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Job ads
Classified ads
Top Stories
ERA reckon gap in high street music market in some towns
Borders start closing down sales
Doherty sings Nazi anthem. In Germany
In The Pop Courts
Canadian BitTorrent search service sues the majors
A second lawsuit launched in Death Row fallout
Artist Deals
Alphabeat sign to UMP
In The Studio
Albarn names "nearly finished" Gorillaz album
Release News
Charlotte Gainsbourg album details
Films N Shows News
Blur documentary due in 2010
This Is It DVD gets January release
Gigs N Tours News
The Who will play Superbowl
Amiina to perform live soundtrack
Keane to be taken out to the woods
Festival News
Jay-Z to headline Isle Of Wight Festival
Eno to guest direct Brighton Festival 2010
Album review: The Swell Season - Strict Joy (Anti-)
The Music Business
Halfmoon manager calls for support to save the venue
Imagem sign up to Ricall
The Media Business
Murdoch Jr to buy Billboard?
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Alanis on dope
Nine Inch Nails flog gear on eBay
Cowell happy for Slim Shady to judge
Rick relishes in slow Fiddy sales
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Formed in Aberystwyth in 2005, this four-piece psychedelic pop group recently changed their name from Radio Luxembourg to Race Horses, apparently to avoid confusion with the radio station. Let's hope this doesn't lead to any embarrassing confusion involving racehorse owners. I guess we'll find out next week when the band release their first EP under the new moniker, 'Man In My Mind', via Fantastic Plastic on 7 Dec. Their musical influences come from a range of different genres, including krautrock, jazz and Motown, as well as from artists like Fiery Furnaces, Deerhoof, Faust, Neu and Bowie. You can sample that sound when the band head out on a brief UK tour later this week. Ahead of that, we spoke to lead singer and bass player Meilyr Jones.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started playing piano when I was about seven, and used to like singing bits and bobs of tunes too. I started making up melodies and pieces on the piano towards the end of primary school, but didn't have any way to record them. I then started playing the tuba and really got into classical music - Rachmaninov and stuff - and liked that much more than pop music. But then I had a kind of mini-epiphany when my friend's older sister played me 'Rubber Soul' by The Beatles, and suddenly I wanted to be in a band and make rock n roll music. That's still my favourite record ever.

Q2 What inspired your latest EP?
Lots of things, really. Just before we made the EP I started reading a lot about mental illness, and I became fascinated by the way people slip over the edge and lose perspective. So there is a vague narrative that runs through the EP of a man who becomes disillusioned, withdraws into himself and eventually comes back, and remembers the first time he met his partner in the 1980s.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It really depends; it can start from going to an unexpected chord on the piano, or something someone else in the band accidentally plays on guitar, and from there it naturally mutates. I think playing different instruments and not being tied to one method of working is important if you want to make new things. I played accordion for a while and that made me write very differently.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
So many. We certainly prick up when we hear any new record by Fiery Furnaces and Deerhoof, but that's about it for modern stuff. I love lots of krautrock, Faust and Neu, but also, Bowie - I've just discovered 'Scary Monsters' and it's melting my mind. I love Queen and Richard Hell, and Elvis Costello and The Only Ones. But also lots of jazz and Motown. I love Strauss and Mahler and Stravinsky. I've also just discovered and am really enjoying The Associates.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Nothing, I wouldn't want to tell anyone what to think about our music. I hope they wouldn't need a context or a grounding to enjoy it, otherwise it's failed it's purpose in one way.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest EP, and for the future?
To try and fulfil what we want to fulfil creatively, and to always make music that feels new and challenging to us, and sounds fresh to the ear. Oh yeah, and to have fun.

MORE>>, plus extended answers here.

Featuring Mew's Jonas Bjerre, Guy Berryman from Coldplay, A-ha's Magne Furuholmen and songwriter/producer Martin Terefe, Apparatjik made their debut single, 'Electric Eye', available for free via their official website yesterday. Only the second track to emerge from the project, they don't make it easy to find, and when you do it's possible you'll be put off by the fact that it's a nine minute track split into three parts. Okay, it's not going to be up everyone's street, but trust me, it is worth a listen. Starting off very Mew-like, it takes a weirder turn about a third of the way in, and again two minutes from the end. It's an intriguing taste of a project that could turn out to be the best thing ever or head down a route of impenetrable self-indulgence. It'll be fun finding out.

