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Top Stories
Lots more Pirate Bay nonsense
Swedish ISPs resist post-trial calls to block the Bay
BT blocks the Bay, but not for copyright reasons
Pirate Bay judge accused of bias
Pirate Party membership booms post trial
Bragg supports Green amendment to copyright proposals
In The Pop Courts
Britney Spears deemed unfit to testify
Judge won't block distribution of Lil Wayne movie
Singer Iqbal Bano dies
Awards & Contests
Steve Reich awarded Pulitzer
In The Studio
New Blur album a possibility
Hot Chip album talk
Wolfmother's Stockdale on new album
Release News
MJ Hibbett announces pre-release album packages
Franz Ferdinand announce dub album
Films N Shows News
Winstone and Crook join Dury biopic
Gigs N Tours News
Gossip tour dates
Festival News
Faith No More to add more UK dates?
Festival line up update
Album review: Marmaduke Duke - Duke Pandemonium (14th Floor Records)
The Music Business
Recorded music sales down down down
The Digital Business
MySpace founder gets de-employeed
Nokia say they're happy with Comes With Music performance, OK?
The Media Business
Grade to step down as exec chairman at ITV
Lucio leaves Capital
Chart Of The Day
This week's playlist
And finally...
Beyonce's dad defends her vocals
Rihanna dating basketball star
Talent star approached to make life story movie
Marilyn discusses Rossdale relationship

Formed by a group of school friends from The Wirral in 2003, The Seal Cub Clubbing Club began to catch some public interest in 2005 with a series of well-received EP and single releases. Their debut album was originally planned for release in spring 2007 via Nomadic Music, but contractual wranglings and the subsequent collapse of the label effectively shelved it. Skip forward to the present day and that album, 'Super Science Fiction', is now about to finally see the light of day via Jack To Phono next week. We caught up with frontman Nik Glover to find out more.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
The first creative impulse I've ever had to do with recording music was a radio show me and my mate Neil used to make on a reel-to-reel tape deck my dad gave me. We'd introduce Michael Jackson (my choice) or Utah Saints (Neil's) then hold a microphone up to the stereo speaker to record. We were huge Amiga players too so any game that allowed us to make little tunes (and there were loads) would get sampled too. We were sampling Mega-Lo-Mania, Chuck Rock, any soundtrack that had a beat and plunky analogue sounds.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
We recorded the album over six weeks in 2006 at the same time the Open Golf Championships came to [The Wirral town of] Hoylake. We ourselves were holed up first in Hastings (38 degrees) then Normandy (40+ degrees) so we were forced to battle against the urge to make everything sound smoky and black like a summer barbecue.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Every recording session is different. Since we did the album we've asked ourselves more questions about how to record every different instrument. Once you've been in a recording studio for a while you start to listen to new music with an ear for production, thinking how particular sounds were made, how the whole thing was mixed. We write a song to the stage that it sounds finished, then tear it apart to record it.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
The way we record it, everybody. The way we write it, too many to mention. The way we philosophise about it, anyone who tries to make music that sounds like it shouldn't work, but does, or decides to use a particular chord despite it jarring with what he has heard before.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't expect an album that you can always dance to, or that you can always relax to, or that sounds like one other band you like, because we tried to make every song on the album a little light all of it's own.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Once we start recording the new album, everything else in life will slow to a halt. There'll be more arguments hopefully, because arguments show that you have an opinion and everyone's opinion should be much more developed now than three years ago. I have an image in my head of what the finished thing will sound like, and there is absolutely no way whatsoever it will sound like I imagine, which is the greatest thing about recording music the way we do.


Having recently signed up to The Leaf Label, Icy Demons is becoming to look more like a fully formed band than the side project of Christopher Powell (Need New Body) and Griffin Rodriguez (Bablicon). The first single off their new album, 'Miami Vice', certainly supports this, sounding more like a 'proper' single than anything they've done previously. Prog influences remain, though injected with the fun synths of Devo and some oomph on the drums, while glistening Gameboy sounds flitter in between verses. Currently on a mammoth tour, these guys reach these shores in early May, playing in various cities around the country (not just London!), so hurrah to that.

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

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

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


with a London based charity, unpaid though travel and lunch expenses paid.

This national employment charity is looking for a bright, enthusiastic graduate to intern with them for 3-6 months. You will be responsible for a research assignment for its regional operations. You will spend some time conducting desk research in London and the rest of the the time you will be making site visits to locations which include Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Plymouth, Bristol, Hastings and Brighton. Travel, lunch and accommodation expenses will be paid for those trips.

You will conduct one-to-one interviews with key senior management and local operations staff and then prepare a first stage feedback paper per operational region to be used as the basis for the development of a business strategy.

