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Top Stories
Chris Brown apologises, at last
PRS report: music business worth £3.6 billion
Jacko news
In The Pop Courts
Foxy Brown sued over unpaid taxes
In The Pop Hospital
Beastie Boy reveals cancer
One half of Peter & Gordon dies
Artist Deals
Alex James signs new solo deal
Bananarama sign to Fascination
In The Studio
Keane working with Kanye
Release News
Fiddy up for chart battle with Jay
Michael Jackson gets stripped
LCD remix releases
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
In The City announce title for 2009
The Music Business
Terra Firma hire asset management types to review EMI debts
Sony recruit Source founder
AMG acquire new venue
The Digital Business
A legit Kazaa launches in the US
MUZU sign up Merlin
Spotify prepare for US expansion
The Media Business
Classic Rock to launch subscription-based music preview service
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Even Moby gets bored of Moby
Ian Brown puts his kids to work
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl has become something of a celebrity in his home country of Norway in recent years, and now he's beginning to work his charms over here in the west end of Europe. His first UK album is an eponymous collection of highlights from his first four albums, which will be released on 14 Sep, preceded by a four track EP on 27 Jul. He is also working in the studio with Melanie Laurent, star of latest Tarantino movie 'Inglorious Basterds', and Damien Rice on an album of duets. We caught up with Thomas to ask our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Like millions of other boys I got into playing the guitar by listening to Metallica in the late 80s. I was about 10 years old when I got my first guitar and started figuring out the different parts to songs like 'Fade To Black', 'One' and, eventually, all the songs on the black album. After that it was all about music and bands. I played guitar in a local covers band called Jokke Roses. We played at school dances and stuff like that, but after a while my music tastes changed quite a lot and I started to get more in to acts like The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beatles etc, as well as more contemporary bands like Pearl Jam, Live and some other Norwegian artists. I started writing songs when I was about 14 and around that time I also started a band where we only played our own material.

I studied music at school from age 16 to 19, and I had some friends who had moved in to a kind of hippie collective around the same time. They were not really hippies, more like computer nerds with a keen interest in making music, cooking and porn. It was around that time and in their house I started to learn how to record and produce music on my own using a mic, a Soundblaster card and a recording and an editing program called Acid. This opened a whole new world to me, as we had previously thought that recording music meant that you would have to go into a studio and pay a shit load of money. Now, we were just sitting at home, recording and learning how to produce and make things sound good and the way we wanted it. And that's basically still how I work, even though the gear has changed a little bit.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
What started the whole process and ran as a red thread through the whole record was the inspiration and influence I got from a book called 'Unweaving The Rainbow' by Richard Dawkins. I had long been a fan of Dawkins and 'The Four Horsemen' (Dennet, Harrris, Hitchens, Dawkins), for taking the gloves off when confronting organised religion, its place in public life and its butting in on scientific areas where it shouldn't be. The book was so beautifully written and so clear that it took me back. Not to go into detail too much, but the book mainly deals with the false assumption that, when explained, nature and its many phenomena and strange occurrences lose their beauty and mystique. Dawkins just wants people to know that, if they have the time and take the effort, they will find that the true explanations for the way nature works are even more fantastic than the false, mysterious "reasons" presented by cult and religion. Because the world and nature is fantastic in the way it is organised and works. So I think I can trace the whole process back to that book.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I'm slow... I usually wait around for a really good idea to pop up. This can, of course, take a while, but I feel I'm getting better at spotting what's actually a good idea, rather than some blinged up jam session. In the studio I don't necessarily wait for the structure of the song to be finished and locked before recording. Most of the time I start recording whenever I have good ideas, and the structure may change lots of times along the way, it's an approach that sort of resembles a jigsaw puzzle. Having worked the way I have over the years, with producing, mixing, recording and writing all so intertwined, it's like the lines between them have disappeared. So in that sense, I am far from a purist when it comes to songwriting. Then again, I have never labeled myself a singer-songwriter, others have.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Gillian Welch, Arvo Pärt, D'Angelo, Bob Dylan, Serge Gainsbourgh to name a few.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would shut up.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your debut album, and for the future?
Like always (almost, anyway) I would like for it to reach as many people as possible and hopefully we can connect with enough people to start touring here regularly. It's very healthy for an artist to have as big a playpen as possible I think, so you don't end up treading the same route and places all the time. Not that there's anything wrong with playing the places we play at all, but it's always good to come back with new experiences and new views on things. It's keeps the mind fresh, and maybe even helps keep your old songs alive longer, by forcing you to rethink them at times.

