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Top Stories
ERA speak out on government's P2P proposals - they like em
OFT launch fake ticket awareness scheme
Good Shoes want good swimmers
In The Pop Courts
Love may or may not sue over Guitar Hero
Ellen chat show sued over unlicensed music spot
Howard New dies
Canadian Brass trumpeter dies
Charts, Stats & Polls
Beatles to dominate charts
Reunions & Splits
Subliminal Girls split
Release News
Coxon announces single
Kid Koala and Wolfmother give away album
Micah P Hinson has it all covered
Films N Shows News
Mel C takes West End role
Gigs N Tours News
Now Cole can't do the Jacko tribute show
The Big Pink announce tour dates
Festival News
Bestival iPhone app
The Music Business
Balls launches year of music in schools
Livemaster chiefs chat
The Media Business
Future Music publisher promoted
Pennine FM bought
DeGeneres named new American Idol judge
And finally...
Page won't tell all in tell-all
Friendly Fires' Brazilian bar brouhaha
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We have been in love with Piney Gir since Truck Records released her debut album, 'Peakahokahoo', in 2004. Since then she released an album and various singles with her band, The Piney Gir Country Roadshow, who perform country versions of her solo songs, as well as original tracks. This month she returns with her second solo album, 'The Yearling', released by her own label Hotel Records, on 14 Sep. You can also catch her live at a number of dates in the coming weeks. We caught up with Piney to ask our Same Six Questions.

Piney was very chatty. To read her interview in full, go here.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I was forced to take piano lessons at the age of four. We bought an old second-hand piano and my mom fixed it up, painted it, made the seat all nice and cushy. My glamorous Aunt Mary lived across the street and she would come over and give me lessons. Learning piano and singing a lot at Sunday School gave me a musical education from the get go.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Growing up. 'The Yearling' is a story about coming-of-age, accepting the bittersweetness of saying goodbye to people, things, places. It's a story of love and loss; there's a lot of pain and hope simultaneously in life all the time.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
A song hits me and I just have to let it take its course, I'm powerless with it. It's like I'm channelling something... it sounds cheesy, but it's as if I am a vessel for this voice inside me.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I am a big music fan, but I don't really enjoy categorising music. I wouldn't say, "I only love synth pop from 1981". I'd say, "I really love anything that is good..." And that can include anything from The Everly Brothers, Erasure and Patsy Cline to Schoolhouse Rock and Larry Least...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't try to put it in a box please, it won't fit.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Like most songwriters, I really want my music to connect with people. I am so proud of this album and I think if people open their hearts and ears they will love it.

MORE>>, and

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: The Canal Party #5 at The Grand Union
It's The Canal Party's end of season finale, which promoter Stuart Patterson promises will be "Secretsundaze meets Shameless", again claiming that Park Royal is "the new Ibiza". Some quality parties have been had at The Grand Union Canal terrace and courtyard, with its Funktion 1 sound system, and this looks set to be up there with the best of them. Top jock Phil Asher from Inspiration Information, the aforementioned Stuart Patterson from East Village/Soulsonic and Matt Brown from Sancho Panza (who always rock the Carnival) will being DJing alongside special guests Dave Jarvis, Karl Gonsalez and SoonNight's Rave Ice Cream Van. BBQs and novelty photo booths help to add further fun, feel good factor and festival vibe to the party. The weather forecast is good, so make your way to Park Royal for an all-day extravaganza (well, all evening/night), with reggae, disco and proper quality house sounds until the sun goes down... and beyond!

