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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Carter admits u-turn on Digital Rights Agency proposals
Is variable pricing leading to less digital sales?
Apple reject NIN iPhone app, Reznor a bit miffed
Bee Gees block Staying Alive from AIDS campaign
Now Islam makes claim over Coldplay's song
In The Pop Courts
Madonna's adoption appeal is adjourned
50 Cent cleared of involvement in home fire
Former Wilco member sued over unpaid royalties
Winehouse wins injunction to keep paps at bay
In The Pop Hospital
Amy collapses, needed a drink (water though)
N-Dubz Tulisa tested for swine flu
Obituaries
RC Succession frontman dies
Artist Deals
Sugababes sign to Roc-A-Fella
Release News
Coldplay give away free CD
Gigs N Tours News
Evan Dando to play intimate London show
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
John Leckie confirmed for CMU Insights
Reviews
Album review: Various Artists - Brand NEU! (Feraltone)
The Music Business
MU says no shortage of skilled classical musicians in UK
The Media Business
More cuts at Xfm and Gold
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Meg White to marry
Cole builds home studio
Seven inch gets record price at auction
ITV think of more ways to milk Susan Boyle
Pink not bisexual
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
TUESDAY 5TH MAY


SON OF DAVE
Benjamin Darvill, aka Son Of Dave, first became known as a member of Crash Test Dummies (remember them), but since 2000 has been carving a path and astounding audiences with his modern take on blues, which incorporates beatboxing, R&B, dance and hip hop, with old rootsy harmonica sounds. Needless to say, what he does is very difficult to get across with just words, it's something you really need to see. Luckily for you, he's playing a special Twisted Licks show at the 100 Club in London tomorrow (6 May) with support from Jamie Woon. You can get more information on that here. In the meantime, check out Son Of Dave's interesting take on the music world via our Same Six Questions.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I began playing music as a boy, skipping out of school and writing tunes, and picking guitars and banjos in the Canadian Prairie. Neil Young went through the same process at the same high school a decade earlier. Winter is long there, and sports are thuggish everywhere.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Badly behaved women, loud mouthed overpaid rap stars, lousy overproduced pop, crass consumerism choking the whole damned earth... the usual things to get mad at all inspire me to do something of worth. I need to work extra hard to keep people well entertained and informed. I make great albums, write for The Stool Pigeon and play a hundred shows each year. That's my job. It's a drop in the bucket.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
I start with a jaunty rhythm, spit out a beat and a stupidly simple harmonica riff, and add things on the old cheat box (looping pedal) and it comes to life quite quickly. For the words, I usually sing jibberish over the top until I match the sentiment with some key phrase. Maybe I'll record a bit into a dictaphone and listen back later. It's not rocket science, though - some songwriting and production teams are paid as if they were astronauts.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I grew up with no musical boundaries, some good old fashioned 78's, a great rootsy Canadian festival, and plenty of local blues bars to hang out in. I can't say I model myself after anyone. I have a few beatbox harmonica disciples however. I started a little trend. Like Hendrix did. Sixty million guitar players later...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I'd try to sell that someone an album. If they's pretty, I'd flirt with 'em. I often have to answer all these kinds of questions in the conversation that follows.

Q6 What were your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I make catchy singles and albums that get critical raving. Sometimes my recordings are slick, other times they are cheap and nasty live-off-the-floor affairs. Different people prefer different approaches. Unfortunately, I have much higher hopes than the UK is living up to. Other countries treat me like a king. I think the guitar bands and microwave pop acts here completely clutter things up until there's little room for interesting music to get on the popular airwaves. Grownups are tight with money and the youth just steal the downloads. But folks still pack into concerts and that's a good honest living. I wonder if radio is being reduced to a business arm of the manufactured acts. I don't know any young people who listen to it, despite the "new music all the time" credo. Maybe people don't want new music as much as the business men would have us believe. In the future, I will fix everything, and everyone will thank me, and the bastards who stood in my way will apologise and lose their jobs. Anything short of this happening is mediocre.

