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INFORMATION
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
UK Music launch 'Liberating Creativity'
6 fans rally outside Broadcasting House: "Leave us alone"
War Child auction off BRIT-related stuff
In The Pop Courts
Prince ordered to pay 2.2 million Euro for cancelled Dublin gig
Jacko estate confirm no widow
Charts, Stats & Polls
PR Week name top ten entertainment PRs
Festival News
Belle & Sebastian announce Bowlie 2
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Album review: Temposhark - Threads (Paper & Glue)
The Music Business
Diversification to continue at HMV: Bring on the catwalk
BMG buy Cherry Lane
Syco appoint new CEO
The Orchard, revenues up, but loss overall
Warner buy two production music catalogues
The Digital Business
Spotify aiming for third-quarter US launch
The Media Business
Five owner talking to C4 about possible partnerships
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
Beyonce not pregnant, OK?
Girls Aloud to record next albums as a four-piece?


 
MONDAY 29TH MARCH
FIVE DAY FORECAST
So, on Saturday we all went and showed how much we love 6music by protesting outside Broadcasting House. Well, I didn't. But I looked at the pictures being posted up on Twitter and thought it would have been nice if I wasn't otherwise indisposed. Chris made it down, and said it was a good protest, as protests go (more on that later in today's Daily). With all that chanting, I'm pretty sure 6music is now saved. I mean only idiots would shut it down now. Oh. Right. Yeah, we better keep up with the protesting.

 
Later that same day, I saw a man set things on fire with his fingers by standing next to a Tesla coil with an electrode shoved up his arse. And an oompah band cover 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Can anything happening this week top that? I don't know, let's see. Here's five things that are worthy of your attention this week...

01: Peggy Sue album launch. Peggy Sue officially launch their debut album at The Garage in London tonight, with support from Dan Michaelson And The Coastguards and The Mariner's Children. The album is brilliant, and I'm sure this show will be too. Tickets are all sold out, but I'm sure you enterprising people can find a way in. Getting on the guestlist is one way, obviously. But anyone who sneaks in dressed as a ninja will win a prize.

02: Adam Buxton returns to 6music. I keep breaking my own rules for this column by tipping things that aren't happening between Monday and Friday, but this one's really worth it. Adam Buxton will be back on BBC 6music this Sunday with a new weekly show called 'Adam Buxton's Big Mix Tape'. To celebrate, we got Adam to make us a mixtape - well, a Spotify playlist - for last week's CMU Weekly.

03: Nick Cave re-issues. Mute Records are slowly working their way through the process of re-issuing Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' back catalogue. This week, all packaged up with extra bits and remastered in 5.1 surround sound, 'Tender Prey', 'The Good Son' and my currently favourite, 'Henry's Dream', all hit the shelves. They are lovely things indeed.

04: CMU promoting music seminar. This second outing for our seminar on the future of music PR will cover the role of traditional music promotion techniques in the internet age, the rising importance of news in getting coverage, the role, power and etiquette of social media and a web journalist's guide to how to PR a web journalist. This is a sell-out already as well, so if you've not already booked, you can't come. However, due to popular demand, we are going to run the event again on 21 Apr. Bookings are being taken now.

05: Bo Ningen and Trash Kit at The Stag's Head. Oh look, it's another gig I'd just about pull one of my fingers off to go to and yet I'm not going to be able to make it. Japanese psych merchants Bo Ningen and noodley lo-fiers Trash Kit are both utterly brilliant, so I highly recommend you check them out. Now, if any of you are any good with a needle and thread, I have a finger that needs reattaching.

It's a bank holiday next Monday, so no CMU Daily for you. But I will be over on the News-Blog with one of these Five Day Forecast things to let you know how you can make your week a better place. Look out for that.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU Daily
 
THE NATIONAL - BLOODBUZZ OHIO
Formed in 1999, The National have to date released four albums, all of which have received increasing levels of critical acclaim. The fifth, 'High Violet', is due for release on 10 May via 4AD and looks likely to be a tipping point for the band, sending their fanbase to previously uncharted levels. And not without good reason. Hard graft for over a decade is one thing, but releasing a song as good as the new album's first single, 'Bloodbuzz Ohio', is quite another.

