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Top Stories
It's CMU budget news - corporation tax
It's CMU budget news - VAT
It's CMU budget news - capital gains tax
US VP talks tough on IP
In The Pop Courts
Facilitator appointed to aid RIAA/Thomas talks
Jay-Z sued over unpaid private jet bills
Tam White dies
Reunions & Splits
Mike Love denies full Beach Boys reunion planned
In The Studio
Costey to produce Jane's Addiction
Release News
Cyrus Malachi to release mixtape ahead of debut album
Gigs & Tours News
Surprise guests galore at New York gigs
Kate Nash announces tour dates
Caribou tour dates
Festival News
Festival line-up update
The Music Business
Believe chief to head French BPI
The Digital Business
More on Google download and streaming plans
Preview streams come to Bing us via Zune
Universal licence Israeli mobile all-you-can-eat service
And finally...
Leona band meat on tour

Formerly the frontman of Soul Coughing, Mike Doughty began to pursue his solo career after the band split in 2000. His first solo album, 'Skittish', was released that year, and he has has since released three more, with his fifth - 'Sad Man, Happy Man' - due out later this year. Meanwhile, he will play a gig with indie pop superstars They Might Be Giants on 26 Jun at Royal Festival Hall, and a headline gig on 29 Jun at Hoxton's Underbelly. We caught up with Mike to ask the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
At some point when I was a kid listening to Led Zeppelin, the music turned into a drug for me. Listening enacted this huge emotional change. So I realised that I had to do this with my life. I started playing bass, really poorly, because some other kids at school started a terrible punk rock band and needed a bass player. I couldn't play anybody else's songs, so I wrote my own, that I could sing over my own crude basslines. Eventually I switched to guitar, and started playing sorta-folkish stuff.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Food, a breakup, various ineffable yearnings. I was touring a lot with my cello player, Andrew 'Scrap' Livingston, just the two of us, and I became enamoured with the stripped-down sound. And I knew a lot of my crowd wanted another acoustic release, like my first solo album 'Skittish'.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Songwriting usually starts with a chord progression that I improvise when drinking coffee in the morning. I record it onto my computer and forget about it. Then, as I'm walking along in the world, on the subway, etc, I'll hear words or think them up, jot them down in a notebook. So months or years later I'll have a pile of words and phrases and a pile of chord progressions. I'll start trying them out with each other, testing melodies, bumping them around.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I'm not so much influenced by artists as tracks - from really different sources, like from pop tunes to Arabic music. I'll take a swatch of melody from a song and bump it around until it's a little different, then use it. That said, in terms of other artists that are doing acousticky stuff, I love Jose Gonzales and Bon Iver. Billy Bragg, John Lee Hooker, and Ani DiFranco are artists that influenced me in terms of trying to do acoustic, solo music with a real rhythmic heft to it.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would hope that I wouldn't have to say anything. I'd prefer somebody come to it without preferences, and engage it on its own terms. If it was a Soul Coughing fan, I'd be like: Just remember, this is gonna sound nothing like Soul Coughing.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I want it to be heard by as many people as I can bring it to. And, uh, I want them to dig it, of course. As for the future, right now I'm at this artists' colony in upstate New York, I've finished about 20 songs in a month. So I'm already thinking about the next album - sonically and vibe-wise, though, I have no idea where I'm headed. Well, kind of an idea. As for the far future, I just hope I can keep coming up with songs and playing them for people that dig them. I want to be doing this when I'm 72.

MORE>> www.mikedoughty.com
I'm sure we all thought many things when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted and suddenly rendered international air travel a big pain in the arse. But one group of people, Californian band Fol Chen, were reminded of a line in their forthcoming (and yes, eagle-eyed readers, previously CMU Approved) new single, 'In Ruins', which invites the listener to "take a walk through ash and acid rain".

The band quickly despatched video director Chris Wilcha and local musicians Gudfinnur Sveinsson (For A Minor Reflection) and Elìn Elisabet Einarsdóttir to the foot of the volcano to go and kick around in the dust. The results can be seen by clicking the link below. The single itself will be released on 6 Jul, and the album it's taken from, 'Part II: The New December', is out now via Ashmatic Kitty.


