting an estimated 20% of their revenues back into A&R".

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MYSPACE MUSIC ADD ONS
MySpace Music, the social networking platform's somewhat lacklustre newish music service, still only available in North America, has added some extra functionality. In particular users will be able to publish their playlists via other social networking platforms, and by email.

The ability to make personal playlists, enabling users to compile lists of and the playback tracks available from MySpace's thousands of artist profiles, was one of the major innovations of the stepped up MySpace Music platform, which launched in the US last year.

In related news, MySpace UK has announced that bands will be able to upload ten songs to the player on their artist profiles. Previously the maximum number of tracks for a standard artist player was six.

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UKRD'S TLRC PURCHASE BLOCKED
So this is interesting. Local radio owner UKRD's previously reported bid to buy its bigger rival, The Local Radio Company, has hit a snag after one of TLRC's other major shareholders not only refused to sell its stake to UKRD, but made a higher offer to buy the rest of the company's shares.

Hallwood Financial Limited, which owns 28% of TLRC, is now offering 2.5p per share to take complete ownership of the radio firm. UKRD, which currently owns 13.5% of its rival, offered 2p per share. Hallwood says that if it is successful in buying UKRD and possibly others out of TLRC it will continue to allow the company's shares to be traded on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market.

It's possible Hallwood see a bigger acquisition by a bigger company happening at some point in the future, so are moving to stop a UKRD takeover now, and to possibly increase their stakeholding ahead of any bigger higher value purchase. UTV Radio was previously touted as a possible bidder for TLRC, who own 20 local radio stations around the UK.

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TLRC COMPLETE JAZZ FM SALE
In related news, TLRC has confirmed it has sold digital station Jazz FM to a consortium led by Richard Wheatly, the former TLRC boss and former former former Jazz FM chief who led the station's relaunch last year. As previously reported, TLRC licensed the right to use the Jazz FM name off GMG Radio, who rebranded its Jazz FM stations as Smooth Radio. That licence will move to the new independent Jazz FM company.

Confirming his acquisition was complete, Wheatly told reporters: "We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with TLRC and GMG and to have attracted new significant investment into the business. The successful fundraising reflects the faith that our backers have in the abilities of the management team and our business plan and we look forward to building Jazz FM into a world class music business".

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COWELL WILL TAKE CUT IN ITV FEES
Despite his 'Britain's Got Talent' freak show beating 'Doctor Who' in the ratings this weekend, Simon Cowell has revealed that he is willing to take a pay cut when he renews his contract with ITV in December. Cowell has commented on his ITV pay packet after the commercial broadcaster admitted that its substantial financial woes will result in widespread job and budget cuts.

Commenting on his relationship with ITV, the music/telly mogul told The Mirror: "It isn't about how much I can squeeze out of them. All I worry about is: 'Can we make a better show than last year?' I have a brilliant relationship with ITV and they have been very kind to me. I will never forget the fact that without ITV we would not have launched our shows initially. So as far as I am concerned, I still owe them a debt".

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CHART UPDATE
Everyone gets all excited about the Christmas number one, but we never hear anything about the Easter number one, do we? It would make more sense for the latter to be the big one. After all, Easter always falls on a Sunday, unlike Christmas with its stubborn insistence of sticking to the same date, rather than a day of the week.

So, with much drum-rolling and trumpet-tooting, here is the 2009 Easter Number One... It's Calvin Harris with 'I'm Not Alone'. Two gold stars and a big chocolate egg to Calvin, who goes straight in at the top and knocks that woman we don't talk about down to number two.

Also new this week are Ciara and Justin Timberlake at six with 'Love Sex Magic', Liverpool Collective and The KOP Choir, whose release of 'Fields Of Anfield Road' to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster goes in at 16, Britney Spears, who rises up from last week's 45 to this week's 35 with the thinly-veiled swearing of 'If U Seek Amy', and Bat For Lashes, who reaches 36 with 'Daniel', which isn't nearly high enough. Sort it for next week, everyone.

Over in the album chart, number one is, you know, her. Number two is a new entry from Doves, and at number five Bat For Lashes' new album gets a much more respectable chart position than her single. Although given the album's brilliance, it should really be given its own chart so it doesn't have to go anywhere near the likes of Ronan Keating and Akon, who might get it dirty. It could maybe be joined by Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new album, which is also a new entry at nine.

Carole King's newly reissued collection of classic songs not performed quite as well as all the people who covered them, 'Tapestry', is another new entry at 12, as is X Factor loser Eoghan Quigg at 14 (who has written no classic songs, nor performed anyone else's better than the original). Moving further down, Neil Young is straight in at 22 with 'Fork In The Road', and Ultravox's best of is in at 35. On the re-entry front, The Specials' best of is in at 26, and Jason Mraz's 'We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things' pokes up its head at 40.

The chart dies on Friday and is reborn on Sunday with the help of The Official Charts Company.

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MOBY ON MEDITATION
Moby has spoken out in favour of Transcendental Meditation, or TM, as it's often abbreviated to. He explained that he had avoided it for a long time because it "scared the shit" out of him, saying "I thought that TM involved ritual animal sacrifice and moving to some country and renouncing wealth and materialism".

He continued: "One of the things that impressed me so much about TM when I finally learned it was its simplicity. It's a simple practice that calms the mind... and the thing that won me over about TM, apart from having my hero David Lynch as its vocal practitioner, was its effectiveness. Nothing else helped me quiet my mind and go to a calm, centred place. The thing that makes it effective is you don't have to do all that much, and, as a profoundly lazy person, I appreciate that".

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CHERYL SHOULD STAY GEORDIE, SAYS PROF
According to reports, Cheryl Cole is thought to be considering having elocution lessons because she wants to crack America, and Simon Cowell apparently told her that US audiences might not be able to understand what she is saying. However, a professor of English language at Sheffield University has said she could damage her appeal at home by doing so.

Joan Beal is quoted as saying: "If she is seen to be changing her accent for commercial reasons, this could damage her image here... In the UK, the Geordie accent is viewed very positively and studies of reactions to accents consistently show that it is considered friendly, honest and generally attractive. There are lots of voice coaches who claim to be able to soften regional accents, and I'm sure Cheryl would have access to reputable ones who've worked successfully with actors. But does she want to be seen as putting on an act?"

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WEST TAKES SOUTH PARK PORTRAYAL IN GOOD HUMOUR
Kanye West has said that he was amused by a recent episode of 'South Park' that portrayed him as an egomaniac, saying on his blog that it was "pretty funny" and adding: "I actually have been working on my ego... I'm not actually a huge douche".

West is, of course, fairly notorious for his bigheadedry. He vowed never to return to the MTV Awards in 2007 because he didn't get any gongs, and has recently said that he regrets not being able to see himself perform live. That said, he has also recently apologised for some of his past ego-driven drama-queen moments.

With that in mind, he took to his blog the day after his original 'South Park' remarks to stress his attempts to control his ego had not been inspired by the cartoon, even though I'm not sure anyone thought they had, but whatever. He wrote: "The 'South Park' episode did not make me have this ego epiphany! I actually only watched a piece of the episode, which was funny. I've been working on myself for a while now, which is hard to do in the public eye. I just used [this blog] as a platform to express where my head is at".

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