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CMU Info
Top Stories
FAC and MMF call for renewed commitment to 'on air, on sale'
BT says MPA injunction would "be the thin end of the wedge"
In The Pop Courts
Indecent assault allegations against Louis Walsh dropped
Lady Gaga issues statement in response to Japan lawsuit
Sony Germany accused of sexual discrimination
Reunions & Splits
Brother are no more, Viva Brother
Artist Deals
EMI does deal with songwriter site for US military
EMI signs Brucie and Twiggy
Universal does Real deal with Diane Warren
Release News
The Drums tease second album
Throwing Muses to release 25th anniversary compilation
Alex Metric announces remix compilation
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Live review: Yo La Tengo at Royal Festival Hall in London on 12 Jun
The Music Business
Vince Power company arrives on AIM
80 Hertz Studios launches in new home today
New European management agency opens
The Digital Business
David Gray releases live album via Groupon
MySpace could be sold this week
The Media Business
We7 expands GMG partnership
And finally...
Japanese girl group star doesn't really exist

Formed in 2001, house trio Dirty Vegas first gained above-ground exposure when they won a Grammy Award for debut single 'Days Go By', a standout cut on the group's first self-titled album. The more organic successor to which, 2004 LP 'One', spawned another major hit in 'Walk Into The Sun', which has since featured on various US shows including 'One Tree Hill'. Despite splitting in 2005, the three members collaborated on a soundtrack for indie film 'Boys & Girls Guide To Getting Down', with vocalist Steve Smith releasing a solo record titled 'This Town' in 2008.

A reunion followed, resulting in hew album 'Electric Love', a slight departure from the slick, dark electronica of their older work which was assembled via online correspondence between Steve, now based in New England, and his London-dwelling bandmates Ben and Paul Harris. Incorporating stomping bass-lines and propulsive beats with an extra injection of guitar-led jubilance, 'Electric Love' is out now. With this in mind, we caught up with the group to glean their thoughts on the album by way of our Same Six line of questioning.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

Steve: We were all in bands when we were at school, and we all fell in love with electronic music when the acid house explosion happened in the late 80s. We all knew each other from playing in clubs, Paul was a DJ at a lot of the great clubs in the early 90s, and Ben owed a great record shop. I think a lot of good DJs naturally progress into being good producers, so when Ben and Paul asked me to come and work with them, I jumped at the chance.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?

Steve: I think because we took a break from 2005 to 2008, that time gave us a chance to become music fans again. When you are in a band you are dissecting your work, other people's work etc. So, when you step back from that, you begin to appreciate music for what it is. This was the inspiration for the new album, finding a sense of energy and excitement you get, like the first time you ever got in a recording studio. Electronic music is so prevalent today, and I think the internet has pushed it into people's lives. We write song-based structures around electronic production, and in 2011 this is much more respected than it was ten years ago.

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

Ben: The inspiration for a track can come from anything. It could be a guitar riff, a drum loop, synths, whatever. It might even start with a story or situation that happened to one of us. Once the idea is there, we'll play around with it in the studio, adding each element until we feel it's ready to road test at a DJ or live gig. That's a great way to see what's working or what needs adjusting. On this album we collaborated with a couple of good friends, Julian Peake and Simon Duffy, during the writing and production process. Having these two on board let us focus on making the album we wanted to make.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

Ben: Our tastes are very varied from underground house and techno, to old rock bands such as Zeppelin and The Stones. Throw in some Latin percussion stuff, some dubstep, hip hop and singer-songwriters like Neil Young and Jeff Buckley and I think you get the idea!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Paul: I would say it's certainly a mix of all the music we have been influenced by over the years , we all came from the Baleric times, where an acid house record was mixed in with a hip hop record and then a rock record. DJs like Alfredo, Danny Rampling, Pete Tong, and Paul Oakenfold influenced us at the time with there selection of records. I would say for sure it's dance music, but it's been influenced by many things along the way. Now it's people like The Killers, Pheonix, and Miike Snow.

