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CMU Info
Top Stories
Is Google looking at Spotify alliance for big music offer?
In The Pop Courts
LimeWire chief's personal finances to be included in damages trial
Madonna responds to former employees' lawsuit in Malawi
Poly Styrene dies
Former Sony chief dies
Charts, Stats & Polls
BGT gets Tracy Chapman back in the charts
Reunions & Splits
Girls Aloud reunion planned for 2012
In The Studio
Knife in the studio
Kerry Katona to make comeback with Basshunter
Books News
Duff Mckagan promises different Guns N Roses story
Festival News
Festival line up update
Brands & Stuff
Kiss to auction custom Minis for Japan
The Music Business
Beggars opens west coast office
Kobalt appoints new operations man
Fuller company acquires music app firm
The Media Business
Rock Sound editor steps down
Peaches Geldof denies being in talks to host Tube revival
And finally...
Lily Allen "outraged" by royal wedding snub

Hailing from Liverpool, singer-songwriter Pete Lawrie struck out from a film degree with the ambition of becoming a professional musician, working in petrol stations to fund his developing career. This first took off when he posted a song called 'Just Dust' on his MySpace page. The self-penned tune, which now features on his debut LP, drew major label attention, with Pete signing to Island Records imprint Field in 2008. With the album 'A Little Brighter' several years in the making, Pete has collaborated with Lauren Pritchard and Fyfe Dangerfield, and also toured with acts including The Feeling.

As he gears up for the grand release on 2 May, Pete also has a live show booked on 30 Apr at Cardiff Arts Institute, with several summer festival appearances also lined up at Dot To Dot, Larmer Tree and Standon Calling. With all this excitement yet to come, we offered Pete an extra thrill in the form of our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Well, it's hard to define, really. My parents are both musicians professionally and so there were always instruments in the house. I suppose I first started taking composition seriously when I discovered jazz and was encouraged to improvise by my music teacher. That was probably when I was about fifteen. I was playing the trumpet at the time!

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
It's really a case of 27 years summed up in a collection of songs. Songs like 'If Not For You' are about my childhood, "coming home too late for dinner, to my Mother's worried face", and songs about living in various flats with friends, like on the song 'Paperthin', "best friend living on my bedroom floor". So I suppose life up to this point inspired this record. I better do some more living for record two!

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I nearly always start with the drums. I come from a production background of making instrumental hip hop, where it is essential to start from the drums up and I never let go of that. My favourite part of writing is the words. I find the escape in writing the words; it puts me in a zone that I enjoy being in.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
For the sound of this particular record, it would be, I suppose, artists that I have always loved, such as Paul Simon and Elton John, though I think you would be hard pushed to actually find any of that in the sound of the album. It's more lyrical influences really, and they range from Jay-Z to Bright Eyes and plenty inbetween.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I hope you like it. I hope something in there connects with you. I have tried to be honest on this album and I hope that is what relates to people and comes across.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
This year, to play to as many people as possible. To play as many live shows as we can. I think it's the best way to directly connect with people.

MORE>> www.petelawrie.com
Every day in CMU this month we are previewing a different session taking place at this year's CMU-programmed Great Escape convention, which takes place from 12-14 May at the Brighton Dome.

And this year, once again, PRS For Music will be taking over the Pavilion Theatre on day one of the convention and producing and presenting a whole strand of great sessions, including our first keynote event, which is sure to be one of the stand outs of the whole convention.

PRS for Music's Chief Economist Will Page will be looking at the role of direct-to-fan platforms, for labels and artists, today and in the future. With MySpace no longer the fan engagement platform of choice, what else is out there, what do they offer, and how can artists best use these competing technologies to recruit, engage and sell to fans? Joining Will on stage will be representatives from some of those services filling the gap left my MySpace's demise, namely Topspin's Ian Rogers, Bandcamp's Andrew Dubber and Soundcloud's Dave Haynes. Let the battle commence!

