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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Government reject key licencing act reforms
New Zealand announces more formal three-strikes proposal
Administrators given court clearance to start negotiating on behalf of Jackson's estate
Mail hack calls on Dr Murray to talk to La Toya
Jacko nurse: He was like a living corpse
Reznor clarifies NIN situation
In The Pop Courts
Chinese Democracy leaker gets probation
Pharrell in legal dispute over leaks
Dane Bowers released without charge following crash
In The Pop Hospital
Conductor Edward Downes dies
Tokio Hotel drummer hit with bottles
Awards & Contests
Brand to host MTV Awards again
Reunions & Splits
Girls Aloud's gap year
Little Man Tate split
Ozzy ditches guitarist
Artist Deals
The Leisure Society sign deal with Full Time Hobby
In The Studio
Ludacris ghost writes for Dr Dre
Cowell angry at Burke leaks
Release News
Friendly Fires announce new single
The Strokes' Casablancas to release solo LP
Gigs N Tours News
Kiwi police concerned that The Game is coming
Pearl Jam announce intimate London show
Reviews
Single review: The xx - Basic Space (Young Turks)
The Music Business
AIM to put pressure on BBC Radio
Five Borders shops to close
The Digital Business
Microsoft considering Spotify type service
The Media Business
BBC admit global interest in Top Of The Pops
Moyles hits out at the BBC's post-Sachsgate rules
And finally...
Cheryl Cole wants to put on weight
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Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
WEDNESDAY 15TH JULY


MPHO
MPHO is a name you're almost certain to have seen or heard somewhere in the last couple of months, and you'll hear and see it even more after she releases her debut single, 'Box N Locks', on 20 Jul via Parlophone and Wall Of Sound. Sampling Martha And The Muffins' 'Echo Beach' and featuring lyrics that attack preconceptions about her music (possibly before you had any), she packs quite a punch. Her debut album, 'Pop Art', is set for release later this year and she has a number of live dates, including at the Lovebox and Reading festivals, in the coming months. We spoke to the lady herself to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
It kind of happened by default. I grew up with the opportunity available, in a musical home with musicians around constantly... It wasn't really a conscious choice until after it started.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Living and growing up in London, being of mixed ethnicity and cultural background, and loving an eclectic range of music. I wanna be and do it all. I think most people do... So why not try?

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It really depends, sometimes I start writing alone, in my head. Sometimes I go into the studio and start with a producer from scratch, sometimes I write to a pre written track. And then I build it from there... I like interesting vocal arrangements.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Prince, Kate Bush, Outkast. Influence and inspiration are different things. I'm inspired by lots of artists whose music you won't hear in mine.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Just listen, don't think too much, let it just be what it is.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
World domination! Seriously... World domination.

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

 
THE RUSKINS
The Ruskins, aka Eamon, Dave and Ricky, first burst onto the scene in 2007 and have gone from jamming at home on Isleworth's Worton Estate in West London to stirring up a frenzy at the Islington Academy. They've already been cropping up at festivals like Hop Farm and Beach Break Live, and have a small acoustic set lined up for this weekend's Benicassim. Having seen these guys live a few times now, it's clear the cheeky trio know how to charm the crowd with their catchy ska-infused take on modern rock; lead singer Eamon delivers his everyday-inspired lyrics at the speed of lightening, creating a kind of Libertines mixed with The Coral jiggly-indie vibe. Having already gained praise from the likes of BBC's Huw Stevens, Xfm's Steve Harris, and with their track 'Slowdown Jessica' recently chosen by Steve Lamacq as his Demo Of The Week on Radio 1, The Ruskins seem to be heading in the right direction and are definitely ones to keep your eyes on throughout 2009.

www.myspace.com/theruskins
 
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




 

 

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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GOVERNMENT REJECT KEY LICENCING ACT REFORMS
The live music industry has criticised the government for ignoring various key suggestions made by a parliamentary select committee regarding reforms of the 2003 Licensing Act - in particular in relation to exempting smaller venues and scrapping the controversial Form 696. As much previously reported, the 2003 reform of live entertainment licensing in the UK resulted in good things and bad things, and the live sector has recently been busy lobbying political types to address the bad things and overcome the problems they have caused.

One key aim was to try and get smaller venues, so less than 200 capacity, exempted from much of the new licensing rules. It's argued that the bureaucracy venue owners must now navigate to stage live music, post-2003, is resulting in fewer and fewer smaller and pub venues staging music events, and that's bad news for the grass roots music community. Another concern is the controversial and much previously reported music licencing Form 696, introduced by the Metropolitan Police under new powers given to local authorities by the 2003 act, which promoters and artists say asks for far too much unnecessary information about planned gigs and artists playing at them.

