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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
The all new Pirate Bay sign up former Grokster chief
Video of Jacko's hair fire incident online
In The Pop Courts
Winehouse and Fielder-Civil divorce
Brandy settles car crash suit
C-Murder's friend confesses to killing
In The Pop Hospital
One person killed as Madonna stage collapses
Auf Der Maur has swine flu
Awards & Contests
Founder defends Polaris prize
Reunions & Splits
Rapture bassist quits
Mick Jones up for producing Libertines 3
Artist Deals
Ono signs rights deal for Lennon recordings
In The Studio
Fifth Elbow album to be shoegaze/R&B hybrid
Alphabeat working with Xenomania
Release News
Houston previews new music
Frankmusik covers Pet Shop Boys
Muse treasure hunt launches
Kid Sister album stuff
Festival News
Doves, Biffy, etc, added to headliners
Brands N Stuff
More acts added to Guinness worldwide anniversary bash
The Music Business
Borders sold
Lib Dems live music bill passed at first hearing
PRS launch code of conduct
Labels want MCPS to change mechanical royalties rate system
AIM call for MCPS to share the risk in Pinnacle-style collapses
PPL's pub rates dispute to go to Tribunal
The Digital Business
Beggars do Kerchoonz deal
The Media Business
BBC Trust man defends being outspoken on licence slicing proposals
Daytime rejig at Radio 1
Teletext to close
And finally...
Horne wants to launch record label
Jordan will not go pop
Paolo Nutini struggles with Italian
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
FRIDAY 17TH JULY


MASTER SHORTIE
Theo Kerlin, aka Master Shortie, has become something of a poster boy for a new wave of DIY UK rap, having - before he even got out of his teens - set up his own record label, toured with the likes of The Roots, Basement Jaxx, Roots Manuva, White Lies and Hadouken!, and got his name on the BBC's Sound Of 2009 list. Although his career began somewhat differently, playing the role of Simba in the West End production of 'The Lion King'. He released his new single, 'Dead End', this week, and his debut album, 'ADHD', is out on 27 Jul. We caught up with Master Shortie to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I guess I've always been around and making music, but I first started really started rapping at 12 or 13. I would rap in my bedroom, and with friends. Performance wise, when I was about 13 my mum took me to see the stage version of 'The Lion King'. I picked up an audition flyer. I had had no training or experience but I want to sing and perform, so I auditioned. Luckily I got the part of Simba and I was on my way!

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I am people person... I have lots of different groups of friends and they all inspire me. I also like lots of different types of music and my album reflects that, it mixes up lots of different genres but is held together by a pop thread.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It depends. Sometimes I will have the idea for a track, sonically and lyrically, and I will go into the studio with my producer, Lab, and work on the ideas from there. The other thing that happens is Lab will play me some beats that he has worked on and one of them sparks an idea on the spot and that is the start point.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
All sorts! Tracy Chapman, Blur, Kanye West, Prince, The Prodigy...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Keep your ears open for a melting pot of genres. My album is called 'ADHD' because it doesn't stay in one place; it never sits still!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I would like as many people as possible to hear and enjoy my music. It's difficult to know how an album will fare but my ambition on this album is for it to be the start of long career in music.

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

 
ANDY'S CLUB TIP: The Remix All-Nighter at Matter
We reckon two months is about long enough to recover from the last CMU recommended Remix All-nighter. Those of you who haven't recovered yet will just have to soldier on through it, because edition two of the all new Remix club over there at the brilliant Matter venue within The O2 complex is this very night. And Remixer in chief Eddy TM has come up with another amazing line-up, which this time features Ladytron (live), Orbital's Phil Hartnoll (DJ set), The Japanese Popstars (live), Burn The Negative (live), Alex Metric (DJ set), Punks Jump Up (DJ set) and Matrix & Futurebound (DJ set). If ever there was a reason to make the twenty minute tube trip from central London to the dome complex, this is it. You'll even probably get to kick a mourning Michael Jackson fan on your way.

Friday 17 Jul, Matter, O2 Arena, London, 10pm-6am, £10 (£5 in advance), more info at www.matterlondon.com, press from Leyline.

 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Future Flash at Cable
This weekend the mighty Andy Weatherhall takes to the decks at Cable, the plush new venue down there in SE1. Weatherhall continues to go from strength to strength, and truly rocked the Corsica Studios when I was last there a few months back. Here he headlines a night which will also see Lil Tony, Dave Congreve and Will Saul step up to the stage, while in Room 2 the tunes will be played out by Twitch & Wilkes, The Revenge, Matt Waites and Sean Johnston. It's going to go off bigtime I reckon.