MORE>> sonofdave.blogspot.com and www.myspace.com/thesonofdave

 
THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND
Rotating between members of TVOTR, Apollo Heights and The Dap Kings, amongst others, New York's Phenomenal Handclap Band are masters of pulsing percussion and catchy yet credible pop songs. Recalling the funk-influenced joy of Tom Tom Club or even a groovier CSS, new single '15 - 20' is a delight, mixing in a sugary playground-chant chorus of "5, 10, 15, 20, 25," etc. 'You'll Disappear' is another excellent slice, taking in Grand Master Flash, Chic and decidedly 80s synth loops over the course of 5 minutes. Definitely worth your time.

www.myspace.com/embassyproductions

 

 


 

 

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 AVAILABLE
Desk spaces available in attractive and creative Central London office. Perfectly positioned 5 mins from Liverpool Street and Old Street, the office is spacious, bright and has a friendly and sociable atmosphere. You'd be working alongside a film PR, online advertiser, events company, graphic designer, publishing company, filmmaker/media trainer so lots of useful contacts to be had.

Rent is £250 per month per desk and includes service charges. Please drop me a line if you're interested to find out more - rachel@devenportpr.com - Pictures are available.

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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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CARTER ADMITS U-TURN ON DIGITAL RIGHTS AGENCY PROPOSALS
The great thing about a government in freefall is that if you don't like something they propose it's much easier to force a u-turn just by moaning loudly, because ministers are so desperately trying to find someone who might say something nice about them that they'll drop proposals in a minute if they think someone in the room may at least nod in approval.

Anyway, Communications Minister Stephen Carter has admitted his proposals for a Digital Rights Agency to monitor online piracy and foster stronger working relationships between content owners and internet companies were dumb, dumb, dumber, and says he plans to put them through the increasingly busy government proposal paper shredder as soon as is possible.

As previously reported, despite previous indications from Culture Minister Andy Burnham, and others in the corridors of power, that government would force internet service providers to take on more of a vigilante role in policing online piracy if they wouldn't agree to a voluntary code on such matters, when Carter published his 'Digital Britain' report on the future of the online and content industries there wasn't much forcing going on.

It proposed a system whereby ISPs would have to more readily hand over the contact information of its customers to help content owners pursue direct copyright infringement lawsuits against the punters who upload or access large amounts of unlicensed content online. Which is all well and good, except even the litigious American record industry has admitted that suing infringing music fans direct is pointless - damages never cover the cost of legal action, and even thousands of such lawsuits don't deter others from file-sharing.

Carter's other main proposal was the Digital Rights Agency. This, however, would be more of a talking shop than a government agency directly charged with the task of taking the internet pirates down. Such an agency, many in the music business argued, was a waste of time and just a distraction. Content owners and web firms were already talking plenty, they argued, and they didn't need a new shop to help them. And the time and effort that would be employed in establishing an Agency would better used to force the ISPs - who are still against taking on a more proactive piracy police role - to bloody do well do something about rampant online copyright infringement.

Anyway, Carter admitted that his proposals have received a negative response from the industry, and that as a result he's now considering other options. According to Music Week, he told the Annual General Meeting of PRS For Music: "It has been torched by some, it has been tolerated by some and it has been a touchstone for others. [We need to reconsider things], but I am relaxed because it [the Agency proposal] has moved the debate on about how to write codes and who is responsible for codes".

Translation: "That Digital Rights Agency thing we proposed - yeah, scratch that, it was a dumb idea, sorry". Carter now proposes a greater role for his former employer OfCom with regards online piracy, as well as the establishment of a more informal discussion forum involving content owners and net firms.

UK record label trade body the BPI welcomed the u-turn. Their Director Of Public Affairs, Richard Mollet, said: "We said in our response [to the consultation] that all that was needed was a forum and it is encouraging to hear the minister now pointing in that direction".

It's only a week since Carter's colleague David Lammy, Minister For Intellectual Property, was telling the Guardian that the Digital Rights Agency was the best possible way to tackle online piracy. Not sure if he was at the PRS AGM to be updated on the latest change in government policy.

