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CMU Info
Top Stories
Beggars, Domino and Merge quit eMusic
In The Pop Courts
Foxy Brown refuses plea bargain over alleged restraining order violation
Awards & Contests
Brighton has its own music awards
Charts, Stats & Polls
William Hill slashes odds on all-Beatles top 10
Artist Deals
Frightened Rabbit sign to Atlantic
In The Studio
The Strokes complete new album
Warpaint influenced by Nirvana shocker
Gigs & Tours News
The Decemberists announce March tour dates
I Like Trains announce first 2011 tour dates
Album review: The Machine - RedHead (Rekids)
The Music Business
HMV to shut one of its Oxford Street stores
What future for Epic US post Ghost?
Warner losses up
The Digital Business
Facebook and MySpace to pair up
The Media Business
Virtual Festivals and MySpace in content partnership
ASA says no raunchy Beyonce in daytime thank you very much
Cowell complains to PCC over Heat X vote claim
And finally...
Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley's divorce finalised
Pink pregnancy status upgraded from 'possible' to 'definite'

Hugely influential dance duo Leftfield began, briefly, as a solo project for producer Neil Barnes, before he was joined by Paul Daley after the release of just one single. The pair released a string of singles, including 'Open Up', which featured guest vocals from John Lydon, before releasing their debut album, 'Leftism', in 1995, which reached number three in the UK charts. The follow-up, 1999's 'Rhythm & Stealth', topped that, going to number one. Having split in 2002, Barnes resurrected the project (with Daley's blessing) to headline this year's RockNess festival, and begins a three week UK tour tonight. We spoke to Neil to find out more.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I got a bank loan and bought a sampler, a keyboard and a drum machine. I was inspired by the film 'Mississippi Burning'. I wrote a simple track influenced by the film and it became the first Leftfield single, 'Not Forgotten'.

Q2 What inspired 'Rhythm & Stealth'?
The last Leftfield album was inspired by the need to do something different. Tough, electronic and brave.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
The first part of the process is to think of a basic theme for the track. This is important. The actual music can change but the initial idea has to remain solid throughout. Then months go by as the track changes and develops and lots of ideas are thrown at it. Eventually, if it is any good, it ends up much simpler and quite close to the basic theme.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
PIL, Joy Division, Wire, David Bowie, Augustus Pablo, Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, Neu, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, Cluster, Brian Eno, Phillip Glass, Arvo Part, and The Beatles.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Turn it up!

Q6 What are your ambitions for the future?
My ambitions for the future are to perform the best live show imaginable.

MORE >> www.leftfieldtour.co.uk
With members from all over the world, pop sextet Noughts And Exes are whipping up a storm in their current home, Hong Kong, with their second album, which has been proclaimed to be one of the best albums released in Asia this year by critics. Now the band have their sights on more global aspirations. And while world domination is generally fairly high up on any band's 'to do' list, these guys have a melodic, guitar-pop sound that might just pull it off.

Phase one in the operation is the release of the video for the title track of the album, 'The Start Of Us'. It features a simple visual idea, but nonetheless one that mashes my brain up around the edges. It's difficult to explain, so let's just say it's the whole band singing the song at once but all cut up to make one weird looking head. Does that make sense? No, it does not. You'll just have to watch it.


Three significant independent record companies pulled out of eMusic yesterday, accusing the download service of unfavourably altering their terms in order to placate Universal Music.

For years, eMusic, one of the first digital music platforms to market, was known as the muso's download service. Focused exclusively on independent record companies, offering bespoke editorial around the music it stocked, and based around a bulk-buy subscription model, where users get a certain number of downloads a month in return for a monthly subscription fee, eMusic may have been primarily of interest to a niche audience, but that audience loved it.

However, eMusic's focus on indie labels was more out of necessity than choice. It was a digital rights management free MP3-based service, and for years major record companies refused to sell their music without crippling DRM in place. And even once the majors had got over their self-harming obsession with DRM, most still had problems with the eMusic model, which didn't allow for variable pricing (something they'd just finally got from iTunes) and where, because of the bulk buy principle, unit prices for tracks were generally lower.

Nevertheless, Sony Music did sign up, making some of its catalogue available to eMusic in some territories. Warner followed earlier this year and Universal last month.

