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CMU Info
Top Stories
Gorillaz to replace U2 at Glastonbury
Speculation grows about the future of Fabric amid Matter losses
In The Pop Courts
Suge Knight given restraining order, accused of murder plot
Reunions & Splits
The Faces sort of reunite for festival show
Release News
Major Lazer and La Roux release mixtape
Gigs & Tours News
Tom Robinson's birthday party to keep save 6 message going
Aguilera cancels US tour
Mastodon cancel European tour due to health concerns
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Album review: The Magic Theatre - London Town (Rotodisc)
Talks, Debates & Conventions
Music Connected returns
The Music Business
Liverpool Sound City: The ups and downs of confusing digital licensing
Liverpool Sound City: Sex, drugs and rock n roll
Chrysalis release upbeat financials
Calvin Harris to be Deconstruction A&R man
DeGeneres launches record label
The Digital Business
Apple bigger than Microsoft, music operations may be investigated
The Media Business
Sky says shutting 6music means nothing to them
Sky close to buying Virgin channels, may bid for Five
And finally...
Kylie invited back to Neighbours

Formed in 2006, seven-piece indie pop band Los Campesinos! signed to Wichita Recordings in 2006 after a hugely positive response to their demos. Their first single, 'We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives', was released the following year, with their debut album, 'Hold On Now, Youngster...', and an EP 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed', following in 2008. The band released their latest album, 'Romance Is Boring', back in February, and are now set to play all three dates of this weekend's Dot To Dot Festival. Ahead of their first Dot To Dot performance in Bristol on 29 May, we spoke to Tom from the band to ask the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I can remember my first lame attempt at songwriting, which was as soon as I learnt to play guitar, where I "liberated" some Blur chord progressions (an entire song) and then made very slight plagiarism-dodging alterations. Now we've made a career out of doing that very thing.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Hmm, mainly the want to better our last album.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Unhinged excitement at the discovery of a new melody; frustration at not being able to form that melody into something that's as good as the song in your head; depression upon realising you hate music and have completely lost faith in yourself and anything you've ever done; hatred of yourself and everyone; "fuck off"; delight when you realise you've got a leftover KitKat downstairs; muted satisfaction when you listen back to the song and realise that it's actually 'alright'.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
In the long term, bands like Yo La Tengo, Deerhoof, Pavement, and Super Furry Animals; in the short term, whatever song I've heard that day and liked. Very fickle.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
"It's alright, but their earlier stuff's way better".

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
That in six months time, maybe someone, somewhere will say: "Oh, actually, this album's NOT that shit".

MORE>> www.loscampesinos.com
The questions everyone seemed to be asking at The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City earlier this month were either, "Have you seen Sleigh Bells?" or "Are you seeing Sleigh Bells later?" I don't think I heard any band's name more. And these seem to have been questions that echoed around the CMJ Music Marathon last October and SxSW in March, too. So, I'll save you the discomfort and just ask the obvious response on your behalf: "Who?"

Formed in 2008 by Derek Miller, former guitarist in hardcore band Poison The Well, and one member of short-lived teen-pop group RubyBlue, Alexis Krauss, Sleigh Bells make industrial pop music. Not dissimilar in a number of ways to experimental hip hop duo Dälek, Miller creates tracks with everything pushed into the red. Distorted hip hop beats underpin piercing, scratchy guitars, biting synths and heavy, heavy basslines. Krauss' vocals then spring out clean and sweet-sounding from this angry concoction.

The results, as can be heard on the duo's debut album, 'Treats', are incredibly striking, and the blast of noise it delivers is thrilling. Whether that initial thrill will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but it's well worth finding out. The album is out in digital form this week, with physical versions following next month.



We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced individual who will be responsible for managing a well established and respected licensed venue. You will primarily be responsible for planning and delivering a diverse events and entertainments programme to meet the needs of our students and external customers, offering quality services and facilities in a safe and enjoyable environment. You will have at least two years management experience in the entertainment industry. You must be capable of working within agreed budgets and be driven by quality and results. The position is a hands- on operational one and involves working nights and weekends.

If you have the skills to meet this challenge, please contact Keele University Students' Union on 01782 733 700 or see www.kusu.net/kusu_vacancies. Closing date: 9 Jun 2010. Interviews will be held week commencing 14 Jun 2010. KUSU is committed to being an equal opportunity employer.