Saturday 18 Jul, Cable, Bermondsey Street Tunnel, London, SE1, 11pm-8am, £15 (£12 NUS and in advance), more at www.cable-london.com




 

THE ALL NEW PIRATE BAY SIGN UP FORMER GROKSTER CHIEF
I think it's fair to say Wayne Rosso made quite an impression when he stood up to speak at an event organised by digital media networking group Chinwag earlier this week. Addressing mainly UK-based digital professionals, who had gathered in London to discuss the state of the digital music sector, the former boss of seminal P2P service Grokster began by announcing "I'm an American, that means I'm allowed to be an asshole". He then proceeded to be a bit of an asshole, though making some good points along the way, which is pretty much what you'd expect from the outspoken one time unofficial spokesman of the American P2P file-sharing community.

Rosso is back in the news because he's just been signed up by the new owners of the most controversial file-sharing service of the moment - The Pirate Bay - to help them turn the rogue BitTorrent tracker legal. Rosso does have experience in this domain of course; after the landmark MGM v Grokster ruling in the US Supreme Court in 2005 skuppered his original P2P business, he busied himself trying to launch a legit licenced file-sharing network, working title Mashboxx.

Some key deals were secured in the early days of the Mashboxx project that suggested some sort of industry sanctioned P2P network might actually happen, but ultimately the record companies just weren't ready to sign up to a model that legitimised the kind of P2P file-sharing they were still fighting in the courts, even if it could be monetised someway. Things have moved on since then, of course, and the industry is arguably closer to a point at which it might really consider licencing a P2P system. Though whether Rosso, one of the most vocal critics of the record industry post-Napster, and The Pirate Bay, traditionally one of the biggest piss-takers in the P2P domain, are the winning combination to persuade the content owners to do that deal is another matter.

As previously reported, Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory last month announced its intention to buy The Pirate Bay, the rogue BitTorrent tracker the founders and funder of which, after years of mocking the music industry and circumventing efforts by content owners and authorities to shut them down, were sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay massive damages for enabling copyright infringement. Not that any of the defendants are yet to serve any jail time or pay any damages - their appeal against their sentence is working its way through the courts.

Global Gaming Factory, whose takeover of the Bay is still going through the motions, say their intention is to make the file-sharing service legit, funded by advertising and by selling on P2P network capacity to media firms and ISPs looking for cheaper ways to distribute large amounts of digital content.

To make The Pirate Bay legit GGF will need to win over the music and film companies who led the legal action against the Bay Four in the Swedish courts earlier this year. Given the lengths the Pirate Bay team went to in order to mock and vilify the record industry, even with new ownership and management in place, it's going to take some serious persuasive powers to convince the major record companies and film studios they should play ball. Is the man who once compared the Record Industry Association Of America to Stalin going to be able to achieve that?

"I've gotten friendly with a lot of these guys [while developing Mashboxx]", Rosso told C-Net earlier this week. "These are good guys. They've been wonderful to me. Other people in the business have been nice to me but they've had to hold their nose. Some of them took me too seriously. To me it was a fucking circus. None of that stuff [the Stalin comparisons etc] was personal".

Telling the IT site about his first task for his new employers, he continued: "We're approaching the record and movie industries, both are at the top of the list. But eventually we want to talk to [anyone producing digital content]. The Pirate Bay has turned over a legitimate new leaf, so it has to be above board from the first day. That's the only way it can work".

Embellishing a little on the bandwidth-for-rent funding model previously discussed by GGF boss Hans Pandeya, Rosso explained that punters will be able to access all sorts of music and film content via the all new Pirate Bay for free providing they allow their PC and internet connection to be used by the Bay's 'cloud network' which will be made available to ISPs and content owners looking for cheaper ways to move content around the net.

As previously reported, while in theory it is more efficient to move content across the net via P2P networks, it is not a foregone conclusion ISPs or media firms would buy that service, not least because it basically involves ISPs buying back their own bandwidth off their own customers. And that, rather than the challenge of doing deals with the music and movie majors, could prove to be the stumbling of this latest effort to legitimise P2P file-sharing.

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VIDEO OF JACKO'S HAIR FIRE INCIDENT ONLINE
Us Weekly magazine have posted a video that very clearly shows that infamous moment in 1984 when Michael Jackson caught fire while filming a commercial for Pepsi. The accident was caused by pyrotechnics going off too early.

In the video the screen goes white as the pyros go off, after which you see Jacko, initially oblivious to the problem, with increasingly obvious flames coming from his hair. The first the singer seems to be aware of the problem is when security staff step in with a fire extinguisher. After a bit of a kafuffle a clearly shaken Jackson can be seen again, his hair burned through to his scalp. He is then carried away by security guards.

The incident is possibly significant with hindsight, given Jackson's obsession with his face and plastic surgery soon followed. It's also possible that the pain killers Jacko's had to take after the accident led to the singer's on and off addiction to the prescription medication that, some say, persisted for much of the rest of his life, and may have caused his death.

