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INFORMATION
Jobs
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Robbie Williams rejoins Take That
Live Nation admits ticket sales flagging, share price follows suit
In The Pop Courts
Contra girl sues over photo use
In The Pop Hospital
Pink rushed to hospital after on stage tumble
Reunions & Splits
Damage reform
In The Studio
Winehouse album ready in six months
Release News
EMI refuse to replace Duran Duran discs
Wrongtom reworks Roots Manuva on new album
Artists queue up for War Child Bowie tribute
Gigs & Tours News
Gogol Bordello announce UK & Ireland tour
Tiffany page announces UK tour
Red Sparowes announce UK & Ireland shows
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Album reviews: Midnight Juggernauts - Crystal Axis (Siberia Records)
The Music Business
BMG buy Stage Three (but only because it rhymes)
Mercury promotions
Record sales up - wooooooooooooooooooooo
The Digital Business
LimeWire still working on new and legit cloud-based service
Pledge launch data for track widget
The Media Business
SunTalk axed
New Radio 4 boss picked
And finally...
Ellis-Bextor writes song for stalker


 
FRIDAY 16TH JULY
THE MUSIC BUSINESS WEEK IN FIVE
Hey there everybody - what's the plan? Are you doing Latitude this weekend? Or Lovebox? Guilfest? Soundwaves? CockRock? Or, like me, are you planning on calling in on Cecily-fest, the annual celebration of the birthday of CMU Co-Publisher Caro Moses' three year old daughter? Expect reviews of some of those events in future CMU Dailys. Though only one will include an in-depth assessment of the cake line up. Meanwhile, here are the five biggest stories from the music business this week.

 
01: There was more chatter about America's faltering live industry, partly because various US media were putting several Rihanna gig cancellations down to poor ticket sales and partly because US trade mag Pollstar revealed that gross revenues from America's hundred biggest tours were down $196.8 million during the first half of this year compared to 2009. Yesterday Live Nation admitted its ticket sales could be down 15% by the end of the year, an admission which led to a 16% slump in the company's share price. CMU report on Pollstar stats | AP report on Live Nation

02: The Recording Industry Association Of America's 2008 finances were scrutinised, them having been made public. We discovered top man Mitch Bainwol was paid over $2 million for his lacklustre leadership of the major label trade body, and that on his watch $17 million was handed over to lawyers who were hired to stop file-sharing by suing fans. They took the seventeen million, got the record industry $391,000 back in damages, ensured file-sharing went from strength to strength, and had a big pie for tea. Good work if you can get it. At a Music Ally event in London artist manager Pete Jenner compared the US record industry's efforts to tackle piracy through litigation with 1920s prohibition. CMU report | TorrentFreak report

03: A PRS man made a crazy proposal. In a paper complied with academic David Touve, PRS's economist Will Page suggested that as, under the Digital Economy Act, OfCom is obligated to monitor file-sharing, ISPs could be charged a levy for all the piracy they allow, partly to compensate rights holders, partly to encourage them to tackle online infringement. Needless to say, the ISPs weren't especially impressed with the idea. TalkTalk fumed and grumbled and said "fuck off, Page", or words to that effect. CMU report | PRS paper

04: EMI's latest business plan was reported to be nearly ready. We revealed last week that recently appointed overall EMI top dog Roger Faxon was busy writing yet another new business plan. One that will preferably do all the things that hastily compiled press release announcing Faxon's sudden appointment to the Group CEO role said the major would now do. The New York Post claimed last weekend said plan could be ready within a fortnight, and would most likely propose doing big distribution deals with chunks of the major's recordings catalogue and selling equity in some of their publishing assets, both to generate quick cash. CMU report | New York Post report

05: Brighton venue Freebutt was forced to stop staging gigs, because of a long running battle with the local council and one neighbour who has complained about the noise. Owners reckon it would cost twenty grand to install sound proofing that could overcome the problem. Raising that money will be hard now the council have stopped them from staging the 100 plus gigs they had booked in for this year. The venue is still open for non-gigging business though, at least while management review their options. CMU report

That's it. Look out for our artist news digest in the CMU Weekly this afternoon, where you'll also find a fabulous pre-Lovebox Powers Of Ten playlist from Groove Armada's Tom Findlay. Good times.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU Daily
 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Freestylers at The Westbury
The Westbury has had some good nights on since its refurb a few years back, and tonight should be another goodun, because they have The Freestylers in the house. Having had chart hits, headlined festivals and released a couple of albums, tonight they'll be launching their latest single 'Cracks' straight into the stratosphere!

