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INFORMATION
Jobs
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
A Beach Boys reunion after all? Or not?
In The Pop Courts
Foxy Brown arrested again
Police union criticises Ice-T
Reunions & Splits
Ficek on his Babyshambles departure
In The Studio
Boyle might be working on a Christmas album
Release News
A-ha announce farewell best of
Marnie Stern announces new album
Neon Indian announces debut album
Gigs & Tours News
Gorillaz move tour dates
Chromeo announce biggest UK tour to date
!!! announce UK shows
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Festival review: Lovebox
The Music Business
Eco survey hopes to aid axing of the promo CD
Amanda Palmer fans spend $15,000 in three minutes
The Digital Business
Spotify, Pandora, Facebook: a user stat frenzy
Nordic Games to release Robbie karaoke game
The Media Business
DMX's wife announces reality show about split (and split)
And finally...
New Katy Perry album to smell of candy floss


 
FRIDAY 23RD JULY

THE MUSIC BUSINESS WEEK IN FIVE
Well, it's been a weird week this one, full of strange things and strange people. Still, I head to Edinburgh for the world's biggest gathering of the weird at the end of the month, so at least I'll be well acclimatised.

Among all the weirdness, these things happened...


 
01: It transpired Ministry Of Sound were suing file-sharers. Or at least their lawyers have sent out legal letters to file-sharers they suspect of illegally accessing or distributing their content, and a spokesman said that any letter receiver who didn't respond would be taken to court. This led to a short conversation on Twitter as to whether we should refer to such litigation as 'sue-the-fans' lawsuits, with some arguing naughty file-sharers shouldn't be considered "fans", because real fans wouldn't steal.

But I don't really agree with that argument. After all, 'fandom' is surely about your passion for something, not your willingness (or ability) to spend money on that thing. And anyway, file-sharers probably are spending money on the artists they 'fan', just not on their sound recordings. But I accept many file-sharers may be misguided ungrateful bastards. So let's not fall out over this, people. How about moving forward we refer to this kind of litigation as sue-the-misguided-ungrateful-bastard-fans? It's still short sighted to pursue that kind of lawsuit, mind. CMU report | Guardian report

02: PRS extended the consultation on their live royalties review. The songs collecting society are currently talking to all sorts of people about the way they charge when their members' songs are performed at gigs and festivals. The deadline for submitting an opinion was originally 7 Sep, but I think someone pointed out most live music types are rather busy between now and then, this being the festival season and all. So PRS bosses announced they'd extend the consultation until 31 Oct. Glorious. CMU report

03: It was announced NME Radio would return. Well, technically speaking it never went anywhere, but the radio station spin off of the music mag has been playing back-to-back music since last month, when the company who used to run it - DX Media - dropped out of the venture and laid off all their presenters. NME publishers IPC announced this week it had done a new deal with radio firm Town & Country, so that NME Radio with presenters can return to Sky, the web and, eventually, DAB, in September. CMU report | Media Week report

04: Spotify said they'd still launch in the US this year, despite all that speculation that the American major labels won't licence their freemium version. In an interview with the Telegraph, top man Daniel Ek said talks were ongoing regarding a US launch, and implied that getting a share of the American market was essential for the bigger Spotify plan to work long term. Meanwhile back in Europe Team, Spot announced they now have half a million premium subscribers. CMU report | Telegraph report

05. Amanda Palmer sold fifteen grand's worth of stuff in three minutes, and possibly demonstrated that - for established niche artists - the DIY approach really can work. Now self-releasing, Palmer made a new EP of Radiohead covers available via her Bandcamp page, with various different versions available, from a simple digital EP to vinyl versions to bundles including all kinds of Palmer nonsense. According to the DIY platform, the singer has already sold $15,000 worth of stuff and they expect to sell out of all physical product over the weekend. Go Amanda. CMU report | Bandcamp blog

And that is it. Here's to a weekend of normality, one hopes. Well, it could happen.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU Daily
 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Joey Negro at William IV
My respect for Dave Lee goes back a long way; this all round decent chap is responsible for a lot of the genre that is disco house. He's a prolific producer who knows a thing or two about how to cut a tune, and is an exemplary DJ. On Saturday he will be playing at the William IV under his Joey Negro alias.

