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CMU Info
Top Stories
DEB increasingly likely to be passed during wash-up
CMU publisher to interview HMV chief at The Great Escape
MU, FAC and MMF ally behind Music Supported Here initiative
Noel Gallagher goes solo, has his day in court, possibly a father again
In The Pop Courts
Axl sued by management
Green Day sued over fangs
Jackson Senior prepping wrongful death suit
Artist Deals
Korn sign to Roadrunner
Release News
Cappo releases new video
Gigs & Tours News
Nneka announces London show
Liars announce UK shows
Festival News
Liverpool plan Lennon fest
Festival line-up update
Album review: We The Kings - Smile Kid (Virgin)
The Music Business
Logan quits as RCA UK MD
The Digital Business
Ienner launches content recommendation service
The Media Business
Lebedev buys The Independent
The Times will charge for its website from June
And finally...
Beyonce and Jay-Z definitely expecting first child

So, tomorrow is the Save 6music rally outside Broadcasting House in London at midday. The weather forecast isn't great unfortunately, but I'm trying to convince myself I'm not just one of those slightly pathetic fair weather protestors, and that I'll be there rain or shine. If you're going, drop me an email, perhaps we could share an umbrella. By the way, if you're a 6 fan you are going to be so excited about this week's Powers Of Ten playlist in the CMU Weekly you'll fall off your chair. I'm going to tell you who has compiled it shortly, so tie yourself down. But first, here are the five biggest music business stories of the week...

01: EMI consider mortgaging their entire catalogue. According to reports last weekend, senior execs at the faltering record company were offering third parties the option to licence the whole EMI recordings catalogue for the North American market in return for £100 million a year for five years. But some reckon their bankers Citigroup would have to OK such a deal, and won't, so it's probably not a way for EMI to raise the £120 million they have to pay their bank in May. Which possibly means the major will be up from sale by summer. Universal Music said this week they weren't interested in buying it, but BMG owners Bertelsmann said they might be if it does go on the market. In related news, a US judge in Terra Firma's lawsuit against Citigroup, which relates to their EMI purchase, refused the bank's request to have the case moved from New York to London. CMU coverage | Wall Street Journal article

02: Copyright debates continued, as it looked increasingly likely that the Digital Economy Bill and its controversial copyright clauses would be passed by the House Of Commons with minimum debate, in order to make the Bill law before the General Election. The Open Rights Group staged a rally outside Parliament calling for a full Commons debate. Meanwhile, The UK Pirate Party published their first ever manifesto, which calls for radical reform of copyright law including cutting all copyright terms to a mere ten years. Elsewhere this week, the government's IP Minister David Lammy launched a review of the 'moral rights' component of copyright law. CMU coverage | David Lammy speech

03: The Men From The Press came and went. It was billed as a new, more cost effective way of doing music PR. Grass roots bands could pay to get feedback from freelance journalists, who would in turn receive a fee for their critique. But because the per-journalist fees were based on how esteemed the publications the hack wrote for were, many said it appeared the service was offering coverage for cash. There was widespread derision from the journalism and PR communities and on Wednesday the service went offline, with its founder saying: "Certain publications and some traditional PR companies (who I will not name) have made it impossible for us to carry on". CMU coverage | Seaninsound Blog

04: PRS restructured. The songwriter and music publishers' collecting society revamped to "ensure that PRS For Music is fit for the future music world and able to be a more agile organisation". It followed a review of operations instigated by new CEO Robert Ashcroft. The society will now have two main divisions, Licensing will bring in the money, Operations will distribute it to members. Back office departments doing legal, HR, marketing, planning and finance will remain. Senior execs Jo Prowse and Andrew Shaw are out, but it's not clear how many other staffers will be affected by the revamp. CMU coverage | Billboard coverage

05: Interesting if rather confusing anti-piracy campaign launched. Called Music Matters, it claims to have been created by a "collective of people" from across the music community, though seems to be driven by a unit of Universal Music, with a few artists and managers tagging along. At its core is a logo that will be used to distinguish licensed digital music services from illegal set ups, which is a good idea, even if the logo being used is a bit rubbish. It launched with a series of lovely videos telling stories about eight artists, which we think are meant to carry an anti-piracy message, but don't. The whole campaign manages to avoid using the "all file-sharers are evil" message, which is a good thing, though they haven't put any other coherent message in its place. CMU coverage | Music Matters website