Writing about the incident in his autobiography 'Moonwalk' Jackson describe the pyro accident as "stupidity, pure and simple", remarking "bombs went off on either side of my head, and the sparks set my hair on fire. I was dancing down this ramp and turning around, spinning, not knowing I was on fire. Suddenly I felt my hands reflexively go to my head in an attempt to smother the flames".

Pepsi paid Jackson $1.5 million in damages after the incident, which he donated to a burns treatment facility that was named after him. Us Weekly haven't said where they got the video from, though you can watch it at this URL...

link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid18575816001?bctid=29649215001

Elsewhere in Jacko news, a previously unheard song by the singer has emerged online, via TMZ I think. Called 'A Place With No Name', it's a reworking of the 1971 song by America called 'A Horse With No Name'. There's been no official confirmation that the song is real, though it does sound a bit like Jacko, plus the manager of folk rock combo America has confirmed Jackson's people asked for permission to rework their song, telling reporters: "The band was honoured that Michael chose to do their song and they hope it becomes available for all Michael's fans to hear". You can hear a little snippet of the track at this here URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWcgng5-ES4

Finally from the Jackson file, weird bloke Uri Geller, a long term confidant of the singer, obviously, has made a documentary for ITV about his late friend. The documentary will include some of Geller's private footage of Jackson at events such as the spoon bender's wedding. Geller told the Press Association: "This is the real Michael Jackson, the way that just a handful of friends were privileged to see him - relaxed, witty, loving, smart, sincere and genuine. This film gives audiences around the world the opportunity to experience the reality of life with Michael".

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WINEHOUSE AND FIELDER-CIVIL DIVORCE
Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil's two year marriage will officially end in six weeks, after the couple were granted a decree nisi at the High Court in London. Neither Winehouse nor Fielder-Civil attended the short hearing.

As previously reported, Fielder-Civil began divorce proceedings in January on the grounds of adultery, after pictures of Winehouse with another man on the island of St Lucia appeared in the press. Divorce papers also stated that he had found living with her "intolerable". She is thought to have paid her soon-to-be-ex-husband a settlement of £2.4 million.

A spokesperson for the singer told reporters: "She is ready to move on following the end of the marriage. She has not had any contact with Blake for months and is focusing on the future. She's finishing off her album and in good health".

In other Pop Court news, Winehouse is due to stand trial next week on charges of assault.

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BRANDY SETTLES CAR CRASH SUIT
US pop star Brandy has settled another lawsuit relating to the oft previously reported fatal car crash she was involved in (and allegedly caused) back in 2006 in LA.

The singer's insurance company has come to an agreement with Mallory Ham, a woman who was driving one of the cars involved in the incident, and who suffered a broken nose and lacerations to the face as a result. The amount Ham will receive has not been disclosed.

As you may remember, 38 year old Awatef Aboudihaj died in the collison, and earlier this year Brandy settled with her two children, who survived the crash. Their father, Maroune Hdidou, sued the singer for wrongful death on their behalf.

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C-MURDER'S FRIEND CONFESSES TO KILLING
A friend of C-Murder, aka C-Miller, aka Corey Miller, has confessed to the 2002 killing of sixteen year old Steve Thomas, the crime Miller was convicted of, and jailed for, back in 2003. Miller's original conviction was, as previously reported, overturned because of some withheld evidence, and the rapper was granted a retrial, which is set to begin next month.

Now the hip hopper's friend Juan Flowers has claimed that he was with Miller the night that Thomas died, and that it was he, not C-Murder, who fired the fatal shot. Flowers is already serving a life sentence in Georgia for a 2007 killing, which will no doubt inspire speculation that he is taking the fall on account of the fact that he is already inside. He does, however, insist that, despite having discharged the firearm, that he and his friend are in fact "not responsible" for it. Not sure how that's the case, if he did the shooting, but perhaps it will all become clear at some point.

The prosecution have responded, and say that the claim contradicts the testimony of another friend of Miller, Dwayne Cobbins, who says that he saw the rapper bringing a very small gun, hidden in his boot, into the club where the slaying took place. Cobbins says that when the altercation began, Miller and several others attacked the teenager, and while he admits that he didn't see the hip hopper do any shooting, his words were pretty weighted on the matter; he told the court that "no one could see C shoot that tiny little gun".

Incidentally, Miller has now been given a ten year sentence on a different conviction, with credit for time served, after pleading no contest in May this year to two counts of attempted second degree murder relating to a 2001 incident in Baton Rouge. As previously reported, the hip hopper was, on that occasion, caught on surveillance footage attempting to shoot a nightclub owner.

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ONE PERSON KILLED AS MADONNA STAGE COLLAPSES
One person was killed and six were injured yesterday when part of a stage being constructed for a performance by Madonna in France collapsed. Reports say that part of the top section of the stage at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille fell in on technicians as they were building it.

