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INFORMATION
Jobs
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Google pledges to be more proactive over copyright
Google's copyright pledges: the industry responds
Stars line-up to 'record' silent John Cage piece for Christmas
In The Pop Courts
Kurtis Blow cautioned for carrying dope through airport security
In The Pop Hospital
Franklin surgery a success
Awards & Contests
Grammy nominations announced
In The Studio
Slipknot not recording new album
David Lynch discusses further musical projects
Release News
Coldplay release Christmas song
Classical composer Jim Perkins announces solo album
Gigs & Tours News
Pendulum to stream Wembley show
Fool's Gold announce one-off London show
Rumer announces 2011 tour dates
Festival News
HMV's Next Big Thing returns
Reviews
Single Review: Shy FX - Raver (Digital Soundboy)
The Music Business
AEG to reopen matter
Syco appoint new marketing chief
The Digital Business
DDEX data standards group confirm eighteen members
mflow testing browser-based service
And finally...
Mick Hucknall apologises for having too much sex
Justin Bieber doesn't want to live in the UK


 
FRIDAY 3RD DECEMBER
THE MUSIC BUSINESS WEEK IN FIVE
So we're programming The Great Escape convention next May, did we mention that? Oh, we led with the news on Wednesday. Ah well, better than leading with yet more tedious news about the snow, no? And it is very exciting (us programming TGE, not the snow). I keep banging on about how, after a decade of turmoil, I'm convinced we're about to witness the recovery of the music industry over the next five years, even if no one is certain exactly what shape that recovery is going to take yet.

 
Next May we'll bring together the people who are helping shape the recovery to get a first glimpse of what direction we're all set to take. Make sure you join us. Delegate tickets are extra cheap if you buy them just now at www.escapegreat.com, plus if you have any ideas of topics or speakers we should include, let us know via the TGE industry Facebook profile (on.fb.me/fyzeYE) or simply drop us an email to thegreatescape@unlimitedmedia.co.uk. And while you do that, I'll do the week in five music business news review.

01: The Pirate Bay dudes lost their appeal. Actually this happened last Friday, but after our last week in five round-up. Three of the four men convicted of copyright infringement in the Swedish courts last year for their role in running or funding The Pirate Bay lost their first appeal. Their jail sentences were cut but the damages they were ordered to pay were considerably increased. All three men how vowed to appeal this all the way to the Swedish Supreme Court, though, so there is still some way to go on this one. And, of course, The Pirate Bay website still operates unhindered. CMU reports | Register report

02: The US government cracked down on piracy websites. 83 at last count. America's Department Of Homeland Security seized the domain names of websites that either provided links to unlicensed digital content or which sold bootleg DVDs, CDs or other merchandise. In the main it was an attack against organisations that profit from the sale of copyright, trademark or patent infringing goods, and was therefore undertaken under existing intellectual property laws, and not the newly proposed (but not yet passed) laws that will give the Department Of Justice more powers to shut copyright infringing websites. CMU report | BBC report

03: The US Supreme Court refused to hear a file-sharer appeal. Whitney Harper was one of the file-sharers targeted by the Recording Industry Association Of America back in the day who chose to fight the record industry's litigation. She admitted to file-sharing, but said she did so in ignorance of the law, and therefore tried to employ the concept of the 'innocent infringer' which can result in damages payments being drastically cut. An US appeal court earlier ruled the concept did not apply in file-sharing cases. She hoped to fight that ruling in the Supreme Court, but they have refused to hear her case. CMU report | WSJ report

04: Google vowed to step up its anti-copyright-infringement activity. The web giant pledged to simplify and speed up the process for content owners wanting to stop a Google service from hosting or linking to copyright infringing content, and also the process for a website owner incorrectly targeted with such a takedown notice to appeal. It also said it'd crack down on infringing websites who generate income via Google ad words, stop the Google search engine from suggesting search terms that always lead to infringing content, and work out a way to give legitimate content owners priority in search results. CMU report | Google blog

05: BMG bought Chrysalis. This actually happened last Friday also, but again since our last week in five. The incredibly acquisitive BMG announced it had bought London-based independent publisher Chrysalis, which had only been on the market for a month or so. The deal makes BMG the biggest independent music publisher in the world, and the company is keen to now take on the major publishers for market share, probably through further acquisitions. CMU reports | Billboard interview.