Those doing the lobbying earlier this year welcomed a report by parliament's Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee which addressed a number of their concerns, and proposed a small venue exemption and the abolition of the Form 696. But they were less impressed yesterday when the government rejected both those select committee recommendations.

Confirming that was the case, the Department Of Culture, Media & Sport told reporters it had "not been able to reach agreement on [small venue] exemptions that [they believe] will deliver an increase in live music", while on Form 696 it noted concerns within the live industry but said that, as this was a Met Police form, it was up to the Met Police to decide whether or not to keep using it. Which kind of misunderstands the entire point of the democratic political process I think - besides, the issue really was that the new act gives local authorities, including local police forces, too much power, which they are in danger of abusing, as, some would argue, the Met and local London councils are doing with the Form 696. That's a problem with the Act and is for government and parliament, and not the Met, to address.

Commenting on the DCMS's decision, cross-sector music business trade body UK Music said they were "extremely disappointed by the government's response. At a time when the British music industry is facing significant recessionary pressure and government's own research indicates a 5% decrease in the number of venues available to aspiring young musicians and performers, we had hoped, wrongly, that this government would endeavour to provide the most supportive framework possible for our industry. Today it has not".

A disappointed Feargal Sharkey, who has led the music business' lobbying efforts in this domain, both in his current role as boss of UK Music, and in his last job as chair of the Live Music Forum, told CMU: "After six years of legislation, eight consultations, two government research projects, two national review processes and a parliamentary select committee report, all of which have highlighted the harmful impact these regulations are having on the British music industry, government's only reaction is yet another review".

He continued: "Yet again we are told to wait. Yet again we are told that there will be another new review process, more meetings and yet another group, this time charged specifically with trying to develop loopholes which exploit a deeply flawed and ill-conceived Licensing Act. At what point does someone within government become brave enough to acknowledge that it is time to raise a hand, time to admit they have got it wrong and time to fix it. To recall the words of one former party leader, 'Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing'".

The Liberal Democrats also hit out at the government's decision regarding the select committee's recommendations on honing licensing legislation, and yesterday announced they would put a bill to parliament addressing some of the live sector's concerns. The Live Music Bill proposes the exemption for smaller venues, as well as the reintroduction of the 'two in a bar' rule whereby two musicians can play in a bar (or anywhere public really) without the need for a licence. They also propose that hospitals, schools and colleges should be allowed to stage live music events without a licence.

The Lib Dem's culture spokesman, Tim Clement-Jones, who is launching the legislation in the House Of Lords, told CMU: "We were literally promised 'an explosion' of live music when the Licensing Act went through in 2003, yet the reality has been a major reduction in performances in the small venues which are so important to new artists. This bill will provide crucial exemptions and free small venues from the bureaucracy and cost of the act which I am sure will be of major benefit to Britain's talented musicians and the many millions of people who enjoy live music".

Of course an opposition bill won't actually affect the law - unless something remarkable happens - but it does give the music industry's case a formal framing. Sharkey says he backs Clement-Jones' proposals, telling CMU: "What is most surprising is that British music must now rely on opposition parties to support the future of our industry. That is why we will be supporting the introduction of the Liberal Democrat Live Music Bill. This is opposition legislation specifically designed to tackle the key issues in the Licensing Act 2003; key issues which damage our industry and which provide a platform for the unattractive and immoral principles of Form 696".

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NEW ZEALAND ANNOUNCES MORE FORMAL THREE-STRIKES PROPOSAL
Three-strikes is back on the agenda in New Zealand. As those paying attention will remember, the New Zealand parliament sneaked through the controversial system for tackling online piracy earlier this year, but once it was law it was pointed out that no one had really worked out how it would actually work, so the whole thing was put on hold.

Three-strikes is, of course, a system whereby those who persistently access or share unlicensed content online are sent two or three warning letters that they are infringing copyrights and then, if they fail to heed those warnings, their ISPs are forced to cut off their net access. As previously reported, it's been discussed quite a bit over here, but is not currently on the government's agenda. It is, however, in the process of being introduced in France. Wherever the system is proposed ISPs, consumer rights groups and pro-file-sharing types all object loudly.

One big problem is how the warning letters are distributed and who, ultimately, decides if someone should be cut off. The whole idea of three-strikes is that content owners can act against infringers without having to go to the time and effort of taking each web-user to court. But some consumer rights types and legal people have a problem with the idea that people could lose their internet connections without there being a formal court hearing first. That very issue was raised by France's Constitutional Council and has forced the French government to rethink how its three-strike system will work.

In New Zealand the specifics of how three-strikes would work were completely lacking from the original proposals, meaning the issue of who decides who gets disconnected, and what routes of appeal are available to those accused of infringement, weren't considered at all. It seems politicians hoped content owners and ISPs could work that out for themselves, but as ISPs are opposed to the idea completely, there was no incentive for them to quickly come up with a voluntary code for administering the three-strike proposal.

