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CMU Info
Top Stories
Citigroup approaches Blavatnik about EMI?
The Great Escape concludes
In The Pop Courts
Reading Festival ticket scammer jailed
In The Pop Hospital
Etta James in hospital
Pop Politics
BBC criticised over rap edit
Bob Dylan denies set list censored in China
Diplo criticises MIA over her political raps
Awards & Contests
Azerbaijan wins Eurovision
Artist Deals
The Cult sign to Cooking Vinyl
In The Studio
Sleigh Bells head back into the studio
Films & Shows News
Jack White to make recordings for Kinks movie
Festival News
Festival line-up update
The Music Business
Former EMI chief defends the record label, though calls for more transparency and innovative licensing
Music festivals contribute a billion to UK economy
European ticketing firm appoints new UK chairman
The Media Business
Dannii Minogue quits X-Factor
Jonathan Ross looking for a new radio show
And finally...
Kerrang! Radio to give away Take That tickets... to competition losers

Hello. I can't quite believe I'm back in the office. Having been in Brighton for The Great Escape since Wednesday, and only returning home late yesterday afternoon, my brain knows I'm supposed to be at my desk, but my body is asking what happened to the weekend. It was very tiring, but ultimately worth it. I'm so pleased with how the convention - which was, of course, programmed by us here at CMU - turned out. The festival was excellent, too. But more on that later in the week I think, for now it's time to look ahead to another week.

01: Independent Label Market. This Saturday, a stack of independent record labels will get together on Berwick Street in London - once indie record store central, and still home to a small number of music shops - and sell their wares direct to music fans with the first ever Independent Label Market. Label founders and bosses will be among those manning stalls for Domino, Rough Trade, Bella Union, Tri-Angle, Merok, R&S, Moshi Moshi and more.

02: Ivor Novello Awards. British songwriters will have their efforts acknowledged at this year's Ivor Novello Awards on Thursday. Villagers, Everything Everything and Foals will battle it out in the Best Song Musically And Lyrically category, while The xx's 'Islands', Katy B's 'Katy On A Mission' and Tinie Tempah's 'Pass Out' are all up for Best Contemporary Song. As usual, the ceremony takes place over lunch at Grosvenor House in London.

03: Liverpool Sound City. In this busy month for music business conferences in the UK and abroad, the focus shifts this week to the North West of England, where Liverpool Sound City will once again be taking over Merseyside. By day, the conference will look at some of the key issues facing the music industry, while by night there will be showcases from over 300 bands, including headline slots from The View, The Black Lips, Funeral Party and The Kooks.

04: New releases. It's another good week for new albums, with Three Trapped Tigers, Austra, Friendly Fires, Tennis, The Feelies, Kate Bush, Let's Wrestle and Lee 'Scratch' Perry all putting out new LPs. There's also the latest collection of re-issues from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Cappo & Styly Cee begin a four part album release, plus Boy Friend release their new single, and earthone9 release their first new EP since reforming last year.

05: Gigs. You'd think I'd been to enough gigs over the last few days, but no, I will not stop. Tomorrow night I'll be judging the second round of this year's Road To Standon competition, which sees bands battle it out for a spot on the main stage at Standon Calling. Playing on the same night in London are the fabulous Oh Land at XOYO and the brilliant Snoop Dogg at The Forum. On Thursday, Suede will play the first of three nights at Brixton Academy, performing their first three albums in full. Also touring this week are Explosions In The Sky, The Young Knives, earthtone9, My Dying Bride, Kurt Vile, Cults and Hurray For The Riff Raff.

Lots to occupy yourself with there. As I say, we'll have some more formal TGE reports later this week, though for some chatter on it right now check out the latest CMU podcast, which was recorded after almost no sleep on Sunday morning.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU
Long time collaborators rapper Cappo and producer Styly Cee last appeared as a co-headline duo on 2008's 'H-Bomb' EP. Featuring heavy beats and carefully selected samples, the release was billed as a precursor to a full album, for which we've been waiting patiently for ever since. Of course, last year Cappo released his excellent 'Genghis' LP, which Styly contributed to, but the full collaborative album finally arrives this week.