You will need plenty of common sense, confidence and the ability to deliver to deadlines. You should be prepared to work autonomously and have lots of get up and go. Reporting to the Marketing Director, you will be expected to have strong writing and research skills.

This is a fabulous opportunity to gain experience at a national level in the charitable sector.

To apply, send your CV and covering letter to [email protected] quoting reference SS64


UnLimited Media is seeking an intern to begin working with us this Spring/Summer. The successful candidate will work primarily on CMU projects, helping process and manage review CDs, update databases, expand the CMU Directory and assist on upcoming marketing programmes. These are unpaid positions, but interns will get an unrivalled introduction to the music and media businesses, editorial, administration and marketing experience, and the opportunity to make great contacts.

To apply send a CV and a short note telling us what you'd like to get out of an internship to [email protected].

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The Pirate Bay Four may be resolute that their BitTorrent tracker will continue to operate despite them being found guilty of criminal copyright infringement for their roles in running or funding it, and despite the prison sentences and major damages payments that were ordered in the Swedish courts last Friday, but the landmark ruling is likely to reduce the number of tracker services operating in the country overall.

While the Bay men file their appeal papers and continue to maintain that, ultimately, they'll win this thing, Pirate Bay rivals elsewhere in Sweden are quietly going offline, their owners presumably hoping their competitors do ultimately win their legal battle against Swedish prosecutors and the music and movie companies, but in the meantime preferring not be jailed themselves for their role in aiding online copyright infringement. reports that at least four BitTorrent trackers have stopped tracking torrent files in Sweden this week, including,, and The former confirmed The Pirate Bay ruling was behind their decision to close, explaining to former users that they don't have the resources to adjust their system in order to reduce their potential liability for similar copyright infringement charges to be made against them (and anyway, if they restricted the use of their service so to block unlicenced content, no one would probably use it anymore).

They posted the following message: "We have to shut down the site now due a number of circumstances. We don't have time to do anything to the code, we don't have any interest in doing so, and we don't have any more money. But the biggest reason is The Pirate Bay".

It's a similar trend as to what happened in the US following the landmark Grokster ruling in their Supreme Court back in 2005. Following the ruling, which confirmed P2P client makers could be guilty of contributory infringement, despite not actually hosting any infringing content, and despite their technology having legitimate uses, a number of previously bullish P2P client makers promptly shut down. That said, you only need one P2P client or BitTorrent tracker to be operating for the file-sharers of the world to continue to file-share, and in the US in 2005 Limewire, which was already the P2P client of the moment, continued to operate, so the kids continued to share content illegally.

Therefore any number of Swedish trackers can go under, but while The Pirate Bay continues to operate, or indeed while trackers elsewhere in the world continue to be accessible in Sweden, file sharing is likely to continue there.

That said, for the music and movie industries the aim these days is to restrict file-sharing. Not even major label bosses really believe it can ever be fully stopped. And news of trackers going offline post The Pirate Bay ruling, and so soon after the Swedish launch of those previously reported new European rules that make it easier for content owners to find out the identities of file-sharers via their IP addresses, will all further hammer home to mainstream web users, or bedroom programmers building new file-sharing communities, that while they can technically speaking file-share, and millions of people do worldwide every day, it is illegal and there could be consequences for getting involved.

For the music and movie studios it's particularly pleasing this is all happening in Sweden, which has in the past been perceived as a safe-haven for the P2P community.

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Another way to restrict file-sharing, of course, is to get internet service providers to block access to The Pirate Bay and their ilk. There have been moves by the record companies to put such blockades in place in recent years, of course, though few ISPs are that keen on blocking access to any site based on copyright concerns alone. One in Denmark was forced to block the Bay through the courts, and another in Ireland said it would voluntarily block the site as part of a wider deal with the music industry, though I think they are actually yet to do so.

Reports suggest the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has written to Swedish ISPs since last Friday's ruling requesting they block access to The Pirate Bay which, the record label trade body argues, was proven to be illegal in last week's court hearing. But the net firms are resisting those requests.

According to the ZeroPaid website, a rep from one, Telia Sonera, told reporters "In part, this is not a legally binding decision, but above all, this is a judgment against Pirate Bay and nothing that effects any service provider. We will not take any action [to block] the contents if we are not compelled to do so". It remains to be seen if the IFPI can and will take any more action to force the Swedish net firms to stop their users from accessing The Pirate Bay.

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For a brief time yesterday it seemed that while the Swedish net firms were resisting calls to block the Bay, at least one UK ISP was doing it without even being asked to. Customers of BT's mobile broadband service suddenly found access to the BitTorrent tracker was blocked. But when asked, the the phone firm said the block was nothing to do with copyright or last week's Swedish ruling, but rather because of concerns 'adult content' could be accessed via the tracker, and it was therefore being blocked to protect the kids.

