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CMU Info
Top Stories
Top piracy sites enjoyed 53 billion visits last year
In The Pop Courts
Basshunter pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges
Margaret Whiting dies
Awards & Contests
Choice shortlist out
European Festival Awards awarded
In The Studio
Kasabian inspired by 'OK Computer' as they work on new album
West and Wayne collaborate
Films & Shows News
McGee says Creation biopic being discussed
Gigs & Tours News
Dananananaykroyd tour
Talks, Debates & Conventions
Geldof to keynote at South By
Academics to consider Take That reunion
The Music Business
Industry reps meet to discuss IP review submission
Executive shifts at HMV
Government say no new rules regarding instruments on planes
Sony to close US CD pressing plant
Ministry Of Sound promote A&R man
The Digital Business
BBC digital services may as yet go to meet cost cutting demands
Pat Sharp joins Smooth
And finally...
Bieber gets black eye while at Crime Scene

Originally formed in Preston in 2006, close-knit Mancunian outfit Spokes first gained recognition in 2008 with their self released EP 'People Like People Like You'. Their latest single 'We Can Make It Out' was released in November, and is an uplifting mix of soaring strings and raucous shoe-gaze with a grandiose choral sound. In eager anticipation of the forthcoming album, 'Everyone I Ever Met', due to be released through Ninja Tune imprint Counter Records on 17 Jan, we approached the band's Liam Morley with our Same Six line of questioning.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I always loved writing lyrics when I was younger, I'd play really simple guitar lines for them and record it onto a four-track, then never play it to anyone. Owain was pretty much the same, he played in a lot of bands, though, and worked in a little community studio, so he got to stay after hours and record his stuff playing one layer at a time. He can play a lot of different instruments because of that. JM and Matt were in different bands together for years, but Ruth had only played in orchestras and choirs, so Spokes is actually her first ever band.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Intense feelings of love, impatience, parties in JM and Matt's basement, cold rehearsal rooms in Manchester, our wonderful warm rehearsal space at JM's parents house in the north east, and Ruth's piano that never quite went completely in tune.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Sometimes me or Owain will bring in some kind of idea or half written song and then we'll flesh it out, often with it being completely different in the end. Most of the time though we'll just come up with stuff on the spot and jam it out. It always gets interesting when you first demo stuff because you really get a sense of what going to work or where the song needs to go.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We try and let each song have it's own personality and be different from the last, so it would be hard to pick out specific influences. Stuff that gets played in the van though would include The Doors, Sonic Youth, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Dave Brubeck, Kate Bush, Sunn O))), Peter Broderick, that kind of thing.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Turn the lights off, light the fire.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Our dearest hope is that as many people enjoy the new album as possible and we get to travel around playing shows and having fun. Repeat as needed.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/spokessound
Electronic duo Drugg is made up of Max Whatley, who plays drums, and Tom Hanley, who handles vocals and the numerous other layers of sound that make up their songs. Their debut EP, 'Shackled', is due for release via This Is Music imprint Less Music on 7 Mar, featuring three original tracks, plus two remixes by minimal dub producer Pole and fellow electronic experimentalists Visions Of Trees.

The EP's title track is synonymous of the Drugg sound; overall I can only describe it as "woozy". Drums judder, as synths and vocals fade in and out of view and are occasionally given a gentle kick by some heavily-distorted guitar. These dense soundscapes are music to get lost in, both due to their enveloping nature and the seemingly endless range of sounds to be found within them. Hopefully they can retain this feel in the live show they are currently developing.


UnLimited Media is looking for a part-time (one day a week) accounts and admit assistant to work from its Shoreditch HQ. You will process bookings for UnLimited training events, send out and chase invoices, and assist the Managing Director with other administrative tasks.

Good organisation and phone skills and an attention to detail are a must, knowledge of Word and Excel also an advantage. Daily rate of £70. Send a CV to [email protected].

A new report by MarkMonitor, an American agency that tackles fraudulent activity online, reckons that the world's top 22 piracy websites received more than 53 billion visits globally last year. Which is quite a lot when you consider the world's population is currently under 7 billion, so on average every single person on the planet visited at least one such site at least seven times, or something like that.