Saturday 12 Sep, The Grand Junction Arms, Canal Bridge, Acton Lane, Park Royal, NW10 7AD, 5pm - 3am, £7 adv/£10 door, press info from Rosalia at Ferrara PR.
Sadly I am not going to Bestival this year, but if I was (and if you are) I'd be checking out (DEEP BREATH) Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, Soulwax, Carl Cox, Squarepusher, Future Sound Of London, Karl Hyde & Rick Smith (Underworld) who are doing an exclusive DJ Set, Diplo presents The Mad Decent Soundsystem, Fabio & Grooverider, Rob da Bank, Tom Middleton, Krafty Kuts, Beardyman, Altern 8, DJ Yoda, Eat Static, Derrick Carter, A Skillz, London Elektricity & MC Wrec, Gilles Peterson, Crazy P, Skream, Tayo, Buraka Som Sistema, Orkestra Del Sol, The Jinks, Alix Perez, Chase & Status featuring Takura, MC Rage & Plan B, Lizzy Parks playing an acoustic set, 2020 Sound System, Speech Debelle, The Qemists, Robert Luis featuring Kinny, Annie Nightingale, Beat Boutique, DJ Food, Chris Coco, Drums Of Death, Justin Robertson, The Heavenly Jukebox, Benga, Benji B, Bobby Friction and Ross Allen. And while, if you read that lot out in one breath, you might feel like you have just read out the entire line up, no, those are just my recommends. I also want to mention another CMU favourite - Paul Trouble Arnold - who isn't playing this year, but is swimming the 3.5 miles from Portsmouth to the Isle Of Wight on his way to the fest in aid of charity (in fact he may already have done it), so do pat him on the back for me if you see him. So, yeah, Bestival. Is this CMU's favourite festival? Well, you're gonna be hard pushed to find a better one.

Friday 11 Sep to Sunday 13 Sep, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, Sold out, more info from

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The Entertainment Retailers Association has joined the BPI in supporting the government's recent change of heart over the P2P file-sharing issue.

As much previously reported, while the government was rather non-committal about how to tackle file-sharing in its 'Digital Britain' report earlier this year, last month they announced plans to introduce measures forcing internet service providers to tackle file-sharers, with the threat of service suspension for those who continue to infringe after receiving warnings.

Some in the record industry have welcomed that change in heart, though the Featured Artists Coalition, Music Producers' Guild, British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors and Music Managers Forum have all been critical. They oppose any plans to deprive even a small number of music fans of internet access, arguing such measures won't have any real impact on the number of people file-sharing, and that they will just further alienate public opinion of the music business - such alienation, it could be argued, is how file-sharers justify to themselves their copyright infringing habits in the first place.

ERA, however, is with the BPI, the major record companies and the government on this issue. The trade body's chairman, Paul Quirk, told his AGM that illegal file-sharing is the entertainment retail sector's biggest challenge, and urged to government to act on a problem which is, he says, "bleeding our industry dry".

Arguing that, because so many legit download stores are now members of ERA, his trade body is now "the de facto representative body of the UK's digital entertainment sector", he remarked: "Too often the debate over illegal file-sharing is portrayed as an ideological battle, but for us this is a commercial matter. Illegal file-sharing is damaging our businesses, both physical and digital, on a daily basis, and the government needs to tackle it swiftly and decisively in order to protect jobs, businesses and investment".

He continued: "First the file-sharers targeted the music business and the government did nothing. Now the file-sharers have come again for TV and movies. Unless action is taken the file-sharers will come for computer games, books, in fact anything which can be digitised and what will be at stake will be not just the entertainment industry but huge swathes of the UK economy. We need action now".

Making reference to recent government proposals that persistent file-sharers have their net connections suspended, he hit out at those, both within the music industry, though more commonly within internet service providers and consumer groups, who argue such measures breach human rights. Quirk: "No one has a human right to file-share illegally any more than they have a human right to shoplift. And the idea that some file-sharers should be immune from sanctions because they occasionally pay for music is equally ridiculous. Just because nine times out of ten when I drive my car I obey the speed limit, that doesn't give me immunity when I do break the law".

Interestingly, within ERA, as well as traditional entertainment retailers, and the supermarkets, and many of the newer digital music providers, like 7Digital and We7, you also have some internet service providers and mobile firms who run their own download services. That's interesting because, of course, net firms are generally against the idea of suspending file-sharers' net access, some more vocally than others.

The modern ERA includes such a wide range of retail organisations it is arguably limited in what it can do on certain issues because the interests of its members conflict - a prime example is the much previously reported Channel Islands VAT loophole, whereby ERA hasn't been able to speak out against the loophole on behalf of its smaller independent members (of which Quirk himself is one), because the big retailers utilising the loophole are also members. With that in mind, it's a demonstration of how strongly Quirk and key ERA members feel about the P2P issue that they can talk so forthrightly on it, even though some of their Tel Co members may very much disagree with their stance.