And that's your lot. Now go sign up for The Great Escape and then take the day off and make the most of the snow while it's there. Or, if you've been invited, head on over to PPL's Christmas drinks and I'll see you there.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU

 
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Laurent Garnier at Village Undergound
Laurent Garnier launches his latest tour tonight, not so long after the end of the eighteen months worth of shows that promoted his 'Tales Of A Kleptomaniac' album. This lot is branded 'LBS', which apparently stands for 'Live Both Sessions', 'Loud Bass and Samples' or 'Laurent +Ben + Stephane', you can take your pick. Handily, when put together, all three go a long way to explaining what the show is all about - three men will be cramming themselves into DJ booths around the world with a load of equipment to perform a blend of DJ set and live performance.

 
Garnier will be playing records and pushing buttons, Benjamin Rippert will be adding live keyboards, while Stephane Dri (aka Scan X) will be triggering more live electronics and samples. A few test dates ahead of the tour earned the trio a lot of praise, with their four-hour improvised sets keeping the dancefloor packed out all night. You can sample this delight tonight at the Village Underground in Shoreditch. One not to be missed.

Friday 3 Dec, Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, London, EC2A, 10pm - 6am, £15 adv, £18 door, more information from www.villageunderground.co.uk


 
  RENAGADE, INTERNSHIP
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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GOOGLE PLEDGES TO BE MORE PROACTIVE OVER COPYRIGHT
Google yesterday pleased many a music industry exec by announcing a number of initiatives to make it harder for copyright infringing websites to benefit from the web giant's services.

Bosses across the music, TV, film and other content industries have long moaned that various Google services have too frequently hosted or linked to or promoted or generated revenue for websites that exist primarily to infringe their copyrights. And while Google has, in the main, ensured it stayed on the right side of (mainly US) copyright law, content owners have long wished the web firm would be more proactive in this domain.

Via a post on their company blog, Google yesterday announced various initiatives to tackle copyright issues.

Firstly, it has vowed to simplify and speed up the process for content owners issuing takedown notices against infringing content under America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This process is already pretty efficient over on Google's YouTube platform, but less so elsewhere, with some smaller content owners claiming it can take months for the web giant to respond. Under the new system Google would hope to act within 24 hours. A similarly more efficient system will be provided for those websites who are incorrectly targeted by a takedown notices and who wish to appeal.

Although this new system will be welcomed by content owners, in reality Google's actual policy as to what content they shouldn't host or link to won't change, it's just the system for removal and appeals will be more efficient. Therefore it's possibly the other initiatives announced yesterday that are of more interest.

First, Google has pledged to more rigorously assess websites that sign up to its Google ad words service, whereby sites post Google generated ads on their sites and earn revenues from them. Content owners have long complained how many infringing sites are profiting via this service.

Secondly, Google has said it will work to ensure their search engine doesn't automatically suggest search terms that will almost certainly link to infringing content. So that when you type in "Kanye West" in the Google search box it doesn't suggest words like "torrent", "P2P", "file-sharing" and "free downloads" in its auto-complete drop down list.

And thirdly, Google has pledged to work with content owners to ensure their legitimate sites rate higher in search result list. Quite how this will work is yet to be determined, and might require content owners to provide a little extra something for the search service. That might include preview clips of music or videos being linked to, accessed through the search page. That's something Google has already done in the US via a partnership with MySpace, but moving forward it might be something they will expect labels to offer directly for free in return for priority search result positioning.

It is probably too soon to say quite what impact these pledges will have on the presence of unlicensed content, or links to such content, on the Google network, but just by seeming to be more proactive on copyright issues the web giant might win some new fans in the music business, maybe even among those music organisations who still see the web giant as the enemy, such as German collecting society GEMA.

And some reckon that's the main aim here. Especially as Google is known to be negotiating with major record companies and collecting societies about their plans to launch an iTunes competing music service. These moves may be designed to speed those negotiations up.