And there you have it. For a handy round up of all this week's artist stories check out this afternoon's CMU Weekly, online late afternoon on theCMUwebsite.com (or sign up to get it by email here), where you will also find a superb Spotify playlist complied especially for your enjoyment by Mr Adam Buxton. Brilliant.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU

PS: It's National Bun Eating Day next Friday, so there'll be no CMU Daily. But I'll still do you a Music Business Week In Five and stick it on the News-Blog.

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Hi-Tek Soul at Ministry Of Sound
The original London superclub hosts another Hi-Tek Soul night, the line-ups of which are proving to be consistently top notch. In the Box tomorrow night, Detroit legend Derrick May, the curator of the night, brings in our favourite Yoruban priest and house guru, Osunlade, who I once saw down at Canvas and he truly rocked it. Also in session in the Box room will be Theo Parrish, who will be taking it ocean deep. In the bar will be tech-house stalwart Jim Masters and the As One / Off World Ensemble honcho Kirk Degiorgio, along with a veteran sonic pioneer from Italy, Alexander Robotnick.

Saturday 27 Mar, Ministry Of Sound, 103 Gaunt St, London, SE1, 11pm-7am, £6-£15, more info from www.ministryofsound.com, press info from nwilson@ministryofsound.com

Academy Music Group is looking to recruit a Marketing Partnership Manager to manage the delivery of the company's key marketing partnership with O2 and our other partners. The role is based at AMG's Head Office at the O2 Academy Brixton.

Applications to: Rita Garavan, Human Resources Manager, O2 Academy Brixton. Email: rita@academy-music-group.co.uk Closing date: Friday 2nd April 2010.

For a full job description, please visit www.academy-music-group.co.uk/jobs/index.aspx
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'The Thick Of It' leads winners at Broadcasting Press Guild Awards
London memorial planned for Edward Woodward
'The Mountaintop' to return to West End
The Times will charge for its websites from June
Lebedev buys The Independent
Your Media goes under
New company offers festival babysitting
Iain Banks to preview new book at Ullapool Festival
Music festival line-up update - 25 Mar 2010

It seems certain that the controversial three-strikes-proposing Digital Economy Bill will be slipped through the House Of Commons in the so called wash-up period ahead of this year's General Election.

It was announced yesterday that the Bill will get its second hearing in the Commons on 6 Apr, which is the day Gordon Brown is expected to request the dissolution of parliament ahead of the election campaign. In theory, before becoming law, the legislation should then go through a scrutinising committee stage, be given a third reading in the Commons, and then go back to the Lords for any amendments made by MPs to be considered.

However, because the Lords have already passed the legislation as it currently stands, if both Labour and Conservative chiefs back the Bill in the Commons it could become law without any of that happening, on the basis that even if there was a committee stage and a Commons debate, if both Labour and Tory whips are telling their MPs to vote in favour of the legislation, even if a sizable number of MPs from both parties were to rebel on the issue, the proposals would still become law.

Basically, if the chiefs of the two main parties agree on something, parliamentary dissent can be as loud as it likes, it won't stop things becoming law, such is the whim of our two-party system and the total supremacy of parliament on all things law and constitution. And as previously mused, given the Tories back much of the DEB, and certainly its copyright clauses, their support is almost certainly assured, not least because they'd like the unpopular elements of the Bill to become law on Labour's watch, so their honeymoon period won't be tarnished with having to put a version of the Bill back to parliament in the first year of their new government (which they'd have to, assuming they win the election).

One result of the Bill becoming law via the wash-up would be that no further amendments could be made. Any clauses the Tories objected to could only be removed, not altered, given the Lords wouldn't be on hand to approve any alternations. This would mean that Amendment 120a, the provision that replaced the controversial Clause 17, would either have to be accepted as is or cut completely.

