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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Cowell in talks with Top Shop mogul about entertainment JV
In The Pop Courts
Perez apologises for language, gets legal
Lil Wayne in court over possession charges
Man sentenced over killing of TI's assistant
Beyonce's people hit out at New York club's claims
In The Pop Hospital
Dirty Projectors in road crash
Jobs had liver transplant
Pop Politics
Wolf speaks out against Proposition 8
Obituaries
Steven Wells dies
Charts, Stats & Polls
Ladies lead in the earning stakes
Reunions & Splits
Frankie planning comeback?
Artist Deals
Queen's guards sign to Decca
In The Studio
Deftones shelve album and start again
Release News
50 Cent on new album
Gigs N Tours News
Rumspringa announce London shows
Reviews
Album review: Slow Club - Yeah So? (Moshi Moshi)
The Music Business
New Culture Minister starts the big schmooooooooze
Is P2P really to blame for the music business' woes?
Is BMG now eyeing up EMI? Probably not
The Media Business
BBC publish some fucking research
Conor McNicholas leaves NME
Chart Of The Day
This week's Sub.tv playlist
And finally...
Cobain guitar sells for $43k
Status Quo don't get the Glastonbury fuss
Spector requests gadgets
Moby says British music is not exciting
Alleged Chris Brown track on the internet
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
THURSDAY 25TH JUNE


ELLEN MARY MCGEE
Former frontwoman of Saint Joan, multi-instrumentalist Ellen Mary McGee released her debut solo album, 'The Crescent Sun', via Southern/Midwich earlier this month. Packed with off-kilter, transcendental folk songs, subject matter for the album includes Greek mythology, sublimation, the ocean and metaphysics, and usually involves a pretty high death toll. We caught up with Ellen to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started playing music in my mid teens. I taught myself to play an old classical guitar that my step-dad picked up at a car boot sale and learned to play a few folk standards. I had always written poetry so that developed quite organically into songwriting. I started playing in pubs when I was about 17 and formed a band a few years later, but didn't start playing out much until my early 20s when I started a band called Saint Joan. I still don't feel like a seasoned live performer - more of a bedroom songwriter, although Saint Joan toured a bit and I play live as often as I can.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I wrote many of the tracks when I was living in New York back in 2007 and the rest of it when I moved to London later that year. I guess some of it deals with reflecting on family deaths. 'The Wintering' emerged from talking to family about the circumstances surrounding my cousin's suicide. I wrote it on the New Jersey Transit - I write the lyrics to many of the songs on public transport! I tend to write about ephemeral lives, people moving dreamlike through uncertainty and I'm very influenced by writers like Denis Johnson and Carson McCullers and how they portray the human condition. 'Theseus' is kind of about moving to a position of strength from auspicious circumstances - getting over lost loves and lost lives. Some of the songs are traditional folk songs, like 'The Fatal Flower Garden' and 'Lord Franklin', which I chose to re-interpret, although I had never heard any other version of 'The Fatal Flower Garden'.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I usually have a melody in mind and the words come afterwards, although sometimes I re-arrange existing poems I have written and other ideas and splice things together. I'm a bit of a cliché in that I always carry one of those black moleskin notebooks! I need sufficient time and space to write and sometimes the cut and thrust of city life isn't ideal, it's always nice to find a refuge to concentrate on writing. That said, I like the bright lights of the city as a permanent residence.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Musicians like Jackson C Frank, Judee Sill, Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson and Sandy Denny have always been a big influence. I have always been drawn to artists who have a story to tell, and often troubled personal lives. I don't like anything mannered, affected, over-earnest or anodyne. At the same time I don't like anything that's challenging just for the sake of it. I like the subtleties of sound that bands like Pelt, Rachel's and Stars Of The Lid create, and as a teenager and indeed to this day admired the DIY ethics and passion of bands like Fugazi.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Difficult to answer. I would probably say just buy the album, listen to it and if you don't like it, use it as a beer mat.

Q6 What are you ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I have never been ambitious enough to pursue music wholeheartedly at the exclusion of all else - I'm too much of a realist and too cynical! And my mum always told me never to put all of my eggs in one basket. However, I would like to tour more, particularly in Europe and to be able to focus on music a bit more than I have been able to up to now. I prefer critical acclaim to the idea of a mass following and loyalty from fans is important in these fair-weather times. I would like my album to strike a nerve with people. I kind of make music because I enjoy making music and never saw it as a career option because it's unsteady work and bills don't pay themselves. Having said that I like to save up some money and take time out of regular work every now and then to focus on music alone. These times tend to be more fertile creatively. I'm probably due some time out from the real world soon as the last time I focused on music alone was the second half of 2007 during which time I wrote a lot of my album and toured around the States. So I guess that's my immediate ambition. I have a few projects in the pipeline for CDR labels and compilations so need to do some more recording and I'm gonna take time out to get some tours together for Autumn and early next year.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/thecrescentsun

