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CMU Info
Top Stories
Blavatnik favourite to win Warner Music
ATP to focus on winter and city events in the future
In The Pop Courts
Moral rights case against Jay-Z allowed to proceed
Teenager charged with egging Bieber
Awards & Contests
UK Festival Awards date announced
In The Studio
Kate Bush finds making an album "extremely stressful"
Release News
Lupe Fiasco releases video for new single
Earthtone9 to release new EP
Cappo & Styly Cee to release album
Gigs & Tours News
Big Boi announces London show
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Album review: Okkervil River - I Am Very Far (Jagjaguwar)
The Music Business
Vaizey says rights holders should not fear Hargreaves review
Movie score focused publisher looking to invest at Cannes
The Media Business
MTV US chief steps down
Cheryl Cole confirmed for X-Factor USA
And finally...
My Chemical Romance deny producing lyrical propaganda
Gaga producer hits out at Madonna comparisons
Bruno Mars asks fans to stop throwing grenades at him

We haven't done one of these in a while, what with all these Friday holidays we've been having of late. But look, here we go again. This time next week, of course, we'll be half way through this year's Great Escape, which is very very very exciting. Our programme for 2011 is complete, and, though we do say so ourselves, is looking really rather good.

You can check the full schedule on The Great Escape website, or check out a digital version of the actual convention programme, or download it as a PDF. Do check it out and, if you're already booked and coming, start planning your three days with us, or if you've not yet made the plunge and bought your delegates pass, then get to escapegreat.com and get your ticket. And I look forward to seeing you all next week. Meanwhile, here's our week in five.

01: Warner got very close to selling itself to Russian Len Blavatnik. It's widely expected that the Warner Music board will announce who they are selling their company to later today, and that the lucky bidder will be Blavatnik, who already has a minority share of the firm, and who is expected to pay $3 billion to get ownership outright. Assuming that announcement does come today, and that there are no hitches as the takeover goes through the motions, it will bring to an end four months of speculation about the US music firm's future, since its current owners announced their intent to sell at the start of the year. It's thought Blavatnik will keep Edgar Bronfman Jr in the top job and that the two men could now mount a bid to buy EMI and merge it with Warner. CMU reports | Telegraph report

02: Spotify revamped its free service. Having put limitations in place last weekend so that free users only get ten hours of listening a month, and can only listen to any one track five times, Spotify basically relaunched its freemium platform as an MP3 store with super-duper preview listening this week. They are revamping their existing MP3 download service, bring it to the fore, and have made it easier for users to sync music they buy via the Spotify player to their iPod. Many spun this as Spotify taking on iTunes, though more likely it is an attempt to stay connected to those existing freemium users who can't be persuaded to upgrade to a premium account, and who have just lost their unlimited listening service. In other Spot news, word has it a Spotify/Virgin Media alliance is imminent. CMU report | The Guardian report

03: The final LimeWire court case kicked off, though not much happened. With a US judge ruling LimeWire was liable for copyright infringement last year, the labels are now seeking billions in damages. The only real developments this week were that the judge confirmed LimeWire founder Mark Gorton could be held personally liable for those damages, and that one of LimeWire's expert witnesses won't be allowed to make some sweeping statements about the link between file-sharing and slumping record sales (or, rather, in his opinion, the lack of a link). CMU report | Independent feature

04: EMI Publishing took digital rights away from ASCAP. It means that EMI will licence the performing rights in its April Music catalogue in the US directly to digital services rather than via the collecting society. EMI say it's about unifying all the digital rights that exist in the April Music songs with one in-house team to simplify the licensing process. Though many would argue that moving away from the collecting society system in digital - which much of the publishing sector has previously embraced - is actually a backwards step. CMU report | Paid Content report

05: Baidu started beta testing a music service. The often controversial Chinese search engine recently announced its intent to launch a legit music venture, and according to reports that service will go live this month, and will be a free ad-funded MP3 download platform - the sort of thing music companies wouldn't licence in the West, but which they'll support in China, where even nominal royalties are an improvement. CMU report | CNET report

And that's your lot - see you on the podcast this afternoon.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU
To celebrate its eighth birthday, Egg is hosting Radio 1's drum n bass stars Fabio and Grooverider at its new Friday night party. The duo will take up residency in Room One, teaming up with Gerra, Kushti, T-Phonic, Vybz 137, Jeperdee and Zacman. Over in Room Two you'll find Twisted Plastic featuring Gareth Matthews & Craid Chaplin, Facto, Mr Makepeace, Jamie Buchanan, Runner and Marky B, while in Room Three, Move The House DJs will be offering a different vibe.

