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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Jacko estate attorneys want to be paid
In The Pop Courts
Lil Wayne sentencing date set
Awards & Contests
European Festival Awards, second stage of voting starts today
Abba and The Stooges into the Hall Of Fame
Pop types up for Golden Globes
Charts, Stats & Polls
RATM leading chart battle, but X-CD released today
Beatles and Eminem biggest US sellers in the 2000s
In The Studio
Liam Gallagher talks new Oasis album
Release News
Midlake discuss new album
Danger Mouse and Shins man collaboration news
Gigs N Tours News
Black Eyed Peas announce UK tour
Efterklang announce 2010 shows
Khaos Alberto Khristmas party tonight
Festival News
Big names confirm for Sonisphere
It's the next big Next Big Thing festival
The Music Business
MAMA Group profits up up up
Syco appoint US A&R man
Could AEG be hit by disappointing BEP ticket sales?
The Digital Business
Guvera set to launch next week
MySpace partner with Tunecore
App fun: Scott Mills and The Guardian
The Media Business
Spice Girl to judge on skating show
Chart Of The Day
This week's Sub.tv playlist
And finally...
Insert obvious sauce-based pun for Kelis story here
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WEDNESDAY 16TH DECEMBER


THOMAS FUNCTION
Alabama-based Thomas Function are a four-piece punk rock band consisting of Josh Macero, Phillip Dougherty, Zach Jeffries and Travis Thompson. Since the release of their debut album 'Celebration' in 2008, the band have steadily built a name for themselves in garage and punk circles. Delivering a mix of 70s punk and new wave, their sound has been compared to the likes of the Buzzcocks, Television, Nick Lowe and Modest Mouse, with their infectious melodies clearly influenced by a multiple of genres. Having recently released their second album, 'In The Valley Of Sickness', we caught up with frontman Josh Macero to ask the Same Six Questions.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Travis and myself have been piddling around in punk/garage/whatever-the-fuck-you-wanna-call-it bands for the last fifteen years. I got involved in the local "scene" when I was twelve, and have just kept on ever since. Most people give up on something after so long, but for us there really isn't another option.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
LSD, Crystal Thierry, and Zach's house.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
This is going to sound cliché, and borderline lame, but I honestly just smoke a lot of dope, and sit on whatever couch I'm sleeping on and just pick at the guitar until I find a melody, or chord structure I can sing along to. When I was younger I would make a huge ordeal out of writing these monster stanzas for lyrics, now I'm more melody motivated. I've learned the hard way that more words may seem cool, but it's not too practical live.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Right now, I'd have to say Roxy Music, The Archies, Clipse, The Goodnight Loving. But I've always loved The Feelies, The Equals, VU, The Mummies, Love, that sorta stuff.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Smoke a bowl.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To be honest, we were in such a hurry with the latest album that my only ambition was to get it done, which I believe may have hindered the quality a tad. The next record, on the other hand, is mostly written, and I have plenty of time to work it out, and mix it. For me, mixing is everything and I just really wish I had more time on the last record. I wasn't pressured by anyone beyond myself, but it still felt hurried, especially with all of the touring we did around it. But yeah, the next record already has a title, and that was the hardest part of 'In The Valley Of Sickness'. So, hopefully, Matt and Bruce [from Fat Possum Records] will give a scumbag another chance!

MORE>> www.myspace.com/thomasfunction

 
CMU ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
As we head towards the end of the year, we'll be revealing, in no particular order, our ten favourite albums of 2009. Today, Bat For Lashes' 'Two Suns'.

Bat For Lashes' second album was the first long player I remember getting really excited about in 2009. In fact, a quick look back through the CMU archives suggests that I started getting excited about it a week and a half into January. It was the news that it would feature Scott Walker and members of Yeasayer that really peaked my interest, although I was (and still am) a big fan of Natasha Khan's very good, if slightly patchy, debut, 'Fur And Gold'.
 