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Sign up before the 31 May and you'll get to go to a free event training day run by Live Nation and the O2 academies near you in June. Industry experts will help you to plan, promote and raise money at your Oxjam event. You'll also get to meet other amazing Oxjam Event Organisers from around the country to swap ideas and advice, and together form the biggest line-up of any music festival in the UK!

Don't miss out, sign up on the Oxjam website today... www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or have a large catalogue 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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Ivors dished out in London
Vaizey to have both culture and business remit
Parliament dishes out its jazz gongs
Industry bodies send final save 6 pleas to BBC Trust
BBC Trust's 6music consultation deadline approaches
George Lamb quits 6
Music festival line-up update - 26 May 2010
Scroobius Pip announces Camp Bestival poetry podcast
Charleston Festival will take you to the end of May

Following the news that U2 have been forced to cancel all upcoming tour dates, including their Glastonbury appearance, Gorillaz have been announced as their replacement at the festival.

As previously reported, Bono underwent emergency back surgery in Munich on Friday after he was left temporarily paralysed by a bout of "sudden onset disease". Although the singer is now out of danger, he will be out of action for the next few months while he goes through a programme of rehabilitation to aid his recovery.

Announcing that Gorillaz had agreed to fill the now empty slot at Glastonbury, Michael Eavis said: "This is going to be Gorillaz's only UK festival appearance, and it'll be a massive audio/visual spectacle which will really ignite the Pyramid on the Friday night, with Muse, then Stevie Wonder to follow. I'm very excited about Gorillaz's show coming here because they're so open to guests and collaborations. The alchemy of Friday's show is going to be astonishing: a perfect, contemporary way to kick off the 40th anniversary celebrations".

Even though he's a fictional character, Murdoch from Gorillaz added: "We're like some great big horrible warship pulling in to the Bay of Glastonbury to save the day. It was us or The Beatles and they split up years ago. The previous soldiers got pulled from duty last minute so it's up to my Plastic Beach naval cavalry to sail in and sort the battlefield out. I can assure you though, I'm bringing extra troops. Loads of them. Glastonbury will be ours... cutlasses drawn, trumpets ready. We're coming in..."

Meanwhile, in a video posted on the official U2 website, The Edge commented on Bono's condition, explaining: "He was in a fairly intense programme to be ready for the tour, so something in that preparation... maybe he just overdid it and hurt himself ... I think he realised [how bad it was] when he could no longer walk [and] that actually he needed to go to the doctor ... By the time they got to see him and do the scans they realised he had got some fairly major damage and had he not done anything about it, it could have been very serious and permanent".

He continued: "It was well caught. I think we were very relieved to hear that he had gone to the doctor when he did. We have to make sure that he does follow the doctors' orders, because knowing him he will want to take short cuts and get ahead of himself. Really, from what I understand, he needs to do this in a very methodical way. So, we will be there to chain him down if needs be".

In other Glastonbury news, The Guardian has compiled a spreadsheet listing the full line-up for the festival, which you can view here.

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There was heightened speculation yesterday that problems at Dome-based nightclub Matter might bring its sister club Fabric down, too.

As previously reported, bosses at Matter announced last week that the club would close for the summer months, pretty much with immediate effect, despite some nights already being booked in for June. And while the statement said details of an autumn relaunch would follow, there has been wide speculation that this was the club under the Dome shutting for good.

It was initially thought that Matter's sister venue, the much longer established Fabric, would not be affected by problems over at the Dome, but speculation has risen in the last 24 hours that this might not be the case. The rumours seem to be based on a number of redundancies that took place at the Fabric company earlier this week, all immediate, and many reportedly, according to a number of sources speaking to CMU, affecting people who worked on the main Fabric venue and the spin-off record label, as well as those directly concerned with Matter.

It is thought that Fabric's owners pumped millions into Matter, creating an incredibly impressive clubbing space and booking some major league DJ talent. But, despite a generally positive reaction by DJs and clubbers alike to the new venue, it has struggled to pull in sufficiently large crowds, mainly because of location issues.