In other ERA news, the elections bit of the AGM saw Quirk elected Chair and 7Digital's Ben Drury Deputy Chair and VHS Distribution's Graham Lambdon Treasurer. Also returned to the board were: Julian Monaghan (Amazon), Philip Shepherd (247 Entertainment), Andrew Ground (LoveFilm) and Brad Aspess (Rare Music & DVDs).

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One in twelve people who have bought a gig or sports ticket online have been left wanting by a disreputable site, which seems like an awful lot, but there you have it. With such rip off sites looking ever more legit in design, the Office Of Fair Trading is launching a campaign to educate consumers about the dangers of buying tickets from unofficial online sources, and also how to work out which sites are bogus.

The Just Tick It scheme tells customers to check with a venue if tickets are actually on sale before buying (many bogus sites start taking cash before tickets are even available); to Google the site's name and check if people have been saying good or bad things; to check who the URL a website is using is registered to, and how long it's been registered; and, perhaps most importantly, that somewhere on the website is a reasonable refunds policy, a real geographical office address and a working land line number. A legit ticket agent, the OFT say, should also be able to tell you the exact number of your ticket before purchase.

Confirming the launch of the Just Tick It campaign, the OFT's Mike Haley told reporters: "The Just Tick It campaign gives ticket buyers the valuable advice they need to help protect themselves from ticket scammers when buying online. Consumers can avoid falling victim in the first place by following our clear and simple advice on how to spot a scam site".

As previously reported, there has been increasing concern in recent years about the rise of the online ticket tout, whether they be individuals selling via an auction website or agencies set up to buy and sell tickets to in-demand events. Many in the live sector, and elsewhere, have complained that touts snap up in-demand tickets and then apply large mark ups to them, though its those touts or agencies who promise tickets they haven't yet got which concern organisations like the OFT. Some of those false-promise touts never have any intention of sending out tickets, while others start out with good intentions but then screw up when they find they've taken money for far more tickets that they can secure on the resale market.

While those in the live sector who stress about the growth of secondary ticketing often speak out against the bigger resale websites that aid online touts, some argue that those sites help consumers avoid the rogue resellers which the OFT is concerned about. With that in mind one of the big secondary sites, Viagogo, welcomed the OFT's Just Tick It initiative.

Their CEO, Eric Baker, told CMU: "Last year, at Reading alone, the festival organisers estimated that 5000 people were turned away from the gate having arrived with invalid tickets. This equates to over £1m of fans' money. In the last two years I estimate that concert and festival goers in the UK have been defrauded out of a staggering £15m by rip-off merchants selling fake tickets".

He continued: "The Office of Fair Trading's 'Just Tick It' campaign is nothing new to secondary ticketing. In fact, for the last three years at Viagogo we have been advising fans on how to avoid getting ripped off in the secondary market by offering a safe and secure ticket exchange. It is the sole reason Viagogo exists. This year alone we have saved fans millions of pounds through our secondary ticketing deals with some of the country's biggest names in entertainment".

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Good Shoes want swimmers to help them make the artwork for their next album which, I'm guessing, will include people swimming on it. Anyone up for doing some early morning swimming in the name of Good Shoes and who is within easy reach of Crystal Palace swimming pool this Sunday should head there at 7.30am (told you it would be early) with their swimming kit. The first 50 swimmers who show up will get a free copy of the album when it's released next year.

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Courtney Love has been accusing people of stealing from her again. I'm not saying she does this sort of thing a lot but... no, wait, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Anyway, Love has announced via Twitter that she did not authorise the inclusion of Kurt Cobain's likeness to be used in the new version of pretend-to-play videogame 'Guitar Hero'. In fact, she's blamed the whole thing on Dave Grohl and says she's going to start suing people over this travesty.

She said: "[Grohl] was always a bad seed and is still riding the shit while I take bullets. If there's a hell, he's going. I'm not. We are going to sue the shit out of Activision - 'we' being the Trust, the Estate, the LLC, the various LLCs, Cobain Enterprises. For the record, this 'Guitar Hero' shit is breach of contract on a bully's part and there will be a proper addressing of this and retraction".

But Tim Riley, VP of the game's aforementioned developers Activision, however, says that Courtney not only sanctioned the virtual representation of Cobain, but helped them design it. He told The Guardian: "Courtney supplied us with photos and videos. She picked the wardrobe and hairstyle, which turned out to be the 'Teen Spirit' look, then we went back and forth over changes - some subtle, some not so subtle. [She wanted a] sort of athletic definition but not overly so".