So, when a copy of the album found its way to my desk in March, I listened to it for the first time with the sort of expectation that can only end in disappointment. Except on this occasion it didn't. From the moment she hits that first high note on opening track 'Glass', I was sold. And, thankfully, the standard remains high throughout the eleven tracks, not just that one note.

Khan is clearly someone who takes songwriting very seriously, and recognises the place of the recording studio in that process. Each song has a story, which sees her adopting various characters, but with as much importance placed on the music as the lyrics. 'Daniel' is the most obvious example, a recognisable story of teenage love over a youthful-sounding, 80s-influenced backing. But something like 'Siren Song' perhaps illustrates better what I'm talking about, with almost monotonous piano and violin, using volume rather than melody to drive the emotion in the words.

Everything on the album sounds like it was tightly planned, with nothing left to chance, but without forgetting to leave room for warmth and passion. It's this perfectionist attitude which makes 'Two Suns', well, perfect.

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.

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
I love it when a remix leads you to fall in love with an original track. Evil Nine's mix of Temper Trap's 'Sweet Disposition' made me to realise that this was the song of 2009. With these guys, Empire Of The Sun and others, this was an amazing year for Oz bands.
Eddy Temple-Morris, Presenter, Xfm

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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Advertise your jobs here: £100 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 

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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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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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Advertise your stuff here: £120 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

JACKO ESTATE ATTORNEYS WANT TO BE PAID
Legal types involved in the estate of the late Michael Jackson are asking for January to be named pay day. The two men administering the estate, attorney John Branca and music exec John McClain, have asked the LA courts for a fee of 5% of any monies that the estate has generated since the king of pop's demise back in June. It's thought the estate may have brought in $100 million, thanks in a big part to the deal behind the movie 'This Is It', which would mean $5 million going to the two men.

The money would be paid to Branca's legal firm. Branca says he himself wouldn't take a direct fee, but the money would be used to pay for the staff resource he has been utilising while managing the estate. Though some would presumably cover his salary for the latter half of the year. It's not clear if Branca's company would then pay McClain a straight fee for his time.

Other lawyers who have been working on matters relating to Jacko's affairs, unpaid so far, are also pushing for the estate to write them some cheques. There is certainly plenty of cash slushing around the Jackson estate's bank account, thanks in part to the deals Branca and McLain have negotiated, but then there is also a lot of debt to manage, a number of outstanding lawsuits, many pre-dating Jackson's death, and the commitments the estate has made to supporting the late singer's children and their guardian, his mother.

Judge Mitchell Beckloff has set a court hearing for 4 Jan to discuss the cash claims.

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LIL WAYNE SENTENCING DATE SET
Lil Wayne was in court again yesterday to find out that he will finally be sentenced for those much previously reported gun charges on 9 Feb next year.

Here's a quick recap of the case: Wayne was arrested in 2007, following a search of his tour bus when a police officer discovered a .40 calibre handgun. He always denied owning the gun, until October this year, when he changed his plea following news that the prosecution believed it had DNA evidence that could link the rapper to the gun and that said evidence would be admissible in court during the upcoming trial, which had been due to begin next month.

He is expected to receive a one year prison sentence, of which he is likely to serve eight months. Had the case gone to trial, Wayne faced three and a half years prison time.

In other Lil Wayne news, the rapper's latest album was due to be released this week, but, as previously reported, has now been pushed back to 1 Feb. However, the last minute change, it seems, came too late to stop copies being sent to people who had pre-ordered it in CD format via Amazon.com. Some shoppers on the Amazon discussion boards confirmed earlier this week that the status of their order had been changed to 'shipped'. And while some copies do seem to have been halted in transit, a small number apparently did make their way to customers.

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EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AWARDS, SECOND STAGE OF VOTING STARTS TODAY
The first round of voting has closed on the first ever European Festival Awards. Short(ish) lists from all that voting will be announced later today, and then you'll be able to vote again on the Virtual Festivals website. Go here for details: eu.virtualfestivals.com/festivalawards.

The awards will be presented during Eurosonic Noorderslag in Groningen next month. Woo.

