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Job ads
Top Stories
Offices of Jacko doc searched
Trois-strike vote now delayed until September
In The Pop Courts
GGF turn cautious as they attend a Pirate Bay court hearing
In The Pop Hospital
Sugababes have flu
Jet Star sales man dies
Awards & Contests
Mercury nominees speak
Reunions & Splits
Oberst to close his Bright Eyes
Artist Deals
Josh Groban appoints Front Line as management
In The Studio
Kid Rock collaborating with Wayne and TI
Release News
Why? reveal new album details
A Place To Bury Strangers announce new album
Lightspeed Champion gives away new track
Gigs N Tours News
Gallagher "storms off stage"
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame birthday parties planned
The Music Business
EMI make yet more executive appointments
OFT announce new standard ticketing terms
Beggars and Hostess partner in Japan
The Digital Business
Apple earnings healthy
And finally...
Kelis gives birth
Jay-Z denies banning Brown from BET Awards
Jacko's secret child
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Legendary soul singer Al Green began his recording career in the late sixties, and by the seventies had cemented his place in musical history. Probably best known for his 1971 hit 'Let's Stay Together', he remains influential and continues to record, in recent years working with artists such as Queen Latifa, ?uestlove, John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae. This month Demon Digital released a new deluxe digital version of his 1969 album, 'Green Is Blues', which was originally put out by Memphis Hi Records, a label owned by band leader Willie Mitchell, who also produced the album. To celebrate the digital release, we spoke to Al to ask our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
They say I grew up with it. I was in the Green Choir at the age of ten years - my brother was the lead singer. You know it's so strange but music won't go away, it won't go away...

Q2 What was the inspiration for 'Green Is Blues'?
The initial spark was a point of being without finances, being without the real security of the future and the initial spark was to get in there and try to make something happen with this new guy Willie Mitchell here in the studio. I thought, he's got a wonderful set up, and I don't have a any money, and I need some! That really was the initial spark! I already knew 'Soul Serenade', and that's my favourite song by Willie Mitchell.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I'm an eccentric and I don't know what to do first! I feel it in my toe, then my finger gets going and after that my hat start jumping off my head and I'm pushing with both feet at the bottom of the car! It hits you when it hits you and when it does it feels so good...

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett - all around that whole genre... As for new artists, there are a lot of new influences that are going around in my constellation!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would kinda say - get ready for a double Dutch chocolate feeling, like you've put warm chocolate over ice cream. I mean these girls at a show in Ottawa... they didn't care if it was caramel or chocolate! They were up on the stage so fast that security had to get them, they were jumping up on the stage so fast until security had to come out... The band were saying "Shall we keep playing?" and they just kept playing and the girls kept coming...

Q6 What are your ambitions for your debut album, and for the future?
Moving on, moving up and moving out. That's what makes the world go round. And of course we're gonna do more touring!


Boasting two concert halls (1,200 / 6,500 cap), the Rockhal (, co-financed by the Luxembourgish State, is the premium concert venue in the Greater Region (France/Germany/Belgium/Luxembourg) with an international audience. We are recruiting a Booker/Producer

Required skills: confirmed experience in booking/promoting shows, international contacts, fluent in French and English.

Tasks: book shows and assist with the planning of concerts and festivals, negotiate, manage, organise and coordinate concerts and festivals.

Expected date of entry: 1st September 2009 or to be negotiated. Please apply with CV, diplomas and letter of motivation to:

Monsieur le Directeur Général de l'Etablissement public, Centre de Musiques Amplifiées, 5, Avenue du Rock'n'Roll | L-4361 Esch-sur-Alzette.




So, Michael Jackson's private physician is now well and truly in the spotlight as LA authorities try to establish what exactly caused the sudden death of the late King Of Pop. Dozens of police and federal agents yesterday descended on the Houston offices of Dr Conrad Murray in the search of any evidence that may help them ascertain whether any wrongdoing - negligent or deliberate - brought about the singer's demise. As much previously reported, the most popular theory at the moment is that Jackson was injected with a strong prescription drug shortly before his death, and that that drug caused the cardiac arrest that killed him.

Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, confirmed last night that the raid on his client's office was in relation to investigations of the possible manslaughter of Jackson, but again stressed his client did not cause the singer's death, and pointed out the medic continued to cooperate with all police investigations into his former client's demise. Police and other officials said little about the two and half hour raid, except that they were looking for certain key documents.

Chernoff also confirmed a copy of his client's hard drive was taken by officials, suggesting that police weren't just looking for documents relating to Jackson's health and treatment, but also email correspondence between the singer and the doc, in which prescription medication may or may not have been discussed.

The attorney concluded in a statement: "The coroner wants to clear up the cause of death; we share that goal. Based on Dr Murray's minute-by-minute and item-by-item description of Michael Jackson's last days, he should not be a target of criminal charges".

As previously reported, both the police and Jackson's family remain hopeful that the toxicology tests done on the late singer's body may throw more light on to the exact cause of his death. Despite hopes those test results would be available as soon as this week, it now looks likely it will be another couple of weeks before a full coroner's report is available.

Elsewhere in the LAPD's investigations, a spokeswoman for Jackson's nutritionist, Cherilyn Lee, confirmed that her client had been subpoenaed by the LA coroner's office and would now share information on the advice she had given the singer in recent months. Lee's rep said the diet doctor was already co-operating with officials, but that the subpoena was required in order for her to hand over confidential paperwork relating to a former patient.

Elsewhere in Jackson news, plans continue for the previously reported O2 Jacko tribute show that is being mooted for 29 Aug, what would have been the singer's 51st birthday. As previously reported, the tribute show would be staged by AEG Live in one of the slots reserved for the cancelled Jackson residency at The O2 in east London. Some of the sets built for the cancelled shows might also be used. Talent wise though, two of the big names previously associated with such a tribute look unlikely to participate.

Sources close to Janet Jackson say she has no plans to participate, seeing her music career as being quite separate from that of Michael and the rest of her brothers. Justin Timberlake, another top pop act previously linked to a Jacko tribute show, he being so influenced by the late king of pop, also seems unkeen to be involved.

On the bill so far are just Jackson's brothers Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie. It's still not clear to me how they plan to get out of those previously reported contractual commitments to not perform before a planned Jackson reunion special in the US next year, unless that special is now considered cancelled following Michael's death, or the legal action the promoters of that show launched against Jacko before he died.

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Although the French government remains committed to making three-strikes law, the plans have had another albeit temporary set back after the lower house of the French Parliament postponed voting on the latest proposals until the Autumn.

As previously reported, French ministers had previously got their three-strike proposals through the French parliament, but the new legislation fell at the final hurdle, the French Constitutional Council.

The proposals would put a three-strikes system to tackle online piracy into French law. A new government agency called Hadopi would take complaints from content owners regarding individuals who access or share unlicensed content via P2P. The agency would then issue two written warnings to those individuals, telling them their content sharing activity is illegal. If they continued to file-share after that, under the original proposals, the Hadopi agency would have the right to order the illegal file-sharer's internet service provider to cut off their net access.

However, the Constitutional Council deemed that last bit of the process unconstitutional. Sharing concerns with some in the European Parliament, they said it was wrong that a government agency should be able to deprive citizens of net access - the constitutional chiefs said that sanction should only be made by a judge.

Which is why the French government has had to revamp its proposals - basically adding a final stage to the process whereby the Hadopi department passes a list of offending file-sharers to a specially appointed judge who basically rubber stamps net disconnection orders, albeit only after suspected file-sharers have been given an opportunity to appeal if they believe they have been falsely accused.