This is the clause that gives the High Court the power to shut down copyright infringing websites. It has been opposed not just by the internet service providers and lobbying organisations like the Open Rights Group, but also by the likes of Google and eBay. The Lords only really passed the clause as it currently stands - there were moves to further amend the amendment - because the government said the provision would be reconsidered at the Commons stage. With no such consideration now likely, the Labour and Tory top guard will either have to keep it as is, despite widespread objections in the web industry, or cut it completely.

Following the confirmation that the Bill would get its second Commons reading on the day parliament is likely to be dissolved, Jim Killock of the aforementioned Open Rights Group yesterday published an open letter to the boss of UK Music Feargal Sharkey and the BPI's lobbying chief Richard Mollet, asking them to state their position with regards to the DEB becoming law without any Commons debate. Obviously, both UK Music and the BPI want the Bill to be passed before the General Election, and arguably avoiding a Commons debate is good news for those who support the legislation. Presumably in a bid to embarrass the two music industry trade bodies which most actively supporting the Bill, Killock wants Sharkey and Mollet to confirm whether or not the lack of a Commons debate pleases them.

The letter says: "The Bill has been debated in the Lords, but it has not received scrutiny and debate from the democratically elected chamber of Parliament. The Open Rights Group strongly believes that full democratic scrutiny is vital for this Bill, since it includes measures that would affect people's access to vital services and to free speech - rights that should not be legislated away without full debate of all the consequences".

He continues: "Your organisations have recently appeared to be in favour of excluding genuine debate in the Commons from the passage of the Bill, minimising the scrutiny given to its most controversial clauses. The [previously reported] leaked email from Richard to BPI members, and statements from Richard and Feargal at Counter2010 and the Black Music Congress event on Tuesday all suggest that your view is that the Bill should be passed as rapidly as possible, before the General Election - without further scrutiny, if necessary. However, you are now making statements that effectively deny that this is your position".

He concludes: "I and other campaigners would be very grateful if you would clarify whether you do in fact support full democratic scrutiny of the Digital Economy Bill. And, if so, ask you to join us in calling, clearly and publicly, for a full debate of its provisions in the House of Commons".

Neither the BPI nor UK Music have as yet responded, though that might be because it's not entirely clear what 'statements' Killock refers to, and insiders in the pro-DEB camp say that while both trade bodies want the Bill to be passed before the election, neither Mollet or Sharkey have made any comment on the rights and wrongs of there being no Commons debate. And, of course, there opinions on the matter are sort of irrelevant with regards the government's decision to push on with the Bill even once the MPs have been sent home.

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The Great Escape 2010 formally launched at Australia House in London last night, and a number of new convention events were announced as part of the proceedings.

Among them three interviews and Q&A sessions that will be conducted by CMU Publisher and Business Editor Chris Cooke. The first will see Chris talk to Simon Fox, the CEO of HMV, a rapidly expanding and very interesting organisation, which aside from operating the only nationwide chain of music stores left on the high street, is now the UK's most diverse music and entertainment company.

Since Fox joined the firm in 2006, HMV has moved into live music, acquired half of 7Digital and started piloting cinemas in some of its high street stores. And now, following their recent acquisition of the MAMA Group, they have artist management, festival, merchandising and brand partnership divisions. Basically, HMV has quietly transformed itself into a 360-degree-style entertainment business, and a real major player in the wider music industry. And, should EMI be snapped up by US-based Warner or German-based Bertelsmann later this year, it could very soon be the only major British-owned music company. Chris will chat to Simon about why HMV chose to diversify, about how the company's various divisions will work together, and what the future holds for HMV.

Elsewhere in the proceedings, Chris will also talk to Steven Machat, the music business lawyer who recently documented his eventful career representing the likes of Seal, Donnie Osmond, Bobby Brown and Suge Knight in his brilliant book, 'Gods, Gangsters And Honour'; and also to Alison Wenham, the boss of the Association Of Independent Music, who will look back at her last decade representing the independent sector, and discuss the challenges and opportunities indie labels face in 2010.

As previously reported, other key strands at The Great Escape convention will be hosted by PRS For Music, Music Ally and we:LIVE, who will host debates, interviews and events on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the event respectively.

