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CMU Info
Top Stories
EMI to merge bands in new bid to cut costs
Libertines hold press conference
In The Pop Courts
Jackson Senior's lawyer says Conrad Murray guilty of murder
Innocent infringer claim rejected in file-sharing case
In The Studio
Green Day go back to basics
The Drums not working with Florence
Release News
The Cure's Disintegration reissue gets release date
Wichita announce tenth birthday plans
Gigs & Tours News
Owl City announces UK dates
John Butler Trio UK & Ireland dates
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Album review: The Radio Dept - Clinging To A Scheme (Labrador)
Talks, Debates & Conventions
Born To Be Wide stage special day of music-biz seminars in Edinburgh
MusicTank to consider future of album
The Music Business
Sharkey calls on government to back Live Music Bill in closing days of parliament
The Digital Business
RealNetworks lay off staff
Guvera launches in the US
The Media Business
Johnston take down their experimental paywalls
Ronnie Wood gets Absolute show
And finally...
Beth Ditto is a thief
Cancer Bats offer their support to Sandra Bullock

Hailing from Portsmouth, Cranes were formed in the mid-80s by siblings Alison and Jim Shaw, and named after the innumerable mechanical cranes around the city's docks. Their sound incorporates elements of gothic rock, dream pop and shoegaze, with their early work borrowing from the industrial deconstructive sound of bands such as Einsturzende Neubaten. With a general softening of their sound, the introduction of pop elements and a world tour with The Cure in 1992, the band's popularity grew.

After the release of their album 'Population 4' they fell silent for a short period, re-emerging in 2001 with the release of 'Future Songs' and 'Particles And Waves' on their own label Dadaphonic. With Cranes set to play the Jazz Café on 7 Apr, we caught up with Alison to ask the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
We were more interested in the process of recording rather than playing live in the early stages. We used to spend months in my dad's garage with old tape machines and any instruments we could get our hands on. We had quite an experimental approach, we didn't want to sound like anyone else.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
For the sleeve of the last album we used a picture of a dandelion pod taken at night, which looked like a weird planet floating in space. We were interested in how different shapes and patterns are repeated in the universe, fractals and things. The album has kind of an electronica feel and we wanted to blend that with acoustic instruments, like cello and acoustic guitars. Some of the songs are a bit folky and some are more spacey, with layers of sound.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
We always mess around at home for a few months, trying things out until we come across something that feels different. Jim is constantly recording, so we do quite a lot of editing. Sometimes I write songs with just an acoustic guitar and voice and then Jim adds other sounds to it later. Sometimes I listen to what he has done and see what comes into my head. The lyrics are often improvised.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
As a kid, I was influenced by people like Minnie Ripperton and Kate Bush... I used to love singing along to their songs! Jim likes old film soundtracks and music from the sixties and seventies. He's got a lot of old vinyl stuff... I really like Four Tet and Sigur Rós and Portishead and Animal Collective. I like some folk music too, I really liked Cara Dillon's last album.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I think our three most recent albums, 'Cranes', 'Particles And Waves' and 'Future Songs' are representative. I would say try one of those, or come to a gig!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
People sometimes say that our music is atmospheric and filmic, so we'd love to write a film score one day. Songs from our albums have quite often been used in films and on TV, and once we wrote the music for a short film that won some awards, but we've never written a full length score, so that's kind of an ambition. We're working on new songs at the moment and we'll be playing at the Jazz Café in London on 7 Apr and at Whelans in Dublin on 17 Apr. We're excited about the Jazz Café as it's such a nice venue and Whelans will be our first trip to Ireland for years, so we're really looking forward to the shows.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/cranes
Having first come to our attention late last year through his brilliant remix of NewIsland's 'Out Of Time', and then an original track, 'I'm In Your Church At Night', Active Child, aka LA-based musician Pat Grossi, has built up quite a buzz around himself in recent months with two extremely limited releases, the 'Sun Room' cassette EP on Mirror Universe and the 'She Was A Vision' 7" single on Transparent Records. Now he's preparing for his first full release, the 'Curtis Lane' EP, via Filter in June.