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GOOGLE'S COPYRIGHT PLEDGES: THE INDUSTRY RESPONDS
The boss of UK record industry trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, told CMU: "It is encouraging that Google is beginning to respond to our calls to act more responsibly with regard to illegal content. However this package of measures, while welcome, still ignores the heart of the problem - that Google search overwhelmingly directs consumers looking for music and other digital entertainment to illegal sites. We call on Google to work actively with us to implement a technical solution that points music fans to sites that reward artists and everyone involved in creating music".

The boss of music industry wide lobbying group UK Music, Feargal Sharkey, told CMU: "It is in everyone's long term interest that the world's biggest search engine directs music fans towards licensed digital services that pay our artists, entrepreneurs and investors. Today's announcement from Google is an encouraging first step. We look forward to working with them to bring the very best of British music to the best music fans in the world".

The Recording Industry Association Of America told Billboard: "We certainly have a deep interest in these issues. Our initial take? These are encouraging and positive first steps towards a more sensible online experience for both users and the music community. Google deserves credit for proposing a constructive set of reforms and undertaking useful steps to better protect the rights of creators and encourage legal ways to enjoy music. While there is much more work to be done, this announcement is an important acknowledgement that everyone involved in the online ecosystem has a shared responsibility to constructively address the online piracy problem that is devastating the creative industries. Obviously, the details of implementation will be critical, and we look forward to working with Google on all the steps necessary to effectively combat infringement".

Frances Moore of globally focused record label trade body the IFPI told reporters: "Google's announcement is a very positive step in helping tackle the huge problem of online piracy in order to grow the legitimate music business. Google and other intermediaries have a pivotal role in creating an online environment where the rights of artists and creators are respected and effectively enforced. We look forward to seeing the concrete actions that will result from this welcome announcement".

And what about Ed, the boy Vaizey, over there in Tory land? The government's communications minister told reporters: "I welcome these fresh measures to tackle online copyright infringement. They recognise the importance of consumers finding legitimate content. Infringement of copyright is not just a problem for creative industries, it harms the development of new and innovative ways for people to access content legitimately. That is why I recently held a roundtable to start a dialogue with internet service providers, internet intermediaries such as Google and Yahoo and content providers. The group will meet again in the New Year to continue this dialogue. Industry needs to work together to make a difference and deliver a win for themselves and the consumer".

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STARS LINE-UP TO 'RECORD' SILENT JOHN CAGE PIECE FOR CHRISTMAS
Organisers of the Cage Against The Machine campaign to get John Cage's silent piece '4'33''' to Christmas number one have announced the line-up of musicians who will 'record' a new version of the track, before it is released for sale by Wall Of Sound via download stores in time to take the festive top spot, with all proceeds going to charity. The announcement comes as Ladbrokes slashes the odds of the track achieving its goal to 8/1.

Producers Paul Epworth (Florence & The Machine, Bloc Party, Friendly Fires) and Clive Langer (Madness) will oversee the recording at London's Dean Street Studios on Monday, while film maker Dick Carruthers (Oasis, Manics, Rolling Stones) will capture all the (in)action for the official music video.

Standing in silence for four and half minutes will be: Mr Hudson, UNKLE, Pete Doherty, Enter Shikari, Fenech-Soler, The Big Pink, The Kooks, Coldcut, Orbital, Heaven 17, John Foxx, Dan Le Sac, Jon McClure, Penguin Prison, Crystal Fighters, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Monarchy, Alexander Wolfe, Infadels, The Loose Cannons, Dub Pistols, Man Like Me, Teeth and South Central, with more still to be announced. Billy Bragg will also be on the track, but can't make it to the studio so will instead phone in his silence.

It's also been announced that Alex Metric, Adam F, Hot Chip, Herve and Mr Scruff will create remixes of the finished track as B-sides for the single release. The 'remixes' will actually be four minutes and 33 seconds long audio snapshots of each remixer's life. Plus, artists, including Banksy, are donating blank sheets of paper to auction off in aid of the charities who will benefit from the Cage project.

Writing in his CMU column this week, Eddy Temple-Morris, one of the people behind the single release, said: "I've never been so busy, and so stressed, but it's all coming together in the most brilliantly chaotic way. Unfortunately, last week we found ourselves in the position of losing both the amazing venue we were led to believe we had been given to record this cover, and the potential label, who, having previously blown so hot over it, decided to blow cold".