Anyway, a New Zealand government working party has now drawn up a more formal process for how three-strikes might work. Under this system stage one would see the content owner lodge a complaint with an infringer's ISP, who would be obligated to notify their customer of the complaint. If illegal file-sharing continues the content owner would issue a cease-and-desist order, which would presumably be issued via the infringer's net provider too.

If file-sharing still continues, the content owner would lodge a complaint with the country's Copyright Tribunal, who would get the infringer's name and address off their ISP and issue a formal infringement notice. The user would then be obligated to reach an out of court settlement with the content owner, or to face a tribunal hearing. It's at that hearing that the alleged infringer would presumably have the opportunity to defend themselves. If the infringer loses at the hearing the Tribunal will be able to order a range of penalties, from fines to disconnection.

The hope is that that system is suitably judicial to satisfy those whose opposition to three-strikes is putting the power of disconnection into the hands of content owners or civil servants, but at the same time a more efficient way to fight piracy than traditional primary infringement litigation against suspected file-sharers.

According to Billboard, New Zealand's Commerce Minister Simon Power told reporters: "We need to provide a fair and efficient process to address repeat copyright offending. Unlawful file-sharing is very costly to New Zealand's creative industries and I am determined to deal with it".

The boss of the Australasian Performing Right Association, Anthony Healey, gave the proposals a cautious welcome, saying: "From our perspective, what is encouraging is that it focuses on the role ISPs need to play in solving to this problem. We hope that once they realise that they can't get away with doing simply nothing, that will lead us to better licensing opportunities".

It remains to be seen how many of the people who staged a high profile and global campaign against the New Zealand three-strike system when it first became law are satisfied with the more formalised process behind the disconnection system. Not all will be, but enough might be to enable political types to ignore those who continue to loudly oppose. Time will tell.

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ADMINISTRATORS GIVEN COURT CLEARANCE TO START NEGOTIATING ON BEHALF OF JACKSON'S ESTATE
Michael Jackson's estate is open for business people. On Monday the administrators of the late singer's estate were given permission to temporarily re-open his business affairs, in order to start putting things in order, and also to start talking to AEG about the contractual implications of the collapse of the planned This Is It residency at The O2 which was, of course, due to kick off this week.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff gave Jacko's previously reported administrators, John Branca and John McClain, quite a wide range of powers over the late singer's affairs, at least until that previously reported 3 Aug court hearing which will review a load of matters relating to Jackson's estate. They will be able to put Jackson's physical belongings into storage and to hire business and tax experts to start analysing his finances and various business deals, albeit with those advisor's fees subject to court approval.

A spokesman for the two administrators, attorney Paul Gordon Hoffman, said his clients had moved to get immediate control over Jackson's affairs so they could "begin to take the actions necessary to preserve the assets of the estate and address the needs of Jackson's three children".

As previously reported, the Jackson family are not especially pleased that Branca and McClain were named administrators in Jackson's 2002 will, and have argued that Branca, a former business advisor of the singer, had not been actively associated with Michael's affairs for some time, though he argues that, by coincidence, he had been rehired by the singer a few months before his demise.

Hoffman confirmed that the Jackson family had told the administrators that they planned to apply to have the court name Jacko's mother Katherine as a third trustee on the estate, though added that the legal process that would be required to make that happen doesn't seem to have been initiated. Hoffman said that Branca and McClain were keeping Katherine very much in touch on developments, options and decisions and that while the singer's mother still wanted a formal role in relation to the estate, she seemed to be happy with the two administrators work to date.

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MAIL HACK CALLS ON DR MURRAY TO TALK TO LA TOYA
One of the journalists who interviewed La Toya Jackson last week has urged Michael Jackson's former personal doctor Conrad Murray to get in touch with the late singer's family.

As previously reported, La Toya told journalists from two UK tabloids last week that she believed her brother had been murdered by being deliberately given an overdose. The interviewer from one of those papers, the Mail On Sunday, seems to think that the late king of pop's sister suspects Murray may have been involved in that conspiracy, or at least know something about it, and says the medic should speak to La Toya to address those suspicions.

As previously reported, Murray was questioned by LA police within a day of Jackson's death, and they said they were confident he had no part to play in the singer's demise. Murray also denied reports that he had administered a shot of a prescription drug to Jackson minutes or hours before his death. At the time Murray's attorney said the doctor had nothing to hide, and was more than happy to help in any investigations that might throw light on how his former boss and patient came to die.

