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TODAY'S NEWS
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All change at the top of PRS
Jacko toxicology results may be ready this week
Jackson senior: Michael could never have done fifty shows
LA mayor says city will pay for memorial policing costs
In The Pop Courts
BB King sued by former manager
Nas v Kelis latest
In The Pop Hospital
Coxon leaves hospital to play final Blur gig
Reunions & Splits
Corgan explains Pumpkins
Gigs N Tours News
Oasis announce August gig
Gallows announce end of year tour
Festival News
Beachdown festival confirms acts
Reviews
Album review: Echaskech - Shatterproof (Just Music)
Brands N Stuff
Rough Trade sets up in Top Shop
The Music Business
Terra Firma look to renegotiate EMI's Citibank commitments
Elio confirmed by c&binet, says some stuff
The Digital Business
The kids aren't file-sharing so much, apparently
MySpace to reposition as an entertainment destination
The Media Business
Music types in The Guardian's Media 100
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Beatles signing flashmob thingy
Black Eyed Fergie wants to get clean
Lily Allen on topless pics and Perez
Kings Of Leon spat at T In The Park
Reverend McClure on Beckham and Iraq
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TUESDAY 14TH JULY


ANIMAL KINGDOM
Already tipped by some to become one of this year's biggest new British bands, Animal Kingdom released their debut single, 'Tin Man', via Warner Bros Records on 6 Jul. The first taste of their debut album, which is due out in September, it was recorded in Seattle's Electrokitty Studio with producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Les Savy Fav) and showcases their otherworldly, upbeat melodies. We caught up with the band to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We've all played in various forms since being teenagers. Rich had been writing since college, but we really started taking it seriously as a band about three years ago. We practiced in our little studio in Crouch End a few times a week and started playing wherever would have us in London. It definitely took a while before we gelled properly as a band, but it helped that there are a few other bands and artists that we all really dig - Neil Young and Radiohead for starters. We've definitely come along way from four guys locked in a room bashing out lines to each other. Hopefully we're a bit more thoughtful now of what it takes to make a song work live.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
A few things, although maybe it's better to leave that up to people to decide for themselves. Sometimes we've had our own idea of what someone else's song was about, only to find out it's really about something different...

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It takes various forms but generally Rich will come in with the bare bones of a song and then we start working it up and arranging its shape until something fully formed emerges. Some songs come together really quickly and others go through different styles, shapes and arrangements for months. It's usually the better ones that fall in place quickly for some reason. Or we'll take various bits from different half ideas and something new will emerge.

Q4 What artists have influenced your work?
It's really tempting to be inspired by what's currently on everyone's iPods but most of the time it's a case of trying to forget all the great songs out there and find something new. It's very easy to play a song in the style of one of our musical heroes but much harder to come up with something genuinely original, or at least to conceal your influences enough that no one notices!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Have you paid for that?! Nah seriously, we'd hope they like it, I suppose, and feel engaged by it and feel some kind of reaction to it. There's nothing worse than putting on an album and then forgetting it's on. We're not into making background music, each song hopefully has its own flavour and the styles are different enough across the album to keep people listening. We're not into making an album in one specific style or genre and then suddenly flipping it for album two. Hopefully the songs are varied enough to not paint us into that corner

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
To get a proper job and settle down! No, I guess to make more songs, more albums, and to create a body of work we can look back on and be proud of when we're old and grey. It's weird because our first album was written and recorded a while ago, yet we'll be playing it on the road for another two years or more. I think we're all itching to get back into the studio and make album two bigger and better as soon as possible. Also, we have played a few European festivals already this summer too, and we're all totally into getting in the van and heading off to the sunnier parts of Europe. Hopefully our agent is reading this!