 
Debuted on Lauren Laverne's 6music show last week and subsequently put up online as a free download, the track spent a long time being played on repeat in the CMU office last week. Available with or without handing over your email address (depending on the level of audio quality you want), if it doesn't get you excited about the new album then you have my pity.

www.highviolet.com


 
  INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or have a large catalog you want managed on your behalf, then please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - www.musicgain.com
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Shortlist announced for 'lost' Booker Prize
Ian McKellen speaks out over drama cuts
Young Vic to revive 'Beauty Queen'
 
The Times will charge for its websites from June
Lebedev buys The Independent
Your Media goes under
 
New 'Robin Hood' film to open Cannes Festival
New company offers festival babysitting
Iain Banks to preview new book at Ullapool Festival
 

UK MUSIC LAUNCH 'LIBERATING CREATIVITY'
Cross-industry trade body UK Music will today publish its previously reported 'Liberating Creativity' report, which includes seven proposals for how government and the creative sectors can work together to ensure a booming future for the country's music and wider creative industries.

The main bold ambition the report sets for the UK music industry is to become the biggest in the world by 2020, an aim which will require Britain outperforming the US as the biggest music-producing country. The report notes that the UK market already has the highest CD sales to consumer ratio, the biggest greenfield festival and the most successful ticketed venue in the world. The wider music business also contributes at least £5 billion a year to the economy, of which £1.3 billion comes from export earnings. Currently second to the US, UK Music reckons becoming the world's number one music maker is in Britain's grasp.

UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey told reporters: "It may sound a bit jingoistic of me - and frankly I don't care if it does - but the music thing is something we are really bloody good at. We are phenomenally good at it and we think we can go out there and genuinely dominate the world. We think we can give the Americans a good run for their money if not take them out, but we are going to need government's help to do that".

How the government can help is set out in the report and its seven proposals. At the top of the tree is the proposition a 'Creative Industries Cabinet Committee' be formed which would bring together ministers whose portfolios touch the creative sector (so culture, business, employment, IP) with executives from the major content and entertainment companies and entrepreneurs from the independent sector to talk shop, and enable decision makers and industry leaders to discuss how to further grow the influence of the UK creative industries on a worldwide scale. Or something like that. It's proposed that the committee report directly into the Prime Minister.

That committee would presumably take the principle of UK Music, which aims to bring together the sometimes conflicting different strands of the music industry, and apply it to the wider creative sector, providing a forum where music, film, TV, gaming, theatre and art types can share ideas and opinions, with key decision makers in the room.

Elsewhere, the report will make proposals to try to make the 'music business' seem more professional to the outside world. Sharkey: "I think people still look at music and think it is not a proper grown-up profession and that has got to change because ironically what some people in the world of finance might dismiss as nothing more than a couple of kids making noise in the back of a pub on a Friday night, when they grow up to be big boys and girls, the contribution and the impact that they will have on the rest of society is just - if not more - significant as some bloke with a double first from Cambridge working for a merchant bank in the City of London".

The report will be formally launched with a shindig at the Houses Of Parliament tonight.

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6 FANS RALLY OUTSIDE BROADCASTING HOUSE: "LEAVE US ALONE"
Hundreds of 6music fans braved the rain and amassed outside the BBC's Broadcasting House on Saturday lunchtime to protest at the much previously reported plans of BBC management to shut the music station down.

Various presenters and supporters from and of the station spoke, while bands who have enjoyed support from 6 played acoustic mini-sets. Liz Kershaw kicked off the proceedings by telling the amassing crowd that the battle was not lost, and that if enough people lobbied the BBC Trust - who must approve the Corporation's top guard's plans - the station could still be saved.

Gideon Coe thanked the crowd for their support, and encouraged everyone there to ensure they, and everyone they know, made a formal complaint to the aforementioned BBC Trust, because, he said, the more people who lobby the Beeb's regulator the higher the chance of the station being saved.