Talking of a Labour government on the slide into the abyss, the Conservative Party has been trying to get some brownie points (which, strangely, Gordon Brown is lacking at the moment) from the music business by criticising Burnham, Carter and Lammy's efforts to protect and extend record labels' copyrights. Commenting on their efforts to combat rising online piracy and to extend the copyright term for sound recordings at a European level, the Tory's culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt told Music Week last week: "No, I don't think the government has done enough. Piracy has been around for a while, but frustratingly it has done nothing and term was very disappointing for the music industry".

Criticising Carter's aforementioned 'Digital Britain' for being "weak on action", he said he was conducting his own review of the UK's creative industries, and would be involving Universal Music International boss Lucian Grainge, former Warner and BPI director Rob Dickins and Classic FM MD Darren Henley in it.

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IS VARIABLE PRICING LEADING TO LESS DIGITAL SALES?
Digital Music News reports that the number of tracks being sold via legit download platforms like iTunes has fallen since the recent introduction of variable (and therefore higher) pricing. They cite a number of anonymous sources who say that units sold are down enough for profits to be hit, ie while those still buying are paying more for many tracks, the higher profit margin will not compensate for the loss in sales.

As previously reported, after years of lobbying by the record companies, Apple's iTunes finally agreed to have a variable pricing model so that individual tracks could be sold for anything from 59p to 99p, instead of the traditional 79p. Apple had long said the one price fits all model was the most consumer friendly, which it is, but the labels want the flexibility so they can push sales of certain tracks in certain weeks, partly to aid chart positions, and also so they can slowly increase the overall price of individual downloads without having big news overnight price increases on all tracks.

Apple finally caved and agreed to the variable pricing after being held to ransom over three of the four major labels' digital-rights-management-free catalogues, which had been made available to the market leader's download store rivals, but not iTunes. Once Apple introduced variable pricing, most of its competitors which had previously operated a one price fits all system followed suit.

DMN say both chart tracks and catalogue music sales have fallen since the introduction of the new pricing system, and the accompanying media coverage of how the cost of downloading was going up. The website admits, though, that it's probably too soon to really draw any accurate conclusions as to whether the new price system is resulting in fewer download sales, or whether the recent drop off is seasonal or coincidental. If there is a correlation, though, it would be interesting to know whether downloaders are just buying less music, or whether they are returning to or relying more on illegal content sources where there is always a consistent price point - zero pence.

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APPLE REJECT NIN IPHONE APP, REZNOR A BIT MIFFED
Apple have rejected Nine Inch Nails' previously reported 'nin:access' iPhone app from the iTunes Store on the grounds that it contains "objectionable content". The news comes despite Apple accepting the same app just last month.

'nin:access' is basically a condensed version of the comprehensive Nine Inch Nails website with added Twitter-like functions which allow users to connect and share content with each other. The reason for the rejection seems to be the inclusion of the song 'The Downward Spiral' in a podcast which can be accessed via the app. The specific reason as to why this song would cause such offence is unclear, particularly as it is available to buy as a standalone track from the iTunes download store.

In a lengthy rant on his official forum, NIN man Trent Reznor said: "Now, 'The Downward Spiral' the album is not available anywhere in the iPhone app. The song 'The Downward Spiral' I believe is in a podcast that can be streamed to the app. Thanks Apple for the clear description of the problem - as in, what do you want us to change to get past your stupid fucking standards? You can buy 'The Downward Fucking Spiral' on iTunes, but you can't allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it. Come on Apple, think your policies through and for fuck's sake get your app approval scenario together".

Reznor has a history of being stubborn in situations like this, and made reference in his post to WalMart's demands for bands and labels to provide edited "clean" versions of albums for them to stock in their stores. Reznor refused to allows cut versions of his music to be produced, meaning that the band's music is still unavailable in WalMart stores to this day. Reznor said: "My reasoning was this: I can understand if you want the moral posturing of not having any 'indecent' material for sale - but you could literally turn around 180 degrees from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film 'Scarface' completely uncensored, or buy a copy of 'Grand Theft Auto' where you can be rewarded for beating up prostitutes. How does that make sense?"