MORE>> www.weareanimalkingdom.com and www.myspace.com/weareanimalkingdom

 
CALVIN HARRIS
Have we really never featured a Twitter profile as a SNAP Of The Day before? How very behind the times. Some would say that it's a bit passé to do so now. But, if that's the case, we should probably stop linking to MySpace profiles too. MySpace being a dead duck sitting in poisoned water and all. But anyway, let's get on with this thing. If you are British and you are signed up to Twitter, you follow Stephen Fry. That is the law. However, the world would be a much better place if everyone followed Calvin Harris instead. Stephen Fry never proclaimed Toilet Duck to be a more worthy leader of Disneyland than Mickey Mouse. Nor did he ever get into an on-going fued with the outgoing editor of the NME (and have t-shirts made to promote it). Nor did he ever proclaim, "The best thing about Ryanair is that it's absolutely fucking shite". Keeping it musical, Calvin has a new single, 'Ready For The Weekend', coming out on 10 Aug, the video for which he's linked to a couple of times (in between videos of him getting other musicians to open jars of jam), with an album of the very same name due to follow a week later.

twitter.com/calvinharris



 

 

JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION: CAN FREE ONLINE MUSIC SURVIVE AND THRIVE?
Organised by Chinwag Live, the event this Wednesday in London is host to a great panel with the likes of Spotify, Frukt Music, SoundCloud, MediaCom and The Guardian. As music streaming services such as Last.fm, Spotify and We7 take off and new suppliers such as Virgin Media coming to the market we see the music industry provides one of the most dynamic and challenging environments for marketers. Can traditional radio advertisers make the leap to online audio ads? Or is it time the listener paid? Further details and tickets are available from http://chinwag.com/live/musicwhopays

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ONLINE MARKETING MANAGER AT ROUGH TRADE RECORDS
Online marketing manager for Rough Trade releases, and manager of the Rough Trade website.

Devising unique online marketing plans for our artist's releases in conjunction with the overall vision and plan for the campaign.

Overseeing & creating original content such as video and other bespoke assets to promote our music.

Ensuring the Rough Trade website and our audience is kept up to date with all the latest news about signings, releases, tours, interesting goings on, music, videos, sales messages.

Our ideal candidate will be passionate about music, a creative thinker and writer, possess HTML experience, HTML mailout coding knowledge & basic video editing and image editing skills.

CVs + covering letters should be sent to jobs@roughtraderecords.com. Please note this position is based in our London, UK office and the deadline for submissions is 15th July.

--

HEAD OF DIGITAL AT COOKING VINYL
Cooking Vinyl (The Prodigy, Nitin Sawhney, Dolores O'Riordan, The Lemonheads) require an experienced digital manager to head up their expanding digital department.

The role requires a candidate with strong experience in all facets of digital including retail, marketing, mobile, advertising and promotion. Taking the leading role in developing and expanding the department, the candidate is expected to deliver exciting and targeted campaigns for the labels growing roster of artists as well as pushing the company forward as a whole with new digital initiatives.

Reporting to the Managing Director and Product Director, this is a great opportunity for an experienced candidate to help guide the digital future of one of the UK's biggest independent record labels.

Apply with CV and current salary to digital@cookingvinyl.com

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ALL CHANGE AT THE TOP OF PRS
So, the boss of song royalties collecting society PRS For Music is out of the door. And pretty pronto too, with an official statement from the society that seems just a little bit like a very polite way of saying Alan Sugar's catchphrase. But perhaps I'm reading too much into it. See what you think.

Confirming that Steve Porter would stand down as CEO with immediate effect, after two years in the job and ten years with the society, an official statement said, simply: "The boards feel that as the business faces new challenges, a new set of skills is required to take PRS For Music forward". Hmm, "a new set of skills". Ouch. It doesn't seem that Porter has a new job to go to, and PRS certainly don't have an immediate replacement for him, the top man's departure seemingly very sudden, and a surprise even for many PRS staffers.

Still, the society did say a few nice things about their former chief exec, telling CMU: "Steve has made an invaluable contribution over his ten years of loyal service to PRS For Music. Steve joined in 1999 as Director of Finance, moving on to Executive Director of Finance, then Managing Director. Steve was appointed Chief Executive in April 2007, where his vision and drive has made a significant impact in improving many areas of the business".

The MD of PRS's MCPS division, Jeremy Fabinyi, will fill in as CEO until a new boss man (or woman) can be recruited.

Porter's sudden departure follows an eventful six months for the collecting society, which began with a rebrand - from the slightly tedious MCPS/PRS Alliance to the more snappy PRS For Music - and a concerted effort to gain a higher public profile. That aim was achieved almost immediately, though possibly not in the best of circumstances, when YouTube announced the collecting society's online streaming royalty rates were totally unrealistic and promptly pulled all premium music videos off its UK service. The squabble between the collecting society and the Google-owned video website continues, with most major artist videos still blocked to UK YouTube users.