The concert, which had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, has now been cancelled.

Commenting on the accident, Madonna told reporters yesterday "I am devastated to have just received this tragic news. My prayers go out to those who were injured and their families along with my deepest sympathy to all those affected by this heartbreaking news".

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AUF DER MAUR HAS SWINE FLU
I don't really understand what all the fuss is about with swine flu. I mean, I know people are dying with it, but people die with flu all the time, don't they? What is it about swine flu that's got everyone so wound up? Is it the media? Or the fact people like to think the pigs are involved in some sort of conspiracy against the human race?

I digress. Former Hole/Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur has said that she's had the swine flu, and it was horrible. Maybe that's why everyone is getting so wound up, it's horrible if you get it. But any proper flu is pretty nasty though, isn't it?

Anyway, Auf Der Mar has written an account of her battle with the illness at online magazine The Mark. She explains: "It turns out that, somewhere between a video shoot in Vermont, a heavy metal concert in London, and my own musical showcase in Toronto, I had indeed fallen victim to a world pandemic. I am now officially on the mend - thanks to a combination of naturopathic treatments and heavy-duty antibiotics, among other survival tools. For a person who only gets ill once or twice a decade, it was scary".

Explaining that her symptoms had gradually worsened and changed over the course of a few weeks, she continued: "Suddenly, a week into my shortness of breath, it really hit: a roller coaster of fever spikes. Over the course of 48 hours, my temperature went from 95 F to 101, and back again. It was a very strange feeling, being pulled back and forth between severe illness and feeling fine".

She adds that she's pleased to have got it over and done with, though, saying: "When many other swine virgins will be falling ill, I'll be good to go! However, have no fear friends: it's a terrible flu, but it is manageable, and we swine veterans will be here to help you through it. Here's to good health".

Presumably Courtney Love will now be on Twitter later today accusing Auf Der Mar of stealing the flu off her.

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FOUNDER DEFENDS POLARIS PRIZE
Steve Jordan, the co-founder of Canada's Mercury-type award the Polaris Music Prize, has defended this year's shortlist of albums. The choice of nominees has come under fire because of the fact that six of the ten artists whose albums made the cut have been on the list in previous years.

Jordan says the criticism has come about because people don't understand the ethos of the prize, saying: "There may be a misperception that Polaris is about new or emerging acts. That's just what's happened in the past - it was never the mandate".

The winner will be selected by an eleven person jury of music and media professionals and announced on 21 Sep at Toronto's Masonic Temple.

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RAPTURE BASSIST QUITS
The Rapture have announced that bassist and vocalist Matt Safer has left the band.

In a post on their website, keyboard player Gabriel Andruzzi said: "I'm sad to say that at the beginning of April our buddy Mattie Safer decided to leave the band. We are sad to see him go but it seems it is the best for all of us".

However, he added that the three remaining members are currently working hard on new material, which they will preview at the Parklife festival in Australia in September. He said: "Since [Safer's departure] Luke, Vito and I have been on a creative tear. We've been working out of our little Brooklyn make shift studio, writing, demo-ing and jamming. ... But its still gonna be a minute before we hit the studio for real".

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MICK JONES UP FOR PRODUCING LIBERTINES 3
The Libertines haven't even reformed yet, but former Clash man Mick Jones has already confirmed he'd be interested in working with the band again.

Jones, who produced both previous Libertines albums 'Up The Bracket' and 'The Libertines', was speaking about the possibility of working with the band again following recent comments by both Pete Doherty and Carl Barat to the effect that some sort of reunion may happen in the near future. When asked by The Quietus if he'd work with the band again he said: "Oh yes, please, you know? I haven't heard anything from them, but I hope they do [get back in the studio]. I love them. If it's meant to be it's meant to be, and if it's written then it's written. I hope it happens".

Jones was talking to The Quietus to plug his previously reported Rock N Roll Public Library music memorabilia collection, which is now on display at 2 Acklam Road in Portobello Green until 25 Aug.

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ONO SIGNS RIGHTS DEAL FOR LENNON RECORDINGS
Yoko Ono has signed a new deal with entertainment asset administration company Fintage House for the performance and related rights in John Lennon's recordings outside the US. The company will collect performance royalties and private copying levies for Lennon's work as both a solo artist and as a member of The Beatles.

CEO of Fintage House, Niels Teves told Music Week: "We are honoured to be representing yet another icon from our industry with some of the most prestigious and influential recordings in history. The scope of the service we provide and our personal approach continues to bring our clients the desired results which we are delighted to provide to the Lennon heirs as well".

Bruce Lampcov of the company's Fintage Music division added: "John Lennon is probably the most important recording artist of the 20th century and it is a great privilege to be working with his estate".