But Mail On Sunday hack Caroline Graham has told US talk show host Larry King that the family still think Murray has questions to answer, if only because Jacko reportedly died while in Murray's room at the singer's rented Hollywood home. Graham: "Why doesn't Dr Murray talk to La Toya? She wants to talk to him. The family would love to speak to him. She told me that the room [where he died] was beside Michael's big bedroom. He had a big bedroom. Across the hallway was a small room. Maybe Dr Murray wasn't sleeping there. It was described to her as Murray's bedroom. Michael's daughter Paris said that that was Dr Murray's room and that when daddy was in there getting his oxygen the children were not allowed in there".

Asked by King if she was accusing Murray of murder, Graham continued, diplomatically: "I think she certainly has a lot of questions that she would love to ask Dr Murray. And he's just not available to speak".

In related news, it's been reported that La Toya was "compensated" for talking to the Mail about her brother's death. It's not clear what that means, though some are sure to criticise the Jackson sibling if she's seen to profit from her brother's death.

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JACKO NURSE: HE WAS LIKE A LIVING CORPSE
And now a little more on Jackson's use of those prescription drugs which may or may not have killed him. The partner of one of the singer's former surgeons has claimed that in the nineties Jackson was a "persistent user" of a sedative called Diprivan, a drug which made him seem like a "living corpse".

Nurse Kathryn Buschelle told The Sun: "Michael's obsession with his appearance led to more and more skin treatments and his subsequent addiction to Diprivan led to even more. It was an insane cycle. He was literally burning his skin off and then being knocked out like a zombie. It reads like a horror movie script. Towards the end of the 90s he was a dead man walking, that's how zoned out he was".

She continued: "He would stay a few days, sometimes spending as long as 72 hours under [sedation]. Michael effectively mummified himself. He'd just lie like a living corpse".

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REZNOR CLARIFIES NIN SITUATION
Trent Reznor's announcement earlier this year that he intended to end Nine Inch Nails' life as a live band and make it "go away for a while" raised questions about what the future had in store. In a new interview, Reznor has clarified things a little.

He told The Philippines Inquirer: "What I specifically said or meant to convey is that NIN as a touring live band or live band that's on the road all the time is stopping. I've just reached the point ... where it has invaded every other aspect of my life. Also I think creatively, my time would be better spent on other stuff that could be NIN or outside NIN. Some of it may be collaborative things. I have a number of projects that are not music-related which I have put on the back burner for a long time..."

He added: "I'd never want to be Gene Simmons, an old man who puts on make up to entertain kids, like a clown going to work ... In my paranoia, I fear that if I don't stop this, it could become that. Because it's nice to get a pay cheque, and now the only way to get a pay cheque is to play live, so it's all those things swirling around in my head".

The interview moved onto one of Reznor's favourite topics, the future of the music business in the digital age. As a widely regarded innovator in the online music space, Reznor observed: "It [the music business] is a kind of Mafia-type run business ... They have systematically taken advantage of artists over the years from The Beatles onwards. ... To see that system collapse is an exciting thing. There isn't a clear answer on what the right thing to do is right now, and as a musician you're up against a pretty difficult scenario: most kids feel it's OK to steal music, and do freely ... The good news is that people are excited and interested in music ...I'm trying everything I can to contribute to when that next model does come up, whatever it might be, whether it's subscriptions or whatever, where the artist is more fairly represented and has a say and is compensated, and you're not paying for jets for record label CEOs ... They're in their last moments of death and I'm happy to see them go 'cause they're all thieves and liars".

Nine Inch Nails play their last ever UK show tonight at London's O2 Arena.

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CHINESE DEMOCRACY LEAKER GETS PROBATION
The US blogger who pleaded guilty to leaking part of the Guns n Roses album 'Chinese Democracy' online has been sentenced to a year's probation and two months of home confinement by a federal judge.

Kevin Cogill, who, as previously reported, posted nine tracks from the then long, long, long awaited LP online last year, prior to its November 2008 release, explained in court that his intention was to promote the band, not hurt it.

Federal prosecutors had requested that Cogill serve jail time, but the judge, Paul Abrams, said he felt that the blogger had learned his lesson. Cogill will also be required to give up his computers to government scrutiny, and will record a public service announcement for the RIAA.

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PHARRELL IN LEGAL DISPUTE OVER LEAKS
More leaks, of a different kind. The watery kind, to be precise. Pharrell Williams is currently involved in a legal battle over water leaks at his $14m Miami condo.

The Neptunes man has been named in a suit against the former owner of his Bristol Towers home, Ugo Colombo. A neighbour claims that leaks from six places in the apartment Williams now occupies caused huge amounts of damage to his property, and stopped him living there. Earlier litigation relating to the actual leaks has been resolved, but neighbour Hector Lopez is now suing to cover his legal costs, claiming Colombo previously promised to do so.

