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INFORMATION
Jobs & Training Courses
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Five bidders still in running to acquire Warner/Chappell
Spotify has one million paying subscribers
In The Pop Courts
West and Knight settle
In The Pop Hospital
Glasvegas frontman admits to drug overdose
McFly bassist in rehab
Reunions & Splits
Slipknot frontman "uncertain" about band's future
Release News
Of Montreal announce new EP
Films & Shows News
Trent Reznor to turn to acting (Sort of. A bit)
Books News
Billy Joel to publish autobiography
Gigs & Tours News
Alela Diane announces free download and gigs
Damien Hirst designs Squeeze instruments
Taking Back Sunday to tour with original line-up
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Single review: Ben Westbeech - Falling (Strictly Rhythm)
The Music Business
Tesco pushing for new CD sales terms
Finetunes signs dubstep labels
The Digital Business
Qtrax ready for yet another launch
The Media Business
Luke Lewis made editor of NME.com
And finally...
Cullum and Dahl announce new baby
Ke$ha's face to be used as contraceptive


 
TUESDAY 8TH MARCH
AKRON/FAMILY
Mysterious alt-folk noodlers Akron/Family came together in 2002. Signing to Young God Records the following year, their eponymous debut followed in 2005. At some point during the recording of third LP 'Love Is Simple' in 2007, original member Ryan Vanderhoof quit the band to devote himself to the Buddhist faith (yes, really), leaving Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky and Miles Seatonto to forge on as a trio.

 
The band's fourth album, 'Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT', is out next week. Written, as legend has it, beside an active volcano on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, it was recorded in a derelict Detroit train station with much sought-after producer/engineer Chris Koltay (Liars, Deerhunter, No Age).

Ahead of that release, and some UK tour dates in late May, we approached multi-instrumentalist member Seth, hoping to determine the method behind the Akron/Family madness with our tried and true Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

Well... it happened to us. We were picked at age eleven to go into training for the space program to be the first psychedelic musicians sent into space. Space camp was very dictatorial though, and so one night we snuck out, ran away and went to a basketball camp in northern Florida.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?

Driving a bulldozer through a wall. Various attempts at blowing things up. New Age. No Age. Fluorescent Duct Tape. Deep sea life. Explosive things - volcanoes (obviously).

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?

We create miniature feature length films for each song before recording. By miniature I mean we shoot them on microscopic film - it is like a 16mm camera, but miniature: about 1mm long, and we make 75-100 min films that are very small for each song. We then watch the films with binoculars duct taped (fluorescent, of course) to our heads and play the song over and over and over again. It's laborious.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

Pharoah Sanders. Susan Sze. Toumani Diabate. Leadbelly. Fugazi. Robert Smithson. Pete Seeger. Kurt Vonnegut. R Kelly.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Thanks. You are very good looking. Imagine yourself on a tropical island, smiling. Or alternately, eating a very delicious bowl of ice cream. Believe in yourself.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?

Well, we used to think a lot about being the greatest/most important rock band ever. We've started to move beyond that though and are considering ways to grow beyond the bounds of recording and touring and find new ways to infiltrate the world and people's hearts by spreading joyous sonic expressions in many new directions.

MORE>> www.akronfamily.com
 
BOY FRIEND
Christa Palazzolo and Sarah Brown were, until late last year, members of Austin dream poppers Sleep ∞ Over. Having departed that band, they've formed this new one which sounds a lot like, um, Austin dream poppers Sleep ∞ Over. Or at least how Sleep ∞ Over sounded before they left. Maybe this is unsurprising, considering they made up two thirds of that band.

 
Anyway, the duo released their eponymous debut EP via Bandcamp in January. Washed almost out of existence with reverb, their songs are filled with ethereal vocals and slow moving synth lines that sound like they were recorded direct from dreams. Their next scheduled release is a single called 'Lovedropper' through increasingly impressive Italian indie label Hell, Yes! on 16 May. An album is also planned via the same label later this summer.

boyfriendmusic.bandcamp.com


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FIVE BIDDERS STILL IN RUNNING TO ACQUIRE WARNER/CHAPPELL
At least five parties have been told that they are through to a second round of bidding for some or all of the Warner Music empire, according to the Financial Times.