We are looking for a bright, independent minded person for this role - someone with passion for music and our artists. We need highly organised, excellent communication skills and for that person to work under the pressure of tight deadlines. The successful candidate would report to the International Dept Head and work within a team of four.

The job requires the international co-ordination of our artist promotional campaigns - supporting the work of our partners around the world. Experience with artist travel and promotion trips inside a record label is required. In addition, a solid understanding about the Domino label, culture and its artists should be reflected in the cover letter. Domino Recording Company is based in London.

Applicants should send an e-mail with their full name in the subject line including, attached, CV and cover letter to: internationalpromotions@dominorecordco.com
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The team behind CMU's acclaimed seminars programme are now offering their services to music and media companies, educational bodies and membership organisations looking for bespoke professional training courses. CMU's existing courses on music rights, music business models, music PR, media and social media can be run specifically for an organisation's employees, students or members, or bespoke courses can be developed according to an organisation's specific needs. For more information contact Chris Cooke on 020 7099 9050 or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.
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OK, shall we talk George Osborne and his budget for a minute or two? Hey, why not. There was a mixed response to yesterday's emergency budget from music industry types.

There was good news for businesses in general with confirmation that corporation tax, the main tax on profitable companies, will continue to fall (it had already been cut in recent years under the Labour government). Next year businesses will pay a tax of 27% of their profits rather than the current 28%. The tax rate will then fall one per cent a year until it is down to 24%. Smaller companies with profits of £300,000 or under, who pay a lower rate of corporation tax, will also see their tax rate, currently 21%, cut by one per cent.

So, that's all lovely, and will presumably be welcomed by the bosses of most music companies.

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The down side of Osborne's tax shifts, of course, is the VAT increase, which impacts in particular on any music business selling directly to consumers, so retailers and ticket sellers in the main. VAT will go up from 17.5% to 20% at the start of 2011. It is expected that music sellers, like retailers in most other sectors, will simply pass the VAT increase onto their customers making everything more expensive. The tax increase therefore won't directly impact on the profit margins of music retailers and gig promoters, but will mean the average person has less expendable income, and there are concerns that music products are just the sort of thing cash-strapped consumers might do without.

Rob Hallett, President Of International Touring for AEG Live, had already told Billboard, in an interview earlier this month, that he feared a 20% VAT rate. Retailers passing the tax increase on to their customers, Hallett reckons, could leave the average consumer £20-30 a week worse off. And that, Hallett notes, is the price of an average gig ticket.

Hallet will, however, be pleased that the VAT increase is being delayed until 4 Jan next year. In the same interview he said that a sudden leap in VAT rates could hit his company even harder, because they would be committed to contracts with fixed ticket prices that wouldn't account for any tax increase, meaning they would have to take the hit when a higher amount of that ticket price has to go to government. Six months notice of the increase should enable them to reduce the impact of any contractual commitments.

HMV top man Simon Fox will also presumably welcome the extra notice of the pending VAT increase. When the Labour government cut VAT rates down to 15% in a bid to increase consumer spending, and then switched it back to 17.5%, both with relatively little notice, he complained about the logistical challenge of suddenly having to change pricing in all his stores. He also wasn't impressed that the switch back to 17.5% happened on New Year's Day, observing that "New Year's Eve is not the day to have to re-price thousands of products". At least this time he'll have a whole two days after the New Year festivities to switch the price stickers on CDs and books in his HMV and Waterstones shops.

Of course, in one domain HMV will do very nicely out of the VAT increase. As much previously reported, HMV are one of a number of major player retailers who manage to charge no VAT on CDs bought via their mail order websites. They dodge paying the sales tax because of a tax loophole that exists when you base your mail order operations on the Channel Islands, which are confusingly within the EU's customs zone but not under the UK's tax regime. The tax dodge applies to any goods that retail for £18 or under.