 
Around this time two years ago, I saw him perform with his live outfit The Sunburst Band - and they absolutely rocked the Jazz Café. Tomorrow night he will be treating us to a Carnival warm up you'll go crazy for at this plush pubclub in Ladbroke Grove. I'm sure it will be completely mobbed, so be sure you don't miss out.

Saturday 24 Jul, William IV Bar and Restaurant, 768 Harrow Road, London, NW10, 8pm - 3am, £10, more info from www.williamivlondon.com or 020 8969 5955.


 
  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.

Deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 23 July
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  LARGE PROGRAMMING ROOM/STUDIO AVAILABLE FOR SHORT OR LONG TERM LET
We have a creative space suitable for producers/songwriters/musicians available for weekly or monthly let, located within the lovely and leafy Strongroom studios complex in Shoreditch, east London. It is a self-contained, ground floor space of approx. 860 ft square (80m square) comprising control room, 2 booths, machine room, large lounge area and kitchen. Walking distance from Old Street and Liverpool Street stations. For more info contact Phil Sisson on 020 7426 5100 or phil@strongroom.com
       
  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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A BEACH BOYS REUNION AFTER ALL? OR NOT?
So, will the surviving Beach Boys celebrate the band's fiftieth anniversary with a reunion tour that sees both Mike Love and Brian Wilson on the same stage at the same time, or not?

As previously reported, US entertainment journalist Robin Leech claimed last month that Love had told him such a show was in the pipeline, but then Love himself issued a statement denying there were any plans for Brian Wilson to join him on a Beach Boys tour.

But now another founder member of the group, Al Jardine, has seemingly told reporters that a reunion involving him, Love and Wilson is being considered for the big 50. According to Jardine, he and Wilson will join Love and Bruce Johnston, who still tour as the Beach Boys, for at least one big anniversary show, though he says he is pushing for a tour. Another early member of the band, David Marks, will make up the reunion line up.

Jardine said: "We're definitely doing at least one show - you heard it first. It's a big deal. I don't know where it will be yet, but it'll probably be free. Golden Gate Park was mentioned, as was the [National] Mall in Washington DC and the north shore of Chicago by the beach".

He continued: "I want to see a 100-date anniversary tour. I want to go all around the world, but if this is the way it has to be, then so be it. We're going to have to rehearse one hell of a show. My point is, if we're going to rehearse and make this such a wonderful show, we should take it on the road. It's the next logical step and it disappoints me that the other guys don't see it that way. I mean, it really bothers me. I know Live Nation has their fingers crossed we'll hit the road. We've got one show definite, so at least we've got our foot in the door".

But don't go counting any chickens just yet. Brian Wilson's rep Jean Sievers seemed to know nothing about the Beach Boys reunion plans, insisting her man was focused entirely on his previously reported Gershwin album just now. Sievers: "Brian has a big new album coming out in August and that's what he's a 100% focused on".

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FOXY BROWN ARRESTED AGAIN
Rapper Foxy Brown was arrested earlier this week after a fracas involving her and a neighbour at her Brooklyn home.

It was the same neighbour that the rap lady threw her Blackberry at back in 2007. A restraining order has been in effect since that incident stopping Brown from approaching neighbour Arlene Raymond, which is seemingly why this relatively minor incident led to an arrest, ie the restraining order was breached.

According to reports, Brown was rehearsing in her garden when she noticed Raymond looking at her. The rapper then allegedly shouted "Bitch, what are you looking at? What the fuck are you looking at?" before lifting her skirt and exposing herself. It's was a classy moment, as you can see.

Brown pleaded not guilty to breaching her restraining order on Thursday, and was released on a five grand bail. She was told to report back to court on 27 Jul. If found guilty of an order breach she could be jailed, with the top sentence for such a crime being seven years.

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POLICE UNION CRITICISES ICE-T
American police union bosses have hit out at rapper come actor Ice-T for his Twitter response to a run in with New York officers earlier this week.

As previously reported, Ice-T was pulled over in New York on Tuesday after he was seen driving without a seatbelt. There were reports that police believed him to be driving on a suspended license, that they booked him, and that they temporarily banned him from driving.

Shortly after the incident, Ice-T took to the internet to deny the reports he'd been driving on a suspended license, and to criticise the conduct of the police who pulled him over.