The "piracy websites" investigated by MarkMonitor include those that sell counterfeit goods, including fashion, luxury goods and prescription drugs, as well as those that provide access to unlicensed music, movie or TV content, either to stream or download. Among the latter lot were RapidShare, MegaVideo and MegaUpload. It was the digital content sites that generated the vast majority of the 53 billion visits, with the counterfeit goods sites receiving less than 100 million hits over all.

Commenting on the new report, the Senior Director Of Internet Counterfeiting & Piracy at the Global Intellectual Property Center in the US remarked yesterday: "Online intellectual property theft - whether it is the sale of counterfeit shoes and fake drugs or the illegal distribution of movies, music, and software - steals jobs, threatens consumers, and hinders our economic growth. We have known for a long time that rogue websites, those dedicated to piracy and counterfeiting, were flourishing at our expense. Now we begin to see the staggering scope of this problem - more than 53 billion visits on rogue sites".

It should be noted that the MarkMonitor survey only checked how many people visited the "piracy" sites and not the activities said people participated in when they got there. Sites like RapidShare are sure to point out that their service has entirely legitimate uses too, so it's unfair to assume that everytime someone hits their site it is to share or access unlicensed music or movie content.

And look, they've just done exactly that. Having been dubbed the biggest of all the piracy websites in terms of traffic by the MarkMonitor survey, a RapidShare spokesperson told CMU last night: "The report concludes that RapidShare has to be the biggest digital piracy site from looking at the number of page visits, totally ignoring the fact that millions of customers use the service for perfectly legitimate purposes. Private customers use RapidShare to share their personal pictures, videos and documents or to make backup copies of their hard drives. Business clients rely on our services to exchange large files with colleagues at different sites, with clients or with service providers or to make available free programmes or programme updates to its customers".

Arguing that unlike, say, old P2P services like Kazaa and LimeWire, the legitimate uses of their service greatly outweigh the illegal uses, the Rapidshare spokesperson added: "In an interview with mediapost.com MarkMonitor's VP Of Communications said that she did not consider websites like YouTube piracy sites as they 'have procedures in place where brandowners can take down [copyright infringing] material'. RapidShare offers the exact same take-down features to copyright owners as YouTube does. So, where is the difference?"

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Basshunter, aka Jonas Altberg, was in court in Kirkcaldy, Scotland yesterday to face those previously reported allegations he sexually assaulted two girls during a gig at a nightclub in the Fife town last year.

Two female clubbers have made allegations against Altberg. One says the dance music star grabbed her by the hair and pushed her head towards his groin, while another says he also pushed her towards his groin and then bent over her. They also allege he pulled up the second girl's dress.

Altberg attended the court hearing with his manager and pleaded not-guilty to both sets of charges. He will now face trial in May. Both Altberg and his manager refused to speak to reporters as they left the court.

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Legendary American jazz and pop singer Margaret Whiting has died at the care home in New Jersey where she has lived since last March. She was 86.

Born in Detroit but brought up in LA, Whiting was one of the first ever singings to Capitol Records, the label's founder Johnny Mercer being a friend of her songwriting father Richard A Whiting. Initially singing for a number of jazz bands, she started releasing records under her own name in the mid 1940s. As a singer, she was most successful commercially in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a period during which she scored 40 chart hits. While she continued to record songs for decades after that period, she never quite enjoyed the same levels of success, with the exception of her 1966 hit 'The Wheel Of Hurt'.

She also enjoyed a TV career, appearing in the 1950s sitcom 'Those Whiting Girls' alongside her actor sister Barbara. She was also a regular on American variety and talk shows in the sixties and seventies, and continued to release records until the end of the eighties, and to perform live until recently.

She was married no less than four times over her life. Her most recent marriage, in 1994 to Jack Wrangler, caused a bit of a stir at the time, him being a famously gay porn star. He died two years ago.

Whiting is survived by her daughter Deborah.

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The shortlist is out for this year's Choice Music Prize which, as I'm sure I don't have to tell you people, is sort of the Irish version of the Mercury Music Prize. Ten contenders for the 'album of the year' prize have been selected by a panel of eleven music media types in Ireland. The overall winner, who gets ten thousand euros, will be announced on 3 Mar at an event in Dublin, with live coverage due to air on Irish radio station Today FM. And here is the shortlist.

