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Top Stories
EMI to sue
Classic photos of Syd Barrett to be sold
In The Pop Courts
US TV companies sue SESAC
Bachman and Turner sued over new Bachman-Turner trademark
Black Eyed Hilton case delayed
In The Pop Hospital
Boyz II Men man gets swine flu
Reunions & Splits
Williams confirms Take That plans
Keisha's manager responds to Sugababes rumours
In The Studio
Bloc Party frontman working on solo stuff
Jack White refused to work with Slash
Release News
New Four Tet album and live dates
Lightspeed Champion album news
Grohl thinks Foo hits album "premature"
Festival News
Snowbombing announce 2010 line up
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
Dubai SoundCity kicks off
Single review: Broken Records – Out On The Water Ep (Beggars/4AD)
Brands N Stuff
Smirnoff grants programme for young promoters is back
The Music Business
EMI launch instant live recordings service
The Digital Business
MSN relaunch download service in UK
The Media Business
Is Vernon being lined up for Radio 1 breakfast?
And finally...
Stones disses Lily, sort of
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Currently living in Dubai, but hailing from the south of England, The Meerkats formed simply because lead singer Ben Jones was impressed by his now bandmate Ashley Adams' guitar playing. They play acoustic indie rock, though with leanings towards soul and reggae. Having spent the past year writing and producing new material, while playing gigs all over the Middle East and supporting the likes of The Parlotones and hip hoppers Arrested Development, the band are now busy getting an album completed. But they have still found time to play at the big convention taking place in their adopted home, Dubai SoundCity. We spoke to the Ben to find out more. .
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We met at an indie night in Dubai, booked a gig and only then got round to writing some tunes! I have experience from the London scene, while Ash draws on long nights jammin in barns in the south of England. We originally started as an acoustic rock duo nut are now a four piece following the addition of Shu on drums and Ben Coutts on bass.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
We just finished a new song called 'Hold A Gun To My Head' - it's the basic boy meets girl, I love you, now change thing.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
Basic instrumental ideas are put down by Ash, then I put together the vocals and melodies, then we get the other guys to add their magic.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
A bit of everything; there's indie, pop, reggae, and bit of most other things... our tastes vary so much and our songs now seem to have common ground but differentiate themselves so much, so there's a twist of lots of styles in there... artists like The Jam, The Clash, The Libertines and the Red Hot Chilis have all influenced our tunes to some degree whether that be in style or in inspiration.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Have a jig and smile. You'll be singing to the second chorus, that's for sure.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Finish our album and then go on a promotional tour... We will be seeing you in the UK soon!



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EMI has confirmed it will sue US-based digital music service which, as reported yesterday, is controversially selling the Beatles catalogue as MP3s at 25 cents per track.

Music Ally spotted that the US site was selling The Fab Four's music, not available on any legit download platforms, last week, and EMI litigation has been expected ever since. The Beatles' music is yet to go digital because of ongoing royalty disputes between co-owners EMI and Apple Corps. The former had confirmed on Tuesday that it had not made an exception for

It's thought the EMI lawsuit will accuse of infringing more than just its Beatles copyrights. Some have questioned the legitimacy of the whole download operation, which has spun out of a long-standing US online radio service of the same name.

Selling tracks at 25 cents each dramatically undercuts all of's competitors, and even if it was the digital music firm taking the hit by offering such a discount (ie it was paying labels the going wholesale rate), some speculate that the record companies would be nervous about signing up to a service which pushes the standard download price point down just as they are trying to sneak prices up through the newish variable pricing structure on iTunes.

Ironically EMI's confirmation that it was suing over their sale of the Beatles catalogue digitally coincided with an announcement from the major that they would be making the Fab Four's music available - legitimately - as digital music files for the first time (outside of the 'Rock Band' game, that is). Though said announcement isn't quite as exciting as you might think. EMI will release an apple-shaped USB drive containing all fourteen of the recently released remastered Beatles albums for two hundred quid. The mini hard drive will also contain artwork, documentaries and some other extras. The USB whatnot will be released on 7 Dec, just in time for Christmas.

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Three photos of the late former Pink Floyd man Syd Barrett are set to be sold for charity. The photos, taken by legendary rock photographer Mick Rock, were taken at the singer's then London flat to promote his 1970 solo album 'The Madcap Laughs'. The auction house say they capture Barrett during one of the lowest ebbs of his mental illness. They will go under the hammer on 21 Nov.