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ABBA AND THE STOOGES INTO THE HALL OF FAME
ABBA and The Stooges. Now there's a quality show in the making. Both bands will be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame next year, it was confirmed yesterday. They will be joined in there by Genesis, Jimmy Cliff and The Hollies. So, quite a party.

Back stage people to be inducted this time include David 'Geffen Records' Geffen, while songwriters to be admitted include Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell.

The inductions will take place on 15 Mar in New York.

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POP TYPES UP FOR GOLDEN GLOBES
Paul McCartney, U2 and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' frontwoman Karen O all feature in the nominations for next year's Golden Globe film and television awards, which were announced yesterday.

McCartney's 'I Want To Come Home', which featured in Robert De Niro-fronted film 'Everybody's Fine', and U2's 'Winter', which featured in 'Brothers', starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman, are both up for Best Original Song, as is the theme song from 'Avatar' - 'I See You' - which is performed by Leona Lewis. Karen O's 'Where The Wild Things Are' soundtrack, which was released under the moniker Karen O & The Kids but penned with film composer Carter Burwell, is up for Best Original Score.

The awards ceremony will take place in Hollywood on 17 Jan, hosted by Ricky Gervais (himself a Golden Globe winner, of course). The full nominations for the two music categories look like this:

Best Original Song:
Maury Yestson - Cinema Italiano (from Nine)
Paul McCartney - I Want To Come Home (from Everybody's Fine)
James Horner, Simon Franglen & Kuk Harrell - I See You (from Avatar)
Ryan Bingham & T Bone Burnett - The Weary Kind (from Crazy Heart)
U2 - Winter (from Brothers)

Best Original Score:
Michael Giacchino - Up
Marvin Hamlisch - The Informant
James Horner - Avatar
Abel Korzeniowski - A Single Man
Karen O & Carter Burwell - Where The Wild Things Are

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RATM LEADING CHART BATTLE, BUT X-CD RELEASED TODAY
So, Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing In The Name' are leading the way in most of the download charts, though the anti-X brigade shouldn't get too excited, because a sizable portion of Joe McElderry's fans buy their music from Tesco rather than iTunes, and the CD version of the single only goes on sale today (I might have previously suggested it would hit stores on Monday, but that, of course would be logistically impossible unless the whole 'X-Factor' viewer vote was totally rigged).

With that in mind, that Simon Cowell chap remains confident that his man will top the Christmas chart come Sunday, telling the Daily Star yesterday: "We've got 500,000 singles going out on Wednesday and Joe WILL be number one". The 'X-Factor' man also took the opportunity to again diss the Facebook-led campaign to get RATM to the top of the festive chart rather than the winner of his telly franchise. He told the tab: "Why not let the kid have his moment? It's all very Scrooge. It's miserable to put down young talent. We should celebrate it. I am! I've had a glass of champagne or two".

Meanwhile in an interview with the NME (he's their Christmas cover star, in one of those typically NME 'let's do something that'll piss off 87% of our readers' stunts), Cowell countered the idea that the festive number one spot had been all about quality music and Christmassy songs before he started releasing 'X-Factor' singles in Christmas chart week. He told the mag: "I think we were getting to a point where it was all becoming like [Cliff Richard's] 'The Millennium Prayer' and I just didn't like that song.I think we all have this belief that the Christmas number one was just amazing songs... but actually when you look at them over recent years it was Bob The Builder, Mr Blobby. There's a tradition of quite horrible songs. I think I've done everyone a favour".

Not that I'm wishing to get all pop-psychology on poor Mr Cowell here, but why is the man who took the Teletubbies into the music charts complaining about Bob The Builder having a Christmas number one? Not because Bob stopped his boys Westlife from having their second festive chart topper in 2000 and in doing so broke their 'all singles to number one' record? It was also the first Westlife single that failed to get to number one at all. Is Bob beating Westlife to number one really what's behind Cowell's campaign to make us have to listen to a mediocre cover of a tedious Hannah Montana song this Christmas? Couldn't he just take some happy pills instead?