Based in Kings Cross, Egg is kitted out with an impressive Funktion One sound system. And if you need a break from being pummelled by all that bass, you can chill out in the club's much talked-about Garden. Should be a good one; the top billing artists rarely disappoint and this night also gives an opportunity for the up and comers to strut their stuff.

Friday 6 May, Egg, 200 York Way, Kings Cross, London, N7 9AP, 10pm-7am, £13 adv/£15 door, more info at www.egglondon.net, press info from Jo/Nix at Phuture Trax

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

So everyone - including Billboard, the Financial Times, the New York Times' DealBook website, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, my mum, Dirk who works in the shop downstairs and some dude I met on the DLR this morning - seems convinced that Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik will own Warner Music by the end of the month. And that's what our insider sources are saying too, so we're in no position to shirk the rumour bangwagon.

As previously reported, it is expected Warner's board will decide today who to sell the US-based music major to, with three maybe four contenders still in the running. But Blavatnik and his Access Industries company, favourites all along, seem to have most support around the table of decision makers. He's expected to pay just over three billion dollars to buy the company.

Blavatnik, an existing minority shareholder in Warner Music and a former board member of the company, seemingly has one very important ally in the race to buy the firm, its CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr, who led the consortium who bought the Warner music business from Time Warner back in 2004 and who is still a sizable shareholder in the company.

He has been weirdly quiet about the whole sale process since it began earlier this year, though it's thought he's been a Blavatnik supporter from the word go, very possibly because the Russian plans to keep Warner together as one company with a certain Bronfman Jr as top executive.

And not only that. If and when Blavatnik takes control of Warner Music it is likely that the group's finances will be restructured leaving the balance sheet looking much more healthy. There might also be the funds available to, I don't know, fund an acquisition of EMI, resulting in the Edgar-led combined EMI/Warner business that Bronfman Jr has been trying to engineer for years now.

So, look out for some resolution on the 'Warner up for sale' story later today, then join us all by focusing on and speculating wildly about the upcoming EMI sale. Good times.

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This month's All Tomorrows Parties festival in Minehead will be the final springtime ATP event, organisers have said. ATP promoters announced earlier this week that moving forward they will be concentrating on their Christmas time festivals in the UK, plus one-off city-based events, such as the Portishead mini-festival taking place at Alexandra Palace in July. May has traditionally been an important month for the ATP enterprise, their guest-artist-curated holiday-park fests often being seen as the first big events of the summer festival season.

ATP's statement reads: "One important thing to announce is that this will be the last ATP UK spring festival weekend for the foreseeable future. From now on we will host just two ATP festival weekends at Minehead in December (in addition to our I'll Be Your Mirror city-based events like our Portishead event in London this July). So if you haven't got tickets for the Animal Collective weekend and don't want to miss out on the last May ATP, tickets are still available".

The festival's founder Barry Hogan has compiled this week's Powers Of Ten playlist. Featuring artists including Miles Davis, Slint, GZA and Portishead, it perfectly shows off Hogan and the ATP team's eclectic and passionate love of music. Watch out for it later today on theCMUwebsite.com and in the CMU Weekly.

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A US judge has allowed a lawsuit against Jay-Z and an assortment of entertainment companies to proceed, in relation to his 2000 track 'Big Pimpin', even though the case is, in the main, based on elements of Egyptian copyright law, including its interpretation of moral rights.

The children of the late Egyptian film composer Baligh Hamdy sued over the use of a sample of one of their father's works in the hip hop track. Jay-Z's people had licensed the piece of music in question, which comes from the 1960 Egyptian film 'Fata Ahlami', but - say the Hamdy family - they had the licence to make a mechanical copy of the piece of music, not to adapt it. Moreover, they reckon Jay-Z's use of the piece of music constituted a 'mutilation' of the original work, and therefore the moral rights of Hamdy's descendents have been infringed.