Elsewhere, Porter got to announce the society would make a record royalty payout to its members - the songwriters and publishers it represents - though he was forced to admit at a recent AGM that the slump in interest rates would hit the society's finances.

There was also an albeit quiet fallout behind the scenes when PRS announced it was slashing some of its online royalty rates - possibly in a bid to placate the aforementioned YouTube - but EMI Publishing, one of the world's biggest owners of song copyrights, said it wasn't happy with the new rates, and announced PRS would no longer represent its catalogue in the streaming domain. With reports that execs from at least two other major music publishers had expressed concerns at the new streaming royalty rates, some wonder if that quiet squabble might have had a role in Porter's sudden departure - you do have to wonder how PRS could announce such radical (if sensible) royalty rate changes without three of the four publishing majors being on side.

Anyway, whatever, it's certainly true that the licensing of performing rights is an increasingly important part of the music industry, and that increases the power and influence of the collecting societies, and especially PRS, which has always enjoyed a pretty wide remit in terms of the areas in which it represents its member's rights. Perhaps they really do need a different man at the top to capitalise on new opportunities and spearhead that growing influence.

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JACKO TOXICOLOGY RESULTS MAY BE READY THIS WEEK
Back to Jacko now, and it seems that the next chapter in the 'how the hell did Jackson die?' story could kick off sooner than we expected. As previously reported, the LA coroner has held off from ruling on cause of death until the results of toxicology tests are known. That ruling may, of course, impact on whether AEG Live's insurers for the fifty night O2 residency pay up to cover the promoter's losses.

The head of the LAPD has also said he and his officers are awaiting those test results with interest. They are expected to show what drugs were in Jackson's system when he died, and may be tell us whether or not one of those drugs caused the cardiac arrest that killed him. If the singer did die from an accidental overdose, police will want to establish if that was caused by someone close to Jackson acting negligently, or even - as some are theorising - because someone deliberately bumped him off.

Anyway, toxicology reports can take weeks to come back from the lab, but the LA coroner has said they already have some results back, and hope to have a full test report in by the end of the week, or, if not, early next week. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told reporters yesterday that his office would tell the media when a full set of test results were in, and would then make the results public the next day.

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JACKSON SENIOR: MICHAEL COULD NEVER HAVE DONE FIFTY SHOWS
Back to Jackson's family, and his father, Joe Jackson, has told ABC News that his son wasn't fit enough to do the fifty night residency promoters AEG Live had planned for him in London. He again repeated claims that his son never agreed to such a long run, backing up tabloid stories before Jacko's death that said the singer had told fans he agreed to only ten shows, but woke up one day to find AEG had sold tickets for fifty.

Speaking on the day the Jacko mega-residency should have begun, Jackson Senior told ABC: "I was worried about his health, because all the shows that I'm seeing, no artist can do that many shows back to back like that. So I knew Michael couldn't do all those shows without some rests in between".

AEG have again insisted that Jackson was consulted on the length of the O2 residency. The promoter's top man told the press: "Our original agreement with Michael Jackson called for 31 shows. When the response to the initial announcement of 10 shows was so overwhelming, we went to Jackson's advisor, Dr Tohme Tohme, and asked if the singer would be willing to do more. Tohme told us that Jackson would perform fifty. Michael himself said he was motivated to embark on a record-setting run of concerts".

In related news, yesterday some 600 Jacko fans amassed outside the O2 in London in recognition of the fact last night should have been the night of the very first Jackson comeback show. At 6.30pm, when doors would have opened, they observed a minute's silence. BBC reporter Michael Osborn said there was a "light-hearted, celebratory" mood outside the complex.

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LA MAYOR SAYS CITY WILL PAY FOR MEMORIAL POLICING COSTS
A last bit of Jacko, and the mayor of LA has hit out at journalists and politicians in the city who are busy suggesting promoters AEG, or the Jackson family, or the singer's fans, should pick up the tab for the policing and like of last week's big Michael Jackson memorial.