However, with Colombo no longer living in the formerly leaking apartment, and with Williams apparently aware of the ongoing legal dispute when he bought the property, he too is being named as a defendant in the new lawsuit. Which seems a little unfair, but that's American lawsuits for you. Sue everyone you can etc.

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DANE BOWERS RELEASED WITHOUT CHARGE FOLLOWING CRASH
Dane Bowers will not face charges following his involvement in a car crash near the home of his ex-girlfriend Katie Price, aka Jordan.

The former Another Level irritant and a male companion were arrested on suspicion of drink driving following the collision, which took place in Woldingham, on 27 May. Police found that the pair's Vauxhall Tigra had run into a hedge, after they were alerted to a loud noise in the area.

A Surrey Police spokeswoman said: "Following extensive inquiries two men, a 26-year-old from Peterborough and a 29-year-old from South Croydon, who were arrested on Tuesday May 26 in Woldingham, have been released with no further action".

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CONDUCTOR EDWARD DOWNES DIES
Conductor Edward Downes and his wife Joan, a former ballet dancer, died together at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland last Friday, aged 85 and 74 respectively, it has been revealed. Joan had become "very ill" and Edward was becoming blind and deaf, as well as suffering other ailments.

Edward Downes' manager Jonathan Groves told The Independent: "It was a shock to all his friends and colleagues because it was something he and Joan planned very much within their family. None of us were aware this was going to happen until after they had died. It was very typical of the way he lived his life. I do not think there is anyone anywhere who has lived his life with more self-determination than Ted did. The decision that he and Joan made to end their lives in the way they did was a very typically brave and courageous decision. They were absolutely devoted to each other".

Their son and daughter, Caractacus and Boudicca, said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our parents Edward and Joan Downes on Friday 10 Jul. After 54 happy years together, they decided to end their own lives rather than continue to struggle with serious health problems. They died peacefully and under circumstances of their own choosing, with the help of the Swiss organisation Dignitas, in Zurich".

They continued: "Our father, who was 85 years old, almost blind and increasingly deaf, had a long, vigorous and distinguished career as a conductor. Our mother, who was 74, started her career as a ballet dancer and subsequently worked as a choreographer and TV producer, before dedicating the last years of her life to working as our father's personal assistant. They both lived life to the full and considered themselves to be extremely lucky to have lived such rewarding lives, both professionally and personally".

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TOKIO HOTEL DRUMMER HIT WITH BOTTLES
Tokio Hotel drummer Gustav Schaefer was treated in hospital on Sunday morning after he was involved in a fight outside a club in his hometown of Magdeburg in Germany. He reportedly received cuts to the head after he was hit several times with two beer bottles.

The band's manager David Jost said in a statement: "Gustav was admitted to the hospital emergency room around 4.30am. The cuts on his head were stitched up immediately".

Schaefer is reported to be pressing charges against his attacker.

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BRAND TO HOST MTV AWARDS AGAIN
Russell Brand will become the first person ever to host the MTV Video Music Awards two years in a row this September.

Brand caused controversy when he hosted last year's event when, amongst other things, he referred to the then US president George W Bush as "that retarded cowboy fella", and mocked The Jonas Brothers for being against pre-marital sex. He promised that this year's event would be "a controversy-free festival of love". I'm assuming that's not what MTV re-hired him for.

You can find out if he manages to stop his mouth flapping out of control when the awards are held at New York's Radio City Music Hall on 13 Sep.

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GIRLS ALOUD'S GAP YEAR
Girl Aloud Sarah Harding has announced that her group are going to have a year off to concentrate on other things. She told Heat that life in the band had become too tough, but that they will be back again in the future. Probably.

She told Heat: "It's not fun when it feels like groundhog year. We've been on a treadmill for six years and need a break. It's very difficult when there are five of you trying to make decisions. Three might vote to do something that you don't want to do - that can be frustrating. We'll probably start doing another album next year".

Explaining her plans, she added: "I'm still going to do music. It's my first love. I want to concentrate on acting, but it's not going to stop me from doing some writing. I may be doing some work on the ['St. Trinian's: The Legend of Fritton's'] soundtrack, as well as appearing in it, which is exciting".

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LITTLE MAN TATE SPLIT
Little Man Tate have decided to split following four years together. The band have announced that they will play their final gig in their hometown of Sheffield on 3 Oct.

The group explained in a statement: "The land of LMT has been quiet for some time now and I suppose now is as good a time as any to break the sad news that we've decided to call it a day as Little Man Tate and bring to an end what has been an amazing four years of tours around the world, singles in the hit parade and some of the best times of our lives. Without dragging this on too much, it's something that we have sat down and discussed at length for a while now and we have decided that after a good innings, we've achieved what we set out to do and it's time we moved on to other things. We're all still good mates and we'll carry on supporting each other whatever we decide to go on and do from here. What we do know is that you, the fans, made it all possible for us and we'll never forget the loyalty you've showed us over the years and the unbelievably joyous atmospheres you've managed to create from as far away as Tokyo to our beloved streets of Sheffield".