Entitled 'The Fallout', the album is being digitally released by Son Records in four parts, ahead of the vinyl and CD being made available on 6 Jun. Part one is out today, via iTunes and Bandcamp. The full album is a solid piece of work from beginning to end, and this first instalment gives a tantalising taste of what to expect. Cappo's sharp lyrics delivered in his heavy Nottingham accent are present, of course, as is Styly's production heavy funk-influenced sound, though on later instalments you'll hear him move into more electronic pastures.

iTunes | Bandcamp

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To apply, please send covering letter and C.V. with details of current salary structure if applicable to [email protected]
New State Group is looking for a self motivated fired up individual as an Administration & Label Assistant. Working within a close-knit team of 20 and across many different parts of the business, this role is a perfect opportunity for a 'first timer' or graduate to learn the ropes.

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GigSell is a start-up company that has developed a unique platform for selling event tickets through Facebook. Our initial targets for the system are club events and concerts but the application will be tailored for other sectors. The technology is proven and the company is funded for launching the system.

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There were reports this weekend that Citigroup has already approached Len Blavatnik about his company Access Industries acquiring EMI and merging it with his most recent acquisition, Warner Music.

Speculation has been rife, of course, since it became clear Warner's board would approve Blavatnik's bid to buy Warner, that the Russian-born US billionaire would then mount a bid to purchase EMI, which current owner Citigroup is known to be keen to offload. Warner boss Edgar Bronfman Jr, who will continue to run the US music major for Blavatnik, has had a long desire to merge EMI and Warner to create a music company of similar size to Sony Music and Universal Music.

Citigroup is expected to start taking formal offers for London-based EMI this side of the summer, but according to the Mail the US bank has already reached out to Blavatnik to assess his interest in bidding for the EMI business. It is thought that if Blavatnik and Bronfman did succeed in bringing the Warner and EMI music empires together, the two firm's record companies would be merged while the Warner Chappell publishing catalogue would be sold off, possibly to satisfy the concerns of competition regulators.

That said, Blavatnik is not assured ownership of EMI even if he and Bronfman do bid. It is thought several of the other individuals and companies who unsuccessfully bid to buy Warner will also make an offer for EMI when Citigroup makes a formal call for bids.

In related news, a minority shareholder in the Warner Music Group has launched litigation in relation to the sale of that music major to Blavatnik. Barbara A Varipapa says that the Warner board, who collectively own about 56% of the music firm, "abandoned their duty to [other] shareholders" when they agreed to sell the company to Access Industries.

Seeking to represent all of Warner's shareholders outside the board room, Varipapa argues the Warner board failed to get her and other shareholders the best deal, adding that because of the way the company is structured the minority shareholders' vote is meaningless. Warner ais yet to comment on the legal action.

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The Great Escape, Europe's leading festival for new music and the UK's biggest music business convention, climaxed on Saturday night with an exuberant headline set from Sufjan Stevens and many more newer bands playing to an excitable audience of industry players and music fans.

Over the three-days at the CMU-programmed Great Escape convention over 100 industry leaders and innovators took part in talks, debates and interviews, offering opinions, insights and case studies on all aspects of the modern music business, and especially the challenges of developing and monetising new talent in the digital age.

Keynotes came from PRS For Music's Will Page, Topspin's Ian Rogers, Bandcamp's Andrew Dubber, Soundcloud's Dave Haynes, HMV's Simon Fox and the BPI's Tony Wadsworth, the latter launching a new research report he has penned for MusicTank on the changing shape of the record company. DJ Shadow, Frank Turner and Paul Epworth were in conversation, while four great music start-ups got to present to a panel of music business experts and three artist managers pitched ideas to three brand managers, each with mini-sponsorship budgets to spend.

