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CMU Info
Top Stories
CMU to programme 2011 Great Escape convention
In The Pop Courts
Joe Jackson re-files wrongful death lawsuit against Murray
Supreme Court refuses to hear innocent infringer case
Charges dropped against Mulve domain registrant
Awards & Contests
Uncut names Weller record album of the year
European Border Breakers announced
In The Studio
Kanye West discusses Jay-Z collaboration
Leona Lewis records track with David Guetta
Release News
Manic Street Preachers to release single and live EP
David Lynch calls for fan videos
Bright Eyes announce new album
Gigs & Tours News
The Agitator plays the Barfly tonight
Everything Everything to broadcast Union Chapel show
Tinie Tempah and Katy B to tour
Festival News
Iggy and Plan B to headline Evolution
Album Review: Robyn - Body Talk (Konichiwa Records)
The Music Business
US indies body welcomes piracy site shutdowns
The Media Business
Smash Hits special to honour Lady Gaga
And finally...
Nelly disses label

It's not something I find very easy to admit, but I didn't really like Marnie Stern's second album - 'This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That' - all that much. I didn't dislike it, but it never connected with me in the same way her debut, 'In Advance Of The Broken Arm', did.

I loved that album (still do), and played it over and over and over again. But, much like I currently feel about the Sleigh Bells' debut, I always feared that 'In Advance' had such a distinct and unique sound that it would be too difficult for Stern to progress with her songwriting, within the boundaries she'd imposed on herself, on subsequent albums. And 'This Is It...' seemed to confirm that fear, though it's something I've never really wanted to face up to, being such a big fan of that first record.

But then came her eponymous third album this year. I approached it with much trepidation, but early download releases 'For Ash' and 'Transparency Is The New Mystery' suggested that she had found the key to longevity.

The formula is still the same; Stern plays lightning fast guitar, complemented by Hella drummer Zach Hill's brain-melting percussion, but without drifting into the self-indulgent wankery of the likes of Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen. Instead, she moulds all this technical mastery into quirky indie songs that bubble with charm.

What's different this time is the subject matter in the lyrics, which takes Stern down darker and more personal routes than before. 'For Ash', most notably, was written following the suicide of an ex-boyfriend who had encouraged her first serious steps towards learning to play guitar, and sparked the songwriting process for the whole album. This one song opens the proceedings and informs those that follow it.

The result is some of Stern's strongest songs to date, and a return of the immediacy and thrill of that first album. 'Building A Body' stands out particularly for me, perhaps because it's actually the least technical song she's ever released. Although it still features bursts of two-handed tapping, the bulk of the song is pretty straightforward in approach, stripping back the layers to reveal the bones of the song, and convince anyone left who might still think Marnie Stern is all about the razzle dazzle.

In fact, anyone who still thinks she's too showy just needs to get down to one of Stern's beautifully shambolic live shows. She never pulls those faces, the faux-grimaces, guitar virtuosos are known for, in fact often she can be seen looking down at the fretboard like she's concentrating really hard, one step away from poking her tongue out of the side of her mouth. When she played The Lexington last weekend, matters weren't helped by the bridge on her guitar being broken, requiring a mid-song fix by bassist Nithin Kalvakota at one point.

But this just adds to her appeal. She's clearly exceptionally talented, but rather than standing around expecting everyone to congratulate her, she just gets on and does her thing. As luck would have it, her 'thing' is very good and people tend to want to congratulate her on it, hence she is number nine in the list of our favourite artists of 2010.

Website | iTunes | Amazon | Spotify
Although perhaps no longer primarily thought of as "the big A&R conference", In The City still had a sizeable number of unsigned bands on show back in October. One such act was Frontiers from Nottingham, who had already been generating a bit of buzz this year. And this seemed to build even more after their modestly attended ITC performance, perhaps boosted by the fact that Lily Allen was reportedly amongst the audience (we didn't spot her).

The band themselves pitch their sound as being somewhere between Interpol and The Cure, which, listening to them on MySpace now, is probably reasonable, though when I saw them live I was thinking more along the lines of Muse and The Arctic Monkeys. However, that was more because I was pretty convinced that I was watching Britain's next big rock band. But if I told you that, you'd probably think I was overdoing the hyperbole. So I won't.