The tel co cited a voluntary code run by the Internet Watch Foundation, the charitable body which monitors "criminally obscene" content online, and in particular child porn, though they quickly issued a statement saying The Pirate Bay didn't fall foul of any of their codes, because, as far as they knew, it didn't provide links to any of the sort of content that would fall under their definition of "criminally obscene" (which doesn't, in case you wondered, include mainstream pornography).

BT subsequently clarified the situation, telling reporters: "BT and the other UK mobile operators have agreed and implemented a voluntary code of practise for mobile content that restricts access to content unsuitable for customers under the age of 18. The list of sites and content that is restricted is compiled by individual operators themselves. The warning that BT provides links to the Internet Watch Foundation website for information on the code only". It should be noted that while access to the Bay is automatically blocked on BT mobile broadband as of this week, users can unlock the block by calling 150.

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Back to The Pirate Bay trial itself, and the judge who ruled on the case has been accused of bias, because he is a member of at least two pro-copyright lobby groups.

Swedish media are today questioning whether a man who is a signed up member of organisations which lobby for better intellectual property protection in Sweden, and which also count several of the prosecution's lawyers as members, should have been the man to rule on The Pirate Bay case. The trade bodies he is a member of include the Swedish Copyright Association and Swedish Association For The Protection Of Industrial Property, both of whom support stricter copyright laws.

Sveriges Radio, the Swedish equivalent of the BBC, has reported on the possible conflict of interest, and they quoted one high profile Swedish lawyer, Leif Silbersky, as saying the conflict could result in a retrial being called, though he added that the four defendants' lawyers would have to formally register a protest regarding possible bias sooner rather than later. The judge, Tomas Norstrom, says he does not believe his membership of the copyright bodies affected his judgement in any way, though he's hardly going to say it did, and a so called lay judge who had been involved in an earlier part of the Bay case was forced to stand down because his involvement in a music rights group left him open to accusations of bias.

It's not clear why Norstrom's involvement in pro-copyright bodies wasn't more widely reported during the trial, though the legal rep of one of the four defendants, Peter Sunde, says he didn't know about it, which is possibly why. Sunde's lawyer, Peter Althin, told Swedish news website DN: "The judge should really have considered his role in all of this. All of this was completely unknown to me. At the appeal, I will be demanding that the court's decision be nullified as a result of his [Norström's] conflict of interest".

Elsewhere regarding the formalities of The Pirate Bay case, it remains unclear if and when the Pirate Bay Four will actually go to prison. Three of the four defendants are reportedly not currently in Sweden, and it's not entirely clear when and how the authorities plan to jail them. The severity of the sentences may have less of an impact long term if they are not enforced, though those using the jail sentences as a reason to garner more support for the Bay men - based on the argument that it's an overly severe punishment - may find doing so less effective the longer it takes for the four defendants to actually be put inside.

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Finally in Bay news, The Pirate Party, the unrelated organisation which nevertheless supports the tracker service, and which is lobbying for a change in Swedish copyright laws so to allow non-commercial file sharing, have said that their membership has doubled in size since last week's ruling. They are hoping to win a seat in the upcoming European elections in order to take their campaign to the European Union, and they reckon the publicity they're getting following the Pirate Bay convictions may help them in that bid.

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Billy Bragg has again hit out at the current European proposals for the extension of the recording copyright term from fifty to 95 years.

As much previously reported, UK record industry trade bodies like the BPI, PPL, UK Music and the Musicians' Union have, for ages now, been lobbying, at both a UK and European level, for an extension of the copyright term enjoyed by sound recordings, which is currently just fifty years in Europe, compared to 95 years in the US, and the life plus seventy years term enjoyed by songwriters (and all writers for that matter, and playwrights, artists and film-makers).

After initial resistance from the UK government regarding term extension, Culture Minister Andy Burham and IP Minister David Lammy said they would support proposals submitted at a European level to extend the term, though not necessarily to 95 years. So far so good. Except Lammy says his interest is in boosting the royalty revenues of aging musicians, not record companies, and at the last minute said that the European proposals didn't do enough to safeguard the long term interests of musicians over music corporations once a recording passes the fifty year point. In doing so he delayed the progression of the proposals.

PPL and the Musicians Union criticised Lammy's role in causing that delay, arguing that they both represented musicians who supported the extension proposals as they currently stood. But then Bragg and the newish trade body he represents, the Featured Artists Coalition, said it supported Lammy and shared his concerns that the term extension proposals as they current stood were far too biased towards record companies over artists. In fact Bragg advocates a much more radical proposal than that being pushed for by Lammy - that the copyright term is extended, but after fifty years the copyright reverts to the artist, oblivious of past contractual obligations to record companies, and even if they never recouped on that record label's original investment.