Those new proposals were quickly passed by the upper house of the French parliament earlier this month, but were always going to face more scrutiny from the lower house, which previously voted against the whole Hadopi proposal at one point. Although voting on and passing a couple of amendments to the new proposals, the French Assembly decided to put off the final vote on the new laws until after the summer break, in September. Although only a temporary set back, it's another frustration to the music industry who want to see the three-strike system put in place asap.

Responding to the latest delay, French collecting society SACEM issued a statement on behalf of their members, saying that French authors, composers and publishers "wish to express their great disappointment and genuine anger following deferment of the vote to the next parliamentary session.

Fully aware of the need for scrupulous respect of public freedoms, they deem, in compensation, that literary and artistic property rights should also be protected and respected by law. While they see their income from the phonograph market shrink year after year, month after month, with no compensation from online services to make up for their loss, because of the impact of piracy in particular, they solemnly ask the members of parliament to take their responsibilities to answer this institution of justice".

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While the boss of Swedish tech firm Global Gaming Factory this week insisted his purchase of The Pirate Bay would go ahead, a legal rep for the company was more cautious when speaking in a Dutch court on the matter. The fact a rep of GGF had to speak in a Dutch court at all might put off some of the firm's backers from acquiring an online entity which possibly comes with all sorts of outstanding copyright infringement liabilities, however carefully worded any contract between former and new owners.

GGF rep Ricardo Dijkstra was speaking in a Dutch court after the tech firm was added to the defendant list of a lawsuit being pursued by a Netherlands-based organisation called Stichting Brein, which represents various rights owners. GGF were added to Strichting Brein's legal papers as soon as the Swedish company announced its intent to buy The Bay in a $7.6 million deal. Whereas the current owners of The Pirate Bay have much chosen to ignore Strichting Brein's litigation, as they do, Global Gaming, being a proper company like, felt they ought to represent themselves.

GGF lawyer Ricardo Dijkstra tried his best to convince the Dutch court that it was wrong to transfer liability for The Pirate Bay's past wrong doing onto his clients because they were the good guys, taking over the Bay to turn it into a legitimate copyright law obeying content service. And the acquisition - which hasn't actually happened as yet - would only go ahead if the Pirate Bay's "assets can be used in a legal manner".

Expressing surprise that the company had been summoned to the Dutch court in the Pirate Bay case, given they haven't as yet even taken ownership of the rogue BitTorrent tracker, Dijkstra threw a little doubt on whether the purchase would ever actually happen. Although speaking in cautious terms, he said that whether or not the GGF/Bay deal would ever go through was "very much the question".

Responding to other reports earlier this week that the deal was not yet certain, though, GGF boss Hans Pandeya told CNET: "Nobody is uncertain about anything. We are more certain than ever before. There are no changes in our plan. We'll bring the deal to investors at a shareholders meeting, which we expect to hold in four weeks".

Of course liability for The Pirate Bay's past and current copyright infringement will be a big concern to any of GGF's backers. Given the Swedish court ruling earlier in the year that said that the Bay was guilty of contributory infringement, even though the service itself doesn't host any infringing content, numerous content owners are likely to come forward to claim damages if they think funds are suddenly available to pay such claims.

Even if GGF can somehow sidestep liability for the Bay's past copyright crimes, what about the minute the takeover deal is done? Do GGF put the whole Pirate Bay operation on hold until they can negotiate deals with record companies and film studios, even though those negotiations could take years? And if not, aren't GGF liable for any copyright infringement that they assist in from the minute they take ownership?

None of this is without precedent of course. A number of companies tried to help make the original Napster legal back in the early days of P2P, and then, once the original Napster company had been sued out of business, found themselves being chased for damages by pissed off content owners.

Amusingly, of course, one of those companies who backed Napster as it tried to go legit was a major content owner itself - BMG. Years of messy legal manoeuvres followed, with BMG owners Bertelsmann eventually reaching costly out of court settlements with most claimants, albeit without ever admitted liability. It was another era and another jurisdiction, but GGF's financial backers might like to note that when you buy into a P2P operation with a shady past, even with the best intentions, you might find yourself being held liable for past copyright infringement.

