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INFORMATION
Jobs & Training Courses
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Terra Firma approached by potential backers and partners about possible EMI buy back deal
EMI possibly close to licensing Spotify USA
In The Pop Courts
Viacom proposes settlement over BET's slack sync licensing
Diddy sued for a trillion dollars
Chris Brown asks for Rihanna restraining order to be lifted
In The Pop Hospital
Winehouse in hospital with flu
Obituaries
John Barry dies
Awards & Contests
Blue to represent Britain at Eurovision
Reunions & Splits
Slipknot man vague about possible Velvet Revolver stint
Artist Deals
EMI signs X Japan in US
Release News
Daedelus announces bespoke new album
Moddi announces debut album
Reviews
Album review: The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)
Brands & Stuff
MMF event to bring band and brand managers together
The Music Business
Barry Diller resigns from Live Nation board
Music PR appointments galore
The Media Business
Comcast complete NBC Universal acquisition
And finally...
New Kid outed by Tiffany, but he doesn't care
You're all too posh, youse lots


 
MONDAY 31ST JANUARY
FIVE DAY FORECAST
Blimey, another week. These things seem to come around quicker and quicker. During my weekly two day holiday, I saw a terrible opera and some brilliant stand-up, which balanced things nicely. Then I got up this morning and pretty much straight away I heard that John Barry had died, which is sad. He was responsible for so many iconic pieces of music during his career – not least several Bond themes – but my favourite will always remain the theme tune to 'The Persuaders', which is just fantastic. Meanwhile, back to business, here's this week's Five Day Forecast.

 
01: The Great Escape first convention announcement. Well, after last week's festival announcements, with the likes of Friendly Fires, Warpaint, Katy B, Becoming Real, worriedaboutsatan and Visions Of Trees all lined up to play, this week it's time to get on to the convention side of things. As you should know by now, this year's Great Escape convention is being programmed by us at CMU. We're pretty excited about the people we've booked to speak, the first of which we will reveal here in the CMU Daily this week. So, look out for that.

02: The Daily to launch. Yeah, that's right, The Daily. The Daily is going to launch this week. The. Daily. Where have I heard of an electronically delivered daily news bulletin called The Daily before? God damn you Rupert Murdoch, as if you haven't done enough already, you go and steal our name for your stupid iPad newspaper. I bet you heard Steve Coogan talking about the CMU Daily on Sienna Miller's voicemail didn't you? Already delayed by several weeks, News Corp's Daily will go live this Wednesday. It'll be rubbish, don't buy it.

03: HMV's Next Big Thing. Expanding out of Soho this year, HMV's Next Big Thing festival will this year showcase brand new acts like Chilly Gonzales, Funeral For A Friend, The Young Knives and some other bands who have recorded fewer than four albums. Most excitingly, there will be two bands called Morning Parade playing. Only one can go on to become the next big thing, though. Which will it be? It all kicks off on Friday and goes on until 13 Feb, and will genuinely be showcasing some great new artists.

04: New releases. This week's big release is the new Chase & Status album, 'No More Idols', though the three albums I'm most excited about are Seefeel's brilliant eponymous new album and 'Grains' by Jim Perkins, which blends solo piano with experimental electronica. Also on sale this week are Esben & The Witch's debut 'Violet Cries', a compilation of love songs by Roberta Flack, the delayed re-issue of 'Faith' by George Michael, and Dave ID's 'Gangs EP'.

05: Gigs. Lots of gigs this week. Lots and lots. Two one-offs I'd like to highlight are Jim Perkin's album launch at The Vortex in Dalston tonight, which will be brilliant, and The Agitator at The Barfly in Camden on Thursday. Also kicking off this week are this year's NME Awards shows and Canadian Blast's Cape Breton Sound showcases, and on tour in the UK are Hurts, White Lies, Joan As Police Woman, I Like Trains, and Stealing Sheep.

