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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Sources deny Terra Firma's Citigroup claims over EMI takeover
Brown's album well stocked, just not very good
In The Pop Courts
Courtney Love loses custody of daughter
Lewis attacker pleads guilty, remains sectioned
Lily Allen smoking inquiry launched
In The Pop Hospital
Weezer man out of hospital
Charts, Stats & Polls
More RATM v Cowell ramblings
Reunions & Splits
Has Frusciante quit RHCP (again)?
Artist Deals
Kasabian do publishing deal with Sony
In The Studio
Elton working with Pnau on dance tracks
Timberlake to guest on Game album
Release News
Wrongtom to release free album
The Music Business
BMG Rights opens doors in US
Warner Chappell make business affairs appointments
The Digital Business
Unsigned Snocap users lose out from MySpace's Imeem acquisition
Warner partner with CrowdSurge to add tickets to sell-through
The Media Business
Former GCap boss to return to radio
UTV man calls for parliamentary debate of digital switchover plans
US radio giant may apply for chapter 11 protection
Robbie for X-Factor panel?
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Rose issues statement stating no statement
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
TUESDAY 15TH DECEMBER


THE CROOKES
Formed in 2008 by guitarists Alex Saunders and Daniel Hopewell, and naming themselves after the Sheffield suburb where the pair met, prior to recruiting lead singer George Waite and drummer Russell Bates, The Crookes latest project - 'The 12 Days of Crookesmas' - sees them offer a collection of tracks, day by day, in the twelve days before Christmas (even though those aren't actually the 12 days of Christmas). New track, 'Chorus Of Fools' went online on Sunday, with eleven more following on up to Christmas Eve, including Christmas covers and collaborations. We caught up with Daniel to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Alex and I met at university, where we both (without any musical know-how) began to write joke songs about friends and comical characters in our lectures. Then we met George, through English seminars and mutual friends. The band sort of came together after our last exam of first year, when George performed a version of the Buddy Holly classic 'Oh Boy' to us in Alex's tiny room in halls. We were all far more nervous about this encounter than the exam that preceded it! At this point, we realised we'd be going nowhere without a drummer and so recruited Russell, a Carlos Valderrama look-a-like and all round good guy.

Q2 What inspired 'The Twelve Days of Crookesmas'?
I think we like to make things difficult for ourselves. We really liked the idea of making a track available for Christmas ['Chorus Of Fools'], but the advent-calender-style accompanying eleven tracks was one of those ideas which we jumped into without really thinking about! But now we've done it we're really pleased with how it's taken shape. Instead of just a single we're offering people a whole range of material which we think makes it far more interesting.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
The songs as a whole are put together collaboratively, but usually Alex starts the whole process off by writing the initial chord sequences around which the tracks then take shape. After some suitably embarrassing guide lyrics are put in place to cement the melody, I will then shut myself away for as long as it takes to replace them with a set that George would be willing to sing in public. When this is done, and the song is essentially complete, we will attempt to put drums to it. It is usually at this point that Russell will try his hardest to transform us into The Mars Volta, much to our dismay.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
While we are heavily influenced by bands such as The Smiths, Buddy Holly, The Shirelles and contemporary musicians like Richard Hawley, we also draw a lot of inspiration from literature. My lyrics are rooted in the kitchen sink dramas of the 1950s and 60s.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I think often people are surprised at how energetic we are. Our early recordings didn't really capture our 'live' sound, but I think more recently that's something we've changed. Performing live is by far and away our favourite part of being in a band, and hopefully that shows. I also think it depends on what day you catch us. We've had some gigs on the tour when you could hear a pin-drop in the quieter songs followed by a stage invasion the following night! We never really know which way it's going to go.

Q6 What are your ambitions for 'The Twelve Days Of Crookesmas', and for the future?
Having our first single sell out was an accomplishment we were all proud of. But in a sense it's also been quite frustrating that we had to limit the number available. The great thing about doing the download is that we can hopefully get the songs out to a much wider audience. I think that's ultimately our biggest aim at the moment.

MORE>> www.12daysofcrookesmas.com and www.myspace.com/thecrookesmusic

 
CMU ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: Mew - No More Stories
As we head towards the end of the year, we'll be revealing, in no particular order, our ten favourite albums of 2009. Today, Mew's 'No More Stories'.