Back to the Dutch case, though, and Stichting Brein's real aim remains to persuade the courts to order ISPs in the Netherlands to block access to the Bay. Judges are expected to rule on that claim next week.

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Two of the Sugababes have had to pull out of promoting new single 'Get Sexy' because they've come down with the flu. Whether it's the always more newsworthy pig flu is yet to be confirmed. It's Heidi Range and Amelle Berrabah who are suffering. A spokesmen said promotion of the girls' new material would continue once the duo were better.

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Tony Berry, a former head of sales for reggae label Jet Star, has died aged 62. According to Music Week, Berry first started working in music as a DJ in the sixties Northern Soul scene. His first job in the industry was as a sales rep for WEA, before moving to a national promotions job at Arista and then, in 1978, to a marketing role at Pinnacle Records. He spent the latter part of his career with Jet Star, before being forced to step back from work about eighteen months ago after being diagnosed with cancer.

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This year's Mercury Prize nominees have been flapping their gobs off after the announcement of this year's shortlist on Tuesday. Here's what most of them had to say - La Roux and The Invisible are being aloof at the moment.

One of the two favourites to win, Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine said: "I don't really feel that much pressure because I am so pleased to be just a part of it and to be on the list with other amazing artists, that I don't mind if I win or not". Asked by The Mirror what it was like to be the bookie's favourite, she said: "I've never made a bet in my life and I don't know if now's the time to start".

The other favourites, Kasabian were similarly unsure about there status at the top of the pile. The band's Tom Meighan told The Mirror: "We've not done an obvious album. It's an album unlike anything we've ever done before. It's an underground left-field album, completely. I can't believe it's been nominated". However, he has already got ideas of how he'd spend the prize money, telling The Daily Star: "I'd like to spend it on a yacht and get out of my mind. Hire a yacht out with a group of people and have it". Guitarist Serge Pizzorno had other less druggy plans though, saying: "I could buy three players for Leicester City with that sort of money".

Rapper Speech Debelle told The Independent that she deserves her nomination, but mainly because the musicians she worked with on her album, 'Speech Therapy', were so good. She said: "I think it deserves to have this because it is a good album and all the musicians are excellent and everyone had an understanding of what we were trying to achieve from the outset". She also told MTV: "I feel real proud. I feel like it's an achievement, and I feel like I should be nominated. There's no competition cos nobody could do what I do and I couldn't do what they do".

Glasvegas frontman James Allan just came straight out and said that his band's album would be named the winner because he is so good. He told the NME: "You've got to understand that with the euphoria [and] the heartbreak that you put yourself through making a record... I really did have nothing left in me. I was on my fucking knees by the end of this thing man, more than you'll ever be able to fucking imagine. So with that then, I expect to take [the Mercury prize]".

Bat For Lashes, aka Natasha Khan, meanwhile said that if she wins the award she'll use the prize money to build a studio so that she can spend more time making music. She told The Mirror: "If I did win, it would be great because I'd make my own studio and it would mean that I had more freedom creatively to do more production and work in my own time, which is my idea of heaven really. So that's what I would spend the money on and if I did win, it would be really nice after being nominated last year. I've got absolutely no idea [if I'll win], I don't feel that confident but I feel confident in my album. I've been nominated and that's good enough for me really, but I have absolutely no idea where they're gonna go. Last time, I thought it was going to be Amy Winehouse, I was sure of it and then it was the Klaxons".

The Horror's Tom Furse said he thought Bat For Lashes will win, having a sly dig at the other ladies on the list in the process. He told Holy Moly: "To be honest, I haven't actually heard any of the albums that are nominated. There's so much music out there and I'm working my way forwards from the start. I'm at 1989 at the moment so none of these albums are on my radar. But I think Bat For Lashes will win. She's been in it before and if this is the year of the female solo artist then at least it should go to someone who really put the work in. I think it's a lot more her record, as well".