Other artists and companies represented by Fintage Music include The Black Eyed Peas, The Killers, Katy Perry, the Frank Zappa Estate, MTV and Nettwerk Music.

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FIFTH ELBOW ALBUM TO BE SHOEGAZE/R&B HYBRID
If it's misleading headlines you want, you've almost certainly come to the right place. Elbow's Pete Turner has revealed that amongst the demoes for the band's fifth album is "an R&B classic", and that they are keen to explore the shoegaze sound as well.

Speaking to Teletext's Planet Sound, Turner said: "We've got 30 ideas for our new album. One song is a lot like Brandy & Monica's 'The Boy Is Mine'. We write notes next to song ideas in case we forget them, and that note just says 'The Boy Is Mine'. [But] we all love the whole shoegaze scene, and we want to go more down that route too".

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ALPHABEAT WORKING WITH XENOMANIA
Danish pop group Alphabeat have indicated that production house Xenomania are working with them on their second album. The band write on their MySpace blog: "At the Xenomania mansion we spend some days in search of song writing inspiration... Besides hard work we enjoyed the beautiful surroundings".

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HOUSTON PREVIEWS NEW MUSIC
Whitney Houston previewed her new album for journalists at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London earlier this week, and revealed that she very nearly quit the music business altogether.

At the playback, Houston told reporters that she had been convinced to record again by Sony Music's Chief Creative Officer Clive Davies, saying: "The day Clive called me I was going through adversity. He was like: 'So are you ready?' I said: 'I'm ready to ride home, me and my daughter, have our strawberry food stand'. It's so kind of people wanting to hear me sing again. It was a labour of love for Clive and I - he took me through it. At one point he told me: 'You're impossible'. I thought that was an honour".

Songwriters on the album include Alicia Keys, Diane Warren, Akon and R Kelly.'I Look To You' is set for release in September.

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FRANKMUSIK COVERS PET SHOP BOYS
A cover of The Pet Shop Boys' track 'It's A Sin' is to feature as a B-side to Frankmusic's new single 'Confusion Girl', after the electropopper supported the veteran duo at two of their recent live shows. The reworked song will appear on the CD release, available from 20 Jul.

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MUSE TREASURE HUNT LAUNCHES
Muse have launched a worldwide treasure hunt to find hidden copies of music from their new album 'The Resistance', out 14 Sep. Four USB sticks containing the material have been hidden, and may be in Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris or Dubai. Go here for more information: ununitedeurasia.muse.mu

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KID SISTER ALBUM STUFF
Chicago rapper Kid Sister has announced details pertaining to her much anticipated debut album. 'Ultraviolet' will be out in the US on 6 Oct, and features guest appearances from Kanye West and Estelle. The tracklist is as follows:

Right Hand Hi
Life On TV
Daydreaming
Let Me Bang 2009
Big n Bad
Pro Nails (feat. Kanye West)
Step (feat. Estelle)
Switch Board (feat. DJ Gant-Man)
Get Fresh
53421
You Ain't Really Down
Control

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DOVES, BIFFY, ETC, ADDED TO HEADLINERS
Organisers have announced the addition of a number of acts to thelondonpaper Headliners, which takes place on 16 and 17 Sep in Soho, London. Amongst the new confirmations are Doves, Biffy Clyro, Magistrates, MPHO and A Flock of Seagulls.

As previously reported, this new event works on the same sort of principle as Camden Crawl, as music fans will be issued with a wristband which will allow them access to all of the twenty venues involved. Tickets are available at a cost of £20 for one night or £40 for both nights; though there's also a limited number of passes on sale for £17.50 for one night and £30 for both nights. To get them you need to buy via www.thelondonpaper.com/headliners or take a copy of thelondonpaper into participating HMV stores.

Commenting on the event, Malcolm Mackenzie, Music Editor of thelondonpaper says this: "London's musical taste is the most eclectic in the world, it's only right and proper that thelondonpaper HEADLINERS delivers a line-up that caters to the enormous variety of music fans in the capital, and it will!"

Mark Elliot, manager of Heaven, one of the venues involved, adds: "In the past few years there's been a significant decline in the live music scene in Central London with the likes of the legendary Marquee Club and the Astoria closing down most recently. thelondonpaper HEADLINERS is a wonderful chance to reconnect the music scene, allowing people to discover new and established venues and recapture what the area used to be all about".

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MORE ACTS ADDED TO GUINNESS WORLDWIDE ANNIVERSARY BASH
Tom Jones, The Kooks and Calvin Harris have all been added to the line up for the previously reported 250th anniversary celebrations of Guinness. The drinks brand will mark the landmark in the company's history by staging events in cities around the world over a 24 hour period, including locations as diverse as Lagos in Nigeria and Yaoundé in Cameroon. The celebrations will kick off in Dublin though, obviously.