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A real favourite at the moment, Mirrors are a Brighton four-piece making Vince Clarke inspired synth-pop; black flavoured, echoing chamber songs that reference Depeche Mode and Soft Cell with a knowing, educated swipe. 'Look At Me', their debut single, is a fine example of this lineage, a mechanical, immaculately produced mid tempo piece that sounds organic, even soulful at times, despite the use of solely electronic instruments. It's full, taut sound suggests that they're a band with broad ambitions, an assumption supported by their excellent set at Brighton's Loop festival a couple of weekends ago, playing two sets prior to the chanteuse du jour of electronica, Fever Ray, and successfully entrancing the cavernous Corn Exchange. One glance at their influences also suggests grand plans, with the oft-menacing English playwright Harold Pinter placed in the same list as Sheffield's punk poet John Cooper Clarke and French composer Claude Debussy. If they can be as genre breaking as any of those then they'll surely be onto a winning formula.




America's favourite R&B wifebeater has finally apologised for beating up his ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Blaming his attorneys for his silence to date, Chris Brown has released a video message via his website in which he tells his fans "I thought it was time that you heard directly from me that I am sorry".

Brown, of course, lost it with his then other half Rihanna during an argument after a pre-Grammy party in LA back in February. The specifics of the incident that followed remain a little sketchy, though it seems Brown beat his girlfriend unconscious in the street before running off. He recently pleaded guilty to assault and now faces five years probation and six months community service.

Referring to the Rihanna beating as "the incident", Brown says in the video: "I am very sad and very ashamed of what I have done", adding "I have told Rihanna countless times and I'm telling you today that I am sorry".

Referencing the domestic violence that occurred around him during his childhood, he says "I saw first hand what uncontrolled rage can do", before adding: "I have sought and am continuing to seek help to ensure that what occurred in February can never happen again".

It is almost certainly true that Brown's legal advisors have previously urged their client to not make any public apology in relation to "the incident", because that's the sort of dumbass advice attorneys would give. Though whether the video message is Brown trying to get a long considered apology off his chest or, as those horrible cynics are sure to suggest, an attempt to rescue a career that has nosedived since the Rihanna bashing, I don't know. And it's not his first video response to the matter - in May he released a video announcing his new album and telling fans that his is "not a monster". It will certainly be interested to see if this new video is the start of the rehabilitation of Brown into the US pop community - commercial sponsors, radio bosses and other artists have all been pretty down on Brown since the fight.

Watch the video in full here:, and the earlier "I am not a monster" video here:

Elsewhere in Rihanna news, rumours are abound that she is now dating Pharrell Williams. Those rumours seem to be mainly based on reports that Williams was seen leaving Rihanna's hotel several times during a recent visit to London. Then again, he is producing her new album, so such meetings need not be romantic in nature.

Nevertheless, a source has told the Daily Mirror: "It's no secret that Rihanna and Pharrell have chemistry. And not just in the studio - they seem mesmerized by each other. Chris will be gutted to learn he could have lost Rihanna to one of the sexiest men in music. Rihanna and Pharrell talk on the phone all the time and whenever she can get a break in her schedule she'll go and support him at a gig".

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Those crazy guys over there at the PRS reckon the British music industry generated revenues of £3.6 billion in 2008, which is up from £3.46 billion in 2007, despite the recession and the continued decline of certain traditional music business revenue streams.

The PRS For Music report has been put together by the publishing collecting society's top number cruncher Will Page, and is based on all the stats and figures that come through the society's door. Those figures cover music publishing revenues, obviously, given that's the PRS's main business, but also stats from the recorded music and live music sectors, who have to report sales to Page and co as part of the licensing relationships that exist between record labels and tour promoters and music publishers and songwriters via the collecting society.

There will be some music business revenues details of which are not shared with PRS - merchandising and direct-with-the-artist sponsorship deals come to mind - and I'm not sure if that's been taken into account, so I suspect the actual revenues generated by the whole UK music industry could be higher than the £3.6 billion figure. Which is lovely news, expect for those trying to convince political and judicial types that the music industry is in a state of disarray because of online piracy and stingy web firms who are trying to drive down royalty rates.