Of course, the more Cowell talks down the RATM campaign the more music fans are going to go download 'Killing In The Name', which brings me back to my conspiracy theory he's actually trying to boost sales of both Christmas number one contenders, both of which are released by his record label partners Sony Music. Talking of conspiracy theories, why was iTunes trying to persuade me to buy the whole 'RATM' album earlier - "featuring 'Killing In The Name" it assured me - are they trying to drive RATM sales to the album chart rather than the all important singles countdown?

Anyway, enough of that, let's have a word from RATM guitarist Tom Morello, who has come out in support of the campaign to get his band's song to the top of this week's UK single's chart. So that's nice. Actually, he didn't specifically say which song he's supporting, I'm only assuming he prefers his own song to McElderry's Miley Cyrus cover. He announced via Twitter yesterday: "Rage's 'Killing In The Name' and the X-Factor's goofy Christmas single are neck and neck for num one spot on UK chart. England! Now is your time". A pep talk which might just give McElderry the boost he needs North of the border.

Talking of the Cowell NME interview, which we were, briefly, once NME readers get over the shock of seeing Mr X on the cover of their magazine they'll find an article in which he responds to a bunch of negative questions provided by indie pop stars. You see NME, if you really wanted to do something avante garde that would shock the indie kids, you really should have published a puff piece.

Anyway, asked by Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil whether he liked rock music, Cowell responded: "I went to a very, very small Stranglers gig in this horrific venue and literally everyone was gobbing at each other ... That made me realise this was not for me".

To Elly 'La Roux' Jackson's awfully clever question 'how do you feel about ruining the music industry?' he gave us: "Well, look, that's her opinion. What La Roux has to understand is that the music industry isn't dominated by us, or influenced by us for that matter. It's influenced by people who buy records and I believe in democracy".

And finally, asked by Johnny Marr to explain how 'X-Factor' makes the British music scene better, he concluded: "The music industry was in a huge decline. What I would argue in my defence is that shows like 'Britain's Got Talent' and 'The X-Factor' have actually got people more interested in music again and are sending more people into record stores. We haven't seen this kind of uplift in years".

Why didn't anyone ask him what makes him think we all believe that the Christmas number one used to only feature amazing songs? Christmas number ones have always been shit, we'd just prefer someone else's shit to have a chance.

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BEATLES AND EMINEM BIGGEST US SELLERS IN THE 2000S
While, as previously reported, Nsync had the best selling artist album in the US this decade, when you allow compilations into the mix, The Beatles top the chart, having shifted over eleven million of their main greatest hits compo over the last ten years. So well done them. Will Nsync's greatest hits be the best selling album of the 2040s? No.

In terms of total album sales for the decade, stats from US chart counters Nielsen say Eminem has had the most success, selling two million more records overall than The Beatles, who come second place in that chart. But will Eminem's best of compilations and re-releases make him the second best selling artist of the 2040s? Well, they might.

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LIAM GALLAGHER TALKS NEW OASIS ALBUM
The new Noel-less version of Oasis has a name, people. Apparently we should refer to the band as Oasis 2.0 from now on. Okay, that's a working title, but I think it's a keeper. Though perhaps not, as Liam Gallagher has revealed he's hoping to release a new album next summer which will basically sound like the old Oasis. You know, just without all the bits Noel used to do.

Liam told the News Of The World: "I'd like to have a record out by July next year. We've already done about three songs and they're fucking sounding amazing. It aint a new direction. We're not making reggae music or rap music. It might have a bit more energy and be fresher. It's not going to be that different".

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MIDLAKE DISCUSS NEW ALBUM
Midlake will return after a three year break with their third album, 'The Courage Of Others', next year. Well, I say break, they've actually been hard at work on the follow-up to 2006's 'The Trials Of Van Occupanther' for some time, having scrapped an entire album's worth of songs and starting again to arrive at the finished product.