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

Paul: I just hope people listen to the album and enjoy it as much as we do. All three of us really are pleased with what we ended up with, so that's the main thing. Looking forward, we want to do some great shows over the next year to help promote the record, and then, I guess we want the album to sell millions so we can sit on a boat for a while until we decide to make another one!

MORE>> www.dirtyvegas.com
'Crystalline', the first track from Björk's new multi-arts venture and LP 'Biophilia', has emerged in full online following a teaser clip that surfaced earlier this month.

Offering a suitably strange initial glimpse into what Björk has termed her "multimedia project encompassing music, apps, internet, installations and live shows", 'Crystalline' sees Björk offset her offbeat pop sensibility with a warm, winsome vocal hum as she sings about crystal formation over a trickle of triangle chimes, working in a jarring drum n bass melee for the track's closing section.

You can stream the song here prior to its official release, along with a specialised accompanying iPad app, on 30 Jun.

Safari or Chrome users, can also browse the various digital wonders housed on Björk's 'Biophilia' flagship site here.

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

How to build a profile for your artists - the state of the music media, traditional and new publicity techniques, social media and the future of music PR. Wed 13 Jul

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

The Featured Artists Coalition and Music Managers Forum have issued a joint statement encouraging the record industry to continue, renew and extend its commitment to the so-called single release policy of 'on air, on sale'.

As previously reported, earlier this year both Sony Music and Universal Music announced they would be closing the 'release window' that traditionally existed between music being serviced to radio and it being released via digital download stores. Many in the wider music industry, and in particular the FAC and MMF, argued that some music fans illegally downloaded music not because of an unwillingness to pay, but because of impatience, ie as soon as they heard it on the radio, they wanted to buy it, but couldn't, so instead looked for it on illegal file-sharing networks.

Many marketing execs in the record industry, especially at the major labels, like the release window because it enables them to build a buzz around a single and maximise first week sales, ensuring a high chart position, which is in turn useful for promoting the accompanying album. However, those who advocate an 'on air, on sale' approach argue the record industry is losing sales because of that traditional marketing strategy, and also giving file-sharers ammunition so that, if targeted by new legislation to tackle online piracy, they could argue that they went to an illegal source of music because legitimate download stores were not yet selling the music they wanted.

Sony and Universal's decision to adopt an 'on air, on sale' approach was welcomed from many quarters in the music industry, and by digital music stores and political types focused on piracy and digital licensing. It was hoped the two majors' announcement would also encourage other record labels who hadn't already done so to close that pesky release window. However, recent analysis by Music Week suggests that some parts of the record industry are starting to backtrack away from on air, on sale, presumably in a bid to maximise first week chart position for key released for marketing reasons.

In response to that analysis and resulting chatter, the FAC and MMF said yesterday: "In the past week there has been much comment about the progress or not of the 'on air, on sale' initiative. The FAC and MMF have been supporters of 'on air, on sale' from the start. When fans hear music and want to consume it we need to provide legal means to do so. As an industry we need to grasp the nettle of monetising consumer behaviour. As an industry, we're either in favour of a world where artists, labels and managers hold back releases to manipulate the charts, or we're in favour of a world where licensed download services are the first port of call for new music. Which is it?"

The statement continues: "As an industry we campaigned for the stick of the Digital Economy Act yet happily turn a blind eye when it suits us. 'On air, on sale' is not 'on air, on sale' if we apply it selectively. As an industry if we let 'on air, on sale' collapse then everybody will know we are incapable of self-regulation. The government is due to comment on the recommendations of the Hargreaves Report on removing barriers to licensing. If we can't walk through what should be the open door of 'on air, on sale' what chance do we have of creating better licensing solutions without outside influence? We should not let 'on air, on sale' die on the cross of self-interest".

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BT yesterday told the High Court in London that if judges issue an injunction forcing them to block their internet customers from accessing the Newzbin2 website, it will be the "thin end of the wedge" leading to hundreds of injunctions being applied for by content owners.