It was with some trepidation that I approached Mew's latest album. Having been a massive fan of the band for the best part of a decade, I was nonetheless aware that album five is often the point at which many once great artists completely run out of ideas and cause our relationship to end in bitter disappointment. Thankfully, this was not the case on this occasion, as 'No More Stories' is packed full of as many great ideas and delightfully overblown pop tunes as any Mew album that has gone before it.

 

Mew have always been a band who have really understood rhythm, and that is more apparent than ever on this album. Particularly on 'Introducing Palace Players', a track where Bo Madsen's disjointed guitar part and Silas Graae's Tortoise-esque stuttering drums barely fit together, but are pulled in by Jonas Bjerre's vocals, making the piece a whole. It seems that the departure of bassist Johan Wohlert in 2006, following the release of previous album 'And The Glass Handed Kites', has served to focus the attention-to-detail of the remaining three members ever further.

Latest single, 'Repeaterbeater', is another highlight, featuring one of the finest big choruses Mew have ever penned, putting it right up their with older songs like 'Snow Brigade' and 'She Came Home For Christmas'. 'Hawaii', similarly, builds from an almost-samba beat and music box melodies to a soaring chorus, before dropping back into a state of fragility to begin the process again.

The whole album is filled not only with great songs, but clever little touches add something special, and make every repeat listen much more enjoyable.

iTunes - Amazon - Spotify

 
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. Voting is open until 5pm this Friday and the overall winner will be revealed in the CMU Review Of The Year next week. Each day this week we'll hear some thoughts on the matter from one of you fine people.

Margot & The Nuclear So And So's - There's Talk Of Mine Shafts
Crushingly beautiful melody, mesmerising lyrics and stunning strings arranged with a real sense of journey and purpose. The performance is suitably slack and effortlessly natural. It is a male/female duet without you even knowing it and it is all wrapped up with in recording that is perfect for the feel of the tune. It clocks in at 2 mins 17 secs, which qualifies it as the perfect pop tune and is an exemplary example of the perfect pop record. Finally, this delivers where the likes of Noah And The Whale only aspire. It's also a bonus that it could never be on the likes of the NME's radar. A gem.
Dave Holme, Director, Covert PR

Cast your vote here.

 

 
 

 

MAIL ORDER / ONLINE SALES PERSON REQUIRED
Domino Recordings the UK's leading independent label needs a dynamic person to run its UK mail order and online sales operation. A couple of years of relevant music retail or online/mail order experience is desirable and a passion for the artistes on our label - from picking and packing through to pursuing and creating online initiatives we need someone to come and lead our ideas and thinking in this increasingly important part of the record label.

Apply to vacancy@dominorecordco.com ref Mart. Closing date for applications 8 Jan.

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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 ashka@unicornjobs.com.

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SOURCES DENY TERRA FIRMA'S CITIGROUP CLAIMS OVER EMI TAKEOVER
Sources involved in Terra Firma's just brilliant acquisition of EMI in 2007 have apparently contradicted claims made by the private equity clan regarding their takeover of the music major.

As previously reported, Terra Firma, used to being referred to as a "success story" prior to their misjudged purchase of the electric and musical industries, are suing their financial advisors and backers Citigroup, claiming the bank failed to provide them with vital information in relation to their 2007 EMI purchase.

In particular, they claim that in the week in May 2007 in which the EMI board had requested all takeover bids be made, the bankers failed to inform Team Terra Firma that all other bidders had dropped out of the running. That, the equity bods say, means they made a higher bid than was necessary.

They are suing Citigroup, despite the equity firm and US bank being long term business partners, because the bankers have refused to restructure (that is to say, write off a considerable amount of) EMI's debts, all of which relate to the 2007 purchase. Terra Firma seem increasingly panicked regarding EMI's inability to pay even the interest payments on the big Citigroup loan that the equity men saddled the major with when they bought it.

Anyway, the Financial Times has now cited sources involved in the EMI takeover of May 2007 who say that Terra Firma were not the only bidders, even at the very final hurdle. The sources say that Warner Music, who some very reliable news providers reckoned were favourites to get EMI at the time (well, we did), still had execs in EMI's offices doing due diligence as the major's board picked Terra Firma as their preferred bidders.

Meanwhile, it's claimed the other main private equity bidder, Cerberus, who Terra Firma's lawsuit specifically says had dropped out of the running before they made their offer to the EMI board, didn't actually drop out until the day after Terra Firma had been named as the EMI bigwigs' preferred acquirer. And even then they offered to back Terra Firma's takeover.