Jones will play at the Dublin party, alongside Estelle and Kasabian. As previously reported, Black Eyed Peas will also perform as part of the celebrations, in a yet to be confirmed Asian city, while also added to the all-star bill yesterday were Jamie Cullum, Razorlight, Richard Hawley, David Gray, Imelda May, Sugababes, Golden Silvers and Jay Jay Pistolet.

Other already confirmed acts for the 24 Sep bash include The Wombats, Noah And The Whale, The Enemy, Reverend & the Makers, Soul II Soul, Mystery Jets and producer David Holmes. All in all, it's going to be quite a party.

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BORDERS SOLD
The CEO of Borders UK yesterday announced he was leading a management buyout of the books and CDs retail chain. Philip Downer told reporters he was heading up a takeover backed by equity types Valco, who, as previously reported, had already been named as the most likely to acquire the retail company.

Specifics of the deal between Valco and the retail chain's existing owners, Risk Capital Partners, is not known, but Downer told reporters: "We are delighted that we have been able to secure the future for Borders in what are exceptional times for U.K. retailing and the global economy". Risk Capital top man Luke Johnson added: "I am very pleased that the management of Borders are taking the business forward with a new backer, and I hope they achieve lasting success".

As previously reported, speculation of a takeover of Borders rose this week after it was announced five of the book firm's stores would be shut down. Risk Capital acquired Borders UK off the retail firm's American parent company in 2007.

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LIB DEMS LIVE MUSIC BILL PASSED AT FIRST HEARING
The Lib Dem created Live Music Bill was passed on first reading in the House Of Lords yesterday. As previously reported, the bill, submitted Lord Tim Clement Jones, proposes various changes to the 2003 Licensing Act, in particular exempting smaller venues from having to go through the time consuming licensing process put in place by the 2003 legislation.

Most of what is proposed had already been recommended by parliament's Culture Select Committee - following lobbying from the live music industry - but the government earlier this week announced it would not be adopting those committee recommendations.

Opposition bills don't really have much chance of becoming law, but there is a hope that if Clement Jones' proposals get enough parliamentary support it may persuade the government to reconsider its stand on the issue.

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PRS LAUNCH CODE OF CONDUCT
Collecting society PRS For Music this week launched a code of practice for its customers, which it says it hopes will make the society's work, procedures and policies more transparent, for the benefit of both their members and, most importantly, people and companies who licence the songs they represent. There will also be an ombudsman process set up for complaints as part of the new code.

The society says the code in some ways addresses concerns raised by the recent 'Digital Britain' report that called for more transparency in the way collecting societies work, and maybe a statutory framework to govern some of their operations. Whether it will do anything to placate European Commission types who still reckon collecting societies are too cartel-like remains to be seen.

Speaking about the code before its launch at a shingdig down there at the Houses Of Parliament earlier this week, outgoing PRS boss Steve Porter told Billboard: "We agree [there's a need for more transparency]. It's something we've been working on and consulting on with our customers over the last few months. I think we've been ahead of the curve on this one".

Meanwhile, PRS's new interim chief Jeremy Fabinyi said at the launch event: "This is a great step forward for us in our licensing operations and I'm pleased we were ahead of the curve on bringing this Code of Practice out. We've made a number of improvements over the last year and I'm delighted so many businesses are choosing to use music and creators are benefiting. We have listened to our customers and their representatives and we hope that the introduction of the code and an ombudsman will assure them that we are making a genuine commitment to good conduct".

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LABELS WANT MCPS TO CHANGE MECHANICAL ROYALTIES RATE SYSTEM
Whether the new code of conduct will placate PRS For Music's performing rights customers - radio stations, shopping centres, festival promoters etc - in anyway remains to be seen, though the upcoming conflict in the music rights community is probably going to be more focused on the mechanical rights bit of the songs collecting society, so that's good old MCPS.

Music Week earlier this week reported on movements in the record industry to try and force MCPS, the bit of PRS that licences songs to record labels wanting to make so called mechanical copies (so basically the body through which labels pay royalties to the owners of the songs they have released recordings of), to alter its pricing structure.

So called mechanical royalties are set at 8.5% of the 'published price to dealers' of any one album release. The problem, labels argue, is that in recent years pressure from supermarkets and major online retailers to cut wholesale costs means that labels frequently sell stock at less than the PPD. Because such discounts are not reflected in the royalty they must pay to MCPS, that means the label's profit margin is hit. Some label types want the MCPS rate to be altered to reflect that - either by cutting the percentage rate and/or by linking the percentage to the so called 'average retail price', which would reflect any discounts given to retailers on the PPD.

Mike Batt, owner of indie label Dramatico, is one of those calling for such a change. He told Music Week earlier this week: "There has to be a moral rightness to [the mechanical rate]. We can't pay people on a fictitious amount. And I think most labels are in agreement. It strikes a note with anyone who has to make the sums meet".

