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Top Stories
FAC reach agreement: Three-strikes yes, net-suspension no
Craig David manager backs three-strikes
Political types speak on P2P
In The Pop Courts
West hearing postponed
Pop Politics
Pirate Party planning Canadian launch
Bob Greenberg dies
Awards & Contests
Peel and Joy Division studios get blue plaques
Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame noms out
Festival Award voting has begun
Reunions & Splits
Range comments on Sugababes split
Aerosmith breathing not splitting
Bon Iver taking a break
Mel B says no Spice reunion for World Cup
Artist Deals
Universal sign Elfman
Release News
Fela Kuti's entire back catalogue gets re-release
Album review: Various Artists - A Boys Own Odyssey: Acid House Scrapes And Capers (Junior Boys Own)
Brands N Stuff
HP and NME partner for uni tour
The Music Business
Major label job cuts incoming?
Festival Republic take stake in Big Chill
Grizzly man starts Terrible record company
The Digital Business
Cut download prices to pennies?
And finally...
Mika plumps for bisexual tag
Saturdays will be together forever
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CMU Credits + Contacts

Musical duo Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker began working together as sound engineers in legendary British producer Mickie Most's RAK recording studio in the 1990s. Their first commercial release as Zero 7 was a remix of Radiohead's 'Climbing Up The Walls', which appeared as a b-side on the 'Karma Police' single. They released their acclaimed debut album, 'Simple Things', in 2001, which went on to be nominated for the Mercury Prize. On 28 Sep, they release their fourth album, 'Yeah Ghost', and embark on a UK tour. We spoke to Henry Binns to ask our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started making music in my bedroom with a cheap, shitty little synth my dad bought me, and some headphones. I did a cover of a tune called 'Slipping Into Darkness' by a band called War. My friends loved it and wanted it on a cassette but I was too embarrassed.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
We haven't sat down and tried to write a 'single' for this album, so it's designed to be coherent as a whole thing. In fact, I think any singled out song on any of our albums sounds weird out of context. But almost always a hangover inspires a song...

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
To me, making a track starts on the piano, and the chords come with however I feel that day. Usually I'll find a chord progression and then go into the studio to embellish. Then Sam comes and totally changes it (usually for the better) and we wrestle with it until we are sufficiently sick to death of it.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Too many to mention, but I watched a documentary on Neil Young the other day and admired (amongst many things) his passion for music. Not 'image', not radio, not what others think, just good old music!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Absolutely nothing.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
At this point I'm hoping everyone gets to hear this record. The future is live music.

MORE>> and

VIGSY'S US CLUB TIP: DJ Dino presents Danny Howells at the Spy Bar Chicago
So I don't know where you're going to be this evening, but I'm going to be in Chicago, so I thought a quick American-style Club Tip might be in order. Danny Howells plays the Spy Bar as part of his American tour tonight, a rather plush venue in the fashionable end of the Windy City. Friday nights at the Spy Bar are already highly regarded, and some great guests - who in the past have included James Zabiela, Leee Burridge, Dirty South, and the mighty Eric Morillo - can always be found playing along side resident DJ Dino. Tonight he's also roped in Matt Tolfrey and Wahi, who will keep the night running on its progressive house vibe.

Friday 25 Sep, Spy Bar. 646 N Franklin St, Old Town, Chicago, 10pm-4am, $10 adv/$15 on the door, info from

VIGSY'S UK CLUB TIP: Secretsundaze at Village Underground
Secretsundaze is nearing the end of its summer programme, which has seen them host several parties across the capital. This Sunday it's the penultimate party of the season and a return to the Village Underground. Joining residents Messrs Priestley and Smith is one of their favourite and key artists, Dixon from Innervisions. Dixon has played at numerous Secretsundaze gigs over the years, and is set to release a compo soon called 'Temporary Secretary' on his Innervisions imprint, which gives a good round up of what he's been playing of late. I'm sure he will be pulling out a well styled and tightly programmed set - he definitely being one of the better house DJs out there.

Sunday 27 Sep, Secretsundaze, Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, EC2A, £12 advance from Resident Advisor and Phonica / £15 on the door, press info from [email protected]


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So, despite earlier in the day announcing she wouldn't be attending the big artist debate on the file-sharing issue, Lily Allen did make an appearance at the Featured Artists' Coalition's meeting in London last night, and apparently got a round of applause from her fellow music types, so that's nice.