I'll just tell you that they're young, they're all great musicians, they have a set of very good songs, and a sound that would be just as comfortable in a large venue as it is in a small pub.


Renegade promote new music from all the major and many indie labels to the 18-40 demographic. We are looking for an intern(s) to work from January onwards on a part or full time basis, depending on university or other work commitments.

Applicants must have a good all-round knowledge of new music, a genuine interest in learning about marketing and promotion, as well as enjoying gigs and clubs. Online and social networking skills are also a useful bonus.

Office based in Hammersmith. Only reliable and motivated music lovers need apply. Please check out www.renegademusic.co.uk or Facebook for more information about our company and if it's for you, and send CV, covering letter and your current top ten new artists/bands by 17 Dec to Chris Smith chris@renegademusic.co.uk
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It's not often we lead with news about ourselves, but this is very exciting so please forgive the slight abuse of power. Organisers of the rather marvellous Great Escape have this morning confirmed that we, yes, that's right, Team CMU, will programme the convention part of next year's event.

The three day music business conference, which takes place alongside the Great Escape new music festival in Brighton from 12-14 May, is already one of the biggest events in the UK music industry year, and in 2011 we will take it to a whole new level, bringing together the very best people from across the UK, European and worldwide music industries to discuss and debate the new approaches to the business of music that are now starting to deliver.

We'll be tapping into our unrivalled knowledge of what is happening day to day in the UK music business to make sure The Great Escape convention, more than any other industry event, is bang up to date, and packed with the best practical advice and networking opportunities. We'll also try to increase the number of gags.

To confirm the new partnership between CMU and The Great Escape, we somehow secured an exclusive interview with CMU Co-Founder and Publisher Chris Cooke, who says this: "After a decade of turmoil, I genuinely believe the foundations of the music industry of the future are starting to emerge. We write about great ideas and exciting new approaches to the business of music every day, and we look forward to bringing together the people behind those ideas and approaches to speak, debate, advise, network and party at next year's Great Escape convention, the one truly unmissable event in the music industry's busy calendar".

From their side, Martin Elbourne, one of the co-founders of The Great Escape, told us: "As Europe's leading festival for new music, we are looking forward to CMU creating Europe's leading music industry convention".

So, as we say, all very exciting. And you can be part of it. Firstly, if you buy your delegate passes right now - which gets you into the whole convention plus priority access to the also brilliant Great Escape festival - you can get them for a mere £80. Book now at www.escapegreat.com. Plus, for those of you planning to attend, we are inviting suggestions of topics you'd like see covered, advice you'd like to tap, and people you'd love to hear from. You can make your suggests via the Great Escape's industry Facebook group at on.fb.me/fyzeYE

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Joe Jackson has re-filed his wrongful death lawsuit against Dr Conrad Murray in relation to the demise of his son Michael, after a judge dismissed part of his original litigation.

As previously reported, Jackson Senior holds Murray responsible for Michael Jackson's untimely death, based on the allegation the doc was negligent in administering the shot of the powerful drug propofol that ultimately killed the singer. Jacko was taking the anaesthetic as a cure for insomnia. Criminal proceedings against Murray are ongoing.

Jackson's previous lawsuit was in part rejected by the US federal courts back in October, with the judge ruling that the remaining part of the action should be heard in a State court in California. The new lawsuit responds to that ruling and was filed with the California Superior Court.

The action names Murray and his associated clinics and the pharmacy that supplied the propofol as defendants. The pharmacy was not named on the original lawsuit. Also this time Katherine Jackson and Michael's three children are named as nominal plaintiffs.

According to Reuters, which has seen the legal papers, Jackson Senior claims that not only did Murray negligently cause Michael's death by administering the drug that killed him, he indicated his guilt by instructing security guards to remove all medication from the room where the singer had died before police arrived.

Murray maintains his innocence in both the criminal and civil cases against him. Jackson Senior has not been especially successful in his litigation relating to his son's death. Not only was his initial lawsuit against Murray knocked back, but his legal efforts to unseat the executors of his son's estate who, he alleged, were relying on a fabricated will (which excludes Joe Jackson as a beneficiary), were unsuccessful.