Friendly Fires said via their official website that they were "very happy" to be nominated, and added that whether they win or not the ceremony will be "a good excuse for a good ole knees up".

Writing on her MySpace blog, Lisa Hannigan said: "I can't transcribe the high pitched noise of excitement that I'm involuntarily making right now, but '!' sums up my feelings best. 'Sea Sew' has just been nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. I really can't believe it. For myself, the lads in the band, Una, Nurse Ben, all of the people who worked so hard to put this record out and be heard, it's an incredible honour and unbelievable gift".

Sweet Billy Pilgim's Tim Elsenburg revealed on the band's website that he had been fitting a toilet seat when he heard the news. He said: "I was at work, fitting a toilet seat in Farnham, when I heard about the nomination. The two realities sort-of collided and time and space went funny for a bit, and I may have just repeated a certain expletive at regular intervals for the first few minutes. We are very proud that our record - grown in my shed - has made such a good impression on the judges, and to be associated with the Mercury is a massive honour".

Led Bib drummer Mark Holub told The Mirror: "It's all still sinking in and I don't think any one of us can believe it's real. To be nominated for an award like this when you create more esoteric music, which usually operates out of the mainstream, feels almost incomprehensible. We are just so overwhelmed and pleased and want to thank everyone who has supported us over the last five years".

The not nominated Lily Allen also spoke via Twitter, backing La Roux to win and saying that she's not surprised that she didn't get a nomination: "I'm like Gazza, the judges hate me, but the people, dem love me". I think that's being a little overly dramatic, though - there's only space for twelve bands on the list and whatever you think of Lily's latest album and this year's Mercury nominations, there is no way anyone could say 'It's Not Me, It's You' is good enough to be called one of the twelve best British albums of the last year. No way at all. Because it's not.

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Conor Oberst has decided to retire his Bright Eyes project after one more album, according his hometown's newspaper The Omaha World-Herald. This follows an interview with Rolling Stone last month in which he said: "It does feel like it needs to stop at some point. I'd like to clean it up, lock the door, say goodbye".

Oberst formed Bright Eyes with Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott and a rolling line-up of musicians, mainly pulled in from the Omaha music scene, in 1995. Since then they have recorded eight studio albums. More recently Oberst has recorded two solo albums and started work with "folk rock supergroup" Monsters Of Folk, with Jim James, M. Ward, and Mike Mogis, who are set to release their debut album in September via Rough Trade.

Robb Nansel, President of Saddle Creek (the label founded by Oberst and his brother Justin in 1993), told the Omaha World-Herald: "I think he feels like Bright Eyes has a certain association, for better or worse. I think he's trying to distance himself a little bit from what that means to people". He added that plans were afoot to record the final Bright Eyes album early next year, with a view to releasing it in the autumn.

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That Josh Groban fella has moved management. The American operatic crooner has hired the services of the Ticketmaster-owned management agency Front Line whose top man, Irving Azoff, will personally handle his affairs. Cos Azoff's not got other things on his mind, like leading a controversial merger between the ticketing/management giant and tour promoting/venue owning conglom Live Nation. Groban was previously with Brian Avnet Management.

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Kid Rock will collaborate with Lil Wayne and TI on his next album, which could be interesting. Rock has previously collaborated with Wayne on a couple of interesting live performances, at last year's MTV VMAs and Country Music Awards. TI is in prison, of course, but reportedly provided material for a track prior to his incarnation. The legend that is Rick Rubin has been hired to produce Rock's hip hop tinged new album.

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CMU favourites Why? have announced details of their new album, 'Eskimo Snow', which will be released by Anticon in the US on 22 Sep and in the UK via Tomlab on 5 Oct.

