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INFORMATION
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
RIAA says US copyright law "isn't working"
Vampire Weekend model speaks out about lawsuit
Pop Politics
Jean unable to appeal Haiti election decision
French trois-strikes body launches information campaign
Obituaries
Songwriter George Weiss dies
In The Studio
Plan B not retiring Strickland Banks just yet
Release News
Opeth live at the Albert Hall boxset details
Books News
Jimmy Page to publish photo biography
Slipknot frontman to publish novel
Gigs & Tours News
Mary J Blige announces London show
Lissie expands UK tour
Black Mountain announce September dates
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Festival review: Summer Sundae 2010
The Digital Business
iTunes favours tracks not given early radio play
Playlist.com owes $25 million in royalties
Fireplayer app allows fans to remix tracks
And finally...
Cheryl Cole turns down Playboy
Danny McFly destroys radio studio


 
WEDNESDAY 25TH AUGUST
HAZEL MILLS
Former student of the classical avant-garde and member of Andy Mackay of Roxy Music's side project, Andy Mackay & The Metaphors, Hazel Mills is a Bristol-based musician. Taking inspiration from 60s psychedelia and 70s progressive rock, along with artists such as The Velvet Underground, Nick Cave and Grizzly Bear, Mills creates music with layers of vintage organ tones, wonky pianos, junk shop percussion and haunting vocal loops. Following up from her 2007 debut 'Butterfly', Hazel is set to release her mini-album 'White Rabbit' on Xpress Records on 6 Sep. We caught up with Hazel to find out more.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started playing the piano at the age of six and not long after that I started singing. I remember I used to sit at the piano with my uncle when I was about eight and we'd improvise atonal pieces from scratch. The older I got, the more I played around with my own ideas, composing became such a natural thing for me. I'd always loved the idea of creating my own thing (when I wasn't writing music, I was building odd-shaped buildings from Lego). Although I had a classical background, I was listening to a lot of grunge bands from my early teens, so I was writing both classically structured pieces, and pop songs. I think I was about ten when I wrote my first song. I'd recorded it a capella onto my little portable tape player (fortunately I don't have it any more!).

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
A lot of visual things. I'd been watching quite a few German expressionist films at the time, like 'Metropolis' and 'The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari'. I loved the surreal combination of sinister and a subtle black comedy. I wanted to make music that would make people feel the way they would when watching these kinds of films. This was also something I got from the expressionist choreography of Mary Wigman - there's something very unsettling but intriguing about watching her works. I like the idea of music depicting something, whether it's from lyrics or the music, and I always seem to have images or scenarios in my head when I write or when I play them.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
For, me, there's no one way of approaching a song. In fact, the longer I've been a songwriter, the more approaches I've experimented with. Though my comfort zone, as with many writers, seems to be to start with a chord progressions and build from that. Lately, I've been forcing myself to start with a melody first, and developing a strong hook before looking at chords. There's a method called the '20 Song Game', which was created by an American-founded group, the Immersion Composition Society. The basic idea is that you set aside twelve hours, completely immerse yourself in songwriting, with no distractions, and aim to write 20 songs in one day. You have to keep writing no matter what, and you never stop and think about whether it's "good" or not, or go back and change bits. You have to be quite disciplined about it, but you end up with more strong songs than you do if you just work on one or two songs a day. 'Eyelashes' (track six on the album) came from my first ever 20 Song Game. I also get a lot out of writing with other people. In fact, I think some of the strongest songs are collaborations. I write a lot with my producer, TJ Allen. Quite often I'll have some unfinished song ideas, and he'll help me shape and develop them.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Jefferson Airplane, The Velvet Underground, The United States Of America and other 60s psychedelic bands have had quite large influence on the new record. I'm also very into The Birthday Party, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and Tom Waits - what I like about them is the very distinct characters that come across when they perform. I have a background in theatre and I love to see the visual or narrative side to a performance. More recent bands I particularly love are Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective. I find the vocal styles of Siouxsie And The Banshees, and The Cocteau Twins very inspiring, and I'm very influenced by 60s (a great decade for music!) experimentalists like Morton Feldman, Steve Reich and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Interpret it in your own way, and listen to it on headphones if you can - especially if you're on a train.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Obviously I'd love the album to gain some interest and increase my fanbase - the more people that hear it, the better. In terms of the future, I plan to continue writing and recording. Ideally I'd like to sign another deal so I can record another record and tour as much as possible. I'm doing a few exciting collaborations at the moment (wait and see!) so to continue that would be great. It's always great seeing how other musicians work, and learning from them.