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The US Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of Whitney Harper, one of the file-sharers targeted by the Recording Industry Association Of America's barrage of sue-the-fans litigation from the last decade. Had it taken the case it would have been the first such lawsuit to reach America's highest court.

As previously reported, although the RIAA has now abandoned its self-harming sue-the-fans strategy for combating file-sharing, a number of old cases are still working their way through the system. These are the cases where the targeted fan chose not to settle out of court; the most famous ones, of course, involve Jammie Thomas and Joel Tennenbaum.

But the Whitney Harper scenario was a bit different than the other high profile cases in that it centred on the concept of the 'innocent infringer'. Harper admitted to illegally accessing music online but said that at the time when she was file-sharing she did not know doing so infringed copyright, equating P2P file-sharing networks with online radio services.

Although the 'innocent infringer' claim is not a complete defence in US copyright law, it does mean a court can ignore the minimum damages set out in statute, which insist a defendant pay at least $750 for every copyright they infringe. Given Harper is accused of file-sharing 37 tracks, if you applied the statutory minimum she'd face damages of $27,750.

The Texas judge who first heard Harper's case decided she should be considered an 'innocent infringer' and ruled she should pay just $200 per copyright violation, so $7400. But when the RIAA appealed, a higher court said Harper's chosen defence did not apply in file-sharing cases, and upped the damages to the statutory minimum.

It was that ruling Harper wanted to take to the Supreme Court. Had she done so and won, anyone who could convince an American judge or jury that they file-shared in ignorance of the law could get away with much more modest damages. But only one of the Supreme Court judges considering Harper's application said he would be willing to consider her appeal, which wasn't enough for such a hearing to go ahead, meaning the original appeal court ruling - that the innocent infringer defence is not valid - stands.

The dissenting Supreme Court judge was Samuel Alito who expressed some concern that part of the record industry's argument centred on the fact that the copyright restrictions that govern sound recordings are clearly stated (albeit in the small print) on every CD. Alito wondered if, for the Napster generation, who may realistically not own any CDs and only access music via small print free illegal download networks, such an argument was sound in denying Harper's claim to being an innocent infringer.

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And so back to Mulve, the little app that surfaced in early summer and got media attention in September, and which provides easy-ish access to music stored in various places on the internet, in particular some dodgy servers in Russia. The content is, of course, unlicensed, and therefore downloading it is illegal. But Mulve itself doesn't host any of the music files, meaning you're back into authorising or contributory infringement territory if you want to go after the people who make the technology.

As with Oink before it - the only other big file-sharing service to be targeted directly by the UK music industry (most of the big file-sharing cases have been outside the UK) - the content owners seemingly managed to persuade the powers that be that there was a case for criminal copyright infringement, which generally requires the people behind the infringing (or 'authorising') service to be profiting from their venture. So much so, they are often charged with conspiracy to defraud alongside any copyright crimes.

The advantage for content companies here is that trading standards people and the police takeover rather than one or another of the copyright owners having to launch costly and time consuming copyright infringement lawsuits (doubly painful in the UK because the strength of our 'authorising infringement laws' in battling file-sharing enabling services is totally untested in court). The downside is that proof of the alleged profiting or defrauding is needed, and often in file-sharing set ups (as opposed, say, to bootleg CD factories) this can be hard to find. It's certainly why the main Oink case collapsed.

Whether there is a criminal case against the people behind Mulve we don't know, though we do know the guy who registered the domain name mulve.com isn't guilty. According to Torrentfreak, the flat of that guy, called Eric, was raided in early October. Police seized a bunch of his computers and promptly arrested him, and he's been on bail ever since. Until this week, it seems, when he was told no charges will be made and his kit will be returned in due course.

The problem for the authorities here, it seems, is that while tracking Eric down via the domain name register was quite easy, he's not seemingly been involved in making or distributing the Mulve software, so can't really be held liable for an infringement that software is enabling. The anonymous programmer who says he did develop Mulve, who goes by the ID ms3arch, told Torrentfreak: "I am the sole author of the program. Eric has never even seen the source code, neither does he know how to programme. The reason they went for Eric was because the domain was in his name for one day".