Whether any of this is true I don't know, but, as previously reported, Citigroup deny they withheld any information from Terra Firma and its boss Guy Hands prior to or during the EMI acquisition. Hands says the bank had a conflict of interest, as advisors to both him and EMI, and backers of his acquisition, because they would make more money from a higher priced takeover.

The tedious squabbling continues.

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BROWN'S ALBUM WELL STOCKED, JUST NOT VERY GOOD
Those shady sources (well, different sources from the ones commenting on EMI, presumably) are also denying claims made by Chris Brown last weekend, also reported in yesterday's CMU Daily. You'll remember that this weekend Brown hit out via his Twitter feed (that is to say the Mechanical Dummy feed that was seemingly controlled by Brown himself) complaining that US retailers were boycotting his new album 'Grafitti', presumably on account of him being a wife-beater.

The implication was that disappointing sales of the new long-player - it is expected to sell just over 100,000 in the US in its first week, making it the third best selling album of the week - were the fault of distributors and retailers failing to properly stock and display his record. It was nothing to do with him losing more causal fans as a result of him beating up Rihanna, or the fact a number of media have given the album itself mediocre reviews.

His tweeting on the issue concluded thus: "I'm tired of this shit. Major stores r blackballing my cd. Not stocking the shelves and lying to costumers. What the fuck do I gotta do - yeah I said it and I ain't retracting shitt. I'm not biting my tongue about shitt else... the industry can kiss my ass".

But insiders at his label, Sony's Jive, say that they have shipped out 400,000 copies of the album, utilising all usual distribution channels, and buying all the usual prime spots in music stores. In fact, it's looking like the label and many retailers have totally overstocked on the record, which is, certainly, selling slower than some expected.

Billboard quote the head of purchasing on one large US retail chain saying this: "Not only am I carrying it, I am over carrying it, because it isn't selling. I wish I could return it". Another says: "We have it; it's not selling much".

Meanwhile supermarket giant Wal-Mart, who Brown specifically mentioned as not stocking the CD (well, he mentioned their store in Wallingford Connecticut), told the US trade mag: "We are surprised at the comments on Twitter, since all Wal-Mart stores carried the CD since its release, including the Wallingford store mentioned in the post. This store had in fact sold through their copies over the weekend. The majority of our stores are showing today they have copies on hand".

So, there you have it, perhaps Brown should have training on how to control his fingers as well as his fists. Whether it's the R&B star's anger management counsellor who suggested he close down his Twitter account yesterday I don't know, but he did.

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COURTNEY LOVE LOSES CUSTODY OF DAUGHTER
Custody of Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, has been transferred to the latter's mother, Wendy O'Connor, and sister, Kimberly Dawn Cobain, following a hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday. The pair are now responsible for the seventeen year's personal and financial wellbeing until February, when the temporary order expires.

Love's lawyer Keith Fink told TMZ: "Courtney wants to say she loves her daughter and she's the most important thing in her life". Meanwhile, O'Connor and Cobain's lawyer Geraldine Wyle told reporters that the case was a private matter and that her clients would offer no public statement on the matter.

Publicly available court papers do not give a reason for the ruling, except to state generally that temporary guardianships are granted "when the parent is not capable of taking care of their children", but does not mention Love by name. Full details of the hearing are currently sealed.

Love regained custody of Frances Bean from O'Connor in 2005, following a lengthy court battle, which at one point saw the two women trade blows outside the court. Love had lost legal guardianship of her daughter in 2003 after she overdosed on painkiller OxyContin (often referred to as 'hillbilly heroin') in the presence of the then eleven year old.

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LEWIS ATTACKER PLEADS GUILTY, REMAINS SECTIONED
The man who punched Leona Lewis during a book signing in London earlier this year, Peter Kowalczyk, has pleaded guilty to the attack and will remain sectioned under the Mental Health Act for an undetermined period.

As previously reported, Leona Lewis was punched in the Piccadilly branch of Waterstones in central London on 14 Oct, where she was signing copies of her autobiography, 'Dreams'. The City Of Westminster Magistrates Court heard yesterday that around an hour and a half into the signing, Kowalczyk approached Lewis and shouted "Gotcha!" as he punched her in the face. She was left with redness and swelling, as well as whiplash-like symptoms.