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A group of US TV companies have filed a class-action lawsuit against SESAC, the third publishing collecting society that operates in America, alongside its bigger rivals BMI and ASCAP.

The litigation has been confirmed by the Television Music Licence Committee, which usually negotiates with collecting societies on behalf of some 1200 local TV companies, though it seems SESAC has been doing deals directly with the broadcasters since last year.

I think it's SESAC's refusal to enter into collectively bargained deals that is at the heart of the suit, because the TMLC's members feel that the company-by-company deals result in the collecting society getting more money, which is possibly why they have opted to start negotiating licences on that basis.

BMI and ASCAP wouldn't be able to insist on such price boosting tactics because of voluntary decrees that govern some of their operations which they signed in the 1940s (to avoid US government-led anti-trust action). SESAC, though, never signed any such decree.

The collecting society is yet to respond to the lawsuit, the legal papers for which have been shown to Billboard by the TMLC.

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Randy Bachman and Fred Turner, they of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive, have been sued by their former bandmates (one of them Randy's brother Robin) over allegations that they are planning on using a variation on their original performing name in breach of past naming agreements.

Robin Bachman and Blair Thornton say that Randy's company recently registered various trademarks around the name Bachman Turner Union, seemingly in preparation for a reunion tour for him and Turner. He presumably went for 'Union' rather than 'Overdrive' because he and Turner signed over the rights to the original band name to Robin and Thornton when the band originally disbanded in the late seventies. But Bachman Turner Union, Robin and Blair presumably allege, is not different enough to avoid infringing the original trademark.

Robin and Turner launched their litigation through the Canadian courts last week. They want an injunction to stop their former bandmates using the Bachman-Turner name, as well as financial damages. The Canadian rockers are, of course, best known for their biggest hit 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet'.

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The Black Eyed Peas/Perez Hilton assault case has been delayed again. As previously reported, Peas manager Liborio Molina is accused of punching the tedious celebrity blogger, in the face, at an awards after show party in Toronto back in June. The case was due to be heard this week, but has now been pushed back to 17 Nov. Hilton, who also accused Black Eyed Pea Will.I.Am of attacking him, is also pursuing civil litigation against Molina.

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Another one from the 'pop stars with swine flu' file. Boyz II Men star Shawn Stockman has been forced to pull out of a performance at next week's Soul Train Awards after being diagnosed with the fashionable virus (is it still fashionable, or is swine flu very July?). Stockman's bandmate Nathan Morris told CNN: "We tour eight months out of the year, and we are always travelling around. It's hectic for us always being in airplanes and airports. He got sick, and it hit him pretty hard. We go all over the world really, so I am surprised it hasn't happened earlier, to be honest. I talked to [Shawn] today, and he is doing much better".

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Robbie Williams has told Jonathan Ross that he has plans to work with Take That again. At some point. One day.

Obviously there has been much media speculation of such a reunion ever since the other four members of the band got back together, but it's a naturally touchy subject, given Williams' acrimonious 1996 departure from the then-boyband and his subsequent years of Barlow-baiting. Though the speculation has only risen since it became apparent Williams had made peace with his former bandmates, Barlow included.

At the recording for Ross's Friday night chat show this week, the singer admitted, when asked if he would be rejoining his former band mates: "Yes I hope so". He refused to be drawn much on how far the collaboration is likely to go, however, adding: "We've got together, done bits and bobs. I can't say much".

The BBC 1 show is broadcast on Friday at 10.35pm, if you'd like to hear Williams say those words live, so to speak.

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Keisha Buchanan's manager has said that the former Sugababe definitely, absolutely, totally and completely has no plans to get the original band line up back together, so you can all stop gossiping about the possibility, okay? Yes Holy Moly, that means you.

The aforementioned manager (whose name I can't seem to find, let's call him Maurice) told Radio 1's Newsbeat: "Keisha is definitely, 100% not going to be involved in any kind of Sugababes reformation. Keisha has solo projects that she's working on which will be out next year".

So there you go. All stop speculating now. Or you'll have Maurice to deal with.

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Bloc Party's Kele Okereke is working on a solo album, according to producer Hudson Mohawke, who has told 1Xtra that he may be working with the singer. The group have recently finished a UK tour, and are planning a hiatus, which is presumably when Okereke plans to release his own stuff.

Mohawke explained: "It hasn't been finalised yet, but I'm doing a bit of stuff for Kele from Bloc Party's solo album. He's doing a record with one of the guys from Spank Rock".