Police union reps have seemingly taken offence to one tweet in particular, in which Ice said: "Some punk bitch rookie cop named Fisher #10026 made the arrest of his bullshit career today: Arresting the notorious Ice-T for no seatbelt".

He added: "That [suspended licence claim] is some bullshit they made up... Lie. For the record, y license is not suspended. I don't and never had a NYC licence. I have a valid NJ licence. It was all bullshit".

While not commenting on the charges made, a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association say they believe the rap man has been "disrespectful" to their hard working members. Noting the rapper's role in US police drama 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit', the union's President Patrick Lynch told the New York Post: "[Ice-T] may play a police officer on TV, but his disdain for law enforcement is well-documented. Real police officers enforce real laws that exist to keep everyone safe, even a disrespectful, former rap performer-turned-actor, whether he likes it or not".

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FICEK ON HIS BABYSHAMBLES DEPARTURE
Former Babyshambles drummer and all round nice bloke Adam Ficek has commented about his recent split from the Pete Doherty fronted band, though only really to say he doesn't want to comment.

Writing on his blog, he said his departure was the result of a "Babyshambles meltdown", adding: "Where do I start? It's been a very dark, miserable and upsetting time regarding the band. Something I feel is an intrinsic part of me has been lost. It's very difficult to go into detail about the situation - it's all a bit wobbly but I'll do my best when things settle a little. Apologies, I know you're all waiting for the gossip!"

Of course, Babyshambles has always had something of a changeable line up, though fans have noticed the changes have been more frequent of late. As previously reported, former Supergrasser Danny Goffey has been filling in on drums for the Babyshamblers since Ficek's sudden departure.

Meanwhile, back in Camp Ficek, Adam announced he was busy recruiting a band for the next live outing of his solo project Roses Kings Castles. He wrote: "I'm just in the middle of sorting the album release tour for November, it'll be full band again for ten dates around the UK. We'll also be doing in-stores and radio sessions as we hit the country. There's also lots of Euro dates and a stint in Japan so get signed up for info. Unfortunately I can't afford to take the band over [for those dates] so it's me solo. But don't worry I've been learning to play tambourine with my left foot, so it's going to be mega".

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BOYLE MIGHT BE WORKING ON A CHRISTMAS ALBUM
Susan Boyle is reportedly recording a Christmas album, which is sure to go down a storm in the US where they love such things. Her label have only confirmed that the Scottish warbler is now working on album number two, and won't confirm or deny whether it will be full of festive nonsense. Either way, US retailers are reportedly predicting Boyle II will be among the top three best selling albums of 2010, whatever shit she puts on it.

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A-HA ANNOUNCE FAREWELL BEST OF
As they continue to drag out their break-up, A-ha have announced a two disc 'best of' compilation spanning their entire 25 year career. Released on 4 Oct, '25 - The Very Best Of A-ha' will also feature their last ever recording and final single, 'Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)'.

The band's farewell tour will also make its way to the UK, in November, finishing up at Wembley Arena on 27 Nov. Ahead of that, the band will play a one-off show at the Royal Albert Hall, which will see them perform their debut album, 'Hunting High And Low', in full.

The tracklisting for the compilation is as follows:

CD 1
Take On Me
The Blue Sky
The Sun Always Shines On TV
Train Of Thought (7" Remix)
Hunting High and Low (7" Remix)
I've Been Losing You
Scoundrel Days
The Swing Of Things
Cry Wolf
Manhattan Skyline (Edit Version)
The Living Daylights
Stay On These Roads
Touchy! (UK DJ Edit)
There's Never A Forever Thing
You Are The One (7" Remix)
The Blood That Moves The Body (Two-Time Gun Remix)
Crying In The Rain
Early Morning
Slender Frame
I Call Your Name

CD2
Move To Memphis (Single Version)
Dark Is The Night For All
Cold As Stone (Remix)
Angel In The Snow (Edit)
Shapes That Go Together
Summer Moved On
Minor Earth Major Sky (Niven's Radio Edit)
The Sun Never Shone That Day (Radio Edit)
Velvet
Forever Not Yours
Lifelines
Did Anyone Approach You?
Celice
Analogue
Cosy Prisons (Radio Mix)
Foot Of The Mountain
Nothing Is Keeping You Here (Single Remix)
Shadowside (Single Edit)
Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)

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MARNIE STERN ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM
In totally brilliant, day completing news, Marnie Stern has announced that she will release her eponymous third album on 18 Oct via Souterrain Transmissions, which sees her team up again with Hella drummer Zach Hill, plus Matthew Flegel of Women On bass.