The most interesting, if not entirely surprising, trend identified by the PRS research is that the music industry is more reliant than ever on business to business income rather than direct to consumer revenues. Direct to consumer sales did increase in 2008, by 3%, presumably due to inflation and growth in the live sector (ticket sales count as direct to consumer, of course), but B2B revenues, so licensing music to TV, radio, web services and brands, and advertising and sponsorship money coming straight to music companies, were up 10%. The result of that is that B2B money now accounts for 25% of the industry's overall income.

While record companies do, of course, see some of those B2B revenues, especially broadcast licensing, sync rights money and new revenues from online streaming services, the growth of B2B really helps fuel the growth of the live and publishing sectors more than the recorded music discipline; mainly because live has been much longer tuned into the sponsorship business, and music publishers have a much more expansive licensing operation. The labels though, for all their sins, are still the primary investors in new talent. Leading to the question, who are the investors of the future? Will it still be record companies, but with labels more tuned into sponsorship and licensing opportunities? Or should the growing publishing and live majors take more of an investment role?

Questions questions. Far too tricky to tackle on a Tuesday morning. So let's just wheel out the aforementioned Page with a quote shall we? Even though he just rephrases the same question rather than answering it.

Page: "The aim of this report was to not only add up the revenues generated by the UK music industry, but also to show how it all hangs together. In particular, this helps us have a better understanding of business to business revenues, which now make up a quarter of the total. Reading beneath the top line, recorded is down and live is up - reflecting the success of so-called 'heritage' acts like the Police and Neil Young on the road. Historically record companies have been the primary investor in new acts so the question the industry should ask is this: who will invest in developing the 'heritage' acts of tomorrow?"

Also commenting on the report, acting PRS boss Jeremy Fabinyi told CMU: "This research helps us understand what's at stake and appreciate how the industry currently works. That not only helps our industry work together to overcome some of the common hurdles we currently face, but also increase cooperation across all segments to grow the overall market. And while the economic outlook for 2009 remains challenging, PRS For Music is confident that UK musical talent will continue to succeed, both at home and abroad".

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OK, a little more Jacko now - and some business speculation, some death speculation and some Neverland speculation, in that order.

First up, the New York Times has reported that interest is growing in Michael Jackson's half of the Sony/ATV music publishing partnership. Jackson's shrewdest investment of all, there are various different valuations for the singer's stake in the ATV publishing enterprise, though the Times reckons it could be worth over $500 million. Certainly most of Jackson's well documented debts were secured on the publishing business. If his ATV shares now have to be sold to settle his affairs, the New York paper reports there will be various people interested in bidding for them.

The paper names Colony Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Plainfield Asset Management and the media mogul Haim Saban as being among the interested parties. That said, Sony has the first right of refusal if I'm not mistaken, and presumably Sony Corp could find $500 million to buy out Jacko's share, given that the music publishing company is one of the most successful businesses in the wider Sony group. If they did, coming a year after they bought BMG out of the SonyBMG partnership, it would make the Corp's music assets significant.

Second, back to the rumours surrounding the late King Of Pop's death, and this time some comments from Jermaine Jackson - who always seems the most rational of the Jackson clan. He has been urging caution when it comes to jumping to conclusions as to what exactly led to his brother's death. Telling the Sun that he is yet to see any results from toxicology tests on Michael's body, he says that, despite comments made by his father and sister La Toya who are convinced there was foul play, he'd prefer to wait until a full coroners report is available before developing a theory as to what happened in the hours before his brother's demise.

Jermaine: "I have no idea what happened in those [last] 24 hours. They talk about painkillers and all that kind of stuff but I am uneducated when it comes to any of that. I haven't heard any toxicology reports yet and I wouldn't call it anything until we find out what the reports say and until the conclusion of the investigation".

He added: "I know my sister La Toya said she thought it was murder and that is how she's taking it. That's her emotions speaking out. My father has said things because he lost a son. I say wait to see what the toxicology report says, then go from there. If there's foul play, investigators can track back and see what happened. If it was murder, then who did it?" As previously reported, medics involved in Jackson's life are reportedly already under police suspicion, most notably Dr Conrad Murray, the singer's private physician, though he insists he is in no way connected with his former employer's death.