Eric says he is actually working on developing a legal music service. Whether police will now try and work out who the hell ms3arch is remains to be seen.

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Uncut magazine has announced that Paul Weller's 'Wake Up The Nation' is "the most exciting, inspirational and rewarding album of the last twelve months". Judges on the Uncut Music Award panel possibly need to get out more.

The Weller album, released in April, was picked from a long list of 25 albums, from which a shortlist of eight long players was also chosen as follows...

Arcade Fire - Suburbs
Beach House - Teen Dream
The Coral - Butterfly House
Deer Tick - The Black Dirt Sessions
The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Paul Weller - Wake Up The Nation

Uncut editor Allan Jones told CMU: "At one point during the final judging session for the 2010 Uncut Music Award, four of the eight albums on our shortlist were in heated competition for this year's prize. Any one of them would have been an admirable choice. But the eventual winner, after an epic discussion, was an album that united both long-term fans among the judges and others of us who had previously been more sceptical. So congratulations to Paul Weller, whose brilliant 'Wake Up The Nation' was the sound of a great artist in the form of his life, absolutely aflame with ideas".

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The winners of the panel-judged 2011 European Border Breakers' Awards have been announced. The awards are presented to new or emerging European artists or groups for success in reaching audiences outside their own country with their first internationally-released album. A ceremony, hosted by Jools Holland, will take place at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in Holland on 12 Jan.

Taking the crowns this year are:

Saint Lu (Austria)
Stromae (Belgium)
Aura Dione (Denmark)
ZAZ (France)
The Baseballs (Germany)
Caro Emerald (Netherlands)
Donkeyboy (Norway)
Inna (Romania)
Miike Snow (Sweden)
Mumford & Sons (UK)

It's still all to play for in the Public Choice category though. Vote for your favourite new European border-breaking artist at: www.europeanborderbreakersawards.eu

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Kanye West has revealed a few details about his in-production collaborative album with Jay-Z, including the title, which will be 'Watch My Throne'. Does anyone else think that sounds like they're guarding each others toilets?

Maybe not. Anyway, speaking to Interview magazine, Kanye said: "It's a me and Jay album. This whole album, 'Watch My Throne', is going to be very dark and sexy - like very couture hip-hop. Since me and Jay have already had big records and over-the-top joints, we're just going to make some real dirty, fucked-up, hardcore stuff. But it's also luxe and definitely high-class".

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Leona Lewis has revealed that she's recorded a track for her new album with David Guetta. Well, everyone else has, it was probably her turn.

In a live Ustream chat with fans, Lewis said that work on the album is currently in the "very early stages", but, as the Guetta collaboration would suggest, she is experimenting with "different sounds". I assume she means production sounds, but I now have a pleasing image in my head of her squeezing squeaking toys and hitting things with hammers, which I think I prefer.

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Manic Street Preachers are set to release the latest single, 'Some Kind Of Nothingness', via Sony/Columbia on 6 Dec. Featuring guest vocals from Echo & The Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch, the song is taken from their 'Postcards From A Young Man' album.

As well as this, the band will release a download-only EP on 5 Dec, featuring the album version of the single plus four live tracks recorded on 'Later... With Jools Holland' and on their recent UK tour. The tracklist is this:

Some Kind Of Nothingness (Live From 'Later')
Some Kind Of Nothingness (Album Version)
Masses Against The Classes (Live From Newport Centre)
Sleepflower (Live From Manchester Apollo)
Yes (Live From Manchester Apollo)

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David Lynch is known for making films, so you'd think he could throw together a short music video. But as he's busy actually making music at the moment, he's asked fans to put together promo clips for his new double A-side 'Good Day/I Know'.

Teaming up with Genero.TV, fans can upload their contributions to the video platform, with the ten best sent over to the legendary director himself. He'll pick his two favourites, which will be used as the official videos for the single's two tracks. Head over to www.genero.tv to take part.

As previously reported, 'Good Day/I Know' is out now on iTunes, with a deluxe vinyl release due for release via Sunday Best in January.

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Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes will release a new album next year, it has been announced. So that's fun. 'The People's Key' will be released on 14 Feb via Saddle Creek.