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Slash has said that Jack White refused to make a guest appearance on his new solo album, though he might have done if Slash had allowed him to do something other than sing. The former Guns n Roses star is set to release 'Slash & Friends' early next year, and loads of other rocky types have contributed, including Dave Grohl, and Alice Cooper.

The guitarist told "I wanted to get Jack White to sing on something, but he didn't want to sing. He said I'll play drums, I'll play guitar, but I don't wanna sing. He was one guy that I wanted to work with. Pretty much everyone else that I went after I managed to get".

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Four Tet, aka Keiran Hebden, has announced details of his new album 'There Is Love In You'. The LP, the first full length record of new Four Tet material since 2005's 'Everything Ecstatic', is to be released on 25 Jan. A single, 'Love Cry', is available to buy right now.

Hebden has also confirmed a number of Four Tet live dates to follow the album release, dates as follows:

12 Feb: London Dome
11 Mar: Manchester Club Academy
12 Mar: Leeds TJs
13 Mar: Edinburgh Bongo Club
17 Mar: Brighton Concorde 2
19 Mar: Birmingham Custard Factory
20 Mar: Bristol Fiddlers

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Lightspeed Champion, aka Dev Hynes, has also announced new album details. 'Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You', produced by Ben Allen, will be out on 1 Feb 2010, preceded by the release of a single, 'Marlene', on 25 Jan. If you're the kind of person who enjoys knowing the names of lists of songs ahead of actually hearing them, you're in for a treat, for lo, here is the tracklist:

Dead Head Blues
There's Nothing Underwater
Faculty Of Fears
The Big Guns Of Highsmith
I Don't Want To Wake Up Alone
Madame Van Damme
Smooth Day (At The Library)
Intermission 2
Etude Op.3
Goodnight Michalek
Middle Of The Dark
A Bridge And A Goodbye

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Dave Grohl has admitted that a Foo Fighters greatest hits album seems rather "premature", and that the venture was very much a label driven thing. Of course, most labels these days are eager to cash in on a successful artist's catalogue by releasing some sort of hits collection as soon as a third long player is in the can, sometimes sooner. And, therefore, hits compilations are usually bundled into a recording contract.

Speaking about the hits collection, which is released this week, Grohl told Chris Moyles on Radio 1: "It still seems premature because we're still a functioning, active band. Those things can look like an obituary. We were asked to do this a long time ago. We wrote it into a deal a long time ago - that's how it works. "They started asking about four years ago, and we said, 'Don't we need some hits?'"

Commenting on the hits album, and the choice of songs that appear, he continued: "It's like a CliffsNotes [that's a series of US study guides], a bit like the [beginners guide] version of what we've been doing for the last 15 years. I think there are better songs than some of those".

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An initial line up has been announced for next year's Snowbombing, set to take place, as usual, in the ski resort of Mayrhofen in Austria, from 5 - 10 Apr.

This year's live line up will feature Editors, Doves, The Enemy, Friendly Fires, Vitalic, De La Soul, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip and longterm CMU favourites The Cuban Brothers. Amongst the many DJs scheduled to appear are Adam Beyer, Scratch Perverts, James Zabiela, Plump DJs, Krafty Kuts, Ewan Pearson and Riva Starr. More acts are to be announced soon.

Package prices start at £279, but there are all sorts of accommodation options, plus you'll probably need to consider equipment hire and ski passes and that sort of thing. There's a page devoted to all of this on the festival's website, which is right about here:

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Dubai SoundCity has kicked off, starting off this morning with a rather fine discussion on the role of social media in music, which featured some guy called Chris from something called CMU. Other panels have looked at, among other things, music publishing in the Middle East and new routes for artist funding. Look out for reports on all of those later on today on the CMU News-Blog, which you'll find at

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SINGLE REVIEW: Broken Records - Out On The Water EP (Beggars/4AD)
As 'Out On The Water' just flows past unassumingly, you might begin to wonder what happened to that wonderful melodrama and penchant for orchestral triumph that made Broken Records one of the most exciting bands in the country? For these five tracks - demos and rarities - it seems to have been traded in for a softer touch. Still, it sort of works, making for a collection that is just as romantic and wonderful as anything on the brilliant 'Until The Earth Begins To Part'. With the electric guitars locked up, it's nice to hear the cello and violin so intimately, blending with Jamie Sutherland's vocals as though it was always meant to be. Perhaps not quite so exciting a prospect for a live show, but something to savour on record. TM

Physical release: 2 Nov
Press contact: 4AD IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Smirnoff have announced the second year of their progamme which supports aspiring music promoters, previously called Night Vision, and now with the slightly less snappy but much more worthy name of Smirnoff Creative Grants. This year the programme will provide an online resource for grass roots promoters, as well as offering five grand grants to help four promoters cover the overheads of their nights. Proposals for the grants will be judged by, among others, Rob da Bank, DJ duo The Queens of Noize and Clash Mag editor Matthew Bennett.