In WalMart's case, it's unlikely that they're particularly bothered by the fact that they can't stock Nine Inch Nails albums. Nor are they worried that Trent Reznor will start sneaking CDs into their stores. However, that may (sort of) be an issue for Apple. Although 'nin:access' will not be available to the majority of iPhone users, Reznor says that he will make it available to those users who have chosen to modify (or jailbreak) their phones so that they are not tied to Apple's iTunes software. Reznor said: "If Apple doesn't get it together, we will most certainly make it available to the jailbreak community. I didn't invest in this app to see it languish on the sidelines from an idiotic policy while this tour is in full swing".

In happier, and less sweary news, Trent Reznor has reportedly got engaged to his girlfriend, West Indian Girl vocalist Mariqueen Maandig. In an announcement on their website, the band said: "In case [you] haven't heard the news, Mariqueen got engaged. Everyone in the West Indian Girl camp is super excited and happy for her. Q's an awesome person, friend and bandmate, and she couldn't be marrying a cooler guy".

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BEE GEES BLOCK STAYING ALIVE FROM AIDS CAMPAIGN
The Bee Gees' Barry Gibb has blocked a cover of the band's song 'Staying Alive' from being used in a Europe-wide AIDS awareness TV campaign on the grounds that it sounds too similar to the original version.

The new recording was made by tribute act Bee Gees Magic, who are part of ABBA/Bee Gees stage show 'Thank You For The Music'. Martin Spooner, who plays the part of Robin Gibb in the show said: "I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Although we miss out on a lucrative TV deal we take this as a back-handed compliment that we sound too much like the Bee Gees. But it's disappointing too because it was a major campaign for a worthwhile cause. It never occurred to us there would be a problem".

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NOW ISLAM MAKES CLAIM OVER COLDPLAY'S SONG
Now Yusuf Islam is accusing Coldplay of stealing his music.

As much previously reported, guitar twiddler Joe Satriani has already sued Chris Martin et al claiming the lead track off the band's most recent album, 'Viva La Vida', borrowed notes from his instrumental piece 'If I Could Fly' without permission.

Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens of course, is also making a claim in relation to 'Viva La Vida'. He says Martin borrowed a bit of his epic 'Foreigner Suite' for the song. At eighteen minutes long, you'd think there'd be enough of that 'Suite' for us all to borrow a bit, but Islam isn't so sure. He told Reuters this weekend that his son had drawn his attention to the similarities between the two songs, and admitted that he might taking legal action in relation to his copyright claim, but said he would wait to see how the Satriani action went first.

Presumably Islam isn't making a claim to having originally penned the same bits of 'Viva La Vida' as Satriani, otherwise presumably he'd have to sue the guitarist and not Coldplay.

A spokesman for the band maintains that 'Viva La Vida' steals from no one, and came wholly from Chris Martin's head. Though he has, of course, previously admitted to being heavily influenced by others' work when songwriting. If Coldplay were to lose copyright actions by both Satriani and Islam, then EMI's biggest recent cash cow could become an overnight cost centre, which wouldn't be fun. Well, not for EMI.

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MADONNA'S ADOPTION APPEAL IS ADJOURNED
The appeal hearing into Madonna's latest bid to adopt a Malawian child has been adjourned, and it's not entirely clear until when exactly.

As previously reported, the singer was unsuccessful in her bid to adopt a second child from the country, three-year-old Chifundo 'Mercy' James, because the courts ruled that the lack of permanent residence in the country barred her from adopting. It's still not entirely clear why that rule applied this time, but not back in 2006 when Madge adopted Malawian boy David Bandha.

Anyway, Madonna is appealing, and her appeal case was heard last week. The singer herself was not present. Three supreme court judges reportedly heard the appeal and then adjourned to consider the case, without confirming when they expect to reach a conclusion.

Madonna's Malawian lawyer Alan Chinula told reporters he was "hopeful" the appeal would succeed, saying the lower court had applied an "outdated" law to block the second adoption.