Guitarist Eric Pulido told 6music: "We made album three, in a way, and then threw it away and went onto album four. We had just gotten off tour, we didn't take any time off, we got right back into the studio. So, the new songs that we were trying to record, even though we were trying to move forward, we couldn't do that with them. We weren't there, as musicians or as just a band. ... It wasn't for lack of trying and work, but that first year - it was a lot of growing pains through that time as we were trying to make a transition".

He added that fans shouldn't expect the new album to be a barrel of laughs: "If someone thought '...Van Occupanther' was melancholy then they're gonna think this is the saddest record ever. It's not something that we intended to be sad or anything like that, but I have heard that people would say it has a melancholy feel and I could totally understand that.Just musically the vibe and the emotion take on a darker more melancholy feel - the tempo and the fact that there are a lot of minor key songs can easily do that".

'The Courage Of Others' is set for release on 1 Feb. The first single from it, a double A-side featuring two tracks - 'Acts Of Man' and 'Rulers Ruling Things' - is out this week.

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DANGER MOUSE AND SHINS MAN COLLABORATION NEWS
The debut album from the previously reported new project from Danger Mouse and Shins frontman James Mercer has received a release date. Broken Bells' eponymous LP will be released on 8 Mar, with the first track from it, 'The High Road', available as a free download from Monday at www.brokenbells.com.

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BLACK EYED PEAS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Black Eyed Peas have announced four UK tour dates for next May, which will apparently be a big deal. Such a big deal, that AEG Live's President of International Touring, Rob Hallet said in a statement: "As innovative as ever, The Black Eyed Peas will bring the show and aftershow together to provide 21st century entertainment for the most jaded of concert goer. Have an early night before you come to this one as The Black Eyed Peas will keep you dancing all night".

I'm not sure that having an aftershow party is that innovative, but the stage design and lighting is apparently quite ambitious. Anyway, tickets for both the shows themselves and the aftershow parties go on sale on Friday.

Dates:

5 May: London, O2 Arena [Main show]
5 May: London, indigO2 [Aftershow party]
6 May: London, O2 Arena [Main show]
6 May: London, indigO2 [Aftershow party]
8 May: Birmingham, LG Arena [Main show]
8 May: Birmingham, Academy [Aftershow party]
23 May: Manchester, MEN Arena [Main show]
23 May: Manchester, Pure [Aftershow party]

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EFTERKLANG ANNOUNCE 2010 SHOWS
Efterklang release their third album, 'Magic Chairs', on 22 Feb via 4AD. We're heard it and would recommend that you pre order it at some point within the next 23 seconds. While you wait for it, you can download and listen to the album's opening track here.

The band have also just announced some UK and Ireland tour dates. They look much like this:

20 Apr: Brighton, Concorde 2
21 Apr: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
22 Apr: Oxford, O2 Academy
23 Apr: Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire
24 Apr: Belfast, Black Box
25 Apr: Dublin, Whelan's
27 Apr: Bristol, Metropolis

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KHAOS ALBERTO KHRISTMAS PARTY TONIGHT
London indie boys Khaos Alberto will be holding a Christmas (or Khristmas, if you're going by the flyer) party tonight at the Buffalo Bar in Islington. They'll be joined by Deutschmarks, Loyal Trooper, Standing Stones and Hold Fast, with DJs taking things into the small hours.

Have a listen here: www.myspace.com/kha0salbert0

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BIG NAMES CONFIRM FOR SONISPHERE
Thrash metal's 'big four' - Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax - will perform together on the same bill for the first time in their history at two dates on next year's Sonisphere festival tour, in Poland on 16 Jun and the Czech Republic on 19 Jun. More dates for the big four are expected to be announced, though it's not clear if the two day finale at Knebworth will be among them. However, anyone who buys a Knebworth ticket before the end of the year also gets a free ticket for the Poland event, so you can cover your bases.

In a statement, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said: "Who would have thought that more than 25 years after its inception, thrash metal's big four would not only still be around and more popular than ever, but will now play together for the first time... what a mindfuck! Bring it on!"