On the making of the new album, Stern told CMU: "I wanted to pay more attention to the delicate and subtly layered spaces in between sound and just make things louder and fuller where I didn't on my last two records. It's direct and honest and real. I'm no longer taking cover under guitar lines or yelping vocals".

You can download the album's opening track from Pitchfork: pitchfork.com/news/39518-marnie-stern-announces-new-album/

The tracklisting is this:

For Ash
Nothing Left
Transparency Is The New Mystery
Risky Biz
Female Guitar Players Are The New Black
Gimme
Cinco De Mayo
Building A Body
Her Confidence
The Things You Notice

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NEON INDIAN ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM
Alan Palomo, aka Neon Indian, has announced that he will release his debut album, entitled 'Psychic Chasms', on 20 Sep via Static Tongues. It will be full of synthy goodness. Plus, it'll come with a bonus disc calling itself 'Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed' and featuring remixes by the likes of Toro Y Moi, Yacht, Antlers and DNTEL. In honour of this news, I vote we all spend the rest of the day having a nice time.

Psychic Chasms tracklist:
(AM)
Deadbeat Summer
Laughing Gas
Terminally Chill
(If I Knew I'd Tell You)
6669 (I Don't Know if You Know)
Should Have Taken Acid With You
Mind, Drips
Psychic Chasms
Local Joke
Ephemeral Artery
7000 (Reprise)

Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed tracklist:
Sleep Paralysist
Deadbeat Summer (Toro Y Moi Remix)
Should Have Taken Acid With You (Body Language Remix)
If I knew I'd Tell You (Javelin Remix)
Mind, Drips (Bibio Remix)
Terminally Chill (Yacht Remix)
Ephemeral Artery (The Antlers Remix)
Local Joke (DNTEL Remix)

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GORILLAZ MOVE TOUR DATES
A string of dates originally billed as Gorillaz's first ever UK arena tour has now been expanded into the band's first world tour. As a result, the previously announced UK dates have been moved from September to November, which seems a little odd but let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that genuinely is the reason for the rescheduling. Tickets for the original dates remain valid and a new Brighton date has been added as well (tickets for that go on sale next Friday).

The new UK and Ireland dates are as follows.

11 Nov: Dublin, O2
12 Nov: Manchester Evening News Arena
14 Nov: London, O2 Arena
16 Nov: London, O2 Arena
17 Nov: Birmingham, NIA
18 Nov: Brighton Centre

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CHROMEO ANNOUNCE BIGGEST UK TOUR TO DATE
Chromeo have announced new UK and Ireland tour dates to take place in November. The duo's new album, 'Business Casual', is due for release through Backyard Recordings in September.

Tour dates:

4 Nov: Dublin, Tripod
5 Nov: Birmingham, Academy 2
6 Nov: Bristol, Academy
11 Nov: Sheffield, Plug
12 Nov: London, The Roundhouse
13 Nov: Manchester, Academy 2

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!!! ANNOUNCE UK SHOWS
!!! have announced six UK shows later this year to promote their upcoming album, 'Strange Weather, Isn't It?'

Tour dates:

29 Oct: Manchester, Academy 2
30 Oct: Glasgow, Classic Grand
1 Nov: Leeds, The Cockpit
2 Nov: Bristol, Anson Rooms
3 Nov: Brighton, Concorde 2
4 Nov: London, Koko

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

BLOODSTOCK, Catton Hall, Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire, 13-15 Aug: Collapse have been added to the Bloodstock line-up, along with Arceye, Credit To Dementia, Senturia, Neonfly, Chaos Asylum and many more. www.bloodstock.uk.com

OFFSET FESTIVAL, Hainault Forest Country Park, Essex, 4-5 Sep: Atari Teenage Riot, Chrome Hoof, Egyptian Hip Hop and Good Shoes have all been announced to play at this summer's Offset, with John and Jehn, O.Children, Wild Palms, La Shark, Wetdog and Relics also added to the bill. www.offsetfestival.co.uk

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Lovebox

Saturday
My first impression of Lovebox is that it's the prettiest festival I've been to. There are cute features like the giant pink and purple flowers providing shady havens, and tiny little flowers are festooned around.