 
NATHAN 'FLUTEBOX' LEE
If it's unique acts you're looking for then stop right here, because this man is almost certainly one of a kind. If you've not heard of him already, Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee is a quite extraordinary talent who beatboxes and plays the flute at the same time. That's right, at the same time. Lee's music takes influences from hip hop and jungle, and some raga-inspired rhythms, and blends them together in a truly haunting array of jazz, funk and Indian melodies. This creates tracks which bristle with originality and creativity and simply ooze skilled musicianship. With 'Belly Of The Beast' out later this year, and collaborations already in the bag with The Prodigy, Foreign Beggars, Nitin Sawhney and Asian Dub Foundation, Lee is building a proud reputation for himself. He's still at his best, though, when performing live where he silences crowds before sending them into frenzy with his breathtaking skill. So, check out the tunes at the MySpace below, but also see if there's an upcoming live date in your neck of the woods.

www.myspace.com/nathanfluteboxlee




 

 

 

COWELL IN TALKS WITH TOP SHOP MOGUL ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT JV
So, the big news yesterday was that Simon Cowell is planning on joining forces with high street mogul and billionaire businessman Philip Green to launch a new entertainment powerhouse to, the papers all say, "rival Disney". The idea seems to be to bring together Cowell's roster of pop celebs and TV formats, and Green's fashion and retail contacts (and large wallet), and launch a global entertainment firm based on the basic premise of "watch the TV show, download the album, buy the t-shirt".

Reports say that Cowell and Green have been friends for a decade now but that talk of a business partnership is relatively new, possibly motivated by the fact the former's contracts with both Sony Music and the 'American Idol' franchise are up for renewal, which potentially lets the 'X-Factor' chief rejig his various business ventures into a new organisation. Gossipers say that Green has been very much involved in Cowell's recent contract negotiations, which is seen as step towards the launch of the new JV company, which may be named Greenwell.

The Mail quotes a source thus: "What we have at the moment is essentially the first brick in the building. For the past few months Sir Philip has been sitting in on Cowell's negotiations as his contracts with Sony and American Idol are up for renewal. He's been acting like a manager. They have a bit of a good cop, bad cop routine with Cowell as the good cop".

Although the JV would see both parties moving into new areas - Cowell into fashion and Green into showbusiness - the hook up does make sense, of course, given the increased importance of merchandising and brand extensions in the music industry, where an artists' actual recordings may be worth less than their range of socks and branded pyjamas.

The Mail quote another source who apparently knows both men as saying: "They are talking about making profits running into billions as opposed to millions. They are good friends and have talked about it for weeks on end. They can both see the opportunity for a business that is successful in lots of different areas".

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PEREZ APOLOGISES FOR LANGUAGE, GETS LEGAL
Okay, this story is still going, is it? Well, here's another brief summary: Perez Hilton says Black Eyed Pea Will.i.am hit him at a post-MuchMusic Awards party in Toronto on Sunday night. Will.i.am says otherwise. However, the Black Eyed Peas' tour manager, Polo Molina, has been charged with assault.

Anyway, yesterday we reported that The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) responded to reports, confirmed via a video of the attack, that Hilton had called Will.i.am a "fucking faggot" shortly before getting punched, and called for Hilton to apologise for using such language. Hilton refused and suggested surprise that GLAAD hadn't automatically jumped to his defence. Although given that he was seemingly punched because he was rude about the latest Black Eyed Peas single and not because he's gay, I'm not sure why he'd think they would.

Anyway, he's had a change of heart and yesterday issued a statement saying: "Words can hurt. I know that very well, from both sides of the fence. The other night in Toronto, after feeling physically threatened by a verbally abusive Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas, I chose the most hurtful word I know to hurl at him. I was in an out-of-the ordinary situation and used a word that I would not utter under normal circumstances. I wanted to hurt him with the word I chose, not anyone else. Unfortunately, the one who got hurt was me and, subsequently, a lot of other people".

He went on to berate the media for the way in which the assault was reported, particularly those outlets which have suggested he might have deserved it. We didn't, we just said it was surprising he doesn't get punched more often, so that's fine. You could say there was an element of the pot calling the kettle black in there, but I think he realises that, so we'll let him off.

He said: "I have been extremely bothered by the reaction to my assault. Violence should never be condoned with such statements as 'It's Karma.' In fact, several television and radio shows over the past couple of days echoed the sentiment 'He had it coming'. Would they have said the same thing if I was a woman? Would I have 'deserved it' if I had been stabbed? I leave this traumatic experience as a person with more compassion. Specifically, there was an instance last year when actor Jesse Metcalfe was attacked outside of a Hollywood nightclub by a fellow entertainer. I did not condone the violence, but I did make light of that situation. I regret that. Sincerely".