The album was recorded during the same sessions as last year's 'Alopecia', but, says frontman Yoni Wolf, has a very different feel. He told Pitchfork: "The 'Eskimo Snow' songs are a bit more wild, and the drums have more room mics. They're more open. The sound is more open, more live. ... This record, Eskimo Snow, is really the least hip hop out of anything I've ever been involved with. I mean, they feel like song-songs with - I don't want to say a typical verse-chorus structure, but they're song-songs".

You can download a track from the album, 'The Blackest Purse', from here.

Here's the full tracklist:

These Hands
January Twenty Something
Against Me
Even The Good Wood Gone
Into The Shadows of My Embrace
One Rose
On Rose Walk, Insomniac
Berkeley By Hearseback
This Blackest Purse
Eskimo Snow

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"New York's loudest band" A Place To Bury Strangers have announced that they will release their second album, 'Exploding Head', via Mute in October.

Speaking about the album, frontman Oliver Ackermann told Pitchfork: "I love the interplay and contrasts between something that's pretty and something that's scary. Taking listeners to different places - even in one song - is so important, whether it makes them cry or pissed off. If you listen closely, some of the riffs on this record are actually like Ramones songs or 60s bubblegum pop".

You can catch the band live at this Sunday's 1234 Festival in London's Shoreditch Park. While you wait for that, you can stare at this list of song titles:

It Is Nothing
In Your Heart
Lost Feeling
Keep Slipping Away
Ego Death
Smile When You Smile
Everything Always Goes Wrong
Exploding Head
I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart

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Mr Lightspeed Champion has made a brand new song available for free download, mainly to encourage us all to go check out his lovely new website. I say lovely, I've not checked it. I'm sure it is lovely though. Have you see the new website from Be Internet? You know, the internet service provider. Wow, that's a change of brand direction, from cool, clean corporate to, well, courier-infused fanzine. Anyway, I think that's what you call a digression. The new Lightspeed track is called 'Heavy Purple' and can be downloaded, once you've registered, from

Here's Champion himself talking about it: "I started writing and recording the track at my friend Scott's studio in Williamsburg and finished the song at Patrick [Wimberly] from Chairlift's home studio in Bushwick. I played all the instruments, and my vocal was done in one take. The intro features Aaron [Pfenning] from Chairlift (extracted from an old song of his), which has Caroline [Polache] from the band doing weird vocal things, and Aaron also does a monologue at the end. The song was basically written as it was recorded".

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Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher reportedly stormed off stage part way through the band's iTunes Live gig at The Roundhouse in Camden on Tuesday night, after some "students" wearing "stupid pointy shoes" threw beer at him. His brother Noel took over lead vocals for a number of songs, before Liam returned to finish the show.

After throwing a barrage of abuse at whoever had thrown the beer, Liam said: "You students with your stupid pointy shoes. I hope you feel as uncomfortable as I feel" and then left the stage. Noel then said "Someone's in a bad mood" before playing 'The Masterplan'.

Noel later played down the incident, writing on his blog: "That gig at was... erm... very odd. What'siz'name exploded with pretend rage the minute he walked on. Strange cat. Probably on his man period. Saying that, it was a full moon'n'all. Didn't notice him getting any more hairy though. Mind you, those that were there seemed to enjoy it, so... y'know, onwards and sideways".

A spokesperson for the band said that it was all a non-event, telling the BBC: "Liam did not storm off stage. He always leaves during Noel's songs".

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The US Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is 25 years old this year and will celebrate with two big parties at New York's Madison Square Garden at the end of October. Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, U2, Stevie Wonder, Metallica and Eric Clapton are already confirmed to play, and there are rumours that Paul McCartney and Simon & Garfunkel might be added to the bill. That's quite an impressive line up.

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God, I wish when Terra Firma had bought EMI I'd pitched for the business card printing account. Rarely a month goes by without some new senior exec arriving, or departing, or getting a swish new nonsensical job title. There was a time when record companies announced new artist signings every month or so, whereas EMI seem to be more tuned into Vice President signings these days.