Finally for now, back to Jacko's former home, the Neverland ranch, and those previously reported plans by some to turn the property into a Graceland's style tourist attraction. As previously reported, the finance firm who hold the mortgage on the property are keen to turn the singer's former home into a tribute-come-theme-park, despite it being tarnished somewhat by the unproven child abuse allegations made against the singer, most of which centred on when children stayed at the home, and the fact Jackson chose not to return there after his acquittal on those charges. As also previously reported, those in favour of a Neverland attraction have suggested the singer should be buried there.

But according to the Associated Press, some of Jackson's former neighbours don't like the idea of their corner of Santa Barbara County becoming destination number one on the Californian tourist trail, and have grouped together to form a protest group called 'Never!' to oppose any plans to open Neverland to the public. Infrastructure issues have already been raised as an issue if Neverland was to become a Gracelands style attraction.

And that's your daily dose of Jacko. Well, except for the stripped down Jackson remix album we'll tell you about in a minute.

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Rapper Foxy Brown is being sued by US tax officials for unpaid taxes of $641,558, which reportedly date from between 2003 to 2006.

Brown is accused of failing to keep up to date with her taxes since 2003, and completely failing to make payments in the years covered in the lawsuit. There's no excuse for that, it's not like she had much on. All she did in those three years was quit Def Jam, re-sign to Def Jam, suffer hearing loss and assault a couple of people.

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Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, aka MCA, has revealed via a video posted on YouTube that he has developed a mild cancer in his throat, which means that the band have been forced to cancel some upcoming shows and push back the release date of their new album.

He told fans: "About two months ago, I started feeling this little lump in my throat, like what you would feel if you have swollen glands or something like that... and so I didn't really think it was anything. But then recently, when we were over in Europe doing promotion, I started to think that I should talk to my doctor. ... They did tests, and I actually have a form of cancer ... in the parotid gland, and it's also in the lymph node right in that area".

However, he added: "The good news is, they did scans of my whole body and it's only localised in this one area, and it's not in a place that affects my voice. So it's a little bit of a setback - it's a pain in the ass - but this is something that's very treatable, and in most cases ... they're able to completely get rid of it, and people don't have continuing problems with it, and they've caught it early and it's not anywhere else in my body".

Watch the full video at

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One half of sixties pop duo Peter & Gordon, Gordon Waller, has died after suffering a heart attack, aged 64.

Scotland-born Waller met Peter Asher at Westminster School in London. Asher was the older brother of Jane Asher who, in the early sixties, was Paul McCartney's girlfriend. Through that connection Peter & Gordon's pop music double act became increasingly associated with the Fab Four, with the duo recording a number of McCartney penned songs (credited, as was the tradition at the time, to Lennon/McCartney, even though they were written by Macca on his own).

Finding themselves in among the Brit Invasion of America in 1964, the duo enjoyed a number of hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic, with McCartney penned songs like 'A World Without Love', 'Nobody I Know', 'I Don't Want To See You Again' and 'Woman'.

The duo split in 1968, and while Asher moved into industry roles, initially for the Beatles' Apple Records, and later as an artist manger in the US, Waller attempted a solo career, but with limited success. Music wise little was heard of Peter & Gordon for the best part of three decades, until a few years ago when Waller released a new solo album of Beatles songs, and the duo subsequently reunited on several occasions on stage, most recently in LA last August.

Waller was married three times and is survived by two daughters.

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Fuelling speculation that the Blur reunion is well and truly over, Alex James has signed a new solo deal outside the band to, erm, make cheese for the Prince Of Wales.

Yes, planet indie's most prominent cheese maker will now be making the stuff by royal appointment, using milk from Charlie's own herd of pedigree Ayrshire cows and distributed via the prince's Duchy Originals organic food range. Despite this, it'll still be reasonably cheap, so everyone can enjoy the royal cheesy offering.

Confirming the deal, James told The Times: "It will be the poshest cheese in the world but it's only going to cost £3 - I think everyone should be able to afford royal cheese".

A spokesman for the Prince of Wales, meanwhile, said: "Duchy Originals is delighted to be working with Alex James, one of Britain's most exciting and passionate new cheese makers, to produce a cheese using the milk form the herd of Ayrshire cows on the Duchy Home Farm".

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Following recent news that new material was in the offing, eighties girl band Bananrama have announced they have done a deal with Universal's Fascination imprint, the Polydor pop division that is something of an expert in girl bands, it being home to Girls Aloud and The Saturdays. Whether the Fascination team can sprinkle some of their magic on the now double act Bananas, who continue to do well on the eighties nostalgia circuit but haven't had so much success with new material in recent years, remains to be seen. A new album is pencilled in for a 14 Sep release, with first single 'Love Comes' now due out on 7 Sep.