So, for the last few weeks we've been collecting your votes for Track Of The Year 2009. They've been coming in thick and fast, so throughout December, we'll be hearing what some people have had to say about their favourites, starting this week with Team CMU.

Bike For Three! - More Heart Than Brains
A collaboration between Canadian rapper Buck 65 and Belgian producer Greetings From Tuskan, Bike For Three! appeared earlier this year with an album of oddness. Standing out a mile from the rest of the tracks on that album was this little gem, which still sounds fresh and exciting several months later.
Andy Malt, Editor, CMU

Tell us your favourite track of 2009 here.


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New research by the Entertainment Retailers Association tracking music sales by postcode has found that when there are more shops selling music, people buy more. That, the ERA concludes, means there are areas in the UK where there is a gap in the market for more high street music sellers.

Of course, the last ten years has seen a huge decrease in the number of high street record stores, with the closure of the Fopp, MVC, Musiczone, Zavvi and Woolies retail chains and countless independent music stores. Research company Millward Brown, which provided the postcode data, reckons some 1600 music-selling shops have closed in just the past five years.

Commenting on the new research, ERA chief Kim Bayley told reporters: "It's a simple but vital point in a year when we've seen the closure of Woolies and Zavvi and literally hundreds of music outlets. Put music in front of people and they will buy it. These figures indicate that there may well be a number of areas where there is still scope to open new record stores. Proximity and convenience are clearly not the only factors when it comes to persuading people to buy music, but this study certainly indicates that if you make it difficult to buy music, then people will buy less. The lesson for the music industry is clear: maintaining as broad a possible retail distribution network could be a significant factor in boosting music sales".

The ERA research compared music sales in each postcode with population to calculate the average music purchases per consumer. This makes for some interesting stats because the big cities which would otherwise top any survey of 'most music sales per town' come lower down the list, with the exception of central London, which still tops the poll (presumably because so many people come into the area from Greater London and beyond to buy music, so it's not just the local population buying).

Excluding London, the towns and cities where most music is sold relative to population are Inverness, Cambridge, Twickenham, Glasgow, Brighton, Edinburgh and Manchester. The lowest selling towns and cities include Harrow, Wigan, Motherwell, Bradford and Wolverhampton.

The trade body for entertainment retailers reckons that one explanation for the low per population music sales in those latter areas is the lack of music products available to consumers on the high street, suggesting that if retailers in those areas added a CD department they might find there was customer interest, and in doing so up the local music buying average.

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The gap in the high street music market is likely to get bigger, because it looks increasingly certain that CD and book seller Borders is going to shut up shop.

As previously reported, a management buy out earlier this year failed to turn round the fortunes of the retail chain, and they went into administration last week. Although administrators insist that it is business as usual for the time being while they try to find a buyer, closing down sale signs went up at all of the firm's stores this weekend, which certainly suggests there are no firm buyers at the negotiating table just at the moment.

Obviously, we'd all love for the Borders chain to survive, but in the meantime, if you're looking for some stocking fillers, some books and CDs have been discounted up to 50%, so one last trip to your local Borders store might be a good move.

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Hey, it turns out that people in Germany don't like it if you get up on stage and start singing the Third Reich's national anthem. You could probably guess that for yourself, but Pete Doherty found out the hard way when he sang 'Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles' at the on3 music festival in Munich on Saturday.

The crowd began to boo Doherty, who was a surprise guest at the event, but he performed five more songs before being pulled off stage by its organisers. The show was also being broadcast live on German radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk, but the transmission was cut as soon as Doherty began singing the controversial song.

Joseph Hadyn's 'Das Deutschlandlied', which was written in 1797, has been used as a whole or in part as Germany's national anthem since 1922. While under Nazi rule, only the first stanza, commonly known as 'Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles', was used. Following the Second World War, the song was initially banned, though the third stanza of the piece, which has the same tune but different lyrics, has been used as the country's official anthem since 1952.

