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CMU Info
Top Stories
BBC Trust could block 6music closure, in the short term at least
Britney denies child abuse allegations
In The Pop Courts
Kanye sued over Stronger song
Lil Wayne avoids extra jail time over drugs charge
Method Man pleads guilty to tax evasion
Artist Deals
The Saturdays look for new manager
In The Studio
Portishead ready to make album four
Release News
New Grinderman single out next month
Rose album out next month
Films & Shows News
Kinks concept album to become movie
Gigs & Tours News
Arcade Fire to play Hackney Empire
Festival News
Canada Day festivities in London
Reading Festival to introduce new drink and fire rules
Festival line-up update
Festival Review: Rock Ness 2010
The Music Business
Universal make International promotions
The Digital Business
Warner do ad sales deal with MTV
MOG announce Roki partnership, app approval
The Media Business
Tory lord on digital radio switchover: "Think of the badgers"
And finally...
Gray would like the opportunity to go all arty for a while

Singer songwriter Matt Hales may have been the lead singer of Britpop band Ruth, which later became The 45s, but it is under his solo moniker of Aqualung that he has enjoyed most success. Volkswagen using his song 'Strange And Beautiful' for an ad in 2002 helped a little in that regard, contributing in part to the commercial success of the two Aqualung albums that followed, though it was Hales's musical abilities that meant critical success was also assured. Officially Hales retired from music in 2007, though that hasn't stopped him touring the US, and won't stop him releasing a third Aqualung album called 'Magnetic North' via Verve Forecast this summer. So, a Jay-Z style retirement then. Ahead of a London gig at the Bush Hall on 15 Jul, Matt took some time out to tackle the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Just before I was born my Dad decided that there should be a piano in the house, so he went and got a knackered and fantastically out of tune upright and put it in the front room. Just after I was born my Dad sat me on the piano stool and showed me what happened when you pressed the funny brown monster's teeth..... and I fell in love. I've been bewitched ever since. Playing piano is part of my everyday life, like going to the toilet. If I don't get to do it regularly I start to feel all peculiar and my tummy hurts.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
It's been a big few years for me. A new child and a new home and all that. I think this album has a sort of pioneering, wide-open, roadtrippy sort of atmosphere because it was made amongst big changes - and not knowing if they were going to be for the better or not. But knowing they were going to happen anyway.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
a) Get the weird feeling.
b) Find a piano.
c) Play and sing and get lost in it.
d) Find a bit that I can't live without.
e) Play that bit 1000 times.
f) Do something else for a while (between 1 hour and 2 years).
g) Get the weird feeling again.
h) Turn the bit into a song. decipher the singing and write some words.
i) See (f) but be always thinking about it.
j) Suddenly need to hear it all finished. NOW!
k) Get some friends around and record it. Make it sound great with whatever is lying around. DO IT QUICKLY.
l) Listen to it 1000 times.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Bill Withers, Cornelius, Faure, ABBA, The Meters, Brian and Carl and Dennis Wilson, and Kate Bush.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
This is for you. From me. It was hand-made with Great Care. I hope you enjoy it.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I hope people get a chance to hear the new album. And that they enjoy it. And that it becomes part of their lives in some small way. As for the future - I hope my kids grow up happy and healthy and that the world we're making for them isn't too messed up. And I hope that I can carry on making and sharing music until I am very old and very odd.

MORE>> www.aqualung.net

Having been born and raised in Nashville, it's hardly surprising 22-year old singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose's music is country through and through. Reminiscent of the greats, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, Caitlin belts out songs about heartbreak, teenage pregnancy and the like with her heartfelt country twang.

I spent a lot of yesterday watching the videos on her YouTube channel, and by the end of the afternoon I had a real urge to hang out with Rose, preferably at a barn dance or hoe-down, where we could sway along in a cool (ie uncool) way to her songs 'Learnin' To Ride' and 'For The Rabbits', both from her debut album 'Own Side Now'.

That debut isn't out until the beginning of August, although she has just re-released her 'Dead Flowers EP', which, as the title suggests, includes a marvellous cover of The Rolling Stones' song 'Dead Flowers'. Meanwhile, go enjoy the vids for yourself.


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We're looking for a dynamic Head of PR. The ideal candidate should have two years experience in leading and managing a team of publicists, keeping on top of accounts, be able to implement systems and assist the CEO in running a growing business. You should be passionate about music, have established relationships with key editors over a number of years and have a sound knowledge of electronic music.