He continued: "Joe from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool and I turned up at Wall Of Sound with no label and no venue. It was clearly about to go down the crapper and our heads were low. My estimation of Mark Jones, my favourite label's talismanic figurehead, was already unfeasibly high, and by the end of this meeting, I wanted to marry him: he'd committed himself, his staff, his label and distributor because he believed in the idea so much. He also, with a single phonecall, secured us a studio with incredible rock heritage".

The single will be released by Wall Of Sound on 12 Dec. All proceeds will be split between five charities: The British Tinnitus Association, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, Youth Music and Sound And Music. There will also be a launch party at Madame Jo Jo's in Soho at the White Heat club night on 14 Dec.

Stay up to date with all Cage Against The Machine goings on at www.facebook.com/cageagainstthemachine.

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KURTIS BLOW CAUTIONED FOR CARRYING DOPE THROUGH AIRPORT SECURITY
And in the 'busted for dope' file this morning we present rap legend Kurtis Blow. According to TMZ, officials found a small amount of marijuana on the rapper's person as he went through security at LAX airport this week. I guess you have to respect the guy for having the nerve to carry some weed through airport security in his pocket.

TMZ says that law enforcement officials at the airport stopped the rapper after a body scanner detected "an anomaly in his pants". He got away with a caution though because he had less than an ounce of the drug on him.

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FRANKLIN SURGERY A SUCCESS
Aretha Franklin underwent "highly successful" surgery in Detroit yesterday for an undisclosed health problem, a spokesman has confirmed. The medical treatment follows an announcement the queen of soul would be cancelling all live performances between now and next May.

No details about the illness have been given, though a statement from Franklin yesterday said: "I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country".

That was certainly true, Detroit council woman JoAnn Watson had organised a prayer vigil in the city on Wednesday to ask God to, erm, I don't know, guide the surgeon's hands perhaps.

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GRAMMY NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
The nominations for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards were announced yesterday, with Eminem the clear leader, taking ten whole nominations all for himself. Up behind him was newcomer Bruno Mars with seven nominations.

Representing Great Britain are Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons, who are both nominated in the Best New Artist category. They're up against Justin Bieber, Drake and the amazingly named Esperanza Spalding. I hope she wins.

Of course, there are about a billion different categories at the Grammy's, so we're not going to list them all. Just go here and take a look: www.grammy.com/nominees. The ceremony itself takes place on 13 Feb at the Staples Centre in LA.

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SLIPKNOT NOT RECORDING NEW ALBUM
I think all the members of Slipknot need to have a meeting to decide what they're doing. Or at the very least, drummer Joey Jordison needs to be banned from speaking, as it seems to be him who keeps saying things that are later denied. As previously reported, Jordison told Billboard this week that the band are currently at work on their first album since the death of bassist Paul Gray in May.

He said: "It's already in motion. It's definitely exciting. It's a little emotional, of course, but I think it's going to be really, really cool and I think it's gonna be a really, really great record because everyone's really involved in the process. It's going to be a little interesting, but I think it's gonna be a healing process for all of us. Slipknot is not going anywhere. We're a family, and losing a family member sucks. You can't help that, but you need to move on, and I think that what we're gonna do might be the most powerful thing that we've ever created".

However, frontman Corey Taylor said via Twitter yesterday: "Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me be clear. I have NO PLANS to make a new Slipknot album any time soon. Shows? Maybe. Album? No. As for Joey's comments, he took that on himself to say that in print. I can think of five people in this band who haven't written/heard a thing".

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DAVID LYNCH DISCUSSES FURTHER MUSICAL PROJECTS
With his debut single, 'Good Day Today', out via Sunday Best this week, David Lynch has been discussing his future plans for releasing music with Pitchfork.

Lynch told the website that he now has his own studio where he's been working on various projects, saying: "I have a recording studio so I've been experimenting for a long time in there. Big Dean Hurley is the engineer, and he and I have been making music for about five years, but we never seem to finish anything. But I'm building a new part of my website that'll be primarily music, so I'm working on music quite a bit these days".

