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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Sale of fake festival wristbands could boom in 2010
Digital Ecomony Bill published
In The Pop Courts
New Death Row lawsuit launched
In The Pop Hospital
Amy Winehouse's breasts leak
Awards & Contests
UK Festival Award winners
Reunions & Splits
Aerosmith still in collapse, bandmates fear Tyler has new drug problems
In The Studio
Bullet For My Valentine finishing new album
Release News
Steve Mason announces new album
Gigs N Tours News
Mastodon return to the UK
Band Of Skulls announce UK tour
First Aid Kit announce album and tour
Festival News
City Showcase band submissions open
Reviews
Album review: Tori Amos - Midwinter Graces (Universal/Island)
The Music Business
Hands wants Citigroup to share his EMI pain
Polydor promotions chief promoted
Marillion man joins PPL board
In The City undergoes review
The Media Business
BBC and commercials collaborate on new online radio player
Digital Radio UK appoint CEO
And finally...
Mariah denied kittens
Morrissey ejects Hamburger from gig
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
FRIDAY 20TH NOVEMBER


BEAK>
Formed at the beginning of 2009, BEAK> are three Bristol musicians - Portishead's Geoff Barrow, Massive Attack bassist Billy Fuller and drummer Matt Williams (aka Team Brick). An eerie mix of krautrock and post-punk, the band's eponymous debut album, released via Barrow's own Invada label last month, was written and recorded in just twelve days. In doing so, they stuck to a strict set of guidelines, which saw the band record as live with no overdubs or repair, only using edits to create arrangements. With their first UK tour kicking off on 11 Dec at The Garage in London, we caught up with Billy Fuller to ask our Same Six Questions.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Hearing my Mum's collection of Elvis records when I was really young, and my oldest brother playing me northern soul and The Specials when I was about ten years old. Good songs, good bass lines. Everything else wasn't an option after that.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Mackerel on toast, I think! I only say that because we had very few discussions during the creative process of the recordings, we just ate mackerel on toast and played music together. It was a very liberating and exciting time, we really enjoyed making this record.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Our process is pretty simple. We set up our equipment and start playing. When we hit on something, a dashingly handsome engineer by the name of 7 Stu 7 hits record and we create a track.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
No artists in particular for me. I used to work in a really great independent record shop in Bristol called Replay Records, it was there that I heard more music than I had ever heard before. I bought most of it on vinyl. In a way, it's all crept in to my inner psyche and influenced me.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't smoke that spliff on top of five pints of beer because you might spin out, mate.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We have dabbled with the idea of not doing the "difficult" second album and instead just doing three or four EPs. After that, we'll put out our third album, and that will be directed towards filling stadiums and making loads of money, a bit like Kings Of Leon. Oh yes, and Matt will become my wife.

MORE>> beak.bandcamp.com and www.myspace.com/beak2009

 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura - album launch party
Hosted by BBC Radio 1's Gilles Peterson, who will be spinning his favourite Cuban tracks from past to present, the nine-piece Havana Cultura Band headline this Cuban extravaganza, ripping through a selection of the recently released 'Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura' album's biggest tracks with vocals from HC mainstays, Ogguere, the elder statesmen of Cuban rap, and 24 year-old soul sister Danay (who GP refers to as "Cuba's Jill Scott") who are flying in live and direct from La Habana to maximise the Cuban party vibes.

DJ support comes from the capital's Sofrito crew - Hugo Mendez, Frankie Francis and the mysterio, Mighty Crime Minister. Renowned for their Tropical Warehouse parties in London's East End, Sofrito have brought together musicians and artists from Ghana, Nigeria, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia to celebrate the heaviest sound from across the Tropics. This night should definitely cast you away to shores Caribbean, and with authentic Havana Club Rum on the menu, you'll be there sooner than you know it after a few Ron Collins!

Friday 20 Nov, 8pm-2am, 29 New Inn Yard, London EC2A, £12 adv, press info [email protected], more info: www.havana-cultura.com

 
It's that time of year again, where we ask you to tell us your favourite track of the year. Just let us know your decision via this handy form, along with some details about who you are and why you made your choice. We'll publish some of your responses in CMU Daily over the coming weeks.