Saturday's main band for me was Wild Beasts. The highly original art rockers come from Kendal in the Lake District, the home of mintcake. In any other band Hayden Thorpe's Baroque operatic vocals would be the most extraordinary thing about them, but everything is extraordinary about this band. Their other vocalist Tom Fleming doesn't have quite the same range, but his seductive singing on set highlight 'All The King's Men' is thrilling. They are the latest in a long line of English eccentrics stretching back to The Smiths and The Associates, but they're as far away as possible from a traditional indie band. Their elaborate songs utilise intriguing rhythms and unusual percussion. The rich, sexually obsessed lyrics borrow from DH Lawrence with a side order of feminism and are charming and funny.

Paloma Faith provided a splash of colour with a full length green velvet dress which was designed so that when she raised her arms she looked like a giant fan. Sadly, although she has a decent voice, she will not aspire to anything other than Amy Winehouse lite, especially if she continues to cover songs like 'Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime', which is possibly the wettest song ever.

Mark Ronson was similarly uninspiring and I missed his special guests - two Taylors from Duran Duran - because I was rushing to the other stage to see Yeasayer, who are not, as I first thought, a death metal band but the latest leftfield Brooklynites to arrive on our shores on a wave of critical approval. I must admit, despite myself, I'm impressed and the songs from latest album 'Odd Blood' are surprisingly poppy, once heard they stick in the brain.

Main stage headliners Roxy Music have forgotten that the golden rule of festivals is to play your hits. As their set rolls on, one unfamiliar song follows another to the consternation of at least one punter who shouts exasperatedly and repeatedly, "Play 'Virginia Plain' you bastards!" Meanwhile the rest of the audience talk among themselves about how suave Bryan Ferry is looking while some just drift away.

Just in the nick of time they do start to play some of their classic tunes, even though 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache' seems a strange choice. Happily they then come up with the winning trio of 'Jealous Guy', the aforementioned 'Virginia Plain' and 'Love Is the Drug', not to mention an encore of my personal fave 'Let's Stick Together'. They just about pull it off and remind us that, not only were they the original art rock band, they could still be truly dazzling if they wanted to be.

Sunday
Today Lovebox is crammed with bands; it's electro-pop heaven which involves much rushing from one stage to another as several acts and times clash.

Discovery of the day is the wonderful Silver Columns who play to a small but appreciative audience on the Gaymers Stage. The duo have something of the geek chic of Hot Chip particularly on the title track of their album 'Yes And Dance', while 'Cavalier' has a distinctly New Order feel. They close with 'Brow Beaten', a very hi-energy dance tune, heavily in debt to Bronski Beat. It's with some surprise that I learn later the duo are comprised of two moonlighting musicians; Adem Ilhan who plays in Fridge with Kieren Hebden aka Four Tet and Johnny Lynch aka Pictish Trail, one of the Fence Collective.

There's time for a quick taste of We Have Band, who my friend reckons sound like the Gossip, before it's time to head back to the main stage for Hurts who are one of the festival highlights. Again they are an electro-pop duo; their brooding, glacial epics work well in the wide open spaces of Victoria Park. Theo Hutchcraft provides beautiful cheekbones and emotionally over wrought vocals while looking disconcertingly like one of the Goss twins from Bros. Band mate Adam Anderson plays his keyboard like a member of Ultravox although he is styled like someone from a much cooler 80s band. Their set climaxes with 'Better Than Love', part synth pop noir, part dance floor filler.

Peaches seemingly takes to the stage in a fringed ensemble that covers her face and body and gyrates around. But then suddenly she's revealed in a wheel chair pushed on by a naked pre-op transsexual. She has a cast on her leg and it's clear that the person in the costume earlier was not her. Her act is typically rude and provocative and she certainly puts in a good performance for someone incapacitated by a broken leg, though, while entertaining up to a point, she's best in small doses.