If you think you've got what it takes to shine in this position then send your CV with a covering letter to jonathan@getinpr.com. This is a senior position. If you're looking to break into PR, this is not the role for you. Closing date for applications: 24th July 2010
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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
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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The Times says it expects the BBC Trust to call for a stay of execution for digital music station 6music, which Corporation bosses want to shut down as part of a wide-ranging cull of BBC output. And given it was The Times who first leaked the BBC strategy review and revealed 6 was among the services being lined up for the chop, the optimist in me is going to assume the broadsheet have good sources on this kind of thing.

As much previously reported, Beeb bosses published their strategy review back at the start of March. It proposed axing and cutting back on numerous BBC services, including various websites and digital radio stations 6music and the Asian Network.

The aim of the review seemed to be to placate those in the commercial media who accuse the BBC of using their guaranteed licence fee funding to unfairly compete, excessively expand and rampantly overspend. It seemed BBC bosses feared that said commercial media would have more political influence under a Tory government, and the plan seemed to be if the Corporation voluntarily streamlined now, they might not be forced to make bigger cuts later once a new government was in place.

The only problem was, the review mainly proposed cutting the Beeb's more niche and therefore less commercial services, making more money available for those BBC channels that directly compete with commercial rivals, like BBC 1, BBC News and Radios 1 and 2. Therefore the review didn't even achieve its own aims.

There was outrage from different quarters to most of the proposed cutbacks, though the campaign to save 6 was the most vocal. Numerous petitions, opinion pieces, official submissions and supporter rallies pointed out that nothing in the commercial radio sector provided a service anything like 6music, and never would. As if to prove that point, NME Radio, the digital station that was closest to 6, closed down earlier this month because it couldn't make the service pay. 6music is, therefore, exactly the kind of radio station the BBC was set up to operate.

Music industry bodies also pointed out the woeful lack of airtime provided by the wider BBC to Britain's vibrant and wide-ranging music community. With Radio 1 and 1Xtra focused on urban and R&B, Radio 2 on pop and Radio 3 on classical, and with BBC TV now almost devoid of any music programming, there are huge parts of the British music catalogue - old and new - totally ignored by the State-funded broadcaster. 6music goes some way to addressing that discrepancy.

Despite the most senior of BBC executives, including the Corporation's dullard of a Director General Mark Thompson and the Beeb's top radio man, fizzy drink marketer Tim Davie, insisting 6 had to go, no end of journalists, musicians, entertainers, celebrities, politicians and every day listeners lined up to demand the station must be saved. Many of them presented their outrage at the 6 closure proposals to the BBC Trust, the regulatory body which must approve the strategy review's proposals.

According to The Times yesterday, while the Trust is likely to green light the majority of the strategy review's plans, they will block moves to shut 6, at least in the short term. It is likely they will ask for a specific consultation to be undertaken regarding the digital radio service, assessing Thompson's claim that the channel doesn't justify its £9 million a year budget.

The paper says the Trust has been "overwhelmed" by the public response to the closure of 6. They may have also been influenced by the fact the top two Tories with culture and media responsibilities, Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey, have both spoken in support of 6. The Times quoted one of 6music's DJs yesterday who admitted there is now some optimism at the station regarding its future. They told the paper: "The optimism is growing. There is a feeling that they will not just kill us straight off".

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Britney Spears's people have denied that the popstress mistreats her two children by ex-husband Kevin Federline, Sean Preston and Jayden James.

The allegations of mistreatment have been made by one Fernado Flores, who recently quit as Spears's bodyguard. He has reportedly claimed that he witnessed the pop star feed her two toddler sons food to which they are allergic, and on one occasion discipline one of her children by hitting him with a belt.

The Sun quote an unnamed friend of Flores, who says: "Britney doesn't mean to be a bad mother. But Flores feels she has so many issues she can't be trusted around her boys. He claims the first really shocking incident was when she came marching into the pool house at her mansion and demanded his belt. He handed it over but then followed her into the main house and claims he witnessed the alleged incident".

According to US media, child protection officers want to speak to Spears directly about Flores's allegations, but have so far not managed to reach the pop star. But the singer's people have strongly denied she has abused her children in anyway.

Of course many of Spears's affairs are still managed by her father following her mental breakdown in early 2008. She was refused unsupervised access to her two children for a time after that breakdown because of concerns for their wellbeing.

Flores has also accused his former employer of sexual harassment. The Sun's source continues: "Working for Britney is tough. She's a nightmare to deal with and her emotions are totally out of control. She runs round the house naked and yelling at staff".