While the main O2 Arena continues to do well, thanks mainly to the kinds of bands it books, other Dome-based ventures still suffer from a widely held - though actually incorrect - perception that the O2 complex is a long way out of central London. The location issue was an even bigger problem for Matter because, while the Dome is a lot easier to get to than many people think, that doesn't apply so much once the Jubilee Line shuts down at midnight, making things even more challenging for a late night venue.

Whether the large losses at Matter will actually result in Fabric going down too remains to be seen, though it has certainly had a negative impact on the Fabric company in the short term. All of which is very sad, both for the people who worked for the Fabric enterprise, and for fans of quality dance music and club nights, Fabric being one of London's very best quality clubbing venues.

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Following his arrest for alleged assault with a deadly weapon last week, hip hop mogul Suge Knight has now been given a restraining order by the LA County Superior Court following claims that he was behind a murder plot the day after that attack.

In court documents filed on Monday and seen by TMZ, the unnamed claimant says that on Friday Knight "had eight guys come to my house and told them to get me or kill me". It's not clear if this is the same man who was involved in the earlier alleged attack on Thursday, though the documents also say the Knight, who spent Thursday night in Jail before being released on bail, told him "he was out now and going to take my life".

The restraining order bars Knight from coming within 100 yards of his alleged victim and he is due to appear in court to answer the claims on 8 Jun.

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The Faces will sort of reunite for a festival show later this year. I say sort of, because Rod Stewart won't be along for the ride, so lead vocals will be handled by a certain Mick Hucknall.

It's not a totally novel concept, the Simply Red man performed with the rest of the Faces at a gig at the Royal Albert Hall last Autumn. Original Faces members Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan will be involved, while former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock will fill in for late Faces man Ronnie Lane.

Announcing that The Simply Faces will play the Vintage At Goodwood festival on 13 Aug, Wood told reporters: "It's exciting to be on this path again and I hope that The Faces fans are excited as we are. I'm just really looking forward to seeing them this summer - bring it on!"

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Diplo's label Mad Decent have released a free mixtape put together by Major Lazer and La Roux, which they've called 'Lazerproof'.

With La Roux beginning to make a mark on the US market - the single 'Bulletproof' is currently sitting in the iTunes top ten over there - the mix was put together during a recent trip to Jamaica and sees the two duos fuse ska, dubstep, hip hop and pop, with guest appearances from Gucci Mane, Drake, Gyptian, Rusko and Amanda Blank.

You can download 'Lazerproof' from www.maddecent.com/blog/lazerproof

Here's the tracklist:

Bulletproof (Nacey Remix feat Matt Hemerlein)
Colourless Artibella
I'm Not Your Lemonade (Heroes N Villains Remix feat Gucci Mane)
Independent Kill (feat Candi Redd)
Keep It Fascinating
Magic (Falling Soldiers Dub)
In 4 The Kill Pon De Skream (feat Drake)
Houstatlantavegas Pains
Tigerlily (DYWHAP Blend feat Rusko)
Can't Stop Now (Armor Love Remix)
Quicksand (Mad Decent 2010 Rerub feat Amanda Blank)
Cover My Eyes (Costra Nostra Edit)
I Said It (Major Lazer Dubplate feat Opal)
Hold Yuh (Double Dubplate feat Gyptian)

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The BBC Trust's public consultation on plans to close down 6music may have now closed, but the Save 6 campaign continues, and attention next week will focus on a 60th birthday party for long term 6 presenter Tom Robinson, which is being used as another rallying call for the digital radio station.

Taking place at the Shepherd's Bush Empire next Tuesday (1 Jun), Chew Lips, Little Comments, Cosmo Jarvis and Eugene McGuinness will all take to the stage, while reps from indie labels Rough Trade, Bella Union, Domino, Beggars, Warp, Ninja Tune and Moshi Moshi, plus various 6music presenters, will be on hand for a big Save 6 moment at the end of the night.

New Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who got labelled as "the politician who supports shutting 6" when he was slightly misquoted when the BBC cutback plans were first announced, and who subsequently said he thought 6music was a great service, has also been invited. He apparently met Tom at the recent Ivor Novello Awards. Though I suspect he'll be "otherwise committed" next Tuesday. And no doubt he'll be keen to point out it's not for politicians to interfere on BBC management decisions.