As previously reported, over ten bids to buy Warner Music assets were received by the major music firm's bankers Goldman Sachs last month. Most were to buy the Warner/Chappell music publishing business, though at least one was a bid to buy the whole of Warner Music outright. It is thought current Warner Music top man Edgar Bronfman Jr prefers the plan to sell just Warner/Chappell, a transaction which would give his music firm the necessary capital to make a bid for EMI's record labels when they come up for sale later this year.

According to the FT, the five bidders who have been told their offers will get further consideration by Warner management are Sony's publishing firm Sony/ATV, the KKR-backed BMG, existing Warner Music shareholder Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, and private equity types Platinum Equity and Yucaipa Companies. Some of those five have been asked to reconsider elements of their original bids, for example it's believed BMG has been told to bid higher if it wants to secure the Warner/Chappell business.

Although neither Warner nor any of the potential bidders have made any official statements, and it's likely to be a few mores weeks yet before any deal is done, many still reckon BMG are favourites to secure Warner/Chappell, with Sony/ATV a close second, though their bid might result in competition regulators taking an interest in the transaction.

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SPOTIFY HAS ONE MILLION PAYING SUBSCRIBERS
Spotify overnight confirmed that it now has one million paying subscribers, telling reporters that this meant 15% of the streaming service's "active users" are now paying to use the service.

The key word there is "active", as we know Spotify has over ten million registered users overall, meaning less than 10% are paying when everyone signed up to the free version is counted. But, in its press release the digital firm admits that a sizable portion of those registered for its freemium option don't regularly make use of the music service, hence the 15% stat.

Presumably when selling the service to advertisers Spotify doesn't dwell too much on the fact that nearly a third of its freemium subscribers are not "active". The fact it's willing to admit it here, though, tells us something about the Swedish company's current priorities - ie that the subscription-based element of its offer is more important to its long term business plan than the ad-funded free option.

And, perhaps more so, that Spotify is keen to convince those record label execs in the US still uncertain about licensing the free option that there's a good ratio of free users turning into paying users.

Confirming the one million premium user milestone had been passed on their blog last night, Team Spot noted: "It seems like only yesterday we were hatching ideas for a new music service in a tiny office-cum-apartment with a broken coffee machine, and the party we threw having reached one million users almost two years ago today was one to remember.
So it's with a sense of real pride and excitement that we can announce a new milestone today, having welcomed our millionth paying subscriber to the service".

It continued: "It's a testament to our fantastic users who continue to support us and spread the Spotify word, either by telling friends or sharing some of the 200 million playlists that you've put together so far. From everyone at Spotify, we'd like to give you all massive thanks. We'll continue to focus on providing you with the best music service possible, and look forward to adding even more cool new features over the coming months. What's really exciting is that this is only the beginning".

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WEST AND KNIGHT SETTLE
Kanye West and Suge Knight have reached an out of court settlement over that long-running legal battle relating to an incident where Knight was shot at a party hosted by West.

As previously reported, Knight blames West and the owners of the venue where said party took place for failing to provide sufficient security, after the one time hip hop mogul was shot in the leg during the pre-MTV VMAs bash in Florida in 2005. Police investigations failed to lead to any charges being pressed in relation to the shooting, but Knight forged ahead with a civil lawsuit claiming $1 million in damages from West.

In November, a judge threw the case out of court, saying there was insufficient evidence that the shooting had been preventable. However, Knight resubmitted his case the following month. Now, according to AllHipHop.com, both sides have reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount.

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GLASVEGAS FRONTMAN ADMITS TO DRUG OVERDOSE
Glasvegas frontman James Allan has revealed that the real reason his band cancelled a number of US shows in 2009 was because he had suffered a drug overdose.

When the band failed to play their set at Coachella that year, despite having arrived at the festival site, the official line given was that Allan was "suffering from exhaustion and dehydration". Well he would be if he'd just ODed.