Anyway, there were four more executive appointments at EMI yesterday - one promotion and three new recruits, the latter three all rewarded with particularly nonsensical job titles for agreeing to join the struggling major.

First Syd Schwartz, previously digital strategy man for EMI Music in North America, gets a global role as Senior VP Digital Marketing, which will mean lots of travelling around the world, presumably. Next David Boyle, whose past experience includes advising Tesco and Barack Obama on how to engage music fans (presumably), who becomes VP Consumer Insight & Validation. Next Eric Case, another former Google exec, who joins as VP Marketing Platforms. And finally Charlotte Robertson, previously of Sky telly, who will become VP Consumer Outreach.

They will all report (Robertson via Schwartz) to Cory Ondrejka, himself a relatively new recruit at EMI, who goes by the title Exec VP Digital Marketing. Yesterday he said this: "Digital is everyone's job at EMI. We've built a network of central and regional digital experts who make sure our entire organisation has the tools and information needed to help our artists in the digital marketplace and to give consumers what they want. We are driving experiments, and developing new ways to monetise the music our artists create, building new capabilities and getting and sharing insights about what kinds of music products and services today's consumers are looking for". It's the new capabilities I'm most excited about.

Rest assured, those business card printers are going to be kept busy.

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The UK's Office Of Fair Trading has reached an agreement with The Society Of Ticket Agents regarding terms and conditions used by major players in the primary ticketing sector. The OFT has been looking into the increasingly controversial ticketing industry for a while, of course, the sector being criticised by many consumers in recent years for increasing the number of extra fees they charge on ticket sales - so you pay extra for having your ticket printed, for having it mailed, for paying by credit card, for the privilege of being granted a ticket, and for having the audacity to even think about buying at ticket in the first place, that kind of thing.

The OFT/STAR deal doesn't mean an end to all those tedious charges (I still don't know why, given most charges are automatic and not tied to extra services, such charges aren't just bundled into the original ticket price - especially when a tour or venue is tied to one primary ticketing agent), but, officials say, it will mean that STAR affiliated agents will follow standard terms and conditions which, it's hoped, will mean more transparency for consumers.

STAR man Jonathan Brown said this: "STAR has been protecting consumers from sharp practices for over ten years, but there is more work to be done, as complaints about online ticket scams and street touts continue to flood in. We need to improve consumer awareness of what to look for when buying tickets, so people can avoid paying inflated prices or risk losing everything if something goes wrong. Adoption of the model terms represents a firm commitment to excellent customer service, and providing clear and transparent information about the tickets on sale".

The new terms do not impact on the even more controversial secondary ticketing market, because that industry is represented by its own trade body, not STAR. However, primary agents hope that by making their own terms more transparent, it will help consumers spot any secondary ticketing scams. Though I'm not sure most consumers ever read or really care about Ts and Cs, and they will continue to complain until all but the most modest of ticketing commissions are abolished.

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London-based indie the Beggars Group has announced a partnership with Japanese indie label distributors Hostess which will see the latter distribute the former's releases in Japan. Beggars will also launch its own company in the territory to oversee marketing and promotion of its releases. I'm assuming the new deal replaces a previous partnership in the Japanese market between Beggars and Warner Music - a partnership which was a little bit controversial when indie label trade body IMPALA was in talks with Warner Music about supporting the major's then active proposals to merge with EMI.

As previously reported, IMPALA traditionally objects to any major label mergers, and encourages the European Commission to block them, but in 2007 it said it wouldn't object to a Warner takeover of EMI because of various commitments Warner had made to the indie label community. In the end Warner's takeover ambitions were halted by Terra Firma's acquisition of EMI, but not before some had questioned if Beggars - as influential players in the indie label community - were biased in supporting Warner because of their business partnership in Japan.