The album sees Oberst team up once again with Nathaniel Walcott and Mike Mogis, plus a range of guests, including members of Cursive, The Faint, The Mynabirds, Now It's Overhead, Autolux, and The Berg Sans Nipple.

The band will also play a one-off UK show at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 Jun.

Here is the album's tracklist:

Shell Games
Jejune Stars
Approximate Sunlight
Haile Selassie
A Machine Spiritual (In The People's Key)
Triple Spiral
Beginner's Mind
Ladder Song
One For You, One For Me

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I saw The Agitator supporting Marnie Stern the other night and he was very good. Singing with only the backing of two drummers, his sound is surprisingly engaging, aided by his impressive stage presence and vocal skills.

Last night he performed an impromptu gig for students staging a sit-in at UCL as they came to the end of their first week of occupation. The Agitator told CMU beforehand: "I'm extremely pleased and excited to see the energy and activism of these student protestors. We're witnessing an historic shift in British politics. The radicalisation of the young generation against the tuition fees is already expanding to oppose not only the unjustifiable police tactics they've faced, but also the coming austerity and the fact that they've had their futures gambled away. This is just the beginning of something very big. I'm very proud to join with them and perform for them".

Tonight he plays a more traditional gig venue, The Barfly in Camden. To get you in the mood, here's the video for his latest single, 'Give Me All That You Got': youtu.be/DV_fAb51YvE

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Everything Everything have announced that they will live stream their sold out show at London's Union Chapel on 15 Dec to iPhone and iPad users.

The show will be broadcast via an app available through iTunes from today. The show will also be streamed via the band's website, for Apple haters, but those folks don't get access to competitions, the opportunity to submit questions to the band for a video interview and, the day after the gig, an edit of the entire live show and a commemorative video featuring reactions from the fans on the night. Maybe you need to rethink your lives, Apple haters.

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Tinie Tempah has announced that he will be supported by Katy B on his February UK tour. That, people, is what you call a proper line-up. Katy B is also due to release her new single, 'Lights On', on 20 Dec. It's all go.

Tour dates:

19 Feb: Manchester, Apollo
20 Feb: Nottingham, Rock City
22 Feb: Glasgow, ABC
23 Feb: Leeds, Academy
24 Feb: Birmingham, Academy
25 Feb: London, Hammersmith Apollo
26 Feb: Southampton, Guildhall
27 Feb: Brighton, Dome
28 Feb: Plymouth, Pavilions

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Organisers of Newcastle's Evolution Festival, which takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May, have announced that Iggy & The Stooges and Plan B will headline next year's bash. But we're untrusting sorts here at CMU, so we got on the phone to Iggy and, erm, Plan, to check this was so.

Plan B said: "I'm really looking forward to the Evolution Festival, if only because every time we have played Newcastle it has always gone off!", while Iggy said: "I'm ready to get down and rave like a Geordie" and then "we are all deranged spitfires, do you wanna dance?" Which I think is as close as you get to confirmation from Mr Pop.

Evolution takes place in Newcastle on the 28 and 29 May. Tickets are £35 for the two days. If I wanted more information about this I'd go to www.evolutionfestival.co.uk.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Robyn - Body Talk (Konichiwa Records)
The third release in Robyn's trilogy is not so much 'Body Talk Part Three', but essentially 'Body Talk - The Best Of' - given that it features all bar a couple of the tracks that featured on parts one and two earlier this year, with the obligatory smattering of new tracks (well, alright then, five new ones). It's hard not to be puzzled and/or frustrated by this release strategy. Robyn frequently, and rightly, gets plaudits for doing things her own way, on her own terms, but it's hard not to feel that 'BT' should have only been two albums (or one and an EP), rather than getting the fans to shell out three times.

That said, the music is consistently nothing short of brilliant. No acoustic diversions feature, so the fifteen tracks on offer here provide a non-stop cavalcade of edgy but accessible electronic pop. And the new tracks (the best being the fizzy trance-pop of 'Indestructible' and 'Time Machine', the latter redolent of Little Boots on 'Ecstacy') sit very comfortably with the old, making the whole thing feel like easing into a pair of comfy synth-pop slippers.