As previously reported, the meeting at London's Air Studios was in the main motivated by Allen's online rantings on the file-sharing issue. As much previously reported, when the UK government announced last month it was seriously considering introducing new laws to combat file-sharing, including measures to force internet service providers to restrict or suspend the net connections of persistent file-sharers, while the BPI and UK Music quickly came out in support of the proposals, the FAC were very critical of them.

The Coalition issued a statement, also backed by the British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors and the Music Producers' Guild, saying "we have serious reservations about the content and scope of the proposed legislation" and adding "ordinary music fans and consumers should not be criminalised because of the failings of a legacy sector of business to adapt sufficiently fast to new technological challenges".

But some artists felt that the FAC were far too critical of the government's new proposals, and that in being so critical the Coalition implied they supported a music fan's right to steal music via file-sharing networks rather than buying or streaming it via legit services. They weren't really saying that at all, but when Allen and others went public on the issue it was clear that there was some disagreement in the artist community regarding the official line the FAC had taken.

Allen, of course, set up a special blog to promote her viewpoint and post those of other artists who contacted her. It was a shortlived forum for the debate though, as Allen chose to close the blog down ahead of yesterday's FAC meeting. The closure wasn't so much to push media attention over to the official debate, but more because Allen was getting frustrated with the abuse she was getting via the website. As previously reported, people had begun to use the blog to point out Allen's own copyright infringements - the fact she had lifted an article from another website with citation, posted scans of newspaper articles, and that she distributed uncleared unofficial mixtapes earlier in her career to promote her own music.

Announcing the move, she said yesterday, via Twitter: "There is a meeting today in london where artists are meeting to discuss piracy. My job done. I wont be attending the meeting because it's going to be a press frenzy and I don't want to detract from the issues. I'm proud of the fact that that I've been involved with this debate but I'm passing the baton on to other artists. And I've shut down the blog, the abuse was getting too much".

As we said, Allen did, in fact, attend the FAC debate, possibly because someone told her the press had been banned from attending, or perhaps a priest forgave her for her own past copyright infringements and she felt absolved. Either way, following what was reportedly a heated debate between just under 100 artists, a resolution was past that not only altered the FAC's official viewpoint slightly, but also commended Ms Allen and told people to stop giving the poor girl a hard time.

The official statement to come from the meeting reads thus: "We wish to express our support for Lily Allen in her campaign to alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry and to condemn the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days. Our meeting also voted overwhelmingly to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, sanctions to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringer's bandwidth to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access functional".

So, as of last night the Featured Artists' Coalition does support the sort-of 'three-strikes' system proposed by the government for combating file-sharing though with the important proviso that they do not support the complete suspension of any music fan's net connection, however much file-sharing they do, just the restriction of their bandwidth so to make the download or upload of large files tediously slow (like back in the good old Napster days). They want to ensure said file-sharers can still email, access basic websites, and post to any blogs Lily Allen may or may not be operating at the time (as long as they are nice to the old girl).

Among the artists putting their name to last night's statement were Blur's Dave Rowntree, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley, Travis' Fran Healy, Cornershop's Tjinder Singh, Billy Bragg, Howard Jones, Sandie Shaw, Guy Chambers, Patrick Wolf, Sam Duckworth, Annie Lennox, George Michael and, of course, Lily Allen. Even though she's not actually a member of the FAC.

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Ahead of last night's big Featured Artists' Coalition debate, a leading artist manager, Colin Lester of CLM Entertainment, made public the letter he'd sent to Peter Mandelson's department - who are spearheading the latest P2P proposals of course - in which he says in no uncertain terms that now is the time for ministers to act, with strict rules and sanctions needed to stop the growth of online piracy.

Lester had already criticised the FAC's original statement of the latest government proposals, telling the Daily Telegraph: "It is very easy to be charitable when you are rich. Most of these [FAC] artists don't earn their money from the recorded music business. They earn from the live business. [But] illegal file-sharing is a complete destruction of some people's livings".

