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CMU Info
Top Stories
Insiders deny US approval of LiveMaster is imminent
An OK year for the British record industry despite album sales decline
Flea to launch budget instrument range
Remy Zero drummer dies
Charts, Stats & Polls
The tale of the unstoppable SuBo and other true US music stats
Reunions & Splits
N-Dubz will go solo together
Release News
Ellie Goulding album details
The Knife to release opera
Films & Shows News
Green Day musical to get Broadway run
Gigs & Tours News
Mono announce UK dates
The Music Business
Consumer Focus file submission to EC's digital rights consultation
Lib Dem lord's live music bill to get second reading
Zavvi owners enjoy record Christmas sales
The Digital Business
Napster changes
The Media Business
Radio 2 News: Moira Stuart in, Jonathan Ross out
And finally...
Perry and Brand engaged
Manson and Wood engaged
Jay-Z offers X-Factor assistance

Formed by Marko Nyberg in 2002, initially as a solo project, Finnish ambient pop band Husky Rescue has since grown into an acclaimed five-piece. The band release their third album, 'Ship Of Light', on 25 Jan via Catskills, with a free download of the first single, 'We Shall Burn Bright', available from their website now. They will also be in London for a one-off show at The Wilmington Arms on 20 Jan, before returning for a wider UK tour in March. Ahead of all that, we caught up with Marko to find out more.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
It all started very early on when my mother sang lullabies and religious hymns to me, when she was carrying me in her womb. She was a young mother and I was her first son. She sang to me very often and with much love. When I was three she took me to learn the cello. Music has always been there for me. Starting to make my own music in my teens was just a continuation of that.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
One spring morning I woke up to the news of a UFO sighting having been made right outside Helsinki, very near where I lived. Inspired by that, I decided I needed to get away, for some peace and isolation to let the music surface. I went to the furthest north I could get in Europe, to the beautiful northern Norway and drove around in the landscape of different shades of browns and greys. Nature was getting ready to wake up to the spring. And I got ready for the 'Ship Of Light'.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Mainly I wait. When the time is right, the song starts to evolve. Analogue equipment, technology and computers are a medium in making a vision concrete. It feels like gathering photos in a blank album.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Billie Holiday's recordings from the 40s are perfect Sunday breakfast music. Andreas Nilssons music videos. Kozyndans paintings and illustrations. Creativity itself is inspiring to see. And relaxation. A friend of mine just gave me a compilation cassette for relaxation, which was inspiring.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Firstly, I'd thank them. In this chaos of endless choice and quick iPod shuffling, it's amazing if somebody has stopped to listen to Husky Rescue. So, I'd say thank you. And I hope some sort of connection and friendship develops between us.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
After 'Ship Of Light' has landed on 25 Jan, we get on the road. I am hoping to share the music with people at many gigs. I hope this ship will find its way to people who might enjoy it. That's all really. And my ambitions for future? Hmm. Tomorrow will take care of itself and it will be beautiful.

MORE>> www.husky-rescue.com

Yes, we are well aware that Yeasayer already spent their allotted time in the buzz farm two and a half years ago, so don't really count as a new band tip. However, we've spent the last few months listening to their second album, 'Odd Blood', which is due out in February, and if it doesn't feature in our 'best of 2010' round-up come December, then this year will have been very good indeed.

The band's approach of taking a broad range of music from around the world and fixing them together with a western pop glue remains intact, though they have nonetheless rejigged their sound somewhat. Taking a cue from 80s rock production (rather than hip hop production, as they did on their debut 'All Hour Cymbals'), they've come up with something more accessible and a whole lot more funky. Play with a weird interactive video and download the first single from the album, 'Ambling Alp', which is out on vinyl this week, at the link below.


We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic designer/developer to join our in-house web development team to design, code and build artist, label and promotional web sites. Required skills: Strong semantic HTML, strong CSS and great design skills. We are looking for a focused and ambitious web developer - someone forward thinking and up to date with current web technology. We are also looking for someone interested and aware of the music industry and how it is developing and changing online, so that they can feed in interesting online ideas and strategies for our artists.