He continued: "We're working toward a modern blues thing that could be an album. Then I've been working with Angelo Badalamenti on [another] album called 'Thought Gang' that could come out. [And] I've [also] been working with this girl Chrysta Bell, and she's got an album coming out in the new year. Some of the music will end up in films, too. So there's going to be some albums and then a lot of stand-alone songs. There'll be some freebies but I think you've got to buy something. Poor musicians - it's a nightmare".

As for working with Sunday Best on the new single release, Lynch said: "It's a grand experiment, but they're totally behind it and doing a great job. They know what they're doing and I don't!"

Read the full interview at pitchfork.com/news/40872-david-lynch-talks-new-music-projects/

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COLDPLAY RELEASE CHRISTMAS SONG
As you probably already know by now, Coldplay released a Christmas single, entitled 'Christmas Lights', on Wednesday night. Within twelve hours it was already climbing its way up the iTunes top ten, and it's currently sitting at number three. Proceeds from the release will be donated to Crisis.

The video for the track is online here: youtu.be/z1rYmzQ8C9Q

As previously reported, Coldplay are currently working on their fifth studio album, which is due for release next year.

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CLASSICAL COMPOSER JIM PERKINS ANNOUNCES SOLO ALBUM
Contemporary classical composer and producer Jim Perkins has announced that he will release his debut solo album in January. Entitled 'Grains', the album will be released via Bigo & Twigetti on 31 Jan.

Performed by pianists Ed Cohen, Arianna Palin, Olga Stehzko and Perkins himself, the pieces on the album mix solo piano with electronics. Perkins' meticulous approach to composition and production makes for an incredibly striking record. There's also an incredible versatility in both, making for a varied array of textures and moods, and with the subtle addition of strings and electronic sounds, it makes for an impressive collection of music.

Four tracks from the album are streaming on Soundcloud now, with one, 'Struggle', available as a free download: soundcloud.com/bigoandtwigetti/sets/jim-perkins-grains-album-sampler/

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PENDULUM TO STREAM WEMBLEY SHOW
Pendulum have announced that they will stream their Wembley Arena show tonight live via MySpace. Assuming anyone can get MySpace to work.

The show will be broadcast worldwide from 8.45pm GMT via www.myspace.com/music and a special members' area of the band's official website, www.pendulum.com.

Following the Wembley show, the band have five more UK dates on their current tour, with support from Hadouken! They are also set to release a new single, 'Crush', and an iTunes LP version of their third album, 'Immersion', which will feature all of the videos made for tracks from the album, remixes, live tracks and other rare and unreleased material.

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FOOL'S GOLD ANNOUNCE ONE-OFF LONDON SHOW
We like Fool's Gold, and we like gigs that are near our office, so this one is a real treat. Fool's Gold have announced that they'll play a one-off show at London's Cargo next week, before jetting back to the USA to begin work on their second album. And celebrate Christmas, probably.

The show takes place on 7 Dec. You should definitely go. I've checked your diary and you don't have anything else on. Well, I set fire to your diary and then fed the ashes to an angry dog. Either way, you've suddenly got a gig-shaped window on Tuesday.

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RUMER ANNOUNCES 2011 TOUR DATES
Currently preparing for a handful of sold out dates in December and January, rapidly ascending piano playing lady Rumer has announced more tour dates for March, which will see her playing some pretty big venues, including the Royal Albert Hall.

Tour dates:

21 Mar: Bristol, Colston Hall
22 Mar: Birmingham, Symphony Hall
24 Mar: Derby, Assembly Rooms
25 Mar: Brighton, Dome
26 Mar: Oxford, New Theatre
28 Mar: London, Royal Festival Hall
29 Mar: Gateshead, Sage
30 Mar: York, Opera House
1 Apr: Edinburgh, Queens Hall
2 Apr: Liverpool, Philharmonic
3 Apr: Manchester, Bridgewater Hall

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HMV'S NEXT BIG THING RETURNS
The second year of HMV's Next Big Thing festival has been confirmed. It will take place in various venues operated by HMV's MAMA Group from 4-13 Feb and feature all those acts of which journalists and pundits and such like are saying "oh, oh, oh, they're going to be big in 2011, I bet my entire collection of apples on it". And it's with apples in mind that Gaymers have been confirmed as a sponsor, presumably. Fashion brand Ted Baker, Xfm and Time Out are also on board as partners.