As previously reported, the movie industry, represented by the Motion Picture Association, has applied for such an injunction as part of a long running legal battle with the Newzbin operation, which provides links to content on the Usenet network, and in particular - the MPA claims - links to hundreds of unlicensed movies.

The MPA was successful in an earlier court battle which ruled Newzbin was liable for copyright infringement by providing such links. The judge in that case ordered the website to introduce filters to stop others from linking to unlicensed films. But after that court victory Newzbin went offline, only to relaunch pretty much as was from Sweden, out of the jurisdiction of the English court ruling.

Hence the application for an injunction to force ISPs - BT in particular - to stop people from accessing the site. However, it's the first time an injunction of this kind has been applied for on copyright grounds in the UK, and if the MPA is successful it would set a precedent that under existing British copyright law such injunctions can be obtained. The Digital Economy Act included a provision explicitly allowing for such injunctions, though that whole section was put on hold by a last minute amendment to the Act before it was passed, which in effect removed the injunction system proposals.

According to The Guardian, the MPA told the High Court yesterday that illegal file-sharing was costing the movie industry "several hundreds of millions of pounds a year", which hinders the ability of film studios to invest in new projects. But BT argued that if the court started issuing injunctions to block websites the content industries dislike, it'd be opening the flood gates and there could be up to 400 injunction applications a year.

BTs legal reps said: "Rights holders in the music and movie industries have already identified 100 copyright infringing websites which they would like to see blocked. Claimants would [also then] seek orders blocking access to websites alleged to contain defamatory allegations or private and confidential information".

The case continues, though we could have a ruling on this within the week.

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Irish police have confirmed that Louis Walsh is no longer under investigation over those previously reported allegations he indecently assaulted a 24 year old male at a Dublin club. The man who made the allegations seemingly retracted his original claims, and is now being questioned himself by officers and could face charges for making a false statement to police.

Walsh told reporters: "I have been informed by An Garda Síochána that I am now no longer under investigation. I have robustly maintained from the outset that this alleged incident did not occur".

The 'X-Factor' judge went on to criticise The Sun for leading with the original claims last week, adding that he had instructed his lawyer to begin libel proceedings against the tabloid. Which is possibly why they've today got their Showbiz Editor Gordie Smart gushing about how lovely a bloke Louis is and how unfeasible the indecent assault allegations always seemed.

But Walsh was talking tough on this issue yesterday, saying: "I remain outraged that this story ran in the first place in The Sun and I have instructed my libel lawyer to vigorously pursue legal action against the paper. I have no intention of letting this matter rest until I have received total and absolute vindication. This has been a hugely distressing time for me but I would like to thank all my friends and colleagues for their support and I am now just looking forward to getting back to work".

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Lady Gaga has issued a brief statement denying all claims made against her in a class action lawsuit launched last week.

As previously reported, legal organisation 1-800-LAW-SUIT claims in court papers filed last Friday that the singer overcharged and profited from postage costs on wristbands she sold to fans to raise money for the Japan relief effort. Gaga says that not only is this untrue, but that no separate postage charge was even asked for.

Her statement reads: "This misguided lawsuit is without merit and unfortunately takes attention away from the kind deeds of the fans around the world who are supporting the people of Japan. The entire $5 donation made with the purchase of each bracelet is going to support the disaster relief. No profit is being made on shipping costs. Sales tax charges were made in accordance with local legal requirements. Lady Gaga has personally pledged her own funds to this cause and continues to support the victims of the disaster".

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A labour court in Berlin has reportedly found Sony Music guilty of sexual discrimination at the conclusion of a long running battle by an ex-employee which initially found in the major record company's favour.

The woman sued Sony - then still SonyBMG - in 2005 claiming a man at the record company had been given a promotion instead of her because she was pregnant. She claimed that when the male colleague was given the promotion instead of her she was told by managers the decision was "related to her family situation and that she should be pleased she was having a baby".

According to Expatica.com, an industrial court twice knocked back the woman's claims on the grounds she hadn't proven discrimination had taken place, but a federal court reversed both those rulings, and now the original court has decided Sony failed to prove there was no discrimination. It is thought the former Sony Germany employee received a "low five figures" damages settlement.