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Another day, another copyright infringement lawsuit. Kanye West is being sued by a rival rapper called Vince P, or Vincent Peters to his mother, who claims he wrote West's 2007 hit song 'Stronger'.

Peters' copyright lawsuit is one of those "I sent in my demo tape to a star, then they turned it into their own song" cases. The rapper says he sent a demo of a song called 'Stronger' to West's manager John Monopoly back in 2006, only to then find a very similar track appear on Kanye's 2007 album 'Graduation'.

According to X17Online, Peters' lawsuit says West's song "copies significant and important parts of [the claimant's] lyrics identically or almost identically". It also notes that both songs contain the lines "that which does not kill me makes me stronger" and "can't wait much longer", as well as references to Kate Moss.

Peters' legal claim is seeking damages and an injunction to stop future distribution of the West song. It's not currently clear why he's waited three years to go legal.

Team West are yet to respond. What's the betting Kanye claims to have never heard of Vince P or his silly demo tape?

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Lil Wayne, real name Dwayne Carter, will not have to spend more time in jail as a result of being found in possession of illegal substances in January 2008. The rapper is already in jail because of gun-related crimes.

He faced four more drugs and weapons charges in relation to the 2008 run in with border patrol guards in the state of Arizona which could have resulted in more prison time. However, his legal people yesterday struck a plea bargain deal with the authorities. Wayne will plead guilty to one charge of drug possession, and the other three charges will be dropped. He will face three years on probation for that one crime, but will not have to spend any more time in jail.

The rap man's legal rep told Reuters yesterday: "We're quite glad that we were able to wrap everything up. It's a favourable plea agreement that will allow Mr Carter to pursue his career".

The probation will kick in once Wayne finishes his current one year jail term in New York.

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Rapper Method Man, real name Clifford Smith, has pleaded guilty to tax-evasion charges, and written a cheque for $40,000 there and then to settle his outstanding debts to the tax man.

The Wu Tang member was arrested for unpaid taxes relating to the period 2004 to 2007 last year. Tax officials said he owed them $106,000. Defending the hip hopper in court this week, his lawyer Peter Frankel said as soon as his client knew about the unpaid tax bills "he hired someone and immediately corrected it".

With the rapper's former accountants seemingly being blamed for the unpaid taxes, Smith was given a conditional discharge, meaning the arrest will be wiped from his records provided he stays out of trouble.

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The Saturdays have reportedly fired their manager Jayne Collins, apparently because they are looking for a "new perspective" on the group's future. It's true that being the pop equivalent of a toy doll for 11 year old girls doesn't necessarily have much longevity to it, though if that's all you're capable of being perhaps you should cash in while it lasts and set aside some money for short hand lessons.

According to The Sun, the girls are aware that Universal's Fascination label were disappointed with the performance of the group's last album 'Wordshaker', that was never going to sell as well as The Saturdays branded t-shirts in Top Shop. It seems they hope a new manager might be able to help them take upcoming mini-album 'Missing You' and spearhead a second career phase, perhaps as a girl group with decent songs, tuneful harmonies, impressive dance moves and genuine attitude.

Yeah, good luck with that.

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Portishead have said that they will go into the studio this summer to start work on a new album, a follow up to 2008's 'Third'. That could mean a new long player might be ready by next summer, which would be rather sooner than the eleven year wait fans had for album number three.

Speaking to 6music, the band's Geoff Barrow said this week: "I'm writing for Portishead through July and August. I just want to bang on and get another record done".

Barrow added that he had a renewed enthusiasm for music making, even though the response to 'Third' in the UK wasn't over-whelming. Barrow: "We did the 'Third' record, it did incredibly well. We got very little support from the UK as we don't represent a certain demographic of people, but we did Coachella [Festival] and that was amazing".

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Nick Cave's Grinderman will release the first single off second album 'Grinderman 2' on 30 Aug, with the new long player following on 13 Sep.

Called 'Heathen Child', the band's website says the first single release "cuts a deep seductively heavy groove interjected with dazzling squalls of saw-tooth distortion. It abounds in lyrical imagery at turns lascivious, paranoid, philosophic, absurd and flat out abusive".

Grinderman have also said that, while all four members are also in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, we are not to consider this band a mere side project.

Their webby statement continues: "Grinderman is no hobby, no dalliance, and clearly no one-off: it is a crucible, an experimental workshop, a disciplined orgy of ideas and action. Grinderman is the one-of-a-kind band Nick, Warren, Martyn and Jim have waited all their life to be, and only now at this moment in time can have become".