Cut Copy create a blissed out mini rave atmosphere on the other stage, but unfortunately they clash with Hot Chip on the main stage so I don't see all their set. Hot Chip are one of the big hits of the weekend, not least because they pump out one top tune after another. Indeed they work much better in a festival setting than I'd expected. Their warm hearted, endearing songs go down very well with the audience and although it's hard to pick favourites from such strong material, 'One Life Stand' and storming closer ' Ready For the Floor' are particularly effective.

Back at the other stage Chromeo are hugely enjoyable. There are grins all round as the Palestinian/Israeli duo employ call and response from the audience. 'Needy Girl' and 'You're So Gangster' are wickedly funny and get the crowd dancing. Sadly their set clashes with Grace Jones on the main stage and I can't miss her.

In typically diva-esque fashion Jones is half an hour late. But she closes the festival spectacularly with a set of ground breaking, timeless classics, not to mention some outrageous costumes. Looking every inch the Amazonian super model she commands the crowd's attention. 'Nightclubbing', 'My Jamican Guy' and 'La Vie En Rose' are stunning.

It's been a perfect festival; a couple of remarkable headliners, loads of excellent bands and some impressive brand new acts. JW

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ECO SURVEY HOPES TO AID AXING OF THE PROMO CD
As previously reported, a CMU survey earlier this year found that while some music journalists are very supportive of the emergence of digital promos, the majority oppose the move away from physical promo CDs being sent to music reviewers, for a variety of reasons outlined at this here link:

news.thecmuwebsite.com/?tag=/promo+cds

Various labels have been dabbling with digital-only promos for a while now, though it was Sony Music who were first to issue a resolute "no more physical promos" ruling earlier this year, motivating the aforementioned CMU survey. Of course, the main reason for stopping the mailing out of hundreds of physical CDs to journalists is to save costs, though there are, obviously, environmental benefits to going digital also.

And it is those environmental benefits that a new survey by record label trade bodies BPI and AIM will investigate, with the support of the music industry's "be more green, OK?" organisation Julie's Bicycle, some indie labels and a couple of digital distribution firms. Independent labels signed up to either or both of the trade bodies will be asked about how many physical and digital promos they send out, and researchers will then do some clever maths to work out the carbon footprint of promo CD mailing.

Commenting on the research project, Alison Tickell of Julie's Bicycle told CMU: "Everyone feels strongly about the wastage in physical promo distribution, and this research, which builds on our previous work looking at CD packaging, will identify the scale of the problem and the change we can make by increasing digital distribution".

She continues: "We are really pleased to be working with independent record labels and also excited to work with the digital delivery companies - these digital methods have their own carbon impacts too, and it's really important we focus on efficiencies in the digital space as well".

The research obviously aims to persuade those currently resisting the move to digital promos that physical promo CDs have to go for the good of the planet. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure research is needed to win that argument. Even the most ardent promo CD fan out there in journo land wouldn't deny the environmental benefits of going digital.

The music industry would probably be better off surveying media types about the best ways to provide promo music digitally, because we found that a lot of the resistance towards digital promos exists because - with a couple of exceptions - most of the digital systems currently being used by both major and indie labels are really shit.

In most cases, it's obvious that said systems have been created with no input from reviewers or their editors, and with no understanding of what happens to a promo CD once it's been posted. They are systems that serve the needs of the record labels running them and not their target audience - ie journalists - a bit like all the download stores the major labels spent millions building, before iTunes blew them all out of the water, were skewed towards the whims of a record label exec and were therefore totally alien to the average consumer.

Given how right Apple got it with iTunes, perhaps the record industry should just ask Steve Jobs to make them a digital promo system in any spare hours he might have at the weekend. Or perhaps they should just leave it to similarly user-adjusted digital companies like Soundcloud; who are, we should probably note, one of the digital companies involved in this research project.

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AMANDA PALMER FANS SPEND $15,000 IN THREE MINUTES
On Wednesday, Amanda Palmer self-released an EP of Radiohead covers played on a ukulele, something sort of given away by the title, 'Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele'. The release is her first solo record since splitting from Roadrunner Records earlier this year and has, I think it's safe to say, been a success, with fans snapping up $15,000 worth of music and related merchandise within the first three minutes it was on sale.