Kowalczyk, who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, was sectioned following his arrest and taken to a secure hospital, where he has been held ever since. Ordering that he remain there for the foreseeable future, District Judge Howard Riddle told Kowalcyzk: "This is what happens when you don't take your medication. A woman is now devastated".

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LILY ALLEN SMOKING INQUIRY LAUNCHED
Liverpool City Council have launched an inquiry after Lily Allen was reportedly seen smoking on stage while performing at the city's Echo Arena, thus contravening the ban on such things. The council said it became aware of the possible rule break via a newspaper review of the show and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

If the claims prove to be true, both Lily and the venue could receive a fine.

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WEEZER MAN OUT OF HOSPITAL
Weezer's Rivers Cuomo is out of hospital, which is good news. As previously reported, he was in hospital after his tour bus crashed. He had been suffering from a punctured lung and cut spleen, which isn't nice. But he seems to be on the mend, which is nice.

The band's web man Karl Koch wrote yesterday: "The time has come for freedom! After walking with and without a cane and getting some good hematocrit blood test results on Thursday, Rivers was given the go ahead to be released from the hospital!"

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MORE RATM V COWELL RAMBLINGS
It's always interested me a little that while Simon Cowell is clearly a genius at building up multi-million-generating brands around mediocre pop singers, and was a pioneer when it came to recognising the mega-cash that could be generated by marrying two of the modern eras most popular art forms - pop music and kids TV - the music mogul and leading A&R man isn't very good at the A&R bit of A&R.

That is to say the artist and repertoire bit. Cowell is the king when it comes to spotting the million dollar pop star. But I really don't think he's very good at spotting a good pop song. I hate to say it, but he'd probably be better off consulting fellow judge Louis Walsh or old cohort Pete Waterman on such things.

Hence 'The Climb', the tediously dull Miley Cyrus song that 'X-Factor' winner Joe McElderry has been saddled with for his debut single. However, Cowell has been defending his choice though more against allegations that it was more suitable for McElderry's voice than fellow finalist Olly Murs, therefore giving the winner an advantage.

Cowell told reporters: "Do you know what? A good song is a good song. When we record the songs, we tried them out with five different singers. If they couldn't sing the song, we wouldn't have done it. I thought Olly's version was really, really good... I actually think, if you want my honest opinion, they were both as good as each other with that song. Olly really liked that song and was really comfortable with it".

Anyway, I am bringing this up here in the charts slot because this is meant to be an update on the chart battle between the 'X-Factor' winner's tedious Miley turn and Rage Against The Machine's sweary 'Killing In The Name', which petty Cowell bashers (like various members of CMU staff) are all buying this week in a bid to stop the 'X' machine getting another Christmas number one.

People are following the relative performance of McElderry and RATM on various download platforms. Given the latter is not available as a CD single, it will need to lead the way in the digital charts in order to have a hope of beating the 'X-Factor' winner to the top of the overall singles chart. After an initial lead by RATM, McElderry is now ahead in the iTunes Top 10, though RATM is leading in the Amazon MP3 chart as I write this.

Actually, RATM are at both positions 1 and 3 in the Amazon top 10. This is presumably because Amazon are selling 'Killing In The Name' as both a 79p download and a 29p special offer download. There was much speculation online yesterday that the latter would not count in the final chart calculation, because chart rules insist on a 40p minimum price point, which is presumably why some people have been buying the 79p version.

However, the Official Charts Company confirmed to CMU last night that the 29p downloads from Amazon - of both RATM and Joe McElderry - will count, because the 40p minimum applies to wholesale prices not retail price - ie the price Amazon pay the record label, not the price you pay Amazon. The etailer's 29p special offer downloads are loss leaders, on which Amazon takes an 11p hit, meaning tracks bought this way do count when the chart is calculated. So, go ye and download yourself a bargain. It's up to you whether you go with RATM or 'X-Factor' Joe, we wouldn't want to influence you in any way whatsoever, buy McElderry's version of that tedious piece of shit if you want to.

By the way, and assuming this has been at the centre of everyone's thinking for the last 24 hours, eighteen year old McElderry has confirmed he's a heterosexual virgin. So that's a relief. Here's what he told the Sun: "People say I'm squeaky clean but I don't see things like that. I'm a normal person living the dream. What you see is what you get. I'm straight. I've had girlfriends, but I don't have one right now. I haven't slept with anyone, but I'm a young lad and I'm concentrating on my music. I know I'll probably get offers but, for me, it's all about the singing for now".