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Also releasing a brand new single next month is the lovely Rose Elinor Dougall, whose song 'Carry On' will be released via her own label Scarlett Music on 23 Aug. She also has an album, a debut in her case, which is called 'Without Why' and which will follow a week later on 30 Aug.

As well as working on her own debut long player, former Pipette Dougall has also been contributing to the next album by that Mark Ronson chap.

Explaining that tie up, she told CMU: "Mark had always been a Pipettes fan, but when he heard some of my solo work I think he felt that it had things in common with what he was aiming for with this new record of his. He took a bit of a punt on me, and when I arrived in New York I had no idea what to expect, but Mark made it really easy for everyone to find their own place within the process and everyone had the freedom to bring their own perspectives".

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A film is in development that will be built around the story and songs of 1975 Kinks album 'Schoolboys In Disgrace'. Kinks man Ray Davies is an executive producer on the project.

The seventies long player was all about a "naughty schoolboy" and his fight with the educational establishment. If I remember rightly, the story ends with the increasingly rebellious school boy becoming Mr Flash, the villain of previous Kinks albums 'Preservation Act 1' and 'Preservation Act 2'. Oh for heyday of the concept album.

The 'Schoolboys' movie is being written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait who told The Hollywood Reporters: "'Schoolboys In Disgrace' is a story that any kid who has felt that they are not being treated fairly can relate to, all set to some of the greatest rock songs you'll ever hear. It's the genesis story of a supervillain set to music. It's the story of the world's most charming criminal and a realistic high school musical for all the kids who hate sugary, sweet, unrealistic high school musicals".

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The previously reported 'secret gig' from Arcade Fire in London this month is a secret no more. It will take place on 7 Jul at the Hackney Empire, and tickets go on sale tomorrow. The London gig will precede the release of new album 'The Suburbs' on 2 Aug, and festival sets at Oxegen in Ireland this month, and at the Reading and Leeds festivals next month.

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Happy Canada Day everybody. Have a, erm, now, what are the Canadians famous for? I know, have a cup of maple syrup on me. Then go club a seal to death. Happy times.

And, for those of you in London, once you've cleaned up all the seal blood may we suggest a trip to Trafalgar Square where you'll find a whole day of Canadian themed festivities, including a very interesting sounding photography exhibition called Toronto Calling featuring photos taken of a string of punk and rock legends as they performed at venues in the Canadian city between 1979 and 1982.

They were all taken by Simon and Nick White, then teenagers living in Toronto who inherited their father's passion for photography and their own generation's passion for the punk scene. Among the bands featured in the exhibition, which was previously shown in Toronto itself, are The Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, The Boomtown Rats, Psychedelic Furs, The Pretenders, The Specials, XTC and Bob Marley.

And once you've had your fill of Trafalgar Square fun, the previously reported Canadian Blast festival continues today, with Canadian stuff taking place at Puregroove throughout the day, organised by Pop Montreal, and a Canada Day party at Village Underground from 11pm featuring Richie Hawtin and Layo & Bushwacka, entry is £18 on the door. More at www.canadianblast.com.

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Festival Republic will introduce new rules governing alcohol and fire at the Reading Festival this year. Of course, in its pure form the former is very good at creating the latter, though the two aren't really linked in the new rules. Well, except that having flames on site is more dangerous once everyone is horribly pissed.

According to Virtual Festivals, amongst the new rules designed to reduce safety risks and crime at the Reading Festival this year will be a ban on taking alcoholic drinks and firewood on site after 6pm, and an all out ban on lighting camp fires after 8pm. So basically, if you want to cause carnage at this year's Reading Festival, you're going to have to start early.

The new rules are apparently being introduced in response to a report by Reading Borough Council about last year's event, which concluded: "As groups grew in numbers they began moving around the site committing crime and acting in a disorderly and anti-social manner. Numerous fires were started, telegraph poles carrying onsite lighting were tampered with, sections of fencing were ripped up and hedgerows, tents, rubbish and combustibles were set alight".

Of course there was a time when punters setting alight pretty much anything that would burn at Reading's sister festival in Leeds was a much loved tradition. Well, by fire-loving pissed punters, if not festival organisers and local residents. But it is true to say that drink-fuelled festival-based arson is definitely frowned upon by the powers that be these days. I blame the Tories.