Slayer's Kerry King added: "It's about fucking time this happened, and about time the fans finally get what they want. This is fucking awesome".

Meanwhile, it seems that AC/DC have accidentally confirmed themselves for Sonisphere rival Download on 11 Jun. The always eagle-eyed Thrash Hits spotted that the date appeared (albeit with "TBD" stamped beside it) on the band's official website yesterday amongst a list of dates which will go on sale to fanclub members later this week. The Download festival show and another in Bulgaria on 14 May have now been removed from the site.

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IT'S THE NEXT BIG NEXT BIG THING FESTIVAL
HMV and the MAMA Group, who together own the Mean Fiddler venue network, have announced a central London-based new music festival that will take place in February at a number of the Mean Fiddler (and other MAMA-owned) venues, including The Borderline, Heaven, Camden Barfly, ULU, Jazz Cafe and The Garage.

Called the Next Big Thing, the ten day fest will feature some 50 new artists from various different genres, and will be supported by Time Out and Xfm. The aim is partly to give punters the chance to see some of the bands being tipped in all those predictable 'bands to look out for' features and polls that will crop up in January (like the one we'll be running in the CMU Approved slot during that month).

Bands already signed up to play include The Soft Pack, Tinie Tempah, Jesca Hoop, Lissie, Cate Le Bon, Hamel, Leddra Chapman, Hadouken!, Unicorn Kid, The Slow Club, Paloma Faith, Ian King, Example and Joshua Radin. Each venue will host three such bands each evening, and admission to see all three will be a tenner, including booking fee.

HMV's Head Of Live Jason Legg told CMU: "Predicting which new artists break through has become a big deal for media and public alike in recent years, but whilst quite a bit of hype and excitement is generated in print, frustratingly for fans, they often have to wait to see these news stars in the flesh. We wanted to change all that by creating a highly accessible and affordable live music event to showcase the best new bands and artists, whatever their genre of music, and to introduce them to a wider audience".

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MAMA GROUP PROFITS UP UP UP
Talking of the MAMA Group, now I think about it, I should have asked for a muffin with my coffee at the start of the meeting I had at their London HQ yesterday. And a big box of chocolates. And a big apple pie. All served on gold plated crockery. Because the live music and artist management group announced its financial results for the financial year to 31 Jul yesterday, and revenues were up 14% while profits before tax were £6 million, up from £600,000 the previous year. While much of the music industry is all doom and gloom, things are all kind of rosy at MAMA's house. So where were my muffin and chocolates?

Commenting on the group's performance, co-CEOs Adam Driscoll and Dean James, speaking in unison as usual (in person, they harmonise wonderfully), said this: "Strategically, our combination of strong live venues married to both a growing artist management roster and significant positions in ticketing, sponsorship and digital environment is, we believe, the model for the industry of the future. Our results are demonstrating that to be the case. We see opportunities for further growth".

Commenting on the biggest development during the last financial year, their alliance with HMV with regards the Mean Fiddler part of their business, the CEOs continued: "The partnership we announced with HMV in January created one of the strongest live music companies to emerge in the UK in recent years. Our combination of music venues and HMV's distribution capabilities allows us to work closely with artists at all stages of their careers to drive ticket and merchandise sales".

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SYCO APPOINT US A&R MAN
Simon Cowell's music company Syco Music appointed a US-based SVP A&R earlier this week, part of the firm's plans to expand directly into the US market.

US releases from Syco's artists have, in the past, mainly been handled by other divisions of the Sony Music empire. That said, new SVP David Gray (not that David Gray) has been working on a consultancy basis on Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Westlife's US activity for a while now. Gray, himself a former artist and songwriter (but not that artist and songwriter), has previously worked for other Sony (well, BMG) affiliated music publishers, and also had a stint within Universal Music.