This tax loophole has been much criticised by the independent retail sector, whose high street shops or mainland-based mail order operations are at an automatic 17.5% disadvantage to HMV, Tesco, Amazon, Play.com et al, making it very hard to compete. Many, of course, have simply given up and gone out of business. Indie sector campaigners believe the way the mail order operators use the tax loophole actually constitutes an abuse of European tax laws, and are now fighting the dodge (and the UK government's failure to end it) through the European courts.

Given that in 2006 the then Labour government itself said it thought the loophole cost the government £85 million a year in tax revenue, you'd have thought the new frugal coalition government would have looked into closing it. As it is, with VAT going up to 20%, those bigger retailers who enjoy the benefits of the tax dodge will be at an even bigger advantage to independent music sellers, more of whom may hit the wall as a result.

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Finally in budget news, a happy voice from the investment end of the music business with regards another tax increase in Osborne's budget. Capital gains tax, the tax on profits from stocks, shares and property investments, is going up for anyone not in the lowest tax bracket, from 18% to 28%. Although the increase is actually quite a bit lower than many predicting, it is still a substantial increase for any rich people with healthy capital gains.

Which is good news for entertainment industry investment firm Edge, who operate so called 'venture capital trusts', where rich people invest cash into funds which Edge then invest into entertainment-based ventures. Such trusts are exempt from capital gains tax, as part of exemptions designed to encourage entrepreneurialism and investment in new business. Therefore the increase in capital gains tax should making investing in such trusts more attractive.

Edge founder David Glick told CMU: "We have been consistent in arguing that VCTs provide an ideal vehicle to encourage private capital to invest in the creative industries. On that basis, this looks like a progressive budget".

Glick was also pleased with a change in VCT rules which means agencies like his can now invest in international business ventures; previously the tax exemption was limited to investments in UK-based companies. Glick continues: "This is a particularly welcome development in an international business like entertainment. Given Edge's deep industry relations worldwide, I expect that this will open up significant new opportunities for our investors".

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US Vice President Joe Biden started talking tough about intellectual property yesterday, telling a press conference in Washington "piracy is theft, clean and simple - it's smash and grab, it ain't no different than smashing a window at Tiffany's".

Biden was speaking to press alongside Victoria Espinel, the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, who has just put together a report making 33 recommendations for how the American government could help IP owners better protect their rights. The Vice President and IP enforcer were due to meet to discuss how those recommendations could become a reality after the press briefing.

Biden was keen to stress that the US government's latest IP enforcement push wasn't just designed to help the entertainment industry, adding that Espinel's report considered measures to stop the distribution of counterfeit goods and the infringement of patents as well as online copyright protection measures. He told reporters: "This is not just about the new 'Robin Hood' movie. It's not just about creative talent, it's about whether a Kevlar [bulletproof] vest we are putting on some guy works or not".

But online piracy, the big concern of the movie and music industries, is a key issue Biden and Espinel hope to address. Espinel told copyright owners who are suffering from the boom in online piracy that "help is on the way".

Two specific measures were discussed regarding online piracy. First, Biden said internet service providers should become more proactive in helping content companies protect their copyrights online, though he didn't go as far as to say the solution was a three-strikes style system which forces ISPs to tackle file-sharers on behalf of music and film firms.

Second, Biden talked about the international dimension of piracy, something politicians like to do whenever the prospect of tackling piracy issues at home look rather daunting (ie taking on the whole net sector, who will resist any efforts to make them suspend file-sharers). He noted the number of websites outside the US giving illegal access to streams or downloads of US-owned music and films.

He added: "We want to make sure that these countries know we want these sites shut down. We are going to shine a light. If these sites are operating openly in a country that is not taking action, we can make it very public and shine a light on rogue actors. It's the government's responsibility to respond".

Biden's tough talking was welcomed by the US movie and music industries, though if and how quickly it turns into new laws remains to be seen. And whether, really, any laws can actually stop online piracy such as file-sharing, well, that's a debate for a less warm morning.

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A federal court in Minnesota has appointed a 'special master' to help mediate in the latest efforts to get a damages settlement between the Recording Industry Association Of America and Jammie Thomas, one of the world's most famous file-sharers.