Don't forget that you can now subscribe to the CMU podcast in iTunes here, or via RSS here. There'll be another episode winging its way to you this Friday.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU
 
GROUPLOVE
I've been meaning to write about Grouplove for weeks, but as they slipped down the ever growing list of exciting new bands, it looked like they might not make it. Luckily, their debut EP, 'Colours', turned up at just the right time, lodging itself in the CMU stereo for numerous repeat listens. It's always nice to receive a summer record right in the heart of winter, and this is most definitely a summer record. Even the cover art shows people frolicking in the sea.

 
The EP's title track is definitely the standout. A simple guitar-pop song strewn with hooks, it sounds like the kind of song that has been played and honed a lot in order to make it sound effortless. You can watch the video for the track by clicking the link below. It features some lovely summery larking about. Oh, but first you have to get through the attempted hanging, beating with a baseball bat and a mild decapitation. Fun, fun.

youtu.be/2ddd70PMxTE


MUSIC CONCIERGE - PLAYLIST DESIGNER
Do you know your Oscar Peterson from your Chilly Gonzales? Award-winning music consultancy Music Concierge, is looking for a Playlist Designer to join our small but expanding creative team. You will develop a sound understanding of our clients' needs, and then source, program and timetable appropriate tracks in line with the client brief. You will have an encyclopedic music knowledge across a multitude of genres, including jazz, classical, pop, world music, and all forms of electronic music. Alongside your creative talent, your professional and motivated approach to work means that you relish pressure and eat deadlines for breakfast.

For full information visit: www.musicconcierge.co.uk/vacancies

"The best music business training event I have attended; relevant and up to date, your knowledge of and enthusiasm for the industry is simply exceptional" from delegate feedback

We are currently taking bookings for the following CMU TRAINING courses:


MUSIC BUSINESS MODELS - MAKING MONEY, FINDING INVESTMENT
How to make money out of music - both now and in the future, with a look at alternative investment and revenue streams, and a new approach to monetising artists and their music. Wed 9 Feb 2011

MUSIC RIGHTS - INSIDE & OUT
A beginner's guide to music copyright - everything you need to know about copyright law, licensing, monetising copyright, the fight against piracy and the future of the music rights industry. Wed 23 Feb 2011

For more information or to book visit www.theCMUwebsite.com/training




TERRA FIRMA APPROACHED BY POTENTIAL BACKERS AND PARTNERS ABOUT POSSIBLE EMI BUY BACK DEAL
Terra Firma big cheese Guy Hands has, according to the Mail, been approached by a number of potential investors and strategic partners to discuss the possibility of the equity group keeping control of EMI, but with refinanced debt obligations through a slightly complicated relinquish and buy back arrangement.

As previously reported, it is expected that Terra Firma will have to give up ownership of EMI to the music major's bankers Citigroup this spring, because the private equity firm's financial backers won't let it pump more money into the debt-laden company, meaning EMI will fail to meet covenants linked to its three billion debt to the US bank.

But it is expected that Citigroup will then sell off the music firm for the bargain basement price of £1.6 billion. And, despite the acrimonious relationship between Citi and Terra Firma, it is thought the former has already indicated to the latter that they would consider a bid from Hands et al to buy EMI back.

If such a deal was to go ahead, Hands could find himself exactly where he's wanted to be for the last two years, in control of an EMI with much reduced debts and far more favourable loan terms. Various previous attempts to persuade Citigroup to write off some of EMI's debts and relax the aforementioned covenants have been knocked back.

As also previously reported, EMI is actually doing pretty well day to day since Terra Firma's painful but effective cutbacks, but the whole company continues to be hindered by its highly public multi-billion debt to a bank its parent company are suing. Remove, or rather reduce and restructure, the debt, and the British music major would look pretty good.

With that in mind, the Mail reports that a number of parties have approached Terra Firma about a buy back arrangement. The Wall Street Journal noted last week that Hands had spoken to one of Terra Firma's existing EMI-supporting backers, Canadian pension fund CPP, but the Mail says conversations are also underway with other funds, equity groups and strategic partners. The result may be new investment into the Terra Firma fund to allow it to buy EMI back outright, or a consortium of new private equity buyers most likely led by Hands.

