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INFORMATION
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Terra Firma v Citigroup: The Guy takes to the stand
Shyne disses Def Jam too
In The Pop Courts
Stuart Cable died after choking on vomit
Charts, Stats & Polls
Lady Gaga most played artist on British radio
Release News
The Hundred In The Hands single
New Mirrors single
Reviews
Single review: Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand (3 Beat Records)
Brands & Stuff
Prof Green and Doritos make 360 degree video
The Music Business
Universal makes some classical announcements
Universal Germany relaunches electro imprint
Aussies hate gig ticketing, says new gig ticketing company
Manchester studio to moves to state of the art facility
The Digital Business
7Digital announces loads of stuff
ReverbNation buys Sound Around
The Media Business
BBC faces major cuts after speedy licence fee settlement
Radioplayer unveiled at Radio Festival
X-Factor has some Guilty Pleasures
And finally...
Elton says: "Songwriters today are pretty awful"
Hey MTV, the winners were Keys not Eyed Peas


 
WEDNESDAY 20TH OCTOBER
DENIS JONES
Denis Jones released his debut album, 'Humdrum Virtue', in 2007. Although often using loops created with a bank of equipment, and the occasional guest musician, the focus of the songs was nonetheless Jones' distinct guitar-playing style and piercingly soulful voice. Three and a half years later Jones is back with album number two, 'Red + Yellow =', which was released earlier this month. As well as being on sale, the album is streaming in full via Jones' website, and he is due to play a handful of UK shows next month. We caught up with him to find out more.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Music was always of fascination to me from a very young age. I recall being taught, aged four or five, how to use the stereo and record player when my father got tired of having to turn things on and set things up at my beck and call. Once I had this knowledge, I was able to choose a record and play music, albeit listening with rather oversized headphones given my age!

This then turned into an obsession for music that led me to demanding a guitar at the age of eight. I was convinced that I could already play the instrument, with me telling stories to that affect in the playground at school even before I could play a note. Really, I was more accustomed to thrashing at the guitar at the time.

In some ways I still see this as my approach now. And, as I have always taught myself to play through the act of trial and discovery, that first guitar aged eight was where it all began. Whether my output then was of any worth would be debatable, but I still to this day think that I am on the same arch of musical exploration, albeit with new tools and equipment to keep me as close to this early point of discovery as possible.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
'Red + Yellow =' will be my second record and the primary reason for undertaking the project was to better the first album, 'Humdrum Virtue', and try to bring it closer to the atmosphere and urgency I feel I have been able to create with my live performances. The aim is for the melodic sensibilities found in the work of some of my favourite songwriters, and the sonic intensity associated with electronic music, and the contemporary classical music that influenced it. I may never be 100% successful in getting this sound on record, but in the process of making this record I think I am closer to this goal.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Some people, normally in response to my live shows, have likened my music making process to that of cooking. Where an empty pan will be brought to life with the combination of a few ingredients. Then with the addition of some seasoning and some spices it is taken to a level beyond that of its original components. The process of my creating music is organic, I go through the process of a chef cooking a three course meal. But as in catering, things don't always go to plan and any chef will be accustomed to a scorched sauce or a burnt pan.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
The second record by Radiohead, 'The Bends', was the first album that got me into songwriting. Since that point, each of their albums have been of influence to me, in particular 'Kid A', which seemed to follow some of the production techniques of artists that I was listening to at the time, such as Autechre. For similar reasons, I feel Björk has been of influence, as she has never stuck with a formula when it comes to recording her albums, through the nature of collaboration with the likes of Mark Bell (LFO), Graham Massey (808 State), Opiate, Matthew Herbert and, more recently, Timbaland. That desire to never stay static creatively has been of huge influence to me.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Find a quiet place in a dark room and listen to it with eyes closed on the best set of headphones you can find. I feel this is the best way to listen to music.