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OZZY DITCHES GUITARIST
Ozzy Osbourne has dropped his guitarist of 22 years, Zakk Wylde. We can assume the split isn't amicable, as Wylde only found out when he read the news in Classic Rock magazine.

Wylde not only thought that he was signed up to work on Osbourne's next solo album, due for release next year, but had already recorded most of it. He confirmed earlier this year: "We started working on it already. We're going to go in the studio with Ozz [in April] and knock out a couple more songs and the album should be done. Then Ozz has to sing on it".

But in a new interview with Classic Rock, Ozzy revealed that he is planning to work with former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 instead. He said: "I'm getting a new guitar player as we speak, and everyone has been saying to me for a long time, 'Get Johnny 5!' And I tried him at one time and I didn't really give him a chance. We'll see, I don't know. I haven't fallen out with Zakk, but Zakk's got his own band, and I felt like my stuff was beginning to sound like [that band] Black Label Society. I just felt like I wanted a change, you know?"

Wylde responded via Twitter, saying: "This is news to me. I haven't heard anything about this. Until I talk to the Boss, I don't know. I love Ozzy".

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THE LEISURE SOCIETY SIGN DEAL WITH FULL TIME HOBBY
London/Brighton band The Leisure Society have signed a label deal with London-based independent Full Time Hobby. The label is to re-release the band's self produced debut 'The Sleeper', originally issued via the band's own label Willkommen in March, in the UK on 5 Oct, and hope to also get it distributed in the US. The reissued LP includes the track 'The Last Of The Melting Snow', which, as previously reported, won band member Nick Hemmings an Ivor Novello Awards nomination earlier this year. The re-release will also include a bonus eight track EP featuring b-sides and demos.

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LUDACRIS GHOST WRITES FOR DR DRE
Dr Dre has been working, on and off, on his third solo album, 'Detox', for nearly ten years now. Although he hasn't, apparently, been writing lyrics for it. Rapper Ludacris has been doing that. Well, for some tracks at least. And now a demo version of a track from the album, featuring guide vocals provided by Ludacris, has appeared online.

Confirming that 'OG's Theme' is indeed what it claims to be, Ludacris said via Twitter: "Not sure how this leaked ... It was fun trying [to sound like Dre]".

Check out Ludacris pretending to be Dre and complaining about people pretending to be him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9AqCktfTYY

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COWELL ANGRY AT BURKE LEAKS
Simon Cowell is reportedly furious that demo versions of tracks by 'X Factor' winner Alexandra Burke have been leaked, after hackers got into a computer at his Syco label and pinched them. Initially the tracks were purported to be finished versions, but the label say this is not the case.

A source at Syco told The Sun: "The leaked songs are very rough early demos which were recorded months ago. We don't even know yet if they will make the final cut. Label bosses are furious and everyone is in a panic. Sony have spent thousands of pounds over the past few weeks investigating the sources of the leaks. We are now pretty close to nailing the people responsible but it's been a nightmare".

Fellow 2008 'X Factor' contestant Diana Vickers also confirmed this week that one of her new tracks had been leaked. But no one cared.

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FRIENDLY FIRES ANNOUNCE NEW SINGLE
CMU favourites Friendly Fires have announced that they will release a brand new single, 'Kiss Of Life', on 31 Aug. They will also re-release their eponymous debut album on the same day, which will feature 'Kiss Of Life', two other new tracks ('Relationships' and 'Bored Of Each Other'), four remixes and a DVD of their show at the Forum in London earlier this year.

'Kiss Of Life' was premiered on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show on Monday, so if you want to hear it, get on the iPlayer. Or you can stay up late and watch the video on Channel 4 at 12.15am on 23 Jul.

The band will also play a special homecoming show in St Albans on 3 Sep. Tickets are available now exclusively from www.wearefriendlyfires.com and www.crowdsurge.com/friendlyfires

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THE STROKES' CASABLANCAS TO RELEASE SOLO LP
According to NME.com, The Strokes' Julian Casablancas is to release a solo album, which will be released in the autumn. 'Phrazes For The Young' was recorded in New York, Nebraska and Los Angeles, and was produced by Jason Lader and also by Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis. More info from www.juliancasablancas.com.