Tom Robinson said both 6 and the Asian Network were being closed mainly as the result of a "tidying exercise" by BBC management. "BBC chiefs have decided they want five radio brands, with 'extra' digital spin offs", he told the protesters. "Neither 6 nor the Asian Network fit into this plan, and that's why they are being shut". To that end, he said it was important those make submissions to the Trust stress the need for a whole 24/7 channel dedicated to showcasing and championing new and alternative music, otherwise the Trustees might agree to a fudge where a handful of 6 shows get shoved into the graveyard shift on Radio 2.

Away from Team 6, Liberal Lord Tim Clement-Jones gave his formal support to the Save 6 campaign. He said it wasn't for MPs to dictate how the BBC should be run, but it was right for licence fee payers to tell BBC management when they believe they've got it wrong, and that parliamentarians provided another forum through which 6 fans, as licence fee payers, could air their opposition. "You should write to your MPs and tell them how you feel about 6music", he told the crowd. "The good news is, they're going to be particularly sensitive to your opinions in the next couple of months".

Allo Darlin and The Brute Chorus were among those who made musical contributions, while Black Soul Strangers led the crowd in a reworked version of 'Hey Jude' ("na na na na na na na, Save 6" etc). Mirrorkicks frontman Anil Kamalagharan shunned his guitar, climbed on top of his drummer so he could be seen by the whole crowd, and sang two songs a capella. As an outfit supported by both 6 and the Asian Network, he rallied a cheer in support of the other BBC digital station also facing the chop.

All of which led up to the grand finale, when Mr Adam Buxton took to the megaphone and joked "this is the only station in the world that would air a shambles like 'The Adam & Joe Show'; and just when it was going so well, they shut down the whole station, that's obviously the only way to get Adam & Joe off the air!" While admitting that Mark 'Tommo' Thompson and his chums had a difficult job, he said "6 is a totally unique station, providing shows and playing music and showcasing bands that simply no other radio station does, which I thought was exactly what the BBC was meant to do!"

Keen for the Save 6 massive to have a chant, he led the crowd in a call of "What do we want", "Leave us alone", "When do we want it", "For a long time". Happy faces all round, one just hopes they are happy again in May when the BBC Trust reports back on the cutback proposals.

Speaking to Radio Today, one of the 6 fans who organised the protest, Georgina Rodgers, explained why she'd proposed the rally in the first place. She said: "What I wanted to do, when I suggested that we have a protest outside Broadcasting House, is to bring the web campaign on Facebook into the real world. I think it's very easy to say: 'Yes, I'll join this group on Facebook' - but today a couple of thousand people actually turned up to vote with their feet and say: 'We're angry about this... we're not happy about it... we're very passionate about this radio station'".

Video coverage: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iQjnnlQuWw
Protest Gallery: www.forfolkssake.com/news/4088/save-bbc-6-music-protest-gallery

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WAR CHILD AUCTION OFF BRIT-RELATED STUFF
Excellent music-orientated charity War Child, which supports and assists children living in areas of current or recent conflict, are auctioning off a load of pop memorabilia linked to this year's BRIT Awards.

Some of it is props and outfits used at the awards bash itself, including various items worn and used by Lily Allen, which includes eight Silver Cross prams, and the tuxedo worn by Dizzee Rascal. Other stuff comes from BRIT winners and includes JLS's tour clothing and a signed EKO guitar donated by Kasabian.

Giving his support for the auction, outgoing chair of the BRITs committee, Sony UK chief Ged Doherty, told CMU: "These four British winners gave superstar performances at BRITs 30 and on the night, they each helped to make it the music event of the year. It's great to see them marking their success by donating items from their special evening to this auction. It further underlines the commitment of the The BRIT Awards and our leading artists to support such vital causes each year".