As you'll probably remember, single mother Thomas was one of the few people to fight an RIAA file-sharing lawsuit, but she lost. A court initially ordered her to pay $222,000 in damages to the record industry. After a second trial this went up to $1.92 million, but a judge later slashed the figure to a much more modest $54,000.

According to reports, shortly after the judge slashed Thomas' damages, the RIAA offered to settle with an even lower damages payment of just $25,000, but Team Thomas knocked the offer back. The RIAA then announced its intent to appeal the judge's damages cutting ruling, taking the whole thing back to court yet again.

The latest move by a Minnesota judge is to try to facilitate a settlement without necessitating another court hearing. Neither Thomas' legal reps nor the RIAA seemingly asked for a facilitator to be appointed, so it remains to be seen how well they respond to the assistance of a special master. Few commentators seem convinced a settlement will now be reached without more court time.

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Jay-Z is being sued by private jet firm Air Platinum Holding after he failed to pay over a $130,000 in fees to the company, TMZ reports.

In a new lawsuit, the company claims that the rapper spent 55 hours flying with them in 2009, but has so far only stumped up for 37 hours worth of that, leaving $81,000 unpaid. On top of that, it is claimed, he owes a variety of other fees on 21 domestic and international flights, bringing the total up to $137,485.

Jay-Z has not issued any response to the lawsuit as yet. The case is ongoing.

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Scottish actor and blues singer Tam White, who performed with the likes of BB King and Eric Clapton, has died, seemingly on his way home from a gym session in Edinburgh. He was 68.

White began his musical career in 1964 when he formed The Boston Dexters. The band played a six month residency at London's Pontiac Club, which is where White first met Clapton, who played in another band resident at the venue. The Dexters split in the late 1960s and since then White played on and off as a solo artist.

However, White actually enjoyed more success as an actor, appearing in various British TV shows including 'Taggart', 'River City', 'Rebus' and, perhaps most notably, he spent a year as a recurring character in 'Eastenders'. One of his early TV projects involved providing the vocals for Robbie Coltrane to mime to in the seminal late 80s TV series 'Tutti Frutti'.

A statement posted on his official website yesterday reads: "It is with great sadness to announce that Tam passed away today. May our thoughts be with his wife Moira and children".

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Well, it did seem unlikely. Mike Love has denied that he plans to tour with former bandmate Brian Wilson next year to celebrate the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary. As previously reported, US entertainment journalist Robin Leech claimed last week that Love had told him a Beach Boys reunion involving Wilson was planned for 2011, but it seems there was some misunderstanding when the musician and reporter spoke.

Love said in a statement yesterday: "The Beach Boys continue to tour approximately 150 shows a year in multiple countries. At this time there are no plans for my cousin Brian to rejoin the tour. He has new solo projects on the horizon and I wish him love and success. We have had some discussions of writing and possibly recording together, but nothing has been planned. I, as I'm sure he is, am proud and honoured that The Beach Boys' music has endured these 50 years, but felt the need to clarify that there are no current 'reunion' tour plans".

Wilson stopped performing with The Beach Boys in the mid-sixties, even though he was still a member of the band until 1970. He last joined them on stage in 1985 at Live Aid. In more recent years Wilson has returned to performing as a solo artist.

Relations between Love and other former Beach Boys, including Brian Wilson, have frequently been acrimonious and litigious over the years, and insiders say that while the former bandmates are now generally gracious to each other in official statements, like Love's above, resentments remain behind the scenes. All of which made the Wilson/Love live reunion seem unlikely.

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Jane's Addiction have hired producer Rich Costey to capture their sounds in a box and then rub them onto CDs. I think that's how it works, anyway. Whatever, he's producing the band's new album, their first since 2003's 'Strays'.

The album will feature three quarters of the original line-up, after original bassist Eric Avery decided to bow out earlier this year, to be replaced by former Guns N Roses member Duff McKagan. With famously fractious intra-band relationship, James Addiction have split up twice since the release of 'Strays', and until he was tempted back in 2008, Avery had not performed with them since 1991.

Costey has previously worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Franz Ferdinand, Supergrass and Mastodon. Presuming he can get the band to actually record anything without them all falling out and stomping off in a huff (as Trent Reznor mostly failed to do two years ago), the album is pencilled in for release early next year via EMI/Capitol.