A spokesperson for the singer told Sky News that Doherty hadn't intended to cause offence and hadn't realised the song's associations, saying: "[He] wanted to celebrate his appearance in Munich by assimilating and integrating with the crowd, something he tries do wherever he goes. He was unaware of the controversy surrounding the German national anthem and he deeply apologises if he has caused any offence. Peter himself is from Jewish descent and has fought against racism and fascism with numerous organisations including Love Music Hate Racism. This is a subject he feels very strongly about".

Chief prosecutor Barbara Stockinger told TZ newspaper that Doherty's performance was being investigated by not currently treated as a crime.

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Sometimes it works this way round. A Canadian BitTorrent search engine called isoHunt is taking legal action against the Canadian Recording Industry Association and all four major record companies in a bid to get the country's courts to rule that the service it offers does not infringe copyright.

It's the latest development in isoHunt founder Gary Fung's attempt to have his file-sharing search service declared legit in the face of infringement claims from the music and movie industries. He argues that while his website links to all sorts of infringing content, isoHunt itself does not provide, host or endorse any illegal music or movie files.

It's the standard line used by file-sharing search services looking to sidestep accusations of copyright infringement, of course, though one that has often proved unsuccessful. isoHunt basically operates like the search component of The Pirate Bay and the founders of the Swedish service were, of course, found guilty of copyright infringement for simply providing links to unlicenced content. Judges often make such services liable for the infringement actually undertaken by their users by applying the principle of 'authorising' or 'contributory' infringement.

However, despite the precedent set in The Pirate Bay case, Fung might be onto something. The Canadian courts have not been overly helpful to record and film companies trying to challenge file-sharing, with many judges there saying Canada's copyright laws, passed in 1985, are too vague to enable them to actually deem anyone sharing music files online to be guilty of copyright infringement. Until the country's copyright laws are updated - and that's been a long time coming - Fung probably has a strong case that isoHunt is not infringing any copyrights under Canadian law.

With all that in mind in 2008 Fung asked the British Columbia court to formally confirm his service did not violate Canadian copyright law. They refused, saying there would have to be a full case to confirm whether or not that was the case. He unsuccessfully appealed that ruling, so is now embarking on that full court case, by suing the CRIA and their major label members.

Commentators reckon it will take at least a year for the case to come to court, which basically gives isoHunt the OK to continue to operate in the meantime. With that in mind, Fung told reporters yesterday: "As for CRIA and member record labels, if you come to your sense of reason, I would love to talk to you outside of court. The ball you've dropped on us is back to you".

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More on the court battle between the seminal hip hop label Death Row's new boss and her financial backers now, which is ensuring there's plenty of material for the sequel to the still to be written musical, 'Death Row: A Hip Hop Story'.

As previously reported, Lara Lavi, who led the second acquisition of Death Row after its original bankruptcy, has fallen out with the investors who backed her purchase, a company called New Solutions. She has accused them of dodgy financial dealings, and they have been ordered by the New York courts to not enter into any transactions on behalf of Death Row pending a full court hearing.

We knew all that yesterday. But now we know that Lavi herself has also been accused of financial dodgy-ness, though this time through the Canadian courts (her company and her investors are based in Canada).

Lavi's business partners seem to be accusing her of depositing Death Row royalty cheques into her own personal bank account. Which, if true, would definitely count as financial dodgy-ness. They are using those allegations as justification for firing Lavi as Death Row CEO, and have now got themselves a Canadian court order banning her from entering the record company's offices.

The new court ruling also demands Lavi hand over emails relating to the record company, and that a copy of the Canadian court papers be posted on the Death Row website (and they have been).

I'm not sure what will now happen with regards to all this, as Lavi is pursuing action against her backers through the American courts, while the backers pursue action against Lavi through the Canadian courts. New Solutions argue that Lavi set up a new company in New York earlier this month simply to launch legal action against them, foreseeing her pending dismissal as Death Row CEO. But, they argue, the all new Death Row is and always has been based in Canada, so the dispute does not fall under the New York court's jurisdiction.