Grossi's sound encompasses ghostly analogue electronica, vocals influenced by a childhood spent singing in classical choirs, and slow-plucked harp. It's a distinct style amongst the current crop of indie electronica, such as Washed Out, Toro Y Moi and Memory Tapes, and one you'll be hearing more of as that buzz builds and the remix work continues to flow in (the latest to arrive is a reworking of the new single from ex-Beta Band frontman Steve Mason, 'Lost & Found'). A whole stack of UK dates are coming up in May, too.


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
Twelve fabulous desk spaces and one unit for four to six people left. Available to rent now in a shared, open plan office - The Shoreditch Arch on Rivington Street. Situated in a beautiful railway arch you would be sharing with a friendly PR company, promoters and a design company.

This is a cool, unique space behind Cargo, with access to a beautiful garden (bring on the summer!) and of course the restaurant, club and bar. Includes: fast broadband, cleaning, rates, all bills included (except landline phones), heating and air con for summer, 24 Hour Access, kitchen, pigeon holes and Royal Mail collection. Available NOW.

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www.theshoreditcharch.co.uk - contact Dan to schedule viewings on 020 7684 5634
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Rylance to direct fund-raiser next month
V&A to show Ballets Russes exhibition
London International Festival to make full return
Johnston take down their experimental paywalls
Men & Motors closes tomorrow
Lords committee call for more clairty on digital radio switchover
Music festival line-up update - 31 Mar 2010
City Showcase announces classical strand
Belle & Sebastian announce Bowlie 2

In case you hadn't noticed. Enjoy your chocolate/buns/bunny rabbits/all new Dr Who/God (delete as applicable) and see you back here in your inbox on Tuesday. Our Music Business Week In Five and Five Day Forecast will still be available, via the News-Blog at theCMUwebsite.com, on Friday and Monday respectively.

Following the news yesterday that all of EMI's attempts to mortgage its recordings catalogue in the US market had failed, one last bold plan has emerged from the London-based major's existing management that they hope can stop Citigroup from seizing control of the company when loan repayments become due in May.

It seems increasingly likely that the only way that EMI will now be able to meet its commitments to Citigroup is if it can convince investors in its parent company Terra Firma to cough up more cash. In a bid to get that support, a new internal report has proposed a radical way to enable further cost savings at the already cut-back major, principally by encouraging bands signed to the label to merge their activities, reducing upfront investment costs and financial risks.

The 'April Report', a name seemingly referencing the fact the major only has one month to save itself, was distributed yesterday to Terra Firma investors, senior EMI staff and key artist managers, and claims that so called 'band mergers' could be the solution to the major's woes, enabling the record company to better service what some execs see as an overly expansive roster of artists by pooling marketing efforts into combined releases.

The report outlines some of the first band mergers likely to take place as part of the new arrangement, some of which seem to have already been run by affected artists and managers. If the proposals go ahead, Hot Chip will be partnered with Coldplay, and, despite having only just released their latest album 'One Life Stand', could be in the studio with their new bandmates and producer Brian Eno as soon as June. The new album from the combined band, working title Coldchip, should be out before Christmas.

While some merged bands will actually collaborate in the studio, other mergers will see American and British artists combined, with the singers performing under a combined brand name, but only in their home territory. This has echoes with the 1960s system where different artists on opposite sides of the Atlantic would release the same songs. It's thought Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue, or Katy Minogue moving forward, might be the test project in this regard, with Katy representing the combined band brand in the US, and Kylie in the UK and Australia. There are, of course, also carbon footprint benefits to this particular idea.

But possibly the most surprising of the band merger proposals is that artists already involved in multiple projects with the label will have to pick one brand to perform under. This would affect the projects of former Blur members, whose new work would all be released under the Blur name. This would include all Damon Albarn projects, including Gorillaz, and Graham Coxon's solo work.

Although it's not clear if the band mergers proposal was included in the previously reported business plan prepared for Terra Firma investors by former EMI CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti, who quit last month, the proposal is now being spearheaded by the company's Executive Chairman Charles Allen.

He provides the introduction to the April Report, and writes: "While it is no secret that EMI has had its fair share of problems in recent years, I genuinely believe that this measure will secure the company's short term and long term future. I realise that many music fans will see it as a controversial move, but they must realise that it is a necessary one. Record companies need to keep their costs to an absolute minimum to stay in business, and when innovative solutions like this present themselves, we'd be fools not embrace them".