If this were to happen - and the proposal seems to have gone from outlandish to an actual possibility in a week - it would surely be good news for EMI, given that - unlike any deal with Warner Music or BMG backers KKR - the London-based firm would probably remain a stand-alone concern with both sound recording and music publishing divisions. This would allow Roger Faxon to put his plans for integrating those two businesses more closely into effect.

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EMI POSSIBLY CLOSE TO LICENSING SPOTIFY USA
According to the New York Times, Spotify is very close to getting a North American deal in place with EMI. With everyone certain a similar deal has already been struck with Sony Music, that would mean the European streaming service is somewhere between a quarter and a half of the way (depending how you look at it) to its long desired US launch. That said, the Times also adds that a Universal deal is some way off, and many question whether Spotify could launch Stateside without the biggest of the record companies on board.

As much previously reported, Spotify's launch Stateside has been hindered by paranoia among US label execs that licensing the streaming platform's ad-funded free option could damage the revenues of other digital music businesses - including subscription-based streaming services like Rhapsody and MOG, and a la carte download stores like iTunes. Which is a problem if you are uncertain that the ad-funded model has longevity once Spotify's venture capital funding runs out, which some label execs are.

But it seems that US bosses at both Sony and EMI have been placated. With neither the labels nor Spotify actually commenting on any of this, it is unclear whether that is by restricting the amount of freely available content, or by writing the majors very large cheques.

Elsewhere, Faisal Galaria, Spotify's global business development chief has given a very interesting interview to the website of US digital consultancy StrategyEye in which he discusses the various delays to his company's US launch, and also speculation that Apple may be putting pressure on the majors to hold back from licensing his service, either to protect iTunes download sales, or because the IT giant is planning its own streaming service.

Although stressing he has no actual knowledge of what Apple may or may not have said to the major labels about Spotify, he hypothesises about why the IT giant might not want his service to launch Stateside, and as to why the major's might be influenced by Apple chiefs.

Noting ongoing rumours of Apple's own ambitions in the streaming music domain, he muses: "If you assume it takes years and years to build a cloud service - it took us two and a half years - then what do you do in the interim? You use your clout presumably with the labels to say 'If you do this, I will do X, Y and Z to you'".

He added: "If you're the digital team [at a major] and 80% of your revenue was coming from one place, how much are you going to piss them off until someone else can guarantee all that revenue? You're a nice, fat big executive at label X, Y, Z. You're getting half a million dollars a year as long as you hit your bonus, are you going to tell iTunes where to go?"

You can read the full interview here.

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VIACOM PROPOSES SETTLEMENT OVER BET'S SLACK SYNC LICENSING
US media giant Viacom has put forward proposals for an out of court settlement regarding allegations of slack sync rights licensing by its Black Entertainment Television, or BET, network.

Viacom was responding to a class action lawsuit launched by LA-based independent label owners and music publishers The Music Force back in 2009, which claimed BET had synced music from the indie's catalogues into some of its programmes, including 'BET Impressions' and 'Jazz Visions', without getting the appropriate licenses.

As a class action, if The Music Force was to win the lawsuit any label or publisher who believed its content had also been used without licence could claim damages. Under the proposed settlement, Viacom would set aside $2.75 million to pay affected rights owners, and set up a website to allow those who believe they are due unpaid royalties to make a claim.

In the main, sync licensing is not covered by collective licenses available from collecting societies, and in the US that includes TV sync. Viacom's proposed settlement needs approval from the judge overseeing this case before The Music Force's lawsuit is formally dismissed.

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DIDDY SUED FOR A TRILLION DOLLARS
That this lawsuit has even reached court tells you a lot of the US legal system.