He was also took issue with the FAC's claim that it didn't want to see music fans "criminalised", arguing that the current government proposals involving net suspension were not about criminalising fans at all, and that the artist body's use of such words was deliberately emotive. Such was his disagreement with the FAC's original statement, the artists he represents - most notably Craig David and Remi Nicole - resigned from the Coalition.

In his letter to Team Mandelson, he writes: "I and the artists I represent agree that this issue is the key challenge facing our industry and that the longer we dither about the rights and wrongs of taking punitive action against those who steal our livelihoods the worse the situation will get. Whilst the vast majority of those involved in music agree that illegal file-sharing is wrong there remains an ongoing debate as to how to tackle it".

He continues: "The recent argument put forward by the Featured Artists' Coalition that 'the stick is now in danger of being way out of proportion to the carrot' fails to recognise the fact that 'carrot' approach has failed miserably! There has also been a point of view advanced that illegal file-sharing is good for the marketing and promotion of music. There is some truth in that but the benefits of any positive promotion gained through illegal distribution are, in my opinion, far outweighed by the damage caused to the future income of the creators of and investors in that music. Let us not forget that artists and copyright owners still retain the right to give away their music if they choose to, but it should be remembered that is their right to give it away not the consumer's right to steal it".

He concludes: "The music consumer, as with any other citizen of this country, cannot simply choose which laws to obey and which to ignore. Without enforcement and punishment of those who break the law any legislation is pointless. We must advocate and support a zero tolerance policy against illegal file-sharing and to take a united stance against this issue before we don't have an industry left to defend".

I think its fair to say the management community is split on this issue, with many seeing both sides of the argument. While the Music Managers' Forum didn't formally back the Featured Artists Coalition's original critical statement of the government's proposals, some of its key members have been quietly supporting it. Others, like Lester, have no sympathy with music fans who continue to access music illegally. Whether the FAC's attempts at a compromise last night will satisfy any differences of opinion in the management community I'm not sure.

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And so back to the political types. The aforementioned Peter Mandelson, and Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, both spoke on the file-sharing debate while visiting the BRIT School in Croydon yesterday.

According to Music Week, Mandelson insisted his department was still primarily pro the development of new business models that engage young music consumers, but that he thought the threat of net suspension, as a last resort against those who continue to file-share, was necessary to enable those new business models to prosper.

He said this: "Downloading somebody's work without paying for it - whether it be music, film or computer games - is not a victimless act. It poses a genuine threat to our creative industries and to the livelihoods of talented, hard-working people striving to get a foothold in them. It's essential that the voice of young artists is also heard. In the end this problem will be solved not simply by new laws but by new approaches to doing business. We believe that temporary account suspension as a last resort, in the most serious cases, is worth considering to allow these new business models to develop".

Bradshaw, meanwhile, added: "If we want the next generation of musicians, filmmakers, developers or designers to succeed, we need to address urgently this threat to the sustainability of our creative industries. Unlawful filesharing costs businesses that invest in new talent millions each year. Tomorrow's stars are born digital. We need the industry to match their ingenuity and devise new business models that work in the digital age. It is right that artists are rewarded for the time, energy and creativity they invest in producing something the public wants. And if we are to retain our creative edge in the long term and enjoy the cultural benefits that brings, we need innovation to allow that talent to shine".

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Kanye West's previously reported assault case will not now return to court until late next month. The case relates to that incident where the rapper lashed out at the paps at LAX Airport in LA. He's accused of vandalism, battery and grand theft. A pre-trail hearing was due to take place this month, but the hip hopper's lawyer successfully persuaded the courts to postpone that hearing until 23 Oct.

Legal man Blair Berk told the court: "Judge, I'm really happy for you, and I'm gonna let you have you're hearing, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time, and we all need an extra month to fully appreciate it".

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The Pirate Party, the much previously reported political movement lobbying for radical reform of copyright laws, is trying to get a foothold in Canada.

As previously reported, The Pirate Party has been most prominent in Sweden, where they were vocal supporters of the four men behind rogue BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay as they were tried in court for their role in enabling mass copyright infringement. Media coverage of the trial and The Pirate Party's campaigning helped them win enough of the Swedish vote in this year's European elections to give them a seat in the European Parliament. The party has also enjoyed some success in Germany, and has launched here in the UK and plans to put forward candidates in next year's General Election.