As previously reported, there has been growing chatter in LA over the $1.4 million spent on police, traffic control and street cleaning before, during and after last week's memorial event at the city's Staples Center, especially given the city is already in a bit of a mess financially. Some suggest AEG, who covered the cost of the actual event in the arena, should cover the city's costs too, while the mayor's office set up a website where fans were encouraged to make donations to help pay for policing and the like.

But LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has moved to try and stop all talk of parties other than the city covering the $1.4 million bill - even going as far as to tell journalists he never sanctioned the donations website, and criticising his staff for setting it up in the first place.

Villaraigosa has been on holiday in South Africa since the memorial, so wasn't actually involved in the launch of the donations website (which quickly went offline due to servers not being able to cope with the number of people accessing it). Yesterday he called the donations site "ridiculous", and said he won't ask AEG, the Jacksons or members of the public for help covering police costs, adding that protecting public safety is the city's job, and that includes protecting public safety at big events like the Jackson memorial.

It's not clear if that means monies so far donated via the website will now be returned.

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BB KING SUED BY FORMER MANAGER
BB King is being sued by a former business manager who claims that the blues legend has failed to pay him a cut of his revenues for almost a decade. Floyd Leiberman claims he was due a cut of King's income as a result of a past management contract, but that he has received nothing since 2000. Leiberman reckons the singer and guitarist has earned over $100 million in that time, and he is suing for a $1.5 million share. The manager filed his legal papers at the New York court - King's people are yet to comment.

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NAS V KELIS LATEST
Nas has revealed what he earns as part of ongoing proceedings in his divorce from estranged wife Kelis, and, he says, he's not got as much as she claims he has. Kelis recently claimed in her divorce petition that Nas received $11 million as part of his 2006 deal with Universal's Def Jam, but now the rapper claims that he has only received $4 million from the major, which must mean he is almost certainly broke. Don't know how these chaps manage, really.

Nas says his monthly income is currently $147,165, but his monthly expenses total $71,371.96, ten grand of which is for "personal grooming, clothing and toiletries". It may be a pitiful amount of money compared to some superstars' incomes, but it's plenty more than Kelis is getting; as previously reported, she recently told the courts that her monthly income is down to $21,616.

Now you might think twenty grand a month is pretty good going, but Kelis is pregnant with Nas' child remember, and no doubt plans to spend thousands every week on expensive pushchairs and other baby nonsense. And that's before you factor in designer nappies. A mere twenty grand a month isn't going to cover all that, which is why Kelis is demanding big bucks from Nas. As she said a few months back: "My survival is based on Nas' will at this time". But with only seventy grand a month spare, Nas says he simply can't afford to meet Kelis' demands. He's offering here five grand a month child support.

So, as you can see, a desperate situation for all concerned. I do hope those judges can find some way to solve it all. Perhaps we could have a whip round.

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COXON LEAVES HOSPITAL TO PLAY FINAL BLUR GIG
Okay, maybe this section should be renamed 'Not In The Pop Hospital' for the purposes of this story. Blur frontman Damon Albarn revealed on stage at the band's T In The Park show on Sunday that guitarist Graham Coxon had discharged himself from hospital to be there. The reason, he hinted, was because the show was where the band's reunion came to an end. Well, we can only hope.

Albarn told the crowd: "Graham literally walked out of a hospital to come here. He's alright. This is our last gig".

Coxon was apparently taken to hospital with food poisoning on Sunday afternoon. As a result, he arrived to play the show an hour and a half late. The local council gave permission for the band to play past the festival's curfew, but they were still forced to shrink their set down to 75 minutes, rather than the planned two hours.

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CORGAN EXPLAINS PUMPKINS
Billy Corgan has taken to the official Smashing Pumpkins website in an attempt to explain to fans why The Smashing Pumpkins continue to exist as a band, even though he is the only remaining original member, following drummer Jimmy Chamberlain's departure earlier this year.

He wrote: "The idea of identity is a strange one to tackle. For many years, I treated the idea of the band named The Smashing Pumpkins as an existential concept that existed away from my being and body. It was sort of 'over there', if you will. ... In the centre of any of it has been for me, speaking personally, my music. Yes, MY music. The music that came out of this being and body".