Q6 What are you ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To gain respect and recognition from my peers, continue to get opportunities to have my music heard by new people and to expand my musical output both live, and in every other available instance where music is used, whether it be in album form, film, TV or even lifts.

MORE>> www.denisjones.com
 
SMATKA
Another of the acts we caught on In The City's unsigned stages, Smatka was certainly one of the more visually memorable artists we saw this year. Performing the first half of her set beating the two floor toms standing either side of her and dressed all in black, at all times she drew attention away from her very talented band. It would be hard not to at least mention her resemblance to Siouxsie Sioux when writing about her. See? I just did.

 
Her songs swung wildly between different styles, leaving Team CMU's two representatives, who arrived to see her at different times, describing her as making "goth Bond themes" or being "Paloma Faith fronting an indie band". As her MySpace and Facebook profiles only present one song between them, you'll have to take our word for that for the moment, though that song does prove that she's got a skill for putting together a good pop tune.

www.myspace.com/smatka


TERRA FIRMA V CITIGROUP: THE GUY TAKES TO THE STAND
The boss of private equity firm and EMI owners Terra Firma - that Guy Hands fella - took to the stand in a New York court yesterday to personally present his allegations against Citigroup, the bank who advised on and provided the funds for his audacious takeover of EMI in 2007.

It was day two of the much previously reported Terra Firma v Citigroup trial. Other than him telling us that he's a father of four and that he'd overcome severe dyslexia to get a place at Oxford University, most of what Hands shared with the court room repeated what his lawyer had said the day before. That Citigroup and its top advisor David Wormsley had told him, just before he bid for EMI, that a rival equity group was about to make a bid and that he should therefore offer more money, 265p per share.

Prior to being given that information by Wormsley, Hands claimed, he'd been trying to persuade EMI's investment bankers to accept a lower bid, hoping he would ultimately get to bid unopposed. "If [Wormsley] hadn't made those statements [about a rival bidder]", he told the court, "we wouldn't have been bidding on the Monday morning at all".

Citigroup denies providing Hands with that information, claiming that the Terra Firma chief is simply suing them and his former good friend Wormsley because he's pissed off his ambitious takeover of EMI has proved to be disastrous and, rather than delivering the great return on investment he'd hoped for, has in fact cost him and his financial backers millions. Hands himself told the court he thought the value of EMI was now £1.8 billion, less than half what he paid for it, and a good billion less than the money the music firm still owes Citigroup as a result of his takeover deal.

Asked about his decision to sue his former allies in the world of big business takeovers - Citi and Wormsley - the Hands man told the court, according to the Financial Times: "To sue someone who is a friend and who you've worked with successfully is difficult [but] I came to the conclusion we had no alternative. It was a very, very last resort". Hands, of course, went legal after Citigroup refused to restructure EMI's three billion bank loan. Terra Firma wanted the bank to knock about a billion off what was owed.

As well as denying that Wormsley ever told Hands that a rival equity house, Cerberus, was on the verge of bidding, Citigroup are also trying to rubbish the suggestion that Terra Firma based its offer of 265p per EMI plc share entirely on two or three phone conversations. Before Hands took to the stand yesterday, reps for the bank showed the court Terra Firma papers that discussed Cerberus's intentions and the plan to bid 265p before the weekend the crucial conversations between Hands and Wormsley are meant to have taken place.

Another Terra Firma exec, meanwhile, admitted that despite having presented millions of pages of documentation to the court for the trial, none of the papers from the time of the deal mention the conversations that Hands now claims were at the very heart of his offer to buy EMI.

The case continues.

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SHYNE DISSES DEF JAM TOO
Following the recent leak of a letter from Nas to the top guard at Universal's Def Jam label slagging off management there, now another rapper, Shyne, has been dissing the legendary hip hop imprint. And, according to Allhiphop.com, he lays into top man LA Reid in particular.