Music-wise, among the hundreds of bands playing this year will be a whole host specifically picked from Australia's music scene, hence the launch at the Australian High Commission. Among the Aussie bands due to play are: Sarah Blasko, Philadelphia Grand Jury, Art Vs Science, Birds Of Tokyo, Teenagers In Tokyo, Eskimo Joe, Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Paul Dempsey, Violent Soho, Oh Mercy, Bridezilla and Blackchords.

The Great Escape runs from 13-15 May - more at www.escapegreat.com

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The Musician's Union, Featured Artists Coalition and Music Managers Forum have announced their intent to more closely collaborate on those areas where they have a common interest, and, presumably, where the interests of artists and musicians might run contrary to those at the corporate end of the music business. While both the MU and MMF are affiliated with cross-sector trade body UK Music, so are the likes of the BPI and Music Publishers Association, so where creators and corporates conflict there is presumably merit in those organisations focused on the former collaborating separately.

Part of this alliance will see the FAC and MMF giving its support to the previously reported Music Supported Here campaign that has been spearheaded by the MU, and which aims to encourage and enable musicians to engage directly with their fanbase on copyright issues, on the basis that grass roots artists have more chance of persuading music fans to go the legit route when it comes to buying or accessing music online compared to any centrally-driven industry initiative.

All three bodies are also throwing their support behind a campaign called 'Artist As Retailer'. Promoted under the Music Supported Here banner, this campaign is trying to persuade record companies to, as a matter of course, give artists the right to directly sell their own recordings via their own websites and social network profiles, and to be treated like a retailer in that arrangement.

This would mean that an artist would enjoy the retailer cut of the download fee in addition to the royalty they are due under their record contract. Music Supported Here claim this could increase an artist's income from a download five-fold, and it would also enable artists to earn from their recordings even when they haven't recouped on their record deal, because they would earn the retailer cut whatever. The argument is the label doesn't lose out financially, and the system encourages artists to encourage their fans to pay for their music.

Confirming the plan for the MU, FAC and MMF to work together on the Music Supported Here initiative, and other areas of common interest, the Musicians' Union's Assistant General Secretary Horace Trubridge told CMU yesterday: "Our three organisations basically share the same agendas, in as much as we are about looking after creators and performers. We want to deal with the big issues that we think are wrong with the industry. In terms of putting the artists directly in contact with the fans, and cutting out all of the people in between, I don't have any doubt that Music Supported Here will become a kind of vanguard, in what will become the industry norm in years to come".

FAC's Membership & Development Director Matthew Brown added: "The MMF, the FAC and the MU represent the interests of artists right across the board. Each organisation has a lot to bring to the coalition. All this lays the groundwork for a powerful collaboration. Coming together in this way has never happened before and has largely been brought on by the narrowing of the gap between artist and fan; a change that brings lots of opportunity for all those who support and represent artists".

Speaking for the management community, MMF CEO Jon Website added: "The MMF is delighted to be working more closely with the FAC and the MU on items of common interest. Managers have always represented featured artists, and their interests and those of musicians of all types need to be more aligned".

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Noel Gallagher played his first gig since leaving Oasis last night, headlining one of the Teenager Cancer Trust's current run of charity shows at the Royal Albert Hall, the first in a two night residency.

Gallagher played a set made up entirely of Oasis songs, and was joined by a band that included two former Oasis bandmates, Gem Archer on guitar and the group's live keyboard player, Jay Darlington. They were also backed by an eight-piece orchestra and the Crouch End Choir for a number of songs. Although no new material was played, they did run through a few lesser-known Oasis b-sides.

Responding to calls from the audience to play something new, Gallagher said: "Play a new song? No, we don't do new songs for charity".

And later, when the calls to preview some of his solo work continued, he told one fan: "We've already gone through that - we're not playing new songs. As fucking brilliant as they are, now's not the right time or place. Are you American? You're from Liverpool? Try and be American - it's better than being a fucking scouser".

It's been quite a week for Noel. Not only did he perform his first post-Oasis show, but earlier in the week his "victim impact statement" was read out in the Canadian court where the man who attacked him on stage at 2008's Virgin Festival in Toronto is waiting to be sentenced.