However, he adds that this doesn't mean the band is just him. It's just he's the only one that really matters. He continued: "I will never say to you what people say to me all the time, which is that 'I am the band'. I am not 'the band', I am just the leader of the band. I only want people around me who respect me and my music. I think that is a healthy thing to want, and is consistent with the ideas of holistic living. What would you say about me if I worked with people who didn't care about me or my music? Isn't that a form of selling out?"

So, er, that's all cleared up then.

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OASIS ANNOUNCE AUGUST GIG
Following their massive Wembley shows last weekend, Oasis have announced that they will play a much more intimate gig at Bridlington Spa on 20 Aug with support from Detroit Social Club. Tickets for the gig, limited to four per person, go on sale tomorrow at 10am.

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GALLOWS ANNOUNCE END OF YEAR TOUR
Hardcore heroes Gallows have announced a UK tour to close off 2009. Here are the tour dates:

26 Nov: Northampton, Roadmender
27 Nov: Coventry, Kasbah
28 Nov: Liverpool, Academy
29 Nov: Aberdeen, Moshulu
30 Nov: Dundee, Fat Sam's
2 Dec: Middlesbrough, Empire
3 Dec: York, Duchess
4 Dec: Stoke, Sugarmill
5 Dec: Derby, Rockhouse
7 Dec: Newport, TJs
8 Dec: Exeter, Lemon Grove
9 Dec: Falmouth, Pavillions
10 Dec: Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
12 Dec: Kingston, The Peel
13 Dec: Colchester, Arts Centre
14 Dec: Cambridge, Junction

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BEACHDOWN FESTIVAL CONFIRMS ACTS
The Beachdown Festival has confirmed that Ocean Colour Scene and The Rakes are to appear at their 2009 event, which takes place in Brighton from 28-31 Aug. They join a bill that includes the likes of Grace Jones, The Zutons, Super Furry Animals, Grandmaster Flash, Joey Negro And The Sunburst Band, Gilles Peterson, Laurent Garnier and The Blockheads. The festival is also planning a tribute to Michael Jackson, on 29 Aug, which would have been his birthday, with a number of artists covering their favourite Jacko tracks.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Echaskech - Shatterproof (Just Music)
Back in the early to mid-90s, one of the most exciting things to come from the nascent dance music boom was the birth and rise of what we now know as electronica, with the likes of Aphex Twin, Black Dog, Autechre, Orbital et al conjuring up glistening, visceral music that often had far more relevance to the mind than the feet. Anyway, years have come and gone since then, but Echaskech's second album is redolent of the best of the genre and a welcome reminder of what made some of that emergent stuff on Warp, GPR etc all so exciting fifteen years ago. It's a quietly confident step forward from their debut album 'Skechbook', but retains a familiar, richly melodic and warming sound throughout. Moody but accessible, it's an undulating, futuristic landscape wherein synths bubble and pulse, dreamy female vocal snippets drift in and out, and the beats are subtly imbued with dancefloor dynamics. If there is a (minor) criticism, it's that similar track lengths and no segueing make the album less of a complete journey than it should be, but (the slightly forced 'Future Sex' aside) as a collection of electronic listening music (because, let's face it, no one will ever dance to this, but it's far too engaging to be branded just chill out music), 'Shatterproof' is a wonderfully atmospheric and at times mesmerising listen. MS
Release Date: 10 Aug
Press Contact: Hermana [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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ROUGH TRADE SETS UP IN TOP SHOP
So this is interesting. From September the Top Shop group will give over a small bit of floor space in some of its bigger high street stores to the Rough Trade record shop people.

The plan should ensure music retail continues to have a presence on the high street other than in HMV, despite the collapse of Zavvi and Woolies, and the ever shrinking CD departments in shops like WH Smith. It's also good news for the indie music retail sector, Rough Trade being proudly independent both in terms of ownership but also in terms of the music it stocks and champions.

Rough Trade bosses say their partnership with Top Shop is based on their belief there is still much mileage to be had from physical music product. Certainly the Rough Trade Retail Group is doing rather well, despite CD sales being in decline for years, and many of the bigger CD sellers now out of business. The owners of what is now the UK's largest music-only store, Rough Trade East in London, reported a turnover of £2.1 million last year, and increased revenues year on year by 30% in the first quarter of this year.