In Canada the party is currently in the process of applying for federal approval so to be recognised as an official political organisation there. A spokesman for the party told TorrentFreak: "The goal is to gain at least one seat in Parliament. As soon as the party is officially registered with Elections Canada, we hope to gain a bit more of the mainstream media's attention; let Canadians know we are out there and build a community".

Canada's copyright laws, as we have previously reported, have not been hugely helpful for any content owners trying to fight online piracy through the courts. Judges there frequently say that current legislation isn't specific enough to rule that P2P file-sharing is actually illegal. There have been moves to change the laws to make them more useful for fighting file-sharing, though net firms and consumer rights groups are already lobbying against such changes, and a vocal Pirate Party is sure to add to that opposition.

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US music business executive Bob Greenberg died earlier this month after suffering a stroke, his family have confirmed. He was 75.

Greenberg had a long career in the record industry, working for numerous record companies over the years, including Eastern Records, Warner Brothers, Atlantic Records, United Artists Records and Mirage Records, the latter his own music company launched with his brother Jerry. In 1988 he became President of American trade magazine Hitmakers.

During his career he worked with numerous big name artists, including Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Foreigner, AC/DC, Whitesnake, Aretha Franklin, ABBA, Bette Midler and Alice Cooper.

Paying tribute, Cooper told Billboard: "[He] cared about the music and the musicians, not just the sales figures. The saying 'they don't make them like they used to' truly applies here".

Midler added: "He had great ears and an intense love of music. In fact, music was his life".

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A studio set up by John Peel and another once run by Peter Hook have both been given English Heritage blue plaques to mark their significance to the Lancashire music scene.

Tractor Sound Studios in Heywood was partially financed by Peel and owned by the band Tractor. In part, it helped kick off the Manchester post-punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties. Suite 16 was later set up in Rochdale by Hook and Tractor's manager Chris Hewitt, in the building which had previously housed Cargo Studios, where Joy Division first recorded, having also bought much of that studio's equipment when it closed in 1984.

At a special gig at the former site of Tractor Sound Studios to mark the occasion on Wednesday, Hook told the NME: "Peel started here - starting this, which led to Cargo, which led to Joy Division and then Factory Records".

He also told BBC 6music: "It was the ethos of [Suite 16] which I thought was wonderful. It was next to a music shop so basically there was a great little community because if you got bored or needed anything, you could go into the music shop".

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I think it was officially decided that nominations will be known as 'noms' from now on, right? Yeah, good. Okay, so, the noms for this year's US Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame are out, with half of this year's nommed artists appearing for the first time. Artists become eligible for entry 25 years after they release their first single or album

Kiss, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, The Hollies, LL Cool J and Jimmy Cliff are the new boys on the block, joining old hands Abba, The Chantels, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, The Stooges and Donna Summer, all of whom have made the shortlist at least once before. Five of the twelve artists will be chosen to enter the Hall Of Fame, with the result of votes from over 500 music industry professionals announced in January. The 25th annual induction ceremony will then take place on 15 Mar.

RHCP drummer Chad Smith told Billboard: "It's a real honour to be nominated in our first year of eligibility. Obviously the Hall Of Fame has excellent musical taste".

Meanwhile, Paul Stanley from Kiss, who have been eligible since 1999 but never before nommed for entry, said that induction to the Hall would mean tough decisions about which former members of the band he and long-time partner Gene Simmons took in with them.

He said: "There's been a lot of people who've been a part of this, some longer than others, and some who deserve recognition more than others. Even the non-make up years produced some platinum and double-platinum albums, and we had some very healthy sales in terms of albums and concerts through the 80s and 90s. So if we should ever be asked to accept induction into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame, it would be something to think about".

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The longlists for this year's UK Festival Awards have gone live at the award programme's website, meaning festival-goers can now vote. There are fourteen public-voted categories this year, and punters have just under four weeks to place their votes. The overall winners will be announced at a bash at IndigO2 on 19 Nov.

As well as the usual public-voted categories there is a brand new award punters can vote for - the Festival Fitty. Staged in associated with the Daily Mirror, this will be looking for music fans to vote for the "hottest" male and female artist to appear on the festival scene this year. Girls (and gay guys, presumably) can vote for their favourite indie boys (etc) at while the boys (and those girls of a lesbian persuasion, I guess) can vote for the hottest pop lady at Presumably bisexuals can vote twice, which is great news for Mika, as you will see.