The letter goes: "Def Jam is dying thanks LA Reid! Middle fingers to you too. Antonio 'LA' Reid, quite frankly, doesn't give a curse word about hip hop, he doesn't get it. He fails to comprehend the holy institution that is Def Jam. How a Jewish guy named Rick and an African American guy from Hollis Queens by the name of Russell set the foundation for a billion dollar industry from an NYU dorm is beyond him, it offends Chairman Reid that these hoodlums and criminals call themselves musicians".

He continued: "Whatever happened to the days of Shalimar and 'Tender Lover'? Fucking rappers! Mr Reid doesn't understand that Nas and Ghost Face Killah are modern day prophets. The Roots are Mozart, Shyne is Moses and Kanye West is Van Gogh. How else do you make the colossal mistake of not keeping arguably the most influential rapper/rocker [former Def Jam artist and president Jay-Z] around?"

Def Jam is yet to respond.

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STUART CABLE DIED AFTER CHOKING ON VOMIT
Former Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable died after choking on his own vomit, a coroner in the musician and presenter's home town of Aberdare in South Wales has confirmed.

Cable had been drinking heavily on the night he died, and had also eaten a Chinese meal. He fell asleep on the floor in his living room before vomiting. Coroner Peter Maddox, recording a verdict of accidental death, said there were large amounts of food debris found in Cable's respiratory system after he died, the result of vomiting triggered by acute alcohol poisoning.

Cable died in June, aged 40. Since being sacked by his Stereophonics bandmates back in 2003 he had expanded his career as a radio and TV presenter, while forming a new band called Killing For Company. His brother Paul represented the Cable family at the brief inquest yesterday, which basically confirmed what was already suspected regarding the circumstances behind the Stuart's untimely death. He issued a brief statement on behalf of his family saying they "could never put into words how much Stuart meant to them".

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LADY GAGA MOST PLAYED ARTIST ON BRITISH RADIO
Lady Gaga was the most played artist on UK radio in the last twelve months, beating even Take That. Who'd have thought it possible? The achievement was announced at a dinner staged by PRS For Music at the previously reported Radio Festival in Manchester yesterday.

That more songs were played on British radio stations by Lady Gaga than any other artist was confirmed by stat counters Nielsen, who told reporters: "Lady Gaga has had phenomenal success during 2010, ratcheting up an enormous number of radio plays in the last year". The most aired Gaga track was 'Bad Romance'.

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THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS SINGLE
The rather fine The Hundred In The Hands will finally release the very best track from their debut album, 'Commotion', as a single on 15 Nov, and the video for it has just been plonked online at youtu.be/fixfZTmaVcA.

If you'd like to see the duo live then they are supporting !!! on their UK tour, which starts at the end of this month.

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NEW MIRRORS SINGLE
Brighton four-piece Mirrors will release a new single on 15 Nov. Called 'Hide And Seek', the song comes from the band's debut long player, 'Lights And Offerings', which is due for release in February. Both single and album will come your way via Skint Records.

Talking about the song, lead singer James told CMU: "Sometimes the best way to connect with a person is to let them fill in the blanks. Lyrically almost child like in its simplicity, this is a song that can mean everything whilst using a few words. A feeling perpetuated by its loving, soulful intent".

You can check out the video for the song at youtu.be/ZAo5pifr4u0.

The band will play two London gigs at the start of November (CAMP on 3 Nov and Electrowerkz on 5 Nov) before heading off to Germany for a bunch of dates there.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand (3 Beat Records)
Dubiously titled duo Duck Sauce is the titanic pairing of Armand Van Helden and A-Trak.

The pair exploded in a hail of afro wigs and platform boots last year with their massive, Final Edition-sampling hit 'aNYway'. And that was exactly what we expected from the collaboration: A-Trak digs around for a long forgotten golden soul sound while AVH mashes some keys around on his synthesisers and a drum machine, then everything is thrown together to make a perfectly danceable if slightly off-centre club track.