Although most affected artists are yet to comment on the report, a source close to Hot Chip's management last night confirmed that they had been consulted about the proposal the band merge with Coldplay. The source said: "We had our reservations about the Coldchip proposals, but, while driven by commercial necessity, they actually pose some interesting creative challenges that artists will find exciting. The Hot Chip boys are actually looking forward to working with some brand new bandmates. We're not 100% sure how it's all going to work yet, but given Coldplay's huge global fanbase, it's also a great opportunity for the guys".

Other mergers proposed in the report include a new band called The Stones consisting of Angus, Julia and Joss Stone, and, perhaps most interestingly artistically speaking, an album by a combined Massive Attack and Liars, whose new moniker may be Massive Liars.

EMI are yet to comment on the leaked report.

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The Libertines held a press conference yesterday to assure everyone that they definitely are reforming and that they definitely won't have split up or died by the time August and their previously announced headline slots at the Reading and Leeds festivals roll around. They also played a few songs, in order to prove that all their limbs still work.

Among the words used by the band, according to the BBC, were these...

Pete on The Libertines legacy: "Looking back on it, we did produce things we are so proud of and we want to get back to that".

Pete on the reunion: "I'm dying to play some of those songs with the boys and get some new things done".

Pete on the rumoured £1.2 million fee: "What's appealing about the money is what's left over after tax".

Pete on bandmate Carl: "He never answers his phone".

Carl on the reunion: "Excited".

The drumming dude on the reunion: "Hello".

The other one on the reunion: "..."

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As expected, Michael Jackson's father Joe has confirmed he plans to sue Dr Conrad Murray in relation to his role in the death of the late king of pop. Murray, of course, faces involuntary manslaughter charges over allegations he negligently administered the drugs that killed Jackson. Jackson Senior will sue for damages for the losses he has apparently suffered as a result of the wrongful death Murray allegedly caused.

Speaking to Reuters, Joe Jackson's lawyer Brian Oxman said yesterday he believed that the Doc's role in Jacko's death actually amounted to second-degree murder. Speaking about how Murray had given Jackson a shot of propofol to help cure a bout of insomnia, he told the news agency: "That is Russian roulette, that is loading six bullets into a gun with only six chambers. [Murray's actions were] reckless, and it amounts to second-degree murder".

Jackson Senior is expected to sue for loss of companionship, consortium and economic support. It's not thought any other members of the Jackson family will be party to the civil litigation, which could run alongside Murray's criminal case.

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In an interesting aside from one of the leftover cases from the Recording Industry Association Of America's long-running sue-the-fans campaign, an appeal court in the US has reversed a decision that possibly provided file-sharers with an 'innocent infringer' defence under American copyright law.

Whitney Harper was one of the many American file-sharers sued for copyright infringement by the RIAA, back in 2004. Whereas most of those accused by the trade body of sharing unlicensed music via file-sharing networks quickly settled out of court, Harper - then 16 years old - decided to defend herself.

Although she was found liable for copyright infringement, her lawyers cited an 'innocent infringer' defence using a clause of American copyright law. Although the defence, which is based around a claim the defendant did not know she was infringing a copyright, does not circumvent liability for infringement, it reduces the minimum damages the defendant must pay from $750 per track to $200 per track. Given Harper was accused of infringing the copyrights in 37 songs, this could make quite a difference in the overall damages figure.

At first instance the court bought the innocent infringer argument and awarded the record labels damages of $200 for each infringed copyright. Both sides appealed. In a new ruling made in early March, and reported on by US law website Lexology this week, the courts agreed with the record industry's lawyers that the 'innocent infringer' defence did not actually apply in this case.

Harper's basis for using the defence was that she didn't understand that file-sharing constituted infringement. But the labels argued that was irrelevant, the innocent infringer defence only implied if a content owner failed to clearly state its copyright on any official release. Harper admitted she had taken the 37 tracks off CDs, all of which had the customary copyright small print on the artwork.

The appeals court agreed with the record company's interpretation of the innocent infringer concept, and that it didn't apply in file-sharing cases, even if the file-sharer was not aware their file-sharing amounted to infringement.