The case has become a little more complicated in the last few days because a man claiming to be Mercy's father says that, although he's never met the girl, he now wants custody. The potential adoptee's uncle, who is representing her family in all this, and who supports Madonna's adoption bid, says he's never heard of the James Kambewa, the man claiming to be Mercy's father, and has accused him of being "an opportunist".

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50 CENT CLEARED OF INVOLVEMENT IN HOME FIRE
In case there was any doubt, we can confirm 50 Cent is not an arsonist. Nor did he instruct others to burn down his own Long Island home where his estranged ex-girlfriend and their eleven year old son were living.

As previously reported, said ex, Shaniqua Thompkins, accused the hip hopper of just that after the New York property burned down, mainly because he was trying to evict her at the time. The rapper quickly denied the allegations, and authorities investigating the fire, which did begin in suspicious circumstances, last week officially cleared him of any wrongdoing.

A post on Fiddy's website read thus: "The police department and insurance investigators ruled that there is absolutely no proof or evidence suggesting that Curtis Jackson or any affiliated parties were involved. Curtis Jackson has just been cleared of all the accusations. The investigation will continue until the guilty party is found".

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FORMER WILCO MEMBER SUED OVER UNPAID ROYALTIES
Former Wilco member Jay Bennett is suing the band's frontman Jeff Tweedy over claims of breach of contract and owed monies. Multi-instrumentalist Bennett appeared on and helped produce Wilco's first three albums, but left the band somewhat acrimoniously in 2001. He claims Tweedy owes him royalties relating to his time in the band, and his appearance in the rockumentary 'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart', which, ironically, chronicled the collapse in the two Wilco men's professional relationship. Bennett is suing for $50,000 in damages. Tweedy and the band are yet to respond.

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WINEHOUSE WINS INJUNCTION TO KEEP PAPS AT BAY
Amy Winehouse has succeeded in getting herself an injunction to stop paparazzi types from following her. The legal ruling specifically targets photographers affiliated to the London-based Big Pictures agency, though also mentions "persons unknown" who hide near her home in the capital in a bid to get that killer shot of the singer, presumably one of her falling over in a drunken stupor. The ruling means any photographer who stalks the singer or snaps pictures within 100 metres of her London home could be prosecuted.

Sources say Winehouse's people requested the injunction because of fears for her safety. One told The Guardian: "Every time she got in her car she was chased or jostled, and it has become unsafe not just for her, but the people around her. We don't have a problem with the press doing their job but it has become mayhem a couple of times and Amy had to do something".

A similar injunction was secured by Lily Allen two months ago, and it's thought these two high profile cases could lead to numerous celebs using the courts to try and keep the paps at bay.

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AMY COLLAPSES, NEEDED A DRINK (WATER THOUGH)
Amy, by the way, is currently back in St Lucia, her adopted home of late. We know this because she was treated for dehydration in a hospital there last week. She spent a night in a medical facility on the Caribbean island after she apparently fainted after "running around" with a group of children. Can be dangerous that, running around in hot weather. And no number of face masks will help you combat that risk. In fact I'd think a face mask would make that worse.

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N-DUBZ TULISA TESTED FOR SWINE FLU
Talking of face masks, here's today's pop-related swine flu story. Tulisa Contostavlos from N-Dubz was tested for the virus this weekend after falling ill on a flight to Greece. Doctors became concerned because she was exhibiting symptoms similar to those caused by the fashionable flu strain of the moment. She spent the night in a Greek hospital and is, I think, waiting for the results of tests regarding the actually cause of her symptoms.

The band's manger, Jonathan Shalit, told the PA that he had "no idea how she got ill" adding "the nature of being a singer is that you meet and shake hands with a huge amount of people". Needless to say, he added that her bandmates were " very worried about her". As previously reported, N-Dubz recently had to cancel a few UK shows after band member Dappy suffered from an "acute noise trauma", though no farm animals were involved with that condition.

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RC SUCCESSION FRONTMAN DIES
The frontman of influential Japanese rock band RC Succession, Kiyoshiro Imawano, has died in Tokyo aged 58.

RC Succession were one of Japan's leading rock bands in seventies, and enjoyed some international success also. Imawano was unusual for the Japanese rock scene in that he was politically active and recorded a number of songs against nuclear armaments, and spoke out against war and supported Tibetan freedom. Later in his career he performed under his own name, and became a regular at the Fuji Rock festival.