A woman in LA is suing P Diddy for a mere trillion dollars over allegations that they have a son together for whom the rapper and hip hop mogul owes child support, and that he once stole a casino chip from her worth "100s of zillions of dollars". The lawsuit also accuses Diddy of conspiring with former girlfriend Kim Porter and LAPD assault victim Rodney King to not only disable the couple's son, but also to instigate the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

According to Radaronline.com, Valerie Turks' legal papers say: "[Diddy] went through Kim Porter and Rodney King and knocked down the World Trade Center and then they all came and knocked my children down. Set me up to be on disability and disabled my baby. He put my baby in a wheelchair".

It later adds: "I won a lot of money at the casino in Mississippi and Sean P Diddy Combs has my chip to my money. I want my chip, please help me. It's well worth over 100 zillions of dollars".

As well as the ludicrous financial demands Turks requested a restraining order against Diddy, though I'm not sure why the rapper would want to be anywhere near her anyway. The judge overseeing the case denied the restraining order request, but agreed to give the rest of her lawsuit a proper hearing this week.

Actually, as well as the legal system, I think this case probably says a lot about America's current healthcare system, too.

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CHRIS BROWN ASKS FOR RIHANNA RESTRAINING ORDER TO BE LIFTED
Chris Brown's lawyer has asked for the R&B wife-beater's restraining order in relation to Rihanna to be lifted so to avoid logistical issues at next month's Grammy Awards. Having Brown and Rihanna in the same room at the US industry's big bash makes it precariously likely that the former may come within 100 yards of his ex, which would technically put him in breach of the law.

Of course, it was during Grammy weekend two years ago that Brown beat his then pop girlfriend to a pulp, leaving her unconscious on the sidewalk. But since then he's undergone a year of domestic violence counselling and has been commended by judges on more than one occasion for his progress. He'll hear back re the restraining order before the 13 Feb main Grammys show.

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WINEHOUSE IN HOSPITAL WITH FLU
Amy Winehouse reportedly checked into a private medical facility in London last week after falling ill with flu. The singer has previously spent time at the same Harley Street clinic to receive treatment for side effects to a 2009 breast augmentation and later after injuring herself in a drunken fall. However, this time it's an infectious disease that has caused Winehouse's ill health, she seemingly having picked up a bug while gigging in Brazil.

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JOHN BARRY DIES
Composer John Barry, best known for his work on the James Bond soundtracks, has died aged 77.

Brought up in Yorkshire, Barry was originally a classical pianist but early on developed an interest in composing and arranging his own music, too. He began performing live whilst doing national service, and subsequently formed his own John Barry Seven outfit, which came to public attention via the BBC TV series 'Drumbeat', where Barry's own band performed, while he also composed and arranged songs for other musical guests. Most notable among those guests was Adam Faith, who Barry forged a long term professional relationship with, and as Faith moved into movies so did Barry, his first soundtrack being Faith's first movie 'Beat Girl' in 1960.

His reputation as a composer and arranger was already gaining momentum by the late 1950s, resulting in a three year stint as an in-house arranger for EMI from 1959, and then a joint role as arranger and producer for Ember Records from 1962. It was around this time he came to the attention of the producers of the first Bond movie 'Dr No', who asked Barry to re-arrange a score already written by Monty Norman. Out of that came the iconic 'James Bond Theme'. Norman has always been the sole composer credited for that piece of music, though Barry later said his re-arrangement was sufficient for him to claim some ownership of the track. Said allegations were the subject of two legal disputes.

Either way, Barry impressed the Bond producers and, even though musical composer Lionel Hart had composed a theme song for 'Dr No' sequel 'From Russia With Love', Barry was asked to arrange the film's score. He subsequently became the Bond franchise's go to guy for compositions, working on eleven of the 007 movies in total. This led to a wide ranging career in TV, movie and stage show composition, among his most famous works being the theme tune to seventies TV show 'The Persuaders!', the stage show 'Billy', and the soundtrack to the 1966 film 'Born Free', the latter two both projects with his frequent collaborator, lyricist Don Black, who won the BMI Icon Award last year.