 
Joining the 'stylers are NSD label heads CTRL-Z and Demus, who will be causing some damage on the dancefloor. Well worth a look.

Friday 16 Jul, The Westbury, 34 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 3UA, 8pm-3am, free before 10pm, £5 after, more info from www.westburybar.com or 020 7625 7500


 
  THREEWEEKS MEDIA-SKILLS PROGRAMME: EDITORIAL TEAM OPPORTUNITIES STILL AVAILABLE
Fancy seeing the Edinburgh Festival right from the inside, while picking up invaluable experience in how the publishing industry works? As part of the ThreeWeeks media-skills programme we still have opportunities available for students or aspiring media or publishing people to work at ThreeWeeks HQ in Edinburgh as on editorial or admin assistant.

These are voluntary roles, but you get to work alongside leading media professionals, who will provide formal training and on-the-ground advice and guidance. You'll also get to be part of a hugely exciting Edinburgh Fringe project and may have the option to review a show or two.

To apply send a CV, 100 words on why you want to join the team and a 120 word review of something cool to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk. Put 'Editorial Team' in the subject line.
       
  ACADEMY MUSIC GROUP RECRUITMENT
Academy Music Group is currently recruiting for the following positions:

O2 Academy Leicester: Venue Manager, Venue Marketing Co-ordinator, Technical Manager (2011 start).

O2 Academy Islington (London): Assistant General Manager, Bars Manager.

O2 Academy Oxford: Technical Manager (immediate start).

Academy Music Group Nationwide: AMG welcomes interest from candidates with at least three years experience of live and club venue management to join the expansion of its venue estate across the UK. Individuals must be enthusiastic about the industry and hold the following roles or equivalent: General Manager, Assistant General Manager, Technical Manager, Bars Manager.

Forward CV, covering letter and position you wish to apply for to: Rita Garavan, Human Resources Manager at rita@academy-music-group.co.uk or Academy Music Group, 211 Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9SL

Closing date: Friday 23 Jul 2010
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  BESPOKE MUSIC, MEDIA AND PR TRAINING FROM CMU
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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ROBBIE WILLIAMS REJOINS TAKE THAT
So, pop's worst kept secret has finally been made official; Robbie Williams has rejoined Take That and the band are set to release a new album together later this year.

Robbie has variously shot his mouth off about the reunion in the last nine months, but rumours that his return to the band was now imminent began to circulate again earlier this month. Though the actual announcement wasn't necessarily expected quite so soon.

Some thought William's greatest hits album - due out in October and set, we think, to include Take That songs (well, it's called 'In And Out Of Consciousness - The Greatest Hits 1990-2010') - might get its release first. After all, the centrepiece of that compilation is a new track co-written with and featuring vocals from Gary Barlow. That collaboration doesn't seem quite so impressive any more.

Anyway, as you may remember, all five members of the band were spotted heading into New York's Electric Ladyland studios last September. It was yesterday confirmed that this was, indeed, the first step towards writing the new album, with six songs completed during those sessions.

Announcing the reunion yesterday afternoon, Williams said: "I get embarrassingly excited when the five of us are in a room. It feels like coming home".

Mark Owen added: "Getting the five of us to be in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like becoming a reality. Now the reality of the five of us making a record together feels like a dream. It's been an absolute delight spending time with Rob again. But I'm still a better footballer".

Jason Orange said that the news was "flippin' brilliant, absolutely brilliant", but stressed it may not be a permanent situation, saying: "I'm over the moon that Robbie's back with us, however long it lasts. I just want to enjoy our time with him. Life is beautifully strange sometimes".

Produced by Stuart Price, the as-yet-untitled new album will be released by Polydor in November.

And just in case you still don't believe it's true, here they are being all Take Thatty: youtu.be/u2kK-TTOttY

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LIVE NATION ADMITS TICKET SALES FLAGGING, SHARE PRICE FOLLOWS SUIT
Live entertainment giant Live Nation held a conference in New York yesterday to try to reassure investors about the company's performance amid all those reports that have been circulating about the sorry state of the American mainstream live music market.

As previously reported, there has been much speculation that the live sector's ever expanding bubble has finally burst - in the US at least - as the recession and years of ticket price hikes combine to keep music fans at home.