Speaking to The Sun, the musician said: "It's funny the fancy names people come up with when somebody has an overdose ... I was no use to nobody. But that's just part of living, whether that scares people or whatever, I dunno".

Allan's festival overdose anecdote came up as he promotes new Glasvegas album 'EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\', which is due for release on 4 Apr through Sony/Columbia. Meanwhile, if you'd like a fine soundtrack for your own overdose, why not try the Powers Of Ten playlist recently compiled by Allan's bandmate and cousin Rab Allan.

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MCFLY BASSIST IN REHAB
McFly bassist Dougie Poynter is in rehab for stress and exhaustion apparently brought on partly by his break-up from Saturday's singer Frankie Sandford in November last year. As a result, the band have been forced to push three of their upcoming tour dates back to next month.

The band's Tom Fletcher told fans via Twitter on Saturday: "Obviously you're all reading rumours about Dougie. Please don't worry. We don't know what the tabloids will say tomorrow but he is in rehab".

Speaking to BBC Newsbeat yesterday, he added: "He's coming out soon. He comes out in about a week I think and then we pretty much go on tour straight away. Obviously our jobs can be quite stressful at times anyway and then when you combine that with personal issues like a break-up, it can just make it ten times harder. Being in the public eye, he's obviously been a bit down and stressed and he just needed time to recover and get some help with that".

The three postponed shows in Belfast, Dublin and Nottingham will now take place on 3,4 and 6 Apr respectively.

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SLIPKNOT FRONTMAN "UNCERTAIN" ABOUT BAND'S FUTURE
While some members of Slipknot have been keen to assure everyone that they will continue as a band, despite the death of bassist Paul Gray from a drug overdose in May last year, frontman Corey Taylor has said this is not necessarily the case.

The band have various live shows coming up as part of the Sonisphere touring festival, but Taylor says these are more about testing the water than announcing a return.

Speaking to Undercover, he said: "It's never gonna be the same, so there's no way I can look at it any differently than that. If it happens... if it happens ... there's such a huge piece missing now - a piece that the fans can't even understand. Honestly, it drives me nuts trying to explain it to them. I mean, Paul always was that unconscious, almost lynchpin that held everything together and he had such a great mind for the music that we created that without him, I don't see it happening very soon, let's put it that way".

On the subject of Sonisphere, he said: "Obviously, we're doing these shows in the summer at Sonisphere and that's pretty much gonna be us dipping a toe in the water to see what happens. To me, it's baby steps. I think everybody's racing ahead without realising that we kind of have to pick ourselves up first".

As for bandmates saying otherwise, he added: "Everyone needs to be realistic about it and it seems like I'm the only one who's being realistic. And it's a heavy responsibility to be the guy who is kind of coming off as the doomsayer. But at the end of the day, that's respect. I'm not just racing right ahead and going, 'Oh yeah, we're gonna go!' I lost my brother last year, and people need to understand that and respect it before I start getting all 'hip, hip hooray' about everything. There's not a part of me that's very happy about jumping up on stage without Paul; it's gonna be very, very weird".

In other news, publisher De Capo Press will release Taylor's first book, 'The Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good', a semi-autobiography, on 12 Jul.

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OF MONTREAL ANNOUNCE NEW EP
Of Montreal are set to release a new five track "protest" EP 'thecontrollersphere' through Polyvinyl Records on 25 Apr. The band's longstanding art director David Barnes is also publishing a book of album and conceptual art called 'What's Weird' on the same day.

To get a taster, the band have offered up a free download of EP-opener 'Black Lion Massacre' here: iheartvinyl.polyvinylrecords.com/em/blacklionmassacre

So far, so reasonably normal. Now refer to frontman Kevin Barnes' accompanying 'mission statement' for a full, frank, and rather odd commentary on the new material. "Here's your folk record", he declares. "It is my hope that you can tolerate listening to this short EP in one sitting and appreciate it like a fine dining experience. Furthermore, the force that threw the green fuse anointed this protest album. It is a protest statement against the pneuma possessive. In fact, this album is the voice of a desirous spirit that is aware of its positive zero chance of fulfillment or salvation or respite".