As previously reported, Daniel Sullivan pleaded guilty to causing bodily harm last November, admitting that he was drunk and has little recollection of the attack. He was due to be sentenced last month, but sentencing was delayed, despite the protestations of the defence, after the prosecution learned that Gallagher wanted to give a statement in person. However, when it became apparent that getting Noel over to Canada and into the courtroom wasn't actually going to be that easy, it was decided that a prepared statement would be read out instead.

In the statement, read out by the Crown attorney at Toronto's Old City Hall on Tuesday, Gallagher said: "I ended up in a heap on the floor. I had no idea what had happened. I would describe the sudden impact and shock as feeling as if I had been hit by a bus. I have been told that I will never really recover from the damage, and still feel painful twinges".

Sullivan's sentencing has now been delayed again until 21 Apr. His lawyers have requested that he be given community service in recognition of this being his first offence and the sizeable amount of negative media attention he has had to deal with, but reports suggest he will face between six and eight months in jail. In addition to this, he faces a $2 million civil lawsuit.

In happier Gallagher events, Noel is reportedly "thrilled to bits" at news that he his to be a father for the third time. The Sun claims that his girlfriend Sara Macdonald it three months pregnant.

A source told the paper: "Noel and Sara are over the moon. They're so happy that [the couple's other son] Donovan will have a little partner in crime to play with. Their family is complete... Noel has been up to his eyes rehearsing for gigs recently and Sara has had her hands full because the family are moving house in London. The news has given them both something to smile about".

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Axl Rose is being sued by Live Nation's management company Front Line over allegations he owes them nearly $2 million in relation to their recent stint managing Guns N Roses.

Irving Azoff, Frontline founder - and now Live Nation Executive Chairman since the merger of Frontline and Ticketmaster with the live music conglom - oversaw the 'Chinese Democracy' era of GNR, but was recently replaced as the band's manager by Doc McGhee.

Now Frontline say they are owed $1.9 million, their cut of the $12 million Rose made from Guns N Roses' recent worldwide touring activity, though it's possible that is in part based on an oral agreement regarding Azoff's cut of Rose's income, so it could be interesting to see how this goes if it reaches court.

Roses' new management has not responded to the lawsuit.

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An artist is reportedly suing Green Day for their use of an image of a fang-toothed face which the band have apparently used at gigs, in a video and on their website. Artist Dereck Seltzer says he owns the copyright in the image and has never given any permission for it to be used.

But according to TMZ, Green Day's people say they licensed the picture from a reputable company and were not aware of any copyright issues, which might mean Seltzer will have to go after the picture agency rather than the band directly. Though, this being America, he'll probably sue everyone vaguely associated with the band's use of his picture.

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Word has it lawyers for Joe 'father of Michael' Jackson will next week file a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr Conrad Murray, the medic accused of killing the late king of pop by pumping him full of propofol (well, by negligently administering a shot of the surgical drug).

Murray, of course, has pleaded not guilt to involuntary manslaughter in the criminal case relating to Jacko's death. It's not clear how much cash Joe will go for to compensate for the loss of companionship, consortium and economic support the Jackson patriarch claims to have suffered as a result of his son's sudden demise. It's thought that no other member of the Jackson clan will be party to the lawsuit, which is expected to be filed with the LA court next week.

Responding to the lawsuit reports, Murray's lawyer Ed Chernoff was dismissive, describing Jackson Snr's action as "like throwing a bucket of water on a man drowning in the ocean".

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Korn have apparently signed a new deal with Roadrunner Records.

The band's last two studio albums were released by EMI/Virgin, the result of a 360-degree style deal which saw the metallers get paid a $25 million advance in exchange for a cut of various revenues, including record sales, licensing, touring and merchandise revenues. The second album, which was left untitled, was their least successful to date, which may be why the band are no longer working with EMI.

Anyway, guitarist James 'Munky' Schaffer wrote on the band's Modlife site on Tuesday: "Who wants to know something first? Korn has just signed to Roadrunner Records! [We're] label mates with Slipknot! It rules!"