Commenting on the programme, Rob da Bank told CMU: "I am very taken with the Smirnoff Creative Grants initiative for promoters. I started out as promoter putting on Sunday Best events with a £1.99 entrance fee, and now have my own Bestival and Camp Bestival festivals for up to 35,000 people. I'm delighted to help select some of the country's most unique and original new music promoters".

Applications for the grants should be made via the Smirnoff Facebook by 11 Dec - more at

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EMI are entering into the immediate concert recording business by utilising their iconic Abbey Road brand. Abbey Road Live will be one of those services that records gigs and makes them available to audience members more or less immediately, on CD, USB stick or via digital delivery. The new venture expands on the Live Here Now platform, which was linked to EMI imprint Mute and has already produced instant live recordings for the likes of Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp and Moby. The Abbey Road based service has been in development for a while now, and has already done pilot instant live recordings for Blur, Deadmau5 and the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

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Microsoft has relaunched MSN Music in the UK, a move that had been anticipated for a few months.

MSN Music, of course, was one of the original download services, providing music with that lovely Microsoft digital rights management system that was so good, even Microsoft chose not to use it when developing their Zune player.

The all new MSN Music will not come with DRM, obviously, given DRM is very out of fashion in a la carte download circles. Users will be able to choose between the MP3 format or Microsoft's WMA codec, though presumably everyone will go with the former, it increasing the compatibility of the whole shebang somewhat.

As well as download sales, the platform will offer editorial, 30-second previews and a playlist creation and peer recommendation whatnot. There is also a free streaming service, currently without ads, though it's not entirely clear whether that will be available for everyone, certainly there's talk of it being limited and invite-only initially.

One of the most interesting things about the new download service is its pricing structure. Although downloads will be priced at the industry standard 79p each, people will have to charge up their account at £7.99 a time, rather than being billed for each purchase. Presumably there are transaction cost savings by adopting that system, whether it will be popular with punters remains to be seen.

If you're curious, go check

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Chris Moyles' boast that he will have the biggest breakfast show in British radio once Chris Evans takes over from Terry Wogan at Radio 2 may well have been premature, not because the Radio 2 breakfast audience won't decline when Evans takes over, but because Moyles may not be there to compete.

Gossipers are saying that Radio 1 bosses are getting ready to move Moyles out of breakfast when his current contract runs out in the New Year, and other gossipers are suggesting that that Vernon Kaye fella might be offered the gig. The Daily Mail quotes a source thus: "Vernon is extremely popular and the radio bosses love him. No formal offer has been put in yet - there's still seven months left on Moyles' deal after all - but he is definitely in the frame". Another source said this: "Moyles is still the saviour of Radio 1, but he will go sooner rather than later".

Although Moyles' recent RAJAR listening figures were down, he still commands a big audience. It is likely that any moves to replace him - if, indeed, such moves are really under way - won't be based on the size of his audience, but the demographic. While Radio 1 bosses deny commercial radio claims that their programmes are increasingly targeting older audiences outside their target youth demographic, the fact that Radio 1's audience is getting older while Radio 2's gets younger is of concern to some senior BBC types.

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Joss Stone reckons Lily Allen only sells records because of her celebrity status, and not because of the quality of her music. Yeah, tell us something we don't know, Joss. Though it has to be said that people like me have been NOT been buying Lily Allen's music because of her celebrity status, and then I discover she's released a single I really dig. But whatever.

Anyway, here's what Stone said: "She needs to sell records because she's not a singer, and that's not an offence to her because I think that she knows that too. I think she's a performer and she's more of a personality than she is a singer. But I think when musicians are really making real music, people come to the show and that's what we make our money from, from playing live. And I think it's probably harder for an artist like Lily and any other pop acts. It's really about the track and about their personality and their celebrity and that's how they make their money".

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