Of course, the RIAA has now ended its sue-the-fans strategy, and, anyway, claiming to be ignorant of the illegality of file-sharing would probably be a less credible claim now than in 2004, so the actual impact of this appeal ruling is probably nominal. But it reinforces a core principle of copyright law, that ignorance of infringement rules is not a defence providing a content owner states their rights.

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Green Day have said they will go back to basics with their next album, moving away from the concept album model and make a nice little collection of stand alone songs instead.

The band's Billie Joe Armstrong told reporters: "We set up all of our equipment from 1992, and we sat in a room. We got in, and I was like, 'Come on, guys, we're getting back in'".

Although work has begun on the new longer player, it is still early days for the follow up to '21st Century Breakdown'. Armstrong continued: "It's still really early. We've got to start translating the songs and explaining the songs, and the next step will be arguing about the songs".

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For a change from reporting on bands that aren't reforming, we've decided to start updating you on artists who aren't working together. To kick things off, here's news that The Drums are not (repeat: not) going to be recording with Florence Welch any time soon. With or without her machine.

The band's Jonathan Pierce told The Daily Record: "Florence sent us a couple of emails through her manager. We think she's a really cool girl. Out of all those girls making pop music, we think she's miles ahead of the rest.[But] collaborating with anyone is against what we want to do as a band, unless it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing with Edwyn Collins".

The Drums will, however, support Flo on her upcoming US tour. Unless that's just an elaborate ruse on her part to get her revenge on them. That'd be just like her - book a load of venues, sell no tickets, and just get The Drums to turn up night after night to find an empty, locked building. She'll be there, though. They won't know it, but she'll be just out of sight, trying to stifle her laughter as she watches them standing there with all their equipment, scratching their heads.

Pierce has no clue that this is her plan, though. Look, he said this: "She's very nice and hand-selected us for the tour here and in the US. She's a smart girl, so she'll understand why we wouldn't collaborate. It's nothing personal".

Also not working with the band are The Smiths, though The Drums do apparently count at least three quarters of the legendary Manchester band amongst their fans. When the band performed at the Manchester Deaf Institute on Tuesday night, former Smiths drummer and bassist Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke were spotted in the audience, while Morrissey himself made his way down to The Old Blue Last in London last night to watch the band.

Johnny Marr was unavailable for comment on account of him collaborating with too many bands.

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As previously reported, The Cure announced way back in October last year that they will re-release their utterly brilliant 1989 album, 'Disintegration', in remastered form and with two extra CDs of bonus material this year. Now, finally, the release has been given an official release date - you'll be able to get your hands on it on 24 May.

For full details of what can be found on the new version of the album, check out our original report here (there's a lot of it): newsblog.theCMUwebsite.com/post/The-Cure-to-reissue-Disintegration.aspx

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Wichita Recordings has announced a series of special releases and events to mark the label's tenth anniversary.

First up are limited edition vinyl releases for Record Store Day on 17 Apr. All pressed onto 160g vinyl and limited to 1000 copies each will be Wichita's debut release, Bright Eyes' 'Fever & Mirrors' album, The Cribs' eponymous debut, which will also include a CD of their original demos, Simian Mobile Disco's 'Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release' and Bloc Party's 'Silent Alarm', which will come with a bonus 7" of the band's 2004 single, 'Little Thoughts'.

In addition, 500 copies of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' debut EP will be made available again on vinyl for the first time in six years, while First Aid Kit while Peggy Sue will release a special split 7" single, limited to 700 copies.

There will also be a number of celebratory shows at the Great Escape and Stag & Dagger festivals in Brighton and London and at the launch party for Barcelona's Primavera. Here are dates and details:

14 May: The Great Escape - Peggy Sue, Sky Larkin, Gold Panda and Dam Mantle.
21 May: Stag & Dagger - Sky Larkin, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Cold Pumas and Dam Mantle.
26 May: Barcelona, The Apollo - Los Campesinos!, First Aid Kit and Peggy Sue (Primavera launch party)

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Chart topping emo-popster Owl City, aka Adam Young, has announced that he'll be over in the UK next month for a couple of live shows.