'Barbra Streisand', a new entry at number three in the singles chart this week, follows a similar formula but with very different results, as the duo slap us across the face with some generic funky house. The Boney M-sampling beat is nothing special and the obscure reference to the titular large-conked actress is just baffling and, yet, somehow this is really good. Chart position justified, I reckon. JL

Physical release: 11 Oct
Press Contact: Tomorrow Never Knows

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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PROF GREEN AND DORITOS MAKE 360 DEGREE VIDEO
Doritos are bringing a "late night entertainment" experience to the internet. Basically it's a 360 degree interactive video featuring that Professor Green rapping chap. I don't know why this is a 'late night' experience but that's what the press release says, and who am I to argue with a press release? The video, filmed using cutting edge (apparently) 360 degree camera technology, features the Prof Green track 'Coming To Get Me', written especially for the project, I think.

Says the Prof: "I always want to push the limits with my music and get my fans to see me in a completely new way. When Doritos suggested filming my performance using 360 degree interactive technology I thought it was a wicked idea and couldn't wait to record my new track. I hope people enjoy watching it as much as I did making it".

Says the Dorito: "Doritos has a track record of bringing consumers entertainment experiences that push the limits and put them in control. This year, we're raising the bar even higher and allowing consumers to discover new music in ground-breaking ways. Professor Green is an edgy, fun, entertaining and exceptional performer, which makes him a perfect ambassador for Doritos Late Night".

The video appears at www.youtube.com/DoritosUK

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UNIVERSAL MAKES SOME CLASSICAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Universal Music has announced the expansion of its classical music operations centring on its Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics divisions. Both new executive appointments and new signings have been confirmed after a recent meeting in London of Universal classical staffers from twenty different territories.

Execs-wise, Lut Behiels, formerly marketing man at Deutsche Grammophon, will become Director of all Classical Marketing, while Barry Holden, formerly of classical indie label Naxos, will become Director of Universal's Classical Catalogue.

They will both sit on a central classical management team that will also include Senior VP Of Classical A&R Costa Pilavachi and VP of Business Development Florence Siebert, who were both appointed to their current roles earlier this year. Marek Filipiak, meanwhile, has become CFO for the division.

Artists-wise, Universal has confirmed the signing of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and American cellist Alisa Weilerstein to Decca Classics, and Armenian violinist Mikhail Simonyan to Deutsche Grammophon. The major has also announced debut albums from recent signings German soprano Mojca Erdmann and Montenegran guitarist Milo Karadaglic, were now in the pipeline.

Confirming all of this, Universal Music International's Chief Operating Officer Max Hole, who oversees the classical labels, told CMU: "Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics have incomparable rosters of superstars and new talent. With their artistry, coupled with our labels' commitment, imagination and innovation, the best people in the industry and an unmatchable catalogue, Universal Music intends to assert its classical music leadership as never before".

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UNIVERSAL GERMANY RELAUNCHES ELECTRO IMPRINT
Elsewhere in the Universal empire, the German division of the major will this week relaunch its electro-focused Zeitgeist label at the Amsterdam Dance Event. The dance imprint has been dormant for a few years, but will start signing new electro talent again, mainly in Germany, but with an eye to international releases. Sitting under Universal Germany's Domestic Pop unit, the new label will be headed up by A&Rs Manuel Mantu Overbeck and Tom Keil.

Universal Germany's Johannes Cordes told CMU: "I am really looking forward to the relaunch of Zeitgeist. I am convinced that Manuel Mantu Overbeck and Tom Keil will re-establish the label as the top name for electronic music".

Keil himself added: "For years, Zeitgeist played a significant role in shaping dance music and I am looking forward to continuing that tradition together with the Universal team".

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AUSSIES HATE GIG TICKETING, SAYS NEW GIG TICKETING COMPANY
I think we all know that, despite the boom in live music in many territories in recent years, consumers generally resent a lot about the way gig ticketing works, something that became particularly apparent in the US recently from the strength of the backlash against Ticketmaster following revelations about the ways it promoted its secondary ticket sales website.