Cast your vote here

 

 
 

 
PRESS OFFICER WANTED
Leading independent music PR company looking for a Press Officer with experience in both online and traditional PR. Must be passionate, enthusiastic, intelligent, and a creative thinker. Knowledge of communications: PR, marketing, and blogging would be ideal, but not essential. If you are looking for a challenge within a dynamic company, please forward a copy of your CV to: [email protected]

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Advertise your jobs here: £100 for five editions - [email protected]

 

 

26 or younger and have never attended MIDEM? Grab your reduction now!
Either studying or working in the music industry and never attended MIDEM, benefit from a special discount rate at 280 euros, more than 50% off October rate.

Networking: Seek out key contacts and extend your professional network; make deals with your partners and identify new business opportunities.

Educational content: access to the renowned MidemNet digital business conference at no extra cost; get concrete, practical knowledge and training from experts through workshops.

Live concerts: hook up with partners and new contacts at the Opening and Closing Night Parties; discover new international artists with Talent showcases.

MIDEM: the one stop destination for the world’s music community, 23-27 January 2010. Register now! Click here

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MIDEM 2010, Cannes: Intimate club venue available for hire in the Palais du Festival - to showcase your artists and bands.

4am license. UK bar prices. 400 Capacity. Private entrance. Staff and DJ supplied.

Leyline has teamed up with Splash Promotions in Cannes to offer production, event management and PR services.

Contact 020 7575 3285 [email protected] / [email protected]

www.splashpromotions.co.uk - www.leylinepromotions.com

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SHOREDITCH OFFICE, 764 SQUARE FOOT (15-20 DESKS), £1000 PER MONTH
Self-contained office space available in the centre of Shoreditch, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, next to the CMU HQ. 5-8 minutes walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations. A top floor workspace with plenty of natural light in an exciting neighbourhood that is home to numerous music, media, PR and creative companies. 764 square feet, with room for 15-20 desks plus its own kitchen area and adjacent toilets. £1000 per month plus service charge and business rates (£275 per month and £600 per month respectively). Includes heating. Available now. For more information contact [email protected].

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Advertise your stuff here: £120 for five editions - [email protected]

 

SALE OF FAKE FESTIVAL WRISTBANDS COULD BOOM IN 2010
Fraudsters are planning on flooding the market with "highly convincing" fake wristbands for UK music festivals next year, which either means a lot of disappointed festival-goers (if said fakes are spotted by security) or some rather overcrowded festival sites (if they are not).

The warning about fake festival wristbands was made by Iridium Security's Reg Walker at yesterday's UK Festival Conference in London. He said that there was evidence that at least one criminal gang had undertaken a "test run" by supplying a smaller amount of fake wrist bands this summer, adding that he believed the fraudsters were now ready to step up their operation for 2010.

Of course the trading of fake wristbands for major events is nothing new, but, as festival promoters have introduced more sophisticated ticketing systems, so the fraudsters have got better at manufacturing fakes that look genuine.

According to the BBC, Walker warned the conference audience: "What's worrying is the quality of the wristbands, right down to the barcode. They're highly convincing and virtually indistinguishable from the real item. And when you have hundreds of people all trying to get through the gates, the pressure is on the security staff to let people in".

Walker, who works with the V, T In The Park and Isle Of Wight festivals, said that while he felt most festival security teams had been on top of the fraudulent tickets this year, he feared that the number of fake wristbands could increase significantly in 2010, meaning security types will have to step up their operations to meet the challenge.

He bases his assumption that the fraudsters will step up their operation next summer on the basis that they have invested quite a lot to set up the fake wristband operation, and would therefore presumably want to cash in on that investment by selling more fake tickets.

Walker: "The amount of effort and expense they have gone to, means it is not commercially viable to produce these in their hundreds. I believe it was a test run and that next year there is a plan to manufacture them in their thousands. One or more of the major festivals is going to get hit unless we deal with this now. This is the most serious problem and the most serious challenge we face in 2010".

For sell out events, of course, the sale of fake tickets will not hugely hit the revenues of festival promoters. Meanwhile Walker is confident that with some effort security teams can spot the fakes and stop those holding counterfeit tickets from getting access. But of course that doesn't mean the fakes won't cause problems.