Confirming the Top Shop tie up, Rough Trade Retail Group director Stephen Godfroy told the Financial Times: "[This decision] supports Rough Trade's belief that the CD format is as popular as ever [and] that it is largely the poor high street retail of CDs that is to blame for declining sales on this format".

The first Rough Trade outlet will appear in Topman's Oxford Street store as part of an expansion and modernisation programme, scheduled for completion in October.

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TERRA FIRMA LOOK TO RENEGOTIATE EMI'S CITIBANK COMMITMENTS
So, chatter galore yesterday regarding the fortunes of EMI after a Sunday Times report that the London-based major music company's owners, Terra Firma, were once again looking into rejigging the way the firm is financed, in a bid to free up some hard cash and reduce the debt burden of the company's recorded music division which, of course, is the bit that has been struggling for years.

The Times reports that Terra Firma is trying to renegotiate its terms with US bank Citigroup, the money lender who lent the private equity group much of the cash needed to buy EMI two years ago. That deal left the Terra Firma-owned EMI with large debt commitments to the bank, who in turn had originally hoped to sell on a lot of the debt to share the risk, plans that were scuppered by that thing they call the credit crunch.

According to the broadsheet, Terra Firma is trying to persuade Citigroup to make another £300 million available in cash to prop up the EMI Group, and also to write off about £500 million of EMI's debts, all of which are attached to the major's recorded music business. Insiders say the talks are at a very early stage, and Citigroup is almost certain to say no to that request, though experts point out the bank can't afford to let the music firm collapse because - in its current state - any forced sale of the major is unlikely to bring in anywhere near the kind of money that Citigroup is owed.

As previously reported, Terra Firma itself has had to inject cash into EMI, mainly to help it meet its Citigroup loan repayment commitments, and the private equity firm wrote down the value of its investments mainly because of the music firm's continued woes. Citigroup probably will ultimately play ball to help the private equity firm keep EMI afloat, though as both finance firms continue to face new bills associated with the music company, you can't help thinking that a quick-win sale would be attractive to both parties if a takeover offer was put on the table. Warner Music and its US-based private equity backers are surely still keeping an eye on developments at their rival and long-term merger suitor.

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ELIO CONFIRMED BY C&BINET, SAYS SOME STUFF
Talking of EMI, the boss of the music firm's struggling recorded music division, Elio Leoni-Sceti, has been talking about, erm, well, stuff. The need to innovate and listen to consumers mainly.

The EMI man has been giving his thoughts about the state of the music industry ten years on from the arrival of the original Napster, following confirmation he will take part in the first big Creativity And Business International Network conference, or c&binet for short, which will take place somewhere in Hertfordshire in October. This, in case you wondered, is the big networking bash for the creative industries, which was set up by former Culture Minister Andy Burnham who kept on saying it was going to be like a cultural version of Davos, not realising that to most people in the creative industries 'Davos' is just a misspelling of The Doctor's biggest foe, and not a big annual Alpine shindig for credit crunch causing capitalists.

Anyway, here's what Elio wrote: "Britain's creative businesses are world leaders when it comes to nurturing creative talent and working with innovative artists, but we must complement our artists' creativity with our own skills in innovation. That means listening to the desires and needs of consumers and delivering new products and services that they want to buy".

He continues: "Looking at the music industry, which has become something of a bellwether for other media businesses, we have a situation where 70% of music consumption is digital and yet only about 20% of music company revenues are derived from digital. Music is in demand and the demand is growing all the time, but we've clearly lost touch with our consumers. I passionately believe that if we listen to our consumers, this gap will become our opportunity. I very much look forward to hearing the views of creative industry leaders at the c&binet forum and, of course, those of government who have a crucial role in creating an environment where both technology companies and content investors will thrive".

So that's nice. There's more about c&binet at www.cabinetforum.org. The boss of Universal Music owners Vivendi, Jean-Bernard Levy, has also been confirmed as a speaker.

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THE KIDS AREN'T FILE-SHARING SO MUCH, APPARENTLY
A new survey from research firm The Leading Question and music business website Music Ally reckons the kids are not file-sharing as much as they used to. Perhaps they've realised owning 85GB of music, 99.9% of which you will never ever listen too, isn't as exciting as they first thought.