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KIWI POLICE CONCERNED THAT THE GAME IS COMING
Police in New Zealand don't sound like they are especially pleased with the idea of rapper The Game performing in the country. One police chief told the country's Daily Post this week: "I understand [the] concerns of a lot of people. We know from experience having these sorts of performers is not helpful in terms of community safety. His message is a very bad one. He is certainly not someone I would be promoting as a role model for our young people. In fact, he is quite the opposite. He encourages them to get themselves into trouble".

I'm not sure that's entirely fair - while it's true The Game, real name Jayceon Taylor, did once have gang links and has a criminal past, that's hardly rare in the world of US hip hop, though the rapper's more recent run in with the law after he threatened a man at gunpoint after a basketball game next to an LA school may have tarnished his rep with law enforcers a bit. The Aussie promoter behind Taylor's New Zealand dates insists the rapper has overcome his shady past and, in doing so, is, in fact, "a positive role model for youth". So much so Taylor plans to speak to students at at least one high school while in the country. News which I'm not sure will please that police guy all that much. But I'm sure it'll all be fine, providing no one challenges The Game to a game of basketball.

No such police concerns for The Game's London gig on Friday I don't think. He plays the Hammersmith Apollo on Friday night at a gig promoted by new music company Seventy Entertainment. New acts signed to the company - Scrabull and Kosha - will support.

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PEARL JAM ANNOUNCE INTIMATE LONDON SHOW
Pearl Jam have announced that they will play London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on 11 Aug ahead of two larger arena shows. Fans who pre-order the band's new album, 'Backspacer', will be given an exclusive 48hr pre-sale link, which will work on 21-22 Jul, ahead of tickets being made available to the public at large.

The band will also play Manchester's MEN Arena on 17 Aug and London's O2 Arena on 18 Aug. Those shows are sold out already, and the Shepherd's Bush show is likely to go the same way very quickly, so you probably won't get to see them. If it's any consolation, I have seen them twice and they always play too bloody long. I would imagine that they will also insist on playing mostly tracks from their new album, which will be tedious. You're not really missing out.

Speaking of that new album, it's out on 21 Sep. It will be preceded by a single, 'The Fixer', on 7 Sep. It'll probably be as dull as, er, everything else they've released in the last ten years.

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SINGLE REVIEW: The xx - Basic Space (Beggars/Young Turks)
There's just something about The xx that surely makes some think "why bother with these pretentious morons?" From the unnecessary lower case letters in the name (the same number you might find in the title of a dodgy Vin Diesel movie), to their insistence that, although they went to the same school as Burial and Hot Chip, they stand alone in their "universal resonance", there's just something instantly dislikable about the whole package. As with The Horrors though, the aesthetic doesn't matter when the substance is actually quite good. And it really is on this, their second single. It's sparse, pleasant, calming pop, with the combination of male and female vocals adding to a sensuality alraedy offered by the delicate percussion and tingly guitar. A pleasant surprise and one that, despite everything, comes highly recommended. Look out for the debut album, also out in August. TM
Release Date: 3 Aug
Press Contact: XL IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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AIM TO PUT PRESSURE ON BBC RADIO
Members of the Association Of Independent Music have voted for the trade body to step up its lobbying efforts with the BBC in a bid to encourage the Corporation to better champion independent music on its flagship music stations Radio 1 and Radio 2. Such lobbying was proposed during a 'Big Ideas' session at the trade body's annual general meeting, where members were encouraged to propose what the trade body should prioritise in this, its tenth year in existence.

Various indie label speakers at the AGM claimed that major label music consistently dominates the daytime playlists of both BBC stations, and that when indie label music is played it often comes from one of the bigger independents like Domino, Ministry Of Sound or XL. AIM boss Alison Wenham said she was meeting the Beeb's youth controller Andy Parfitt, who oversees Radio 1, next month, and would raise the issue with him then.

Quick to respond the BBC, under attack from all sorts of quarters of late, said in a statement: "We aim to play music our listeners will enjoy, irrespective of what label the artists are on, but independent labels are well represented in both our playlists - Radio 1 currently features 10 independent artists on a playlist of 48, while Radio 2 has seven out of 30 - and across our schedules, particularly in Radio 2 shows like Bob Harris, Janice Long and Radcliffe & Maconie, and in Radio 1's specialist output where only a quarter of the music played is from major labels. We talk to representatives from all areas of the industry on an ongoing basis and value their input, and we will continue to support and nurture new British artists".

In more formal matters at the AIM AGM, four new people were elected to the trade body's board: Billy Grant of 2Point9 Records, Natalie Judge of Matador Records, Jeremy Lascelles of Chrysalis Music and Simon Wills of Absolute Marketing and Distribution.

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FIVE BORDERS SHOPS TO CLOSE
Borders has confirmed it is closing down five of its stores in the UK and Ireland. The affected shops are in Dublin, Swindon, Llantrisant and London Colney, and its flagship store on Oxford Street in London. The books and CDs retailer says it has sold the leases on the five stores to fashion retailer New Look - closing down sales have begun in affected shops. The closures come as Borders UK talks to private equity types about a sale of the whole retail chain.