He concluded: "If you have many thousands of people turned away when they have paid £100, £150 or £200, that is where the danger lies. All your planning relies on knowing how many people you have to deal with. You would need massive resources to try and contain that and stop them gaining entry".

All of which means the festival industry needs to work together to educate music fans to not buy tickets from dodgy touts or unofficial online agencies, though obviously for in-demand sell out events, people will always take risks in a bid to get tickets.

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DIGITAL ECOMONY BILL PUBLISHED
So, Liz may have given us some snippets in her big speech on Wednesday, but the full text of the Digital Economy Bill has now been published. This is the proposed legislation that has come out of the government's 'Digital Britain' review and report, even though ministers have actually ignored a number of the report's findings when drafting the Bill.

As much previously reported, this is also the Bill that includes provisions for introducing a three-strikes system for combating online piracy in the UK, whereby persistent file-sharers might have their internet connections suspended. It's also thought the bill will give business and/or intellectual property ministers wider powers to introduce new copyright protections measures on whim, though I've not got that far through the document yet to comment. I'll have a look-see over the weekend and report back proper on Monday.

Meanwhile, let's have a quote from UK Music's Feargal Sharkey saying it's great: "The Digital Economy Bill lays the foundation for Britain's creative future and has the full support of UK Music. The clear purpose of this Bill is to move everyone forward. To help promote further investment in a new and diverse range of licensed digital services, and to grow a sustainable online market that will benefit all artists, composers, musicians, investors, entrepreneurs and music fans. Our focus is not to disconnect, but to reconnect. To reaffirm and recognise the value of creative works, both to individuals and to the UK economy".

"However, for this market to evolve and flourish there must be breathing space to allow all sides to adapt. Government intervention can provide that impetus. In this wider context, our industry continues to develop and partner with emerging digital services. ISPs and tech companies must work with us, and it is imperative that we reach out together to genuine fans of music. For the future of creative businesses in the UK and our continued ability to succeed and dominate a global stage, government support and intervention is not only welcome, it is vital".

As much previously reported, it is widely believed this Bill won't actually get through parliament before next year's General Election, and if you don't believe me, here is Tory culture man Jeremy Hunt saying so: "We support much of what the Bill proposes but I'm not sure even our help will get the Bill passed".

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NEW DEATH ROW LAWSUIT LAUNCHED
Just when it was looking like things might be back on track for Death Row Records (for massive optimists, anyway), a new bout of in-fighting has erupted, with the label's new CEO, Lara Lavi, launching a lawsuit against her financial backers, New Solutions Financial Corp.

Lavi and New Solutions formed a company, WIDEawake Death Row Entertainment, to buy the legendary hip hop label after its much reported bankruptcy, with Lavi acting as CEO and New Solutions putting in the $18 million required to make the purchase last year. The intention, I think, being to plunder the label's back catalogue of music and considerable archive of unreleased material, rather than sign new acts.

However, as the new incarnation of the label prepares to launch its first release, a three disc compilation called 'The Ultimate Death Row Collection', Lavi has filed legal papers accusing New Solutions CEO (and Chairman of WIDEawake) Ronald Ovenden and MD Robert Thompson of diverting company assets and other "fraudulent, self-dealing actions".

She is reportedly seeking to block Ovenden, Thompson and one other company from engaging in any business deals on behalf of Death Row, while seeking the return of the funds Lavi claims have been diverted.

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AMY WINEHOUSE'S BREASTS LEAK
A couple of years ago, Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon commented on the downward spiral Amy Winehouse had got herself into by telling Uncut: "Even if she doesn't die of a drug overdose, she's going to die of malnutrition. That's what worries me. What happened to those fabulous tits?" At the time it seemed like a tasteless comment, but Amy's tits are the hot topic of the day, so let's get on and talk about them in gory detail, shall we?

It has been revealed that Winehouse's recent trip to hospital (which we didn't report on, but still happened) wasn't due to a bad reaction to medication for a cold, as was reported by some, but because her new breast implants had started leaking. Which, considering they apparently cost her £35,000, seems a bit rubbish.