He continues: "Here are many noisy moments that represent my attempt to communicate, in a sub human language, all that cannot be expressed with our earth tongue and all manners of mouth mechanisms. This little EP is a freak out record, have you ever seen anyone dancing to folk music? Well, like my fellow folk singing brother Bob Dylan once said: 'I'd dance with you Maria, but my hands are on fire'".

He finishes on a note of doubtful nihilism: "Though, in this case, the world is roughly one year from extinction... or not".

Well, that all makes perfect sense... or not.

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TRENT REZNOR TO TURN TO ACTING (SORT OF. A BIT)
With an Oscar and a Golden Globe under his belt for his soundtrack to 'The Social Network', and the soundtrack to David Fincher's next film, 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' in production, Trent Reznor has confirmed reports that he is to compose the score for yet another movie: 'Day Watch' director Timur Bekmambeto's new film, 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'.

Based on a novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, the story follows the former US president's attempts to rid the world of vampires after one kills his mother. The lead part is apparently to be played by Jack Bart, not, as has been reported, Reznor, though the Nine Inch Nails man will take a small cameo role.

Writing on the Nine Inch Nails website yesterday, Reznor said: "I was familiar with the book, read the script and it felt like an interesting challenge as a composer - very different from the Fincher films".

On his acting role, he continued: "While discussing the film with Timur he started gently pressing me to play a small role in the film. The idea was a cameo-esque role that would be kept under wraps and be a surprise around opening night. I was considering this when I awoke a few days ago to the news I am now STARRING in 'ALVH' (which is obviously not true). Fuck. We both apparently forgot the internet existed AND THERE ARE NO SURPRISES any more. So... do me a favour and act surprised, OK?"

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BILLY JOEL TO PUBLISH AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Harper Collins has announced that it will publish Billy Joel's autobiography, entitled 'The Book Of Joel', in June.

The piano playing music man's editor David Hirshey says of the memoirs: "There is a lot in this book that he has never revealed before". Perhaps he'll reveal that he did actually start the fire.

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ALELA DIANE ANNOUNCES FREE DOWNLOAD AND GIGS
Rough Trade-signed chanteuse Alela Diane is giving away the first track from her new album 'Alela Diane & Wild Divine', to celebrate its release on 4 Apr. How nice.

The song, entitled 'To Begin', is available for free download here: rcpt.yousendit.com/1061832001/b507dd72b965ef3d0d7f86142e23dd75

Fans might also want to put the following tour dates in their diaries:

12 May: London, The Scala
13 May: Manchester, Band On The Wall
14 May: Brighton, Pavilion Theatre

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DAMIEN HIRST DESIGNS SQUEEZE INSTRUMENTS
The reformed Squeeze will perform at a show for the Teenage Cancer Trust later this month playing instruments designed by Damien Hirst. The Fender Stratocaster and Yamaha drum kit will then be auctioned off at Christie's to raise money for the charity in April.

Teenage Cancer Trust chief exec Simon Davies said of the collaboration: "We've been staging our concerts at the Royal Albert Hall for over ten years and had some huge stars perform for us, but we've never combined such exceptional art and music in such a creative way before".

The show will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on 22 Mar.

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TAKING BACK SUNDAY TO TOUR WITH ORIGINAL LINE-UP
Having originally left Taking Back Sunday in 2003 to form Straylight Run, original members John Nolan and Shaun Cooper have now seen fit to return to the emo outfit for an upcoming tour.

The newly-reformed TBS are currently recording a new as-yet-untitled album with renowned rock producer Eric Valentine (QOTSA, Lostprophets), which is scheduled for release in summer. See how they've been getting on with this behind-the-scenes video www.takingbacksunday.com.