On his sudden rise to fame, bolstered by a few tracks uploaded to the web, Young told CMU: "I can't believe how fast things have taken off. It seems like it was only yesterday I put a few songs from my first EP online and watched things begin to happen on their own. I never thought music could spread like mine did through the internet. I do know one thing though: I just wanted to keep creating. It's a lot of fun and it's the only thing in the world I'm good at. So it'd be a real shame to stop".

His new single, 'Umbrella Beach', is due for release on 17 May via Universal.

Tour dates:

8 May: Glasgow, Barrowlands
9 May: London, Shepherds Bush Empire

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One of Australia's most successful rock bands, and not doing too badly in the rest of the world either, the John Butler Trio, will be over for some UK and Ireland dates later this month. The band also release their new album, 'April Uprising', on 5 Apr via Because Music.

Of the new album, John Butler says: "When we started mixing the question we were asking was: 'Is this a great song?' I don't care how cool the rhythms are, how amazing it sounds. Even an instrumental has to have a voice that holds you and carries you through light and shade. If you have the voice then you have a song. And then you're saying something".

8 Apr: Dublin, Olympia
9 Apr: Glasgow, Academy
10 Apr: Manchester, Academy
12 Apr: Southampton, Guildhall
14 Apr: London, Hammersmith Apollo

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BENICASSIM, Valencia, Spain, 15-20 Jul: Julian Casablancas and Goldfrapp are amongst the latest acts confirmed to play Benicassim, along with DJ Shadow, Boys Noize, Fionn Regan, Midnight Juggernauts and Daedelus. www.benicassimfestival.com

BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 9-12 Sep: New Young Pony Club, Zero 7 and Errors lead the latest acts added to this year's Bestival line-up. Also confirmed to play are Steve Mason, Mount Kimbie, Chrome Hoof, Silver Columns, Darwin Deez and Muchuu. www.bestival.net

GLASTONBURY ABBEY EXTRAVAGANZA, Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, 7-8 Aug: Madness and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra have been announced to play at this year's Glastonbury Extravanganza. www.glastonburyextravaganza.com

HIGH VOLTAGE, Victoria Park, London, 24-25 Jul: Opeth are the latest act to be announced for new rock festival High Voltage, joining the previously announced ZZ Top, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Joe Bonamassa. www.highvoltagefestival.com

HOP FARM FESTIVAL, Hop Farm Country Park, Kent, 3 Jul: Ray Davies, The Magic Numbers and Foy Vance have been added to the Hop Farm line-up, joining previously confirmed acts Bob Dylan, Seasick Steve, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons. www.hopfarmfestival.com

KENDAL CALLING, Lowther Estate, Kendal, East Cumbria, 30 Jul - 1 Aug: Calvin Harris has been confirmed as a headliner for this year's Kendal Calling, with Wild Beasts, The Futureheads, OK Go, Dub Pistols and many more added to the line-up. www.kendalcalling.co.uk

LATITUDE, Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, 16-18 Jul: Laura Marling, Corinne Bailey Rae, Here We Go Magic, Mumford & Sons, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Girls and Kurran And The Wolfnotes are among the latest acts confirmed for this year's festival. Also on site will be London-based theatre showcase PLAYlist, which invites writers to create plays inspired by (and not longer than) chosen pieces of music. www.latitudefestival.co.uk

OXEGEN, Punchestown Racecourse, Naas, 8-11 Jul: Dizzee Rascal, Julian Casablancas and Jamie T head up the latest additions to this year's Oxegen line-up. Also added to the bill are Laura Marling, Earth, Wind & Fire, Groove Armada, The Black Keys, The Cribs, Chase & Status, The Stranglers and Fox Avenue. www.oxegen.ie

STANDON CALLING, Standon, Hertfordhsire, 6-8 Aug: Liars, Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club and Efterklang are amongst the first acts to be announced for this summer's Standon Calling, along with The Phenomenal Handclap Band, The Phantom Band, These New Puritans, Esben And The Witch, Fucked Up, Anna Calvi, Egyptian Hip Hop, plus many more. www.standon-calling.com

T4 ON THE BEACH, Weston-super-Mare, 4 Jul: JLS, N-Dubz, Tinie Tempah and Jason Berulo have all been confirmed. www.channel4.com/entertainment/t4/

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Radio Dept - Clinging To A Scheme (Labrador)
[This album is so nice, we reviewed it twice. Okay? We did this on purpose, yeah? Just as long as we're all clear on that. Good.]