Lawyers for the defence argued that most of the Hamdy lawsuit relied on principles of Egyptian copyright law which don't exist in the American copyright system, and therefore the litigation could not be pursued through the US courts. But Judge Christina Snyder did not concur with that argument, and has let the case proceed. Although their arguments do mainly relate to the Egyptian copyright system, she said the family had a strong enough case under US law for their lawsuit to go to a full hearing.

US copyright law does recognise the concept of moral rights but, as in the UK, it's a weak part of the copyright system that wouldn't really apply when a piece of music is cut up and mashed into a rap track, however much the original composer disliked the results. How well the Hamdy's arguments will fair in a full court hearing remains to be seen, but it should be an interesting case to watch.

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An Australian teenager has been arrested after pelting the stage at a Justin Bieber gig last Friday with eggs. It turns out, though, that throwing eggs at a pop star is not actually illegal, so they've got him on charges of breaking and entering, trespassing and malicious damage instead.

Yes, this news answers the question that was on everyone's lips: Why would you buy a ticket to see Justin Bieber just to throw eggs at him. Answer: We don't know, but this guy didn't. The teenager, who cannot be named, broke into Acer Arena in Sydney via the roof. He appeared at the Sydney Children's Court yesterday and was released on bail. He will return to enter a plea next month.

Here's the inevitable YouTube video documenting the attack: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pGa5GOg0KI

In other Bieber news, TMZ reports that some members of his road crew are refusing to go to Japan for the next leg of the singer's world tour, citing fears that they will all get cancer from radiation. The shows are in Tokyo and Osaka, rather than on the site of the Fukushima nuclear power station, which was seriously damaged in the earthquake and tsunami that his Japan in March of course, but they seem to think the whole country is now coated in bright green nuclear waste, or something.

The crew apparently pointed out that Avril Lavigne and Slash had both pulled out of shows in the country for the same reason, but, according to TMZ, Bieber's manager Scooter Braun informed them all that they should "man the fuck up and do the right thing by these kids", as well as noting that Maroon 5 are fearlessly touring Japan right now.

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The dates for this year's UK Festival Awards ceremony have been announced. The awards are set to take place on the 15 Nov at The Roundhouse in Camden. Last year's event saw AC/DC, Florence & The Machine, Paolo Nutini and X-Factor winners Biffy Clyro getting awards. T In The Park organiser Geoff Ellis was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement prize.

This year there will be some major changes to the various best festival categories - so Best Major/ Medium/Small Festival, Best Metropolitan Festival, Best New Festival, Best Family Festival and the all important Best Toilets award. Instead of the public voting for these, a panel of journalists and industry types who will be visiting eligible festivals will pick the winners. A Fans Favourite Festival will be added instead that will be voted by the public, obviously.

When asked about the changes to the awards, Festival Awards MD James Drury told CMU: "Changing the way some of the Awards are decided will make the UK Festival Awards more accessible. We have worked hand-in-hand with some of the most experienced festival organisers in the country and hardened festival-goers to set the criteria by which these categories are judged. This means festivals are being considered on the key things that make up a good festival from both the fan's and industry's perspective".

For more information visit uk.festivalawards.com

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Kate Bush has told Radio 4 that she's written songs for a new album, but that she does not know when that record will be released, admitting she's frustrated it takes her so long to make an album, and that she finds the process "extremely stressful". Her last long player, 'Aerial', was released in 2005.

She told 'Front Row': "It's very frustrating the albums take as long as they do. I wish there weren't such big gaps between them ... Even if I was able to talk about it [the new album] now, it might completely change in a few weeks and so would no longer be relevant".

Asked if the delays were due to her being a perfectionist, she said: "I don't think I am. People have said this, but I don't think I really want anything to be perfect. I think it's important that things are flawed. That's what makes a piece of art interesting sometimes - the bit that's wrong or the mistake you've made that's led onto an idea you wouldn't have had otherwise".

Listen to the full 'Front Row' interview here.

As previously reported, Bush will release a collection of reworked songs from her earlier albums, entitled 'Director's Cut', on 16 May via her own Fish People label, in conjunction with EMI.