As well as Festival Fitty, other public voted awards include Best Toilets, Best Family Festival, Anthem Of The Summer, and awards for best festival by size, and best artists. I'd go to if I wanted more information.

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I reckon there's probably another week of news to be had out of this Sugababes split, so if you're bored of it already, prepare to have your tolerance for tedium truly tested.

The group's now longest-standing member, Heidi Range has given The Mirror her take on the split, saying: "It suddenly came to a head last week. Me and Amelle knew we couldn't move forward the way it was. We couldn't work together any more. But we did not want to throw away what we had achieved and split up. None of us was happy. We had to make a decision. Things have not been good for a few months".

Asked if rumours that departing member Keisha Buchanan had been bullying bandmate Amelle Berrabah were true, Range said: "I'm not going to say anything bad about Keisha. I'm not going to start telling tales because I have too much respect".

However, she did say that the new line-up were planning to adopt a new approach to their relationship: "We've said that if there are any problems, we will talk about it like adults and get over it".

I'm still not convinced that the 'Keisha was pushed out by the other two' thing is exactly what happened. But, hey, if that's the story they're all sticking to, who am I to argue?

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Aerosmith's Joe Perry has dismissed rumours that the band are about to split. As previously reported, Perry recently told reporters that he was frustrated that the band's recent tour had come to a premature end after frontman Steven Tyler injured himself after falling off the stage at a gig in the US. This was after the same tour had already been delayed by two weeks after Tyler pulled a muscle in his leg.

Perry admitted he hadn't spoken to Tyler since the accident, and added that the frontman needed to "get his act together". These comments - despite being accompanied by a quote from Perry saying "one thing I do know is there's still life left in the old band" - led to some Aerosmith to split rumours.

Responding to the rumours, Perry has told reporters again that Aerosmith will return, adding that a new album "will happen". He told the Boston Herald: "Maybe we have three more records in us. Maybe we have five, seven years of touring. [But for now, we're] taking a breather".

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Also thinking about taking a breather, apparently, are Bon Iver. According to Prefix magazine frontman Justin Vernon told a gig in San Francisco this week: "This is the last tour that we're doing with this thing, and after this we're going to take a break". Rumours that Vernon plans to retreat to a cabin and mope about a bit are currently unconfirmed.

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Mel B has laughed off talk of another Spice Girls reunion. Well, she's laughed off one particular rumour that they were planning on reforming to play the 2010 World Cup (play a gig, not field a team).

When Geri Halliwell indicated another reunion was being considered earlier this week, Mel B tweeted somewhat vaguely "Spice Girls, stadiums? Had dinner with the amazing Mel C, Emma and Geri. I love them so much".

But on the World Cup gig rumours she was more specific with her denial saying: "World Cup! Wow, the press are so silly. No I am not getting the girls together for the World Cup!"

So there you go.

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Grammy winning composer Danny Elfman, known for his numerous film scores (and not just 'The Simpsons' theme tune thank you very much), has signed a global deal with Universal Music Publishing. The deal covers Elfman's copyrights stemming from his twenty years with new wave outfit Oingo Boingo as well as any publishing rights he has in his film work.

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In his forty year career, Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti released 45 albums, many of which are quite hard to track down. Luckily for fans of the late bandleader, New York's Knitting Factory Records will be re-releasing the whole lot in the US over the next year and a half.

Kicking things off, the label will release a new compilation featuring some of Kuti's finest tracks, entitled 'The Best Of The Black President'. It'll feature thirteen tracks, plus a DVD featuring sections of the film 'Music Was The Weapon', as well as live footage from the Berlin Jazz Festival and Glastonbury.

In other Fela news, a musical based on his life, 'Fela!', will debut on Broadway later this year. Featuring arrangements by the very good Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, the show ran off-Broadway last year and moves to the Eugene O'Neill Theater on 23 Nov.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - A Boys Own Odyssey: Acid House Scrapes and Capers (Junior Boys Own)
The Junior Boys Own label is celebrating two decades in existence. For those not old enough to remember, JBO was a seminal label at the time of the acid house movement and bridged the gap between dance and left-of-centre cool chillout, with some leanings towards the Madchester scene. The JBO Crew - Messrs Farley, Weatherall, Maize and Eckles - organised some of the first acid house parties and were about not taking it too seriously. They were a collective of like-minded blissed out clubbers, and a bit of a movement, and that backdrop is substantiated by the cuts on this double CD.