He says that that would give ageing artists the opportunity to renegotiate their record deals, fifty year old agreements which, he says, are no longer fair because they assume the record company is footing all kinds of ongoing manufacture and distribution costs that don't exist in the digital age. He said the term extension as it currently stands "simply perpetuates recording contracts that were signed in the last 50 years [based on the label covering the costs of physical music distribution]. Now that they no longer have to do that, new revenues will go straight into their bottom line. This legislation offers the multinational record corporations a potential windfall of the size of the invention of the CD".

The Green Party amendment Bragg supports proposes that any monies generated from a sound recoding after the initial fifty years be paid to a collecting society that would distribute them to artists and performers rather than record labels.

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She may be fit to record music and then perform it on stage, but Britney Spears is not fit to stand up and say stuff. So says LA Superior Court Judge Akiva Bobb.

As previously reported, Spears' father and conservator Jamie is currently seeking to extend restraining orders against his daughter's ex-manager Sam Lutfi, ex-lawyer Jon Eardley, and ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib. Lutfi and Eardley are contesting this, and the latter filed papers last month demanding that the singer testify in court at his upcoming court hearing.

He argued that if she's well enough to stand up in concert venues, she's well enough to stand up in court, but his request was denied, with the court's findings stating: "There was a finding of a judge of the Superior Court that she lacks the capacity to testify".

As previously reported, Ghalib has already been served with a three year restraining order. Not only that, he stands accused of running down the man who served him the papers with his car.

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A judge in the US has denied a request by Lil Wayne to block the release of that new documentary, 'The Carter', about the rapper produced by QD3 Entertainment, the company owned by Quincy Jones III, son of the legendary music producer.

As previously reported, the hip hop star, real name Dwayne Carter, launched a suit against QD3 and associated company Digerati Holdings last month, claiming that the film makers had gone against an original agreement which dictated that Carter would have approval of the film's final version. According to that suit, the hip hop star's manager viewed the documentary at the end of last year and requested that scenes depicting Carter's drug use be removed, but the film premiered at January's Sundance film festival intact.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Mink denied the request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the distribution of the movie. Quincy Jones III told Variety: "We're very pleased with the court's decision. We made a great film, which was incredibly well received at Sundance, and showcases Lil Wayne's extraordinary talent".

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Singing star Iqbal Bano has died in Pakistan following a short illness. She was 74.

Bano was born in Delhi and developed an early love of music. She studied classical music as well as the semi-classical music she became most famous for - traditional forms such as thumris, dadras and the classical rendition of ghazals, a type of Urdu poetry - and also went on to sing a number of easy listening tracks in 1950s films.

She married and moved to Pakistan in the early fifties, and in the 1980s she became something of a cult figure there for singing revolutionary songs by acclaimed poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz which had been banned by Gen Zia ul-Haq's government. She was also popular in Iran and Afghanistan for her renditions of Persian poetry.

She is survived by two sons and a daughter.

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Composer Steve Reich has been awarded this year's Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2007 composition 'Double Sextet', which premiered in March last year. The awards organisers said that it was "a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear".

Reich saw off competition from Don Byron and Harold Meltzer to bag the $10,000 prize money, which will be officially awarded at a ceremony at Columbia University in New York next month.

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Blur might record a new album one day. I could have told you that myself, but I'm not Graham Coxon, so it wouldn't have been news.

Graham Coxon is Graham Coxon, though. He told The Daily Star: "I'd be up for it [recording new music] if everyone else is really into the idea. If it feels good then we will. I'm sure we will. But we've all got some stuff going on so it won't be in the immediate future".

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Hot Chip have been talking about what their next album will be like, and they're planning something a bit more mellow than previous outings.

The band's Joe Goddard told 6Music: "We're kind of stepping things down a bit because we want to make this next album quite simple, gentle, focussed; just 10 or 11 tracks of really excellent pop songs that hopefully will become timeless classics. They'll be club tunes but not the really banging ones. But making songs like that always gives you the scope to do a really banging remix, which we'll probably try and do as well".

Explaining further, Goddard continued: "We just felt like we wanted to focus on trying to write some really strong pop songs, rather than making hard, aggressive dance floor tracks that have bits of songs bolted onto them. We wanted to start off with some really excellent songs that could be performed in a simple acoustic way or in an electronic, dance style, but the song would be the heart of the music".

The new LP is expected to be released early next year.

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Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale has been talking about his band's upcoming new album and their all-new line up. As previously reported, Stockdale parted ways with his original band mates last year and has since recruited three new members who are working on the new LP with him in LA. He told "We're almost there. I've done 18 songs. Hopefully it should be out in September."