MORE>> www.hazelmills.com
 
AGNES OBEL
Copenhagen-born, Berlin-based singer-songwriter Agnes Obel released her debut single, 'Just So'. in Europe last year (under the name Obél). The track was promptly picked up in Germany for a Deutsche Telekom television advert, shooting her to fame in the country. She released her debut EP, 'Riverside', in the UK in May, and is set to re-issue it on ten-inch vinyl next month, ahead of her debut album, 'Philharmonic', on 4 Oct.

 
The formula for her songs is simple; gentle piano playing underpins her soft vocals, which build into intricate harmonies. Simple, and also effective. The EP's title track, 'Riverside', which you can hear on Obel's MySpace player, has a lilting, almost lullaby-like quality, the piano on the verse twinkling like sunlight on water. However, this same sound takes a darker turn on her cover of John Cale's '(I Keep A) Close Watch'. And if you want to know how all this comes across live, she will be supporting Mercury nominees I Am Kloot on their upcoming UK tour.

www.myspace.com/obelmusic


 
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RIAA SAYS US COPYRIGHT LAW "ISN'T WORKING"
RIAA president Cary Sherman has said that America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, drawn up by the US government in 1998 in collaboration with ISPs, internet companies and the content industries, contains too many loopholes which allow ISPs and other web-based companies to ignore online copyright infringement without any legal comeback. Sherman was speaking at the Technology Policy Institute in Aspen this week, CNET reports.

As much previously reported, the most common interpretation of America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act is that online services are not liable for infringement, so long as they remove offending content as soon as they are made aware of it being on their systems.

Sherman said: "The DMCA isn't working for content people at all. You cannot monitor all the infringements on the internet. It's simply not possible. We don't have the ability to search all the places infringing content appears, such as cyberlockers like RapidShare".

However, despite his concerns, Sherman added that he did not see new legislation as the solution to this (though did not rule it out), preferring to reach agreements with web firms directly. He explained: "We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship - not just to ISPs, but search engines, payment processors, advertisers. [But] if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine".

In the UK and France efforts to reach voluntary agreements with the net sector that would result in ISPs taking on a piracy police role failed, and new laws were subsequently lobbied for and passed (though not, as yet, activated).

Also speaking at the debate, YouTube's Lance Kavanaugh disagreed with Sherman's view on US copyright law, saying: "It's our view that the DMCA is functioning exactly the way Congress intended it to. There's legal plumbing to allow that to happen, to allow those small companies to innovate without [the] crushing fear of lawsuits, as long as they follow certain rules. Congress was prescient. They struck the right balance".

Of course, YouTube would be supportive of the DMCA as it has been recently interpreted by US judges, because one such interpretation enabled them to defeat a multi-million lawsuit from MTV owners Viacom. The video site circumvented liability for hosting MTV content without Viacom's permission because they operated a take-down system. Viacom are not impressed by that interpretation of the law.

As also previously reported, last week, following a joint announcement from Google and US ISP Verizon regarding so called net neutrality, in which the two companies announced a joint commitment to ensure that all net users will always "have access to all legal content on the internet" (ie so smaller online publishers won't be disadvantaged in favour of the bigger service providers), a consortium of American music business types - including the RIAA, indie labels body A2IM and collecting societies BMI, ASCAP and SESAC - called on the two web giants to add cracking down on piracy to their joint mission.