Adebesi Shank - This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank (Richter Collective)
The Cast of Cheers - Chariot (Self Released)
Cathy Davey - The Nameless (Hammer Toe Records)
Fight Like Apes - The Body Of Christ & The Legs Of Tina Turner (Model Citizen)
Halves - It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) (Hate Is The Enemy)
Imelda May - Mayhem (Universal)
James Vincent McMorrow - Early in The Morning (Universal)
O Emperor - Hither Thither (Universal)
Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History (Kitsune)
Villagers - Becoming a Jackal (Domino)

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So, the Eurosonic conference and festival is go, go, go over there in Groningen in da Netherlands, and kicking things off last night was the European version of the Festival Awards. 350,000 festival goers went online to vote this year, between them selecting the following winners...

Best Major European Festival: Heineken Open'er Festival - Poland
Best Medium-Sized European Festival: Electric Picnic Music & Arts Festival - Ireland
Best Small European Festival: 5 Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival - Poland
Best New European Festival: Temple House Festival - Ireland
Best Indoor Festival: Rolling Stone Weekender - Germany

Best European Festival Line-Up : Oxegen - Ireland
Best Newcomer: Florence and the Machine
Best Headliner: Muse
Festival Anthem of the Year: Muse - Uprising

As well as the punter voted prize, there were four others voted for by a panel of industry types, journalists, bookers, managers and suchlike, and they went to...

Green 'N' Clean Festival Of The Year: Boom Festival - Portugal
Artist's Favourite European Festival: Melt! - Germany
Promoter Of The Year: Kilimanjaro/K2
Lifetime Achievement Award: Leif Skov

Commenting on this year's bash, the second outing for the European version of these awards, the MD of Festival Awards Ltd, James Drury, told CMU: "With over 350,000 votes and a 37% increase in the number of events [voted for], our second edition demonstrated the breadth and strength of feeling among fans and festivals across the continent. This was a great celebration of the world leading festival scene".

Meanwhile Christof Huber of festivals organisation YOUROPE, who support the awards, added: "It was a major step forward from last year's awards. We are really looking forward to the next edition and are confident that they will continue to go from strength to strength".

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Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno says that Radiohead's 'OK Computer' is proving inspirational while his band work on their next long player.

In an interview in the new edition of NME, Mr Sergio says that it's not that the band necessarily want to emulate the sound of the classic Radiohead album, but that "'OK Computer' is a record that just makes you go, 'wow'. I want to aim for something that's as incredible as that, [where you get] the feeling of [just] being blown away".

He adds: "I just want people to fucking come away from it going, 'Yep, great album. It's different, I love this. Let's go see it live. Thank you'. Then off we go again".

As previously reported, Kasabian are due to headline both the Isle Of Wight and RockNess festivals in June, and Pizzorno adds in the interview that he hopes to have some new material out before those shows.


Kanye West and Lil Wayne were in the studio together last weekend, or at least they were if you believe tweets from rapper Short Dawg and/or Mike Banger, the house engineer for Wayne's label Young Money. We don't really know what they were doing, but there is speculation the duo were working on a new track for Wayne's next album, 'Tha Carter IV'.

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Well, we had the Creation rockumentary last year - the rather good 'Upside Down' - and now plans are apparently afoot for a Creation biopic.

The legendary label's founder Alan McGee has told the Daily Record he is in talks with a "big film guy" about making a film based on the rise, peak and decline of his former record company. McGee: "The big film guy I'm meeting is a good guy. He's good for a laugh and is interested in talking to me about making a feature film about Creation".

He continued: "It's a film about some lunatic who runs a label that ends up making millions of pounds. Actually there are two movie ideas - a druggie one and one that's more serious. Maybe we can make one that combines both".

By the way, if you've not seen the 'Upside Down' Creation doc yet, well you should do. And a number of screenings in the UK and Ireland have been announced, with screenings in the following cities on the following dates:

22 Feb: Glasgow
17-25 Feb: Dublin
11 Apr: Stornoway
1-7 May: Sheffield
19-21 May: Liverpool

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The Dananananaykroyd boys will be on tour again from next month, playing the following gigs. Don't even dream about saying we didn't tell you.