On his reasons for continuing with the album, despite the departure of Chris Ross and Myles Heskett, he went on: "Before the other guys left I'd written all these songs for Wolfmother. To put it out under another name seemed kind of ridiculous. I thought why not continue? I got some new people in the band. I had the songs and whoever was around was in the band. Sounds a bit dangerous!"

The new record is to be called 'Cosmic Egg'. Stockdale explains why: "I did a yoga class and one of the poses we were doing was called 'cosmic egg', and I thought yeah, that's it. It's like the fetal pose".

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The rather brilliant new album from indie-folk legends MJ Hibbett & The Validators, 'Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez', will not be officially released until 11 May. However, you can buy it as part of a number of bonus-heavy and very reasonably-priced pre-release packages right now from the band's website.

To check out what's on offer, go to

Say the band: "Over the past 10 years MJ Hibbett & The Validators have managed to have all sorts of rock and roll adventures at the same time as managing four full-time jobs, three children, two marriages and one business. Their new album contains aspects of all of these activities, with thrilling pop songs about the reality of life in your thirties like daft dancing, office politics, dieting, hen nights and getting home before closing time. It's the best album yet from one of the UK's most well-loved underground bands. Honest!"

And, hey, while we're here, why don't we take a look at the album's tracklist:

Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
Do The Indie Kid
Do More, Eat Less
Best Behaviour
All The Good Men
We Can Start Having Fun
Red Black Gold
My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
It Only Works Because You're Here
One Of The Walls Of My House Fell In
We're Old And We're Tired (And We Want To Go Home)
Leicester's Trying To Tell Me Something

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Franz Ferdinand have announced that 'Blood', that previously mentioned dub version of latest LP 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand', will go on general release on 1 Jun via Domino Records.

Five hundred vinyl copies of the album are already on sale, however, via independent retail outlets, and have been since Saturday, as a celebration of Record Store Day. The record, mixed by producer Dan Carey, will subsequently be available via CD, digital and vinyl formats.

It was originally part of the double disc/box set versions of 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand', though an additional track has now been added, no doubt as a lure to the die-hard fans.

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Ray Winstone and Mackenzie Crook have signed up to appear in an upcoming biopic of the late Ian Dury. Andy Serkis, best known for his turn as Gollum in Lord Of The Rings, plays Dury. It's not clear who 'Office' star Crook is playing, but Winstone, it's confirmed, is to play Dury's father.

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Gossip have announced three UK tour dates in addition to their appearance at Radio 1's Big Weekend. The band, who release their new album 'Music For Men' on 22 Jun, appear on the following dates at the following locations...

28 May: London, Scala
29 May: Manchester, Club Academy
30 May: Glasgow, The Arches

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So, when it was announced that Faith No More's only UK show on their European reunion tour would be at Download, it was a bit of a kick in the balls for the newly launched rival rock festival Sonisphere. Now though, Download might be about to get a quick thwack on the knackers too.

Yesterday the Reading and Leeds festivals were added to the tour dates section on the Faith No More website. Later in the day, bassist Billy Gould said via Twitter: "I didn't want to post this until it was 100% confirmed, but because the demand has been so high, we're going to come back for more UK dates. Reading 28 Aug... Leeds 30 Aug".

However, there is a twist in this story. Shortly afterwards, Gould announced: "I'm getting conflicting info. At the moment agent will not confirm. Dates are off site now".

The band are still not confirmed for the twin festivals, which may have something to do with the fact that organisers of the not-yet-sold-out Download, Live Nation, also own half of Reading and Leeds organisers Festival Republic.

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GREAT ESCAPE, various venues, Brighton, West Sussex, 14-16 May: Bombay Bicycle Club, Evan Dando, Johnny Flynn, Mumford & Sons and Emmy The Great are amongst the latest acts confirmed for this year's Brighton fest. Dirty Stop Out, thecocknbullkid and The Twilight Sad have also been added to the line up, along with Cursive, Koko Von Napoo, Post War Years, Amazing Baby and Girls.

LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY, various venues, Liverpool, 20-23 May: Calvin Harris has been announced as the headliner for this year's Liverpool Sound City. The Rascals, White Lies, Dan Black and Little Boots have also been confirmed, joining previously announced Mongrel, Cage The Elephant, Metronomy, White Denim and The Zutons.

SECRET GARDEN PARTY, nr Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, 23-26 Jul: Fat Freddy's Drop have been confirmed as headliners for this year's Secret Garden Party, joining previously announced Jarvis Cocker. Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Comets and Dear Reader have also been added to the line up.