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East London rapper and Triple Darkness member Cyrus Malachi has announced the release of a new mixtape, 'The Isis Papers', as a precursor to his debut solo album, 'Ancient Future', which is due for release later this year via No Cure Records.

Mixed by No Cure's in house DJ team - DJ Switch and DJ Furious P - the mixtape features Malachi's Triple Darkness bandmate Melanin 9 and a number of other underground hip hoppers. It will be available as a free download from www.nocurerecords.co.uk on 12 Jul, as well as on limited edition CD.

Here's the tracklist for the mixtape:

Praying Mantis
Millennium (feat Melanin 9 & Crown Nectar)
Bloodhounds (feat Melanin 9 & Crown Nectar)
The Hammered Bracelet (feat Melanin 9)
1000 Daggers
Robin Hood Theory (freestyle)
Captivity's Tear
Lion's Den
Feathers Of Tahiti (feat Melanin 9)
Seven Plagues
Politikin (Remix feat Melanin 9 & Crown Nectar)
Hood Novelists (feat Melanin 9 & Njeri Earth)
Hell's Gate (feat Melanin 9 & Crown Nectar)

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Jay-Z's previously reported New York gig went ahead on Monday night, despite it being refused a license from the city's council.

As previously reported, Jay planned to perform on the balcony above the main entrance of the city's Ed Sullivan Theatre, to fans in the street, but NYC officials refused permission for the gig amid concerns for crowd safety.

So Jay moved the gig to the roof of the theatre, where no licence was required, performing to an invite-only crowd. It sounds like it was quite an exciting, if short gig, mainly because Eminem was revealed as a last minute special guest. Footage of the mini-gig will be included in the David Letterman TV show on Friday.

Eminem wasn't the only surprise guest at a New York gig this week. The New Kids On The Block were doing a three night stint at the Radio City Music Hall and, after a cover of Backstreet Boys song 'I Want It That Way', a curtain went up to reveal the Backstreets themselves. Ultimate joy for fans of tedious American boy bands, I suppose.

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Kate Nash has announced some tour dates. That's nice of her, isn't it? Now, I want you all to write a letter to Kate to say thanks. And make sure you use that nice writing paper she got you for Christmas or she'll be upset.

Tour dates:

4 Oct: Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
5 Oct: Oxford, Academy
6 Oct: Birmingham, Institute
8 Oct: Limerick, Dolan's
9 Oct: Belfast: Mandela Hall
10 Oct: Dublin, Academy
12 Oct: Manchester, Ritz
13 Oct: Newcastle, Academy
14 Oct: Glasgow, ABC
16 Oct: Leeds, Metropolitan University
17 Oct: Cambridge, The Junction
18 Oct: London, Shepherd's Bush Empire

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Following his show at London's Heaven last week, Caribou, aka Dan Snaith, will return to the UK for a full tour in November. Joining him will be Four Tet, James Holden and Nathan Fake. Amazing.

Caribou's new single, 'Sun', will be released via City Slang on 16 Aug. His latest album, 'Swim' is out now.

Tour dates:

19 Nov: London, Coronet
20 Nov: Manchester, Warehouse Project
21 Nov: Glasgow, ABC
22 Nov: Leeds, Social Brudenell
23 Nov: Bristol, Thekla
24 Nov: Brighton, Coalition
7 Dec: ATP In Between Days
8 Dec: Liverpool, Kazimier

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SONISPHERE, Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, 30 Jul - 1 Aug: Good Charlotte have been confirmed to play an exclusive performance at this summer's Sonisphere, with Converge, Kylesa, Earthtone9, Little London, Out Of Sight and Tiger Please also added to the line-up. www.sonispherefestivals.com

SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL, Birmingham, 22-24 Oct: Godflesh have been announced as headliners at this year's Supersonic fest, joining the previously confirmed acts Swans, James Blackshaw, Eagle Twin, Voice Of The Seven Thunders, plus many more. www.myspace.com/supersonicfestival

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The Syndicat National de l'édition Phonographique, the French record industry organisation which performs the function of both trade body and collecting society, has elected Denis Ladegaillerie, founder and CEO of digital distributor Believe Digital, to the role of President. That a digital music entrepreneur is now heading up the French record industry's main trade organisation certainly tells you something about the importance of digital in the French market, where physical sales have slumped so far that for many labels they are almost non-existent.