All of which is very interesting but, and this is the really important thing to be considering this morning, how am I going to cope with the Adam & Joe 6music radio show going off for a three month sabbatical in the New Year?

PS: Bringing this back to the actual story here, the Official Charts Company tweeted this morning: "Rage Against The Machine starts the week with a 7% lead over Joe McElderry. The race to be Christmas number one is on". So, there's lovely.

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HAS FRUSCIANTE QUIT RHCP (AGAIN)?
Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has left the band in order to concentrate on his solo career, according to various reports.

Frusciante originally joined the band in 1988, going on to record the 'Mother's Milk' and 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' albums, before quitting in 1992. However, he rejoined in 1998, sparking a resurgence in the band's commercial success, and recorded the albums, 'Californication', 'By The Way, and 'Stadium Arcadium'.

The band have recently returned to the studio after a hiatus of two years, but the word is that Frusciante's place is currently being filled by touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer while the band decide on a permanent replacement. Frusciante, meanwhile, will focus again on his solo career, having released his tenth solo album, 'The Empyrean', in January this year.

A source told Musicradar.com: "Josh Klinghoffer has been playing with the group for a couple of months now. Optimistically, the Peppers are trying to lock down a replacement for John, who has apparently quit. Mentally, John checked out a long time ago. He's interested in doing his own thing, his own albums - the whole big rock band machinery just doesn't appeal to himany more".

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KASABIAN DO PUBLISHING DEAL WITH SONY
Kasabian, and the band's primary songwriter Sergio Pizzorno, have signed a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV. Pizzorno had previously had a publishing deal with EMI.

Sony/ATV UK MD Rak Sanghvi says this: "I am thrilled to have concluded this deal and it is particularly pleasing that Serge and the band have chosen to come to Sony/ATV at such a vital juncture in their career; they are on the brink of worldwide fame and have chosen the Sony/ATV team as partners in achieving even greater creative and commercial success going forward".

Sergio added: "I'm really looking forward to the next couple of years with the band; we have a fantastic momentum going now and Sony/ATV Music Publishing feels like the right team for where we're going".

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ELTON WORKING WITH PNAU ON DANCE TRACKS
Elton John has been working with Aussie boys Pnau - Peter Mayes and Empire Of The Sun's Nick Littlemore - on a dance album, apparently. It seems the guys have recorded a number of songs, which everyone now wants to release.

Bang Showbiz quote a source thus: "Elton says he's writing his most exciting new stuff for years - possibly decades. Working with Pnau has got the creative juices flowing again. They have got a load of big companies sniffing around".

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TIMBERLAKE GUESTS ON GAME ALBUM
Justin Timberlake will appear on the next The Game album, apparently. Timberlake's old cohort Pharrell Williams is producing the hip hopper's new LP, and got Justin in to record some vocals last week.

Mr Game seems pleased with Justin's contribution, and reckons it could open up his music to a wider audience. He told Rap-Up: "The vibe changed. And it went to where I can see Grammy awards. I had a really dope energy from him being in the booth last night. Justin, he's dope. I appreciate his music. I never thought I would work with Justin and for it to turn out to be as catastrophic as it was, [it] was amazing".

Talking of Justin, did you know N'sync had the biggest selling US album of the last decade? Crazy facts, people, crazy facts.

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WRONGTOM TO RELEASE FREE ALBUM
Producer and DJ Wrongtom will release a free compilation of previously unreleased tracks, entitled 'Old Ghosts', via Myuzyk on Monday.

Says Wrongtom of the project: "It's nothing fancy, simply a bunch of old tracks recorded between 1999 and 2004.Most weren't released, some weren't intended to be released, and no doubt some people are probably wondering why I'm bothering to release them now. Put simply I gave them a listen back and in hindsight I quite like them, despite some of them needing a better mixdown if I still had the parts. There's still a variety of styles covered from synth heavy hip hop instrumentals to free jazz workouts and even a raga of sorts, with the unlikely sounding combination of me on tablas and Steve Kemp from Hard-Fi on drums (recorded just before he joined the Clash-lite pop combo)".

Tom was nice enough to send us a copy, so we can inform you that it is a top notch listen. Our current favourite track is 'Behind You (feat Sarah Wayne)', which is handily available to stream (along with five other tracks from the album) right here: soundcloud.com/wrongtom

'Old Ghosts' will be available to download for free from myuzyk.net from 21 Dec. In the meantime, Wrongtom is working on a new project with Roots Manuva, scheduled for release next year.