It remains to be seen if anything will come of Courtney's latest legal rant.

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Perhaps ironically, given her new appointment as a judge on American Idol (see media news below), all four majors grouped together this week to sue producers of 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' claiming the TV types had used more than 1000 songs on the show without the copyright owners' permission.

It seems that the DeGeneres chat show includes a segment where the host dances from the stage to the interview area of the studio to tunes played by an in-house DJ. The problem is the show hasn't got any licence to play such music during the show. In their lawsuit, filed at the US District Court in Nashville on Wednesday, the labels claim that when they approached the TV show's producers about their failure to get a licence for the music used in the 'dance over' segment of the show, said producers told them they didn't "roll that way", which may or may not be true, but is a rather amusing response either way.

According to Billboard, the legal papers claim "recordings by virtually every major current artist of popular music" has appeared in the unlicensed telly spot. Whether that includes any American Idol winners, or Syco signed artists, I don't know. The lawsuit says: "As sophisticated consumers of music, the defendants knew full well that, regardless of the way they rolled, under the Copyright Act, and under state law for the pre-1972 recordings, they needed a license to use the sound recordings lawfully".

The lawsuit doesn't name DeGeneres herself, but is aimed at the show's producers, Telepictures Productions. They said in a statement yesterday that they had been "working with the record labels for months" to try and reach a settlement on this issue.

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A former Parlophone-signed artist, and Kobalt-signed songwriter/producer, Howard New has died after being involved in a car accident near his home in Manchester.

Paying tribute to New, fellow singer songwriter Lucie Silvas, who was first introduced to New when they were both signed to EMI labels, wrote on her blog: "I wanted to say a few words about my friend Howard New. He was tragically taken away from us last Thursday and we are all shocked and deeply upset. My heart and love goes out to his wife Jane and daughter Scarlet who have lost their most loved one too early in life. He loved his family more than anything and was always inspired by them with his music".

She remembers: "Howard and I met in 2001 when I signed to EMI records. My A&R Sas Metcalfe had introduced me to Howard and was already sure from knowing us both that we would get on great and write music together. Sas was right and the first song Howard and I wrote in our first meeting in his studio in Camden was 'It's Too Late' which ended being my first single on EMI. We got on like a house on fire and going to his studio in Camden, drinking our cappuccinos and talking about our lives became a regular occurrence".

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Fred Mills, a trumpeter with renowned brass quintet Canadian Brass, has died after being involved in a car accident earlier this week. He was 74.

The Canadian musician began playing brass after buying a cornet from a travelling salesman. He subsequently studied at the Juilliard School in New York where he was invited to join the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He subsequently played trumpet for a number of US orchestras, before joining the Canadian Brass group in 1972. Mills brought a solid musical foundation to the group, and arranged many of the pieces they performed.

He toured the world with Canadian Brass, while making recordings for various major record companies and picking up a Grammy nomination in 1992. He left the group in 1996 to become a professor at the University Of Georgia, but remained active as a soloist around the world.

Paying tribute to their former member, Canadian Brass posted a tribute on their website this week, saying: "Fred lofted the piccolo trumpet into an indispensable role in the brass quintet, brought a new level of musical quality to the brass quintet repertoire through his arrangements, many of which are now considered absolute standard repertoire, and spent over fifty years helping establish the trumpet as a beautiful, lyrical voice amongst solo orchestral instruments".

They continue: "He inspired so many people as a founding member of the Canadian Brass from its formation. He had a unique ability to communicate through music and on a personal level. Through the excellence of his performances and the quality of his arrangements he helped lift the brass quintet repertoire from a curiosity to a legitimate and accepted art form rivalling the string quartet. His dedication and natural talent as a communicator to passing his love of music on to young people is part of his continuing legacy to the international world of music. He was a Canadian treasure who changed the world's musical perspective".

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The re-issued versions of The Beatles' albums are set to dominate the UK charts this weekend, with The Official Charts Company reporting that the band look set to have 15 albums in the top 75 on Sunday, five of which will be in the top twenty. It's almost unprecedented chart success, the like of which we've not seen since, er, June, after the death of Michael Jackson. Ironically, as owner of 50% of The Beatles' publishing, Jackson's estate will do well out of this run on the charts too.