It's been widely reported that concerts by big name artists like Rihanna, The Jonas Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel have been cancelled, seemingly because of poor ticket sales. And American live industry trade mag Pollstar revealed this week that the country's top hundred tours had brought in $196.8 million less in the first half of 2010 than during the equivalent period last year. Meanwhile some commentators have speculated that it is Live Nation in particular who have been hardest hit by the live music down turn.

At his company's investor call yesterday, Live Nation chief Michael Rapino admitted that ticket sales for the firm's top 100 bands were down 12% so far this year, and could drop by 15% for the whole year. He also admitted that media speculation about the "slumping" live sector might make some bankable artists nervous about touring this autumn, which could also hit the live music giant.

But Rapino, and his co-chief Irving Azoff, who contributed via a video link, insisted that Live Nation was still in good shape, despite operating in a sector that looked to be wobbling. While parts of the live sector had seen a downturn, other parts were still performing well, they insisted.

And where there had been a decline in ticket sales, those issues could probably be addressed long term by dealing with consumer frustration over price hikes and additional fees. Live Nation will lobby its key artists - who, the company execs implied, were frequently behind ticket price rises - to offer more reasonably priced tickets. Meanwhile, through its Ticketmaster division, the live music giant says it hopes to address commission fee issues, ultimately ensuring admin fees on print-at-home tickets were included in the published ticket price.

Unfortunately for Rapino and Azoff though, their investors seemed to hear the "15% slide in ticket sales" bit much clearer than all the assurances about long term growth, leading to a big sell of shares in the company, and a 16% slump in the firm's share price.

Aware their stock value was falling as they spoke, and facing some tricky questions from their audience, both Rapino and especially Azoff clearly became frustrated as their conference progressed, the latter accusing those selling their Live Nation shares as being "short sighted".

Presumably both Live Nation chiefs assumed investors had enough confidence in them and their company that they'd respect the two men's honesty regarding falling ticket sales, admire their decision to tackle the issue head on in such a public way, and trust the execs to steer the firm through the tricky times ahead. Many probably do and did, but some clearly not. You certainly got the impression both Rapino and Azoff had expected a better response to their investor call.

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CONTRA GIRL SUES OVER PHOTO USE
The model whose picture appeared on the cover of Vampire Weekend's 'Contra' album is suing the band, claiming she never gave permission for the photo to be used.

The picture actually dates from 1983, and was seemingly supplied to the band by photographer Tod Brody. According to TMZ, the girl, Kirsten Kennis, says Brody provided a release form to the band and their label seemingly giving her approval to use the picture, but she says her signature on said form had been forged.

She is suing both Brody and the band for a neat $2 million. Her claim against the band is based on the argument they should have confirmed the authenticity of the signature on the release form before using the photo for their record.

I'm not sure under what laws Kennis is suing, given the copyright in the photo would be owned by Brody and, assuming she voluntarily took part in a photo shoot as a model, there probably isn't a case under privacy legislation. But I guess we'll find out more if and when the case reaches court.

Neither Brody nor the band have responded to the lawsuit.

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PINK RUSHED TO HOSPITAL AFTER ON STAGE TUMBLE
Pink was rushed to hospital last night after she crashed through onstage barricades during a high wire routine at a concert in Nuremberg, Germany. Seemingly she wasn't properly clipped into her harness before being pulled up above her stage, resulting in a dramatic tumble.

However, it seems she wasn't too badly injured, if her subsequent live tweeting from the ambulance is anything to go by, though it's possible the pain killers were having an impact on her typing skills.

She tweeted: "to all my nurnberg fans- I am so so so sorry to end the show that way.I am embarassed and very sorry. I'm in ambulance now but I will b fine". She then explained "didn't get clipped in2 harness correctly,drug me off stage, fell in2 barricade. Getting xrays.I hope it at least looked cool!!!"

After some hospital tests she concluded: "Ok all my lovers out there- nothings broken, no fluid in the lungs, just seriously sore. I made that barricade my b*tch!!!! Thanx nurnberg:("

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DAMAGE REFORM
Poor old Damage, I'm certain they would have grabbed all the headlines had they not inadvertently chosen to announce that they are reforming on the same day as Take That. Absolutely certain. But hey, a reunion is a reunion, and not being quite as famous as Take That is... Hey, did I tell you Robbie's rejoined Take That? I know! Exciting, isn't it? And they're releasing an album, too! It's just like the... oh, wait. Sorry, gotta talk about some other boyband for a bit...