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Kanye West is making a bit of a name for himself taking artists and making them cooler and putting them in front of a wider audience (see Mr Hudson), but surely he's going to have his work cut out making Keane look interesting. Actually, 'Spiralling' is a great song, I always forget that. And apparently that's what brought them to West's attention, they say he became "obsessed" with the song when it came out last year.

Keane frontman Tom Chaplin told The Daily Star: "We worked very briefly with Kanye and we're looking to carry on that process really soon. Kanye's a far-out character - very confident - but he also has an undercurrent of being a very sensitive soul. You can tell that from his latest release".

He also told the NME: "We're hoping to get some more stuff done with Kanye in the next few weeks. We've discovered from our last album that you can really push it and be experimental".

Yeah, he's right, that album was so out there and experimental, like the massively experimental second half of Moby's 'Play' album.

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Well, the last time 50 Cent entered into a chart battle it didn't go so well it, did it? Despite threatening to quit hip hop if his album 'Curtis' didn't outperform Kanye West's 'Graduation', which was due out on the same day, it was Mr West who triumphed in the charts. Fiddy, having done a very poor job of quitting hip hop, is now back with another long player and says he wouldn't mind entering into another chart battle, this time perhaps with Jay-Z, who is also lining up a big hip hop release for September.

Mr Z's new album 'Blueprint 3' is currently due for release on 11 Sep, while Fiddy's new album 'Before I Self Destruct' is due on 28 Sep. But 50 told MTV he'd be quite happy for Jay to push back his release to the end of the month. He remarked: "Maybe he'll move back ... yeah, it'd be good", adding that fans loved the "conflict" of a good old fashioned chart battle. And given 'Blueprint 3' has been co-produced by the aforementioned Mr West, it could be positioned as battle two in a continuing war. Fun fun.

Talking of Jay-Z's new album, he's confirmed to Billboard that he has banned the controversial voice-fixing software Auto-tune from his new long player, despite initially using it in early versions of the record. He told the trade mag that use of the software had become a "gimmick", and that it was his job to put an end to it. Jay: "In hip hop, our job is once a trend becomes a gimmick, to get rid of it. We've done that since the beginning of time. Now people are using Auto-tune even in Wendy's commercials, and it's like, 'Oh no! That's has to go!' It's become part of main culture. It's the same thing like when the old lady in Oregon starts saying, 'bling, bling'. It's like, 'I'm never saying that again'".

As previously reported, one of the tracks on 'Blueprint 3' is actually called 'Death Of Auto-tune', and Jay says that that track was inspired by the aforementioned West, the producer whose use of the technology in part brought Auto-tune to public attention. Jay says: "When he [Kanye] heard the beat he said, 'Man, this is just so hard! This has to be against everything - no Auto-tune, none of that type of stuff!' He didn't know what I was going to do or where I was going to take it, but it was actually his fault".

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A little more Jacko. Newly remixed versions of early Michael Jackson songs will be released on a new compilation next week. Similar to The Beatles' 'Let It Be: Naked' album, the new mixes tone done the musical side of the songs in order to concentrate more on the vocals. The album, 'Michael Jackson: The Motown 50 Mixes', hasn't been rushed to market to capitalise on Jacko's death, in case you wondered, it's been planned for a while as part of Motown's fiftieth anniversary celebrations, and to coincide with the planned Jacko O2 residency. The album was released digitally yesterday, and will be in record shops from next Monday.

Here's the tracklist:

I'll Be There
Who's Loving You
Ain't No Sunshine
I Want You Back
We've Got A Good Thing Going
With A Child's Heart
Darling Dear
Got To Be There
Never Can Say Goodbye

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Talking of remixes, LCD Soundsystem are lining up a series of 12" releases featuring remixes of their 2007 '45:33' mini album, the project that originally came out of LCD's previously reported tie up with Nike and iTunes. The 12" remixes will be released over the summer, and then be brought together on an album in September.

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Organisers of In The City have announced the title for this year's convention, which will take place from 18-20 Oct, as always at Manchester's Midland Hotel. And the title is: "Everything Else Is Just Noise".