Meanwhile, Hilton's lawyer, Bryan J Freedman has also issued a statement, which seemingly retracts accusations that Will.i.am did any of the actual hitting on Sunday night, but suggests he might still face legal action for any part he may have had in Molina's decision to get fisty. Freedman said: "All persons responsible for this cowardly act of physical violence will be sued and held legally responsible for their actions. [Perez'] First Amendment rights will not be infringed upon through fear, intimidation or violence. Perez will take legal action against anyone who chooses to resort to physical violence as a means to respond to criticism they do not like. [We] are conducting a legal investigation as to whether Will.i.am encouraged and/or instructed Molina to engage in this physical assault".

Proving that his client is ready and waiting to take legal action against anyone who punches him, Freedman promptly filed a lawsuit against Molino, demanding $25,000 in damages for "battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress". Confirming the lawsuit, Freedman said: "Perez Hilton was assaulted by the band's road manager because he would not agree to stop writing about The Black Eyed Peas on his Web site Perezhilton.com. Whether you love Perez or hate him, he is entitled to his freedom of speech without fear of physical violence. This lawsuit will make the statement that violence is never the answer".

Well, it might. Although it's not the first lawsuit to be filed after an assault, so that message clearly isn't coming across to some people. I think it more makes a statement that, if you get beaten up, you can at least make some money out of it.

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LIL WAYNE IN COURT OVER POSSESSION CHARGES
Lil Wayne has attended a pre-trial hearing in relation to that previously reported incident which led to charges of possessing drugs and a handgun back in 2008. You may remember that the rap star - real name Dwayne Carter - was arrested at an Arizona checkpoint in January that year, after guards checked his tour bus, and allegedly found cocaine and ecstasy, as well as the aforementioned firearm.

Carter denied the charges, and his lawyer claims that it's possible that the sniffer dog who located the alleged drugs may not have been reliable. His request, however, to see the dog's training record was rejected. James Tilson said "If the dog is not reliable, then that puts the entire probable cause for the stop into question".

This confuses me somewhat - surely once the dog found the alleged drugs an expert would double check they really were an illegal substance? I mean, even if it turned out this sniffer dog was an award winner with a perfect record for sniffing out the Coke and E, surely the prosecution weren't planning on relying on his testimony alone? Oh well, whatever.

Carter is due back in court on 11 Aug.

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MAN SENTENCED OVER KILLING OF TI'S ASSISTANT
Pardon Thomas, one of the two men involved in the killing of rapper TI's assistant and friend Philant Johnson back in 2006, has been sentenced for his role in the crime.

He has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, after admitting to driving the vehicle that chased TI's entourage in Cincinnati following an argument in a club, resulting in the deadly shooting. Following sentencing, Thomas said: "I was a knucklehead. I wish I could take it back".

Thomas had previously testified against his brother Hosea, the other man involved in the incident, who was identified as the trigger man, and convicted of Johnson's murder. He was sentenced to 66 years in prison in December.

As you will no doubt remember, TI is himself currently serving time for weapons possession.

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BEYONCE'S PEOPLE HIT OUT AT NEW YORK CLUB'S CLAIMS
Beyonce's management have dismissed claims made against the singer to the effect that she pulled out of a performance at New York night club at the last minute last weekend. The boss of the city's M2 club has threatened to sue the singer over allegations she reneged on an agreement to perform at the club, leaving his customers disappointed. But Ms Knowles' people say that while she was due to make an appearance at the venue, she was never booked to sing.

Amid reports a million dollar lawsuit was on its way, a spokesman for Beyonce told reporters: "Beyoncé never had a contract with the club itself and no-one in her camp dealt directly with the venue. The superstar was never scheduled to perform, but was to serve as a co-host and introduce singer-songwriter Solange's performance. Patrons were falsely promised a performance by Beyoncé".

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DIRTY PROJECTORS IN ROAD CRASH
Dirty Projectors, whose new album 'Bitte Orca' is officially "dead good" according to our resident expert on such things, were forced to cancel two shows in Canada this week after the van they were travelling in crashed on route to the first, which was due to take place in Toronto last night.

In a statement, the band said: "Dirty Projectors' van flipped outside of Detroit, MI on their way up to Toronto. Although the crash was serious, we're happy to report that all members of the band have been safely discharged from the hospital. The band will be flying home to New York in the morning to regroup and rest. Unfortunately, the band will have to cancel Toronto and Montreal. Thank you for understanding and sending your well wishes".

The band will be playing shows in the UK in September.

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JOBS HAD LIVER TRANSPLANT
Rumours that Apple boss Steve Jobs has had a liver transplant have been confirmed by a spokesman from the hospital that performed the operation. It seems Jobs had the surgery about two months ago.

As previously reported, the iPod/iTunes boss stepped down from the day to day job of running the computer firm earlier this year after finally admitting to long rumoured ill-health. The cancer survivor started to look ill last year, and given that many in the investment community saw Jobs as being crucial to Apple's continued success, rumours about his health often led to the company's share price wobbling. When he confirmed he'd be taking some time off, Jobs blamed a hormone deficiency for his obvious weight loss, though it was subsequently confirmed his condition was more complicated than that.