Anyway, yeah, Damage are back together again after nearly a decade apart. The band said they made the decision to reform after a Facebook campaign saw hundreds of messages from fans pour in asking them to get back together.

Unlike Take That (ARGH! TAKE THAT ARE BACK TOGETHER!), Damage will not be recording a new album (Take That are doing one and Robbie is on it, did I say?). Instead, they'll just cobble together a greatest hits package from their two studio albums and bung that out. Oh yeah, Robbie Williams has a greatest hits album coming out in October too, it's got a song with Gary Barlow on it - amazing! Not as amazing as a whole new Take That album with Robbie on it, though. That'll be brilliant.

Ahem. Emma Bunton's boyfriend Jade Jones said that being back with Damage again seemed really natural (as natural as Robbie being back with Take That?). He told the BBC: "It seemed so easy. It's been such a long time since we've done anything but getting back together, it's like riding a bike. As soon as we got back together, everything just slipped into place. We're ready. I don't know if the world's ready for it but we're ready".

Produced by Stuart Price, Take That's as-yet-untitled new album will be released by Polydor in November.

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WINEHOUSE ALBUM READY IN SIX MONTHS
Amy Winehouse has been speaking about her long time in development third album, which she now says should be ready for release within six months.

Ms Winehouse told Metro: "The album will be six months at the most. It's going to be very much the same as my second album, where there's a lot of jukebox stuff and songs that are... just jukebox, really".

So, get your jukeboxes ready.

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EMI REFUSE TO REPLACE DURAN DURAN DISCS
EMI has responded to criticism about the sound quality on recent 'special edition' re-issues of Duran Duran's eponymous debut and their third album, 1983's 'Seven And The Ragged Tigers'.

Criticism about the way the re-releases have been mastered has come from both fans and members of the band. But, while the label admitted it was aware that concerns had been raised regarding the remastering of the records, it said - but for one glitch - it was all a matter of opinion, and there'd therefore be no recall of stock.

Issued via the band's website, the label's statement said: "It has come to our attention that some fans have suggested that the mastering on the recently re-issued editions of 'Duran Duran' and 'Seven And The Ragged Tiger' is incorrect. Mastering is always subjective, and we acknowledge that the mastering on these versions is different to that of previous remasters, however that does not necessarily make it wrong".

It continued: "We have received both positive and negative comments about the mastering which is usual for any project - although those that don't like the sound of these new records are by far in the minority. We will always take on board constructive criticism and act upon it, where we believe it appropriate, and we respect the opinions of the fans. However, in this case there have been some personal comments about the mastering engineer that were highly offensive, wholly inappropriate and unjustified".

As for the one glitch, EMI added that it knew there was a slight problem in the reproduction of the song 'Girls Of Film', but said it wouldn't do anything about that either. The statement concluded: "There is a glitch due to tape deterioration in the camera clicks at the very start of 'Girls On Film' on the 'Duran Duran' album. Whilst this glitch is not ideal, as it is in the camera clicks and not within the main body of the music, there are no plans to replace any discs".

So, there you go. The glitchy, deteriorated, possibly-not-that-great-sounding special edition Duran Duran CDs are in shops now.

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WRONGTOM REWORKS ROOTS MANUVA ON NEW ALBUM
Two years in the making, Big Dada have announced the release of 'Duppy Writer', a collection of Roots Manuva tracks spanning his entire career reworked by the rather brilliant Wrongtom.

Tom was originally only asked to turn in a remix of 'Buff Nuff', the first single from Roots' 2008 album 'Slime & Reason'. But when he delivered it, the folks at Big Dada were so impressed that they got him to do a few more, and those remixes became the bonus disc that came with that album. The response from fans was big, and so 'Duppy Writer' was born.

In creating the album, Tom tried to re-imagine each track as an 'original' version from an earlier decade, taking the album back through 80s dancehall, classic reggae and beyond. He and Roots even found time to record a brand new track, 'Jah Warriors', which features guest vocals from Ricky Ranking, and will be the album's first single.

Here's the tracklist:

Butterfly Crab Walk
Chin Up
Duppy Writer (Skit)
Worl' A Mine
Big Tings Redone
Jah Warriors
Proper Tings Juggled
Dutty Rut
Dub Decay
Lick Up Ya Foot
Rebuff
Son of Bodda
Motion 82

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ARTISTS QUEUE UP FOR WAR CHILD BOWIE TRIBUTE
LA-based indie label Manimal has announced details of a David Bowie tribute album, entitled 'We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie', which will be released on 11 Oct, with proceeds going to War Child. Amongst the artists who have recorded their own versions of Bowie songs are Duran Duran, Devendra Banhart (under the name Megapuss), A Place To Bury Strangers, Chairlift, Vivian Girls, Carla Bruni, Warpaint and Caroline Weeks.