Tickets for the party are £15 and can be bought from www.gladtobegrey.net

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Christina Aguilera has announced that she has decided to postpone here upcoming US tour, due to take place in July and August, as she's been a bit busy lately and forgot to get ready for it. The singer cited the recent completion of filming on her forthcoming movie 'Burlesque', and promotional work for new album 'Bionic', as the pesky things that had caused the cancellation. Oh, and the fact that no one has heard her new album yet, so can't join in with a good old singsong and/or knees up.

Writing on her website, Aguilera said: "I made the decision to move my summer tour and I am truly sorry to those of you who had purchased tickets and have been disappointed by the news. Immediately after wrapping production on 'Burlesque', I went directly back into the studio and then quickly started the promotional process for 'Bionic'. With both the album press and film press I am booked the entire summer and need time to focus on the work at hand".

She continued: "After reviewing the schedule with my team, I realised there was not enough time to put together and rehearse for a proper show, one that is at the calibre you expect from me or at the level I would present to my fans. In addition, my album has not even been released as yet and I would like for you all to become familiar with the music before you hear it live on tour".

New tour dates are expected to be scheduled for early 2011 later this year.

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Mastodon have announced that they are cancelling a month long European tour, which was due to begin in Germany on 5 Jun, after guitarist Bill Kelliher was diagnosed with pancreatitis.

In a statement, the band said: "[Bill] has been advised by doctors to continue further medical treatment. Bill's medical team are optimistic and expect a full recovery in the weeks ahead".

The band do expect to be able to take part in their 'BlackDiamondSkye' co-headline tour with Alice In Chains and Deftones in the US in September and October.

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GLOBAL GATHERING, Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, 30-31 Jul: Chew Lips, Tinie Tempah and Alex Metric have all been confirmed to play this summer's tenth Global Gathering, along with Dirty Vegas, Drums Of Death, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool and Scarlet Harlots. www.globalgathering.com

GUILFEST, Stoke Park, Surrey, 16-18 Jul: Tall Paul, Mikey Dubz and Ben Pineapple Tribe have all been confirmed to play The Funky End Dance Tent at Guilfest this summer, with the likes of Pint Shot Riot, Sorry And The Sinatras and The Xcerts announced to play the Rock Sound Cave. www.guilfest.co.uk

INDIETRACKS, Butterley Station, Derbyshire, 23-25 Jul: Slow Club and Everybody Was In The French Resistance... Now! are the latest headliners announced to play at this year's Indietracks Festival, joining the previously announced The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Love Is All, Veronica Falls and many more. www.indietracks.co.uk

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Magic Theatre - London Town (Rotodisc)
Dan Popplewell and Sophia Churney are best known for their work in late nineties pop sensations (in my house anyway) Ooberman. Championed by John Peel and others, their 'Shorley Wall' EP and subsequent album 'The Magic Treehouse' were wonderfully inventive with catchy nuggets which still provide the background for my summer days.

With Ooberman on a bit of an indefinite hiatus, Dan has been working on soundtrack projects, which is perhaps why this album has an ambitious story running through it, plus dramatic orchestration from the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Slovak Radio Orchestra and others.

It tells a tale of love gained and lost, but with a twist in that one of the characters falls through a time hole in 1968 and ends up in a Victorian Steam Fair to meet his true love in 1888. The website makes the actual story a bit clearer, to be honest, though stylistically the songs and sounds are representative of the times in which said story is set, with jaunty 60's pop alongside more orchestral 1880s fairground sounds, and so on.

There's also something of a musical progression through the seasons as the album and story proceeds. Screams "concept album" doesn't it? And that's exactly what this is. If you found Ooberman twee or overblown in any way, this really isn't for you, but for anyone who was enchanted by 'Shorley Wall' this is surely worth a listen. IM

Physical release: 7 Jun
Press contact: PPR

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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The Association Of Independent Music has confirmed that this year's Music Connected - the digital music trade fair and mini-conference - will take place on 30 Jun at Glaziers Hall in London. Actually, they confirmed that a while ago, but we never got around to reporting on it.

Sponsored by Music2Text, numerous digital music types will be represented at the trade fair, including Merlin, Shazam, Nokia, 7Digital, Fatdrop, Napster, We7, Tag Strategic, Sonic Digital, SoundCloud, Consolidated Independent, Believe Digital, state51 and INgrooves. In terms of presentations and whatnot, marketing agency Media Junction will present a session called 'Digital Marketing For Under £1000' while Warp Records will provide some digital marketing case studies.