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British indie types Brother have announced that they are changing their name to Viva Brother after a US-based "powerhouse Celtic tribal trio" of the same name threatened legal action.

In the past, many bands have come up against similar troubles in the US, of course. The Beat became The English Beat in the States, Suede became The London Suede, and The Charlatans opted for The Charlatans UK when Stateside. Brother, however, have decided to change their name in all territories having recognised, correctly, that in a global music market linked up by the internet, having a different name in one country is confusing for everyone.

Viva Brother frontman Lee Newell said of the name change: "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away three men decided one day that it would be a good idea to start a band called Brother. Many, many years later four frighteningly handsome devils in the desolate, post apocalyptic wasteland of Slough decided to do the same thing. But something called 'litigation' got in the way. However with this out of the way we do finally feel free. Brother is dead. Long Live VIVA BROTHER!"

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EMI Music Publishing has announced a deal with a US website called GI Jams which may see songwriters from the American military signed up to the publisher.

GI Jams is a website that gives musically talented members of the US military - current and former - a platform to post and promote their original music. Anyone in the troops can upload their tunes, but the GI Jams company keeps an eye out for particularly talented musical soldiers that they reckon have professional potential. It is those GI songwriters that could benefit from the new EMI relationship.

GI Jams co-founder Denny Randell told CMU: "[Co-founder] Biddy Schippers and I are so excited for GI Jams to be working together with EMI Music Publishing, the greatest of music publishing companies, to provide the opportunity for the worldwide administration and promotion of our military artists' original songs. Many of these songs get written in tents and barracks, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on military bases here and all over the world. It is fantastic to be joining forces with EMI Music Publishing to further our goal of promoting the music of these greatly talented men and women of our Armed Forces".

EMI Music Publishing's Stephen J Dallas added: "We've been privileged to work with Denny for a considerable time now, and we're excited about partnering with him and Biddy as they continue to build this important new enterprise. GI Jams provides active and veteran service men and women with a valuable outlet for their musical talents, and we're looking forward to representing their original compositions across the world".

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Elsewhere in the EMI deals folder, the record labels side of the major has announce a new alliance with a UK-based agency called TCB Group, which specialises in creating music brands and products around celebrities. The alliance will see EMI release albums from both Bruce Forsyth and Twiggy.

EMI UK CEO Andria Vidler told CMU: "The new albums from Sir Bruce and Twiggy are the perfect way to launch our partnership with The TCB Group. EMI has long been the home for iconic British talent and we're delighted to welcome Sir Bruce and Twiggy to the EMI family".

While TCB Group founder Steven Howard added: "We're very pleased about our new partnership with EMI, starting with these first two releases from Sir Bruce and Twiggy. Creating original content with our artists is central to our vision and we're really excited about working with the great team at EMI in developing that further".

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Veteran pop songwriter Diane Warren has entered into a new deal with Universal Music, which will see the major's publishing division administer the songwriter's Realsongs catalogue outside of the US, while she provides A&R consultancy to some of the artists signed to Universal's record labels.

Confirming the new deal, Universal top man Lucian Grainge told reporters: "This is a milestone event for UMG as Diane is one of the finest songwriters of her generation, and certainly one of the most commercially successful. On the recorded music side, she will now become UMG's 'go-to-creative' person - available to our labels and artists around the globe to write songs that will help to fully realise their potential. It's a win-win for everyone".

Warren herself added: "I'm excited to be joining Lucian and the entire UMG team. This is an incredible opportunity to have my songs handled by the world's leading publishing company, with an aggressive and proven team that will ensure our creative efforts are maximised. And at the same time, being given a unique platform that will provide special access to working with UMG's recording artists on a global basis".

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The Drums have posted a new video online to tease their new album. The trailer shows grainy footage of the band in the studio, as well as water, a city, a crucifix, and fire. The word 'portamento' is also flashed up on screen twice and soundtracking the whole thing is some instrumental synth-based music.