Here's the complete tracklist:

Disc one
Exitmusic - Space Oddity
Duran Duran - Boys Keep Swinging
Megapuss - Sound + Vision
Warpaint - Ashes To Ashes
Corridor - Be My Wife
Chairlift - Always Crashing In The Same Car
Vivian Girls - John, I'm Only Dancing
All Leather - Fame
We Are The World - Afraid Of Americans
A Place To Bury Strangers - Suffragette City
Tearist - Repetition
Halloween Swim Team - Look Back In Anger
Afghan Raiders - Fashion
Polyamorous Affair - Theme From Cat People
Swahili Blonde - Red Money
Jessica 6 - I'm Deranged
Aska & Bobby Evans (feat Moon & Moon) - African Night Flight
Xu Xu Fang - China Girl

Disc two
VoicesVoices - Heroes
Carla Bruni - Absolute Beginners
Papercranes - Blue Jean
Keren Ann - Life On Mars?
Lewis & Clarke - Changes
Zaza - It Aint Easy
Genuflex - Soul Love
Sister Crayon - Bewlay Brothers
Marco Benevento - Art Decade
Mick Karn - Ashes To Ashes
Lights (NYC) - World Falls Down
Aquaserge - The Supermen
Caroline Weeks - Starman
Rainbow Arabia - Quicksand
Mechanical Bride - Sound + Vision
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Memory Of A Free Festival

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GOGOL BORDELLO ANNOUNCE UK & IRELAND TOUR
Gogol Bordello have announced a tour of the UK and Ireland to take place later this year. Yes!

Tour dates:

21 Nov: Belfast, Mandella Hall
22 Nov: Dublin, Olympia
26 Nov: Liverpool, Academy
28 Nov: Brighton, Dome
15 Dec: London, The Forum
16 Dec: London, The Forum

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TIFFANY PAGE ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
Mercury's big hope in the female rock stakes, Tiffany Page has announced details of a UK tour in September to coincide with the release of her debut album, 'Walk Away Slow', on 20 Sep.

Tour dates:

18 Sep: Lemonfest
27 Sep: Leeds, Cockpit
28 Sep: Newcastle, Academy 2
29 Oct: Glasgow, King Tuts
1 Oct: Manchester, Deaf Institute
2 Oct: Bristol, Academy 2
3 Oct: Birmingham, Flapper
5 Oct: Brighton, Audio
6 Oct: London, 100 Club
7 Oct: Nottingham, Stealth

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RED SPAROWES ANNOUNCE UK & IRELAND SHOWS
Instrumental post-rockers Red Sparowes have announced that they will tour the UK and Ireland in October to promote their third album, 'The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer', which was released in April by Sargeant House.

Here, have a free MP3 of a track from said album: www.refused.tv/rs/Giving_Birth_To_Imagined_Saviors.mp3

The tour dates are these:

10 Oct: London, The Scala
11 Oct: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
12 Oct: Dublin, Crawdaddy
13 Oct: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
14 Oct: Glasgow, Stereo

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

ATP BOWLIE 2, Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, 10-12 Dec: Dirty Projectors, The Zombies and Sons And Daughters are amongst the latest acts confirmed to play at this Belle & Sebastian curated event, along with Trembling Bells, Michael Rother's Hallogallo and Abagail Grey. www.atpfestival.com

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ALBUM REVIEWS: Midnight Juggernauts - Crystal Axis (Siberia Records)
'Dystopia', Midnight Juggernauts' 2008 debut, was an improbably brilliant combination of 70s space rock, prog and disco. 'Crystal Axis' effectively pulls the same trick, but does it even better this time. No radical departure, the Australian group have simply refined their sound ever so slightly, without losing their propensity for epic glitterball rock that would sound equally great on the dancefloor or in a stadium.