HEVY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Folkstone, Kent, 1 Aug: Feeder have been confirmed as headliners for the first ever Hevy Music Festival. Gary Numan, Ash and Hundred Reasons have also been confirmed, as well as Kids In Glass Houses, Attack! Attack!, Sonic Boom Six and In Case Of Fire.

BLOOM FESTIVAL, Seven Springs, Hartley Hall, Cheltenham, 14-16 Aug: Noah And The Whale and Esser are among the first acts to be announced for this year's Bloom festival. Tom Middleton, Altern8, Chase And Status, Dub Pistols, Josh Weller and Lo-Fidelity Allstars have also been confirmed, along with Kidda, Jack Beats and Drums Of Death.

SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS, Belongil Fields, Byron Bay, Australia, 25-26 Jul: Bloc Party, MGMT, Jane's Addiction, The Flaming Lips and The Specials have all been confirmed for the Aussie fest. Friendly Fires, White Lies, Little Birdy, Josh Pyke, The Gutter Twins and Birds of Tokyo have also been announced, alongside Midnight Juggernauts, Hilltop Hoods and Grinspoon.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Marmaduke Duke - Duke Pandemonium (14th Floor Records)
Ah, the concept album. Done well, it can work out marvellously, providing an alternative creative pool for artists to swim in outside of the musical constraints of their original project's mission statement. Then again, it can as often result in utter shambles. Whatever the reason for it, straying into conceptual territory, be it lyrically or melodically, it's always a brave move. Marmaduke Duke invite you to take a surreal step into their fantastical shrouded and masked world, where the combination of the glad rags of 16th century gentry and hip-shaking disco funk is perfectly customary. This is a second chance for those who missed out on their mammoth 18 track debut 'The Magnificent Duke' to become acquainted with the stately Scottish duo. 'Duke Pandemonium' is the second release of a proposed 'mythological musical triptych' by the alter egos of Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil and fellow Ayrshire alt-rock local hero, Sucioperro's JP Reid. In this guise, they prefer the monikers of The Atmosphere and The Dragon respectively, and collectively, their plan is to recount the tales of the hedonistic Duke's big night out. Luckily in the midst of all of these extracurricular diversions, the great tunes have not been sacrificed. 'Duke Pandemonium' is a seriously eclectic party album, amalgamating the lo-fi electro minimalism of 'Kid Gloves', the urgent drum n bass fuelled deviance of 'Music Box', the tropical steel drums of 'Skin The Mofo' and the Radio 1-friendly straight-up, gloriously infectious pop of 'Rubber Lover'. The Duke requests your company for dancing, and you know it's considered ever so rude to refuse. MB
Release Date: 4 May
Press Contact: Partisan PR [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Global recorded music sales declined 8.3% in 2008, which is nice. We know this because of the latest figures from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, who calculate the wholesale value of recordings across the record industry worldwide.

Their figures include CD sales, digital music revenues and the licensing income that comes from TV, radio, websites and other organisations who play recorded music in public. The figures mean that while digital sales and licensing income boom, the boom is not enough to cover the widely reported slump in CD revenues.

The decline was worst in the US, where overall record sales income was down 18.6%. CD revenues were down 31.2%, while digital sales increased 16.5%. In Europe overall market decrease was 6.3%, with CD sales down 11.3%, while digital sales grew by 36.1%. The Latin American market was also down, though Asia bucked the trend and saw a 1% rise overall where digital increases are starting to compensate for physical product declines.

So record companies, more diversification into areas other than recordings and continued Asian expansion should be on the agenda for 2009, methinks.

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One of MySpace's co-founders, CEO Chris DeWolfe, is to leave the company, it has been announced. In a statement, parent company NewsCorp said that DeWolfe's exit was by "mutual agreement", although his departure comes ahead of the end of his contract, which was due for renewal in October. He will continue to sit on the board of MySpace China and act as a strategic advisor to the company.

In an email to employees, MySpace's parent company NewsCorp's new CEO Of Digital Media, Jonathan Miller, also said that he is currently in discussions with MySpace's other founder, president and everybody's friend Tom Anderson "regarding his role within the organisation".

DeWolfe's replacement has not yet been officially announced, but according to reports, Facebook's former Chief Revenue Officer and current CEO of music streaming site ProjectPlaylist, Owen Van Natta, is Miller's first choice for the role. Van Natta was one of the names put forward to take over the company's new streaming music service MySpace Music last year, but was beaten to that role by former MTV exec Courtney Holt.

As previously reported, three of MySpace's other top execs - COO Amit Kapur, Senior VP Of Technology Jim Benedetto and Senior VP Of Product Strategy Steve Pearman - left the company last month to set up a new venture.