But at the same time as confirming its Universal deal, eMusic also announced it was changing its system. Previously users paid a monthly subscription and got a certain number of credits, each credit getting you a track. Moving forward songs will have a monetary rather than credit value, so a user's monthly subscription fee will simply manifest itself as an equivalent figure in dollars, euros or pounds for members to spend on music. The new system, of course, gives Universal the potential for variable pricing.

It's the new system, and the terms around it, that has pissed off Domino, Merge and the Beggars Group, which includes labels like 4AD and Matador. Beggars issued a statement yesterday confirming it was bailing on eMusic as a result of the changes, explaining: "As those of you who buy our music from eMusic will know by now, our music will very shortly no longer be available from that site. We wish this hadn't happened, but as eMusic has brought major labels on board, they have changed the terms on which they deal with labels in certain ways, some of which we have found impossible to accept, in our own interests, those of our artists, and ultimately those of their fans".

It continued: "We have loved eMusic, and the support it has given to our music, but it was the dedicated home for independent music and is, in our view, not that any more. You will continue to find our music on many other great sites and stores, we encourage you to visit them, or ask us where".

In its email to subscribers, eMusic wrote: "As we prepare for the largest catalogue addition ever to eMusic in the US - 250,000 new tracks! - and to make it possible for similar additions in the UK, Europe and Canada, we want to be up front with our loyal indie fans and provide advance notice that music from Domino, Merge and the Beggars Group family of labels will no longer be available on eMusic as of 18 Nov 2010 pending further discussion".

It continued: "This is as heartbreaking to us as it is to you. Please know we have done everything we could to keep them from leaving. Forging deals with our label partners can be pretty complex. As many of you know, labels have come and gone over the years, and we hope to see these labels back soon. For those of you wondering if this means eMusic is losing its focus, rest assured, we're still the place you go to find the records that hover under the radar, records that represent clear artistic vision - and the records that we find inspiring on both major and indie labels, regardless of how many albums were sold. Let us prove it to you!"

Losing three such significant independents in one go, and in particular the whole Beggars Group, is a big blow for a download service that has made much of its indie credentials over the years. Some subscribers are sure to leave. But it's possible the arrival of largish catalogues of music from the major labels makes eMusic much more attractive to a much bigger audience, which will bring in new customers to replace departing musos and then some.

A spokesman for eMusic told Digital Music News earlier this week that they had a "new strategy in place for growth" after admitting the company currently had about 400,000 subscribers, pretty much the same number as three years ago. Though said spokesman also added that, in the context of the global recession of the last two years, to have stayed flat in terms of overall subscriber numbers is an achievement.

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Rap lady Foxy Brown has said she'll fight the one remaining charge that is still in place relating to that previously reported incident in July when she mooned and swore at a neighbour at her Brooklyn home.

Said neighbour, Arlene Raymond, was the woman Brown, real name Inga Marchand, got into an altercation with back in 2007. Since then a restraining order has been in place stopping Marchand from approaching Raymond. As a result of the July incident, the rapper is accused of breaching this restraining order.

Marchand and her lawyer refused to accept a plea deal in relation to that charge at a court hearing on Tuesday, with the rap lady declaring: "we will fight this". The case is now due to go to trial next February, with Brown facing a year in jail if she is found guilty.

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Only Brighton could have its own music awards ceremony, and that it now does. It was the first ever Brighton Music Awards on Tuesday, celebrating bands in and around the city's music scene. Jimmy Page was in attendance to pick up an outstanding contribution prize (I'm not sure what his connection to Brighton is, accept he definitely likes rock), while Roger Daltrey also showed up, the whole venture being held in aid of his Teenage Cancer Trust.

The full list of winners was as follows:

Band Of The Year: Rubylux
Best Solo Artist: Paul Diello
Best Song: Transatlantic Tendencies - You Cry Wolf
Best Club Night: Bust The Box
Best Music MySpace/Website: Concorde 2
Best Music Artwork: Amongst The Pigeons
Best Music Video: Chancer - Gloria Cycles
Best Brighton Live Act: Z-Star
Juice Listeners Award: I Am Your Hero
Brighton Music Hall of Fame Award: Jimmy Page

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William Hill has slashed the odds on The Beatles taking every position in the top ten of this week's single chart. But before you all rush out and place your bets on this, you might want to bear in mind that the chances of this happening are pretty much zero.