Speaking on his new online TV show, 'Mitch Winehouse's Showbiz Rant', Amy's breasts' official spokesman said: "It wasn't because she had a cold. She's fine. She just had a little leaky something or other," while pointing to his chest.

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UK FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS
So, it was the UK Festival Awards last night, the annual bash celebrating the great and the good of the British music festival community.

In what many have seen as another challenging year for the festival sector - after years of growth prior to 2008 - among the winners last night were two festivals who have had a particularly challenging 2009, though for different reasons.

Student-targeted festival Beach Break Live won two awards - Best Small Festival and Promoter Of The Year - the latter possibly awarded in recognition of the monumental achievement of the Beach Break team in shifting their festival half way across the country from Cornwall to Kent in just seven days, when stupid councillors in the St Agnes area of Cornwall ignored their own officials' advice and stopped the event from happening at its original site at the last minute. Worthy award winners indeed.

The other winners coming out of a tricky year are Team Big Chill, whose leader was, as expected, presented with the Lifetime Achievement gong. In her acceptance speech, Katrina Larkin noted what a difficult year 2009 had been. As previously reported, the company behind the festival went under recently, shortly after a deal with Festival Republic designed to keep the Big Chill festival brand alive was signed.

Some Big Chill purists weren't thrilled that one of the most proudly independent festivals had become part of the biggest festival group, which is in turn half owned by live music conglom Live Nation. But, speaking to The Guardian this week, Larkin tried to convince her festival's loyal following that the new ownership will not result in a dilution of what the event stands for.

She told the paper: "Festival Republic manage to own a strong portfolio of festivals, but they are all unique, they all have their own personalities. What they admired about us was what we love about the Big Chill: our willingness to tear up the rulebook, the way that anything goes".

Last night, having thanked her own team, and the wider festival community for supporting her through a tricky three months, she also thanked Festival Republic and its chief Melvin Benn who have helped ensure a Big Chill future.

Elsewhere at the awards, the Best New Festival went to Sonisphere, the new Europe-wide touring rock festival which launched this year. Although the new festival on the block, the guys behind Sonisphere are, of course, live music veterans, and they used their award to pay tribute to another festival veteran, the late Maurice Jones, who, as previously reported, died last week.

Jones, whose funeral took place yesterday, was founder of the Monsters Of Rock events at Donington, on which modern day metal fests like Download and Sonisphere are, in many ways, based. Accepting their award, the Sonisphere team said that without Jones' work in the eighties their festival would never have existed in 2009.

The complete list of 2009 winners is as follows:

The Greener Festival Award: Croissant Neuf Summer Party
Critics Choice: La Casa Azul
Best Brand Activation: The Schuh Welly Exchange
Best Toilets: T In The Park
Festival Fitty: Damon Albarn (boys), Lily Allen (girls)

Anthem Of The Summer: Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire
Best Breakthrough Act: Florence & The Machine
Best Headline Performance: Blur at Glastonbury
Best Line-up: Lounge Of The Farm

Promoter Of The Year: Beach Break Live

Best Overseas Festival: Oxegen, Ireland
Best Dance Event: Creamfields
Best Family Festival: Camp Bestival
Best Metropolitan Festival: Camden Crawl
Best New Festival: Sonisphere
Best Grass Roots Festival: Leefest

Best Small Festival: Beach Break Live
Best Medium Festival: Bestival
Best Major Festival: Glastonbury

Lifetime Achievement Award: Katrina Larkin, Big Chill

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AEROSMITH STILL IN COLLAPSE, BANDMATES FEAR TYLER HAS NEW DRUG PROBLEMS
So, while Steven Tyler recently insisted Aerosmith was in tact, his bandmates still seem to thing that all is not well within the group.

Following Joe Perry's various ramblings on the future of the band - he's insisted that Tyler has stopped communicating with the rest of the group and that they are looking for another frontman - now the band's other guitarist Brad Whitford has expressed concerns about Tyler, suggesting he may be experiencing new drug problems.