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CMU favourite Cappo has released a video for 'Gilgamesh II', a track from his forthcoming second album 'Genghis'. The rapper will release the album on CD, download and USB stick on 4 Apr via Son Records, with a very limited number of vinyl copies available now from www.sonrecords.com.

Speaking about the new album, Cappo told CMU: "I was determined that this album would be my best work to date and I'm confident I have achieved that. This album is my magnum opus and one of the reasons I'm so proud of it is that nobody else is making music like it, and that goes for the music I'm in the process of finishing now as well. From the moment I wake up til I sleep at night I just want to make music like RUN DMC and Beastie Boys, period".

Check out the 'Gilgamesh II' video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U9VC1dshPE

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African singer-songwriter Nneka, whose single 'Heartbeat' was one of the highlights of last year, has announced that she will play a headline show at The Scala in London on 28 Apr. It'll probably be your last chance to see her in a venue that small, so get on it.

More info at nnekaworld.com

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Liars will be in the UK in May for various shows, including a headline spot at London's Shepherds Bush Empire.

The band also release a new single, 'The Overachievers', which is my favourite track from their latest album, 'Sisterworld', on 24 May and feature on the fourth edition of Beck's Record Club, which sees Beck and various guests covering INXS's 1987 album, 'Kick'. More info on that here: www.beck.com/recordclub

Tour dates:

7 May: Matt Groening's ATP
21 May: Manchester, Dot To Dot festival
27 May: London, Shepherd's Bush Empire
29 May: Bristol, Dot To Dot festival
30 May: Nottingham, Dot To Dot festival

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Liverpool will stage a two-month programme of events to celebrate the life and music of John Lennon this autumn to celebrate what would have been the late Beatle's 70th birthday. Presumably the festival to celebrate the life and work of my Mum, also born in Merseyside exactly 70 years ago this October, will be announced by Liverpool City Council in due course. I mean, she gave birth to me, surely that needs celebrating?

Anyway, on the Lennon festival, Liverpool mayor Mike Storey said this: "John Lennon is one of the most iconic figures of the 20th Century and a Liverpool lad who became known in every corner of the globe. His enduring message of peace is as important now as ever and continues to be an inspiration to many. This will be a fitting opportunity to remember him as a man, and to celebrate his music, and his overall contribution to our city".

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LAND OF KINGS FESTIVAL, various venues, Dalston, London, 23 Apr: We accidentally listed a number of last year's Land Of Kings acts in yesterday's Line-Up Update. Artists actually playing this year's festival include Black Rainbow, The Detachments, Hackney Colliery Band, Magnets, Sexbeat, Tayo and Yuck. www.landofkings.co.uk

NASS, Royal bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, 9-11 Jul: Plan B, Tinie Tempah and Wiley are amongst the latest acts confirmed for this year's Nass. Also added to the bill are the likes of The Skints, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Young Guns and Devlin. www.relentlessnass.com

ONE LOVE FESTIVAL, Hainault Forest Country Park, London, 6-8 Aug: Soothsayers Meet The Red Earth Collective head up the latest acts announced to play at the reggae and dub festival, along with Lutan Fyah, Michael Prophet, Benjamin Zephaniah and Bo Marley. www.onelovefestival.co.uk

REGGAE & VIBE BEACH FESTIVAL, Ingoldmells, nr Skegness, Lincolnshire: 16-18 Jul: Toots & The Maytals, Chaka Demus & Pliers and Aswad have all been confirmed for this summer's Reggae & Vibe Fest. Also on the bill are Dave & Ansel Collins, The Aces and even Musical Youth. www.reggaevibefest.com

RELENTLESS BOARDMASTERS, Watergate bay, Cornwall, 4-8 Aug: Xavier Budd, Plan B and Tinie Tempah have all been added to the Relentless Boardmasters line-up, along with Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Alan Pownall, Fenech Soler and Matthew P. www.relentlessboardmasters.com

TRUCK FESTIVAL, Steventon, nr Abingdon, Oxfordshire, 23-25 Jul: Stornaway, Future Of The Left and Good Shoes have all been added to this year's Truck Festival line-up, as well as Esben And The Witch, Egyptian Hip Hop, Fonda 500 and Los Campesinos! www.thisistruck.com

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ALBUM REVIEW: We The Kings - Smile Kid (EMI/Virgin)
'Smile Kid', the sophomore offering from Florida's pop-rock long-haired types We The Kings, is an easy listen if ever there was one. Granted, this isn't always a good thing. And this is one such case. One might label this as 'background noise' or, to put it simply, 'dull'.