'Vital Signs' and 'Lifeblood Flow' set the tone for the journey to follow: think 'Pink Floyd: Live At Pompei' atmospherics (foreboding, big drums and swirling synths) married to effortlessly clever pop, with choruses as big and bright as supernovas exploding. Like a less heavy Muse, or a slightly heavier Sparks, 'Crystal Axis' is a riot of symphonic, epic electronic pop from start to end. MS

Physical release: 19 Jul
Press contact: Darling Dept

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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BMG BUY STAGE THREE (BUT ONLY BECAUSE IT RHYMES)
The ever expansive BMG Rights Management has bought London-based music publishers Stage Three Music from its current owners, a combination of Apax Partners, Ingenious Ventures and senior management.

The publisher was founded in 2003 by former EMI and Virgin Music man Steve Lewis, and has offices in London, LA and Nashville. Songs owned by the company included 'Walk This Way', 'Baker Street' and 'You Get What You Give'. Specifics of the takeover deal, BMG's third major acquisition this year, are not known.

BMG chief man Hartwig Masuch told reporters: "It is tremendously important to us to increase our foothold in the UK - the hottest and most competitive music market in the world. Stage Three Music is an iconic music publishing business and one we are very pleased to be buying, not only because of its elite roster of writers but also due to its pro-active approach towards licensing, which perfectly supports our thinking and growth strategy".

Lewis added: "It's been a privilege to work with such a talented group of colleagues and writers. I'm grateful to our investors for their support and very proud of our achievements and the catalogue we've assembled over the past seven years. BMG have been very professional purchasers. I'm confident the company is in good hands and I look forward to seeing continued growth under their ownership".

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MERCURY PROMOTIONS
Universal UK's Mercury Music Group division announced two promotions yesterday. Paul Adam, a senior A&R director for the division, will become MD of its Vertigo imprint, while A&R exec Jamie Nelson has been promoted to Director Of A&R.

Mercury President Jason Iley told CMU: "The Vertigo name is already back on the A&R map thanks to the success of Amy [Macdonald] and Razorlight, but I know Paul will lead the label to the next level as a distinct repertoire stream within the Mercury group. Jamie has tremendous drive and enthusiasm. He is an outstanding A&R executive and I am excited about what he can achieve in his new role".

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RECORD SALES UP - WOOOOOOOOOOO
Hey people, with all these stories of the US live sector slumping, how about some news that the UK recorded music market is growing this year? That's a quirky new way of reporting on the music business right?

Yes, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association, music sales increased by 1.7% in the first half of 2010 in terms of volume, and 0.4% in terms of value. Moderate increases obviously, and mainly down to digital growth, but still, it's a positive number, which is nice. DVD and video product sales were also slightly up in the first half of 2010 compared to 2009, though the video game market saw sales slump 12.5% by volume and 10.1% by value.

ERA chief Kim Bayley said innovation was key to keeping entertainment retail sales up, noting that it was digital music, Blu-Ray discs and newer gaming platforms that were generating revenue growth. Innovative content was also needed, she said, noting that Lady Gaga and 'Avatar' were respectively leading the way in terms of music and video sales.

Bayley: "Both 'Avatar' and Lady Gaga are as far away from the run-of-the-mill as you can get. They have been unpredictable, phenomenal successes which the public have taken to their hearts. The message to film and music and games companies is clear - create extraordinary products and the public will respond".

Or, given that both Boyzone and Michael Buble appear in the top ten albums of 2010 so far, sometimes it works to just pump out the same old shit. Here's that very top ten, with how many units they had each shifted this year as of when I had my cornflakes this morning (actually, as of the end of June, I think).

1. Lady Gaga - The Fame (Universal) 719,517
2. Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom (Sony) 595,039
3. Florence & The Machine - Lungs (Universal) 587,412
4. Paolo Nutini - Sunny Side Up (Warner) 580,729
5. Michael Buble - Crazy Love (Warner) 394,238
6. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (Universal) 368,300
7. Boyzone - Brother (Universal) 353,392
8. Plan B - The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Warner) 337,518
9. Andre Rieu - Forever Vienna (Universal) 333,306
10. Glee Cast - Glee The Music: Season One Vol 1 Glee Cast (Sony) 326,263

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LIMEWIRE STILL WORKING ON NEW AND LEGIT CLOUD-BASED SERVICE
The record industry might be preparing its last big swoop against the evil beast that is LimeWire - expect a dramatic torpedo fired to its very heart, causing gallons of green sticky ooze, several billion carelessly shared tedious pop songs and a dangerous cloud of binary code to explode above your heads - but the Lime Group is still busy hiring people to work on plans to launch a new legit 'cloud-based' digital music flim flam.