Needless to say those in the publishing sector do not agree. Acting PRS boss Jeremy Fabinyi, who heads up the MCPS bit of the society, says that linking the mechanical royalty to ARP rather than PPD would be open to abuse. He told the trade mag: "The rates charged were set by an independent Copyright Tribunal. If altered to reflect the Average Retail Price we would have real concerns that unscrupulous record companies could use this to artificially reduce royalties paid to our members".

Some are predicting this matter will become increasingly contentious in the coming year and unless PRS are up for negotiating on the issue the whole thing may have to go back to the Copyright Tribunal, the court that ultimately rules on royalty disputes. Though that, of course, is never desirable, given the legal costs associated with any Tribunal hearing, not to mention the farcical nature of any record labels v music publishers Tribunal dispute, in which you get expensive lawyers in part paid by for by EMI Music, Warner Music, Universal Music and Sony Music squaring up against another set of expensive lawyers in part paid for by, erm, EMI Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Universal Music Publishing and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Yeah, only in the music business.

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AIM CALL FOR MCPS TO SHARE THE RISK IN PINNACLE-STYLE COLLAPSES
Talking of record label v MCPS disputes, the boss of the Association Of Independent Music, Alison Wenham, this week raised another grievance with the mechanical rights body at the AGM of the indie label trade body. Wenham isn't happy with MCPS reserving the right to collect mechanical royalties on CDs that have been sold but which the label itself has not been paid for.

This is a big issue in the indie sector right now because of the collapse late last year of independent distributor Pinnacle. Many indie labels were owed money by the distributor for stock that had already been sold, money they are now unlikely to see. Sort of adding insult to injury, because of the technicalities of an MCPS licence, the indies who won't now receive payment for stock caught up in the Pinnacle collapse will still receive a bill from the collecting society for the publishing royalties. The society has agreed to allow any labels who owe royalties on such stock to pay what they owe in phased instalments. But most affected labels aren't that thrilled about having to pay the royalties at all.

Speaking at the AIM AGM, Wenham compared CDs caught up in the Pinnacle collapse with stock that is returned to the label unsold, on which MCPS royalties would not be due. She said: "In the 1991 copyright tribunal, the judge Robin Jacob said 'royalties should be paid on net sales, records distributed but then returned unsold should ideally not carry any royalty'. If the judge recommended a solution for goods sold and subsequently returned, he would surely have recommended that goods for which the labels do not receive any payment at all should also be exempt from royalties. It surely is a better solution for us all to recognise the sense in giving the labels a break on this exceptional catastrophe".

She continued: "I do understand and support PRS For Music's determination to protect the value of their rights, but surely not at the expense of sharing at least some of the risks of trading in this challenging environment".

It seems that so far MCPS hasn't been so willing to budge on this issue, despite surely knowing how gutting it must be for an indie label owner that has just written off potentially thousands because of Pinnacle's sudden demise to then be presented with an MCPS bill. Perhaps aware that in the current economic climate more Pinnacle style traumas may be on the horizon, Wenham indicated that she and her colleagues at the BPI might consider going to the Copyright Tribunal to amend MCPS licences so that royalties are not due on stock for which a label is not paid. Though, as always, she stressed that a visit to the Tribunal was not desirable, for the reasons we've already outlined.

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PPL'S PUB RATES DISPUTE TO GO TO TRIBUNAL
And one last bit of Copyright Tribunal news for you, this time on the recording rights side of the collecting society corridor. Record label collecting society PPL is heading to Tribunal as a result of long faltering negotiations with the UK pub industry.

PPL and trade bodies representing bar owners - in particular the British Hospitality Association and the British Beer And Pub Association - can't agree on what rates pub types should be paying for the privilege of playing music in their establishments. The two industries have been in dispute over the issue since 2004, and the matter will finally go to Tribunal later this month, having been referred there by the Department Of Trade And Industry after a complaint by the pub industry.

Confirming a Tribunal date had been set, a spokesman for PPL told Music Week: "After the lengthy wait we welcome the upcoming tribunal hearings at the end of the month. The decision will be made public in the autumn and will then allow the company to finally move ahead in regard to key aspects of its business".

BHA Deputy CEO Martin Crouchman told the trade mag: "We think this is the last stage of a long and drawn out process. It was meant to be very simple, but in fact it has been very complicated".

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BEGGARS DO KERCHOONZ DEAL
Music networking and streaming service Kerchoonz.com has announced a deal with the Beggars Group which will mean users of the ad-funded streaming platform will be able to access 20,000 tracks from across the indie's catalogue.

Which is nice. Beggar's digital man Simon Wheeler confirmed the deal, telling reporters: "We're committed to making our catalogue available through as wide a range of services as possible. Kerchoonz was constructed with artists' rights in mind and it is exactly the kind of company which the industry should support".