Confirming the appointment, Syco Entertainment MD Sonny Takhar told reporters on Monday: "I am thrilled David has agreed to join the team at Syco, he is an authentic A&R man who is not only respected and loved by artists but also by the writer and producer community. He has great creative instincts and a deep understanding of the global market place. David has already made his creative mark on the company through his involvement on the new Leona, Alexandra and Westlife records. David is a key hiring for Syco as we expand our capability in America".

David added: "It is such an incredible honour to be working for Syco here in the US. This past year has been a great experience working with Sonny Takhar and the Syco team. I believe that Syco's focused creative vision for the future in records and in the overall entertainment industry is second to none. I look forward to helping to build as successful a creative culture for Syco in the US as Sonny and Simon have done in the UK".

Syco, Simon Cowell's JV with Sony Music, has music, film and TV divisions. It's expected that Syco will become a division of the 'X-Factor' judge's new JV with Topshop man Philip Green next year.

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COULD AEG BE HIT BY DISAPPOINTING BEP TICKET SALES?
HitsDailyDouble report that ticket sales for the aforementioned Black Eyed Peas world tour are selling quite slowly, something it puts down to them becoming more of a singles band than an albums outfit, something with can have a negative impact on live appeal. As already reported in today's CMU Daily, tickets for the UK leg of this tour go on sale this Friday.

HDD are really noting this in order to have another dig at Randy Phillips, the US boss of the tour's promoters AEG Live. Phillips, of course, was the main man behind the doomed Michael Jackson O2 residency. There were rumours that his superiors at AEG weren't impressed with the way he handled the whole Jacko thing, and were pissed off with some of the things he said to the media after the king of pop's demise.

I've no idea if that's true, but HDD seem to be thinking (maybe hoping) that if the BEP tour, in which AEG have invested a reported $85 million, goes tits up, then Randy may be shown the door at AEG HQ.

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GUVERA SET TO LAUNCH NEXT WEEK
The previously reported new ad-funded download store based in Australia - Guvera - is set to launch in its home territory in time for Christmas. McDonald's, Mountain Dew, Domino's Pizza, Bacardi, Slush Puppie, Activision, Schweppes and Johnson & Johnson are reportedly on board as brand sponsors.

As previously reported, ads won't be attached to songs, rather each brand will have their own channel on the Guvera website. Apparently you'll fill out a quick form, and be directed to a relevant brand's page where you can download a certain number of tracks. When you reach your quota of, say, Maccy D-funded downloads, you can opt for a different brand's channel. Presumably the brands hope to buy some consumer love by giving you some free tunes.

The brands will cover the royalty costs associated with the free downloads. Both Universal and EMI will be providing tracks at launch.

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MYSPACE PARTNER WITH TUNECORE
MySpace Music has done a deal with TuneCore, providing unsigned bands with a way to earn from their music being played on the streaming music service. Perhaps they are feeling guilty about previously telling unsigned bands to sell their music through the Snocap download widget, only to then play a role in the closure of said widget before all artists had had their royalties paid (more on that here).

Anyway, TuneCore is a service that enables unsigned artists to get their music on a whole string of download stores around the world with relatively little hassle. Unlike most aggregators, TuneCore charge a set fee (from 99 cents) for using their service but then pass on 100% of revenue from any downloads sold. It's actually quite a good service, especially for artists with only a few songs to distribute.

TuneCore's tie up with MySpace Music is significant because most of the other platforms they service are a la carte download stores, whereas with MySpace TuneCore artists will, of course, be receiving a nominal royalty for each time their songs get streamed.

There were reports that TuneCore's deal with MySpace included some sort of exclusivity arrangement, but that doesn't seem to be true and the social networking flim flam has said that, in due course, it expects to set up arrangements with other services that enable unsigned bands to get royalties from their expanded music service. However, for the time being the only way for bands not represented by a major, Merlin or an aggregator like IODA or The Orchard to get royalties from MySpace Music is by hiring the services of TuneCore.