Now for those tour dates:

12 May: Southampton, Guildhall
13 May: Manchester, Academy
14 May: Nottingham, Rock City
16 May: Glasgow, Barrowlands
17 May: Liverpool, Academy
18 May: Bath, Pavilion
20 May: London, The Roundhouse

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

ATP CURATED BY ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, 13-15 May: Avant garde filmmaker and musician Tony Conrad leads the latest group of artists announced to play Animal Collective's eclectic incarnation of ATP, with Grouper, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Actress and Oneohtrix Point Never also set to perform. Already-booked acts include Beach House, Gang Gang Dance, Lee Scratch Perry and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. www.atpfestival.com

CREAMFIELDS, Daresbury Estate, Halton, Cheshire, 27-28 Aug: Headliners Chemical Brothers will be rounding off a run of live dates with a closing performance at the uber dance-a-thon, with David Guetta topping the bill on the previous day. Amongst the huge roster of confirmed acts are Tiësto, Calvin Harris, Diplo and Eric Prydz. Annie Mac, who premiered this year's line-up on her Friday night Radio 1 show, will present Erol Alkan, Boys Noize, Fake Blood and Jack Beats on the first day, while the 1Xtra stage will host the likes of Andy C, Danny Byrd, Goldie and Breakage. www.creamfields.com

HARD ROCK CALLING, Hyde Park, London, 24-26 Jun: Veteran rocker Rod Stewart is newly announced to occupy the Sunday headline slot at this festival's 2011 edition, joining fellow rock legends Bon Jovi on the bill. www.hardrockcalling.co.uk

LIVE FROM JODRELL BANK, Lower Withrington, Cheshire, 2 Jul: Oh this is fun, music shenanigans around the famous Jodrell Bank radio telescope. On the astral line-up so far are The Flaming Lips, British Sea Power, OK Go and Alice Gold. www.jodrellbanklive.co.uk

RELENTLESS BOARDMASTERS, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, 10-14 Aug: Riding high on the latest 'wave' of acts set to play this beachside bash are mellow songstress Eliza Doolittle, Andy C, Sub Focus, Scratch Perverts, Willy Mason and Zane Lowe. They will provide some much-needed company for lone headliner Fatboy Slim. www.relentlessboardmasters.com

SECRET GARDEN PARTY, Mill Hill Field, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, 21-24 Jul: This not-so-secret rural bash is this year playing host to horde of diverse acts including Blondie, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and Leftfield. Other high points of the 'origins and frontiers'-themed event include Mystery Jets, I Am Kloot, Smoke Fairies, The Whip, YasmIn, The Shoes, and, most excitingly of all, CMU columnist Eddy Temple-Morris, who programmes the Remix Stage at the festival. www.secretgardenparty.com

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SINGLE REVIEW: Ben Westbeech - Falling (Strictly Rhythm)
Singer/songwriter/DJ Ben Westbeech first caught my attention on one of Gilles Peterson's 'Brownswood Bubblers' compilations a few years back. Now signed to quality house label Strictly Rhythm, here he presents his first single for them.

The original mix is OK, Westbeech's vocals working well over a funky beat laden with percussion, with a reggae styled guitar riff and building atmospherics - all very accessible and well crafted. But it's the remixes that really deliver. The Deetron Paradise mix takes it techy, but step-wise, fully climaxing at five minutes with some killer thumping soulful tech house vibes, though the vocal loop is perhaps overcooked.

The 2 Bears remix turns the track into some trad funky house, with a funky horn somewhere twixt the Bucketheads 'Bomb' and 'Destination Unknown' by Crystal Waters. Meanwhile, the Dark Sky trio offer us some electro influenced house, but in a powerful beatsy dancefloor manner. Again taking a while to build, there's some warping and twisting of Westbeech's vocals on this one, which work very well indeed.

An enjoyable package - I look forward to Ben's album release later in the year which promises to be "house-inspired, rather than straight up house music" with collaborations with MJ Cole, Georg Levin and Henrik Schwarz. PV

Digital release: 7 Mar

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TESCO PUSHING FOR NEW CD SALES TERMS
Tesco is pushing the record companies to accept new terms where they are paid only 50p upfront for each CD that they supply to the supermarket giant, with the rest of the wholesale price of the disc paid if and when it is sold.

The proposal, confirmed by Tesco's Entertainment Director Rob Slater to the Financial Times, is backed up with threats and incentives. The threat is that with CD sales continuing to decline, without more favourable terms supermarkets might tire of stocking music discs, depriving mainstream music companies of a valuable route to market.