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MICROSOFT CONSIDERING SPOTIFY TYPE SERVICE
The Telegraph reports that Microsoft is developing its own streaming music service, in a Spotify stylee, though specifics about the new platform are as yet a little vague. The broadsheet yesterday quoted an MSN exec, Peter Bale, as saying: "Music is an important area for Microsoft. We are looking at launching a music streaming service imminently. It will be a similar principle to Spotify but we are still examining how the business model will work". It's not clear what Microsoft brand would be used for the new service, though it's thought it might be made available via MSN, Xbox and Zune.

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BBC ADMIT GLOBAL INTEREST IN TOP OF THE POPS
A senior exec at the BBC's commercial division, BBC Worldwide, has admitted that while the main bit of the Corporation has no current plans to resurrect legendary pop show Top Of The Pops, over and above occasional special editions, other broadcasters around the world are eager to licence the iconic telly franchise.

Local versions of the show previously aired in places like Holland, Belgium, Italy, France, New Zealand, Germany and the Middle East, and BBC Worldwide's Salim Mukaddam has told Billboard he's been approached from a number of international broadcasters about launching new editions of the pop telly shows, with one even proposing a TOTP channel.

He told the trade magazine: "There's huge demand. We're actually talking to some of the international producers and broadcasters who did some of the international versions about trying to do tailored versions for their territories", but he admitted that global versions of the show are less attractive without a British version feeding it with London-filmed performances from current UK and US talent. He continued: "If the BBC brought it back we would be fully behind it commercialising it internationally, absolutely. If it came back [to BBC 1] tomorrow [international broadcasters] would take it".

As previously reported, the dummies at the Beeb axed the show back in 2006 declaring the programme irrelevant in the internet age, while failing to recognise that declining ratings were down to poor scheduling, some terrible production decisions made by Andi "I really wanted to work on CD:UK' Peters, and the fact that main host Fearne Cotton is the most talentless presenter in the history of British broadcasting. The format was fine, mismanagement the problem.

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MOYLES HITS OUT AT THE BBC'S POST-SACHSGATE RULES
Chris Moyles has hit out at all those new rules the BBC has introduced in the wake of last year's Sachsgate hoo haa. Speaking to the Radio Times, the Radio 1 breakfast host says the new rules are in danger of ruining the shows of more controversial presenters like himself, who, he reckons, appeal to listeners because of the edgy nature of their on air banter, which makes a refreshing change from the tedious link machines used on many other music radio stations.

Moyles: "We're not trying to change the world but because radio is so boring anyone different stands out. So the BBC is throwing down rules and regulations on you and then the newspapers are saying certain things and you're just trying to juggle everything while keeping everyone happy at the same time. And the reality is that you can't keep everyone happy all the time".

Responding to Moyles remarks, a BBC spokesman told reporters: "Chris is never backwards in coming forwards but, while he is entitled to his opinion, we think that lively, distinctive and risk-taking radio is alive and well at the BBC. We have a duty to ensure all our programmes are editorially compliant, but that doesn't mean our producers and presenters can't take creative risks if it means better programmes for listeners".

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MTV2/MYSPACE CHART
It's the MTV2/MySpace chart, based on votes by MTV2 viewers on MySpace. The top ten this week is as follows...

1. [1] Elliot Minor - Solaris
2. [NE] Bloc Party - One More Chance
3. [5] Fightstar - Never Change
4. [9] Madina Lake - Let's Get Outta Here
5. [3] The Maccabees - Can You Give It
6. [6] Maximo Park - Questioning Not Coasting
7. [7] Bat For Lashes - Pearl's Dream
8. 10] Linkin Park - New Divide
9. [RE] Green Day - 21 Guns
10. [NE] Metro Station - Seventeen Forever

Meanwhile, added to the list for viewer voting this week are...

Eminem - Beautiful
Jay-Z - D.O.A
Jet - She's A Genius
Peter Doherty - Broken Love Song
Simian Mobile Disco - Audacity Of Huge

More at www.myspace.com/mtvtwo

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CHERYL COLE WANTS TO PUT ON WEIGHT
According to the Daily Star, Girl Aloud Cheryl Cole is eating six meals a day in a bid to put some weight on, following 'concern' in the media that she had got pale and fragile looking. Their source claims that she didn't want to be so skinny, saying "She had no idea she'd lost so much until she saw the pictures". I wonder if she noticed that her clothes were falling off her? Or that she'd gone down to a size nothing? Ah well, at least the media stepped in to save her, with their candid shots and no-doubt constructive criticism.

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