It's no secret that LimeWire has been developing legit digital music offerings for a while now, the problem being that none of the majors and few of the big indies seem all that keen in going into business with an organisation they've placed just this side of the Third Reich in the evil stakes for much of the last decade.

But, despite the major music companies circling above, getting ready to injunct LimeWire off the net, and bankrupt its business and founder, press statements from Team Lime insist talks are ongoing with the labels regarding them licensing their music to the company's new digital services, including one that will combine MP3tunes-style anytime anywhere access to a user's record collection with a subscription-based Spotify-style streaming service.

Confirming the company was continuing to recruit new staff, LimeWire CEO George Searle told Digital Music News this week: "We have always valued technological innovation and creativity, and we continue to grow our team to include more people that share these values".

Of course, given the size of their database, there is an argument that the major labels and publishers should collaborate with LimeWire in any effort to replace its illegal P2P network with something licensed and consumer-friendly.

But you just can't help feeling that any future profits such a deal might generate for the labels isn't as valuable to record company bosses as the smug satisfaction they'll feel when the Lime operation is finally shut down, and its founder Mark Gorton bankrupted into oblivion, left to limp through the rest of time living on nothing but file-shared dust. Well, that and the ten million stashed away in that family trust.

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PLEDGE LAUNCH DATA FOR TRACK WIDGET
Fan funding website Pledge Music has launched a widget that bands can use to collect email addresses, Facebook fans and Twitter followers in return for a track. It's increasingly common, of course, for bands to exchange a free track in return for useful fan data. The Pledge widget will also offer analytics functionality.

Confirming the launch of the new widget, Pledge founder Benji Rogers told CMU: "For artists today, it's vital that they are able to stay connected to their fans. We know that other companies are selling similar technology but giving the widget to whoever can use it, whether they start a campaign with us or not, aligns with our mission to support artists. When artists and fans benefit, the entire industry benefits".

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SUNTALK AXED
The Sun has axed its internet radio show SunTalk with immediate effect.

The online audio service was fronted by Sun columnist Jon Gaunt, the former TalkSport presenter who lost in his legal efforts to overturn an OfCom decision against him earlier this week. As previously reported, Gaunt took media regulator OfCom to court after it ruled he broke broadcasting codes by calling a council official a "nazi" and "ignorant pig" during a debate on TalkSport about smokers fostering children. He claimed OfCom's ruling breached his human right to freedom of expression. But the High Court did not concur, saying the insults he used on his TalkSport show were unnecessarily and gratuitously offensive.

Some initially thought that The Sun's sudden announcement that it was shutting down SunTalk yesterday might be linked to the court ruling. It was known publishers News International were considering taking the SunTalk brand to digital radio. That would mean the show would be regulated by OfCom. The current online-only version actually falls under the remit of the Press Complaints Commission because it is housed on a newspaper website.

But insiders say that this week's court ruling had nothing to do with News International's subsequent decision to not proceed with plans to take SunTalk to DAB. Rather bosses there they baulked at the costs involved in going the proper radio route with the audio service. Once the DAB plans were off the agenda, it seems the newspaper's cost cutting chiefs decided they couldn't afford the ongoing cost of making the chat show available online.

It's a decision they might live to regret. It's widely assumed The Sun will take its website down the same subscription route as News International's other title The Times, and arguably audio services like Gaunt's rant show would be a good added value extra for Sun Online subscribers.

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NEW RADIO 4 BOSS PICKED
Radio 4 has a new controller, former BBC World Service executive Gwyneth Williams. She will succeed current R4 boss Mark Damazer who will step down in the autumn. Williams will also oversee BBC Radio 7, which is due to be rebranded Radio 4 Extra.

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ELLIS-BEXTOR WRITES SONG FOR STALKER
Sophie Ellis-Bextor has revealed that a track on her new album, 'Dial My Number', is an ode to a stalker who sends her text messages, although she's not entirely certain that the person in question means to stalk her.

She told Channel 4's 'The 5 O'Clock Show': "The song's about my text stalker. It's quite harmless, I think. It's normally fairly innocuous things and jokes and stuff like that. I got one on my way to work one day and so when I arrived we decided to write a song about it".

As to what the stalker might think of the song, she added: "I never respond so they don't know that I'm receiving it. People say, 'But surely now you've written a song, they will know!' But they could be texting someone else. It hasn't been confirmed that it's me they're texting. They don't seem to know where I live".

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Andy Malt
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