There's more info about the online auction, which runs until 4 Apr, at:
www.warchild.org.uk/news/brits_ebay_auction

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PRINCE ORDERED TO PAY 2.2 EURO MILLION FOR CANCELLED DUBLIN GIG
Irish concert promoters MCD have been awarded 2.2 million euros in damages as a result of their litigation against Prince. As previously reported, MCD sued the singer after he pulled out of a Dublin concert at the last minute back in 2008.

The concert had been arranged via talent agency William Morris, a rep from which admitted in court that it was hard work getting Prince to commit to anything, and that as a result - while he had been consulted about the show - the singer hadn't actually formally signed a contract at the point at which he pulled out of it. At that point the agency had been trying to get a meeting with the singer for some time, but one early attempt at a formal discussion regarding the concert was turned into a impromptu dinner party that was cut short when the singer left the room before any actual business could be discussed.

Interestingly, the judge specifically held Prince, and not William Morris, liable for the last minute cancellation and therefore the multi-million damages. The judge said he was making the damages public because an earlier deal between the promoter and the singer's people had not been honoured.

MCD's lawyer said that if payment was not now forthcoming they might apply for a European Enforcement Order in a bid to get the cash.

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JACKO ESTATE CONFIRM NO WIDOW
In response to one of the stranger lawsuits being dealt with by the estate of the late Michael Jackson, the estate's legal reps have submitted court papers dismissing claims by a London-based woman called Nona Paris Lola Ankhesenamun who seems to be claiming that she was the king of pop's wife at the time of his death. She seemingly filed a lawsuit last year claiming to be Jackson's legitimate partner, and demanding all of the late pop star's assets be transferred to her.

It's apparently not the first time Ankhesenamun has claimed to have been in a relationship with Jackson; prior to his death she reportedly claimed to be the actual mother of his three children, and at one point sued for child support and co-custody of the kids while asking the courts for a legal separation from the pop star. The courts seemed a little confused at the time, and dismissed her actions due to a lack of evidence.

With Ankhesenamun's claim now against the singer's estate, their legal reps filed papers last week which, according to TMZ, stress: "Michael Joseph Jackson did not have a surviving spouse. He was not married at the time of his death".

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PR WEEK NAME TOP TEN ENTERTAINMENT PRS
Communications industry trade mag PR Week last week published its Power Book, which lists all the big players in the wider comms industry. Such lists are always a brave move for an industry trade mag, no editor really wants to take the phone call from the all important bigwig you completely forgot to list. I think there are some former Music Week guys out there who will confirm that's not a fun phone call to receive.

But, assuming PR Week didn't miss anyone out, who are the big guys in entertainment PR you might ask. Well, here's the big ten from the music, entertainment and celebrity PR domain.

1. Max Clifford, Max Clifford Associates
2. Gary Farrow, The Corporation
3. Alan Edwards, The Outside Organisation
4. Stuart Higgins, Stuart Higgins Communications
5. Claire Powell, Can Associates
6. Simon Jones, Hackford Jones PR
7. Stuart Bell, DawBell PR
8. James Herring, Taylor Herring
9. Phil Hall, PHA Media
10. Sundraj Sreenivasan, Supersonic PR

With the exception of PHA Media, I think all of those individuals and agencies operate in the music business in one way or another, though some more from the celebrity angle than in the plugging tunes domain. It's interesting that all ten are agency chiefs, because in-house PR people were also considered, and in most other sectors did account for a few of the Top 10 spots. Whether than means in-house PR people in the entertainment industry are particularly poor, or entertainment agencies are particularly good, well I'll let you decide.

In case you wondered, the likes of Freud, Bokowski and Cake, who you might expect to see in a list like this, all appear in the Consumer PR Top Ten, entertainment only accounting for a small part of their work.

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BELLE & SEBASTIAN ANNOUNCE BOWLIE 2
Belle & Sebastian curated the first Bowlie Weekender in 1999, before it morphed into the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals. But, as part of ATP's tenth anniversary celebrations, Bowlie will be back this December.

The first acts announced to play the event are Julian Cope, The Vaselines, Frightened Rabbit, Field Music, Howlin' Rain, Those Dancing Days and, of course, Belle & Sebastian, who are back on board to curate the whole thing, hand selecting around 40 bands in total.