Tickets are £125, or £30 for AIM members. More at this here URL:

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Two final reports from last week's Liverpool Sound City conference now, the first from the licensing panel that took place during the technology strand that dominated day three of the convention.

The Orchard founder Scott Cohen had mixed opinions about the confusing nature of music licensing in the digital domain. On the issue of pan-European licensing he was quite clear: the system operated by the collecting societies on the music publishing side of the equation was just too complicated. Of course, that's not especially surprising, given he runs a company that is able to licence the sound recordings The Orchard represents to Europe-wide digital ventures, but must then break the news to the entrepreneurs behind such ventures that they need separate publishing licences from every collecting society in Europe.

Representing the publishing sector, Eric Mackay of CELAS, which represents EMI Music Publishing's catalogue in the digital domain, admitted that the system for licensing music on a pan-European basis wasn't ideal, but argued that the publishing sector was slowly adapting to the needs of the digital market, partly to satisfy the demands of the European Commission on this issue, and partly for commercial motivations. Prior to the internet, he added, no one needed cross-territory licences, and creating such licences was not without its challenges. But, he countered, the publishing sector is moving in the right direction.

Cohen wasn't so sure. "Many licenses say that moves by the European Commission to force pan-European licences has made things more confusing than ever", CMU Publisher Chris Cooke, also on the panel, noted. "Is that because we're in a state of flux, or is everything screwed up, and basically we need to start again?"

"I really think it's the latter", Cohen said.

"I still believe the long term future for digital licensing - publishing and sound recordings - is blanket licensing through collecting societies which all offer pan-European licences", Cooke added. "Though it might take us a few years to get there. Because even if law makers don't force a radio-style licensing system for digital services onto copyright owners - which they might in France - ultimately, once there are no more million-dollar deal-sweeteners to be had by major record companies, blanket collective licensing just makes sense for logistical reasons".

Cohen said he was prone to agree, though Mackay said he couldn't disagree more. Partly because he felt regulators, far from forcing blanket licensing on the music industry, would block it for anti-competitive reasons, certainly at a European level.

But is the confusing nature of music licensing always a bad thing? Panel chair Cliff Fluet of legal firm Lewis Silkin, who counts Nokia among his clients, wanted to know about licensing in the sync and brand partnership domain, an area where blanket licences will surely never apply. The multiple ownership of songs and sound recordings by different individuals and companies - and the fact the artist a brand actually wants to work with often doesn't control any of their own music - seriously confuses marketing bosses with big budgets to spend. Isn't that a problem?

"Yes and no", Cohen reckoned. "Really it's a business opportunity, for those of us in the room who do understand how it works, and who can sell that expertise to brands and marketing agencies looking to work with music".

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One of the more fun sessions at Liverpool Sound City this year actually took place on the first day, and I think I promised you a write up of it about a week ago. Oh well. On Wednesday afternoon, as part of the Create Sound City programme, journalist and Goldblade frontman John Robb took to the stage to interrogate Dodgy drummer and artist manager Mathew Priest about the roll of sex and drugs in the rock n roll lifestyle.

Noting how numerous British music scenes from the sixties onwards had in part been linked to the illegal drug of the moment - whether it be speed, acid, LSD or ecstasy - Robb wondered whether aspiring bands who wanted to become part of whatever scene is in fashion will inevitably have to partake in the drugs associated with it.

Recalling the early days of Dodgy, Priest observed: "Britpop appeared on the back of the ecstasy scene, and of course drugs were around in abundance, and of course bands took part. And that's fine. But I think young bands who get into drugs do need to think about why they are doing it. Is it because it's fun, because it's part of the party lifestyle? Is it to maintain that unique rush you get on stage when you're off stage? Is it because you think it's cool, or it will make you a better musician, or turn you into some kind of creative genius?"

While neither Robb nor Priest were attempting any "just say no" style preaching on the issue, and both conceded dabbling in drugs could make you seem cooler (though getting addicted to them, less so), both seemed keen to stress that the creative power of drugs is often greatly exaggerated. "Yes, some songs, some albums, might have been influenced by drug-induced experiences", Robb noted. "But they won't turn you into a genius songwriter".