Participating venues in London will include The Borderline, Camden Barfly, Heaven, the Jazz Café and The Garage, while this year there will also be spin off events at HMV venues in Edinburgh and Birmingham. As last time, each night will feature a number of new bands for a tenner. Clare Maguire, Fenech-Soler, Dutch Uncles and Lauren Pritchard are among the 100 bands expected to appear.

And once the February festival is over, HMV will next year stage Next Big Thing events elsewhere also, in particular taking stages at other festivals, including next year's Great Escape in Brighton in May.

HMVlive Manager Jason Legg, co-promoter of Next Big Thing, told CMU: "Predicting which new acts will breakthrough as we approach each new year has become a bit of a national past-time, so we're really pleased to be giving fans an early opportunity to see some of these fresh new faces that they will have heard so much about - and not just in London, but also in Birmingham and Edinburgh".

He continued: "Our aim is to further extend the scope of the HMV Next Big Thing as we open new venues around the country, and to take the brand to other festivals in time. HMV has always done its best to support new talent, and now that we have access to our own venues we feel the HMV Next Big Thing is a great way to take this engagement to a new level - not only does it represent a great opportunity for artists and labels, but, just as importantly, it has already established itself as a great platform for fans to engage with new talent at an early stage in their careers".

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SINGLE REVIEW: Shy FX - Raver (Digital Soundboy)
Shy FX, aka Andre Williams, is possibly still to top his 1994 junglist anthem, his tie up with UK Apache, 'Original Nuttah'. Could this be the track to do it? Maybe; he's certainly back on top form.

'Raver' ropes in Danae'o, Kano and Roses Gabor on vocal duties, and to good effect. The original starts with a real Jamaican dance hall flavour before a hectic jump up to frisky beats and lively infectious vocals - "When I was a youth, I used to blow my horn like a raver". It has a real old school feel to it, well, it does until it slightly oddly morphs into pastures steel pan, though even that is energetically and tastefully done.

Remixes wise, the highlight is the 'Breakage' remix. He adds a little Amen break in and uses just Gabor's lyrics, it's simple but crushingly effective. MJ Cole has again gone dubstep with his rework, taking it off the rails with a monstrously overly warped b-line. Shy also chips in with the 'Guiness Punch' version, which is just pure reggae, with no trace of d and b, while Benny Page makes it pacier, following more current fashions in drum n bass, with OK results.

I know MisterJam from Radio 1 has viscerally bought into this track, and I am getting there. This could just become Shy FX's future calling card track. PV

Physical release: 6 Dec
Press contact: Anorak

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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AEG TO REOPEN MATTER
According to Resident Advisor, the club under London's Dome, Matter, will reopen in the new year under new management.

As much previously reported, Matter, within The O2 complex in North Greenwich, was originally set up by east London clubber haunt, Fabric. Despite the venue winning plaudits among both performers and clubbers, it suffered almost from the word go, opening just as the credit crunch crunched, and facing the general Dome problem of relying completely on a flakey Jubilee line and an overpriced car park, not to mention the (incorrect) perception among many Londoners that it's an awfully long way from the West End. The club shut down earlier this year, almost taking the Fabric venue and label with it.

The new look Matter is set to be managed directly by AEG, the live music conglom which operates the Dome complex. Whether the company, with its bigger budgets and big name artist relationships, can make the club work remains to be seen. It's possible the motivation to relaunch the venue is more about not wanting an empty unit in the Dome's flagging outer ring than it is about expecting the place to bring in lots of profit.

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SYCO APPOINT NEW MARKETING CHIEF
Simon Cowell's Sony division Syco has appointed a new marketing chief. Mark Hardy comes from within the Sony family, but from Sony Computer Entertainment rather than music where he worked on all sorts of PlayStation nonsense. Prior to that he worked in movie marketing at Disney, which I think tells us a lot about Syco's ambitions and approach.

Syco top man Sonny Takhar confirmed the appointment, telling CMU: "I am delighted that Mark has joined us at such an exciting time for the company. He has proven he is one of the finest marketing executives in entertainment and joins Syco as a key member of our management team. Mark will be responsible for driving creative and commercial excellence around our artists' campaigns".