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BMG RIGHTS OPENS DOORS IN US
What I shall continue to refer to as "that rather interesting new music venture from Bertelsmann", or BMG Rights Management to its mother, has formally launched its US operations by opening offices in New York, LA and Nashville.

Laurent Hubert, formerly a senior exec at BMG Music Publishing (Bertelsmann's old music publisher, sold to Universal in 2007), will be the newish company's COO for North America, while Deirdre O'Hara, previously of Sony/ATV, will be Chief Creative Officer for the region.

Confirming his company's formal arrival in the US, BMG Rights' Berlin-based großer käse Hartwig Masuch told reporters: "Since we started in 2008, BMG Rights Management has been offering transparent and client-oriented music rights management. Songwriters and artists in Europe have responded extremely well to our service-oriented approach and we are convinced this business model will be successful in the United States, too, as enormous interest expressed by industry professionals and initial signings have already confirmed".

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WARNER CHAPPELL MAKE BUSINESS AFFAIRS APPOINTMENTS
Warner Music's publishing business, Warner/Chappell, made three appointments into its London business affairs team yesterday. Mark Waring becomes Head Of Legal & Business Affairs, while both Rebecca Coleman and Anneliese Capps join as Legal & Business Affairs Managers. It's going to be a legal and business affairs party for these guys.

Waring will report to two people, Warner/Chappell's UK MD Richard Manners and the major's internationally focused SVP for Legal & Business Affairs, Jane Dyball. She told CMU: "We're delighted to be bringing such a talented trio on board and, in doing so, being able to offer a significantly enhanced level of support to our writers, partners and to our colleagues in the UK and around the world".

Waring himself added: "I'm very excited to be joining Warner/Chappell Music UK, who are committed to being a first-choice destination for song-writing talent at the same time as leading transformation in the music publishing business. I look forward to working with Rebecca and Anneliese to deliver a strong level of support to Jane, Richard and their teams".

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UNSIGNED SNOCAP USERS LOSE OUT FROM MYSPACE'S IMEEM ACQUISTION
In a slight irony, bands selling music via MySpace's original digital music partner are likely to lose out on monies owed for past sales, because of MySpace's acquisition of said company.

Those with long memories will remember that, long before MySpace set up the MySpace Music company and launched its expanded streaming music service, it had a short lived partnership with a company called Snocap.

Snocap was the company set up by the original Napster founder Shawn Fanning. Originally, it planned to provide the technology that would be required by the licensed P2P file-sharing networks that about seventeen people assumed would come into being after the infamous MGM v Grokster ruling in the US courts forced a number of illegal P2P companies out of business.

But said licensed P2P networks never materialised, mainly because the major labels wouldn't even consider licensing such things. Snocap, therefore, began to dabble in other areas of digital music, its most notable new product being an embeddable download store, which unsigned bands and indie labels could use to provide MP3 sell-through via social network profile pages.

That product received a boost in 2006 when MySpace sanctioned it as the official way for unsigned and independent artists to sell their music on MySpace. Take up wasn't phenomenal, but over time some 110,000 artists started using the Snocap widget.

Meanwhile Snocap started to work with Imeem, providing technology more in the domain of the company's original area of expertise, the 'fingerprinting' stuff that would have been used by licensed P2P networks. Despite its MySpace and Imeem partnerships, though, Snocap faced increasing financial difficulties and early last year was bought out by Imeem.

While all this was happening, MySpace moved away from championing the Snocap download widget and launched its own streaming music service - MySpace Music - forging sell-through partnerships with iTunes and Amazon. Then last week MySpace Music bought Imeem in a bargain basement deal. Which means MySpace now owns the Snocap widget it once championed, right?

Well, no. The reason the Imeem website went offline within hours of the MySpace deal last week is that the News Corp-owned social network didn't buy its rival outright, rather it bought parts of Imeem - it's name, user database and some technology. It didn't take on Imeem's liabilities, which is why the existing Imeem website had to be turned off so quickly - even though Imeem's users profiles and playlists hadn't been transferred over to MySpace Music - so no new licensing liabilities were created.

Among the liabilities not picked up by MySpace, and therefore now likely to remain unpaid, are the accounts of the 110,000 bands who were using the Snocap widget.