Discussing Google's anti-piracy efforts directly, Sherman said that although YouTube and other Google-owned sites operate their own filtering systems to catch illegal content, the web giant "could stop filtering tomorrow and have no liability", provided it continued to respond to take-down notices issued by content owners. He also added that there was plenty more that could be done, saying: "If you enter in 'Beyonce MP3' [into Google's search engine] chances are, the first thing you'll see is illegal sites".

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VAMPIRE WEEKEND MODEL SPEAKS OUT ABOUT LAWSUIT
Ann Kirsten Kennis, the model whose picture appeared as the cover art and main focus of promotional material for Vampire Weekend's latest album, 'Contra', has spoken to Vanity Fair about her subsequent lawsuit over use of the photograph without her permission.

As previously reported, the now former model launched a $2 million lawsuit against photographer Tod Brody, the band and their label XL Recordings earlier this year. Brody claims that he took to photograph in a 1983 television commercial casting session, pinning it up on the wall behind his desk for 26 years before selling it to the band in 2009.

Kennis, however, disputes that Brody took the photograph at all, speculating that it was actually taken by her mother: "It's not even like it's a Polaroid before a photo shoot, because the hair's not done, the makeup's not done, the lighting's not done. Nothing. It almost looks like somebody caught me by surprise. The other thing that's strange about this photo is that it's not taken [in front of a] seamless [back-drop] like it would be in a photographer's studio. You can see a door frame there and hinges right in the background".

However, Brody refutes this suggestion, telling the magazine: "As a photographer, for them to try to say that I didn't take the photo and I claimed I took the photo - that's extremely damaging".

Although this dispute over who took the photograph is likely to be discussed if the case goes to trial, the main focus of Kennis' legal action is, as previously reported, a release form seemingly giving her permission for the band to use the picture, which she says was forged.

The document in question, which is apparently dated 30 Jul 2009, is an agreement between Vampire Weekend Inc and Kirsten Jonsen - Kennis went by the stage name Kirsten when she was a model, though her maiden name is actually Klendshoj. The model's address is listed as that given as Brody's residence in Kennis' lawsuit. It is then signed by 'Kirsten Johnsen', who seemingly confirms she is handing over the rights to the picture for a fee of $1.

The article's author, Jessica Flint notes: "The notion that Ann Kennis would have signed the document in 2009 using her old stage name, Kirsten, and a last name seemingly pulled from thin air stretches credulity, as does the idea that this veteran model, who was compensated at a level just below that of an elite supermodel during her ten year modelling career, would have sold the rights to her image for a mere dollar".

Both XL and Vampire Weekend say that they believed they had licensed the photograph legitimately, though they are named on the lawsuit because Kennis feels that they did not go to far enough lengths to confirm that the signature and name on the release form were genuine.

If Kennis wins her case, she stands to receive substantial damages and potentially a cut of profits from 'Contra', which has sold over half a million copies worldwide.

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JEAN UNABLE TO APPEAL HAITI ELECTION DECISION
Wyclef Jean will not be able to appeal the decision to disqualify him from standing in the upcoming Haitian presidential election, a lawyer for the country's electoral council said yesterday.

As previously reported, Jean's plans to stand needed court approval because the former Fugee does not pass requirements in the country's constitution regarding presidential candidates, mainly regarding citizenship and being resident in Haiti for five years before running. When that court failed to give its approval, Jean vowed to appeal.

However, speaking to Reuters, Samuel Pierre of the Haitian Electoral Council's legal department said that there is no process by which rejected candidates can appeal. Pierre said: "There is absolutely no possibility for Wyclef Jean to be added to the list of candidates approved to run in the next presidential elections. So, it's over. [Attempting to appeal the decision] is a waste of time because, when it comes to electoral matters, the electoral council is the Supreme Court, meaning there is nowhere else to go".

In an interview with MSNBC yesterday, Jean said: "I have spent half my life in Haiti going back and forth. The Electoral Council is very corrupted".