And whilst the omission of 'Criminal Intent' is no travesty, 'Include Me Out' really should have been included. Ah well, there's a great nineteen track album to be made there, if you want to get busy with a playlist or some CD burning software. MS

Physical release: 29 Nov
Press Contact: Bang On

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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American indie label trade body A2IM has welcomed those moves last week by the US Department Of Homeland Security to shut down a bunch of copyright infringing websites. As previously reported, the US authority seized the domains of over 70 sites that provided access to illegal downloads or bootleg CDs and merchandise that infringe copyrights or other intellectual property rights. The big shut down was timed to coincide with what is one of the biggest weekends for internet shopping in the US.

The indie label organisation said yesterday: "A2IM applauds the US Department Of Homeland Security investigation division's seizure of website addresses known for either hosting unauthorised music or films or allowing web searches for unauthorised music and films elsewhere on the internet. A2IM's independent music label members are small business people from across the United States, who make their living by creating and supporting the music they love".

It continued: "Now is a critical time for us to speak up. Intellectual property has never been more vital to our national economy and job creation, especially given the state of the manufacturing and service industries in our country. We need to support and protect the creators of intellectual property, and those that invest in that creation, from websites that traffic in music without the permission or approval of the creators of the music, or any compensation to them for their work and investment".

And it added: "While our members have embraced the internet and the access and direct relationships that it creates between our artists and their fans, that relationship is for legal content with fans that respect the creative process and the investment that creation entails. But without government protections these relations are undermined and the long-run investment in the creative process will be diminished. Government mandated protections from these websites that benefit solely from the illegal usage of creative works are vital first steps toward preserving our industry by helping to defend our members' businesses and allowing American artists and creators to both earn a living and continue to invest in the creative process".

As well as bigging up the Department Of Homeland Security's recent work, A2IM may also be hoping politicians in US Congress are listening, given those proposals to give the US Department Of Justice more powers to shut down copyright infringing websites are currently working their way through the legislature.

Let's hope the Operation Payback brigade aren't listening, though. The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry's website has been down for some time since last week's appeals court ruling against the founders of The Pirate Bay in Sweden. Various anonymous members of the pro-file-sharing community have again targeted the IFPI's website with one of their increasingly common and rather tedious Distributed Denial Of Service attacks. Good times.

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Want a special edition of Smash Hits dedicated to the late Lady Gaga? Well, you'll have to sort out the killing bit for yourself, but we can help you with the Smash Hits special edition.

Bauer Media has announced it is once again pulling the only slightly forgotten pop mag brand (what do you mean there's still a TV and radio station, what's TV?) out of its rusty dustbin once more. Following previous one off revivals of Smash Hits in honour of Michael Jackson and Take That, the Gaga issue is out today.

Says Bauer man Stuart Williams: "Lady Gaga has set the pop agenda over the last two years. Her album is still selling at a remarkable rate and she brings her Monster Ball tour back to the UK in December. And if the pop industry's cashing in so big on the Gaga, why shouldn't we? Bring in the loot Gaga, we need a new photocopier". Well, he said some of that.

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Nelly has been dissing his record label over the disappointing performance of his new album '5.0', which was released by Universal Motown last month. Well, I think he has, though if you get that far through this Twitter rant, even with the helpful square bracketed missing words we've added in, you're a better person than me. I think he reckons they've done a bad job on the marketing. He's probably right. Or perhaps he's made a shit record. Anyway, cue long Twitter ramble from the Nelly meister.

"A record deal is a 50/50 partnership! As [an] artist it's your job to provide the record company with music that they [the record company] can sell! Thing about the partnership is that [in] the public eye the responsibility is not 50/50! The artist is always the one who catches 90% of the blame. When [an] artist doesn't deliver sufficient material they gets its budget cut for [their] next album or worse dropped from the label! Who should be held responsible when [an] artist has a history for selling records so it's not like a new artist [and] no one knows his [or] her name? The fact is that someone needs to hold up there end of the partnership! If you only ship 200 thousand [units] of an album how many are you fucking trying to sell? The artist does [not] control that nor does he or she control marketing".

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