In a more relaxed Saturday programme, John Robb was joined by MPs Kerry McCarthy and Mike Weathley and musicians Adam Ficek and Chris T-T to discuss piracy, drugs, visas and a raft of other political issues. Later CMU Business Editor and Great Escape Convention Programmer Chris Cooke chatted to Chris Swanson and Mark Jones, founders of the Secretly Canadian and Wall Of Sound labels respectively, before Music Week's Stephen Jones chaired the first ever Heroes & Villains panel, which saw four industry veterans - including surprise guest Seymour Stein - speaking very much off the record about their artist experiences.

Commenting on the proceedings, the aforementioned Cooke said: "When we were asked to programme The Great Escape convention we wanted to create a practical, forward looking, enlightening and entertaining conference, and from the feedback we've received so far, and our monitoring of the social networks, that seems to have been achieved. We must thank all our content partners, speakers, delegates and the big team of volunteers who made this happen. Hopefully this year's delegation will spread the word so we can make TGE2012 even bigger and better, the ultimate forum for networking, debating and idea sharing in the new music business".

We'll have a series of reports on The Great Escape panels here in the CMU Daily later this week, while right now you can listen to an albeit rather tired sounding Cooke and CMU Editor Andy Malt discussing the best bits on the CMU Weekly podcast - check it at www.soundcloud.com/cmu or via iTunes here: bit.ly/fEPnE7. Highlights of the convention will also be available on SoundCloud from later this month.

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A scammer who sold non-existent tickets to the 2008 Reading Festival has been jailed for three years after being found guilty of all sorts of fraud and money laundering charges by a jury earlier this year.

Christopher Bundza claimed to have tickets to sell for the music festival via his own website and on eBay, but he never had access to any such thing. Most fans discovered this fact too late after handing over cash to Bundza in a desperate attempt to get tickets for the festival.

Bundza was found guilty of eighteen separate charges, some relating to the ticket scam, others to a fraud he committed in relation to the purchase of his home. His former partner Kathryn White avoided jail after admitting four offences of fraud.

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Soul legend Etta James has been hospitalised after suffering from a urinary tract infection and sepsis. The singer's son, Sametto James, confirmed his mother would stay in hospital until the infections have cleared up.

James, of course, is very ill, suffering from both leukaemia and dementia, and she spent some time in hospital to receive treatment for similar infections last year.

As previously reported, there have been disagreements between James' children, her husband and her doctor about the level of care the singer is receiving, and the use of her fortune to pay for it.

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The BBC has come under attack after the words "free Palestine" were edited out of a performance by rapper Mic Righteous on a 1Xtra show. The freestyle rap originally aired in December, but appeared again in a best-of show at the end of April with the political statement edited out.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a statement last week urging listeners to write to the BBC and Radio Times to complain about what they termed an "extraordinary act of censorship", and to post their views on the webpage of the radio show on which the rap appeared, that of Charlie Sloth. Online comments objecting to the edit have since started to appear.

A BBC spokesman responded thus: "All BBC programmes have a responsibility to be impartial when dealing with controversial subjects and an edit was made to Mic Righteous' freestyle to ensure that impartiality was maintained".

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Bob Dylan has denied reports that his recent show in China was censored by the Chinese authorities, adding that rumours he had previously been denied permission to perform there and that the audience at his Beijing show was mainly made up of ex-pats were also untrue.

On reports he had initially been banned from playing in China, Dylan says those stories stemmed from a dodgy promoter who made promises he couldn't keep. Writing on his website, Dylan said: "My guess is that the guy [a Chinese promoter] printed up tickets and made promises to certain groups without any agreements being made. We had no intention of playing China at that time, and when it didn't happen most likely the promoter had to save face by issuing statements that the Chinese Ministry had refused permission for me to play there to get himself off the hook".