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FRENCH TROIS-STRIKES BODY LAUNCHES INFORMATION CAMPAIGN
Hadopi, the agency set up to administer France's new three-strikes anti-copyright infringement system, has launched an information campaign to let illegal downloaders in France know about how the country's new Creation And Internet laws could affect them.

As previously reported, the French government was one of the first to respond to the music industry's call for new laws that force internet service providers to take a more proactive role in policing online piracy, by sending warning letters to and ultimately cutting off persistent illegal file-sharers.

Fully aware that the worst offenders when it comes to accessing illegal content on the internet are almost all car owners, the organisation distributed 260,000 leaflets to drivers on French roads last weekend, and plan to do the same again this weekend. It's possible they were actually trying to target families and their evil file-sharing children, rather than car owners.

According to Billboard, the leaflet informs its readers: "[The] internet is a space of freedom, expression and sharing. The development of new communications technology allows an increase in cultural exchanges. Our practices are changing and offer greater freedom. Nevertheless, [the enjoyment of] new freedoms brought new responsibilities".

It then goes on to explain that in return for all that new 'freedom' the government is going to kick them in the face (figuratively) if they fuck up and do anything wrong. I'm paraphrasing.

If French internet users are caught downloading illegal content, they will receive warning letters telling them to stop, after which they can be fined up to 1500 euros and have their internet access blocked for a month, while persistent offenders can expect to have their connections cut off for longer periods.

Those pulled up will be able to contest the claims against them in court, but not knowing that their accounts were used for infringement by others will not be a valid defence. By implication, of course, this obliges French net users to apply password protection to any wifi connections, an obligation that arguably already exists in Germany as a result of a civil file-sharing court case.

As previously reported, Hadopi demonstrated just how vigilant rights holders need to be in the internet age earlier this year when it unveiled it's logo in January. It turned out that the font employed in the logo had been used without permission. What's more, it had been designed exclusively for telecommunications company France Telecom. Hadopi apologised and no legal action was taken against them. It was still funny, though.

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SONGWRITER GEORGE WEISS DIES
George Weiss, who was responsible for writing a string of hits in the 40s, 50s and 60s, has died of natural causes, his wife Claire announced earlier this week. He was 89.

Born in New York in 1921, Weiss earned a bachelor's degree in music theory from the Juilliard School and served as a military bandleader during the Second World War before becoming a professional songwriter. As well as writing songs for the pop and jazz stars of the day, he also worked on a number of musicals, most famously 'Mr Wonderful' in 1956, which starred Sammy Davis Jr.

His best known songs were 'Can't Help Falling In Love', recorded by Elvis Presley for his 1961 film 'Blue Hawaii', 'What A Wonderful World', recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967, and The Tokens' 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight', a reworking of a South African Zulu song first recorded in the 1930s.

He was also president of the Songwriters Guild of America from 1982 to 2000, and spoke widely on the subject of copyright.

Weiss is survived by his third wife, Claire, his sister, three sons and a daughter from his first two marriages and eight grandchildren.

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PLAN B NOT RETIRING STRICKLAND BANKS JUST YET
Earlier this month Plan B said that he would be retiring the Strickland Banks character and the soul sound of his current album, 'The Defamation Of Strickland Banks', quite soon. Now, it seems, he's had a change of heart. Well, sort of.

In an interview with The Daily Star earlier this month, Plan B said: "[Strickland Banks] is a soul singer who's found success very quickly and it's gone to his head. I'm just telling a story, a scene from my career and it won't be around for ever. He's completely disconnected, a fictional creation, fictional people, no relation to my life. Now the music is so successful it's getting harder. I'm like a film director. On the album cover it says 'Plan B presents... The Defamation Of Strickland Banks'. It's me portraying this character Strickland Banks for this one project, this one album".

However, in a new interview with tabloid this week, he said: "I want to do Strickland Banks's Greatest Hits - the songs that made him famous. 'Make Me Your Religion', which I played at the iTunes Festival in London, is for that. There's a handful of other songs that I wrote after the album [which] came out in a similar vein. They don't tell Strickland's story, but they sound like his songs".