This panel takes place on the Thursday of the convention. To get into it, plus to attend all the other great panels, sessions, parties and gigs taking place at The Great Escape this year, get your delegates pass from escapegreat.com.

"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:

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 4 May 2011

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

According to C-Net, Google is again considering a partnership with Spotify to kick start its long awaited Google Music service, though a spokesman for Spotify denies they are in talks with the web giant about a possible alliance.

As much previously reported, Google has been developing a new music platform for a while now, and a digital locker style service is known to be at the testing phase. The web firm has also taken down its US-based enhanced music search service OneBox, leading to speculation it will be imminently replaced by Google's all-singing, all-dancing new music offer.

However, insiders say that Google wants to launch its new music service with the record companies' blessing, even though Amazon launched a digital locker last month without any licensing deals in place, arguing no such licences were required for a storage-based platform.

Google may be going the licensing deal route because it wants to offer a more sophisticated service, or because the company isn't as certain as Amazon that a straight digital locker with playback facility can operate without a licence from the content owners. Either way, trying to bring the labels on board will undoubtedly slow down any launch plans.

Which is why, a Google insider told C-Net last week, execs there are again considering an alliance with or acquisition of an existing streaming music service which has its deals already in place. Spotify, of course, is fully licensed in Europe, and has two - nearly three - of the majors on board in the US. According to C-Net's sources, at least one Google rep has told major label chiefs that the web giant is speaking to Spotify, even though the streaming service's own rep denies any such talks are taking place.

Given Google's core music service is thought to be a digital locker like that recently launched by Amazon - which would certainly play to Google's strengths - it's not certain why it would need a licensed streaming platform in its arsenal, unless it thinks it would be easier to secure licenses for the locker if existing streaming licences were in place, and the storage bit could be tacked on.

It's thought this is how Apple plans to add licensed digital locker functionality to iTunes, ie by adding a storage element to its existing label agreements. And according to All Things Digital, two labels have already extended their iTunes deals in that way.

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The financial affairs of LimeWire founder Mark Gorton will be discussed in court next month as the record labels push for tens of billions in damages for the copyright infringement the Lime Group's P2P file-sharing software enabled over the years. As much previously reported, LimeWire shut up shop at the end of last year after a judge ruled the digital firm was liable for the copyright infringement it enabled others to commit. The labels are now suing for damages.

The labels accuse Gorton of restructuring his and LimeWire's finances back in 2005, transferring various assets to family limited partnerships, in a bid to protect much of his fortune from any future infringement claims, ie like this one. LimeWire argued that Gorton's finances should only be analysed in court if and when the jury decided punitive damages should be awarded, but the judge hearing the case - Kimba Wood - said the Recording Industry Association Of America could bring Gorton's financial affairs up during the main part of the case.

Meanwhile, Wood has blocked LimeWire's plans to claim as part of its defence that Gorton had a "gut feeling" back in his P2P service's heyday that his operation was not illegal. LimeWire's legal reps wanted to show that their man wasn't acting in "bad faith", ie he wasn't squeezing as much cash out of his P2P venture before it was inevitably shut down by the copyright police, rather he believed he had a legitimate business with long-term potential.

Wood has blocked that defence not because it's nuts to think Gorton could have genuinely believed such a thing after the 2005 Supreme Court ruling on Grokster, but because Team Lime aren't willing to share correspondence between the Lime chief and his lawyers from that period, which would presumably indicate Gorton's thinking at the time.

The final chapter of the LimeWire case is due to go to court next month.


Madonna's legal people have filed papers with the Malawi court in response to a lawsuit by eight former employees of her abandoned Raising Malawi Academy For Girls venture, who are suing for unfair dismissal. The eight former staff members were let go after the RMAG project, funded by Madonna's Raising Malawi charity, was halted in January amid allegations of mismanagement and money wasting.