While there's nothing quite like the sound of a grown man singing like the ghost of his prepubescent past, it's the subject matter which really grates here, the tribulations one might come across at the age of thirteen featuring a little too frequently. "You're the reason I'm the best I'll be / so let me stitch your heart so it won't bleed" - Billy Shakespeare, you've got some tough competition there.

Okay, so I'm being a little bit cruel here. But I can't be the only one who's tired of bands who sound like old bands being old bands, trying to be new bands by adding in a little bit of half-hearted synth. It's just not the way Brandon Flowers intended. Though, while We The Kings have produced a slogging, uninteresting record in 'Smile Kid', there is the barest hint of potential, if only because of how catchy some of these songs actually are.

But that "hint" really isn't good enough. We're told "the world of We The Kings is a never-ending buzz of activity... they are constantly tweeting, updating blogs and websites, and documenting life on the road in their online mini sitcom". How Generation Z of you. But ever thought about squeezing some time in for actually making good music? We know you have it in you. Give it a go.

For fans of The Ataris mixed with a little Rooney, We The Kings may be right up your street. No need to tread carefully, though - the pavement is as clean and repetitive as it'll ever get. TW

Physical release: 15 Mar
Press contact: Division PR

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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The boss of Sony Music's RCA UK division, former Bros bass man Craig Logan, has quit, because Sony UK is a soul-destroyingly depressing place to work just now. No, sorry, that's not it. How could it be, that's clearly not true. No, it's because he wants to return to his former stomping ground of artist management, that's it. And why not?

Yes, Craig will launch a new management company called Logan Media Entertainment, which will try to be one of these new-fangled multi-stream music companies, though it will be rooted in some traditional artist-manager relationships. The new company will, though, have its own record label, to be called 247 Recordings, which will operate as an imprint of Sony. So the parting of company is on good terms, and, indeed, Logan will stay on in a consulting role with RCA, though mainly to help them find a new MD for the division.

Logan said this: "Sony has been such a big part of my career, starting over 20 years ago as an artist, through my management career before joining the label as MD of RCA. I would like to thank my team at RCA who have been fantastic. I would also like to thank Rolf Schmidt Holtz, Richard Sanders and Ged Doherty for their belief and support and I look forward to continuing our incredible working relationship, both through Logan Media Entertainment and the new label".

And then Sony UK top man Ged Doherty said this: "Craig is one of the best artist managers in the world which is why I brought him in to the company four years ago. For some time now, he has wanted to return to the world of management and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new venture. I am grateful for everything he has done whilst here".

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Another former Sony boss has a new venture, though Don Ienner left his job as Chairman of Sony Music in the US years ago, so that's a tenuous way of linking these stories really.

The new US-based service is called IMHO, which, as all text-speak fans might expect, is an online recommendation service. IMHO is a digital tool which enables people to recommend audio, video or gaming content to their friends, directly or via social network platforms like Facebook. Friends of the recommender can then view the audio, video or game through the IMHO player. Or something like that.

The service will be fully licensed, so obviously the content that can be recommended will be restricted to that which IMHO has access to. That catalogue of audio, video and games seems to be coming together through a range of partnerships, some directly with content owners, others with other digital media platforms which have direct licensing deals already in place. A private beta test is already underway, with an open beta period due to kick off this spring

Inner told reporters yesterday: "After eighteen months of tireless efforts to build a great catalogue of premium content and a player that meets today's social demands of users, we are proud of our initial technology launch. The IMHO player allows users real portability and consumption of their favourite content in their favourite places and offers brands and content owners a way to own their 'off-portal' content consumption and monetization in an unprecedented way".