This doesn't mean that Strickland Banks is here to stay forever, though. Plan B went on to reveal that the new tracks are for an expanded edition of the 'Strickland Banks' album, due for release later this year. The crafty bugger. He explained: "I'll repack them with 'Defamation' but I don't think I'll do a whole new separate album about Strickland again. I want to keep moving on".

I still think he'll struggle to leave that soul sound behind completely.

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OPETH LIVE AT THE ALBERT HALL BOXSET DETAILS
Swedish death metallers Opeth have announced full details of their forthcoming live boxset, 'Opeth In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall'. It's a snappy title, I think you'll agree.

Recorded in April this year as part of the band's 20th anniversary celebrations, the show saw the band perform their 2001 album 'Blackwater Park' in full, followed by a second set of songs from across their career. Both sets are presented in the boxset, which is spread across two DVDs and three CDs. A limited edition vinyl version will also be available replacing the CDs with four 180-gram LPs.

For full details, take a look at: www.roadrunnerrecords.co.uk/opeth/preorder/. 'Opeth In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall' will be released on 20 Sep.

The band will also be giving away a free download of a live recording of 'Dirge For November', taken from the Albert Hall show, for 48 hours from 4pm today at www.roadrunnerrecords.co.uk.

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JIMMY PAGE TO PUBLISH PHOTO BIOGRAPHY
Jimmy Page is to publish a photo biography next month, filled with over 650 snaps selected and captioned by the Led Zep guitarist himself. Page has also signed 2500 copies of the book, which is why he didn't write more in the actual book itself. That alone knackered his guitar-strumming hand right out.

The book is due to be published by Genesis on 27 Sep.

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SLIPKNOT FRONTMAN TO PUBLISH NOVEL
Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has written a novel, a humorous and dark story based on the seven deadly sins.

Entitled 'Seven', it follows two homicide detectives, the soon to retire William Somerset and new-on-the-team David Mills, as the track a serial killer who is murdering people in manners relating to the deadly sin he claims they are guilty of. No, not really, I don't know what it's about.

Here's what Taylor says: "I just finished writing it, and it's being edited right now. We're hoping to get it out by the spring of next year. It's about the seven deadly sins and my take on them and how I don't think they're sins at all. They're human characteristics. They're just human flaws and things that we all experience. I'm telling stories from my past and balancing humour with serious, dark stuff. I'm really excited about it".

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MARY J BLIGE ANNOUNCES LONDON SHOW
Mary J Blige will play a one-off show in London later this year, performing at the O2 Arena on 2 Nov.

Tickets are due to do on general sale on Friday.

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LISSIE EXPANDS UK TOUR
Lissie has announced a new string of headline tour dates, tickets for which go on sale on Friday. She is also due to release a new single, 'Cuckoo', on 30 Aug.

Tour dates:

10 Dec: Northumbria University
11 Dec: Leicester, Academy
13 Dec: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
14 Dec: Oxford, Academy
15 Dec: Liverpool, Academy 2
17 Dec: Cambridge, The Junction
18 Dec: Sheffield, The Leadmill
19 Dec: Brighton, Concorde 2

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BLACK MOUNTAIN ANNOUNCE SEPTEMBER DATES
Black Mountain release their new album, 'Wilderness Heart', through Jagjaguwar on 13 Sep, by which time they will already have begun a UK tour.