Priest agreed. "There is a tendency for people to look at musical geniuses, and at those musical geniuses' drug addictions, and think the latter led to the former", he said. "Doing heroin won't turn you into a Lou Reed. Living a Keith Richards lifestyle won't make you a brilliant guitarist. These people were talented before the drugs. Musicians who do the drugs to try to become a creative genius won't achieve much".

Heroin and cocaine in particular do little for creativity, both men reckoned. "There's a lot of very bad cocaine records" Robb joked.

"Heroin, I could never understand", Priest added. "What is 'heroin cool' about? But you saw bands doing it, just because they were desperate to be cool. But it's a dangerous thing, that generally destroys bands rather than making them great".

But what about the sex? You get as much sex as you want when you're in a band right? Priest said: "Being in a band, yes there'll be girls. But that can be exaggerated too, and depends on how you feel about taking advantage of overly-willing fans - we were never that keen on doing that in Dodgy. But, if you're the sort of person who finds it easy to get laid already, well, once you're in a successful band, the sky is the limit".

"I remember we toured with Space", he recalled. "The guitarist in that band, he was one of those guys. I remember we came off stage and there he was, in our dressing room, getting a blow job off a girl who was wearing a Dodgy t-shirt! He was getting our blow job! But yeah, he was one of those kind of guys, and while his band were in the spotlight, he had a very happy time!"

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Independent music publisher Chrysalis was upbeat yesterday when reporting on the first half of its current financial year. The company's net publisher's income share (so royalty revenues after songwriters and composers have been paid their share) was up 15% to £7.5 million.

Two of its songwriters, Fraser T Smith and Rob Swire, who co-wrote recent hits from Taio Cruz and Rihanna respectively, helped boost the publisher's fortunes, though it was last year's big Beatles re-release promotion that brought in the serious cash (Chrysalis have a share in the publishing royalties there via its partnership with producer George Martin).

Chrysalis top man Jeremy Lascelles told reporters: "We have made a very encouraging start to the remainder of the financial year with successive number one singles in the US, and are confident of building on this with a strong release schedule in the second half".

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DJ and Sony VP of A&R Mike Pickering revealed at the International Music Summit in Ibiza this week that he has signed up Calvin Harris as part of the A&R team at the newly relaunched Deconstruction label.

Calvin Harris also launched his own label, Fly Eye Records, earlier this year, the first release from which, 'Gecko' by Mr Blink, was released this month.

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Talk show host and 'American Idol' judge Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she is launching a record label. Called eleveneleven, her first signing is twelve year old YouTube sensation Greyson Chance, who wracked up 20 million hits on the website earlier this month with a video of him performing 'Paparazzi' by Lady Gaga at his school.

DeGeneres said in a statement that she was inspired to work with Chance, and launch a label in order to do so, after he appeared on her TV show two weeks ago. Madonna's manager Guy Oseary and Lady Gaga's manager Troy Carter have agreed to co-manage the young singer.

Another act Ellen has featured on her show are Irish family trio Crystal Swing. I really hope she signs them too: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAsUfWvIiXY

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Apple yesterday became a bigger company than Microsoft, which is quite remarkable news for those of us who used Apple computers in the 1990s when everyone reckoned the mavericks in the home computing market were on the skids into oblivion.

The Guardian point out that in 2000 Microsoft's market capitalisation (number of shares multiplied by share price) was $556 billion while Apple languished behind at $15.6 billion. As of yesterday Apple had a market cap of $221.1 billion while Microsoft, whose value has been slipping for a while, is down to $219.2 billion. And with the iPad likely to dominate the gadgets market this year, Apple's rise looks set to continue.

Of course, Apple's rebirth in the last ten years has had a great deal to do with its music-based ventures, which makes it interesting that as the 'Apple bigger than Microsoft' headline broke yesterday there were also rumours the US Department Of Justice had begun a preliminary inquiry into the way Apple does business with the music industry, in response to claims of anti-competitive behaviour. Back in the day it was Microsoft who were always battling off allegations they'd breached anti-trust laws.