Over his long career Barry won no less than five Oscars, and in 2005 he was given a BAFTA fellowship. His last film score was for 2001's 'Enigma', while his last musical collaboration with Black was the stage show 'Brighton Rock' which opened in 2004.

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BLUE TO REPRESENT BRITAIN AT EUROVISION
Blue will represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, it has been confirmed. And not only will they sing the song, but they've written it too, with the usual 'let the public pick the song' stage of the Eurovision palaver being axed this year.

Given that most British Eurovision entrants are never heard of ever again after performing at the big song contest, we can only assume this is good news. Either that, or it possibly means the Blue boys are set to become the next Sugababes line-up.

This year's big Contest will take place in Dusseldorf in May.

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SLIPKNOT MAN VAGUE ABOUT POSSIBLE VELVET REVOLVER STINT
Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has refused to confirm or deny that he may be the new vocalist with Velvet Revolver. There have been various rumours that he is due to join Slash et al since they indicated late last year that they had found an as yet unnamed new singer to front the band for a new album and tour, replacing Scott Weiland, who quit in 2008. But asked about the rumours by Billboard, Taylor said something even more cryptic than a "no comment". He told the trade mag: "To be continued". Make of that what you will.

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EMI SIGNS X JAPAN IN US
One of Japan's most successful rock outfits, X Japan, have signed a three-year deal with EMI's label services division covering North America. The deal will see the major's Caroline Distribution division handled manufacturing and distribution for the band.

Mike Harris, GM for Caroline Distribution, told reporters: "We are so honoured to have X Japan as part of the EMI Label Services/Caroline family. After the highly successful North American tour last fall, the timing is perfect for the upcoming X Japan release".

No word on if there are any plans to release the band's upcoming new album in Europe.

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DAEDELUS ANNOUNCES BESPOKE NEW ALBUM
Dandy experimentalist Alfred Darlington, aka Daedelus, will release his new concept-driven album 'Bespoke' on 11 Apr through Ninja Tune, the first single from which will be 'Tailor Made' out on 21 Mar.

Of the theme of 'custom craftsmanship' that overarches the record, Daedelus says: "I not only intended it as a reflection of the LP itself, but also an outlook on life". I'm still trying to work out what that statement might imply about the album, or about life, but I'm sure its something significant and to do with wearing elaborate velvet clothes.

Daedelus is to tour ahead of these new releases, kicking off a series of UK and European dates in London on 23 Feb. Meanwhile, the 'Bespoke' tracklist is as follows:

Tailor-Made (feat Milosh)
Sew, Darn, Mend
Penny Loafers (feat Inara George)
One and Lonely (feat Young Dad)
Suit Yourself
What Can You Do? (feat Busdriver)
French Cuffs (feat Baths)
In Tatters (feat Kelela Mizanekristos)
Slowercase D
Overwelmed (feat Bilal)
Nightcap

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MODDI ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM
The friendly-sounding Pål Moddi Knutsen, or just Moddi as he's more commonly known, will release his debut album here in the UK on Propeller Recordings on 18 Apr.

The album, called 'Floriography', and which saw Moddi work with Björk and Kate Nash producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, was released in his native Norway last year. He's enjoyed attention further afield by touring Europe with Angus & Julia Stone.

You can watch the rather charming accompanying video for album track 'Magpie Eggs' here: youtu.be/myHzPth0r90. Meanwhile, Moddi will be appearing live in London on three occasions in February and March, starting at Angel's The Wilmington Arms on 13 Feb, followed by two nights at The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell in 28 and 29 Mar.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)
The Go! Team, Brighton's most energetic alternative dance/funk/soul/indie/noise (delete as appropriate) set, return after almost three years with the explosive 'Rolling Blackouts': their third studio LP with a promise of bigger sounds, bigger attitudes, bigger everything. It does not disappoint.