Such resentments almost certainly exist in the UK as well, and we can be certain Australian music fans have lots of gripes about ticketing too, thanks to a bit of research published this week by Foxtix, a new offshoot of Rupert Murdoch's business empire down under that is vowing to "shake up the ticket duopoly" that exists in Australia just now.

According to the survey of over 2000 gig goers, conducted by research firm CoreDate for the new ticketing company, only 10% of customers felt they got good value for money when buying tickets, with fees, website crashes and missing out on tickets altogether among the grievances stated (some more justified than others, obviously). Over three quarters said they felt the government should do more to regulate ticket sales.

Additional research of key players in the live sector also found grievances with the way ticket firms work, with a focus group round up reporting promoters wanted more choice in ticketing providers, and better access to the customer data ticket sellers sit on. Of course, this is a convenient result given Foxtix provides this alternative.

Commenting on the research, Foxtix General Manager Adam McArthur told reporters: "While conducting this research, what we found was a market crying for change. What Foxtix is offering the market is a solution. For consumers, we are improving the ticket purchasing process significantly through lower fees and easier ticket delivery. For promoters and venue managers, we are offering greater control, both around customer data and service. In addition, with the backing of News Limited, we are able to provide them with greater marketing reach for their events through News Limited's websites, newspapers and apps".

The Australian ticketing market is currently dominated by the ubiquitous Ticketmaster and Aussie firm Ticketek.

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MANCHESTER STUDIO TO MOVES TO STATE OF THE ART FACILITY
George Atkins' 80 Hertz Studios in Manchester is set to move to a new state-of-the-art home at the end of the year within a new creative industries complex in the city called the Sharp Project. Designed by producer Atkins and esteemed dubbing mixer John 'Fingers' Wood, the new ambitious two storey facility will include a six meter high live room which will be used for recording, mixing, mastering, music composition and post-production work.

Commenting on the new facility, Atkins told CMU: "Our unique selling point is the huge live room, allowing for beautiful natural acoustics in combination with ability to use the live room for many other ancillary uses, such as an events venue and photo studio. The design is forward thinking and has taken into full consideration the way media is now being created, distributed and consumed. It enables us to produce music to a world class standard 24/7. We also have scope to provide other forms of high quality content for the digital age i.e. streaming live video footage of events and gigs via Sharp's gigabit fibre internet connection".

Sue Woodward, who is overseeing the wider Sharp Project, added: "It's tremendously exciting to have someone of this calibre in our building. 80 Hertz Studios is another jewel in the Sharp Project's crown. It allows us to offer our other tenants another brand new facility right on site which is fantastic. George approached us at just the right time. We were able to weave the recording studio into our plans so they had the freedom to create a space that suited their big ideas".

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7DIGITAL ANNOUNCES LOADS OF STUFF
Digital music providers 7Digital announced new partnerships and showcased some new services in London yesterday, and, if nothing else, confirmed that, post-iPad, the tech world is going tablet computer crazy.

Both Samsung and Toshiba demonstrated their new iPad rivals, both of which run the Android operating system and will come with 7Digital-powered music services. A Toshiba rep said the company's tablet computer would enter the market at a cheaper price point than Apple's rival device, while 7Digital boss Ben Drury said he felt the tablet market would see great growth in the coming year, and that Apple would not control that market.

Elsewhere, Drury revealed his company's BlackBerry app had now been installed over half a million times, and that an Android app is now ready and an iPhone version is with Apple for approval.

Meanwhile, the 7Digital website is due to relaunch later this year with editorial content from the BBC and live gig listings from Songkick, a 7Digital cloud service will see the firm move into the digital locker space, a new partnership is in place with phone firm O2, and an image recognition system has been developed so people can plonk an album cover or advert in front of a webcam and be taken straight to that artist's page on the 7Digital platform, just in case they can't read and/or type.