What we do know is that the case is due to be reconsidered by the New York courts on 3 Dec, while the Canadian courts will give the issue some quality time on 7 Dec. So, plenty more fun ahead for the hip hop label that's has, for a long time, been more prolific in the litigation game than the record releasing business.

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Universal Music Publishing have announced that they have signed up Danish popsters Alphabeat for a long term, global publishing deal that will cover the band's entire back catalogue, as well as new material.

Announcing the deal, UMP's Senior A&R Manager Darryl Watts and Head Of A&R Caroline Elleray, who were responsible for the signing, jointly said: "Alphabeat are essentially a collection of very high calibre international hit songwriters. The commercial sound of their studio albums has earned them extensive airplay and healthy worldwide sales and has proved them capable of writing strong and exciting pop music. We firmly believe, however, that their best is yet to come. Over the past couple of months there has been growing demand from the A&R community to have these talented writers collaborate with some very successful pop acts. We are thrilled to be working with them".

Alphabeat's manager, Machine Management founder and CEO Iain Watt, added: "After a lengthy courting process we are thrilled to have signed to Universal Music Publishing. Our vision to cement the band's position as a successful international pop act and further develop them as writers for other artists was fully endorsed by Universal whose team we will work with closely to achieve this".

After leaving their former label, EMI, in December last year, Alphabeat signed a new record deal with Polydor in March. Having spent much of the year writing and recording their second album, 'The Spell', which is due for release in January, the band will tour as support act to Lady Gaga in February and March next year.

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Damon Albarn has revealed that he has nearly completed work on the third Gorillaz album, which will be called 'Plastic Beach'.

Speaking to The Guardian, Albarn said: "This whole Gorillaz album, 'Plastic Beach', which is nearly finished now, started off as 'Carousel'. [It's] sort of about the mythical aspects of Britain. Obviously, because it's Gorillaz we've moved it to a different place, but it still maintains a lot of that melancholy".

On the album's sound, he said: "I'm making this album the most pop record I've ever made in many ways, but [using] all my experience [so] to present something with some depth to it. I've tried to connect pop sensibility with trying to make people understand the essential melancholy of buying a ready-made meal in loads of plastic packaging. People who watch 'X-Factor' might have some emotional connection to these things, that detritus that accompanies what seems the most essential thing in people's lives these days, the celebrity, the voyeurism".

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Charlotte Gainsbourg will release her new, Beck-produced album, 'IRM', via Because Music on 25 Jan. The title track of the album, I'm sure you all remember, was recently stamped 'CMU Approved', and sounds very different to Gainsbourg's last album, '5:55'. The first proper single from the new album, 'Heaven Can Wait', will hit stores on 11 Jan.

Watch the video for 'Heaven Can Wait' here:

Here's the album's tracklist:

Master's Hands
Le Chat du Café des Artistes
In The End
Heaven Can Wait
Me And Jane Doe
Time Of The Assassins
Trick Pony
Greenwich Mean Time
The Collector

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A documentary following Blur on this year's reunion tour will hit cinemas on 19 Jan, it has been announced. Entitled 'No Distance Left To Run', after that song they wrote, it was directed by production duo 32, aka Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, and features interviews with the band and rehearsal footage.

You can watch the trailer for the film on the band's official website, here:

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The DVD release of Michael Jackson's 'This Is It', the inappropriately named documentary pieced together from the singer's ill-fated O2 residency rehearsals, will hit stores on 26 Jan. In addition to the film itself, it will feature more than 90 minutes of extra footage in the form of two additional documentaries, 'Staging The Return: Beyond The Show' and 'Staging The Return: The Adventure Begins'. The Blu-ray version will also feature the uncut music videos for 'Thriller' and 'Smooth Criminal'.

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The NFL has confirmed rumours that The Who will play next year's Superbowl half-time show. The band will perform while the players go off to eat segments of oranges at American Football's biggest event, which will take place at the Landshark Stadium in Miami on 7 Feb.