Leading Question's annual survey of 1000 music fans found that less respondents were file-sharing less now than just over a year ago - 17% said they accessed music via unlicensed file-sharing networks at least once a month, compared to 22% when a similar survey was done in December 2007. Interestingly, the biggest drop off in file-sharing usage was among 14-18 year olds, a group in which 42% were file-sharing a year ago, compared to 26% now.

Needless to say, the growth of streaming music services, and the high-spec broadband connections needed to use them, is partly behind the declining interest in file-sharing. 65% of teens now say they use streaming music services at least once a month.

Though the expansion of a la carte download stores - and probably the introduction of MP3 as the default format for these stores - has also seemingly had an impact. In fact overall more respondents in this survey were buying single track downloads than getting content via P2P (19% versus 17%).

Commenting on the survey, Music Ally top man Paul Brindley told CMU that record companies and government need to recognise fast moving trend changes when considering their policies towards online piracy, saying: "File sharing is a moving target, so industry and government policies need to recognise this. It's already being somewhat displaced by other means of accessing music for free. Some are licensed, many are not licensed and some involve a bit of both. Kids find services like YouTube much more convenient for checking out new music than file-sharing. But even YouTube can become a source of piracy with some kids ripping YouTube videos and turning them into free MP3 downloads."

Leading Question boss Tim Walker added: "Ultimately we believe that the best way to beat piracy is to create great new licensed services that are easier and more fun to use, whether that's an unlimited streaming service like Spotify, or a service like the one recently announced by Virgin which aims to offer unlimited MP3 downloads as well as unlimited streams".

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MYSPACE TO REPOSITION AS AN ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION
It looks increasingly likely MySpace will relaunch as an entertainment destination rather than a social networking site.

An increasing number of industry experts - well, me if no one else - have been saying that MySpace, having lost the battle to be the uber-social network to Facebook (and possibly Bebo and Twitter), should capitalise on its one continued area of dominance - it is still the social network of choice for artists wanting a simple platform to connect with fans - and make itself the website where people connect with bands, comedians and celebs they like, rather than with each other.

And it seems that is where the new management at the former social networking giant are planning on taking the web service. Certainly Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp owns MySpace of course, has given that indication by telling the Wall Street Journal that MySpace should be repositioned "as an entertainment portal" where "people are looking for common interests".

With much of the old guard management cleared out at MySpace, many are now expecting that shift in focus to be formalised, and to become increasingly apparent on the website itself. Such a repositioning will, of course, make the MySpace Music proposition even more important. It has to be said, despite general panning from critics, the revamped music streaming service run by MySpace in the US has been gaining momentum among young music fans over there.

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MUSIC TYPES IN THE GUARDIAN'S MEDIA 100
So, the Guardian released its annual Media 100 list yesterday, naming the 100 biggest movers and shakers in the UK media industry. As has become the trend of late, the top ten was as dominated by IT types as traditional press barons and broadcasting chiefs, with the Google founders and Apple and Microsoft bosses all appearing alongside, and in some cases above, the Murdochs, Fleet Street editors and BBC DG, the people you might normally expect to exclusively dominate the top of the media chart.

Some music types also appear in the 100, some in the top ten. For starters Apple's Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive are arguably only at number four because of the success of their music enterprises, meanwhile Sony exec Simon Cowell represents the music business proper in the top ten rated as he is as the seventh most powerful media man, even if at least half that power comes from his TV franchises rather than his music company.

The next highest rated music person is also arguably really an IT geek - Spotify's Daniel Ek is a new entry at 28. Then you get Universal Music International chief Lucian Grainge at 33, UK Music man Feargal Sharkey at 56, artist manager Jonathan Shalit at 71, 'X-Factor' judge and Girl Aloud Cheryl Cole at 76 and American pop sensation Miley Cyrus at 91, for reasons of which I am not sure.