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REVERBNATION BUYS SOUND AROUND
US-based digital firm ReverbNation, which provides bands with various digital tools for fan engagement, has bought Sound Around, a tech development company who created the Band App, a tool which makes it easier for artists to create a custom iPhone app based on a series of templates and such like. ReverbNation will add the app to its library of tools.

Confirming the acquisition, ReverbNation co-founder Jed Carlson told CMU: "Sound Around has built a great platform for artists to easily create custom mobile applications for their fans. We are excited to bring their technology and expertise into our company and look forward to providing mobile apps to our users in the near future".

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BBC FACES MAJOR CUTS AFTER SPEEDY LICENCE FEE SETTLEMENT
The BBC is facing another set of major cuts following its deal with the ConDem government on the licence fee and other expenditure issues.

In somewhat rushed negotiations ahead of today's 'We're Basically Cutting Everything' speech from George 'I was born a millionaire you know' Osbourne, the Corporation was forced to accept a licence fee freeze for six years while also picking up the tab for the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring (previously funded directly by the Foreign Office and Cabinet Office respectively), watched-by-no-one Welsh language TV station S4C, the continued rollout of the digital radio network, and subsidising the expansion of high speed internet and local content services into rural areas.

According to The Guardian, the licence fee freeze is equivalent to taking a 16% cut in income, while the net roll-out liabilities will come to £175 million a year from 2013, with the annual running costs of the World Service, S4C and BBC Monitoring coming to £399 million. That's going to require a lot of spreadsheet rejigging to make things add up, presumably meaning those BBC service cutbacks announced before this year's elections, which weren't officially about saving money, will become all about saving money.

The BBC accepted the cut in licence income and new liabilities in return for not having to fund the government's commitment to letting the over-75s not pay the licence fee, something David Cameron is personally committed to and which costs £556 million a year. Quite why the over-75s rather than the poor get free telly I don't know, as far as I'm aware you don't suddenly lose all your money as soon as you reach your 75th birthday. Except, perhaps, down the back of the sofa.

BBC staffers will now be bracing themselves for even more downsizing in the coming year as bosses try to meet the new financial limitations. Of course, the Beeb is grossly overstaffed, and pays far too much to senior executives and on screen talent, but at the same time its bigger budgets also enable some of the best TV and radio output in the world.

One hopes the cuts can and will be made to remove the Corporation's post-1990s excesses and not to the detriment of the stuff that makes the Beeb extra special. Either way, it's going to make working in BBC Towers unfairly stressful in the short term.

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RADIOPLAYER UNVEILED AT RADIO FESTIVAL
The previously reported Radioplayer was unveiled at the Radio Festival in Manchester yesterday. This is the new online radio platform that will carry both BBC and commercial radio services, basically an iPlayer type thing with non-BBC programmes. As previously reported, the Beeb, Global Radio, GMG Radio, Absolute Radio and commercial radio trade body RadioCentre are all backing the new online platform.

It was confirmed the service will now go live in December with 50 stations on board, with at least 200 stations due to be accessible via the platform by next February. Bigging it up, BBC radio boss Tim Davie told the Festival: "Radioplayer will deliver a simple, quality experience for users and provide a coherent online presence for UK radio stations. It is a result of genuine collaboration across the industry and is the sort of innovation we need to make digital radio a reality".

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X-FACTOR HAS SOME GUILTY PLEASURES
This weekend's 'X-Factor' will have the theme of 'guilty pleasures' and, in case you're wondering, the clubbing venture that trades under that name is involved. Sort of.

A spokesman for the Sean Rowley founded club and music company Guilty Pleasures confirmed earlier this week that 'X-Factor' bosses had done a deal with them ahead of this weekend's theme. The statement began by positioning the agreement as the ITV show "asking for our TV hand in marriage", adding that it was "the greatest honour any pop brand could wish for", before admitting "OK, it's a trademark issue, but let's not dull the flames of passion with lawyer talk".