According to Wired, Snocap were meant to pay out on a monthly basis whenever sales totalled over $20, but in the last year they hadn't been so good at doing so without prompting. In reality, the sums of money owed to most bands would be nominal; the Wired article mentions one band who managed to get paid shortly before Imeem collapsed who were paid $400. However, for the unsigned bands involved, that sort of money would probably be a much needed bit of revenue.

Of course, there was no obligation on MySpace to takeover Imeem's liabilities, and bosses there would have been fools to do so (God knows what the bigger music rights owners were owed). And it's not MySpace's fault that both Snocap and Imeem ultimately failed, though had they not lost interest in the Snocap widget quite so soon after the big fanfare they gave the launch of their partnership with the company perhaps the sell-through platform would have gained more momentum.

But either way, while MySpace aren't really to blame, the social networking firm has again got itself in a position where it is seen to screw over the very bands that helped it get established in the digital music space in the first place. Which is fun.

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WARNER PARTNER WITH CROWDSURGE TO ADD TICKETS TO SELL-THROUGH
Warner Music have announced that there hitherto unheard of 'direct-to-consumer sales platform' (just watch them now find a story in the CMU archives where we reported on it) will be adding gig ticket sales to the mix. This means that Warner artists using the major's proprietary sell-through system will now be able to sell tickets alongside merchandise and tunes. What will they think of next, those crazy Warner Music digital boffins.

The new ticket service is powered by CrowdSurge, and has already been used by Pendulum. Biffy Clyro also used it for their previously reported combined tickets and downloads promotion, where fans buying both a ticket and download bundle of forthcoming single 'Many Of Horror' were entered in to some sort of competition.

Commenting on the new ticketing service, Warner Music's SVP of Artist Partnerships said this Paul Craig: "Our complete direct-to-consumer solution empowers artists to continually communicate with their audience, across a wide range of activities, via one destination. Our platform's seamless integration with CrowdSurge's first-class technology will help create unique commercial and creative opportunities with products and experiences fans won't find anywhere else. We continue to develop our ability to partner with acts across all aspects of their careers and these sites are a perfect example of how we provide expertise and resource to deepen the connection between artist and fan".

CrowdSurge top man Martyn Noble added: "We are immensely pleased that Warner Music UK chose the CrowdSurge integrated service, positioning themselves at the cutting edge of technology utilisation and completing the full D2C service offering. The deal marks a definitive leap forward in bringing the artists closer to their fan base through one platform in a commercial environment that is both trusted and ethical".

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FORMER GCAP BOSS TO RETURN TO RADIO
The former boss of GCap Media, Ralph Bernard, who left the radio major a few months before Global Radio began their takeover of it, is planning a return to radio.

Bernard, who headed up the GWR radio company before helping engineer its merger with Capital Radio to create GCap, which he later led, has most recently been in charge of the Royal Albert Hall, where he has been CEO. But he's quitting that role, I think because its proven to be a job that involves work, rather than executive breakfasts, blue sky thinking sessions and all the other nonsense that chief executives get up to in big business.

Confirming his departure from the London venue, he told reporters: "At times like these people always look for the angle, the reason why such a surprising decision has been taken. The plain fact is that the role of chief executive is not what I expected it to be based on my experience in the commercial world. For many years the most senior role here was that of general manager and in my view that is in many ways what the role still is. And that's not me".

The former GCap boss also confirmed his intent to return to radio next year, though not in network management but programme production, the area where he began his radio career. A project with Johnny Walker is seemingly on the cards to get things rolling.

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UTV MAN CALLS FOR PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE OF DIGITAL SWITCHOVER PLANS
The MD of UTV Radio, Scott Taunton, is backing an Early Day Motion in the House Of Commons calling for parliamentary debate on the proposals to switch off traditional FM radio broadcasts, and a discussion on what targets should be met before any switchover to just digital radio begins.

As previously reported, the government's preferred date for turning all British radio listeners over to digital radio - so mainly digital audio broadcasting - is currently 2015. Some in the radio sector support that, for various different reasons, some because they feel a firm and relatively nearby deadline will persuade more consumers to invest in DAB radio devices.