Kerchoonz co-founder Indiana Gregg added: "This deal will allow us to provide an even broader selection of great independent music for all music lovers. We are honoured to be working with The Beggars Group and look forward to doing our part to help grow their digital business".

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BBC TRUST MAN DEFENDS BEING OUTSPOKEN ON LICENCE SLICING PROPOSALS
The BBC really really really doesn't want to share its licence fee with other broadcasters. As you may have seen, there's been a war of words going on between the Beeb and government following proposals from the latter in its Digital Britain report that an albeit tiny portion of the licence fee should go to the likes of ITV to fund non-commercially viable public service programming, like local news and kids shows.

BBC bosses don't like this idea though, considering themselves the experts when it comes to pissing licence fee money up a wall. Sorry, I mean creating public service programming on the licence payers behalf. Even the BBC Trust, the body that oversees the Corporation on the licence fee's behalf, has been slagging off the government's licence slicing proposals.

Anyway, yesterday BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons and the Corporation's Director General Mark Thompson presented their argument to parliament's Culture Select Committee. The committee's chair began by asking Lyons if the BBC Trust should be as vocal in its opposition to government policy on the licence fee as it had been in recent weeks.

According to the Guardian, Lyons responded: "It is entirely appropriate that the BBC Trust makes it clear that top-slicing is not in the interests of licence fee payers. It is [ultimately] a matter for parliament. However, it is a matter of some public interest that if after 50 years of the licence fee having been collected under the promise of funding the BBC, the public need to be made aware of any change to that and the potential risks".

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DAYTIME REJIG AT RADIO 1
While not wanting commercial media types to get any of their licence money, the BBC has done something to aid its commercial rivals in the radio sector, by ensuring the morning output of its pop station will be completely unlistenable as of this Autumn, thus pushing pop fans to other stations.

Well, I'm assuming that's behind the decision to replace Jo Whiley on Radio 1's daytime schedule with talent-vacuum Fearne Cotton, though I've not been party to behind the scenes discussions. Whiley will move to a weekend slot on the nation's favourite to make way for Cotton on daytime Radio 1. Edith Bowman will also move to weekends allowing current early morning presenter Greg James to move into daytime.

The schedule rejigs are part of Radio 1's attempts to overcome criticism that all their presenters are far too old to be talking to the station's youth audience. Still, better being old than shit. The all new Radio 1 daytime schedule will launch in September.

As previously reported, Chris Moyles has just signed up to present the station's peak time breakfast show for at least another year.

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TELETEXT TO CLOSE
It's the end of an era. Teletext will cease to be available on ITV, Channel 4 and Five from next year. The company behind the text-content-through-your-telly service since 1993 have announced they will close both the analogue and digital versions of their teletext operation because it's just no longer commercially viable in an age when most people have access to rolling news channels and t'internet. Some of Teletext's online operations and its Freeview holidays channel will continue to operate.

Owners of Teletext, the Daily Mail and General Trust, said in a statement that they were closing the telly service because: "As anticipated, the continued fragmentation of television audiences and the growth in the use of the internet has resulted in a significant reduction in the audience and volume of commercial activity generated by the television services".

It's not clear what will happen to Teletext's staff, and how many will be needed for the streamlined online only operation. A consultation process is under way.

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HORNE WANTS TO LAUNCH RECORD LABEL
Not content with taking over the small screen with his mediocre comedy, actor/comedian Mat Horne now wants to bring his, er, talents to the record industry. The TV star, who does some DJing, apparently told The Sun: "Now Gavin & Stacey is finished, I'd like to set up a record label".

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JORDAN WILL NOT GO POP
Good news for music lovers everywhere. A spokeswoman for Katie Price, aka Jordan, has said that the glamour model will not be pursuing a pop career, despite rumour and reports to the contrary. It's thought that some of those rumours may have come about because Price is now represented by the Outside Organisation who, of course, do an awful lot in the music space.

An Outside rep told The Mirror: "Katie is not launching a pop career, no. I can see why some people might jump to that conclusion as we do a lot of music, but we also look after the likes of Naomi Campbell to Nissan cars. We have a totally new strategy for Katie - it's very, very internationally focussed and we're looking to develop her brand to the next level. She's a household name here, but we're looking to make that worldwide".

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PAOLO NUTINI STRUGGLES WITH ITALIAN
Well, you might not expect it, given the name, but Paolo Nutini isn't very good at Italian, despite the fact that his family are from Tuscany. He admits that he struggles with the language, but is eager to improve so that he can talk properly to Italian fans.

The Scottish born singer explained to the Daily Star: "I can't speak much Italian. I do go down well over there but it's frustrating because I can't really speak it. Even if I do talk they can't understand my accent, but I should try to learn it."

I really think he should too. With a name like Paolo Nutini.

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