Of course - something by The Go! Team... well, it always will sound like The Go! Team, won't it? No matter how far they've progressed, their stamp is truly their own: explosive, sunshine-stuffed funk-fluff, sampled to buggery and adorned with as many bells, chants and horns as you could shake a stick at. 'Rolling Blackouts' opens as it should with the combustive and appropriately named 'TORNADO', a right-hook punch of a track, hard and unmistakably THEM, before the album gallops off to some more retro-tinged songs like killer 'Secretary Song' and the Air-ish 'Super Triangle'.

Featuring guest collabs with members of Best Coast and Deerhoof, 'Rolling Blackouts' is a predictable but enjoyable return to form, a much needed injection of joy into the somewhat sagging indie scene. TW

Physical release: 31 Jan

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MMF EVENT TO BRING BAND AND BRAND MANAGERS TOGETHER
The Music Managers' Forum has announced a seminar event aiming to bring together artist managers and some key brand marketing people to discuss the state of music sponsorship, and how brands might better work directly with artists, large or small.

The event is being staged in association with brand partnerships agency Genuine, and brands expected to be represented include Fiat, Jack Daniels and Coke drinks Relentless and Burn. It is an invite only event aiming to, and I quote, "promote a free exchange of ideas between brands and artist managers".

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BARRY DILLER RESIGNS FROM LIVE NATION BOARD
Barry Diller has completely stepped down from the board of Live Nation, according to an SEC filing made by the live music conglom in the US earlier this month. Diller was originally chairman of the board after Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster, he being a key shareholder in the latter, which had originally operated as part of his InterActiveCorp business.

When he first announced his intent to stand down from the Chairman role last year, he insisted he had always only intended to head up the live music and ticketing giant whilst the merger of the two companies was going through the motions. However, he did initially pledge to stay on until a full time new chair could be found, but then in October it was announced rival shareholder and board member John Malone of Liberty Media would take over with immediate effect, but also on an interim basis.

This led to various speculation that Diller had fallen out with the all new Live Nation's top two execs Michael Rapino and Irving Azoff; or that he was pissed off that the aforementioned merger had basically ended up being a Live Nation takeover of Ticketmaster; or that there were increasing boardroom tensions between him and Malone, who had previously had run-ins with Diller as a shareholder in the aforementioned IAC. Of course, Live Nation denied all these rumours.

But whatever, Diller has now resigned from the Live Nation board completely, he having originally stayed on despite Malone taking the chair's seat.

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MUSIC PR APPOINTMENTS GALORE
Someone's kicked off the music PR merry go round. I'm not sure who started it, but here are some of the results.

First, Shoshanna Stone, formerly head of press for Sony UK's RCA division, is joining the Outside Organisation to set up a new multimedia PR division doing press, telly and online. She will take with her some of the artists she has worked with at RCA as clients, including Britney Spears, Usher and John Legend.

Second, James Hopkins, formerly head of press for Sony UK's other big division, Columbia, is also leaving the major, though for him it's a move into management, he leaving to set up a UK office for US-based Vector Management, which manages Kings Of Leon, Kesha and Kid Rock, as well as some other artists whose names don't begin with K.

This leaves two holes in the Sony press infrastructure, both of which will be filled by former Universal press reps. Chloe Melick, formerly of the Polydor PR team, will take over as head of press at RCA on an interim basis, while Louise Mayne from the Mercury Records press team will take over at Columbia.

Unrelated to all of this, entertainment PR agency PPR has announced the recruitment of Rajina Gurung, who was previously with radio pluggers Hart Media.

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COMCAST COMPLETES NBC UNIVERSAL ACQUISITION
US cable operators and ISP Comcast has completed its takeover of NBC Universal creating a thirty billion dollar media giant with interests in TV, movies and internet and video-on-demand services.

The deal is a long time in the making, but got regulator approval earlier this month, mainly by Comcast agreeing to forgo management rights over American video-on-demand platform Hulu, in which NBC Universal is a shareholder. Bosses at Comcast said this weekend that their purchase of a 51% stake in NBC Universal was completed on Friday.