It's not currently clear to me how they make money, ie whether there will be ads, sell-through or, ultimately, some sort of subscription model.

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After months of negotiations, Evening Standard owner and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev yesterday confirmed he had bought The Independent. He got the struggling British broadsheet for a pound, but will take on the firm's liabilities. Well, some of them. Actually current owners Independent News & Media will contribute over £9 million to Lebedev's new company Independent Print Limited to help pay off some of the paper's debts.

As previously reported, when one of INM's big shareholders tried to force the Irish media firm to shut The Independent down last year the firm's management said it would be more expensive to close the title than keep it open. With that in mind, presumably £9 million is an OK sum of money to pay to have the problem taken off INM's hands.

Lebedev's purchase of The Indy has been such a long-time coming, staff there have already been preparing for the new ownership. That said, it remains to be seen what the new proprietor will do with the paper, which has the smallest circulation of all the British dailies and which many expected would bite the dust this year until the Russian started to negotiate a takeover.

Given what Lebedev did with the Standard, there has been wide speculation that he will make The Indy a free morning title distributed in key cities to commuters, though he reportedly denied that was a plan during a conversation with Gordon Brown recently. Certainly any move to make The Indy a proper free title (actually, they already give away thousands of copies a day) would be a bold move that could potentially transform the UK newspaper market.

Confirming the deal, which should be completed in May, INM CEO Gavin O'Reilly told reporters: "This is a most satisfactory and positive outcome for the titles, their staff and for INM's shareholders. I wish IPL and the staff every success for the future in continuing the development of these important and influential titles".

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The Times today announced it would start charging for access to its websites from June. Despite original rumours The Sunday Times would go the subscription route before the main paper, it seems the paywall will be applied to both titles simultaneously.

The announcement follows months of speculation as to when and how the broadsheet would start charging for its online services, after its owner Rupert Murdoch let it be known he hoped to bring to an end the era of free news analysis on the internet. On confirming the development, News International CEO Rebekah Brooks implied the firm's other titles, The Sun and News Of The World, would soon follow suit.

The Times will charge a pound a day for access to its website, though there will be a £2 weekly subscription that will also provide access to other services, and the plan seems to be to sign people up to that rather than the day rate.

The news has been met with some derision on Twitter this morning, though with the whole newspaper industry in a state of turmoil, mainly because Google and their likes have taken the bulk of the growing internet advertising market away from the traditional media owners, some argue that the subscription model is the only way forward for the news media.

Said subscription-model advocates add that as all the news groups follow suit, and as extra multimedia and mobile widgets are added into the subscription price, web-users will probably eventually be persuaded to part with some cash. Especially once the BBC website is cut down to size (something which is going to happen with minimum public outrage as us media types all get distracted with the Save 6 campaign).

Of course, The Guardian has an interesting role to play in all this. They say they won't go the subscription route. The Guardian is a unique organisation in that it isn't profit driven, and the mission statement of the wider Guardian Media Group is to make cash to subsidise the company's loss-making flagship title.

Providing GMG can make money elsewhere, they will continue to pump out Guardian online content for free, which will give them a huge competitive advantage once The Times, Telegraph, Indy et al park their websites behind paywalls. And unlike the BBC, there is nothing Murdoch and his team of lobbyists can do to stop The Guardian from giving news, comment and analysis away gratis. Interesting times.

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According to MediaTakeOut, Beyonce is pregnant. And who are we to argue? I'm pretty sure no one would make stuff like that up.

The website says: "It's been a long time waiting... but now it's finally happened. MediaTakeOut.com just learned from a ROCK SOLID source that legendary singer Beyonce and her hip hop mogul husband Jay-Z are expecting their first child together. According to our source, Beyonce is doing fine and resting (for now) but she's expected to continue working throughout her pregnancy. And we're also told that Jay-Z is EXTREMELY happy to be having his first child with Bey".

Is Beyonce "legendary"? Is it possible to be legendary if you're 28 and still alive? That's probably a debate for another time.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Georgina Stone
Editorial Assistant
Owen Smith
Approval Officer
Paul Vig
Club Tipper

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