25 Feb: Middlesbrough, Uncle Albert's
26 Feb: Dundee, Doghouse
27 Feb: Aberdeen, Café Drummond
1 Mar: Cambridge, Haymakers
2 Mar: Southampton, Joiners
3 Mar: Bath, Moles
4 Mar: Sheffield, Harley
5 Mar: Liverpool, Shipping Forecast

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Organisers of South By Southwest have announced that their keynote speaker this year will be that Bob Geldof fella, who will sing songs at the Austin, Texas event on 16 Mar before giving a keynote speech on 18 Mar. It's the 25th anniversary of South By this year, and as always all the info you need about the convention and festival is at www.sxsw.com

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An academic conference taking place at the University Of Salford in June will examine the phenomenon that is the rock or pop reunion, with a particular focus on the original break up and subsequent part and then full reunion of Take That.

According to The Sun, lecturer Tim Wise is seeking papers to be presented at the conference. The following call for papers has been posted: "The break-up of a favoured band has profound implications for fans, followers and the music industry. The convenors invite papers from any discipline which address the themes of break-up and reunion of popular music acts. We are particularly interested in papers addressing these issues in relation to Take That and boybands generally".

The conference will take place on 3 and 4 Jun, which conveniently coincides with the man band's next concerts in Manchester.

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Reps from various UK music industry trade bodies met at the offices of cross-sector organisation UK Music yesterday to discuss their submission to a government-instigated review of intellectual property laws (yes, yet another one). The independent review is being led by Professor Ian Hargreaves, who published a call for evidence just before Christmas.

According to Music Week, some music industry chiefs fear the review could be negative towards traditional IP-based industries, such as the record industry, with a co-founder of the Creative Commons movement - which advocates an alternative less commercial approach to copyright - Professor James Boyle, among those on Hargreaves' team. Others have also said some of the questions Hargreaves has posed can be interpreted as being potentially hostile towards traditional IP systems.

But presumably the review will also give the music industry, and especially the record industry, another opportunity to lobby on some of its favourite issues - the three-strikes system sort of put in place by the Digital Economy Act, the fast-track system for taking copyright infringing websites offline sort of not put in place by the Digital Economy Act, and that old chestnut: extending the copyright term on sound recordings.

Submissions need to be with Prof Ian by 1 Mar, with him due to report his findings back to government types in April. With regards the current government's attitude towards copyright and wider intellectual property issues, we should probably go and have a good look of the Liberal Democrat's manifesto from last year's election. Presumably we can assume the opposite of anything written there represents Nick Clegg and co's current thinking.

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HMV has announced a number of executive changes, with the promise of more to come in the next few weeks. So that's all groovy.

Steve Napleton, currently Commercial Director, will take a new more focused role looking at the company's online and ticketing businesses, while Gary Warren, who moved to a talent and content role atop HMV's MAMA Group business last year, will move back to the retail side of HMV overseeing all the product teams.

The executive shifts follow those recent disappointing sales figures from the music and entertainment company, and the news 60 HMV and Waterstones stores will close in the next year.

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Airlines will not be forced to allow musicians to carry large instruments onto planes with them, a government minister confirmed yesterday.

John Attlee, one of the government's whips in the House Of Lords, was responding to an Early Day Motion signed by 28 MPs urging the government to introduce new rules to make it easier for musicians wishing to take their instruments onto a plane, rather than having them placed in the hold, where it's not uncommon for priceless instruments to be damaged.

Lib Dem Lord Tim Clement-Jones, supporting the motion, said: "There are terrible cases where valuable and cherished instruments are smashed in the holds of aircraft as result of musicians not being able to take them on board with them".

But Attlee said that while he sympathised with musicians needing to transport valuable instruments with them when they travel by air, that he didn't believe legislation was the solution. He reckoned that there was a commercial incentive to airlines to treat musicians well, and that those with a reputation for not doing so would lose custom as a result.