Mark Hardy himself added: "I'm thrilled to be joining Syco Music at such a key stage in the company's history. The music industry is changing fast and Syco Music is in a fantastic position to take advantage of new revenue streams, new marketing channels such as social media and the potential of digital distribution. I hope to bring a new perspective to a company which is already driving innovation in entertainment marketing".

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DDEX DATA STANDARDS GROUP CONFIRMS EIGHTEEN MEMBERS
And now an announcement from the Digital Data Exchange, which is, and I quote, "a consortium of leading media companies, music licensing organisations and digital service providers focused on creating digital supply chain data standards for common use". Yeah, put that on a sticker.

The DDEX project is all about encouraging everyone in the digital content domain, from content makers and suppliers to sellers and distributors, to use the same metadata systems, so to simply the communication of data relating to digital content, and therefore reduce the costs associated with it. This week the DDEX dudes announced eighteen organisations in total have vowed to adopt the standards, including three of the majors, Sony, Warner and EMI, plus collecting societies like PRS, PPL and America's Harry Fox Agency, distributors like The Orchard and tech firms like Nokia. It's an impressive list, though with some obvious and important omissions.

Confirming the list of companies now committed to making DDEX work, the group's chair, Kirit Joshi, told CMU: "DDEX has now come of age. Over the last year, our membership has grown significantly, there is considerably more engagement on the critical details of standards development, and companies across the music industry have made important steps to standardise the full scope of their digital supply chain by incorporating DDEX specifications into their operations. Implementations are the key to DDEX's success and we look forward to further growing the number of companies adopting its standards".

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MFLOW TESTING BROWSER-BASED SERVICE
Twitter-meets-iTunes music service mflow, which enables users to build a network of followers Twitter-style, and then recommend tracks for said followers to preview and buy in return for a cut of any sales revenue, is currently beta testing a web browser-based version of its service.

The current mflow set up, which launched earlier this year, works through a desktop client similar to Spotify, but the new version will be accessible via any web browser without an install. For years now the general mantra among web developers has been that browser-based services that do not require users to install new software are always better, though, of course, Spotify is the exception that proves that rule.

It seems that, initially at least, mflow plans to offer both the browser-based and desktop-client version of its service. The former is still being tested, but existing users have been invited to try it out at beta.mflow.com.

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MICK HUCKNALL APOLOGISES FOR HAVING TOO MUCH SEX
Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall has issued an apology to all the women he had sex with between 1985 and 1987. He reckons there are 1000 of them, so he's not going to go round and apologise individually. For one thing, he might end up having sex with some of them again, and that would render the whole exercise pointless.

Speaking to The Guardian, Hucknall said: "A red-headed man is not generally considered to be a sexual icon. When I had the fame, it went crazy. Between 1985 [and] 1987, I would sleep with about three women a day, every day. I never said no. This was what I wanted from being a pop star. I was living the dream and my only regret is that I hurt some really good girls".

He continued: "I regret the philandering. In fact, can I issue a public apology through the Guardian? They know who they are, and I'm truly sorry".

It wasn't his fault, though. It was his mum's: "I wanted love from every single woman on the planet because I didn't have my mother's love. It was an addiction that took me to my darker period from 1996 to 2001, when I really came close to the gutter - [by then] I was more into drinking than seducing".

As previously reported, as well as retiring from being a big sex man, Mick Hucknall is also planning to retire Simply Red and live a more simple life. Though we first reported that two years ago and he's still doing the rounds, so he'd better hurry up.

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JUSTIN BIEBER DOESN'T WANT TO LIVE IN THE UK
Sad news, Bieber fans, the singer isn't planning to stay in this country for any length of time. It's too depressing, apparently. I don't know what happens in the Bieber house, but my mother told me to always be polite to my hosts.

Over here selling his shit, the squeaky popster told squeaky presenter Fearne Cotton on Radio 1: "I couldn't live here because the weather is very depressing. But I like the girls! The food I don't like really. 'Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer' sounds better in an English accent though".

What an ungrateful bastard.

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Andy Malt
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Chris Cooke
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Caro Moses
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Club Tipper
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