On the set list censorship rumours, which circulated after Dylan chose not to sing some of his more political songs at his Beijing show, he continued: "As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play".

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Producer Diplo has criticised his former collaborator and one time girlfriend MIA for "glamorising terrorism", and says her last album failed to match the success of its predecessor partly because of its political content, and the subsequent spat with New York Times writer Lynn Hirschberg who claimed a number of the musician's politically motivated statements were contradictory.

I'm not sure how Diplo got onto the topic of his ex, but he told WWD: "She got famous after 'Paper Planes' [which Diplo produced]. She had already thrown in the towel when that record came out. Before that she was like: 'I'm retiring. I'm going to marry this guy, fuck it'. Then Paper Planes blew up and she was like: 'Oh shit, I gotta take advantage of this. I'm actually an artist now'".

On the lyrical content of the next album, he continued: "Maya left herself open for attacks. She's not an easy artist to criticise because she's very left-leaning, she's progressive, she's a woman. But when it comes to die-hard, facts-on-the-ground politics, she's at zero. She's nothing. I told her at the beginning of the third record, do not bring politics into this ... You just can't glamorise terrorism, it's not cool ... you can't hide behind that shit. But she totally did ... And Lynn Hirschberg just ate it up. If she didn't, the critics would have ate her up anyway because the record wasn't good".

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So Azerbaijan (you know, just above Iran, to the left of the Caspian Sea, yes, that Azerbaijan) won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time this weekend thanks to the country's entrants Ell/Nikki (a duo, one of whom lives in London) whose song 'Running Scared' scored 221 points.

We in the UK again struggled to impress our European brethren with our entry, despite wheeling out former boy band Blue to both write and sing it, though coming eleventh with 100 points was an improvement on recent years, and at one point early on in the voting their song was actually in the lead. The BBC's commentator Graham Norton joked: "Quick, someone take a picture".

Despite the mixed success of our entry, the UK TV audience for the Eurovision show was up considerably, to 9.5 million viewers from 5.5 million last year, with a peak audience of 12.7 million. It outperformed 'Britain's Got Talent' over on ITV, ironically possibly in part because of the appearance at the Song Contest of one of the outputs of 'BGT's sister show 'X-Factor', the Jedward boys, who were representing Ireland of course. They came in eighth on the night.

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The Cult have signed a global deal with Cooking Vinyl for their ninth studio album, which is due to be released in the autumn.

Confirming the deal, the band's guitar man Billy Duffy told CMU: "We are very much looking forward to returning to our UK roots in many ways working with Cooking Vinyl", while frontman Ian Astbury added with regards his new label: "We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship".

For the label, Cooking Vinyl Director Rob Collins said: "I tried to sign Ian's first band, Southern Death Cult when I was a scout at Virgin in the early 80s. I think I paid for coach fares to London and they promptly signed to Beggars Banquet. It's great to finally be working with Ian, Billy and co".

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Sleigh Bells are heading back into the studio to work on a follow up to their debut album 'Treats', with the basic plan to make something even noisier.

One half of the duo, Derek Miller, told Rolling Stone: "Emotionally, it's a really heavy record. Some of ['Treats'] you could consider party music. That's definitely not the case with this one".

His partner in crime Alexis Krauss added: "It sounds really huge, so there's going to be still tons of volume".

No word yet on a schedule for album number two.

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According to Screen Daily, Jack White has been recruited to record tracks for an in-development movie adaptation of The Kinks' 1976 concept album 'Schoolboys In Disgrace'. As previously reported, Bobcat Goldthwaite is behind the movie project, which is reportedly endorsed by The Kinks' Ray Davies. It is thought White will re-record some of the music from the 70s album for the movie, which is set to be produced by Warp Films.