The former employees claim Madonna's charity did not follow proper procedures when they were let go, and also made them sign an "unfair" contract termination agreement. But in her court submission, Madonna says "there is nothing unfair about the termination, it was necessitated by genuine economic reasons". She adds that the redundancies were done in line with Malawian rules, and that the termination contract was a confidentiality agreement which the former staff members signed in return for being given high pay offs than they were due under local laws.

Madonna has also asked that her US-based charity, Raising Malawi, be removed as a defendant in the lawsuit, arguing it is RMAG, a separate organisation based in Malawi, which both employed the plaintiffs and handled their redundancies.

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Poly Styrene, an icon of the British seventies punk scene and best known as frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, has died after losing a battle with breast cancer.

Marianne Elliott-Said was inspired to form punk band X-Ray Spex after seeing the Sex Pistols play in the mid-seventies. It was a short lived venture that resulted in just five singles and an album, 'Germ Free Adolescents', but they definitely made their mark on the British punk scene, not least because of Elliott-Said's distinct vocals and their biggest single release, 'Oh Bondage, Up Yours!'

Despite rising interest in the band, Elliott-Said quit in 1979. She released one solo album, but then disappeared from the music scene until a surprise X-Ray Spex reunion show in 1991. A more full on reunion in 1995 resulted in a second album, 'Conscious Consumer', though plans for a trilogy of records never materialised. Nevertheless, there was another reunion show in 2008.

More recently Elliott-Said recorded a second solo album, working with producer Youth. The album was released last month, though plans to promote and tour it were halted when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Her death was confirmed by friend and X-Ray Spex manager Symond Lawes, who wrote on Facebook this weekend: "I just spoke to her mother and it's very true, she passed away quietly last night, her mother and daughter were with her, bless you Marianne".

A brief official statement was posted to her official Facebook and Twitter later this morning, reading: "We can confirm that the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places".


A former President and Chairman of the Sony Corporation, who was credited with developing the CD, has died aged 81.

Norio Ohga, then an aspiring opera singer at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, was recruited as a consultant by Sony in 1953, the company wanting to tap his knowledge of sound and electrical engineering. He was an executive at the electronics giant by his 30s - a rare achievement in a Japanese company - and from there he worked his way up the hierarchy, becoming President in 1982 and CEO in 1989.

Actively involved in Sony's work in music technologies, he played a key role in the development of the compact disc and, the story goes, it was he who opted for the 12cm diameter disc, because that was big enough to allow 75 minutes of content to be stored, which was enough to get Beethoven's 'Ninth Symphony' onto one CD.

As CEO, Ohga took Sony into the movie business by buying Columbia Pictures, a controversial deal that delivered good returns. He also oversaw the growth of Sony's computer electronics division, from which the PlayStation emerged. He retired from executive duty in 2000, but stayed on as chairman of the board for three years, and continued to advise the firm's management until his death.

Paying tribute this weekend, Sony Corp's current top man, Howard Stringer, said: "By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed. It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony's evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and game, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san's foresight and vision".

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Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' has re-entered the charts at number four, 23 years after its initial release, because some geezer did a cover version of it on 'Britain's Got Talent'. I'm only really telling you this because I love Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car'.

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Girls Aloud will reunite next year for their tenth anniversary, the girl group's manager has confirmed, and that reunion will include Little Ms Busy, aka Cheryl Cole.

There had been rumours the other four girls would reform without Cole because she was just too busy to commit to anything, but manager Hilary Shaw says the 'X-Factor' judge will be part of any tenth birthday celebrations, though admitted Cole's packed schedule would probably limit any reunion to a few live shows rather than a new album.

Responding to frequent rumours of rifts in the group, Shaw told The People: "The girls are still getting on great, they speak all the time, and that includes Cheryl and Nadine with the other girls. Cheryl is keen to get back with the girls and is planning something which could be a one-off or some gigs".