Any story about the Superbowl half-time show looks odd without a mention of Janet Jackson's left breast. So there you go.

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The Quietus and the Branchage International Film Festival have clubbed together to get us all a Christmas present, which is nice of them. Very nice, in fact, as they're bringing Sigur Rós collaborators Amiina to London for a very special show. The Icelandic quartet will perform their specially commissioned live soundtracks to films by pioneering German animator Lotte Reiniger at St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch on 17 Dec.

Speaking to The Quietus earlier this year, Amiina's Maria Sigfúsdóttir said: "These are magical and sometimes quite dark atmospheres, because these are Grimm's stories, most of them, and I think we're just going to try and put together a wallpaper of sound, and then put some lines and musical characters over that".

Tickets are available here:

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Keane have got their plans for 2010 in place already. They involve not really doing anything for the first few months but, come May and June, the band will be cranking the plonky piano machine back into action.

A brand new EP, entitled 'The Night Train', will hit stores on 8 May, which contains two collaborations with Somali/Canadian rapper K'Naan, and in June the band will head out on a tour of English forests.

Here are the dates:

10 Jun: Thetford Forest
11 Jun: Bedgebury Pinetum
18 Jun: Westonbirt Arboretum
19 Jun: Sherwood Pines Forest
25 Jun: Dalby Forest
26 Jun: Cannock Chase Forest

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Jay-Z will headline Friday night at next year's Isle Of Wight Festival, with The Strokes and Pink handling Saturday and Sunday respectively. Other acts so far confirmed for the event, which will take place on 11-13 Jun, include Blondie, Orbital and Squeeze.

It seems Jay-Z has got a taste for festivals since playing Glastonbury last year, although IOW will be a little less spectacular, given that it has less than half the capacity of Glastonbury. Still, 55,000 people is nothing to be sniffed at.

The festival's promoter, John Giddings told reporters: "Ever since I heard the first Strokes album, I've wanted them for the Isle Of Wight. Jay-Z and Pink are two of the best live acts I have ever seen and the Blondie hits speak for themselves. I can't wait!"

Tickets for the festival go on sale on Friday.

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The Brighton Festival yesterday announced Brian Eno would be its Guest Artistic Director for 2010, which is rather exciting.

Brighton's big May festival introduced the idea of a Guest Artistic Director earlier this year, with artist Anish Kapor filling the role for its 2009 season. The guest curator works with the Brighton Festival team to put together a three week programme of theatre, music, dance, art and literary debate.

Eno's programme will include a "constantly evolving sound and image-scape" called '77 Million Paintings', the world premiere of the first full-length work by choreographer Hofesh Shechter and his Brighton-based dance company, and a site-specific installation piece inspired by 'The Cherry Orchard' by another Brighton group, dreamthinkspeak.

Eno will also speak during the festival, and there will be a live performance of his seminal 1983 album 'Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks' by contemporary ensemble Icebreaker, staged alongside footage of the Apollo moon landing. This is all sounding even more exciting.

Confirming his role as Guest Artistic Director for Brighton Festival 2010, Eno told CMU sister publication, ThreeWeeks: "I am delighted to be part of a festival which has consistently placed itself at the cutting edge of the creative arts in Britain. I hope to be able to show some recent work that has not yet been seen in this country, and also to develop new works especially for the festival. I would like this festival to provoke and entertain - and hopefully to start some social conversations which will persist long after it has finished. Aside from all that I look forward to a few weeks living in one of Britain's most pleasant cities!"

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of the Brighton Festival, added: "World-class direction and a captivating programme of events are what cement Brighton Festival at the heart of the UK and international arts scene. Brian Eno is bringing some extraordinary events to the 2010 Festival, along with the infectious energy and intellectual range of a polymath. Eno in many ways embodies the ideal festival curator with interests and experiences so eclectic and extensive. I'm really looking forward to what promises to be an exceptional Festival".

The 2010 Brighton Festival will run from 1-23 May.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Swell Season - Strict Joy (Anti-)
The short history of The Swell Season is deeply cinematic. Prior to their glorious union, Glen Hansard was best known as the Irish working class hero who served at the helm of folk-rock ensemble The Frames, for the bones of two decades, while Marketa Irglova was a young, classically-trained Czech pianist.