However, he had to withdraw from performing in 2006 after being diagnosed with throat cancer, and it was cancer that finally led to his death this weekend.

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SUGABABES SIGN TO ROC-A-FELLA
There was me thinking Sugababes peaked two and half years ago. But someone still thinks they're big news, because they've just signed a new US record deal with Roc-A-Fella Records. That, of course, is Jay-Z's label, though I can't quite remember what his involvement is with the company at the moment. He's busy developing a new label called Roc Nation as part of his deal with Live Nation, if I remember rightly, and I'm not sure what the business relationship between that, Roc-A-Fella and Mr Z is meant to be. Roc-A-Fella previously had close ties with Universal Music when Jay headed up their Def Jam division. I'd try and find out the exact business set up of Jay's current and former ventures, but frankly we're running late enough already, and it's not that important. All you really need to know here is that the Babes are working on their seventh album and that they've signed a deal with Roc-A-Fella for its release, which is nice.

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COLDPLAY GIVE AWAY FREE CD
Coldplay have announced that they will give away a free CD to attendees at all of their remaining 2009 tour dates, beginning with a show in Florida on 15 May. Fans will also be able to download the nine track album, 'LeftRightLeftRightLeft', which features live versions of songs recorded earlier on the tour, from the band's website from the same date.

The band said via their website: "Playing live is what we love. This album is a thank you to our fans - the people who give us a reason to do it and make it happen".

The tracklisting looks like this:

Glass of Water
42
Clocks
Strawberry Swing
The Hardest Part/Postcards From Far Away
Viva La Vida
Death Will Never Conquer
Fix You
Death And All His Friends

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EVAN DANDO TO PLAY INTIMATE LONDON SHOW
Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando will perform songs from the band's new covers album, 'Varshons', at an intimate solo show at The Macbeth in London on 13 May, ahead of appearances at The Great Escape and Stag & Dagger festivals.

Tickets cost £15 and are obviously quite limited. If you want to go, I'd advise you to click on this link right now.

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JOHN LECKIE CONFIRMED FOR CMU INSIGHTS
OK, this is exciting, CMU can today confirm the name of the first guest who will appear in our new Insights strand at The Great Escape next week.

Three leading industry names will appear at the very first CMU Insights event, and CMU Co-Editor Chris Cooke will talk each of them through their careers to date, getting a little insight in their work past, present and future, and looking for tips for young people considering a career in a similar strand of the music business.

The first interviewee to be confirmed is John Leckie, the prolific and much admired record producer, who has worked with a long list of prominent artists since first joining Abbey Road Studios back in 1970. He is at The Great Escape to promote his latest venture, India Soundpad, which has seen Leckie find and work with four of the most exciting, original and emerging Indian artists of the moment. He'll give us the lowdown on that project as part of the Insight debate too.

CMU Insights takes place at The Great Escape from midday on Friday 15 May, at the Thistle Hotel. A second edition will be held the following week at Liverpool Sound City. Chris will also be presenting his brand new music business guide - 'The Music Business In 2009: An Inside Guide' - at both conventions, providing all the basic information anyone needs to know if they want to make it as an artist or band, or as a music entrepreneur, or if they want to work in the music business, or move into another strand of the industry.

Don't forget, The Great Escape is one part of the wider Brighton Festival, a three week cultural extravaganza that kicked off this weekend. CMU's sister publication ThreeWeeks is covering the whole shebang, and you can check out their free preview guide right now at this URL:

www.threeweeks.co.uk/brighton09preview

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Brand NEU! (Feraltone)
Neu! are a pretty important band by all accounts. They are one of those bands that in their own way served to make music weirder as they skewed it with their electronic excursions and Germanic wiles. Strangely enough, this has endeared them to Noel Gallagher and Bono. Which songs those guys were listening to, though, I'm not sure. Anyhow, more pertinently, many of those bands that actually can hurdle the prosaic stadium pub rock category have searched for unusual influences, and according to this CD's premise those bands that feature here got said influence from Neu! First of all Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis joins Sonic Youth in a disjointed jam while SY's Kim Gordon chats to the band's lighting director about managing Dinosaur Jr. As much as I love Sonic Youth, this track was surely more a self-parodying in-joke by the band's side project, Ciccone Youth, rather than some kind of landmark tribute to Neu! Ploughing on, there's some dull Oasis, some weak Foals and 'Shoot Speed/Kill Light' by Primal Scream, which is rousing but led me to an unusual conclusion. While I always tend more towards guitar-based music, I actually find the electronic bands that use Neu! as a touchstone are much more rewarding. Cornelius' 'Wataridori' reminds me of Neu! in the way Durutti Column did and it is the high point of the album, with flickering delayed guitar and squelching beats around unstructured tidal blobs of electronic stuff. Though LCD Soundsytem's 'Watch The Tapes' is a close second best. It's slick as fuck post-punk and has the weird alienating electric pulse of a Krautrock classic. Like being in the background of a low budget 1980s synthscape dystopian b-movie. Okay, this is a bit of a pointless album, but it's fun at times. PG
Release Date: 11 May
Press Contact: Feraltone IH [all]

Buy from Amazon

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MU SAYS NO SHORTAGE OF SKILLED CLASSICAL MUSICIANS IN UK
The Musicians Union has denied claims by the Migrant Advisory Committee that they backed a decision to put skilled classical musicians on a list of people in short supply in the UK.

MAC included such musicians on their list of British skill gaps, meaning that anyone from outside the EU with those skills would find it easier to get a visa to work in the country, and they claimed the MU had backed that inclusion. But the Union said this weekend it had done no such thing, and that there are more than enough skilled musicians to fill the UK's orchestras.

MU general secretary John Smith said this: "We are not opposed to musicians coming into the UK to work under certain circumstances. For example, current migration rules already allow for musicians to come into the country if they have international status, or for key orchestral roles. What we do not agree with is the inclusion of orchestral musicians in the recommended shortage occupation lists because we have yet to be convinced of there being a shortage of orchestral musicians in this country".

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MORE CUTS AT XFM AND GOLD
Global Radio have made more job cuts, and it's thought Xfm and Gold will see their already pretty small teams further reduced as a result. In fact they won't really have their own programming teams at all, the former will be essentially run by the Capital Radio team, the latter by the people behind Heart. It's the latest attempt by the new but big boy of British radio to make things add up in the face of the continued advertising recession.

Xfm, who can only have four people and a cat working behind the scenes at its London and Manchester stations these days following all the recent job cuts, has also seen an on-air cut back. Alex Zane, who left the station by "mutual consent" last month, will not be replaced, rather the station's other London presenters will all get an extra hour added to their existing shows to fill the gap left in the schedule by his departure. It's a shame the presenter-free daytime system Xfm piloted in 2007 was such a flop, apply that system with the current mega-long shows system and they could get away with just two presenters. Especially if they gave that cat an on-air slot.

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CHART UPDATE
Don't worry, we may be a day short this week, but the universe remains in perfect balance as 'Number 1' by Tinchy Stryder remains at number one in the singles chart. The moment it moves off that spot and aligns with another number in the chart it will spark the end times and all that you know and love will be destroyed. So keep buying it if you value anything at all.

La Roux are still at number two, putting up stiff competition and threatening to start the apocalypse. I'm not saying that La Roux's Elly Jackson is the antichrist, necessarily. But you've never see her and Satan in the same room, have you? Unless Ironik, who has gone straight in at number three with 'Tiny Dancer', turns out to be the Devil. It seems reasonable to believe that Jackson and Ironik might have been in the same room together at some point.

Moving away from the impending Judgement Day, let's look at number 11, which is currently occupied by Girls Aloud, who have moved there from 27. Also making a sizeable move is Miley Cyrus, who is up to 30 from 43, Demi Lovato, who's up to 35 from 65, The Maccabees are a new entry at 36 with 'Love You Better', and Alesha Dixon is back in the chart again, moving from 48 to 37 with 'Let's Get Excited'.