Although the exact reason for the management changes is unknown, rumour has it that senior tech types at MySpace are growing increasingly unhappy about the general shoddiness of the website which, despite various redesigns, is still operating on a system not originally built to run many, if any, of what are now its core functions - offering music and video content, for example. As more and more companies compete in MySpace's, er, space with much better content delivery systems, it's now critical that the company comes up with something better.

Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, told the LA Times: "The MySpace platform did not evolve. It was doing the same thing. Whereas Facebook, every couple of months, there's a major change, and they drag the members along with them".

Commenting on how MySpace's poorly received attempt to do something new last year - MySpace Music - was handled and his attempts to rescue it after a lacklustre US launch, its recently appointed head Courtney Holt told New Media Age last week: "I'm working on trying to make sense of a business that existed as a bunch of features. So we went silent while we brought in the right people. Perhaps we launched the business before we had the key stakeholders in place internally".

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Yeah, Nokia's Comes With Music has sounded a bit rubbish from the word go, though the fact the phone firm have the most useless PR function in the world may have affected our opinion on that. Though I'm not sure better PR would have, in itself, overcome the rubbishness alone.

Anyway, the phone maker has declined to comment on claims made by digital music consultants Music Ally at AIM's Music Connected event on Tuesday that Comes With Music, the all you can eat music service where free access to a huge catalogue of DRMed music comes bundled in with a Nokia music phone, wasn't performing as well as the company had hoped. Music Ally claimed that, despite a big advertising and marketing campaign around its UK launch last year, the service had only been bought by 23,000 people so far.

As previously reported, critics of the service say that while Comes With Music in theory offers unlimited permanent free downloads, the DRM means songs will only play on the phone or PC they are downloaded too. Launching as it did just as a la carte download services got rid of limiting digital rights management, that fact, some say, makes Nokia's offer a bit unattractive. Though, Nokia might point out, not to 23,000 paying customers.

It was claimed at Music Connected that Nokia were disappointed with consumer response to their big music offer, having hoped it would seriously challenge the iPhone in the mobile music space. But Nokia, while refusing to confirm or deny Music Ally's stats, say they are "very happy" with their music programme and will continue to roll out the all you can eat download offer in other territories. When discussing a recent slump in profits at the phone maker, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo cited the firm's music products as one of their more successful ventures of late.

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Michael Grade is to stand down as Chief Executive of struggling commercial telly giant ITV, though he'll stay on as the firm's Chairman. When Grade joined the broadcaster in 2007 as hands on Executive Chairman, doubling up as CEO, he said he'd only be hands-on for up to three years and would then look to appoint a separate CEO and take a more back seat Non-Exec Chairman role. Grade told the City this morning the time is now right to start looking for that CEO, and he hopes to have someone in place by the end of the year.

Grade, of course, has been trying to rejig ITV so to better cope with the growing competition for less advertising money, streamlining the firm's operations and lobbying for a change in rules that govern its public service obligations and the amount of advertising the TV firm can air on its flagship terrestrial channel. There are mixed opinions in both TV and investment circles as to how successful that rejigging has been, especially in light of recent staff culls.

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Another departure from Global Radio towers. Lucio, former Xfm and Capital drive time presenter and, most recently, Capital FM evening show presenter, is leaving the radio group. His Capital show will be taken over by Rich Clarke and Kat Shoob, the former being a current late night presenter on the station, the latter best known for presenting those terrible 'give us all your money' phone in quizzes on ITV, but also a co-presenter on Bam Bam's shortlived Capital show in 2007. Lucio is off to explore new opportunities - whatever that means.

Confirming Lucio's departure, and Rich and Kat's appointment, Global Radio's Paul Jackson told reporters: "We have a great tradition of supporting new talent at 95.8 Capital FM and in a competitive market we need to be constantly innovating and evolving - Lucio is off to pastures new and we wish him all the best for the future. Maintaining the best talent in radio with the best hit music is what keeps the station fresh and exciting for listeners".

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

A List
A.R. Rahman & Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)
Asher Roth - I Love College
Beyoncé - Halo
Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone
Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake - Love Sex Magic
The Enemy - No Time For Tears
Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls
Ironik feat. Chipmunk & Elton John - Tiny Dancer
Marmaduke Duke - Rubber Lover
Maxïmo Park - The Kids Are Sick Again*
Pink - Please Don't Leave Me
Theory Of A Deadman - Hate My Life
Tinchy Stryder feat. N-Dubz - Number 1
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

B List
Britney Spears - If You Seek Amy
Chairlift - Evident Utensil*
Fightstar - Mercury Summer
Gallows - The Vulture (Act III)
In Case Of Fire - Enemies
Keri Hilson feat. Timbaland - Return The Favour
The King Blues - I Got Love
Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van*
Madina Lake - Never Take Us Alive
Steve Appleton - Dirty Funk
T-Pain feat. Chris Brown - Freeze
Tommy Sparks - She's Got Me Dancing