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ELECTRIC PICNIC, Stradbury Hall Estate, County Laois, Ireland, 3-5 Sep: Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, The Japanese Popstars and Jack Beats are amongst the latest acts to be added to the Electric Picnic line-up, along with Sneaky Sound System, Mixhell, The Subs and K'Naan. www.electricpicnic.ie

WOMAD, Charlton Park, nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire, 23-25 Jul: Cerys Matthews and Orchestre National de Barbes head up the latest acts announced to play at this summer's WOMAD, joining the previously announced Salif Keita, Burundi and Gil Scott-Heron. www.womad.org

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There are certain inevitabilities that you can pretty much count on at any Scottish music festival.

No doubt the rain will make an appearance at some point, allowing you to revel in that feeling of invincibility that can only be evoked through the donning of an impenetrable poncho and wellies combination. Naturally, the Scots will refuse to rely solely on the scheduled performers for musical entertainment. Instead, they will sacrifice their own larynges just to soundtrack your weekend by regularly chanting the official Scottish festival anthem of "Here we, here we, here we fuckin go", usually every hour, on the hour. It is also likely that you will experience that conscious moment of awe when you find yourself watching an astounding performance of musical genius against a backdrop of some of the best work that Mother Nature ever did; and she surely broke the mould with Loch Ness.

Well, last month's Rock Ness delivered on all accounts during a real monster of a weekend. It was considerate of the organisers to kindly schedule the obligatory downpour to come on Sunday morning so that we all could refuel with a lie-in, and there were only half as many 'Here we fuckin go's as you'd hear at T In The Park. They certainly came up trumps with the festival site too, with the main stage nestled snugly in the base of a valley, with the Scottish Highlands disappearing beneath the murky waters of the loch in the background.

Contrary to what the name might suggest, when Rock Ness was first launched as a single day event in 2006 with a bill topped by Fat Boy Slim and Carl Cox, 20,000 people gathered to party at what was primarily intended to become a Scottish stomping ground for DJs and electronic acts. The following year saw Nessie get 35,000 neighbours for an entire weekend and on a particularly blustery day, and whispers of Daft Punk's legendary performance can still be heard blowing through the glens.

This year, though, Rock Ness celebrated its fifth anniversary by slightly altering their mission statement to appeal to a far more diverse audience. For the first time, the line-up included comedy by way of Howard Marks' very own shebeen. While the addition of a gigantic ferris wheel was also warmly welcomed, allowing festival goers the chance to see the sights from another level.

The rock and indie crowd were, in particular, much better catered for this year. We got The Maccabees, Doves and Vampire Weekend, though The Strokes were the stand out on this front. They came to thrill when they closed the main stage, mainly by ripping through their powerhouse of a back catalogue before exploding to an end with the help of some fireworks and 'Take It Or Leave It'.

But Rock Ness has far from left its dance roots behind. The interests of the more electronically inclined were well represented, with euphoric sets from Dave Clark, Vitalic and Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 amongst my personal favourites. Aphex Twin brought a fully loaded show to the Clash Arena, with his trademark intensity and pupil dilating lasers sending us somewhere far away from a muddy field near Inverness. Though, try as they might, no one could touch Leftfield who were received evangelically. It was clear that ten years of down time had done Barnes & Co no harm whatsoever. Their lyric, "You're original, don't ever change" resounded deeper than ever before that night. MB

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Universal Music yesterday announced three senior level appointments within its International division. George Ash will become the major's President of the Australasia region, while Sandy Monteiro will perform the same function for South East Asia. Meanwhile Vico Antippas, currently President for half of mainland Europe, will also add South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and India to this brief.

They will all report to Max Hole, who becomes Chief Operating Officer of Universal Music International around about now (actually, wait for it ... now). Confirming all three appointments yesterday he said some words about all three executives.

About Aussie man Ash: "George and his team have seized market leadership in Australia with determination and flair, developing a vibrant domestic roster alongside Universal Music's traditional strength with international superstars. I have no doubt that, with his new, wider responsibilities, he will continue to succeed".

About South East Asian dude Monteiro: "First and foremost, Sandy is a music man. Among many achievements, he has successfully spearheaded a strategic push to rebuild our domestic repertoire business in a number of markets, while at the same time he and his team have set industry standards in the digital music sector. This promotion recognises his determination and his vision".

And about Europe and now African and Indian chap Antippas: "During his 29 years with Universal Music, Vico has successfully served our businesses in charge of a range of established and developing European markets. He has strengthened our companies, appointing new management and delivering growth. I have no doubt he will succeed with his additional responsibilities".