In The City chief Yvette Livesey explains: "Every year we are told that the music business is in terminal crisis, that Armageddon is coming but once again here we are - and we're still standing! In The City 2009 will, of course, offer a platform to debate those very real challenges but we will also be celebrating the huge efforts that have been made in recent times to develop new ways of working, new business models and new ways to ensure the survival of our industry. As always we take the three key themes of 'inspiration', 'education' and 'interactive' as our main tenets and our programme of events will reflect this".

Already confirmed on the speaker side of ITC this year are Anthony Volodkin, the founder of Hype Machine, and iconic music photographer Gered Mankowitz, while there will be sessions on the emerging Indian and African music industries. More at I guess.

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A short but possibly significant story. Terra Firma have reportedly hired asset management firm Blackstone Group to try to work out a way to restructure EMI's debts to US bank Citigroup who, as previously reported, financed the private equity firm's purchase of the London-based major in 2007. These reports follow recent news that Terra Firma was trying to renegotiate its loan agreements with Citigroup, even looking for the bank to inject more cash into EMI Music. Insiders say Blackstone are looking at other cash raising options in case talks with Citigroup prove unproductive, including some kind of high-yield bond issue.

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Sony Music has announced it has recruited Philippe Ascoli to the job of Senior A&R Director for its Columbia UK division. He will join the major in September.

Ascoli has spent much of his recent music business career working in various roles at EMI, holding a number of jobs at Virgin Records in both the UK and France, including being MD of both Virgin UK and Virgin France, and along the way founding Virgin's seminal French dance imprint Source, and various other Source spin offs.

Confirming Ascoli's appointment to Sony, Columbia MD Mike Smith told CMU: "I am thrilled to be able to welcome Philippe to be a part of the label. I've loved many of the artists that Philippe has signed since I first came across his Source label. He is one of the rare and great music men in the industry that I've always wanted to work with and I am looking forward to him taking Columbia's talent roster to the next level".

Ascoli himself added: "I am very happy to be joining Mike and his team at Columbia Records. To me the Columbia label has always represented one of the greatest legacies in A&R culture and I am proud to be here as part of the same label as many of my musical heroes".

Ascoli replaces Columbia A&R exec Nick Huggett, who is off to become director of A&R over at Universal's Island Records. Commenting on Huggett's departure, Smith added: "I'd also like to wish departing head of A&R Nick Huggett all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his contribution to the label over the past two years".

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The Academy Music Group have announced they have acquired another venue, the 1925 capacity Opera House in Bournemouth. The venue will become a gig and club venue within the O2 Academy network.

Confirming the acquisition, AMG boss John Northcote told CMU: "It fits perfectly within our estate in both look and feel and capacity. It's in great condition and we're looking forward to making some minor operational improvements, but primarily bringing the same vibrant diary of live acts and club events that people expect from AMG venues, filling a significant gap in the market".

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I wondered why we were suddenly discussing Kazaa again in recent weeks - it's funny how these things slowly re-emerge in your consciousness. The one-time enemy number one of the music business is back, but, as is usually the way when former piracy enemies return, this time it's legit.

As you all surely remember, by the time the record industry had successfully sued Napster and Grokster out of business earlier this decade, all the kids were hooked on Kazaa, then the new boy on the illegal P2P file-sharing block. The legal battle against the P2P of the moment began, but was somewhat drawn out because officially the service was based on an island in the middle of the Pacific.

However, eventually infringement action began against an Australian parent company, and despite much effort to defeat the record industry's copyright claims, eventually Kazaa bosses reached deals with the major record companies and stopped providing tools to enable the mass distribution of unlicensed content. Of course by then most people had stopped using Kazaa anyway - mainly because of its links with the distribution of adware and spyware which often crippled the computers of the users of the P2P technology. By that time the kids were all using LimeWire, or accessing Torrents via trackers like The Pirate Bay. Or just sharing MP3s via email or device-to-device exchange.

Anyway, that's all history. Kazaa's Aussie owners Altnet went quiet for a while, but this week launched a brand new licensed music service under their old P2P brand. It's an all-you-can-eat download services which offers US music fans unlimited major label downloads for $20 a month, albeit with the same sort of limiting digital rights management technology employed by Nokia's all-you-can-eat platform Comes With Music, which locks tracks to the PC to which they are downloaded.