Apple have more recently suggested Jobs is about to return to the company, which might be because the transplant, first reported on in the Wall Street Journal at the weekend, has helped him overcome his illness. The firm seem to be still suggesting their top man will be back on the job imminently.

The Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute confirmed Jobs had had the transplant at their facility in a statement on its website yesterday. It's possible they issued the statement because of speculation on the net that the Apple boss had somehow jumped the queue for the transplant to let him get back to work asap. The medical centre stressed in its statement that Jobs had the transplant operation simply because he was "the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available".

The hospital's Chief Of Transplantation, one James Eason, added: "Mr Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis".

Quite what condition caused the need for transplant is still not known, though speculators with more medical knowledge have said that the kind of cancer he previously overcame - pancreatic cancer - can spread to the liver. If that had happened, a transplant would be an obvious treatment, and one that could allow Jobs to continue with his life as normal.

It remains to be seen how soon Jobs returns to Apple properly, and whether he will be as active in the running of the company as before. In his absence City types have reportedly warmed to some of his senior colleagues at the IT company, meaning Jobs could probably hand over some of his responsibilities to others on a permanent basis without damaging the firm's share price.

All of this counts as pop hospital news, of course, because given Apple's continued dominance of the digital music market, the IT company's fortunes have implications for the music business.

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WOLF SPEAKS OUT AGAINST PROPOSITION 8
Patrick Wolf Spoke out against the infamous Proposition 8 law during a show at New York's Highline Ballroom on Monday. The Californian legislation ruled, of course, that same sex marriages were not lawful.

He asked the audience: "Who here wants to get married someday? Who here wants to get married to someone of the same sex? Now what about everyone out there in heterosexual relationships...how would you feel if you got married and then six months later you were told your marriage was illegal?"

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STEVEN WELLS DIES
Former NME journalist Steven Wells died on Tuesday, according to the Philadelphia Weekly. Wells had been suffering from lymphatic cancer and had been chronicling his treatment for the disease for the magazine.

Wells was born in Swindon in 1960, moving with his family to Bradford in 1968. After leaving school in 1977, he became involved in the burgeoning punk scene, and in 1984 began performing as a punk-poet under the names Seething Wells, Swells and Susan Williams. It was under this last moniker that he began writing for the NME in the late 80s, championing punk, hardcore and metal bands mainly, but also disposable pop acts like Daphne & Celeste. His biting, funny and often controversial style won him many fans and he will be remembered as one of the great British music journalists.

In addition to music journalism, he also directed music videos with Nick Small, with whom he formed production company GobTV, wrote for TV comedy shows, including 'The Day Today', and published a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, via his own publishing house, Attack! Books.

More recently he had settled with his wife in Philadelphia, where he had continued to write sport and music columns for The Guardian, FourFourTwo, 90 Minutes, and The Quietus. He became well known in Philadelphia for his weekly music column in Philadelphia Weekly and also a series of articles on his battle with cancer. It was alongside the latest, and final, of these that his death was announced.

In one of these articles, in which he discussed being diagnosed with cancer he wrote: "I put the phone down and let out a huge, self-pitying 'Why me?' The answer, of course, is the same as the answer to Travis' shit-awful 1999 international breakthrough hit, 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?' Because you're a fucking dick. Now shut the fuck up and grow a pair".

You can read Steven's final article for Philadelphia Weekly here.

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LADIES LEAD IN THE EARNING STAKES
Three women have been named as the top three highest earners in the music industry by Forbes magazine. Madonna tops the list, because of the $73million she earned in 2008/9 on the back of her Sticky & Sweet tour, and she's followed by Celine Dion and Beyonce. Yay, go the girls. Even though they're all a bit rubbish. Just my opinion.

Here's the top ten
1. Madonna £73 million
2. Celine Dion £66 million
3. Beyonce Knowles £58 million
4. Bruce Springsteen £46 million
5. Kenny Chesney £43 million
6. (tie) Coldplay £40 million
6. (tie) Rascal Flatts £40 million
6. (tie) AC/DC £40 million
9. The Eagles £36 million
10. Toby Keith £34 million

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FRANKIE PLANNING COMEBACK?
The Mirror claims that Frankie Goes To Hollywood are planning a live comeback tour to accompany the release of a new greatest hits compilation via Universal and ZTT. The live plans are apparently inspired by the fact that Virgin Atlantic recently used the band's infamous debut track 'Relax' on an advertisement. A Virgin Atlantic representative was quoted as saying: "We're thrilled our adverts helped persuade Frankie Goes To Hollywood to make a comeback. It's a great coup for us and '80s pop fans will be equally delighted". Frontman Holly Johnson refused to comment, however.

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QUEEN'S GUARDS SIGN TO DECCA
Universal's Decca Records has signed up the Regimental Band Of The Coldstream Guards - which is the UK's longest serving military band, often known simply as the Queen's Guards - and will now release an album of their music. According to reports, the regimental band's new spin off career as recording artists will be managed by former Blue manager Daniel Glatma, which should be fun.