Official Charts MD Martin Talbot said yesterday: "These results for the reissues indicate that Beatlemania is alive and well. There are still three more sales days to be counted - today, Friday and Saturday - so this story is not complete yet. But already it is clear that the Beatles' enduring appeal shows no signs of waning".

William Hill have cut odds that the Fab Four will take all positions in the top ten to 25/1. Although HMV's Gennaro Castaldo told Reuters this was unlikely, as many of the sales are as box sets, which will not count towards the chart.

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London indie band Subliminal Girls have announced they are splitting up. The band hit the news last year when they released a single, 'Self Obsession Is An Art Form', which was limited to just ten copies, with a sleeve designed by artist Stuart Semple, and sold at art galleries around the world for £1410 each.

In a statement, frontman Jim Rhesus said: "It is with regret that, today, we have to announce that we, Subliminal Girls, have decided to hang up our pointy shoes, pop melodies and questionable rapping for the final time. We thank you all for your support over the years, without you we would have just been five arguing boys, albeit pretty boys, playing to empty rooms across the country".

The various members of the group can be found playing in a variety of other bands, including The 18 Carat Love Affair and The Bridport Dagger.

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Graham Coxon will release a new double A-side single, 'Brave The Storm/Dead Bees', on 28 Sep via Transgressive Records (and not his own label Transcopic, which I still can't cope with).

The third single release from Coxon's latest solo album, 'The Spinning Top', it will be available as a download only when you buy one of two numbered art prints, which will be available from the Transgressive website and selected independent record shops.

Coxon has also announced a special show at The Barbican in London on 28 Nov, under the banner The Graham Coxon Power Acoustic Ensemble. The evening will include special guests, projections of Graham's artwork and a video made for 'The Spinning Top' by director Chris Hopewell.

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Master turntablist Kid Koala, producer Dynomite D and former Wolfmother rhythm section Chris Ross and Myles Heskett have announced that they will be collaborating together on an upcoming tour. And to celebrate, they're giving away an entire album featuring the music they'll be performing as a free download.

Here's the back story: A couple of years ago, Kid Koala and Dynomite D were asked to record a soundtrack to a documentary. They had completed a psych rock-influenced score for the film before the entire project was shelved. More recently, the pair met Heskett and Ross and played them some of this music. Having recently left Wolfmother, and excited about what they were hearing, the pair suggested taking the lost album on the road.

So, with Koala and Dynomite working across six turntables, and Keskett and Ross handling drums and bass, that's exactly what they're doing.

Calling themselves The Slew, the album, entitled '100%', will finally be released via Puget Sounds on 9 Nov. But that's after the tour starts. So, in order to give you a taste of what to expect, they're giving it away for free.

To download the album, go here:

For a quicker fix, check out the video for album track 'It's All Over' here:

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CMU favourite Micah P Hinson returns this month with not one but two albums of cover versions. Volumes one and two of 'All Dressed Up And Smelling Of Strangers' will be released simultaneously on 21 Sep by Full Time Hobby.

Says Hinson: "I view the album as two independent projects. Volume One is the quieter, calmer songs, Volume Two is much louder and loaded with many more instruments. They're for different moods, different times; the ups and the downs".

The artists he chose to cover range from Roy Orbison and Leadbelly to Pedro The Lion and Emmy The Great. On his approach to reworking the songs, he says: "I knew that the only way it was to be any good was if I got the skeleton of each song down good, but focused on doing things the way I would do them and try not to think like the original musician. Knowing these songs in and out, I'm sure many of the arrangements bled over, but I did want to make each and every one of them my own in some way".

Micah also plays his first London headline show in nearly a year at Cargo on 15 Sep.

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Former Spice Girl Melanie C is set to appear in the long running West End musical 'Blood Brothers'. She will play the part of Mrs Johnstone, following on from such esteemed West End starlets as, erm, former 'X-Factor' contestant Niki Evans.

It's sort of news because she's the first Spice Girl to go the musical route. I had it in my head Emma Bunton had been in 'Chicago', but apparently she was offered the role but turned it down.

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Hmm, this Michael Jackson tribute bash in Vienna is looking ever more wobbly. As previously reported, after Jermaine Jackson announced a string of artists who would play the event, two - Chris Brown and Mary J Blige - quickly issued statements saying they'd never agreed to anything because of other commitments, the latter to an event in Italy, the former to wifebeater parole.