Disc one opens with Bocca Juniors' 'Raise (63 Steps To Heaven)', and is filled with highlights, such as Terry Farley's remix of Primal Scream's 'Loaded', which still has such an anthemic feel, even now. Some tracks do sound old, though. Paradiso's 'Here We Go Again' in particular, and Jah Wobble's 'Bomba' is a bit off key. Happy Mondays 'Hallelujah' gets a club mix and takes us towards Madchester, while Bocca Juniors 'Substance' gives a nod to the chemicals of the era. Less great is 'Come Home' by James, which, even when remixed by Andy Weatherall, still isn't too exciting, and Underworld 'Mmm... Skyscraper I Love You', for me, wasn't the best tune they have made, but always did well.

Over on disc two we have The Chemical Brothers original mix of 'Leave Home', which is a shame as the Darren Emerson mix was far better. But X-Press 2's 'Say What!' (London Underground Mix) goes directly for the party jugular, as you would expect from Rocky and Diesel with Ashley Beedle. Sunscreem brings dancefloor in a more rave style manner with the anthem 'Perfect Motion' while Black Science Orchestra 'New Jersey Deep' is all true US funky house. And it works well. River Ocean feat India's 'Love & Happiness (Yemaya Y Ochun)' appears with a tougher Junior Boys Own Super Dub, which is such a classic cut from Lil Louis Vega, and is the highlight on this compo. Underworld rear up again with the 'Born Slippy (Nuxx)', which has been played to death over the years on the back of its use in 'Trainspotting' of course, but does still evoke some nostalgia.

All in all, there are more hits than misses, and this collection does provide a fine snapshot of clubbing in the early 90s. As well as the two CDs, the physical release comes with a book with information on the tunes and also parts of the JBO fanzine, which contains references to football, the clubbing scene, anti-racism, and alternative comedy from back in the day. Which is a good thing, and if you weren't there at the time this is a great lesson in British clubbing history. PV
Phsyical release: 5 Oct
Press contact: Defected IH [all]

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HP, the computers not the sauce, are teaming up with NME Radio for a Freshers' Week style tour of those pesky universities. The HP Uni Tour will take in six universities, with the likes of VV Brown, Does It Offend You, Yeah? and Bombay Bicycle Club playing. It kicks off on 3 Oct in St Andrews.

HP's Charlotte Pleasants says this: "The combination of exciting new technology and live music is guaranteed to make an impact with freshers up and down the country!"

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Digital Music News are speculating that some senior US record company execs could be for the chop in the next couple of months. The consensus seems to be that at least one of the major record companies is regretting entering into six figure plus deals with some of its senior execs a few years back when things were a bit more rosey than they are now, and are therefore thinking of cutting some high earners loose to help improve the bottom line.

Given that most of these six figure plus old school record label dudes were the guys who threw millions at pointless file-sharing lawsuits and self-harming digital rights management technology earlier this decade when anyone who had ever turned on a computer knew such policies were short-sighted and pointless, they probably should have all been fired years ago.

Though, I suppose, EMI bosses might caution against cutting loose every senior exec - such a strategy post Terra Firma's acquisition of the London-based major had mixed results for them. The old guys may be out of their depth in the digital age, but some of them boast the sorts of cosy artist/manager relationships needed if you're trying to relaunch yourself as a 360 degree artist services business, something that requires persuading artists they might want to work with your label on live, merchandise and sponsorship projects.

DMN is vague about how many senior execs could be receiving their P45s (or whatever you get in America), and which major or majors this effects, though they say both Sony and Warner have been mentioned (the former, though, has been quietly downsizing its top table for a while now). They quote a source thus: "These types of [six figure] compensation packages were signed in an earlier time, a different frame of mind; they can no longer be sustained".