Whitford said that he felt his band's frontman was definitely "struggling very badly" with some kind of addiction, adding: "This guy has a tremendous history of drug abuse, and you have to be suspicious that this is something that is probably going on with him. I think that's got to be a part of this irrational behaviour. People in recovery and stuff, if you're really doing it, it takes a lot of work".

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BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE FINISHING NEW ALBUM
Bullet For My Valentine have revealed that they are close to completing their new album, the follow-up to last year's 'Scream. Aim. Fire'.

In a message to fans, frontman Matt Tuck said: "There are eight tracks recorded and finished so far, from some of the best stuff we've ever written. They have all the qualities that you would expect from Bullet but with something else. A twist! We are all blown away so far with how everything is going. Don Gilmore is an incredible producer and has really helped us develop our sound".

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STEVE MASON ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM
Former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason has announced details of his new solo album, his first under his own name, having previously recorded as King Biscuit Time and Black Affair. 'Boys Outside' will be released through Black Melody, the label owned by Richard X, who also produced the album.

The first taste of the new LP comes in the form of 'All Come Down', which is already being aired by the likes of Huw Stephens, Mary Anne Hobbs, Rob Da Bank and Vic Galloway on Radio One as well as John Kennedy on Xfm, and will be available digitally on 7 Dec.

For more info, check out www.stevemasontheartist.com

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MASTODON RETURN TO THE UK
Mastodon will be back in the UK in February. Maybe I won't forget to get tickets this time.

Tour dates:

16 Feb: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
17 Feb: Bristol, Academy
19 Feb: Glasgow, Barrowland
20 Feb: Manchester, Academy
21 Feb: Newcastle, Academy
23 Feb: Nottingham, Rock City
24 Feb: London, Roundhouse

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BAND OF SKULLS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Band Of Skulls, fresh from supporting Spiritualized on their recent UK tour, have announced headline dates of their own for next February. To coincide with the shows, the band will release a new single, 'I Know What I Am', on 8 Feb via You Are Here.

Tour dates:

4 Feb: Leeds, A Nation of Shopkeepers
5 Feb: Liverpool, EVOL
6 Feb: Glasgow, King Tuts
8 Feb: Newcastle, Cluny
9 Feb: Manchester, Ruby Lounge
10 Feb: London, 100 Club
11 Feb: Bristol, Thekla
13 Feb: Southampton, Talking Heads
14 Feb: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds

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FIRST AID KIT ANNOUNCE ALBUM AND TOUR
Swedish teenagers Klara and Johanna Söderberg, aka First Aid Kit, have announced that they will release their debut album, 'The Big Black And The Blue', in the UK on 25 Jan via Wichita. The album was originally released this year via The Knife's Rabid Records label.

They'll also be touring over here. Look, here are the dates:

19 Feb: Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete's
20 Feb: Glasgow, King Tuts
22 Feb: Birmingham, Rainbow
23 Feb: Manchester, Deaf Institute
24 Feb: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
25 Feb: Stockton, The Georgian Theatre
26 Feb: Hull, Adelphi
27 Feb: Nottingham, Bodega
1 Mar: Sheffield, Bungalows and Bears
2 Mar: Norwich, Arts Centre
3 Mar: Oxford, The Jericho Tavern
4 Mar: London, Union Chapel
6 Mar: Bristol, Louisiana
7 Mar: Southampton, Hamptons
8 Mar: Brighton, Hope

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CITY SHOWCASE BAND SUBMISSIONS OPEN
Details of next year's City Showcase have been announced, the London music festival that takes place in venues and retail outlets around the capital's West End. This year's Showcase will run from 6-8 May, and will see showcases taking place at The Borderline, The 100 Club, various Carnaby Street stores and on an outdoor stage in Gerrard Street. Workshops and seminars will once again be staged in the Apple Store on Regent Street.

This is all relevant now because bands wanting to put themselves forward to appear at the event can now do so. They should send a CD demo with a MySpace or website link, brief biog and photo to City Showcase Application, PO Box 2212, RH20 2XJ. Or they can apply via this URL: www.sonicbids.com/cityshowcase.