The bookmarker is offering odds of 8/1 on an all-Beatles top ten, and 6/1 on 'Hey Jude' making it to number one. 'Hey Jude' is currently the highest Beatles single in the chart, but it was resting down at 48 in the midweeks. Of course, in this fast paced world, those figures are now out of date, but if you go over to the nearest real time benchmark, the iTunes chart, you find 'Hey Jude' is currently at 25. Which is better but still a way off the top spot.

JLS are expected to hold the number one position until Sunday with the official Children In Need single, 'Love You More'. Though they are facing strong competition from Take That's 'The Flood' and Ellie Goulding's cover of Elton John's 'Your Song'.

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Frightened Rabbit have taken a moment out of their European tour to announce that they've signed a new deal with Warner/Atlantic, having previously been with indie FatCat. The band will release their fourth album through the label next year.

In a statement, the band said: "So here we are in Germany nearing the end of an extremely gruelling but exciting year for FR. We have some exciting news to share with you all. This week we signed a deal with Atlantic Records and after some time off next year to write new material we will be releasing record number four with this great label. It feels very special to be part of a label with such a great history and we're really looking forward to working with everybody we have met to this point".

They added: "We also feel it's important to mention how great the past four years have been with FatCat and although it is time to move on we are greatly appreciative of the amazing job they've done. Our last single from 'Winter Of Mixed Drinks' will be released next week and of course we still have a tour to complete so we best be off now".

In its own statement, FatCat said: "FatCat is honoured to have released three brilliant Frightened Rabbit records and to have had a hand in the evolution of such a phenomenally talented and hardworking band. As their fans, we look forward to hearing their future efforts, and as their friends, we look forward to celebrating future successes along with them. Meanwhile, FatCat and Frightened Rabbit will continue to work together to support this year's 'The Winter Of Mixed Drinks', as the band continue to tour it".

As the band said, Frightened Rabbit's final single for FatCat, 'The Loneliness & The Scream' will be released next Monday, 22 Nov. Their UK tour commences on Saturday.

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The Strokes have finished recording their new album. So, that's nice.

Frontman Julian Casablancas told someone on Twitter: "[It's] still not going to be out for a few months [due to] mixing, etc, but [we] JUST finally finished it yesterday".

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Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg has revealed that the band's last single, 'Undertow', briefly began life as a cover of Nirvana's 'Polly', which is why it contains a similar line to the Kurt Cobain-penned track. Well, the words "hurt yourself" appear in both songs, anyway.

Lindberg told BBC 6music: "[Guitarist] Theresa [Wayman] and I were just working and I had a bassline. She just started singing the lyrics to 'Polly' over that song. But instead of making that a cover - even though it sounded really cool - we said: 'Well, write your own words to the song'".

She continued: "There's definitely an homage to ['Polly'] in the chorus, the first line - [but] you listen to the songs back-to-back they sound nothing alike. Yeah, it is a bit of an homage to Kurt [Cobain] and Nirvana".

Good, I'm glad we've got that sorted out.

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Indie folksters The Decemberists have announced that they will be over in the UK and Ireland next March to promote their forthcoming new album, 'The King Is Dead', which is due for release via Rough Trade on 17 Jan.

A brief video preview of the album is now playing at decemberists.com.

Tour dates:

4 Mar: Dublin, Vicar Street
5 Mar: Glasgow, ABC
7 Mar: Birmingham, Institute
8 Mar: Bristol, Academy
10 Mar: Manchester, Academy
11 Mar: Leeds, Academy
16 Mar: London, Hammersmith Apollo

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Post-rockers I Like Trains have announced their first run of 2011 tour dates to promote their second album, 'He Who Saw The Deep', which was released last month.

Speaking about the new album, frontman David Martin told CMU: "Our previous record concerned itself with various historical events, and attempted to illustrate how we never learn from our mistakes. It seemed like a logical step for us to start looking to the future for inspiration with this record. I've been reading up on the science of climate change. We're taking a pretty bleak world view, but the music has been lightened by several notches".

You can watch the video for new single, 'A Father's Son', which is released on 29 Nov, here: youtu.be/PUCjrlrm0fw

Tour dates:

2 Feb: Brighton, The Hope
3 Feb: Bath, Moles
5 Feb: Norwich, Arts Centre
6 Feb: Oxford, The Jerico
7 Feb: Nottingham, Bodega
9 Feb: Sheffield, Fusion
10 Feb: Liverpool, Shipping Forecast
11 Feb: York, The Duchess

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Machine - RedHead (Rekids)
Matt Edwards from Radio Slave goes off centre with this 'art project', delivered on his own label and combining his music with images and film. He'll be promoting the release by touring galleries with a short film by Japanese collective Jigoku and photography from Australian pop artist Misha Holenbach.