'Clinging To A Scheme' is The Radio Dept's eagerly awaited third studio album, arriving a whopping four years since their last release with the weight of promise and reputation on its shoulders; it does not disappoint.

Admittedly, I got into this band through the (amazing) 'Marie Antoinette' soundtrack, and was initially awed by the ethereal quality of Johan Duncanson's voice and the way that it melded with the bands use of melodic, scuzzy guitar - while that superb quality hasn't changed, the band's sound has progressed to further heights.

I think of The Radio Dept's music as music that could soundtrack dreams, and 'Clinging To A Scheme' has refined that notion furthermore. It's less (charmfully) messy than previous works, but it's not too clean, either - the haze still lingers, particularly in the aptly titled 'Memory Loss' and the almost Film Noir-ish 'David'. Jesus and Mary Chain-esque 'This Time Around' is a definite favourite, but all in all, 'Clinging To A Scheme' is a wonderful all-rounder of damn good quality song writing, making and conjuring.

It's a collection of tunes that have been appropriately labelled "mythical krautrock", and was worth every second of the wait. TW


Swedish three-piece The Radio Dept might reside on the hyper-twee Labradaor records label, but of all the bands on the label, they might also be the only one that doesn't trade on cutesy lyrics and twinkly guitar lines. Sure, there's still the occasional orchestra hit on the keyboards and there's always a solid drum machine loop backing things up, but the band like to make things a little less obvious than their contemporaries.

Like a conifer forest in the fog, there's a fuzz-laden sound on this record that makes it tricky to find out exactly where things are going. A melancholy slant in the lyrics adds to the downbeat mood - but it's not "I've lost my girlfriend"-downbeat, it's "Darn. We're snowed in again. Fetch the boardgames, Lars"-downbeat. The fifth track, 'A Token Of Gratitude', stands out as the best example of this - led by a beat from a ping-pong tournament and permeated with throbbing synths, it speaks volumes about exactly what the Radio Dept are all about.

'Clinging To A Scheme' won't shock and awe anyone familiar with the band's music, but newcomers with a taste for Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine and Interpol's quieter moments will find a smorgasbord of delights awaiting on this record. DG

Physical release: 19 Apr
Press contact: Hermana

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Organisers of Born To Be Wide, the Edinburgh-based band showcase and music community networking shindig, will stage a day of seminars and showcases next Thursday, 8 Apr.

Among the seminars during the day will be one on management featuring the likes of Keith Harris, Rab Andrew and Bruce Findlay, another on how festivals are programmed involved reps from T In The Park, Rockness and Wickerman, and one with a digital focus led by The Orchard. Evening showcases and a post-event party will take place at Edinburgh's Cabaret Voltaire, Sneaky Pete's and Electric Circus.

Co-organiser Olaf Furniss says this: "To get to see such an amazing line up of speakers would normally involve paying hundreds of pounds to attend a conference, or at the very least taking a three hour train journey to Inverness for Go North. Our aim is to make this accessible to people by keeping the price low and hosting it on their doorstep".

Tickets are £30, or £20 for Musicians' Union members. More at www.myspace.com/borntobewide.

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The next MusicTank Think Tank event will focus on the future of the album format in this here pick-n-mix I'll-only-have-the-good-tracks-thanks digital age.

Called 'Never Mind The Boxset: The Album Post-iTunes', speakers will include Paul Conroy, the once boss of Virgin Records who, in his role as a music business consultant, now advises Universal Music on catalogue releases and box sets. It all takes place at PRS For Music's HQ in London town on 20 May at 6.30pm.

Info at www.musictank.co.uk/events/album-format

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UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey has called on the government to back the previously reported Live Music Bill that was put to parliament earlier this year by Liberal Lord Tim Clement-Jones.

As previously reported, Clement-Jones' bill is a response to the 2003 Licensing Act, and aims to remove some of the extra bureaucracy that Act introduced for promoters of grass roots gigs. A lot of its proposals came from a earlier review of the Act undertaken by parliament's Culture Select Committee. However, the government has refused to back the Live Music Bill, arguing it plans to make its own proposals regarding reforming live music licensing, which would be less far reaching than those of the Liberal Lord.