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Lupe Fiasco will release the latest single from his 'Lasers' album on 16 May via Warner/Atlantic. Featuring vocals from Skylar Grey (who recently appeared on Dr Dre's 'I Need A Doctor' with Eminem), 'Words I Never Said' is an unflinching attack on the US government and comes accompanied by an suitably hard-hitting video, which you can watch on that YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=22l1sf5JZD0

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Having reformed last year, earthtone9 have announced the release of their first new material since 2002. The EP, entitled 'For Cause & Consequence', will be released on 16 May and can be ordered via the band's Pledge Music page - www.pledgemusic.com/projects/earthtone9 - where they have been raising money for the project.

Watch the video for the EP's opening track, 'Tides Of Ambition', here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEvB61BuJ4w

Here's the EP's full tracklist:

Tide Of Ambition
The Trail That We Carved Out
Tide Of Ambition (video)
Evil Crawling I (video)
Tat Twam Asi (video)

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UK rapper Cappo and producer Styly Cee will release their long-awaited collaborative album, 'The Fallout', via Son Records later this month. Though the pair have regularly worked together on Cappo's solo tracks, they last took joint billing on 2008's excellent 'The H-Bomb' EP.

The album's title track and a two track EP entitled 'Four Minute Warning' are available now for free from cappohq.com.

You can also catch Cappo and Styly Cee live when they officially launch 'The Fallout' at Vibe Bar on Brick Lane in London on 13 May. More information on that here: suspectpackages.blogspot.com/2011/04/suspect-packages-live-cappo-dj-styly.html

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Outkast's Big Boi has announced that he'll be back in London for another one-off show in June, which he'll fit in amongst various European festival dates. The show will take place at Heaven on 23 Jun. Tickets are on sale right now.

Big Boi, of course, released his first proper solo album, 'Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty', last year, as well as guiding and guesting on Janelle Monae's debut album, 'The ArchAndroid'. That's some good work there.

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ELECTRIC ZOO, Randall's Island Park, New York, USA, 2-4 Sep: Dance music nuts will be delighted by news of a raft of acts newly confirmed for Electric Zoo, with Moby, MSTRKRFT, Chromeo, Calvin Harris, Boys Noize, Crookers and Tiga all added. Pre-booked bill-toppers are Tiësto, David Guetta and Armin van Buuren. www.electriczoofestival.com

THE FIRST DAYS OF FREEDOM, Port Lympne, Hythe, 15-17 Jul: The sizeable first portion of acts set to perform at this newly-launched festival include Mystery Jets, Tinchy Stryder, Los Campesinos! Professor Green, The King Blues and Ms Dynamite. Skream, Benga, Tempa T and Ed Sheeran also feature in the initial announcements. www.thefirstdaysoffreedom.com

LATITUDE, Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, 14-17 Jul: Thespian folk troubadour Johnny Flynn is poised to perform at this super Suffolk-based soiree, delivering an audio-visual set in the Film & Music Arena. 'Britain's Got Talent' dance troupe Flawless will also be present at the festival, as will the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Historic line-up revelations include Suede, The National, Glasvegas, Lykke Li, The Cribs and Bombay Bicycle Club. www.latitudefestival.co.uk

OXEGEN, Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, 8-10 Jul: Lone line-up addition Beyonce is set to look most incongruous amidst the rustic greenery of rural Ireland, booked as she is to play at Oxegen alongside previous announcees such as The Black Eyed Peas, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Foo Fighters and My Chemical Romance. www.oxegen.ie

ROCKNESS, LOCH NESS, SCOTLAND, 10-12 Jun: Bombay Bicycle Club lead the list of fresh supplements to the thriving RockNess roster, with folk-rock trio Sparrow & The Workshop, US electro types Afghan Raiders, DIY pusher D/R/U/G/S and Irish darlings Funeral Suits also new to the bill. Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers, Paolo Nutini, The Wombats, Example, Magnetic Man and Glasvegas are longer-standing features of the line-up. www.rockness.co.uk