I'm not sure that the Guilty Pleasures team will actually be involved in the show itself, other than getting a nice licensing fee from it's producers in return for use of the GP tag, though they do point out that the sorts of cheesy artists played at Guilty Pleasure events are likely to also appear on this week's 'X' show.

Commenting on his deal with the ITV show's producers, Rowley told CMU: "The truth of the matter is they couldn't do the show without our approval, because when I started up the brand I trademarked it in all relevant categories (apart from cream cakes, which someone else owns). Plus, over the last six years, we've released CD compilations, broadcast radio and TV shows and put on sold out club nights around the uk, which has helped put the term 'guilty pleasures' in the public domain. And, of course - every one has one! Which is always a good topic of debate".

Anyone wanting a real Guilty Pleasures experience, rather than the 'X-Factor' version, might want to go to the club's Bat Out Of Hell Hallowe'en Ball at Koko in Camden on 30 Oct. Tickets are £12.50 in advance, £15 on the door. Perhaps they'd like to borrow my combined Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler hits album. More info on the night at www.guiltypleasures.co.uk

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ELTON SAYS: "SONGWRITERS TODAY ARE PRETTY AWFUL"
Elton John doesn't rate the Simon Cowell-esque pop talent show machine, telling the Radio Times that while the 'Idol' and 'X' shows have unearthed some good singers over the years, new talent should have to spend a few years playing shit holes for no money before getting nationwide stardom. Well, that's basically what he said.

Says John: "The only way to sustain a career is to pay your dues in small clubs. I was in a band at seventeen, became a songwriter with Bernie Taupin and wasn't successful until we'd had six years of hard graft and disappointment, as well as great times. TV vaults you to superstardom and then you have to back it up, which is hard. Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke are at the mercy of the next song they can get. [And] Susan Boyle was an endearing phenomenon, but I fear she might not understand the rigours of showbusiness".

And not only does John not like the pop talent show phenomenon, he's not that keen on modern pop either, and blames the former for the latter. "Songwriters today are pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same. Contemporary pop isn't very inspiring".

He adds: "I'm not a fan of talent shows. I was asked to judge 'American Idol' but I couldn't do it because I won't slag anyone off". This from the man who just said all "songwriters today are pretty awful".

Of course, John isn't totally wrong when he points out the cons of launching your pop career through the 'X' machine, though to say the entire British pop scene is rubbish because of Simon Cowell is rather unfair. True, a lot (though not all) of the Cowell-signed artists do pump out shite, but look at the charts and you'll see that despite the success of 'X-Factor' et al it's an entirely different kind of pop that's shifting the units. And some of it is rather good. And John, I suspect, on a different day, would admit as much.

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HEY MTV, THE WINNERS WERE KEYS NOT EYED PEAS
Bluesy rock boys Black Keys got a bit of a surprise when they were handed their Best Breakthrough award at MTV's VMAs bash last month, and not only because they were given a 'breakthrough' prize eight years after releasing their first album. The big surprise was that their award had Black Eyed Peas written on it.

We know this know because MTV have issued an apology, telling reporters: "MTV sincerely regrets the clerical error that resulted in The Black Keys receiving the wrong VMA awards. We are happy to report new trophies reflecting The Black Keys' win are currently in development and they should receive them shortly. Lastly, we thank The Black Keys for their considerable patience and understanding regarding this matter".

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Andy Malt
Editor
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Co-Publisher
Caro Moses
Co-Publisher
           
Eddy Temple-Morris
Columnist
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
George Osbourne
Cuttings Manager

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Floor 3 Unicorn House, 221-222 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PJ.

UnLimited Publishing also publish ThreeWeeks, ThisWeek in London and CreativeStudent.net.

UnLimited Creative provides design, content, digital and communication services.

UnLimited Insights provides media, music and communications training.

UnLimited Consulting provides music, media, culture + youth expertise.