But a government consultation on the issue has only just been completed, meaning Labour ministers won't have time to introduce any proposals to parliament before it shuts down for the General Election. In a letter to Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, published by Music Week, Sharkey argues that if Labour would back the Live Music Bill as it currently stands, that could be rushed through before the Election and while Labour are still in power.

He writes: "The Department For Culture Media And Sport have just days to evaluate possibly hundreds of submissions, seek appropriate agreement and clearances with other government departments, formulate a decision and then lay an LRO [legislative reform order] before parliament. With a General Election imminent, might we enquire how you might expedite this process with just days available?"

Bills put forward by MPs or Lords not affiliated to the political party in government rarely succeed, and it seems unlikely the live music licensing issue is important enough to the current government for them to undertake a u-turn with regards their criticism of Clement-Jones' proposals. Still, it was worth a try.

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RealNetworks have announced they will be laying off 60 people, or 4% of their workforce, as part of those previously reported plans to spin off their US-based digital music service Rhapsody as a separate company.

Most of the cuts will come from the back office departments that directly supported the Rhapsody business, while there will also be cuts in the firm's video-game and media software divisions. It's not clear if there will be opportunities for any of those 60 people within the new Rhapsody company.

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As expected, sponsor-funded free download site Guvera beta launched in the US on Tuesday, having been open for business in home country Australia since the start of the year.

As previously reported, Guvera doesn't attach any commercial messages to the actual tracks, but sells sponsorship on the genre-based channels from which registered users access the free music. Tracks can be downloaded as DRM-free MP3s.

The site currently has licensing deals in place with Universal Music, EMI and IODA.

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So, this is interesting. Regional newspaper company Johnston Press is planning on dropping the paywalls it put up around some of its local papers as part of a pilot project to test the viability of charging for access to its online content.

Had the paywalls put up around the websites of six of its local papers been a success, it was thought Johnston Press would look to introduce a subscription system for its bigger regional titles, such as the Edinburgh daily broadsheet The Scotsman and the Leeds-based Yorkshire Post. But, according to the Press Gazette, the publisher's experiment with paywalls hasn't delivered overly positive results. A source told the trade website that subscriber numbers on one Scottish local paper was in the "low double figures".

When they began the experiment, Johnston said the paywalls on six local papers were introduced to "get an understanding of what the customer dynamic is around paid-for content". Different subscription systems were employed on each of the six titles. The publisher hasn't officially commented on the results of the pilot project, but the Gazette says all six paywalls have come down sooner than was originally intended.

The Times, of course, is set to put a paywall around its website in June. Opinions are divided regards whether or not the Rupert Murdoch owned paper can successfully move its online operations to a subscription-based business model. It seems likely that national papers will have a better chance of making subscription services work than their regional counterparts, though the regional press need to find a viable online business model even more urgently than the nationals.

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Absolute Radio have signed Rolling Stone and professional alcoholic Ronnie Wood to present a show on their digital station Absolute Classic Rock. The show will see Wood play records and tell stories from his long career in rock music and drinking.

Absolute's Content Director, Tony Moorey, told reporters: "Think fantastic music, and one man and his guitar in your living room, but that man being one of rock's gods, Ronnie Wood. It's not often that we have a genuine opportunity to strike a radio relationship with a rock legend... The Ronnie Wood Show is that opportunity".

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Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto has revealed that she has given up shoplifting. And not just for Lent - for good. So, shopkeepers need not worry about a sudden rise in things going missing in towns where Gossip are on tour come Sunday.

Ditto told Paper Magazine: "I have a hard time not buying or stealing. If I want something, I have to have it. But not any more. The last time was three months ago - a dress from Marshalls. I used to steal more. I mostly stole from Goodwill. You know, 'Can't be bothered. The line's too long. Put it in your purse'".

Though, despite all this certainty that her thieving days are behind her, Ditto later said: "I don't make any plans in my life. Things just happen". So, maybe shopkeepers should keep an eye on their shelves when the band are in town after all.

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Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock is going through a tough time at the moment, following the news that her husband, Jesse James, has been having an affair and has now checked himself into a rehab facility in Arizona. She'll no doubt be comforted to know that Canadian hardcore band Cancer Bats have got her back, though.


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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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