According to Bandcamp, through which Palmer is selling the record, 4000 digital EPs and all 1000 of the limited edition vinyl copies were sold in this period. All remaining packages, which include t-shirts and iPhones loaded with content, are expected to sell out within days.

Sean Francis, who handled marketing and promotion for the project, told the Bandcamp blog: "We couldn't be happier. We hoped for far less than what's happened, braced for the worst, and were floored by how wonderful it's turned out. We've said that this is an experiment from day one, but to see such positive response from the fans, and to have so many people tell us that we're doing things right [is great]. It's hard for gross earnings to trump knowing we made the fans happy, but being able to see both of those elements walking happily hand-in-hand is great".

On the subject of why they had chosen to release the record solely through Bandcamp, he explained: "We have nothing against iTunes, it'll end up there eventually I'm sure, but it was important for us to do this in as close to a DIY manner as possible. If we were just using iTunes, we couldn't be doing tie-ins with physical product, monitoring our stats (live), and helping people in real-time when they have a question regarding the service. Being able to do all of those things and having such a transparent format in which to do it has been a dream come true. We all buy stuff on the iTunes store - or AmazonMP3 or whatever - but it's not THE way artists should be connecting to fans, and it's certainly not the way someone is going to capture the most revenue on a new release".

You can stream and download 'Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele' here: music.amandapalmer.net/album/amanda-palmer-performs-the-popular-hits-of-radiohead-on-her-magical-ukulele

And you can read the full interview with Sean Francis here: blog.bandcamp.com/2010/07/21/fan-feeding-frenzy-afps-new-ep-ftw/

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SPOTIFY, PANDORA, FACEBOOK: A USER STAT FRENZY
Spotify have half a million premium subscribers, according to top man Daniel Ek, which is pretty impressive I suppose, given all the doubters that said Team Spot couldn't make their paid for model work.

Though how many paying subscribers they actually need to make their model "work" I don't know. Ek shared the fact the half a million mark had been reached with Music Week earlier this week.

In related news, sort of, US streaming music service Pandora has announced it now has 60 million active users. That's up 20 million from last December and 10 million up from April. Founder Tim Westergren revealed the impressive number at the New Music Seminar in New York this week.

I say "impressive", that's overall users rather than paying subscribers. As with Spotify, the majority of Pandora's users opt for the ad-funded free service, though, as Westergren likes to point out, because of the way Pandora works (it has limited on-demand functionality), the licensing costs of running that free service are a lot less than what Spotify pay for their freemium platform, making it much easier for them to break even on ad sales alone.

And finally in impressive user figures news, Facebook now have over 500 million active users worldwide.

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NORDIC GAMES TO RELEASE ROBBIE KARAOKE GAME
Gaming company Nordic will release a Robbie Williams karaoke game later this year.

That is all.

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DMX'S WIFE ANNOUNCES REALITY SHOW ABOUT SPLIT (AND SPLIT)
Tashera Simmons, the wife of DMX, yesterday announced that she had split from the naughty rapper. While on the subject, she also took the opportunity to announce her new reality TV show about how she is coping with life after the break-up, called 'Tashera Simmons... Life After X', which she is apparently in talks with various networks about airing. She is also writing a book, entitled 'Tashera Simmons... Strength Of A Woman', about her early life and the couple's eleven year marriage.

As previously reported, DMX, real name Earl Simmons, has had various brushes with the law in the last decade, leading to various periods spent in prison. Most recently, he served four months for parole violation in relation to a drug conviction and was released earlier this month.

Tashera is already a familiar face to reality TV fans in the US, having appeared in the show 'DMX: Soul Of A Man' in 2006, along with her husband and their four children.

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NEW KATY PERRY ALBUM TO SMELL OF CANDY FLOSS
Katy Perry revealed the artwork for her second album, 'Teenage Dream', on Wednesday, a painting by artist Will Cotton depicting the singer lying nude on a cloud of candy floss. And just to ensure you get the full experience, Perry also announced that the CD version, due out on 23 Aug, will smell of the sugary treat (I mean candy floss).

Speaking to fans via Ustream, Perry said: "When you purchase the CD physically, you don't just get a Katy Perry by Will Cotton. We went through every detail - it even smells like cotton candy!"

She added for emphasis (or possibly with disappointment, I haven't actually watched the video): "It actually stinks".

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