As for incentives, Tesco argues that cheaper overheads would let it stock a greater range of CDs in more stores, possibly resulting in more CD sales overall, plus under the new terms Tesco would agree to destroy unsold stock itself, rather than returning unsold CDs to the labels, saving the music firms the costs of destroying unwanted disks (which costs record companies millions every year).

Slater's plans aren't entirely new - he himself has been mooting them for a while, and some of the US supermarket chains have been suggesting a similar change to terms of late. In the record companies opinions seem to be divided on the plan.

Some told the FT that the cash flow implications of Slater's proposals would be significant, especially at the start of any change in terms, and that the labels would therefore resist the change. But others said that the prospect of more Tesco stores selling more CDs made these plans worth considering, while at least one suspected that ultimately Tesco could do whatever it liked and the labels would eventually have to comply with the company's demands.

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FINETUNES SIGNS DUBSTEP LABELS
Digital distributor Finetunes has announced it has signed dubstep labels Sickly Kool, Family Tree and Triangulum Records to its books. The signings are the first to come via the company's UK A&R man Joe Muggs, best known as a music journalist and dance music expert, who joined the company last October.

Muggs told CMU: "With dubstep's longevity and flexibility now proven beyond question, we are looking forward to further facilitating its continued spread and growth, and that of the diverse music scene that has grown up around it".

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QTRAX READY FOR YET ANOTHER LAUNCH
Remember Qtrax? The supposedly legit ad-funded free-to-use P2P file-sharing network that claimed it had all the majors on board and was ready for an imminent launch at MIDEM 2008, only to later admit that it had no such deals. It did then sign up some record companies and music publishers, but only to a DRM-heavy download service that never really took off, despite further bold promises.

Well, now an all-new Qtrax is seemingly ready to launch, apparently this week in the US with Philippines, India, Chile, Singapore and Malaysia to follow soon. Still seemingly free, and therefore still ultimately ad-funded, the all-new Qtrax is still very confusing. And although its pre-launch preview site lists music from all four majors and a raft of indies, only EMI has confirmed it has a deal with the digital company, and then only on a "short term agreement".

So, who knows what is going to happen this time around. Are MOG, Rhapsody, Pandora and, when it launches in the US, Spotify about to get another competitor in the digital music space, or will this be another false start? Keep watching people, keep watching.

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LUKE LEWIS MADE EDITOR OF NME.COM
The NME has announced Luke Lewis as NME.com's new editor with immediate effect. Lewis was, until yesterday, the site's deputy editor, a role he took up in 2008 having previously worked at Kerrang! and Q.

Publishing Director Paul Cheal told CMU: "Amongst some extremely strong candidates for this position, Luke stands out as the right man for the job. Quality journalism, round the clock reporting and expert opinion pieces are crucial to NME.com remaining the first port of call for music fans and Luke is the ideal candidate to ensure NME.com continues to deliver to them".

Lewis added: "I'm incredibly honoured to now be editor of the world's best music site, and I can't wait to get started on the next stage of the site's development - making NME.com the most lively, engaged and impassioned music community on the web".

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CULLUM AND DAHL ANNOUNCE NEW BABY
Jamie Cullum and Sophie Dahl have announced the arrival of their first child, a girl named Lyra, who was born last week.

A rep for the couple said: "Their daughter Lyra was born on 2 Mar. The couple will not be releasing any further information at this time".

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KE$HA'S FACE TO BE USED AS CONTRACEPTIVE
Ke$ha has announced that she will be handing out limited edition condoms with her face on during her upcoming US tour, in a bid to stop her fans from all being riddled with STDs.

In a deal with LifeStyles Condoms, the singer has bagged 10,000 prophylactics to throw at audiences. And if she runs out, she can always bung in a few JLS ones, too.

She told The Sun: "If you come to a live show, it's a sensory assault. You will leave covered in sweat, beer, glitter and, just maybe, you'll get a special edition Ke$ha condom. If it breaks, you have to name your daughter or son after me".

Yeah, cos that's a story you want to have to explain to your child.

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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
Charlie Sheen
Head Of Winning

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