They recorded their eponymous debut in 2006, which, one year later, would be reinvented as the bulk of the soundtrack to John Carney's modern Irish musical 'Once'. Glen and Marketa appeared in the film as songwriters who discover that their chemistry extends beyond the realms of their musical partnership. It's funny how often life imitates art, and the pair reaffirmed this old adage when they fell in love during the filming. The resulting bashful, swooping joy of new love resounds throughout the elation of 'Falling Slowly', their Oscar-winning song written during the making of the movie.

Their unuttered tentative emotions and lust acted as the hot blood pumping the heart of 'The Swell Season', but 'Strict Joy' is a horse of a very different colour. Their romance is no more, but they seem, to a certain degree, at peace with their failed relationship. Here, a sense of comfortable separation replaces the explosive intimacy of the debut album. It works on the basis of a much bigger, fuller sound, lending further to the impression that it is no longer about them, alone.

This upbeat, honest affair feels a little deflated when compared to the passion of its predecessor, but the bright spark that burnt so bright between these two is still smouldering. MB

Physical release: 16 Nov
Press contact: LaDigit [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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The boss of West London gig place The Halfmoon in Putney is asking music fans to lend their support to the venue, either by showing up to one of their gigs, or by putting a nice note on their message board.

Venue manager James Harris confirmed last week that the popular 200 capacity venue, which has hosted gigs since 1963, is struggling to make ends meet in the current economic climate, and could face closure as soon as the end of next month.

The host of the venue's regular unplugged night, Redvers Bailey, told reporters: "It will be a sad day when The Halfmoon closes. I can't think of many venues I've been to who can cater for professional touring bands and rising unsigned bands and are willing to treat the two no differently. Speaking as a musician I'd say I haven't played at any 200 capacity venue that offers as good sound/lighting production, atmosphere and door deal".

Although perhaps best known for its links to The Rolling Stones, The Halfmoon has hosted gigs by bands large and small for decades. Whether anything can be done to save the venue at this stage remains to be seen, though Harris seems to think an increase in customers in the next two months may persuade the venue's brewery owners to keep it running as a music venue for a little longer. Otherwise a relaunch as a gastropub seems to be on the cards.

Harris: "Please vote with your feet and come for a drink, or come to one of our nightly live music shows. To see what's on visit the gig guide at If you can't make it down in person then visit our forum here The Halfmoon Forum and show us some love for all to see".

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Newish but growing music publisher Imagem has announced a deal with Ricall which will further promote the catalogues controlled by the publisher to possible sync rights customers. As previously reported, Ricall provide an online search facility for film, telly and advertising types looking to licence music for their projects.

Confirming the deal, Imagem UK MD Tim Smith told CMU: "Our in-house sync team already does excellent work and anything that supports their efforts and makes the sometimes cumbersome process of sync licensing quicker and easier is something we want to encourage. We are looking forward to increasing the number of licensing opportunities we can bring to our writers and the catalogue owners we represent".

Ricall founder and CEO Richard Corbett said that the deal "marks our first deal with a substantial music publisher. We are confident that many more music publishers will see the value that Ricall's online service can bring to their sync licensing activities with the launch of our new suite of tools".

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According to the Financial Times, a media consortium headed by Lachlan 'eldest son of Rupert' Murdoch is in talks to buy US publisher Nielsen Business Media who, among other things, own the Hollywood Reporter and American music industry trade mag and chart maker Billboard. The FT reports that Neilsen may be bought for up to $70 million.