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Melvin Benn's Festival Republic has taken majority ownership of The Big Chill Festival, and will become co-producers of the event in future years. That brings the Chill into the same production house as the Reading, Leeds and Latitude Festivals. Festival Republic are also co-producers of Glastonbury, of course.

Big Chill co-founder Katrina Larkin will remain Creative Director for the festival, though she and her team will relocate to Festival Republic's London offices. Music Week quote Larkin thus: "It's a great opportunity for The Big Chill, following arguably our best festival to date. It means support for Big Chill all year-round and allows us to concentrate on what we do best - creating amazing festivals without compromise".

Festival Republic, as you'll all surely remember, was the festivals division of Mean Fiddler before MAMA Group bought the Mean Fiddler name and venues. It is now an independent business co-owned by live music giant Live Nation and Irish company Gaiety Investments.

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Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor has launched a new record company with Lust Boys member Ethan Silverman. The company will run out of Taylor's Terrible Studios, where he has produced records for the likes of Dirty Projectors, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Grizzly Bear and that band's still functional precursor, Department Of Eagles. The company's first releases will come from Taylor's own solo project, Cant, and relatively unknown rockers Acrylic.

For more info, see if you can read the horribly typeset text on the company's website, here:

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I often wonder whether the music business might not benefit from slashing the price of downloads from the usual 79p per track to 10p. Given the cost of actually delivering a download is negligible (providing credit card firms allow fraction-of-a-penny commissions), such a price cut might have benefits if it persuaded more than eight times as many people to download each track. It would be a big risk for the record companies to take that step, but it might just provide the big boost the legit digital sector possibly needs. Or it might bankrupt the record industry as we know it.

Anyway, this very thing has been discussed at a music business conference in Canada this week. And, according to Digital Music News, there were several people advocating such a business model. Legendary producer Sandy Pearlman, in particular, proposed a five-cent per track system, telling the Transmission conference: "I first proposed this three and a half years ago. If it had been implemented, labels would have already made $23 billion".

I'm not sure what evidence Pearlman has for that claim, but the logic is that when the record industry is set on a 99 cent per track model, while young music consumers reckon zero cents is a good model, music firms aren't going to turn the kids into customers without a serious rethink. And for Pearlman five cents is the optimum figure. "Ten cents, they notice", he argues, "five cents, they'll pay".

As DMN's Paul Resnikoff points out, Pearlman's proposals echo the popular model utilised by rogue Russian download service back in the day. Although forced out of business because of their dodgy (or non-existant) licensing of the music they sold, perhaps the basic concept of the Russian service was a good one. Resnikoff: "This idea was previously implemented with some success - by rogue Russian startup AllofMP3 claimed loophole compliance with lax Russian copyright law, and was ultimately torpedoed by an enraged recorded industry. But somewhere beneath the rubble, the idea is still alive".

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So is Mika gay or straight? I'm not sure we've ever cared one way or the other, but there has seemingly been much speculation regarding the popster's persuasions, speculation he's previously avoided addressing I think. But now he's told Gay&Night magazine that, if you must label his sexuality, he'll take the bisexual tag please.

Mika: "I've never ever labeled myself. But having said that; I've never limited my life, I've never limited who I sleep with... Call me whatever you want. Call me bisexual, if you need a term for me".

Mika clearly doesn't like sexuality labels. Asked if being vague on the issue sent out the right message to teens trying to identify their sexual preference, he added: "There are ways of being a role model without having to always establish yourself with a label. Let's say if you're a sixteen year old guy, and you're not sure about your sexuality, you should be as free as you want. You shouldn't have to say, 'I'm gonna label myself in order to figure out what is going to make me happy in life'. You don't have to pigeonhole yourself all the time. You shouldn't stick yourself into any kind of constraints or limitations at all. And seriously, if 'bi' is the label that helps you do it, then do that... That's as close as I'll get to any label".

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The Saturdays won't ever split in a blaze of acrimony and bitchiness. Oh no. It just couldn't happen. I mean, what band did you ever hear of falling out after they'd been together for two years?

The group's Mollie King told The Sun: "You might expect it with a group of girls but there is no bitchiness with us. If anyone in the group was doing that sort of thing we would address it immediately". While Una Healy added: "We have the right mix. We try not to spend all our time together as we know it would get a bit more tense. We've never lived together but I think that is a really good thing".

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