Confirming his appointment, Ladegaillerie told CMU: "I am honoured to have been elected President of SNEP. Having the CEO of an independent company coming from the digital world as president of such an important trade body sends a very strong signal to the music community, the French government and the public. I hope that my appointment will help our organisation better serve the interests of the music industry and to understand the challenges facing us as we accelerate towards the digital future".

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The Wall Street Journal has revealed more rumours about Google's plans to step up its music operations. As previously reported, C-Net last week reported that the web company was planning on launching their own music service within the year.

At the moment Google in the US has OneBox, where users who look for artists via the search engine can preview tracks directly via the Google platform, with the preview stream in reality coming from MySpace's iLike streaming music service. The new plan, it seems, is to expand on OneBox, so to offer downloads and a Spotify-style streaming service.

According to the Journal, stage one of Google's new music plans would see the web firm add a download option to the above mentioned enhanced music search service, so that when users search for a song, they will be able to stream it there and then via iLike, or buy it as an MP3 through the Google interface. Whether Google would actually handle the download itself, or piggy-back on another download platform, isn't known.

Stage two would see Google provide a full-on streaming service, presumably more in Spotify or We7 territory. The specifics of how that service will work, and whether it will be ad-funded or subscription based, is also not clear, though it seems Google's streaming music ambitions are more linked to their mobile phone Android operating system, so any service would be fully mobile-compliant from launch.

Google are yet to comment.

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Google rivals Bing are also bringing preview streams to their music searches, in the US at least. Microsoft previewed a new entertainment section to their Bing search service in LA yesterday.

The idea seems to be to sort entertainment-based search results in a cleverer way so that it is easier for users to identify tour dates, relevant tweets, discographies, lyrics and what not.

The streaming preview element will be provided by Microsoft's digital music platform Zune, and users will be able to listen to searched-for songs once in full. Buy links from the preview stream will give the Zune store, iTunes and Amazon MP3 as an option.

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Israeli mobile network Pelephone has signed up Universal Music to its all-you-can-eat mobile music service MUSIX, boosting the catalogue of tracks available to its users somewhat.

Pelephone MUSIX offers users unlimited downloads that can be played on a mobile or PC, though the tracks have digital rights management which means they stop working if a subscription lapses, so basically it works like the old Napster subscription system. The service launched in Israel last year, and the tel co reckons it will have 150,000 users by the end of 2010.

Universal, who have licensed MUSIX via their business partners in Israel, Helicon Records, say they welcome any services that legitimises music consumption in the region.

The major's International VP Of Digital For Developing Markets, Richard Abdalian, told reporters: "We have been working with Helicon in their drive to introduce legitimate digital services into a market with considerable penetration in high-end devices as well as broadband reach, which for too long has been a 'no man's land'. We were impressed by the service that MUSIX is offering, and we believe that the introduction of our repertoire in the full track format will serve as a trigger to encourage other Israeli players to move ahead with new basic and 'second generation' services".

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Leona Lewis has reportedly decided that no one involved in her upcoming tour will be allowed to eat meat. The singer, a vegetarian since the age of five, has banned animal products from on-site catering, and is also refusing to allow meat to be brought in from outside either. Tour staff are said to be unhappy.

A source told The Sun: "There are going to be murders. Leona has demanded that only veggie food be made available for everyone - and members of the crew are threatening to quit. She will not even allow food to be bought off-site then brought in. She is getting a reputation as a bit of a pain in the arse. She is such a diva. It's getting out of control".

Gabriella Cilmi, the support act on the tour, told Digital Spy: "All I know so far is that the food's going to be vegan, and I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with that".

Doesn't Leona know the rule? You have to write 'How Soon Is Now?' before you can get away with that sort of thing. Until then, meat is dinner.

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