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits (Sony)
2. Muse - The Resistance (Warner Bros)
3. Slayer - World Painted Blood (Sony)
4. Bon Jovi - The Circle (Universal/Mercury)
5. Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg (Universal)
6. Creed - Full Circle (EMI/Virgin)*
7. Nirvana - Live At Reading (Universal/Geffen)
8. Weezer - Raditude (Warner Bros)
9. Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Universal)
10. Paramore - Brand New Eyes (Warner/Atlantic)
11. Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue (EMI)
12. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Rammstein - Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da (Universal)
14. Daughtry - Leave This Town (Sony)*
15. Fleetwood Mac - The Very Best Of (Warner Bros)
16. Kiss - Sonic Boom (Warner/Roadrunner)
17. AC/DC - Backtracks (Sony)*
18. Atreyu - Congregation Of The Damned (Warner/Roadrunner)
19. Billy Talent - III (Warner/Atlantic)
20. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)

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So, the esteemed prize of CMU Druggy Of The Day goes to Alanis Morrissette, who's been bigging up marijuana in an interview with the US magazine devoted to such things, High Times.

Alanis tells the mag: "As an artist, there's a sweet jump-starting quality to it [marijuana] for me. I've often felt telepathic and receptive to inexplicable messages my whole life. I can stave those off when I'm not high. When I'm high - well, they come in and there's less of a veil, so to speak. So if ever I need some clarity... or a quantum leap in terms of writing something, it's a quick way for me to get to it".

So you heard her kids, if you're looking for songwriting inspiration, light up a spliff and your muse shall speak unto you. Though Alanis adds that it's all about moderation. She continued: "I have a lot of friends who have wanted to specifically quit smoking marijuana because they felt that it was having a negative effect on their lives, and I absolutely supported them doing so. Then I have other friends who I've coerced into smoking because I thought it would be great for them".

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Earlier this year, Trent Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails would be hanging up their hats as a live band after one final tour. Now, to prove that he really meant it, and with that tour completed, he's flogging all the band's equipment on eBay.

A message on the band's website reads: "We've been going through the NIN touring and studio rigs and are getting rid of a large selection of gear and equipment the band is no longer in need of ... We do not know which (if any) tour these items are from unless specified, nor can we get any items autographed, so please do not ask. Hundreds of items will be listed over the next several weeks such as guitars, keyboards, amplifiers, drums, staging, anvil cases, cables, rack/outboard gear, guitar effects, and pedal boards".

So far, it's just guitars. Assuming you class the banjitar as a guitar, as I do. Place your bids here. New listings will be announced via the band's twitter page:

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Simon Cowell has responded to reports that Eminem had remarked that he'd make a great 'X-Factor' judge by telling the Daily Star: "It would be great to have him on as a guest judge. Em - I call him that because we are on first name terms - the job is yours".

First name terms, eh? You know, all these years I never knew Marshall Mathers' real name was Em Inem.

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Perhaps Eminem could be a judge on a new hip hop-focused TV talent show called 'Feud Factor' in which aspiring hip hopsters try to form the most ridiculous feuds. It could be sponsored by McDonalds, or some other purveyor of beef-based products.

If such a show existed, the ongoing 50 Cent/Rick Ross feud would be an important case study. You've probably not been following this story, but Def Jam-signed Ross has been doing the beef thing with Fiddy for a while now, meaning he's relishing reports that Mr Cent's new album 'Before I Self Destruct', released last month, has been the rapper's worst performing long player to date, selling 161,000 units in its first week of sale in the US, which is still pretty good going, but not by hip hop superstar standards. report that Ross, while chatting to his audience at the birthday party of record producer and radio type DJ Khalid last week, said: "So we celebrating my nigga's birthday, but we're also celebrating the demise of a pussy [that's Fiddy]. RIP to the donkey, we buried him. It feel good, nigga. Don't look surprised, you knew we was gonna do it". go on to provide a quick summary of the Ross/Fiddy beef to date, the highlights of which include the former releasing a record ridiculing the latter for his much reported public falling out with the mother of his son, and her allegations he had her house burned down. 50 Cent responded by recruiting the mother of Ross' estranged son for a series of video clips, and then published photos of said estranged son at Fiddy's mansion. 50 Cent also published footage of Ross friend Khaled's mother at work, seemingly recorded without her knowledge; a stunt that backfired somewhat when fans and journalists criticised the video, forcing Fiddy to publicly apologise.

Stupid rapper feuds, and Death Row Records in court, it's good to know some things never change in the world of hip hop.

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