We're an exciting company representing over a hundred incredible bands on four legendary labels - 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade and XL Recordings. Send an introductory letter, CV and examples of work to davidemery@beggars.com. Deadline for applications is 10am Monday 11th January 2010.

Regional Press Officer needed to hit the ground running in a busy office. We are a small company working a great range of acts and genres and are looking for someone who loves their pop through to their rock. You must be outgoing, love music, going to gigs, meeting new people and have experience within the uk regional press area. You must be web and computer (mac) savvy with a good knowledge of microsoft office. Please send a covering letter and your cv along with references to info@chuffmedia.com and please note we can only respond to those applicants that we wish to interview. Position to start asap.
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UnLimited Creative is the creative services agency owned by CMU publishers UnLimited Media. We work with music and media companies, consumer brands, and other marketing and PR agencies, providing these services:

Marketing & PR: We devise and run marketing and PR campaigns, specialising in the youth and student markets, music and cultural products and marketing partnerships.

Content: We provide entertainment content to brands and media. We develop content strands. We produce original content. We manage content delivery.

Design & Print: We provide design, print and contract publishing services. We create brand identities. We design and produce websites. We produce & print marketing materials and corporate media.

Media & PR Training: We provide PR, media and music business training. We offer a menu of seminars. We develop bespoke courses. We develop out-reach training as part of CSR programmes.

To read about past projects click here. To discuss how we can help your company or project, email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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Graham Norton takes pay cut in new BBC deal
TV not good for kids, says Davina
'Up In The Air' and 'District 9' lead film award nods
Outdoor Advertising Association pull their own ads
Sky Plus ad deemed misleading
Queen haters call for Binns to be reinstated at BRMB
European Festival Awards, second stage of voting starts today
Survey says Edinburgh Fringe chair should stay for limited time only
New Gurinder Chadha film to premiere at Sundance

Insiders at the US Department Of Justice have denied reports that appeared on investment website The Deal earlier this week that suggested American anti-trust regulators were ready to approve the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger, and could do so within the month.

As much previously reported, various competition regulators around the world are considering the proposals that the venue-owner-come-tour-promoter merge with the ticketing-and-artist-management-giant. Various competitors and consumer groups have raised concerns about the merger proposals, though in the UK an initially hesitant Competition Commission last month gave the deal the all clear.

The US regulator's investigation is the most important though, their approval, or not, being what will make or break this deal. As those reports predicting imminent approval appeared yesterday, shares in both live music firms rose. However, both companies' share prices fell again later in the afternoon once denials of The Deal's story began to circulate.

Two anti-trust sources denied The Deal's claims to Reuters. One said: "From the best we can tell, no decision has been made, and we have the impression that efforts to settle have fallen through", while another said the US DoJ was, in fact, ready to go to court to stop the merger, revealing: "The DoJ has had a litigation team preparing the case for litigation for months".

British approval for the deal provided a boost for Live Nation and Ticketmaster chiefs last month, though a lack of approval in the UK was more likely to influence American regulators than approval. The deal proposals have been much more publicly discussed in the US where opposition to the merger, and generally towards Ticketmaster, is much higher.

As also previously reported, some are positioning the merger as the first test of the Obama administration's willingness to stand up to big business. With that in mind, Bert Foer of the American Antitrust Institute told Reuters this week: "To create a single platform that goes from the talent all the way down to the fan is to create a system that has no rival. It's a really serious test case for whether the Justice Department is willing to go to litigation. This is such an educational moment".

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Album sales continued to decline, single sales continued to boom and digital accounts for an increasingly large part of the market. I think we could probably have written the same summary of the UK record industry in 2009 this time last year.

The British albums market was down 3.5% in 2009 in terms of units sold, according to new data from the Official Charts Company and BPI published yesterday. The decline in overall album sales has slowed a little, despite the continued slump in CD sales, because the digital album is slowly taking off.