Confirming the deal, Decca boss Dickon Stainer told reporters "If they're good enough for the Queen, they're good enough for Decca", while the guards' Director Of Music Graham Jones added: "Our music has the power to move and inspire people in a very positive way... we're delighted the Coldstream Guards, through Decca, will be able to reach out and share this with a much wider public".

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DEFTONES SHELVE ALBUM AND START AGAIN
Deftones have announced that they have scrapped plans to release their fifth album, 'Eros', and have got to work on the next one instead. As previously reported, the band's bassist, Chi Cheng, is currently recovering in hospital after being involved in a car crash last year which left him in a coma for several months. As a result of the delay this placed on the completion of the album, the band say 'Eros' no longer represents them as they are now and so will be shelved for the time being.

Writing on their MySpace blog, the band said: "The songs recorded for 'Eros' are very special to us as they are the latest with Chi (and we certainly hope not the last); they have history and significant meaning to us. However, as we neared completion on 'Eros', we realised that this record doesn't best encompass and represent who we are currently as people and as musicians. And although those songs will see the light of day at some point, we collectively made the decision that we needed to take a new approach, and with Chi's condition heavy on our minds while doing so. We needed to return to the studio to do what we felt was right artistically. Our inspiration and unity as a band is stronger than it has ever been before and we needed to channel that energy into our music, and deliver to our fans what you rightly deserve: the best Deftones record that we can make".

They added:"The decision to hold off on releasing 'Eros' has no connection with Chi's condition or anything associated. This was, and is, purely a creative decision by the band to write, record, and deliver an amazing product. As a result we feel like this is the best record we've ever written. And although Chi is not playing bass with us, his presence is dramatically felt in our hearts and on our minds everyday when we step into that studio, and you will feel it in the music".

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50 CENT ON NEW ALBUM
50 Cent has said that his long delayed/awaited album is damn near perfect. Well, these rappers aren't known for their modesty, I suppose. 'Before I Self Destruct' was, as previously reported, originally scheduled for a December release but was postponed whilst producer Dr Dre was working on Eminem's new LP. Since then Fiddy has had additional help from Timbaland and Polow Da Don.

The rapper told MTV: "I feel like my album is as close to perfect as it's gonna get. I'm reaching the point to where if I have to continue to write it, I'll be overkilling it. When me and Timbaland go in, a lot of times it's a compromise. He's doing things that's a little different production-wise from what I would usually do".

The album is now scheduled for release in September.

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RUMSPRINGA ANNOUNCE LONDON SHOWS
Rumspringa have announced that they will release their debut album in October and to celebrate they've announced a whole load of shows over the next couple of weeks. Four of the shows are at Glastonbury, so if you're there and you don't see them you don't deserve your ticket. The rest are in London, but don't hold that against them

To get their recently released free EP, go to www.rumspringamusic.com

London dates:

3 Jul: Shoreditch, Catch
4 Jul: Camden, Proud Gallery
6 Jul: Camden, The Barfly

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ALBUM REVIEW: Slow Club - Yeah So? (Moshi Moshi)
At last! Sheffield-based boy/girl duo Slow Club have put together their debut album to showcase their kind of sweet British folk-pop only toyed with before on a couple of a singles and one joyful EP. Now fully fleshed out over 12 songs, 45 minutes and, despite the album's apathetic title, countless moments that will make you smile, their unpretentious music harks back to England's green and pleasant hills via Woody Guthrie's dusty midwest and Belle And Sebastian's co-ed summer camp, resulting in an unforgettable sound. Amongst the highlights on this consistently good album there's the picked pleasure of 'Dance Till The Morning Light', the pure jaunt of 'Trophy Room' and the storming wagon train of 'It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful', all of which showcase a talent that, while unlikely to crack the charts, will certainly find itself a more refined audience that cares more for quality than crowds. Yes please for 'Yeah So?'. TM
Release Date: 6 Jul
Press Contact: Create Spark [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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NEW CULTURE MINISTER STARTS THE BIG SCHMOOOOOOOOZE
The UK government's new culture man Ben Bradshaw told the music industry they were really great the other day, so that's nice. Presumably that means Ben is quite keen to continue the good relationship his predecessor in the cultcha ministry job, Andy Burnham, had with key execs in the music industry.

Whether he'll follow Andy's strategy of promising lots but delivering little remains to be seen. If Bradshaw's not completely clear on the Burnham appraoch, here's a quick reminder: "Oh you know what, we should really wait for 'Digital Britain' before we actually do anything and then, do you know what, thinking about it, this is really a global issue, tell you what, let's do absolutely nothing but I'll take a few trips to sunny places and mull it over with important looking politicians elsewhere, though not in France, boy let's not talk to them, we might end up doing something about piracy, no no no no, not that". I'm pretty sure that's how it went.