But all the trimmings aside - what are the six tracks like sonically? Well, it's a mixed bag, to be honest. What do you want first, the bad or the good?

Let's get the bad out of the way. 'Leopard Skin' is probably the biggest miss, a warped tribal flavoured loop and then an overdose of bass, not good. 'Spellbound', meanwhile, doesn't amount to much either, despite its hectic jazz backing. And, while closer 'Root People' does come with some interesting handclaps and chants, at sixteen minutes it meanders far too much.

On the good side, 'Opening Ceremony' is the best track, taking us to the dancefloor with a punchy dubby bassline. Samples, from tribal chanting to opera, also work well. 'Talking Dolls', with a trace of Charleston in the loop, is alright, while opener 'Continental Drift' is passable ambient.

Perhaps it all works well when put in the context of the moving and still pictures, but as a standalone album it's overly experimental, a little overindulgent and definitely not accessible. I can't see this LP flying off the shelves. PV

Physical release: 15 Nov
Press contact: Darling Dept

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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HMV has announced that it is giving up one of its Oxford Street stores, possibly because having two shops on the London shopping thoroughfare as well as a franchise in Selfridges on the same road and another store just down Regents Street in the Trocadero Centre is sort of overkill.

It's the 360 Oxford Street branch that will go next year. The retailer has confirmed it has sold the leasehold on that store to US fashion firm Forever 21 for £13.75 million. It says it will use most of the money to reduce debts, but will also invest in its other West End stores to make them lovelier and therefore worth a slightly longer walk for those approaching Oxford Street from the West.

It's also hoped most staff at the closing Oxford Street branch can be deployed to other HMV stores around London.

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The Hollywood Reporter has published a long article on the decline of Sony's Epic Records, which, it basically alleges, was sped up under recently axed president Amanda Ghost.

Officially the British songwriter "stepped down" from the top role at the Epic US label "so she has more time to spend on her own songwriting and production work", though her boss, Rob Stringer, while complimentary of Ghost's "creativity", was suspiciously quiet on her tangible achievements in the Epic chief role.

The Reporter says that just a week before Ghost's somewhat sudden departure from the Epic job she gatecrashed the stage at the label's showcase at the New York CMJ Convention, where one of the Sony division's priority new acts were one song into their set, to take issue with the quality of the sound system in the venue.

They quote someone at the showcase as saying: "She was screaming: 'Who booked this fucking place? It sounds like shit! We don't treat our artists this way at Epic. I'm not letting them play another minute!' The room just went silent". And so the Epic showcase was halted. As was Ghost's role in running the label seven days later.

In defence of Ghost, the magazine does admit that Epic US has been on the skids for some time, and that handing the division to someone with no management experience was therefore unwise, or "radical" to use Stringer's own words. Some now wonder what the future for the Sony division really holds, with some predicting it will basically be merged with sister label Columbia, who would presumably appreciate all the Michael Jackson money that comes with it.

Of course, Epic UK is not really linked to its American namesake, the imprint having been originally dropped over here when Sony and BMG merged, only to be relaunched as a much smaller division alongside RCA and Columbia in 2007.

You can read the full Hollywood Reporter article here:

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Warner Music's losses for the last quarter were higher than expected, with good performance in the UK set off by a bad few months in the US, Japan and mainland Europe. A recent cut in headcount, and the redundancy costs associated with it, also didn't help.

Losses for the fourth quarter of the major's current financial year were $46 million, up from $18 million in the same quarter last year. Analysts had been expecting losses to be more than this time last year, but not much more. For the year losses were $143 million, also up from $100 million the previous year.

In an investor call, Warner boss Edgar Bronfman Jr would not be drawn on whether he is plotting a bid for EMI's recordings business. His company's continued financial struggles arguably provide a justification for merging the Warner and EMI record labels (economies of scale and all that) though arguably throw some doubt on Warner's abilities to raise the money to bid.