Tour dates:

4 Sep: Oxford, Academy
5 Sep: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
8 Sep: Brighton, Concorde
10 Sep: Bestival
11 Sep: End Of The Road Festival
12 Sep: Leeds, TJs Woodhouse Club
14 Sep: Glasgow, Oran Mor
15 Sep: Manchester, Academy 3
16 Sep: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
7 Oct: London, Shepherds Bush Empire

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

ICELAND AIRWAVES, Reykjavik, Iceland, 13-17 Oct: Chateau Marmont, Mondkopf, Rolo Romassi, Wild Geese, Olafur Arnalds and Hafdis Huld are amongst the latest artists to be added to this year's Iceland Airwaves line-up, joining the previously confirmed Bombay Bicycle Club, Alex Metric, Joy Formidable, Robyn and Everything Everything. www.icelandairwaves.com

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Summer Sundae 2010
Summer Sundae sits quite comfortably in its city shell, hidden behind the buildings of Regent College and De Monfort Hall. Unsurprisingly then, the clientele of this Leicester festival are mainly made up of the middle class, urban families ready for a weekend of soothing music with the children. It seems to bypass many in their adventurous early twenties who seek the thrills of the countryside festivals with their anything-goes atmosphere and psychoactive drugs. At Summer Sundae we get young daughters, drunk in their floral design dresses, old cooing mothers knocking back (plastic) bottles of red wine and middle-aged men in sun caps, reliving their youth. However, for all the safety of the family atmosphere it still holds its secrets, and it still continues to keep the line-up fresh and exciting year on year.

Arriving late on Friday evening, we got there just as the sun was beginning to set. A perfect time then to catch Steve Mason play his quirky brand of idiosyncratic pop. The Beta Band star performed songs from his latest album 'Boys Outside', including the singles 'Am I Just A Man' and 'Lost And Found'. 'Lost And Found' resonated particularly well with the Friday crowd who were only just beginning to loosen up. However, his final words, "bomb the parliament", did fall somewhat flat on the more conservative crowd.

Roots Manuva played at the top of the bill in the indoor arena. Making the De Monfort Hall stage his home for the night, Roots played a storming set, cutting up the floor with his home-spun dancehall-influenced hip hop. 'Awfully Deep' was a highlight and boomed from the speakers producing a monolithic sound. Equally his infectious character held the crowd and left us all remembering why his was at the top of the pile.

On Saturday, the rain dropped down sporadically covering the festival site in cool showers that would break up the intermittent sunshine. I got to the main arena early to see the bizarre and cultish Gaggle - a twenty-piece female choir. I was slightly disappointed that they weren't quite as far out there as they were purported to be. Each song appeared slightly more formulaic than the last, simply droning, mindless chants.

Liam Frost proved to be a remarkable find in a mid-afternoon slot in the indoor arena. The whole hall felt the weight of every word uttered by Frost as he carefully seduced all with his soft, aching tones, played longingly over an electric guitar. For me electric guitars have always produced a fond, sentimental feeling when accompanied simply by vocals, and Liam Frost managed to find the sweet spot that afternoon. I hadn't heard of him before his set so it came as a real surprise to find him so enjoyably heart-wrenching.

Tunng performed later that afternoon, also in the indoor arena, and again I was greeted with an incredibly high standard of performance. Tunng play the kind of experimental folk that works well in indoor intimate environments. With such a vast array of voices and the curious way in which Mike Lindsay and his bandmates moved around the stage the show they put on found a loving reception within these four walls. Tunng finished on 'Bullets' which gave us a resounding end to their set, they were of course applauded rapturously for their efforts.

After Tunng came Caribou, once more on the indoor arena. Their latest album 'Swim' has been one of my favourite releases this year and so accordingly my review might contain slight bias. Lining up two drum kits bass drum to bass drum, Dan Snaith and his band played mostly from their newest album relenting only at the beginning with a couple of tracks from their previous work. Highlights for me included the confusion-inducing 'Found Out', which includes a poly-rhythmic 3/4 guitar riff over a jangly 4/4 dance beat, and their first single from 'Swim', 'Odessa'. The interplay between the two drummers created an added theatrical element to the show and flaunted Snaith's multi-instrumental abilities. The audience danced and moved along with every rhythm, it was obvious that the indoor arena was the place to be that afternoon.