From this video, I think we can safely assume that the album will be composed of electro-gospel reworkings of Earth, Wind & Fire songs. OK, that means I'm taking water to represent wind. Though the fire does look like it might be blowing in the wind, so maybe water denotes that the album was recorded under water, possibly in Atlantis. Well, if at least 90% of what I just said isn't spot on, I will be very surprised indeed.

See the video for yourself here:

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To mark the 25th anniversary of the release of their debut album, 'Untitled', Throwing Muses have announced that they will release their first ever compilation. Entitled 'Anthology' and compiled by the band's current line-up - frontwoman Kristin Hersh, drummer David Narcizo, and bassist Bernard Georges - the 43 track collection will be released by 4AD on 5 Sep. Spread across two discs, the first pulls together most of their singles, while the second features b-sides and rarities.

Announcing the release, Hersh said: "['Anthology' is] beautiful and substantial, thanks to awesome [design by] David Narcizo - a chunky, 28 page hardcover booklet and two CDs - one CD consisting of a hand-selected retrospective track-list by Kristin, David and Bernard, and on the other the collected b-sides, including the original [1987 compilation of 4AD artists] 'Lonely Is An Eyesore' version of 'Fish', the long-lost 'Hillbilly' and the original version of 'Back Road (Matter Of Degrees)'. And yes, the release will be supported by Throwing Muses live dates".

Here's the full tracklisting for you:

Disc One:
Garoux Des Larmes
A Feeling
Marriage Tree
Hate My Way
No Way In Hell
Tar Kissers
Mr Bones
Summer St
Bright Yellow Gun
Pretty Or Not
You Cage
Two Step
Vicky's Box
Cry Baby Cry

Disc Two:
Same Sun
Amazing Grace
Cry Baby Cry
Manic Depression
City Of The Dead
Ride Into The Sun
Handsome Woman
Like A Dog
Crayon Sun
Red Eyes
Tar Moochers
Serene Swing
Heel Toe
Take (Live)
Finished (Live)
Back Road (Matter Of Degrees)

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Alex Metric has announced that he will release a compilation of some of his very fine remixes, plus a few of his other productions, in August. Entitled 'Open Your Eyes, the release will also feature a new track with Charli XCX on vocals, 'End Of The World'. It'll be available from 1 Aug.

'End Of The World', Metric explains, was originally intended for Charli XCX's own album, but after it was completed he "wrestled it back off her". He says: "It's quite a sad song, not a club record at all. It's like nothing I've done before". Hear it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=28wRG38Ryos

Here's the tracklist:

Phoenix - Lisztomania (Alex Metric Remix)
Gorillaz feat Mos Def & Bobby Womack - Stylo (Alex Metric Remix)
Alex Metric & Steve Angello feat Ian Brown - Open Your Eyes (Style Of Eye Remix)
N.E.R.D. - Hypnotize U (Alex Metric Remix)
Fenech-Soler - Lies (Alex Metric Remix)
Bloc Party - One More Chance (Alex Metric Remix)
Ellie Goulding - Salt Skin (Alex Metric Remix)
La Roux - Quicksand (Alex Metric Remix)
Alex Metric & Steve Angello - Open Your Eyes
Beastie Boys - Sabotage (Alex Metric Re-Edit)
Niki & The Dove - Mother Protect (Alex Metric Remix)
Infadels - Black Sky (Produced by Alex Metric)
Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Alex Metric Remix)
Alex Metric feat Charli XCX - End Of The World

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FESTIBELLY, Lymington, The New Forest, Hampshire, 27 Aug: Coming back stronger than ever for its third edition, this Hampshire-bashed grassroots bash will see performances from acts including Man Like Me, Ghostpoet, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, She Keeps Bees, TEED, Lulu And The Lampshades and Drums Of Death. www.festibelly.com