Anyway, that's all ancient history, back to the Hostess deal. And Beggars chief Martin Mills says this: "I am delighted that our independent future has arrived in Japan. We will always be grateful to our partners over the years for their support, but now Beggars Japan will become part of the Beggars worldwide fully independent structure. We look forward with excitement to working with our great Japanese staff, our new partner in Hostess, our labels XL, Rough Trade, Matador and 4AD, and most of all, of course, our artists, and being on the front line in these stimulating times".

Hostess man Andrew Lazonby says this: "It's very exciting to be working with Hostess during the next chapter of Beggars Japan. In a more and more challenging market, we are confident that the partnership will enable us to bring our innovative and cutting edge artists to a wider Japanese audience".

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Apple's third quarter earnings have been posted, and they're still doing really rather well, in fact net profits were up 15% after the computer firm's best non-Christmas quarter ever. Not recession doom and gloom at Apple towers then. The firm's music enterprises remain important in their success, though sales of the traditional iPod are actually in considerable decline, but that's because the iPhone and iPod Touch are booming so much. The company's CFO Peter Oppenheimer admitted that he expected "traditional MP3 player [sales] to decline over time as we cannibalise ourselves with the iPod Touch and the iPhone". The popularity of the iPhone continues to grow meaning that, despite an initial relatively slow response to Apple's move into the mobile sector, the computer firm definitely has a long future in the handset market.

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That Kelis has gone and had a baby, which is often the next step after going into labour (as we told you she had yesterday). She and her soon to be former husband Nas have named the boy Knight.

Nas' lawyer told reporters that the rapper was not allowed to witness the birth, despite rushing to the hospital in order to do so. He told AllHipHop: "It was his intention to be there for the birth, but unfortunately he has not been allowed to be present. While this is clearly heartbreaking to him, Nas continues to offer his support and love to his new baby boy and his mother".

However, the rapper seems to have got over the heartbreak fairly quickly, and later he performed, visibly drunk, at Queensbridge Housing Projects in New York, telling the audience: "This is like the best thing ever. My son's name is Knight. That's what I named the young god. Y'all heard it first. Don't believe nothing in the media".

You heard the man, ignore this whole story. No one's had any babies and Nas and Kelis are still happily married.

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Jay-Z has dismissed those recent rumours that he used his influence to ban R&B thugster Chris Brown from performing at the recent Black Entertainment Awards. As previously reported, it was rumoured that Brown had been pulled from the show at the last minute because of the controversy surrounding him beating up Rihanna earlier in the year. The cancellation was sudden, some said, because Jay-Z stepped in at the last minute and insisted Brown not be allowed to perform. Brown's people, though, said he'd never been booked to appear at the awards event in the first place.

And now Jay-Z has told Tim Westwood the rumours weren't true, though he admits he has a problem with Brown for beating his friend Rihanna unconscious, which seems entirely reasonable really. On the BET Award rumours, Jay said: "That's the silliest rumour I ever heard. You know me, right? I was sitting back and watching all them suckas [comment]. You don't comment on rumours. I was sitting back watching them. 'Look at them. That's so silly'. Let me categorically deny that. If I have a problem with Chris Brown, I got a problem with Chris Brown. I don't agree with what he did and that's that".

Although remaining critical of Brown's actions, asked about the R&B star's video apology to Rihanna and the world earlier this week, Jay added: "We're all flawed human beings. All a person can do is apologise. That's it, what can we say? You know everyone should be allowed to make mistakes. It happens".

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Yeah, you're all bored of rumours that Michael Jackson didn't father any of his children, right? Well, how about this? He might have been the father of more children than we thought. Norwegian dancer Omer Bhatti is reportedly trying to have a DNA test to find out if he is Jackson's son.

According to The Sun, Bhatti was born after his mother had a one night stand with Jackson in 1984. Now 25, Bhatti sat in the front row with Jackson's immediate family at the singer's memorial service at the Staples Center in LA and is said to have spent ever Christmas at the Neverland Ranch from the age of 14.

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