Anyway, Mr Ben invited top blokes (and lady) from the music companies and key trade bodies for drinks in the back yard at number 10 Downing Street and, according to Music Week, told the amassed bods: "When Gordon rang me up about this job I was thrilled. So many people came up to me to say, 'You've got the best job in government'". He went on to commend Andy Heath and Feargal Sharkey, the two heads of cross-sector trade body UK Music - one of the motivations for the sort of industry-wide body, of course, was to enable the music business to present a more united front to government. Responding to the minister's kind words, Sharkey told Mr Ben: "We very much look forward to working with you".

Amongst those on the guest list, apparently, were Sony UK boss Ged Doherty, Warner Music Europe chief John Reid, BPI supremo Geoff Taylor, Association Of Independent Music head honcho Alison Wenham, International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry main man John Kennedy and, Stephen Navin the, erm, I'm running out of alternative ways of saying 'boss', I don't know, the supreme leader of the Music Publishers Association. There were some artists there too: Robin Gibb, Beverley Knight, Yusuf Islam and even Natasha Bedingfield. Though it's possible she was on the catering staff, no one seems certain.

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IS P2P REALLY TO BLAME FOR THE MUSIC BUSINESS' WOES?
Talking of Feargal Sharkey, he's responded to a recent opinion piece in the Guardian regarding those recent stats that illegal downloading is "costing the economy billions of pounds and thousands of jobs".

Guardian tech man Charles Arthur argued that equating the millions of tracks illegally shared online with millions of pounds of lost revenue is stupid, because the file-sharing kids wouldn't have bought most of that music had P2P not been an option, they'd just have less music in their collection. He also pointed out that blaming all the music business's woes on file-sharing was wrong, because it ignored the increased competition from the film and gaming industries that has emerged in the last two decades, and which competes for the same consumer pound as music sales. Arthur concludes by asking why the record industry keeps on presenting these arguments against P2P file-sharing, because the blatant holes in their claims damage their case for better online copyright protection. He's right, of course, and we've made all those points on numerous occasions in the last ten years.

But, as Feargal points out in his right to reply, the most recent stats on the loss of revenue caused by downloading didn't come from the record industry, but the government's IP Office. He also adds that while some past claims made by the record industry about the impact of P2P, both in terms of direct lost revenue and the fact it is single handedly destroying the industry, were unwise, that doesn't mean that any efforts to protect online copyrights should be immediately dismissed. And if you just give up trying to make money out of intellectual property rights, then the industry really will lose millions, and an actually quite good creative investment system will be lost. And he's right too you know. Look at us, going all conciliatory on you.

Anyway, you don't need me to tell you all this, go read the articles yourself...

Charles' article
Feargal's response

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IS BMG NOW EYEING UP EMI? PROBABLY NOT
Oh look at this - this is a fun new angle to the EMI Warner merger story. Now it seems BMG want to buy EMI. Yes, a BMG EMI merger story, we've not had one of those for ages. This is very exciting. I might have to buy a new hat to celebrate.

Back when there were five major record companies - Universal, Sony, BMG, Warner and EMI - the fact the first of those was so much bigger than the other four meant there was frequent speculation two of the smaller majors would merge, with different rumours suggesting different combinations of merging companies, so much so every combination was mooted at one time or another I think. In the end, of course, it was the recorded music divisions of Sony and BMG that merged to create SonyBMG. Though if I remember rightly the merger was a bit of a surprise and was rarely considered the most likely major label merger until it actually happened.

Of course after the big merger BMG owners Bertelsmann slowly started to ease themselves out of the music industry, first selling off their music publishing company (which wasn't part of the SonyBMG deal) to Universal, and then letting Sony buy them out of SonyBMG joint venture. However, they kept the BMG name and a handful of former SonyBMG recording catalogues and, as previously reported, recently launch BMG Rights Management.

The aim of BMG Rights Management seems to be to approach the music industry differently to traditional record and music publishing companies, like that Bertelsmann used to own. From what I can see, that means it will get involved in all kinds of music rights, rather than focusing on, or having separate divisions dealing with, say, recording and/or publishing rights. It also looks like the company plans mainly to either buy up existing catalogues of content, or form business partnerships with artists, songwriters and other rights holders in which it will represent and administrate their IP rights globally, rather than signing and ploughing large sums of money into new talent, and the production of new sound recordings, as is the way of traditional record companies.

Which makes the idea the new BMG company would want to buy EMI seem a little ridiculous - why reject the traditional music company model, and then buy a traditional music company, albeit one that has been radically restructured by the bosses put in by its most recent owners Terra Firma.

But nevertheless, a German magazine called Manager Magazin claims that Bertelsmann is seriously considering attempting some kind of acquisition of some part of the London-based major. Though that might mean buying one or more of EMI's catalogue (recording or publishing) rather than taking over its new artist operation, which would fit more with the BMG Rights Management model as I understand it.

Though why Terra Firma would want to sell off portions of EMI's catalogue I'm not sure, given back catalogue is arguably the company's greatest asset. So unless they were really desperate for cash, I'm not sure any offers to buy this bit or that part of EMI's content archive would be especially well received by the London major or their private equity owners. But who knows?