READING FESTIVAL, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, 26-28 Aug: Amongst those acts newly added to the Reading Festival bill (and the Leeds-based leg, too) are Dry The River, Johnny Flynn and Pete & The Pirates, all of whom will appear on the Alternative Stage. Recent confirmations for the Festival Republic stage include Tom Vek, Anna Calvi, Ed Sheeran and Rival Schools. The existing roster for the twin festivals features the likes of The Strokes, The National, My Chemical Romance, Interpol and Elbow. www.readingfestival.co.uk

SOUNDWAVES, Various Venues, Brighton, 14-17 Jul: Fusing together a multi-faceted programme of events, exhibitions and experiences, this Brighton-based culture fest will play host to David Thomas, frontman of alt-rock outfit Pere Ubu, Chicks On Speed's Anat Ben-Davis, audio-visual innovator Scanner and improvisatory electronic act Gazelle Twin. arts.brighton.ac.uk/soundwaves

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LIVE REVIEW: Yo La Tengo at Royal Festival Hall in London on 12 Jun
I won't lie, it's a little frustrating to watch one of your favourite bands on stage in front of you playing an entire set of songs that just don't know. But for the first part of tonight, Yo La Tengo aren't Yo La Tengo, they're the Condo Fucks - a garage-rock band playing covers from The Kinks, The Troggs, Slade and The Small Faces, among others. A few nights ago, in Oxford, they were Dump - bassist James McNew's lo-fi solo project. Tomorrow, the band might just play songs beginning with the letter S.

The culprit is a wheel-of-fortune that the band has been using on their most recent tour, which they've dubbed 'Reinventing The Wheel'. Instead of a support act, a wheel gets spun at the start of each show to determine exactly what kind of set the band will initially perform. You might get the Condo Fucks, you might get a Q&A session interspersed with songs. If you're particularly lucky, the band and crew might dispense with music entirely and re-enact an episode of a late 90s US sitcom. But tonight it's the Condo Fucks, and - once you're three songs in and the joke has worn off - it's dull. And frustrating.

Thankfully, for the band's second set they return to safer territory. There's acres of material in Yo La Tengo's 27 year history, and we get a smattering of all of it in the main set, from the beautiful, lighter-than-a-feather, opening of 'Night Falls On Hoboken' to the ten-minute feedback-infused 'Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind'. It's clear that Ira Kaplan loves indulging his noisier side, but cramming two extended guitar freakouts into a ten song set does try the audience's patience a little. Normally seen as a crowd-pleaser, 'Autumn Sweater', as the first song in the encore, falls surprisingly flat, too.

But thankfully, over 27 years a band learns enough about stagecraft to win an audience over if they begin to drift, so there's plenty of charm sprinkled about the set. 'Big Day Coming' is note-perfect, and 'Cherry Chapstick' punches in all the right places. You never quite know what you're going to get from a set from Yo La Tengo, and tonight was no exception. But despite a few dips, I still left happy. DG

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Vince Power's music festivals company officially arrived on London's Alternative Investment Market this week.

As previously reported, the Mean Fiddler founder, who returned to the UK live music industry after non-compete obligations to his former company were fulfilled, announced earlier this year that he would be floating his new music business, which, among other things, promotes the Benicassim and Hop Farm festivals.

The flotation raised £6.5 million, which Power intends to use to buy the rights to more music events. According to The Independent, shares in Music Festivals plc slipped slightly on first day of trading to 66.5p.

Power said Music Festivals plc is the first publicly quoted pure music festivals business, and that its flotation would "give everyone the chance to own a part of the thriving live music industry".

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As previously reported, George Atkins' 80 Hertz Studios in Manchester has been preparing to move to a new state-of-the-art home, within a new creative industries complex in the city called the Sharp Project, since last year. The official opening of that new studio will take place today.

Designed by producer Atkins and esteemed dubbing mixer John 'Fingers' Wood, the new ambitious two storey facility will include a six meter high live room which will be used for recording, mixing, mastering, music composition and post-production work.

Artists who have worked with Atkins at his studio in its original location, which opened in 2005, include Lily Allen, on her debut album, 'Alright, Still', Wiley, The Twang, plus the CMU Approved Stealing Sheep and Paul Thomas Saunders.