But not everyone in parliament supports the 'leave it to the market' approach, partly because some musicians can only afford budget airline travel, and said airlines probably don't care if they lose a few customers because of a bad rep in the music community. According to the BBC, Labour Lord Bryan Davies remarked: "Leaving it to the industry seems a somewhat forlorn hope... If the government at least indicated that it was prepared to take some action in this area, it would be at least a stimulus to the industry".

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Sony Corp's disk manufacturing business Sony DADC has announced it is closing one of its key North American CD pressing plants in the New Jersey area of Pitman. 300 jobs will go, with the factories CD manufacturing output moved to the company's Indiana base.

Confirming the closure, Sony rep Lisa Gephardt told reporters: "In light of the current economic environment and challenges facing the physical media industry, Sony DADC is taking additional steps to reduce cost from our supply chain network in order to remain competitive".

Of course the decline in CD sales is widely documented, and has been impacting on the manufacturing side of the business for sometime. Though that doesn't necessarily make it any easier on the 300 people soon to be out of work.

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Ministry Of Sound have announced that David Dollimore has been promoted to the job at Recordings MD, overseeing the clubbing brand's record label business.

Confirming the promotion, Ministry CEO Lohan Presencer told CMU: "Dave joined Ministry of Sound ten years ago and has led the charge in A&R through the most successful period in our history, bringing artists like Eric Prydz and Example to the label as well as our exciting new signings Yasmin and Wretch 32, through our Levels imprint. I trust his musical taste and vision implicitly and his promotion to Managing Director of Recordings is a natural next step".

Dollimore himself added: "It has been an incredible 10 years at Ministry, it has a particularly special magic of its own and there is constant excitement arising from a steady flow of new developments. I intend to make Ministry the natural home for exciting talent across most genres. I am relishing the thought of what we can achieve in the next few years in this challenging global marketplace".

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The boss of the BBC Trust, Michael Lyons, has warned that some of the BBC's digital-only services may have to be axed in order for the Corporation to adapt to the upcoming budget cuts caused by a fixed (ie, not inflation proof) licence fee and the Beeb taking on other general broadcasting related costs. Forcing economies across all BBC services will not save enough money, Lyons says, in an open letter to BBC Director General Mark Thompson, published the day before the DG is due to address his staff about upcoming cutbacks.

Lyons repeated a mantra that has been used with increased frequency in senior BBC circles of late, that the Corporation should be doing "fewer things better". Amongst the "fewer things" Lyons reckons the Beeb should be focusing on are BBC1, BBC2, Radio 1 and Radio 2. The Trust man made no mention of the organisation's digital services, leading some to speculate some of those might have to go in order to reduce operating costs. Although that could mean a new threat to radio services like 6music, some insiders now thing it's the digital TV stations BBC3 and BBC4 which are possibly most at risk.

Of course the BBC's commercial rivals would probably argue the Beeb should be concentrating more on niche digital services and less on those channels - like BBC 1, Radio 1 and Radio 2 - which compete head on with commercial TV and radio stations. And while some downsizing of the Corporation's channel portfolio is probably inevitable, many commercial operators would argue that the likes of Radio 1 are already vastly over-staffed and over-funded, and are actually the most obvious targets for dramatic cost cutting.

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Smooth Radio is really becoming a retirement home for old time radio talent isn't it? Joining David Jenson, Mark Goodier and Simon Bates at the easy listening station with immediate effect is one time Capital DJ Pat Sharp. Woo.

Says Sharp, who will take over the Smooth weekend breakfast show: "I'm delighted to be back on national radio playing the music that I love. I've enjoyed a taste of the job over the last few weeks and I'm delighted I will be taking up permanent residence on Smooth Radio's weekend breakfast show".

Here's a quiz for you. When did Sharp last have a show on "national radio"? I'm drawing a blank on that. Unless you count filling in for David Jenson on the Network Chart back in the old days.

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Justin Bieber fans had a bit of a shock this weekend when the squeaky popster posted a picture of himself with a very black eye (you can see it here: bit.ly/hKpScy). Had someone thrown something at the teen star's face again?

No, don't worry people, it was just make up administered on the set of 'CSI' where the singer is doing a little more of that "acting", reprising his role as troubled teen Jason McCann. So that's a relief.

Though if someone did throw something at the teen star's face, it would go something like this. youtu.be/0e50vqY7Szo

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
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