Now a spokesman for another of Jermaine's announced artists, Natalie Cole, has said that, while she'd love to perform, she also has other commitments, an event in Tennessee in honour of the Dalai Lama. I have a feeling that this event might end up being a load of German or Austrian bands with famous American stars doing a bit on camera.

The show's producer, Georg Kindel, admitted yesterday that: "It seems that there is a lot of confusion regarding the confirmed talent for the tribute - we are rechecking and confirming each artist personally". But he added that: "The star is Michael Jackson - it's not about name dropping and who else will be there". Which is all well and good, but I heard a rumour Michael is also otherwise occupied.

As previously reported, Janet Jackson will take part in another Jacko tribute at MTV's VMAs this weekend. They've done a trailer for the tribute, which you can watch here:

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The Big Pink release their brilliant debut album, 'A Brief History Of Love', on Monday. You should get it, it is good. In fact, I will buy you a copy*, that's how much I think you should have this album.

The band head out on tour in October, too. Here are the dates:

8 Oct: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
9 Oct: Brighton, Digital
10 Oct: Oxford, Academy
11 Oct: Coventry, Kasbah
12 Oct: Wrexham, Central Station
14 Oct: Glasgow, King Tut's
17 Oct: York, Duchess
18 Oct: Leeds, Cockpit
20 Oct: Liverpool, Academy 2
21 Oct: Manchester, Academy
22 Oct: London, Electric Ballroom

*I will not actually buy you a copy of this, or any, album. Please purchase a copy and simply pretend that I bought it in order to take advantage of this offer.

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Programmes and those things you hang around your neck are so out of date. If you're going to do a festival properly, you need an iPhone app. So, if you're heading over to the Isle Of Wight this weekend, you'd better get yourself the Bestival app (and an iPhone, if you don't already have one).

The app provides you with a site map, festival curator Rob da bank's Twitter feed, some sort of sound manipulation thing, a random dice game to help you decided what to do at the festival, a credits page and an alert when earlybird tickets for next year's festival go on sale.

Here's how Rob da Bank puts it: "3, 2, 1... blast off! Yes, we're ready to take Bestival dancing, kicking and screaming into the 21st century technological cyberspace with our own amazing application for the iPhone. Check out Beardyman at his best with some of his finest imitations of a major artists, and throw the Bestival dice to help guide you to what's going down at any given moment".

It'll cost you 59p and is available from

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Schools minister Ed Balls yesterday joined up with VV Brown, Killa Kela and Jamie Cullum at a school in Acton to kick off 'The Year Of Music', encouraging da kids to stop pretending to play on 'Guitar Hero' while illegally filling their memory sticks with music stolen off other people, and to have a go at being musical themselves. Whether VV Brown's involvement will mean a generation of musical kids all ripping off 'Monster Mash' I don't know.

The special celebrity music lesson was apparently beamed to schools around the country. The aim of the Year Of Music is to persuade schools and local authorities to put more time and effort (and cash presumably) into encouraging young people to take up playing a musical instrument. For real like. The aim is that by 2011 some two million primary school pupils will be practising their scales.

The Balls man said this: "I want to create a generation of talented performers who can sing, dance, play instruments and fly the flag for Great Britain. Music is at the very heart of British popular culture - it's what kids talk about, it's what they aspire to. It's fantastic that TV talent shows like 'X-Factor' attract millions of viewers each week, but young people need to know that they can only become stars by mastering the basics when they're young and by learning about a range of music - from classical to country. This is exactly why we need world class music education in schools".

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Ticketmaster chief Irving Azoff and Live Nation top bod Michael Rapino sat side by side at a media conference for investment types in the US yesterday and again stressed their belief that America's Department Of Justice will approve their proposed merger later this year. Meanwhile the two firms pledged to work together. But perhaps more interesting than the in-the-air merger proposals were the two execs' comments on their individual company's plans for the next year.

Rapino confirmed that Live Nation would not be entering into any new mega-bucks 360 degree deals with major league artists in 2010, but said the firm remained committed to its existing deals with Madonna, Shakira, Nickelback and Jay-Z, the latter of which has started to take shape with the hip hop king's new album coming out via his JV business with the live music conglom, Roc Nation. The other three 360 signings are yet to move their recording ventures to Live Nation, they are still fulfilling their contracts with their former labels and, unlike Jay, haven't chosen to buy themselves out of those contractual commitments.