That said, the digital marketplace is still very much dominated by single track sales, despite various efforts - including price deals and digital extras - designed to persuade music fans that they want to buy an artist's complete digital album, space-fillers included, rather than just cherry picking the best tracks. Arguably the success of services like Spotify will hinder the industry's efforts to prop up the album format in the digital domain, given that consumers can now preview whole albums at their leisure, decide which songs they like, and then download them as single tracks from an a la carte digital store like 7Digital or iTunes.

According to the new BPI data, digital sales accounted for 12.5% of the albums market in 2009, while in the single tracks domain 98% are sold digitally rather than on CD. Overall single sales were up 32.7%, with a record breaking 152m singles sold across the year.

Given the state of the British economy last year, coming at the end of what had already been a difficult decade for the record industry, the BPI reckons that last year's overall performance was pretty good, though these stats deal with units sold rather than revenues generated. Given some of the units-sold-boost came from price cuts, it will be interesting to see how the industry faired in 2009 in terms of overall money generated, stats that should follow in due course.

The record industry trade body said that a number of successful artist launches in 2009, in particular the arrival of Lady Gaga, the tedium of JLS and the ongoing phenomenon that is Susan Boyle, coupled with big selling albums from the likes of Kings Of Leon, Robbie Williams, Black Eyed Peas, Paolo Nutini and Michael Buble, and the reinvention of Cheryl Cole as a solo star, all helped the sector counter its ongoing decline last year. Meanwhile efforts to get more CDs into non-traditional music retail outlets, from supermarkets to fashion chain Peacocks to gaming chain Game, helped overcome the disappearance of two major music sellers from the high street at the start of the year.

BPI boss man Geoff Taylor said this: "As the way in which consumers find and purchase music continues to evolve, it is vital that music companies can continue to invest in new artists and support new digital services. Meaningful action to tackle online piracy is more critical than ever before. Without it, investment in new services and new music will be stifled. Despite difficult trading conditions and the ever-present competition from illegal downloading, UK music sales remained relatively resilient during 2009. While sales of physical CDs continue to trend downwards, music fans are clearly responding to the explosive growth of digital retailers and outlets selling and streaming music in the UK - 2009's record singles result is clearly encouraging".

Meanwhile Kim Bayley of the Entertainment Retailers Association added: "2009 started on a low note after the collapse of Woolworths and Zavvi, but entertainment retailers across the board worked with their suppliers to end the year with a far better result than anyone had expected. We are particularly pleased at the progress made by digital and internet retailers. The key to maintaining momentum in 2010 will be to maintain a flow of innovative and compelling product to the consumer".

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Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has announced that he is launching his own range of quality affordable bass guitars, after spying a gap in the market. The musician noticed that students at his not-for-profit Silverlake Conservatory music school in California were struggling with the cheap instruments many often used and decided to do something about it.

He told Kerrang!: "I found that a lot of the kids I was teaching were coming in with inexpensive basses, which were pieces of shit. The necks were warped and were falling apart. They were like toys. I wanted to make something that kids could afford but were quality, play well and last a long time".

He continued: "It's hard to get it perfect the first time, but I'm really happy with what we've made. When I was a kid, skateboarders would form their own skateboard companies. It was fucking cool to have a DIY company. I had been adding my name to established bass models for many years, but I thought: 'Fuck it, I'll make my own bass! I'll make it bitching and it'll be cool!' I just want the kids to rock!"

I'm not entirely sure where these guitars are available. Possibly only at the Silverlake Conservatory's own shop. If you fancy popping over there to see if I'm right, all the details are here: www.silverlakeconservatory.com

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Remy Zero drummer Gregory Slay died on New Year's Day following a long battle with cystic fibrosis, it has been announced.

The Alabama-based band formed in 1989 and first found fame when Radiohead invited them to tour the US in support of 'The Bends' on the strength of their demo tape. They released their eponymous debut album in 1996 and released two further LPs before splitting in 2003. They are now best known for their song 'Save Me', which was used as the theme tune for US TV series 'Smallville'.

A statement on the Remy Zero website reads: "Gregory Scott Slay, our beloved friend, partner, brother, master musician, beautiful artist, passed away this morning, 1 Jan. He was in a peaceful place and surrounded by his family. We are so grateful for the time we were allowed with each other and for the wonderful opportunity to create with him for so many years. Gregory inspired all who had the chance to see him perform, to hear the music that he made or just be around his beautiful spirit. He will be greatly missed".