All three promoted execs said things like "Wow man, thanks for the promotion dude, what a magical treat to fall into my lap this Wednesday morn", or words to that effect.

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Warner Music yesterday announced it had struck a multi-year "ad sales and digital content partnership" deal with MTV, which is great news, I love ad sales and digital content partnership deals.

The core bit of the arrangment is that MTV's sale house will now sell advertising for any music video platforms controlled by Warner Music in the US, so that includes videos on Warner's label and artist sites, and all of Warner's premium videos on YouTube.

As previously reported, Warner Music, a hold out on Sony and Universal's ad-funded YouTube-powered music video platform Vevo, renegotiated its relationship with Google-owned YouTube last year, so that it now controls the ad space that surrounds its content on the video-sharing website, paying a royalty to Google, rather than Google paying a royalty to it.

The deal was based on the logic that Google and YouTube were underselling the ad spots next to premium music videos in terms of rates. The same logic was behind Universal and Sony spinning off their YouTube content to create the Vevo service.

The new deal is also likely to see Warner collaborate more proactively with MTV's own online platforms, especially where good ad or sponsorship revenue is likely.

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Two bits of news for you from MOG, the subscription-based streaming music service already active in the US and planning a UK launch.

First up, MOG have done a deal with electronics firm Roki, who specialise in digital music and radio-style devices that take content off the internet, via either a wifi or ethernet link. As part of the deal, Roki will make a MOG subscription available to owners of its devices for five dollars a month.

Meanwhile, MOG's previously reported iPhone app, which works a bit like Spotify and We7's apps, and which takes the online MOG service mobile, even when out of active 3G range, has been approved by the app twonks at Apple.

MOG top man David Hyman said yesterday: "Our goal, when we started MOG, was to deliver MOG everywhere people want to consume music. We started by bringing MOG to the PC in December, and then we introduced our mobile app. Now, via our partnership with Roku, the market leader in internet streaming media players, we're bringing the best digital music experience to people's living rooms".

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The much previously reported plan to take most radio services off FM in 2015 and make the DAB network the primary radio system in the UK were discussed by members of the House Of Lords yesterday.

As previously reported, the 2015 switchover date is set out in the Digital Economy Act, and has the support of the BBC and the larger commercial radio groups. However, numerous smaller commercial radio companies have hit out at the proposal, saying it is unrealistic, and will force an inferior and more expensive service on consumers who don't want it.

Tory lord Tim Renton, a former arts minister, expressed some of those concerns yesterday. He said there were still "many things wrong" with the digital audio broadcasting system. Speaking to David Shutt, the Lib Dem lord speaking for the government on the digital radio issue, Renton asked: "Can you assure me that you will do something to cope with, for example, excessive cost, poor coverage and the muffled and fizzy noise it makes? Can some of this get cured before the analogue radio is finally disappeared?"

Shutt, who announced the government would publish a plan for digital radio switchover in the next two weeks, added: "I'm led to believe that 75 per cent of the people we ask say digital radio is a better radio in terms of what they can hear".

I'm not sure Renton was convinced by that argument, though he admitted that he wouldn't really be happy until cheap battery-powered digital radio sets would work in his vineyard. He said: "I have to confess I have an interest in this matter, as I'm a partner in a vineyard where we regularly use analogue radio all night to stop the badgers from eating our grapes".

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Macy Gray reckons the record industry should be more willing to let artists make cheaper less mainstream and therefore less commercially successful albums in between the big crowd pleasers, in the same way movie stars can do nerdy arthouse flicks and low interest theatre projects between the Hollywood blockbusters.

She has a point you know. Perhaps record deals should allow artists some arty endeavours between high demand releases. Though us music hacks would have to agree to not write artists off when said arty records only achieved moderate success.

Speaking to Stylist mag, Gray said: "I like people who do art for the sake of art. Actors have the luxury of making a big movie and then they'll do a little independent film. In music, it's almost like a crime if you do something less successful. Record labels are short-sighted. They want to make money and make that clear. I want to make money too, but my work is also an art".

Gray's new album 'The Sellout' was released last month. I've not heard it, so don't know if the title means it is the sort of big mainstream release her label demands, or an ironically titled arty side project. Given what I've heard about sales figures so far, one hopes the latter.

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Andy Malt
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Email suggestions for CMU Approved to andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

Email suggestions for Club Tip to vigsy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

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email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

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Send CDs for review to CMU, UnLimited Media, 221-222 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PJ.


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