While Live Nation's big 360 deals put the live music conglom into competition with the major record companies, who lost their relationships with four of their biggest names as a result of the deals, Rapino insisted that labels should be looking to collaborate with his firm. The recording and live industries should be collaborating more, he argued, upselling each other's products where they enjoyed artist relationships in common.

For Ticketmaster, Azoff said to look out for a "dynamic pricing initiative" in the first quarter of 2010, while confirming the company remained committed to rolling out paperless ticketing. So that's nice. He too called for more collaboration between recorded and live music companies. According to Billboard he told the conference: "They're going to have to move into our businesses. We believe the old model of breaking acts through MTV and radio is gone".

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Future Publishing has promoted the man who oversees its two music titles, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer. Chris Ingham will continue to head up the company's expanding music department, but with the new job title Group Publisher.

Confirming the promotion, Future's Entertainment Lifestyle Publishing Director Nial Ferguson told CMU: "Chris has been the heart of Future's music-listening brands for over a decade and has grown the reach and influence of Classic Rock and Metal Hammer through an incredibly challenging year, making his promotion well deserved".

He continued: "Respected by the music industry and colleagues alike, Chris has a fantastic reputation - mixing dogged determination, consistent creativity and an unrivalled entrepreneurial streak to grow our brands against a harsh market backdrop. Future has ambitious plans to drive forward Classic Rock and Metal Hammer in 2010 and Chris will lead these significant initiatives".

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Huddersfield radio station Pennine FM has been bought by the Urban Media Group. As previously reported, the future of the station was in much doubt after its owners - who acquired it in a management buy out last year - went into administration back in April. The new owners have put Jonathan Gold, formerly of Juice FM, into the job of Programme Director.

The new owners are part of a media company called the Chris James Group. James himself told Radio Today: "Having Pennine FM will be a great advantage to the Chris James Group. Jonathan brings a wealth of experience to Pennine. He lives in Huddersfield and will bring in a team of presenters to make Pennine what Huddersfield needs".

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Comedian turned chat show host Ellen DeGeneres has been announced as the new judge on 'American Idol', replacing the recently departed Paula Abdul.

Now, you've probably already noticed that DeGeneres has no experience in the music industry, aside from being sued by it (see the courts bit above). So, you might ask, what the fucketing fuck is she doing judging whether or not people can sing or not? Well, hear this. First, let's not even pretend that show has anything to do with musical ability. Second, she's planning to give an "outsider's view". Obviously.

She told the audience of her chat show this week: "Hopefully, I'm the people's point of view because I'm just like you. I'm not looking at it in a critical way, from the producer's mind. I'm looking at it as a person who is going to buy the music and is going to relate to that person".

'American Idol's executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz added later: "Beyond her incredible sense of humour and love of music, she brings with her an immense warmth and compassion that is almost palpable".

The next series of the show is due to air next year.

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Led Zeppelin frontman Jimmy Page has said he's turned down numerous offers to write an autobiography because he's "not interested" in writing a book about himself. Although he added that most books other people have written about him are "a load of old rubbish".

He told WENN: "I've had so many offers over the years, but I'm not interested. I wouldn't know how to go about it".

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Friendly Fires drummer Jack Savidge hasn't been having much luck of late. This week he nearly missed the band's performance at the Mercury Prize ceremony because he was admitted to hospital with a rash on his leg. Now it's been revealed that he recently got roughed up by Brazilian police after trying to leave a club without paying his bar bill.

The band's Ed Macfarlane told The Mirror: "They have this stupid system where they give you a credit card when you turn up, you buy drinks with this credit card and then pay when you leave, so basically spend loads of money that you don't have. The queue to leave the venue was ridiculously long and Jack basically didn't have enough money to pay for any of his drinks and decided to do a runner for it".

He continued: "He got through the door, it was pissing it down with rain, got round one corner, got round another one, pegged it down the street then two Brazilian police caught him and slammed him pretty hard on the floor. And then they threw him back in the club, which was probably the worst thing about it, because the club was horrible it was playing really bad music".

Plus, the bar would have still had his credit card. I'm not sure how much he'd really thought this whole thing through.

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