The Fall headlined the indoor arena that evening, bringing out of the crowd and that darkly lit room a certain atmosphere all of its own. Starting with 'OFYC Showcase' each band member came on one by one, starting of course with the drums. Six or seven minutes in with the opening riff rolling round and round on came Mark E Smith, the conjurer extraordinaire, whipping up the crowd into a frenzy with every twist off his tongue and flick of his wrist. Naturally, as is Mark E Smith's wont, The Fall only played tracks from their latest album, ceding their vast back catalogue to the annals of time, however 'Your Future, Our Clutter' provided an excellent evenings performance and they worked the crowd easily into their favour.

Sunday was another damp day but the sun pushed through towards the evening leaving us with a warm and enjoyable night. The morning's entertainment was a mixed affair, starting with These Furrows and Red Shoe Diaries, two bands who exist on opposite ends of the sonic spectrum. However, both are small, local bands with only a slightly noticeable difference in crowd size leaning towards These Furrows. Both were fitting starts to the morning and while These Furrows' sound might seem a little alt-rock/emo from the early-2000s they are great representatives of the local scene.

Glasgow's Errors played indoors at around 5pm. Perfect time then for an electronica/dance heavy experimental rock set. Inside the indoor arena the dark lighting and the intense shine of the stage lights gave off of an incredibly intimate atmosphere, and although the arena wasn't full the floor was vibrating with the movement of the audience. They played through both their previous albums and treated us to loud and abrasive versions of 'A Rumour In Africa', 'Pump' and 'Supertribe'.

Later that evening we moved to the main stage and waited in anticipation for Mumford & Sons. They appeared and the multiple-thousand strong crowd responded, singing back every hit to them in chorus. It's amazing to see the transformation the band have made and how far they have come over the last year. Their headline show does not disappoint and they play through the big hitters - 'The Cave', 'Little Lion Man', 'Winter Winds' - as if they've played them for an eternity. The crowd gave them a fantastic reception as they wrapped things up and they appeared genuinely humbled by the moment.

Honest affection is what this festival has in spades; what it lacks in size or visibility it makes up for in the affection given up from every artist to their responding audience, and in this, Summer Sundae's tenth year, the organisers have done incredibly well to collect such giving artists for the very welcoming audience. SJS

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ITUNES FAVOURS TRACKS NOT GIVEN EARLY RADIO PLAY
According to reports, iTunes has adopted a new policy of offering better promotion to tracks which are serviced to the download store at the same time as radio. In fact, one source told CMU that this is now the only way to get tracks onto the main page on the market leading download store, resulting in a number of lead singles (those released before a full album, so where there is no album track equivalent already available) expected to go to number one missing out.

As previously reported, the pre-release window traditionally exists so that record labels can build a profile for a new track through radio play and other promotional activity over a number of weeks, with the aim of maximising first week sales so that the single enters the chart in a high position. The high chart ranking then brings further exposure on radio and in the mainstream print media, normally securing further single sales and, it's hoped, building wider interest in the album release that will normally follow.

The problem is that in the digital age as soon as a track appears on radio, many music fans want immediate ownership of it. It's argued that because these people cannot legitimately buy the song they go onto illegal file-sharing networks instead. As early as 2004, a piece of CMU and MusicTank research reported that this was one of the excuses used by file-sharers as to why they went the illegal route rather than buying tracks from the then fledgling iTunes Music Store. However, most major labels still like to have the pre-release promotional window as part of their marketing plan.

This was the subject of a MusicTank debate back in March. Read CMU's full report on that here: news.thecmuwebsite.com/post/Labels-should-close-the-window-but-can-we-force-them-MusicTank-Think-Tank-round-up.aspx

If it is true that iTunes is refusing to promote tracks that have already received radio play, this could fore a change of policy from the majors and the closure of the pre-release window. Or it could be the point at which labels stop placing so much emphasis on the iTunes store as a digital marketing tool.

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PLAYLIST.COM OWES $25 MILLION IN ROYALTIES
US streaming music site Playlist.com filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, according to CNET, because it owes the four major labels $25 million in unpaid licensing fees.