The deadline for applications is 29 Jan.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Tori Amos - Midwinter Graces (Universal/Island)
Tori Amos' decision to make a Christmas album could have ended in one of two ways: disaster, or graceful success. Given Ms Amos' reputation of such grace, it, of course, concluded with the latter. Perhaps that title was decided with something in mind.

'Midwinter Graces' is classic Tori - emotional, elegant and powerful. Her talent for songwriting shines through the hard ice of the atmosphere the album builds, and those beautiful and quirky signature vocals are at their strongest and very best as Amos reworks some of the most universally renowned Christmas carols as well as creating a few new ones of her own that are no less breathtaking.

Recorded in our very own Cornwall, where she now lives, 'Midwinter Graces' has a classic, wistful loveliness to it, and, while it may be the kind of album one only breaks out during the winter months, it hasn't restricted itself to merely Christmas. Instead of focusing on the holiday itself, it's a reflection of frost and snow, which, and certainly for Britain, can extend for quite some time. It's a seasonal album, but it's also a relevant one, and a worthy contender for one of Amos' best efforts to date. TW

Physical release: 9 Nov
Press contact: Island IH [NP, RP], LaDigit [O]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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HANDS WANTS CITIGROUP TO SHARE HIS EMI PAIN
Terra Firma boss Guy Hands has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Citigroup regarding the restructuring of EMI's debts.

As previously reported, the US bank recently rejected Terra Firma's latest proposals for altering the debt agreements between EMI and Citigroup, mainly because it involved the bankers writing off about a billion dollars in debt.

As Terra Firma has to provide EMI with more funds whenever the struggling music major can't meet its loan repayment commitments to Citigroup, the private equity firm is rather keen to come to some deal with the bank sooner rather than later. As it is the value of Terra Firma's investment portfolio took another hit after the finance types were forced to further downgrade the value of its music asset earlier this week.

Speaking at an investment conference in Paris, the increasingly candid Hands, who these days makes no secret of his regrets in buying EMI, said he was still looking for his banking partners to "share the pain" of the music major, whose recorded music division continues to struggle despite radical downsizing and restructuring.

He told the conference that discussions continue with Citigroup, adding that the talks "are about how much each side shares in the pain".

As previously reported, income from the various Beatles re-releases are helping EMI Music stay self-sufficient for the time being, and Robbie sales might help in the next quarter, though many increasingly expect Terra Firma to bail on the music major sometime next year.

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POLYDOR PROMOTIONS CHIEF PROMOTED
Universal division Polydor has announced it has promoted former Director Of Promotions Neil Hughes to the job of General Manager, Promotions, which actually sounds like a less good job title to me, but apparently communicates that Hughes now has a wider role at the major imprint.

Look, here's what Polydor President Ferdy Unger-Hamilton says: "Neil is an exceptional all-round record executive as well as leading the best promotions team in the business. This promotion is recognition of the huge role Neil has played in Polydor's recent success and, as General Manager, his skills and insight will benefit all facets of our business".

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MARILLION MAN JOINS PPL BOARD
Recording royalty collecting society PPL held its third Annual Performer Meeting this week - the event for the society's recording artists members. In the formal bit of meeting Marillion member Mark Kelly was elected to the society's Performer Board and the main PPL Board. Kelly is also a board member of the Featured Artists' Coalition.

Welcoming Kelly to the two boards, PPL chief Fran Nevrkla told CMU: "The election of Mark Kelly onto the Performer Board, and the main PPL Board marks a new and exciting chapter for PPL. The Performer Board fundamentally exists to represent the rights and needs of our 42,000 performer members, with the main PPL Board overseeing the various areas of our entire business. It follows therefore, that a greater representation and involvement of artists in the PPL environment is a welcome development".

Kelly himself said this: "I am delighted with my election onto the PPL Boards. This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I have lots of questions to ask and will take my direction from the performers who voted me in and ensure I do them proud".

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IN THE CITY UNDERGOES REVIEW
The people behind seminal British music convention In The City have announced they are undergoing a review of their business. The news follows rumours last week that the event's three main staff, including General Manger Jon-Paul Waddington, had been made redundant.

Once the must-go event for everyone in the music industry, especially on the record label and A&R side, In The City has found itself in an increasingly competitive market in recent years with the arrival of a string of new conventions, both within the UK and globally.