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I know we all know that the Susan Boyle phenomenon is flippin huge, but just to reconfirm that fact, Boyle's debut album has gone four times platinum in the US just 45 days after its release. That's the fastest anyone has gone four times platinum since the Recording Industry Association Of America learned to count that high in 1984. It means some four million copies of 'I Dreamed A Dream' have been shipped out to retailers in the US.

According to Billboard, over 3.1 million copies have already been sold. Despite that achievement, and six weeks atop the Billboard chart, SuBo did not have the best selling US album of 2009. That title goes to Taylor Swift. Though there was only just over 100,000 units in it, and Swift's album was on sale for the entire year, not just the final six weeks. As previously reported, 'I Dreamed A Dream' was the best selling album of 2009 in the UK, and it has also been confirmed as the best selling long player of 2009 in Australia.

Now you've brought up US chart data, you might also want to know Michael Jackson was the biggest selling album artist of 2009 ahead of Taylor Swift, The Beatles, SuBo and Lady Gaga, in that order, though he had the unfair advantage of sudden death of course. Meanwhile, Eminem (who we possibly once incorrectly suggested might have the best selling album in the US last year, 'Relapse' was eighth biggest) was the biggest selling artist of the noughties in the US, shifting 32,241,000 units in total, two million more than next best selling outfit The Beatles.

Finally, those who prefer their US record industry stats to be more corporate in nature might want to know Universal Music maintained its position as the biggest music company in the US in 2009, despite Sony benefiting from the Boyle effect. That said, Universal's US market share was down 1.32% to 30.2%, while Sony's share was up 3.28% to 28.58%. As my granny always used to say, it pays to have a Cowell on your side.

Warner had a 20.55% share while EMI managed just 9.2%, which is par for the course, though will probably add to the gloom of investors in EMI owners Terra Firma. I mean, it's up slightly on 2008, but still down on 2007 and 2006, and it was last year that the entire Beatles catalogue was re-released remember.

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All good things must come to an end, even N-Dubz. Don't worry, that hasn't happened yet, but one day they will go their separate ways and make solo albums together. If you follow.

Tulisa told Sugar: "One day we'll all definitely go solo. I'd like to bring out an album and so would the lads. But we'd always be involved in other people's stuff. I'd want Fazer to produce it and Dappy to co-write with me".

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Winner of the BRITs Critics' Choice award and the BBC Sound Of 2010 poll (well, I'm pretty certain she will be when the overall winner is revealed tomorrow), Ellie Goulding has announced that her debut album, 'Lights', will be released on 1 Mar via Polydor, with a new single, 'Starry Eyed', out on 22 Feb. Produced by Starsmith, aka Fin Dow-Smith, it will also feature previous single 'Under The Sheets'.

Talking about the process of recording the album, Goulding told the NME: "I spent the majority of my time recording this album in my producer Starsmith's bedroom in Bromley. It is made up of songs that all started on a guitar over a period of about two years".

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The Knife will release a recording of their opera, 'Tomorrow, In A Year', in March. Commissioned by Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma and based on Charles Darwin's 'On The Origin Of The Species', the project was written in collaboration with Mt Sims and Planningtorock and received its live premier in Copenhagen on the 2 Sep last year.

Says the duo's Olof Dreijer: "At first it was very difficult as we really didn't know anything about opera. We'd never been to one. I didn't even know what the word libretto meant. But after some studying, and just getting used to opera's essence of pretentious and dramatic gestures, I found that there is a lot to learn and play with. In fact, our ignorance gave us a positive respectless approach to making opera. It took me about a year to become emotionally moved by an opera singer and now I really do. I really like the basic theatrical values of opera and the easy way it brings forward a narrative. We've approached this before in The Knife but never in such a clear way".

The album will be released via Brille Records on 1 Mar. You can stream and/or download a track from it here: soundcloud.com/theknife/colouring-of-pigeons.