Now, there's exciting news over in the album chart. There's a new number one, which can mean only one thing - Lady GaGa has finally been knocked off the top spot. Actually she's been knocked down to number three, because Bob Dylan has gone straight in to number one with his 476th album 'Together Through Life', and The Enemy are another new entry at number two with their second album, 'Music For The People'. Also new in the top ten this week is 'Doll Domination: The Mini Collection' at number nine, a new version of The Pussycat Dolls' latest album with all the filler tracks removed and their track with AR Rahman from the 'Slumdog Millionaire' soundtrack added.

Right down at 21 is this week's only other new entry in the album chart, 'The Devil You Know' by Heaven & Hell (aka the 1980-82 line-up of Black Sabbath under a different name), although there are a number of re-entries, with Simply Red's greatest hits compilation at 29, N-Dubz at 31, Girls Aloud at 33, and Ne-Yo at 36.

The charts are compiled by the devil worshippers working at The Official Charts Company.

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MEG WHITE TO MARRY
White Stripes drummer Meg White will marry Fred Smith, son of Patti Smith and MC5 guitarist Fred Smith Sr, at a ceremony in Nashville on 22 May, according to reports.

If I ever get married, I want it to be a circus. I will get wed in a big top and the ring will have to be pulled from a lion's mouth. This couple apparently don't want that, though. A source told Freep.com: "They don't want it to be a circus, they want it to be about the two of them".

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COLE BUILDS HOME STUDIO
Ashely Cole has reportedly installed a home studio for his wife Cheryl at their Surrey mansion. Though reports that they now stand quietly staring at it wondering what it does and how it works remain unconfirmed.

An 'insider' told The Mirror: "It shows that Cheryl and Ashley are still putting roots down together. It also shows that she is looking toward a long career in music after the TV work has dried up because a studio like that requires a big commitment. Most people have little project studios at home based around a computer and a keyboard. We're not talking a little home studio - this is a proper professional facility that will need a proper sound engineer". I'd think such a purchase shows more money than sense rather than "commitment", but whatever.

As previously reported, Cheryl Cole announced last week that she planned to take time out from Girls Aloud to work on solo material later this year.

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SEVEN INCH GETS RECORD PRICE AT AUCTION
A rare signed seven inch copy of Frank Wilson's unreleased 1965 single 'Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)' was sold for a record price of £25,742 when it went up for auction.

DJ and record collector Kenny Burrell from Fife bought the record, one of only two remaining copies in the world, for the then record breaking price of £15,000 in 1997. He then met Frank Wilson, who is best known for writing hits for The Supremes and The Four Tops, eight years ago and got him to sign it. It was sold to an anonymous bidder, who had placed and advance bid of £25,500, seeing off most of the 70 other bidders at the outset.

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ITV THINK OF MORE WAYS TO MILK SUSAN BOYLE
'Britain's Got Talent' star Susan Boyle has apparently been approached to appear in the next series of 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here'.

A source told The Daily Star: "Susan would be TV gold if she went into the jungle. She's the biggest celebrity of the year so far. I don't think there's anyone in the country who doesn't know who she is. Having her in the jungle would be a massive boost, not to mention helping us to attract audiences from around the world. There's such a fascination in what she's like and how she acts that I think not only would she do well, but she could actually win".

This presumes people will still remember her in November when the show airs. That said, the producers of 'I'm A Celebrity' have never been afraid to send people we've long forgotten about into the jungle in previous series. Not to mention a few we'd never heard of in the first place.

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PINK NOT BISEXUAL
Pink has denied claims that she is bisexual. The News Of The World recently printed an interview in which the singer told them that she is "not embarrassed" to be bisexual and that she would be "just as happy with a new woman" as with a new man.

However, speaking to New York Daily News, Pink said that the NOTW interview was "entirely fabricated". She later followed this up by saying via Twitter: "Just read that I'm bisexual. So 1991. Good thing people write articles about me so I can get my facts straight. Can't wait for the day when people stop talking about sexual preference or that a woman is a CEO and actually start making the world liveable".

That day sounds like no fun at all.

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