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Good news for fans of the Knife, which is every single one of you, right? The wonderfully weird Swedes have put a post on their website saying they are "recording a new album to be released in 2012". It will be the first Knife album since 2006's 'Silent Shout', though, of course, we have had the Fever Ray long player and the duo's quirky opera 'Tomorrow, In A Year' since then. Still, a full on new Knife record, now there's a reason to stick around on this planet for another year.


According to gossip columnist Dean Piper, Kerry Katona is in talks to make her much-rumoured pop comeback by providing vocals for a new track by Basshunter, aka Swedish producer Jonas Altberg. The pair are apparently on the verge of signing contracts.

An unnamed source told Piper: "Jonas is fully behind this song and Kerry being involved and for it to be a huge hit. He thinks it could be the 2011 version of David Guetta and Kelly Rowland's hit 'When Love Takes Over'. Kerry's really excited and actually thinks this could be her big break back into music and performing. She's had a lot of offers in and has been working out what she wants to do. She's determined to make things happen with a rejuvenated singing career and this is just the beginning for Kerry. She knows she's not the greatest singer in the world, but she's determined".

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Former Guns N Roses bassist Duff McKagan has said that his forthcoming autobiography will not cover the same ground as those of other GNR alumi Slash and drummer Steven Adler. Though Mckagan hasn't read Adler's book, 'My Appetite For Destruction', so he can't be 100% sure.

McKagan told Billboard: "Mine's not really a Guns N Roses book, where I think Slash's really was... and I haven't read [Adler's]. I'm not saying one's better than the other. This is just my story. It's really my demise into addiction and stuff, and then my way out and my journey into things. My Guns N Roses story is my Guns N Roses story. My Velvet Revolver story is my Velvet Revolver story. It's my rock story, from my distinct viewpoint".

He added that although it's a very personal account, he's not dishing all the dirt either: "It was pretty gut-wrenching to write some of this stuff, just because I hadn't faced any of it until I had to write. I didn't fuck around, but I didn't throw anybody under the bus, either. There's some things you just don't break confidences on, even if you're warring with someone".

The book is due to be published in October.

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BELLADRUM TARTAN HEART, Belladrum Estate, Beauly, Scotland, 5-6 Aug: Amongst those new to the Belladrum bill are in-demand 80s legends Echo & The Bunnymen, Frightened Rabbit, Anna Calvi and Ed Sheeran. The lo-fi fest is already set to host some high profile names in Texas, Deacon Blue, Newton Faulkner and Fran Turner. www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk

GLADE FESTIVAL, Old Warden Park, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, 10-12 Jun: Having announced an all-new location for the returning three-day bash, organisers have topped up the line-up with some further additions. London Elektricity, Elite Force and Losers are all set to appear, with Luke Vibert, Ed Rush and many more dance-tastic acts also booked to play alongside an existing bill that includes Trentemøller, Andrew Weatherall, Krafty Kuts and Dub Pistols. www.gladefestival.com

RHYTHM FESTIVAL, Old Warden Park, Bedfordshire, 26-28 Aug: Buzzcocks, Britpop trio Dodgy and blues icon Eddie C Campbell lead the latest confirmations for the ever expanding Rhythm roster, joining a host of classic acts like Toots & The Maytals, The Blockheads, Nick Lowe, Jack Bruce and rising rockabilly starlet Imelda May. www.rhythmfestival.com

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Kiss and Mini are to create four customised cars representing each member of the band, which they will auction next month in order to raise money for UNICEF's relief work in Japan, it has been announced.

Mini will also be selling Kiss 'vehicle wraps' at the New York International Auto Show. I'm not exactly sure what a vehicle wrap is, though. Could be a thing to put over your car to protect it from the elements, or it could be a sandwich. Either way, it's for a good cause.

Gene Simmons said in a statement: "Our hearts go out to the people of Japan in this time of great tragedy. We wanted to help and also to provide a real way for the Kiss Army to get involved. UNICEF raises money to help children who are still coping with the effects of these disasters, and also supports other very important emergency relief efforts around the world. Join the Kiss Army in giving".