It'll take place exactly where it started, at the Butlins Resort in Minehead, Somerset on 10-12 Dec. More information here: www.atpfestival.com/newsview/1003290738.php

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

CREAMFIELDS, Daresbury, Cheshire, 28-29 Aug: This year's Creamfields headliners will be David Guetta and Tiesto. Also announced this weekend were Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Armin van Buuren, Leftfield, Audio Bullys, Erol Alkan, Crookers, Andy C, Benga, Kissy Sell Out and The Japanese Popstars, amongst many others. www.creamfields.com

GLASTONBURY, Worthy Farm, Somerset, 23-27 Jun: Vanilla Ice, yes, Vanilla Ice, has been confirmed to play the Sony Playstation Bar. I blame Jedward. Meanwhile, "upbeat alt-folk outfit" Ellen And The Escapades have won the Glasto Emerging Talent competition and got themselves a main stage slot, according to eFestivals, plus Bristol dance troupe Dr Meaker have been confirmed to play the Arcadia stage. www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

THE GREAT ESCAPE, various venues, Brighton, 13-15 May: The Big Pink, The Walkmen, Fionn Regan, The Sunshine Underground and These New Puritans are amongst the latest acts confirmed to play at this year's Great Escape, along with Chapel Club, Fenech Soler, Reverend Soundsystem, Goldheart Assembly and many more. www.escapegreat.com

HOP FARM FESTIVAL, Hop Farm Country Park, Kent, 3 Jul: Bob Dylan has been announced as this year's headliner at Hop Farm, with other acts confirmed as Mumford & Sons, Seasick Steve, Pete Doherty and Laura Marling. www.thehopfarm.co.uk

LATITUDE FESTIVAL, Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, 16-18 Jul: The Temper Trap, Wild Beasts, Darwin Deez and Frank Turner head up the latest additions for this summer's Latitude. Other acts added to the line-up are Dirty Projectors, Spook, James, Midlake, Archie Bronson Outfit, Lupen Crook and Active Child. www.latitudefestival.co.uk

WIRELESS FESTIVAL, Hyde Park, London, 3-4 Jul: Missy Elliott has been announced as the headliner of the Saturday night at this year's Wireless, which will be her only UK festival appearance this year. Also on the bill are Friendly Fires, Chase & Status, Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah, Drake, Professor Green, Wale and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins with his side project Taylor Hawkins And The Coattail Riders. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk

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ALBUM REVIEW: Temposhark - Threads (Paper & Glue)
Temposhark are one of a few groups who have been plying their electro-pop wares for a good few years now (ie long before Little Boots et al all made it terribly fashionable), but sadly with little commercial success or wider public acclaim.

Their second album may not change that: it's a more rounded pop album than the more full-on synth-pop overload of previous material, but for the most part it lacks the melodic touch and electronic deftness that made their debut 'The Invisible Line' such a heady listen.

The brash hectoring of the first two tracks grates somewhat, though things are more relaxed from then on, with string-drenched anthemic indie pop being a surprising choice of sound for a group with a forward-thinking mentality. The title track is a notable highlight: an effortless slice of sleek mid-tempo pop suss that is exactly the kind of thing the Sugababes should now be doing, rather than all the sub Pussycat Dolls nonsense.

Elsewhere there are nods to R&B; whilst 'Bye Bye Baby' lacks the memorable pop hooks of Lady Gaga or Timbaland at their best, 'Stuck' is more successful.

By no means a bad album then, but still disappointing from a group who are capable of soaring so much higher. MS

Physical release: 5 Apr
Press contact: Theo PR

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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DIVERSIFICATION TO CONTINUE AT HMV: BRING ON THE CATWALK
HMV last week confirmed that its recent diversification strategy will continue in the coming years, as the one time record seller repositions itself as an all-round entertainment brand.

Following its recent acquisition of live music and talent management group MAMA, HMV CEO Simon Fox confirmed on Friday that live entertainment was now a key strand of the company's operations, with ambitious targets to boost ticket sales across MAMA's venues and festivals, and to further expand HMV Live's venue portfolio.