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A musical based on Green Day's 'American Idiot' album, which premiered in California last September and ran for eight sold out weeks, is set to move to Broadway. Previews begin at the St James Theatre on 24 Mar, before the official opening night on 20 Apr. The cast for the show has not yet been confirmed.

More information is available from www.americanidiotonbroadway.com

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CMU's favourite Japanese post-rock band, who were responsible for one of the best albums of 2009, 'Hymn To The Immortal Wind', will be in the UK in March for a brief run of tour dates. I hope they're bringing the orchestra with them.

Tour dates:

15 Mar: London, The Scala
16 Mar: Birmingham, The Asylum
17 Mar: Glasgow, Oran Mor
18 Mar: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

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Brace yourself people, it's time for a story involving the European Union. Is it just me, or do you feel sleepy whenever the European Union is mentioned? And I'm generally quite pro-Europe.

Anyway, Consumer Focus, so the old National Consumer Council but with extra post, has submitted a paper to the European Commission in response to the EC's snappily-titled consultation document 'Creative Content On A European Digital Single Market: Challenges For The Future', which was published last year.

Among Consumer Focus' ramblings is support for the EC's proposal that a free-to-access online database be made available providing anyone who wants it with copyright ownership and licensing information for all content. If the submission of information into such a database by copyright owners was compulsory, of course, that's basically a form of copyright registration, something that doesn't currently exist in Europe.

Consumer Focus notes that there have been attempts to create some sort of licensing database before, but that issues of who owns, pays for and administers such a thing have never been successfully addressed.

For music, such a database essentially exists already within each national territory, in the form of data controlled by the collecting societies, so in the UK PRS for publishing-based copyrights and PPL for recording-based rights. However, the system proposed by the EC, and supported by Consumer Focus, would be multi-territory, and accessible by all. The consumer rights group notes that such a database might further encourage "multi-territory and multi-repertoire licensing, thus helping to overcome the current market fragmentation".

On the issue of file-sharing and the like, Consumer Focus stands by its viewpoint that the industry's failure to engage with enough legit digital music services is the key issue here, and proposes a move towards compulsory collective licensing of music for online services. As far as the consumer is concerned the former point doesn't recently stack up anymore (there are plenty of engaging industry-licensed digital music services), though the latter point is increasingly well argued by a number of stakeholders.

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A private member's bill put forward to parliament by Lib Dem culture man Lord Clement-Jones last year, that proposes various changes to live music licensing rules, including the exemption of 200-or-less capacity venues from the licensing process, will get a second reading on Friday, in the House Of Commons.

Jones made the proposals back in June, as the government rejected a number of findings made by parliament's culture select committee regarding the 2003 Licensing Act, legislation which some say has hindered smaller music venues, in turn meaning there are fewer platforms for grass roots music talent.

Jones is trying to rally cross-party support for his bill, though it seems unlikely it will get through in a crowed parliamentary agenda, even if the Lord could persuade enough Labour MPs to vote in his favour. As previously reported, the government has actually given its support to the proposal of exempting smaller venues from licensing obligations, though they have begun another consultation on the matter which will further delay any actual change in the rules.

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The online retail group who acquired the Zavvi brand, the Hut Group, has said it scored record sales in the run up to Christmas which is nice. For them. Hut say UK orders were up 188% in the six weeks before the big holiday.

They are extremely happy with this. Look, Commercial Director Richard Chapple actually says that: "We are extremely happy with these results, which reflect a year of continued growth and development for The Hut Group. We are particularly pleased with the results in the face of what has been a difficult economic climate across Europe".

Hut operate a number of etail brands including Zavvi.com. Although an online company they have said they are considering opening temporary high street Zavvi outlets in the run up to Christmas 2010, on the model employed by HMV who opened some extra stores during the festival shopping period.

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Trying to very much reposition itself into the Spotify-style streaming music domain, Napster, one of the original legit digital music services, has launched a site for web developers providing the tools and APIs and whatnot to enable web service providers and portable device makers to integrate the Napster subscription-based on-demand music stream into their own products.