The convention has also suffered as a result of the streamlining of the record industry's A&R operations. In its heyday ITC was an integral part of the A&R scout's year as they strived to find the next big thing. But these days A&R is more about online discovery and networking with managers than it is signing a band on whim after watching them wow an intimate crowd in a Manchester bar.

And while ITC is still expertly headed up by co-founder Yvette Livesey, the sad loss of her partner and the public face of the event, the legendarily Tony Wilson, hasn't helped.

That said, ITC stress that they have never really employed a year round staff for the convention, and that the fact they did last year was the exception not the norm. A spokesman added that all three of the laid off staff members may rejoin the operation once work on the 2010 event begins in the spring, and that the review of operations is something they do on a regular basis.

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BBC AND COMMERCIALS COLLABORATE ON NEW ONLINE RADIO PLAYER
The BBC yesterday announced plans to launch an online radio player, which will provide access to over 400 stations, including all BBC stations and a load of commercial stations too. The new radio player will be a JV between the Beeb and commercial radio trade body RadioCentre, plus commercial radio firms Global Radio and the Guardian Media Group.

The new combined BBC and commercial radio player will presumably utilise BBC internet radio technologies, which are generally head and toes above those of their commercial rivals. The new service also replaces proposals to allow commercial broadcasters to use the iPlayer as a delivery system, proposals which did not get BBC Trust backing, and which would probably have failed anyway for all sorts of technical reasons.

The new project was announced by BBC radio man Tim Davie at the Manchester Media Festival this week. Look, here's what he said: "This is a really exciting development and a result of focused, collaborative thinking within the radio industry. The aim of this service is to grow listening across the industry and help preserve radio's unique position".

The Tabor-meister over at Global Radio added: "Radioplayer has been developed with the listener in mind and is a big step forward for the radio industry as a whole, providing further cohesion between commercial radio and the BBC as we drive to digital".

It's hoped the new service can be launched in early 2010.

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DIGITAL RADIO UK APPOINT CEO
The previously reported and recently revamped Digital Radio UK body, charged with the task of turning radio listeners over to digital services by 2015, has appointed a CEO. Ford Ennals will head up the organisation, which probably makes sense, given his last job but one was leading the government's efforts to get us to switch over to digital telly.

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MARIAH DENIED KITTENS
Mariah Carey's rider demands are somewhat legendary, but it seems she doesn't always get what she wants. According to reports, the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush in London refused to break their 'no pets' rule and provide her with 20 white kittens to help her turn on their Christmas lights.

The full list of demands included: 20 white kittens, 100 white doves to be released during the event, 80 security guards, pink confetti in the shape of butterflies, a Rolls-Royce to drive her through the shopping centre, and a pink carpet leading to the podium.

A source told the Daily Mail: "We did manage to source the doves that we were going to release into the sky, but the kittens proved terribly difficult. In the end, it was made clear that due to health and safety, there was no way we could have the animals at Westfield. We do not allow pets into Westfield - that rule would apply for everyone. We have worked extremely hard to make sure that Mariah's event is fantastic. Even the model of car had to be changed six times to one that her people liked".

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MORRISSEY EJECTS HAMBURGER FROM GIG
Morrissey had a fan thrown out of a gig in Hamburg on Tuesday after the audience member shouted an insult at him.

The incident happened after Morrissey suggested that people from Hamburg should be called 'Hamburgists', rather than 'Hamburgers', so to break their association with the popular meat delivery system the fiercely vegetarian singer hates so much. Weak joke supplied, he then played 'I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris'.

After finishing the song, Moz announced to the audience: "So, somebody shouted and told me to go and fuck myself". He then identified the man who had thrown the insult and asked him to explain himself. The man managed to say: "You made a joke about us and I..." before the singer launched into a tirade against him and had him thrown out by security.

As he was pulled out of the venue, the man shouted: "But I love you..." to which Morrissey responded: "Well, love me outside".

And because I love you, I have managed to piece the whole thing together via the medium of YouTube. Happy Friday:

Part 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_bU4hJz_0I
Part 2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBXOc8LAMb0
Part 3: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrZyJfqLHzA

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