The HMV high street stores will also further diversify, with fashion and technology both priorities. With an increasing number of artists dabbling in fashion lines in recent years, HMV intends to expand the clothing departments in its stores beyond the usual band t-shirts and into other music-influenced fashion products. On the technology side, it's hoped the retailer can boost its reputation as a seller of digital media devices and even other computer kit, in particular laptops.

On the net, Fox said he hoped to use HMV's 50% stake in 7Digital to tap into the former independent download store's knowledge and expertise, so to improve HMV's own online operations, in particular music downloads and eBooks.

And talking of books, a diversification plan is also in place for HMV's other major retail enterprise, Waterstones, which has been struggling more than the main HMV chain of late. Waterstones has a new MD in place, Dominic Myers, formerly of Blackwells, and he plans to expand the sale of book-based technologies, so e-readers and stationery products, through the Waterstones chain.

He also plans to give more control to the book parts of his stores to local managers, rather than enforcing nationally-orchestrated campaigns that invariably meant all Waterstones shops had to put tedious celebrity books in prime locations near the door. While such books will be best sellers in some Waterstones stores, of course, Byers said that the nationwide approach often didn't work.

Giving examples, he explained how the Ant & Dec book had dominated at the firm's Hampstead branch, whose clientele probably aren't really looking for the ramblings of telly hosts past their prime (the Hampstead branch sold four copies of the book); and even better, the chain's Glasgow store had been forced to give front-of-store racking to a book about the England football team. Byers hopes some local input on such things will help differentiate Waterstones from book-selling supermarkets.

Concluding his grand plan for the HMV Group on Friday, Fox told reporters: "Having rebuilt profitability over the last three years, we have a clear strategy to continue the transformation of the group and to ensure it has a vibrant and sustainable future, even though the markets in which we operate continue to change. We will continue to evolve HMV as a brand able to offer our customers a wide range of entertainment products and related experiences to be enjoyed at home, live and on the move. We have moved from being a one-dimensional retailer selling entertainment products to a broadly-based entertainment brand".

As previously reported, despite all this diversification, and the general good fortune it has delivered HMV in the last eighteen months, until recently the City still seemed to think of the company as primarily a traditional entertainment retailer, resulting in a relatively low share price. However, Friday's strategy statement has possibly helped turn things round a little in that domain, with the HMV share price shooting up more than 10% to 87p after Fox's presentation.

As also previously reported, CMU publisher Chris Cooke will be talking to Fox about his diversification policy and what the future holds for HMV at this year's Great Escape, on 13 May in Brighton.

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BMG BUY CHERRY LANE
BMG Rights Management confirmed on Friday that it had bought Cherry Lane Music Publishing, the deal having been speculated on in the Financial Times last week.

Cherry Lane is one of the leading independent names in music publishing, representing the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Wolfmother and John Legend, and the catalogues of Elvis, John Denver, The Sex Pistols, Quincy Jones and movie studios like DreamWorks and Lionsgate.

Specifics of the deal are not known, though some speculate BMG, owned by German media giant Bertelsmann and equity types KKR, might have paid up to $100 million for the Cherry Lane business.

Confirming the deal, BMG's CEO Hartwig Masuch told CMU: "We chose to acquire Cherry Lane given its highly-regarded, service-oriented approach with its artist/songwriter clients, its extensive catalogue of legendary songs, and its breadth of relationships within the music, television, and filmed entertainment communities".

Cherry Lane's CEO Peter Primont added: "Having already established itself once as a leader in the music publishing industry over several decades, BMG, via its partnership with KKR, has quickly begun to take on a leadership position again on a global basis. We are excited to be part of the team that will continue to grow the business at this important juncture in music publishing's evolution".