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THE BIG CHILL, Castle Deer Park, Herefordshire, 4-7 Aug: Redlight, Fight Like Apes and blues outfit North Mississippi Allstars Duo are all recent additions to the thriving Big Chill roster, with Vampire Weekend bassist Baio also slated for a slot in the DJ booth. They join co-headlining trio Kanye West, Rodrigo y Gabriela and The Chemical Brothers plus a supporting line-up that includes Wild Beasts, Metronomy, Warpaint and Aloe Blacc on the bill as it stands thus far. www.bigchill.net/festival

CREAMFIELDS, Daresbury Estate, Halton, Cheshire, 27-28 Aug: Strongbow bring a strong selection of acts to the Creamfields party for their sponsored stage, which will feature sets from Brodinski, Chad Valley, Rory Phillips, Jaguar Skills, Goldie Rocks and classically-disinclined DJ Kissy Sell Out. This lot join an existing list of leading electro/dance/dub lights like The Chemical Brothers, David Guetta, Tiesto, Magnetic Man, Erol Alkan and so very many more. www.creamfields.com

JOLLY DAY OUT, Hampton Court Green, Surrey, 26-29 Aug: Kids under twelve go free at this jovial family bash, which will welcome a host of child-friendly acts including McFly and Imelda May, with alternative entertainment arriving in the form of live performances from Charlie & Lola and Horrible Histories. www.jollydayout.com

PEACE & LOVE, Borlänge, Sweden, 28 Jun-2 Jul: Headliner Bob Dylan joins fellow bill-toppers MIA, The Strokes and Kings Of Leon at this premier Swedish bash, which also features a smorgasbord of homegrown talent including Lykke Li and Those Dancing Days. Appearances from less local acts like 30 Seconds To Mars, Foreigner, Patrick Wolf and The Vaccines are also on the cards. www.peaceandlove.nu/english

VEGFESTUK, various venues, Bristol, 21-28 May: Ms Dynamite, Goldie Lookin Chain, The Selecter, Aswad and Black Roots will take centre stage at this celebration of vegetarian food, which will also feature fringe events like tasting sessions, nutritional workshops and cookery demos. Meat is murder! Hurrah! www.bristol.vegfest.co.uk

VESTIVAL, Jimmy's Farm, Pannington Hall Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, 21 May: Billed as "a festival of football, comedy and music", this combo bash is hosting co-headliners Annie Mac and Toploader. Friday Night Dinner star Tom Rosenthal and guests comprise the comedy roster, with all proceeds going to support charitable organisations Football Action and Hannah's Orphanage. www.footballaction.com/vestival

WAKESTOCK, Abersoch Bay, Wales, 8-10 Jul: Introductions to Wakestock's surf-tastic beachside billing include Huw Stephens, Masters In France, Sibrydion, Colorama, Mr Phormula, Poket Trez, and Bare Left, who join a selection of bigger previous announcees like Biffy Clyro, Ellie Goulding, Kelis, The Wombats and Example. www.wakestock.co.uk/abersoch

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A new report on how record companies have evolved to cope with the challenges of the digital era is published today, having been launched at The Great Escape on Friday.

Penned by BPI Chair and former EMI UK chief Tony Wadsworth for MusicTank, the paper challenges the idea that record labels are outdated 'dinosaurs'. Based on interviews with key players from across the music business, including the majors, independents, managers and agents, the report presents a "diversified recordings business with broader skill sets, able to better manage costs and work with a wider variety of more flexible artist deals". The report does make some suggestions for changes in the industry, though, including a call for more innovation in licensing and more transparency so that all stakeholders feel rewarded for their efforts.

Following his keynote address at The Great Escape on Friday, Wadsworth told reporters: "With input from people from across the industry I have tried to explain the recent evolution of the record label, take the temperature of the industry in 2011, and extrapolate the key trends. I don't claim to have all the answers but I hope to give some perspective to the key changes in an industry that's adapting to a radically new environment without a template, map or guide book".