Mini USA's Vice President Jim McDowell added: "Mini and its owners have long been dedicated to contributing to philanthropic and charitable efforts. Mini USA had established a relationship with Kiss as we kick off the 'Mini Rocks The Rivals' tour in the US, and these fundraising initiatives were an ideal way for us to incorporate a fun charitable component to the campaign with these original pieces of art".

The auctions will open on 29 May. The New York International Auto Show began last week and continues until 1 May.

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The Beggars Group has opened a west coast office in the US, which will be led by Miwa Okumara, and which will also house Matador co-founder Chris Lombardi, who recently moved to LA.

Confirming the new office, Beggars top man chief guy Martin Mills said: "It's a natural step in the continuing growth of our business in the USA to open a west coast office - whereas the heart of our American operation is in New York, there's a lot going on musically in California right now, and it makes sense to be present to connect with music people there".


Music publishing firm Kobalt has appointed Kevin O'Byrne to the role of Head Of Operations. Reporting to CTO Richard Thompson and CFO James Fitzherbert-Brockholes, O'Byrne will oversee various internal admin and communication systems as well as maintain and develop the firm's collecting society and publisher relationships.

Confirming the appointment, Music Week quotes Thompson as saying: "We are pleased to welcome Kevin O'Byrne to the Head Of Operations role. Kevin brings a great wealth of experience and contacts with him, and will be a fantastic addition to the team".


US-based tech company BlueHaze, which specialises in smartphone apps and has worked for various music clients, both record labels and promoters, has been bought by XIX Entertainment, the company set up last year by one time 19 and 'Idol' chief Simon Fuller. BlueHaze founder Mark Shedletsky will become the Fuller company's Head Of Digital.

Confirming the acquisition, XIX said: "The move is the first step in the building of XIX Digital, a dedicated digital resource that will focus on the growing area of talent-to-fan interaction in the online and mobile space".

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Darren Taylor is stepping down as editor of Rock Sound after twelve years editing the independent rock title. He is now planning a move to the US.

Confirming his departure, Taylor told CMU: "I've put my heart and soul into Rock Sound over the past twelve years to make it the best music publication there is and very proud of what myself and the fantastic team of people here have managed to achieve. I'm very sad to be leaving but know that it will continue to thrive while I seek new challenges in the USA".

Rock Sound Publisher Patrick Napier added: "Darren has been at Rock Sound since the start and the fact that we're about to celebrate our 150th issue is in large part due to him. With over 325,000 people interacting with Rock Sound every month he leaves us in good shape at a time when our reach has never been bigger".

The search is now on for a replacement.


Peaches Geldof has denied reports in The Sun that she's in talks to present a revived version of music TV show 'The Tube', the original of which was, of course, presented by her late mother Paula Yates. Geldof posted on Twitter: "Just to clarify - I'm not presenting on the new series of The Tube, if there's going to even be one. It's an internet rumour and isn't true".

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Yeah, when I first saw this story I thought "bollocks" too, but the word "outraged" really has come out of the mouth of Lily Allen. Or her fingers, maybe not her mouth. Her brain at the very least. Maybe all three. Allen is upset that Joss Stone has been invited to the royal wedding and she hasn't, as both sang at the Princess Diana tribute concert in 2007.

Writing on Twitter, Allen said: "Well, you can quote me as 'outraged', why does bloody Joss Stone get an invite and not moi? I sang at the Diana concert too!"

Sarcasm doesn't always come over well when written down (a number of comments on theCMUwebsite.com will attest to this), so I'm will to believe Lily isn't actually that outraged. She'll still be able to watch it on telly, after all. Maybe Joss Stone doesn't own a TV. Maybe that's why she got an invite. That's almost certainly it. Poor old Joss Stone can't even afford a TV these days. There's the real story.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Wills & Kate

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