T IN THE PARK, Balado, Scotland, 8-10 Jul: Oh look, it's Beyonce again. The R&B star has fallen onto T's billing this year, almost managing to eclipse the existing bill of stars that includes Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters and Pulp. www.tinthepark.com

TRAMLINES, Various Venues, Sheffield, 22-24 Jul: Geordie heroes The Futureheads are due to pull in the crowds at this 'free for all' fest, with a choice selection of international acts including Johnny Clarke, Michael Prophet, Yaaba Funk and Oojami Ash added to the bill over at the World Music Stage. Past confirmations include Ash, Dry The River, Mazes, Rolo Tomassi and Frankie & The Heartstrings. www.tramlines.org.uk

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ALBUM REVIEW: Okkervil River - I Am Very Far (Jagjaguwar)
'I Am Very Far' could be viewed as the product of one man's dedicated isolation, and it certainly appears that way when played in its entirety: an explosion of haunted crazed cacophony, wrought emotion and abundant instrumentation, it is anything but a record devoid of personality. The sixth from Austin-based alt-folk mavericks Okkervil River, it was indeed written by frontman Will Sheff during long periods of time spent alone in his original home of New Hampshire, a leafy, north-eastern state bordering Canada where one can certainly imagine many a haunted house.

Sheff shares the same sort of warbling vocals boasted by the likes of Win Butler, Ryan Gosling and Nick Urata, a voice that can carry a tune without the slightest hope of making it sound dead or completely devoid of emotion. 'We Need A Myth', with its echoing strings and haunting piano, and the dreamy 'Piratess' are peaks in the album's vast landscape, whereas the sad 'The Rise' brings it down to more mellow levels, steeped deep in nostalgia, with a piano-tinkling intro you can imagine playing over the black and white scenes of a silent movie.

Don't let the explosions of mild insanity fool you; they sound terrific, yes, but they have been controlled down to the last breath. While well over ten musicians were gathered to record the magnificently epic 'Rider' and bluesy, morose 'Wake And Be Fine' live in one room, Sheff, we've been told, spent many an ungodly hour mixing, rewriting and ensuring that every last second of the album was perfect. The result is not a glossed-over version of the madness he sought to represent - what he has done is taken what was there organically, and multiplied it tenfold to create a world for us to be a part of rather than to view from the outside. TW

Physical release: 9 May

Listen to 'I Am Very Far' here.

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The government's culture dude Ed Vaizey has told a meeting of the book publishing industry that the Hargreaves Review of intellectual property law has "absolutely taken on board" the concerns of rights owners, amid claims that the government's latest copyright review has been biased towards digital service providers who want an easier process for licensing content and a wider clearer fair dealing system.

Those claims were fuelled by rumours the review had been instigated by a meeting between Google and David Cameron, and a perception amongst the copyright industries that Professor Hargreaves initial questions were phrased to be antagonistic towards rights holders.

But at the AGM of The Publishers Association, Vaizey said the review - which is due to report this month, had "absolutely taken on board" rightsholders' concerns, adding that copyright owners "should not have much to fear" about Hargreaves' recommendations, and that they may see them as "a step forward" for their industries.

He also told the book sector - who are themselves becoming more concerned about online piracy as the ebooks market finally takes off - that he was hopeful a roadmap would be in place shortly for the implementation of the anti-piracy elements of the Digital Economy Act.

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A company called Atlantic Screen Composers has announced it will go to the Cannes Film Festival later this month looking to invest in movie projects in return for the publishing rights in any musical score created. The unusual music publishing company has been set up to provide original soundtrack services, and has funds to invest in film projects where the musical outputs have revenue potential.

Says ASC founder Tim Hollier: "We have the funds to invest in great projects and in Cannes we are ready to strike deals. It is so important in a tough economic climate that film receives this support and we are a unique company with a hugely experienced team. Our administration of music rights is second to none and clients have the assurance that we are a one-stop shop, keeping them in touch with earnings from around the globe, rather than in a single territory".

He continued: "What we want from Cannes is to find new and exciting projects. I've worked on some incredible films in my career and the joy is looking for that project that can become a classic and be part peoples' lives all over the world. Music is such an important part of that, it is a passion for us".