Bronfman was also a bit vague about his knowledge of and opinions on the arrival of a Google Music service and a US launch of Spotify, though that in itself is a shift, given he previously vowed to not licence a free Spotify service in America. Plus, he confirmed that his company had renewed its licence with Spotify in Europe.

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I think there have probably been enough big announcements this week already, though this one does have the potential to actually be slightly interesting. Maybe even very interesting, but let's not all jump around the room just yet.

Last night Facebook and MySpace sent out invitations to journalists to watch a joint announcement via webcast at midday West Coast time (8pm in the UK). The announcement will be made by MySpace CEO Mike Jones and Facebook's VP of Partnerships & Platform Marketing Dan Rose.

It's generally expected that it will be announced that MySpace is adopting the Facebook Connect login system, which would mean that MySpace users would no longer need to register and deal direct with the clunky News Corp-owned social network, which was revamped in the UK yesterday. This would mark a significant move towards MySpace being solely a clunky entertainment portal.

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Virtual Festivals have announced that they have struck up a partnership with MySpace, which has commissioned the festival website to produce video-based content at twenty festivals next year which the social networking platform will host. Assuming there is still a MySpace to host such things next summer (even with the rumoured Facebook tie-up, it still seems ultimately doomed). The content will be mainly live performances, with Virtual Festivals using its promoter relationships to secure content, and MySpace utilising its existing PRS licence and label partnerships to cover the licensing side of things.

Virtual Festivals COO Steve Wild told CMU: "The Virtual Festivals team are the best in the business for knowledge of the UK festival scene, its infrastructure and the associated festival promoters. Our relationships with over 400 festivals in the UK alone will deliver fans a never-seen-before ability to watch live festival content from the comfort of their web connected screens on the MySpace platform. We think this is a huge leap forward for the UK festival market".

MySpace UK MD Christopher Moser added: "MySpace has a great history of broadcasting live music, and we've had some fantastic successes this year with our Secret Shows and iTunes festival partnership. With the introduction of a completely redesigned site, MySpace
provides a unique platform for fans to watch, share and interact around live music. We're looking forward to bringing users some of the most exciting acts and performances throughout the festival season".

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A new TV ad for Beyonce's perfume Heat starring the pop lady herself has been deemed just far too raunchy for daytime. After the Advertising Standards Authority received fourteen complaints about the revealing advert it ordered that the ad only be aired after 7.30pm, presumably because that's when all easily offended children go to bed.

That the ad with a half-naked Ms Knowles, described by the ASA as "sexually provocative", is allowed to air in the early evening family viewing slot is perhaps a sign of the times. Until relatively recently the Beyonce ad might have been restricted to late night airings only, or might only have been allowed in cinemas, but attitudes change of course.

And just to prove it, and because I can't think of anything else to say about the Beyonce ad, go check this fun blog sharing 48 genuine ads from the Twentieth Century which were all OK back in the day, but could never be used today. You won't find anything sexy, but plenty are charmingly sexist.


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Simon Cowell has reportedly lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission over Heat magazine's recent claims that he knows the exact percentages of the weekly 'X-Factor' votes.

The gossip mag reckons that, because he knows how close things are each week between different 'X-Factor' contenders, Cowell can try to influence viewers which way to vote to ensure his favoured singers stay in, or more people vote, or something. To be honest I don't really understand what Heat is claiming Cowell does with this information.

But either way, the Syco man is denying he has access to the percentage breakdowns, and he has, apparently, asked his lawyers, Carter Ruck, to write a letter complaining about the allegation to the PCC, because, presumably, Cowell has forgotten how to write. Or possibly he's now so rich he can't send a letter to anyone without handing some tedious legal type a big pile of cash first.

Heat publisher Bauer Media says it is yet to hear from the PCC.

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Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley's divorce has been finalised.

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Pink is definitely pregnant. She told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview due to air on US TV today that she is "eating for two". Obviously, that might just mean she's very hungry, but she followed it up by confirming that she is indeed pregnant and that her doctor "thinks it's a girl".

She added that her sometimes rocky relationship with husband Corey Hart is now on more stable ground, saying: "We worked really hard and we had our little meltdowns, a couple of them, and now, we're honestly, we both needed to do that and come back together. It's just yummy".

See, now that last bit makes me think that maybe she is just very hungry. Now I'm very hungry, too. I would like to confirm that I intend to spend my lunch break eating for two.

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Andy Malt
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Business Editor &
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