An EMI rep told Billboard they had not been approached by anyone at Bertelsmann as yet, and Manager Magazin did suggest some kind of EMI archive purchase is just one of a number of possible routes to expansion the all new BMG is considering. So it's probably all pipe dreams and/or idle speculation as yet. Though Manager Magazin says that there are German equity firms talking to Bertelsmann about co-funding its new expansion in the music market.

As previously reported, there have been new rumours of an EMI Warner merger, which would create a third major record company of similar size to those two company's main rivals, Universal and the post-SonyBMG Sony Music. It's not clear whether any such deal, if there were such a thing, would see Warner buy out EMI completely, or whether there'd be a true merger that meant Warner's shareholders would become business partners of Terra Firma in a bigger music enterprise.

If EMI and Warner did merge - and we should stress all talk of merger is so far speculation - it is possible one or the other might have to sell of some of its archive catalogues to satisfy European competition regulators which would certainly provide an opportunity for the all new BMG if it is looking to swell its music rights bank.

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BBC PUBLISH SOME FUCKING RESEARCH
The BBC has published the results of what it calls "the most exhaustive piece of audience research the Corporation has ever undertaken" into issues of taste and standards.

The report was commissioned by the BBC Trust after the whole Sachsgate thing, and was written by the Beeb's Creative Director Alan Yentob and its boss of Archive Content Roly Keating. They said the Corporation needs to put together some clear guidelines to ensure that programmes were not guilty of excessive amounts of "intrusion, intimidation and humiliation" so "to ensure that everyone involved in programme making understands that such behaviours are unacceptable".

The report said of TV that intrudes, intimidates and humiliates, "while they are all aspects of human behaviour which may need to be depicted, described or discussed across the BBC's factual and non-factual output, they must never be celebrated for the purposes of entertainment".

That said, the report also says that the BBC shouldn't let itself get so wound up on issues of decency that it stopped taking "risks" in its programme making. 70% of the 2200 people surveyed said that the BBC should encourage creativity even if it risked offending some viewers, and 61% said the Beeb shouldn't be afraid to air material that some might find offensive. And putting it all into perspective, despite all the outrage that surfaced after the Sachsgate incident, the vast majority of those surveyed said that they weren't regularly losing sleep over standards of behaviour on TV, with many more respondents more concerned about standards of behaviour in wider society than on broadcast media.

Nevertheless, the report added that producers do need to take more care about the content they air, especially when children might be watching. They also urged network chiefs to consider closely if programmes that are suitable on one channel can automatically be transferred to another without alteration - ie just because a show is acceptable on BBC3 doesn't mean it can be plonked straight onto prime time BBC1. Swearing seems to be a particular concern in that regard, as does adult chat on mainstream radio shows at times when families may be listening - so during meal times or the 'school run'. That last remark was arguably aimed in particular at Radio 1 and the Chris Moyles show.

Responding to the report, BBC Trustee David Liddiment told reporters: "Ensuring audiences aren't exposed to unnecessarily offensive content, while guarding against stifling creativity, is a balancing act. Audiences clearly expect the highest standards from the BBC - and BBC One in particular. The Trust is determined that those standards are met and the new research and the commentary published today will help deliver this".

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CONOR MCNICHOLAS LEAVES NME
The NME's editor, Conor McNicholas has announced that he is leaving the music magazine to take up the editor role at Top Gear magazine. McNicholas joined the NME in 2002, having previously worked for defunct dance mag Muzik and still very much alive dance mag Mixmag.

Announcing his resignation on Twitter, he said: "I have resigned. Seven years as NME Editor coming to an end. It's been a fucking privilege. New job racing towards me... I'm leaving to go and edit Top Gear magazine at the BBC. Amazing job for a petrolhead like me. Will be at NME for a good few weeks yet".

Predictably the news of McNicholas' departure led to speculation in the blogosphere that he might have been pushed, NME's falling circulation figures being cited as a possible reason. That seems rather unlikely, though, because while it's true NME's readership has declined during Conor's editorship, the decline is in line with industry-wide trends and has been countered by an expansion of the NME brand into new areas, online, on air and in the live domain, and into new territories, the US in particular.

In fact it's assumed McNicholas' experience in taking an existing media brand and creating new products and revenue streams around it (something he's won awards for) will have been key in his appointment at Top Gear magazine, as BBC Worldwide is known to have ambitions to further utilise the popular motoring brand on a global basis.

So, assuming we're not speculating on the reasons for Conor's depature what can we speculate on? Well, first who will get the top job at the title? IPC's Paul Cheal implies he hasn't as yet made up his mind on that one. And second, what is Calvin Harris, who's not been much of a Conor fan of late, going to do with all these t-shirts - http://twitpic.com/6w8u9? On seeing Conor's resignation tweet yesterday, Calvin responded: "OH MY GOD @ConorMcNicholas WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THESE TSHIRTS?!! YOU'VE TRULY DEALT THE KILLER BLOW, FAIR PLAY TO YOU".