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - www.totalrock.com. New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)
2. Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Warner/Roadrunner)*
3. Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot (Edel)
4. The Mars Volta - Octahedron (Universal)*
5. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
6. Alexisonfire - Old Crows/Young Cardinals (Warner/Roadrunner)*
7. Incubus - Monuments & Melodies (Sony Music)
8. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony Music)
9. Theory Of A Deadman - Scars & Souvenirs (Warner/Roadrunner)
10. Marilyn Manson - The High End Of Low (Universal/Interscope)
11. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
12. Bruce Springsteen - Greatest Hits (Sony Music)
13. Iron Maiden - Flight 666 (EMI)
14. Rancid - Let The Dominoes Fall (Epitaph)
15. Taking Back Sunday - New Again (Warner Bros)
16. Meat Loaf - The Best Of (Disky)
17. Enter Shikari - Common Dreads (Ambush Reality)*
18. Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits (Universal)*
19. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
20. Kid Rock - Rock N' Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)

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BEATLES SIGNING FLASHMOB THINGY
Beatles fans are being encouraged to gather on London' s Carnaby Street at 6pm tonight to sign an 11ft replica of the original contract between the band and manager Brian Epstein. It's a flashmobby thing organised in association with The Imagine Corporation, who, as previously reported, are running that competition to win the original of that aforementioned contract, which is currently insured for £500k. Bluetooth messages will alert shoppers in the area during the day, spreading the word about the event, which will apparently see fans singing along to 'Imagine' as they sign the outsized contract.

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BLACK EYED FERGIE WANTS TO GET CLEAN
Fergie out of Black Eyed Peas has said that she wants to clean up the language she uses during her band's live shows because she doesn't want to have a bad influence on young girls.

She told Marie Claire: "I wasn't trying to be a role model with 'The Dutchess'. But suddenly, seeing little girls in the audience with their moms made me think about what I do on stage a little bit more. I had to watch my mouth, because it can be filthy. It changed things for me".

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LILY ALLEN ON TOPLESS PICS AND PEREZ
Lily Allen has responded via Twitter regarding gossip-bother Perez Hilton's response to the topless photos she did for i-D magazine.

The two have exchanged words in the past, and now Hilton has said this, on his site: "More known for her outrageous behaviour than her music, Lily Allen continues with her 'antics'. The hard-pAArtying Brit goes topless in the new issue of i-D magazine. Why? Well, why not??? We've already seen 'em before - a lot!"

The singer responds: "Just saw Perez's views on my topless i-D pics. It may come as a surprise but I'm completely comfortable with getting them out. Tits are tits. I wish mine were as big as Perez Hilton's though".

Of course, there's a difference between having your tits out because you just feel natural and unashamed about it, and specifically getting your tits out in front of a camera for a magazine.

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KINGS OF LEON SPAT AT T IN THE PARK
According to reports, Kings Of Leon got up to a bit of infighting at T In The Park at the weekend. Apparently it was sound problems that prompted the ill feeling between Caleb Followill and the rest of the band, brothers Nathan and Jared and cousin Matthew, and in the ensuing fracas the boys had to be separated by their tour manager. Caleb had apparently already smashed his guitar during the set, and hurled it into the crowd, which isn't very nice, if you ask me. Someone could have got hurt.

The Sun quote a source as saying: "He was livid about the sound and took out his anger on stage without considering the consequences. His guitar is now ruined. The crowd were oblivious to the sound difficulties but the Kings want every show to be perfect. When they came off stage tempers flared and they were effing and blinding at each other. It was really nasty before their tour manager stepped in. They were even threatening to pull out of Oxegen".

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REVEREND MCCLURE ON BECKHAM AND IRAQ
John McClure of Reverend and The Makers has said that David Beckham missed an opportunity to stop the war in Iraq by not speaking out about the invasion at the time. Perhaps Beckham was in favour of it. Some people were.

Anyway, telling The Mirror that he believes celebs have a responsibility to use their fame for good, McClure said: "If David Beckham had of spoken out about Iraq it wouldn't have happened, I honestly believe that hand on heart, or Britain certainly wouldn't have got involved. Beckham's cultural gravitas was as such in that period that if he'd have gone, 'I don't want this war in Iraq, it's an awful thing, we should not do it', it wouldn't have happened, the public would've gone mad against it. But because he kept his gob shut, and everybody else did, it happened, we sleepwalked our way there".

You know, back in the day, I used to have a degree of sympathy for the viewpoint that celebrities should leave politics to the politicians who know what they are talking about. Especially the stupid celebrities. But the more I see of the greedy, career focussed clowns that are actually running the country, the more I think that they don't know much about politics either. So come on, celebrities. Use your superpowers for good. With great power, comes great responsibility. Stan Lee said it, so it must be true.

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