As previously reported, there has been speculation that BMG might bid to get some or all of the EMI Music Publishing catalogue should it come up for sale later this year, if and when current owners Terra Firma default on their bank loan to Citigroup. Terra Firma needs to show to the bank this week how it plans to meet its May deadline to pay about £120 million in fees relating to the loan, and it's thought the likes of BMG and backers KKR will be watching carefully for indications as to whether or not EMI will go under the hammer before the summer.

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SYCO APPOINT NEW CEO
The all new Syco Entertainment has appointed a new CEO, in the form of Ellis Watson, whose background is in TV and newspapers. Watson will report directly to Simon Cowell, and will be responsible for the global development of Syco, and in particular the launch of 'X-Factor' in the US market next year.

As previously reported, Syco, previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music, was reconstituted earlier this year when Cowell's latest deal with the major rewarded him with a 50% stake in the entertainment company and its back catalogue. The all new Syco hopes to rapidly expand worldwide, through the extension of Cowell's existing TV franchises and pop roster, and other media and music ventures.

Confirming Watson's appointment, Cowell told CMU last week: "I'm delighted that Ellis will be joining Syco, his broad experience in TV and media will be a huge asset".

Watson himself added: "I've got the most exciting job in entertainment anywhere in the world - it's not a vocation, it's a calling".

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THE ORCHARD, REVENUES UP, BUT LOSS OVERALL
Independent digital aggregator The Orchard announced last week that its revenues rose 9% in 2009, though they made an overall loss of $17.8 million. That said, one of those tedious "impairments of goodwill" accounted for over $14 million of the loss, which is one of those accounting technicalities only 47 people in the world understand, but means the overall loss wasn't as bad as it possibly sounds.

Commenting on the financials, Orchard boss Bradley Navin said this: "Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment, The Orchard recorded its highest quarterly revenue ever, while reducing operating expenses for four consecutive quarters, excluding the one-time adjustments for goodwill and reduction in force in the third quarter. We expect the company to continue on this path and remain excited about the future".

As previously reported, one of the The Orchard's main shareholders, Dimensional Associates, is in the process of taking complete ownership of the digital firm.

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WARNER BUY TWO PRODUCTION MUSIC CATALOGUES
Warner Music's publishing company made two acquisitions in the production music domain last week, the LA-based Groove Addicts Production Music Library and the London-based Carlin Recorded Music Library. The two catalogues will now be administered by Non-Stop Music, the production music firm wholly owned by Warner/Chappell since 2007.

Warner/Chappell CEO Dave Johnson told reporters: "The acquisitions of Groove Addicts and CRML further expand our global presence in a fast-growing, high-margin segment of the music publishing business and provide many more opportunities to showcase the songs in the Warner/Chappell catalogue on a wide array of music platforms and services. Together with Non-Stop Music, these valuable libraries will strengthen our standing in the production music business and allow us to offer the music licensing community an even broader and deeper range of music from our catalogue".

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SPOTIFY AIMING FOR THIRD-QUARTER US LAUNCH
Spotify exec Paul Brown told Bloomberg last week that the streaming music service still plans to arrive in the US this year, with a third quarter launch now planned. Brown confirmed that Spotify are still to secure server space in North America, and that some content licences are yet to be agreed.

As previously reported, there has been speculation that at least one of the majors won't licence a free-to-use version of Spotify in the US market, where some similar subscription-based services have started to enjoy some success, and where ad-funded platforms like Pandora, which offers much less 'on-demand' functionality, are starting to become profitable. This has led others to predict that only the premium version of Spotify will launch in North America.

Brown also revealed that the digital music firm are in talks with both Blackberry makers Research In Motion and Palm about launching mobile-app versions of Spotify for their devices.

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FIVE OWNER TALKING TO C4 ABOUT POSSIBLE PARTNERSHIPS
The boss of Bertelsmann's TV company, RTL Group, which owns Channel Five, has reportedly made another approach to Channel 4 about the creation of some sort of commercial partnership between the two British TV networks. According to The Guardian, Gerhard Zeiler met with new C4 Chairman Terry Burns and incoming CEO David Abraham last month to discuss a possible tie up.