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Projekta, a new management agency with bases in three European countries, has been officially launched this week. The company is founded by John Rogers, owner of London-based record label Brainlove, Vasilis Panagiotopoulos, a Brussels-based manager and publicist, and Reykjavik-based Hildur Maral, who sits on the Iceland Airwaves advisory board and runs the Bedroom Community record label.

The agency will represent artists who already work with the individual founders, such as Rökkurró and Napoleon IIIrd as well as new signings. Their first new signing under the Projekta name is Apparat Organ Quartet, which features acclaimed composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.

More information at projekta.is

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David Gray has made his new live album available via discounts website Groupon in the US, offering a digital download of 'Lost & Found: Live In Dublin" for $6, compared to what the artist and his label claim would be the retail price of $13. The digital release is exclusive to Groupon, though a physical release is planned by Downtown Records later this year.

Commenting on the Groupon release, Gray told reporters: "These shows have been so precious to me, it only seemed like a shame that more people wouldn't get to see them. But now, thanks to the magic of technology, exactly that is possible, and at just the click of a digital switch".

It's not Groupon's first dabbling with music releases, they made the digital version of Rihanna's album 'Loud' available for $5 in the US. The partnership with Rihanna included the discounts website giving a big push to the new record, though some have questioned just how successful the partnership really was for the songstress.

Some reports suggested the Gray album was only available via Groupon for 24 hours, ie yesterday, though the site currently says there are two and half more days to take advantage, while the small print of the offer says it is valid until 2 Nov. As I write, 1140 people have bought the record.

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Word has it two big things will happen at MySpace this week. First, the digital company will lay off another 150 employees on Wednesday, about a third of their remaining work force. Then on Thursday owner News Corp will sell the flagging web firm, which it has been trying to offload for some time.

According to AllThingsD, two potential buyers have been involved in the final stages of talks - Specific Media and Golden Gate Capital - both of whom are reportedly interested primarily in the MySpace Music side of things.

Gossipers say News Corp will get between $20 million and $30 million for the one time king of social networking, somewhat less than the $100 million they hoped for, and the $580 million they paid for it in 2005.

In sort of related news, Google has unveiled its latest attempt to enter the social media space, a new platform in beta testing stage called Google+. It sounds overly complicated, though some commentators have responded positively to demos.

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The Guardian's radio company GMG Radio has put playlists onto digital music platform We7 for each of its radio station brands - Real, Smooth and Rock Radio - which it hopes will give a 'flavour' of the music each radio franchise plays. The move extends an existing relationship between We7 and GMG Radio - the digital music platform already carrying news content from Real.

Announcing the new playlists, GMG Radio's Jonathan Gillespie told reporters: "This deal provides another great way for consumers to sample our brands. Around 5.2 million people listen to radio online each week and this deal makes our three brands available on a key platform where users are engaging with a wide variety of music genres".

Meanwhile We7 boss Steve Purdham added: "The power of great radio stations such as Smooth is its music 'DNA' and its personalities. Digital solutions have a long way to go to deliver that heritage. But digital radio is much more than just broadcasting what is being played now, with personalisation and portability becoming important. This is why we feel giving access to the We7 digital radio platform means digital audiences get the best of all worlds, the convenience of cloud based music access and the passion of music from people who understand what audiences like".

In related news, We7 begins its expansion into mainland Europe today, starting in Belgium. Well, why not? The digital music company recently announced a new round of investment to fund European roll out.

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A recent addition to a Japanese pop franchise called AKB48 was all binary code, it turns out.

AKB48 is a mega girl group enterprise whose members release records, star in TV and stage shows, and even have their own theatre in Tokyo. There are 58 girls involved in total, with different line-ups appearing for different activities.

Eguchi Aimi is the latest recruit to the group, but it was revealed this week she is actually a digital creation taking features from the faces of six other AKB48 members. The group has released a video showing how the digital bandmate was created, as well as releasing an app that lets fans create their own fake pop stars.

See the vid, if you're interested, here.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Zane Lowe
Backtracking Officer

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