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THIS WEEK'S SUB.TV PLAYLIST
These, in case you wondered, are the videos being played on the Sub.tv network of screens in students' unions around the UK this week. New entries marked with a *. More info from DavidLloyd@sub.tv

A List
Basement Jaxx - Raindrops
Chipmunk - Diamond Rings
Dan Black - Symphonies
The Enemy - Sing When You're In Love
Florence And The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
Jack Penate - Be The One
James Morrison - Nothing Ever Hurt Like You*
Keri Hilson ft Kanye West & Ne-Yo - Knock You Down
Kings Of Leon - Notion
La Roux - Bulletproof
Nickelback - If Today Was Your Last Day
Noisettes - Never Forget You
Pixie Lott - Mama Do
Röyksopp - The Girl and the Robot
The Rumble Strips - Not The Only Person

B List
Bat For Lashes - Pearl's Dream*
Filthy Dukes - Messages
Frankmusik - Confusion Girl
Freemasons ft Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)
Jamie Foxx - Blame It*
JLS - Beat Again
Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas
Kid British - Our House Is Dadless
Lady Gaga - Paparazzi
Lazee ft Neverstore - Hold On
Lethal Bizzle - Go Hard
Maxïmo Park - Questing Not Coasting
Metro Station - Seventeen Forever
Patrick Wolf - Hard Times
Soulja Boy Tell'Em ft Sammie - Kiss Me Thru The Phone
The Saturdays - Work
The Twang - Barney Rubble*
Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Heads Will Roll

Tip List
Animal Kingdom - Tin Man*
Asher Roth ft Cee-Lo - Be By Myself*
Bombay Bicycle Club - Dust On The Ground
Don Diablo & Example - Hooligans*
Hafdis Huld - Kongulo*
James Yuill - Over The Hills*
Marmaduke Duke - Silhouettes
Mpho - Box 'N Locks*
Professor Green - Hard Night Out
September - Until I Die
Stevie Hoang - Addicted
3OH!3 - Don't Trust Me*
Tommy Reilly - Jackets

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COBAIN GUITAR SELLS FOR $43K
A Sears bass guitar once owned by Kurt Cobain has been sold at auction in New York for $43,750. The item, which was used to record early Nirvana demos, went on sale at Christie's pop and rock memorabilia sale earlier this week. Other items that went under the hammer included a Beatles Fan Club poster signed by each of the Fab Four, and the handwritten lyrics of Bob Dylan's 'With God On Our Side', which fetched $25,000.

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STATUS QUO DON'T GET THE GLASTONBURY FUSS
Status Quo have said that they don't get what all the fuss is about with Glastonbury. They are, of course, scheduled to perform at this year's event. The band's Rick Parfitt said: "It's got this stigma attached to it where people say, 'Once you've done Glastonbury your cred will go up'. I don't see that it will".

Francis Rossi added that they hadn't played at the event, back in the day, because it was considered "second rate", saying: "It fascinates me how that gig has become groovy".

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SPECTOR REQUESTS GADGETS
Phil Spector has made a request to have a TV and iPod and a computer in his new prison cell. As previously reported, the muisc producer, recently convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson back in 2003, has recently been moved to a "sensitive needs unit", where, say Fox News, he's permitted to ask for certain comforts in his cell. Wife Rachelle confirmed: "He wants a TV and an iPod or something like that for listening to music. And he would like to be able to receive email". If they do give him a net connected PC, we look forward to seeing if the real Phil Spector Twitter feed is as entertaining as the fake one.

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MOBY SAYS BRITISH MUSIC IS NOT EXCITING
Moby has criticised the current British music scene, saying it's laddish and provincial. The musician/producer releases a new album, 'Wait For Me', on Monday, so that's probably why he's been making controversial statements in interviews.

The Sun quote him as saying: "UK music has become very provincial and pub-orientated. It's hard to get too excited about pub rock. The bands look like they're hanging out at the pub and they sound like they are playing in a pub and the subject matter is very provincial and pub-orientated - laddish. It's not sexy or exciting and it's not very personal either. It's pleasant music, but pleasant music doesn't make me want to run out and change the world with my records".

I think he might have a point there you know.

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ALLEGED CHRIS BROWN TRACK ON THE INTERNET
A track thought to be by Chris Brown, about his relationship with ex girlfriend/punchbag Rihanna, has been 'leaked' onto the internet. The song is called 'Not My Fault', and the lyrics go:

"I pick up the paper and the headline reads
It said 'Singer broken heart and some satin sheets'
And I'm like why? We had a hell of a time.
When I first met ya I told ya you will be safe
In the misty fog you win something
Falls to the floor and breaks
But we look down to see what you dropped
Oh it's your heart
Shorty see he's caught up it's not my fault."

Whether it's really him or not, I haven't got a clue. He's definitely at fault though, he admitted as much in court.

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