With Channel 4 facing an uncertain future amid new competition for advertising and sponsorship revenue, there has been speculation that the TV company will eventually have to merge with another broadcaster to ensure long term survival.

Both Five and ITV have been mooted as possible merger candidates, though with C4 being state-owned any merger with a privately-owned (or publicly listed) company would be complicated. Some reckon that if there is a merger to be done, it would make more sense for C4 to merge with the commercial division of the BBC, and indeed Abraham comes from BBC Worldwide's commercial TV division UKTV.

Although RTL have previously let it be known they'd consider an all out merger with Channel 4, it seems more likely any recent discussions would be based on a more limited commercial partnership, such as the merger of the two broadcaster's sales operations. Neither RTL nor C4 have commented on any talks between the two broadcasters.

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CHART UPDATE
Hey! It's another exciting Chart Update. You wanna know what's going on in the chart? This is the place. Well, it's a place, anyway.

At number one in the singles chart this week Lady Gaga has held firm with 'Telephone', despite strong competition from Tinie Tempah, who's desperately trying to get back up there. Maybe this excellent Wrong Tom remix, which takes the track back to the 80s dancehall, will help.

Aside from the vicious battle for the top spot, there's little going on in the top ten. After eleven weeks on the chart, Young Money's 'Bedrock' has moved up to number nine, the single's highest chart position to date, but you have to travel right down to number thirteen to find a new entry in the single chart this week, Usher's 'OMG'. And then there are only two other tracks making their debut appearance this week: Timbaland's 'Carry Out' at 29 and David Guetta's 'Memories' at 38.

The album chart is mildly more exciting, with another Lady Gaga-fuelled battle for the number one position. This is a fight the Gaga hasn't won, though. After one week back at the top with 'The Fame', she's been knocked off by Boyzone, who saw a 60% increase in sales this week to take them back to the top for the second time in three weeks.

Down at number four, Laura Marling's second album, 'I Speak Because I Can', launches itself into the chart, ahead of Goldfrapp's 'Head First', another new entry at six. Meanwhile, outside the top ten, Joe Bonamassa's 'Black Rock' is another new entry at fourteen, Gabriella Cilmi is at 28 with 'Ten' and Mary J Blige is at 33 with 'Stronger With Each Tear'.

The charts are compiled by The Official Charts Company. Not, contrary to popular opinion, by employing black magic.

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BEYONCE NOT PREGNANT, OK?
So Beyonce's people have now denied those reports last week that Mrs Z is pregnant with husband Jay's child.

It seems the "Beyonce is pregnant" rumours came about when a spokesperson answered the question "Is Ms Knowles pregnant?" with a "no comment", which some journalists interpreted as a "yes". But this weekend Beyonce's people told reporters the singer is definitely not expecting. A statement which, of course, some journalists have interpreted as a "yes".

Expect the ultrasound photo to be on the net within a week, I reckon.

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GIRLS ALOUD TO RECORD NEXT ALBUMS AS A FOUR-PIECE?
More Girls Aloud speculation, and despite Cheryl Cole last week insisting the Girls were very much still together and still planned to fulfil their current three-album record contract with Polydor, there was more speculation this weekend that all is not well in the Aloud camp.

According to the News Of The World, the problem is Nadine Coyle who, as previously reported, is currently working on a solo album. The tabloid says Coyle pissed off her bandmates by recently telling reporters she had no plans to do anything Girls Aloud-related this year, presumably because of the solo album. Insiders say Coyle hadn't consulted the other Girls on this issue, and her comments led to Sarah Harding questioning the future of the group, and Kimberley Walsh suggesting they could record a new album as a four-piece Girls Aloud, sans Coyle.

And if you think this all sounds like pointless and idle speculation, look, the NOTW has a source and everything. The source told the paper: "They're tired of her mucking them around. The girls always had the end of 2010 booked in to record their next album and all of them, other than Nadine, still want to go ahead. If Nadine refuses they could simply go ahead as the four of them. It's not ideal and they would rather find a way to make it work, but she doesn't seem to be interested in that".

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Andy Malt
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