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The boss of the US MTV business has resigned. Judy McGrath had been Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks since 2004, having originally joined the music telly firm in 1981. Following her departure, the bosses of the various MTV divisions in the US will report directly to the CEO of parent company Viacom Philippe Dauman.

Confirming her departure, McGrath said: "The people of MTV Networks have always been singularly important to me. Together we have built world-class brands that connect with fans from kid to adulthood, from 'SpongeBob' to 'Hot in Cleveland,' from 'Unplugged' to 'The Daily Show.' We have attracted and nurtured the best talent in the world, and I know that will always be a hallmark of the company. Creatively, financially, all the brands and businesses are in wonderful shape today. I leave with pride, joy and gratitude for the ride of a lifetime".

Dauman added: "Judy has long been the creative heart and inspiring soul of MTV Networks and has deservedly been associated with so much of the great entertainment, cultural relevance, social significance and business success that have defined our media networks over the years. Her positive and passionate spirit has helped create an organisation that is recognized for truly listening to its audiences, not only about their entertainment choices, but also about the social issues and the causes that matter to them most. We will all miss Judy enormously, but we respect her decision and understand her desire to leave at the very top of the game with a legacy of success that stretches from the earliest days of cable television to current season highlights".

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It's not exactly been a very well kept secret, but it has now been officially confirmed that Cheryl Cole will be part of the judging panel on the new US version of 'X-Factor', seeing her and Simon Cowell both leave the UK edition of the show.

Former Def Jam head LA Ried will also be forced to sit through thousands of performances by wannabe pop stars, while Cowell has said that he would like Paula Abdul to complete the line-up. The show is due to begin in September.

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My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has hit back at claims by Fox News pundit Glenn Beck that their lyrics amount to "propaganda". The tedious Fox man also warned parents to be "uber-vigilant" if their children became fans of MCR, after their song 'Sing', which he described as "an anthem saying 'join us'", was performed on 'Glee'.

Way wrote on the band's website: "I think the word Glenn Beck was looking for was 'subversion' not 'propaganda', because I don't know what [our lyrics] would be considered propaganda for. Truth? Sentiment? And I can't tell what he's angrier about, the fact that it's how I feel about the persistent sterilisation of our culture, or the fact that it's on network television for everyone to hear".

He also pointed out that Beck had quoted some of the lyrics incorrectly, mishearing "living on the Webways" as "living on the railways". Way quipped: "Railways? Is it 1863? Seen any children living on these lately instead of the internet? I'm actually shocked that no actual fact checking was done on the lyrics. I mean, Fox is a major news channel, covering factual topics in an unbiased and intelligent... oh wait".

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Co-producer of Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way', White Shadow, has hit out at those who say it sounds like 'Express Yourself' by Madonna. Even though it does. A lot.

White Shadow told Gaganews.com: "I think it was bullshit to be honest. I guess there are a hundred songs that you could put a pitchshift and a BPM change and loop and make them sound like anything. In addition, there are five songs on the radio right now that have the exact same chords and progression. Actually there are five songs out there that are exactly the same song, on the radio at the same time. Right now. Why doesn't anyone ever bring that up? That's a fucking felony".

It's not a felony, but I guess he has sort of a point. He continued: "How many people have been copying Gaga since she came out? Oh, I have the answer: everyone. Have you seen all the lightning bolts painted on faces, or the one hand eye cover-ups during photos? How about the fact that there was barely any dance music on the radio until 'Just Dance' came out? Come on motherfuckers, let's keep it real here. If we are going to talk about who is chasing who, I think we all know the answer to that".

Lady Gaga's new Madonna covers album 'Born This Way' is released on 23 May.

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Bruno Mars, I'm sure you are aware, had a hit earlier this year with a song called 'Grenades'. Since then, fans have been throwing replica grenades at him when he plays it live. He's now asked fans to stop this because, as you might expect, he and his band find it a little perturbing.

Mars told the Daily Star: "Since I've been singing 'Grenade' I've been getting more fake ones thrown at me. At first it was cute now it's beginning to spook my band out. With the stage lights on you can't see anything. It's dangerous and scares the shit out of me".

As for other items that often find their way onto the stage, he said: "I don't mind a few bras. They're better than candy. That can really hurt".

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
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Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
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