But other radio people - Taunton most vocally - think that the 2015 deadline is totally unrealistic, and predict the FM network will have to remain in operation for much longer than five more years. Conspiracy theorists reckon that the biggest radio firm, Global, is supporting the 2015 turn off not because they think it can be met, but because while the digital turnover is on the horizon the government is unlikely to re-advertise existing FM licences, and will instead let existing licensees hang on to their valuable FM franchises even when they, technically speaking, expire. This would suit Global whose most valuable FM licence - the national licence used by Classic FM - is, technically speaking, up for renewal in 2011.

Supporting the Early Day Motion, and asking for reasoned debate about the proposed 2015 switchover proposals, which appear in the much previously reported Digital Economy Bill, Taunton writes in a piece for Radio Today: "We are urging anyone who cares about local radio to ask their local MPs to do two things. Firstly, and most importantly, to add their signatures to [the] Early Day Motion. And secondly, to echo the efforts of Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Razzall in ensuring that there is a proper debate on the radio switchover clauses when the Bill reaches the House of Commons".

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US RADIO GIANT MAY APPLY FOR CHAPTER 11 PROTECTION
America's third largest radio group may apply for "pre-arranged" Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection before the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citadel Broadcasting own over 200 radio stations across the US, and are third behind Clear Channel and Cumulus Media in the American radio sector.

The WSJ says that Citadel's financial advisors are trying to save the firm from collapse by engineering a rescue plan that would see the company's creditors write off about $2 billion in debt in return for collective ownership of the radio network. The deal would all but cut the firm's existing shareholders out of the party, giving the creditors 99.5% of the company.

Some of Citadel's biggest creditors, including JP Morgan Chase & Co and General Electric's investment business have OK-ed the arrangement, while other creditors are still considering the proposal. The radio firm has been severely hit by the advertising recession in recent years, and arguably over-expanded prior to the economic downturn, leaving it with overly large debts when the credit crunch crunched.

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ROBBIE FOR X-FACTOR PANEL?
Simon Cowell wants Robbie Williams to join the judging panel on 'X-Factor'. Well, I say that. This was possibly a throw away remark, but the 'X' man has confirmed he is considering adding a fifth judge to the panel for next year's series of the ITV talent show, and when asked about rumours former Spice Girl Mel B was being considered, he said: "A lot of things are going to change for next year - if we bring the show back. Possibly five on a panel. I don't think it will be Mel B. I tell you who'd make a good judge - Robbie Williams. He's fun, he's got good instincts and he doesn't take himself too seriously".

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - www.totalrock.com. New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Bon Jovi - The Circle (Universal/Mercury)
2. Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits (Sony)
3. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (Sony)
4. Muse - The Resistance (Warner Bros)
5. Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Universal)
6. Creed - Full Circle (EMI/Virgin)
7. AC/DC - Backtracks (Sony)
8. Weezer - Raditude (Warner Bros)
9. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
10. Slayer - World Painted Blood (Sony)
11. Queen - Absolute Greatest (EMI)
12. Paramore - Brand New Eyes (Warner/Atlantic)
13. Fleetwood Mac - The Very Best Of (Warner Bros)
14. Nirvana - Live At Reading (Universal/Geffen)
15. Rammstein - Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da (Universal)
16. Kiss - Sonic Boom (Warner/Roadrunner)
17. Daughtry - Leave This Town (Sony)
18. Motley Crue - Greatest Hits (Seven Eleven Music)*
19. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)
20. Flyleaf - Memento Mori (Universal)*

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ROSE ISSUES STATEMENT STATING NO STATEMENT
Axl Rose has issued a press statement to assure us all he didn't issue a press statement. So that's a relief.

The remarks Axl says he wasn't involved with related to a recent contretemps with the paparazzi at LAX Airport. After reports of a minor scuffle with the paps, a Rose spokesperson told reporters that the Guns N Roses man was "unhurt last evening when he was accosted by an unruly group of paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport. He was not injured during the unprovoked attack".

But, for reasons we're not really sure of, Axl wants it to be known he didn't approve any statement on the matter, and has now issued a statement that reads: "I did not release any statement or authorise either any statement or anyone to release a statement regarding anything at any airport anywhere".

So, that's that matter resolved. Well, until the statement denying the issuing of a statement denying the issuing of a statement.

The new statement from Rose concludes: "And to any publications running this; please feel free to tack on whatever negative agenda supporting nonsense you generally do. After all, it's only someone else's livelihood. You media police state, no fun, spoil sport, communist bastards".

Actually, if it's all the same with you Axl, I shan't.

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