As previously reported, current owners GE started the process of selling just over half of NBC Universal to Comcast in late 2009, when they themselves bought the final 20% of the media company off Vivendi, the current owners of Universal Music, and one time owners of the other Universal entertainment companies.

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NEW KID OUTED BY TIFFANY, BUT HE DOESN'T CARE
New Kid On The Block Jonathan Knight has denied he has been outed by 80s popstar Tiffany, insisting his homosexuality has never been a secret, even though it's not something he has ever really spoken about publicly before.

Tiffany, who was romantically linked to Knight back in their teen pop heydays, confirmed the New Kid's sexuality in a TV interview last week. Although the pop man came out to his friends and family some 20 years ago, and despite a National Enquirer interview with a man who claimed to be Knight's ex-boyfriend a year after the New Kids reformed in 2008, it seems many of the one time boyband's fans were unaware the singer was gay.

Responding to Tiffany's interview last week, Knight has posted a message on the NKOTB's website, saying: "To all my fans who have expressed concern: I have never been outed by anyone but myself. I did so almost 20 years ago. I never knew that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay. Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption: 'I am gay'".

He continued: "I love living my life being open and honest, but at this time I choose not to discuss my private life any further! My fellow band members don't discuss their private lives with their loved ones and I don't feel that just because I am gay, I should have to discuss mine!"

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YOU'RE ALL TOO POSH, YOUSE LOTS
Pete Waterman has criticised the modern music industry for being too dominated by posh graduates, a fact which, he says, means the pop stars they sign are getting posher too.

Speaking to Radio 4's 'Today' programme, Waterman said: "It's never been worse. You know, the major companies dominate and what they do is, they see a CV and if you haven't got 96 O Levels, you aint getting a job. It's as simple as that. What this is is job protection. In the old days you got a job in the music industry because you knew something about music, or were passionate about it and people gave you a chance. Now when your CV goes through, they don't take you unless you've been to university full stop".

Of course, technically speaking you'd have to be at least 40 to have any O Levels at all, but that's possibly the sort of pedantry that's typical of my university education. To be fair to Waterman, his claims aren't entirely baseless.

The music industry - especially at the more corporate end - isn't particularly diverse in terms of social class or ethnicity, and at the upper end of the hierarchy it is often rather male dominated. Though in terms of social class, I'm not sure that's so much to do with snobbery in recruitment, as it is to do with the fact that any industry that often requires entry-level staff to work for free for two years is going to have a middle class bias.

Whether any lack of diversity in the record companies actually affects artist signings I'm not sure - pop and rock has always had its share of middle class boys and girls. But Waterman thinks so, adding: "I think that when all the A&R people wear Jack Wills clothes, it tells you where they are going. It's become snobbish. It's become a snobbish culture. If you go back even 20 years, if you weren't greatly educated you became a boxer, a footballer or a popstar. Now if you're not educated you won't become a popstar - because you're never going to get the interview".

When did popstars start having to do job interviews? The Today feature mentioned a number of modern pop artists who were privately educated, including Lily Allen, Flo Welch and Chris Martin, though it was the mother of another posh pop star actually not referenced who felt the urge to respond to the report.

Mrs Blount (yes, Jamie chose to perform under the surname Blunt) said in an email: "I was most interested to hear Pete Waterman's thoughts on public school rock stars. His attitude is reflected by most of the critics in the UK. My son James Blunt, who is hugely appreciated worldwide, receives harsh criticism here and we have, rather sadly, been aware that it is because of his background. We are relieved that on the whole James's fanbase take no notice of the critics".

I'm not sure Blunt's education is totally to blame for his whiney voice, though.

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Andy Malt
Editor
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Co-Publisher
Caro Moses
Co-Publisher
           
Eddy Temple-Morris
Columnist
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Richard Keys
Equal Opps Manager

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