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APP FUN: SCOTT MILLS AND THE GUARDIAN
Radio 1's Scott Mills has his own iPhone app. It's called Scott Mills Flirt Doctor and the idea is that the BBC presenter provides flirting tips via your iPhone. Just shake the phone for more tips. I think he's the first BBC radio presenter to have his own App, which is, of course, the ultimate designer accessory for c'lebs this Christmas. Though if you're trying to chat someone up, I always say, the first thing you should avoid doing is jerking your arm about and repeating things a disembodied voice tells you to say. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, the Mills app costs 59p to download.

Mills says this: "I thought it was time to give some flirting advice on my very own App. I hope it helps you out in a tricky situation when you might need a little push to chat someone up over Christmas and New Year. Find the line that suits your situation and sense of humour... and good luck! I hope you get lucky one way or another".

As you may have seen, The Guardian also launched an iPhone app last week, providing Guardian-style news and comment direct to your mobile. Lovely. The app costs £2.39, making it the first paid-for news app for the phone. Ironically, of all the papers The Guardian seem the least keen on the idea of charging for access to their other online content, while Rupert Murdoch is most keen on finding a way to get money out of his papers' online readers. Yet the news-app from Murdoch's Sky News is free.

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SPICE GIRL TO JUDGE ON SKATING SHOW
Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton will be a judge on the next series of 'Dancing On Ice', which, believe it or not, will return to our screens in the New Year. Look, here's a quote from Emma: "I have been a huge fan since [the show] began. And to be working with Torvill and Dean! I can't wait to get started".

Although saying she could skate "a little", she said that as a judge on the show it will be performance value rather than skating prowess that she'll be assessing: "I have been performing for a long time now. I just know what I want to see in a performance. That's going to be a big part of it for me".

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THIS WEEK'S SUB.TV PLAYLIST
Hey look, people, it's the music videos that are playing this week on the Sub.tv network of video screens in students' unions all around the country. New additions marked with a *. More info on all things Sub.tv from DavidLloyd@sub.tv

A List
3OH!3 feat Katy Perry - Starstrukk
Basement Jaxx feat Lightspeed Champion - My Turn*
Beyoncé feat Lady Gaga - Video Phone
Biffy Clyro - Many Of Horror
Chuckie and LMFAO - Let The Bass Kick In Miami Girl
50 Cent feat. Ne - Yo - Baby By Me
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
Ke$ha - Tik Tok
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Lostprophets - Where We Belong*
Paramore - Brick By Boring Brick
Queen and The Muppets - Bohemian Rhapsody*
Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name*
Sidney Samson feat Wizard Sleeve - Riverside (Let's Go)
Timbaland feat Nelly Furtado & SoShy - Morning After Dark
30 Seconds To Mars - Kings and Queens
Wiley - Take That

B List
Chipmunk - Look For Me
Delphic - Doubt
Empire Of The Sun - Without You
Hadouken! - Turn The Lights Out
Justin Bieber - One Time*
Kaskade vs Deadmaus - Move For Me
Mini Viva - I Wish
Mumford and Sons - Winter Winds
Paloma Faith - Do You Want The Truth
Passion Pit - Little Secrets
Shakira - Did It Again
Simian Mobile Disco feat Beth Ditto - Cruel Intentions
The Temper Trap - Fader
Weezer - I Want You To

Tip List
Bandito - Rockin' At The Disco
Esmée Denters - Admit It
Fyfe Dangerfield - She Needs Me*
Fugative - Supafly*
Ian Carey - Shot Caller
Kid Sister - Right Hand Hi
Riton & Primary 1 - Radiates

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INSERT OBVIOUS SAUCE-BASED PUN FOR KELIS STORY HERE
Kelis wants to launch her own range of sauces. The singer recently qualified as a saucier after taking a course at London culinary school Le Cordon Bleu.

She told Idolator: "I want to have my own sauce line. I became a saucier in school. I love the lifestyle of a great meal. I think food, fashion and music all go together when it's done right. I also want to get my sommelier certification, which I'm going to do eventually. I love the whole thing. I want to go back to school, too".

So... many... terrible... puns... must... resist...

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