Welcoming the report, one of those industry players interviewed, Beggars Group boss Martin Mills, told CMU: "Record labels are at the heart of the music industry, and it's timely, after the upheavals of the last decade, to take stock and assess the prospects for the record label in the years ahead. Tony's lifetime label experience combined with an analytical approach will certainly bring some clarity to the picture, and help push forward the debates around the future of the wider music industry".

The report is available from www.musictank.co.uk for £45, including a year's membership to MusicTank. It will feed into a MusicTank conference on 14 Jul, more info on which to follow.

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Also publishing a report this week is UK Music, which has been researching the impact music festivals have on the British economy, the top level stats being that large-scale live music events employ 19,700 people and contribute almost £1 billion a year to UKplc.

At least 7.7 million music fans visited festivals in 2009, spending £1.4 billion between them, at least half of that going to non-music businesses such as hotels and restaurants in towns and cities near major music events. About a fifth of the festival audience came from overseas, and, UK Music's research reckons, those tourists coming to the UK for music events are often bigger spenders overall.

The report goes on to call for the government to create a live-music tourism strategy to boost the number of visitors to the UK, and address issues such as visas for overseas performers and the secondary ticketing market.

Says UK Music boss Feargal Sharkey: "The role of music in terms of creating jobs, in terms of sustaining businesses and in terms of attracting visitors to all regions of this country comes over loud and clear. We will do all we can to work with policy-makers and tourism bodies to realise the potential of this considerable economic asset".

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European ticketing giant Eventim have announced the appointment of Nick Blackburn to the role of Chairman for its UK business. Blackburn was previously CEO at See Tickets, having grown that business out of the Really Useful Theatres company. He has been working as a consultant in the ticketing sector since leaving See Tickets last year, and will join Eventim in June.

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of parent company CTS Eventim, told CMU: "Nick Blackburn has been a driving force in ticketing in the UK for more than two decades, and we are happy he has accepted our offer to become Chairman of our UK operations. His appointment underpins Eventim's claim to be one of the leading ticketing services providers in the UK".

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Dannii Minogue has confirmed she will not be a judge on the next series of 'X-Factor', explaining that the dates of the UK talent show clash with the recording of 'Australia's Got Talent', on which she also judges. With Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole also off 'X-UK' to concentrate on the new American version of the show, that means three of the four judges on the ITV pop programme will be new this year, assuming Louis Walsh will remain.

Minogue confirmed her departure from 'X-Factor' on the website mydaily.co.uk, for which she is a contributing editor, saying: "I am so disappointed that I can't be a part of 'The X-Factor' this year. I'm going to miss the show and the amazing team who work so incredibly hard on it. [But] during discussions for me to return it became clear that unfortunately, this year, the 'X-Factor' audition dates in the UK clash with the live shows of 'Australia's Got Talent' during June and July. For this reason I am unable to return".

Gary Barlow and Mel B are among those tipped to join the 'X-UK' judging panel when auditions begin next month.

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Jonathan Ross is planning a return to radio, according to the News Of The World. The tab reckons his people are talking to commercial players Global Radio and Absolute about a weekly show, possibly in his old Radio 2 slot of Saturday mornings.

Opinion is divided as to whether even the biggest commercial stations could afford the sort of fees Ross has commanded in the past, though a friend of the presenter told the NOTW he's eager to have a radio outlet again, and would likely do it for a relatively modest sum of money.

Ross will return to TV on ITV1 in September.

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Kerrang! Radio is running a competition called Could It Be Tragic in which listeners could win a VIP ticket to a string of rock festivals this summer, but only on the condition that they commit, should they lose, to attend a Take That concert in Sunderland.

Kerrang! Radio's James Walshe told Radio Today: "Take That are the antithesis of what our listeners love about music. They genuinely despise manufactured boybands and so the idea of having to endure a Take That concert will be very unappealing. The winner gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be at every major rock festival of 2011 VIP style, so we're certain they'll be willing to run the risk of having to see Take That live in order to win the grand prize!"

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Mark Gorton
Copyright Expert

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