Although neither the DoJ nor Apple have commented, the New York Times says US competition regulators are investigating claims Apple used its dominance in the digital music market to pressure record companies not to participate in Amazon's MP3 Daily Deal promotion, which would give the iTunes rival exclusivity over certain new songs for 24 hours.

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As expected, one of the key commercial media firms that the BBC's 6music-shutting Strategy Review was in part devised to placate has said the cutbacks in services proposed by BBC bosses in the controversial document do nothing to alleviate their concerns that the Beeb is too powerful a player, and uses its guaranteed licence fee funding to secure unfair competitive advantage.

According to The Guardian, in its response to the BBC Review submitted to the BBC Trust, BSkyB says plans to close 6music and the Asian Network, two Beeb youth strands and parts of the BBC website are "tactical and cosmetic" cuts that just "tinker around the edges" but do not dent the scope of the Corporation's activities. Basically, 6music and the Asian Network could be shut tomorrow, but BSkyB and its key shareholder Rupert Murdoch wouldn't stop moaning.

This is something much predicted by opponents to the cuts being proposed by the BBC. Many commentators have pointed out the irony that, in a bid to placate commercial critics, BBC bosses have proposed shutting down some of its least commercial services, a move which would see more money passed to those BBC networks other media firms most object to, in particular Radios 1 and 2 and, in BSkyB's case, BBC News.

Even the BBC youth services facing the axe - which the BBC review specifically says could be provided on a commercial basis - won't really placate commercial media owners. While in theory the youth market is lucrative, increased regulations regarding what you can advertise to teens coupled with that audience's tendency to spend more time online than with traditional media, means few non-BBC telly firms have big youth market ambitions. Indeed the main commercial channel for teens, Trouble, shut down last year.

In his company's submission to the BBC Trust, BSkyB corporate affairs man Graham McWilliam said: "The [BBC] executive's proposals appear tactical and cosmetic. They tinker around the edges of the BBC's activities, giving the impression of change while avoiding the fundamental questions over the BBC's future strategic direction".

Of course, to be fair to the BBC, while their Strategy Review is totally misguided as an attempt to placate commercial rivals, in reality little will stop BSkyB from moaning, short of shutting down BBC 1, Radios 1 and 2 and the BBC News Channel.

Sky's most recent complaint about the BBC regards plans for the new look iPlayer to provide links to rival broadcasters' online services, so that people who search for non-BBC programming on the iPlayer will be directed to where those programmes are available online.

Such a service is the BBC trying to fulfil its commitment to use its popular licence-fee funded website to drive traffic to commercial rivals, but Sky see it as an attempt by the Beeb to make their website the first-stop hub for British TV viewers, without realising it already is that, simply because most commercial broadcasters' websites are really shite.

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Talking of Sky, they themselves are about to become more dominant in the UK cable TV market by buying Virgin Media's TV channels, Virgin1, Living, Bravo and Challenge.

Virgin have been toying with selling their wholly owned cable channels for a while, and Sky has been a key bidder thoughout, despite Virgin1 originally being created to piss off Sky when the cable telly firm had to take Sky One of its network during its highly public squabble with its satellite TV rivals. Insiders say that Sky's negotiations to buy the four Virgin channels could result in a deal being struck this week.

Sky is also expected to make a bid for Channel Five, which current owners RTL are rumoured to be putting up for sale shortly. Though Sky is not assured victory in any bidding war for the fifth terrestrial channel. Despite it being loss-making, the Guardian says ITV, US conglom Time Warner and 'Big Brother' makers Endemol may all also bid.

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Kylie Minogue has been invited to reprise her role as Charlene Robinson in long-running Australian soap opera 'Neighbours'. The singer, of course, starred in the show for two years before leaving to concentrate on music in 1988.

To be fair, this isn't completely out of the blue, Minogue told The Sun recently: "The other day I thought how much fun it would be to do it after years of saying never. I've decided how it would work.Charlene would screech up the drive in her souped-up Mini which she's been working on all the time.I don't watch the show any more, but it could be fun to do that. It could be hilarious".

The show's executive producer Susan Bower told the official 'Neighbours' website yesterday: "Kylie can arrive in a Mini, in a hot-air balloon or even parachute. Any way she desires, we would welcome her with open arms".

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Georgina Stone
Editorial Assistant
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Ronan Keating
Head Of Extramarital Affairs

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