Tip List
Billy Boy On Poison - Standing Still*
Black Lips - I'll Be With You*
Delphic - Counterpoint
Esser - Headlock
Freeland - Under Control
Go:Audio - Drive To The City
Kidbass feat. Sincere - Goodgirls Love Rudeboys*
Mr Scruff feat. Roots Manuva - Nice Up The Function*
The Qemists feat. Jenna G - On The Run
Sky Larkin - Antibodies*
The Temper Trap - Science Of Fear
Twisted Wheel - We Are Us
Will and The People - Knocking
Toddla T & Herve feat. Serocee - Shake It*

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Beyonce's dad and manager Mathew Knowles has said that a purported recording of his daughter badly squawking her hit song 'If I Were A Boy' isn't real and that the vocals have been altered to sound rubbish. The noisy clip, allegedly a 'board mix' from the singer's performance on US programme 'The Today Show', was aired by Howard Stern on Wednesday and has been circulating t'interweb ever since.

Knowles said in a statement: "If no one took the time to look at the biggest inauguration in the history of America then shame on them. If no one took the time to listen to Beyonce sing 'America The Beautiful' and 'At Last At The Neighborhood Ball' for the first dance of President Obama and the First Lady, and they question Beyonce's vocal ability, they've gotta be an idiot. At twelve years into her career, the last thing someone should be questioning is her vocal ability. That would be like questioning if Kobe Bryant could shoot a jump shot. The vocals were obviously altered".

It's claimed the recording Stern aired is what Beyonce sang into the mic on 'The Today Show' while the audience heard studio recorded vocals instead. Even if the vocals are real and haven't been doctored, it should be noted (as I think one of Stern's team does) that often the reason why artists mime on shows like 'The Today Show' is because there is no time to sound check and there are no monitors on stage so artists can't hear themselves (and of course if a pre-recording is actually blaring out of the speakers, then they certainly can't hear what their actual live vocals sound like). A similar recording of Enrique Iglesias circulated online previously, and he subsequently went onto the Stern show to sing live to prove that, when not surrounded by blarey speakers playing a pre-recorded vocal track, he could actually sing.

The recordings and the Stern team's thoughts on it are here.

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Rihanna is a busy girl. After we confirmed for absolute definite that she and Chris Brown are completely 100% back together, it turns out that she is also dating basketball player Andrew Bynum. The pair reportedly had an intimate dinner together in Beverley Hills on Friday night. A source told website X17: "They looked very couple-y, sitting real close to each other in the car".

Meanwhile, Brown is also dating someone else! How do they find the time? Girlicious singer Natalie Mejia said in a recent interview: "Things are going well between [Chris and me] but I really do not want to comment much more than that right now".

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That Susan Boyle, the lady whose appearance on 'Britain's Got Talent' has caused such a stir, has reportedly been approached about making a film about her life story. Darla Rae of US company Film-It Productions is quoted as saying: "When Susan stepped on to the stage and began to sing, tears welled up in my eyes. As I watched her, I felt a connection and realised she would be perfect for one of my films".

However, Film-It's website is running a news story that says Boyle has been offered a role in one of the company's films, not a film to herself. But perhaps both are in the pipeline, who knows?

Anyway, according to reports, Simon Cowell is all over it and the potential to make himself more cash. Some source or insider or something is quoted as saying this: "Simon can see the business potential in Susan. He's not only seeing album deals in the UK and the States but also movie and merchandising. But he would want the movie to be based around the 'Britain's Got Talent' brand rather than Susan's life. It would follow her dream of getting on the show and then, of course, she would have to win".

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Eighties new romantic pop type and Boy George co-hort Marilyn has claimed anew in an interview with US magazine In Touch Weekly that he had a five year relationship with the husband of Gwen Stefani and former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale back in the 80s, proclaiming him to have been "the love of my life".

This is an old story in some respects. Boy George first claimed that Marilyn, real name Peter Robinson, and Rossdale had previously been a couple in his 1995 book, 'Take It Like A Man'. At the time both men denied the claims, with Rossdale subsequently telling reporters: "I wasn't dating Marilyn. We were, and still are, good friends. George thinks everyone is gay". However, Marilyn has subsequently alluded to his relationship with Rossdale as being more than platonic in various communications, though the In Touch Weekly interview is probably the most explicit he's been about the alleged relationship.

In the interview, Marilyn says: "Gavin and Gwen are perfect for each other, but he was the love of my life. He was just becoming successful in America, [so] I agreed to lie against every grain of my being [about our relationship, but] we were together five years".

According to In Touch, a rep for Rossdale has denied Marilyn's claims.

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