Although the digital kit website is free and open to all, those who develop their own Napster widgets will actually have to enter into a partnership deal to make the Napster streaming service actually available to their customers. Samsung are among the electronics companies known to be utilising Napster's new open access approach.

These developments come as two senior execs at the Best Buy-owned digital music outfit step down. Both CEO Chris Gorog and President Brad Duea are out the door. Neither will be replaced at the streamlined digital music firm, with existing COO Christopher Allen becoming the new top guy with the title of General Manager.

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Despite the fact I've no intention of listening to the all new Chris Evans breakfast show, and despite all those tax ads us Spotify listeners had to tolerate this time last year, I'm somehow rather pleased by the news that Moira Stuart will return to the BBC next week as chief newsreader on the revamped Radio 2 breakfast show.

The Beeb came under quite a bit of criticism when, for reasons best known only to idiots, BBC bosses (that is to say, the idiots) axed Stuart from the Corporation's line up of news readers back in 2007. The move also provided further ammunition for those who argue that the Beeb's mainly male management are ageist when it comes to female on-screen talent, despite being happy to let the nearly-deads occupy prime time when it comes to the men.

There were rumours Evans was pushing for Stuart to be hired as the newsreader for his new breakfast show last year, and her appointment was confirmed yesterday. Evans said in a statement: "It doesn't get any better than Moira Stuart. The voice, the authority, the style, the class, plus a side of her the majority of people have never seen before. She's funny, she's cheeky and dare I say it - ever such a little bit naughty. Always brilliant on the telly, I predict she's going to be even better on the radio. In fact, I know she will be".

Some commentators reckon Stuart is a clever appointment to Evans' team, given her profile and popularity among the station's old 'Wake Up To Wogan' audience, some of whom still need convincing that Chris Evans is someone with whom they might want to share their breakfast. Commenting on her new job, Stuart herself added: "I'm delighted to be joining the Chris Evans Breakfast Show at Radio 2. We'll certainly have some fun".

Radio 2's new Evans-topped schedule kicks off on Monday. In related news, the BBC station will be looking for a new Saturday presenter come the summer following an announcement from Jonathan Ross this morning that he will not be renewing his always controversial deal with the Corporation. There has been much speculation of late as to how much of a pay cut Ross would take when his current multi-million deal came up for renewal in July, given all the political pressure on the Beeb over its overly-high talent pay packages, and in particular Ross's arrangement. Another big BBC name, Graham Norton, has agreed to take a cut of half a million a year on his new deal.

As it is, Ross has opted for a 100% pay cut. Or no pay cut. Depending how you look at it. Still, he insists his decision to leave the BBC and all his shows on its networks has nothing to do with money. He said in a statement this morning: "Over the last two weeks I have decided not to re-negotiate when my current [BBC] contract comes to an end. I would like to make it perfectly clear that no negotiations ever took place and that my decision is not financially motivated. I signed my current contract with the BBC having turned down more lucrative offers from other channels because it was where I wanted to be and – as I have said before – would happily have stayed there for any fee they cared to offer, but there were other considerations".

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Katy Perry and Russell Brand are engaged, the latter's publicist has confirmed. So that's nice. Apparently he popped the question on New Year's Eve in India before the couple moved on to Thailand to celebrate. Now, I know what you're thinking, but it's okay. According to The Sun they did get their relationship blessed by a "love guru" first.

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Shirley Manson and Ronnie Wood? Charles Manson and Victoria Wood? No, Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood are reportedly engaged. Last we heard they'd split up, but the singer reportedly proposed on stage in Paris on Monday night, which also happened to be his 41st birthday. The 22 year old actress accepted, though I don't think they got a love guru to bless the relationship, so I'm not sure how valid it really is.

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Jay-Z is apparently a big fan of 'X-Factor', but, like many of us, has noticed that the range of music on the show isn't very diverse. To that end, he is willing to offer some help.

Speaking to The Sun, Jay-Z said: "Simon, if you need any help for the next series, let me know man and I'm your judge. There is a lot of untapped hip hop talent in the UK and if they want my help finding some for the final twelve, I am sure I could assist".

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