The boss of Altnet, Kevin Bermeister, has told Billboard that the initial focus of the legit Kazaa will be the US market, though an Aussie service may follow. And while it's major label biased at launch (ironic since it was the majors who were so anti-Kazaa back in the day), talks are underway with indies and the movie studios about adding their content in due course. User wise, it is unlikely a paid for DRM-heavy service will ever attract the kind of user base the original Kazaa P2P service boasted - tens of millions at one point - though Bermeister seems optimistic, telling the trade mag: "I believe it is possible to reach such numbers, because Kazaa is a powerful brand and its users were loyal".

Yeah, tell that to the people at the second-gen Napster, which is still going, admittedly, but which has hardly been a run away success despite the brand's legacy and initial popularity among online music fans.

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Music video platform MUZU have announced a deal with indie label digital rights body Merlin. It's quite a big deal because it's the first video licensing deal Merlin has signed. It means videos from a string of Merlin represented indie labels not currently available via MUZU now will be. The video service will also help indies digitise their video content as part of the deal.

Confirming the Merlin tie up, MUZU CEO Ciaran Bollard told reporters: "The deal with Merlin is hugely significant and firmly establishes our leadership position in the market as the only music video service to have deals with all four majors and Merlin. MUZU users will benefit greatly by getting free access to one of, if not the largest, official music video libraries online".

Merlin chief Charles Caldas added: "We chose to work with MUZU as they have recognised the significant value of Merlin's offering and have provided our labels with a compelling way to monetise the use of their videos online. We believe this is an exciting proposition for consumers and the industry at large and are excited about the commercial potential it offers Merlin's member labels and their artist rosters. The holistic artist-focused approach that MUZU has taken is already resonating well with fans and brands alike and we look forward to a great relationship going forward".

MUZU, of course, powers the CMU-Tube service - and don't forget you'll find a Camp Bestival selection of videos on the CMU-Tube this week -

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Spotify boss Daniel Ek has revealed that the streaming music enterprise are now recruiting a team ready to oversee a US launch. He's told The Observer he is actively looking for a US launch team, and office space in the States. However, while expansion plans continue, the Spotify man admitted that original plans to go into profit at the end of this year may now have to be re-evaluated. He told the broadsheet: "We still hope to do that, but given the recession and so on it might take a little longer. It may be next year".

As previously reported, while some in the US are highly anticipating the arrival of the popular European streaming music service, some at US labels are less keen because of Spotify's free-to-use ad-funded option. Subscription services, while still not especially popular over here, are slowly taking off in the US, and some music execs are worried that that emerging market could be hit if Spotify arrive with a big free-to-use offer. Though if Spotify were to enter the US market with a primarily subscription-focused service, that could help the streaming music firm also - subscriptions remain high up on their agenda despite the uptake of the company's premium offer still being low in Europe.

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Future Publishing's Classic Rock magazine is to test the water with regards subscription-based online media by launching a new paid for album recommendation and music preview service.

For three pounds a month, Classic Rock readers will have access to an online service where the mag's editorial team will recommend upcoming new albums, and give users the option to preview those LPs via a streaming player ahead of release. The preview will be available for ten days, after which readers can opt to buy the album from the magazine, as a download or mail-order CD.

The magazine's publishers say they reckon the service will take off because of Classic Rock's loyal readership, and the mag's reputation for discovering and championing artists and albums often ignored by the mainstream media.

Classic Rock publisher Chris Ingham told reporters: "We know that Classic Rock readers are hungry to hear new music. They're not going to discover new bands via the radio or TV, so this is the perfect way to complement the magazine. Now readers don't just have to take our word for it - or make judgments based on 30-second samples - we bring the album straight to their desktops and they can live with it for a week".

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

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

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Moby has said he thinks that some of his albums, particularly his most successful one, 1999's 'Play', are a bit mediocre.

He told The Independent: "I've put out records in the past that I thought were mediocre at best and they ended up being very successful. I thought 'Play' was too eclectic. It was recorded in a bedroom with mediocre equipment. The fact that it became as successful as it did is still baffling. Listening to it now, I realise I don't really like the first half of the album, only the second half which is the weird experimental part I don't think anyone has actually listened to".

Yeah, he's right, the second half of that album was so out there and experimental, like the massively experimental last album by Keane.

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Kids often have to work for their pocket money, but Ian Brown has an unusual way of teaching his offspring the value of the cash in their pockets.

Brown told The Quietus: "I've got loads of Stone Roses stuff at home. My kids get me to sign posters and sell them for £10 each on eBay. It saves me having to give them pocket money".

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