Originally an illegal site, Playlist.com managed to secure deals with all four majors last year. As previously reported, EMI, Warner and Universal sued the online service, formerly known as Project Playlist, in April 2008. EMI dropped its litigation a year later, though Warner and Universal continued a little longer.

Announcing its deal with the digital service in March last year, EMI Music Services man Ronn Werre told reporters: "Making our music available on a fan favourite like Project Playlist is part of EMI Music's mission to connect artists and fans and to give fans more ways to discover new artists. Project Playlist is becoming a fan favourite. Our artists also know that word-of-mouth among friends is a powerful part of music discovery".

However, after the site defaulted on payments due to the majors at the end of May, a number of those deals were reportedly withdrawn, though content from all four companies is currently still available on the site, meaning that Playlist.com is not only in debt but now operating semi-illegally again.

According to court documents seen by CNET, the company is trying to raise new financing, in part to cover its debts. However, unless it does something impressive with the rest of that new financing, it's likely to find itself in trouble again not too far down the line. Which doesn't make it an especially attractive investment opportunity.

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FIREPLAYER APP ALLOWS FANS TO REMIX TRACKS
Fireplayer, a new iPhone music application that claims to be "the next generation of music app", launched yesterday with content from Universal Music, Ministry Of Sound, Infectious and others.

Developed by Bounce Mobile, the software allows music fans to download tracks and create remixes of them, which they can then share on Facebook.

Available as a free download in the iTunes app store, Fireplayer comes packaged with two free tracks, Hed Kandi's 'La La La', which has been commissioned for the application, and 'Demons' by South Central, which is available exclusively ahead of its release later this year. Further tracks will cost users £1.79 each - pricey considering it's not possible to listen to or export the original version of the track, as far as I can tell from using it.

Once users have created their remix - done by dropping the track's individual parts in and out and using a limited range of effects - they can be shared via Facebook or email, giving others the opportunity to listen to your shoddy work via Fireplayer's own streaming music player.

Bounce Mobile CEO Martin Macmillan told CMU: "We developed an app which enables people to interact with their favourite music in a new, engaging and addictive way. We've worked hard with key content providers to offer music across a range of musical genres, which gives Fireplayer mass market appeal and a unique proposition. Our focus is on fun but our business model also means the artists, labels and publishers can drive new and complimentary digital revenue streams. "

At launch, there are six tracks available to purchase, including 'ABC by the Jackson Five, 'Call Me' by Go West and 'Break Your Heart' by Taio Cruz, with more to be added soon.

For an idea of the app's potential, here's a mix of 'Demons' by South Central I just put together, largely by jabbing at the buttons randomly: stream.fireplayer.com/greyhound/dyn/music.mp3?action=stream.LinkServeMix&id=72

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CHERYL COLE TURNS DOWN PLAYBOY
Cheryl Cole has reportedly turned down an offer of half a million pounds to pose naked for Playboy. Although a source told Mr Paparazzi's blog that the Girl Aloud was "incredibly flattered".

The source added: "[Cheryl has] always been fundamentally opposed to going nude in magazines. She reckons it's great if other girls can do it, but it really isn't her. People won't believe it but she's actually incredible shy when it come to all that stuff".

Nice use of the phrase 'fundamentally opposed' to mean 'doesn't really fancy it' there.

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DANNY MCFLY DESTROYS RADIO STUDIO
That's quite a dramatic headline, isn't it? I hope you're not now disappointed by the reality of this story. McFly's Danny Jones yesterday caused £10,000 of damaged to equipment at Real Radio Scotland after accidentally pouring coffee into the mixing desk.

McFly had apparently been allowed to break the station's 'no liquids in the studio' rule by presenter Paul Harper, though it was only after the accident that the band's Tom Fletcher revealed that Jones is "notorious" for spilling drinks.

Harper caught the aftermath on camera, uploading it to YouTube for all the world to enjoy: youtu.be/r8qIuAWNAuI

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